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!
Matt Ryan vs Buccaneers: Prior to last week’s down performance, Ryan had been averaging 33.4 FPPG over his previous three games. During that three game span, Ryan had 10 touchdowns and just one interception. This week he should bounce back against a terrible Buccaneers defense (they will be picked on a lot in this article). The Buccaneers are the friendliest team to opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 28.6 FPPG. Furthermore, the Buccaneers gave up six touchdowns to Mitch Trubisky in week four. Ryan should easily have 24 or more fantasy points this week.
Jameis Winston at Falcons: In limited playing time so far this season due to a suspension, Winston hasn’t looked very good. However, he had the last two weeks to practice with the starters and hopefully he is in sync for Sunday. The Falcons are the fourth friendliest team to opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 24.6 FPPG. Furthermore, over the last four weeks, opposing quarterbacks have averaged 29.5 FPPG. Winston is owned in just 33% of ESPN league and for fantasy owners that need a bye week filler for Matthew Stafford or Drew Brees, Winston should be your top target.
Philip Rivers at Browns: For fantasy owners who have to start Rivers this week, don’t panic. Rivers has scored 21 or more fantasy points in four of five games this season. However, I think he is held under 21 this week against the Browns for two reasons. One, the Browns are the sixth toughest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of just 14.6 FPPG. Two, the Chargers have to travel to Cleveland for 1pm EST kick off, feeling like a 10am PST kick off. Rivers is a QB1 this week but a low end QB1.
Case Keenum vs Rams: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me; Keenum won’t fool me again. After three straight weeks without a passing touchdown and a combined total 25 fantasy points, Keenum got a garbage time touchdown Sunday against the Jets and finished with 21.1 fantasy points. Fantasy owners need to leave Keenum on the waiver wire this week as the Rams have given up an average of 11.2 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks not named Kirk Cousins this season. There is zero reason why Keenum should be started this week.
Baker Mayfield vs Chargers: Since taking over as the starter, Mayfield has been getting better and better. After scoring 12.8 in his first career start, Mayfield scored 18 last week verse the Ravens. Now Mayfield’s schedule over the next five weeks is phenomenal starting this week with the Chargers, who are 10th friendliest team to opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 19.6 FPPG. The Browns aren’t a joke anymore, winning two of their last three games, and a large part of that is due to Mayfield’s play.
Dalvin Cook vs Cardinals: Fantasy owners need to keep an eye on Cook’s health, as he has missed two of the last three games with a hamstring injury. However, if he plays, Cook has a great matchup this week. The Cardinals are the friendliest team to opposing running backs, giving up an average of 37.6 FPPG. Furthermore, last week the Cardinals gave up 12 or more fantasy points to three 49er running backs. If Cook is out again this week, Latavius Murray should be started in every league.
Jordan Howard at Dolphins: Even coming off the bye week, fantasy owners may still be mad over Howard’s 2.5 fantasy point game against the Buccaneers. However, the game flow was weird and Howard was on the field for a season low 54% of the snaps. This week he faces a Dolphins defense that is the fourth friendliest to opposing running backs, giving up an average of 31.7 FPPG. Furthermore, during the Dolphins’ losing streak, opposing running backs are averaging 36.2 FPPG. Start Howard this week with plenty of confidence.
Alex Collins & Buck Allen at Titans: This backfield has become a pain in the neck for fantasy owners. Allen has been more consistent, scoring 11 or more fantasy points in four of five games, while Collins is still averaging 15.3 touches per game over the last three weeks. Whichever back fantasy owners have they should be on the bench this week. The Titans are the fifth toughest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 16.8 FPPG. Furthermore, the Titans have yet to allow 20 or more fantasy points to any team’s running backs this season.
Kenyan Drake vs Bears: Don’t fall for fools gold; Drake’s 24.5 fantasy points last week was a fluke, not the new norm. Drake had 13 touches compared to 12 for Frank Gore despite playing 23% more of the snaps than Gore. In the previous two games, Drake had eight caries for eight yards. Meanwhile, the Bears are the toughest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 12.1 FPPG. Furthermore, the Bears have held opposing running backs to under 12 fantasy points in three of four games this season. Sell high and trade Drake while you can.
Kyle Juszczyk at Packers: With Matt Breida questionable to play Monday night with an ankle injury, the 49ers will have to turn to Juszczyk in the passing game again. Last week, Juszczyk lead the 49er running backs with a 69% snap count and 14.7 fantasy points. Juszczyk had six catches for 75 yards against the Cardinals. More than likely fantasy owners have a more appealing option to start this week but if you are in a pinch or a deeper league, Juszczyk is owned in just 1.6% of ESPN leagues, is averaging 8.2 FPPG and should see over 62% of the snaps for the fifth straight week.
Calvin Ridley vs Buccaneers: After three straight weeks with at least one touchdown and 16.7 fantasy points, Ridley had just 7.8 fantasy points and no touchdowns last week verse the Steelers. However, the entire Falcons offense under performed given their expectations. This week Ridley should bounce back against the Buccaneers, who are the second friendliest team to opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 49 FPPG. Furthermore, the Buccaneers have allowed opposing wide receivers to score 52 or more points in 50% of their games this season. Start all your Falcon wide receivers this week.
