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Week 16’s Toughest Start/Sit Decisions: Terry McLaurin, Breshad Perriman, Raheem Mostert

Dec 20, 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 Kyler Murray (QB – ARI) or Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN)?
79% of Experts Would Start Tannehill

Murray
He took a backseat to the Drake show last week, but there were positive takeaways for Murray. For the first time in a few weeks, he used his mobility extremely well which puts the hamstring injury seemingly behind us. He also averaged 8.8 yards per attempt, his third-highest mark of the season. Now he heads into a matchup that he struggled in a bit earlier this year against the Seahawks. They’re far from an elite defense at this point in time, and they just found out they’ll be without safety Quandre Diggs for this game. They’ve also been missing Jadeveon Clowney off and on throughout the year, and Bobby Wagner is dealing with an ankle injury, so there’s certainly injuries to pay attention to as the week goes on. Speaking of rushing, the Seahawks have allowed more yards per carry (6.09) to quarterbacks than any other team in the league, and though Murray only totaled 27 yards on the ground the last time they played, he did score a rushing touchdown. Quarterbacks are also averaging 39.1 pass attempts per game against the Seahawks, which has allowed seven different quarterbacks to throw for 276 or more yards, but it’s important to note that Kingsbury has dialed back Murray’s pass attempts, as he’s thrown the ball 34 times or less in nine of the last 11 games they’ve played. With the Seahawks allowing a pedestrian 7.23 yards per attempt and paltry 3.29 percent touchdown-rate, it’s not ideal for Murray through the air. If he’s going to post QB1 numbers in this game, it’ll likely be with his legs. Lamar Jackson was the only quarterback to finish better than QB9 against them, so Murray should be considered just a low-end QB1 here.

Tannehill
Since taking over as the starter in Week 7, Tannehill has been fantasy football’s fourth-highest scoring quarterback on a points per game basis, behind only Lamar Jackson, Jameis Winston, and Drew Brees. There’s been just one game he’s scored less than 18.9 fantasy points, though he still threw for two touchdowns in that game. The Saints are coming off a game where they looked dominant on defense, though it was more of a poor showing by Jacoby Brissett than anything, as the Saints generated pressure on just 27.8 percent of dropbacks. The prior week it was just 23.1 percent. Why is that significant? Because the Saints had generated pressure on at least 31 percent of dropbacks in each of their first 12 games, but after losing Sheldon Rankins and Marcus Davenport on the defensive line in Week 14, their numbers have fallen. Brissett was just the sixth quarterback who failed to finish top-15 against the Saints, joining Matt Ryan, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Gardner Minshew, and Jameis Winston on that list. That’s a pretty solid guest list, which just goes to show how inconsistent/unpredictable the Saints have been on defense, as they’ve allowed six other quarterbacks 18-plus fantasy points and top-12 finishes, including Jimmy Garoppolo’s 349-yard, four-touchdown outburst. We also need to factor in that they’ve allowed 5.79 yards per carry to quarterbacks (second-highest mark in the league), as Tannehill is running the ball quite a bit. You likely wouldn’t be where you are without Tannehill, so keep the party rolling with him as a middling QB1.

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Start Raheem Mostert (RB – SF) or Mike Boone (RB – LAC)?
53% of Experts Would Start Mostert

Mostert
Of the 27 opportunities available to the 49ers running backs last week, Mostert tallied 16 of them, giving him the clear-cut lead job while Breida finished with six, and Coleman five. You still need them to rack-up the touches in order for Mostert to be guaranteed 14-plus touches, and that’s a number you really need him to hit this week against the Rams. There hasn’t been a running back who’s finished better than RB40 without seeing at least 14 touches against them. Granted, there have been 17 running backs to hit that mark, but for the 49ers backfield, nothing should be a given. Back in the Week 6 matchup with these two teams, the 49ers running backs racked up 35 carries and six receptions. They weren’t particularly efficient with them (137 total yards, one touchdown), but with that type of volume, you feel pretty comfortable. The Rams opponents have averaged 67.1 plays per game (3rd-highest) which has led to a rock-solid 29.1 touches per game for running backs. They’ve allowed the 10th-fewest points per opportunity, so it’s not like it’s a smash spot that you can’t miss, though the Cowboys stuck it to them last week while racking up over 300 total yards and three touchdowns last week. Prior to that game, the Rams had allowed the fifth-fewest points per opportunity. We have to consider it just a bad showing for them given the much larger sample size of dominating performances they’ve had, and knowing their playoff hopes are on the line, expect them to show up for this game. Mostert should be in lineups as a low-end RB2 this week and is the only 49ers running back who belongs near a fantasy lineup.

