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 waiver wire to play. Sometimes those decisions can be tough. For help with that, check out my 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 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!
Philip Rivers at Raiders
Last week marked the seventh time this season that Rivers scored 17 or more fantasy points despite a bad match up verse the Seahawks. This week, Rivers takes on the Raiders who have mailed in the season and are the seventh friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 19.8 FPPG. Furthermore, they gave up 22.2 fantasy points to Nick Mullens in his first career game last week. Start Rivers with plenty of confidence this week and watch him score 23 or more fantasy points with ease.
Carson Wentz vs Cowboys
Wentz has scored 20 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games. With the addition of Golden Tate, Wentz now has another impact weapon to throw to. The Cowboys give up 16.9 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks; 1.2 fantasy points less than the league average. However, the Cowboys have been very inconsistent defending opposing quarterbacks. They have four games giving up more than the league average and four games giving up under. The Cowboys struggle against better quarterbacks and feast on weaker ones. Wentz is a must start this week and the rest of the season.
Drew Brees at Bengals
As great as Brees was on Sunday verse the Rams with 31.4 fantasy points, he scored just 23.6 fantasy points combined in the previous two games. This season, Brees is averaging 25.9 FPPG in games played in a dome, compared to just 12.7 FPPG in games played outdoors. With the game in Cincinnati, I expect Brees to struggle to produce high end QB1 fantasy points. Furthermore, in the games played outdoors, Alvin Kamara is averaging 21.5 touches for 128 scrimmage yards, two touchdowns and 28.5 fantasy points per game; the Saints should take advantage of a poor Bengals run defense.
Jared Goff vs Seahawks
Coming off his second straight game with 26 or more fantasy points, I don’t like the match up this week for Goff. The Seahawks are the toughest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of just 13.5 FPPG. Furthermore, back when Goff faced the Seahawks in week five, he scored just 14.3 fantasy points; his second lowest performance of the season. In addition, Todd Gurley tied his season high three touchdowns in the last game verse the Seahawks.
Josh Rosen at Chiefs
Prior to the Cardinals week nine bye, Rosen had a career high 19.3 fantasy points in an impressive comeback win verse the 49ers. In his previous three games, Rosen scored a total of just 21.3 fantasy points. The match up this week is very good for Rosen. The Chiefs are the sixth friendliest team against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 20.5 FPPG. Furthermore, this game should be over the middle of the third quarter, giving Rosen plenty of opportunity for “garbage time” fantasy production.
Tevin Coleman at Browns
In the first two games since Devonta Freeman went on injured reserve, Coleman had failed to produce a RB1 finish. However, Coleman broke out Sunday verse the Redskins, finishing as the RB4 with 32.6 fantasy points. This week, Coleman gets the Browns, who are the fourth friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 30.5 FPPG. Furthermore, the Browns have given up back-to-back games with 41 or more fantasy points to opposing running backs. Coleman is a low end RB1 for me this week.
Jordan Howard vs Lions
Despite Tarik Cohen being on fire prior to last week, Howard now has three straight games scoring 11.8 or more fantasy points, while scoring a touchdown in every contest. The weather is starting to become a factor and Howard will be used more as the temperature drops. This week, the match up verse the Lions is very good. The Lions are the eighth friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 28.9 FPPG. Furthermore, the Lions have given up over 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to opposing running backs in three straight games.
Marlon Mack vs Jaguars
Currently Mack is dealing with a foot injury but is practicing and expected to play Sunday. However, the match up against the Jaguars makes me want to leave him on the bench. As disappointing as the Jaguars defense has been this season, they are the seventh toughest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of just 19.8 FPPG. Furthermore, the Jaguars have yet to allow an opposing team’s running backs to score the league average of 24.5 fantasy points or more in any game this season.
Dion Lewis vs Patriots
Lewis, has back-to-back games with 21 or more fantasy points, but he scored 7.5 or more fantasy points just once in his previous five games. Meanwhile, the Patriots give up 23.9 FPPG to opposing running backs; 0.6 fantasy points less than the league average. However, the Patriots have given up just 38 fantasy points to opposing running backs over the last two weeks and have allowed just one rushing touchdown over their last eight games. I don’t expect a “revenge” game to happen and I have Lewis outside my top 30 running backs this week.
Elijah McGuire vs Bills
After coming off a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve in the preseason, McGuire lead all Jets’ running backs, playing 55% of the snaps and scoring 9.7 fantasy points. Isaiah Crowell has been a disappointment since his 30.1 fantasy point game in week five and McGuire could take over as the lead back sooner than later. Meanwhile the Bills are the 11th friendliest team against opposing running backs, giving up an average of 26.7 FPPG. Furthermore, the Bills have given up four rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs over their last three games.
Tyler Boyd vs Saints
With A.J. Green out for this game with a toe injury, Boyd takes over as Andy Dalton’s top targeted weapon in the passing game. While Boyd should get peppered with targets, he could also now draw a match up with Marshon Lattimore. Hopefully Boyd can avoid Lattimore because the rest of the Saints’ secondary can’t cover at all right now. The Saints are the friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 52.8 FPPG. Furthermore, the Saints have given up 114.9 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers over the last two weeks.
