Week 14 saw the triumphant return of Rob Gronkowski, a monster Monday night game from Odell Beckham Jr. and several performances from other wide receivers and tight ends that left fantasy owners screaming “Why?” in anguish. So what did I get right and what did I get wrong as it relates to my Week 14 start/sit advice for WRs and TEs? I’m glad you asked.
Start Brandon Marshall (18.5 fantasy points) – He’s caught a touchdown in six straight games.
Start Doug Baldwin (26.20 FP) – He’s the No. 1 fantasy WR over the last three weeks.
Start Sammy Watkins (14.2 FP) – Should have had a bigger day, but he’s now had three great games in a row.
Sit T.Y. Hilton (13.2 FP) – He went over 100 yards for the first time since Week 7.
Start Scott Chandler (0 FP) – In my defense, this was before I knew that Gronkowski was going to play. Hopefully you benched Chandler once you realized the same thing.
Start Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3.1 FP) – No one will ever know how it was possible for Jameis Winston to struggle so badly against the New Orleans Saints’ terrible secondary.
START THESE WRs...
Michael Floyd, ARI (at PHI)
Finally healthy, Floyd is taking over as the Cardinals’ No. 1 wide receiver. Of course Larry Fitzgerald is still playing at a high level, but he’s now the dink-and-dunk, short game receiver. Floyd is the one stretching the field and making big plays. Just look at last week when he posted 16.2 fantasy points thanks to 102 yards and a touchdown. This week the Cardinals travel to Philly to face an Eagles defense that has given up the most points to opposing WRs. Look for Floyd to have a field day out there.
Sammy Watkins, BUF (at WAS)
Anyone who traded away or gave up on Watkins in the middle of the season, sure is kicking themselves now. Watkins has scored four touchdowns in his last three games while averaging 18 fantasy points in those three games. He and QB Tyrod Taylor sure seem to finally be on the same page and their success should continue this week as the Bills travel to Washington to play a Redskins defense that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to wideouts on the season. Washington will likely struggle to contain Watkins all game so look for another 100-plus yards and a score from the Bills’ No. 1 target.
Doug Baldwin, SEA (vs. CLE)
Baldwin has to slow down at some point right? After all, this is Baldwin we are talking about here; a guy who has spent most of the year on the waiver wire. But we all thought that he would slow down last weekend, and then he went out and scored another three touchdowns. He’s now scored eight in his last three games and with the way Russell Wilson is playing, you can imagine that this duo will keep it up. Another 100 yards with a touchdown game might be his floor this week against the Cleveland Browns and their defense that is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers on the season.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Golden Tate, DET (at NO, Mon.)
Calvin Johnson has been limited the last two games, which has led to Tate seeing 10 targets in each contest. Last week he caught nine of those targets for only 60 yards, but he did score two touchdowns. This week he has a dream matchup against the New Orleans Saints, who have given up the most fantasy points of any team this season. Look for Matthew Stafford to have a huge game, which should mean that Tate should end the night with well over 100 receiving yards and at least one touchdown.
SIT THESE WRs...
Mike Evans, TB (vs. STL, Thurs.)
Playing on a short week is never a good thing for fantasy wide receivers and with a rookie quarterback throwing him the ball, Evans is going to struggle Thursday night. Winston struggled last week against the New Orleans Saints, which led to Evans only catching three passes for 39 yards. Unfortunately those might be the numbers that he gets this week as the Buccaneers are in St. Louis to face the Rams. The Rams have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season and since Winston is bound to struggle, you know Evans will too.
T.Y. Hilton, IND (vs. HOU)
It appears that Hilton has a permanent seat as a must-sit. While Hilton did have a decent game last week, catching four balls for 132 yards, it was against the pitiful Jacksonville Jaguars. This week the Colts have a much tougher matchup against the Houston Texans and their defense that is allowing the 10th-fewest fantasy points to WRs on the year. To make matters worse, Hilton is either going to have Charlie Whitehurst or a banged-up Matt Hasselbeck throwing him the ball. That’s not very appetizing. Leave Hilton on your bench this week if you can.
