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Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis?

The tight end position in Washington has been one that has been mostly useful to fantasy football owners this year. That production, outside of a couple of Vernon Davis games, has been mostly thanks to the efforts of Jordan Reed. However, as Jordan Reed is wont to do, is banged up.  On Friday he was limited to 1-on-1 drills as he recovers from a shoulder injury he suffered on Thanksgiving against Dallas, and he hasn’t played since then. This has been a consistent drumbeat for Reed throughout his career. Last season he had more fantasy points per game than Rob Gronkowski, but he just could not stay healthy to save his life. His backup, Vernon Davis, is a former fantasy stud relegated to a spot play role in the twilight of his career.

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Jordan Reed isn’t likely to play, but what if he does? Is this a situation you can trust? Washington takes on the Panthers this week, who are literally the worst in the NFL at stopping the tight end from producing. However, the situation surrounding Washington must be considered. If Jordan Reed plays, it is likely that he does so as a decoy (think Gronk earlier this year). The Panthers must figure out how to account for Reed and funnel their meager second-level talent away from Washington playmakers like Jamison Crowder and DeSean Jackson. He’ll be out there in name only and isn’t likely to produce for your fantasy squads. In this situation, he should be sat. If he plays, it is also unlikely that Vernon Davis does anything, so both are sits in that situation.

However, the sit is not due to the opposition. The Panthers have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. The magic number for TE1 production is seven fantasy points, and the Panthers have allowed 11 tight ends to hit that number this year, including one in each of the last four games. They bleed points against tight ends. If Washington allows Davis to be their sole tight end option, and not use him as a decoy like they would Reed, he should absorb enough targets to garner TE1 fantasy production this week.

If Reed sits, Davis makes for an interesting play, especially given that the Panthers have been absolutely dreadful against tight ends this year. Davis hasn’t been amazing, but he was usable for a four-game stretch earlier this year. Without read, and against this woeful Panthers defense, he makes for an intriguing matchup play. Especially for Delanie Walker owners who may not trust him this week.

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