Some players are must starts (Aaron Rodgers, Alvin Kamara, and Rob Gronkowski, to name a few), but here we work to give you value and over-performers, depending on what type of fantasy format you are playing. At this point we are breaking up start/sit for Thursday and Sunday/Monday games. We apologize to those who must have complete lineups in by Thursday’s game.
Matt Phillips is a multiple fantasy football champion, and co-host of the podcast “Pigskin Dynasty: Your Podcast for All Things Fantasy Football”. You can find him on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Podbean, and other podcast mediums. He also has live episodes on Facebook every Sunday morning at 9:00 am EST.
*Due to personal matters this article did not get published before the early game in London.
Before we start, I want to give Matt the stage to gloat and say “how about them Cowboys”! He was strong on them as a solid defensive start, and some called him crazy for making them a “start” last week (cough Brain Cough).
OK enough gloating. You were right. I was wrong. (Matt’s first love are the Cowboys...there, I said it.)
How that our dirty laundry is aired, let’s get to the starts and sits.
QB Baker Mayfield, Browns
OK, I may have been slightly wrong last week on Mayfield. It happens. I’m not perfect. But this week he’s going up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have given up the most passing yards to opposing quarterback this season. This is very likely going to be a shoot out. With the way the Browns defense is playing, Mayfield will need to make up for last game.
Projection: 313 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception
QB Eli Manning, Gaints
I know what you were thinking, are you crazy start Eli Manning? When Matt shared this with me I almost felt the need to have him evaluated.
Yes this is a start out of left field, but I believe Eli is a valuable streaming option this week as he goes up against the Atlanta Falcons who have been giving up an average of 300 passing yards a game. If the offensive line can improve just a small amount it should give Eli the time time to pick out his play makers.
Projection: 254 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception
QB Andy Dalton, Bengals
At this point, any QB going against the Chiefs defense is a must start! Even Bortles had a good fantasy day of over 20 points and that’s with four pics!! Their defense is horrible and combine that with their stellar offense, the Bengals may be chasing points! As a result, a lot of Dalton throwing.
Projection: 350 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception
RB LeSean McCoy, Bills
Shady is finally back on the start list!
In the last two games he had at least 19 touches and played 74% of the snaps. The Bills finally understand they need McCoy to touch the ball if they want to win. The matchup is nice as the Colts give up around 150 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing running backs.
Keep the ball out of Luck’s hands. Run the ball.
I’m adding 20 yards to Matt’s rushing yards projection.
Projection: 94 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown with 4 receptions for 45 yards
RB James White, Patriots
Matt loves James White, and with good reason. Brady loves to look his way, and White is doing nothing to decrease Brady’s confidence.
The Chicago Bears have given up at the fourth fewest rushing yards this year, which means Brady can leverage White’s pass catching abilities. You might be tentative to start White considering the defensive match up, but trust the system.
I think White manages to find the end zone. Even if he doesn’t, he’s a good start.
Projection: 94 totals yards with 1 touchdown and 10 receptions
RB Kerryon Johnson, Lions
Like Royce Freeman and Aaron Jones, carry-on Johnson suffers from a very dumb witted coaching staff. They have yet to realize his supreme talent and don’t give him enough touches. That being said, I still believe Johnson has a great game and I believe he finally gets double digit touches, something he’s only seen twice this season. He averages nearly 6 yards per carry and the Dolphins or somewhat susceptible to the running game, giving up 118 yards per game.
Projection: 85 rushing yards with 1 touchdown and 4 receptions for 35 yards
WR Robert Woods, Rams
Woods has been a fantasy beast this season. He has scored 19 or more fantasy points in the last four game. He also benefits greatly from Cooper Kupp not playing. More target for Woods.
Projection: 6 receptions for 75 yards and 1 touchdown
WR Jermaine Kearse, Jets
Pryor gets released opening up more targets for Jermaine Kearse. Also, when Quincy Enunwa was injured he was the prominent wide receiver catching nine passes for 94 yards. I believe he is the sleeper pick up of the week for the WR position.
Projection: 7 receptions for 72 yards and 1 touchdown
WR Willie Snead, Ravens
This is kind of a bold pick, but the Saints defense is horrible against wide receivers. Snead had a pretty good outing last week, catching seven passes for 60 yards. I’m pulling the trigger and starting him as a WR3/Flex.
Projection: 7 receptions for 62 yards
TE Jordan Reed, Redskins
I’ve had a love hate relationship with Jordan Reed. Scratch that. I actually have a love-hate relationship with Alex Smith, who doesn’t throw the ball to Jordan Road.
Reed led the team with targets last week and I believe he will again this weeks as Chris Thompson and Paul Richardson are out. Smith has to throw to someone and hopefully he throws it to Reed.
I believe he finds the end zone.
Projection: 6 receptions for 62 yards and 1 touchdown
TE Evan Engram, Giants
I bet you Eli is happy that Engram is coming back, and with the juicy match up, fantasy players as well. If we are recommending Eli, you have to consider Engram as well.
The Atlanta Falcons have given up 18 passing scores which is dead last in the league. This very well could be somewhat of a shoot out, and the Giants may be chasing points.
I think that’s their season moto.
Projection: 5 receptions for 57 yards and 1 touchdown
TE OJ Howard, Tampa Bay
Howard found the end zone last week and it looks like he is fully healed from his injury. I expect a nice performance this week. Winston looks like a different player, and his comfort with Howard should continue to pay off for fantasy players.
Howard is good for on average four targets, but his big play ability allows him to optimize those opportunities.
