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Nick Mensio

Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em

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Week 16 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Thursday, December 20, 2018


Welcome to the final Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em of the 2018 season. Thanks to everyone for reading this year. 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: Russell Wilson vs. Chiefs: Wilson bounced back last week from his dreadful Week 14 against the Vikings to throw for 237 yards and a pair of scores in an overtime loss to the Niners, finishing as the overall QB5 in what was a down week across the fantasy land. Wilson has thrown multiple touchdowns in all but two games this season with a career-high 8.2% touchdown rate, up 2.2% from his career average. He now gets a Chiefs defense that is dead last in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, having surrendered the most passing yards while facing the third-most attempts. The Chiefs are also 31st in opponent plays per game. Seattle is very much a run-heavy offense, but Wilson is going to have to put up numbers if the Seahawks are going to compete all night with Kansas City. Philip Rivers laid a late-game barrage on the Chiefs last Thursday night, stunning them at Arrowhead en route to 313 yards and a pair of scores as the QB6. The 53.5-point total for Chiefs-Seahawks is tied with Steelers-Saints as the highest of the week. Confidently run Wilson out there for fantasy championship tilts and in daily fantasy.

Starts

Baker Mayfield vs. Bengals: Mayfield came out hot against the Broncos last week, hitting Breshad Perriman for a 31-yard score on the opening drive, but Denver’s pass rush eventually started hitting home as Mayfield finished with just 188 yards and a pair of scores on his way to the QB18 finish. Since the firing of Hue Jackson, Mayfield is the overall QB10 in fantasy points per game with four multi-TD efforts and a combined 15:5 TD:INT mark across six contests. The Browns are now back home with an extra day of rest in hand to face Jackson’s Bengals as 10-point favorites. Cincinnati is 31st in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, 26th in pass-defense DVOA, 27th in opponent passer rating, and 24th in sacks. The only real concern here would be the Browns jumping out to a huge lead, but that may not even matter as they outwardly really want to rub it in Jackson’s face after he joined the division rival. Cleveland blasted the Bengals in Cincinnati back in Week 12, and Mayfield threw for a season-high four touchdowns that day while averaging a robust 9.9 YPA. The Browns are still in the playoff mix — extremely unlikely as it is — but they absolutely have something to play for both in the standings and on a personal level. Cincinnati is 30th in opponent plays per game. The Browns’ team total of 27.25 points is the sixth-highest of Week 16.

Andrew Luck vs. Giants: Luck attempted just 27 passes in a shutout win over the Cowboys last week; the 27 attempts were his fewest since Week 7 and second-fewest of the season. He managed just 192 scoreless yards, his second TD-less game in three weeks. Prior to Week 13, Luck had thrown multiple touchdown passes in all but one game. The Indy defense is set up again for a possible blowout against the lowly Giants, but it’s really hard to see Luck having back-to-back down days at home under the Lucas Oil Stadium roof. The G-Men are 10th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks but 23rd in pass-defense DVOA and 30th in sacks. The Colts also operate at the fastest offensive pace in the league while the Giants are 26th in opponent plays per game. All the stars for the Colts are must-plays in this spot, including Marlon Mack on the ground after his eruption against Dallas last week that coincided with C Ryan Kelly’s return from a knee injury. The Colts’ implied team total of 28.25 points is the fourth-highest of the week behind only the Saints, Rams, and Patriots.

Dak Prescott vs. Bucs: It was hard to find a quarterback that looked worse than Prescott in Week 15. He was the overall QB25 in that shutout loss to the Colts with just 206 yards and a pick without registering a rushing attempt to raise his floor. Prescott should have had one touchdown, but FB Jamize Olawale completely whiffed on the attempts catch at the goal line. Prescott then missed a bunch of throws high and simply struggled as a whole. This does look like a nice bounce-back spot, however. Dallas is back in the home dome environment at JerryWorld against a Bucs defense that is 29th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, 31st in touchdown passes surrendered, and 29th in pass-defense DVOA. The Tampa defense has played better overall of late, but the schedule hasn’t been overly tough from a quarterback standpoint, facing a non-throwing Lamar Jackson last week, Drew Brees on the road outside the week before, an injured Cam Newton in Week 13, Nick Mullens the previous week, Eli Manning before that, and Alex Smith in Week 11. Since the Week 8 bye and trade for Amari Cooper, Prescott is the QB11 in fantasy points per game. This game has some shootout potential with a 47.5-point total, the third-highest of the week behind a pair of 53.5 totals for Steelers-Saints and Chiefs-Seahawks. Dallas’ implied total of 27.25 is the sixth-highest.

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Sits

Kirk Cousins at Lions: On average, the Vikings are the fifth-most pass-happy offense in the league at 64.84%, but new OC Kevin Stefanski called a pass just 36.5% of the time last week in a win over the Dolphins. It was Stefanski’s first week on the job after coach Mike Zimmer canned John DeFilippo and openly expressed a desire to run the ball more. Cousins still got “his” as the QB10 for Week 15, throwing a pair of touchdowns to go with 215 yards. Miami is 25th in opponent plays per game. Meanwhile, Week 16’s opponent, the Lions are No. 1 while also playing at the league’s second-slowest offensive pace. Those two things severely cap the upside of opposing offenses. Detroit has faced the second-fewest passing attempts on the year. Cousins has shown literally zero upside most of the past 2.5 months. When these two clubs met in Week 9, Cousins attempted just 22 passes, his lowest mark of 2018 prior to last week’s 21-attempt effort. Cousins had a season-low 164 yards passing in that previous tilt with the Lions with just one touchdown. He’s going to need to be incredibly efficient to make a fantasy impact in this one. Cousins is best left for two-QB leagues. The 42.5-point total for Vikings-Lions is the third-lowest of Week 16.

Jameis Winston at Cowboys: Winston had been on a tear as a must-start every-week QB1 prior to last week’s predictable letdown on the road against the Ravens. He managed just 157 scoreless yards with a pick in Baltimore and was one of a number of fantasy passers to disappoint with single digits in points. This looks like another tough spot for the Bucs. Dallas is No. 9 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and 14th in pass-defense DVOA. The Cowboys just shut down Andrew Luck for the most part last week, holding him to 192 scoreless yards and a pick on 27 attempts while Marlon Mack ran all over the Dallas run defense for a pair of touchdowns. The Cowboys are also No. 5 in opponent plays per game, which plays a big role in capping upside from a fantasy perspective. The feathers in Winston’s cap are the Bucs’ pass-heavy approach offensively, this game’s 47.5-point total, and the dome environment free from weather concerns. But Winston will really have a tough time putting together a top-six finish as we’d grown accustomed to prior to Week 15. He’s more in the 12-16 range at quarterback with tough matchups on the outside for wideouts.

Marcus Mariota vs. Redskins: Since the Derrick Henry takeover two weeks back against the Jaguars, Mariota has attempted just 44 passes, second-fewest among quarterbacks in that span. (Ryan Tannehill has attempted 43 passes.) Mariota is the overall QB30 since Week 14. He just doesn’t have to do much of anything right now other than put the ball in Henry’s belly. And it doesn’t look like that is going to have to change this Saturday. The Titans are massive 10-point home favorites against a Redskins team with the lowest implied total of the week at 13.5 points. Both offenses are bottom-10 in pace, and this game’s 37-point total is the lowest on the slate. The Redskins by no means present a tough matchup, but our concern here is volume with Mariota.


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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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