Sit/Start 2023 Week 14: Reviewing All Fantasy Relevant Players In Every Single Game

The QB List Sit/Start Team offers their Sit or Start recommendations for every player in Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season.

Game Info


Kickoff: Thursday, December 7th, 8:15 PM EST

Location: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA

Betting Odds: PIT -6, O/U 30 via OddsShark

Expected Weather: 39 F; Clear

Network: Prime Video


Writer: Nick Beaudoin 


New England Patriots



Bailey Zappe (Sit), Mac Jones (Sit), Malik Cunningham (Sit), Will Grier (Sit)


What a treat we are in for this Thursday.

After a 6-0 loss to the Chargers in Week 13, Head Coach Bill Belichick has made it “pretty clear” that Bailey Zappe will remain the starter as the Patriots travel to Pittsburgh on a short week. The weather did Zappe no favors last week, but it is also “pretty clear” that he is not the answer in New England. He was inconsistent as advertised, matching each reasonable pass with a horrible read on the next play, and there’s no reason to expect improvement on the road against the Steelers, who come in sixth in PPG to opposing QBs this season. Steelers Nation is celebrating the return of S Minkah Fitzpatrick, and after watching Zappe take six sacks against the Chargers, I’m expecting the powerful duo of TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith (20 combined sacks) to feast, putting pressure on Zappe all night long. The Patriots have a league-low team-implied point total of 12, so let’s just move on.


Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott (Start, RB2), Ty Montgomery (Sit), Kevin Harris (Sit), JaMycal Hasty (Sit), Rhamondre Stevenson (Out)


After a promising start in last week’s game, Rhamondre Stevenson was forced to exit early with a reported high-ankle sprain, and is now going to “miss a few weeks.” With nothing on the line this season, I expect and hope that he will be placed on IR, but for our purposes, this immediately elevates Ezekiel Elliott into fantasy relevance. I’ve mentioned Elliott several times recently as a stash candidate and flex play, and if you’ve been following along, you just may be rewarded with a solid RB2 heading into the fantasy playoffs. Zeke was already pretty involved in the Patriots offense, averaging 11.3 touches/game on the season, and was already almost splitting red zone work, with 14 red zone touches on the season (compared to 18 for Stevenson).

Most notably, he handled 21 touches (including four receptions on five targets) for 92 yards last week after Stevenson went down. Pittsburgh comes in just 22nd in PPG to RBs, leaving a (small) window of opportunity for Zeke to eat this week. His ceiling will be low on an offense that struggles to put literally any points on the board, but he actually has looked pretty good this season. The days of being an elite back are well behind him, but he is running well, making defenders miss, and is still involved in the receiving game. With 15-20 guaranteed touches, Zeke will be a volume-based RB2/FLEX play against the Steelers.



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

DeVante Parker (Sit, FLEX), Tyquan Thornton (Sit), Jalen Raegor (Sit), JuJu Smith-Schuster (Sit), Demario Douglas (Out), Kayshon Boutte (Out), Hunter Henry (Start, TE2), Mike Gesicki (Sit)


With Douglas inactive, DeVante Parker acted as the team’s No. 1 receiver last week. I use the word “acted” because that’s what he was doing out there. Just running around and doing impressions of a receiver. He had nine targets on the day, turning four receptions into 64 yards, and had two bad drops that would have actually given him a reasonable fantasy day. This week, I’m expecting Parker to receive the Joey Porter Jr. treatment, which hasn’t fared well for Ja’Marr Chase, DeAndre Hopkins, and more. Parker could volume his way into a FLEX play, but there’s no reason to buy into him this week.

Tyquan Thornton should have had an easy touchdown last week, but he could not secure the perfectly placed ball before walking into the end zone. He always has the potential of a big play, even taking an end-around for 39 yards last week, but his volume is far too low to be in consideration.

Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki come together to form the league’s least intimidating TE duo, continuing to do nothing for fantasy purposes. Henry was always touchdown-dependent, which is discouraging on a team that doesn’t score touchdowns. He has scored just once in the past nine games, and is averaging 22.8 yards/game in that span. His matchup with Mykal Walker is favorable, but his floor is far too low for me, while Gesicki isn’t even seeing targets. Both will likely be free agents next year, and can remain on waivers for the remainder of the season.



Pittsburgh Steelers



Mitch Trubisky (Sit, QB2), Kenny Pickett (Out)


With Kenny Pickett (ankle) expected to miss a few weeks due to a high-ankle sprain, we are back aboard the Mitch Trubisky train. The Steelers are -6 favorites with home-field advantage on a short week, but I’m not expecting this to be the beginning of Trubisky’s career resurgence.

