Start ‘Em, Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups based on a PPR scoring system in fantasy football. This column will not cover the elite players in the NFL like Patrick Mahomes, Jonathan Taylor, Davante Adams, or Travis Kelce. Instead, I'll look at the players you have the most questions about to help you set the most effective starting lineup possible. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the 2021 NFL season.
Divisional Round Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Joe Burrow at Titans (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Burrow has been hot lately, scoring a combined 90.5 fantasy points with 10 touchdowns in his last three games. Next up is a date with the Titans, who have allowed 19-plus fantasy points to the likes of Tyrod Taylor, Mac Jones and Davis Mills over their last seven games. That bodes well for Burrow, who should be able to put up 18-plus fantasy points in his postseason contest.
Matthew Stafford at Buccaneers (3 p.m. ET, NBC): Stafford’s numbers haven’t been great in recent weeks, but he did score nearly 25 fantasy points against the Cardinals in the Wild Card Round. That is his best total since Week 14. Next is a date with the Buccaneers, who Stafford roasted for four touchdowns and 29.5 fantasy points back in Week 3. SI Sportsbook has the over/under at 48.5, so expect a shootout in Tampa.
DFS Bargain: Matthew Stafford at Buccaneers ($6,200)
Divisional Round Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Ryan Tannehill vs. Bengals (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Tannehill recorded 27.3 fantasy points in the Titans regular-season finale, but it was the first time he had put up more than 18 points in a game since Week 10. This week's matchup against the Bengals isn't unfavorable on paper, per se, but their defense has allowed an average of fewer than 16 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in their last nine contests.
Jimmy Garoppolo at Packers (Sat. 8:15 p.m. ET, Fox): Garoppolo helped lead the 49ers to a win in Dallas last week, but it wasn’t due to his stats. In fact, he scored fewer than five fantasy points in the contest. He’s failed to score more than 16 points in all but one of his last 10 games, and the Packers held him to just 14.7 fantasy points in Week 3. The weather will also be very cold at Lambeau Field, so I’d fade Jimmy G.
DFS Fade: Ryan Tannehill vs. Bengals ($5,800)
Divisional Round Start ‘Em: Running Backs
Devin Singletary at Chiefs (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Singletary has been on-absolute-fire in recent weeks, scoring 16-plus fantasy points in five straight games, including three with 23 or more. The Chiefs did hold him to just 3.3 points in Week 5, but Singletary had just seven touches, and he's become a bigger part of the offense. Their defense has also allowed a back to score at least 15.6 points in three of their last four contests.
Elijah Mitchell at Packers (Sat. 8:15 p.m. ET, Fox): Mitchell put up a nice stat line against the Cowboys, scoring a touchdown and 15.5 fantasy points while seeing a 51.9 percent touch share. The matchup against the Packers isn’t great on paper, but coach Kyle Shanahan will want to focus on the running game to keep Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense off the field. Look for Mitchell to see 18-plus touches this weekend.
DFS Bargains: Cam Akers at Buccaneers ($5,500), Jerick McKinnon vs. Bills ($4,800)
Divisional Round Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
Sony Michel at Buccaneers (3 p.m. ET, NBC): Michel had been on a nice hot streak in the stat sheets, but it looks he’s lost the lead running back role to Cam Akers. In the Wild Card Round, Akers played eight more snaps and saw five more touches, and he could have had a huge stat line had he hauled in an underthrown pass from Matthew Stafford. The Buccaneers are tough on the run too, so I’d keep Michel on the bench.
Darrel Williams vs. Bills (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Williams appears to have lost his role as a prominent running back in Kansas City, as Jerick McKinnon led all Chiefs' runners in snaps, touches and fantasy points last week. The team will get Clyde Edwards-Helaire back in the mix this week too, which further hurts Williams’ stock even more. The Bills haven’t been very good against the run lately, but Williams remains a fade.
DFS Fades: Sony Michel at Buccaneers ($5,300), D’Onta Foreman vs. Bengals ($5,400)
Divisional Round Start ‘Em: Wide Receivers
Mike Evans vs. Rams (3 p.m. ET, NBC): Evans has been on a tear in recent weeks, scoring 14-plus fantasy points in three straight games, including two with nearly 27. He has also seen a combined 24 targets in those games, as the Buccaneers no longer can lean on Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. The Rams surrendered 18.6 points to Evan in their first meeting of the season, and I’d continue to ride him in fantasy leagues.
Tee Higgins at Titans (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS): I was wrong about Higgins last week, as he finished with a season-low two fantasy points. However, I'm going to double down on him this week, as Higgins has a great matchup against the Titans. Their defense gave up the second-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts during the regular season, allowing a combined 20 touchdowns and nearly 15 catches a game.
