Hi, y'all! Five weeks of NFL action are in the books and we're moving on to another. Welcome to our Week 6 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. Each week we'll be analyzing every game from the Sunday slate, helping you optimize your fantasy lineups and take down your opponent. Be sure to check back regularly for any updates on player injuries or other pertinent information.
Frank Ammirante will start off by covering the first set of games that begin at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, and Justin Carter will take you home with his analysis of the late afternoon and evening games. You can also read about the Cardinals vs Cowboys and Chiefs vs Bills Monday Night Football matchups. Let's help guide you to that Week 6 victory!
Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games
Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers
Matchups We Love:
David Montgomery (RB, CHI)
The Carolina Panthers have established themselves as a run-funnel defense, allowing the most PPR PPG to running backs. Last week, Todd Gurley ran for 121 yards and one touchdown on 14 attempts, while catching 4-of-5 targets for 29 yards. David Montgomery has received bell-cow usage since Tarik Cohen's injury, so this is a potential RB1 spot for the sophomore back.
Mike Davis (RB, CAR)
Mike Davis has put up elite RB1 numbers while filling in for Christian McCaffrey. Davis takes on a Bears Defense that just allowed Ronald Jones to rush for 106 yards on 17 attempts, so this is not a matchup to avoid, especially for one of the hottest backs in football. Enjoy the RB1 production because this could be the last week before CMC returns.
Matchups We Hate:
Jimmy Graham (TE, CHI)
The Panthers have allowed the 10th-fewest points to tight ends. Last week, this defense shut down Hayden Hurst, limiting him to only 2 catches for 8 yards. Jimmy Graham is a touchdown-dependent streamer with Nick Foles under center, so you can avoid him in this tough matchup.
Teddy Bridgewater (QB, CAR)
Bridgewater takes on a Bears defense that limited Tom Brady to 253 yards on 41 attempts (6.2 yards per attempt) last week. The Bears defense is tied for 1st in PPG to quarterbacks, so this is a matchup to avoid. Expect the Panthers to lean more on check-downs to Mike Davis in this one, which caps Bridgewater's upside.
Allen Robinson (WR, CHI)
Robinson is now a clear-cut WR1 with Nick Foles, totaling 39 targets in the last three games, but this is a tough matchup. The Panthers have allowed the sixth-fewest PPR PPG to wide receivers. The high volume keeps Robinson on the WR1 radar, but he's more of a floor play this week.
Anderson has become Bridgewater's favorite option in the passing game, while Moore has become more of a deep-threat in this offense. The Bears have allowed the third-fewest PPR PPG to wide receivers, so Anderson is the preferred choice since he's getting more of the targets. Consider Anderson as the low-end WR2 with Moore as an upside WR3.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Matchups We Love:
The Steelers are tied for 27th with the most PPR PPG allowed to wide receivers. This defense just allowed Travis Fulgham to go off for 10 receptions, 152 yards, and a touchdown. One of these Browns receivers should be able to get loose against this Steelers secondary. OBJ (17 targets in last two games) and Landry (15 targets in last two games) are starting to get more looks and this is a great spot for them.
Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)
Big Ben has quietly been rock-solid so far this season, with two top-12 finishes in his four games (both as QB11). The Browns rank 28th in PPG to quarterbacks, so this is an exploitable matchup at home. This should be a close game with shootout potential (51-point total), so fire up Roethlisberger.
The Browns rank 31st in PPR PPG to wide receivers, so this is a great spot here. Diontae Johnson missed practice on Wednesday, so if he were to miss this game, Claypool and JuJu would be strong options. Claypool is coming off a monster game, but we could see the Steelers try to get JuJu more involved this week (only 10 targets in last two games). JuJu mostly lines up in the slot and the Browns allowed CeeDee Lamb (5 receptions for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns) to have a big game against them. Consider Claypool an upside WR3 with JuJu as a low-end WR2.
Matchups We Hate:
Kareem Hunt (RB, CLE)
Hunt remains an RB1 in this one, but he's more of a floor play against a Steelers Defense that has allowed the third-fewest PPR PPG to running backs. Hunt will need to do more work in the passing game in order to reach his ceiling in this game, so I'd temper your expectations here.
