Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em is the ultimate weekly look at NFL matchups and how they’ll affect your fantasy football team. Fantasy superstars such as Patrick Mahomes and Christian McCaffrey will not be featured in this column. All player matchups are based on a PPR scoring system. For your final starting lineup decisions, check my weekly fantasy football lineup rankings.
Start of the Week – Robert Woods vs. Dallas Cowboys
Woods has been on fire for fantasy owners in recent weeks, scoring 15-plus fantasy points in each of his last four contests. He should remain in most starting lineups this week as well, as the Cowboys have surrendered seven touchdowns and the third-most fantasy points per touch to opposing wide receivers over the last four weeks.
Jarvis Landry vs. Arizona Cardinals
Landry continues to put up good numbers in the stat sheets, as he’s scored double-digit fantasy points in every game since Week 8. He’ll remain in the WR2 conversation against the Cardinals, who have given up eight touchdown catches and averages of 118.1 yards and nearly 25 fantasy points per game to opposing slot receivers.
Deebo Samuel vs. Atlanta Falcons
Samuel took a backseat in the stat sheets to Emmanuel Sanders last week, but both players are great starts when the Niners host Atlanta. The Falcons have struggled against perimeter receivers, allowing 10 touchdowns and the fifth-most fantasy points. In a game that could end up being a shootout, Samuel and Sanders are worthwhile options.
Michael Gallup vs. Los Angeles Rams
Gallup is coming off a big game against the Bears, and this week’s matchup against the Rams makes him a viable flex starter. Amari Cooper could be matched up with shutdown CB Jalen Ramsey for much of the day, leaving Gallup to see more of target opportunities in what could become a shootout at Jerry’s World. I’d flex Gallup.
Dede Westbrook vs. Oakland Raiders
The Jaguars could be without D.J. Chark (foot) this week. If he is unable to play in Oakland, Westbrook would be a very nice alternative. He’s seen seven or more targets in three straight contests, and the Raiders have allowed 10 touchdowns to slot receivers. Overall, they’ve allowed over 40 fantasy points per game to visiting wideouts.
Sit of the Week – John Brown vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown has hit the skids since his schedule has toughened, as he’s averaged just 9.4 fantasy points over his last three games. I’d fade him once again, as the veteran faces a Steelers defense that has given up just 11.9 yards per reception and an average of fewer than 19 fantasy points per game to receivers lined out wide this season.
Tyler Lockett vs. Carolina Panthers
The decision to start or sit Lockett, ultimately, is yours based on your roster. Here’s the stats, though. Since Week 11, he’s the WR99. During that time, 79 wideouts have seen more targets. The Panthers have allowed just four touchdowns to slot receivers this season too, so Lockett has to be considered quite a risk in the postseason.
Tyler Boyd vs. New England Patriots
Boyd has seen his fantasy points increase since the return of Andy Dalton, but a brutal matchup against the Patriots makes him a sit ’em this week. Boyd, who averaged 23 routes run per game out of the slot, faces a New England defense that’s allowed just two touchdowns and an average of 14.9 fantasy points per game to the slot this season.
Brandin Cooks vs. Dallas Cowboys
Cooks, listed as a sit ’em last week, was held without a catch in a win over the Seahawks. He’s now posted a combined four catches for 56 yards and no touchdowns in his last three games, and even a positive matchup in Dallas can’t get me to start him during this crucial time in the fantasy season. At this point, Cooks can even be released.
Sammy Watkins vs. Denver Broncos
Watkins has fallen from the good graces of fantasy fans in the second half of the season, as he’s put up fewer than 10.2 fantasy points five times since Week 8. This week he’ll face the Broncos, who have surrendered just five touchdowns to perimeter receivers and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to enemy wideouts overall this season.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for all of the latest fantasy football news, notes and in-depth analysis!