Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 14: Patriots vs. Chargers
San Diego has turned it around after things looked awful a month ago. Can they keep it going Sunday night?
A few weeks ago, everything looked to be falling apart for the San Diego Chargers. They had lost three straight games, including a 37-0 destruction at the hands of the Miami Dolphins, and fell to 5-4. Since their bye, though, San Diego has righted the ship, with three straight wins carrying them to 8-4 and in good shape for a playoff spot. Sunday, they host the New England Patriots, themselves off their first loss in their last eight games.
The Patriots have running back Shane Vereen (ankle) and wide receivers Brandon Lafell (shoulder) and Julian Edelman (thigh) all listed as questionable coming into Sunday, though all three are ultimately expected to play. For the Chargers, the only fantasy-relevant player on the injury report is quarterback Philip Rivers, dealing with a chest issue, and he too is expected to be fine.
The game, in San Diego, is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday. Here’s a look at the fantasy names to consider:
Start ‘em: He’s not performing quite as well as he did during that crazy-hot stretch in Weeks 5-8, but Tom Brady has still been really good of late, and is a must-start. … The “rough stretch” for Rob Gronkowski of late has been eight fantasy points a game. He’s still elite. … Stephen Gostkowski got basically shut down in Week 13, but he’s still one of the league’s top kickers.
Start ‘em?: The New England receivers have been up and down; Brandon LaFell is the better option than Julian Edelman, though both are reasonable flex plays. … If things are desperate, Tim Wright always has a decent shot at a touchdown.
Sit ‘em: As complicated as the New England running-back situation is, it’s impossible to trust any of Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray or Brandon Bolden. If you’re using one, it’s probably Blount, but tread lightly. … The Patriots’ defense has fallen on harder times of late, and the San Diego offense is good enough to make you want to steer clear in fantasy.
Start ‘em: He hasn’t been elite since his return, but Ryan Mathews is still performing well enough. He’s a No. 2 running back. … Antonio Gates finally got back on the good side of the fantasy ledger in Week 13; he’s a low-end starter. … After struggling with kicking opportunities when the team was on the downturn, Nick Novak has turned it around of late.
Start ‘em?: In his last six games, Philip Rivers has been very up and down. With New England’s abilities against the pass and his nagging injury, Rivers is a defensible fantasy option, but looks like more of a QB2. … Keenan Allen has put things together of late, leaving Malcom Floyd behind. Someone is going to have Darrelle Revis on him, so it’s tough to say for sure who the better option will be. They’re both flex plays.
Sit ‘em: The return of Mathews has made Branden Oliver a complete afterthought. … Eddie Royal scored last week, but that’s been his only saving grace since Week 5 at least; he’s not a fantasy option. … The Chargers’ defense has had more negative games than positive of late.
Start in every league: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Mathews, Antonio Gates, Nick Novak
Start if you’re desperate: Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman, Tim Wright, Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd
Bench: Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, Brandon Bolden, New England defense, Branden Oliver, Eddie Royal, San Diego defense