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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 7 of the NFL season.

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Risers

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Since firing Bill O'Brien, the Texans have played like a completely different team, Although they fell short against the Titans last week, Deshaun Watson looks like the guy everyone drafted to be a top five fantasy quarterback. Watson now has three consecutive 300+ yard passing games and seven passing touchdowns in his last two games. Watson gets the Packers, bye, Jaguars, and Browns over the next four weeks. None of those are imposing foes.

Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

Even though A.J. Green actually had a strong performance last week, make no mistake about it, A.J. Green is done. The new WR1 in Cincinnati is Tee Higgins. With how quick fantasy managers are often willing to jump onto rookies, it's surprising to see Higgins out there in so many leagues. Higgins is averaging eight targets over his last four games and has hit double digit fantasy points in all four of them. He had his first 100 yard receiving day last week. He is only going to improve as the season goes on and looks very much like the player hopeful drafters wished A.J. Green would be.

Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

Somehow, Kirk Cousins is supporting two top five fantasy receivers. Justin Jefferson already has three 100 yard receiving games and two games with 30 fantasy points. Game script obviously helped and Jefferson will always be at the mercy of Mike Zimmer's desire to never call pass plays, but the Vikings are not a good team and that will often force Zimmer's hand. Even though Stefon Diggs is thriving in Buffalo, Jefferson is proving that letting Diggs go wasn't necessarily a bad decision. Jefferson and Adam Thielen have quickly become of the best wide receiver duos in the league. Now fully entrenched as a starter, Jefferson is already a weekly must start and should only get better coming out of the bye in Week 8.

D'Andre Swift (RB, DET)

There is little doubt that D'Andre Swift needs to be on this list, but we need to exercise a bit of restraint. Swift certainly looked quite good last week en route to his first 100 yard rushing day and over 25 fantasy points. However, Swift still played just 38% of the snaps. We're putting our faith in a bit of rational coaching here. The Lions drafted Swift in the second round to presumably be there primary back. Their goal certainly wasn't to hope the Football Team released a 47 year old Adrian Peterson so they can stuff the ball into his chest 20 times a game. While the AP signing made sense given Swift's preseason injury, the goal, we think, was always for Swift to take over when ready. He sure looks ready. It would be mind-numbingly stupid if Swift didn't at least earn an increased role, hopefully making him a weekly RB2 going forward.

JaMycal Hasty (RB, SF)

When Raheem Mostert was out for three weeks with a sprained MCL, it was Jerick McKinnon as a near every down back. In Week 4, McKinnon played 92% of the snaps. When Mostert went down with a high ankle sprain last week, we expected more McKinnon. That is not what happened. UDFA rookie Jamycal Hasty played 21% of the snaps, which was fewer than McKinnon's 32%, but there were long stretches where Hasty played every snap. It could just be Kyle Shanahan getting an extended look at what he has, but it wasn't like the game against the Rams was a complete blowout. Hasty looked quicker and more explosive than McKinnon and I have a sneaking suspicion that Hasty is going to be the primary back for as long as Mostert and Tevin Coleman are out, with McKinnon maintaining his role as the passing down back.

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Fallers

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

To be perfectly honest, there weren't any performances by fantasy relevant quarterbacks that truly concerned me in Week 6. Aaron Rodgers' was the worst so we at least must take some notice, but it came against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Bucs pressured Rodgers relentlessly and forced him into multiple mistakes. Rodgers had fewer fantasy points than Joe Flacco. Let that marinate for a moment. With that being said, Rodgers' next four opponents are the Texans, 49ers, Vikings, and Jaguars. He will be fine. It's just worth acknowledging that disastrous games are still in his range of outcomes.

Tight Ends

I typically like to have at least one riser and one faller at each position. The tight end position in 2020 is making that exceedingly difficult. It's just unfathomably bad. Coming into the year, it looked like things would be better because there were so many late round breakout hopefuls. The problem is none of them panned out and the earlier round tight ends are all hurt or busts. Anthony Firkser was the overall TE1 last week. George Kittle and Travis Kelce are smashing and Darren Waller has been reliable. Other than those three, you're just hoping every week. Firkser, Trey Burton, Darren Fells, Adam Shaheen, Logan Thomas, Nick Boyle, and Irv Smith were amongst the TE1s last week. Meanwhile, Tyler Higbee, Zach Ertz, T.J. Hockenson, and Evan Engram have been total busts. Noah Fant and Jonnu Smith are hurt. Mark Andrews has three TE1 games and three complete bust games. At this point, your goal should be to find someone playing snaps and running routes that has a hope of seeing a red zone target or two.

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

Six weeks into the season is more than enough time to start drawing conclusions. We have a Mike Evans problem. Although Evans had four consecutive double digit fantasy point efforts sandwiched between Week 1 and Week 6, he's been far worse than that; he just happened to find the end zone in every game of the season prior to last week. Evans has 27 targets across the three games Chris Godwin missed. Evans has 10 targets across the three games Godwin played. That's a trend. That matters. Tom Brady, while still good enough to potentially win a super bowl, is not good enough to carry two WR1s and it looks like Evans is playing second fiddle to Godwin. The touchdown upside remains there, but Evans is going to be extremely volatile going forward.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)

Heading into 2019, one of the biggest questions in football was whether JuJu Smith-Schuster could operate as a true WR1 with Antonio Brown gone. Unfortunately, that question was never answered in 2019 because Ben Roethlisberger went down in Week 2 and JuJu dealt with injuries throughout the season well. The question remained heading into 2020. Through six weeks, I'm ready to say JuJu is not WR1 material. Whether it's AB, Diontae Johnson, or Chase Claypool, the answer to who Roethlisberger prioritizes is simply "not JuJu." JuJu now has posted three consecutive games with five targets or fewer and his only two quality fantasy games came in games where he scored. Johnson shouldn't be out much longer and with Claypool's performance, there is now way he's just going back to a rotational role. JuJu may very well be the odd man out here as there's little doubt in my mind he's the third most talented wide receiver on the Steelers.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

There is just no way we can ignore how awful Ezekiel Elliott has played this season. The numbers aren't terrible, but fumbling five times in a season is inexcusable, let alone five times in six games, including two last week. The Cowboys once elite offense is now a joke. Andy Dalton cannot sustain the fantasy values of all three receivers, Dalton Schultz, and Elliott. The player(s) that suffer each week may not be the same, but there will be least one or two odd men out. If not for the fumbles, Zeke would have put up a respectable 12 fantasy points due in large point to Dalton's incompetence resulting in constant checkdowns to Zeke. The running back will be fine, particularly in ppr leagues, but his touchdown upside has been severely hindered. Zeke may be more RB2 than RB1 the rest of the way.



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Week 6 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

Welcome back, RotoBallers! It's Sunday Morning, Week 6... Do You Know Who to Start?

Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football lineup and start/sit questions, from around 10:30 AM to 12:45 PM ET.

Come join in on the fun, and get your start/sit and lineup questions answered. RotoBaller writers will be stopping by all morning to answer all questions that are asked. Good luck RotoBallers!

Note: You must register with a free account (on the top right), and then login to chat.

 

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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 6

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!

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @FAmmiranteTFJ and @juscarts and feel free to ask away. Let's get on to the matchups!

 

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.

Other Matchups:

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.

Robby Anderson (WR, CAR) & D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)

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:

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE) & Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE)

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.

Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT), JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT), & Chase Claypool (WR, PIT)

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.

Other Matchups:

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:

Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL) & Julio Jones

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.

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN) & Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

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.

Other Matchups:

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:

Mark Ingram II (RB, BAL), Gus Edwards (RB, BAL), & J.K. Dobbins (RB, BAL)

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.

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI) & Travis Fulgham (WR, PHI)

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.

Other Matchups:

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:

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN), Tyler Boyd (WR, CIN), & Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

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.

Other Matchups:

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.

Darius Slayton (WR, NYG), Golden Tate (WR, NYG)

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

COVID List?

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???

Other Matchups:

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.

Other Matchups:

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.

James White and Rex Burkhead (RB, NE)

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.

Other Matchups:

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.

Other Matchups:

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.")

DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Isaiah Ford (WR, MIA)

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.

Other Matchups:

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:

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.

Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk (WR, SF)

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.

Other Matchups:

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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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 6

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 6 of the NFL season.

 

Week 6 Fantasy Football Risers

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)

Everyone's favorite streamer is, perhaps...not a streamer? Ryan Fitzpatrick has posted between 23 and 27 fantasy points in four straight games. That's beyond streamer territory. That's a legitimate QB1. Most encouraging is his performance hasn't fluctuated based on caliber of opponent or game script. The Dolphins have become a passing team and they are letting Fitzpatrick sling it. With the Dolphins likely to beat the Jets this week and return to .500, we are nowhere near Tua Time. If you lost Dak Prescott, look no further than Fitzmagic to replace him.

Chase Claypool (WR, PIT)

Of course Chase Claypool was going to appear here. The rookie did not just put up what will almost certainly be the best wide receiver performance of the season, he put up one of the best fantasy performances of all time. Claypool became a near every down player following Diontae Johnson's early exit for a second consecutive game and absolutely dominated. Claypool commanded 11 targets, catching even of them for 110 yards and three touchdowns while adding a rushing score. It wasn't just volume either. Claypool looked like the super athlete he is. Don't expect anything near this again, but after what Claypool did, it seems impossible for the Steelers to keep him off the field. At the very least, he should be a weekly flex option.

Brandin Cooks (WR, HOU)

There can be no denying that Brandin Cooks' value is on the rise, so he is a required name, but I am admittedly skeptical over how real Cooks' explosion is. Cooks has two games with 20 receiving yards and one game where we went without a reception. Last week, Cooks popped off for 161 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. Is this a sign of things to come or just a blip? We will find out. But Cooks' increased involvement is definitely something we like to see.

Chase Edmonds (RB, ARI)

Every week, fantasy analysts are like, "If not now, when?" referring to Kenyan Drake. That's because the Cardinals have an extremely favorable schedule. Yet, every week, Drake fails to produce. Enter Chase Edmonds - the far superior talent - who has been far more effective. Edmonds is averaging nearly five targets a game and is coming off a season high 45% of the snaps. It's only a matter of time before the ineffective Drake is supplanted in this timeshare by Edmonds.

