Welcome to your Thursday Night Football Start/Sit for Week 14!
Typing these blurbs always starts off with some kind of outlook on the past week. Normally, I’ll break down the weekend games and potential upcoming matchups, but there’s a fair bit of fantasy fog that needs to clear out.
The firing of a head coach is never an easy thing to do for an organization, but the real change comes from the players. Moving forward without Ron Rivera, the Panthers are staring another lost season in the face. In Rivera’s eight seasons as head coach, he only has 3 winning seasons. It was evident a change was coming, but how will it affect players like D.J. Moore or Christian McCaffrey moving forward?
These are questions that’ll be addressed as the season progresses, as more and more coaches are put under the magnifying glass. In the meantime, let’s focus on the next prime time matchup.
The 6-6 Cowboys are reeling after a Thanksgiving Day loss, hoping to hold onto their lead in the NFC East against an equally-depressing Eagles team. They travel northward to there Windy City to take on Mitch Trubisky and the 6-6 Bears, a team with enough problems of their own. All in all, this might be a pretty low scoring game, with two stout defenses duking it out in the trenches.
As always, here’s my master key to better give you a sense of how I break these players down:
Start: These are players who have an enticing matchup, and could prove a massive asset to your fantasy team due to a vulnerability by an opposing defense or a breakout performance.
Flex Start: Players in a flex position are also usually controlled by a game script, but this opportunity benefits them (such as a WR2 receiving less attention than the WR1, thus increasing odds for a good performance).
Sit: Players in this category have a poor matchup and could be rendered completely useless by game script or a digression in opportunities.
Sleeper: For players that fly under the radar, the sleepers are potential breakouts for this particular matchup. Players that are not considered as big of a threat but have an increase in things such as targets or snap counts are ideal for this category. They could surprise you for the week with a big game.
Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears
Must Start: Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
The bears must have had all they can handle on Thanksgiving, because they’re terrible at stuffing the run. While they’re middle of the pack, Zeke’s high upside and dual-threat status make him a must start in a plus matchup.
Dak proved that he can perform under pressure, even in the face of defeat. Chicago isn’t as intense on coverage as the Bills or the Pats, but they’re still an all-around Top-10 defense. Dak is a low-end QB1, but I don’t blame you if you want to take a peek at the waiver wire.
The Cowboys have the No. 1 offense in the league, so Cooper should see plenty of looks. He’s still a target machine and worthy of a WR2 look this week, despite the negative game script.
Dak’s secondary options should still see some sort of fantasy relevance, but I’m fading them. The Bears are allowing the 7th-fewest points to wideouts (30.1 ppg), making Gallup more of a WR3 this week.
the bears are pretty vulnerable to tight ends, but Witten’s not explosive enough for big splash plays. He’ll see his usual amount of targets; just don’t expect him to do much with them.
Cobb’s uncertain status due to injury and Jarwin’s inefficient and inconsistent usage are signs you should steer clear of these two.
The recent influx of offensive prowess in Chicago is a revitalization in of itself.
That was a fun sentence.
In layman’s terms, the recent success this offense has found directly boosts Robinson and Montgomery. While Robinson’s volume along warrants borderline WR1 consideration, Montgomery will have a tougher time against this Dallas rush defense. Dallas is actually allowing less points to wideouts than Chicago on average (29.3 ppg), but they’re more susceptible on the ground (24.3 ppg to running backs). These guys are in a great position to produce this week.
Miller has strung together several nice games in a row, including last week’s WR No. 7 performance. Him and Cohen are risky fliers you can take a shot on this week, although I don’t recommend it.
Sit: Mitch Trubisky (QB), Taylor Gabriel (WR)
Back to the bench for Trubisky, who has a horrible matchup versus Dallas. He’ll be leaning on Robinson and the ground game through this scuffle, so don’t expect many flashy plays from him this week.
Gabriel is dealing with a concussion, so any hope of having him in your lineup should be squashed and tossed aside.
Zach Hargis is a writer for Dynasty Football Digest. He enjoys playing the drums, doing voice impressions, and quoting The Office. If any of those things interest you, he welcomes you to follow him on Twitter @ZachFFDrummer and to check out his personal interests on Instagram @zakktastic.