Randall Cobb, GB (at OAK)
Cobb, listed as sit 'em last week, posted his best stat line since Week 9, and yet he still scored a very mediocre nine points. Eh. Next on the schedule is a date with the Raiders, who have been better than you think against wide receivers. In fact, Oakland has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position since Week 11.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (vs. CAR)
The best matchup of the week might be on the field as Beckham Jr. takes on Carolina’s elite shutdown corner Josh Norman. Norman has gotten the job done against the league’s best receivers all season long and even though Beckham Jr. comes into this game on fire (20-plus fantasy points in three straight games), the Panthers know that if they can shut down ODB, the Giants have no chance to win the game. Beckham Jr. is too good and his ceiling is too high to sit, but don’t expect another 150-yard and two-touchdown game this week.
START THESE TEs...
Jordan Reed, WAS (at BUF)
Reed’s production was looking like it was starting to dry up as Kirk Cousins wasn’t throwing his way as much as he had at the beginning of the season. That changed in a big way last week when Reed caught all nine of his targets for 120 yards and a touchdown. This week Reed looks poised for another big game against the Buffalo Bills who rank among the middle of the pack against tight ends, currently allowing 13th-fewest fantasy points to the position. Zach Ertz of the Eagles caught five balls for 98 yards against this defense, which is an encouraging sign for Reed owners.
Ben Watson, NO (vs. DET, Mon.)
In what could be the highest-scoring game of Week 15, Watson should be able to post big numbers Monday night against the Detroit Lions. Last week Watson was a key part of the Saints’ offense, seeing 11 targets. He caught seven for a respectable 70 yards. This week he gets a great matchup against a Lions defense that is currently allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends and you know Drew Brees is going to look his way in the red zone. Don’t be surprised to see Watson come close to his Week 8 numbers when he scored 20.7 fantasy points.
Zach Miller, CHI (at MIN)
It’s pretty obvious that Jay Cutler really likes throwing to Miller, who is a breath of fresh air in comparison to the way former starting tight end Martellus Bennett had been playing this year. In a tough loss to the Redskins, Miller managed 85 receiving yards and a touchdown. This week he has another tough matchup on paper, as the Vikings are currently allowing the 16th-most fantasy points to tight ends on the season. But that shouldn’t matter as long as Cutler continues to look Miller’s way in the red zone.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. ARI)
Ertz is coming off his best showing of the season, as he caught 5-of-7 targets for 98 yards. Ertz is slowly becoming Sam Bradford’s most reliable option and this week he could see a big jump in his production because the Eagles will probably be in a shootout as they host the Arizona Cardinals. If you stream tight ends, Ertz could be your guy this week as he should once again gain over 75 yards receiving and should continue to see some red zone looks.
SIT THESE TEs...
Gary Barnidge, CLE (at SEA)
It might seem crazy to sit Barnidge this week. But it’s extremely likely that Johnny Manziel gets eaten alive not only by the Seahawks defense, but by the 12s as well. Seattle does have an elite defense, but the unit’s one weakness is defending the tight end. The Seahawks are near the top (sixth) in terms of fantasy points allowed to the position. But that won’t matter this week as the Seahawks are going to make Manziel wish he never got on the plane to come to the Pacific Northwest.
Jason Witten, DAL (vs. NYJ, Sat.)
Witten put up his usual stat line for 2015 this past week, catching five of nine targets for 40 yards and no touchdowns. Poor Witten really misses Tony Romo. Witten hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since the first week of the season. In the season opener he caught two TDs, but both of those come with Romo at quarterback. This week the Cowboys play host to the New York Jets, who are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends on the year. You can forget about Witten once again this week.
Travis Kelce, KC (at BAL)
It's tough to bench Kelce at a position that has no depth, so consider this more of a statistical warning. Over his last five games, he's scored one touchdown and has recorded fewer than five fantasy points four times. Couple that with a game against the Ravens this week, who have been tough on tight ends (allowing the third-fewest fantasy points), and there's some real cause for concern.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Delanie Walker, TEN (at NE)
Walker has been one of the most consistent fantasy tight ends this season. Not bad for a guy who really wasn’t on anyone’s radar heading into the season. The problem with Walker this week is his matchup against the New England Patriots, who will no doubt look to take Walker out of the game as he is really the only receiving threat that the Titans have. The Patriots are allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season and even though Walker should see his usual high volume of opportunities, don’t expect him to cash them in.
— 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.