The Duel

Week 15 Fantasy Picks: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for New England Patriots vs Cincinnati Bengals

Jason Schandl
Tom Brady hands off to Sony Michel against the Chiefs in Week 14.
Tom Brady hands off to Sony Michel against the Chiefs in Week 14. / Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
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Now that we're in the heart of the fantasy football playoffs, every single lineup decision you make can be the difference between victory and the end of your season. And since we're done with bye weeks for the year, there are also a huge number of plays to consider at every position. Some matchups carry more weight than others for fantasy production, and this one is no exception.

With that in mind, here's some start 'em, sit 'em advice for Sunday's matchup between the New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals.

Who to Start in Fantasy Football

Start Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots: Sony Michel's fantasy outlook tends to be entirely dependent on game flow. When the Patriots go pass-heavy he doesn't get much work, but when they're playing with a lead he's heavily involved. New England is favored by 10 points on FanDuel Sportsbook, suggesting this will be one of those run-heavy games. Michel has averaged 17.6 carries and 12.2 PPR fantasy points per game when the Patriots win by at least 10 this year.

Start Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: A matchup with the Patriots' defense is a scary one for RBs, especially when they're likely to be trailing. Joe Mixon's passing game involvement helps insulate his fantasy value in blowout losses, though. He's averaging 3.0 targets per game on the season, and has four in each of the last two games. The Bengals have also been committed to the run even in losses, with Mixon averaging 15.6 carries per game across 12 defeats, and even with a likely poor game in the efficiency department, that volume makes Mixon a solid fantasy play. He checks in at RB20 in our Week 15 PPR fantasy football rankings.

Sit James White, RB, New England Patriots: The other side of the coin in the backfield, James White does his best work in pass-heavy games. He's seen a combined seven carries and 10 targets in the Patriots' last two wins, compared to 18 targets and 20 carries in the last two losses. He also played fewer than 45 percent of the snaps in each of those wins, compared to more than 60 percent in both losses. We have White ranked six spots behind Michel for Week 15.

Sit John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Even with Auden Tate on IR, it's hard to get too excited about John Ross here. He was limited to a 51 percent snap share in his return from injury in Week 14, seeing just three targets. He could be in for an expanded role as he shakes off the rust here, but the difficulty of a matchup with the Pats cancels out that benefit. New England ranks first in Football Outsiders' pass defense DVOA metric, surrendering the NFL's fewest fantasy points per game to opposing WRs.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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