Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward redraft leagues but can also be used for setting DFS lineups, as these are the players I’ll likely be filling out my cash lineups with on Sunday. As is the case each week, I’m ignoring the Thursday night game.
Start of the Week: Derek Carr vs. Packers: By no means was Carr great last week in the Raiders’ upset road win over the Broncos, but he avoided turnovers and led a pair of second-half touchdown drives, eking out the 15-12 win. Back home, Carr is back on the QB1 radar. The matchup against Green Bay may look tough on paper. The Packers are eighth in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA and 11th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. But look at the quarterbacks this unit has faced through 13 games: Jay Cutler (twice), Russell Wilson, Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Nick Foles, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford (twice), Teddy Bridgewater, and Matt Cassel. There have been maybe three above-average ones, and Wilson was in Week 2 long before his hot streak. Rivers and Newton combined to complete 58-of-95 (61.1 percent) of their passes for 800 yards (8.42 YPA) and an 8:1 TD:INT ratio. Carr may not be as good as those two, but he’s playing well above-average as a sophomore, has two outstanding receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and gets the Packers in the Black Hole. On top of this, Packers’ No. 1 CB Sam Shields suffered a concussion Week 14 and didn’t practice Wednesday. Green Bay-Oakland has a 47-point Vegas total and a three-point spread, giving it shootout potential. If I were the ranking type, Carr would be my QB5 this week behind Carson Palmer, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady. Ben Roethlisberger is also in the mix despite the perceived tough matchup.
Matthew Stafford at Saints: Quarterbacks versus the Saints is the theme each and every week. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Stafford has thrown multiple touchdowns in three-straight games and is averaging 22.1 fantasy points the past four weeks. The Saints rank dead last in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA and have surrendered the most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season and fourth-most over their past four games. Quarterbacks are averaging 292 yards, 2.77 touchdowns, and 28.1 fantasy points per game against New Orleans through 14 weeks. Detroit-New Orleans has the highest over-under of the week at 51 points. The game has a three-point spread. Stafford has always performed better in domes with a passer rating of 88 compared to his career rating of 84.6. Every skill player for both the Lions and Saints is in play in this one.
Alex Smith at Ravens: Smith is really hard to get behind because he simply doesn’t fire off enough pass attempts to rack up big-time numbers. He’s attempted more than 30 passes in a game just once since Week 7. But the floor is extremely safe with Smith. He doesn’t turn the ball over at all and has rushed for at least 33 yards in five of the past six games. The Ravens are 30th in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA and have yielded the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season, though the unit has played better of late, and that even counts Russell Wilson’s five-touchdown performance at Baltimore last week. The Ravens’ cornerbacks just can’t cover. Baltimore has given up the fifth-most passing touchdowns (27) through 13 games.
Matt Ryan at Jaguars: Starting Ryan will take nerves of steel in season-long leagues, but this is a really underrated spot for the struggling veteran. Ryan has turned the ball over more times (18) than he’s thrown touchdowns (17). His 3.3 percent touchdown rate is well below his 4.5 percent mark for his career. The volume is still there for Ryan, however, as he’s averaged 39.5 attempts per game and tossed at least 31 passes in all but one contest. The Jaguars have been dreadful against the pass all year long. They’re 27th in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA, have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and picked off the fifth-fewest passes (7). Over their past three games, the Jaguars have allowed 276 yards, 2.67 touchdowns, and the third-most fantasy points to passers. Atlanta-Jacksonville sports the third-highest Vegas total of the week at 49 points. Playing on the road is a concern for Ryan, but the weather in Duval County is some of the best in the league. With everyone completely off Ryan of late, he makes for a really interesting DFS play.
Philip Rivers vs. Dolphins: Rivers’ receiving corps has been decimated by injuries, as Keenan Allen (kidney) landed on I.R. nearly two months back, Antonio Gates continues to play through a knee injury, and Stevie Johnson still isn’t practicing with a groin issue. The offensive line also hasn’t been fully healthy all year. All this has contributed to a trio of tough games against the Broncos and Chiefs (twice) the past four games. Both Denver and Kansas City field top-four pass defenses at Football Outsiders. Rivers’ lone good game this past month was a 300-yard, four-touchdown game at the Jaguars in Week 12. Like Jacksonville, Miami has also been terrible against the pass much of the season. The Dolphins have allowed the third-most touchdowns and seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Eli Manning just picked this unit apart for 337 yards and four touchdowns on Monday night. Now, the Dolphins are on a short week and traveling cross-country for a meaningless game. Who would blame them for not showing up? This one also gives us a chance to take a stroll down #NarrativeStreet. The Chargers could be playing their last game in San Diego, and Rivers has already come out and said it’s making him emotional. Expect a big performance.
