The fantasy playoffs are right around the corner, which may make it feel like your start/sit decisions are live or die. But remember if you got this far into the season and you’re in the playoff hunt, you’ve been doing something right. Don’t change your process just because you feel like you need some extra help. Go with what got you here in the first place. With that, here’s this week’s start/sit:
Start: Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens
Collins is probably going to have a new starting quarterback one way or another. So whether it’s Lamar Jackson (please) or Robert Griffin III, there’s going to be an added emphasis on the run game and with a mobile quarterback some read option plays could open up with bigger running lanes. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has given up the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Start: Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans
Lewis is now the guy in Tennessee. After splitting time with Derrick Henry, the Titans have realized the more meaningful snaps should go to Lewis. He has 10 carries inside the 10-yard line over the past two games after eight in the previous seven games. He also had three carries inside the 10 after four in the previous seven weeks. That doesn’t even count receiving, where he has a touchdown inside the red zone Lewis has been on the field for 84 percent and 75 percent of Tennessee’s offensive snaps over the past two weeks. There should continue to be reliable volume there in a close game in Indianapolis.
Sit: T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette came back from injury last week and was immediately put back in the Leonard Fournette role. He only played 52 percent of the snaps, but was almost exclusively the rushing offense — 24 of Jacksonville’s 32 non-QB runs. Yeldon only had three carries but did have six targets and 51 yards through the air. That passing game volume is just iffy to commit to, even if the Jaguars should trail often against the Steelers.
Sit: Adrian Peterson, Washington
If Washington is ahead, Peterson gets all the carries. If Washington is behind, he gets phased out of the offense. That’s basically been Adrian Peterson’s season so far in 2018. He followed up his 26/149 day against the Giants with 9/17 against Atlanta and 19/68 in a slog against Tampa Bay. Houston has a big play offense and a good run defense, so Peterson might not get many opportunities this week.
Start: John Brown, Baltimore Ravens
A new quarterback could have worse effects for the receiver than the running backs as mentioned above, but Brown has been so good this season, if that quarterback is going to throw the ball, it’s hard to imagine Brown isn’t going to be the guy who gets targeted. Both Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin have excellent deep balls, so that shouldn’t cut out Brown’s role in the offense, especially against a defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
Start: Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
With A.J. Green out, Boyd is Cincinnati’s top receiver. He only had four targets against New Orleans, but he should be able to be a bigger part of an offense that’s not just throwing to throw in a blowout. Boyd has two games this season with at least 10 targets and those went for 132 and 138 yards, each with a touchdown. In the first meeting with Baltimore earlier this season, Boyd put up six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown.
[Sunday morning update: A.J. Green made the trip and will workout pregame, according to Adam Schefter, but his status is still unknown. Whether Green plays or not, Boyd should still be a safe start.]
Sit: Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles
Agholor had five catches on seven targets for 83 yards against Dallas, which was still a significant role in Golden Tate’s Eagles debut. But Tate only played on 29 percent of the offensive snaps and it’s likely he’ll continue to see his role increased. That role happens to be similar to Agholor’s in the offense, so unless the Eagles are going to run a super spread offense more often, Tate’s inclusion will probably chip away at Agholor’s opportunity.
Sit: Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta figuring out how to get Julio Jones in the end zone has been fun for many, but it has cut down on Calvin Ridley’s fantasy output. Ridley had a stretch for Week 2 to Week 4 with four targets and four touchdowns inside the red zone. But Ridley has not seen a target inside the 20 since. Most of his scoring was coming from those red zone opportunities and they just haven’t been there in over a month. He’ll also be up against a Dallas defense that has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game this season.
Start: Evan Engram, New York Giants
If Engram was going to have a 2018 breakout game, one against Tampa Bay should be it. The Giants went heavy to Engram when it mattered against San Francisco — four of his five targets were on the final game-winning drive — so that could be a precursor to a larger role against a defense that hasn’t been able to slow tight ends all season. No team has allowed more receiving yards to opposing tight ends than Tampa Bay and only one has allowed more fantasy points per game.
Sit: Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts
Ebron has turned into a touchdown machine, but in order for him to be fantasy relevant, those touchdowns have to come. For the most part, they have, but that might be a different story against a Tennessee defense that has yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing tight end.