Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield

Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

Thomason: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em For Week 16

Baker Mayfield has a quality matchup, while Jared Goff could have trouble on the horizon.

Jack Thomason
December 19, 2018 - 12:42 pm

(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. Good luck in your championship game!

Quarterback

START – Baker Mayfield, Browns (vs. Bengals) Since the firings of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, Baker Mayfield has taken off in terms of offensive output. He has helped keep the Browns mathematically alive for the playoffs (though they would need a ton of help to sneak in), and a matchup against the Bengals should bring offensive goodness. The Bengals rank 27th in 4for4's schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to quarterbacks, and the Browns are 8.5-point home favorites with a team total of 26.5 points. I'd  feel really comfortable with Mayfield as my QB1 in a title game.

SIT – Jared Goff, Rams (at Cardinals) In a spot most thought Goff would rebound, he didn't last week. He made multiple mistakes in a loss to the Eagles, from turnovers to missed throws, something we haven't seen from Goff when he's playing at home. Now he travels to Arizona to play a defense that's much better defending the pass (11th in Football Outsiders' DVOA) than the run (24th in run DVOA). Goff is good DFS play as many will be off of him this week, but trusting him in season-long leagues may be a tough pill to swallow in your championship matchup. He's been notoriously worse on the road than when he plays at home. 

Running back

START – Derrick Henry, Titans (vs. Redskins) Who's this guy and where has he been all year? That's all fantasy owners sitting outside of the playoffs can ask themselves. If you're lucky enough to have Henry and be in the playoffs, you're likely in the finals and starting him again. He's amassed more than 400 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the last two weeks. Next up? Washington's 29th-ranked run defense by DVOA. The Titans are at home and are 10.5-point favorites. Fire up Henry.

SIT – Tevin Coleman, Falcons (at Panthers) This is probably a tough one for owners who had Coleman starting last week, but don't forget about the number of clunkers Coleman has had this year. The Falcons are on the road to face a Panther team trying to rebound from six straight losses, and rush defense isn't their issue. Carolina ranks 13th in run DVOA and fourth in aFPA to running backs, while Atlanta struggles away from home. The Falcons are 1-5 on the road, where they average a meager 20 points per game.

Receiver

START – Alshon Jeffery, Eagles (vs. Texans) Does Nick Foles have more miracles in him? He did lead the Eagles to victory against the Rams on Sunday in a game they were expected to lose by two touchdowns. Jeffery was a big part of the offensive production, hauling in eight passes for 160 yards. This week should feature more of the same, as the Texans struggle to cover outside receivers, particularly No. 1 receivers. They rank 31st in pass DVOA to No. 1 receivers and 30th in aFPA, leaving Jeffery as a nice play with Foles under center. 

SIT – Josh Gordon, Patriots (vs. Bills) Gordon has seen more than five targets just once in the last four weeks and has two games with three targets or fewer. He hasn't been as involved in the offense since Rob Gronkowski's return, and the Bills aren't generous to opposing receivers. They rank fourth in pass DVOA and eighth in aFPA to receivers. James White and Julian Edelman will do the majority of the receiving work in this one.

Tight end

START – Austin Hooper, Falcons (at Panthers) While Hooper didn't do anyone favors last week, his one target and catch-less performance was an aberration. In his last outing against the Panthers, he caught all five balls thrown his way for 59 yards and a score. Carolina is vulnerable in the middle of the field, and tight ends have taken advantage. The Panthers defense ranks 27th and 28th in aFPA and DVOA, respectively, to tight ends. 

SIT – Jimmy Graham, Packers (at Jets) In the last eight games, Graham has caught three or fewer balls six times. On three of those occasions, he was held to one catch. He's hit the 50-yard mark just twice in the past eight games and has been held to 21 or fewer yards four times. The Jets aren't an easy matchup for tight ends, as they're ranked 18th in pass DVOA and 10th in aFPA to the position, but Graham has provided little ceiling and no floor for fantasy owners this year. Look elsewhere.

Other starts: Dak Prescott (vs. Buccaneers), Nick Chubb (vs. Bengals), Julian Edelman (vs. Bills) and Evan Engram (at Colts).

Other sits: Jameis Winston (at Cowboys), Matt Breida (vs. Bears), Mike Williams (vs. Ravens) and Vernon Davis (at Titans).

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