The Biggest Start/Sit Decisions for Week 14 (Fantasy Football)
“A winner never stops trying.”
– Tom Landry
Willkommen, Footclan! Welcome to Week 14 of the Start/Sit series where we’ll identify and discuss your most commonly asked “Who should I start?” questions for the week.
The projections between any two players on your roster may appear similar, but this “simple” choice could be the difference between your team’s victory or defeat. Luckily, the Fantasy Footballers have created the Start/Sit tool to easily compare any two (or more) players with insight from the Ballers themselves, and trust me — it’s an extremely valuable asset that will help you make these crucial lineup decisions that could ultimately lead you to your #FootClanTitle. Please note that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated as news breaks, so make sure you check out the tool yourself to catch any last-second changes.
So without further adieu, let’s kick things off with the most popular Start/Sit questions for Week 14:
|Andy Rank||QB #13||QB #11|
|Mike Rank||QB #13||QB #10|
|Jason Rank||QB #14||QB #10|
That Mallet’s so hot right now. Adding yet another worrisome injury to another beloved fantasy starter is Taysom Hill, who suffered a Mallet finger injury last week against Dallas. Yes, the same injury that ruined Russell Wilson for the past two months and therefore ruined the Seahawks’ entire offense. It’s only fitting that they’re both one of the most asked Start/Sit questions this week, so… which Mallet bro should you start?
Both QBs have advantageous matchups and are projected favorites on the road. But that’s where the similarities end. While Wilson is nearing the end of the road of his recovery — going scoreless (plus four turnovers) in his first couple of return games, then throwing four TDs in his last two — Hill’s journey has just begun. But this won’t impact Hill nearly as much as it did Wilson simply because the Swiss Army QB gets it done with his legs rather than through the air.
UP AND OVER TAYSOM HILL!
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 3, 2021
Against a laughable Jets defensive front and doo-doo secondary, Hill should sustain one of fantasy’s safest floors with obvious rushing TD upside, making him Mike’s QB Start of the Week. Wilson, meanwhile, remains a fringe top-10 option with a matchup that’s more favorable than what’s on paper, along with a vastly superior arsenal of pass-catching weapons.
Wilson is the Ballers’ unanimous favorite, and for good reason, as he’s the safer choice. But if you need upside, then I’d gamble on Hill.
|Andy Rank||WR #21||WR #26|
|Mike Rank||WR #16||WR #23|
|Jason Rank||WR #23||WR #25|
Neither of these guys offer much confidence to managers in dire need of a victory to secure their playoff spot, especially considering both sophomore receivers failed to crack the top-40 last week. But both possess immense upside that makes them tempting starts.
The narrative supporting Darnell Mooney is that he’s been held back by lackluster QB play from Andy Dalton, which should be remedied this week with the return of Justin Fields. However, let’s take a look at Mooney’s split in games where Fields started:
|Averages||With Fields (8 games)||W/O Fields (4 games)|
Obvious disclaimer: it’s an incredibly small sample size. But the above table makes it clear that Mooney’s disparity in fantasy results is due to the lack of TDs boosting his final stat line. Of course, Mooney didn’t have to catch as many balls with Fields since he saw a higher aDOT with him than with Dalton (12.6 vs 9.1). And Mooney’s role has increasingly grown each week as Allen Robinson‘s diminished, boasting back-to-back 100+ yard games after the bye before last week’s blunder against Arizona. But with a decent matchup against a Packers secondary that he already scored on in Week 6, Mooney could find success under negative game script, although Lambeau is always a daunting battlefield and Mooney’s proven inconsistent thanks to questionable gameplanning. It also doesn’t help that standout CB Jaire Alexander is expected back from IR. Mooney is Jason’s WR Start of the Week.
Speaking of inconsistent, look no further than Brandon Aiyuk, who’s only surpassed 50 receiving yards in four games this season, which includes last week’s 55-yard scoreless dud. We already know he’s capable of blowing up when given the opportunity, something he’s seen more of after escaping coach Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse (averaged 2.7 targets in his first six games vs 6.3 targets in the last six weeks). Now that lead RB Elijah Mitchell and lead WR (and sometimes RB) Deebo Samuel might be inactive, Aiyuk should be forced into another starring role on a prolific 49ers offense, making him a strong DraftKings and FanDuel GPP play. However, this could easily be another George Kittle explosion spot instead.
