Each week fantasy football owners have to make decisions. Who to start? Who to sit? Who to potentially pick up off the waiver wire to play? Sometimes those decisions can be tough. For help with that, check out my weekly rankings. To supplement my weekly rankings, I also give you my weekly take on starts, sits and sleepers.
Here I’ll 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) each week. Of course every week you’re going to 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 those “non-elite” players. If you have more specific questions regarding fantasy football or your team, ask me on Twitter. As always, happy hunting fantasy friends!
Cam Newton vs Buccaneers: In six of his last seven games, Cam Newton has scored 23 or more fantasy points, despite only three rushing touchdowns during that stretch. However, Newton has thrown at least two passing touchdowns in every game since week one. Last week I was down on Newton because of the match up against the Ravens.
This week; however, Newton faces a Buccaneers defense that is the friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 26.2 FPPG. Furthermore, the Buccaneers have given up an average of 30.7 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks on the road. Newton is my QB1 this week.
Joe Flacco vs Steelers: Joe Flacco had a down game last week, finishing with a season low 9.1 fantasy points against the Panthers. This week, look for Flacco to bounce back against the Steelers, who are the fifth-friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 22.6 FPPG.
Pittsburgh has given up at least two passing touchdowns in 71% of their games this season and gave up 23.9 fantasy points to Flacco back in week four. With nine teams on a bye this week, Flacco is the perfect bye week filler.
Baker Mayfield vs Chiefs: Last week, I said to start Baker Mayfield and he was disappointing, scoring just 14.1 fantasy points. This week I don’t even have him as a top 10 quarterback despite all the teams on a bye. The firing of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley takes this dysfunctional team and makes things worse.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Chiefs defense has gotten better in recent weeks. During their last two games, they have given up a total of 25.4 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. By comparison in the previous six games, they allowed opposing quarterbacks to score 20 or more fantasy points in five of them.
Mitchell Trubisky at Bills: Despite four straight games with 21 or more fantasy points, I have concerns with Mitchell Trubisky this week. The Bills are the fourth-toughest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of just 15 FPPG.
The Bills held Tom Brady to just 13.6 fantasy points last week and have held opposing quarterbacks under 15 fantasy points in five of their last six games. With all the byes this week, fantasy owners may have to start Trubisky — but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t reach 15 fantasy points.
Alex Smith vs Falcons: It’s not surprising that Alex Smith has failed to score 17 or more fantasy points in any game since week one. However, this week Smith has a really good match up and could break that streak. The Falcons are the second-friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 24.9 FPPG; 6.7 more fantasy points than the league average. They even gave up 20.7 fantasy points to Eli Manning in their last game, and have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score 20 or more fantasy points in six straight games. Smith is another good bye week filler.
Adrian Peterson vs Falcons: The old man does it again! Last week, Adrian Peterson scored a season-high 26.6 fantasy points, marking the third time this season he has scored 22 or more fantasy points. Over the last two weeks, Peterson is averaging 25 carries for 124 rushing yards and 19.2 FPPG.
This week, Peterson faces the second-friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 32.1 FPPG. The Falcons defense has given up at least the league average of 24.3 FPPG to opposing running backs in every game this season.
Kenyan Drake vs Jets: Over his last four games, Kenyan Drake has scored at least 18.7 fantasy points in three of them, despite not getting more than 14 touches in any of those games. Over that four-game stretch, Drake has played 63% or more of the snaps in three of them.
This week the Jets come to town, giving up an average of 25.2 FPPG to opposing running backs; about the league average. However, Drake scored 17 fantasy points against them in week two and the Jets have given up three rushing touchdowns over their last two games.
LeSean McCoy vs Bears: Last week was nice and all, as LeSean McCoy scored a season-high 15.5 fantasy points against the Patriots. However, he averaged less than one yard per carry and got the majority of his points on his six catches. This week McCoy faces the Bears, who are the third toughest team against opposing opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 16.7 FPPG.
Derek Anderson and Josh Allen are expected to miss the game with injuries, forcing Nathan Peterman in as the starter. Expect the Bears to do everything possible to stop McCoy and make Peterman try to beat them, as the Bills QB situation has officially reached “dumpster fire” status.
Javorius Allen vs Steelers: As if things haven’t been bad enough for Buck Allen fantasy owners, the Ravens traded for Ty Montgomery at the trade deadline on Tuesday. The good news is Montgomery shouldn’t have much, if any, impact on Allen’s fantasy value. However, Allen should be on the bench this week as the Steelers are the second-toughest team against opposing running backs giving up an average of just 16.4 FPPG. Furthermore, the Steelers have not allowed an opposing team’s running backs as an unit to score more than 19.1 fantasy points in any game this season.
Derrick Henry at Cowboys: This season has been a disappointing one for Derrick Henry fantasy owners. On the season, Henry is averaging just 6.4 FPPG and has scored over six fantasy points just once. However, that one game was in the Titans last game against the Chargers, where Henry scored 14.5 fantasy points.
Now, I’m not saying Henry bounces back to his draft value, but the match-up this week is interesting. Prior to their week eight bye, the Cowboys were killed on the ground by Adrian Peterson and the power running game. Henry isn’t the idea starter this week, but fantasy owners could do worse.
Robert Woods at Saints: Cooper Kupp is hopeful to play this week. If he does, my confidence in Woods drops a little, but he is still a must-start against the Saints. Over the last two weeks with Kupp injured, Woods lead the team in targets, catches, and receiving yards at wide receiver.
The Saints are the friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 52.3 FPPG, and have allowed opposing wide receivers to score 59 or more fantasy points in 43% of their games this season. The Saints won’t let Brandin Cooks have his “revenge” game, so expect a big day from Woods.
