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 waiver wire to play. Sometimes those decisions can be tough. For help with that, check out my 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 will 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-elite” players. If you have more specific questions regarding fantasy football or your team, ask me on Twitter, and as always, happy hunting fantasy friends!
Kirk Cousins vs Bills: After finishing as the QB3 last week, Kirk Cousins is one of only four quarterbacks to finish as a QB1 both games this season. Cousins threw four touchdowns last week against the Packers after throwing two in week one. The Bills have given up three passing touchdowns in both games this season, and are allowing an average of 24.6 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks. The Bills defense has no chance to slow down the Vikings offense this week. Cousins should have his third straight game with 20-plus fantasy points.
Jimmy Garoppolo at Chiefs: Coming off his first career loss as a starter, where Jimmy Garoppolo scored just nine fantasy points, he bounced back against the Lions with 16.6 fantasy points. Hopefully Garoppolo gets his favorite receiver Marquise Goodwin back this week in time for a shoot out with the Chiefs. Over the first two weeks of the season, no defense has been friendlier to opposing quarterbacks than the Chiefs. In the first two games of the season, opposing quarterbacks are averaging 438 passing yards, three touchdowns, and 34 fantasy points per game. Start Garoppolo with confidence this week.
Philip Rivers at Rams: As good as Philip Rivers has been to start the year (currently the QB4), fantasy owners should sit him this week versus the Rams. Over the first two weeks of the season, the Rams have allowed a total of 7.8 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The Rams have four interceptions in the first two weeks, while having allowed just 13 total points. As good as the offense has been this season, fantasy owners should bench all Chargers players other than Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen against the Rams.
Carson Wentz vs Colts: Eagles fans are excited to see Carson Wentz play, but fantasy owners should leave him on the bench this week. Wentz will have to shake off the rust of not playing in almost 10 months, and with no preseason snaps fantasy owners should expect a bumpy game. In addition to the rust, Wentz has to face a Colts defense that has given up the 10th fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Fantasy owners have managed without Wentz for the first two weeks of the season; sit him one more game.
Matt Ryan vs Saints: Many wrote off Matt Ryan after his poor performance against the Eagles in week one. However, Ryan bounced back against a tough Panthers defense and scored 30.7 fantasy points, finishing as the QB5 for the week. While Ryan’s 30.7 fantasy points is a bit skewed because of his two rushing touchdowns, he has a good match-up this week against the Saints. Over the first two weeks of the season, the Saints have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for 663 yards and five touchdowns. To give you further confidence, Ryan has averaged 18.1 FPPG over his last six games against the Saints.
Melvin Gordon at Rams: Many fantasy owners will be scared of playing Melvin Gordon this week because of the match-up against the Rams. However, fantasy owners shouldn’t worry because the Chargers’ offense is by far the best the Rams have faced this season. Last week against the Cardinals, Sam Bradford threw for just 90 yards, while Philip Rivers is averaging 340 passing yards per game. The Rams gave up 33.5 fantasy points to the Raiders’ running backs in week one (mostly in the air) while Gordon is averaging 20.5 FPPG receiving so far this season.
Chris Thompson vs Packers: After the first two weeks of the season, Chris Thompson is second among running backs with 19 catches; making him worth gold in PPR leagues. Despite just nine rushing attempts on the season, Thompson is currently the RB5 and has scored 22-plus fantasy points in both games. Over the first two games of the season, the Packers have given up 12 catches for 84 yards to opposing running backs. The game flow should result in the Redskins having to pass, giving Thompson a safe floor with plenty of upside.
Kareem Hunt vs 49ers: If not for a check-down dump-off pass that resulted in a five yard touchdown against the Steelers, Kareem Hunt would have zero catches on the season. Furthermore, Hunt is averaging 17 rushing attempts per game, but just 3.6 yards per carry. If you remove his receiving touchdown on Sunday, Hunt is averaging just 6.2 FPPG (which would rank as the RB47) over the first two games of the season. The Chiefs defense has given up an average of 32.5 points per game so far this season, and with another shootout expected Sunday, fantasy owners should seriously consider benching Hunt.
