The final week of the fantasy football regular season is finally here. It's a crucial week for playoff pushes and seeding, and many will have difficult IDP sit/start decisions to make with four teams on bye.
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As usual, here are some of the tougher start/sit decisions to consider heading into Week 14.
START: EDGE DEMARCUS LAWRENCE, DALLAS COWBOYS VS. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
The Cowboys' star defensive end returned to the lineup in Week 13 after a two-month IR stint, and he made an immediate impact for their defense. He was eased back into action, playing just 53% of defensive snaps, and Lawrence still led the team in total pressures (six) in Week 13 and earned the second-highest defensive grade on the team (86.1). Lawrence also recorded the fifth-highest pass-rush win-rate (24.1%) among edge defenders who played at least 20% of pass-rush snaps. While Lawrence’s box score doesn’t tell the whole story, fantasy managers shouldn’t be discouraged about starting him in Week 14, as he will presumably see a larger workload.
The Washington Football Team is one of the tougher pass-blocking matchups for defensive linemen this season, but Lawrence should be able to get plenty of opportunities lining up against right tackle Cornelius Lucas. Lucas has been a solid tackle this season, earning a 75.3 pass-blocking grade on the year, but he is coming off his worst game of the season (50.2 pass-blocking grade) matched up against Raiders edge defender Maxx Crosby for the large majority of snaps. Tougher matchups can cause problems for Lucas, and Lawrence certainly qualifies.
SIT: EDGE CHANDLER JONES, ARIZONA CARDINALS VS. LOS ANGELES RAMS
Jones has been on a bit of a hot streak of late, posting 3.5 sacks in his last four games after posting none in his previous five. It's tempting to put Jones back into lineups, but he faces his toughest competition of the season in Week 13 against the Rams. Los Angeles ranks first in the NFL in pass-blocking grade (81.6) as a team this season, led by left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who ranks first among all offensive linemen (min. 20% of snaps) in pass-blocking grade (90.0). The veteran has allowed just 10 pressures all season on 448 pass-blocking snaps.
The last time Jones faced Whitworth back in Week 4, he had his lowest-graded pass-rush game of the season (58.1), managing just a single pressure on the day — not against Whitworth — and nothing else to show for it in the box score. Whitworth has shown no signs of slowing down as he reaches age 40 next week.
Whitworth vs. Jones | Week 4
|Pass-blocking matchups||Pressures allowed||Sacks allowed||Pass-blocking efficiency|
START: EDGE ALEX HIGHSMITH, PITTSBURGH STEELERS VS. MINNESOTA VIKINGS