Start or Sit Ricky Seals-Jones
First up at tight end this week is a sophomore tight end with an extraordinarily efficient rookie campaign. Should we start or sit Ricky Seals-Jones as the Cardinals host Washington?
The preseason is over, and it’s time to start thinking about your 2018 fantasy football week one lineup. That means fantasy football owners get up on Sunday morning and proceed to rearrange their lineup six-or-seven times before begrudgingly hitting submit, and hoping for the best. Here at Football Absurdity would like to cut that process down to just impotently rejiggering your lineup four-or-five times. Each week, we will highlight multiple players at each position (ignoring Kicker and DST, as one should) and we ask the question: start or sit <player>? I wish I could take it easy on myself and say to start Rob Gronkowski and sit Darren Fells every week, but life isn’t easy (and neither are fantasy football start or sit questions), so we take a look at players on the periphery.
The NFL doesn’t seem to care too much about when Seals-Jones drank himself into a hotel altercation-based arrest. That means it should be all systems go for him this year, as he won’t face suspension. That means great things for him, as he made a huge impression in limited time in 2017. While he played only 133 snaps, Cardinals quarterbacks targeted him roughly one-in-five times last year. He turned those 28 targets into 201 yards and three scores. You have to take the following stat with a grain of salt, but if you gave him Evan Engram’s snaps, but scaled up his target rate, catch percentage, yards per catch and touchdown rate accordingly, you get the following line: 70 catches, 1174 yards, and seven scores. That’s 10.16 fantasy points per game in standard scoring, which puts him in Gronk territory.
While RSJ obviously won’t get those numbers this year, it shows that he has the talent, efficiency, and offensive role to take on a whole bunch of targets when the situation warrants. With the fifth-worst TE defense in 2017 on deck, this is exactly that opportunity. There was a trope in the first half of 2017, which was “start all tight ends against the Cleveland Browns.” You may have seen it in such places as… all my tight end start/sit decisions. While the Browns were punching bags, Washington quietly allowed only 0.3 fewer fantasy points per game to tight ends. They were bad. The crazy part is it was not an outlier (lots of yards, few TDs or vice versa), it was an all-around bad showing. Washington allowed 80 catches (eighth-most), 983 yards (fourth-most) and 8 touchdowns (seventh-most).
Ricky Seals-Jones performed incredibly efficiently in 2017, and a complete disarmament of Arizona weaponry around him has him primed for a greater role in 2018. He will get off on the right start, as he takes on a Washington team that allowed tight ends to tee off against them last year. If you punted tight end, or had a ton of faith in RSJ, he will reward you in week one. That makes the answer to start or-sit Ricky Seals-Jones a Start.