LeSean McCoy at Vikings: Last week I said to bench LeSean McCoy and I’d be shocked if he scored over 5.5 fantasy points. Well, he scored 10.8 and finished as the RB26 in week two. On top of the Bills poor offense, McCoy left the game versus the Chargers with a rib injury that he is going to try to play through — maybe he should retire at halftime instead. Even if McCoy plays this week, he faces a Vikings defense that ranked first against the run last year and has yet to give up a rushing touchdown this season.
Sony Michel at Lions: In his first NFL game, Sony Michel had a solid outing; rushing 10 times for 34 yards, catching one pass for seven yards, and scoring 5.1 fantasy points. However, what is encouraging is the amount of snaps he played. Rex Burkhead had 15 snaps while Michel had 13, showing that Michel could take over as the early down back sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the Lions have given up an average of 6.9 yards per carry and 36 FPPG to opposing running backs this season. If Michel sees enough snaps, he should finish week three as a top-20 running back.
Will Fuller at Giants: The Giants rank third in the league against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of just 18.5 FPPG. However, the Giants have faced the Jaguars and Cowboys so far this season; the two worst receiving groups in the league. Will Fuller caught 89% of his targets and had 25.3 fantasy points last week against the Titans. In his five career games with Deshaun Watson under center, Fuller is averaging 21.8 FPPG. With Janoris Jenkins glued to DeAndre Hopkins, expect Fuller to have a big game against the Giants others cornerbacks.
Kenny Golladay vs Patriots: Kenny Golladay has back-to-back weeks scoring 18 or more fantasy points for the winless Lions. Golladay has turned into Matthew Stafford’s deep threat and most trusted weapon. Over the first two games, Golladay leads all Lions’ wide receivers with a 62% catch rate and 15.6 yards per reception. Meanwhile, the Patriots just gave up 16 catches for 246 yards, three touchdowns, and 56 fantasy points to the Jaguars’ poor wide receiver group. Expect all the Lions’ wide receivers to have a good day against the Patriots, led by Golladay.
Tyler Lockett vs Cowboys: Currently Doug Baldwin isn’t expected to play this week against the Cowboys because of a knee injury. With Baldwin out of the line up, Tyler Lockett has taken over as the number one receiver for Russell Wilson. On Monday night against the Bears, Lockett scored 17 fantasy points and is averaging 16 FPPG this season. However, this week he faces the Cowboys, who have held opposing wide receivers to just 17.9 FPPG; good for second fewest in the league. Last week the Cowboys held Odell Beckham Jr. to just four catches for 51 yards and 9.1 fantasy points.
Josh Gordon at Lions: My opinion on Josh Gordon’s fantasy value goes back and forth. However, this week I wouldn’t start Gordon against the Lions for a couple of reasons. One, Gordon may not even be healthy enough to play this week with his hamstring injury. Two, the Patriots’ playbook is very complex. Gordon will need time to learn it and develop chemistry with Tom Brady. Three, the Patriots won’t rush him into a lot of snaps if he isn’t ready to play. In the coming weeks, Gordon could become a plug-and-play starter, but this week he belongs on the bench.
DeSean Jackson vs Steelers: Over the first two weeks of the season, DeSean Jackson is the WR3 and his teammate, Mike Evans is the WR4; yet, this week ESPN is projecting Evans as the WR10 and Jackson as the WR52! The Buccaneers are first in the league in yards per play, in large part thanks to Jackson. Meanwhile, the Steelers got crushed last week by the Chiefs’ wide receivers, as they gave up 54.1 fantasy points, including five catches over 25 yards. The game against the Steelers is expected to be a shootout, and Jackson should have his third straight game with 20-plus fantasy points.
