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Fantasy football: Start/sit for Week 14

Los Angeles Chargers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

If you’re reading this and it matters, congratulations. You’re either in the playoffs or still fighting for a spot. Good for you. Quick shoutout to those in the Big Blue View fantasy league we put together with a tight race heading into the playoffs. I hope no one in that league is reading this.

Here’s start/sit for Week 14:

Running back

Start: Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs

Don’t let a bland 14 carries for 49 yards scare you away from Ware. Within those 14 carries, three came inside the 10 along with a touchdown. Ware should also continue to see more work in the passing game and his ability to break tackles will make him a danger in the run game, even against a defense that’s fifth in DVOA against the run.

Start: Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers

Samuels himself said the Steelers are likely to employ a timeshare between him and Steven Ridley, but we and the Steelers know what Ridley is and it’s uninspiring. Samuels wasn’t a full-time running back in college, but that’s really more to his benefit than detriment. He’ll be able to get receiving volume out of the backfield and if there’s a defense to throw some things against the wall to see what sticks for future weeks, it’s the Raiders.

Sit: Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins

Peterson had the 90-yard touchdown run when Mark Sanchez came into the game and then six other carries for six yards. We can all agree banking on 90-yard touchdown runs isn’t what you’re hoping for in a fantasy starter. Peterson is likely to be scripted out of the offense and Chris Thompson could see more time as Sanchez and Washington need to keep passing in an attempt to keep the offense on track.

Sit: Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Barber has a touchdown in each of the past three games, but it’s hard to project any rushing volume in what’s more likely to be a passing shootout between the Saints and Buccaneers. Barber also involved enough in the passing game — he’s had over two targets just twice this season — to make a difference if the game goes that way.

Wide receiver

Start: Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

Following the trade of Demaryius Thomas, Sutton had been getting more work as a starter in the Denver offense. He capped last week with four receptions, 85 yards, and a touchdown on seven targets. Now he’ll take over as the No. 1 passing target with Emmanuel Sanders out for the season due to a torn Achilles. San Francisco allows 71.6 yards per game to opposing No. 1 wide receivers and the 49ers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Start: Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

If the Bears fall behind and have to pass against the Rams, Robinson is likely to be the main target. He’ll either be matched up against Aqib Talib, who is still working his way back to 100 percent, or Marcus Peters, who can be beaten deep with a double move. Robinson hasn’t been targeted more than 10 times since Week 2, but he had nine against the Giants when the Bears needed to move the ball. He’ll also get the upgrade to Mitchell Trubisky from Chase Daniel this week.

Sit: Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills

Zay Jones is now officially Buffalo’s No. 1 wide receiver with the release of Kelvin Benjamin, so while that might make him appealing from a workload standpoint, that volume might not be particularly efficient. In the last matchup against the Jets, Jones had eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, but that was an outlier performance for both him and the Bills. He’ll likely see a decent amount of Morris Claiborne in coverage, whose 60 percent success rate is tied for 12th among 72 qualified cornerbacks, per Football Outsiders.

Sit: Sterling Shepard, New York Giants

The focus is going to be on Odell Beckham and Josh Norman, but Washington’s best cornerback this year has been Fabian Moreau (56 percent coverage success rate) and he’s likely to take Shepard in coverage often. Shepard looks like he is going to play on Sunday, but will be managing pain in his ribs. As productive as Shepard can be, the Giants haven’t always spread the ball around enough for him to be a fantasy relevant starter this season.

Tight end

Start: Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons

Hooper has continually been a big part of the Falcons’ game plan as a pass target and that has been the case all season in the red zone. He leads Atlanta in red zone targets (12), receptions (9), and is second in touchdowns (4) thanks to Calvin Ridley’s ridiculous scoring barrage early in the season. Don’t let the matchup against Green Bay scare you off. The Packers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends, but that’s from allowing only one touchdown to the position all season. Overall, they’re 23rd in DVOA against tight ends, so there will be an opportunity for Hooper to buck that trend.

Sit: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

Rudolph just hasn’t been fantasy relevant all season and I can assume if you’re reading this with meaning now, you there are better options at the position. Rudolph and the new Vikings offense just haven’t clicked together. He’s still getting volume where it matters inside the 20, but the results haven’t been there. He has 11 red zone targets (third on the team, and only one fewer than Austin Hooper mentioned above) but he hasn’t had one in two weeks and hasn’t scored since Week 3. Seattle’s defense isn’t likely to let him get back on the board, either.