Eli Manning vs. Panthers: Manning is coming off his best game of the season, a 27-of-31 for 337 yards and four touchdowns performance on Monday Night Football at the Dolphins. He won NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. It’s been an up-and-down year for Manning. On a short week against the league’s hottest team isn’t a spot to stream Manning in the fantasy semifinals. Carolina fields Football Outsiders’ No. 2 pass defense in DVOA and has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Over the past five weeks, the Panthers are third in fantasy points allowed to passers. Shutdown CB Josh Norman is expected to shadow Odell Beckham all day. According to NFL Network, Norman has allowed a combined 89 receiving yards to DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton, Dez Bryant, and Julio Jones this season. The Panthers lead the league with 21 interceptions and are just one of two teams to pick off more passes than it’s allowed touchdowns.
Marcus Mariota at Patriots: Mariota has been on fire of late, averaging 23.71 fantasy points over his past four games. Two of those came against Jacksonville, and his Week 14 output against the Jets was heavily aided by CATCHING a 41-yard touchdown. The Titans have the second-lowest implied team total of the week at 16.25 points as two-touchdown underdogs in Foxboro. The Patriots are 11th in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA. They’re eighth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks on the year and No. 1 overall since Week 10. Mariota doesn’t have the weapons to pick this defense apart. The rookie is nothing more than a mid-to-low QB2 option.
Ryan Fitzpatrick at Cowboys: Fitzpatrick has returned low-end QB1 numbers all season long and is playing the best football of his career in recent weeks. Weeks 12-14, Fitzpatrick averaged 300 yards per game with a total of nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. The 33-year-old free agent-to-be is playing for his next contract. The Jets are No. 3 in red-zone success, scoring a touchdown 68.18 percent of the time. But, playing quarterbacks against the Cowboys isn’t very advisable because Dallas plays so slow. Averaging 33.86 second per play on offense, the Cowboys are 32nd in pace. That, in turn, leads to fewer plays and possessions for the opposing offense. Fitzpatrick needs volume to produce numbers. The Cowboys have picked off the second-fewest passes, yet allowed the third-fewest touchdowns, and third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Ryan Tannehill at Chargers: Somebody had to fill this fourth spot on the list. Owners most likely haven’t been using Tannehill for two-plus months, and he’s not on the streaming radar this week despite a gravy matchup on paper. The Chargers are 29th in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA. But Tannehill is a lesser version of Alex Smith with a worse coaching staff. After committing to Lamar Miller Week 13 and the first half of Week 14, new OC Zac Taylor abandoned the run the second half against the Giants this past Monday night, despite Miller producing a higher YPC average than Tannehill’s YPA the past two games. Traveling cross-country on a short week, Tannehill isn’t an option. If the Dolphins were smart — which is debatable — Miller will be the offense.
Start of the Week: Jeremy Hill at 49ers: Hill has put up some total duds this season with fantasy performances of 0.1, 2.1, 2.5, 6.8, 5.2, 2, and 2.4 points. The 2.4 fantasy points effort came just last week against the Steelers. Hill has also had three multi-touchdown games, however. They’ve come few and far between, but with Andy Dalton (thumb) now sidelined, this makes for a perfect time to turn back to Hill in a run-heavy offense in A.J. McCarron’s first career start. Hill showed last season that he’s capable of carrying an offense when the Bengals leaned on him amid injuries. Hill had five 100-yard rushing games over the final nine weeks of his rookie campaign, averaging 19.1 carries per contest. Bengals-49ers has an extremely low 40.5-point Vegas total with the Bengals favored by 4.5. The 49ers are 30th in Football Outsiders’ run-defense DVOA. They’re allowing 4.45 YPC, the third-most rushing touchdowns, and most fantasy points to running backs on the season. Over their past four games, San Francisco has allowed 4.99 YPC and six rushing scores. Hill should see at least 15 carries on Sunday and has already showed he can convert at the goal line.
