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.
After two weeks of playing lights out, Pat Mahomes is now a must start in all formats until proven otherwise.
QB Matt Stanford, Lions
After getting only nine fantasy points in week one, Stafford bounce back for 29 in week 2. Now he goes up against the Patriots on Sunday night football. The same patriots defense that got carved up by Blake Bortles for 377 yards and four touchdowns.
If Bortles can do that, expect the same from Matt, in a game that should see the Lions playing from behind. He’s already attempted 99 passes through two weeks!
Projection: 345 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception
QB Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Cousins went off for 400 Plus and 4 touchdowns last week. Now he faces the miserable Buffalo Bills. This may be the best advice I can give for the rest of the season: start whomever is facing the Bills.
I expect another multi-touchdown game this week from Kirk, and Cousins is borderline start every week.
Projections: 265 yards 3 touchdowns
QB Blake Bortles, Jaguars
The B train hits my start list this week. After having a career game last week, he gets the 24th rated Tennessee Titans defense.
Yes, he had a miserable game in Jacksonville last year, but historically Bortles plays well against the Titans. In his career against Tennessee he is averaging roughly 270 yards per game. Highest touchdown performance of his career was a five touchdown day against the Titans.
Side Note: he also had been averaging around 25 points per game when Fournette isn’t playing.
Projections: 242 passing yards, 32 rushing yards, and 2 touchdowns
RB Giovanni Bernard, Bengals
Look at this sample size. In 23 of 29 games in which Bernard has 15 plus touches he has scored at least 10 fantasy points. He is going to get the start replacing Joe Mixon (why do my running backs always get injured), and the Carolina Panthers is having trouble stopping running backs. Zeke carved them up in week one, and then Tevin Coleman had a good game last week.
Thomas Davis is expected to miss this game and that hurts the Panthers.
Projection: 107 total yards, with 3 receptions and 1 touchdown
RB Theo Riddick, Lions
Despite the rough start for the Lions, Theo Riddick is currently tied with Golden Tate in receptions with 14. At 7 receptions per game it is hard to sit Riddick. The tough thing about starting Riddick is the Lions have almost completely eliminated him from the running attack. He has four attempts on the season, all given last week.
That said, Stafford and Riddick make a nice pairing against a Patriots team needing to rebound after getting dominated by the Jaguars. As stated earlier, the Lions should be chasing points there. He is a nice flex option, and a RB3 reach.
Projection: 4 carries for 25 yards, 8 catches on 11 targets for 52 yards.
RB Matt Brieda, SF
He is he back to own for the Niners. The Chiefs have given up nine fantasy points on just receiving alone to opposing running backs (Gordon, Ekeler, James Conner). Add that with his rushing totals and I expect a good game from Brieda.
He had a 66 yard touchdown run last week so the big play potential is there, and he can prove he can handle the workload.
Projection: 13 carries for 75 yards, and 3 receptions for 29 yards with 1 touchdown
WR Will Fuller, Texans
All this man does is catch touchdowns. Watson feeds him like a new born baby. Fuller caught 8 passes on 9 targets last week, with a touchdown. He does not have an easy matchup, going against the Giants and their second rank pass defense, but playing at home I think he has a good game.
Projection: 6 receptions with 82 yards and 1 touchdown
WR Devin Funchess, Panthers
Greg Olsen is out but even when he was healthy Devon Funchess has been a target monster, along with Christian McCaffrey. For the season, Funchess is second on the team with 14 targets. Last week he saw 9 targets, catching 7 passes for 77 yards.
Against a bad Bengals defense, I have him getting a similar stat line but he gets a score!
Projection: 8 receptions with 85 yards and 1 touchdown
Any 49ers wide receivers (Garçon, Pettis, and maybe Goodwin (injury))
How bad is the Chiefs defense? 430 yards per game bad. They are so bad the next to last team is only giving up 377 yards per game (I’m looking at you Tampa Bay).
Kansas City has allowed 5 different receivers to either score or get 80 plus yards. I would be surprised if all the San Francisco receivers pull such a stat line. This game may be the highest scoring game of the week.
