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.
Jameis Winston vs New England: Last week Winston shredded the Giants secondary for 332 yards, three touchdowns and 26.5 fantasy points. Now he faces the Patriots who give up an average of 26.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and last week gave up 33 fantasy points to Cam Newton. Prior to the Patriots game, Newton was averaging just 11.1 fantasy points per game. This game should be a shoot out so expect Winston to put up another 22+ point performance against the Patriots.
Matthew Stafford vs Carolina: After a 27 fantasy point game week one Stafford is averaging 13.3 points over the last three weeks and the Panthers only give up an average of 13.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. However, the last two weeks against Drew Brees and Tom Brady, the Panthers have given up an average of 20.7 fantasy points. Stafford averages 21.8 fantasy points per game at home verse 11.7 on the road. Start Stafford at home this week with confiedence.
Cam Newton at Detroit: Yes, Newton had 33 fantasy points last week, but it was against the Patriots, who rank 32nd in league against opposing quarterbacks. In the three prior games Newton averaged 11.1 fantasy points per game. I don’t believe Newton is back to his old form. The Lions rank fourth against quarterbacks this season and have 11 turnovers so far this season. Sell high on Newton while other leaguemates think he is back to being “Super Cam”.
Andy Dalton vs Buffalo: In two games under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, Dalton is averaging 22.3 fantasy points per game. However, it was against the Packers and Browns, two weak defenses. The Bills rank second in the league against quarterbacks; giving up an average of just 9.3 fantasy points per game and haven’t given up over 11.8 fantasy points to a quarterback this season. Dalton has had a good run, now it’s time to find another quarterback this week.
Deshaun Watson vs Kansas City: The number one quarterback last week, Watson dropped 33.7 fantasy points on the Titans. Now part of that was the Titans poor defense and game flow. However, Watson is the real deal. The Chiefs rank 11th against quarterbacks but have given up 20+ fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks twice this season. Both of those games were to quarterbacks who rushed for at least 38 yards. Watson is averaging 44 rushing yards per game as a starter. Play Watson on Sunday night.
Jay Ajayi vs Tennessee: The last two weeks have been a disappointment for Ajayi; averaging 5.5 fantasy points per game. However, that has been more game flow than anything else. This week the Dolphins face the Titans in their first home game of the year. Last week the Titans made Lamar Miller look like Le’Veon Bell, giving up 29.1 fantasy points to Miller. Look for the Dolphins to get back on track this week and give Ajayi 25+ touches.
Frank Gore vs San Francisco: Even at 34 years old, Gore is Mr. Reliable. Over the past three weeks, Gore is averaging a solid 11.4 fantasy points per game. Now he gets to face the 49ers terrible run defense that is giving up an average of 28.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Last week against the David Johnson-less Cardinals, the 49ers gave up 30.7 fantasy points to the running backs. If Gore can get in the end zone again this week he should finish with around 17 fantasy points.
Latavius Murray at Chicago: With the Dalvin Cook injury, Murray is expected to take on a bigger role so hopefully you picked him up off waivers this week. However, don’t play him this week against the Bears. The Bears only give up an average of 20 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Look for the Vikings to use this game to find the proper balance of usage between Murray and Jerick McKinnon. Bench Murray this week till we see how the Vikings are going to adjust after losing Cook.
Lamar Miller vs Kansas City: The first three weeks of the season Miller had 30.6 fantasy points; in week four he had 29.1 points. The Chiefs rank fourth against running backs this season, giving up just 19 fantasy points per game. Last week D’Onta Foreman had 13 rushes compared to Miller’s 19. This backfield is slowly turning into a committee. Try to sell high on Miller while you can.
Aaron Jones at Dallas: With injuries to Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams, Jones is expected to get the start Sunday. Last week against the Bears, Jones had 13 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys rank 26th against running backs, giving up an average of 27.7 per game. With no other healthy threat to take his carries this week, Jones has a good mix of safe floor and high upside against the Cowboys terrible run defense.
Brandin Cooks at Tampa Bay: Many fantasy owners have become frustrated with Cooks’ up and down performance; that’s going to be the case all year long. However, he should have a big game against the banged up Buccaneers defense on a short week. The Buccaneers give up an average of 47.5 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers; last in the league. Expect this game to be a shoot out and Cooks finish with 20 plus fantasy points.
DeVante Parker/Jarvis Landry vs Tennessee: The season has been frustrating for the Dolphins receiving duo thus far. However, both rank in the top 16 among wide receivers in fantasy points per game. The Titans rank 31st against wide receivers this season, giving up 44.5 fantasy points per game. Last week the Texans duo of DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller torched the Titans for 46.6 fantasy points. Look for Landry and Parker to both finish with 17 plus points this week.
