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Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Damien Williams Is Still the Chiefs RB to Play

Dec 28, 2018 2:23 PM EST
  • Ryan Collinsworth is here to answer those tough fantasy football start or sit questions for the Week 17 NFL slate.
  • He highlights picks at each skill position, including Damien Williams over Spencer Ware.

In this article, I compare players with similar ESPN fantasy projections based on our Action Network Consensus Rankings and projections. In doing so, I advocate starting players with higher upside and fading comparable players with downside risk.

Since moving to this new format in Week 9, we’ve gone 24-10 (71% win-rate) on our recommendations. Readers who have heeded our recommendations have earned a +149.5 PPR points Plus/Minus score over that span — that’s an extra 21.4 fantasy points per week.

All rankings and projections are based on PPR scoring. Reported player projections are based on median expected outcome and are current as of writing. For a complete breakdown of all players, check out our FantasyLabs Models powered by “The Oddsmaker,” Sean Koerner.

Quarterback: Start Nick Foles over Mitchell Trubisky

Foles exploded for 471 yards, four touchdowns and 30.9 fantasy points in a must-win game against the Texans last week. Now he faces a slumping Redskins team that has no path to the playoffs and has lost five of its past six games.

The Eagles have to win — and have the Vikings lose to the Bears — to punch their playoff ticket as an NFC wild card. With the season on the line, Philadelphia will look to Foles to conjure some of that playoff magic that led to last season’s title.

Washington’s defense is pretty average across most advanced metrics and has played up or down to the level of its competition. Quarterbacks on teams in the top-half of the league in Football Outsiders’ offense pass DVOA have averaged 287.8 passing yards, two touchdowns and 17.9 fantasy points per game against Washington. Quarterbacks on teams in the bottom-half of the league have averaged 209.7 passing yards, one touchdown and 15.3 fantasy points against the Redskins.

If you exclude games against inept quarterbacks — Week 1 vs. Sam Bradford, Week 15 vs. Cody Kessler and Week 16 vs. Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert — the Redskins have allowed 19.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nick Foles

Foles and the Eagles’ 13th-ranked pass offense DVOA are in prime position to gash the Washington defense, making Foles a solid fantasy QB1 for Week 17.

Trubisky is in a precarious position as head coach Matt Nagy could choose to rest players, especially if the Rams get out to a big lead over the 49ers. The Bears can fall to no lower than the NFC’s No. 3 seed, creating little incentive to play to win (although Nagy did say they “aren’t going to hold back” against the Vikings). The Bears do have a path to the No. 2 seed, but that would require the Rams to lose.

Even if Trubisky and the Bears offense plays in full, their matchup against the Vikings is still suboptimal. The Vikings rank fourth in pass defense DVOA and allow the second-fewest fantasy points per game (14.6) to opposing quarterbacks. When these two teams faced off in Week 11, Trubisky posted a below-average 165-1-2 passing line — but added 43 rushing yards — on his way to 14.9 fantasy points.

Trubisky has also faded in his past three starts, averaging only 11.9 fantasy points per game. He ranks 23rd among fantasy quarterbacks over that span.

Given the difficulty of his matchup and the downside risk of a premature exit, it’s best to let Trubisky ride the bench in Week 17.