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.
Conference Championship Round: Start ‘Em, Sit 'Em
Start ‘Em Quarterback
Joe Burrow at Chiefs (3 p.m. ET, CBS): Burrow’s fantasy totals have declined in the last two weeks, throwing for just two touchdowns with an interception while scoring a total of 29.9 points. Still, I like the second-year quarterback when he faces the Chiefs in what should be a barnburner. In their last eight games, including the playoffs, their defense has allowed 18 total touchdowns and the most points to enemy quarterbacks.
DFS Bargain: Matthew Stafford at Buccaneers ($6,300)
Sit ‘Em Quarterback
Jimmy Garoppolo at Rams (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox): Garoppolo helped lead the 49ers to a win in Green Bay last week, but it wasn’t due to his stats. In fact, he finished with 3.2 points and has now scored fewer than 10 combined fantasy points in two postseason games. He was also held to fewer than 13 points against the Rams back in Week 18, and their defense has surrendered the fewest points to quarterbacks since Week 12.
DFS Fade: Jimmy Garoppolo at Rams ($5,400)
Start ‘Em Running Back
Cam Akers vs. 49ers (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox): Akers is coming off a forgettable game last week, scoring a mere 5.8 fantasy points while also losing a pair of fumbles. However, he did see a massive workload as he had 27 touches and a 47 percent touch share in a win over the Buccaneers. That volume makes Akers worth a look this week against the Niners, who are tough against the run but gave up 26 points to Aaron Jones last week.
DFS Bargain: Cam Akers vs. 49ers ($5,000)
Sit ‘Em Running Back
Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Bengals (3 p.m. ET, CBS): Edwards-Helaire returned to action last week against the Bills, but he didn’t return to a featured role in the Chiefs offense. In fact, Jerick McKinnon played more snaps, saw more touches and scored more fantasy points. The matchup against the Bengals isn't bad on paper, but I have concerns about Edwards-Helaire with McKinnon playing so well right now.
DFS Fade: Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Bengals ($5,300)
Start ‘Em Wide Receiver
Tee Higgins at Chiefs (3 p.m. ET, CBS): Higgins rebounded from a Wild Card Round stinker to produce 16.6 fantasy points in last week’s win over the Titans. He should put up another nice stat line in what could be a high-scoring tilt against the Chiefs. Their defense has struggled against enemy wide receivers lately, allowing the second-most touchdown catches (14) and the third-most points to the position since Week 12.
DFS Bargain: Byron Pringle vs. Bengals ($4,300)
Sit ‘Em Wide Receiver
Brandon Aiyuk at Rams (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox): I don't necessarily think Aiyuk is a must-sit this week, even after he was held to zero points against the Packers. He had scored 11-plus points in his previous four games, including 16.7 against this week’s opponent, the Rams. Still, Aiyuk is probably the riskiest fantasy option among the better-known wide receivers alive in the conference championship round schedule.
DFS Fade: Van Jefferson vs. 49ers ($3,900)
Start ‘Em Tight End
George Kittle at Rams (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox): Kittle is coming off his best stat line since Week 15, scoring 10.3 fantasy points in a win over the Packers. He’s also had a ton of success against the Rams in his NFL career, scoring 16 or more points in six of his last seven meetings, including three games with more than 20 points. He’s also recorded a combined 62 targets against them over those seven contests, so give Kittle the start.
DFS Bargain: Tyler Higbee vs. 49ers ($3,700)
Sit ‘Em Tight End
C.J. Uzomah at Chiefs (3 p.m. ET, CBS): Uzomah has been on fire in the playoffs, scoring a combined 32.5 fantasy points over Cincinnati’s two wins. However, he's still the least attractive of the tight ends in this round, and a matchup against the Chiefs makes him an even tougher sell. Their defense has allowed no touchdowns and the third-fewest fantasy points to the position in their last six games, so fade Uzomah.
DFS Fade: C.J. Uzomah at Chiefs ($3,400)
Start ‘Em Kicker
Robbie Gould at Rams (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox): Gould has done well in the last month, scoring 42 points in his last four games, including 22 in the postseason. He should post another nice stat line against the Rams, who allowed nine points to him in two games earlier this season and have given up 8.8 points per game to kickers since Week 12.
Sit ‘Em Kicker
Evan McPherson at Chiefs (3 p.m. ET, CBS): McPherson has been the hottest kicker in the league, scoring 10 or more points in six straight games, including 31 points in two postseason contests. He does have the worst matchup among all kickers this week, though, as the Chiefs have allowed the fewest points to the position since Week 12.
Start ‘Em Defense
Chiefs D/ST vs. Bengals (3 p.m. ET, CBS): This week's game between the Bengals and Chiefs has an over/under of 54 on SI Sportsbook, so there's a good chance that the scoreboard will be lighting up often. The Bengals gave up nine sacks of Joe Burrow a week ago, and that weakness makes the Chiefs D/ST a nice option in all leagues.
DFS Bargain: Chiefs D/ST vs. Bengals ($3,000)
Sit ‘Em Defense
Bengals D/ST at Chiefs (3 p.m. ET, CBS): Starting a defense against the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes has not been a great idea in the second half of the season. Their offense leads the league in points scored per game (32.4) and is second in yards per game (400.8) since Week 10, so I’d be fading the Bengals D/ST big time this weekend.
DFS Fade: Bengals D/ST at Chiefs ($2,600)
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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