Start, Sit & Go With the Flow
“Start, Sit & Seth” is the original column of In-Between Media, bridging feel-good lifestyle advice with redraft fantasy football analysis. Consistently following Seth Woolcock’s journey as a young creator, this series is now in its fifth season. Join him in this edition as he discusses the art of going with the flow and analyzes his start and sit selections for the first week of fantasy football playoffs in Week 15.
A sobering week continued as I awoke in my best friend’s attic on Wednesday.
The three-story, white-painted house – originally owned by his parents – was the home to a lot of firsts for me.
The first dip I took because of a lost bet on a game of “Madden.” My first buzz I caught courtesy of the stolen Seagram’s Escapes we snuck from his parent’s back fridge. Across the yard is the garage, where I played beer pong for the first time. Behind it is the fire pit that helped my friends and I move on from our episodes of teenage heartbreak.
A lot has changed at the house of Chris Udovich, aka “Udo,” since then. The first being the ownership, as his parents have relocated up North, leaving Udo to purchase the subtle homestead. He has since renovated multiple rooms, adding items you’d expect a 25-year-old to have, like a deer head, gun safe and outdoor TV.
However, for as much that has changed, so much has stayed the same. Udo still spends most of his time in the den rather than the living room. His attic is still painted our high school colors: red and blue. The trash and recycling bins remain in the same place, overlooking the back yard.
As I spent the first winter days in my hometown, Kane, Pa., in nearly eight years I couldn’t help but wonder: why do somethings never change, while others continue to?
Signs of the Times
I myself am no longer the baby-faced 16-year-old doing doughnuts in parking lots following the first snowfall of the year. Instead, I found myself as a more aware, 24-year-old writer chasing my dreams in the fantasy sports industry.
I’m still not perfect, making mistakes daily. But I am finally learning to be OK with that.
As for my hometown, it’s still the same charming place it was when I was a kid. Yet it’s as booming as ever with nearly every downtown building filled with unique storefronts and contemporary watering holes.
Our closed elementary school where we’d loiter is now a business center. The family-owned 24/7 Quick Stop was ran out by the newer, corporate-owned Country Fair. And for every one of my friends who stay true to these streets, two more have left for the cities.
Ride the Wave
It’s been a tough last month for the people in my life, with theirs unwillingly changing. That, plus this brief return to the places that used to be my whole world, have given me a bit of perspective.
In one of my first “Start, Sit & Seth” columns – published more than four years ago – I wrote that change is one of life’s only constants. This summer, I again touched on “change being inevitable.”
And while I still believe both of those sentiments to be true, this last month has shown me perhaps a better life perspective. That instead of just being aware of change, we should be more accepting of life’s flux.
Going with the flow is tough and can sometimes be viewed negatively. But the happiest people seem to be the ones accepting of whatever comes next. Inversely, the most miserable of us seem to be those too worked up over everything that changes with the times.
Not that all change is good, but it’s going to happen regardless. Do what you can to make it change positively. Then when you’re ready, just go with the flow.
The best fantasy football managers are the same way. Players’ name values and season-long productions matter a lot less now when making calculated fantasy football playoffs start/sit decisions. Opportunity is king, especially as the season rolls on and you reach your fantasy football playoffs.
I prefer to gauge a defense based on how he has done against a position lately rather than season-long. And if a player is on a hot streak (Christian Watson, for example), keep riding that wave, especially in the fantasy football playoffs.
Change is constant, invertible and everything else I’ve written about before. But to really get the most out of life – and fantasy football – you gotta go with the flow.
“How you doin’? Keep in movin’,” as the great Pat McAfee says.
Alright, and here we go.
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 in Week 15:
Daniel Jones (New York Giants): Going with the flow also means riding the fourth year wave of Giants QB Daniel Jones. Jones is the QB10 this season and – more importantly – has finished as a QB1 in three out of his last four weeks.
Under the direction of new head coach Brian Daboll, Jones has set career bests in completion percentage (66 percent) and interception rate (1.1 percent). In addition, Jones has already set career-high season totals in rushing attempts (95), yards (548) and TDs (five).
