Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins

Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Thomason: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em For Week 15

Kirk Cousins has a quality matchup, while Jameis Winston could have trouble on the horizon.

Jack Thomason
December 13, 2018 - 11:04 am

(670 The Score) "Sit ‘Em, Start ‘Em" is a breakdown of some of the best and worst fantasy football matchups to help you navigate setting your lineups for the week.

My goal with this article is to provide you with a player to start who may not be the most obvious of starts and to share a player to sit who you normally wouldn't consider shying away from regardless of matchup.

Quarterback

START – Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. Dolphins) A lot of people will be down on Cousins after his abysmal performance in Seattle, but he'll face a much softer defense in Miami. He also returns home, where the Vikings are slated to score 26.5 points. Only four teams have a higher implied team total this week. Dolphins top cornerback Xavien Howard missed last week with a hamstring injury and still isn't practicing as of Wednesday. The Dolphins rank 32nd in 4for4's schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to quarterbacks and 26th in pass DVOA from Football Outsiders. Look for a rebound from Cousins and the Vikings' offense as they attempt to get on track.

SIT – Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (at Ravens) Tampa Bay is on the road and projected to be one of the lowest-scoring teams of the week at 18.5 points. The Buccaneers don't have much of a running game with Peyton Barber, and the Ravens have one of the best pass defenses in the league. The rank fifth in aFPA to quarterbacks, fourth in pass DVOA and fifth in adjusted sack rate. Tampa Bay is an eight-point underdog that will likely be throwing the ball a lot while playing catch up, which should lead to sacks and turnovers. Winston has been a solid fantasy QB1 since taking back over for Ryan Fitzpatrick, but this isn't a week I want to play him. 

Running back

START – Doug Martin, Raiders (at Bengals) Don't look now, but the Raiders have been putting up a solid fight of late and are coming off of a huge upset over the Steelers. While the Raiders will be traveling across the country for an early kickoff -- which is never a positive -- Martin has seen volume and has a touchdown in three straight games. The spread is 2.5 points in favor of the Bengals, a close enough line that the script should favor Martin's volume once again. The Bengals also rank 32nd in aFPA and 28th in run DVOA.

SIT – Aaron Jones, Packers (at Bears) This isn't what you're used to seeing, but the Bears are six-point home favorites and the Packers have a paltry 19.5-point team total. That doesn't bode well for Jones, who has seen his snaps decrease over the last two weeks for no good reason. He did have 20 touches to Jamaal Williams' four touches this past Sunday, but the Bears are as stout as they come defensively. We just saw one of the league's best offenses (Rams) and best players (Todd Gurley) get shut down and held to six points. You're likely starting Jones because you have few options that are better, but be aware of the Bears' top-ranked DVOA and fifth-ranked aFPA run defense. 

Receiver

START – Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (at 49ers) Lockett has taken over as the primary receiver for the Seahawks given Doug Baldwin's injuries, and he's getting open consistently. He's also an explosive playmaker who can score on any play. The 49ers are a better run defense (14th in DVOA) than they are pass defense (25th in DVOA), which means the Seahawks will likely take their shots in the passing game, even if they won't abandon their run-first approach. Lockett had just two touches when these teams met two weeks ago, but those touches went for 62 yards and a score.

SIT – Kenny Golladay, Lions (at Bills) Many thought after Golden Tate's trade and Marvin Jones' injury that we would see the Golladay explosion, but it hasn't happened. Now Detroit will travel to Buffalo after playing in Arizona last week, and Golladay will be battling Tre'Davious White, who captains the league's best pass defense. After Golloday's five-yard outing against Patrick Peterson last week, it's safe to expect more of the same for him this week.

Tight end

START – Cameron Brate, Buccaneers (at Ravens) Baltimore is the sixth-worst team when looking at aFPA to tight ends, and its DVOA ranking isn't much better (27th). Brate hasn't lit the world on fire since O.J. Howard's season-ending injury. He's had just one game with more than four targets and hasn't topped 36 yards all year, but he does have three touchdowns in his last three games, and the way to attack the Ravens is in the middle of the field. You could do worse than Brate this week. 

SIT – Ian Thomas, Panthers (vs. Saints) I love the way Thomas has filled in for Greg Olsen. He's nabbed 14 of 16 targets for 123 yards over his last two games, but he'll face a stiff test against New Orleans this week. The Saints rank third in aFPA and seventh in pass DVOA to tight ends, and even though Brate happened to catch two touchdowns last week, they were also his only two receptions of the game. 

Other starts: Jared Goff (vs. Eagles), Kenneth Dixon (vs. Buccaneers), Dante Pettis (vs. Seahawks) and Vance McDonald (vs. Patriots).

Other sits: Dak Prescott (at Colts), Frank Gore/Kenyan Drake (at Vikings), Larry Fitzgerald (at falcons) and Jimmy Graham (at Bears).

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.​