Start, Sit & As the Dust Settles
As I begin writing my final “Start, Sit & Seth” column of the 2020 fantasy football season, I can’t help but have a bittersweet feeling come over me.
This season, like my two previous creating fantasy content for other sites, has been what many would consider a “grind.” For 17 consecutive weeks now, we at In-Between Media have published five to six columns, one podcast episode and a slew of “Sunday Brunch” videos each week. We successfully brought more than 20 unique industry voices together for our “Between the Holidays” campaign and attempted to have a consistent presence in the fantasy sports community.
It didn’t help that Week 1 of the NFL season also marked my first working as a communications professional for Pennsylvania State University, a top-25 national research university, located in the heart of my home state.
But this season, despite the many restless nights lost to content creating, has brought me so much: new readers and listeners, new friends and colleagues and, last but not least, a solidified purpose of bringing both feel-good life and fantasy sports advice to the world.
And while I assure you that I will continue to bring you my optimistic and unique outlook on life in 2021, this week I want to discuss something that typically plays second fiddle in my columns: fantasy football and specifically my hits and misses of the 2020 season.
Similar to life, we’re not going to be perfect in fantasy football at all times. But the one thing we can do is try our best. And that’s what I try to do every day and every time I offer others either form of advice.
I had some tough misses this season, like having Zach Ertz as one of my all-in selections to begin the season. Or that players like Michael Gallup, Damien Harris and Darrell Henderson Jr. could be the kind of values that win leagues.
But with every miss, were also many unique calls that I was correct about. I called my shot on rookies Justin Jefferson and D’Andre Swift and said they would both finish inside the top-24 at their respective positions. I had Davante Adams as my WR1 coming into this season and was also all-in on Calvin Ridley to taking the next step.
In the preseason, I pumped up the Tom Brady/Mike Evans stack, while also casting doubt on eventual draft day busts like Miles Sanders, Cam Akers and Carson Wentz. However, I also missed on both DeAndre Hopkins and Stefan Diggs, as they were each joining new teams respectively, and I had been burn by Odell Beckham Jr. doing the same the year prior.
The process for my regular-season start/sit selections in this column is simple. For all the players I discuss, I try to pick borderline ones whom managers aren’t sure whether to start or not. I don’t take easy shots on players ranked inside experts’ top-eight for quarterbacks or top-20 for running backs and tight ends.
I grade myself on whether I was right or wrong with my quarterback decisions based on if they finished the week as a QB1 (top-12 at the position) or not. And for running backs and receivers, the double-digit Points Per Reception (PPR) mark is the deciding threshold for me on whether it was the right or wrong call.
2018 was my first season writing this column and creating fantasy sports content as a whole. And while I wasn’t a weekly columnist or nearly as diligent with my research as I am now, I was accurate on 79 percent of my QB start/sits, as well as 64 and 77 percent right on my RB and WR start/sit selections, respectively. Because I wasn’t doing this on a week-in and week-out basis, I chalk 2018’s success up to complete beginners’ luck.
How difficult being accurate on start/sit selections is was reamplified in 2019, my first season as a weekly columnist, when I hit on 56 percent of quarterbacks start/sits and 59 percent of both my RB and WR start/sit selections.
This season, after more pre and off-season research than ever before and fully immersing myself into the fantasy sports community, I came ready to go, looking for improvements on my accuracy from a year ago.
So far in 2020, I’ve been accurate on 57 percent of my quarterback start/sits – not making much of an improvement from the year prior. I was also slightly less accurate at my WR start/sits, getting it right 56 percent of the time this go-around, as opposed to 59 percent last year.
However, my largest improvement was my RB start/sit selections, where I gave readers the correct advice 75 percent of the time – getting the call right 25 percent more often than in 2019. While it’s difficult to pinpoint one thing that helped this accuracy increase, reading between the tea leaves lead to me believe it was one thing: experience.
Historically, I’ve been burned in both real life and fantasy football by failing to adapt. This season, I tried to do my best to take the name of the player away from the running back position. Instead, I relied more heavily on projected game flow, as well as underlining player and defensive trends.
And while I am pleased with this improvement in my accuracy at the running back position, I’m not content. I must take the same leap in both my QB and WR start/sits to continue to deliver the best fantasy sports advice I can to my readers.
Thank you to all those who ready any of the third season of “Start, Sit & Seth,” or any content here at In-Between Media. By putting the pen to paper every week this year, I have become not just a better fantasy football analyst, but a better person. And I hope that you, the reader, can say the same.
As the dust of another fantasy football season – by far the strangest that I’ve ever seen – begins to settle, I wish you success in, yes, you guessed it, both fantasy football and life. I’ll return in due time with “Start, Sit & Seth” Season Four. Until then, friends.
Now let’s get to it.
The following start/sit selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft Leagues.
Quarterback I’d Start this Week:
Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings): With slim pickings at the position this week, Kirk Cousins against the Detroit Lions is a marquee play. The Lions are in freewill, and Dalvin Cook is also set to miss Sunday’s game due to a family emergency.
In what’s been a down year for Cousins and the 6-9 Vikings, he’s at least already broken his previous career-high in passing touchdowns (30). And I think he continues to build to that total this week as the Lions allowed Tom Brady four touchdowns of his own in the first half last week.
Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:
Cam Newton (New England): Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Cam Newton is a starting quarterback moving forward in the NFL. A 2,415-passing-yard, five-passing-touchdown and 10-interceptions season total is more of a signal to ride off into the sunset, rather than a return to past glory.
In the last two weeks, the New York Jets have held both their opposing quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Jared Goff, outside the top 20 at the position. If no rushing touchdowns come his way, Newton likely follows suit.
Running Back I’d Start this Week:
J.D. McKissic (Washington): J.D. McKissic, currently PPR RB15 on the season, has to be one of the biggest surprises on the season. He’s topped 17 PPR points five times in the last eight games, and I expect it’ll be needed once more as Washington is in a division-ceiling game here in Week 17.
Terry McLaurin, Washington’s star receiver, will be sidelined again this week against Philadelphia, likely adding another large target total to McKissic’s already career-high 102 he has thus far.
Running Back I’d Sit this Week:
Devin Singletary (Buffalo): Devin Singletary was another player I projected as a draft-day bust in the preseason. With Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs as the stars of the show, Singletary has been useful for fantasy owners in less than half his games this season.
That type of inconsistent production, mixed with a matchup against a stellar Miami defense that just held Josh Jacobs to 6.9 PPR points, has me out on Singletary once again in the final week.
Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:
Nelson Agholor (Las Vegas): It’s hard not to be impressed by what Nelson Agholor has done this season – setting a career-high with 839 yards and scoring eight touchdowns on only 47 receptions.
With Denver’s top corner A.J. Bouye still suspended for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) and Nelson Agholor possibly trying to eclipse the century mark to leverage for a new contract, I’m more than comfortable rolling him out this week as a WR2 with sky-high upside.
Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:
Russell Gage (Atlanta): Russell Gage has been a popular streaming selection the last few weeks. But like he has a lot this season, Gage let managers down last week posting just 6.3 PPR points.
Yes, he scored the 17.8 PPR points the last time he face Tampa Bay. But Julio Jones could return this week, pushing his target share down. While I’m not playing in any Week 17 mach-ups myself, if I were, I wouldn’t be riding with Gage, who’s scored fewer than 7 PPR points in seven games this season.
If you have a feel-good story that you would like to share for an opportunity to be featured in an upcoming edition of “Start, Sit & Seth,” please reach out.
And for more fantasy football and uplifting content, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.