With only one win until the holy grail, the fantasy championships, we need to focus on the task ahead: Play for next Sunday. There are a bunch of great matchups on the board this week, so let’s talk about some players we need to lock in our lineups, and those that need to stay on the bench.
Let’s get into this week’s Starts and Sits.
Garoppolo put together quite the performance last week against the Saints in a game that might win best of the year when it’s all said and done. Jimmy GQ ended the day with 349 yards, 4 TD’s, and 1 INT to cap off an electric game and performance. I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll be able to dice up the next NFC South opponent, at home, in the Atlanta Falcons. The Dirty Birds have struggled greatly at times on defense this year, and Garoppolo should have no issues dicing them up. He’s a Top-5 option this week.
While Winston has been very up-and-down during this year in real life football, in fantasy football, he’s been a top-5 QB on the season. This weeks sets up beautifully for Jaboo, who will face off against a Lions defense ranked 25th in pass defense DVOA, and 26th in passing success rate allowed. This game could end up being a shootout in the dome, and Winston should thrive in this environment. Our projection system likes him to finish as a Top-10 QB this week.
Tannehill has become one of the hottest QB’s these past few weeks, and he could turn into a league-winner for most. Weird, right? Well, Tannehill performed quite well last week against the Raiders, throwing for 391 yards, 3 TD’s, and 1 INT. This week, in a game that could help decide the AFC South crown, Tannehill will go against a Texans defense that just gave up a huge game to rookie Drew Lock, and on the year, ranks 27th in pass defense DVOA, and 27th in explosive passing rate allowed since Week 11. It’s setting up well for Tannehill as he could get many of us into the fantasy football championship game.
Allen had a mediocre performance against the Ravens last week, and while he didn’t do terrible, it wasn’t enough to convince me that he’ll be able to follow it up with a great performance against another tough defense in the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have had a very impressive year on defense, ranking 4th in both pass and rush defense DVOA, as well as 2nd in passing success rate allowed since Week 11. Allen isn’t worth using in the playoffs right now.
Cousins cooled off a bit last week against Detroit, and while he is getting Adam Thielen back for the first time in ages, I don’t think he’s worth using this week. Our projections have him outside of the Top 20, and with the Chargers’ defense ranking 6th in explosive passing rate allowed, limiting big plays, yet ranking 23rd in rush defense DVOA, I think this could end up being another Dalvin Cook game, especially when the Vikings get out to an early lead. I just don’t see Cousins having a high ceiling this week.
Ryan had a solid performance against the Panthers last week, throwing for 313 yards and 2 TD’s. This week’s matchup is going to be much tougher for the Falcons, as they will try to perform well against a 49ers defense that ranks 2nd in pass defense DVOA. I said the same thing last week for the Saints, but I don’t have any confidence in an offense that has been very boom-or-bust all season long, and have just lost their #2 receiver in Calvin Ridley for the year. Ryan can’t be trusted in the playoffs on the road here.
Thanks to the injury to Rashaad Penny, Carson should be in line for a huge workload against a Panthers defense that ranks 29th in rushing success rate allowed, and 32nd in explosive rushing rate allowed. Need I say more?
While Drake hasn’t been super successful these past few weeks, what’s really helped him out is the fact that he’s averaged 12.5 rushes and 4.3 receptions per game since Week 10. With those numbers, we can say that Drake should find success against a Browns defense that ranks 25th in rush defense DVOA, and 29th in explosive rushing rate allowed. Drake is a very viable RB2/flex option this week.
This is obviously depending on the status of Josh Jacobs, but if he is unable to go, then Washington will step into this Oakland backfield with a huge opportunity against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has struggled greatly the entire year against the run, ranking 31st in rush defense DVOA, and 30th in explosive rushing rate allowed. Both Washington, and even Jacobs (if he plays) have a great opportunity ahead of them on Sunday.
McCoy hasn’t been super reliable these past few weeks, and against a Broncos defense that has guarded against the run well all season long, there are better options elsewhere.
Not only does the Saints defense rank 10th in rush defense DVOA, but with the fact that Mack barely operates in the passing game, his ceiling and floor are lowered a bit, and it isn’t worth starting him this Sunday.
Well, I liked Freeman to get active last Sunday against the Panthers, and he did, scoring his first rushing touchdown on the year. Well, do I like him again this week? Negative. This is a tough 49ers defense that ranks 9th in rush defense DVOA, and Freeman is back to being a bench option until the next great matchup comes along, which might happen next week against the Jaguars.
Landry has been pretty darn good these past few weeks, averaging 6.7 catches for 100 yards and 0.7 TD’s over the past 3 games. He should be able to remain productive this Sunday against a Cardinals secondary that ranks 29th in pass defense DVOA, 32nd in passing success rate allowed, and 30th in explosive passing rate allowed. Juice should have no issues continuing his mini streak, and is firmly a Top-10 receiver this week.
In his two games so far with David Blough, Golladay has averaged 5/108/1 per game. It’s a small sample size, sure, but Golladay is clearly clicking with the young QB, and they should be able to continue to develop over the remaining few weeks of the season. This week, Golladay should have ample opportunity to produce against a Bucs defense that has struggled at times in the secondary this year. Golladay has Top-10 upside once again this Sunday.
Brown went absolutely off this past week against the Raiders, hauling in 5 catches for 153 yards and 2 TD’s. While it’ll take a lot for him to repeat this performance, the Texans could make it easy for him, as they rank 27th in pass defense DVOA, and 21st in explosive passing rate allowed. Even if he doesn’t go for 153 yards and 2 TD’s, this is a matchup to exploit, and Brown could help a lot of owners reach the finals next week.
Boyd will have the daunting task of facing the Patriots secondary this Sunday, a unit that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers all year. I don’t really have any interest in starting Boyd this week.
Like I mentioned above with Allen, the Bills offense didn’t totally disappoint last week against the Ravens, but I don’t have much faith in this passing game on the road on Sunday Night in Pittsburgh.
Thanks to the multitude of injuries at the receiver position for Philadelphia, Goedert has quietly been a nice security blanket for Carson Wentz. This is a matchup to take advantage of, and if you need a streaming option, Goedert is a quality pick.
Njoku was very quiet in his first game back from injury last Sunday, but I don’t think he’ll stay quiet this Sunday. The Cardinals have struggled against Tight Ends all season long, and Njoku is a nice little sleeper option at the position.
Kickers and D/ST
Robbie Gould (vs. ATL) – Razzball Projection: #2 K
This might be a contrarian opinion, but while Lock did do quite well these past few weeks, he’ll be on the road in a very hostile environment at Arrowhead, and Vegas doesn’t have the Broncos team total very high. The rookie could struggle quite a bit in this one.
Eddy Pinero (@ GB) – Razzball Projection: #27 K
It’ll be very cold and very windy on Sunday in Lambeau, and Pinero isn’t a quality option.
Good enough unit, but the Vikings will have too much success on Sunday.
Good luck to everyone this week, and I will be back on Thursday for another edition of Ambulance Chasers!
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