Projection: 4 receptions for 45 yards and 1 touchdown
K Jason Meyers, Jets
Myers enters this game with the badge of Special Teams Player of the Week. This is the level of performance Jaguars fans had hoped for, having missed only one field goal and one extra point all season.
The Minnesota Vikings have allowed 11 points to opposing kickers on the road, and after posting a ridiculous 24 fantasy points last week Jason Myers is on fire. I am penciling him for a good number of scoring opportunities to keep him in double digits.
Projection: 3 for 3 on field goals and 2 for 2 on extra points
All the Bills have is McCoy. You should easily feel comfortable streaming the Colts defense in every league format this week as the match up is just so good. A consistent pick with Ryan’s “Bet Your Mortgage” recommendation.
Projection: 13 points allowed, 2 turnovers, 3 sacks; one TD
*I’m including the London players for accountability. Hold us accountable.
QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
This may be bold, I know. Hear me out.
He produced just 14.3 fantasy points against a pretty good Browns defense, then they’re going to London to face the Titans who happen to average around 15 points per game versus opposing fantasy quarterbacks.
I expect a pretty good Melvin Gordon rush game in this one.
Projection: 245 yards passing, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception (as of this typing...missed this one)
QB Alex Smith, Redskins
Remember what I said a bit earlier about Smith?
This is the man the organization paid 90 plus million for? I bet they wish Cousins was still around. Maybe his only redeeming value is that he doesn’t throw bulk interceptions.
The Cowboys are ranked second in points allowed behind Baltimore. This defense is good (stop gloating Matt). They are also top 10 in passing yards and touchdowns allowed. Smith is going to have a poor fantasy day in what could be a low-scoring affair.
Projection: 205 yards passing with 1 touchdown
QB Blake Bortles, Jaguars
I guess you could say he plays better at home, but with only three games to pull from there is not comfort in that data.
He is on my sit list until he proves me wrong. Yes he beat the Patriots without Fournette, but the truth is that Bortles needs a running game. Maybe picking up Carlos Hyde will benefit him down the road, but the tough Texans defense knows that if they stop the run, they will beat the Jags.
Projection: 185 yards passing, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception
RB Dion Lewis, Titans
Dion Lewis has been a Fantasy disappoint this year, especially when you see that he’s getting the majority of the work. He has failed produce double digit fantasy points in four of the last five games and he his going to London to face a Chargers team whose defense that allowed only one top 25 running back performance (PPR) this season.....that was Todd Gurley.
Enough said, Lewis is no where near Gurley status. Sit him.
Projection: 45 rushing and 2 receptions for 17 yards (as of this typing we missed this one)
RB Adrain Peterson, Redskins
Peterson should dominate the backfield with Chris Thompson expected to be out. However, the Cowboys defense ranks seventh in rushing yards allowed per game. I very much expect Dallas to stuff the run.
Expect a subpar performance from him.
Projection: 74 yards rushing with 1 receptions for 11 yards
RB Lamar Miller, Texans
This pains me to say this as I am forced to start him, but the match up is not good against Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans offensive line is a mess, and the Jaguars defense comes into this game needing to prove they are better than what they showed in Dallas. The touches will be there but the question is can he do anything with it. I don’t think he does this week.
Projection: 52 total yards with 2 receptions
WR Cole Beasley, Cowboys
Let’s not get over excited by Cole Beasley’s career day last week. I believe that was an outlier, and he will go back to his normal fantasy dud self. To add some stats, the Washington Redskins have allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points per game to opposing slot receivers, which is where Beasley runs the majority of his routes.
Projection: 4 receptions for 47 yards
WR Tre’Quan Smith, Saints
Grab Smith off the waiver wire if you have a chance, especially with Ted Ginn going on IR. However, don’t start them this week as the Baltimore Ravens are one of the best defenses in football right. Their secondary is playing at a high level and I won’t be surprised if they hold Drew Brees in check. He is a high-risk high reward.
Do you feel lucky? Prior to last weekend he’d caught only one pass.
Projection: 3 receptions for 39 yards
WR Will Fuller, Texans
It appears Will Fuller is human. After having a pretty good start to the season, he goes back to a borderline flex play as he he’s produced a combined 8.8 fancy points in the last two games. He is also going up against Jacksonville Jaguars corners which are the best in the game. I’m not trusting any Texans wide receiver not named Hopkins.
Projection: 3 receptions for 36 yards
TE Hayden Hurst, Ravens
This may already be obvious but with so many teams on a bye and the position as thin as it is, it’s really hard to find three not obvious sits. I don’t think he will get enough playing time to justify starting him and the ravens may be still easing him in after that injury
Projection: 2 receptions for 25 yards
TE Charles Clay, Bills
The Bills quarterback situation is a mess. Josh Allen may not even play and it wasn’t like Clay was getting huge usage with Allen in the lineup. He caught four passes last week for only 20 yards I believe the Bills will try to target with Lesean McCoy or Kelvin Benjamin in the passing game which leaves Charles Clay to block
Projection: 2 receptions for 28 yards
K Ryan Succop, Chargers
He has been a fantasy stud of the kicker position this year but I think the Tennessee Titans will make him a dud. London games are typically low scoring and the Tennessee Titans have only allowed around seven fantasy points per game to opposing kickers.
Projection: 1 for 1 field goals and 2 for 2 extra points (as of this writing this looks like a winning sit, having under estimated by one field goal)
Mack is no Lawrence Taylor, Bill Belichick said it himself. At this point I’m staying away from any defense that plays the Patriots; That offense is back on track. The lone bright spot is that Gronk did not travel with the team so that’s one less weapon to worry about for the Bears.
But it’ll still be a very hard job stopping Brady and company.
Projection: 28 points allowed with 3 sacks and 1 turnover