• To start Jared Goff: THE Detroit Lions The quarterback hasn’t been consistent from a fantasy football standpoint, but he should have one of his better games against the Dallas Cowboys.
• Sit Javonte Williams: THE Denver Broncos The running back has not played well in recent weeks and his playing time has decreased as a result.
• To start Darren Waller: THE New York Giants The tight end was more involved in the offense when Tyrod Taylor has taken over at quarterback and Taylor is expected to start in Week 17.
Estimated reading time: 16 minutes
Deciding who to start or sit in fantasy football can be as simple as watching the PFF rankings and go with the highest ranked player. This “Start ’em, Sit ’em” column goes even further, looking at why someone you might typically start might not have a good week or why someone overlooked might have a good week. In many cases, regular starters should play the lead role, but we also want to explore borderline players.
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QB | RB | WR | YOU | DEF/ST | K
Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
- Goff has been putting up big numbers recently, as he has thrown for over 250 yards in his last two games.
- He hasn’t always stood out to fantasy managers this season because he hasn’t thrown enough passes — and, sometimes, touchdowns — in games the Lions have won.
- Goff takes the Dallas Cowboys in week 17, and the Lions are outsiders. The veteran quarterback has thrown at least 35 passes in each of the Lions’ losses this season, and even if the Lions win, the nature of this game should allow him to throw a lot of passes.
- The Cowboys have allowed a touchdown on 4.3% of passes against them, a bottom-10 rate among defenses.
- Goff has had better man coverage than zone coverage over the past two seasons, with a 22-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio against man compared to a 22-16 ratio against zone.
- THE Dallas Cowboys lined up in man coverage at the second-highest rate in the league.
- Goff is a risky play this week – as he has been every week – but there’s a better chance he puts up big numbers this week. He has the ceiling to be a top-five fantasy quarterback.
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
- Stafford has scored 110.3 fantasy points over the past five weeks, second-most among quarterbacks over that span. He’s played arguably the best football of his career over the past two weeks and earned over 90.0 PFF grades in every game.
- He faces a New York Giants a defense that has been average at allowing fantasy points to quarterbacks, but part of that is due to the quarterbacks they’ve faced. The list includes Joshua Dobbs, Sam Howell twice, Zach Wilson, Aidan O’Connell And MacJonesall of whom are either substitutes now or started the season as substitutes.
- Over the past two weeks, the Giants have faced Derek Carr and Jalen Hurts, both of whom finished as top-10 fantasy quarterbacks in those weeks.
- Stafford could be considered a top-five quarterback this week. The only reason he doesn’t is because the Giants use man coverage more than anyone else, and Stafford has generally played better against zone coverage than against man coverage.
- Stafford still plays well enough against man coverage that he should finish among the top 12 quarterbacks this week.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
- Tagovailoa has been tremendous early in the season, recording three top-three finishes in the first six weeks. However, he has finished QB20 or worse in four of his last five games.
- He’s throwing for 220 yards every week, but he’s providing no value on the ground and has been held to one or zero touchdowns in more games than ever before.
- He has produced double-digit rushing yards just once this season in a three-carry, 15-yard performance. He hasn’t run for a touchdown this season.
- The Dolphins have the third worst matchup for quarterbacks this week, according to our strength of the planning tool. THE Baltimore Ravens have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
- Baltimore has also allowed the fewest passing touchdowns (15), which is notable, considering they’ve faced the second-most pass attempts this season (576).
- The Dolphins will need to throw a lot of passes to keep up with the Ravens, and Tagovailoa should surpass the 200-yard mark again, but that won’t be enough for him to be a fantasy starter unless he can score multiple touchdowns.
Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
- Love caught fire midway through the season, posting four grades over 74.0 during a five-game stretch. He’s calmed down over the past three weeks, having earned PFF passing grades between 65.0 and 73.0.
- He was able to remain a fantastic starter more often than not, thanks to a high touchdown rate. But this will be more difficult for him this week, partly because of injuries and partly because of his opponent.
- Christian Watson, Jayden Reed And Dontayvion Wicks all suffered injuries that forced them to miss part (if not all) of last week’s game.
- The Packers play a Minnesota Vikings defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks over the past four weeks.
- Love has performed better against man coverage than against zone coverage this season, scoring 77.0 against man compared to 71.9 against zone. Nine of his 11 interceptions have come against zone defenses this season.
- The Vikings run the eighth-highest zone defense in the NFL.
- Love finished as QB19 the last time he faced Minnesota, one of his worst performances of the season.
- Love has a relatively high floor, but there’s a good chance we’ll see a repeat of his last game against the Vikings.
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