It is officially championship week! Throughout the season, our fantasy experts, Josh Uron and Amar Desai, have been rotating this weekly column. However, with the importance of the championship, we wanted to give it another go with a collaboration article to give you as much information as possible, it is the final week after all!
So for each position group, Josh and Amar give a Start that they a love, and a Sit that they hate. Then there will be one or two starts and sits that both guys agree on. Let us know what you think about this format and the styling of the article, feedback is wanted!
Good luck and Merry Christmas from everyone at Sports Al Dente!
2018 Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 16 – Championship Bout
Amar Quarterback Start Em
Jared Goff vs. Arizona Cardinals
18.5 points. This is the number of points Goff has scored across his last three games, including -0.3 against the Bears a couple weeks ago. Now you would look at these numbers and think that Goff would be a sit against the Cardinals. There is validity to that theory but think about this. The Rams are no longer the front-runner for the number one seed in the NFC playoff picture. Also, Todd Gurley is nursing knee soreness and will most likely be put on ice as much as possible until the playoffs begin. So this game is crucial for Goff and the offense to get back on track and playing against the Cardinals is just the type of match-up that can help them rebound before the postseason. Expect Goff to shoulder the load when it comes to moving the chains for the offense. Start him in your roster with the assurance that he will be helping you towards a fantasy championship title instead of hurting you.
Josh Quarterback Start Em
Baker Mayfield vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The last time Mayfield played the Bengals he threw for 253 yards and 4 touchdowns. While another 4 TD game is unlikely, Mayfield clearly has some personal feelings about going up again his former coach Hue Jackson. Mayfield is still a rookie and while he certainly looks like a pro on the field, he still has a bit of the college mentality about him when he refers to the Bengals as a “Rivalry” game. The Bengals defense is in shambles, and Cleveland has won 4 of their last 5 games. While the Browns organization isn’t going anywhere this season, Mayfield can guide your team to a fantasy championship. Start him!
Quarterback Start We Agree On
Andrew Luck vs. New York Giants
While Luck was not asked to do much last week against the Cowboys, he has still thrown for multiple touchdowns in 11 of 14 weeks in 2018. He is playing excellent football and faces a poor Giants defense in a matchup with heavy playoff implications on the line for the Colts. T.Y. Hilton is expected to play which is certainly a boost for Luck. Consider Luck a safe play with a high ceiling this week.
Amar Quarterback Sit Em
Lamar Jackson vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Jackson has been a breath of fresh air for the Ravens offense. Joe Flacco is the more old-school, pocket-passing, quarterback that has become antiquated in today’s NFL. Jackson has been stymying defenses with his ability to run with the football but his luck might just run out against the Chargers. The Chargers are going to force Jackson to throw the ball more in this game and so far he has not been able to showcase such ability to beat a team through the air. Also, the Chargers are 11th best in points allowed which will make it hard for the Ravens offense to score at will against them. For those reasons, Jackson may not be the best option to rely on for your fantasy championship match-up.
Josh Quarterback Sit Em
Dak Prescott vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Cowboys are fighting to keep their hold on the NFC East title and this could work in Prescott’s favor. Couple that with the fact that they are playing the league’s sixth-worst passing defense and this can look like a great bounce-back game for him. Unfortunately, the thing with Prescott is that he will do enough to keep the Cowboys from losing, but not enough to get your fantasy team a win in the championships. There are better starts at this crucial juncture for your fantasy team and starting Prescott may not hurt you that much, but it might be the difference maker in winning and losing your league’s title this year.
Quarterback Sit We Agree On
Kirk Cousins vs. Detroit Lions
John DeFilippo is out as the Vikings offensive coordinator and replacing him is Kevin Stefanski. Now with this change, the thought process was to make this offense more dynamic and utilize the $84 million man more often. You don’t need to look further than last season as Case Keenum earned himself a nice contract from the Denver Broncos based on what Stefanski did as his quarterback’s coach. Instead, we saw Dalvin Cook become a fantasy zombie as he rose from the dead to show us signs of the Cook we saw last season before being lost to a torn ACL. Cousins has so far not been living up to his contract and for the rest of 2018, he can be a player to keep out of your starting roster. Especially, if you are duking it out for your league’s title.
Amar Running Back Start Em
Tarik Cohen vs. San Francisco 49ers
At the start of the season, everyone and their mother thought that Jordan Howard was going to continue his underrated dominance in the Chicago backfield. Instead, Howard has become an afterthought as Cohen has emerged as the running back to own in the Bears offense. Cohen has become the primary playmaker for what head coach, Matt Nagy, likes to dial up for the offense. He is running the ball, catching the ball, and even throwing the ball to help get points on the board for the Chicago offense. Nagy himself had gone on record saying that he wanted use Cohen the way that he used Tyreek Hill back in Kansas City. So expect Cohen to be used in every possible way when it comes to beating the 49ers this coming weekend. Now the 49ers are no serious threat to preventing Cohen from doing damage and this further emphasizes the need to keep Cohen in your starting roster as you fight for your fantasy title in your league. If he is not in your starting roster, then you must consider putting him into it.