Austin Hooper (TE, CLE)
I expect the Browns to funnel targets to their wide receivers in this one, as the Steelers have been stout against tight ends, allowing the 8th-fewest PPR PPG to the position on the season. While Hooper has seen his role increased in recent weeks (17 targets in last two games), this is a matchup to avoid - the Steelers just limited Zach Ertz to one reception for 6 yards.
James Conner (RB, PIT)
The Browns have been stout against the run, limiting opposing rushers to 3.70 yards per carry (6th in NFL). I expect the Steelers to air it out in this one, so Conner will need to find the endzone in order to have a big game here. Consider Conner a volume-based RB2 in this game.
Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)
Mayfield could have one of his better games of the season in this potential shootout, but it's hard to love him as a streamer because he's been mediocre this year - four of his five games have been under 7.0 yards per attempt. While I don't hate this play because I like the outlook for the wide receivers, I'm not excited about it either.
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings
Matchups We Love:
Ridley is in a great spot against a Vikings Defense that is tied for the fifth-most PPR PPG to wide receivers. You can toss the goose egg against the Packers out of the window because Ridley was banged-up in that game. Julio Jones returns to the lineup just in time for this great matchup. He's no longer on the injury report, so you should have no reservations about playing him this week. Both Falcons receivers are WR1s.
Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)
Cousins has disappointed in recent smash spots against the Seahawks and Texans, but he gets another strong matchup here against a Falcons Defense allowing 8.47 yards per attempt (31st in NFL). Expect Atlanta to play well following Dan Quinn's firing, so this has the chance to be a close game with a lot of fireworks. Cousins is firmly on the streaming radar.
Alexander Mattison (RB, MIN)
Mattison will get bell-cow usage with the absence of Dalvin Cook. The Falcons rank 25th in PPR PPG allowed to running backs, so this is a terrific spot for Mattison to excel. The sophomore back was impressive last week while filling in for Cook, totaling 136 yards from scrimmage on 23 touches. Consider Mattison an upside RB2 here.
UPDATE: Dalvin Cook has officially been ruled out for Week 6.
Thielen is an elite WR1 who leads the NFL in target share, while Jefferson is one of the more impressive rookie wide receivers in the NFL. Both are in great spots against the Falcons, who rank 24th in PPR PPG allowed to wide receivers. Jefferson is coming off a slow week (3 catches for 23 yards), so we could see the Vikings get him more involved here. Consider Thielen a top-3 WR1 and Jefferson as an upside WR3.
Matchups We Hate:
Hayden Hurst (TE, ATL)
Hurst has been pretty disappointing this year, especially lately, as he's totaled a combined seven receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown in his past three games. He takes on a Vikings defense that has been solid against the tight end, ranking 13th in PPR PPG. Look elsewhere at tight end this week.
Irv Smith Jr. (TE, MIN)
Smith finally got involved in the offense last week, posting season-highs in targets (5), receptions (4), and yards (64) against the Seahawks. He gets a terrific matchup against a Falcons defense that is allowing the second-most PPR PPG to tight ends. Smith is a great streamer or DFS tournament play this week.
Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)
Ryan has a good matchup here, as the Vikings have allowed 8.28 yards per attempt (29th in NFL), but it's hard to love him without Julio Jones in the lineup. If Julio were to play this week, you can fire up Ryan as a low-end QB1, as he would be a play that I love. Monitor the practice reports before deciding on Ryan.
Todd Gurley (RB, ATL)
Gurley is rolling right now, with four touchdowns in his last three games. He has a good chance to keep it going against a Vikings defense that is tied for 17th in PPR PPG allowed to running backs. Gurley doesn't get enough volume for me to love him this week (18 touches or less in four of five games this year), but he's still a solid RB2.
Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles
Matchups We Love:
Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)
Andrews gets a great matchup against an Eagles Defense that has allowed the fourth-most PPR PPG to tight ends this season. George Kittle exploded for 15 receptions, 183 yards, and a touchdown against this defense, so we could see Andrews have a ceiling game here.
