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Starts and Fades: Week 14

Last week was the type of week that proves the mantra “any given weekend.” The Cowboys stunned the Saints on Thursday, the NFC North took a beating as the Bears and Packers were upended by the Giants and Cardinals, respectively, the reeling Jaguars shut out the streaking Colts, and the Chargers comeback victory against the Steelers literally made history at Heinz Field. The Chiefs and Titans almost made that list too, but both managed to just escape the Raiders and Jets, respectively.

Of course, when you get a wild weekend like that there will always be some random guy putting up monster numbers while the stud players struggle. Did you play the right players on your fantasy team? If not, that’s where we come in. Before we name this week’s picks though, let’s take a look at how we did last week.

Last Week’s Starts: Gus Edwards, Royce Freeman, Cameron Brate, Curtis Samuel

Edwards put up a decent 82 yards, but failed to find the end zone or notch any catches. What’s worse, it looks like he’s starting to cede touches to Ken Dixon and Ty Montgomery, which does not bode well for his numbers moving forward. Freeman’s 12 carries for 48 yards looked downright pedestrian against a weak Bengals defense, which is all the more surprising as backfield-mate Phillip Lindsay went bonkers. Brate was almost invisible against one of the worse defenses in the NFL at covering tight ends. On the other side of the ball though, Samuel led the Panthers in both targets and yards to put up a respectable 6/88/0 line.

Last Week’s Fades: Julio Jones, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel

Baltimore absolutely shut down Jones, as he managed just 2 catches for 18 yards despite being targeted 8 times. Chubb’s saving grace was his rushing touchdown. Without that, he only managed to rack up 31 yards on the ground and an additional 3 catches for 41 yards through the air. Michel only managed to put up 70 total yards and no touchdowns while ceding rushing attempts to pretty much the whole offense (Edelman, White, Burkhead, Patterson, Develin, and Brady all registered carries on the day).

Overall, our fade picks were pretty on point but our start picks were a bit of a mixed bag. We’ll look to even it out this week.

Note: Due to a busy week at the writer’s real (read: boring) job, this article is coming out late and will therefore be much shorter than normal. We hope to get this out a little earlier next week so that we can put in the proper time each pick deserves.

Starts

Josh Allen

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

We’re calling for starting a rookie QB on what is quite possibly the most talent-deficient offense in the NFL? Yes. Allen is absolutely not afraid to use his cannon arm to get it deep, which has spurred the development of Zay Jones and Robert Foster. This makes Allen a little turnover-prone, but while Jets safety Jamal Adams is formidable on the back end of the defense the rest of New York’s secondary isn’t nearly as imposing. On top of that, Allen has proven to be a formidable scrambler. He’s racked up 234 yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks alone, and has 4 rushing touchdowns to his name on the season despite missing 4 games. If your playoff QB is struggling a bit, Allen could be your streaming answer.

Chris Godwin

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Godwin’s production in typically inconsistent as he plays behind Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson on the outside while Adam Humphries mans the slot. However, Jackson is not quite a paragon of health, and when he misses time Godwin balls out. Jackson has missed three games between this year and last year, including last week. In those three weeks, Godwin has posted a lofty 15/310/2 line. With Jackson in line to miss this week’s game as well, Godwin’s good fortunes should continue. This is especially true with Tampa playing the Saints this week. The New Orleans offense is formidable, and star corner Marshon Lattimore will likely be attached to Mike Evans at the hip. Since Winston will likely need to be slinging to keep up, this makes Godwin the easier target. This should be a career game for Godwin.

Fades

Tyreek Hill

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The Chiefs’ offense has been incredible this year, on pace to match or break records all over the place. Hill himself has had quite a year, though he is prone to the down game here and there. Despite Sammy Watkins’s absence, consider this to be one of those weeks. While Baltimore hasn’t been lighting up the fantasy stat sheets, they’re playing lights out in the real world. They currently rank first in points per game allowed, yards per game allowed, and yards per play allowed, they’ve only allowed one 100-yard rusher all year, and they’re fresh off shutting down a white-hot Julio Jones. Hill should get some volume being the only notable healthy receiver, but the Ravens defense should hold his efficiency low enough to make this a bad week for Hill.

Chris Carson

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Carson has been the engine behind the Seahawks’ league-leading ground attack. His numbers haven’t been spectacular on the whole, but he’s been a reliable RB2 for those who picked him. However, he may have some troubles finding room to run this week. Minnesota’s run D is one of the best in the NFL, allowing a mere 3.7 YPC and 99.2 yards per game, both easily within the top 10. On top of the bad matchup, rookie Rashaad Penny is starting to live up to his draft pedigree and is gradually cutting into Carson’s workload. Decreasing volume in a bad matchup does not bode well for fantasy scoring.

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