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Start, Sit & Why We Play the Game

by Seth Woolcock

Here we are already… Week 7 of the NFL and fantasy football regular season.

It’s hard to believe that this column will already be the eighth installment of the season.

Last season, due to time restraints and some off-the-field circumstances, I inked only eight columns for the entire season.

Yet, here we are, 16 columns later, and some people still have no idea what “Start, Sit & Seth” is truly about.

Yes, it is meant to tell stories. Stories that, because of today’s journalism landscape, often go untold. 

These anecdotes I begin most columns with are often filled with inspiration, redemption and sometimes just growing up. But to me, that’s really what fantasy football is about. 

Underdogs. Comebacks. And learning from your previous mistakes.

But then below the anecdote, there’s the other half of the column. 

The fantasy football analysis – the part where most non-fantasy football fans skip, and my editors probably can’t wait to get the conclusion of. 

And while often I seem to spend more time writing the introduction than my start/sits, don’t think they’re not equally as important to me.

Every day, I constantly take in stats, trends and commentary to help make these decisions. 

However, fantasy football isn’t exactly the most predictable game, so unfortunately sometimes my start/sits are wrong.

Let me break it down for you.

Typically, my quarterback starts each week are aimed to get readers to start a QB that I believe will finish the week as a QB1. For those unfamiliar with fantasy terms, a QB1 is a quarterback that finishes the week with a score that is top-12 at the position.

For my receivers and running back starts, we’re often just looking for double-digit fantasy points and a chance to go off for more. 

So, as the inverse of that, my sits are quarterbacks I don’t expect to finish in the top-20 for the week and running backs and receivers I don’t expect to reach double-digit fantasy points.

With that being said, this week’s column is all about owning my picks. Seeing where I was right, wrong and brutally wrong.

After going back and calculating my picks from last season, I learned that I was correct on my QB start/sits 79 percent of the time last year, while I hit on my RB and WR start/sits 64 and 77 percent of the time, respectively.

Looking at those numbers, other than an occasional big whiff at RB, you’d think I actually know what I’m talking about.

Well, lucky for your amusement, all you have to do is fast forward to this season’s stats to make you rethink that previous statement.

This season I’ve hit on only 33 percent of my QB start/sits. While my RB and WR starts haven’t been much better – 42 percent correct at RB and 58 percent at WR. 

Yeah…that’s not great. And after a 2–4 Week 6, I can only promise that I will try to do better.

By going back and calculating where I’ve been right and wrong, I’ve discovered some strengths and weaknesses.

I also discovered some very bad calls on my parts.

In two years of writing this column, I’ve told readers to bench Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston only twice. 

The result both those weeks? Winston finishes the week as the lead-scoring fantasy quarterback.

Brutal. Just brutal.

However, for every bad call I’ve had, there’s usually a good call that counteracts and makes me believe I do in fact know what I’m talking about.

Take my preseason start/sit column for example.

I was all-in on players like Phillip Lindsay, Marlon Mack and Tyler Boyd that have out-performed their average draft positions so far this season.

But, I was also out on some players, specifically Antonio Brown. As I wasn’t paying such a high price for a guy that had so much off-the-field baggage. 

And we all know how that one turned out.

So, the moral of the story is not that I’m an idiot or that I’m a genius. But it is simply that fantasy football is a game of trying to predict the seemingly unpredictable.

And while I will continue to work even harder to get it right moving forward, I’m not always going to. 

But that’s why we play the game.

Now, let’s get to it.

Quarterback I’d Start this Week:

Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams):  In Week 6, Jared Goff had by far his worst performance under head coach Sean McVay.

However, he’s a start for me this week as I once again anticipate a big comeback game for the California kid.

As noted in an earlier column this season, Goff, before Week 6’s stinker, had only ever thrown fewer than 200 yards in a game twice. Both times he’s rebounded tremendously. 

His opponent this week, the Atlanta Falcons, has allowed the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks and should help Goff and my QB picks get back on track.

Quarterback I’d Sit this Week:

Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers):  Philip Rivers, scoring only 18.9 fantasy points in the last two weeks combined, and the Chargers have both struggled offensively as of late.

And the road won’t get much easier this week as they face a Tennessee Titans team that has a pretty good defense (eighth against opposing QBs) and is going to attempt to run the ball and keep the ball out of Rivers’ hands.  

If the Titans can sustain drives under new-staring quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Rivers is better left on waivers this week.

Running Back I’d Start this Week:

Devin Singletary (Buffalo):  Devin Singletary, who has been battling a hamstring injury, has been inactive since Week 2.

When the rookie was active, he scored double-digit fantasy points in both of his first two career games. 

This week, playing the Miami Dolphins, the worst team against opposing running backs, both Singletary and the age-less Frank Gore should have a welcome back party in Buffalo.

Running Back I’d Sit this Week:

Adrian Peterson (Washington):  One week after being my start of the week, Adrian Peterson, facing San Francisco, who is the best run defense in football, finds himself on the sit list.

Unless truly desperate for a running back play, you can’t start AP on Sunday.

However, in a world lacking of startable fantasy RBs, Peterson continues to have value moving forward – just not here in Week 7.

Wide Receiver I’d Start this Week:

Michael Gallup (Dallas):  With fellow starting Dallas receivers Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb expected to miss Sundays’ game, expect QB Dak Prescott to look Michael Gallup’s way against an Eagles secondary that’s allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. 

Gallup, who averages more than 17 fantasy points per game, could produce solid WR2 numbers in this divisional matchup on Sunday Night Football, as Dallas tries to take hold of the NFC East.

Wide Receiver I’d Sit this Week:

Dede Westbrook (Jacksonville):  Now truly the No. 2 pass-catching option in Jacksonville, Dede Westbrook now has a shoulder injury that has kept him out of practice so far this week.

With the Jaguars traveling to Cincinnati Sunday, I don’t expect QB Gardner Minshew to air it out much with banged-up receivers and facing a Bengals’ defense that has been atrocious against the run this season, allowing more than 125 yards per game. 

I see a big game coming for Leonard Fournette on Sunday, but not so much for Westbrook and his fellow Jacksonville pass-catchers.

This column was originally featured at ThePenn.org October 17, 2019.

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.

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