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Week 14’s Toughest Start/Sit Decisions: Derrius Guice, Courtland Sutton, John Brown

Dec 6, 2019

Every week fantasy football owners are confronted with difficult lineup questions. Who should you start, and who should you sit? That’s what many are left asking, often with little help. It’s good you landed here, as we can help each week using our Who Should I Start tool. Simply type in several players that you are deciding between per position or for your flex and we will let you know who the experts would start and who they would sit.

Here’s a look at the toughest start and sit decisions of the week along with our expert’s advice.

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Start Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN) or Tom Brady (QB – NE)?
77% of Experts Would Start Tannehill

Since becoming the starter for the Titans in Week 7, Tannehill is the No. 5 quarterback in points per game, behind only Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, and Aaron Rodgers. He is coming off his worst game as the starter, though it still netted almost 14 fantasy points. The Raiders are the perfect team for him to play and get back on track. Of the last nine quarterbacks they’ve played, seven of them have finished inside the top-16 quarterbacks, including five of them finishing top-six. They’ve been a funnel defense, allowing minimal production on the ground, but a sky-high 8.21 yards per attempt through the air (4th-highest), including a 6.70 percent touchdown-rate (2nd-highest). Quarterbacks have averaged just 33.6 attempts per game against them, though that’s been enough to allow the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. This almost describes what Tannehill has done as the starter, as he’s averaged 9.1 yards per attempt and thrown a touchdown on 6.82 percent of his attempts. We’ve also seen three quarterbacks rush for a touchdown, and two completely separate quarterbacks rush for 46-plus yards. Tannehill belongs in the low-end QB1 conversation this week.

Dating back to Week 6, Brady has completed just 59.9 percent of his passes while averaging just 6.2 yards per attempt with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. That’s over a span of seven games. By comparison, Mitch Trubisky has completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 6.3 yards per attempt with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions over his last seven games. Both have not been particularly good. But will Brady turn it on for this matchup against the Chiefs? He played against them twice last year, throwing for 340-plus yards in each game but also throwing just one touchdown in each game. The matchup against Kansas City hasn’t been as great as some make it out to be every week, as they’ve held 7-of-12 quarterbacks to less than 6.9 yards per attempt, while allowing 18 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions over 12 games. That’s the definition of an average matchup, though quarterback rushing totals have propped-up the overall numbers. The Chiefs have pressured the opposing quarterback at least 40 percent of the time in four of their last six games, which is what kills Brady, as he’s the third-worst passer in the league when under pressure, behind only Jameis Winston and Mason Rudolph. Brady looks like nothing more than a middling QB2 in this matchup.

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Start Devin Singletary (RB – BUF) or Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC)?
63% of Experts Would Start Ekeler

Over the last five weeks, we’ve watched Singletary average 17.8 touches per game, which is borderline workhorse territory. He’s also seen four-plus targets in four of the last six games, which makes him game script-proof, which is important heading into a matchup with the Ravens, who are one of the hottest teams in football. Over their last seven games, the Ravens have allowed just 96 points to their opponents, which amounts to just 13.7 points per game. No team has scored more than 20 points, which essentially means they’re capped at two touchdowns. The Bills 21.4 points per game ranks in the bottom half of the league. After allowing Raheem Mostert 146 yards and a touchdown last week, the Ravens have allowed four top-12 performances on the year to running backs. It is worth noting that any running back who’s totaled more than 10 touches against them has finished as a top-24 option, though there’s been just seven of them, so the sample size is rather small. The issue has been touches, as running backs have averaged 21.6 per game against them, which is one of the lowest marks in the league. Even if Singletary gets 70 percent of them, that’d amount to just 15 for him. The Ravens have allowed just 21 total touchdowns this year, with 11 of them being of the rushing variety, though Singletary may not be getting the goal-line touches. Of the 16 carries available inside the five-yard-line, Frank Gore has 10 of them, Josh Allen has four of them, and Singletary has two. Given Singletary’s increased role over the last month, he must be started as an RB2, though he’s on the low-end of that conversation this week with how difficult touches have been to come across against the Ravens.

The Jaguars have allowed the sixth-fewest points through the air to running backs, which is where Ekeler has been doing his damage as of late. He still deserves middling RB3 consideration, but his ceiling is likely a bit lower in this game.

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Start Derrius Guice (RB – WAS) or James White (RB – NE)?
70% of Experts Would Start Guice

The duo of Peterson/Guice combined for 23 carries, 228 yards, and three touchdowns on the ground last week. It was the Panthers run defense that’s now allowed 19 rushing touchdowns on the year, but still, what a day. The game script is likely to go quite a bit different in this game, as the Packers are nearly two-touchdown favorites. The projected game script would seem to favor Thompson, who just returned last week and tied a team-high playing 23 snaps. You read that correctly. He played 23 snaps, Peterson played 23 snaps, and Guice played 19 snaps. None of those are enough to produce consistently. The Packers have been a run defense to target in matchups, as they’ve allowed 4.92 yards per carry and 13 rushing touchdowns through 12 games, but the lack of plays out of the Redskins will drown out the potential. They average just 54.1 plays per game, which is easily a league-low, while the Packers opponents average just 62.2 per game, which is the 12th lowest mark in the league. It would’ve been nice to see Guice’s role grow to close out the season, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, and with game script being such a big concern, he can’t be trusted as anything more than a low-end RB3, though he’s used a tad more in the passing game than Peterson.

