God this is my favorite time of the year. Pumpkin beer on the shelves. Hoodie and shorts temperatures outside. Baseball playoffs. NHL regular season is underway. And last but not least, it is key waiver wire time for fantasy football season. The window where the top teams rise and the bad teams take their rightful place in the basement of the standings. For now, let’s preview the games coming up this week as I have tickets to see Venom later tonight and I have no idea whether Tom Hardy can top the impeccable performance that Topher Grace had playing Eddie Brock all those years ago.
So this game figures to be an absolute shootout. The Falcons can’t play defense at all and the Steelers made Joe Flacco look elite. Starting with the Falcons here, Matt Ryan is another top-5 QB play this week as Julio Jones is currently on pass to break the record for most receiving yards in a single season (502 yards through 4 games; over 2000 yards if you project that over 16 games) and somehow still hasn’t found the end zone yet. Look for that to change this week as I think he finds it twice and ends the week as WR1. Calvin Ridley keeps getting wide open and I expect that to happen again quite a bit. Mohammad Sanu also had 11 targets last week so as a Flex option, he should absolutely be on your radar as this should be a high-scoring affair. Devonta Freeman is expected to be back, so say goodbye to the good times of having Tevin Coleman in your lineups. Austin Hooper could be a good waiver wire stream for those of you who own Trey Burton. The Steelers stink on defense and their current LB group looked completely lost against the Ravens last week and the Bucs the week before that.
The Steelers have been almost exclusively a passing team the past few weeks and I don’t see that changing much. Ben Roethlisberger has had pretty stormy starts to the games and they might find themselves down 14-0 before they blink. Look for Antonio Brown to put on a show in this one and for Vance McDonald to truck stick at least 2 defenders in this game. I like JuJu Smith-Schuster to also have over 100 yards in this one and for James Washington to have a 70+ yard TD bomb. I’m a little bit down on James Connor this week as the Steelers should be throwing the ball for most of this game.
Starting with the Giants, Eli Manning is being efficient in his passing game, but frankly isn’t pushing the ball down the field enough. I don’t expect that to change that much this week which is why I’m skeptical of Odell Beckham Jr returning the form this week, even with Sterling Shepard on the injury report. You’re obviously going to be playing Saquon Barkley because Eli loves just dumping the ball off. Other than those guys, you’re not actually starting anybody on this Giants roster or even having them on your bench. I don’t see the Giants scoring too much in this one.
The Panthers should roll in this one. I’m all in on Christian McCaffrey being RB1 this week. He had 25 carries last week and still saw action in the passing game. Cam Newton should have another monster game against a pass rush that doesn’t really exist for the Giants. I’m curious to see how DJ Moore will be utilized in the passing game coming out of the bye week. I think he’s due for 8 targets in this one, so should be a good option for DFS. Obviously you’re curious about Devin Funchess this week, and I think he’s a WR3 on an average team at this point. He just hasn’t had the target share necessary to warrant anything higher.
Obviously Aaron Rodgers is starting for you. I am worried about him this week with Davonte Adams popping up on the injury report in the later part of the week and Geronimo Allison going through concussion protocol. The stage is set for a true Jimmy Graham game, who did in fact have a TD in their stomping of the Bills last week. The real question about the Packers offense is which RB do you want. Based on the comments of Rodgers this past week and the on-field production, you have to think Aaron Jones is the guy you want here. I’m not sure I can start Ty Montgomery or Jamaal Williams unless Jones gets injured.
The Lions are actually a fascinating case of a coach not using his best player at a certain position enough. Kerryon Johnson is easily the best RB on this roster, but LeGarrate Blount keeps getting equal touches. I’m starting Johnson this week as he’s been a monster every time he touches the rock. You have to love Matt Stafford in this spot at home to put up big numbers. I’m looking at Kenny Golladay as the guy I’m most excited for this week. Golden Tate was a beast last week and you have to start him if you own him. I would only use Marvin Jones Jr this week if I had another WR on bye and I needed a body for the flex. His target share just isn’t there yet.
The Titans showed off some offensive brilliance last week in their OT win over the reigning Super Bowl Champs. Marcus Mariota was an animal in the passing game and I don’t see how he isn’t starting this week for you if you own him. The Bills just aren’t good at stopping opposing QB’s who have an ounce of mobility. We finally saw the coming out party for Corey Davis and he should be started in all formats. The target share isn’t there for you to get cute and start Jonnu Smith as the Bills have actually done somewhat well against the TE position. I do think this is a game where if you were to take a flyer, Taywan Taylor is a guy to keep an eye on. The Bills struggle against WR2’s and he has enough speed to burn the left side of the secondary in Buffalo. If there was ever a week where you could start both RB’s on this team, it’s this week. Both Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis should see enough volume to be worthy of a spot on your starting roster (and you all know how much I don’t like playing Henry).
Nope. Nada. Nothing. No chance. You couldn’t pay me to play a Bills player this week. LeSean McCoy is on pace to have under 375 yards rushing this year. Josh Allen can’t handle more than 4 people rushing him. Kelvin Benjamin can’t catch a contested ball and wears defenders in coverage like a Snuggie on a cold winter night. Zay Jones doesn’t get targeted until the 4th quarter and even then doesn’t sniff the end zone. Robert Foster is always 0.5 yards away from catching a big pass, but never actually able to bring it in. This is one of those offenses where you almost have to stream the Titans D/ST this week.
Jags @ Chiefs
Blake Bortles should be started in all formats. Yeah. I said it. No Leonard Fournette in this one, so you can go ahead and start both Corey Grant and TJ Yeldon, who are both more efficient in running and receiving than Fournette (maybe drafting a RB 4th overall in the draft wasn’t a great idea). On the outside, I’m in love with Keelan Cole this week. Just get ready for a ton of usage from him in this one as the Chiefs secondary is almost as bad as the Bills offense. You’re more than happy sliding Dede Westbrook into a starting roll as well as he’s had 8+ targets in 2 straight games.
So here’s the thing about this matchup. I actually think the Chiefs offense struggles in this one. It’s easily the toughest defense they’ve played this season, and Sammy Watkins isn’t 100% healthy. The Jags also have elite pass-defending LB’s, making it even more difficult for Travis Kelce to do his thing. We’re all waiting for the Tyreek Hill – Jalen Ramsay matchup in this one. I think no matter what, you have to start Patrick Mahomes despite the opponent and his Kermit-the-Frog voice.
That’s it this week for my reads on some matchups this week. Post below for lineup questions and I’ll try and answer as quickly as I can.