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NFL Week 14 fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em

Baltimore, Maryland, USA;Denver Broncos tight end Greg Dulcich (80) runs after tthcatch during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

• Start Kirk Cousins: The Vikings quarterback has been up and down all season but should put up big numbers in a Week 14 shootout with the Lions.

• Sit Devin Singletary: He’s slowly been losing playing time to James Cook, and that trend could escalate going forward.

• Start Greg Dulcich: The rookie could be one of the top tight ends this week with the Broncos hurting at wide receiver.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Deciding who to start or sit can be as easy as looking at the PFF rankings and starting the player ranked higher. This start’em, sit’em column goes a step further, looking into why someone you might typically start might not have a good week, or why someone overlooked might have a good week. In many cases, it’s the usual starters who should star, but we want to explore the borderline players, too.

QUARTERBACKS

START

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
  • Prescott has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in four of his past five games.
  • His 0.54 fantasy points per dropback ties for ninth-most among quarterbacks this season.
  • The Dallas offense has improved as the season has progressed. They earned a 66.0-plus team offense grade just once in the first five weeks but have accomplished that in each of their past seven games.
  • The Cowboys have the second-best matchup for quarterbacks, according to PFF's strength of schedule tool. They play the Texans in Week 14.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
  • Cousins is among the top 12 quarterbacks in both passing yards (2,932) and passing touchdowns (18) this season.
  • The Vikings have the seventh-best matchup for quarterbacks, according to PFF's strength of schedule tool.
  • Detroit has allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks per game this season, with a 2.8-point gap between them and the next-worst team.
  • Minnesota’s offensive line has the second-best edge over the Lions' defensive line in the passing game, according to PFF's offensive line/defensive line matchup chart.
  • Cousins has an 8-to-2 touchdown to interception ratio against man defenses this season, compared to 4-to-7 against zone.
  • The Lions employ man defense at the fifth-highest rate in the NFL.

SIT

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Brady hasn’t finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback since Week 5.
  • His 6.4 yards per attempt ranks the fifth-lowest among quarterbacks with 100 or more dropbacks this season.
  • The Buccaneers have the second-worst matchup for quarterbacks, according to PFF's strength of schedule tool.
  • They face the 49ers, who have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks per game.
  • Tampa Bay’s offensive line has the third-worst edge over San Francisco's defensive line in the passing game, according to PFF's offensive line/defensive line matchup chart.
  • Brady has a lower big-time throw rate against zone defense compared to man (4.4% to 5.7%) and a higher turnover-worthy throw rate (2.1% to 1.6%).
  • The 49ers use zone at the sixth-highest rate in the NFL.
Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
  • Watson had a 48.3 PFF passing grade last week, which was the fifth-lowest among quarterbacks in Week 13.
  • His 57.1% adjusted completion percentage is the lowest among quarterbacks with at least 10 dropbacks this season.
  • He faces the Bengals, who have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
  • Cincinnati has allowed an average of 210 passing yards over their past eight games after surrendering 250 per game in their first four.
  • They’ve allowed an average of less than one passing touchdown per game. They’ve allowed more than one passing touchdown just once.

RUNNING BACKS

START

Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Pacheco has finished as a top-16 fantasy running back in each of the past two weeks.
  • He’s run the ball 14 or more times in each of Kansas City’s past four games.
  • The Chiefs' offensive line has the seventh-largest edge over the Broncos’ defensive line in the run game this week, according to PFF's offensive line/defensive line matchup chart.
  • Denver has allowed a 100-yard rusher in three of their past four games.
  • The Chiefs are heavy favorites, which should give Pacheco plenty of opportunities to run both early and late.

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