Welcome back to Start-Sit here at 5th Down Fantasy! Every fantasy manager wants to know the correct answer to “Who do I start and who do I sit?” We do our best each week to help you make the right choices, here and each Sunday morning on Twitter (follow @5thDownFantasy and tweet your questions to our start/sit thread which starts every Sunday at 12:15 PM EST)!
In addition, we are allowing Twitter users to ask us questions in order for us to answer them inside of this article. Please be on the lookout for that in the future.
As for the bulk of this article, each week you will get an outlook of which players have great opportunities and those who don’t, based on 1/2-point PPR. Of course, you need to start your fantasy studs every week, which is why this article will mostly avoid mentioning star players like Davante Adams, Travis Kelce, or Kyler Murray.
If any of your fantasy team’s players are mentioned, make sure to put your team into context before applying the advice; a player we deem worthy to “sit” may be your best shot at winning, so make sure to think through any decisions before they are executed.
In the end you need to play the best lineup that you feel confident in, however you get there.
Start-Sit Week 14 — Quarterback
Start – Justin Herbert (QB, LAC) vs ATL
As a fantasy manager of Justin Herbert, I genuinely thought his fantasy accession would leave nothing but happy thoughts for my fantasy team. Man, was Week 13 a rude awakening because Herbert barely reached 6-fantasy points against New England. Frankly, this was a really odd game and I am going to choose to throw it out the window because in Week 14 the match up looks prime for Herbert.
As the second-worst defense against fantasy quarterbacks the Atlanta Falcons give up an average of 22.4-FPPG to the position. Even from a raw perspective of passing yards against, the Falcons give up 285.2 passing yards per game which is third-worst.
Herbert has been an extremely consistent fantasy asset and has finished with 23.2, 23.4, 21.5, 27.7, and 17.4 fantasy points over the last five weeks leading up to Week 13, respectively. Additionally, Herbert has already tied the rookie record for the most 300-yard passing games in a single-season at six. He will go for the outright record against a horrendous Atlanta secondary.
Herbert has shown consistency all season, apart from a weird and crazy Week 13 game. Get him back into your starting roster in Week 14 and lock-and-load him for the fantasy playoffs.
Start – Taysom Hill (QB, NO) @PHI
I know you likely associate the Eagles with being bad (frankly, that is a blanket statement for any team in the NFC East), but Philly has been a stingy defense against fantasy quarterbacks and has only allowed 15.9-FPPG. Their average of 217.2 passing yards against is also seventh-best in the NFL, but that should not concern you because Hill is a dynamic quarterback and he can run and/or pass the ball for fantasy points.
Playing Hill almost feels like a cheat-code. He creates a very reliable floor for himself by running the ball and the Saints seemingly rely on him in the red zone as well. Currently Hill has not finished with less than 44 rushing yards (which is 4.4 fantasy points alone) and in Week 13 he finished with 83 rushing yards (or 8.3 fantasy points). 83 rushing yards is the equivalence of two passing touchdowns, points wise, in most fantasy leagues. Further, in Week 13 Hill once again showed he can sling it a little and finished with 232 passing yards and two touchdowns.
His floor is on-par with Lamar Jackson this year, but unlike Jackson, Hill can still sling it around the yard if needed. Start Hill up in all leagues against a weak Philly team. Keep in mind, Week 14 could be his final start at quarterback this season.
Sit – Cam Newton (QB, NE) vs LAR –Thursday Game
By now you should know to avoid the Los Angeles Rams’ defense and that especially becomes the case with Cam Newton under center. The Rams are the best against opposing fantasy quarterbacks and they only give up an average of 13.3-FPPG to the position. To further show how good LA is, the Rams rank first in the NFL for passing yards allowed per game, 198.2, and that doesn’t bode well for a guy like Newton who averages 186.63 passing yards this season – 76.5 passing yards over the last two games.
Looking at the projected game-script, sportsbooks have this as a slow and lethargic 44.5u with the Rams coming in as -5 favorites. That gives New England an implied team-total of 19.75 points, or two touchdowns along with (essentially) two field-goals. That doesn’t leave much meat on the bones for Newton and he will likely need to steal all of the tuddies in order to hit value.
Looking at prop bets for Newton, sportsbooks are setting their lines at 184.5 passing yards, 1.5 passing touchdowns, 0.5 interceptions thrown and 43.5 rushing yards. It is important to keep in mind that these prop-lines are never exact but since Vegas does not create fantasy projections this is the next best thing. With that said, all of Newton’s prop-lines add up to create a fantasy outlook of 16.73-fantasy points.
