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Fantasy Flex: Playoff Edition Round One

The first week of fantasy football playoffs have arrived, so we are breaking down the best start and sit options that can help you move on to the next round.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For most leagues, fantasy football playoffs kick off tonight with Raiders vs Chiefs. Whether you’ve earned a first round bye or narrowly made the cut for the postseason, congratulations. As you know, every move you make now is do or die. The wrong flex choice can get you booted from the playoffs while you watch helplessly as your bench racks up points. To help you avoid a quick postseason exit, we are breaking down some of the key matchups for Week Fourteen, along with your best start and sit options.

Start

I cannot stress this enough: trust your starters. They’ve been there all season long, and they are the ones who got you to this point. Don’t panic and start some wideout on a hot streak over your tried and true players. Go with your gut and pay attention to the matchups.

Quarterback

Eli Manning (QB - NYG) vs Cowboys: I like Manning against the Cowboys this week, partly because it might turn into a shootout. Manning tossed three touchdowns when he played the Cowboys earlier in the season, and has 14 touchdowns over his last five games. He has potential for another big game this week against his division rival, and is a viable fantasy starter for Week Fourteen.

Jameis Winston (QB - TB) vs Saints: Winston has a stellar matchup for the first round of fantasy playoffs, facing a Saints’ defense ranked 31st against the pass. He has managed at least 15 fantasy points in his last eight games, and should be in line for another multi-touchdown performance this week. He’s a great starting option against New Orleans.

Running Back

Latavius Murray (RB - OAK) vs Chiefs: Despite missing a few games due to injury, Murray is still the 11th ranked fantasy running back this season. He has six touchdowns over his past four games, and 11 on the year. In Week Fourteen, he takes on the Chiefs’ 27th ranked run defense, a great opportunity to rack up points. He’s a solid RB2 this week, so get him in your lineup.

Jeremy Hill (RB - CIN) vs Browns: Hill has been up and down this season, but he has found the end zone in five of his last six matchups. This week, he should scorch the floundering Browns’ defense and put up solid fantasy numbers. He should be in your starting lineup for Week Fourteen.

Wide Receiver

Malcolm Mitchell (WR - NE) vs Ravens: The Patriots’ wideout made his way into our waiver add column this week following his third solid performance. Over the last three weeks, Mitchell has amassed 222 yards and three touchdowns. He should continue to shine as one of Tom Brady’s top targets with Rob Gronkowski on IR.

Kenny Britt (WR - LA) vs Falcons: I could have Britt here based on his matchup alone. The Falcons have the worst ranked pass defense in the league, and Britt should be able to take advantage of that. He has scored in three of his last five games, and will likely find the end zone again this week. He’s a great flex or WR2 option against Atlanta.

Tight End

Ladarius Green (TE - PIT) vs Bills: I grabbed Green off of the waiver wire this week (and suggest you do the same) because Jordan Reed is my starting tight end and apparently I can’t have nice things. Green is an exceptional streaming option, who exploded last week against the Giants for 110 yards and a touchdown. He’s healthy and should continue to succeed in the thriving Steelers’ offense. Start him if you have him.

Zach Ertz (TE - PHI) vs Redskins: Ertz had another good game last week, hauling in nine receptions for 79 yards and a score. After struggling earlier in the season, Ertz appears to be regaining some momentum as a fantasy asset. He should be in line for another solid performance against Washington this week, and is a decent starting option for fantasy owners.

Sit

Quarterback

Marcus Mariota (QB - TEN) vs Broncos: The Titans’ quarterback is having a solid fantasy season, but he has faltered twice this year against top-tier defenses (Houston and Oakland). In each of those outings, he managed less than 10 fantasy points. This week, he travels to Denver to take on another exceptional defensive unit. Mariota will likely struggle against Von Miller and the Broncos’ pass rush, and should be on your bench if you have another option at quarterback.

Blake Bortles (QB - JAX) vs Vikings: Bortles has struggled this year, scoring a lot of his fantasy points in garbage time. This week, he is coming off of a bad game against Denver to take on the Minnesota defense. He cannot be considered a safe option at quarterback, and should be benched in favor of better options.

Running Back

Devontae Booker (RB - DEN) vs Titans: Booker has struggled since taking over for C.J. Anderson, and has found the end zone only once in the last four weeks. This week, he has a tough matchup as he faces off with the 7th ranked Titans’ run defense. It’s hard to bench any running back as we head into the playoffs, but if you have another option, I’d role with them over Booker.

Rashad Jennings (RB - NYG) vs Cowboys: Jennings has been a decent fantasy back over the past few weeks, but he has only found the end zone twice in his last five games. His next matchup comes against the 2nd ranked Dallas run defense, making him a low end RB2/flex option. I don’t think Jennings is a must sit, I just think there are better options and better running backs you can lean on this week.

Wide Receiver

Allen Robinson & Allen Hurns (WRs - JAX) vs Vikings: The Jaguars’ offense has struggled all season, with both Robinson and Hurns disappointing fantasy owners week after week. A meeting with Minnesota in Week Fourteen will only make things worse for the Jacksonville wideouts. Keep them on your bench if you have other options.

Tight End

Dwayne Allen (TE - IND) vs Texans: Allen had a great game last week, finding the end zone three times against the Jets. This week however, he faces off with a Houston defense that has been stingy against tight ends all year. When the Colts met the Texans earlier in the year, Allen managed only nine yards and no touchdowns. Leave him on your bench this week.

Alright fantasy owners, let’s talk playoffs! Is there anyone you think is a great starting option? Anyone you are absolutely leaving on your bench? You can use the comments section below to discuss strategy, ask questions or give advice for Week Fourteen. Best of luck in the first round of the postseason!