Another season of fantasy football, another group of start-or-sit scenarios to answer.

It’s not just enough to draft the right team and make the right moves off the waiver wire. We all know that. We also have to make sure that we are starting the correct players each week.

Of course, we have our studs, anchors, and the players we’re starting virtually no matter what. We don’t need anyone to tell us to start Travis Kelce.

But, the further down the lineup we go, the more those questions trickle in.

Then again, no player is a ”must-sit” in every scenario, and perhaps the WR3 you’ve been plugging in each week may have a better alternative.

To answer the question, ”Should I sit Player X,” depends on the answer to the question, ”Who can you start instead?”

That’s why I like to switch up the typical start-or-sit column format. I’m going to be listing out all relevant fantasy football players each week and bucketing them into tiers.

Take some of the guesswork out of setting our lineups weekly, I’ll be leveraging thousands of slate simulations that are based on numberFire’s player projections with dynamic measures for variance, such as quarterback rushing, running back receiving, and receiver target depth.

The results will boil down to three tiers: players we should be confident about starting, players we can consider starting whenever we don’t have better alternatives but who aren’t must-plays, and players we should try to bench whenever we do have better alternatives (i.e. players listed above them on the list).

These players are listed in order of frequency of hitting the stated threshold (i.e. QB12, RB24, WR24, and TE12 performances), and higher on the list means more able to start.

The groupings reflect a 12-team, single-quarterback league with the following hypothetical in mind: if I had other viable options on my bench or the waiver wire, should I start this player this week?

Players not listed should be presumed sit-worthy in a shallow or standard-sized league, and all fantasy points references and rankings reflect half-PPR scoring.

QUARTERBACKS

Start with confidence:

– Josh Allen at CHI (77%)

– Patrick Mahomes vs. SEA (75%)

– Tua Tagovailoa vs. GB (60%)

– Joe Burrow at NE (57%)

– Justin Herbert at IND (53%)

– Jalen Hurts at DAL (53% as starter; 20% at half)

– Lamar Jackson vs. ATL (52% as starter; 18% at half)

– Kirk Cousins vs. NYG (51%)

Consider if needed:

– Justin Fields vs. BUF (49%)

– Dak Prescott vs. PHI (49%)

– Daniel Jones at MIN (45%)

– Aaron Rodgers at MIA (45%)

– Geno Smith at KC (44%)

– Tom Brady at ARI (41%)

– Jared Goff at CAR (40%)

– Trevor Lawrence at NYJ (38%)

– Brock Purdy vs. WSH (38%)

– Gardner Minshew at DAL (36% as starter)

Bench if possible:

Derek Carr at PIT (34%); Russell Wilson at LA (32%); Kenny Pickett vs. LV (34%); Ryan Tannehill vs. HOU (33% as starter); Deshaun Watson vs. NO (32%); Matt Ryan vs. LAC (32%); Mac Jones vs. CIN (31%); Malik Willis vs. HOU (28% as starter); Davis Mills at TEN (25%); Desmond Ridder at BAL (25%); Sam Darnold vs. DET (24%); Tyler Huntley vs. ATL (24% as starter); Colt McCoy vs. TB (24%); Taylor Heinicke at SF (21%); Baker Mayfield vs. DEN (18%); Zach Wilson vs. JAC (16%); Andy Dalton at CLE (14%).

Lamar Jackson did not practice on Tuesday. If full, he’s a low-end Tier 1 start (52%).

Ryan Tannehill’s status seems in doubt for Week 16. The Tennessee Titans signed Joshua Dobbs.

With the fantasy playoffs in full swing, you probably aren’t fighting too hard for streaming options, but it’s always important to connect on your quarterback play in the playoffs. Weather concerns are plentiful, so that’s another factor to keep in mind.

How confident can we be in Justin Fields against the Buffalo Bills, a team ranked ninth in adjusted pass defense, according to numberFire’s metrics? Not only is it a tough on-paper matchup, but Fields and the Chicago Bears will be facing heavy winds. That’s really nothing new for the Bears, though, and Fields could set the single-season rushing record by a quarterback. The simulations, thanks to the added variance that comes from rushing ability for quarterbacks, are still high on Fields despite the weather and opponent.

Daniel Jones is rating out as a low-end QB1 play for the week against the Minnesota Vikings, a game that’s in a dome with no wind concerns. Minnesota ranks 26th in adjusted pass defense, via numberFire’s metrics, and second against the rush. That could funnel more passing volume for Jones. Plus, while Minnesota is good overall against the rush, they rank fifth worst in yards per carry allowed to quarterbacks on the year. Jones ranks fifth among quarterbacks in rushing yards.

Even without Tyler Lockett, Geno Smith rates out well in the simulations against the Kansas City Chiefs in a game with a high total. Smith has finished as the QB15 or better in eight consecutive games. The Chiefs rank just 20th in adjusted pass defense.