Josh Running Back Start Em
Phillip Lindsay vs. Oakland Raiders
Lindsay rushed for over 100 yards against Oakland in week 2 the last time Denver played the Raiders. After being gashed by Joe Mixon last week, I expect the Raiders defense to be vulnerable to another talented back in Lindsay. While Lindsay will likely see more stacked boxes due to the deficiencies at receiver for Denver, I expect his talent, and 5.4 yards per attempt to win out.
Running Back Start We Agree On
Dalvin Cook vs. Detroit Lions
As mentioned earlier, with the swap at offensive coordinator, the change has helped the rushing game more than the passing game. Last week against the Dolphins, the Vikings rushed for 220 yards as a team, their highest for the season overall. The running back that led the charge was Cook, who accounted for 136 of those yards and also two rushing touchdowns. These are actually Cook’s first rushing touchdowns of the season and as the Vikings make a playoff push in these final two weeks, he will be counted on to be a focal point of the offense. Expect Cook to replicate his efforts against the Lions and make fantasy owners thankful that he is finally performing at the most important time of the fantasy season.
Amar Running Back Sit Em
David Johnson vs. Los Angeles Rams
With the change at offensive coordinator, the plan was for Johnson to become the star of the Cardinals offense once again. In reality, though, he had one good game and since then been the same Johnson fantasy owners have had to deal with all year long. Coming into a week where they face an angry Rams team that has lost two straight games, expect Johnson to be shut down. In Johnson’s last game against the Rams in week two, he tallied only 6.1 fantasy points. This game will be more of the same and you can leave Johnson on your bench this week. In previous years, Johnson would have been the one to lead you to a fantasy title, but this season is a completely different story. His placement in your starting roster will make your team suffer.
Josh Running Back Sit Em
Adrian Peterson vs. Tennessee Titans
“All Day” has not crossed the 100-yard mark since week 8 and has only scored three touchdowns during that stretch. Age seems to have caught up with Peterson, who has not shown the same burst he was once known for. Everyone remembers that 90-yard run from week 13 against Philadelphia, but even with that run he did not even cross 100 total yards in that game! That’s bad guys. Facing a tough Titans defense in fantasy championship week spells trouble for Peterson. Stay far away from him with your title on the line.
Running Back Sit We Agree On
Tevin Coleman vs. Carolina Panthers
Yes, Coleman had a sensational game against the Arizona Cardinals. Entering week 16 with a game against the Carolina Panthers, this is another story. Last time the Falcons and Panthers played each other, Devonta Freeman was in the lineup and that lessened the load for Coleman and he was able to have a good game. In this case, with Coleman being the feature back, the Panthers can focus in on stopping him and preventing the offense from building off the running game to establish the play-action. The Panthers are currently seventh in rushing yards allowed and the Falcons should have trouble getting anything going on the ground. With better options out there, Coleman is someone to stay away from this week.
Amar Wide Receiver Start Em
Julian Edelman vs. Buffalo Bills
The news about Josh Gordon makes Edelman’s stock rise. Although we all wish the best for Gordon in fighting his personal demons, Edelman will now take over the main receiving duties and really become Tom Brady’s most trusted target. The inconsistent nature of Rob Gronkowski also makes Edelman a great piece to your fantasy championship roster. Edelman was still getting comfortable with the Patriots offense after dealing with his early season suspension. Then a game against the Buffalo Bills came along and Edelman had a breakout game to bring the Patriots offense to another level. Expect this game against the Bills to be similar and allow Edelman to have a solid day at the office.
Josh Wide Receiver Start Em
Hilton is expected to play this week and has a great matchup against the Giants. Hilton is already over 1,000 yards on the season and that’s having missed two games. He’s caught five or more receptions in the last five consecutive weeks, and during that time put up a minimum of 77 yards in each game. When both Hilton and Luck are healthy, they are a dangerous duo. There is both a high floor and a high ceiling with Hilton. Start him and win your league!
Wide Receiver Start We Agree On
Amari Cooper vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cooper owners may feel a little let down after his poor performance last week, but don’t let that distract you from his excellent matchup this week. With only one exception, Tampa Bay has allowed a touchdown to a wide receiver in every single game this season. Cooper should be that receiver this week. It’s the fantasy championship and the upside Cooper presents cannot be ignored.