DFS Bargains: Brandon Aiyuk at Packers ($5,200), Gabriel Davis at Chiefs ($4,600)
Divisional Round Sit ‘Em: Wide Receivers
Julio Jones vs. Bengals (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Jones has been a massive dud in the stat sheets in his first season with the Titans, battling through injuries while scoring just one touchdown while putting up an average of eight fantasy points per contest. Next up is a date with the Bengals, who have given up seven touchdowns and an average of fewer than 18 points to receivers lined out wide in their last nine games.
Cole Beasley at Chiefs (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Beasley’s stats have taken a serious dive in recent weeks, scoring 7.5 or fewer fantasy points in each of his last four games and five of his last six. He also played in just 30.4 percent of the Bills offensive snaps last week, his lowest total since Week 10. While the matchup against the Chiefs is a good one on paper, Beasley is simply too tough to trust in postseason fantasy leagues.
DFS Fades: Julio Jones vs. Bengals ($4,700), Van Jefferson at Buccaneers ($4,200)
Divisional Round Start ‘Em: Tight Ends
George Kittle at Packers (Sat. 8:15 p.m. ET, Fox): Kittle might look like an obvious option, but have you seen his numbers lately? In his last four games, he’s failed to put up more than six fantasy points. Kittle has also failed to score a touchdown in each of his last five contests. Still, I like him to rebound against a Packers team that’s allowed 17-plus points to tight ends five times, including Kittle's 17.1 points back in Week 3.
Dawson Knox at Chiefs (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Knox busted out of a slump last week, putting up two touchdowns and 25.9 fantasy points in a blowout win over the Patriots. He’ll be a strong option for fantasy fans once again this week, as he’ll face a Chiefs defense that allowed 10-plus fantasy points to tight ends nine times. That includes a Week 5 game against the Bills when Knox beat Kansas City for nearly 21 points.
DFS Bargain: Dawson Knox at Chiefs ($4,900)
Divisional Round Sit ‘Em: Tight Ends
Tyler Higbee at Buccaneers (3 p.m. ET, NBC): Higbee will remain a viable starting option in postseason leagues as he continues to see a nice target share in the Rams' passing attack. However, keep in mind that the Buccaneers have allowed just three tight ends to score more than 9.3 fantasy points against them since Week 7. Their defense has also allowed just two touchdown catches to the position in their last 12 contests.
C.J. Uzomah at Titans (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Uzomah is coming off a big game in the stat sheets, recording 18.4 fantasy points in a win over the Raiders. However, I wouldn't chase the points as he had scored 7.3 or fewer fantasy points in eight of his nine previous contests. The Titans have also been tough on tight ends, allowing zero touchdowns and the second-fewest points to the position in their last seven games.
DFS Fade: Tyler Higbee at Buccaneers ($4,000)
Divisional Round Start ‘Em: Kickers
Harrison Butker vs. Bills (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Butker’s hasn’t been great in recent weeks, as he’s failed to score more than eight points in three of his last four games. I'd still start him this week, though, as he should see plenty of chances to produce in a game with an over/under of 54.5. Butker also had 10 points against the Bills in Week 5.
More: Tyler Bass at Chiefs (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Divisional Round Sit ‘Em: Kickers
Robbie Gould at Packers (Sat. 8:15 p.m. ET, Fox): Gould posted a solid 15 points in last week’s win over the Cowboys, but I wouldn’t chase the points in Green Bay. Their defense has allowed seven or fewer fantasy points to kickers 11 times this season. That includes Gould, who posted a mere four fantasy points against them back in Week 3.
More: Evan McPherson at Titans (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Divisional Round Start ‘Em: Defenses
Buccaneers D/ST vs. Rams (3 p.m. ET, NBC): The Buccaneers D/ST finished the regular season fifth in fantasy points during the regular season, and I wouldn’t let a matchup against the Rams keep me from sitting this unit. While Matthew Stafford was great last week, he’s been sacked 11 times and thrown eight picks since Week 15.
DFS Bargain: Bengals D/ST at Titans ($2,700)
Divisional Round Sit ‘Em: Defenses
Bills D/ST at Chiefs (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS): The Bills' defense was spectacular in a win over the Patriots last week, but a matchup in Kansas City makes it a fade for me. Over their last five games, the Chiefs offense leads the league in points per game, yards per game and has committed a mere four turnovers. They’ve also allowed seven sacks.
DFS Fade: Rams D/ST at Buccaneers ($3,000)
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!
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