RUNNING BACKS

Start with confidence:

– Derrick Henry vs. HOU (87%)

– Christian McCaffrey vs. WSH (84%)

– Josh Jacobs at PIT (78%)

– Saquon Barkley at MIN (77%)

– Austin Ekeler at IND (73%)

– James Conner vs. TB (72%)

– Dalvin Cook vs. NYG (69%)

– Alvin Kamara at CLE (63%)

– Travis Etienne at NYJ (62%)

Consider if needed:

– Rhamondre Stevenson vs. CIN (59%)

– Nick Chubb vs. NO (59%)

– Joe Mixon at NE (59%)

– Kenneth Walker III at KC (55%)

– Aaron Jones at MIA (54%)

– Tony Pollard vs. PHI (53%)

– David Montgomery vs. BUF (52%)

– Raheem Mostert vs. GB (50%)

– Latavius Murray at LA (50%)

– Leonard Fournette at ARI (48%)

– Najee Harris vs. LV (48%)

– Miles Sanders at DAL (47%)

– Ezekiel Elliott vs. PHI (47%)

– Jerick McKinnon vs. SEA (46%)

– Isiah Pacheco vs. SEA (45%)

– Rachaad White at ARI (45%)

– Devin Singletary at CHI (43%)

– J.K. Dobbins vs. ATL (43%)

– Jamaal Williams at CAR (42%)

– Cordarrelle Patterson at BAL (41%)

– Chuba Hubbard vs. DET (40%)

– Zonovan Knight vs. JAC (38% at full; 23% at half)

– Jeff Wilson vs. GB (37% at full; 11% at half)

– D’Onta Foreman vs. DET (37%)

Bench if possible:

Zack Moss vs. LAC (34%); Deon Jackson vs. LAC (33%); A.J. Dillon at MIA (32%); Michael Carter vs. JAC (32%); Brian Robinson at SF (32%); Tyler Allgeier at BAL (32%); D’Andre Swift at CAR (30%); Kyren Williams vs. DEN (28%); Marlon Mack at LA (27%); Cam Akers vs. DEN (26%); Samaje Perine at NE (25%); Antonio Gibson at SF (25%); Dare Ogunbowale at TEN (22%).

Jeff Wilson is initially projected with a half workload. Raheem Mostert played well in relief last week and could be a very helpful piece for fantasy lineups this week if Wilson misses again.

Zonovan Knight is not on the New York Jets’ injury report.

Khalil Herbert is projected for just a half workload initially.

Kenneth Walker III is ranked lower than expected this week, and assuming he plays, he rates out well from a process standpoint. So, don’t get too cute in the playoffs. Walker played on 75.4% of the Seattle Seahawks’ snaps in Week 15 and now has extra time to rest up after playing on Thursday night a week ago. Walker turned 12 carries and five targets into 79 total yards against the stout San Francisco 49ers’ defense. Against the Chiefs, Walker could be in line for added receiving work with Tyler Lockett out. Walker had five targets for 32 yards while running a route on 63.8% of the team’s drop-backs.

Najee Harris remains a polarizing fantasy football asset while tied to an inconsistent offense. Harris has just one top-10 finish all season, and that came back in Week 11, his only multi-touchdown game of the season. Harris’ snap rate has been around 66% in two of the past three games, so he’s fending off Jaylen Warren well enough. This week he faces the Las Vegas Raiders, who are an average rush defense. He’s still a solid Tier 2 play entering Saturday night.

J.K. Dobbins is the epitome of the type of running back you feel good to have on your team if you need a flex-level option late in the season. Dobbins, in two games since returning from injury, has averaged 14.0 carries and 0.5 targets for 124.0 scrimmage yards per game. That comes with a 44.4% red zone rushing share and elite efficiency by way of a rushing-yards-over-expectation-per-carry rate of 3.89 in that span.

Dobbins is up against the Atlanta Falcons, who rank 30th in rushing success rate allowed to opposing running backs.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Start with confidence:

– Tyreek Hill vs. GB (83%)

– Justin Jefferson vs. NYG (74%)

– Amon-Ra St. Brown at CAR (68%)

– Stefon Diggs at CHI (66%)

– Ja’Marr Chase at NE (64%)

– CeeDee Lamb vs. PHI (64%)

– D.K. Metcalf at KC (62%)

– A.J. Brown at DAL (56%)

– Jaylen Waddle vs. GB (54%)

– Davante Adams at PIT (54%)

– DeAndre Hopkins vs. TB (50%)

Consider if needed:

– Chris Godwin at ARI (46%)

– Keenan Allen at IND (45%)

– Mike Williams at IND (44%)

– Terry McLaurin at SF (44%)

– Tee Higgins at NE (43%)

– Mike Evans at ARI (41%)

– DeVonta Smith at DAL (39%)

– Diontae Johnson vs. LV (39%)

– JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. SEA (38%)

– Gabe Davis at CHI (37%)

– Christian Kirk at NYJ (37%)

– DJ Moore vs. DET (36%)

– Garrett Wilson vs. JAC (36%)

– Michael Pittman Jr. vs. LAC (36%)

– Jerry Jeudy at LA (36%)

– Amari Cooper vs. NO (35%)

– Christian Watson at MIA (35%)