Keenan Allen at New York: Last week Keenan Allen had 18.8 fantasy points against the Eagles banged up cornerbacks. However, this week faces off against the Giants secondary. When Allen lines up on the outside he will see Janoris Jenkins and when he lines up in the slot he will see Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Either way Allen will face a tough match up across from him. Start Allen if you must but be prepared for a low production week.
Amari Cooper/Michael Crabtree vs Baltimore: With Derek Carr expected to miss 2-6 weeks with a back injury the Raiders offense will struggle without him. With Carr sidelined I have zero faith in starting either Raider receiver. Furthermore, the Ravens rank fourth against wide receivers this season, giving up just 24.8 fantasy points per game. The last two weeks Cooper and Crabtree have scored a combined 6.2 fantasy points. The Raiders receivers were under performing before and don’t expect them to bounce back while Carr is on the sideline.
John Brown at Philadelphia: After missing two weeks with a quad injury, Brown returned last week against the 49ers and scored 7.7 fantasy points. Now he is a week removed from the injury and gets to face the Eagles secondary that gave up 47.1 fantasy points to the Chargers wide receivers last week. The Eagles give up an average of 42.2 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and have been burned on several deep shots this season. Brown could be in line for a big game this week verse the banged up Eagles secondary.
Hunter Henry at New York: Last week the Giants gave up 32.3 fantasy points to Buccaneers tight end duo of Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. This week they face off against Henry and Antonio Gates. The Giants give up 22 points per game to opposing tight ends. Henry has two games with zero fantasy points this season, mainly because the Chargers asked him to mainly block in those games. The other two games he is averaging 12.3 fantasy points per game. Look for Henry to score 13 plus points this week.
Cameron Brate vs New England: Would you believe me if I told you Brate was the TE6 so far this season based on average fantasy points per game? Of course you would cause I’m right. Brate is averaging 11.9 fantasy points per game and is coming off a 18 point game against the Giants. This week he gets to face the Patriots’ horrible defense that is giving up an average of 16.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends and have given up at least 18.9 fantasy points to tight ends in three games this season. Brate is Winston’s trusted red zone target and has ten touchdowns since the start of last season.
Martellus Bennett at Dallas: Despite seeing seven targets a game, Bennett has yet to get in the end zone or reach double-digit fantasy points this season in PPR scoring and has yet to reach 50 receiving yards in a game. This week he faces the Cowboys who rank 12th against opposing tight ends, giving up just 10.8 fantasy points per game. The Packers expect to have all three of their top wide receivers available for this game further limiting Bennett’s upside.
Jack Doyle vs San Francisco: Currently Doyle is questionable for Sunday’s game with a concussion. Even if he plays for the Colts he shouldn’t play for your fantasy team. Doyle has scored under eight fantasy points in three games this season. To make his week even worst, the 49ers rank first against tight ends giving up just 4.4 fantasy points per game. The Colts may not have Doyle and even if they do, fantasy owners can find a better option this week on the wavier wire like Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins at Cleveland: Speaking of Seferian-Jenkins, the Jets tight end is averaging 8.4 fantasy points per game in the two games since returning from his suspension; being targeted five times a game. The Browns give up the second most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 19.8 per game. The Browns have given up over 22 fantasy points to opposing tight ends in three of four games this season. Seferian-Jenkins is owned in just 8.3% of ESPN leagues.
Vikings at Chicago: The Vikings D/ST has improved in every game this season. The last two weeks they have scored nine fantasy points in both games. This week they face off against the Bears and rookie Mitchell Trubisky; who is making his career debut. The Vikings have 11 sacks so far this season and three turnovers. Look for Mike Zimmer and his underrated Vikings defense to confuse Trubisky and force him into some mistakes.
Seahawks at Los Angeles: Last season the Rams ranked last in the league, scoring just 14 points per game, this season they are first averaging 35.5 per game. The Seahawks D/ST isn’t the same as it once was, averaging just 8.3 points per game, ranking tenth. Opposing D/STs facing the Rams are averaging zero fantasy points per game. If you have a streaming spot on your roster on a fifth wide receiver you can afford to drop, do so and add a second D/ST this week.
Lions vs Carolina: Would you believe me if I told you that the Lions had the top rated D/ST this season? Well you should. The Lions D/ST scores an average of 14.3 fantasy points per game this season in part thanks to the offense not exposing the defense. The Lions D/ST have 11 turnovers and four touchdowns so far this season. Meanwhile opposing D/STs score an average of 8.5 fantasy points per game when facing the Panthers offense. If you stream D/STs, the Lions are owned in just 35.6% of ESPN leagues.