Every week fantasy football owners have to make decisions on who to start, who to sit and who potentially to go pick up off the wavier wire to play. Sometimes those decisions can be tough. For help with that check out Breaking Football’s weekly rankings. In addition to that, I will be giving my weekly take on starts, sits and sleepers.
Each week I will be giving two players I like starting, two guys I would like to bench and one sleeper per position (except for D/STs, there will only be one start and sit). Now of course every week you would start Aaron Rodgers, David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, among others, assuming they play. This weekly article is to help fantasy owners decide on their “non-stud” players. If you have more specific questions regarding fantasy football, ask me on twitter (@MikeSports22) and as always happy hunting fantasy friends.
Eli Manning at Dallas: Last season the Cowboys ranked 17th against quarterbacks. During the offseason the Cowboys lost several veterans in the secondary and replaced them with rookies. When the Giants visited the Cowboys week one last season, Manning had 207 yards, three touchdowns and 18.3 fantasy points. In most leagues, Manning isn’t owned, under 50% in ESPN leagues, but if you need an emergency quarterback with Jameis Winston on a week one bye, Manning is the great option.
For those who drafted Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer is a great fill-in option. First 4 games: Lions, Colts, Cowboys, 49ers. #FantasyFootball
— Scott Messina (@ScottTakes16) September 7, 2017
Carson Palmer at Detroit: The 2016 season was a down year for Palmer, as he battled shoulder issues all year long. Now entering the 2017 season healthy, Palmer is a sneaky QB1 on a weekly basis. Facing the Lions, Palmer has a great matchup as the Lions ranked 30th against quarterbacks last season. With Larry Fitzgerald facing Detroit’s Quandre Diggs in the slot, expect Palmer to target him for several easy completions. Again, if you have Jameis Winston or Andrew Luck and need a week one fill-in guy, Palmer is owned in just 36% of ESPN leagues. Sits Dak Prescott vs New York: The Broncos were the only team tougher on fantasy quarterbacks than the Giants last season. In the two games against the Giants last season, Prescott averaged 8.5 fantasy points per game; he also had just one total touchdown compared to two interceptions. With Ezekiel Elliot now eligible to play week one, expect the Cowboys to run the ball a lot and limit Prescott’s upside.
Ben Roethlisberger has played 12 career games in Cleveland. He’s scored fewer than 15 fantasy points 8 times & fewer than 11 points 5 times. — Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) September 8, 2017
Ben Roethlisberger at Cleveland: Yes the Browns were the worst defense against quarterbacks last season. However, since then the Browns have added several good players to their defense; they won’t be a cakewalk for teams this season. More so, Roethlisberger struggles on the road. In eight road games last season, Roethlisberger averaged just 13 fantasy points per game; which would have ranked him as the QB25 over a full 16 game slate. Don’t trust Big Ben on the road.
Jared Goff vs Indianapolis: Of course fantasy football takes a back seat when talking about Hurricane Irma, but when the NFL moved the Buccaneers/Dolphins game to week 11, it hurt many fantasy owners like me. In a 18 team league I have Jameis Winston as my own quarterback, but I added Goff who has a solid matchup against a banged up Colts defense. Last season the Colts ranked 25th against quarterbacks and won’t have starting cornerback Vontae Davis for the game. Goff looked solid in the preseason and in deeper leagues, he is a good bye week filler.
The record for rushing yards in a MNF game is 148. On this week’s @Climb_ThePocket podcast, I said Dalvin Cook would have 160 yards & 2 TDs.
— J.R. (@JReidDraftScout) September 8, 2017
Dalvin Cook vs New Orleans: There weren’t many defenses worse than the Saints last season against running backs, ranking 30th and giving up over 27 fantasy points per game to the position. Cook has a firm grasp on the starting spot so expect a high workload and success, as the Vikings try to control the clock, keeping the Saints offense on the sideline.
Christian McCaffrey at San Francisco: One of the defenses worse than the Saints against running backs last season was the 49ers, ranking dead last. Expect the Panthers to showcase their new shiny toy against the terrible 49ers defense. The Panthers should lead the whole game and run the ball a lot in the second half to get the game over with. Expect McCaffrey to get 22 plus touches this week. Sits
Blake Bortles will be bad this year. Why do we expect Leonard Fournette to be good when there is no pass game! — Ian James Brennan (@Brennan316) September 8, 2017
Leonard Fournette at Houston: Many drafted Fournette early in their draft and have to play him; I get it. However, if you have better options at running back I would bench Fournette. For example I prefer, Bilal Powell or Dalvin Cook over Fournette this week. The Texans will have high emotions playing at home as the city continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey and that will show on the field. Last season the Texans ranked 12th against running backs and now J.J. Watt is back healthy and extra motivated. If you must play Fournette, temper your expectations.
Marshawn Lynch at Tennessee: If you read my Fantasy Values, Busts and Sleepers: AFC West article, you will see why I don’t have a lot of faith in Lynch. This week against the Titans I expect Lynch to be very quiet. Last season the Titans ranked 2nd against running backs but dead last against wide receivers. Expect this game to be a shootout with lots of passing and Lynch to spend a lot of time on the sideline.
Wendell Smallwood at Washington: For deeper leagues, Smallwood might have been drafted; in standard size leagues, Smallwood should be on everyone’s watch list. LeGarrette Blount looked horrible in the preseason and his roster spot was in doubt at one point. If Blount was cut, Smallwood would have taken over as the team’s power back. The Redskins ranked 27th against running backs last season, if Smallwood gets enough touches he could be named the starter for week two and be the hottest name on the wavier wire next week. Grab him now if you can.
