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 wavier wire to play. Sometimes those decisions can be tough. For help with that check out Breaking Football’s 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 would start Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, among others, assuming they play. This weekly article is to help fantasy owners decide on their “non-stud” players. If you have more specific questions regarding fantasy football, ask me on twitter (@MikeSports22) and as always happy hunting fantasy friends.
Alex Smith at New York: Over his last three road games, Smith is averaging 23.7 fantasy points per game. Despite the Chiefs losing three of four games entering their bye week, Smith has remained a QB1 during that time. The Giants rank last against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 20.8 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Giants have allowed three straight opposing quarterbacks to score 25+ fantasy points. Smith averages 2.1 touchdowns per game while turning the ball over just twice all season.
Dak Prescott vs Philadelphia: In his first career game without Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott struggled and finished with just 13.2 fantasy points. However, Elliott isn’t why Prescott struggled. Instead the Cowboys were without Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith and his replacements gave up six sacks alone to the Falcons’ Adrian Clayborn. Assuming Smith is back this week, Prescott should bounce back against the Eagles who rank 16th against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 16.5 fantasy points per game. However, if Smith is out again this week, lower expectations from all Cowboy players.
Kirk Cousins at New Orleans: Against the Vikings last week, Cousins scored 27.6 fantasy points. However, Cousins had two rushing touchdowns. That won’t be the cause weekly and he may not even get two more rushing touchdowns the rest of the season. Removing Cousins’ production with his legs, his fantasy score drops to 15.1 fantasy points last Sunday. Now Cousins has to travel to New Orleans and face the Saints. Over their last seven games, the Saints have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score an average of just 10.6 fantasy points per game. Avoid Cousins this week if you can.
Case Keenum vs Los Angeles: Last week against the Redskins, Keenum had a season-high four touchdowns and 24.1 fantasy points. However, head coach Mike Zimmer has yet to announce if Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater will start this week against the Rams. Even if Keenum gets the starting nod, he could be pulled rather quickly if he struggles in the game. The Rams rank fourth against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of just 12.3 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, over their last three games opposing quarterbacks have averaged just 7.1 fantasy points per game against the Rams.
Blake Bortles at Cleveland: Who would’ve guessed Bortles has three straight weeks with 16+ fantasy points? But here we are. The funniest part is the Jaguars are on a three game winning streak at the same time. Meanwhile, the Browns gave up 21.7 fantasy points to Matthew Stafford last week and give up an average of 19 fantasy points per game on the season. Bortles is playing his best ball of season and that should continue this week against the Browns.
Melvin Gordon vs Buffalo: Many fantasy owners were surprised to see Austin Ekeler outscore Gordon 26.9 fantasy points to 9.2 last week. However, Gordon owners should not worry about this. Gordon outsnapped Ekeler 47 to 23 and had six more touches. While Gordon is dealing with a foot injury, the Chargers want to give Ekeler more touches to lighten Gordon’s workload. However, the Bills rank 31st against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 28.7 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, over the last three weeks the Bills have given up an average of 47 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Expect plenty of fantasy points for both Gordon and Ekeler.
Tevin Coleman at Seattle: Normal starter Devonta Freeman isn’t expected to play Monday night with a concussion, meaning Coleman will be in a feature role and is a top ten play this week despite the bad matchup against the Seahawks. Freeman left last week’s game after just two snaps, while Coleman played 44 out of 65 offensive snaps. Coleman finished last week’s game with 15.8 fantasy points despite the blowout win. While the Seahawks rank fourth against opposing running backs, giving up just 19.5 fantasy points per game, Coleman’s volume alone should get him 15 or more fantasy points this week.
Adrian Peterson at Houston: Last week against the Seahawks, Peterson was fed 21 carries for just 29 yards and a whopping 1.4 yards per carry. Now Peterson has to take on the Texans who rank first against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 17.7 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Cardinals just lost starting left tackle D.J. Humphries for the season and are expected to start third string quarterback Blaine Gabbert this week. Needless to say, the supporting cast around Peterson is not ideal.
Alfred Morris/Rod Smith vs Philadelphia: First off I didn’t include Darren McFadden to this list because it is safe to drop him in all leagues. McFadden had ONE snap against the Falcons and got negative two yards on his lone carry. Now, both Morris and Smith should be on fantasy rosters but both should be on the bench this week against the Eagles, who rank fifth against opposing running backs, giving up just 20 fantasy points per game. Last week against the Falcons, Morris and Smith combined for just 12.2 fantasy points.
Kenyan Drake vs Tampa Bay: The only good thing that came out from the Dolphins embarrassing loss to the Panthers on Monday night was it is clear that Drake is the running back to own. Drake had two less touches than Damien Williams but had 11.3 more fantasy points. This week Drake gets to face the Buccaneers who give up the 26th most fantasy points to opposing running backs, giving up an average of 25.2 fantasy points per game. Drake just needs one big play to turn into a top 15 running back this week.