Alexander Mattison (RB, MIN)

With Dalvin Cook's groin injury, one of the most reliable backups in the league, Alexander Mattison, is now a three down RB1. Mattison displayed his ability with 112 yards on 20 carries last week while adding 24 yards on three receptions. From a fantasy perspective, the drop off from Cook to Mattison is minimal, at best. Mattison is an auto-start every week until Cook returns.

 

Week 6 Fantasy Football Fallers

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

The reigning MVP has not done anything specific to appear here. Rather, it's his season long performance. Lamar Jackson just isn't anywhere near worth the third round pick it cost to get him. Jackson is a back end QB1 with just two games over 17 fantasy points. The Ravens have yet to play a competitive game. They were on the right side of a blowout in their four wins and they got blown out by the Chiefs. No matter the scenario, Jackson isn't being leaned on - the Ravens are winning with ball control and defense. The schedule is about to get more difficult. Fantasy managers can only hope that unlocks the 2019 version of Jackson.

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

With Dak Prescott's season over, it's hard to envision the Cowboys offense remaining anywhere near as prolific with Andy Dalton. This may be a bit premature, but in the limited amount of Dalton we saw, it was Dalton Schultz who was the odd man out between him, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Asking Dalton to support four fantasy relevant pass catchers is a tall task. Dalton is one of, if not the best backup quarterback in the NFL, but he's not Dak Prescott. This offense will take a hit and by the looks of it, Schultz may take the biggest one.

Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)

To the surprise of, well, at least not me, D.K. Metcalf is the WR1 in Seattle. Russell Wilson is certainly capable of supporting two WR1s. He very well may. But we've seen Tyler Lockett just disappear before and it may be happening again. After three straight WR1 weeks, Lockett has failed to top 44 yards in each of his last two, while Metcalf dominates. Lockett will be fine, but understand that these weeks will happen far more to him than they will to Metcalf.

A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

There are rumors of the Bengals shopping A.J. Green. There are people who think that matters. It does not. I reiterate: A.J. Green is done.

Jerick McKinnon (RB, SF)

Even with Raheem Mostert's return, it was expected that Jerick McKinnon would maintain some sort of role. Nope. McKinnon was only in the game when Mostert, the clear three down back, needed a breather. McKinnon played 92% of the snaps in Week 4 with Mostert out. In Week 5, McKinnon played just 25% of the snaps. He is completely irrelevant unless Mostert gets hurt again.



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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 5

Hi, y'all! Four weeks of NFL action are in the books and we're moving on to another. Welcome to our Week 5 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 Monday Night Football matchup. Let's help guide you to that Week 5 victory!

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @FAmmiranteTFJ and @juscarts and feel free to ask away. Let's get on to the matchups!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

Los Angeles Rams at Washington Football Team

Matchups We Love:

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

Higbee has been a bit of a disappointment this season, as he's not receiving the same volume (12.82% target share, 20th among tight ends) that he saw down the stretch last year. The good news is he takes on a Washington defense that ranks 29th in PPR PPG to tight ends. Mark Andrews just put up 57 yards and two touchdowns against them last week.

Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS)

Gibson is taking over this backfield, coming off a breakout game that saw him finally get some more receiving volume (5 targets, 4 receptions, 82 yards). The dynamic rookie takes on a Rams Defense that has allowed 29 targets (T-21st) to running backs. New quarterback Kyle Allen loves to check it down to his backs, which bodes well for Gibson.

Matchups We Hate:

Darrell Henderson Jr. (RB, LAR), Cam Akers (RB, LAR), & Malcolm Brown (RB, LAR)

This backfield has become a mess, with Henderson surprisingly taking a back-seat to Brown last week. Cam Akers' return this week further muddles this backfield, making it a clear avoid against a Washington defense that has been decent against the run, allowing 4.03 yards per carry (14th) and 17.6 PPR PPG (T-11th).

Other Matchups:

Jared Goff (QB, LAR), Robert Woods (WR, LAR), & Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

The Rams' passing game has an exploitable matchup against a Washington defense that is tied for 26th in PPG to quarterbacks. Washington has allowed a few big plays downfield, so we could see one or both of these receivers have decent games. Temper your expectations though, as Washington has allowed the second-fewest PPR PPG to wide receivers.

Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS)

McLaurin should see a boost in value with Kyle Allen at quarterback, but he has a tough matchup here against an elite cornerback in Jalen Ramsey. McLaurin's high volume (27.27% target share, 7th) keeps him in play as a WR2, but this is more of a floor week for him against Ramsey.

 

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

Matchups We Love:

Teddy Bridgewater (QB, CAR)

Bridgewater is coming off a QB4 finish and has a great opportunity to keep it going against a depleted Falcons secondary allowing the most PPG to quarterbacks. It appears as if Bridgewater is getting more comfortable in Joe Brady's offense, so he's one of the best streamers in an exploitable matchup this week.

Mike Davis (RB, CAR)

Davis has become the bell-cow RB1 in CMC's absence, finishing as the RB9 and RB7 in his two starts. The Falcons have allowed 40 targets (31st) and 34 receptions (31st) to opposing running backs, so expect Davis to continue racking up the catches (21 receptions in his last three games) in this one.

D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)

Moore has been disappointing, but he still has a 42.83% air-yard share and 23.36% target share, so the volume is there, he just needs to build more of a rapport with Bridgewater. Moore has a great opportunity to get his season back on track against this struggling Falcons secondary.

Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL)

Ridley was shut out against the Packers, so we could see the Falcons make more of an effort to get their stud wideout more involved in the offense. There's a chance that Julio Jones misses this game, in which case Ridley would see a bump in targets. While the Panthers have allowed the seventh-fewest PPR PPG to wide receivers, I still love Ridley here because of his volume.

UPDATE: Julio Jones is officially out for Week 5.

Todd Gurley (RB, ATL)

Gurley is coming off a two-touchdown effort against the Packers and has a good chance to keep it rolling against a Panthers Defense that has allowed the fourth-most PPR PPG to running backs. We could see the Falcons look to establish the run again, especially if Julio is out, which makes Gurley a strong RB2 in this one.

Matchups We Hate:

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)

Ryan has a tough matchup against a run-funnel Panthers defense that has limited opposing passers to 6.34 yards per attempt (3rd) this season. It's hard to start Ryan whenever Julio is out of the lineup, which appears to be the case at this point. This profiles more as a Gurley & Ridley game for the Falcons.

Other Matchups:

Robby Anderson (WR, CAR)

Anderson has shown more chemistry with Bridgewater than Moore has, but I expect the Panthers to make an effort to get their young wideout going in this one. However, the Falcons secondary will have a tough time with these wideouts, so we could see a big game from Anderson as well. I'm not ready to concede that Anderson has supplanted Moore as the top target in this offense, so consider him more of a strong WR3 play.

Hayden Hurst (TE, ATL)

Hurst has a tough matchup against a Panthers defense that has limited tight ends to 9.8 PPR PPG (T-10th), but he could see a bump in volume if Julio were to miss this game. Consider Hurst a lukewarm play on the TE 1/2 fringe against the Panthers here.

 

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

Lamar Jackson is in another smash spot against a Bengals Defense that has allowed 93 rushing yards to quarterbacks (24th). Last season, Jackson ran for a combined 217 yards and two touchdowns on 26 attempts in two games against the Bengals. Expect another Top-5 finish for Lamar here.

Marquise Brown (WR, BAL)

Hollywood Brown hasn't had a big game yet, but his volume is encouraging - 27% target share and 43% air-yards share - so the breakout is coming soon. He has a good matchup against a Bengals defense that just allowed D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault to combine for 13 receptions, 181 yards, and two touchdowns.

Matchups We Hate:

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN)

Burrow has had a terrific start to his rookie season, but he'll be in tough against a Ravens Defense that is limiting opposing passers to 7.18 yards per attempt (10th). The Ravens have posted a 46% pass-rush win-rate (T-6th) and the Bengals have a 52% pass-block win-rate (25th), so this is a clear mismatch - Burrow could be under duress often on Sunday.

Tee Higgins (WR, CIN) & A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

Since the Ravens pass-rush will likely cause issues for the Bengals, it's going to be difficult for Burrow to connect with Tee Higgins and A.J. Green downfield. Higgins is starting to supplant Green on the depth chart, so the rookie is the preferred play here, but I'm not excited about this matchup at all.

Other Matchups:

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

Joe Mixon broke out last week against a weak Jaguars Defense, but he has a much tougher matchup here - the Ravens have limited opposing backfields to 23 PPR PPG (10th). The good news is that Baltimore has allowed 36 targets to running backs (26th), so we could see Mixon do some damage in the passing game.

Tyler Boyd (WR, CIN)

Tyler Boyd has established himself as the number one option in this offense. We could see the Bengals focus their gameplan on short passes to Boyd and Mixon against this pass-rush, so both players remain lukewarm options, but I don't love the matchup against the Ravens.

Mark Ingram II (RB, BAL) & J.K. Dobbins (RB, BAL)

The Ravens' backfield has a great matchup against a Bengals defense that has allowed 26.1 PPR PPPG to running backs (20th), but it's hard to rely on Ingram or Dobbins as anything more than average FLEX options. Gus Edwards also eats into their value, so this has become a situation to avoid until one back starts to take over.

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)

Andrews has received three targets in two of his four games this season, lowering his weekly floor and making him more of a touchdown-dependent choice in some weeks. While he remains a Top-5 tight end, this profiles more of a Lamar-to-Hollywood game mixed with chunks of rushing yards, making Andrews more of a lukewarm play.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

Matchups We Love:

James Robinson (RB, JAX)

Robinson has a great chance to keep up his RB1 production against a Texans Defense that just allowed Dalvin Cook to rush for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Houston is allowing the fourth-most PPR PPG to running backs, so this is a smash spot for the biggest surprise in fantasy football this season.

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU) & Will Fuller (WR, HOU)

The Jaguars defense just got shredded by Joe Burrow (300 yards, 8.1 yards per attempt), so Watson will have a good chance at a big week in his first game without Bill O'Brien. Fuller is the clear-cut number one option in this offense when he's healthy, so we could see this duo connect early and often against an exploitable Jaguars defense.

