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When “Start Your Studs” Fails

All fantasy owners know the mantra “start your studs.” But what happens when starting your studs doesn’t work?

Obviously, every player has off weeks. However, when a stud player is consistently struggling or not performing well, that’s a sign that something else is going on.

So, does there come a point when it’s okay to bench a stud and play someone else that’s performing at a higher level?

The best recent example of this is stud wide receiver Mike Evans.

Mike Drop

In standard scoring, Evans hasn’t reached double-digit points since Week 7. That’s seven games in a row with single digit points. For a guy that you drafted as your WR1, that’s not good enough to win your fantasy matchups. In fact, I would bet that a lot of people that are either got eliminated or losing their playoff matchup

The first seven weeks of the season, he was doing pretty good. He four touchdowns in that span and reached double digits four times.

So, what changed? Who’s to blame?

I’m not exactly sure. There was a quarterback change in there, where Winston was recovering from injuries and Ryan Fitzpatrick took over. Not to mention the overall bad play of the offense and Winston.

But some of the blame is also on Evans. Look at these stats:

Evans’ targets have dwindled, but perhaps so has his ability to get open and beat the opposing cornerbacks.

With playoffs in full swing, you need to start players that you trust can get you decent points, and Evans is not reliable right now.

This is an instance where it’s okay to not start your stud, and your team actually may be better off with him on the bench.

McCaffrey McStruggles

Inconsistent may be the best word to sum up McCaffrey’s rookie season, especially if you have him in a standard scoring league. He’s been good, but not great, and I think a lot of that has to do with how the Panthers are using him, which is also inconsistent.

Take a look at this stat:

Take a look at this stat: Despite the volume dip, he’s still been getting looks in the red-zone, but he’s not as valuable as many owners hoped he would be. In PPR leagues he’s solid, but he’s not as consistent in standard. With Jonathan Stewart getting a lot of the work still and even getting goal-line carries, McCaffrey is the odd-man out. It seems like the Panthers don’t quite know what to do with him yet, leaving him in a grey area.

McCaffrey is hard to trust in standard leagues with playoffs on the line, but in PPR he’s still a solid RB2 start.

I’ll finish this part with the following tweet:

Both of these “studs” aren’t the sure bets that they were at the beginning of the year. Evans’ struggles and McCaffrey’s inconsistent usage both make them cautious starts in standard.

Sometimes “start your studs” isn’t the best advice. Sometimes there may be a better option on the bench. Sometimes you’re better off benching a struggling player, like Mike Evans, if you have other quality wide receivers.

This doesn’t mean you should bench every stud after they have one bad week, but it does mean recognizing that the phrase “start your studs” isn’t 100 percent accurate all the time.

For more fantasy advice, check out our podcasts, weekly rankings, videos, and starts and sits.

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