Saturday, December 12, 2020

Week 14 Fantasy Football WR Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Corey Davis is listed below as a "start" for Week 14. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 14 with him as one of my starting wide receivers.

Then again, Davis may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you own Davante Adams, Calvin Ridley and Davis and only start two wide receivers, you should start Adams and Ridley and, in turn, bench Davis.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 14 Fantasy Football WR Start'em

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (at JAX)

Given his largely disappointing first three NFL seasons, it was no surprise that the Titans declined the fifth-year option on Davis. While the fourth-year pro has missed a couple of games earlier in the season, he's having a breakout campaign in 2020.

Fantasy football's highest-scoring receiver in Week 13, Davis caught 11 of his 12 targets for 182 yards, all of which were season highs, and a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns. On the season, the former No. 5 overall pick has set career highs, by a wide margin, in yards per reception (15.1), yards per game (80.1), catch rate (75.7%).

Teammate A.J. Brown (ankle) is expected to play this week, but he's at less than 100% (as are nearly all NFL players at this point in the season). That said, the Titans are favored by more than a touchdown and one of three teams with an implied total of 30-plus points this week.

It's possible that they are conservative with Brown's usage against the one-win Jaguars and Davis is the recipient of an extra target or two as a result. Meanwhile, it may not take as many targets for Davis to turn out a productive fantasy day as the Jacksonville Jaguars have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (at TB)

Remember in late-August when Jefferson was behind Adam Thielen AND Bisi Johnson?

While most had expected him to assume the Stefon Diggs role once he was selected in the first round, the preseason caution has helped to make the former LSU star one of fantasy's biggest draft bargains this summer.

Against the Jaguars in Week 13, Jefferson had another monster game (9/121/1 on 12 targets) and finished as the week's WR4. Jefferson now has 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown (or two) in four consecutive games. During that stretch, he's finished no worse than the weekly WR14 and he has averaged a 6.75/103/1 line on 10 targets per game.

As stingy as Tampa has been to opposing running backs, the Vikings, who are roughly a TD underdog, may find themselves throwing it more than usual this week. Either way, Jefferson remains a WR1 this week -- and for the rest of the season.

Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers (vs. DEN)

Scoring only his second touchdown of the season last week, Anderson (4/94/1) finished as fantasy's WR12 in Week 13. Before that, he had finished outside the top 30 fantasy wide receivers in six consecutive games.

Anderson has averaged 8.67 targets and a 26.32% weekly target share this season and has a target share of at least 21.43% in every game except one -- Week 6 versus the Chicago Bears (18.52%). With D.J. Moore expected to miss Week 14, Anderson could be in line for as many targets as he can handle.

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (vs. PIT)

Ranked as a high-end WR3 inside my top 30 receivers this week, it's notable that he's ranked ahead of all receivers in this game outside of Stefon Diggs and Diontae Johnson. That said, few receivers have been as productive as Beasley over his past three games.

During that span, Beasley has had two top-three weekly receiver performances and his two best games of the season -- 11/109/1 on 13 targets in Week 10 and 9/130/1 on 11 targets in Week 13. Even though he had only 2/25 on four targets in the game in between, he threw a 20-yard touchdown that week as well.

Buffalo had a Week 11 bye, but only Tyreek Hill, Jefferson and Davante Adams have scored more fantasy points than Beasley in the three most recent weeks that Beasley has played. Diggs has performed as the WR11 over the same stretch.

Week 14 Fantasy Football WR Sit'em

Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. MIN)

Even though the Vikings have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, it's difficult to trust Brown. Since joining the Bucs, Brown had his worst game -- two catches for 11 yards on three targets -- in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

While I would prefer to start either Chris Godwin and/or Mike Evans over Brown this week, it still wouldn't surprise me if he eventually emerged as Tom Brady's most trusted and productive receiver. Even so, I'd rather be a week wait than a week early given the fantasy playoff implications likely at stake this week.

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (at CAR)

From Weeks 8 to 11, Jeudy had a minimum of eight targets per week and at least 68 receiving yards in three of the four games. During that span, Jeudy was tied for the fourth-most targets (40) and 11th-most yards (303) among wide receivers.

Although the team was able to turn back to Drew Lock in Week 13, things weren't much better for Jeudy's numbers. The first-round rookie finished with just one catch for five yards on four targets. At this point, I'd trust teammate Tim Patrick more than Jeudy if I had to roll the dice with one of Denver's WR4 types.

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (at NYG)

Over a four-week span (Weeks 6 to 9) that included Arizona's Week 8 bye, Kirk performed as a top-12 fantasy wide receiver in each of the other three games. Accumulating a three-game line of 12/246/5, Kirk scored the fifth-most fantasy points over those four weeks even without adjusting for his bye.

In the four weeks since that stretch, Kirk has a total of 12 catches for 98 scoreless yards. While he had six targets per game in Weeks 10 to 12, Kirk set season lows with one catch for two yards on three targets. He's finished no higher than WR50 in any of the past four weeks.

BUST ALERT: Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (at BUF)

All in all, it's been a highly productive rookie season for Claypool so far. Through Week 13, Claypool has scored the 16th-most fantasy points in half-PPR formats.

Over a five-game stretch from Weeks 8 to 12, Claypool was getting a consistent volume of targets -- minimum of eight every week and a total of 52 (10.4 per game). Targeted only four times in Week 13, Claypool played only 43.7% of Pittsburgh's offensive snaps, his lowest amount since Week 2. (He had played 60%-plus from Weeks 3-11.) As he splits snaps with James Washington, I'd prefer both Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster over the rookie.

The Bills have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

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