Miles Sanders (RB, PHI)
Sanders has become a true bell-cow in this offense (18.25 touches per game). This was a tough matchup: the Ravens are allowing only 3.96 yards per carry as well as the fifth-fewest PPR PPG to running backs - but DT Brandon Williams, the team's best run-stopper, is OUT for this game. The Ravens Defense has been much worse against the run without Williams in the lineup, allowing 4.6 yards per carry.
Matchups We Hate:
This Ravens backfield has become the easiest avoid in fantasy football, as it's a three-man committee where each back eats into each other's value. It's really surprising to see how sparsely used Dobbins has become (1 attempt last week). Until there is more clarity here, you can't play any of them, especially against an Eagles defense that ranks 8th in PPR PPG to running backs.
Wentz has a new favorite target on the perimeter, as Fulgham has caught touchdowns in consecutive weeks, including an impressive performance against the Steelers last week, where he put up 10 receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens just totally shut down the Bengals offense - Joe Burrow threw for 183 yards on 6.1 yards per attempt - so this is a really tough matchup. Look elsewhere at quarterback and wide receiver.
Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)
It's concerning to look at Jackson's struggles through the air (51.4% completion rate last week). It's even more worrying to see his rushing volume: only two attempts last week. This is likely because Lamar is banged-up right now with some knee issues, so hopefully, he can get back on track following next week's bye. For this week, temper your expectations against an Eagles defense that ranks 10th in PPR PPG to quarterbacks.
Marquise Brown (WR, BAL)
Hollywood Brown is getting WR1 volume: 26.87% target share (13th in NFL) and 603 air yards (5th in NFL), but he'll likely be matched up with Darius Slay this week, which caps Brown's upside. While Claypool blew up against this Eagles secondary last week, he did so as the perceived number-two option at wide receiver - that won't be the case with Brown.
Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)
Ertz has been an after-thought in this passing game, combining for only five receptions for 15 yards in the last two games. I expect the Eagles to make an effort to get their star tight end more involved against a Ravens Defense that has been exploitable for tight ends (19th in NFL in PPR PPG).
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
Matchups We Love:
Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND)
Taylor has been a disappointment - many believed that he was ready to produce at an elite RB1 level following the season-ending injury to Marlon Mack - but he gets a great matchup here. The Bengals Defense is allowing 5.26 yards per attempt (30th in NFL) this season. This is a positive game-script for Taylor, as the Colts are home favorites in a game where they can control possession. Taylor has a great chance at a ceiling game this week.
Matchups We Hate:
The Colts Defense has established themselves as one of the best in the NFL this season. They are tied for the fewest PPG allowed to quarterbacks and rank 7th to wide receivers. I expect Burrow to be under duress for much of this game, as the Colts rank 15th in pass-rush win-rate, while the Bengals are 31st in pass-block win-rate. Expect more check-downs to Boyd, who looks like a low-upside WR3. Higgins is a player to avoid this week entirely.
T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)
The Bengals defense has been solid against the pass, limiting wide receivers to only 34.4 PPR PPG (11th in NFL). Hilton has been held under 70 yards in every game this season, as it's clear that veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is no longer the player he once was. Consider Hilton a low upside WR4 in this struggling offense. Expect the Colts to establish their running game in this one.
Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)
Mixon has become an absolute bell-cow in this offense over the last week, averaging 30.5 touches per game over the last two weeks. What's most encouraging is that Mixon has caught 12-of-14 targets during that span, so he's starting to be used more in the passing game. While Mixon has a tough matchup against a Colts defense allowing the second-fewest PPR PPG to running backs, the high volume keeps him as a floor play.
Washington Football Team at New York Giants
Matchups We Love:
Evan Engram (TE, NYG)
Engram has been misused by new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who has opted to deploy the talented tight end in curl routes rather than downfield targets in the seam. Hopefully, Garrett comes to his senses soon because he's wasting Engram's talent. Engram has a great matchup against a Washington defense that ranks 27th in PPR PPG to tight ends. He's the top option in this Giants passing game this week.
Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS)
Gibson is in a bounce-back spot against a Giants Defense that is tied for 20th in PPR PPG to running backs. With Bradberry likely causing issues for McLaurin on the perimeter, Gibson might be the best option for Washington to score points in this game. While it was nice to see Alex Smith back under center last week, he struggled in his return, so we'll likely see improvement with Kyle Allen back in the fold. Expect to see a few more check-down passes to this dynamic rookie this week. Brandon Scherff, Washington's best o-lineman, is back for this game, which bodes well for Gibson.