Bench if possible:

Allen Lazard at MIA (34%); Curtis Samuel at SF (34%); Marquise Goodwin at KC (34%); Brandon Aiyuk vs. WSH (34%); Zay Jones at NYJ (32%); Chris Olave at CLE (31%); Darius Slayton at MIN (30%); George Pickens vs. LV (30%); Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. NO (27%); K.J. Osborn vs. NYG (25%); Drake London at BAL (25%); Michael Gallup vs. PHI (24%); Tyler Boyd at NE (23%); Adam Thielen vs. NYG (23%); Jakobi Meyers vs. CIN (23%); D.J. Chark at CAR (22%); Julio Jones at ARI (22%); Marquise Brown vs. TB (22%); DeSean Jackson vs. ATL (21%); Nico Collins at TEN (21%); Josh Reynolds at CAR (21%); Richie James at MIN (20%); Van Jefferson vs. DEN (20%); Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. SEA (20%).

The Chiefs could get Mecole Hardman back this week. He has a half projection initially.

Treylon Burks has a half projection.

DJ Moore draws a great matchup with the Detroit Lions, a team ranked 31st in catch rate over expectation allowed to opposing receivers. In three games with Sam Darnold under center, Moore’s market share is great (26.8%), and the air yards share is unsustainably good (60.0%), but that has led only to 5.0 targets and 60.7 scrimmage yards per game. Moore should have a high catch rate and maybe a carry or two and has been a top-12 receiver in two of three games with Darnold, thanks to touchdowns.

What’s the status of Michael Pittman Jr. entering Week 16? Since Week 10, Pittman Jr. has a 28.8% target share, which works out to 9.0 targets per game. Those rank him 10th and 13th, respectively, among receivers in that span. The results? They’re not great. Pittman Jr. has averaged just 53.0 yards per game to rank him just outside the top 36, and he has a single touchdown on those 45 targets. His 1.50 yards per route run rate puts him below the likes of Trent Sherfield and Damiere Byrd in that sample.

Is Marquise Goodwin a plug-and-play option for those of us who need receiver help? He might be – just don’t get carried away. Goodwin will benefit from the absence of Tyler Lockett, and while there can be some risk in projecting a bigger workload for a receiver once a starter is out, Goodwin already has been involved in the Seattle offense. Goodwin has a post-bye route rate of 60.9% albeit with a 10.6% target share. Lockett leaves behind a 24.5% target share in that split, and Goodwin has made the most of his 4.0 targets per game, turning them into 42.5 yards with a catch rate over expectation of +6.7%.

TIGHT END

Start with confidence:

– Travis Kelce vs. SEA (88%)

– Mark Andrews vs. ATL (66%)

– Pat Freiermuth vs. LV (51%)

– T.J. Hockenson vs. NYG (50%)

Consider if needed:

– George Kittle vs. WSH (45%)

– Dallas Goedert at DAL (43%)

– Greg Dulcich at LA (41%)

– Dawson Knox at CHI (41%)

– Dalton Schultz vs. PHI (37%)

– Darren Waller at PIT (36%)

– Noah Fant at KC (35%)

– Taysom Hill at CLE (35%)

Bench if possible:

Tyler Higbee vs. DEN (33%); Evan Engram at NYJ (32%); Juwan Johnson at CLE (30%); Chig Okonkwo vs. HOU (29%); David Njoku vs. NO (28%); Gerald Everett at IND (27%); Cole Kmet vs. BUF (26%); Daniel Bellinger at MIN (23%); Will Dissly at KC (23%); Isaiah Likely vs. ATL (22%); Eric Tomlinson at LA (21%); Austin Hooper vs. HOU (21%); Jelani Woods vs. LAC (21%); Hunter Henry vs. CIN (20%).

Dallas Goedert is projected for a full workload in his return from injured reserve.

Darren Waller returned after a long absence last week to play 31 snaps in Week 15. Of those 31 snaps, 27 of them led to pass routes for Waller. Of those 27 pass routes, though, just three of them were targets to Waller, who caught all three for 48 yards and a touchdown. Waller’s average target depth was a nice 12.4 yards downfield, but a 9.4% target share is a bit worrisome for those of us who have been waiting to plug Waller back into our tight end slot. This week, Waller is up against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are a top-six tight end defense by adjusted fantasy points per target. Although he is not back to must-start territory, he is very playable with tight end as bleak as it is.

Noah Fant squares up with a Chiefs team that is a solid tight end defense (18th in adjusted fantasy points per target) and could see extended route numbers without Lockett. Fant still has to contend with Will Dissly for routes and targets, but has the better receiving role than Dissly. Since a Week 11 bye, Fant has earned 3.8 targets per game with 1.0 of those being a downfield target.

When in doubt, play Taysom Hill at tight end if you can. Hill connected on both pass attempts in Week 15 for 80 yards and a touchdown. He also ran seven times for 30 yards. Hill is the TE6 on the full season in half-PPR formats, and with heavy winds in store for the New Orleans Saints game at Cleveland, Hill could see extra rushing volume.

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