Eric Ebron at Eagles: Despite playing less than 50% of the snaps each of the first two weeks, Eric Ebron is currently the TE7; averaging 11.6 FPPG. In both games, Ebron has at least three catches and a touchdown. The Eagles have done a solid job against opposing tight ends so far this season, giving up about the league average of 12 FPPG. However, last week they gave up 18.6 fantasy points to O.J. Howard, including a 75 yard touchdown. Ebron is owned in just 35.6% of ESPN leagues. For fantasy owners who stream the position, Ebron should be picked up. Now!
George Kittle at Chiefs: After a strong week one against the Vikings where he scored 14 fantasy points, George Kittle was a disappointment last week against the Lions; scoring just 4.2 fantasy points. However, this week Kittle is in line bounce back against the Chiefs in what should be a shootout. Over the first two weeks of the season Kittle leads the 49ers in targets, catches, and receiving yards. Meanwhile, the Chiefs gave up five catches for 138 yards, one touchdown, and 24.8 fantasy points to Jesse James last week. The Chiefs defense is awful and fantasy owners should start all their players against them.
Jesse James at Buccaneers: Speaking of Jesse James, last week’s performance had more to do with the opponent than his play. The Chiefs are the third-friendliest defense to opposing tight ends; giving up an average of 20 FPPG. While the Buccaneers have struggled against opposing tight ends this season, most of the damage came last week against Zach Ertz. James isn’t Ertz, and Vance McDonald should see a higher snap count now that he is another week removed from injury. This game against the Buccaneers should feature plenty of points for all the wide receivers, but not the tight ends.
Will Dissly vs Cowboys: If not for a garbage time touchdown, Dissly would have finished the game against the Bears with just six fantasy points. As much as fantasy owner want Dissly to be a thing, he simply isn’t. Against the Bears he saw the same number of targets (five) as Nick Vannett. The Seahawks offensive line is terrible, giving up 12 sacks in the first two games of the season, and they may start having Dissly block more often. If not for a garbage time touchdown to Evan Engram on Sunday night, the Cowboys would have held him to 10.9 fantasy points. Dissly isn’t Engram and he should remain on the waiver wire again this week.
Ian Thomas vs Bengals: With Greg Olsen sidelined for another four or five weeks, Ian Thomas is seeing the majority of snaps. Against the Falcons, Thomas was on the field for 96% of the snaps and now he has a great match up against the Bengals. Over the first two weeks of the season, the Bengals have been the friendliest team to opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 10 catches for 99 yards, one touchdown, and 25.3 fantasy points per game. Thomas won’t have that good of a game, but he should be in line for around 10 fantasy points this week.
Vikings vs Bills: Over the first two weeks of the season the Vikings’ D/ST has been up and down. After scoring 18 points in week one against the 49ers, they scored just two points against the Packers. However, this week they get a great match-up against the Bills. Over the first two weeks of the season, the Bills are the second-friendliest offense for opposing D/STs; allowing an average of 14 FPPG. The Vikings have one of the best — if not best — defenses in the league, and against the worst offense they could easily score 20 points this week.
Rams vs Chargers: Currently the Rams are the third-highest scoring D/ST, but their first two opponents are two of the worst offenses in the league (Raiders and Cardinals). However, this week they face the Chargers; who have yet to face a half decent — let alone good — defense this season. I expect this game to be a high-scoring shootout, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Philip Rivers has a three turnover game in the process. For fantasy owners that can afford to pick up a second D/ST, they should this week. If not, don’t bank on big production from the Rams.
Cowboys at Seahawks: It appears that fantasy owners can potentially stream defenses against the Seahawks this season. The Seahawks’ offensive line is awful and has given up 12 sacks so far. Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ defense has nine sacks this season, including six last week against the Giants. The Cowboys have nine players with a sack this season and the Seahawks offensive line just gave up at least one sack to five different players against the Bears. The Cowboys D/ST may not score a lot of fantasy points in this game, but you can bank on them getting at least five sacks.