Alshon Jeffery at Dallas: Over his last two games, Jeffery is averaging 21.3 fantasy points per game. The Cowboys rank 27th in the league against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 35.8 fantasy points per game. This game is expected to be a high scoring contest as both teams are expected to limit the others ground game. The Eagles have scored an average of 42 points over the last two weeks while Jeffery has been producing for fantasy owners. If the Eagles continue to score at a high rate, look for Jeffery to keep up his hot play.
Sterling Shepard vs Kansas City: Since returning from an ankle injury, Shepard has been on fire for the Giants. Last week against the 49ers, Shepard had 11 catches for 142 yards and 25.2 fantasy points, all season-highs. Meanwhile, the Chiefs rank last in the league against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 41.5 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Furthermore, the Chiefs have allowed opposing wide receivers to score 55 or more fantasy points in three of their last five games. Shepard is a top ten play this week in PPR leagues.
Robert Woods at Minnesota: Woods has put up five straight games with double-digit fantasy points and over his last two games he is averaging 30.1 fantasy points per game. However, with all the production, Woods is now the Rams clear-cut #1 wide receiver which means he will likely be shadowed by Vikings’ cornerback Xavier Rhodes this week. Over the last three weeks, opposing #1 wide receivers are averaging just 8.1 fantasy points per game against the Vikings and Xavier Rhodes. Woods’ hot streak comes to an end this week if Rhodes is shadowing him.
All Packer Wide Receivers vs Baltimore: Don’t play any Packers wide receiver against the Ravens this week as they rank second against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of just 24.4 fantasy points per game. Since Hundley has taken over as the starter no Packers wide receiver has scored more than 12.5 fantasy points in a game except for Davante Adams last week. If fantasy owners must start a Packers wide receiver this week, Adams is the guy as he is the only one in my top 30 wide receivers this week.
John Brown at Houston: While Brown has struggled with Drew Stanton as the starter, averaging just 5.5 fantasy points per game, this week he gets to face the Texans. Last week the Rams’ wide receivers scored 63.3 fantasy points led by 37.1 from Robert Woods against the Texans. On the season, opposing wide receivers are averaging 37.9 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Texans have struggled containing speedy receivers, giving up 12.1 fantasy points to Sammy Watkins last week and 28.5 to Paul Richardson two weeks ago. Brown is averaging 15.8 yard per catch this season and should have a big game against a terrible Texans secondary.
Jared Cook vs New England: Over the last three games, Cook is averaging 15.7 fantasy points per game. In those three games, Cook has at least four catches and 57 yards in each game; finishing two games with six or more catches and over 100 yards. The Patriots rank 20th against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 12.6 fantasy points per game. The Patriots give up an average of 14.3 fantasy points per game on the road this season.
Jason Witten vs Philadelphia: Last week against the Falcons, Witten had 12.9 fantasy points; his first double-digit fantasy performance since Week 7. Dak Prescott might check it down to Witten more with Ezekiel Elliott suspended and the other Cowboys running backs struggling against the Eagles strong run defense. The Eagles rank 26th against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 13.4 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, over their last three games the Eagles are allowing opposing tight ends to score an average of 17.7 fantasy points per game.
Julius Thomas vs Tampa Bay: Yes, Julius Thomas has scored a touchdown in back to back games and is averaging 14.6 fantasy points per game over that span. However, Thomas has scored nine of more fantasy points just once this season. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers rank fifth against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 10.1 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Buccaneers have held opposing tight ends to an average of just 4.9 fantasy points per game over their last three games.
Eric Ebron vs Chicago: Ebron scored his second touchdown of the season last week against the Browns. However, Ebron has scored eight or more fantasy points just twice this season. This week Ebron faces the Bears who rank eighth against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 10.2 fantasy points per game. Ebron hasn’t been fantasy relevant in 10 or 12 team leagues all season and that won’t change this week against the Bears.
Austin Hooper at Seattle: Over the last three weeks, Hooper is averaging 12.7 fantasy points per game, including 16.9 last week against the Cowboys. Over that span, Hooper has 13 catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The Seahawks have given up 13 or more fantasy points to opposing tight ends in three of their last four games, including 17.4 last week to Jermaine Gresham.
Bengals at Denver: The Bengals D/ST is scoring an average of 6.6 fantasy points per game. However, the Bengals D/ST has been up and down this season, scoring negative fantasy points twice and scoring in the double-digits three times. Meanwhile, opposing D/STs have scored double-digit fantasy points in five straight weeks against the Broncos offense and average 11.9 fantasy points per game. The Bengals D/ST may be in the middle of the pack, but the matchup this week gives them top five upside.
Vikings vs Los Angeles: As good as the Vikings D/ST has been this season, they scored just one fantasy point against the Redskins last week and now have to take on the highest scoring offense in the league. The Rams score an average of 32.9 points per game and opposing D/STs have scored negative fantasy points against the Rams offense in three straight games. The Vikings have one of the better defenses in the league, but this week they need to be on your bench.
Cardinals at Houston: The Cardinals D/ST has been rocky this season, scoring negative fantasy points in two of their last five games. However, over the last two weeks, the Cardinals D/ST is averaging 9.5 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, opposing D/STs are averaging 18 fantasy points per game against the Texans offense when Tom Savage starts, including 16 last week from the Rams D/ST.