Tyler Boyd vs Steelers: Much like the guy above him, Boyd had a nice three game stretch, averaging 22.6 FPPG, then he scored a disappointing 8.4 fantasy points Sunday against the Dolphins. The good news is the Dolphins are sixth toughest team in the league against opposing wide receivers, and this week Boyd faces a much easier opponent. The Steelers are the fourth friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 45 FPPG. Furthermore, over their last four games, opposing wide receivers are averaging 48.5 FPPG against the Steelers. Expect Boyd to bounce back this week.
Corey Davis vs Ravens: Fantasy owners rejoiced after Davis’ 31.1 fantasy point game against the Eagles in week four. For an encore, he finished with just 8.9 fantasy points against the Bills. Now this week he faces a Ravens defense that has given up just two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the last three weeks. Furthermore, the Titans offense struggled to score 12 points last week verse the Bills. Davis’ quarterback, Marcus Mariota, has four games this season under 10 fantasy points. Fantasy owners need to bench Davis until he earns your trust.
Taylor Gabriel at Dolphins: Prior to the Bears’ bye week, Gabriel had seven catches for 104 yards, two touchdowns and 30.4 fantasy points; all season highs. However, that was a game flow fluke and nothing fantasy owners should expect to see going forward. This week, Gabriel faces a Dolphins’ defense that is the sixth toughest team in the league against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of just 33.3 FPPG. Furthermore, the Dolphins have given up just three touchdowns to opposing wide receivers all season long and Anthony Miller should return for the Bears this week.
Mohamed Sanu vs Buccaneers: Last week Sanu was a sleeper and he had four catches for 73 yards, one touchdown and a team high 17.3 fantasy points, so hopefully fantasy owners listened. Now this week, Sanu gets to put on an encore against the Buccaneers, who are the second friendliest team to opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 49 FPPG. Despite being third in fantasy points, Sanu leads all Falcon wide receivers in snaps played. This match up is excellent so once again, start all your Falcon wide receivers this week.
Austin Hooper vs Buccaneers: This is the last time I pick on the Buccaneers this week, I promise. The Buccaneers are the friendliest team in the league against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 20.1 FPPG. Last week I told fantasy owners to start Hooper and he finished the week as the TE3 with 16.7 fantasy points. Hooper is the only tight end on the roster who catches passes as he has 27 targets while all other Falcons’ tight ends have six combined. For fantasy owners who stream tight ends, Hooper is owned in just 51% of ESPN leagues and should your top target this week.
Jordan Reed vs Panthers: Both fantasy owners and Redskin fans want to put Monday’s game behind them and move on. Prior to the game against the Saints, Reed was averaging 11.6 FPPG, which would rank him as the TE6 for the season. Meanwhile, the Panthers are 10th friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 13.8 FPPG. Furthermore, the Panthers have given up 18.5 or more fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 50% of their games this season. Hopefully the Redskins offense looks better this week and that will only happen if Reed plays well.
Jared Cook vs Seahawks: Cook is coming off his worst game of the season with four catches for 20 yards and just six fantasy points. To make things worse, he has to face a Seahawks defense that is the sixth toughest against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 9.3 FPPG. Furthermore, the Seahawks have held opposing tight ends to 10 or fewer fantasy points in four of five games this season. Cook’s targets have been wildly inconsistent this season and in a tough match up, fantasy owners should look elsewhere if possible.
David Njoku vs Chargers: After back-to-back games with 10 or more fantasy points, fantasy owners are happy with Njoku. However, they should temper their expectations this week. The Chargers are the seventh toughest against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 9.6 FPPG. Furthermore, the Chargers have held opposing tight ends to under 9.5 fantasy points in four of five games this season. Njoku has been better since Baker Mayfield took over as the starter but he faces a bad match up this week.
C.J. Uzomah vs Steelers: With the Tyler Eifert injury, Uzomah seems in line to take over as the starter. Sunday, in the first game without Eifert, Uzomah had played 92% of the snaps and finished with 6.3 fantasy points. While the fantasy points weren’t great this week he faces the Steelers, who are the second friendliest team in the league against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 20.1 FPPG. Furthermore, the Steelers have given up 10 catches to opposing tight ends in back-to-back games and have given up 18.5 or more fantasy points in four of five games this season.
Packers vs 49ers: Despite a poor reputation, the Packers D/ST is currently fourth in the league, averaging eight FPPG. Meanwhile, the 49ers are the fifth friendliest team against opposing D/STs, allowing them to score an average of nine FPPG. Furthermore, opposing D/STs have scored 17 or more fantasy points twice against the 49ers offense. The Packers D/ST is owned in 56% of ESPN leagues and are a good streaming option this week.
Bengals vs Steelers: Last week the Bengals D/ST easily scored a season high 24 fantasy points against the Dolphins. However, that number was inflated by two touchdowns. In the previous four games, the Bengals D/ST averaged just three FPPG. Meanwhile the Steelers are the fourth toughest team against opposing D/STs, allowing them to score an average of just 2.4 FPPG. Furthermore, opposing D/STs have scored negative fantasy points twice against the Steelers offense. Last week was a fluke, leave the Bengals D/ST on the waiver wire.
Colts at Jets: The match ups this week made it hard to find a good sleeper option, but the Colts D/ST might surprise some fantasy owners. The Colts D/ST is averaging just 4.4 FPPG and have failed to score over eight fantasy points in any game this season. However, the Jets are the seventh friendliest team against opposing D/STs, allowing them to score an average of eight FPPG. Furthermore, prior to the weird game against the Broncos, opposing D/STs were averaging 10.5 FPPG against the Jets offense.