It’s the final stretch of the fantasy football season and whether you’re the horse pulling away or one in the middle of the pack, you have to keep striving for a great finish.
We’re about two weeks away from most fantasy football playoffs starting. Making optimal start/sit moves prove to be critical at this point. Will you be left standing when the playoffs begin?
Hopefully you are. That said, let’s dive into another round of starts and sits
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Eli Manning: New York Giants
It has been a very uneasy season for Manning, who has been more famine than feast this year. But as the Giants roll along—winning four games in a row—they get a matchup where Manning can actually feast on an opponent.
This week Manning and the Giants will take on the Cowboys. The Cowboys are dreadful against the pass, giving up a league-worst 313 passing yards per game to go along with 20 touchdowns allowed.
With the Giants running game coming alive, there is finally some balance in New York and that could set Manning up for some nice play-action strikes. If there was a time to trust Manning, this would be the week.
Ben Tate: Houston Texans
After Arian Foster went down with a season-ending injury, Tate has come in and done an admirable job (225 rushing yards in his last three games).
However, Tate has yet to score a touchdown since replacing Foster. That could all change this week, though, as the Texans host the Jaguars, who give up the most rushing scores in the league (15—tied with Washington and Tennessee). Not to mention, the Jags are also still last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (139.1).
So, Tate should have a fantastic day and is a borderline must start.
Zac Stacy: St. Louis Rams
I shouldn’t be telling you to start Stacy, as he has taken command of the job as lead back in St. Louis. His start percentage is now hovering over 90% in most leagues now.
But just in case you needed to be reminded, Stacy has been marvelous of late, rushing for 323 yards and three touchdowns in his last three games. Now well rested after the bye, he and the Rams will welcome a Bears club that is absolutely getting gashed on the ground.
Even Ray Rice, who has been miserable this year, erupted for 131 rushing yards and a touchdown last week against Chicago. Chicago ranks second-to-last in rushing yards allowed per game (133.9) while giving up 11 scores on the ground.
Add it all up and Stacy is high-end back to trust.
Jarrett Boykin: Green Bay Packers
You might have thought by losing Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback Boykin would regress, but even with Scott Tolzien as his quarterback, Boykin has still stepped up of late.
In his last two games with Tolzien as his quarterback, Boykin has been targeted 21 times while recording 14 receptions for 203 yards. And with a matchup looming against Minnesota, expect these two to build on their rapport.
Minnesota, if you didn’t know, is horrendous at defending the pass. They allow 280 passing yards per game (29th in the NFL) while yielding a league-high 23 touchdowns (tied with Atlanta) through the air.
T.Y. Hilton: Indianapolis Colts
Hilton struggled in a tough matchup with Tennessee last Thursday, only registering five catches for 44 yards. This week he’ll have a prime matchup to rebound.
This week Hilton and the Colts will travel to Arizona to face off against a Cardinals squad that can be beat in the air.
The Cardinals are giving up 244 passing yards per game (20th in the NFL) while also allowing 18 touchdowns (tied for 19th in the league) via the pass. With Arizona’s run defense stout, expect Andrew Luck to target Hilton a lot in this affair.
Coby Fleener: Indianapolis Colts
As mediocre as the Cardinals are against the pass, they are even worse when defending tight ends. Thus, Fleener also makes for a fantastic start this week.
The Cardinals allow the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and have allowed 10 touchdowns to the position so far this year. With Andrew Luck heavily targeting Fleener lately (25 times in his last three games), expect Fleener to have another productive day at the office.
Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers
While he has been playing great of late (passing for 971 yards and nine touchdowns in his last three games), Roethlisberger may be in line for a hiccup this week.
With Joe Haden clamping down on stud receiver Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders banged up, Big Ben may have a hard time connecting with his trusted targets. Besides, the Browns are great at defending the pass, limiting opposing teams to just 208 passing yards per game (3rd in the NFL)
Ray Rice: Baltimore Ravens
While he should be commended for finally coming out of his doldrums, rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown vs. the Bears last week, Rice may go back to being persona non grata for fantasy owners this week.
This week, Rice and the Ravens will face the league’s top-ranked run defense in the Jets, who allow just 73.2 rushing yards per game. They also just give up 2.9 yards per carry. Given that Rice’s yards per carry this year (3 YPC) is paltry, you may have no choice but sit him this week.
Trent Richardson/Donald Brown: Indianapolis Colts
The Colts’ running back situation is one jumbled, convoluted mess.
Although Brown is coming off a game in which he rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown, Richardson (although questionable for Sunday’s game) is still technically the starter (hey the Colts didn’t trade a first-round pick to the Browns for him to sit on the bench) and it’s wise to avoid both backs as this is a toxic situation.
Not to mention, the Colts just so happen to have to travel to Arizona this week to take on a Cardinals team that is tough against the run. The Cards are giving up only 81.4 rushing yards per game (2nd in the NFL) and have allowed just four scores on the ground (tied for the third fewest in the league).
Mike Wallace: Miami Dolphins
As an advised start here last week, perhaps we should all give up on trusting Wallace to produce this year.
In his last two games, Wallace has only eight receptions for 54 yards. Through ten games, Wallace has only one touchdown and has just two games with over 100 yards receiving. While he got paid in the offseason, the production on the field is not matching the paycheck.
And now Wallace will have to face a staunch Carolina Panthers’ pass defense that allows just 210 passing yards per game (4th in the NFL) and have given up just eight scores through the air (second least in the league).
You may not just want to sit Wallace, as cutting him also seems like a logical idea.
Cecil Shorts: Jacksonville Jaguars
Perhaps Shorts will be eventually targeted more after complaining last week he was not getting involved in the Jaguars’ offense. After all, with Justin Blackmon suspended for the year, Shorts is clearly Jacksonville’s biggest playmaker.
However, he may be in for another long day, as he and the Jaguars will be playing at Houston and one thing the Texans have done well in a disappointing season is lock down the pass. The Texans are yielding a league-low 168 passing yards per game.
As one of the few threats the Jags have on offense, expect the Texans to roll most of their coverage towards Shorts.
Martellus Bennett: Chicago Bears
Bennett finds himself in a slump, registering 10 receptions for a measly 113 yards in his last three games. With Josh McCown relying more on Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Bennett has become a forgotten man.
The Rams (the Bears’ Week 12 opponent) do a bang up job against tight ends, having allowed just two to score touchdowns on them. So, no one would blame you if you sat Bennett this week.