I want to thank my fellow AthlonSports.com fantasy contributor colleague Sarah Lewis for stepping in for me last week with the start/sit articles. I knew I wasn't going to be able to write them and the week turned out to be even more exhausting than I thought. But it is now time for the Week 15 start/sit suggestions for running backs and wide receivers and "I'm baaaaaack."
But just like a horror movie, you knew this difficult fantasy football year wasn't done. It took it up a notch throwing us all kinds of curveballs this week. Every time I turned around, it seemed another player was being added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list. In fact, I was hoping to get this out sooner, but my decisions kept changing because of all of the movement on this front.
It is now around mid-day on Friday. I just got to go with what I have. If... [cough] ... when anything else changes (as in the schedule itself), I will send out a tweet. You should always check out Twitter anyway and any other news feeds before locking in your lineups, but this week particularly so. Especially with many of you in the playoffs!
So just a few weeks left, let's end on a high note. And speaking of notes, time for my weekly note that I will not be suggesting any RB or WR to "start" here that is typically in the top dozen for this week, nor will I be recommending you to "sit" any player outside of the top two dozen for this week.
Let's see what we can do with some start/sit suggestions to help you survive this tumultuous week.
START These RBs
James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
I love this play this week. I do have some stats to back it up, but it's all the non-quantitative reasons why I am elevating Robinson.
The first one is ding dong, Urban Meyer is gone. I am expecting a definite "dead cat bounce" that we often see from a team the game following a coach's departure. And with Meyer being far from popular in the locker room, even more so.
I also think interim head coach Darrell Bevell, unlike Meyer, will give Robinson at least 15 carries, maybe more...
Furthermore, unlike many of the other starting RBs out there, Robinson carried no injury status into last week’s game. Despite a lack of carries, he played his largest snap share since Week 6. And here is where I point out that Houston just got run over by Rashaad Penny to the tune of 137 yards (on 16 carries) and two touchdowns.
If you have Robinson on your team, play him. If you're playing against Robinson, be very afraid.
Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons.
Mitchell is another player that hasn't had a whole lot of production lately because he didn't play last week. But I think he too has the potential for a huge week. I don't like him as much as I like James Robinson, but I remind you that in Mitchell's last two games he had 199 rushing yards and two TDs. He also had more than 50 receiving yards in those two games as well.
We know that San Francisco loves to run the ball. Atlanta is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to RBs this season.
If Mitchell plays, he is a must-start.
SIT These RBs
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints (SNF)
Look, if he's healthy, you're starting him. You can't sit a player who is on a heater like "playoff Lenny" is. But he could be the dreaded GTD and things were not sounding great. The good news however is he is at practice today. However, if you have two quality RBs and a strong WR to put in your flex spot, it might be worth allowing Fournette to take a seat on your bench.
Besides the specter of injury, this is not a great matchup for him. NO TEAM has allowed fewer fantasy points to RBs than the Saints this season. New England has allowed the fewest rushing TDs by RBs (three), but the Saints are right behind (five). And if Fournette doesn't score, you're going to be very disappointed. If you're banking on Fournette hitting the century mark, you should be aware that the Saints are allowing 95 rushing yards per game. Even away from the cushy confines of the Superdome they are only giving up 98 yards on the ground per game.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens
And if you accept my argument for sitting Leonard Fournette, you are really not going to like what I have to tell you about Jones. At least Fournette has been the main guy. For you Jones owners, I provide you this harrowing tweet:
The trend does not look good for Jones. But for sake of argument, let's assume that Jones gets 15 carries, which would be above average. He's only averaging 4.3 yards per carry. That's not even 65 yards. And if you're hoping he makes up for it with his receiving, he's averaging less than 28 receiving yards per contest. That adds up to about 93 total yards a game. That's not horrible. But there's a good chance you drafted Jones in the first 20 picks and that type of production is not going to cut it in the fantasy playoffs.
But wait, we're not done. Despite all of the issues that Baltimore has had this year, the Ravens are still one of the stingier run defenses. They are allowing just 85 rushing yards per game, the best in the league. And they've been even better than that in their last three, allowing just 75 per contest.
Maybe Jones can get a few catches and do some damage against the extremely depleted Baltimore secondary. But is that a chance you really want to take?
START These WRs
A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions
Green is another player who is benefitting from all the chaos this week. And it's not because of COVID-19. Instead, news came out earlier this week that DeAndre Hopkins underwent knee surgery and will be out for the remainder of the regular season and on into playoffs.
Green should benefit from Hopkins' absence moving forward, but he's already had a solid year. Maybe surprisingly so. It is the best season he's had since 2017 and will likely surpass the 1,078 receiving yards he had that year. He is coming off his best game of the season last week when he hauled in seven of 10 targets for 102 yards.
Green didn't score last week, but I think given the fact that Detroit is allowing 1.7 touchdown passes per game this year, he should add to the three scores he has on Sunday.
DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
Transitioning from sitting Aaron Jones to starting Parker brings a bit of a grin to my face. That's because in my primary league I made a multi-player trade a few weeks ago that brought me Parker, yet traded away Jones. Well, I am now going to start Parker in the first round of my playoffs as that other owner will now be hosting a first-round game in our "Toilet Bowl."
This is not me gloating, but simply pointing out that I will be doing as I say. And I am very much looking forward to starting Parker this weekend. Of course, the fact that Jaylen Waddle is currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and likely out for Sunday may have something to do with it.
But Parker should definitely be a target hog this week. He caught all five of his targets last week, after returning from IR. In the five previous games he played, he averaged more than eight targets a game.
With the hapless Jets, who are allowing a league-high 30.5 points per game, coming to Miami this weekend, I like Parker's chances of a big outing.
SIT These WRs
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens vs. Green Bay Packers
Brown has had a pretty good season given where he was often drafted, but I got a bad feeling that Hollywood is not going to have much entertaining film against the Packers on Sunday.
Let's start with the questions the Ravens have at quarterback with Lamar Jackson likely a game-time decision. I like Tyler Huntley, but he just doesn't have the chemistry with Brown that Brown has with Jackson. He left last week's game with an ankle injury and it should be of little surprise that Brown finished with his third-lowest yardage output of the year.
Furthermore, Brown seems to have picked up an aversion to the end zone. He hasn't caught a TD pass since Week 7. He only has 70 catches this season as well. Given that he only has three games over the 100-yard mark, I don't see him doing that against the Packers' defense. Green Bay is allowing just 10 yards per completion.
DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills
Lots of reasons here. First off, Moore has been pretty banged up recently, including dealing with a hamstring injury.
My guess is he plays, but he likely won't be at 100 percent. Know what else isn't at 100 percent? The Panthers'0 quarterback situation. Let's just call it below average and move on to the next reason, shall we?
A third reason to sit Moore and this might be the biggest is that the Bills are a great defense and are pretty gosh darn good against wide receivers. They have in fact allowed the fewest fantasy points to WRs of any team this season.
Yes, perhaps some of that can be attributed to the "wind game" in Buffalo against New England a few weeks ago. But the Bills were already stifling WRs before that and I remind you that this game is in Buffalo as well. You wanna bet on it being perfect passing conditions in Buffalo in December?
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.