He’s let fantasy managers down only once this season, posting sub-12 fantasy points in Week 8. I trust that Brian Daboll can figure out the Washington Commanders’ defense. This is the second time he’ll face them in two weeks, and New York needs a win to better their playoff chances.
Quarterback I’d Sit in Week 15:
Tom Brady (Tampa Bay): Tom Brady had a huge dud in round one of most fantasy football playoffs last season, scoring just 3.7 fantasy points. I am not projecting that poor of a performance from the seven-time Super Bowl champion, but bad enough to bench him.
Brady has finished as a QB1 just three times this season and once in his last eight games. This comes despite holding the league lead in passing attempts (579), averaging 44.5 per game. He and his teammates have been visually frustrated as of late.
I don’t expect that to change this week as the Bengals and savvy defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo come to town. Cincinnati is a bit beat-up on defense, but they’ve still allowed just one QB1 finish in their past five games (Patrick Mahomes in Week 13). I’m going with the flow and no longer treating Brady like the QB1 he was in years No. 1 and 2 in Tampa Bay.
Running Back I’d Start in Week 15:
Rachaad White (Tampa Bay): Staying in Tampa Bay, I’m going to continue to ride the hot hand of Rachaad White into the fantasy football playoffs. White has four straight fames of finishing as a PPR RB1 or RB2.
Leonard Fournette has been active for the last two, and White has still averaged 17.5 touches per game. This proves there’s enough to go around. I specifically like White’s efficiency as a pass-catcher, averaging a 85.1 percent catch rate (second best amongst RBs) and 1.29 yards per route run.
The Bengals have been middle-of-the-road against RBs this season, both season-long and over the past month. However, over the past month, they’ve allowed four TDs and 19 red zone touches (third most) to RBs. In addition, they’ve allowed backs to catch 83.3 percent of passes – leaving the door open for White.
Running Back I’d Sit in Week 15:
Michael Carter (New York Jets): Here lies some rare “frisky” New York Jets shade. Michael Carter totaled two PPR points last week despite seeing 50 percent of snaps. He rushed for just one Yard Per Carry (YPC) on five attempts and caught 50 percent of his targets for 15 yards.
Meanwhile, rookie Zonovan Knight averaged 4.2 YPC for 71 yards and has caught all 10 of his career targets. That doesn’t bode well for Carter, especially with a matchup against the red-hot Detroit Lions. Over the last month and two weeks, Detroit stands as the second worst matchup for opposing RBs. They’ve done it by limiting opposing RBs to three YPC and 61 percent catch rate.
Wide Receiver I’d Start in Week 15:
Zay Jones (Jacksonville): For probably a final time this season, I’m willing to take a ride on the Zay Jones experience. Jones has two PPR WR1 finishes in the past three weeks, with a dud of 3.6 PPR points in-between.
However, the volume has been consistent, with Jones averaging 10.8 targets per game over his last four. In addition to being 12th amongst WRs in receptions, Jones is 19th in red zone targets amongst the position with 19. He’s creating good target separation, with 2.1 yards per route run (20th amongst WRs), then laying on the moves, posting a 5.6 percent juke rate (12th amongst WRs).
The Cowboys’ secondary, led by Trevon Diggs, has begun getting burned again lately, allowing the second most PPR points to opposing WRs in the last two weeks. They’ve allowed an average 179 receiving yards and 1.5 TDs to opposing WRs during that span. Keep in mind, that was to the Colts’ young receivers and the Texans without Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins.
Wide Receiver I’d Sit in Week 15:
Mike Evans (Tampa Bay): If you have better options, you can bench Mike Evans this week. It’s been three straight performances in single-digit PPR points for the vet. He hasn’t finished better than PPR WR2 since Week 8.
Volume isn’t the issue, as Evans saw nine targets in two of his last three games. It’s Brady’s inaccuracy, with him having just his fifth game of the season below a 63 percent clip. It doesn’t help this week that he’ll face a dose of Jessie Bates when out wide and Mike Hilton when he ventures into the slot (17 percent of snaps).
With the Buccaneers averaging just 15.1 points per game over the past two months, Evans’ once sky-high ceiling is no longer in existence. This leaves him on the latter side of my Week 15 start/sit decisions.
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 playoff and uplifting content, especially start/sit advice, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.