The Chiefs struggle mightily against the run but don’t discriminate against pass-catching running backs, either, as the 177.3 PPR points they’ve allowed through the air ranks as the third-most in the league. Given Brady’s struggles, White should be heavily involved, and should be in lineups as a low-end RB2.

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Start Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN) or Robert Woods (WR – LAR)?
67% of Experts Would Start Sutton

He’s playing like a miniature Calvin Johnson this year, and I don’t throw that name around to just anyone. If you have the chance, go look up his targets on NFL Game Pass, YouTube, or something. He’s getting it done with every quarterback who comes under center. He saw just five targets against the Chargers, which is the most concerning part, as it was just the second time all season he’s seen less than seven targets. It was the first game with Lock under center, so hopefully it was just him checking down a bit more in a tough spot against the Chargers defense. The Texans secondary is not one to fear, though it’s worth noting how they treated Julian Edelman for the first three quarters last week when they double-teamed him all over the field. That’s the only concern for Sutton, though it’s not enough to consider sitting him against a team that’s allowed 12 top-24 performances to wide receivers. The Giants, Bucs, and Vikings are the only teams to allow more 15-plus point receivers. Sutton should be locked-in as a WR2 who may have some ups and downs due to quarterback play, but he’s overcome them time-and-time again. Sutton is one of just three receivers (Michael Thomas, DeVante Parker) who’ve totaled at least 55 yards in 10-of-12 games.

Holy targets, Batman! Woods saw 19 targets in Week 13, which was the second time this year he caught 13 passes. He’s now up to 835 yards on the season, though he’s still without a receiving touchdown. That’s got to even out at some point. He’s going to see Shaquill Griffin the most, which is a problem, as he’s their top cornerback. He was the one who allowed the touchdown to Laquon Treadwell last week, but that was based on missed communication in their zone coverage. In their first meeting, Woods was held to just five catches for 48 yards on nine targets. This matchup better suits Kupp and Cooks, though Woods’ target share is too hard to pass up as a middling WR3.

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Start Alshon Jeffery (WR – PHI) or John Brown (WR – BUF)?
66% of Experts Would Start Brown

So, apparently his ankle is just fine, eh? Jeffery has seen at least five targets in every game but has seen eight-plus targets in five of the last seven games. With the Giants run defense playing as well as they are, the Giants have allowed six top-24 receivers in their last three games. Demaryius Thomas, Jamison Crowder, Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Davante Adams, and Allen Lazard were the ones to get there, so it’s not like they were playing Michael Thomas and Julio Jones in each of those games. There have been 12 receivers who’ve seen eight-plus targets against them, and Randall Cobb was the only one who failed to score at least 13.7 PPR points (he scored 9.5, so it wasn’t a complete waste). The Giants have kind of given up the whole Janoris Jenkins shadow bit, as he’s just not a dominant player anymore. If the Eagles were wise, they’d line Jeffery up on the left side of the formation much more often to get him matched-up with DeAndre Baker, who’s allowed a 135.3 rating in his coverage this year. Jeffery should be in lineups as a low-end WR2 for this contest and has some upside.

After totaling at least 51 yards in each of the first 10 games, Brown has totaled just 39 and 26 yards over the last two weeks. Fortunately, for his owners, he has caught one touchdown and thrown for another touchdown, keeping his fantasy numbers respectable. He may need to rely on touchdowns against his former team this week, too. You’d have to go back to Week 9 to find the last time a receiver scored more than 15 PPR points against the Ravens, and even then, it was Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu, who both saw at least 11 targets. Brown has seen double-digit targets in four different games this year, so that’s not out of question or anything. There have been just two receivers to finish in WR1 territory against them, and both were slot-heavy receivers (Jarvis Landry, Mohamed Sanu). Brown is heading into his third straight tough matchup and though touchdowns have carried him through, you wonder if that’ll be the case against the Ravens, who’ve allowed just seven wide receiver touchdowns all year. Trot him out there as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 and hope for the best.

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Start Ryan Griffin (TE – NYJ) or Dallas Goedert (TE – PHI)?
74% of Experts Would Start Goedert

He’s been a big part of this offense over the last six weeks, totaling 28 targets, 24 receptions, 266 yards, and four touchdowns. His targets have been a bit volatile, which isn’t the best thing for a streamer, though this is a matchup he’s crushed before. In fact, his season-high was eight targets, and it came against the Dolphins. While the stat sheet says 6/50/0, it should read 7/53/1, as he had a touchdown that was overturned that really shouldn’t have been. The Dolphins have moved Eric Rowe from cornerback to safety and it’s worked out well, as he’s allowed just 13-of-28 passing for 118 yards at safety. Knowing that Darnold has been hit-or-miss, the Jets have been hit-or-miss, and Griffin’s targets have been hit-or-miss, you have a high-variance streamer. He should be in the low-end TE1/high-end TE2 conversation but understand you’re playing with fire.

There were some question marks surrounding Ertz’s hamstring last week, but he did play a full complement of snaps, so we must assume he’s okay. He was out-targeted and out-produced by Goedert, though. The Giants were without safety Jabril Peppers last week, though the Packers only targeted their tight ends four times, which resulted in two catches for 17 yards and a touchdown. On the year, they have allowed the third-fewest points to the tight end position, though they have only faced an average of 5.0 targets per week. Let’s be clear: That won’t happen this week. The Eagles duo has averaged 13.3 targets per game. On a per-play basis, the Giants have allowed 1.75 PPR points per target, which is actually above the league average. Both of these tight ends should be considered must-plays in this matchup with Ertz as a high-end TE1 and Goedert as a middling TE1.

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