While it is true that you cannot spell ‘elite’ without ‘eli’, we all know that Eli Manning is NOT elite. That was just atrocious to watch on a Thursday night. Pat Shurmur looked like he was going to kill somebody when Eli kept checking down to RB’s. But let’s move away from that atrocity of a game and focus on 4 games with some big fantasy implications this week…
Tampa Bay @ Atlanta
So this is going to be the Sunday Ticket game I have on my screen and I love scoring and this game should have a ton of it. Starting with the road team, Jameis Winston should be good to go coming off the bye week and ready to torch an Atlanta defense that… well… just isn’t any good at stopping anything. I believe if there was ever a week to start a Tampa RB, this would be it. And for sneaky value, I think Ronald Jones III should be the guy you play. I believe you should be starting all WR’s and healthy TE’s for Tampa as this game should just be another air raid. That means you should make sure to have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Desean Jackson, and Cameron Brate in your starting lineups. Again, neither team has much of a defense and Tampa is coming off a bye. Look for the OVER to hit pretty early in this one.
For the Falcons, you’re starting everyone from Matt Ryan to all three WR’s (Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu) and Austin Hooper in the passing game. I’m also starting Tevin Coleman as Devonta Freeman isn’t 100% and I think they give him another week off to get right health-wise. I know last week was frustrating for Jones owners as he again didn’t find the end zone and Hooper had 12 targets in the game. I think the corners for Tampa are simply worse than what the Steelers have and the game is in Atlanta. Matt Ryan has been a beast at home and I think all 4 of the receiving options should do fairly well in this one. Let us pray that Ito Smith doesn’t vulture another TD in this one.
Carolina @ Washington
So this game has a lot of intrigue to it. I’ll start with the home team in this one. Adrian Peterson is still a monster despite a shoulder injury and should be good to go in this one. This is a really rough season for RB depth and if you were lucky enough to grab him, you have to play him despite the lack of an ideal matchup. Alex Smith looked like absolute crap last week on MNF and the entire offense looked dreadful. That being said, he’s going to have a bounceback game in this one as it’s at home and Smith doesn’t have a history of putting back-to-back bad games out there. I think a name to keep in mind on your waiver wire is Maurice Harris. The rest of this receiving group is injured and Harris should see a TON of targets in this one.
The Panthers are interesting here as I love Cam Newton this week (as always) and sign me up for Christian McCaffrey every week in both standard and PPR formats. We’re going to see if Greg Olsen is back in the lineup probably Sunday morning. If he’s not good to go, look for rookie Ian Thomas (receiver of 6 targets last week) to get another handful of targets and a possible score. This has not been a great Devin Funchess year, but I think you still start him this week as the Panthers still haven’t fully incorporated DJ Moore into the lineup with a reputable amount of targets.
Pittsburgh @ Cincy
So just a heads up. I absolutely love Cincy in this spot and will be playing all of my Bengals in this game. Just so you’re aware of who that is and why: Andy Dalton should dominate this game against a Pitt D that isn’t good on the road. With Joe Mixon in the lineup, Dalton still averages over 240 yards and 2TD’s per game. Joe Haden isn’t equipped at this point in his career to handle the likes of a A.J. Green and that still leaves Tyler Boyd and John Ross a ton of room to operate. Ross is more of a trick-shot play that you’re hoping will land a 60-yard TD bomb to give you value. Boyd in PPR should be a beast for you. As for the TE position, everyone jumped all over the waiver wire for Tyler Kroft because of what he did last season with Tyler Eifert out. The funny thing is that C.J. Uzomah has actually had more targets, air yards, and routes ran compared to Kroft and makes me suggest Uzomah over Kroft if you’re desperate for TE help.
The Steelers have your normal starters that you’ll just play week in and week out. James Conner again will get close to 99% of the carries from the RB position in this game and you have to start him despite the tough matchup. Ben Roethlisberger is either going to throw for 350 yards and 4 TD’s or he’ll have 170 yards, 1 TD and 3 INT’s in this game. I don’t really see a middle ground. The Bengals defensive line is nasty and I expect Geno Atkins to get plenty of pressure on Big Ben in this one. You’re obviously starting Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster if you own them. I’m laying off James Washington and Vance McDonald in this one as the nickel corner spot and safeties for Cincy are better than anything Pitt has seen since the Baltimore game.
So this game has the makings to be downright ugly from a final score perspective. Arizona has a trash OL and an even worse OC in Mike McCoy. David Johnson has a total of 29 air yards this season and his runs are mostly up the middle for less than 2.5 yards per attempt. It’s painful. I hate it. Josh Rosen looks calm behind his poor OL and Larry Fitzgerald just isn’t getting the targets we were hoping for. Jermaine Gresham is seeing way too many targets compared to Ricky Seals-Jones and I could go on and on and on about how mismanaged the Arizona offensive weapons are. That being said, I still like Christian Kirk to do some damage in this game as Rosen clearly favors throwing to him and especially on deeper routes. Kirk has put up impressive air yard numbers this season and have only gotten better with each week Rosen is starting.
The Vikings should roll easily in this one and I think you still stay away from the RB’s here. Dalvin Cook still isn’t healthy and they just aren’t running the ball with Latavius Murray like we’d expect. Again, this is another high target game for Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs should be able to dominate the Arizona secondary. It’s also another week where Kirk Cousins should be a top-6 QB play and get roughly 300 yards and 3 TD’s. Based on targets this season, last week feels like an outlier for Kyle Rudolph as I expect him to see a bunch of targets as well this week and be worthy of a top-10 TE play.
That’s it for this week. Post in the comments section below if you have any questions about your lineups this week! Thanks for reading.