Other Matchups:

Gardner Minshew II (QB, JAX), D.J. Chark (WR, JAX), & Laviska Shenault (WR, JAX)

The Texans have a run-funnel defense, as they have limited opposing passers to 19.8 PPG (T-4th) because teams are opting to run more and pass less against them (114 pass attempts allowed, 3rd-fewest in NFL). I expect the Jaguars to lean on Robinson in this game, which caps the upside of Chark and Shenault. Consider Chark a mid-range WR2 with Shenault as an average FLEX in this one.

David Johnson (RB, HOU)

DJ has a great matchup against a Jaguars defense that just got shredded by Joe Mixon for 181 total yards and three touchdowns. The issue here is that we're not sure if Bill O'Brien's departure will lead to decreased usage for Johnson. Last week, DJ's snap count fell from 90.30% to 55.38% with Duke Johnson's return, so there's some concern here. Consider DJ an average RB2 this week and temper your expectations despite the strong matchup.

Brandin Cooks (WR, HOU)

Brandin Cooks was a non-factor last week, putting up a goose egg on three targets against the Vikings. While we could see the team make more of an effort to get Cooks back on track, he's merely a low-end WR3 until we see some improvement from this offense. This is a lukewarm play even though the Jaguars have a weak defense.

 

Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

Matchups We Love:

Josh Jacobs (RB, LV)

Josh Jacobs has a good matchup against a Chiefs run defense allowing 4.99 yards per carry (27th). Jacobs should be a major part of the gameplan as the Raiders try to play keep-away from Mahomes and Co. He could also get a few check-down targets when the Raiders are playing catch-up, especially since the status of wide receivers Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards is still in question.

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC), Tyreek Hill (WR, KC), & Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

Mahomes is in a smash spot against a banged-up Raiders secondary that just got shredded by Josh Allen for 288 yards on 8.5 yards per attempt. Tyreek Hill has a great opportunity to get loose deep against a defense that ranks 30th in defensive DVOA. Travis Kelce has dominated the Raiders throughout his career and has the highest floor at his position. Fire up the top two Chiefs' pass-catchers in this one.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB, KC)

CEH takes on a Raiders defense that is allowing 38.1 PPR PPG (32nd), 39 targets (T-28th) and 31 receptions (T-31st). The Chiefs should be able to move the ball with ease in this matchup, so the touchdown upside is high for CEH. They'll also likely be playing with a lead, which will lead to more rushing volume. CEH is an elite RB1 for this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Derek Carr (QB, LV) & Henry Ruggs III (WR, LV)

The Chiefs have allowed 21.1 PPR PPG to opposing quarterbacks (8th), so this is a tough spot for Derek Carr, despite the fact that he'll likely be trying to play from behind and airing it out in the second half. The Chiefs have allowed the fewest PPR PPG to wide receivers, so this is a bad matchup for Ruggs, who has a chance to return from a hamstring injury.

Other Matchups:

Darren Waller (TE, LV) & Hunter Renfrow (WR, LV)

Waller is an every-week TE1, but the Chiefs Defense has been tough against tight ends (13th in PPR PPG). This is more of a floor week for Waller. Like Ruggs, Renfrow has a difficult matchup, but he can at least rack up underneath targets, so he's a lukewarm play in PPR formats.

Mecole Hardman (WR, KC) & Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)

Hardman and Watkins are dart throws who can be appealing DFS tournament punt plays in a game where Mahomes should be able to have his way with the Raiders defense. I wouldn't consider starting them in season-long formats, but they're definitely worth a look as GPP plays.

 

Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets

Matchups We Love:

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, ARZ)

DeAndre Hopkins' 34.07% target share ranks 2nd in the NFL. After a slow week against the Panthers (7 receptions for 41 yards), Nuk is in a bounce-back spot against the Jets. With his volume, Hopkins has the highest floor among any receiver in the NFL. It's always good to play an alpha WR1 in the week immediately following a down game, as they tend to bounce back often. Fire up Nuk here.

Other Matchups:

Kyler Murray (QB, ARZ) & Christian Kirk (WR, ARZ)

Kyler Murray's rushing output gives him a terrific combination of floor and upside, but there's a chance that the Cardinals get out to an early double-digit lead here which will lead to more volume for Kenyan Drake, capping Murray's upside. I think this is more of a floor play this week, which still makes Murray a Top-7 option, but one that I'm avoiding in DFS. Christian Kirk is merely a DFS tournament punt play who needs more usage. I expect him to play more of a role as the season progresses.

Kenyan Drake (RB, ARZ)

Kenyan Drake has been the biggest disappointment at running back this season, failing to produce in a smash spot last week against the Panthers. Luckily, he gets another great matchup against a Jets Defense that just allowed Melvin Gordon to rush for 107 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals should control this game from start to finish with Joe Flacco quarterbacking the Jets, so Drake remains a high-end RB2 for this matchup.

Chase Edmonds (RB, ARI)

Drake is trending down, with Edmonds potentially putting his name into the "who will be Arizona's lead back by the end of the season" conversation. He's already a bigger passing game threat than Drake. It's not yet time for a change, but Edmonds increasingly workload does give him flex appeal.

Le'Veon Bell (RB, NYJ)

Le'Veon Bell finally returns to action at a moment of dire need with Flacco at QB. We could see the Jets scale back his touches while they get him up to speed, so Bell is more of a lukewarm FLEX play in this one. However, it wouldn't surprise me to see him rack up a few checkdown receptions as the Jets try to play catch-up.

Jamison Crowder (WR, NYJ)

Jamison Crowder has caught 14-of-23 targets in two games this season, so it's clear that he's become a focal point of this offense. The Cardinals rank 4th in PPR PPG to wide receivers this season, so this isn't a smash spot, but Crowder's volume should keep him in your lineup as a WR3.

 


Hi, Justin taking over now. Thanks, Frank!

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers

Matchups We Love:

Eric Ebron (TE, PIT)

The Eagles have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Ebron was targeted 12 times over the past two games. Great chance for him to have his first huge game as a Steeler.

Matchups We Hate:

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

Meh. Wentz is currently the QB16 in overall scoring, which was actually surprisingly higher than I expected. The Steelers are allowing 18.7 fantasy points to game to quarterbacks, which is more than I expected. And yet, even with those positive signs, I can't get behind playing Wentz unless I'm desperate.

All The Eagles Receivers

Alshon Jeffery might be returning! DeSean Jackson might be too! And that'll suddenly cut into Greg Ward's snaps and targets! This is all a mess! None of these guys can be trusted to be more than a WR4! Ahh! Exclamation points!

Other Matchups:

Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)

The Eagles allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, but they've played the following quarterbacks: Dwayne Haskins, Jared Goff, Joe Burrow, and the combination of Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard. Translation: I don't think the Eagles are as good defensively as expected. Roethlisberger isn't a QB1 this week, but don't let the matchup fool you: he's still a very good QB2 play this week.

Miles Sanders (RB, PHI)

Ahh, the classic "matchup vs. volume" conundrum. The Steelers are a rough matchup for running backs, but Sanders is getting plenty of usage in both the run and passing game. He's not an RB1 this week, but he's a solid RB2 option with upside who has been targeted 19 times this season.

James Conner (RB, PIT)

Another player who borders on dislike here, but should see the right volume to be an RB2 option even against an Eagles Defense allowing the 13th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs so far.

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT)

A pair of decent plays here. Smith-Schuster isn't getting his expected volume and is dealing with a knee injury, but he has three touchdowns already. Diontae Johnson should be back from his concussion and is the top target for Roethlisberger so far this year. The matchups against Philly isn't the easiest, but both guys should be considered solid starting options.

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)

This has not been a good year for Zach Ertz. The targets are there, but the yardage isn't. Last week, he had four catches but finished with just nine yards. Yikes. But some returning receivers might allow Ertz to see lighter coverage, and you have to start him as a TE1, even if there's a lot of risk here.

 

 

Matchups Analysis - 4:05/4:25 PM ET Games

Three games on the afternoon slate for y'all. Let's break them down.

Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers

Matchups We Love:

49ers Running Backs

So, some caveats here, even though the 49ers face a Dolphins team that's allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs:

  • Raheem Mostert (knee) practiced and could play. If he does, he's probably the lead back and a solid RB2 play.
  • If Mostert is held out, Jerick McKinnon will be the lead back and also an RB2 play. If Mostert plays, McKinnon is more risky, but still an RB3/RB4 option.
  • Jeff Wilson is an RB4 option if Mostert is out, but not playable if Mostert plays.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

Okay, look: the Dolphins are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, but George Kittle is back and you have to consider him a top-two tight end anytime he plays. Don't overthink this.

Matchups We Hate:

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)

At some point soon, Ryan Fitzpatrick is getting benched for Tua Tagovailoa. That Fitzpatrick faces a scary (but injured) 49ers Defense this week makes this feel like a bit of a swan song for Fitz. Will he even make it through the game before the Dolphins bring in Tua? Not only is Fitzpatrick not a fantasy start, you can probably go ahead and drop him in most formats.

The 49ers Quarterback (QB, SF)

Jimmy Garoppolo? Nick Mullens? C.J. Beathard??? Too much uncertainty here, so I'm avoiding this situation when planning my lineups.

UPDATE: Jimmy G. will make his return in Week 5.

Myles Gaskin (RB, MIA)

Volume for Gaskin makes him playable every week, but the Niners allow the fewest fantasy points to running backs of any team in the league, so while Gaskin is playable, he's also an extremely risky play in most formats. Kind of a catch-22 here, isn't it?

Preston Williams  (WR, MIA)

Yikes. Not only is this a horrendous matchup, but Williams has only six catches all year for 89 yards. I'm not playing him anywhere. No way.

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)

Big Gesicki fan, but the 49ers allow the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends and Gesicki is coming off consecutive games with just a single catch. Maybe when a QB swap happens, we'll see Gesicki involved as a safe option, but don't love the usage patterns right now.