Matchups We Hate:
Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS)
McLaurin is the clear-cut number-one wide receiver on this team, but he has a tough matchup against cornerback James Bradberry, who just locked down Amari Cooper, limiting him to 2 receptions for 23 yards. This Washington offense is a mess right now, so it's best to look elsewhere this week. Consider McLaurin as more of a WR3 in this game.
Washington's defense ranks 4th in PPR PPG allowed to wide receivers, so this is a tough matchup for this Giants pass-catchers. Slayton is coming off a big game against the Cowboys (8 receptions for 129 yards) but it's hard to be too excited here. This Washington pass-rush could cause problems for Daniel Jones and his receivers, so consider Slayton as a WR3 with Tate as a WR4.
Hi, Justin taking over now. Thanks, Frank!
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
Let's get this out of the way first. Corey Davis and Adam Humphries are currently on the COVID list. If they stay on it, they won't play. For now, we're pretending they won't be available, but will update if things change.
UPDATE: Adam Humphries has officially been activated from the COVID-19 list.
Matchups We Love:
Ryan Tannehill (QB, TEN)
Even if the Texans haven't been terrible against opposing quarterbacks, I think we still have to consider Tannehill to be among the best plays of the group of quarterbacks who aren't universally considered QB1s. Even with multiple key receivers missing last week against Buffalo, Tannehill threw three touchdown passes, though only finished with 195 yards. Tannehill's efficiency gives him a high floor, though, and he should be considered a strong QB2 play this week.
David Johnson (RB, HOU)
The Texans gave David Johnson a season-high 17 carries in the first game of the post-Bill O'Brien era. The Titans allow the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. With involvement in the pass game as well, this is a great chance for Johnson to have a RB1 finish this week. Start him with confidence as a RB2.
Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)
Houston's run defense has been bad this year. Derrick Henry's about to stiff arm all 11 defenders at once or something. Very, very confident in him as an RB1 this week, and as a strong play in DFS contests because of his seemingly unlimited upside.
Brandin Cooks (WR, HOU)
Cooks opened the post-O'Brien era with 12 targets. Against a Titans Defense that allows the 11th-most points to opposing wideouts, I'll be starting Cooks as a WR3 all day. Much better value this week than teammate Will Fuller V, and while he still has a low floor, I like following the targets here.
A.J. Brown (WR, TEN)
With Davis and Humphries likely out again, we're looking at Brown as a strong play this week. Against Buffalo, Brown caught seven passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. He should continue to command a good number of targets and should be deployed as a WR2 and a great DFS play.
Jonnu Smith (TE, TEN)
Jonnu Smith rules. He'll get at least a half-dozen targets because of who's out and has five touchdowns already. If the Titans can get into the red zone a few times -- and why wouldn't they? -- then Smith has a great chance of ending the game with at least one touchdown.
Matchups We Hate:
Duke Johnson Jr. (RB, HOU)
Duke Johnson's Week 5 stat line: three carries for eight yards and one catch for 11 yards. Yes, the team has indicated that he'll get more work moving forward, but how am I supposed to trust Duke Johnson in a fantasy lineup this week???
Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)
After seeing how the Titans Defense -- which wasn't even at full strength -- made Josh Allen look mortal this past week, picking him off twice and holding him to season lows in completion percentage, yards, and adjusted yards per attempt, I can't tout Watson as a strong play. Sure, he's a must-start in season-long because of the upside he brings, but he gets the big, flashing "LOOK ELSEWHERE" sign when it comes to DFS. So overall, a mixed bag for Watson.
Will Fuller V (WR, HOU)
Eight targets last week and a touchdown for the third game in a row, but he also seems like he's fallen behind Brandin Cooks in the pecking order, which makes me just a little worried about his production. He remains a guy with a huge ceiling, but he's also got a slightly lower floor than I like from my WR2.
Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars
Matchups We Love:
Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)
Doesn't it feel like we've all forgotten about Matthew Stafford? We should not do that, especially this week against a Jaguars Defense that allows the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing passers. With Kenny Golladay even healthier now, Stafford has a great chance here to provide high-end QB2 production. Love him as a bye week replacement or upside play for managers whose starting QB has a bad matchup, and love him as a good value play in DFS.
