As we march towards Week 14 and the start of the fantasy playoffs, this week will be a crucial one for many owners. With 6 NFL teams on bye, there are a bunch of stars that we need to find replacements for. We’ll be giving some extra attention to some players that wouldn’t normally ever sniff our starting lineups.
Let’s get to the rest of this week’s matchups, and talk about some players we should start, and those we should keep on our bench.
It’s been quite the ride this fantasy season with Jameis. While he is still the #10 QB in fantasy this season, we’ve seen some great performances against the Giants and the Rams, and we’ve seen some bad performances against the Panthers and the Titans. However, heading into Sunday, I’m confident we’ll see a great Jameis performance. He’ll face a Cardinals defense that ranks 28th in pass defense DVOA, 31st in passing success rate allowed, 27th in explosive pass rate allowed, and is coming off of a game in which they let Jimmy Garoppolo throw for 317 yards and 4 TD’s. Jameis is a great option this week.
On the other side of the ball in this game is Kyler Murray, who is another great starting option on Sunday. After a slow start to the year, Kyler finds himself quietly as the #7 QB in fantasy this season, thanks in part to the upside he brings with his rushing ability. The matchup this Sunday is a golden one for the rookie QB, as the Bucs rank 26th in pass defense DVOA, and 23rd in passing success rate allowed. It should be a shootout this week between the Cardinals and Bucs, and both QB’s should benefit greatly.
Hoyer’s status in fantasy this week is dependent on whether or not Jacoby Brissett will start after suffering a sprained MCL injury last Sunday against the Steelers. While Brissett has remained limited in practice all week, Hoyer might get the start at home against the Dolphins. If he does, he’ll be a very solid streaming option. Miami’s defense is not very #good, as they rank 32nd in pass defense DVOA. Even with the injury to T.Y. Hilton, Hoyer brings Top-12 upside, as evidenced by when he filled in last week and threw for 3 TD’s against Pittsburgh.
It hasn’t been a great season for Goff, who finds himself as the #17 QB in fantasy this year. And while I would point out that he’s played pretty well these past two weeks, it has come against Cincinnati and Atlanta, so… yeah, not really indicative to what he’s done this year. It’s a tough matchup on the road for Goff, as he’ll travel to the east coast to play the Steelers, who rank 6th in pass defense DVOA and 6th in passing success rate allowed. Our projections have him outside of the Top 15, which is a good indicator to where he should end up on Sunday. He’s not the worst option out there, but I don’t see any appeal here.
It’s been a season to forget for Mayfield and the Browns, as they currently sit at 2-6. While they are at home, this will be another tough test for the Browns. If there is a way to beat the Bills defense, it’s on the ground, as they rank 30th in rush defense DVOA, instead of through the air, where they rank 5th in pass defense DVOA. I’m expecting a tight, close game on Sunday that benefits Nick Chubb more than Mayfield or the receiving options for Cleveland.
It’s been a great season for Stafford in fantasy, as he currently sits as the #6 QB, and is coming off of another solid performance last week against Oakland, where he threw for 406 yards, 3 TD’s, and 1 INT. While Stafford has been very consistent all season long, I have my doubts about him this week as the Lions travel to Chicago to take on the Bears. While the Bears have been struggling all season long on offense, their defense is still playing very well, ranking 7th in pass defense DVOA, and 6th in explosive passing rate allowed. With our projections having him as the #16 QB, there are clearly better options on Sunday.
While he’s only found the endzone three times, it’s been a good season for Mack this year in fantasy, as he finds himself as the #15 RB. It’s a perfect game-script and matchup for Mack this week against the Miami Dolphins. First off, Miami ranks 31st in rush defense DVOA, and 26th in explosive rush rate allowed. Second, with the injury to Jacoby Brissett, Mack should get an increased workload even if he ends up going. Finally, with the blowout factor involved in this matchup, Mack should get plenty of work
if when the Colts find themselves up big early and often. I love me some Mack this week.
After a frustrating start to the season, Montgomery finally seems to have total control of this backfield, and has done well these past two weeks, rushing for 135 yards and 1 TD against the Chargers, and scoring twice against the Eagles last Sunday. I think the rookie will be able to continue his string of productive weeks this Sunday at home against the Lions. Detroit’s rush defense hasn’t been good all season, as they rank 28th in rushing success rate allowed. As the #10 projected RB, our projections think he’s gonna have success on Sunday as well.
After rushing for 115 yards on 15 carries, Ingram now finds himself as the #11 RB in fantasy this season, and just like the rest of the Ravens offense, he’s been productive all season long. It’s another great matchup for the veteran back, as he’ll face a Bengals rush defense that ranks 29th in rush defense DVOA, and 32nd in explosive rushing rate allowed.