Devin Funchess vs Buccaneers: Last week I said to bench Devin Funchess and hopefully you did, as he scored just 5.7 fantasy points against the Ravens. However, I would play him this week. The Buccaneers are the second-friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 47.5 FPPG; more than 10 points over the league average. Additionally, the Buccaneers have allowed opposing wide receivers to score 48 or more fantasy points in 71% of their games this season. Start Funchess and D.J. Moore this week with confidence.
Corey Davis at Cowboys: Somehow, someway, fantasy owners were convinced for the second season in a row that Corey Davis is good. He is averaging 10.8 FPPG this season, but if you remove the so called “break-out game” against the Eagles in week four, Davis is averaging just 7.4 FPPG.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are the toughest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of just 28.6 FPPG. Over their last two games, the Cowboys have held opposing wide receivers to just 34.3 total fantasy points total. The Titans passing offense is ugly and it shouldn’t change this week.
Adam Humphries at Panthers: The last couple of weeks have been fantasy-friendly to Adam Humphries’ fantasy owners, scoring 11 or more fantasy points in two of the three games with Jameis Winston as the starter; averaging 11.2 FPPG.
However, with the move back to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Humphries’ fantasy value is back in the toilet. With Fitzpatrick as the starter, Humphries averaged just 5.9 FPPG. Meanwhile, the Panthers are the 12th toughest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 34.7 FPPG; about three points less than the league average. With Fitzpatrick starting this week, Humphries belongs on the waiver wire.
Tyrell Williams at Seahawks: Prior to the team’s week eight bye, Tyrell Williams had back-to-back games with 21 or more fantasy points. During that two game stretch, Williams was averaging 3.5 catches for 118 yards, 1.5 touchdowns, and 24.4 fantasy points per game.
Surprisingly, Williams is playing 78% of the snaps, second on the team behind Keenan Allen. The Seahawks gave up 45.2 fantasy points to the Lions’ wide receivers last week, 30.7 of which to Marvin Jones. Williams is a high upside flex option this week, and has a good chance to have his third straight week over 21 fantasy points.
Greg Olsen vs Buccaneers: After missing three games with a foot injury, Greg Olsen had been slow to return, averaging just 8.8 FPPG in his first two games back. However, on Sunday, Olsen had a season high 15.6 fantasy points. More importantly, he appears healthy.
This week, Olsen faces the Buccaneers, who are the fourth-friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 17 FPPG. The Buccaneers defense has given up 15 or more fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 71% of their games this season. Olsen is a must start this week.
O.J. Howard at Panthers: Sticking with this game, O.J. Howard is also a must start this week. Howard is averaging 12 FPPG and has scored 11.7 or more fantasy points in five of the six games he has finished this season.
Meanwhile, the Panthers are the friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 19.2 FPPG and have given up an average of 26.4 FPPG to opposing tight ends over their last three games, including three touchdowns.
Kyle Rudolph vs Lions: Despite the good match-up against the Lions, I have a hard time trusting Kle Rudolph this week. Over his first four games of the season, Rudolph was averaging 12.2 FPPG with two touchdowns.
However, in the four games since, he is averaging just 6.8 FPPG with no touchdowns. Rudolph has just one game this season with over six catches, and has failed to top 75 yards in any game. Kirk Cousins is throwing the majority of the time to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, leaving Rudolph to fight for the leftovers.
Austin Hooper at Redskins: Austin Hooper has been up-and-down this season, either scoring 16-plus fantasy points or under eight in every game. Prior to the Falcons’ week eight bye, Hooper scored just 7.8 fantasy points verses the Giants defense. This week Hooper faces the Redskins, who give up about the league average in fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.
However, the Redskins have given up just one touchdown to opposing tight ends over the last three weeks and traded for HaHa Clinton-Dix this week.
Chris Herndon at Dolphins: Over the last three weeks, Chris Herndon has played an averaged of 40% of the snaps and has a touchdown in every game, while averaging 12.1 FPPG. With all the injuries to the Jets’ wide receivers, Sam Darnold is targeting Herndon more often.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins are the 13th friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 12.8 FPPG; about the league average. Over the last two weeks; however, the Dolphins have given up 19.8 fantasy points to Michael Roberts and 18.9 fantasy points to Jordan Thomas and have given up five touchdowns to opposing tight ends over their last three games.
Dolphins vs Jets: With all the byes this week, finding a good streaming D/ST options is tough. The Dolphins have scored negative 11 fantasy points the last two weeks. However, that was against the Lions and Texans; two good to great offenses.
Instead, this week the Dolphins face the Jets, who have allowed opposing D/STs to average 7.8 FPPG against them; eighth-friendliest in the league. In their previous match-up, the Dolphins D/ST scored 11 fantasy point against the Jets in week two.
Redskins vs Falcons: Currently the Redskins have the fourth-best scoring D/ST this season, averaging 8.6 FPPG, thanks in large part to 29 fantasy points scored over the last two weeks against the Cowboys and Giants; two of the poorer offenses in the league.
However, this week the Falcons’ high-powered offense comes to town. The Falcons are the seventh-toughest team against opposing D/STs, allowing them to score an average of just 2.7 FPPG. Furthermore, opposing D/STs have score positive points against the Falcons offense just twice this season.
Cowboys vs Titans: Again, with all the byes it’s difficult to find a good streaming D/ST option this week. However, the Cowboys D/ST is a sneaky option. The Titans are the fourth-friendliest team against opposing D/STs, allowing them to score 8.9 FPPG. Additionally, opposing D/STs have scored 35 fantasy points over the last three weeks against the Titans offense.