We’re entering the final week of the 2021 fantasy football regular season. This is a make-or-break week for many of you out there. Making correct lineup decisions is more crucial than ever. Let’s take a look at the top start ’em and sit ’em plays for Week 14.
Underdog Fantasy is the easiest way to play fantasy football. Click here to get up to $100 in bonus cash today when using promo code PFN.
NFL Start’ Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 14: Quarterbacks
We are nearing the end of bye weeks, and most starting quarterbacks have returned to action. Which quarterbacks are starts and sits in Week 14?
Start ‘Em | Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (@ KC)
I am going back to the well one more time on Derek Carr. If he lets us down again, please metaphorically smack me in the head so I stop recommending him.
It’s important not to let recency bias or one bad call cloud our judgment. Carr was a miss last week, but the process was sound. It’s sound again this week.
The Chiefs allow the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Carr is second in the NFL in passing yards. When the Raiders played the Chiefs in Week 10, Carr threw for 261 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 interception.
Over the past three weeks, Carr has thrown just 2 touchdowns. That looks more like variance than a problem with Carr. Stick with Carr this week. If it doesn’t work, it will be the last time. I promise.
Sit ‘Em | Teddy Bridgewater, Denver Broncos (vs. DET)
No one is mistaking Teddy Bridgewater for a must-start QB1. However, I’m sure some of you are wondering why we should fade an average quarterback against the worst team in the NFC. The answer? Game script.
When the Broncos are not trailing, they run the ball 52% of the time, the fifth-highest rate in the NFL. Last week, Javonte Williams lit the world on fire. He ran for 102 yards on 23 carries in a game that was never really competitive. The Lions allow the third-most fantasy points to running backs. The Broncos are going to implement a run-heavy game plan, which will result in Bridgewater doing little for them and fantasy managers.
The running back position can be quite matchup-dependent. Which running backs should fantasy managers start, and who is better left on the bench this week?
Start ‘Em | D’Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans (vs. JAX)
The last time the Titans played the Jaguars, they had Derrick Henry. He ran for 130 yards and scored 3 touchdowns on 29 carries. D’Onta Foreman is no Henry, but he did rush for 109 yards on 19 carries before the Titans’ bye.
The Jaguars allow the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs. Vegas has installed the Titans as double-digit favorites, which should lead to plenty of positive game script. When the Titans are leading, they run. In situations where the Titans are not trailing, they run the ball 53% of the time (fourth-most in the league). Foreman has a real shot at 20 carries as the primary runner. He is an RB2 this week.
Sit ‘Em | Buffalo Bills running backs (@ TB)
The only takeaway we can garner from last Monday’s hurricane game is that this backfield is a mess. After being inactive the previous week, Zack Moss not only played but led the team in opportunities with 11. Unsurprisingly, he was completely ineffective, managing 21 yards on 8 carries and 12 yards on 2 receptions. However, his return vanquished Matt Breida.
Last week, Breida played just 7 snaps and touched the ball twice. Devin Singletary looked the best of the three. Yet, he managed just 36 yards on 10 carries and was not targeted.
We know teams throw the ball more when trailing. The Bills throw the ball a ton even when leading. In situations where the Bills are not trailing, they throw the ball 57% of the time (seventh-most in the league).
The Bucs are a pass-funnel defense. Buffalo knows the way to beat the Bucs is through the air, and that’s how they want to run their offense anyway. This is a three-man backfield that’s completely unpredictable with a bad matchup in a game where we know the Bills will throw a bunch. Fade all three Buffalo backs this week.
NFL Start’ Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 14: Wide Receivers
Fantasy managers often struggle with which player to insert into that final WR3 or flex spot. Hopefully, these start ’em and sit ’em plays will help.
Start ‘Em | Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (@ WAS)
It’s been a rough month for Amari Cooper. In Weeks 9 and 10, he failed to reach double-digit fantasy points. Then, he missed Weeks 11 and 12 with COVID-19. In Week 13, he played just 34% of the snaps as he was still recovering from the virus.
Week 14 presents a nice get-right spot for Cooper. The Football Team allows the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Although they’ve played better defensively as of late, this remains a favorable matchup. Kellen Moore should implement a more pass-heavy game plan as that is Washington’s weakness. I expect Dak Prescott to try and get Cooper involved early and often. He’s a WR2 this week. Start him.
Sit ‘Em | Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Rams (@ ARI)
The past two weeks have gone well for Odell Beckham Jr. managers. He’s caught a touchdown in each of them. Unfortunately, his production feels like smoke and mirrors.
Of course, every reception counts. However, if not for his long touchdown in Week 12, he would have had a disastrous fantasy day. If not for his short touchdown in Week 13, he would have had a disastrous fantasy day. Beckham has not been nearly as good as his production suggests.
More problematic is what happened with his snaps. In Week 12, he played 98% of the snaps. In Week 13, Ben Skowronek returned from a one-game absence, and Beckham’s snap share dropped to 53%.
The Cardinals allow the 11th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. This one could be a high-scoring affair. I sure hope it is. So, Beckham isn’t the worst starting option in fantasy lineups. I’m merely providing a healthy dose of skepticism that Beckham can sustain his current level of productivity.
The tight end position is a disaster in fantasy football. With seldom few reliable options, can we find start’ em-worthy TEs?
Start ‘Em | Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills (@ TB)
Dawson Knox had a night to forget last Monday. He caught just 2 of his 6 targets for 14 yards and had multiple bad drops. It was his second consecutive low yardage total (although he scored twice the previous week). He has just two games over 49 receiving yards all season.
Now that I’ve spent a whole paragraph telling you why not to start Knox, here is why you should. The Bucs allow the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends. As I mentioned above in the Buffalo RBs section, the Bucs are a pass-funnel defense. The Bills should implement a pass-heavy game plan — not just because of the matchup, but that’s how they run their offense anyway. This one could be a shootout, and Knox is still someone Josh Allen trusts in the red zone. He’s a back-end TE1 this week.