Gardner Minshew II (QB, JAC)
Speaking of streaming options at QB, Minshew takes on a Lions team that is only marginally better at not allowing fantasy points to quarterbacks. Detroit allows the 10th-most, which equates to 21.3 points per game. Minshew has shown that he's able to sling the football around and can throw for 300 yards. He's essentially about as good a play as Stafford.
James Robinson (RB, JAC)
The Lions allow more fantasy points per game to running backs than any other NFL defense does. Robinson had 18 touches last week against Houston. Yes, he struggled in that game on a per play basis, but he didn't struggle enough to suggest his role gets reduced going forward. Consider him an easy RB2 play with the upside for more.
Kenny Golladay (WR, DET)
With a bye week behind him, Golladay is probably the closest to 100 percent he's been all year, and he faces a Jaguars defense that let Brandin Cooks go off for over 100 yards last week. While Jacksonville only allows the 14th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, Golladay's talent makes him a high-end WR2 play with upside, especially with him having a 30.36 air yard percentage over his two games. He's the main deep threat for this Lions team.
T.J. Hockenson (TE, DET)
The Jaguars allow the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends. While Hockenson only had nine yards last game, he did catch a touchdown. At a shallow position, his upside outweighs the risk and you should play him as a low-end TE1.
Matchups We Hate:
Lions Running Backs (RB, DET)
I actually really like the matchup itself against the Jags, who allow the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. But here's the thing: Adrian Peterson, D'Andre Swift, and (to a lesser extent) Kerryon Johnson are competing for snaps here in an offense that doesn't run the ball a ton. Until one player emerges here, I'd prefer to avoid this whole situation.
Marvin Jones Jr. (WR, DET)
Detroit should end up throwing a lot, but Jones has seen his air yard percentage shrink to 15.96 percent this year. It was 27.17 percent last year and 37.78 percent the year before. Shorter throws means less chances for big plays, limiting his upside even against a Jags defense that's susceptible to the pass. Decent flex play in a 12-team league, but a fairly low ceiling.
D.J. Chark Jr. (WR, JAC)
He's here because I'm not 100 percent sure about his injury status. If he plays, you easily plug him in as a WR2, though the Jaguars are spreading the ball around a little too much for my liking this year as a person rostering Chark in a lot of leagues.
Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR, JAC)
Shenault is ascending right now and while he hasn't reached the level where I'm comfortable just straight up starting him in any of my leagues, I think he's a good sleeper pick against a Lions Defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to receivers. If Shenault continues to see his target share rise this week, it'll be time to fully devote ourselves to him as a fantasy play. As is, consider him an upside flex play and a great DFS value.
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
This game was supposed to happen last week, but it didn't. I already wrote a bunch of words about it here, so if you want week-old, possibly outdated analysis, read that. If you want much shorter, updated analysis, keep reading here.
Also, no idea what to do about Denver's running back situation. Melvin Gordon III was arrested for a DUI but hasn't been suspended yet, so...we'll see what happens there. Short answer: you have to start him if he plays, and you have to start Phillip Lindsay if Gordon does not play.
UPDATE: Melvin Gordon III is dealing with an illness and did not travel with the team. A source has stated on Saturday morning that he will not play this week. Phillip Lindsay owners should fire him up as an RB2/FLEX.
Matchups We Love:
Jerry Jeudy (WR, DEN)
The rookie did see a pretty big drop in targets last week, with just four of them. He caught two passes for 61 yards and found the end zone for the first time as a pro, though. The thing with Jeudy is that while he's a rookie, he's also the best receiver on this team and his dip in targets should be seen as a fluke. He'll have be a full-go this week and should be a solid WR3 option at worst for fantasy managers, even with all the question marks that this team has under center.
Julian Edelman (WR, NE)
Not a great stretch for Edelman, who has five catches in his last two games. He's also dealing with a knee injury. Those two facts do make me very tentative about playing Edelman in DFS, but as a season-long play, Edelman is a must-start as a third receiver. He'll face a banged-up Broncos secondary and will be the one real safe option for quarterback Cam Newton -- yep, he's back! -- to throw the ball to. It's not the kind of matchup I feel great about, but you gotta do what you gotta do in season-long leagues sometimes.
