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!
Philip Rivers vs Bengals: The Chargers have won eight of their last nine games and during that span, Rivers has thrown at least two touchdowns in every game. Over his last three games, Rivers has averaged 21.4 FPPG and he should score over 21 fantasy points this week. The Bengals are the friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 22.5 FPPG. Furthermore, the Bengals have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw three or more touchdowns in four of their last six games.
Baker Mayfield vs Panthers: Last week I said to bench Mayfield and hopefully fantasy owners listened. Mayfield scored just 13.9 fantasy points and the first half of the game was ugly, as Mayfield threw three interceptions. However, I did tell fantasy owners to hold onto Mayfield and this week is why. The Panthers are the sixth friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 20.2 FPPG. Furthermore, over the Panthers’ four game losing streak, they have allowed opposing quarterbacks to average 23.5 FPPG and have given up 10 passing touchdowns.
Russell Wilson vs Vikings: Despite back-to-back games with 22 or more fantasy points, Wilson is hard to trust because the Seahawks run the ball more than any team in the league. Wilson has thrown for over 300 yards just once this season. I don’t expect Wilson to top 300 yards this week against the Vikings, who are the seventh toughest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of just 15.9 FPPG. Furthermore, the Vikings have held opposing quarterbacks under 15 fantasy points in seven straight games.
Kirk Cousins at Seahawks: In addition to not trusting Russell Wilson this week, I don’t want anything to do with the other quarterback in the Monday night game; Cousins. The Vikings have been wildly inconsistent this season and so has Cousins. Over his last four games, Cousins has scored over 17 fantasy points just once while scoring eight of less twice. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are the 10th toughest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 16.3 FPPG. The winner of this game controls their fate in the NFC wild card race and I expect the Seahawks to make Cousins’ life miserable Monday night.
Eli Manning at Redskins: While the Giants don’t have a pretty offense that’s fun to watch, they have won three of their last four games. During that span, Manning is averaging 14.8 FPPG and while that isn’t ideal, the match up this week makes Manning an interesting option in super flex or two quarterback leagues. The Redskins are the 10th friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 18.7 FPPG. Furthermore, the Redskins offense will struggle to keep drives alive with Mark Sanchez at quarterback, giving Manning extra possessions to take advantage of a banged up Redskins’ defense.
Sony Michel at Dolphins: Last week, many fantasy owners were concerned that James White scored 18.8 fantasy points while Michel had just eight. However, fantasy owners need to relax as Michel had three less snaps than White did (30 to 33), while firing up all their shares of Michel this week. The Dolphins are seventh friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 27.9 FPPG. Furthermore, the Dolphins have allowed opposing running backs to rush for over 100 yards in 67% of their games this season.
Adrian Peterson vs Giants: I have two words why Peterson will have a big day on Sunday: Mark Sanchez. With Sanchez, or newly signed Josh Johnson, under center the Redskins will feature Peterson, especially against a poor Giants run defense. The Giants are the fifth friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 29.3 FPPG. Furthermore, the Giants have allowed opposing running backs to score 30 or more fantasy points in three of their last five games, including to the Redskins’ running backs in week eight, where Peterson scored a season high 26.6 fantasy points.
Spencer Ware vs Ravens: In his first game as a starter this season, Ware scored 12.2 fantasy points, in large part thanks to a goal line touchdown. Ware averaged just 3.4 yards per carry against the Raiders’ poor run defense. Meanwhile, the Ravens are the toughest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 17 FPPG. Furthermore, over their three game winning streak, the Ravens have held opposing running backs to just 2.6 yards per carry. In addition, the Ravens held the Falcons’ running backs to just 5.3 fantasy points last week.
Peyton Barber vs Saints: Barber has played well over the last three games, averaging 13.9 FPPG while scoring a rushing touchdown in each game. However, the match up this week has him outside my top 36 running backs. The Saints are the third toughest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 19.7 FPPG. Back when the Saints played the Buccaneers in week one, Barber averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and had just 6.9 fantasy points. Furthermore, the Saints have held opposing running backs under 19.5 fantasy points in three of their last four games; the exception was Ezekiel Elliott.
Justin Jackson vs Bengals: With Melvin Gordon out with a MCL injury, Austin Ekeler took over as the starter last week and played 78% of the snaps but scored just 9.3 fantasy points, while Jackson played just 14% of the snaps while scoring 15.2 fantasy points. I have Ekeler as a top ten running back this week, but I believe Jackson is a nice a flex option as well. The Bengals are the friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 32.9 FPPG, meaning there will be plenty of fantasy points for both Ekeler and Jackson.
D.J. Moore at Browns: On Sunday against the Buccaneers, Moore had his third straight game with 10.5 or more fantasy points while playing at least 78% of the snaps in each game. Moore has taken over as the Panthers’ number one wide receiver and has a great fantasy playoff schedule starting this week. The Browns are eighth friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 39 FPPG. Furthermore, the Browns have given up 41 or more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in half of their games this season.
Adam Humphries vs Saints: Over the last three weeks, Humphries has stepped up into the Buccaneers’ number two wide receiver role, scoring at least 15 fantasy points in every game. During that span, Humphries’ leads the team in catches and receiving touchdowns and is the WR15. Meanwhile, the Saints are the friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 46.6 FPPG. Furthermore, the Saints have allowed opposing wide receivers to score 47 or more fantasy points in half their games this season. Start Humphries, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin with confidence this week, especially if DeSean Jackson is out.
