Saints vs Rams Fantasy Start/Sit: Chris Olave, Taysom Hill, Derek Carr, More

Saints vs Rams Fantasy Start/Sit: Chris Olave, Taysom Hill, Derek Carr, More article feature image

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Taysom Hill.

According to Next Gen Stats, the Rams have a 74% chance to qualify for the NFL playoffs if they win on Thursday Night Football — that number drops to just 15% with a loss to the visiting Saints. True NFC playoff implications are on the line for the Saints as well, who are in second place in the NFC South with a crucial Week 17 game against the first-place Buccaneers looming.

Fantasy managers are feeling the same pressure to deliver in the fantasy playoffs. As always, this column will run down the list of players that could potentially help you advance. In a head-to-head environment, you should put a premium on trying to avoid potential low-floor landmines in your lineup.

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Matthew Stafford has been quietly playing some of his best football, delivering four consecutive top-10 performances at the position. The Saints have only surrendered more than two passing touchdowns in a single game just once this year, thus it may be best to temper your expectations for Stafford's ceiling. With that said, Stafford remains a top-eight option at the position as long as Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua are healthy. Stafford should undoubtedly be in your starting lineup if you don't have one of the elite QBs on your roster.

The Rams have scored 28 or more points in every game since Week 12, and it is no coincidence that is when Kyren Williams returned from injury. Williams has brought balance to L.A.'s offense, leading all running backs in snaps, yards from scrimmage and touches since his return. He's a top-three running back moving forward as he has one of the most secure workloads. Williams’ counterpart, Alvin Kamara, should be locked into your lineup as well.

Don't overthink starting Kupp and Nacua. Kupp pushed through his mid-season lull and has returned to being one of the best 10 options at the position. He has been targeted on over 30% of his routes against man coverage this season — the Saints happen to play man coverage at the league’s fourth-highest rate.

Kupp’s matchup projects more favorably than Nacua’s, but you should not consider moving away from the rookie at this point.

Let’s dive into the more difficult fantasy start/sit decisions in Saints vs Rams below.

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Saints Week 16 Start/Sit

QB Derek Carr

With the constant turmoil at quarterback, you can bet there is a fantasy manager out there considering just about any option — even the up-and-down Carr, who is coming off his best statistical game of the season against the Giants. Still, it is difficult to trust him on a short week.

Carr’s struggles in the red zone are well documented as he leads a Saints offense that ranks 21st in efficiency when in scoring position. You have to be rather desperate to even consider Carr as a potential start, but inside SoFi stadium, you could do worse than targeting a Rams defense that has given up eight passing scores over the last three games.

I have Carr outside the top 15 at the position this week, but I would play him over Gardner Minshew (if Michael Pittman Jr. doesn't play), Tommy DeVito and whichever Titans quarterback gets the nod.

WR Chris Olave

It’s doubtful you have the luxury of benching Olave despite his potential limitations in this game. You may have to hold your breath throughout the game as you would with any skill player returning from an ankle injury, but as of Wednesday afternoon, Olave has already been declared as “good to go” by Dennis Allen.

On a short week, it’s unlikely the Saints would rush back their star receiver if he isn't close to full health. While he's probably a better option in full-PPR leagues due to potential volume, I am locking Olave into my playoff lineup and living with the results.

Five receivers have hit paydirt against the Rams over the last two games, so I am willing to roll the dice on Olave in a great matchup.

WR Rashid Shaheed

Shaheed is the definition of dart-throw flex. The big-play potential will always be there, which undoubtedly makes him an intriguing flex option if your team is a considerable underdog in your playoff matchup.

Shaheed led the Saints in routes run a week ago — with Olave out of the lineup — at 76% of Carr’s dropbacks. If you are torn on which player to start in the flex, and Shaheed is a legitimate option for you, it’s very likely his spike-week potential trumps that of similarly ranked players.

The Saints' versatile receiver is a volatile option, one of which I would not play over safer options like Jakobi Meyers, Zay Flowers, Joshua Palmer or Tyler Boyd.

TE Taysom Hill

When Hill has a significant role, he becomes a near must-start at the tight end position. Clearly, that isn’t the case right now as he has dealt with injuries and was only able to get on the field for 12 snaps last week.

With no Saints tight ends reaching a 50% route participation, do not consider any for your lineup this week.

Rams Week 16 Start/Sit

WRs Tutu Atwell & Demarcus Robinson

Demarcus Robinson has scored in three consecutive games and seems to have carved out a role in L.A.'s passing attack. However, with Atwell returning from injury, Robinson is a player we simply cannot trust due to the uncertainty of how playing time will now be split.

Even the oddsmakers are treading lightly as neither Atwell nor Robinson have a receiving yardage prop listed on FanDuel or Draftkings at the time of writing. Both players have potential to hit the big play, but both also have too low of a floor to consider trusting.

TE Tyler Higbee

Higbee has only finished as a top-12 tight end just once this season when Cooper Kupp is also in the lineup.

Higbee is completely touchdown dependent at this point and I am not willing to take that chance against a Saints defense that ranks 12th in DVOA against tight ends.

Keep him on the bench.

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