As bad as the Patriots have been this season, their defense has actually done its part. Despite losing several of their best players (LB Matt Judon, CB Christian Gonzalez), Belichick has maintained their defensive identity, holding their last three opponents to 10 points or less, yet somehow still losing all three. This includes Justin Herbert, who was held to 212 yards and no scores last week. The Steelers also have a low team-implied point total (18), which gives me tempered expectations for the Steelers’ passing attack. Trubisky is not afraid to run which does help his floor, but if the Steelers are to win this game, it will likely be in the trenches, hiding their backup QB as much as possible.


Running Backs

Najee Harris (Start, FLEX), Jaylen Warren (Start, RB2)


The most interesting matchup to watch will be the Steelers’ RBs vs. the Patriots rush defense. I’m not here to talk about who is the “starter,” because that title is irrelevant. I was never one for labels.

The Patriots come in 12th in PPG to RBs this season, one week removed from holding Austin Ekeler to 18 yards on 14 carries (1.2 YPA), while the Steelers’ duo has eclipsed 100 yards combined in each of the past five games. Najee Harris remains the early-down back, averaging 15 touches/game on the season, while Jaylen Warren’s playing time has seen an uptick as of late, averaging 13.8 touches/game over the past five weeks and serving almost exclusively as the passing down back.

If I were a betting man (which I am), my money would once again be on Belichick committing to stopping the run, and forcing the Steelers to win at the hands of Trubisky. I do expect both players to receive a healthy 12-15 touches, but I also expect Najee to struggle to find running room, giving the advantage to Warren due to his receiving prowess and big play ability. He currently leads the league in YPC (minimum 50 attempts) and is the NFL’s most elusive back, according to PFF. Now there is reason for this, as defenses aren’t stacking the box on third-and-long (where the Steelers often live), but his breakout performances can’t be denied any longer. Najee is more often than not the goal line back, still making him a solid volume play if he can find the end zone, but his lack of receiving upside gives him a much lower floor, which is why I’m planting my flag on Warren as the better option this week.

*Najee (knee) was a DNP on Tuesday and Wednesday with a wrap around his leg. It is unclear how severe this injury is, but there is “optimism” for his availability Thursday night. If he does not play, this makes Warren a fringe RB1/RB2 option. 



Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Diontae Johnson (Start, WR3), George Pickens (Start, FLEX), Allen Robinson (Sit), Pat Freiermuth (Start, TE1)


Diontae Johnson is still an elite receiver in my opinion, but man has he had a rough few weeks. He’s had 50 yards or less the past four games, including twice under 17 yards, and although he finally found the end zone in the fourth quarter last week, he absolutely embarrassed himself with a celebration while losing 24-10 to the Cardinals. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but his awareness has been out the window, and his behavior is reminiscent of the late Antonio Brown. Despite all of the nonsense, he is still leading the team with a 24.7% target share (7.9/game), and has great matchups this week against CBs J.C. Jackson and Myles Bryant. Johnson has never been a touchdown monster, but his volume makes him hard to sit as well. Look for Trubisky to hyper-target Johnson in short and intermediate routes this week, making him a solid WR3 option.



George Pickens was able to gain 86 yards on four receptions last week, but once again, was only able to do so on the back of sideline contested catches (60 yards on two receptions), and only received one target after Trubisky entered the game. Pickens is a highlight machine, but far too often he is forced to make amazing catches due to his lack of separation, making him hard to rely on as a receiver or fantasy manager. Pickens also matches up well against the CBs listed above, but his enormous floor and ceiling have both been on display this year, which keeps me skeptical any given week. Since Diontae’s return, he has been held under 10 PPR points in five of seven games. In a low-scoring matchup, this is where I’m ranking him again this week.

Pat Freiermuth burst back onto the scene two weeks ago with 120 yards on nine receptions, but came back to earth last week with just 29 yards on three catches. Freiermuth lines up in a favorable matchup against LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, who ranks as PFF’s 36th LB in coverage (of 79 qualifiers). He is one of the most athletic tight ends in the league, a dominant red zone threat, and should serve as one of (if not the) favorite targets for Trubisky in the middle of the field. Although the Patriots come in 4th in PPG to opposing TEs, Freiermuth should see enough volume to finish as a low-TE1 this week.


Thank you for being here, and best of luck to your teams this week!



– Nick Beaudoin

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