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 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.
This week the Ravens and the Jaguars play in London. That game kicks off at 9:30 am EST so set your line ups early.
Kirk Cousins vs Oakland: Cousins has struggled to start the year but that was expected; a new offensive coordinator, new weapons and injuries to his two key receivers. Last season during the first two weeks, Cousins averaged just 12.9 fantasy points per game, but had 21.9 in week three. Expect Cousins to get going this week against the Raiders poor pass defense that gave up two touchdown passes to the Jets last week.
Cam Newton vs New Orleans: The first two weeks have been poor for Newton, averaging just 12.5 fantasy points per game. However, this week he faces a Saints defense that gave up 25.5 fantasy points to Sam Bradford in week one and 30.8 to Tom Brady last week. Newton is struggling and just lost Greg Olsen for eight weeks, but the best team to face when a quarterback is struggling is the Saints.
Ben Roethlisberger at Chicago: Roethlisberger has a history of poor road/home splits but this season he scored 15.7 fantasy points at Cleveland and 17.5 at home verse the Vikings. However, the Bears have only given up 15.1 fantasy points per game to the quarterback position over the first two weeks. The Steelers should lead the whole game and therefore they should run the ball plenty; expect a quiet but solid game from Roethlisberger.
Russell Wilson was under pressure on 41.6% of his dropbacks in 2016. Surely it can’t get worse, right? Well it’s at 43.6% so far this season
— Zoltán Buday (@PFF_Zoltan) September 20, 2017
Russell Wilson at Tennessee: The offensive line is a mess and it’s causing Wilson’s fantasy value to plummet. In two weeks, Wilson is averaging just 11.8 fantasy points while facing two of the weaker defenses in the league; Green Bay and San Francisco. Jimmy Graham is dealing with an ankle injury and is questionable for the game. Without Graham and a poor offensive line Wilson is likely to struggle again this week.
Trevor Siemian at Buffalo: After two weeks, Siemian is currently the QB2, averaging 22.7 fantasy points per game. The Bills rank ninth against quarterbacks so far this season but have faced Josh McCown and an injured Cam Newton. Siemian is leading a surprisingly strong offense that is averaging 33 points per game. Expect Siemian to put up another 20+ fantasy point performance this week.
C.J. Anderson at Buffalo: Last week Anderson had 30.4 fantasy points against the Cowboys and this week has an underrated matchup. The Bills have only given up 14 fantasy points per game to running backs in the first two weeks but haven’t faced a back with Anderson’s talent and momentum. Anderson has sneaky value in PPR leagues, in two games he has four catches for 43 yards and a receiving touchdown.
Marshawn Lynch at Washington: The Redskins gave up 26.6 fantasy points to Todd Gurley last week, 14.8 points coming on the ground. Through two games the Redskins have given up 25.1 points to running backs while Lynch is coming off a season-high 11.9 point performance against the Jets. Lynch was on the field for just 23 out of 57 carries (40%) as the game was a blowout. This week the game should be a high scoring game giving Lynch more upside.
Jordan Howard vs Pittsburgh: Coming off his worst performance as a pro, Howard had just 0.7 fantasy points last week against the Buccaneers. On top of his poor performance, Howard is dealing with a shoulder injury and is now losing snaps to rookie Tarik Cohen. Last week Cohen out snapped Howard 40 to 31; while I wouldn’t panic and trade Howard I would sit him this week if you can afford to.
Bilal Powell vs Miami: Honestly, if you dropped Powell this week I wouldn’t blame you. Powell has been a major disappointment this season as the Jets continue to give touches to Matt Forte and even rookie Elijah McGuire. Powell is averaging just 5.1 fantasy points per game and if he can’t get it going this week against the Dolphins, Powell needs to be dropped in all 10 and 12 team leagues, if not done already.
Chris Thompson vs Oakland: Currently, Rob Kelley is a question mark at best to play this week verse the Raiders. Meanwhile, Samaje Perine is a hot wavier wire add, but in PPR leagues I prefer Thompson. Currently Thompson is the RB4 in PPR scoring; now while that will change as the season goes on, Thompson is clearly the Redskins best receiving back. Last week the Raiders gave up five catches for 45 yards to the Jets running backs. Thompson is better than any running back on the Jets and the Redskins offense is much better.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 20, 2017
Michael Thomas at Carolina: Currently the Panthers rank second against wide receivers but have faced Pierre Garcon and Zay Jones as the opponents number one wide receiver. Thomas has yet to get in the end zone this season, but look for that to change this week, as the game is expected to be a shootout. In two games against the Panthers last season, Thomas had ten catches for 146 yards and a touchdown; averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game.
