by Thomas Russo and Jason Li
**Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with the NFL in any way and this article simply contains the opinions of select students.
Start ‘em, Sit ‘em
Top 3 QBs to Start
Aaron Rodgers vs. Bears: Now that we are in the fantasy playoffs, you would want players who are highly motivated to post big lines. Aaron Rodgers falls under this category. The Packers are fighting for their lives, and need to win games. With Rodgers needing to win, and Green Bay’s adversity to running the ball, expect a big day from him.
Carson Palmer vs. Saints: If there is one week where starting Carson Palmer would be justified, it would be against the miserable Saints defense. The Cardinals need a win to have any shot at surviving playoffs. Palmer has his playmakers to decimate this secondary, so keep your fingers crossed for a good performance.
Matt Ryan vs.49ers: Matty Ice has the Falcons in the thick of their playoff hunt, and has been prevalent in the Fantasy MVP debate, averaging over twenty one points per week. Next up, is a game against the 49ers in the cozy confines of the Georgia Dome. With the 49ers in terrible form, expect a big day from Ryan.
Top 3 QBs to Sit
Blake Bortles vs. Texans: People just seem to keep on starting with Blake Bortles, so let me remind you: Bortles is not a must-start. As a matter of fact, it’s coming to the point where he won’t even be starting, especially against a Texans’ defense that has held opposing signal callers to only fifteen points a week.
Marcus Mariota vs. Chiefs: Last week, we said to bench Mariota, despite him being on an eight week multi-touchdown streak. He posted 7.32 fantasy points on only eighty eight passing yards and thirty eight rushing yards against the Broncos. Life won’t get any easier this week, when the Titans head into Arrowhead Stadium to play the red-hot Chiefs, whose defense has also playing lights-out. Start Mariota at your own risk.
Andrew Luck vs. Vikings: While Luck has quietly been one of the best QBs in fantasy this season with over twenty points a week, this is the fantasy playoffs. Playing with fire is not something we’d advise, and starting any QB against a Viking defense allowing thirteen points a game to opposing QBs is no exception. Beware the Purple People Eaters.
Top 3 RBs to Start
LeSean McCoy vs. Browns: Little known fact: LeSean McCoy has been leading the league in yards per carry. He has also been averaging over sixteen fantasy points a week. Shady has had only two single digit games out of thirteen this season. Oh, and the Browns’ defense has allowed over twenty three points a game this season. Shady could be in for a career day.
Ezekiel Elliott vs. Buccaneers: Zeke Elliott would have the Rookie of the Year trophy locked up, if not for the QB on his own team. Elliott is leading the league in rushing, has scored double digit points in every game this season, and is averaging nineteen points a game this season. Right now, nothing can stop Zeke, especially the Buccaneer defense.
Devote Freeman vs. 49ers: The Falcons’ offense has been all but unstoppable this season, and Freeman has played a huge role in that turnout. The 49ers’ defense has been the exact opposite, allowing over 150 yards a game and a whopping twenty eight points a game to opposing RBs. Freeman is ready to run wild, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
Top 3 RBs to Sit
Mark Ingram vs. Cardinals: Mark Ingram ranks among the greatest disappointments of this fantasy season. He has been wildly inconsistent, with Tim Hightower also eating into his carries. Add an Arizona defense which boasts the second best rush defense in the league, and you have a recipe for disaster. So, don’t roll the dice with a trip to the championship on the line.
Legarrette Blount vs. Broncos: Blount’s season has been impressive, given the pass-happy nature of the New England offense. However, this week’s trip to Denver spells trouble. The Broncos’ elite defense is waiting, and of course, Bellitricks is lurking. Belichick may as well elect to go with the pass, and ride his Hall of Fame QB. He could also go to either Dion Lewis or James White. Start Blount at your own risk.
T.J. Yeldon vs. Texans: It seems like it has been ages since we said that T.J. Yeldon was going to be the next great running back. Since the arrival of Chris Ivory, Yeldon has taken a huge step back, with only two touchdowns and three double digit outings this season. You have a championship appearance riding on this game, don’t gamble with Yeldon against the vaunted Texans’ defense.
Top 3 WRs to Start
Julio Jones vs. 49ers: This start is based on two opinions. One, Julio Jones is good at football. Two, the 49ers defense is not good at football. If Julio is healthy, you are contractually obligated by the Fantasy Gods to start him. If he isn’t, Taylor Gabriel is an alternative play in his stead.
Dez Bryant vs. Buccaneers: So we have found Dez Bryant’s kryptonite, the New York Giants. Still, fear not Bryant owners, the Cowboys do not play the Giants this week. Instead, they face a Buccaneer defense that has allowed almost twenty four points a game to opposing WRs. Expect eighty eight to rebound in a big way this week.
Jordy Nelson vs. Bears: Jordy Nelson is a touchdown machine. He has twelve on the season, and will now go to face a Chicago secondary that has allowed some twenty three points a game to opposing WRs. Touchdowns are good for your fantasy score, and good for the Packers’ playoff chances. It’s a win-win, so don’t be surprised if there are more touchdowns to come.
Top 3 WRs to Sit
Rishard Matthews vs. Chiefs: Rishard Matthews has been a revelation this season. That’s how we started his sit ‘em last week. A week where he went on to see only three targets, make only one catch, and gain all of twenty six yards. This week, he will head into Kansas City, and will be seeing a lot of All-Pro Corner Marcus Peters. Deja vu is real people.
T.Y. Hilton vs. Vikings: I bet you’re happy if you’re a T.Y. Hilton owner. Getting a WR1 as late as the fourth round is how you win championships. However, prepare yourself for a rough ride this week, as Hilton will head into Minnesota’s brand new stadium, where emerging superstar Xavier Rhodes is waiting. Not to say Hilton will have a terrible week, but Rhodes has already brushed aside the likes of Odell Beckham Jr, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans and Larry Fitzgerald. Brace yourself for impact.
Allen Robinson vs. Texans: If you are still playing in fantasy and you have Allen Robinson, odds are you’ve traded for him, and have benched him ever since. For those ambitious owners thinking of starting him, do yourself a favor: don’t. Over the past three weeks, Robinson has a combined six catches for seventy two yards. Unless you want your season to end this week, don’t start A-Rob.
Top TE to Start
Jordan Reed vs. Panthers: Attention Jordan Reed owners: regardless of what Vernon Davis is doing, you only start Jordan Reed when he is healthy. He is currently healthy, and is playing a Panther defense that has allowed a league worst 11.55 fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Start the man.
Top TE to Sit
Gary Barnidge vs. Bills: So, it looks like all the Barnidge hype from last year died down. The Barnyard Dog has disappeared, with only one touchdown catch all season, and eight games with fewer than six points. I know the tight end position is a desolate wasteland, but you can do better than an unreliable veteran on the league’s worst team, when you’re facing a solid Buffalo defense.