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!
Ben Roethlisberger vs Ravens: After a horrible week one performance, Ben Roethlisberger has averaged 31.5 FPPG and has just one turnover compared to six touchdowns. The Ravens are the sixth toughest against opposing quarterbacks this season; however, a deeper dive into the numbers show that they actually aren’t that good. The Ravens have given up just 8.3 fantasy points to the Bills’ quarterbacks and Case Keenum, but they gave up 26.6 to Andy Dalton. Furthermore, Roethlisberger is averaging 27.8 FPPG in his last three home games verses the Ravens.
Case Keenum vs Chiefs: Despite three interceptions in week one, Case Keenum scored 19.2 fantasy points and had three touchdowns. However, since then he has scored just 20.2 fantasy points and has just one touchdown. Despite the slump, Keenum has a shot to redeem himself on Monday night against the Chiefs. So far this season, the Chiefs are the second friendliest team to opposing quarterbacks; giving up an average of 30.1 FPPG. The Chiefs have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score at least 22 fantasy points in every game this season, and Keenum should have a good game in what is expected to be a shoot-out.
Andrew Luck vs Texans: Andrew Luck has seriously struggled since week one when he scored 19.5 fantasy points. Against the Bengals, Luck threw for 319 yards. However, in the next two games combined, he has thrown for just 343 yards while scoring a total of 25.3 fantasy points. This week he faces the Texans, who have given up an average of 16.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. Many, including myself, drafted Luck expecting him to be a weekly starter. Until he performs like he did in week one again, he is a match-up based starter.
Josh Allen at Packers: In the upset of the season so far, Josh Allen led the Bills to a win over the Vikings, as he scored 27.7 fantasy points. However, fantasy owners should leave him on the waiver wire this week against the Packers. Of Allen’s 27.7 fantasy points, 43.3% of them were the result of his two rushing touchdowns. Allen had only 196 yards passing and was repeatedly given short fields to work with. The Packers do a good job protecting the ball and putting up points, which will force Allen to do similarly. I don’t expect that to happen.
Eli Manning vs Saints: Over the first two weeks of the season, Eli Manning scored just 20.8 fantasy points, but he bounced back last week with 19.8 fantasy points. This week he gets to face a Saints defense that is the friendliest to opposing quarterbacks; giving up an average of 32.3 FPPG. The Saints have given up 40 or more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks twice so far this season, while they are tied for the most passing touchdowns and the third most passing yards given up. Manning is a great streaming option this week, and an even better DFS play.
Chris Carson at Cardinals: Last week Chris Carson had a break out game against the Cowboys with 32 rushing attempts and 20.4 fantasy points. In the first two games of the season, Carson had just 13 attempts and 11.3 fantasy points. Carson was on the field for 72% of the snaps on Sunday; easily the highest for any Seahawks’ running back this season. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are the second friendliest team to opposing running backs, giving up an average of 38.3 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Cardinals have given up five rushing touchdowns this season, and Carson should get at least one this week.
Philip Lindsay vs Chiefs: If not for getting ejected after throwing a punch, Phillip Lindsay should have had his third straight game with 12 or more fantasy points. This week he faces a Chiefs defense that is the friendliest to opposing running backs, giving up an average of 38.8 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Chiefs have allowed opposing running backs an average of nine catches per game and 24.1 FPPG receiving. This game should be a shoot out with plenty of fantasy points to go around. Lindsay is the Broncos best pass catching back, giving him the most upside on Monday night.
Jay Ajayi at Titans: Jay Ajayi sat out last week’s game the Colts after injuring his back in the previous game. While he is currently expected to play this week, fantasy owners should bench him against the Titans. So far this season, the Titans are one of just three teams not to give up a rushing touchdown. Furthermore, the Titans have given up an average of just 15.8 FPPG to opposing running backs; 8.4 fantasy points less than the league average. Both teams will struggle to score in this game, putting more of a damper on Ajayi’s fantasy value this week.
Isaiah Crowell at Jaguars: There is an odd trend with Isaiah Crowell so far this season. In weeks one and three he has scored two touchdowns in each game, but in week two he had just 5.9 fantasy points. Since it is an even week, Crowell should be on the bench. In all seriousness, fantasy owners should bench Crowell this week because of the match up. The Jaguars are the ninth toughest against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 19.9 FPPG. Furthermore, the Jets are expected to be trailing most of the game, and Bilal Powell is a better option in that situation than Crowell.
Kerryon Johnson at Cowboys: In his breakout game, Kerryon Johnson was the first Lions’ running back to rush for over 100 yards since Thanksgiving 2013. More importantly though, he scored 13 fantasy points and was on the field for 45% of the snaps; highest among the running backs. Furthermore, Johnson touched the ball on 55% of his snaps against the Patriots. This week he faces the Cowboys, who gave up 20.4 fantasy points to Chris Carson last week. Johnson should get more involved in the passing game this week, and the Cowboys have given up 24 catches to running backs so far this season.
Allen Robinson vs Buccaneers: Fantasy owners had high expectations for Allen Robinson this year. So far he has failed to lived up to them, averaging just 12.1 FPPG and failing to score a touchdown. However, this might be the week Robinson finds the end zone. The Buccaneers are the third friendliest against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 48.7 FPPG. In addition, they have given up five receiving touchdowns to wide receivers so far. Robinson has a 27% target share this season and should see plenty Sunday against a weak Buccaneers secondary.
Demaryius Thomas vs Chiefs: While Emmanuel Sanders has taken over as the number one wide receiver in Denver, Demaryius Thomas has been inconsistent. However, this week he has a chance to get back to his old form against the Chiefs. Despite playing well against the 49ers last week, the Chiefs are the eighth friendliest against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 42.9 FPPG. Furthermore, when facing a good duo of wide receivers, the Chiefs have allowed an average of 52.9 FPPG. Fantasy owners should start all Broncos wide receivers this week against a terrible Chiefs secondary.