If you have to pick one, start Garçon.
Projections: Garçon 6 receptions with 92 yards and 2 touchdowns — Pettis 3 receptions with 45 yards and 1 touchdown — Goodwin (if he plays) 5 receptions with 81 yards
TE Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
Rudolph had a great game last week, posting a 14 point fantasy day. The matchup is so good as the Bills defense is so bad. More importantly, the Bills are horrible against the slot in which they’ve surrendered two touchdowns already.
Rudolph play roughly 40 snaps for the slot, so I easily expect a score for him this week.
Projection: 4 receptions for 47 yards and 1 touchdown
TE Trey Burton, Bears
I’m very disappointed in the amount of targets Burton is getting. I was expecting a lot more but, he’s making most of what he’s getting. Got a touchdown last week and he’s going up against the Arizona Cardinals who are atrocious against opposing fantasy tight ends. They are averaging 14 plus points per game to tight ends.
This game is going to be a blow out
Projection: 5 receptions with 44 yards and 1 touchdown
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals
Before you laugh, let me make a case for Seal. With the Cardinals scaling back the playbook so players can “think less on the field” (man is it bad in Arizona), this might actually help the offense.
12 Targets in two weeks that is tied with Rob Gronkowski and Evan Engram. They throw the ball to him, and I expect the Cardinals to be down so garbage time stats will happen here.
I’m also expecting a touchdown! I know shocker, Cardinals actually scoring! Heck, with a scaled back playbook, maybe this is a game where Rosen steps in.
Projection: 4 receptions for 42 yards and 1 touchdown
K Dan Bailey, Vikings
The only mystery was who would sign him. The man is the second most accurate kicker in NFL. He is on a high powered offense. He will kick field goals and extra points. Nothing really to explain here!
Projection: 2 for 2 on field goals, with 3 extra points
K Cody Parker, Bears
This is all match up as I expect this game to be up blow out. The Bears are going to score points and give Parker plenty of chances to score a fantasy points, He’s a shoe in for a couple of field goals in a couple extra points
Projection 2 for 2 on field goals, with 4 extra points
Dallas Cowboys Defense
Russel Willson deserves better than that offensive line, and the Cowboys front seven is underrated. They sacked Eli 6 times, and I think they will get more against the Seahawks. Seattle has given up 12 sacks this season.
Projection: 21 points allowed, 5 sacks, and 2 turnovers
Chicago Bears Defense
This is a product of not trusting the Arizona Cardinals offense. They haven’t shown me anything in terms of production and as stated above this game is going to be a blow out.
Projection: 10 points allowed, 4 sacks (2 from Mack), and 3 turnovers
QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Look, he isn’t the QB people thought he was going to be in fantasy. He was spoiled his rookie season. Yes, he played decent in the win against the Giants, but for fantasy consideration he only got 14 points (14.9 of you do decimals).
Fun fact: In the last ten games Prescott failed to get to 15 Fantasy points in 9 of them. Sit him every week until proven otherwise
Projection: 232 total yards with 1 touchdown
QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
I will honestly look at picking someone in waivers this week to replace Rivers. Now depending on the size of your league you may not be able to do that, therefore make sure your expectations are low as they play against the Rams. They haven’t allowed a passing touchdown in both of their games. I do think he breaks that, but it won’t be Rivers’ best game.
Projection: 285 yds with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions
QB Blaine Gabbert, Titans
It would not matter if it was Mariota getting the start. Whoever plays at QB for the Titans would be a bench recommendation against the Jags. Gabbert is just a more strenuous sit.
The Jaguars defense at home is practically unstoppable. They only allowed one top 15 performance at home in 2017 (Russell Wilson).
Oh, and don’t think for one moment the Jaguars defense forgot how Gabbert carved them up in Arizona last year.
Projection: 178 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception
RB LeSean McCoy, Bills
McCoy suffered rib cartilage damage last week, and while it is something he has played through before do not consider that hope worthy of a start.