Other Matchups:

DeVante Parker (WR, MIA)

If you're going to play a Dolphins receiver, it should be Parker. The 49ers allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers, but Parker's role as the No. 1 guy on an offense that throws a ton makes him a WR3 option.

Brandon Aiyuk (WR, SF)

Fine matchup, but concerned about just how many times he'll touch the football. The floor is too low for me to play him in shallow leagues, but think he's an intriguing DFS play.

Deebo Samuel (WR, SF)

Again, fine matchup, but what's the workload look like? A 34 percent snap rate last week in his return is worrisome, because if that number doesn't rise a good bit, Samuel will have an extremely low floor.

 

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Matchups We Love:

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

This defense is horrible, which means Prescott just keeps throwing the football. And while the Giants have been really good defensively when it comes to limiting fantasy production for quarterbacks, this game has the makings of a shootout. Dak's the best quarterback New York has faced. He's easily a top QB1 option again.

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

Daniel Jones has not had a good 2020 season, but maybe the antidote to that is facing a Cowboys Defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Something has to give here, and *looks at this Dallas secondary* I don't think it's the Cowboys who change course. Jones is a good streaming option.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

Touches each week for Elliott: 25, 28, 20, 20. While he hasn't had a 100-yard game yet on the ground, his increased usage as a receiver has helped make up for that, and Elliott is currently the overall RB4 in half PPR. Yes, he's a must-start RB1.

Darius Slayton & Golden Tate (WR, NYG)

I like Slayton more, but both should see ample targets against a Cowboys secondary that's been really rough so far. Consider Slayton a solid WR3 and Tate to be someone with WR3 upside, but a little more risk since Slayton's been higher in the pecking order for Jones.

Amari Cooper (WR, DAL)

I don't love this week quite as much for Cooper as I should, because Cooper will have a tough matchup against James Bradberry. But look, Cooper's been a stud so far, and you start him as a WR1 every week because of his upside in this high-powered offense.

CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

Lamb is a strong WR3 play with upside every week. This game is no exception, as he'll see lighter matchups from the defense than Cooper and should get a good number of easy looks.

Matchups We Hate:

Nothing here. Expecting a lot of offense.

Other Matchups:

Devonta Freeman (RB, NYG)

Solid matchup, but not totally sure I'm ready to trust Freeman yet. He averaged just three yards per carry last week after averaging two yards per carry the week before. There's a lower floor than you think here, even if he has RB3 upside.

Michael Gallup (WR, DAL)

I am officially concerned about volume. Three or fewer catches in three of the four games this year. One huge performance against Seattle and three mediocre ones. But you'll play him in a lot of leagues as a WR3 because of the upside, as we know he can deliver in the right situation.

Evan Engram (TE, NYG)

Dallas allows the sixth-most points to tight ends, so why is Engram only here? Because Engram has been a disappointment relative to expectation. He was targeted 10 times last week; he finished with 35 yards, which was also his second-highest yardage total of the year. In season-long, you have to start him, but in DFS, I have big, flashing "NO AVOID HIM THIS TIME" letters beside his name.

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

The Giants are allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, so there's that major minus. Still, Schultz has been very good in the lead tight end role here, with 17 catches for 208 yards and two scores in the last three games. So, he's still a high-end TE2, but might have to work for it more than usual.

 

Indianapolis Colts at Cleveland Browns

Matchups We Love:

Kareem Hunt (CLE, RB)

With no Nick Chubb, Hunt slides in as the No. 1 running back for Cleveland. He has a tough matchup against a Colts Defense allowing the third-fewest points to opposing running backs, but relative to what you spent in the draft on Hunt, he's a great value and a high-end RB2.

Zach Pascal (WR, IND)

The Browns struggle against wide receivers, and with injuries to Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr., Pascal has an expanded role now. This matchup screams "DFS VALUE" to me, and he's fine as a flex play in deeper season-long leagues as well.

Mo Alie-Cox (TE, IND)

Okay, so we thought that with other options back, Alie-Cox would take a step back last week. And he did, getting targeted just twice, but he found the end zone for the second week in a row. I like him a lot as a streaming play this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

No team has allowed fewer points per game to opposing quarterbacks this year. Just 11.2 per game for passers facing this Colts defense. Not a week where I want to rely on Mayfield at all.

Austin Hooper and David Njoku (TE, CLE)

The Colts allow the fewest fantasy points to tight ends of any team, and Hooper won't see the needed volume to make him a decent play. Sit him in 12-team leagues if you have a good streaming option available. (Also, Njoku should be back which hurts Hooper even more. Njoku isn't someone to add either at the moment, but keep an eye on him.)

Other Matchups:

Philip Rivers (QB, IND)

It's a good matchup! But Rivers isn't throwing a lot, has four touchdowns in four games, and has three picks. He's just not a quarterback I want to use as anything but a matchup-dependent play in a two-QB league. And hey, this is probably an okay time to use him as that, if you want to.

Jonathan Taylor & Nyheim Hines (RB, IND)

The Browns allow the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Taylor has been getting a ton of carries lately, including 17 last week, so volume alone gives him RB2 upside, though a better matchup would give him RB1 upside. Hines might get 10ish touches, but the tough matchup makes him risky as anything but a deep-league flex play.

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

The Browns allow the third-most points to wide receivers, though that number is inflated because of last week's game against the Cowboys. Hilton should be able to take advantage still, but something is off with the veteran wideout, who is averaging just 40.5 yards per game. What do we make of Hilton? An upside play, but with a WR5 floor? Sure, let's go with that.

Odell Beckham Jr. & Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE)

Nothing wrong with either of these guys, but the Colts defense is just a little too good for comfort. Beckham had a big Week 4, but should take a step back in Week 5, though you still start him as a WR2. Landry isn't getting a lot of volume or yardage, but his role does make him a low-end WR3 play in full PPR leagues.

 

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks

Matchups We Love:

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Seattle's defense is allowing 28.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, the second-highest amount in the league. Cousins has had a growing rapport with Justin Jefferson lately and while this doesn't have the makings of a full-on shootout, Cousins still has to be considered a very good streaming play.

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

You play Russell Wilson against anyone and you expect him to deliver. Full stop. The end.

Chris Carson (RB, SEA)

The Vikings allow the 13th-most fantasy points to the running back position. Last week, Carson went from being very, very questionable with a knee injury to scoring two touchdowns. Play Carson this week and expect low-end RB1/high-end RB2 production.

UPDATE: Carlos Hyde is officially inactive for Week 5

Adam Thielen & Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

If we expect the Seahawks trend against the pass to continue, we should expect Thielen and Jefferson to be the primary players who benefit from that. Both players can easily finish as WR2s or better this week and both should be in season-long lineups in any league where you have them. They're good DFS plays too, though could be a bit chalky.

D.K. Metcalf & Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)

These two should be started as high-end WR2s every week, especially with multiple rookies playing heavy minutes in this Vikings secondary.

Matchups We Hate:

Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN)

The Seahawks allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Rudolph has six catches this year. Not a streaming option this week.

Other Matchups:

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

Look, you obviously deploy Cook as a looked-in RB1 in season-long, but the Seahawks are only allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, so you might want to use Cook in fewer DFS lineups than you'd usually have him in.

 

 

Matchups Analysis - Monday / Tuesday Night Football

We have a whacky schedule this week for games on Monday and Tuesday night, due to COVID-19.

 

Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans Saints

Click here to read about the Monday Night Football matchup between the Chargers and Saints.

 

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

UPDATE: TheBroncos-Patriots game has been cancelled for Week 5. It is postponed from Monday October 12th, and moved to next Sunday October 18th.

Click here to read about the Monday Night Football matchup between the Broncos and Patriots.

 

Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans

This game has been moved to Tuesday night, though we'll see how that ends up working out. Check back soon for updates...



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Week 5 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

Welcome back, RotoBallers! It's Sunday Morning, Week 5... Do You Know Who to Start?

Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football lineup and start/sit questions, from around 10:30 AM to 12:45 PM ET.

Come join in on the fun, and get your start/sit and lineup questions answered. RotoBaller writers will be stopping by all morning to answer all questions that are asked. Good luck RotoBallers!

Note: You must register with a free account (on the top right), and then login to chat.

 

Week 5 - Live Expert Sunday Morning Q&A

Want a more personal Q&A session? Head over to our Live Expert Q&A for one-on-one chats with experts.

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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 5

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 5 of the NFL season. Dynasty owners, check out our separate Dynasty Risers/Fallers segment as well.

 

Week 5 Fantasy Football Risers

Justin Herbert (QB, LAC)

Anthony Lynn is not going back to Tyrod Taylor. There's just no way . Justin Herbert may not be winning games, but he looks all kinds of legit. He's still making mistakes, but they're correctable rookie mistakes. He's also making big time throws and showing poise under center. Herbert not only posted QB1 numbers against a tough Bucs defense, but he was extremely efficient, doing so on just 25 pass attempts. Now, the schedule really opens up for the rookie. The Chargers' next five games heading into their bye are against the Saints, Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars, and Raiders. With bye weeks, injuries to supporting casts, and coronavirus taking their toll, Herbert is a great guy to target as a replacement.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

When George Kittle missed two games, that was your opportunity to swoop in. He's back and proving he's the best tight end in football (which we knew) but a wide margin. Not only did Kittle rattle off 15 receptions for 183 yards last week, but he did so with two different backup quarterbacks and caught every single one of his targets. Jimmy Garoppolo's impending return can only be good news for Kittle. If you missed the buy window, rest assured it has slammed shut.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE)

There's no way to deny the performance Odell Beckham put on against a familiar foe last week. It will increase his value, but I'm not entirely sure I buy him as "back." Beckham caught two touchdowns and rushed for a third, but the Cowboys' historically bad defense helped his cause. There still just isn't that much to go around in Cleveland due to Baker Mayfield being purely a game manager, throwing for over 200 yards just once in four games. Nevertheless, Beckham was the overall WR1 last week and it was nice to see him atop the scoreboard as we haven't seen it in quite some time. Weeks 5, 6, and 14 are the only difficult matchups remaining on his schedule.

CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

Four weeks in and it's clear who the WR2 in Dallas is. It's CeeDee Lamb. The rookie has eclipsed double digit fantasy points in every game this season and although he's benefited from Dak Prescott having to throw more than any quarterback in the league, we have no reason to expect that to change. The Cowboys can't stop anyone and Prescott is on pace to shatter Peyton Manning's single season passing yards record. Lamb has a double digit floor without scoring. When he scores, or scores twice, like he did last week, he's a WR1. Michael Gallup has been sufficiently vanquished.

Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS)

As the season progresses, Antonio Gibson's role continues to grow. At this point, it's pretty much a two man backfield between Gibson and J.D. McKissic. With the Football Team part of the embarrassingly bad NFC East, the schedule is quite favorable over the remainder of the season. Gibson had his best day thus far against the best team he will face in the Ravens. That bodes extremely well for his outlook over the remainder of the season. With running backs going down left and right, Gibson has emerged as an every week RB2.

Joshua Kelley (RB, LAC)

With Austin Ekeler set to miss 4-6 weeks due to significant hamstring strain, Joshua Kelley is now the lead back for the Chargers. Kelley was already seeing about 12 touches a game. He is still going to split time with Justin Jackson, who will operate as the passing down back, but Kelley takes over as the primary early down back and goal line back, giving him, at worst, weekly RB2 value.

 

Week 5 Fantasy Football Fallers

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)

I will never understand how Matt Ryan can just faceplant so spectacularly. This game was setup perfectly for Ryan to thrive from a fantasy perspective in negative game script. Instead, he put up his second consecutive stinker. Ryan didn't throw a touchdown last week, which gives him just one over his past two games. The remaining schedule is one of the most favorable in the league, but Ryan just isn't playing well. An injured Julio Jones is never good, but we've seen the best quarterbacks succeed without their best weapon (see: Rodgers, Aaron). I'd be very worried with Ryan going forward.

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

We're a quarter of the way through the season so it's time to start drawing conclusions. The Tyler Higbee faders were correct. The snap count is fine - Higbee is clearly the primary tight end, playing over 80% of the snaps. The problem is he's not being targeted. Higbee's season high in targets is just five, which is not entirely his fault as Sean McVay has fallen so far from grace, at least in terms of my respect for his coaching abilities. Now firmly aboard team Establish the Run, the Rams' great passing offense is a thing of the past. Jared Goff is on pace for fewer than 500 pass attempts, so with high end options like Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, there's just not enough to go around for Higbee.

D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)

As an avid Twitter-er, I know you are going to see a lot of analysts tell you that D.J. Moore is a great buy low and Robby Anderson is not the real #1 in Carolina. I'm here to tell you that's bad analysis. We all have eyes. We can all see what's going on. Robby Anderson is the #1 in Carolina. Robby Anderson > D.J. Moore. I still like Moore as a talent. He's not a super special talent, but he's definitely very good and will be a good NFL and fantasy receiver for the majority of his career. It's just not happening this year. Anderson has out-targeted Moore 34-32 this season, which isn't significant, but what is significant is Anderson outplaying Moore. Anderson's catch rate is 82.4% against Moore's 56.3% rate. Anderson is the guy with downfield splash play ability, while Moore is your "Michael Thomas lite" type guy who racks up his points on receptions. Moore may very well pop against the hapless Falcons this week, but the schedule is rocky going forward and there's little room for Teddy Bridgewater to support three viable pass catchers. With Anderson as the clear primary receiver and Mike Davis piling up receptions every week (which will eventually return to being Christian McCaffrey), Moore is nothing more than a weekly WR3.

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

I'm taking a big time L on T.Y. Hilton. He was at the top of his game in 2019, derailed solely by injury, which led me to believe a healthy Hilton could thrive in 2020. Nope. A completely healthy Hilton has been the antithesis of a guy like CeeDee Lamb. Whereas Lamb hit double digits in each of his first four games, Hilton is still waiting for his first one. With the Colts' not interested in throwing the ball and not needing to due to their defense, Hilton has neither the volume nor the electric ability he once did to be the WR1 he could have been.

A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

A.J. Green is done.

Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND)

In his first game after Marlon Mack went down, it sure looked like Jonathan Taylor was on his way to a monster season. After two more games, it's clear that is not the plan. Taylor has played fewer than 50% of the snaps his past two games and is rotating with both Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. The Colts are experiencing positive game script and have an elite offensive line, but Taylor is just not on the field. In addition, when he's out there, he's not playing well. He's still explosive and has the talent, but he doesn't seem to be transitioning well to smaller NFL holes as opposed to the gaping holes he had at Wisconsin. Taylor is still a weekly start, but temper expectations for now.

Darrell Henderson (RB, LAR)

I never took the L on Darrell Henderson because I know the truth - the Rams hate Darrell Henderson. I know I sound like a broken record, but I don't know what it will take for people to understand this concept. It does not matter how well Henderson plays. The only reason he had two productive weeks is because he was the only man standing. The Rams had literally no choice with Cam Akers hurt and Malcolm Brown banged up. With Brown returning to full health in Week 4, Henderson went right back to the bench because Sean McVay's backfield plan is anyone other than Henderson. After a 21 touch Week 3, Henderson had just nine touches in Week 4 on 39% of the snaps. Akers is due back this week, which will relegate Henderson to something closer to his Week 1 role where he played 7% of the snaps. I anticipate seeing Henderson back on waiver wires after a couple weeks.



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Week 4 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

Welcome back, RotoBallers! It's Sunday Morning, Week 4... Do You Know Who to Start?

Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football lineup and start/sit questions, from around 10:30 AM to 12:45 PM ET.

Come join in on the fun, and get your start/sit and lineup questions answered. RotoBaller writers will be stopping by all morning to answer all questions that are asked. Good luck RotoBallers!

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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 4

Hi, y'all! Three weeks of NFL action are in the books and we're moving on to another. Welcome to our Week 4 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 Monday Night Football matchup. Let's help guide you to that Week 4 victory!

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @FAmmiranteTFJ and @juscarts and feel free to ask away! Let's get on to the matchups!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

Baltimore Ravens at Washington Football Team

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL), Marquise Brown (WR, BAL), & Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)

Lamar Jackson is fresh off a disappointing effort on Monday Night Football against the Chiefs, finishing as QB23 for the week and now ranking as QB12 on the season. He has a get-right matchup against a Washington defense that will be without pass-rushers Chase Young and Matt Ioannidis. Washington's defense allowed Kyler Murray to rush for 67 yards and two touchdowns on eight attempts, so Jackson has a good chance at racking up yardage on the ground. Washington's secondary has allowed three 40+ yard receptions already this season (Jalen Reagor, Christian Kirk, and Andy Isabella), so this is an exploitable matchup for Marquise Brown. Jackson underthrew a would-be touchdown to Brown late in Monday's game, so you can bet that the two are hungry to get back on track. Brown has caught 7-of-12 targets for 55 yards in the last two games, but his 36.11% air-yard share (8th in NFL) and 24.00% target share (19th in NFL) remain strong, so make sure he's in your lineup for this one. Mark Andrews also had a tough night on Monday, catching 3-of-8 targets for 22 yards, but we should see a bounce-back here, as Washington's defense is tied for 27th in fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Logan Thomas (TE, WAS)

Logan Thomas currently ranks as TE18 in PPR formats, but his usage has been highly encouraging. Thomas has posted a 24.24% target share (2nd among tight ends, 18th overall), 24.58% air-yard share (5th among tight ends), and 41.67% red-zone target share (2nd among tight ends, 6th overall). He's primed for a breakout against a Ravens Defense that is tied for 27th in fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Other Matchups:

Mark Ingram II (RB, BAL), J.K. Dobbins (RB, BAL), & Gus Edwards (RB, BAL)

The Ravens backfield is tough to rely on due to their three-headed monster of a committee: J.K. Dobbins (37.22% of snaps, 6.67% target share), Mark Ingram (36.67% of snaps, 5.33% target share), and Gus Edwards (26.67% of snaps, 0 targets) are cutting into each other's value. However, we could see them get more work in a game that profiles as a blowout. The Ravens might also opt to feature Dobbins more after their offensive struggles last week - it's intriguing to see his passing game usage against the Chiefs (4 targets, 4 receptions, 38 yards). Consider Ingram as a decent FLEX with Dobbins as more of a dart-throw and DFS tournament play, while Edwards is just a desperation play who could see more volume with the Ravens likely up multiple scores.

Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS) & Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS)

Terry McLaurin has been solid despite poor quarterback play, ranking as WR15 on the season. While he could see volume in garbage time here, the Ravens pass-rush will likely make things difficult for Dwayne Haskins, so it's going to be a challenge to find McLaurin deep. It's unlikely that McLaurin hits his ceiling in this one, so consider him more of an upside WR3. Antonio Gibson (7.07% target share, 2nd behind J.D. McKissic) needs to be used more in the passing game. This would be a good spot to rack-up check-down targets, but until we see that happen, he's more of a middling FLEX. The only reason why he's not on the "hate" section is because we could see some garbage time goodness for rookie Gibson here.

 

Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears

Matchups We Hate:

Philip Rivers (QB, IND) & Nick Foles (QB, CHI)

Both quarterbacks are off the streaming radar in this one, as the Colts (1st in fantasy points per game, 2nd in yards per attempted) and Bears (2nd in fantasy points per game, 3rd in yards per attempt allowed) have been stingy against opposing passers. These are two players who need juicy matchups for consideration in any format, so you can forget about them here.

Other Matchups:

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND) & Mo Alie-Cox (TE, IND)

With injuries to Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell, T.Y. Hilton could be line for a bump in targets. While he only had three targets last week, that was in a blowout game against the hapless Jets. This projects as more of a close game against a tough Bears Defense (9th in fantasy points per game), but Hilton's potential volume keeps him in-play as a WR3. Mo-Alie Cox (9 targets, 8 receptions, 161 yards, and two touchdowns in the last two games) has supplanted Jack Doyle as the primary tight end in Indy. The Bears rank 17th in fantasy points per game to tight ends, so they're more vulnerable here. Consider Cox as a tight end streamer this week.

Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND) & Nyheim Hines (RB, IND)

Jonathan Taylor (47.83% of snaps) is not getting the bell-cow usage that most expected, as Nyheim Hines (32.85% of snaps) has retained a role in this offense. The Bears are rank 19th in fantasy points allowed to running backs, so they're not as stout on the ground. If the Colts get out to an early lead, we could see some strong production for Taylor, but if they're trailing, then we might see more work than usual for Hines. Consider Taylor as a high-end RB2 and Hines as a mediocre FLEX in deeper leagues.

Allen Robinson (WR, CHI) & Jimmy Graham (TE, CHI)

Allen Robinson is going to love life with Nick Foles under center, but he goes up against a Colts Defense that has stymied passing games and slowed down wide receivers (tied for 10th in fantasy points per game). A-Rob will see his usual high volume, but it'll be tough for him to hit his ceiling here. Jimmy Graham (10 targets, 6 receptions, 60 yards, and 2 touchdowns) broke out last week with Foles in a triumphant return to the fantasy radar. Consider him a streamer against a Bears defense that ranks 17th against the tight end in fantasy points per game.

David Montgomery (RB, CHI)

David Montgomery could see an increase in workload with the season-ending injury to Tarik Cohen, particularly in the passing game, but the Bears have worked out veterans like Lamar Miller this week, so temper your expectations there. Monty is a lukewarm play here against a stout Colts defense that is allowing 3.98 yards per carry and the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs.

 

New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions

Matchups We Love:

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

Alvin Kamara has been on another planet this season, ranking as RB1 with 35.6 PPR points per game, which is *nine* more than second-place Aaron Jones. Kamara's 31.00% target share ranks 1st among running backs by 13% and 3rd overall. He takes on a Lions Defense that got shredded by a similar back in Aaron Jones (18 carries for 168 rushing yards, 4 receptions for 68 receiving yards, and three total touchdowns). With Michael Thomas on the shelf, Kamara has become the entire Saints offense. He's the overall RB1 in this matchup and a must-play in DFS.

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET) & T.J. Hockenson (TE, DET)

The Saints Defense has been vulnerable against the pass this season, allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. With Kenny Golladay back in the lineup, Stafford now has all hands on deck in this one and we saw what he can do with these weapons last year (QB4 in fantasy points per game). Stafford threw for 270 yards (8.7 yards per attempt) against the Cardinals last week, so it looks like he's turned the corner and primed for a breakout here. T.J. Hockenson is in a smash-spot against a Saints defense allowing the most fantasy points per game to tight ends, including a monster game from Darren Waller (12 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown) on Monday Night football. Hockenson had a season-high seven targets last week, so perhaps the coaching staff is starting to trush him more. Fire him up as a streamer and lock him in your DFS lineups.

Matchups We Hate:

Adrian Peterson (RB, DET)

Adrian Peterson surprisingly dominated snaps last week (59.70%) as he has become the lead back on a team that just invested second-round picks in D'Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson - simply an egregious misuse of talent by this coaching staff. Peterson has a tough matchup against a Saints defense allowing 3.53 yards per carry (8th in NFL).

Drew Brees (QB, NO), Tre'Quan Smith (WR, NO), & Emmanuel Sanders (WR, NO) 

Drew Brees takes on a Lions defense that ranks 26th in fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, but he's currently QB18 and not worth using as long as Michael Thomas is out of the lineup. Tre'Quan Smith (13 targets) and Emmanuel Sanders (8 targets) will cut into each other's value and are players to avoid in a passing game dominated by check-downs to Kamara.

Other Matchups:

Jared Cook (TE, NO)

Jared Cook is currently TE19, but his 29.74% air-yard share (3rd in NFL) indicates that better days are ahead. This is a lukewarm play against a Lions defense that is tied for 13th in fantasy points per game to tight ends. While many believed that Cook would see a bump in value in Thomas' absence, that has not been the case. It looks as if we'll have to wait for MT's return for Cook to get back to form.

UPDATE: Jared Cook has officially been ruled out for Week 4.

Kenny Golladay (WR, DET) & Marvin Jones Jr. (WR, DET)

Kenny Golladay (7 targets, 6 receptions, 57 yards, and a touchdown) played well in his debut, but he only received 73.13% of the snaps as the Lions eased him back into action. Consider him more of a mid-range WR2 here with Jones as a low-end WR3. They take on a Saints defense that just got shredded by Allen Lazard for six receptions, 146 yards, and a touchdown. It's just hard to love them as Golladay gets back up to speed and Jones loses some value with his teammate's return.

 

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

Matchups We Love:

Kenyan Drake (RB, ARI)

Kenyan Drake is in a smash-spot against a Panthers Defense allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to running backs. With DeAndre Hopkins banged-up and possibly missing this game, we could see the Cardinals opt to lean on Drake more. Despite a disappointing start to the season, Drake is still averaging 19.7 touches per game, so the volume is there for the breakout game in a terrific matchup.

UPDATE: DeAndre Hopkins is officially active for Week 4.

Mike Davis (RB, CAR)

Mike Davis immediately stepped into the bell-cow role for Christian McCaffrey, totaling 21 touches against the Los Angeles Chargers. Davis has now caught 16-of-17 targets in his two games this season, so it's clear that Teddy Bridgewater loves to check it down to CMC's fill-in. This kind of usage puts Davis firmly on the RB2 radar against a Cardinals Defense that ranks 22nd in fantasy points per game to running backs.

Matchups We Hate:

Teddy Bridgewater (QB, CAR)

It's tough to use Teddy Bridgewater (currently QB24) as a streamer, especially against this Cardinals defense that has been stout against the pass, tied for 7th in fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. If Hopkins misses this game for Arizona, it decreases the chances for a shootout with the Cardinals likely focusing on the running game. I'd only consider using Bridgewater in Superflex formats as a desperation play.

Robby Anderson (WR, CAR) & Curtis Samuel (WR, CAR)

Robby Anderson has been one of the surprises of the season, ranking as WR8 in PPR leagues, but I'd consider him a risky WR3 against a Cardinals defense allowing the second-fewest points per game to wide receivers. Curtis Samuel (16.47% target share) is not seeing enough volume to be anything more than a stash at this point, as he's been supplanted by Anderson as the WR2 in this offense.

Other Matchups:

Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

This looks like more of a floor game for Kyler Murray, as the Cardinals should be able to run all over this Panthers defense. There's a chance that Murray will be without DeAndre Hopkins, who's missed practices on both Wednesday and Thursday. The Panthers' defense has also been decent against the pass, allowing only 6.89 yards per attempt (7th in NFL). While Murray should be able to produce on the ground, he's more in the 6th-8th range than a bonafide Top-5 option this week. I'd prefer to look elsewhere in DFS.

D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)

D.J. Moore is one of the best buy-lows in fantasy football right now, as his actual production (WR28 in PPR formats) does not match his volume. Moore's 49.02% air yard share ranks 2nd in the NFL while his 30.59% target share is 4th, so it's only a matter of time before he breaks out. It might be tough for a ceiling game here against a stingy Cardinals defense, but Moore's usage raises his floor, even in a difficult matchup like this one.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals

Matchups We Love:

James Robinson (RB, JAX)

James Robinson has been the biggest steal of the season, coming out of nowhere as an undrafted running back to burst onto the scene as the RB5 in PPR formats. He gets another smash-spot against a Bengals Defense that has been among the worst in the NFL against the run. The Bengals rank 28th in fantasy points per game to running backs, allowing 5.24 yards per attempt and establishing themselves as a run-funnel defense. Look for the Jags to continue riding their rookie as they try to exploit this weakness.

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN) & Tyler Boyd (WR, CIN)

The Jaguars Defense is allowing 25.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks (T-24th) along with 8.47 yards per attempt (29th). This is good news for Joe Burrow, who has gotten off to a flying start as QB10 through the first three weeks of the season. While the Jags have done a decent job at limiting opposing wide receivers (T-13th in fantasy points per game), Tyler Boyd has established himself as the top option in this passing game, coming off a big game against the Eagles where he caught 10-of-13 targets for 125 yards. Look for Burrow to connect with Boyd early and often in this exploitable matchup.

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

The Jags have been decent against the run, allowing 3.21 yards per attempt (4th), but this is a positive game-script for the disappointing Joe Mixon, as the Bengals are home favorites in this one. While Mixon hasn't translated his volume (19.67 touches per game) into production (RB38 in PPR formats), he could see more work if the Bengals get out to an early lead. The Jaguars also have allowed the fifth-most receptions to running backs, so this is a good opportunity for head coach Zac Taylor to finally get Mixon more involved in the passing game. Look for Mixon to finally get on track this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Gardner Minshew II (QB, JAX), Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR, JAX) & Keelan Cole (WR, JAX)

Gardner Minshew let us down on Thursday Night Football, turning in a dud in an exploitable matchup against a vulnerable Dolphins Defense. The Bengals have actually been decent against the pass, tied for the seventh-fewest fantasy points allowed and surrendering only 6.52 yards per attempt. This defense has been so vulnerable against the run that teams have focused their gameplan on the ground, so we could see the same for the Jags here. Expect an improvement on last week for Minshew, but I wouldn't be too excited about the matchup. Laviska Shenault and Keelan Cole were disappointments last week - I'd suggest to avoid them in all formats for this one in a game where the Jags try to establish the run.

Other Matchups:

D.J. Chark (WR, JAX) 

D.J. Chark has a good chance to get back in the lineup this week against a Bengals secondary that has limited opposing wide receivers (fourth-fewest fantasy points per game). Since it'll be his first game back from injury in a tough matchup, consider Chark more of an upside WR3 than the every-week WR2 that I expect him to be when he gets back on track. Chark is the only Jaguars' receiver worth starting in this game.

A.J. Green (WR, CIN) & Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

Don't look now, but we could be witnessing a changing of the guard in Cincinnati, with rookie Tee Higgins starting to eat into A.J. Green's volume. Higgins had a breakout game last week, catching 5-of-9 targets for 40 yards and two touchdowns and leading the Bengals' receivers with a 79.17% snap share. Green has been unable to convert his volume (33.71% air yard share, 20.59% target share) into production (46.4% catch rate, WR63 in PPR formats), so there's a decent chance that he starts to take a back-seat to this talented rookie. While I'd still rank Green over Higgins in season-long leagues, I'd prefer to use the rookie as a cheap tournament play in DFS.

