Start, Sit & The Grinch in His Mid-20s
“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 dissects the Grinch mentality and analyzes his football start and sit selections for Christmas Day and Week 16.
Full transparency: Christmas in your mid-20s today is not that fun.
And, yes, I do feel like a Grinch for saying that.
There’s little time to get swept away by the magic of the holiday classics. Nobody listens to the radio anymore. So aside from Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” playing at our local bars, we hear next to no Christmas music.
Gift-giving becomes more about necessity and usability rather than fun. And most of us don’t even brave the once-frenzy holiday crowds to shop. We just click “Add to Cart.”
Longstanding traditions usually require us to travel somewhere or multiple places of great length. This often makes us feel stuck in a prolonged sequel to “Four Christmases.” By the time you’re finally relaxing – buzzing off the boozy eggnog – the festivals finish, and you pile back into your vehicle that looks much different from Clark Griswold’s station wagon.
This year, a “once-in-a-generation” winter storm, as the media pundits, call it will sweep across much of the U.S. Consequently, it will leave many stranded in airports, like in one of my favorite holiday films, “Unaccompanied Miners.”
A John Hughes Ending
It’s safe to say you won’t have a dramatic epiphany moment, like Scott Calvin’s in “The Santa Clause,” to remind you of the joys of the holidays. Santa won’t fall off your roof and force you to take his place. And it’s less than likely that you meet your estranged elf son named Buddy to help you find your caroling voice.
However, what you do have are people who love you and – even if you are a Grinch – love seeing you, just like the Whos. So keep pushing, keep grinding and when you can, take a breath (and a drink if that’s your thing). Then appreciate the once-a-year celebration.
Oh, and football. The NFL has again gifted us a full football slate on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So as fantasy managers, we have to be setting our lineups and checking them twice as we head into the weekend to ensure we’re making the most out of Week 16. And as always, I’m here to help.
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 16:
Gardner Minshew (Philadelphia): It was announced today that Gardner Minshew will draw the start at QB for the Eagles against the Cowboys following Jalen Hurts’ shoulder injury. The more I dug into the opportunity for the fourth-year signal caller, the more I liked it.
Minshew finished as a QB1 in one of his starts last season and averaged 16.1 fantasy points across both starts. That was without A.J. Brown and a lesser-experienced Devonta Smith leading the WR corpse.
This week he gets Dallas, who just surrendered a QB5 finish to Trevor Lawrence and combined fantasy points to Jeff Driskel and Davis Mills in Week 14, making them the QB16. With arguably the best offensive lines protecting him and going up against a shot secondary, that’s what I perceive to be Minshew’s floor. His ceiling is, of course, a QB1.
Quarterback I’d Sit in Week 16:
Derek Carr (Las Vegas): Can we stop trying to make playing QBs against the Steelers a thing? Whether it was Marcus Mariota in Week 13, Tyler Huntley in Week 14 or Sam Darnold last week, analysts have hyped up playing against a once-soft Pittsburgh defense. News flash: T.J. Watt is back, and the Steelers are good. In fact, their defense is the worst matchup for QBs over the last month.
Derek Carr is one game removed from a QB28 finish. He also has not surpassed 23 fantasy points once this season and maxed out at 24 points last season. Without week-winning upside and a rock-bottom floor against an emerging, there’s little point in playing Carr this week.
Running Back I’d Start in Week 16:
Latavius Murray (Denver): It’s been nothing short of impressive how 32-year-old Lavtavius Murray has seized the Denver backfield. He’s had the majority of snaps the last five weeks, peaking at 82 percent in Week 12. He has been a PPR RB3 or better in each of his nine games as a Broncos, fishing as a PPR RB1 twice – including last week.
He’ll face the Rams this week, a team that’s given up an average of 151.5 rushing yards and 1.5 rushing TDs per game over their last two. In the last month, they’ve been a top-seven matchup for RBs, and I expect Murray to exploit that.
Running Back I’d Sit in Week 16:
Zack Moss (Indianapolis): Zack Moss feels like a trap for fantasy football managers. The former Buffalo Bill saw 24 carries last week after Jonathan Taylor exited with an injury in a game where the Colts had a 33-0 lead at one point. While blowing the largest lead in NFL history, the Colts ran the ball a whopping 43 times.
The game script will likely not be as friendly this week against the Chargers and Justin Herbert, averaging 21.3 over the past month against some suitable defenses. Moss also averaged just 3.4 Yards Per Carry (YPC) last week. The Colts wanted to see what they had in him, and they saw it – an inefficient RB that lacks burst.
RB Jordan Wilkins, who saw five targets in Week 9, was just activated. Plus, who knows what will happen with the Colts now on their third starting QB of the season in Nick Foles. This is an easy pass for me.
Wide Receiver I’d Start in Week 16:
Jerry Jeudy (Denver): Jerry Jeudy hasn’t had quite the season I was expecting when touting him as my “All-In” selection for the 2022 season. However, he’s come on strong as of late, averaging 18.7 PPR points per game over his last five healthy outings.
His 7.8 targets per game in that stretch have helped him keep his fantasy floor above double-digits. And that should continue this week as he faces the Rams. Jalen Ramsey is no longer a cornerback to fear playing against. The Rams have allowed an average of one double-digit PPR WR per game in the past month. And they let D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett go for 120-plus yards and a TD earlier this month.
Wide Receiver I’d Sit in Week 16:
Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco): I’m done trusting Brandon Aiyuk this season. The once-solid PPR WR2 bottomed out last week with 3.9 fantasy points. Even worse, he’s seen just seven targets over Brock Purdy’s first two career starts.
This week he takes on the Washington Commanders – a bottom-six matchup for the position over the past month. With George Kittle (10 targets in Purdy’s starts) and Christian McCaffrey (11 targets) appearing to be Purdy’s favorite targets, Aiyuk falls to the unpredictable realm, with Jauan Jennings also seeing seven targets in the last two games.
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And for more fantasy football playoff and uplifting content, especially start/sit advice, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.