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Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em

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Week 13 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes.

QUARTERBACK

Start of the Week: Lamar Jackson at Falcons: Since taking over as the Ravens’ starter in Week 11, Jackson is overall QB17 in fantasy points per game with a QB13 day against the Bengals followed by a QB15 afternoon against Oakland. Jackson has completed 27-of-44 throws (61.4%) for 328 yards (7.45 YPA), 1 TD, and 3 INTs. Obviously, the real draw with Jackson is his rushing output after he amassed a 38-188-1 rushing line versus Cincinnati and Oakland. The Ravens curiously tried to prove to everyone that Jackson could throw the ball in the first half last week, somewhat capping his upside by not allowing him to run the ball. They changed the plan after the half, and Jackson rushed nine times and scored a touchdown in an eventual easy win. Joe Flacco (hip) isn’t going to play this week after missing practice Wednesday; the Ravens want Flacco to get a full week of practice before allowing him to return — if he ever gets his job back. The Bengals and Raiders presented Cottonelle-soft matchups for Jackson at home. He’ll go on the road for the first time but gets a similarly cake draw on the fast turf of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta is dead last in team defense DVOA, checking in at 29th against the pass and 31st versus the run. Only the aforementioned Bengals have surrendered more fantasy points to quarterbacks. Games on the turf in Atlanta tend to shoot out with point totals of 55 — 80 — 73 — 63 — 43 — 41 this season. Both the Ravens and Falcons are top-12 in offensive pace. Atlanta has faced three mobile quarterbacks thus far. Dak Prescott had a rushing touchdown two weeks ago, Jameis Winston rushed for 29 yards in Week 6, and Cam Newton led the Panthers with 42 rush yards in Week 2. Jackson will almost certainly flirt with 100 yards via the ground. Anything he does as a passer is viewed as a bonus, and he’s shown he can make throws over the last couple starts. No quarterback outside of Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Cam Newton, and Drew Brees has more upside than Jackson. Keep riding the wave. Ravens-Falcons has a solid 48.5-point total, sixth-highest of Week 13.

Starts

Jameis Winston vs. Panthers: Winston is coming off one of the best games of his career last week at home against the 49ers. The numbers weren’t explosive with 312 yards and 2 TDs passing, but Winston didn’t turn the ball over for the first time this season. Winston was the overall QB6 for Week 12 and has posted QB1 and QB9 days in his other two games he’s played from start to finish this season. Overall, the duo of Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick is the combined QB2 on the season behind only Patrick Mahomes. Following his strong Week 12, Winston should have a relatively long leash this time around against the Panthers after coach Dirk Koetter had some words of praise for the fourth-year passer on Wednesday. Still, fantasy owners refuse to play Winston because of his turnovers. It’s silly. Turnovers really aren’t all that big of a drag on fantasy box scores. The Panthers are a true pass-funnel defense, checking in at 27th in pass-defense DVOA as opposed to No. 7 against the run. They’re also 27th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and No. 8 to running backs. Fitzpatrick got the nod against Carolina back in Week 9 and threw for 240 yards, 4 TDs, and 2 INTs en route to the QB6 finish, even if he had to backdoor it by racking up garbage-time points on the road. This isn’t the old Carolina defense; this version gets no heat on quarterbacks, ranking 23rd in adjusted sack rate. Russell Wilson had his first 300-yard passing game of the season versus Carolina in Week 12, throwing for 339 yards and two scores as the QB10. Two weeks prior, Ben Roethlisberger was the QB2 after throwing for 352 yards and 5 TDs. Even Alex Smith had a multi-TD game against Carolina in Week 6. The 55.5-point total for Panthers-Bucs is this slate’s highest. Winston’s rushing floor gives him a nice floor to fall back on as well. He’s averaging 7.3 attempts and 36 yards on the ground with one touchdown in games he’s played in full.

Russell Wilson vs. 49ers: Wilson is coming off his best passing game of the season, eclipsing 300 yards for the first time in 2018 with 339 yards and two scores against the Panthers while completing 71% of his passes. Weeks 3-8, Wilson averaged 22.6 attempts per game with zero days of more than 26 throws. Since Week 9, Wilson is averaging 31.75 attempts with three games of 31-plus passes. He’s thrown multiple touchdowns in seven-straight games. With more volume of late and an increased rushing output at 5.5 rush attempts per week over the last four, Wilson’s floor has come up considerably. The Niners are 24th in pass-defense DVOA and a middling 17th in pass yards allowed. Jameis Winston just hung 312 yards and 2 TDs on San Francisco last week for the QB6 day. Eli Manning had three scores against the Niners the previous week. The 49ers’ pass rush is 20th in adjusted sack rate and dead last with two interceptions. Richard Sherman is having a great season at corner, but the rest of the defense is mediocre at best. Wilson is a rock-solid start at home as a 10-point favorite against a defense facing the 10th-most plays per week and 10th-most passing attempts on the year. Seattle’s implied team total of 28.25 points is the sixth-most on the week.

