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!
PSA: Fantasy owners need to remember to set their line ups Saturday night as the Eagles/Jaguars game kicks off from London at 9:30 AM EST.
Kirk Cousins vs Saints: The last three weeks have been disappointing for Kirk Cousins’ fantasy owners, as he is averaging 16.4 FPPG. However, this week Cousins faces the Saints terrible defense that is the second-friendliest in the league against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 25.3 FPPG.
Furthermore, the Saints have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score 40 or more fantasy points in 33% of their games this season. This game should be high scoring and both Cousins and Drew Brees are must starts this week and top four quarterbacks for me.
Baker Mayfield at Steelers: Starting two weeks ago, Baker Mayfield had a stretch of five games going into his bye week against terrible pass defenses. He got injured and struggled against the Chargers in week six, but last week he did a great job rebounding, scoring 20.9 fantasy points and finishing as the QB6 against the Buccaneers.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are the fourth-friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 24 FPPG. The Steelers gave up 23.6 fantasy points to Tyrod Taylor in week one, and have given up 23 or more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 67% of their games this season.
Cam Newton vs Ravens: As well as Cam Newton has played this season, the match-up is very concerning. The Ravens are the second-toughest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of just 13.3 FPPG — almost five points less than the league average. To make matter worse, the Ravens have held opposing quarterbacks under 15 fantasy points in 57% of their games this season.
Newton has back-to-back games with 23 or more fantasy points, but I think he is held under 16 this week. However, the good news for Newton fantasy owners is he faces the Buccaneers awful defense next week.
Matthew Stafford vs Seahawks: Matthew Stafford hasn’t done much, as he is the QB19 this season. He has scored under 21 fantasy points in five of six games this season, including each of his last four outings. However, the Lions have won three of their last four games and Kerryon Johnson is averaging 14 carries for 96 yards per game during that stretch.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks are the toughest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of just 12.3 FPPG and have held opposing QBs under 14.5 fantasy points in five straight games. I expect the Lions to focus on the running game again this week, further limiting Stafford’s upside.
Eli Manning vs Redskins: Last week I had Eli Manning as the sleeper and a garbage time touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. seriously helped his fantasy score. Manning finished as the QB7 with 20.7 fantasy points last week.
For the second week in a row, Manning is a sleeper because of his match-up. The Redskins are 10th friendliest team to opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 18.9 FPPG and have given up an average of 26.4 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks over their last three games.
Tarik Cohen vs Jets: Over the last three weeks Tarik Cohen has been on fire, averaging 15.3 touches for 126 scrimmage yards, one touchdown, and 25.3 fantasy points per game. Cohen has played 49% of the snaps and saw a 27% target share over those three games.
The Bears are using Cohen as the featured part of their offense, getting the ball in his hands in multiple ways. Even despite the average match-up verses the Jets, Cohen is a must-play and has high-end RB1 upside based on volume alone.
Marlon Mack at Raiders: Since returning from his hamstring injury, Marlon Mack has played well for fantasy owners. Over those two games, Mack is averaging 17 touches for 126 scrimmage yards, one touchdown and 21.1 FPPG, while leading the Colts’ running backs in touches and snaps.
The Raiders are the 12th friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 26.8 FPPG. However, the Raiders have given up 34 or more fantasy points to opposing running backs in two of their last three games. Fantasy owners should keep riding Mack’s hot hand.
Dalvin Cook vs Saints: Dalvin Cook isn’t likely to play this week and has played in just one of his last five games. My guess is the Vikings keep Cook on the shelf until after the week 10 bye, and bring him back for a critical game against the Bears in week 11. Even if by some miracle, Cook plays this week, I would bench him!
In the one game he played since injuring his hamstring, he played just 24% of the snaps and averaged two yards per touch. The Saints are the fifth-toughest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 18 FPPG. Even if he were healthy this would not be a strong match-up for Cook.
Carlos Hyde & T.J. Yeldon vs Eagles: This backfield is a confusing mess. After the trade for Carlos Hyde, the team expects Leonard Fournette to return after their week nine bye. Once Fournette returns, he is the only Jaguar running back that should be on a roster, unless you are using Hyde as a handcuff.
However, this week there is no clear impression on whether Hyde or T.J. Yeldon will see the majority of the snaps against the Eagles. Either way, fantasy owners should bench both as the Eagles are the ninth-toughest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 19.3 FPPG.
Raheem Mostert at Cardinals: Currently, Matt Breida is 50-50 to play Sunday against the Cardinals. If Breida is inactive, Raheem Mostert should be in line for a big game. Over the last two weeks, Mostert is tied for the team lead in carries, 19, with Breida. However, Mostert has averaged 7.7 yards per carry compared to four for Breida.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are the friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 34.2 FPPG. The last time the 49ers played the Cardinals, they had three different running backs score 12 or more fantasy points.
Stefon Diggs vs Saints: The last two weeks have been disappointing for Stefon Diggs’ fantasy owners. Diggs has just 11 catches for 66 yards and 17.8 fantasy points. However, in the previous two games, Diggs was averaging 10.5 catches for 107 yards and 22.5 fantasy points per game. This week, Diggs should return to those number as we get a rematch of the great NFC divisional playoff game from last season.
The Saints are the friendliest team in the league against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 51.2 FPPG. Marshon Lattimore should shadow Adam Thielen for most of the game, allowing Diggs to take advantage of Eli Apple and Ken Crawley.
Tyler Boyd vs Buccaneers: After struggling against the Dolphins in week five, Tyler Boyd had a two touchdown game against the Steelers in week six, and should have had a better day against a poor Chiefs defense on Sunday night.