Corey Davis vs Eagles: Many fantasy owners were excited about Corey Davis this year, but so far he has let them down. Davis is averaging 9.4 FPPG while catching just 54.2% of his targets with no touchdowns. The quarterback situation has been a mess for the Titans, and now they get to face a tough Eagles defense. Other than the game against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers, the Eagles have held opposing wide receivers to just 30.4 FPPG; six points lower than the league average. Davis is getting close to being droppable, but for now he should be glued to the bench.
Chris Hogan vs Dolphins: Chris Hogan has been a huge disappointment so far this season for fantasy owners. Hogan has just seven catches for 84 yards, and if not for two touchdowns in week two, he would be averaging just 5.1 FPPG. Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect him to break out of his funk this week, as the Dolphins are the 11th toughest on opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 31.9 FPPG. The only hope for Hogan fantasy owners is that Xavien Howard shadows Josh Gordon, giving Hogan a chance to have a solid game.
Sterling Shepard vs Saints: Saints placed nickelback Patrick Robinson on IR on Tuesday, which means a terrible secondary just got worse. No team is friendlier to opposing wide receivers than the Saints, giving up an average of 63.3 FPPG; nearly double the league average. Twice this season the Saints have allowed the opposing team’s number two wide receiver to score 31 fantasy points or more. After a slow start to the season where Shepard scored just 15.2 fantasy points, Shepard picked it up last week where he scored 20. I expect him to keep up his hot play against the horrible Saints’ secondary this week.
Trey Burton vs Buccaneers: Trey Burton hasn’t lived up to his preseason hype, but he could breakout this week against the Buccaneers. So far this season, the Buccaneers are the friendliest team to opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 21.3 FPPG; nearly double the league average. Furthermore, over the last two weeks, the Buccaneers have given up 20 catches for 270 yards and 53 fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Burton has back-to-back games with four catches and should see plenty of targets this week, as the Bears will need to score plenty of points in order to win this game.
Austin Hooper vs Bengals: Despite averaging just 9.9 FPPG this season, Austin Hooper is currently the TE12. Just goes to show how shallow the tight end position is. With Jordan Reed on a bye week and Greg Olsen still a few weeks away from returning, fantasy owners may be in need of a bye week filler at tight end. Hooper is owned in just 29% of ESPN leagues and he has a good match up against the Bengals. During the first two weeks of the season the Bengals gave up 50.5 fantasy points to opposing tight ends and are the fifth friendliest for the year.
George Kittle at Chargers: As if losing his starting quarterback wasn’t bad enough for George Kittle, now he gets to face the Chargers with C.J. Beathard throwing to him. The Chargers are the second toughest against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 5.9 FPPG; less than half the league average. Furthermore, the Chargers have given up just nine catches for 87 yards and no touchdowns so far this season. Kittle was playing well with Jimmy Garoppolo. Until fantasy owners see how he plays with Beathard, Kittle should be left on the bench.
Dallas Goedert at Titans: The only team that is tougher against opposing tight ends than the Chargers is the Titans. So far this season the Titans have given up just 13.9 fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Now, I would play Zach Ertz obviously. Goedert; however, should be left on the bench, even after his 20 fantasy point game last week. Furthermore, Goedert was on the field for 67% of the snaps last week compared to 24% and 22% in the previous two games. Last week was a fluke and fantasy owners should leave the rookie tight end on the bench against the Titans.
Mark Andrews at Steelers: Speaking of rookie tight ends, Mark Andrews gets to face the Steelers this week, who are the second friendliest team to opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 20.7 FPPG. Hayden Hurst is practicing this week and could make his season debut against the Steelers. Assuming he doesn’t, Andrews is in line for the majority of the workload. Despite being third among Ravens tight ends in snaps, Andrews leads them in every receiving category and FPPG. Assuming Hurst is out again this week, Andrews is a nice streaming option and DFS play against the horrible Steelers defense.
Chargers vs 49ers: Entering the season, many fantasy owners had high hopes for the Chargers D/ST. However, Joey Bosa has yet to play this season and the D/ST has scored negative fantasy points in two games this season (to be fair they were against the Chiefs and Rams). Good news is many fantasy owners dropped the Chargers and this week they get to face the Jimmy Garoppolo-less 49ers. Even with Garoppolo under center, opposing D/STs were scoring two more FPPG than the league average. The Chargers are the best D/ST option this week and should be owned in every league.
Bears vs Buccaneers: Surprisingly the Bears are the top scoring D/ST this season but they have played two of the worst offenses in the league and only half a game against Aaron Rodgers. This week they face the Buccaneers, who is the fourth toughest against opposing D/STs. For the season, opposing D/STs are averaging just two FPPG against the Buccaneers offense. The Buccaneers are averaging 34 points per game this season; tied for third in the league. While it is very possible Ryan Fitzpatrick self-destructs against the Bears with a bunch of turnovers and sacks, I would find another D/ST this week.
Seahawks at Cardinals: The Seahawks D/ST hasn’t been as bad as I expected them to be. They have averaged eight FPPG this season, ranking 11th best in the league. The only offense in the league that is worse than the Cowboys, is the Cardinals. For the season the Cardinals are the friendliest team to stream D/STs against, giving up an average of 12.7 FPPG to opposing D/STs. Furthermore, rookie quarterback Josh Rosen is making his first career start this week and I fully expect the Seahawks to pressure and confuse him, leading to plenty of sacks and turnovers.