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.
Matt responded to my lack of faith in Andrew Luck. I fully expected this.
Let me start out by saying that Brian means well. He is one hell of a writer, and turns my words into a magical reading. One might think an award winning author wrote. He is blinded by his team defense. He is a die hard Jags fine, so his rash projection of Luck was clouded by love for his team. I look, from the outside looking in, and I see a defense detrimentally affect by injuries and their front seven not pressuring the the QB at all. That is the Jags defense’s strength: getting the the QB. Jalen is an all pro CB but he owes that to that front seven. He wasn’t an all pro when he was a rookie. It is a lot easier to cover a QB for 3 seconds than 6. So give Brian a break...he has a great beard and a great football fan. Now let’s get you guys into the playoffs with my start sit!
I hate you Jaguars defense.
RB Alex Collins, Ravens
Lamar Jackson is starting, and I fully expect the Ravens to lean heavy on the running game. The question will be how much running back by committee coach Harbaugh will use. The Bengals defense has given up the 5th most touchdowns to opposing running backs, and Collins is that back who will get the goal line touches. He has scored three of the last four games, and today he looks like a sneaky play.
Projection: 65 yards rushing with 2 touchdowns
FANTASTY STUD MUST START
QB Jared Goff, Rams
This Monday night game is going to be insane. I project both teams getting 40 plus. Goff has been killing it, posting 21 point or more over the last three weeks. Your roster would be embarrassingly deep to debate starting Goff, especially with a matchup like this.
Projection: 345 yards passing with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception
QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys
I feel nauseous writing this, as I am a diehard Cowboys fan. I absolutely believe Prescott is not the answer. However, he played amazing last week against the Eagles, and I think he’s a pretty good streamer this week for the quarterback position with the six teams on a bye. Scoring 20 points in three of last four,
Cross my fingers and ride him this week as a favorable bye week fill.
BRIAN’S NOTE: Don’t feel bad Matt. Dak’s been added to roughly 15% of the fantasy rosters across platforms.
Projection: 242 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, with 45 yards rushing
QB Eli Manning, Giants
Repeat after me: He is a bye week filler.
Look at his opponent. Tampa Bay is the worst defense against the pass. The Bucs defense has given up 23 passing touchdowns, which is dead last in the NFL. You can almost guarantee a three touchdown performance, with two of them going to Odell.
BRIAN’S NOTE: My love for Ryan Fitzpatrick compels me to tell you to start him, especially with Tampa surely playing from behind. I like him to put up a similar stat line to Eli’s.
Projection: 315 yards passing with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception
RB Dion Lewis, Titans
So Derrick Henry shows up after a four week absence??!!!
OK, I was wrong about Dion Lewis last week as he tremendously underperformed against his former team… My bad! He still is touching the ball an average of 21 times since Week 7. To add some icing to this start cake, the Colts average about 10 targets to opposing running backs, and about 8 catches to said running backs. I like him to rebound here!
Projection: 55 yards rushing and 6 receptions for 42 yards and 1 receving touchdowns
RB Theo Riddick, Lions
Marvin Jones is out! I think Riddick benefits from his abscense with more targets. He was already the pass catching back to begin with, and with the Lions playing the Panthers, perhaps a negative game script early on finds him with a greater payload.
He is a good RB2 candidate in PPR leagues.
Projection: 9 receptions for 65 yards with 11 yards rushing
RB Lamar Miller, Texans
I am getting a lot of people saying he should be a sit this week and I’m shocked. I get it. He had a dud last week and lost some touches. Bill O’Brien will run the ball as he likes to develop his offense through the ground game. I think Miller gets 18 touches or more this game. I like his chances of getting into the endzone. I’m starting him!
Projection: 71 rushing, 1 touchdown with 2 receptions for 21 yards
WR Robert Woods, Rams
If you don’t own Woods you’re not going to get him apart from a trade, and now you’re going to pay big.
Cooper Kupp is done for the year, and when he was out earlier this season Woods went off. To me Woods is a must start every week going forward. Rams go against the Chiefs in one of the biggest over/under lines. in a long time. I predict both teams go over 40 points.
Woods will have a monster game.
Projection: 8 receptions for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns
WR Kenny Golladay, Lions
We did not recommend starting Matt Stanford, but if you need someone to cover your bye week quarterbacked, look to Golladay’s production to make Stamford an option.
He saw 13 targets last week and should see a monster workload against the Panthers. I expect the Lions to be down and needing to throw to chase points. I expect a huge 20 plus point performance from him
Projection: 8 receptions for 96 yards and 1 touchdown
WR Sterling Shepard, Giants
If you have Odell you’re starting him. If you don’t, the matchup favors an opportunity to see Shepard as a WR2 roster addition.
He only had nine receiving yards last week, but he had a touchdown! His three targets was a season low, and you should expect a bigger performance this week against the horrible pass defense of the Bucs. He has a streamer appeal this week with all the teams on byes.
Projection: 5 receptions for 61 yards and 1 touchdown
TE Austin Hooper, Falcons
Picking up Hooper last year in my keeper league has paid off.
Hooper went off last week, catching 10 balls for 56 yards and a touchdown. I think he will continue his hot streak against the Cowboys who have given up 51 catches to the position, 8th hightest in the NFL, including 14 last week from Zach Ertz.
After a slow start, Austin has seen over 10 targets in three of the last five games.
Projection: 5 receptions for 45 yards and 1 touchdown
TE Jack Doyle, Colts
I know Ebron went off last week, but Jack still lead the tight-ends in snaps and was one yard away from a touchdown. The Titans have been vulnerable to the position especially when they play against a stud TE, case in point Ertz went off for 10-112.
Calling for a touchdown is risky considering the Titans have not allowed a touchdown to the position this season, but with Luck playing elite look for that to change.
