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 and I are accustomed to scraping the sides of the barrel to get you players for the desperate fantasy coach. Not tonight! Finally a Thursday night game where we are not shopping from the bargain bin.
Yes, I am starting Big Ben. I just hope you all have stronger teams than I do, consisting of more than just Ben.
I’m not going to waste your time arguing stats on obvious starters. You are going to start Big Ben, Cam, Conner, AB, Juju, McCaffrey. So instead of starts I am giving you my sleeper picks and of course I’ll lay out my sits...spoiler alert, not very many.
Vanity requires me to give you stud stats straight up.
Projections for Studs
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Projection: 305 yards passing with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception
QB Cam Newton, Panthers
Projection: 282 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and 45 yards rushing
RB James Conner, Steelers
Projection: 152 total yards with 4 receptions and 1 touchdown
RB Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
Projection: 15 rushes for 82 yards with 5 receptions for 45 yards and 1 receiving touchdown
WR Antonio Brown, Steelers
Projection: 7 receptions for 69 yards and 1 touchdown
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers
Projection: 5 receptions for 60 yards and 1 touchdown
TE Vance McDonald, Steelers
The Carolina Panthers have given up the most points to opposing tightends. Vance may not be a consistent start in any league format but this week he is most definitely a sleeper start, especially in deeper leagues.
Projection: 4 receptions for 62 yards and 1 touchdown
TE Greg Olsen, Panthers
He has had a rocky season battling injuries, but he was a sick one handed catch last week for a touchdown. The Steelers have given up 53 receptions to tight ends this season so he may have another sneaky good performance.
Projection: 5-51-1 touchdown
WR Devin Funchess, Panthers
He has finished between 40 and 80 yards in every game except one, so he is getting targets, I think he will get closer to 80 against the poor Pittsburgh Defense.
Projection: 6 receptions for 75 yards
K Graham Gano, Panthers
He has only attempted 11 field goals, but he hasn’t missed one. He is in an offense that moves. You just have to hope the Steelers stop them so he can kick field goals instead of PATs. I think you will get that wish.
Projection: 2 for 3 on field goals and 3 for 3 on extra points
K Chris Boswell, Steelers
This game currently has an over under of 51.5. Expect a high scoring affair. Go with either kicker.
Projection: 2 for 2 on field goals and 3 for 3 on extra points
WR DJ Moore, Panthers
He touched the ball twice last week and that was against Tampa Bay and their horrible passing defense. This offense doesn’t give him enough action to start him comfortably.
Projection: 3 receptions for 33 yards
WR Curtis Samuel, Panthers
He showed his athleticism with a crazy reverse where he juked everyone and took it to the house. However, that was the only thing he has done this reason. He hasn’t created a steady role in this offense.
Projection: 3 receptions for 35 yards
TE Jesse James, Steelers
He is getting outplayed by Mcdonald and only got three targets last week. Not very appealing numbers in terms of fantasy. Sit him. Forever.
Projection: 2 receptions for 25 yards
Panthers and Steelers Defenses
Rember that over/under I was talking about? Look away from these defenses. Better options await you on Sunday.
Projection Steelers: 31 points allowed with 2 sacks and 1 turnover
Projection Panthers: 34 points allowed with 4 sacks and 2 turnovers