Boone
After hearing Adam Schefter report that he’d be “surprised” if Cook played again in the regular season, I’m suggesting you don’t rely on him this week. With the game being on Monday night, we really hope to have some clarity on his situation by the time the games start on Sunday (ideally before the ones start on Saturday). With Alexander Mattison being ruled out last Friday, it suggests that he’s not close, either. That would mean Boone would walk into the lead role with Ameer Abdullah and C.J. Ham as the backup options. The Packers were a defense that running backs were crushing earlier this year, though they seemed to have leveled-out as the year has gone on. If you can stick to the run, it’s a great thing, as they’ve allowed 4.76 yards per carry on the year and a touchdown every 23.0 carries. Because of that, they’ve allowed 15 different running backs score 12.5 or more PPR points, which is the second-most in football behind only the Bengals. Touches mean everything against them, as there have been 16 running backs who’ve totaled at least 13 touches against them, and 14 of them finished as top-26 running backs. The only two who didn’t were David Montgomery and LeSean McCoy, two players that seemingly never get in that territory. Knowing the Vikings average 33.8 running back touches per game and that the Packers allow 28.7 running back touches per game, it’s safe to say Boone would get into the 13-plus-touch territory. If we get word that Cook and Mattison are out, Boone should be considered a mid-to-low-end RB2 with upside for more, though he hasn’t been involved in the passing game, which is enough concern to keep him out of the top-15 starts this week.

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Start Devin Singletary (RB – BUF) or Adrian Peterson (RB – WAS)?
53% of Experts Would Start Singletary

Singletary
Even in a game with a neutral gamescript throughout, Singletary received 21-of-31 carries, highlighting just how much of a lock he has on the starting job, though fumbling twice (losing one) won’t help him retain it. He wasn’t available the first time these two teams played each other, though Frank Gore was able to post 109 yards on 17 carries. There’s now been four different running backs who’ve been able to tally 100-plus yards on the ground against the Patriots, including Joe Mixon’s 136-yard performance last week. It does require some efficiency, as teams have averaged just 59.1 plays per game against the Patriots, leading to just 23.9 running back touches per game. The 123.2 total yards per game they allow isn’t horrendous, though the fact that they’ve allowed just three running back touchdowns (1 rushing, 2 receiving) all year caps upside. Not that Singletary relies on goal-line touches, anyway. The Bills have run the ball 42 times inside the 10-yard-line. How many of those carries has Singletary received? Three. That’s just two more than T.J. Yeldon, who hasn’t played since Week 5. With the touch-volume Singletary is receiving, it’s tough to say he’s anything less than a high-end RB3, but knowing he’s not getting touches where it matters most is worrisome.

Peterson
Ever since Bill Callahan took over for Jay Gruden, Peterson has averaged 15.9 carries per game that have netted a solid 4.7 yards per carry. He’s only scored three touchdowns as the offense continues to struggle putting points on the board, but knowing he’s totaled at least 13 carries in 7-of-9 games, he’s on the fantasy map. The Giants defense has been playing much better against the run over their last five games, allowing just 355 yards on 114 carries (3.11 yards per carry) with two touchdowns over their last five games, as the addition of Leonard Williams has helped up the middle of the field. The last running back who topped 59 yards on the ground against them was Ezekiel Elliott way back in Week 9. The good news for Peterson is that running backs have averaged 29.9 touches per game against the Giants. When you factor in that the Redskins run the ball 41 percent of the time (13th-highest mark in football), there should be a lot of touches available in this game. The Redskins are also home favorites, which has good correlation with fantasy points. Peterson has the looks of a middling RB3 who should offer a decent floor, though upside is limited due to his lack of usage in the passing game.

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Start Breshad Perriman (WR – TB) or Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR)?
56% of Experts Would Start Kupp

Perriman
Welcome to the No. 1 role in the offense, Mr. Perriman. With both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the shelf, Perriman should walk into a much higher target share against the Texans this week. He’s seen six targets in each of the last three weeks and they’ve led to 13 receptions, 270 yards, and four touchdowns. His 34.6-point outburst in Week 15 was the 24th best wide receiver performance of the year. The Texans had been doing well against receivers in recent weeks, but don’t tell A.J. Brown that, as he tore up their secondary for 8/114/1 last week. As a whole, the Texans secondary has allowed 1.75 PPR points per target to wide receivers, which is right around the league average. With the alignment remaining similar, Perriman will see a lot of veteran Johnathan Joseph in coverage, who’s 35 years old and not quite as fast as he used to be. But understand that just because Perriman is locked into targets, that hasn’t automatically amounted to fantasy success, as there’ve been six different receivers who’ve seen at least seven targets yet finished with less than 10.0 PPR points. You have to consider Perriman a sturdy WR3 with his recent surge in role/targets, though he’s not necessarily a lock in DFS lineups.