Charcandrick West at Ravens: West is only a play if Spencer Ware (ribs) misses the game. Ware carried the ball eight times last week before bowing out and admitting Monday that he was “bruised, swollen, and in pain.” He didn’t practice Wednesday. With Ware out of the picture, West would reassume lead-back duties and dominate touches like he did before Ware entered the picture in Week 11 when West got hurt. Weeks 7-10, after taking over for Jamaal Charles (knee), West averaged 22 carries and scored a touchdown in each game. The matchup on the road against the Ravens isn’t great, but the volume is so valuable at a position with very few true every-down running backs. The Ravens are ninth in Football Outsiders’ run-defense DVOA and have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. If Ware sits, West will almost certainly see 20 touches.
David Johnson at Eagles: Since taking over as Arizona’s lead back two weeks ago, Johnson has played 75 percent of the offensive snaps and handled 49-of-68 backfield touches. He’s totaled 243 yards and one touchdown in that span. Johnson could have had a bigger Week 14, but was vultured on a goal-line run by Stepfan Taylor. The Eagles are playing some of the sorriest defense in the league in recent weeks. Since Week 10, the Eagles have allowed the second-most rushing yards and a 5.02 YPC average to running backs. Over that same time, they’ve given up the fifth-most catches for the second-most yards and most touchdowns out of the backfield. Arizona-Philadelphia has an enticing 50.5-point over-under. The Cardinals will be a popular offense on DFS sites.
Denard Robinson vs. Falcons: T.J. Yeldon suffered a sprained MCL in the Week 14 win over the Colts and missed practice Wednesday. Yeldon said he expects to play Sunday, but the rookie said that earlier this season when he was injured before sitting out. Sprained MCLs are typically multi-week issues, so Yeldon’s season could be over. Robinson is fully expected to get the start and handle the majority of the carries after Toby Gerhart (groin) was lost to I.R. two weeks back. All that’s left behind Robinson is Vikings castoff Joe Banyard and former Patriots bruiser Jonas Gray. All three could get work, but it’s Robinson as the only one who has played an offensive snap for Jacksonville this season. In relief of Yeldon last week, Robinson rushed for 75 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. The matchup against Atlanta is even better. The Falcons have allowed the most rushing touchdowns (15), most receptions (94), and third-most fantasy points to running backs. Robinson is a dual-threat out of the backfield as a runner and pass-catcher. He has RB1 upside.
Theo Riddick at Saints: Riddick goes overlooked every single week. His 67 catches rank No. 1 among all running backs. Even if he doesn’t do much of anything as a runner, Riddick is overall RB20 in PPR formats through 14 weeks. He has a really safe floor as one of Matthew Stafford’s preferred options in the short area of the field. With Lions-Saints projected to be a shootout with the highest over-under of the week at 51 points, Riddick should see plenty of work. Playing on the fast turf of the SuperDome makes Riddick all the more attractive. He’s playing 40-60 percent of the offensive snaps and has caught at least five passes in four-consecutive games. The Saints have allowed the second-most fantasy points and most receiving touchdowns to running backs.
Darren McFadden vs. Jets: McFadden rushed for 111 yards last week, but he did it on nine carries. After averaging 24.4 carries per game Weeks 7-11, McFadden has seen his totes dip the past three games with just 33 total. Prior to running at a 12.3 YPC clip last week against the Packers, McFadden was averaging 3.47 YPC in Weeks 8-13. He looked worn down. With his touches being limited of late, and now going up against a Jets defense that has allowed just one rushing touchdown and the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs, McFadden is someone to avoid. The entire Cowboys offense is one to avoid at all costs most weeks because they play at the slowest pace.