However, he gets to redeem himself against the Buccaneers, who are the second-friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 47.3 FPPG. To further sell it, the Buccaneers gave up 25.7 fantasy points last week to Jarvis Landry, who lined up primarily in the slot. Boyd plays primarily in the slot, too. For me, Boyd is a top 15 WR this week.
Sammy Watkins vs Broncos: So far this season, Sammy Watkins has done a good job at being an expensive decoy for the Chiefs high-powered offense. Watkins has one touchdown this year and has failed to top 14 fantasy points in four straight games.
Meanwhile, Tyreek Hill has been averaging 21.8 FPPG over the last four games. The Broncos are the 12th toughest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 34.4 FPPG and has held opposing wide receivers under 34 fantasy points in 71% of their games this season.
All Panther wide receivers vs Ravens: Last week, four Panther wide receivers had 9.5 or more fantasy points (Devin Funchess, Jarius Wright, Torrey Smith, Curtis Samuel), yet none of them are in the top 30 in points scored for the season. Their great game was a product of a great match-up against the Eagles, who are the fourth friendliest team against opposing wide receivers.
However, the Ravens are the third toughest-team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of just 31.4 FPPG. Over the last two weeks, the Ravens have given up just 38.3 total fantasy points to opposing wide receivers
Taylor Gabriel vs Jets: Against the Patriots last week, Taylor Gabriel was held to just three catches for 26 yards and 5.6 fantasy points. However, the Patriots always do a good job taking out the opposing team’s number one weapon. In the previous two games, Gabriel was averaging seven touches for 116.5 scrimmage yards, one touchdown and 23.7 fantasy points per game.
This week, Gabriel faces the Jets secondary that is banged up and giving up 44.8 FPPG; the fifth-friendliest in the league. ODver their last three games, the Jets have given up an average of 51.1 FPPG to opposing wide receivers.
David Njoku at Steelers: Last week I said David Njoku was a must-start, and he finished the week as the TE6 with 15.2 fantasy points. For the second week in a row, I have Njoku as a top-six play at the tight end position.
This week, Njoku faces off against the Steelers, the third-friendliest against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 18.6 FPPG. Furthermore, the Steelers have allowed opposing tight ends to score 18.5 or more fantasy points in 67% of their games this season.
C.J. Uzomah vs Buccaneers: C.J. Uzomah didn’t have the great game I expected against the Chiefs, yet he finished as the TE11 with 9.3 fantasy points, thanks to Andy Dalton’s only touchdown of the night. This week Uzomah faces the Buccaneers, who are the friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 19.6 FPPG.
The Buccaneers have given up 15 or more fantasy points to opposing tight ends in five straight games. Uzomah has played at least 92% of the snaps in every game since Tyler Eifert was placed on injured reserve and he is clearly the guy in Cincinnati.
Jordan Reed at Giants: I’m not sure what is more surprising, that Jordan Reed isn’t producing fantasy points or that he is healthy. Reed was averaging a solid 11.6 FPPG, despite playing just 57% of the snaps over the first three games of the season.
However, since the bye, Reed is averaging just six FPPG, while playing 67% of the snaps. Reed is now a match-up based starter and the Giants are the ninth-toughest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 10 FPPG and holding opposing tight ends to under 10 fantasy points in 57% of their games this season.
Kyle Rudolph vs Saints: The last few weeks have been tough for Kyle Rudolph owners. After starting the season with three-of-four games with 10.7 or more fantasy points, Rudolph has failed to score double-digits since, scoring a combined 19.4 fantasy points over the last three weeks.
Unfortunately, that isn’t likely to change this week. The Saints are the fifth-toughest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 8.4 FPPG. and have not allow an opposing tight end to score move than 9.7 fantasy points in any game this season.
Chris Herndon at Bears: Over the last two weeks, Herndon has two touchdowns and is averaging 13.9 FPPG. This could be just a two game-fluke or the start of something. However, over that span, Herndon is third on the team in targets with nine.
The Bears are giving up just 11.1 FPPG to opposing tight ends. But, if you remove last week’s game against the Patriots — where no tight end saw a target — the Bears give up an average of 13.3 FPPG, which ranks as the ninth-friendliest in the league. Herndon is a nice sleeper streamer this week.
Patriots at Bills: This is pretty simple; stream D/STs against the Bills. Opposing D/STs are averaging 14.1 FPPG against the Bills awful offense. Furthermore, opposing D/STs have scored 16 or more fantasy points in three of the last four games against the Bills offense.
Meanwhile, the Patriots D/ST has played decent in the last month, scoring 12 or more fantasy points in 50% of their games. The Patriots D/ST is clearly the top streaming option this week.
Broncos at Chiefs: Don’t think because of last week’s 33 fantasy point performance that the Broncos D/ST is back to it’s old form; it’s not. The Cardinals offense is a mess with a rookie quarterback that has no time to pass. Now this week, they face the Chiefs, who have allowed opposing D/STs to score positive fantasy points against them just once this season.
When the Broncos faced the Chiefs in week four, their D/ST scored negative two fantasy points. Furthermore, the Broncos D/ST scored 20 total fantasy points prior to last week; don’t get fooled, leave them on the waiver wire.
Colts at Raiders: Last week the Colts D/ST scored 16 fantasy points against the Bills offense. However, they have played well at times this season and have a good match-up this week. The Raiders are the eighth-friendliest team against opposing D/STs, allowing them to score an average of 7.8 FPPG.
Opposing D/STs have scored 12 or more fantasy points in 50% of their games against the Raiders offense, and with the Amari Cooper trade, the Raiders offense has gotten worse. The Colts D/ST should have its second straight week scoring 12 or more fantasy points.