A 16.73 projection is not something you should be interested in when running up against the best defense against fantasy quarterbacks. Get Newton onto your bench and look for greener pastures in Week 14.
Start-Sit Week 14 — Running Back
Start – Giovani Bernard (RB, CIN) vs DAL
Fresh off of giving up 294 rushing yards to the Ravens are the Dallas Cowboys, who are the fifth-friendliest defense against fantasy running backs allowing 19.8-FPPG. They are statistically the worst defense in the NFL at stopping the run on a per-game basis and concede 167.8 rushing yards to their opponent. Over their last three games that metric swells to 200.3 rushing yards allowed per game.
It really boils down to this: the Cowboys are not only bad, they continue to look just as bad – if not worse – than the beginning of the season. They have allowed one 300-yard rushing game this season (nearly two), four games of at least 200 yards given up on the ground, and ten games of at least 100 yards or more on the ground.
Bernard is a near must-start in all formats. His opportunity is immense and he is the clear favorite in the Cincy backfield.
Start – David Montgomery (RB, CHI) vs HOU
Right after the putrid Dallas run-defense is the Houston run-defense. Houston is allowing 150.9 rushing yards per game, although over their last three contests they have taken that down to 101.3 rushing yards allowed. From a fantasy perspective, Houston has given up 24-FPPG to running backs and that is second-most in the NFL.
Montgomery is coming into Week 14 hotter than any back in fantasy. In Week 12 he finished his game against Green Bay with 22.8-fantasy points and in Week 13, he followed that up with another 25.1-fantasy point effort.
Houston’s rush-defense is certainly less than Green Bay’s, but is on par with Detroit, so Montgomery should have another tremendous start for your fantasy team. Make sure he is starting in all formats, especially ones with PPR scoring.
Sit – Miles Sanders (RB, PHI) vs NO
By now you should know not to start your running backs against New Orleans. Miles Sanders can be started, but it will likely not end well because this season has shown us that running backs generally do not succeed against the Saints.
The Saints have only gotten better defensively and that is in-part thanks to Taysom Hill and the new identity of this team. New Orleans (without Brees) really focuses on running the ball and controlling the time of possession. Because of this offense, New Orleans’ opponents score less – since they are on the field for fewer opportunities – and the Saints’ defense is able to stay freshly rested on the sidelines.
The Eagles will also be starting a rookie quarterback in his first-ever start, and that never seems to go well against defenses like the Saints. Additionally, it can easily lead to a game-script that features multiple turnovers and that is never good for running backs. Hurts is also an extremely mobile quarterback who rushes the ball. Because of his running ability, Hurts can easily eat into Sanders’ already shaky floor and cap his upside even further.
If, after all of this, you still want to play Sanders, the Saints smother opposing running backs from a fantasy perspective and only allow 11.2-FPPG, which is the best in the NFL. The Saints are also the second-best in the NFL in rushing yards against, allowing 76.1 rushing yards per game. Outside of the tough match up, it is getting difficult to rely on Sanders of-late and that is because Boston Scott lurks in the shadows to vulture Sanders’ opportunities.
Sanders is not a must-bench, but you should not be starting him unless you absolutely have to. You should expect a mid-upper RB3 finish, with a low-end RB2 ceiling.
Start-Sit Week 14 — Wide Receiver
Start – Robby Anderson (WR, CAR) vs DEN
Carolina’s Week 14 outlook is messy, but any way you look at it Robby Anderson is a guy you can plug into your lineups. Fellow wide receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are both on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. Moore tested positive for COVID while Samuel was deemed a close contact, both are in jeopardy to miss Week 14. If both of these players were to miss, Anderson gets a huge bump although you cannot go crazy as Christian McCaffrey could also return in Week 14.
Denver is a solid unit at stopping fantasy wide receivers and they currently allow 20.5-FPPG to the position. Likewise, they allow 218.7 passing yards per game to their opponents, which is the ninth-lowest in the NFL. The big issue for Denver is that they lost a key piece in their secondary to suspension as A.J. Bouye was busted for using PED’s. Bouye has played in 410 defensive snaps for the Broncos so it certainly will be a loss, but it bodes well for Anderson.
Looking at his fantasy floor, Anderson remains one of the most consistent pass-catchers in the NFL. He has never received less than five targets in a single game and in 12 games, he has finished with at least five receptions in all but three games.
Anderson has and always will be an important part of this Carolina offense. His opportunity only grows larger with D.J. Moore highly likely to miss and if Curtis Samuel also cannot go, then Anderson will be heavily relied on.