After missing the past few weeks with an ankle injury, Johnson will make his return against Tampa Bay this Sunday. And while he’s returning to the field, he shouldn’t necessarily return to our starting lineups. We don’t know if he’s truly 100% ready to go, and we don’t know what the backfield split will be between him and Kenyan Drake. Even still, the matchup is as tough as they get, as he’ll face a Buccaneers defense that ranks 1st in rush defense DVOA, and 1st in rushing success rate allowed. Johnson is far from being a starting option this Sunday, unless you absolutely need him.
It hasn’t been a great season for Freeman, or the rest of the Falcons, for that matter, as he finds himself as the #29 back in fantasy. It’s another tough matchup for Freeman, as he’ll face division rivals New Orleans on the road, where the Saints rank 6th in both rush defense DVOA and rushing success rate allowed. Freeman is far from being a recommended start these days…
We all had high hopes for Johnson in the wake of the injury to Kerryon Johnson (no relation), and we’ve all been disappointed thus far. Through the past three weeks, Johnson has averaged 3.19 yards per attempt, and 0 TD’s. It’s another tough matchup for the rookie, as he’ll try to get something going against a Bears defense that ranks 12th in rushing success rate allowed, and 1st in explosive rushing rate allowed. Keep him on your bench.
Since returning in Week 5 from suspension, Tate has been a solid option in PPR leagues (and for the Giants too), as he’s averaged abut 6 receptions for 65 yards per game. This week, we can look to Tate for a strong performance against a Jets secondary that ranks 25th in pass defense DVOA, and 26th in passing success rate allowed. With Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard already ruled out, he should get an even bigger uptick in targets. Our projections have him as the #9 receiver this week, which is a good indicator to what we should expect from the veteran receiver this week.
As I mentioned above, this is a great matchup for the Cardinals passing game against Tampa Bay. Last week was one to forget for Kirk, as he only hauled in 2 catches for 8 yards on 5 targets. He should easily bounce back against a Bucs secondary that ranks 26th in pass defense DVOA. For most, he’s going to be a WR3/FLEX option, but there is a lot of upside this week for Kirk.
If you need a one-week plug-n-play option at receiver due to the amount of byes this week, Pascal is your guy. Whether or not Jacoby Brissett starts shouldn’t impact his fantasy stock this week, as the matchup is too good, and he should get a bunch of targets with the injury to T.Y. Hilton. Like Kirk, for most, he’s going to be a WR3/FLEX option, but the upside is there.
Not many fantasy owners would have drafted Odell as high as they did if they knew through 10 weeks he’d be the #26 receiver in fantasy, but such is the season so far for Odell and the Browns offense. It’s another tough matchup for Odell and this passing game against a stout Buffalo secondary. I think our projections have him too high, and I think he should remain on most benches this week.
Not only does Boyd have only 1 TD on the season, but with Ryan Finley in at QB, and against a tough Baltimore defense, Boyd is far from a recommended start this week. I don’t have much confidence in his ability to produce this Sunday.
While Metcalf absolutely exploded last Sunday against the Bucs, it’s a much tougher matchup this week against the 49ers, a secondary that ranks 1st in pass defense DVOA, 1st in passing success rate allowed, and 4th in explosive pass rate allowed. Our projections have him as the #33 WR this week, which indicates Rudy thinks that he’ll come back down to earth this Sunday.
In Week 6, Andrews put up 6 catches for 99 yards. While he has cooled off since then, another matchup against the Bungles should get Andrews back to what we expect of him.
If you need a streaming option, Rudolph is your man. He’s struggled all season long, but with a good matchup against Dallas on the horizon, Rudolph could see extra targets, especially with Thielen not being able to make it on Sunday. He’s a good long-shot if you’re struggling with byes at the position, or if you need a streamer.
He might not even play this week, but if he does, I still don’t know how interested I am. He hasn’t scored a TD since Week 4, and it’s not an easy matchup against the Bears defense.
Kickers and D/ST
Matt Gay (vs. ARI) – Razzball Projection:#2 K
It’s gonna be a shootout, and Gay should benefit from that.
Against Ryan Finley? Sign me up!
Jason Myers (@ SF) – Razzball Projection:#20 K
It should be a low-scoring game compared to last week, at least on the Seattle side of things, and I don’t think Myers is a must-start.
Their defensive unit has been decent this season, but against Jimmy GQ on the road, there are better matchups elsewhere.
Good luck to everyone in Week 3, and I will be back on Thursday for another edition of Ambulance Chasers!
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