Amar Wide Receiver Sit Em
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Los Angeles Rams
Already mentioned earlier in this article, the change at offensive coordinator did not help Johnson at running back. So Fitzgerald’s chances of getting things going in this offense are even slimmer. We all know that he is known as Larry Legend for a reason, but the limitations in the play-calling, unfortunately, make this future Hall of Famer a moot point in the offense. Couple that with the fact that the Rams are trying to lock up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and this team will be looking to shut down any and all offensive stars for the Cardinals. Keep any Cardinals players off your starting roster this week and you will a lot better off.
Wide Receiver Sit We Agree On – BOLD SIT
Adam Thielen vs. Detroit Lions
Here’s the thing, I’m probably not sitting Thielen, but I don’t feel good about starting him either. Thielen started the season with eight straight 100+ yard performances. He was dominant and rewarded fantasy owners who took a chance on him over Diggs. However, in the six games since that incredible eight-game run, he’s only gone over 100 yards once. In your fantasy championship it’s probably not best to get cute, but if guys like Robby Anderson, Sterling Shepard, Doug Baldwin or Robert Foster are on your bench/waivers I would strongly consider starting them over Thielen this week. Thielen got you to the playoffs and that’s great, but now it’s time to win.
Amar Tight End Start Em
Rob Gronkowski vs. Buffalo Bills
Edelman and Gronkowski are the two targets that are now the only options for Brady to rely on. James White coming out of the backfield will help, but Gronkowski and Edelman are the main weapons in the passing game going forward. Gronkowski has definitely not been his usual self as some are beginning to question whether he has anything left in the tank. Well if you start second-guessing his talent level and production, you will be left dazed and confused as he runs circles around the Bills this week. The news of Gordon being suspended indefinitely from the league means that Gronkowski has to step up in a big way. He has definitely started playing better after the bye week and he can be a great starting option for your fantasy roster this week as they face one of their division rivals in the Buffalo Bills this weekend. A must-need win for the Patriots if they want to stay alive in the first-round bye picture for the playoffs. Expect Gronkowski to be his old self and run roughshod through the Bills defense.
Josh Tight End Start Em
Eric Ebron vs. New York Giants
Ebron was similar to Andrew Luck in the week 15 let down game, he simply was not needed. If you managed to survive that catastrophe, don’t be afraid to go back to the well. Ebron is a big physical presence in the red zone and Luck should find success easily in this game. While touchdowns aren’t something that can be counted on, I would be surprised if Ebron walked out of this contest without a score.
Tight End Start We Agree On
Now guys, Kittle can’t come within five yards of breaking Shannon Sharpe’s record every week. While last week’s performance was certainly a letdown and Kittle faces a tough Bears defense, he’s still one of the only good options at tight end. He’s over 1,100 yards on the season on 72 catches. Those are wide receiver numbers, and numbers only a select few elite tight ends even hope to achieve. Don’t over think it, start Kittle.
Amar Tight End Sit Em
Jimmy Graham vs. New York Jets
The Packers are eliminated from the playoffs. They really have nothing to play for except seeing what they have in the cupboard to use next year. Graham came to Green Bay on a one-year deal and his season has been pretty up-and-down all year long. This game against the Jets is a good chance for him to showcase he still has some skills to play in the league. The problem is that the Packers will be looking to see what the other young receivers in the offense can do. The targets for Graham should be low (five receptions off of nine targets) and unless he can get into the end zone, he easily can be left on your bench this week.
Josh Tight End Sit Em
Evan Engram vs. Indianapolis Colts
With Beckham sitting again this week some will say to start Engram but I’m not one of them. Simply put, Engram has not been reliable this year and Saquon Barkley will continue to dominate touches for the Giants. Engram has the fewest air yards per target in the entire league with 4.7. If you’re competing for a fantasy championship, sit Engram like you have been all year.
Tight End Sit We Agree On
Cameron Brate vs. Dallas Cowboys
Brate is very touchdown dependent to make him fantasy relevant. In a game where the Cowboys are trying to capture an NFC East title, they will bring their best effort. Also, they were just shut out by the Colts last weekend and they will be carrying that chip on their shoulder into this game against the Buccaneers.
The Cowboys defense will be playing at a high-level and this will prevent the Buccaneers from getting into the red zone, which is where Brate feasts. This may become a situation where Tampa Bay will end up with more field goals than touchdowns and this really limits Brate’s chances of finding paydirt. His target share in the Buccaneers offense is really limited to just in the red zone and this means that he is better left off your starting roster for this week. With 19 targets and 11 receptions in his past five games, this means that Brate is not the main factor in the offense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Other options are out there; don’t press your luck for a garbage score.
Defense/ST Starts We Agree On
Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Giants
Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions
Defense/ST Sits We Agree On
Houston Texans vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Seattle Seahawks vs. Kansas City Chiefs