Stefon Diggs vs New Orleans: Last season the Saints ranked 25th against wide receivers and while they did spend heavy draft currency on defense, the defense is still terrible. Diggs had 84 catches in just 13 games last season and is the team’s top wide receiver. With a full season of experience working with Sam Bradford, expect Diggs to have a big game against the Saints’ poor secondary.
Jamison Crowder is going to TORCH Patrick Robinson on Sunday.
— Steve (@SteveDraft_) September 8, 2017
Jamison Crowder vs Eagles: The Redskins offense looked out of sync in the preseason and that is expected as the team is trying to implement several new pieces. Crowder is the only healthy returning receiver from last year’s team, so look for Cousins to target Crowder a lot on Sunday. Last season the Eagles ranked 28th against wide receivers. At home verse the Eagles last season, Crowder had 13.3 fantasy points, expect a slightly better output this time around. Sits
Michael Thomas will be shadowed by Xavier Rhodes Week 1 and Brees doesn’t force it. Ginn looking like a nice play vs Waynes — Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) September 1, 2017
Michael Thomas vs Minnesota: Many of fantasy owners took Thomas in either the late first round or early second round of their drafts and can’t afford to sit him; I am in the same situation. However, temper your expectations for Thomas this week as Xavier Rhodes will follow Thomas around all night long and give him trouble. In 2016 Thomas had only three single digit fantasy performances in PPR scoring, but all three came against elite cornerbacks like Rhodes. Play Thomas but don’t be shocked if he finishes in with under ten fantasy points.
Allen Robinson at Houston: Blake Bortles. That’s all it should take to scare you away from any Jaguars receiver. However, Robinson is a sit this week for more than just Bortles. The Texans ranked 4th against wide receivers in 2016 and despite losing A.J. Bouye in free agency, the team still has veteran Jonathan Joseph at cornerback. Expect this to be a low scoring game with very little fantasy points scored.
Ted Ginn Jr. at Minnesota: While Michael Thomas will have his hands full with Xavier Rhodes, Ginn will face Trae Waynes. With Willie Snead suspended for the first three games, Ginn steps in as the team’s number two wide receiver. Waynes can get lost in coverage at times and Ginn should take advantage of that. Look for Ginn to get over 80 yards as the Vikings focus on Thomas.
Zach Ertz is the 10th ranked TE on DK this week with a price of $3.5K – I’m all over that. Targets should be in the double digits.
— FF Guesspert (@FF_Guesspert) September 8, 2017
Zach Ertz at Washington: Last season the Redskins ranked 27th against tight ends, giving up 15 fantasy points a game to the position. Ertz was a sneaky good tight end last season, finishing as the TE6 in PPR scoring. Last season in week 14 against Washington, Ertz had 22.9 fantasy points. Aside from also owning one of the few elite fantasy tight ends, Ertz is a must start this week.
Jack Doyle at Los Angles: Even with the Rams ranking 6th against tight ends last season, expect Doyle to be targeted a lot on Sunday. Despite only being a part time starter in 2016, Doyle finished as the TE13 in PPR scoring. With Scott Tolzien starting, look for the Colts to simplify the offense for him. With T.Y. Hilton being shadowed by Trumaine Johnson, Tolzien will have to throw elsewhere. A tight end is a quarterback’s best friend, look for Doyle to have at least four catches on Sunday.
Delanie Walker vs Oakland: I’m not a fan of Walker and I don’t think he will finish as a TE1 this season. The Titans spent big money and draft currency on wide receivers this offseason and that will come at Walker’s expense. With so many new weapons on offense, expect Marcus Mariota to get everyone involved. With the new passing options and a strong running game, expect Walker to see less targets this season and on Sunday.
Martellus Bennett vs Seattle: Last season the Seahawks ranked 4th against the tight ends, giving up only 9.4 fantasy points per game in PPR scoring. The Packers haven’t had a top ten fantasy tight end since 2011. In the weekly rankings, Bennett is TE18 for me. I much rather take a shot on Jason Witten. Sit Bennett and pick up a tight end on the wavier wire.
Jason Witten vs New York: Speaking of Witten, he is currently owned in just 68% and starting in 28% of ESPN leagues, yet he is my TE8 this week. While the return of Ezekiel Elliot hurts Witten’s value some, in two games last season verse the Giants, Witten averaged over 11 fantasy points per game. If you take Witten’s 11 FPPG over a 16 game pace, he would finished as TE7 last season. If you need a replacement for Cameron Brate or one of the sits above, target Witten.
Rams vs Indianapolis: No Andrew Luck means no Colts’ high powered offense. Last season the Rams finished as the D/ST23 but added legendary defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in the offseason. Many expect the Rams defense to be much improved this season, and despite Aaron Donald not playing due to his holdout, starting D/STs against the Colts is a great idea until Luck is back.
Seahawks at Green Bay: Many fantasy owners took the Seattle as the first D/ST off the board, and that wasn’t a bad idea per say. However, I am not against the idea of rostering two D/STs this week to avoid playing against the Packers. Pick up the Rams D/ST, owned in just 31% of ESPN leagues, start them this week and then drop them for the hottest wavier wire guy next week. If you can avoid facing the Packers this week, do it.
Chargers at Denver: Last season the Chargers finished as the D/ST10, and had 35 sacks and 28 turnovers last season, both ranking in the top ten. In two games verse the Broncos last season, the Chargers D/ST averaged 12 fantasy points a game and 2.5 turnovers. With the Broncos offense very similar to last season, expect the Chargers D/ST to have a good game Monday night.