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 fantasy football 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 Aaron Rodgers, 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.
Cam Newton vs Philadelphia: After two weeks of looking like an idiot I’m on the Newton bandwagon. The last two weeks Newton is averaging 29.6 fantasy points per game after averaging 11.1 over the first three games. This week Newton faces the Eagles and their banged up secondary. The Eagles are giving up an average of 17 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Expect Newton to keep up his hot streak against the Eagles on Thursday night.
Alex Smith vs Pittsburgh: Smith is currently the QB1 and has scored 26 plus fantasy points in three games this season. Coming off back to back 27 fantasy point games, Smith faces the Steelers defense that gives up the second fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. However, the Steelers have faced the easiest quarterback schedule to start the year. The best quarterback the Steelers have faced is Joe Flacco. Expect Smith to have a solid game this week.
Kevin Hogan at Houston: Yes the Texans just lost studs J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the season, but that defense is still one of the best in the league. Hogan was named the starter this week but I’m not playing him even as a streaming option in deeper leagues. The Texans give up an average of 18.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. However, in the three games where the Texans didn’t face Tom Brady or Alex Smith, they are giving up just 10.1 fantasy points per game.
Carson Wentz at Carolina: Coming off a great game against the Cardinals, Wentz scored 27.3 fantasy points. This week Wentz gets go on the road to face the Panthers, who rank ninth against opposing quarterbacks giving up just 14 fantasy points per game. In three of four games this season the Panthers have held opposing quarterbacks to under 15.5 fantasy points. Wentz has a short week to prepare for one of most underrated defenses in the league.
Philip Rivers at Oakland: Surprisingly, Rivers is owned in just 64% of ESPN leagues despite two straight weeks with 20 fantasy points. This week Rivers gets to face the Raiders terrible secondary that gives up an average of 16.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. In the three games against the Titans, Redskins and Broncos the Raiders give up an average of 19 fantasy points per game. Rivers is an underrated play this week and if you own a quarterback on a bye, Rivers is a great pick up if he is available.
DeMarco Murray vs Indianapolis: In the three games the Titans were in till the end Murray is averaging 15.7 touches per game but in the two blow out losses he is averaging just 6.3 touches. This game is expected to be close which will give Murray the chance to get rolling. The Colts give up an average of 25.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. There is a good chance Murray has his first 20 point fantasy game Monday night.
James White/Mike Gillislee at New York: Like many, I find the Patriots running back situation to be annoying at times. However, this week I’m starting White in PPR leagues and Gillislee in standard leagues with confidence. The Jets rank 28th in the league against opposing running backs, giving up 28.1 fantasy points per game. I believe White will have an impact role early in the game while it’s close and then when the game is a blow out in the second half look for Gillislee to get plenty of mop up work.
Aaron Jones/Ty Montgomery at Minnesota: Whichever running back starts for the Packers this week, they should be on your bench. While Jones is coming off an impressive two week stretch, averaging 15.7 fantasy points per game, the Vikings rank second in the league against opposing running backs, giving up just 16.8 fantasy points per game. Expect this game to be a shoot out with both teams struggling to slow down the others passing attack. If Montgomery starts I have more faith in him as a low end RB2 but still wouldn’t expect a huge game.
Isaiah Crowell at Houston: Last week Crowell had 8.7 fantasy points, his second highest of the season. Fantasy owners who draft Crowell can’t trust him right now. This week he faces the Texans who give up just 19.1 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, ranking fifth best in the league. Expect the Browns to trail early in this game and that mean more work for Duke Johnson than Crowell.
Elijah McGuire vs New England: Against the Browns, McGuire had a disappointing five fantasy points, but in week four he had 21.1 against the Jaguars. Both Matt Forte and Bilal Powell could miss the game this week giving McGuire a chance as a “bell cow” against the Patriots, who rank last in the league giving up 30 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. If both Forte and Powell miss the game, McGuire turns into a solid RB2 with upside this week.
Devin Funchess/Kelvin Benjamin vs Philadelphia: Over the last two weeks the Panthers wide receiver duo is averaging 37.3 fantasy points per game. This week the duo faces off against the Eagles and their terrible cornerbacks. The Eagles rank 31st in the league, giving up 41.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. At home on a short week, expect the Panthers to challenge the Eagles cornerbacks early and often on Thursday night.
DeSean Jackson at Arizona: Last week against the Patriots, Jackson had five catches for 106 yards and 15.6 fantasy points. If not for a few poor placed throws by Jameis Winston, Jackson would have had a bigger game. This week Jackson gets to face off against the Cardinals secondary that struggles against wide receivers not covered by Patrick Peterson. With Peterson expected to shadow Mike Evans, Winston will have to look Jackson’s way more often this week; expect a big game.
