Are you really going to start Josh Gordon this week? And what to do with Travis Kelce...
In the final week of the fantasy football regular season for most leagues, many fantasy owners have two options: Stick with the proven veteran who seems to be struggling lately or focus on the matchup and not the name, be it for a rookie or other breakout candidate.
It'll be a tough week of start 'em, sit 'em decisions for wide receivers (and tight ends), but here are a few suggestions.
Good Calls for Week 12...
Start Zach Ertz (16.3 fantasy points) – Ertz is back after a couple down weeks. He had a massive game, catching 10 balls for 103 yards and a TD.
Start Devin Funchess (10.8 FP) – Even with Greg Olsen back (briefly), Funchess is by far Cam Newton’s favorite (or only) target.
Bad Calls for Week 12...
Sit Devante Adams (14.2 FP) – The Packers put up a fight against the Steelers and Adams is Brett Hundley’s unquestioned No. 1 target
START THESE WRs...
Cooper Kupp, LAR (at ARI)
If Robert Woods is out again, Kupp is the high-volume receiver for Los Angeles. It’s still weird to write this even 13 weeks into the season but it’s true. I was high on Kupp coming into the year, but this Rams offense has only improved by leaps and bounds since then, and if you need a flex, Kupp could come through (if Woods is out).
Devin Funchess, CAR (at NO)
Even without Greg Olsen for much of the game, Funchess turned in yet another great performance with a career-high 12 targets thrown his way. He didn’t get into the end zone, but his seven catches for 108 yards feels like the tip of the iceberg for what this guy can do when the entirety of the Panthers’ offense is clicking. Keep in mind that his career games are coming on days when Cam Newton is looking inaccurate, and he’s literally the only wide receiver catching passes. He’s a WR2 in the 2017 playoffs.
Davante Adams, GB (vs. TB)
It was expected that Adams would lose value with Brett Hundley, but there's a strong case it's improved his value. Adams has been Hundley's go-to WR, leading the team in targets, receptions, yards and TDs since Hundley has taken over, and he faces the second-worst defense against WRs.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Zay Jones, BUF (vs. NE)
If Kelvin Benjamin remains out, Jones should be able to get open in the middle of the field against the Patriots. It likely won’t be pretty, but if Tyrod Taylor can throw the ball Jones’ way another 10 times like he did in Week 12, he’ll likely find the end zone for the third time in the last four games.
SIT THESE WRs...
Dez Bryant, DAL (vs. WAS, Thurs.)
Once one of the best WRs in the game, Bryant is beholden to Dak Prescott’s proclivity to not throw deep and now there’s no running game to force defenses to get closer to the line of the scrimmage either. Bryant is simply not that great for fantasy anymore, and it takes a lot to make him relevant. Aside from one game this year (in which he had eight targets and produced a 5/52/1 line), it takes double-digit targets to get Bryant above 10 points in PPR leagues. That’s insane, and with Josh Norman on him this week, that’s no guarantee. Bryant also isn’t playing like his old self either.
T.Y. Hilton, IND (at JAC)
Go ahead and sit him again, the former top-10 WR that’s scored a total of 7.8 points in PPR leagues over the last two weeks. The Jaguars might not let Jacoby Brissett get off a pass, let alone allow Hilton to catch it.
Robby Anderson, NYJ (vs. KC)
This is a tough call based on his recent performance as well as his overall body of work this season. Anderson has scored a touchdown in five straight games and has had at least four receptions in five of the last six. This week he faces Kansas City, who recently signed Darrelle Revis to bolster the secondary, a unit which already fared well against the likes of Denver, Buffalo and Washington. Expect the Chiefs to shadow Anderson and limit him as a deep threat, while potentially giving Jermaine Kearse more opportunities (targets).
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Josh Gordon, CLE (at LAC)
He’s active, the coaches say he’s going to play a “lot” and there’s a lot to love about his old game. Fresh, new Josh Gordon? On paper, it looks good. But please don’t do this to yourself. Maybe this is what fantasy dreams are made of, but don’t do it. Not if you absolutely need a win to make the playoffs or cement a crucial seeding. You should get Gordon on the waiver wire if you can (especially for keeper leagues), but don’t play with fire.
START THESE TEs...
Jack Doyle, IND (at JAC)
Jacksonville gave up points to Arizona TE Ricky Seals-Jones, and while it’s possible that Jacoby Brissett spends most of his time splayed out on the turf, Jacksonville seriously gave up a ton of points to the combination of Seals-Jones and Blaine Gabbert. There are points for Doyle this week, like all weeks. He’s getting the volume, and he has the hands.
Hunter Henry, LAC (vs. CLE)
Cleveland is one of four teams allowing 10-plus NFL fantasy points to tight ends each game. With the Giants breaking their tight end scoring streak, the Browns pulled into a tie for most touchdowns allowed to the position with nine in 11 games. While it is always possible Antonio Gates will snag the inevitable touchdown, you can bank on Henry to put two weeks of fantasy relevance on the board in a row.
Jared Cook, OAK (vs. NYG)
Even though the Giants broke their streak of allowing tight ends to score two weeks ago, they still allowed more than 100 yards to Travis Kelce. Vernon Davis’ disappearance from the Redskins’ offense Thanksgiving night can’t be explained, but backup tight end Niles Paul caught three of five targets. Cook was shut out last week despite the loss of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper for most of the game. That won’t happen this week against the Giants. Look for Derek Carr to target Cook early and often and to restart the tight end scoring streak against New York.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI (vs. LAR)
No one probably started Seals-Jones the last two weeks, but over those two weeks he’s been Blaine Gabbert’s favorite target, with 126 yards and three touchdowns. Those are impressive numbers for a player that you’ve probably never heard of. This week against the Rams expect the NFC West leaders to key in on wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Jaron Brown, opening up opportunities for Seals-Jones to continue his impressive streak.
SIT THESE TEs...
Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, TB (at GB)
No one defends tight ends better than the Green Bay Packers. Even teams that use their tight ends more than typical teams have struggled in Lambeau. Making matters worse for the Buccaneers’ tight ends is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s tendency to look for wide receivers first. Last week, Fitzpatrick targeted his tight ends six times, compared to the 31 passes aimed at wide receivers. It all adds up to limited chances for Brate (right) and Howard this week.
Tyler Kroft, CIN (vs. PIT, Mon.)
Three receptions for 14 yards, but the TD bailed out Kroft owners again. Fact is, Kroft is only for deep leagues that desperately need someone who’s an oddly proficient red zone threat. Kroft has 30 total yards in the last three weeks.
Austin-Seferian Jenkins, NYJ (vs. KC)
Once again, Seferian-Jenkins could have had a huge game last week if he had not dropped a sure touchdown and had another one reversed. This week the Jets take on the Chiefs, who have held some of the best tight ends in the league in check. Don't be surprised if ASJ has a stinker this weekend.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Travis Kelce, KC (at NYJ)
It’s a sad, sad day, friends. The Chiefs are in turmoil and the horror has finally landed on Kelce’s doorstep. Normally, he’s Alex Smith-proof, but Kelce is out there throwing interceptions and seeing far too few targets. Realistically, you’re not benching him, but his matchup this very week with Smith and head coach Andy Reid under a microscope will help you guide your team decisions into the playoffs. Pay attention.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.