Phillip Lindsay (RB, DEN)
While I don't love the matchup itself, this screams VALUE. Lindsay's going to be a great value play in DFS who'll get a pretty good chunk of the backfield touches here over Royce Freeman, and he's got RB2/3 upside in season-long. Love sticking him in the flex over one of the lower-upside guys that I have in right now in some of my leagues.
Matchups We Hate:
All The Quarterbacks (QB, DEN/NE)
Both teams face a lot of uncertainty under center, and with this game happening on Monday, managers in season-long leagues might just want to avoid this situation completely.
For Denver, we're still not sure if it will be Drew Lock (shoulder) will be back or if Brett Rypien gets another shot. The Patriots passing defense isn't the 2020 Patriots, but I'm still not sure that I want to play Lock coming off an injury or Rypien in his first start back against them.
For New England, Cam Newton (COVID-19) is eligible to return, but will he be ready? You can't rush a guy back from coronavirus, right? The other options are Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, neither of which excite me. Hoyer was benched for Stidham last game, so I think we should assume that Stidham gets the start. He completed 38.5 percent of his passes with two interceptions and an adjusted yards per attempt of -0.77. Yikes.
Damien Harris grabbed the lead back reins last week, leaving White and Burkhead behind. Burkhead had 12 touches, a number that likely drops a little. White had seven receptions and is a fine play in full PPR, but he only had 38 yards on those catches, so even in half-PPR, I think the floor is too low to justify a spot for him this week.
N'Keal Harry (WR, NE)
Yes, Harry had a touchdown last week, but he also had just three catches for 21 yards. Ever since his eight-catch game in Week 2, Harry's volume has been declining. If that trend continues, Harry has the chance to really sink your fantasy lineup.
Damien Harris (RB, NE)
Suddenly, Harris went from the IR to being the lead back for the Patriots. He turned his 17 carries last week into 100 yards. Harris isn't yet to "trust every game" level because we can't really ever trust a Belichick early-down back that much and the Broncos are only allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. But hey, if the volume sticks around, he can be a solid RB3 play.
Damiere Byrd (WR, NE)
If you're a fan of chasing the targets, may I interest you in Damiere Byrd, who was targeted 10 times last week, catching five of them for 80 yards? He was also targeted nine times back in Week 2, so this isn't the only time he's seen heavy usage. Byrd isn't a super consistent play, but I like his upside if you need a flex in a deep league.
Tim Patrick (WR, DEN)
Is Patrick still a sleeper? He's had a great season so far and face a Patriots Defense that won't have Stephon Gilmore, which should make things easier for him this week. He's had touchdowns in consecutive weeks and is a WR3 play on Monday night.
Matchups Analysis - 4:05/4:25 PM ET Games
Just two games on the afternoon slate for y'all, which isn't the best for those of us who prefer watching RedZone! Let's break them down.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Matchups We Love:
Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)
So, Fitzpatrick is currently the QB6 on the season. The Jets allow 19.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, tying them for 15th-most allowed. Not terrible, but I'm going to go ahead and trust Fitzpatrick this week if I'm in need of a quarterback due to bye weeks or a bad matchup for my starter. He should be a low-end QB1 as long as he remains the starter.
Myles Gaskin (RB, MIA)
Congrats to Gaskin, the biggest winner of Le'Veon Bell's decision to not sign in Miami. Gaskin remains the lead back in Miami heading into a meeting with the Jets, who allow the sixth-most points to opposing running backs. And with Jordan Howard now seemingly out of the picture after being a healthy Week 5 scratch, Gaskin saw four of the team's five red zone carries. He's an RB2 play moving forward.
Jamison Crowder (WR, NYJ)
Arguably the only good thing about the Jets, Crowder has the fourth-highest target share in the league. Missing two games hurts his overall numbers, but his 111.7 yards per game would lead the league if he qualified for that leaderboard. Crowder's not exciting, but he'll command plenty of attention from quarterback Joe Flacco and should be considered a WR2 with upside for now.