Start – Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN) vs TB
Tampa Bay has shown the NFL and fantasy managers that it is much easier to throw on their defense, rather than running it. Of course, Minnesota is a Mike Zimmer team and they will not abandon the run with Dalvin Cook as their halfback, but we know Cousins can sling the rock when he must and that should benefit Justin Jefferson.
Tampa Bay allows the 11th-most passing yards on a per-game basis at 255.8, and that has lead to opposing wide receivers averaging 25.7-FPPG against the unit. Tampa Bay’s defense has a narrative of being tough, and they are certainly no slouch, but they are weakest at defending the pass and that alone could be the reason that Justin Jefferson takes your team deeper into the fantasy playoffs.
Jefferson is the biggest breakout wide receiver in 2020 and is arguably the hottest player in fantasy. Over his last three weeks he has finished with 17.5, 16.1, 22.5 and 22.8 fantasy points, respectively. With these finishes, and several more earlier in the season, Jefferson is quietly the WR4 overall this season.
Whatever you do, find a way to get Jefferson into your starting lineup. Jefferson is a must-start and you should be excited to start him despite a stingy Tampa Bay defense on the other side.
Sit – DeVante Parker (WR, MIA) vs KC
To beat Kansas City you seemingly have to run the ball. Statistically this is the case as well: KC’s defense allows 225.8 passing yards per game (13th), versus 132.4 rushing yards allowed per game (27th). In addition, Patrick Mahomes is a football God and can outlast any quarterback (especially Tua Tagovailoa) in a shootout.
Even from a fantasy point-of-view the Chiefs dominate wide receivers because they have only allowed 18.8-FPPG, fifth-lowest metric in the league. So not only will you – as a fantasy manager – have to rely on Tua Tagovailoa getting the ball to Parker, you also have to worry about the ceiling of Parker even if he gets 5-to-6 receptions.
In the four games that Tagovailoa has started and finished with Parker, Parker has recorded 6.8, 9.4, 4.1 and 5.5 fantasy points. For Parker to work out for fantasy managers he will certainly need a touchdown and likely then-some. That seems pretty unlikely to happen against the defending champions. Sit Parker on the bench in Week 14.
Start-Sit Week 14 — Tight End
Start – Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL) @CIN
Schultz will be lining up against the third-friendliest defense in fantasy for opposing tight ends. Cincinnati has been friendly to all pass-catchers this season and have allowed 257.2 passing yards per game, eighth-worst.
Schultz is never a sexy fantasy option, but he is one with a floor and sometimes that is all we can ask for as fantasy managers. Schultz has seen at least four targets in every game since Week 6. He also could get a few red zone and/or end zone looks, as he has already scored three times this season.
The Cowboys’ tight end comes in as match up and opportunity play in Week 14. Like most tight ends he is likely going to have to score in order to payoff, but against the third-worst defense in fantasy for opposing tight ends that is certainly in the realm of possibilities.
Start – Hunter Henry (TE, LAC) vs ATL
The Atlanta defense is very susceptible to fantasy pass-catchers. They currently allow the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers and for tight ends like Henry, they allow the most points in the NFL at 9.4-FPPG.
In Week 13 Henry had a near goose-egg effort, but managed to muster up 0.5-fantasy points for the week. It is hard to place much blame on Henry for his poor finish as the team was absolutely ran off the field by New England’s special teams unit. Because of this, the Chargers played catch-up the entire game and were down double-digits most of the time. That rarely equates to a healthy fantasy finish for a tight end.
Take out last week’s game and you have a tight end who has scored two touchdowns in his last three games and has finished with nine or more fantasy points in the same aforementioned time frame.
Henry, like Schultz above, is more of a match up and opportunity play this week. Get him into your lineups and see what he can do against the friendliest defense for opposing tight ends.
Sit – Logan Thomas (TE, WAS) @SF
Thomas is always a concern when you rely on him, simply because of his quarterback. Alex Smith has a wonderful story that we all are routing for, but from a fantasy perspective Smith doesn’t possess the ceiling to boost Thomas that much. We also know that this offense relies on Terry McLaurin, and will now rely more-so on pass-catching back J.D. McKissic with Antonio Gibson likely to miss Week 14 with a turf-toe injury.
The matchup is not there either. San Francisco has been all over opposing tight ends and has only given up 4.1-FPPG to the position. No surprise there, as they also suppress passing offense in general and have allowed 219.9 passing yards on a per-game basis, 10th-best in the league.
Even though he has looked better in his last two weeks, Thomas seems to be hard to trust in Week 14. Contrary to Pittsburgh, the 49ers will not be able to completely shut down Terry McLaurin which will suppress Thomas as a result. Sit Thomas on the bench this week against the 49ers.