Fantasy playoffs have arrived.
Forget the draft and waiver wire. Those things now take a back seat to what will separate the best from the rest—the tough decisions of which stars to start and sit with everything on the line.
That is surely what most lineups consist of at this point. Stars have gotten the best owners to this point, but now owners have no easy matchups. Each contest will come against another owner with a loaded lineup.
We’re here to help. Like any week, one simple rule remains despite the stakes—don’t overthink any decision. Here are stars to start and sit based on matchups and other factors.
Note: All point totals for ESPN standard-scoring leagues. Points against stats from ESPN.
Start ‘Em: Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DET)
There is absolutely no reason to go away from Philadelphia’s Nick Foles at this point.
Foles has 19 touchdowns to no interceptions on the year—he has 13 touchdowns in his last four games alone and has ranked in the top 10 at his position every week since Week 9.
Besides, Foles‘ matchup with Detroit is a favorable one. The team allows 15.5 points to the position on average and a shaky secondary gives up an average of 262.3 passing yards per game.
Foles must be in any and all lineups.
Sit ‘Em: Eli Manning, New York Giants (at SD)
For some reason, Eli Manning is still owned in 81.1 percent of leagues.
We get it—there is an allure there with a weapon such as Victor Cruz. But in the playoffs? Get rid of Manning altogether.
Look, Manning is in another favorable matchup this weekend. He’s had favorable games against weak secondaries such as Philadelphia twice, Minnesota, Chicago, Oakland, Dallas, Green Bay and Washington.
The result? Manning has not scored more than 15 fantasy points since Week 1, and he has reached 15 once in that span.
Start ‘Em: DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (at CHI)
The Dallas Cowboys finally discovered they have a talented running back by the name of DeMarco Murray.
Murray rushed for 63 yards and three touchdowns last week against Oakland, owner of the No. 10 overall rush defense in the league.
It was only the second time this year Murray surpassed the 20-point threshold, but good things are on the way—Murray has a date with the league’s worst rush defense in a Chicago unit that gives up an average of 153.6 yards per game. It also ranks third-worst with an average of 20.6 points allowed to the position.
Sit ‘Em: Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts (at CIN)
Forget about Donald Brown in the postseason.
Brown is the lead back over Trent Richardson, but that is not saying much at this point. While it is true Brown has scored 12 or more points in three of his last four, things are about to get much worse.
The Connecticut product has a date with Cincinnati in Week 14, a team that allows just an average of 12 points to the position each week.
It helps Brown is capable of numbers through the air, but it is simply not worth the risk with so much on the line.
Start ‘Em: Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (at GB)
Roddy White is back.
That is all that really needs to be said considering White is the only legit option for Matt Ryan in Atlanta.
White exploded for 14 points last week thanks to his 10 catches for 143 yards. Clearly healthy once more, White is a No. 1 receiver just in time for the playoffs.
Now White has a date with a Green Bay defense that allows an average of 24.3 points to the position. That number or more is a good ballpark figure for White in Week 14.
Sit ‘Em: Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers (vs. ATL)
Jarrett Boykin‘s time is up.
Boykin‘s production was mostly reliant on the health of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Bad news for those invested in Boykin—Rodgers is out in Week 14 against Atlanta per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers officially ruled out for Sunday.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 6, 2013
Last week Boykin failed to take advantage of a good matchup against Detroit and was blanked. Owners should not expect much else from Boykin here in Week 14 against Atlanta, a team that has given up only three scores over its past five games.
Start ‘Em: Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams (at ARI)
Look, tight end is a wasteland with the exception of a guy named Rob and a guy named Jimmy.
Jared will break out in Week 14, though. Cook has a date with Arizona, the team that gives up the most points to the position at an average of 13.7 per game. Arizona has allowed 11 or more in three straight weeks.
Oh, and Arizona is the team Cook torched in Week 1 for seven catches, 141 yards, two touchdowns and a smooth 24 points. Yeah, get him in lineups.
Sit ‘Em: Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns (at NE)
Time to give up on Jordan Cameron.
Cameron was a flash in the pan, but bad quarterback play has ruined his production. The USC product has scored just nine total points the last three weeks on 24 targets. Bad quarterback play or not, that is not the type of ratio that will keep Cameron on rosters.
Even worse, New England is stiff against the position and has only allowed three scores this year to it. Avoid at all costs.