Michael Crabtree at Washington: The hottest receiver in football, Crabtree is coming off a three touchdown, 32 fantasy point performance against the Jets. With Josh Norman expected to focus on Amari Cooper, Crabtree could be in line for a big game. Crabtree is clearly Derek Carr’s favorite redzone target and the Raiders should be in the redzone plenty against a poor Redskins defense.
Jordy Nelson vs Cincinnati: Jordy is never a sit, if he plays for the Packers then he plays for your fantasy team. However, reportedly he has a 50-50 shot of playing against the Bengals with a quad injury and with a 4:25 pm EST kickoff, make sure you have a backup plan in case the decision goes down to the wire. If Nelson plays, start him with tempered expectations as he may be used as a “decoy”.
Martavis Bryant at Chicago: Much like Ben Roethlisberger, Bryant has wild road/home splits. In week one on the road verse the Browns, Bryant had just 3.4 fantasy points, but in week two at home against the Vikings, he had 18.8 fantasy points. Bryant is a “boom or bust” player and with the Steelers expected to control the game from the beginning, don’t expect many deep shots to Bryant.
J.J. Nelson vs Dallas: Currently the WR3, Nelson is coming off a 23 fantasy point performance against the Colts. With John Brown doubtful to play again this week, Nelson will again get the starting nod. Facing a weak and injured Cowboys’ secondary, Nelson should get a touchdown for the seventh time in his last eight games dating back to last season. Last week the Cowboys gave up 24.2 fantasy points to Emmanuel Sanders and Nelson could be in for a similar game this week.
Zach Ertz vs New York: Over the first two weeks of the season the Giants have given up 12 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns to Jason Witten and Eric Ebron. Ertz is off to a hot start this season averaging 16 fantasy points per game. Ertz has been targeted 18 times in two games, second on the team behind Alshon Jeffery. If Janoris Jenkins plays for the Giants, Carson Wentz should look away from Jeffrey and focus on Ertz.
Jack Doyle vs Cleveland: No Andrew Luck, no problem; well at least for this week. Last week with Jacoby Brissett starting, Doyle had eight catches for 79 yards verse two catches for 41 yards in week one with Scott Tolzien starting. Brissett favors Doyle and that shouldn’t change this week. The Browns gave up 14 catches, for 132 yards and two touchdowns to Jesse James and Benjamin Watson in the first two weeks; start Doyle with confidence.
Tyler Eifert at Green Bay: In the first two weeks of the season the Packers have given up just six catches for 25 yards and zero touchdowns to Jimmy Graham and Austin Hooper. Meanwhile, Eifert is averaging just 4.3 fantasy points during the first two weeks while dealing with nagging knee and back injuries. The Bengals offense is a mess, averaging just 4.5 points per game. For me, Eifert is closer to being dropped than he is to starting.
Charles Clay vs Denver: The Bills offense can’t score, averaging just 12 points per game so far this season. Clay has just seven catches for 76 yards so far this season despite playing the Jets and Panthers. The Broncos defense held the duo of Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates to just 3.7 fantasy points in week one. If Clay is on your roster you are likely streaming tight ends, if so drop him and pick up Austin Hooper; owned in just 53% of ESPN leagues.
BTW DET is still trash vs TE.
Austin Hooper up next 👀
— Josh ADHD (@FantasyADHD) September 19, 2017
Austin Hooper at Detroit: Speaking of Hooper, he is a sneaky play this week against the Lions. Last week the Lions gave up 14.9 fantasy points to Evan Engram. Hooper is an athletic tight end like Engram and should put up similar numbers this week if he can get in the endzone. The Lions are currently giving up 14.1 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.
Steelers at Chicago: The Bears have struggled to score so far this season, averaging just 12 points per game and if not for a late garbage time touchdown, the Bears would have been shutout last week against the Buccaneers. During the first two weeks of the season, the Steelers have generated two turnovers and nine sacks. The Steelers D/ST is averaging 14 fantasy points per game and should score similarly this week.
Chiefs at Los Angeles: During the first two weeks of the season the Chiefs D/ST is averaging just 4.5 fantasy points per game despite having nine sacks and two turnovers. The Chargers gave up just seven fantasy points to the Broncos D/ST in week one and gave up just one sack. Don’t expect the Chiefs to get anywhere near 4.5 sacks they are averaging this week.
Eagles vs New York: If you watched the Giants Monday night game against the Lions in week two you saw how terrible the Giants’ offensive line is. The Eagles have faced two good offensive lines so far this season but still have eight sacks to go along with four turnovers. The Eagles D/ST is averaging 13.5 fantasy points per week while the Giants’ offense is averaging 6.5 points per game. If the Eagles can keep an injured Odell Beckham Jr. in check, the Eagles D/ST should be in line for a great day.