Rashad Jennings vs. Panthers: Prior to carrying the ball 22 times this past Monday night against the Dolphins, Jennings’ season-high for carries was 13. He managed just 81 yards on those 22 totes, and coach Tom Coughlin refused to commit to riding Jennings moving forward. The Giants seem hung up on using all four of their running backs, Jennings, Andre Williams, Shane Vereen, and Orleans Darkwa. Williams has become a waste of space on the football field and should be cut in the offseason. Jennings will remain the starter, and even if the Giants do decide to ride him with 15-plus carries on Sunday, the matchup against Carolina isn’t one to attack. The Panthers are allowing 3.64 YPC and the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Only the Jets, Seahawks, and Cardinals have given up fewer rushing yards to running backs than the Panthers.
Isaiah Crowell at Seahawks: Crowell is coming off the best game of his two-year career after galloping for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries last week against the 49ers. That came on the heels of an impressive 11-carry, 62-yard effort against the Bengals the week before. Crowell has always had running talent dating back to his high school and college days, but he’s looked like a plodder at the NFL level. Plenty of owners ran to the waiver wire to scoop Crowell up, but the Week 15 spot couldn’t be much worse. The Browns are 14.5-point underdogs with a minuscule 14.25 implied team total. Game flow isn’t going to be in Crowell’s favor. Plus, the Seahawks allow just 3.48 YPC and the fewest fantasy points to running backs. Leave Crowell on the bench.
Ronnie Hillman at Steelers: With C.J. Anderson (ankle) out last week, Hillman blew an opportunity to take a bigger part of this backfield. He managed just 20 yards on 12 carries against the Raiders. Anderson missed practice again Wednesday, but coach Gary Kubiak said he expects Anderson back Sunday. He should reassume lead-back duties, leaving Hillman as the 1B to Anderson’s 1A. Neither will be a strong play against a Pittsburgh run defense that is seventh in Football Outsiders’ DVOA and has allowed the second-fewest touchdowns and third-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Don’t expect Hillman to catch seven passes again like last week.
Start of the Week: Jeremy Maclin at Ravens: Maclin has been on a tear of late, and his targets are way up the past three weeks compared to the previous four games. Over the last three games, Maclin has seen target totals of 11, 10, and nine, and turned them into receiving lines of 9-160-1, 9-95-2, and 6-68. He’s reemerged as the No. 1 option for Alex Smith after Travis Kelce and Charcandrick West had passed Maclin for looks. The Ravens’ struggles against opposing receivers are well documented. Baltimore is 30th in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA and has allowed the most touchdowns and fantasy points to receivers. Maclin should run routes at all three of slot CB Lardarius Webb and outside CBs Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright. All three have negative coverage grades at Pro Football Focus. Whereas Maclin is typically a solid WR2/3, there’s WR1 upside in this one, even if the Chiefs don’t throw the ball with heavy volume.
Tyler Lockett vs. Browns: The electric rookie has started three of the past five games at receiver and played 68.8 percent of the snaps in that span. Over the Seahawks’ past four games, they’ve ran on average 71.5 offensive plays. The Texans lead the league in plays per game on the season with a 70.46 mark. Since Jimmy Graham (knee) went down, Lockett has seen his offensive role expand. He’s drawn at least five targets in 3-of-4 games and posted back-to-back 7-90 and 6-104-2 receiving lines with Russell Wilson playing out of his mind. Cleveland has been getting flamed by receivers all season, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to the position, and the fourth-most since Week 10. The Seahawks have the second-highest implied team total of Week 15 at 28.75 points. They’re heavy 14.5-point favorites over the lowly Browns.
Michael Floyd at Eagles: Larry Fitzgerald has the toughest matchup of the Cardinals’ receivers on Sunday. He’s going to run the majority of his routes at FS/slot CB Malcolm Jenkins, while Floyd and John Brown get to work the outside against burn victim CBs Byron Maxwell and Eric Rowe. Both Floyd and Brown are really strong plays, and Floyd is on fire. He’s seen at least eight targets in 5-of-7 games and scored a touchdown or gone over 100 yards in 6-of-7. Floyd has evolved into a must-start at this stage of the year. The Eagles have allowed the second-most touchdowns and fantasy points to receivers through 13 games. And since Week 10, no team has surrendered more touchdowns to wideouts. After battling a hamstring injury a couple weeks back, Floyd is no longer on the Cardinals’ injury report.
