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Patriots fantasy football week 14: start & sit against the Dolphins

Playoffs? Playoffs. PLAYOFFS?!?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Say what you want about Dan Fouts as a commentator now, but you can’t argue with this objectively flawless analysis:

“Last game of the year, Brent, can’t hold anything back now!”

For most of you in standard-scoring leagues, unless your commissioner is one of those two-week-playoffs kind of people, this is the postseason, and it’s survive and advance no matter whether you made the playoffs or not. You’re either playing to keep in the dance, or you’re striving to avoid the last-place slot - or, as is the case in one of my leagues, the shame punishment that comes with finishing dead last. It’s not quite as severe as the Bieber tattoo punishment everyone’s seen, but, put it this way, we live in one of the most popular bachelorette party cities in the country. I’ll let you use your imagination to figure it out from there.

Also, thoughts and prayers if you happen to be playing against Derrick Henry this week. Right now, the best thing you can do is follow Tony Romo’s advice on the Corona hotline: grab a Corona*, go sit with your friends, and BOOM! You’re doing it. Watching the game is all you can do. But you’re good at it!

* feel free to substitute any beer that doesn’t need to have a tropical fruit stuck in it to be palatable

After thoroughly teabagging the Miami Dolphins at the Razor earlier this year, the Patriots head back down to Miami this week to face a Dolphins team missing their best cornerback, but definitely still feisty enough to be dangerous. If the Pats can complete the regular-season sweep, it’d just be the second time in the past six seasons that New England hasn’t lost at least once to the Fish. Does a division sweep ever get old?

Does beating the Yankees ever get old?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

As we do, let’s start with the running backs.

(FYI, for positional rankings, I’m going off Fantasy Pros, which aggregates a whole bunch of expert rankings. You probably knew that already, and if you didn’t, congrats, Pats Pulpit just made you smarter. You’re welcome.)

Running Backs

James White, RB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 18th in running backs

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 11th in running backs

Don’t get cute now. For all practical intents and purposes, Sweet Feet and Sony Michel are both getting just as many snaps as the other, and they’re both just as likely to do damage. White got 33 snaps against the Vikes last weekend, and compared to Michel’s 30 snaps, and he hit double digits again no matter what scoring system you use.

Fun fact: in standard scoring, White is the 11th-highest scoring running back and he’s only had 2 games all season where he scored less than 8 points. Leonard Fournette, who went in the first round in most leagues, has 3 games where he’s scored 5 points or less.

Sony Michel, RB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 12th in running backs

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 13th in running backs

Is now a good time to mention that Miami has the 30th-ranked rushing defense by yards allowed? Now, to be fair, they do jump up to 12th when you go by rushing touchdowns allowed, but still, getting gashed on the ground between the 1-yard lines is just as good a reason to start Michel as anything. Points are points, yards are yards, a toll is a toll, and a roll is a roll, and if we don’t get no tolls, we don’t eat no rolls.

Like we said a second ago, Sony got 30 snaps last week to White’s 33. The volume is there, let the big (bull)dog eat.

Rex Burkhead, RB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 49th in running backs

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 51st in running backs

Look, I know we all want Rex Burkhead to be a thing, but the guy had 17 snaps on offense last week and ended up with...4 points. Granted, there’s always the possibility that Rex could get a workhorse load at any given moment and it’d just be classic Belichick. You could also play blackjack like Austin Powers and see how that works out for you.

James Develin, FB

Hahaha, good one.

Wide Receivers

Julian Edelman, WR

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 19th in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 16th in wide receivers

Sure, it sucks that Jules matched his season-worst performance of the year with only 5 points in standard scoring leagues last week in the week when everyone needed W’s to lock up their playoff spots and/or improve their seeding...

*COUGH COUGH COUGH*

...but only a salty idiot would bench Edelman now. You caught the part earlier where the Dolphins are missing their borderline-Pro-Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard this weekend, right? And they still have to cover Edelman and Gordon?

Speaking of which...

Josh Gordon, WR

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 18th in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 24th in wide receivers

“Gaining Brady’s trust” is by far one of the lamest cliches in the biz at this point, but when Brady knows it’s going to Gordon the whole time, and Gordon knows that he’s getting it the whole time, and Brady knows that Gordon knows....

You could’ve been born at any point in human history, and here you are in the Brady-To-Gordon era. Savor it. Stay here AS LONG AS YOU CAN. CHERISH IT.

Also important! Gordon is currently ranked 30th among all fantasy wide receivers in points in standard scoring. Counting the two games he missed with the Browns.

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (sort of?)

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 89th in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 90th in wide receivers

Someone in your league probably owns Patterson. Let them waste the roster spot, not you. If you want to be a real dick about it, tell them how jealous you are they picked him up because he’s due for a big game and you wish you had him.

Chris Hogan, WR

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 81st in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 79th in wide receivers

Back down to 2 points last week. If you’ve been counting on Hogan in any way, shape, or form since Josh Gordon got to town, you must have seriously angered the fantasy gods.

Or you’re just stubborn enough that you might wear bootcut jeans long enough for your original pairs to last into when they come back. Either way.

Phillip Dorsett, WR

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 114th in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 114th in wide receivers

There, I actually looked up Phil’s ranking this week. Happy? Do you like what you see?

Tight Ends

Rob Gronkowski, TE

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 5th in tight ends

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 5th in tight ends

Tom Brady, you have the floor:

“Any time that he’s out there,” Brady said, “I have so much confidence in everything that he does. If they don’t cover him, he gets it. If they cover him it gives other people opportunities. That’s been our offense. The other night was a lot of different guys getting it. That’s a good way to play offense. Run it. Pass it. Inside. Outside. Deep. Short. Middle. Perimeter. That’s a good style for us.”

This shirt, still applicable:

Dwayne Allen, TE

Standard Scoring Rank this week: (crickets)

PPR Scoring Rank this week: (crickets)

Going to be honest here, I can’t find Allen on Fantasy Pro’s rankings at all, and whether that’s because he’s still “Questionable” on the injury report or they just don’t list him anymore...does it really matter?

Update: Dwayne Allen has been downgraded to out. Change your plans accordingly.

Jacob Hollister, TE

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 79th in tight ends

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 84th in tight ends

At least Dwayne Allen can hang his hat on his blocking, which, if you don’t think that’s relevant, go back to running 5-wide verticals in Madden. With Hollister, I’m legitimately starting to wonder “What would you say...you do here?”

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady, QB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 14th in quarterbacks

The Pulpit’s own Pat Lane has already dished out his Brady fantasy take this week, and it’s safe to say most of you that have Brady are in the same boat. And it’s worth noting that even though New England almost skunked Miami 38-0 before a garbage-time touchdown in Week 4, Brady still only put up 18 fantasy points.

Then again, if your quarterback waiver wire looks like most of ours, it’s more or less like the supermarket the day before Thanksgiving and/or a giant snowstorm, so....good luck with that.

Good luck and enjoy the games, everyone. SURVIVE AND ADVANCE. See ya next week.