Kupp
After the week he was played just 19-of-68 snaps, Kupp was back out there in his regular role against the Cowboys where he played 68-of-74 snaps. He caught a touchdown for the third straight game, though he’s failed to finish with more than 65 yards in each of the last six games and has seen six or less targets in five of those games. You must wonder why the targets have stopped coming to Kupp, as he’s now caught each of the last 14 passes thrown his way. Goff’s QB Rating when targeting Kupp is 112.6, while it’s 81.3 to Cooks, 77.8 to Josh Reynolds, and 76.5 to Woods. The matchup with the 49ers is a tough one for Kupp, as evidenced by his four-catch, 17-yard performance he had back in Week 6 when he was playing at a high level. They were without starting nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams last week, who suffered a concussion in their Week 14 game. If he were to be held out again, Kupp’s matchup would be upgraded, as Williams has been among the best slot cornerbacks in the league this year. Of the 63 cornerbacks/safeties who play 25-plus percent of snaps in the slot, his 61.6 QB Rating in slot coverage ranks sixth. Meanwhile, his replacement D.J. Reed is just a fifth-round pick from last year who’s had very limited playing time. When he has played, he’s allowed three touchdowns on 28 targets in coverage. If Williams sits again, Kupp should be considered a high-end WR2. If Williams plays, Kupp is more of a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 for this game.

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Start Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS) or Kenny Golladay (WR – DET)?
56% of Experts Would Start McLaurin

McLaurin
He only saw five targets last week, but that was enough for him to demolish the Eagles secondary, catching every one for 130 yards and a touchdown, highlighted by a 75-yard catch-and-run. He’s now totaled at least 69 yards and/or a touchdown in four of his last five games, so maybe things are coming together for him and Haskins? The lack of targets to go around is worrisome, but McLaurin has earned the right to be trusted. The Giants cut their best cornerback prior to last week’s game, which surely won’t help them slow down receivers. They’ve already allowed more fantasy points per target (2.06) than any other team in the NFL. Yes, that includes the Cardinals and Dolphins. Receivers have been able to snag 66.2 percent of passes that come their way at 14.5 yards a pop, while bringing in a touchdown every 13.5 targets. That’s with Janoris Jenkins on the roster. The duo of DeAndre Baker and Sam Beal have allowed 50-of-86 passing for 807 yards and eight touchdowns in their coverage, good enough for a QB Rating just short of 120. McLaurin should be in lineups as a high-end WR3 with top-10 upside, though we can’t put him there due to his inconsistent quarterback play.

Golladay
He was the first receiver all season who saw seven targets against the Bucs and finished outside the top-30 wide receivers. Do we understand how bad Blough is by now? Even with T.J. Hockenson and Marvin Jones on injured reserve, he saw just seven targets last week. Now he’s on to play the Broncos, a secondary that’s allowed just three wide receivers to finish top-12 against them all season. It took an average of 11.7 PPR points to finish as a top-36 wide receiver last year, a number the Broncos have allowed just 14 wide receivers to hit through 14 games. Naturally, we want to anoint Golladay as the clear-cut option on the Lions, though he’s going to get the Chris Harris Jr. treatment in coverage this week. He’s someone who started out the year on fire, but has trailed off as the year’s gone on. Over the last four weeks, he hasn’t been someone to avoid, as he’s allowed 20-of-23 passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns in his coverage. It’s worth noting he played against Tyreek Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, and John Brown, but those are still not the type of numbers he would’ve allowed earlier in the year. Golladay remains on the low-end WR3 radar, but you saw his risk last week.

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Start Jacob Hollister (TE – SEA) or Jared Cook (TE – NO)?
72% of Experts Would Start Cook

Hollister
He’s now failed to top 44 yards in each of his last four games, though three of the matchups weren’t very tight end friendly. This week, however, is the best matchup you can ask for. The Cardinals simply cannot stop the tight end position. Just stop trying to predict how or why; we now have a 14-game sample size that justifies starting just about any tight end against them. Through 14 games, they’ve allowed 11 different tight ends to finish with at least 11.3 PPR points and as a top-10 tight end. Nine of them have scored at least 17.4 PPR points. They are the worst in the league in completion percentage (75.7), yards per target (9.22), targets per touchdown (7.4), and PPR points per target (2.49). Hollister is in the middling TE1 conversation and someone I’d aim to play if possible.

Cook
Ever since Brees returned to the lineup, Cook has been on fire. Over the last six games, he’s totaled 32 targets, 23 receptions, 409 yards, and four touchdowns, and that’s despite having to leave the 49ers game in the first half. He’s totaled at least 54 yards in 5-of-6 games, so it’s not like one game lifted his totals. The Titans were one of the best defenses in the league at defending tight ends last year, but this year has been a different story, as they’ve allowed 10 different tight ends to finish top-15 against them, including four top-five performances. The only tight end who saw more than five targets and didn’t finish with at least 13.3 PPR points was Cameron Brate, who tallied just 3/32/0 on six targets. It’s not all touchdowns, either, as five tight ends have totaled at least 73 yards. With so much attention focused on slowing down Michael Thomas, Cook is likely going to have another top-10 fantasy day in Week 16. Start him as a rock-solid TE1 who’s tied to one of the hottest quarterbacks in football right now.

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