It’s week six, and coronavirus is steadily making its way through the NFL. You and your fellow survivors from the coronacalypse are traveling down the road and you meet a man. He has an air of authority like he was of minor importance before the world ended. His piercing eyes peer out from between a bedraggled beard and hair in desperate need of shears. A sheriff’s hat sits atop his head. Was he a sheriff, or did he kill one? He stops you on the road, and you ask to join him and his band. He says he has three questions: “How many quarterbacks have you dropped? How many running backs? Why?” You tell him you just have questions, you need to know who to start or sit this week.
He takes a step back, as though you insulted his family. “Well, go on with it then,” he says. And you ask, “should I start or sit Chase Claypool, Laviska Shenault, or Jamison Crowder?”
Chase Claypool versus Cleveland
The waiver wire wonder kicked the door down last week, turning eleven targets into seven catches, 110 yards, and three touchdowns. He kicked in a rushing touchdown, as well. Big Ben used him all over the field and in every down and distance situation. The kid is #actuallygood, and was one of my waiver wire crushes. He flashed his big-play ability earlier in the season, turning three targets into 88 yards and a score in week two, which included a long, sideline tightrope walking catch & run. He’s benefited mightily from Diontae Johnson’s injuries in Pittsburgh’s last two games, notching about 70-75% of snaps in the last two games. He played under 40% of snaps in their first two games, for reference.
It’s hard to find a better matchup this week than Chase Claypool. The Cleveland defense gives up the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and is generally a sieve to the position. Before playing the husk of Philip Rivers last week, they averaged two WR touchdowns per game. Philip Rivers made their defense look much better than it is. They hunted ducks the same way I did for the NES: get really close and it makes Duck Hunt that much easier, and Rivers provided plenty of ducks. Chase Claypool should backup his week five performance with another strong outing against a bad defense, and because of that, you can start Chase Claypool.
Laviska Shenault versus Detroit
Shenault started the season as a wonder; a gadget player who would get some rushes here and there, and some targets here and there. We’ve been banging the table for him for a while now. Thankfully, the Jaguars delivered. He’s gone from being a mixed-use player (some carries, some targets), to a traditional wide receiver. He has two carries in his last three games, after getting seven in his first two games. He’s also turned in much better performances in the last two games. Shenault has fourteen targets for twelve catches and 165 yards across his last two contests, a 1,320 yard, 96 catch pace. That’s normal wide receiver usage, with the added threat of the run. He’s graduated from novelty to a startable fantasy football asset.
He gets Detroit this week, who allow the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers. While Jeffrey Okudah has done wonders for this defense overall, they still have to use the other defenders on wide receivers. In the last two games, they’ve given up 130+ yards or two touchdowns to three different wide receivers. It’s wheels up against the Lions… with one caveat. We saw the chaos agent that Gardner Minshew turns into without DJ Chark. Chark is questionable to play this weekend, and if he doesn’t play, I’m going to sit Laviska Shenault. If Chark plays and eats the Okudah Pill, then I will start Laviska Shenault.
Jamison Crowder at Miami
I included Jamison Crowder on this list for one very specific reason. If you clicked on this article looking to see if you should start or sit Jamison Crowder, I am going to take a weekly decision off your plate. Crowder has reached D.S.Y.S. Territory in all PPR leagues. What is D.S.Y.S.? It stands for Don’t Sit Your Studs. The Jets may be mostly dysfunctional, but the one part that functions properly is Jamison Crowder. He missed two games with an injury, but in his three games, he has 33 targets, 22 catches, and has at least 100 yards in all three contests, scoring in two of them. Put that into your lineup and don’t look back. Congratulations on turning Adam Gase into chicken salad. I’m not going to get into the Dolphins this week (who are a good matchup) because it violates the D.S.Y.S. ethos. Don’t worry about matchups. Put Crowder into your lineup, smile serenely, and enjoy the 13 point floor in PPR.
Jamison Crowder is an every-week starter, period. If you’re trying to decide who to start or sit between Laviska Shenault and Chase Claypool, go with Shenault if DJ Chark plays, and Claypool if he doesn’t. If you need a big boom week, go with Claypool. He had a massive game, but that is one data point. Nothing is real until it is a pattern, and you can’t get a pattern off of one data point.