Matchups We Hate:
Joe Flacco (QB, NYJ)
Looks like Sam Darnold will miss a second straight game. While the Dolphins secondary has surrendered a lot of passing yards, I can't get behind playing Flacco this week. The Jets are a barren wasteland of football talent and Flacco's going to be doing what...throwing 12 passes to Jeff Smith? Not interested.
Other Jets Receivers
Jeff Smith was targeted a lot last week. He also caught just three of those 11 targets. There are also technically other receivers on this team too, but I'm not interested in any of them until Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims are back.
UPDATE: Breshad Perriman is expected to return this week.
Chris Herndon (TE, NYJ)
Another Jets pass catcher that I don't like this week! Sorry, Gang Green fans. But the Dolphins allow the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends and Herndon has failed to live up to any of the hype.
Frank Gore (RB, NYJ)
Volume will probably lead to Gore having an okay day, though I think you'll need the veteran plodder to find his way into the end zone for him to have a good day. Maybe you bet on that because of the volume, as he'll get plenty of carries now that Le'Veon Bell is a Chief. But he's still just an RB3 play. (Also, I'm not writing about Lamical Perine other than to say "don't play Lamical Perine.")
Three talented players who seem to have fairly inconsistent target totals each week. I think all have value -- Parker as a low-end WR2, Williams as a WR4 with upside, and Ford as a WR4/5 with upside -- but the competition for targets and the possibility that this game gets out of hand against a disastrous Jets team and leads to a non-passing game script makes them all a little risky.
Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)
Another talented player suffering from "too many mouths" syndrome. Gesicki had five catches for 91 yards last week, but that snapped a two-game skid for the third-year tight end when it came to catches, as he'd had just two total receptions the previous two weeks. I like Gesicki. I think his talent means you start him as low-end TE1/high-end TE2 play. But there's a lot lower of a floor with Gesicki than other TE1 options.
Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matchups We Love:
Aaron Jones (RB, GB)
Yeah, Aaron Jones didn't regress. Fifth in rushing yards and 10th in receiving yards among running backs, he's third at RB in fantasy points per game and is a must start option every week. That's especially true this week against the Bucs, who'll be without Vita Vea up front, which will help open up inside space for Jones to run through. That he faces light fronts on 73.8 percent of his carries helps as well, as defenses spend a lot of time accounting for the whole Aaron Rodgers part of the equation.
Ronald Jones II (RB, TB)
It is FINALLY RoJo SZN. Consecutive 100-yard games and an increased involvement in the passing game have Jones set to keep the RB1 job in Tampa moving forward. Green Bay allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, so go ahead and lock Jones in as an RB2 this week.
Davante Adams (WR, GB)
Is it...really you, Davante? Expected to be back after missing Week 3 and 4, you need to immediately deploy Adams as a WR1, even if this isn't a great matchup for the Packers receivers.
Chris Godwin (WR, TB)
He should return from a hamstring injury and will serve as Brady's main slot option. Godwin led the team in target share in the two games he's played and should see the most targets on the team again this week, giving him strong upside and making him a high-end WR2 play with upside.
Matchups We Hate:
Leonard Fournette (RB, TB)
Well, the Packers do surrender a lot of points to running backs, but Fournette's lack of passing-game upside mixed with RoJo's ascension has me avoiding Fournette as much as possible.
UPDATE: Fournette is expected to be active, but limited due to his ankle injury.
Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)
YOU ARE PLAYING AARON RODGERS IN SEASON-LONG LEAGUES. But against a Buccaneers Defense that has been very, very good against opposing passers -- surrendering the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position -- there should be at least a good moment of pause before you throw Rodgers into your DFS lineup. Still, he's having a monster season and hasn't thrown a pick yet and is a locked-in QB1 play, though I do hate the matchup.
Tom Brady (QB, TB)
Tom Brady is a fantasy QB1 right now. But the Packers are allowing the 13th-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and Brady has been a roller coaster this year, with one game with five touchdowns and two games with one touchdown. Which Brady will we get on Sunday? Who knows, which is why I'm thinking of him as a QB2 despite his overall performance this year.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR, GB)
The return of Adams is set to cut into MVS's target share somewhat, making him a riskier play than usual. But an Aaron Rodgers receiver always has the ability to pay off, so don't be surprised to see a strong showing from him either. Little too risky to put in the "love" part of this matchup, though.