Marvin Jones at 49ers: Jones is extremely hit-or-miss. He hasn’t had a 100-yard game yet in 2015 and seen five or fewer targets six times, while seeing seven or more in five games. But Tyler Eifert suffered a concussion last week and isn’t expected to play Sunday after missing practice Wednesday. That elevates Jones into the No. 2 pass-game option behind A.J. Green. Jones, at 6’2/200, has also shown he can score touchdowns in the red zone. This 49ers defense has gone in the tank. They don’t play the run or the pass well, coming in 28th against the pass in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. Only four teams have allowed more yards to receivers. Jones and Green switch sides enough that they’ll both see plenty of outside CBs Tramaine Brock and Kenneth Acker, but Jones should see the most of Acker. Brock is Pro Football Focus’ No. 28 cover corner out of 116 qualifiers, and Acker comes in at 68th. Jones should see a bump in targets in a close game.
Malcom Floyd vs. Dolphins: The Chargers are all sorts of banged up at receiver and tight end. Keenan Allen (kidney) is on I.R., Stevie Johnson (groin) missed Week 14 and didn’t practice Wednesday, and Dontrelle Inman missed Week 14 with a neck strain. Inman should be back Sunday after practicing in full Wednesday. If Johnson sits, it’ll be Floyd, Inman, and Javontee Herndon at receiver. Last week, Floyd led the Chargers in targets with nine in a game they scored just three points against a tough Chiefs defense at Arrowhead. The Chargers return home, and this is expected to be Floyd’s final home game. He’s said he’s retiring at the end of the season after spending all 11 years of his career with the Bolts. It’s a safe bet that Philip Rivers will be trying to get the ball to his longtime teammate. The Dolphins are on a short week, traveling cross-country, and have been dreadful against receivers all year. Only three teams have allowed more touchdowns to the position.
T.Y. Hilton vs. Texans: Hilton has alternated a couple duds with a pair of strong performances since Matt Hasselbeck again took over for Andrew Luck. He’s seen more than six targets in just 1-of-4 games since Luck got hurt for the second time. Hilton is coming off a 4-132 game against the Jaguars’ bottom-barrel pass defense, but Hasselbeck really doesn’t have the arm strength to push the ball downfield to speedster Hilton. And if Hasselbeck (rib, arm) somehow isn’t ready to make the start, Hilton would be downgraded even more with Charlie Whitehurst. Top Texans CB Johnathan Joseph has been Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 cover corner since Week 10, breaking up five passes, picking off one, and not allowing a touchdown. Hilton projects to see Joseph quite a bit Sunday. On the season, the Texans have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to receivers.
Jordan Matthews vs. Cardinals: The Eagles are an attractive offense for fantasy purposes because they run so many plays, but the sum is greater than its parts, and even the sum hasn’t been good in 2015. Matthews hurt his back last week and admitted Tuesday he wouldn’t have been able to play if the game was that day. He returned to a limited practice Wednesday, putting him on track to suit up Sunday night, but Matthews gets a date with Cardinals elite slot CB Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger is Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 overall cover corner this season, behind only Josh Norman and Chris Harris. Arizona-Philadelphia has a 50.5-point Vegas total, but trying to figure out which Eagles are going to contribute to their 23.5-point team total is total guesswork.
Brandon LaFell vs. Titans: Brandon LaFell is simply a bad football player. His 2014 season stands to likely be an outlier and aberration. LaFell has been brutal since coming off reserve/PUP in Week 7, dropping a whopping 9-of-59 targets and catching just 30 of them. He’s seen at least eight targets in three-straight games, which looks nice, but LaFell is one of those Rueben Randle-type players who does very little with a lot. He hasn’t topped 36 yards in any of the previous three games. The Titans are by no means an imposing matchup as a whole, but LaFell projects to see the most of No. 1 CB Perrish Cox, the only Titans corner with a positive coverage grade at Pro Football Focus.
Stefon Diggs vs. Bears: Diggs has disappeared the past six games after coming on like gangbusters his first four games. The rookie hasn’t scored since Week 8, and has topped 46 yards receiving just once in the same timeframe. Teddy Bridgewater surprised us all Week 14 by throwing for 335 yards on the road at the Cardinals, but Diggs wasn’t a factor in that one, amassing just two catches for 12 yards. After a rough start to the season, Bears CBs Kyle Fuller and Tracy Porter have righted the ship and are playing well above-average pass defense for an underrated Chicago unit. Since Week 10, only the Broncos have allowed fewer fantasy points to receivers than the Bears.