Calvin Ridley at Browns
After a three game stretch where Ridley failed to score more than 9.3 fantasy points in any game, he is finally healthy and exploded for six catches, 71 yards, one touchdown and 19.7 fantasy point game Sunday verse the Redskins. The Falcons’ high powered offense is at it’s best when Ridley plays well and he should play well for the second week in a row. The Browns are the 10th friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 39.4 FPPG. Furthermore, the Browns secondary is all banged up, making Ridley an even more appealing WR2 option this week.
Randall Cobb vs Dolphins
Despite not having Geronimo Allison, Cobb was on the field for just 76% of the snaps verse the Patriots; fourth among wide receivers. The Packers seem to trust their two rookie receivers and Cobb is at best the fourth option in this passing game. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are the ninth toughest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 34.1 FPPG. Furthermore, aside from the shoot out game against the Texans, the Dolphins have held opposing wide receivers to just two touchdowns in their last five games.
Taylor Gabriel vs Lions
Gabriel left the Bears’ week nine game against the Bills with a knee injury that is limiting him in practice this week. Hopefully, Gabriel is able to play verse the Lions, but even if he can, he should be on fantasy owners’ bench this week. The Lions are the sixth toughest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 31.8 FPPG; 5.2 fantasy points less than the league average. Furthermore, the Lions held Adam Thielen to a season low 12.7 fantasy points last week.
Michael Gallup at Eagles
The new toy, Amari Cooper, got all the fantasy love last week verse the Titans but second among Cowboy wide receivers in snaps was Michael Gallup with 80% played. Gallup was also tied for second in catches at wide receiver last week behind Cooper. Hopefully Gallup starts to turn into the number two receiver opposite of Cooper. Meanwhile, the Eagles are fourth friendliest team against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 43.6 FPPG. Furthermore, the Eagles have allowed opposing wide receivers to score 51 or more fantasy points in 50% of their games this season.
Jimmy Graham vs Dolphins
Over his last four games, Graham has scored 13.5 or more fantasy points in three of them, including matching his season high 15.5 fantasy points last week verse the Patriots. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have given up an average of 18.3 FPPG to opposing tight ends over the last three weeks. However, none of those tight ends aren’t anywhere near Graham’s talent. With Geronimo Allison done for the season, I fully expect him to take over as Aaron Rodgers’ number two weapon and Graham should easily score 19 or more fantasy points this week
Austin Hooper at Browns
Hooper has back-to-back games with three catches for under 50 yards and less than eight fantasy points. However, prior to that, Hooper had back to back-to-back games scoring 16.7 or more fantasy points. Meanwhile, the Browns are the ninth friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 14.1 FPPG. Furthermore, the Browns have allowed opposing tight ends to score 21 or more fantasy points in two of their last three games.
Rob Gronkowski at Titans
Clearly something isn’t right with Gronkowski. He has missed two of the last three games with back spasms, and hasn’t scored a touchdown since week one. While I’m not saying to bench Gronkowski if he plays, fantasy owners need to find another tight end they can handcuff with Gronkowski on a weekly basis. This week, he faces the Titans, who are the toughest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 7.1 FPPG. Gronkowski’s health combined with the tough match up has him outside my top five tight ends for the week.
Eric Ebron vs Jaguars
With four teams on a bye, combined with the lack of good option at the tight end position, fantasy owners can still start Ebron, but should temper expectations. Two weeks ago, Jack Doyle returned from a hip injury and Ebron’s usage rate seriously dropped. In the three games both tight ends have played Doyle has out snapped Ebron 193-71 and out targeted him 22-12. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are the eighth toughest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of just 9.9 FPPG. Furthermore, the Jaguars have given up just three touchdowns to opposing tight ends all season.
Ben Watson at Bengals
Last week verse the Rams, Watson had his second touchdown in three weeks and celebrated in an awesome way by announcing his wife was pregnant with twins. To follow up his good news, Watson faces a Bengals defense that is the second friendliest team against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 17.7 FPPG. Furthermore, the Bengals have allowed opposing tight ends to score 19 or more fantasy points in 63% of their game this season.
Chargers at Raiders
The obvious choice would be to start the Jets D/ST verse the Bills but to talk about something other than the obvious, the Chargers D/ST is a good play this week verse the Raiders. The Chargers D/ST has scored 10 or more fantasy points in three of their last four games and should do so again this week. The Raiders are the 10th friendliest team against opposing D/STs, allowing them to score 7.8 FPPG. Furthermore, the Raiders offense gave up 14 fantasy points to a 49ers D/ST, that is averaging 2.1 FPPG in their other eight games this season.
Jaguars at Colts
Clearly the biggest disappointment this season at the D/ST position is the Jaguars. Last season they averaged 12.7 FPPG compared to just 6.2 this season. They have failed to score more than 11 fantasy points in any game since week one verse the Giants. Meanwhile, over their last three games, the Colts have allowed opposing D/STs to score zero total fantasy points. The loser of this game is basically out of the playoff picture and I expect the Colts’ offense to come out firing on all cylinders.
Chiefs vs Cardinals
As bad as the Chiefs D/ST has been this season, they have played well the last three weeks, averaging 8.7 FPPG. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are the second friendliest team against opposing D/STs, allowing them to score an average of 12.8 FPPG. Furthermore, the Cardinals have allowed opposing D/STs to score 11 or more fantasy points in 63% of their games this season. For fantasy owners who stream D/STs and missed out on the obvious options, the Chiefs are a nice fall back plan this week.