Mike Evans (WR, TB)
So, a fun stat I saw earlier:
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have played in just two games together this season.— Jacob Gibbs (@jagibbs_23) October 16, 2020
Mike Evans has four receiving yards in those games. No, not an average of four yards, which would also be terrible. He has four yards. Total. Yeah, four. In two games. Four.
Yikes. Something about the connection between Brady and Evans isn't fully working yet, though his touchdown upside -- three of them in the aforementioned two-game sample -- means you can never bench Evans, as he provides a big red zone target for Brady. He's like Rob Gronkowski in New England, though has the downside of potentially playing like Rob Gronkowski in Tampa plays.
Robert Tonyan (TE, GB)
The Buccaneers are fine against tight ends and Tonyan's track record of production isn't quite long enough for us to say he's a must-play TE1, but he's definitely trending in that direction after catching five touchdowns in three games this year. I'd still say he's a high-end TE2 with a slightly tough matchup, but I definitely get it if you play him like he's a top 10 tight end, since he's coming off a huge game.
Rob Gronkowski (TE, TB)
We can't ignore the red zone rapport between Brady and Gronk and he did post a season-high 52 yards last game. But he's also a tight end in a Bruce Arians offense and he's also not GRONK anymore, so there's risk here. Consider him a decent streaming play for the rest of the season.
Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Matchups We Love:
Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)
Should lead the Rams in targets in this one, making him a strong WR2 play. I...don't have much else to say about Kupp, who isn't the most exciting player but just keeps chugging along and putting up solid game after solid game.
George Kittle (TE, SF)
Don't love the matchup, but also let's keep this simple: Kittle is a top-two NFL tight end. He's the only pass-catcher on this team that can be trusted on a weekly basis. Always play Kittle and always expect strong production, even if there are occasional lapses in that production.
Matchups We Hate:
Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)
I mean, Garoppolo was benched mid-game last week because the score got out of hand and team wanted to keep him healthy. He's likely not at 100 percent this week and considering how much of a disaster Week 5 was, I think we need to keep Jimmy G firmly glued to our collective fantasy benches for another week at least.
Rams Running Backs
Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown are swapping off lead back roles each week at this point, and Cam Akers is back and is getting some usage too. The 49ers have been a stout run defense this year, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. Too much uncertainty here for me to want any of these guys in a starting lineup, though you could deploy Henderson or Brown as a deep-league flex option.
No NFL team allows fewer fantasy points per game to wide receivers than the Rams. Add in that the Niners are a run-first team and you get a recipe for disaster for Samuel, Aiyuk, and whoever else gets snaps at wide receiver. These two are probably WR4/5 plays if you're desperate.
Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)
In Week 2, Higbee caught three touchdowns. In the three games since, he's averaging 2.3 catches for 24 yards. Now, he faces a 49ers Defense allowing the ninth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. There's (probably) a point where Higbee looks like the player he was at the end of 2019, but this week isn't it.
Jared Goff (QB, LAR)
I know the 49ers defense is banged up and that Ryan Fitzpatrick was all over them last week, but I'm not fully sold on Jared Goff and this offense being as explosive as Fitzpatrick was. Maybe I'm wrong. Goff's a fine start -- I've got him going in some leagues -- but if the Niners can get pressure, they can throw him off his game a little bit.
Raheem Mostert (RB, SF)
Mostert returned from a two-game absence last week, rushing 11 times for 90 yards and catching three passes for 29 yards. He's a solid option as an RB2 against this Rams Defense, even though they've done a pretty good job against opposing backs over the last few weeks. San Francisco's run-first offense will present plenty of opportunities for Mostert.
Robert Woods (WR, LAR)
Since Week 3, Woods has just a 19.57 target share and has 10 percent fewer air yards than Josh Reynolds. That's not to say you should bench him, but there's less room for error than you might want. Woods is a WR2 play with more downside than he's had in the past.
Matchups Analysis - Monday Night Football
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys
Click here to read about the Monday Night Football matchup between the Cardinals and Cowboys.
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Click here to read about the Monday Night Football matchup between the Chiefs and Bills.
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