Projection: 7 receptions 65 yards and 1 touchdown
K Will Lutz, Saints
Drew Brees. Alvin Kamara. Honestly, I feel it’s an easy out to recommend this obvious start.
Pretty self explanatory here folks, Saints will move the ball and he will get plenty of options to get the ball. You’re only worry is how efficient the Saints machine will be.
Projection: 2 for 2 on field goals and 4 for 4 on extra points
Arizona Cardinals Defense
Did you know the Cardinals field the 15th best defense in the league?
Oh, they’re playing against the Raiders. Every team defense is a stud against the Raiders. Carr has been sacked 12 times over the last four weeks, and the Cardinals rank 6th in the league with 29.
Cardinals should thrive.
Projection: 14 points allowed with 5 sacks, 1 turnover, and 1 defensive touchdown
FANTASTY STUD MUST SIT
QB Kirk Cousin, Vikings
This hurts me. The Cousins love is real, especially for Matt as Kirk is his Dynasty QB! However, you have to sit him.
This week against a tough Bears defense at home, who are allowing only15 fantasy points to opposing QBs, you need to find a better options. The only outlier is Aaron Rodgers in week 1. Add to that the absence of a running game, Kirk and company may struggle for points.
Projection: 223 yards passing with 1 touchdown, 1 interception, and 1 fumble
QB Alex Smith, Redskins
I edited what Matt added about Alex, but suffice to say he’s happy to be recommending this sit.
Smith is completely overrated ever since he came into the league. Maybe Matt’s loathing is partly because he is a Recskin.
So let’s add some data. 12.7 points against the Bucs! The worst pass defense. Now he faces the Texans and their 15.4 fantasy points allowed to opposing QB. Sit!
Projection: 215 yards passing with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions
QB Andy Dalton, Bengals
Remember when I was so high on Dalton in previous weeks. That crash and burn. After posting his worst stat line against the Saints (6.9 points), he goes up against the Baltimore Ravens and their tough defense.
Look, I’ve written about riding Andy while you can. Historically he hits that wall, and you find someone to replace him. The time is upon us.
Also, A.J. Green is inactive again. The TCU product is a sit this week.
Projection: 225 yards passing with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions
RB Adrian Peterson, Redskins
He has failed to score nine points in back to back weeks and I think that streak continues barring any one yard touchdown grabs. The offensive line is in shambles with half of their line on IR. The Texans also allow only 3.5 yards per rush. Must sit.
Projection: 65 rush yards with 2 receptions for 11 yards
RB Marlon Mack, Colts
The Titans have been tough against the run. They haven’t allowed a running back to get a touchdown on the road. Hard matchup equals lower expectations for Mack.
I like Matt’s stat line, but I also see Mack as a possible RB3 in PPR leagues if you need something. He could steal a touchdown, but you’re probably desperate if you’re hoping for that.
Projection: 75 yards rushing with 2 receptions for 15 yards.
RB Wendell Smallwood, Eagles
He is losing touches to Clement and Adams. That backfield is too unpredictable to guess which back will succeed. Too many mouths to feed and a negative game script may abandon all three of them.
Honestly, anything outside of the Eagles trinity of talent on the offensive side of ball are sits based on how the team is performing.
Projection: 20 rushing yards with 2 recpetions for 12 yards
WR Michael Crabtree, Ravens
I mean he has a good matchup but his lack of production as of late is troublesome. John Brown is the guy to own and even with the huge bye. I would not risk starting Crabtree who can’t get past 66 yards (only once!)
Maybe you want to gamble on Crabtree with Lamar Jackson starting at quarterback. Go for it. I wouldn’t. Ravens will run, run, run.
Projection: 5 receptions for 51 yards
WR John Ross, Bengals
If there was a time to breakout it would have been last week right? Saints defense isn’t really that good, no AJ Green, and Ross has 4.21 speed! But he didn’t, mostly because of Dalton, but he did get a touchdown. I don’t trust Dalton this week and I feel they may run the ball more this game with Nixon. Sit Ross
Projection: 3 recpetions for 31 yards
WR DeSean Jackson, Bucs
He really disappointed me last week, I was all in on him! It was a revenge game and I was thinking two touchdowns but he just got five catches for 67 yards. I don’t like his chances to succeed to me, and he is a touchdown or bust candidate.
BRIAN’S NOTE: I actually view Jackson as a sit, with Fitzpatrick and him hooking up for a score. Soft WR2 start if you’re desprate.
Projection: 6 receptions for 61 yards
TE Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
Hard sit here as Kyle is one of the better at the position. Sadly, his stat line with Cousins at the helm has not rewarded fantasy owners.
The Bears have given up 8th fewest points to the position. Look somewhere else for a tight-end if you can. If not, let’s hope for a Rudolph Redzone TD.
Projection: 4 receptions for 53 yards
TE Jordan Reed, Redskins
It seems I can’t go one week without bashing Alex Smith. Jordan Reed is the best player on the team and Alex Smith doesn’t throw him the ball. Yet Alex Smith was a better option than Kurt cousins, #shakingmyhead. He has failed to reach double digit points in five of his last six and night not fair well against the Texans.
Projection: 4 recpetions for 52 yards
K Brandon McManus, Broncos
He has failed to produce 8 fantasy points in four of his last five. Offense is not doing him any favors.
Projection: 1 for 1 on field goals and 2 for 2 on extra points
I can’t argue with Matt’s sit. I’m actually predicting the Steelers to exceed 40 points.
Did you read that Jalen Ramsey might be on the trading block at season’s end. The Jaguars organization released a statement that there is zero credibility to this rumor.
Team chemistry is shot. I don’t know who to believe.
Projection: 32 points allowed with 3 sacks and 1 turnover