The Bills offense is dreadful, and he his going up against the Vikings, one of the best defenses in the game. Why risk McCoy in a game that should be a blowout? Just like week one, I expect the Bills to be down early.
Latest report is that McCoy is a game time decision so I will give you stats, but I expect the Bills to rest him.
Projection: 65 total yards with 2 receptions
RB Derick Henry, Titans
Two reason why I am sitting Henry.
First, the matchup is so bad. Second, I believe the game script for the Titans will be like week one against the Dolphins. Expect a lot of Dion Lewis this week as the Titans will be down, and Lewis is their best pass catching back.
Start Henry at your own risk.
Projection: 14 carries for 45 yds with 1 reception for 5 yards
RB Alex Collins, Ravens
I know what I said last week.
Javorius Allen and Kenneth Dixon are not going away. Allen and Collins received the same amount of touches last week, with Allen the running back of choice for receptions. Also, Allen is seeing the goal line work which is absolutely detrimental to Collins fantasy value.
The Broncos are a very tough run defense, giving up the eighth fewest fantasy points per game against running backs.
Projection: 17 total touches for 92 yards and 3 receptions
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
You deserve so much better. You deserve Josh Rosen.
Such a shame for me to sit him this week, but Sam Bradford is horrible and that hurts his value. Additionally, he hurt his hamstring so he may not be 100 percent
The Bears are not a rebound defense.
Projection: 6 receptions for 56 yards
WR Brandon Marshall, Seahawks
He is a touchdown dependent player until proven otherwise. Tyler Lockett is the receiver to own for the Seahawks.
Marshall’s stat line was 4-44 on only six targets, which isn’t good. He is going up against a Dallas defense that has not given up a touchdown or more than 52 yards receiving, including OBJ.
Projection: 3 receptions for 46 yards
WR Mike Williams, Chargers
While he started on a high note generating 10+ fantasy points in the last two weeks, I don’t expect that type of performance this week. I see a lot of Marcus Peters highlights in this game.
Projection: 3 receptions for 26 yards
TE Tyler Eifert, Bengals
A mere 7 targets over the last two games. It is OK to be shocked.
He runs primarily in the slot and Carolina’s defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the slot so far this season. The target volume and matchup makes me want to sit him.
Projection: 3 receptions for 18 yards
TE Charles Clay, Bills
Clay used to be a stud in PPR leagues, but the Bills are in an offensive transition.
For some reason Clay is seeing just above 50% of the offensive snaps. He is also 31st in targets at his position. Maybe he becomes a target for Josh Allen, but it is wait and see for now.
Projection: 3 receptions for 39 yards
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars
I so want to be a believer and start him on a regular basis.
ASJ is touchdown dependent play that got a touchdown last week. However, this is not a favorable matchup.
The Titans, In the last 18 games, have only given up 5 touchdowns to the tight end position. I must stay away from ASJ.
Projection: 3 receptions for 34 yards
Pittsburgh Steelers Defense
I told you I drafted the Steelers because I liked their matchup in the first two weeks. It says enough that I replace them with the Browns.
In two games, the Bucs opponents have average just one point against them. The Steelers are imploding, and the Bucs are scary good on offense. Scary good. Pittsburgh 0-2-1?
Projection: 28 points allowed, 2 sacks and 1 turnover
Los Angeles Chargers Defense
The Rams offense is amazingly efficient. Opponents of the Rams, since 2017, have only averaged around 5 fantasy points a game. That isn’t a good stat for you Mr. Rivers.
Projection: 35 points allowed, 2 sacks, and 1 turnover
K Adam Vintateri, Colts
The Eagles are a tough defense, and Adam has single digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. Philadelphia has allowed three extra point and two field goals in two games this season.
Projection: 1 for 1 on field goals with 3 extra points
K Matt Prater, Lions
This is a product of the matchup versus New England. I expect a blowout and not many field goal opportunities for Prater. I’m also not happy that he’s 3 for 5 on field goals this season.
Projection: 1 for 2 on field goals with 2 extra points