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Philip Rivers at Steelers: The overall QB11 on the year, Rivers has been getting by on big plays and strong touchdown numbers. He’s 18th in the league in passing attempts, having thrown more than 29 passes in a game just once since Week 4. But Rivers has multiple touchdowns in 11-of-11 games and is top-four in yards-per-attempt, touchdown throws, and passer rating. He’s in the MVP conversation. The Chargers really like to run the ball with Melvin Gordon, but Gordon (knee) is out this week, and the Bolts are likely going to have to run and gun with the high-octane Steelers. Both clubs are top-14 in offensive pace, and Pittsburgh has faced the ninth-most pass attempts. The Steelers are 16th in fantasy points surrendered to quarterbacks and 16th in pass-defense DVOA. Honestly, this defense has faced one of the softest QB schedules, including dates with Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco (x2), Andy Dalton, Blake Bortles, and Case Keenum. This will be the best offense its seen since the Chiefs in Week 2 when Patrick Mahomes went into Pittsburgh and threw 6 TDs. Rivers’ floor is ultra-safe, and if he gets 30-plus attempts, which is a good bet for this one, his ceiling rises quite a bit. Rivers is a strong QB1 in a game with a 51.5-point total, the fifth-highest of the week.

Sits

Tom Brady vs. Vikings: Brady hasn’t been a QB1 much of the season, checking in at 15th in fantasy points per game and 14th in overall points at quarterback. Since Week 5, Brady has just two multi-TD games and two 300-yard passing days. Brady is the QB18 in that span. He’s truly shown zero upside and isn’t providing any week-winner games for fantasy footballers. In the three games before the Week 11 bye, Brady was the QB20 — QB16 — QB23. He was again the QB16 last week against the middling Jets. In home games, the Patriots run the ball at the eighth-highest clip, throwing it just 54.47% of the time. Brady now draws a tough spot against a Vikings defense that is No. 5 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, No. 8 in pass-defense DVOA, No. 5 in pass yards surrendered, and No. 4 in adjusted sack rate. Brady could always smash against any defense, but the numbers haven’t been there of late, and he’s very notably struggling badly against the blitz. I’ve been riding Brady in leagues where I have him, but we’re down to the nitty-gritty ahead of the fantasy playoffs. I probably should have pulled the plug long ago, but I’m looking at other streaming options where I own Brady this week. Dak Prescott against the Saints on Thursday night is intriguing, as is anyone listed above in the “starts” section of this piece. A feather in Brady’s cap would be top Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes missing the game with a hamstring injury, but coach Mike Zimmer seems somewhat confident Rhodes will suit up. Brady is ideally really only a two-QB league play.

Carson Wentz vs. Redskins: Since the Week 9 bye, Wentz has been the QB10 > QB29 > QB24 against the Cowboys, Saints, and Giants. He’s laid eggs in back-to-back weeks and has a 1:3 TD:INT ratio in that span. The Redskins aren’t an overly-imposing matchup at 23rd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and 23rd in pass yards, but they’re 12th in pass-defense DVOA. And the Eagles have found a reliable running game with Josh Adams. Wentz fired off a season-low 28 pass attempts last week against the G-Men while Adams toted the rock 22 times with the Eagles playing from behind much of the day. Dak Prescott just torched this Washington defense for a season-best 289 passing yards and 2 TDs on Thanksgiving, adding a third score on the ground, but the Eagles and Redskins are both bottom-eight in offensive pace. That along with Adams’ emergence has to have us really worried about volume for Wentz. The 44-point total for Redskins-Eagles is the third-lowest on the board. Philly is a healthy 6.5-point favorite at home, which may lead to even more work for the duo of Adams and Corey Clement. This Eagles offense just hasn’t been the same since the trade for Golden Tate. Wentz is a safe two-QB league play, but the upside may not be there.

Marcus Mariota vs. Jets: Coming off yet another random performance where he completed all but one of his passes and topped 300 yards for the second time this season, Mariota gets the Jets on the heels of the overall QB6 performance in Houston this past Monday night. Mariota hit wide-open touchdowns to Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis in Week 12. He has sandwiched a pair of top-eight finishes the last three weeks around a terrible QB28 day in Indianapolis two Sundays ago. This Tennessee offense is the most bipolar, unpredictable unit in the league. When we think they’re ready to pop off, they stumble. They’re coming home on a short week to take on a Jets defense that’s 12th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, 15th in pass-defense DVOA, and 16th in overall pass yards surrendered. It’s a middle-of-the-road matchup on paper and one that won’t necessarily strike fear in an opponent. But the Jets did recently just get top CB Trumaine Johnson back from a multi-week quad injury. Both clubs are also bottom-nine in offensive pace and like to establish the run. This has the makings of a really slow game where volume could be an issue. Bookmakers seem to agree, dolling out a 40.5-point total for Jets-Titans, the lowest of the week, tied with Bills-Dolphins.


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Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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