Koerner’s TNF Fantasy Football Start vs. Sit Strategy for Jets-Ravens

Koerner’s TNF Fantasy Football Start vs. Sit Strategy for Jets-Ravens article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Marquise Brown

  • Sean Koerner runs through key fantasy football start vs. sit decisions for Thursday Night Football.
  • Find out which Jets and Ravens players to plug or avoid for the semifinal round of fantasy playoffs.

There’s more strategy to Thursday Night Football fantasy sit/start decisions than people realize — especially now that it’s Week 15, when the stakes are high with most leagues in the semifinal round of playoffs.

It’s always tricky making TNF sit/start decisions because it usually involves locking in players with 90-95% of the league playing three to four days later. Luckily, tonight is a really direct matchup, so I’ll try to make it as simple as possible.

Now let’s run through key start vs. sit decisions for tonight. Note that there’s uncertainty regarding the status of key players due to injury, so be sure to refer to my updated fantasy football rankings once inactives are announced.

Fantasy Football Start vs. Sit Strategy for Jets-Ravens

Quarterbacks

Lamar Jackson: Start
Sam Darnold: Sit

I told you: We’re making this as simple as possible.

Running Backs

Mark Ingram: Start
Le’Veon Bell: Start*

*Only if Bell is ranked higher than your other option(s)

This is a brutal matchup for Bell, but with Bilal Powell ruled out, Bell will have a bankable workload that raises his floor.

Even though the Jets are huge 16.5-point underdogs, it really doesn’t hurt Bell as much as one would expect — in fact, it likely means he’ll be more involved in the passing game as the Jets attempt to comeback. This is a plus for any PPR format.

LeVeon Bell
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Le’Veon Bell

But this decision isn’t quite as simple if you’re debating between Bell and either James Conner or Josh Jacobs. All three are ranked as mid-range RB2s.

One reason it would make sense to lock in Bell tonight is that we know for a fact that he’s playing, whereas Conner and/or Jacobs could have a setback and end up missing or be limited. Their situations are murky enough that this is a spot where taking the points is a way to boost your team’s floor, which is essentially the only thing we need to be shooting for.

Wide Receivers

Marquise Brown: Lean toward sitting in close sit/start calls
Robby Anderson: Lean toward sitting in close sit/start calls
Jamison Crowder: Lean toward sitting in close sit/start calls

This is the toughest position for sit/start decisions tonight. All three fantasy-relevant WRs are right on the cusp of the WR3/Flex range. And with the status of so many players up in the air this week, it makes sense to not plug in players tonight.

Think of it this way: Many questionable players will be ruled active (making them a “start”) while some may be ruled inactive (moving other WRs up into the “start” range). Taking advantage of that flexibility raises your team’s floor and ceiling this week.

Some specific examples would be if you have Marquise Brown, Adam Thielen or DeVante Parker available for any of your WR slots this week, but also have access to back-up options like Breshad Perriman and/or Darius Slayton.

Scenario No. 1:

  1. You lock in Brown tonight with Thielen’s and Parker’s status up in the air;
  2. Thielen and Parker both end up active and at 100% come Sunday, and you hindered your team’s odds of winning by locking in Brown.

Scenario No. 2:

  1. You sit Brown and wait for Thielen’s and Parker’s status to be confirmed;
  2. Thielen and Parker both end up active and at 100% come Sunday, which raising your team’s odds of winning.

Scenario No. 3:

  1. You sit Brown and wait for Thielen’s and Parker’s status to be confirmed;
  2. Thielen and Parker both end up inactive come Sunday, but you’re still able to slot in Slayton- or Perriman-types with almost no drop-off from what you would’ve had with Brown.

Having said that, Brown and Anderson are high-ceiling, low-floor options who can widen the range of outcomes for your team if you’re a big underdog. Crowder is the type of low-ceiling, high-floor play you would lean toward if you’re a bigger favorite and want to lock in several points from your WR3/Flex.

Vyncint Smith is not in-play for season-long leagues, but is by far the best play for tonight’s one-game DFS showdown slate.

Smith will be filling in for Demaryius Thomas and should be on the field for 70-90% of the snaps, giving him ample opportunity to crush value. He’s incredibly polished for an undrafted free agent and the Jets have mentioned they’d like to give him a larger role later in the season as they look toward 2020.

Tonight is Smith’s big audition.

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews: Start (if active)

Even at less than 100%, Andrews would be a top-10 tight end this week. With so many TEs banged up and questionable, it would only enhance his rank if/when any of the top-15 TEs are ruled out.

Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst would both become top-20 options this week if Andrews is ruled out. They wouldn’t be recommended plays in standard 12-team leagues, but are worth a flier in deeper formats that start two TEs.