Every week fantasy football owners have to make difficult decisions on who to start, who to sit, and who potentially to go pick up off the waiver wire to play. Those decisions become even tougher during the Fantasy Football Playoffs. For help with that, check out my weekly rankings. For more help, 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). 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!
Jared Goff vs Eagles: Jared Goff was so bad last week, fantasy owners would have been better off starting his back up Sean Mannion. The last two weeks have been horrible for Goff, scoring just 7.8 fantasy points. However; in his previous four games, Goff scored at least 21 fantasy points in each game and averaged 28 FPPG. The Eagles are ninth-friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 19.1 FPPG. Furthermore, the Eagles just gave up 24.4 fantasy points to Dak Prescott last week, despite his three turnovers.
Tom Brady at Steelers: Every year when the Patriots and Steelers play we get a good game. However, Tom Brady doesn’t always put up the biggest stat lines. This year I think that changes. Brady is coming off his highest fantasy outing since week five against the Colts, while the Steelers are the 11th friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 18.8 FPPG. During the Steelers three game losing streak, opposing quarterbacks have six passing touchdowns. This game is a must win for both teams, and we should see plenty of passing from both quarterbacks.
Jameis Winston at Ravens: The last few weeks have been good for Jameis Winston, as he has scored 19 or more fantasy points in three straight games. However, the rest of Winston’s fantasy schedule isn’t friendly. This week Winston gets the Ravens, the sixth-toughest team against opposing quarterbacks, and next week he gets the Cowboys, the 10th toughest team against opposing quarterbacks. For fantasy owners who play week 17, the Falcons are a good match up; but if you don’t, Winston should be dropped.
Matt Ryan vs Cardinals: Has there been a more disappointing offense this season than the Falcons? Part of the problem has been Matt Ryan’s inconsistencies. Over his last four games, Ryan has two games scoring 20 or more fantasy points and two games under 14 fantasy points. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are the third-toughest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of just 14.6 FPPG. Arizona has held opposing quarterbacks to just 20 fantasy points over their last two games. The Falcons’ disappointing season is over and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team come out “flat” against the Cardinals.
Derek Carr at Bengals: Coming off their biggest win of the year, the Raiders could win a second game in a row against a terrible Bengals team. Derek Carr has been playing some of his best football over the last few weeks. Carr has back-to-back games scoring at least 18.8 fantasy points, throwing for five touchdowns with just one turnover during that span. Meanwhile, the Bengals are the second-friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 21.8 FPPG. The Bengals haven’t won a game since hiring Hue Jackson, and the defense has been awful.
Doug Martin at Bengals: While this may not be the sexiest name to start in the playoffs, Doug Martin has scored in three straight games. During that three game span, Martin leads the team in snaps and carries. Meanwhile, the Bengals are winless since hiring Hue Jackson to “coach” their defense and the Raiders are coming off their best win of the year. The Bengals are the friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 32.3 FPPG, and have given up eight rushing touchdowns over their last five games.
Tevin Coleman vs Cardinals: Tevin Coleman has been nothing short of disappointing since taking over as the starter, scoring more than 16.5 fantasy points just once this season. Over the last two weeks, Coleman is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and has 7.2 total fantasy points. However, the match-up this week is great for Coleman, as the Cardinals are the fourth-friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 30.4 FPPG, and have allowed opposing running backs to score five touchdowns in the last three games.
Aaron Jones at Bears: As great as A-a-ron Jones has played over the last seven games, the match-up this week is very concerning. The Bears are the third-toughest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 19 FPPG. The Bears have given up just three rushing touchdowns all season long to opposing running backs and held Todd Gurley to just 8.8 fantasy points last week. As great as Jones has been for fantasy owners, benching him this week is probably for the best.
Marlon Mack vs Cowboys: Since the Colts’ week nine bye, Marlon Mack hasn’t been very productive for fantasy owners, scoring less than 9.5 fantasy points in three of those five games. Mack has just two touchdowns and is averaging 3.6 yards per carry during that span. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are the seventh-toughest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 20.8 FPPG and have held opposing running backs under 21 fantasy points in five straight games.
Kenneth Dixon vs Buccaneers: Just as the Gus Edwards train was picking up steam, Kenneth Dixon has to crash the momentum. Last week Dixon out scored Edwards 15 fantasy points to 6.7 fantasy points, despite being on the field for eight fewer snaps. The good news is the match-up this week likely means all of the Ravens’ running backs will get plenty of work. The Buccaneers are the fifth-friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 29.3 FPPG. The Buccaneers have also given up 31 or more fantasy points to opposing running backs in three of their last four games.
Curtis Samuel & D.J. Moore vs Saints: Clearly after Sunday’s game versus the Browns, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel have cemented themselves as the starting wide receivers for the Panthers. Both receivers played over 91% of the snaps, while no other Panther receiver played more than 51%. The Panthers are in a must-win game to stay in the playoff picture, and the match-up this week makes both Samuel and Moore top-24 options. The Saints are easily the friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 45 FPPG and have allowed opposing wide receivers to score 55 or more fantasy points in five games this season.