Start of the Week: Jacob Tamme at Jaguars: The thought when Leonard Hankerson went down with a season-ending hamstring injury following Week 11 was that Tamme would emerge as a legitimate TE1, soaking up targets behind Julio Jones. It hasn’t come to fruition, as Tamme has seen just 14 total targets the past three games. He hasn’t scored a touchdown and has back-to-back 26-yard efforts in that span. Sunday is a strong spot for the Falcons’ passing game, particularly Tamme. The Jaguars have been terrible against tight ends all year, allowing the second-most yards, fifth-most touchdowns, and fourth-most fantasy points to the position. Since Week 10, Jacksonville has been hemorrhaging points to tight ends, giving up the most catches, second-most yards, most yards, and most fantasy points to tight ends. Over the past five games, opposing tight ends are averaging a weekly receiving line of 8.2-86.8-1.2 against the Jaguars. Fire up Tamme as a legit TE1.
Heath Miller vs. Broncos: Miller returned from his one-week absence to catch all 10 of his targets for 66 yards against the Bengals last Sunday. He’s seen at least six targets in five-straight games, and that streak will very likely continue against Denver. Much like Jacksonville, the Broncos have been bleeding points to tight ends since Week 10. Over that span, the Broncos have allowed the second-most catches for the most yards and third-most fantasy points to tight ends. Denver’s cornerback trio is so strong that quarterbacks have been looking more for their tight end in the middle of the field as a means of moving the football downfield. This is a strong spot for Miller.
Ben Watson vs. Lions: After a down couple of weeks, Watson put up a solid 7-70 receiving line on nine targets against the Bucs last Sunday. He’s been one of Drew Brees’ go-to targets all season, and that will continue on Monday night. The Lions have allowed the second-most touchdown catches to tight ends on the year and four over the past five games. Losing WLB DeAndre Levy (hip) really hurt the Lions’ defense in the middle of the field, particularly in coverage.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Bears: With Stefon Diggs taking a backseat for targets in the Vikings’ pass game in recent weeks, it’s allowed Rudolph to see his role expand. The targets that were once going to Diggs seem to now be going to the tight end. Over the past four games, Rudolph has averaged 6.75 targets after seeing two in four-straight games from Weeks 7-10. Rudolph has found pay dirt four times on the season. Since Week 10, the Bears have allowed the third-most catches for the fourth-most yards to tight ends. You’re hoping for a tight end from Rudolph, but there are worse options.
Travis Kelce at Ravens: Kelce has been a prominent figure in the “starts” section of this column much of the year. Of late, it hasn’t panned out, and it’s time to jump ship during the fantasy semifinals. Kelce has seen seven total targets the past two games, taking a backseat to Jeremy Maclin, even in back-to-back strong matchups for Kelce against the Raiders and Chargers. Kelce now gets the opposite side of the spectrum, as the Ravens have surrendered the third-fewest catches, second-fewest touchdowns, and second-fewest fantasy points to the tight end position. Naturally, this would be a spot where Kelce burns fantasy owners and goes bonkers. Don’t bet money on it.
Jason Witten vs. Jets: Witten has had a solid catch-yards floor all season. He’s been a weekly lock for 4-5 catches for about 40 yards, but the veteran hasn’t scored since Week 1. In the fantasy semifinals, owners need big catch-yards numbers and/or a touchdown from the tight end spot. Witten provides neither and gets a horrible matchup. The Jets are third in fantasy points allowed to tight ends on the season and one of three teams to not allow a touchdown to the position since Week 10. Cut Witten loose if you’re still hanging onto him and find some better upside.
Ryan Griffin at Colts: Since returning to the lineup in Week 10, Griffin has emerged as one of the top targets in the Texans’ passing game. He’s seen at least five targets in 4-of-5 games and scored a touchdown in two of the past three. However, Griffin has also battled drops and gets a tough on-paper matchup. Since Week 10, the Colts have allowed just 17 catches for 188 yards to opposing tight ends. This sets up as a really nice bounce-back spot for DeAndre Hopkins.