Expert Fantasy Start/Sit Advice: Jaylen Waddle, Javonte Williams, Brandon Aiyuk, Darnell Mooney, Alexander Mattison
Getty Images. Pictured: Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle, Broncos RB Javonte Williams
Each week, injuries impact the fantasy football outlook of players — even if they’re not the ones ailing. This week, there are five key players whose value could and/or will shift based on the availability of their teammates: Broncos RB Javonte Williams, Vikings RB Alexander Mattison, 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk, Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle and Bears WR Darnell Mooney.
Our expert runs makes his start/sit recommendations for each below. If you need more advice, you can consult his real-time rankings here.
Fantasy Start/Sit Decisions
Vikings RB Alexander Mattison
Alexander Mattison will start for the injured Dalvin Cook against the Lions, making Mattison a top-five option this week.
He was extremely productive in his first two spot starts this season.
- Mattison in Week 3 vs. SEA: 26/112/0 rushing, 6/59/0 receiving
- Mattison in Week 5 vs. DET: 25/113/0 rushing, 7/40/1 receiving
Verdict: Start as a high-end RB1
Broncos RB Javonte Williams
I’ve been banging the table for Javonte Williams as a buy-low option for more than a month now, considering he offers low-end RB2 value with Melvin Gordon in the lineup and RB1 upside whenever MG3 misses time.
Well, Week 13 provides our first chance to see Williams as a true workhorse back.
Williams is one of the most explosive RBs in the league, as evidenced by 37.5% of his rush attempts resulting in 15+ yards (only Saquon Barkley and Jonathan Taylor have a higher rate). However, 24% of Williams’ rush attempts result in zero or fewer yards, which ranks sixth-worse among 76 RBs with 30+ attempts. The fact that he should see 5-6 extra rush attempts with Gordon out raises Williams’ ceiling more than it would for your typical back.
Williams is a mid-range RB1 option against the Chiefs.
Verdict: Start as a mid-range RB1
49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk
Brandon Aiyuk has overcome his early-season struggles, posting lines of 7/85/1 and 3/91/0 over his past two games. The increased usage he should see with Deebo Samuel out this Sunday shoots Aiyuk into the high-end WR2 range.
Verdict: Start as a high-end WR2
Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle
When Will Fuller and DeVante Parker went down, my projections for Jaylen Waddle went through the roof. However, if Parker returns to the lineup on Sunday, it will lower Waddle’s projection (check my real-time projections here).
He’ll shoot back into the high-end WR2 range if Parker is held out again this week. Consider this a reminder of just how much specific teammates’ availability can considerably impact a player’s projection and rank.
Verdict: Start as high-end WR2 if DeVante Parker is ruled out
Bears WR Darnell Mooney
Darnell Mooney has erupted for lines of 5/121/1 and 5/123/0 over the past two games. He’ll remain the alpha WR this week with Allen Robinson set to miss his second straight game.
Speedster Marquise Goodwin has also been ruled out, meaning Mooney will be lining up with the invisible Damiere Byrd (6.4% targets per route run) and low aDot (2.9) receiver Jakeem Grant.
Mooney is a low-end WR2 option.
Verdict: Start as a low-end WR2