The gang all favors Mooney over Aiyuk. I agree but wouldn’t fault anyone for rolling the dice on Aiyuk.
|Andy Rank||RB #42||RB #51|
|Mike Rank||RB #50||RB #51|
|Jason Rank||RB #56||RB #50|
It’s been a fools errand trying to predict Kyle Shanahan’s depth chart, and this week appears to be no different. With news that Elijah Mitchell is out, the throne is temporarily up for grabs. The projections are close between Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMycal Hasty, but to me it’s clear. It’ll be the guy who’s already been the guy last year, seeing over 20 touches in relief and dominating the fantasy scoreboards in the all-important championship weeks. The same guy who already saw 21 opportunities in Week 11 this year while the other guy has never surpassed 13 touches. The guy who’s already logged back-to-back full practices, quelling any health concerns. Who is he? His name is Jeff.
Practicing. He might still be listed as limited at the end of the day but he's currently the frontrunner to start in Cincy. 1. Wilson. 2. Hasty 3. New guy Brian Hill. https://t.co/6k3BtE9JDO
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) December 9, 2021
It’s currently a toss-up between the gang, but I’m riding with Jeff.
|Andy Rank||TE #14||TE #12|
|Mike Rank||TE #15||TE #11|
|Jason Rank||TE #17||TE #12|
You can’t ask for a better playoff schedule than what these two have, but can you trust either of them to get you there? Ricky Seals-Jones, a popular waiver wire pickup in the aftermath of Logan Thomas‘ season-ending injury, is expected to return from his own injury stint. He has a decent matchup ahead, but hasn’t necessarily capitalized when given the opportunity. In five games without Thomas, RSJ averaged 5.8 targets, 4 receptions, and 38.4 yards per game. He only scored once during that timespan.
But he’s still in play because that’s just how awful the TE position has been. As noted on the show, even grandpa Jimmy Graham finished as Week 13’s TE8 after catching his lone target for a one-yard TD. Seriously. RSJ is by no means a TD monster, but he has been utilized near the goal-line and has seen upwards of four red zone targets in relief of Thomas. He’ll also remain on the field as he hasn’t seen less than 99% snaps, so he’s worth considering for those struggling at the position.
It’s been a rough go recently for Denver’s pass-catchers, and near the top of the list is Noah Fant. He’s been a top-10 TE four times this season, but was also a TE30 or worse in the same number of weeks. He also hasn’t seen only seen two red zone looks since Week 8. Luckily, he faces a Lions defense that has given up the seventh MOST points to opposing TEs since their bye. It’s easier to choose Fant since we’ve already seen him explode, but he’s always a dart as long as the offense sticks with their run-first approach.
Fant is the consensus winner, but it’s hard to be confident with either guy.
|Andy Rank||RB #26||WR #36|
|Mike Rank||RB #25||WR #35|
|Jason Rank||RB #30||WR #34|
In other words… floor or upside? D’Onta Foreman has had a mini resurgence, presuming the early-down “bruiser” role in Derrick Henry‘s overwhelming shadow. But he’s already had to share the valuable touches (i.e., targets) to Dontrell Hilliard, and will now have to deal with Jeremy McNichols‘ siphoning even more work. He’ll nevertheless benefit from a vulnerable Jaguars front, although his hobbled O-line might cap his ceiling. But the goal-line back could flirt with RB2 numbers if he makes it to the endzone, something he was unable to do in his last match despite seeing six red zone carries.
On the other hand, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has enjoyed an uptick in usage, seeing 10 and 9 targets in his last two games. The speed-demon only cashed in once, though, erupting for 123 yards and a trip to the house at Minnesota.
Marquez Valdez-Scantling reached a top speed of 22.09 mph on his 75-yard TD reception late in the 4th quarter of the #Packers loss to the Vikings, the fastest speed by a ball carrier this season.#GBvsMIN | #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/gxwahjjxqd
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 21, 2021
But there’s certainly a path for MVS to thrive as he currently boasts the league’s HIGHEST aDOT (19.4) on the season among all pass-catchers with at least 25 total targets. With Robert Tonyan and now Randall Cobb out for the season, not to mention Davante Adams being routinely double-covered, MVS has a chance to shine under an ornery Aaron Rodgers that wants to rack up the scoreboards. But trusting MVS is not for the faint of heart as the fourth-year wideout has never been reliable for fantasy.
The crew is mixed, but I’m going for the glory play with MVS.