Fantasy Football: sit or start?

Here we are.

After a long, tumultuous, injury-laden, suspension-filled season, here we are.  Time to put another year behind us.  Your championship game is either this week or within the next two.  If you made it, good job and good luck.  If you didn’t, there’s always next year, right?

I’ve offered up a number of different strategies and ideas throughout the year – everything from how to deal with injuries, what determines a playoff team and a bunch of good stuff in between.

But let’s be honest, there’s not much else to be said during championship week.  I’ll give you my starts and “sits,” which are more “tempered expectations” than anything else.  Otherwise, you don’t need any more tips or tidbits or motivational speeches – because we don’t need a ton of motivation to make a few clicks of the mouse, I hope.

Instead, let me leave you with something a little unconventional.  I ask you to bear with me for just a second.

So we are in eye of the hurricane we call “the holiday season.”  Oddly enough, instead of being merry and celebratory during this time, we seem to have lots of stress and problems.  I could point you to any Black Friday riot.  Oops, I meant Black Friday sale.

Anyway, we should take a step back this year and realize how truly blessed we are.

We play fantasy football for fun.  That’s it.  Have fun with it.  If you have some money invested, oh well, money is material.  The good times are invaluable.  Go ahead and yell at the television if your top wide receiver only has two catches for 11 yards – I’m looking at you, Demaryius Thomas – but don’t let it ruin your holidays.  Enjoy some quality R&R.  Spend as much time with loved ones as you can because you just never know.

And so I leave you with one more tangent for the year.  Eric Berry, safety for the Kansas City Chiefs, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma this week. Berry was playing for an NFL team just a few weeks ago and now he is fighting cancer two weeks before Christmas.

The Chiefs’ organization is selling T-shirts with the logo “Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Berry.”  They are only $20, and all the funds go toward the Eric Berry Foundation.  I plan on purchasing one from the NFL apparel website.  And if one person who reads this does the same?  Well then, this whole year was a success for me.

Let’s get to it:

Drew Brees and the Saints were not very good last week.  Actually, they were pitiful.  Anytime you lose to a team with only three victories in a must-win game is going to sting pretty bad.  But Brees is still fourth in terms of overall points this year and he takes on a Bears team that is, well, not good.  You drafted Brees early for a reason; don’t sit him for the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick or Kyle Orton.

Now we’ll flip to the other side of the ball and talk about Jay Cutler and the Bears.  What a disappointing season for this team. Yet Cutler is the ninth- best fantasy QB and takes on an equally-bad Saints’ defense.  I think he’s the best option from those guys who aren’t great but aren’t bad, either.

If I told you at the beginning of the year that one Ravens’ running back would be seventh in scoring, average 13.2 points and put up no less than six points in every game, would you have guessed Justin Forsett?

I wouldn’t have.  But he’s done just that.  Forsett is surely foaming at the mouth at the thought of taking on Jacksonville, which give up the third most points to RBs.

Another surprise this season is Joique Bell of the Lions.  This workhorse back has averaged 12.5 points per game since Week 6.  Who did he face that week?  The Vikings.  Who does he face this week?  The Vikings.

Odell Beckham Jr. is my favorite wideout from this draft class.  It wasn’t just the amazing one-handed catch by the Giants’ rookie that made him, but also his point average since Week 5 (10.8).

Even against great defenses, he manages to produce.  Leave him in your lineup with confidence.

Want a sneaky play this week?  How about Charles Johnson of the Minnesota Vikings.  Let me rattle off a few facts about this guy: He’s averaging 11 points the past three weeks.  He’s Teddy Bridgewater’s go-to guy.  And his quarterback has completed 71 percent of his passes the past two weeks.  Johnson is definitely worthy of a FLEX spot.

On paper, Martellus Bennett doesn’t have a great matchup against the Saints.  They’ve given up the second fewest points to opposing TEs.

However, in the past four weeks, the Saints have given up 174 yards and three touchdowns to tight ends.  In a down year for tight end production, you take what you can get.

And a quick list of guys who could underperform:

Peyton Manning – Broncos are as run-heavy as they’ve been in a while against a bad run defense.  Pass attempts will be low for Peyton.

DeMarco Murray – has to recover from 41 touches last week against a team that held him to 73 yards the last time they met.

Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders – my guess is, one of them has a huge game and the other one doesn’t.  Which one has which kind of game?  I’ll leave that up to you.

Jordan Reed – in a year where underperforming is the norm for tight ends, Reed might epitomize just that with a zero-point game this week.


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