Fantasy Football Absurdity Check: Why You Should Start Martavis Bryant over DeSean Jackson

Start Martavis Bryant

This week my co-worker, Jeff Krisko, suggested that starting DeSean Jackson is the smart fantasy football play.  While I can understand the appeal, I feel there are better boom or bust options at wide receiver this week.  If I had to start anyone, I would start Martavis Bryant.

While on paper, DeSean Jackson’s match-up against the Arizona Cardinals seems ideal, there are reasons to be worried about it.  For one, the Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s will be traveling cross country, which can have a huge negative impact on the visiting team.

And as Jeff mentioned, Jackson’s catch rate is the lowest it has ever been.  While I expect this to eventually regress to the mean, it probably doesn’t start this week.  There is a very good chance the Bucs are playing this game with a lead, meaning they focus on controlling time of possession.  That doesn’t play to Jackson’s skill-set.

So if you want to hope this is the week that DeSean Jackson booms instead of busts, go ahead and start him.  But if you want a boom or bust flex option with a much better match-up, then you should start Martavis Bryant.

Martavis Bryant has clearly entrenched himself as the #2 receiver on the Pittsburgh Steelers, despite any noise to the contrary.  He is third on the team in targets, behind Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.  And he is averaging 6 targets per game this season.  While his catch rate leaves something to be desired, this is more an issue with his quarterback starting slow than his own ability.

And in week six, he is playing the Kansas City Chiefs, who are giving up the second most fantasy points to wide receivers in standard scoring leagues.  They have also given up the most touchdowns to wide receivers, averaging 2 touchdowns per game.  The number two option on teams is averaging 4 catches for 72 yards.

So if you want to start a boom-bust option who has the lowest catch rate of his career, then go ahead and start DeSean Jackson.  But if you were going to go boom-bust in your flex, you should start the prospect with the better match-up.  You should start the option with the higher floor.  You should start Martavis Bryant.

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