Dante Pettis vs Seahawks: On Sunday, Marquise Goodwin played for the first time in almost a month, and on Monday the 49ers placed Pierre Garcon on injured reserve. Dante Pettis has taken over as the number one wide receiver in San Francisco and he has three straight games with at least one touchdown and 13.9 fantasy points. The Seahawks give up about the league average of fantasy points per game to opposing wide receiver, but two weeks ago against the 49ers, the Seahawks gave up a career high 29.7 fantasy points to Pettis.
Kenny Golladay at Bills: The volume of targets Kenny Golladay should see makes it hard to bench him, but the Lions’ offense has been a mess the last few weeks. Golladay has just 10.5 total fantasy points in the month of December and the match-ups the rest of the season are tough. This week, Golladay faces the Bills, who are the third-toughest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of just 28.8 FPPG. and have held opposing wide receivers under the league average of 35.8 FPPG in five straight games.
Kenny Stills at Vikings: As great as the ending of the Patriots/Dolphins game was, fantasy owners shouldn’t expect Stills to repeat his 27.5 fantasy point outing from Sunday. Kenny Stills has a history of having a great game followed by a few poor ones, and the match-up this week is much tougher for him than the Patriots. The Vikings are the fifth-toughest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of just 29.3 FPPG. Furthermore, the Vikings have given up just 22.7 FPPG to opposing wide receivers at home this season.
Josh Reynolds vs Eagles: Since taking over as the team’s number three wide receiver, Josh Reynolds has been wildly inconsistent. After scoring 20 fantasy points in the first game against the Chiefs, Reynolds has scored just 10.5 fantasy points since. However, that should change this week with the Eagles coming to town. The Eagles are the second-friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 42.6 FPPG. The Eagles are also giving up an average of 51.1 FPPG to opposing wide receivers on the road this season.
Cameron Brate at Ravens: Last week I said to bench Cameron Brate, and if not for the two touchdowns on his two catches I would have been right. However, I have Brate as a top-10 tight end this week against the Ravens. They are the eighth-friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 14.8 FPPG. In addition, the Ravens have given up a touchdown to opposing tight ends in six of their last seven games and are giving up an average of 19.7 FPPG to opposing tight ends over their last three games.
C.J. Uzomah vs Raiders: While catching passes from Jeff Driskel makes fantasy owners cringe, C.J. Uzomah has been solid for fantasy owners over the last three weeks, averaging 8.3 FPPG. While that isn’t a great average, the match-up makes Uzomah a low-end TE1 this week. The Raiders are the friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 16.5 FPPG. Furthermore, the Raiders have given up 64.2 fantasy points to opposing tight ends this month.
Evan Engram vs Titans: Evan Engram had his third-best game of the season Sunday against the Redskins, scoring 10.7 fantasy points. However, the Redskins have quit on the season and Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t play. Engram had missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, the Titans are the toughest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 7.4 FPPG. Tennessee has held opposing tight ends under 10.5 fantasy points in every game this season, except when they played the Eagles in week four.
Ian Thomas vs Saints: In his first start since week five, Ian Thomas had a career high nine catches for 77 yards and 16.7 fantasy points Sunday versus the Browns. However, Thomas’ success was more of a product of the match-up than himself. The Browns are one of the friendliest teams against opposing tight ends, while the Saints are the fourth-toughest, giving up an average of just 8.7 FPPG. The Saints have held opposing tight ends under 10 fantasy points 11 times this season.
Vernon Davis at Jaguars: With Jordan Reed out this week — and likely done for the season — Vernon Davis steps in as the starter. While he is still catching passes from Josh Johnson, Davis has played well during the games Reed has missed with injuries. Meanwhile, the Jaguars give up about the league average to opposing tight ends, but are tough against opposing wide receivers and running backs. Which means Johnson will likely need to rely on Davis plenty Sunday, as the Jaguars defense should suffocate the Redskins’ offense.
Jaguars vs Redskins: Speaking of the Jaguars defense, even though Mark Sanchez would be starting, Josh Johnson was just signed last week and the Redskins have been killed along the offensive line by the injury bug. Yes, the Jaguars’ defense did just get ran over by Derrick Henry, but that was a fluke and not something that will happen again. Last week the Giants D/ST scored 20 fantasy points against the Redskins and the Jaguars D/ST should do similarly this week.
Broncos vs Browns: A few weeks back many fantasy experts were saying the Broncos D/ST was the perfect D/ST for the fantasy playoffs. Well, last week the Broncos D/ST had just four fantasy points against the terrible 49ers offense. Meanwhile, the Browns offense has been on fire lately. Over the Browns’ last four games, opposing D/STs have scored five or fewer fantasy points in three of them; including negative fantasy points twice. The Broncos D/ST against the Raiders is a good match-up for next week, so don’t drop them, but add a different D/ST this week.
Giants vs Titans: While a big part of the Giants D/ST scoring 20 fantasy points last week was the Redskins’ terrible offense, the Giants D/ST has played better during their winning streak. The Giants D/ST is averaging 11.3 FPPG over their last four games; three of which they won. Meanwhile, the Titans seventh-friendliest team to opposing D/STs, allowing them to average eight fantasy points per game. Furthermore, opposing D/STs are averaging 8.8 FPPG against the Titans’ offense over their last four games.