Chris Conley & Kelvin Benjamin vs Ravens: Normal starter Sammy Watkins has played just five snaps in the last month while missing two of three games with a foot injury. Unfortunately, Watkins re-injured his foot in practice this week and is likely done for the rest of the regular season. Fantasy owners might want to jump at the chance to play Conley or newly acquired Benjamin in Watkins’ stead because of the Chiefs’ his powered offense, but that would be a mistake. The Ravens are the second toughest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of just 28.8 FPPG. Furthermore, during their three game winning streak, the Ravens have held opposing wide receivers under 24 fantasy points in every game.
Alshon Jeffery at Cowboys: The Eagles offense has been inconsistent and it has impacted Jeffery, who has been in a funk over his last five games, averaging just 7.3 FPPG with zero touchdowns. Carson Wentz is targeting Zach Ertz at a high level, as Jeffery has more than five targets just once over the last five games. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are the toughest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of just 28.7 FPPG. Furthermore, the Cowboys held the Saints’ wide receivers to just 19 fantasy points last week.
Michael Gallup vs Eagles: With the addition of Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott has improved, but he isn’t the only one. Since Cooper was acquired, Gallup is second on the team in snaps played, targets and fantasy points. For dynasty owners, grab Gallup while you can cheap because he is only going to improve now that he has a legit number one wide receiver next to him. For this week, Gallup is nice upside flex option as the Eagles are the second friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 41 FPPG and will be without several members in the secondary.
David Njoku vs Panthers: Currently Njoku is dealing with a knee injury so fantasy owners need to keep an eye on the injury report, but if he plays fantasy owners should start him. Njoku broke out of his funk two weeks ago against Bengals, scoring 17.3 fantasy points, but struggled last week, as did Baker Mayfield. However, the Panthers are the perfect team to help Njoku get back on track. The Panthers are third friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 16.7 FPPG. Furthermore, the Panthers have given up an average of 18.5 FPPG to opposing tight ends on the road this season.
Vance McDonald at Raiders: Usually Pittsburgh tight ends are hard to figure out because so much of their passing game goes through their big three of Antonio Brown, James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, with Conner out for this game, McDonald should see a slight uptick in short targets that would normally go to Conner. Meanwhile, the Raiders are the second friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 16.9 FPPG. Furthermore, the Raiders just gave up 51.7 fantasy points to the Chiefs tight ends last week.
Austin Hooper at Packers: Honestly, I’m down on the Falcons entire offense as they just can’t seem to be consistent; scoring under 20 points in every game during their four game losing streak. Matt Ryan has struggled, scoring just 15.6 FPPG during the losing streak. Meanwhile, the Packers are the third toughest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 8.5 FPPG. Furthermore, the Packers have held opposing tight ends to seven of less fantasy points in six of their last eight games.
Cameron Brate vs Saints: It appears Brate is touchdown or bust on a weekly basis for fantasy owners. In games this season where Brate scores, he is averaging 11.1 FPPG compared to just 2.8 FPPG when he fails to reach the end zone. Meanwhile, the Saints are the second toughest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just eight FPPG. Furthermore, the Saints held the Buccaneers’ tight ends to just 7.4 fantasy points earlier this year and have allowed just one touchdown to tight ends all season long.
Ian Thomas at Browns: Unfortunately, Greg Olsen was placed on injured reserve this week after re-injuring his foot last week verse the Buccaneers. After Olsen left the game, Thomas stepped in and played well, catching all five of his targets for 46 yards and 9.6 fantasy points. During the three games Olsen missed earlier in the season, Thomas played 81% of the snaps. Meanwhile, the Browns are the sixth friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 15.1 FPPG. Furthermore, the Browns have allowed opposing tight ends to score 16 or more fantasy points in three of their last four games.
Giants at Redskins: For the same reason I like Adrian Peterson this week, I like the Giants D/ST; Mark Sanchez! Sadly the Redskins are on their third quarterback this season after Alex Smith and Colt McCoy both suffered broken legs in the past couple of weeks. The Giants D/ST hasn’t been very productive this season, averaging just 3.6 FPPG. However, last week they scored 16 fantasy points against Chase Daniel and the Bears’ offense, there is no reason why they cant score similarly against Sanchez and the Redskins’ banged up offense.
Ravens at Chiefs: Last week I said to bench the Ravens D/ST and they scored 17 fantasy points against the Falcons. Clearly I over valued the Falcons’ offense at home; my bad guys. However, the Chiefs’ offense is a totally different animal than the Falcons’ offense and I’m doubling down on the Ravens D/ST. The Chiefs are the third toughest team against opposing D/STs, allowing them to score just 0.2 FPPG. Furthermore, opposing D/STs have scored negative fantasy points against the Chiefs’ offense in 67% of their games this season.
Steelers at Raiders: Over the Steelers’ two game losing streak, their D/ST has scored a total of two fantasy points. However, in the previous two games, they scored 28 fantasy points and the match up this week is exactly what the Steelers need. The Raiders are the sixth friendliest team to opposing D/STs, allowing them to score 8.4 FPPG. Furthermore, the Raiders have allowed the fifth most sacks this season with 39, while the Steelers have gotten the most sacks with 41. The Steelers see their playoff chance slipping away and I expect them to get pressure on Derek Carr all game long.