Demaryius Thomas vs New York: Before the teams week five bye, Thomas had a poor game against the Raiders, scoring just 2.1 fantasy points. This week Thomas has to face Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins and the Giants secondary that gives up just 24.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Thomas is a hard player to bench, especially off his bye week, and if you do have to play him, temper your expectations.
Robert Woods/Sammy Watkins at Jacksonville: The Jaguars rank third in the league against opposing wide receivers, giving up just 23.3 fantasy points per game. Before last week against the Steelers, the Jaguars had not give up more than 23.3 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in a game. The Jaguars’ cornerback duo of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye is one of the best in the league. Last week against the Seahawks Wood and Watkins combined for just 12.4 fantasy points. Bench both players if you can this week.
Kenny Golladay at New Orleans: A hamstring injury has forced Golladay to miss the last two weeks. Hopefully he plays this week against the Saints secondary that ranks 22nd in the league against opposing wide receivers, giving up 34.5 fantasy points per game. After a strong opening week performance against the Cardinals, Golladay struggled in weeks two and three, scoring just 3.2 fantasy points per game. If Golladay’s hamstring is 100% healthy he offers WR2 upside this week against the Saints.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs New England: In the three games Seferian-Jenkins has played since returning from his suspension he is averaging 10.5 fantasy points per game and has led the team in targets in each game. Last week against the Browns, Seferian-Jenkins scored 14.9 fantasy points and this week he faces off against the Patriots, who give up an average of 17.1 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Seferian-Jenkins is a great bye week savior for fantasy owners who own Charles Clay and Jimmy Graham.
Evan Engram at Denver: Yes, last week Engram put up a fat goose egg against the Chargers, but now the Giants are down three of their top four wide receivers for the season and will need Engram to step up his game. In the three prior games, Engram is averaging 12.2 fantasy points per game. While the Broncos “No Fly Zone” secondary is the best in the league, they do struggle against opposing tight ends, giving up 15.1 fantasy points per game; 27th in the league. Look for Engram to be targeted plenty in this game given the lack of proven weapons the Giants now have.
Kyle Rudolph vs Green Bay: Last week against the Bears, Rudolph had his best game of the year with six catches for 45 yards, one touchdown and 16.5 fantasy points; all season highs. However, this week he face the Packers defense that ranks second in the league, giving up just 6.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends and have only given up 8.5 points to tight ends just once this season. Rudolph is coming off his best game but I would bench him this week.
Jared Cook vs Los Angeles: The Raiders are currently trending the wrong way, losing three straight games. Cook’s fantasy production is also trending in the wrong direction. Cook’s fantasy production has dropped from 14.3 points to 7.6 to 3.5 over the past three games. This week Cook faces off against the Chargers who rank third in the league against opposing tight ends, giving up just 7.7 fantasy points per game. This week Cook should be on the waiver wire in all 10 and 12 team leagues.
George Kittle at Washington: Last week against the Colts, Kittle had career highs across the board; finishing with seven catches, 83 yards, one touchdown and 21.3 fantasy points. This week he gets to face off against the Redskins who rank 30th in the league, giving up 18.4 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. The Redskins have given up at least 14.4 fantasy points to opposing tight ends in every game this season. Kittle has become a bigger part of the 49ers offense the past few weeks and should have another strong game this week against the Redskins.
Texans vs Cleveland: Despite losing both J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the season with injuries, the Texans D/ST has a good match up this week against the Browns. Opposing defenses have registered 14 sacks and 13 turnovers against the Browns offense so far this season. Meanwhile, the Texans D/ST has three games this season with at least nine fantasy points, and have created 11 sacks and seven turnovers so far this season. Expect the Texans to register a few sacks and turnovers this week against the Browns 31st ranked offense.
Lions at New Orleans: Up until last week the Lions D/ST were averaging 14.3 fantasy points per game, but against the Panthers they scored only two. This week they face off against the Saints’ high powered offense, that ranks first against opposing D/STs. In four games this season, opposing D/STs have yet to score more than one fantasy point against the Saints and have scored negative fantasy points twice. Bottom line is do not under any circumstance play the Lions D/ST this week against the Saints.
Falcons vs Miami: In their first four games of the season the Falcons D/ST are averaging 6.3 fantasy points per game, ranking 17th in the league. However, the Dolphins offense ranks 30th in the league and over the last three weeks opposing D/STs are averaging 12.7 fantasy points per game against the Dolphins offense. If you are streaming D/STs the Falcons are a good value this week and are owned in just 38% of ESPN leagues.