 

Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys

Matchups We Love:

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE) & Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE)

The Browns' wide receivers have a great matchup against a Cowboys Defense that's allowing the second-most points to the position. Seahawks' deep threat D.K. Metcalf (4 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown) got loose deep against this secondary, which bodes well for OBJ, while slot receiver Tyler Lockett exploded (9 receptions for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns), which is great for fellow slot-man Jarvis Landry. This is the perfect spot for the Browns passing game to finally smash.

Austin Hooper (TE, CLE)

The Cowboys have also been generous to tight ends, ranking 21st in fantasy points per game allowed. Austin Hooper has struggled this season (TE36) has been a massive disappointment, but the Browns signed him to a lucrative contract this offseason, so you have to figure that he eventually gets things going. There's no better spot than in this shootout against the Cowboys.

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

The Browns have struggled against the pass this season, ranking 27th in fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Prescott is an elite option every week with the Cowboys playing at such a fast pace and struggling to stop anyone on defense. Dak has thrown for an absurd 922 yards in the past two weeks, so it's a good idea to keep riding this streak in another exploitable matchup.

Amari Cooper (WR, DAL) & Michael Gallup (WR, DAL)

Amari Cooper leads the Cowboys with a 25.18% target share, so it's clear that he remains the top dog in Dallas, making him an every-week WR1 in fantasy football. The Browns rank 27th in fantasy points per game to wide receivers, so we could see a ceiling game from Cooper this week. Michael Gallup (6 receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown) finally broke out last week and is back on the WR2/3 radar. Gallup (85.37% of snaps, 9 targets) is starting to re-establish himself as the clear-cut WR2 for the Cowboys.

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

Dalton Schultz has caught 13-of-16 targets for 136 yards and a touchdown in the past two games, establishing himself as a terrific replacement for the injured Blake Jarwin. He has a chance to keep it rolling against a Browns Defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Other Matchups:

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

While Baker Mayfield has a terrific matchup against a Cowboys defense allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, it's tough to love him this week given his mediocre production (QB25) at the deepest position in fantasy football. Mayfield is on the streaming radar if you're hurting at QB or as a tournament play in DFS, but I wouldn't be overly excited about him - he's a lukewarm play.

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE) & Kareem Hunt (RB, CLE)

The Cowboys are starting to establish themselves as a pass-funnel defense, as they've been stout against the run, ranking 8th in fantasy points per game to running backs and only allowing 3.32 yards per attempt (6th in NFL). Nick Chubb (RB8 in PPR formats) has delivered on his ADP, but we could see the Browns air it out and possibly play catch-up in this one. Chubb would receive a significant bump in value if Kareem Hunt (minor groin injury) were to miss the game or see reduced snaps. If Hunt does play at full capacity, this is a good matchup for him as the superior pass-catcher in a potential shootout. Consider Chubb a low-end RB1 and Hunt as an upside FLEX play.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

Like the Cowboys, the Browns are a pass-funnel defense, ranking 8th in fantasy points per game to running backs. I'd consider Zeke as a lukewarm play in a game that I expect the Cowboys to air it out. It's encouraging to see Dak peppering him with targets (22 targets in three games), so perhaps Zeke eats more in the passing game this week. While he's still a slam-dunk Top-3 running back, I'm avoiding him in DFS games because I'd prefer to spend those funds elsewhere.

CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

CeeDee Lamb saw his snap share decrease from 82.93% to 59.76% as the Cowboys got Cedrick Wilson more involved (snap share increase from 4.88% to 29.27%) against the Seahawks last week. This puts the impressive rookie as the clear-cut WR3 on this Cowboys offense, as Gallup has become the preferred option here. Lamb remains in-play as an upside FLEX, but temper your expectations for the rookie.

 

Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans

Matchups We Love:

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

Dalvin Cook had a breakout game last week, totaling 181 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts against the Titans. He gets another strong matchup against a Texans Defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. Fire up Cook as a sure-fire Top-5 RB1 in his potential shootout.

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense FINALLY get a break from their three-game gauntlet to open the season against the Chiefs, Ravens, and Texans. They take on a Vikings Defense that has allowed 8.48 yards per attempt (30th in NFL), so we could see Watson connect downfield with one of his deep-threats in this one.

David Johnson (RB, HOU)

David Johnson also gets a break to take on a Vikings defense that just got shredded by Derrick Henry (26 carries for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns). DJ has upside to rack up receptions in this potential shootout and we could also see him find the endzone. The Texans have had to play catch-up all season so far, so his volume (14 touches per game) hasn't been there yet, but make no mistake: he's the bell-cow in Houston (90.30% of snaps, 2nd in NFL).

Will Fuller (WR, HOU) & Brandin Cooks (WR, HOU)

Will Fuller (22.84% air-yard share, 16.30% target share) and Brandin Cooks (26.49% air-yard share, 19.57% target share) have a chance at a field day against a Vikings defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game against wide receivers. Fuller is my preferred choice here, despite the lower numbers, because they're skewed by a game where he was shutout against the Ravens as he was slowed by a hamstring injury. Consider Fuller an upside WR2 and Cooks a strong WR3 in this one.

Matchups We Hate:

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Despite the shootout potential here, Kirk Cousins is off the streaming radar even though he's coming off a QB12 performance against the Titans. The Texans' defense has been surprisingly stout against the pass, allowing only 7.09 yards per attempt (T-10th) and 20.6 fantasy points per game (9th). I expect the Vikings to feature Cook in this game as they try to exploit this vulnerable run defense.

Other Matchups:

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN) & Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

Adam Thielen saw his target share drop from 33.33% to 20.00% as the Vikings finally got their promising rookie involved in the offense. After combining for only 5 receptions and 70 yards in the first two games, Justin Jefferson exploded against the Titans, catching 7-of-9 targets for 175 yards and a touchdown. I would bet that he's here to stay so you can fire him up as an upside WR3, while Thielen gets downgraded to more of a high-end WR2. The Texans have stymied opposing receivers, tying for 10th in fantasy points per game, so these are lukewarm plays.

 


Hi, Justin taking over now. Thanks, Frank!

 

Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins

Matchups We Love:

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

Russell Wilson is the hottest quarterback in the NFL right now. The Miami Dolphins allow the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Don't overthink this, y'all.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)

Speaking of not overthinking things, the Seahawks allow the second-most points to quarterbacks. Fitzpatrick's a gunslinger who has had consecutive strong fantasy games. No, you aren't starting Fitzpatrick over an elite QB, but he might be the top streaming option available this week.

D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)

Look, I've got to write a lot of words in this article, so we're keeping this whole game simple. Metcalf and Lockett are playing like elite receivers. Both are high-end WR2s at worse heading into this matchup.

DeVante Parker (WR, MIA)

Parker is the No. 1 receiver on this Dolphins team. Seattle allows the most fantasy points to wide receivers. Again, easy play. He's a WR2 this week.

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)

While Seattle has only allowed the fourth-fewest points to tight ends, they've faced three teams who lack an elite receiving tight end. Gesicki is arguably the second-best receiver on this Miami team in a game that is going to be really pass happy. He's a TE1 option.

Matchups We Hate:

Jordan Howard (RB, MIA)

All he does is fall into the end zone on one-yard dives. That's not a secure-enough role for a meeting with a Seahawks Defense that's done well at controlling opposing run games.

Greg Olsen (TE, SEA)

Like Seattle, Miami hasn't allowed many fantasy points to tight ends. Unlike Seattle's defense, though, I expect the trend to stay mostly the same this week for this defense. Seattle will focus on their receivers in the passing game. Olsen won't see a lot of targets this week, limiting his upside and putting him in the TE2 tier.

Other Matchups:

Carlos Hyde (RB, SEA)

Don't think the run games see too much usage this week, but with Chris Carson likely out, Hyde should get enough work to make him a decent floor play.

UPDATE: Carlos Hyde has been ruled out for Week 4, and Chris Carson is officially active.

Myles Gaskin (RB, MIA)

Gaskin is the RB1 in Miami now, which is a huge surprise for pretty much everyone. Volume makes him a fine play this week, but Seattle's run defense has been significantly better than it's pass defense, which almost led me to putting Gaskin in the hate section.

Preston Williams (WR, MIA)

Even in a game that will feature a ton of pass attempts, can we really trust someone with just five receptions in the first three games? He has matchup-based upside, but also is an incredibly risky play based on his 2020 performance.

 

Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Matchups We Love:

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

I really don't love anyone in this game, but if I had to highlight someone, it's Mike Evans, solely for his projected target share with Chris Godwin not expected to play. He's a must-start WR2, even though he's had an up and down season, because he's set to see enough opportunities to give him a high floor in a bad matchup.

Matchups We Hate:

Justin Herbert (QB, LAC)

Herbert's first two starts went relatively well, but now he faces a Buccaneers Defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks. Even if the Chargers wind up passing a lot, I can't justify playing Herbert this week. He's going to finally look like a rookie.

Joshua Kelley (RB, LAC)

This is the kind of game where the Chargers could fall behind really far, which kind of game scripts Kelley out in the second half. If he can get in the end zone early, he'll be fine, but if not, this can be a long, long day against a strong run defense.

Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II (RB, TB)

This is a confusing backfield. I'll put this simply: there's not been enough rushing opportunities here for me to trust either guy right now as more than maybe an RB3.

UPDATE: Leonard Fournette has officially been ruled out for Week 4. Jones gets an increase in value, likely to see more touches and is in FLEX consideration.

Other Matchups:

Tom Brady (QB, TB)

Even if the Chargers Defense isn't quite as good as we expected, they're still only allowing the 16th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, so they aren't a total disaster. And that number would look even better if they hadn't had to face off against Patrick Mahomes in Week 2. Tom Brady in 2020 is no Patrick Mahomes. He's a solid play, but don't expect QB1 upside, especially with an injured receiving corps.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

Game script will likely call for a lot of passing in the second half. Ekeler can be the primary check down for Justin Herbert, who'll need to get the ball out fast to avoid the pass rush. Consider him a solid RB2, though his involvement in the run game could be limited by how good the Tampa run D is.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

Justin Herbert does like to target Allen and Mike Williams is dealing with a hamstring injury and the game script is likely going to be pass heavy. But Tampa has a good passing defense that can clamp down on Allen, and even if Herbert throws a lot, how much do we trust a receiver who'll be catching passes from a rookie facing one of this year's best passing defenses?

Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)

The Bucs allow the 10th-fewest points to tight ends. Hunter Henry is one of the most reliable targets in Los Angeles. It just feels like those things cancel out and lead to a mediocre outing for Henry.

 

 

Matchups Analysis - 4:05/4:25 PM ET Games

Three games on the afternoon slate for y'all. Let's break them down.

New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams

Matchups We Love:

Darrell Henderson (RB, LAR)

I'm in the "Henderson is the guy right now" camp, so against a Giants Defense that allows the 10th-most points to opposing running backs, I'm targeting Henderson as my primary guy. He's a low-end RB2 and a fun GPP play for me.

Robert Woods (WR, LAR)

His versatility makes him a strong play every week. Woods has become the No. 1 guy in L.A., and can make plays near the line of scrimmage, down the field, and occasionally in the run game. He's a easy WR2 play.

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

I might like Kupp even more than Woods, because while Woods will get stuck with a tough matchup on the outside, Kupp gets to play against a Giants defense that has struggled against slot receivers. Kupp should get a lot of targets in this one and is a solid WR2, with upside to sneak into the WR1 conversation in full PPR.

Matchups We Hate:

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

Jones hasn't thrown a touchdown since Week 1. He's thrown four interceptions. The Rams have picked off three passes already and have held two of the three QBs they've faced in check. Jones will probably toss a touchdown pass because starting NFL quarterbacks aren't going to go three weeks without one, but I wouldn't feel good about him posting more than a low-end QB2 day.

Giants Running Backs

Maybe you take the dart throw at Devonta Freeman, but I think the smart move here is to avoid this backfield for at least a little longer until we really see Freeman take it over.

Darius Slayon, Golden Tate, etc. (WR, NYG)

I like Slayton a lot. I don't like that he's potentially getting the Jalen Ramsey assignment. I also like Golden Tate, but I don't trust this pass offense at all in Week 4. Both guys might have decent floors in this game, but hate their ceilings.

Other Matchups:

Jared Goff (QB, LAR)

Goff hasn't been a high-volume guy this year and the Giants defense has held opposing quarterbacks mostly in check from a fantasy perspective. I don't hate Goff this week -- there are enough weapons here to give him a high floor -- but I think his upside is fairly capped.

Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers (RB, LAR)

The Giants run defense is bad enough that one of these guys can have a solid game even if Darrell Henderson operates as the lead back. I guess the question is this: do you bet on Brown as a touchdown-dependent red zone option or do you think Akers can get some targets against a team that's allowed two receiving touchdowns to backs? They probably both won't hit.

UPDATE: Cam Akers has officially been ruled out for Week 4.

Evan Engram (TE, NYG)

Meh. Talented player, obviously, but it's just not happening so far this year, as he has 96 yards through three games. The Rams allow the 13th-most fantasy points to tight ends, so there's upside, but also...meh.

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

Don't love Higbee's usage. Just two targets against Buffalo? We thought he'd break out this year, but aside from the whole "three Week 2 touchdowns" thing, his numbers are concerning. We can't disregard those touchdowns, but Higbee doesn't seem like he's going to win via piling up yardage this year and will need to get into the end zone on the targets he gets.

 

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

UPDATE: The Chiefs-Patriots game will not to be played on Sunday after Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. It may be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday, or pushed until later in the season.

Matchups We Love:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

New England has allowed seven passing touchdowns already. Patrick Mahomes is Patrick Mahomes. Add those things together and you get Mahomes as an obvious top-end QB1.

Tyreek Hill (WR, KC)

Per Rotowire, Hill has played 188 snaps and has lined up in the slot on 125 of them. The Patriots have struggled to contain slot receivers. This feels like the big Hill game that we've been waiting for, and I think it's worth paying up for him in DFS this week.

Travis Kelce (TE KC)

I know that Bill Belichick has done a good job game-planning Kelce out of things, but the Patriots don't have the same defensive talent they've had in the past and while they're allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position, Kelce is Kelce. He's a TE1. He's the TE1 with Kittle not at 100 percent.

Matchups We Hate:

Cam Newton (QB, NE)

Ugh, I hate saying this. But the Chiefs have done a good job limiting mobile quarterbacks this year, forcing Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson to play below their usual level of play. Newton will run more than both of those guys, but this really doesn't feel like the matchup for Newton, who just seems more like a QB2 than a QB1 this week.

UPDATE: Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19 and is out for Week 4.

Patriots Running Backs

Yes, Rex Burkhead had three touchdowns last week. But this is still the murky, Bill Belichick running back situation that we've seen for years, with it being really tough to predict what will happen on a week-to-week basis here with Burkhead, Sony Michel, James White, and Damien Harris.

N'Keal Harry (WR, NE)

The Chiefs have allowed just 315 yards and one touchdown to wide receivers and Harry is coming off season lows in targets, receptions, yards, and snap share. This is not a game where I want to have Harry in my lineup outside of a deep league where I don't have a better option.

Other Matchups:

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB, KC)

Give the Patriots Defense some credit here, as they allow the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. I'm fairly confident that Edwards-Helaire's workload makes him a solid RB2 play this week, but I know a lot of people are treating him as an elite RB1 already. I would temper those expectations just a bit.

Julian Edelman (WR, NE)

I don't love the Patriots passing attack this week, but Edelman should see plenty of volume. He's gotten at least six targets in each game and should rebound from last week's two-catch, 23-yard outing. I think my overall pessimism about the Patriots this week drags Edelman down a bit for me, but he's easily the one pass catcher here I'd want to play.

The Other Chiefs Receivers

Sammy Watkins. Mecole Hardman. Demarcus Robinson. There's upside to all three guys, but the Patriots defense isn't terrible, and none of these guys have really established themselves as a consistently fantasy-relevant play. Watkins is the highest floor guy of these three. Hardman is the highest upside play. And Robinson is...ehh, maybe a value play in DFS.

 

Buffalo Bills at Las Vegas Raiders

Matchups We Love:

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

I don't care that the Raiders defense is allowing just 16 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Josh Allen is having an incredible season and I'm not fully sold on the Raiders defense yet. Allen's a QB1.

Devin Singletary (RB, BUF)

The Raiders have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this year, including giving up three touchdowns to Rex Burkhead last week. Fire up Singletary as an RB2.

Josh Jacobs (RB, LV)

Volume, volume, volume. Jacobs has 68 carries in three games. The yardage isn't there and all three touchdowns were in the first game, but he's just running the ball so many times, which gives him one of the highest floors in the league at the running position plus very good upside against a defense that's allowed three touchdowns to running backs so far.

Stefon Diggs (WR, LV)

Diggs is off to a hot start and with John Brown not expected to play, Diggs will be a huge deep threat with a chance to see an uptick in targets. I expect to see Diggs get loose for a big touchdown in this one and would start him as a WR2 with no reservations.

UPDATE: John Brown has been removed from the injury report, is expected to play in Week 4, and should be in WR3/FLEX consideration.

Cole Beasley (WR, BUF)

I'm still the captain of the Cole Beasley hype train, who'll I'll write about in my waiver column every week until enough of y'all are rostering him. In this 2020 Bills offense that actually throws the ball, Beasley's role in the slot gives him a high floor. I don't love Beasley in, like, a 10-team standard league, but for where he's at in the rankings and what his DFS salary is, I think he's an incredible value.

Darren Waller (TE, LV)

The Bills allow the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Waller's the best available receiver on a beat-up Raiders offense. Confidently start him as a TE1.

John Brown (WR, BUF)

Probably will not play due to a calf injury.

UPDATE: John Brown has been removed from the injury report, is expected to play in Week 4, and should be in WR3/FLEX consideration.

Matchups We Hate:

Derek Carr (QB, LV)

No. Just..no, not this week. Nothing positive in the forecast with Carr, who will be missing multiple receivers and facing a stingy Bills Defense. Even if he throws for 400 yards somehow, benching him will still have been the right decision because Process > Results, and the process here is screaming "don't play Carr."

Other Matchups:

Zack Moss (RB, BUF)

The bad Raiders run defense could benefit Moss...if he plays. Moss is an interesting deep-league play this week because he may just need a few touches to go off against this porous run defense.

Hunter Renfrow (WR, LV)

Do the Raiders have another healthy receiver? Sure, but are you really playing Zay Jones? Personally I don't love Renfrow's matchup, as the defense may key in on him as the No. 2 receiving option after Darren Waller, but his volume will give him a pretty high floor.

 

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football

Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers

Matchups We Love:

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)

There's no Dallas Goedert this week, so expect some vintage Zach Ertz, which means double-digit targets are a distinct possibility. The 49ers have been incredible at limiting TEs this year, but they've also faced Arizona and the Jets, two teams who just don't have a threat at the position, and then holding Evan Engram in check last week might say more about Engram than this defense. Start Ertz comfortably as a top-four tight end this week.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

He's (probably) back! The Eagles are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to the tight end position, so let's keep this simple: even a limited Kittle is a must-start. If he's at or near 100 percent, he's a good bet to be the overall TE1 of the week.

Matchups We Hate:

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

Quarterbacks I'd start over Carson Wentz this week include Ryan Fitzpatrick, Baker Mayfield, and Kirk Cousins. Even with injuries, this Niners defense is allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and the safe thing here is to keep Wentz far away from your lineups if possible.

Nick Mullens (QB, SF)

I'd probably start Wentz over Mullens. The Eagles Defense does allow 19.1 fantasy points per game to QBs vs. SF's D allowing 16.2, so the matchup's a little better. But Mullens will be leading a run-first offense and while he attempted a lot of passes last week, I don't think he's a very safe play in this. Probably a higher ceiling than Wentz, but a really low floor.

Alshon Jeffery (WR, PHI)

Jeffery might make his 2020 debut this week. Personally, I've got to see him on the field playing effective football before he's back in my fantasy lineups.

UPDATE: Alshon Jeffery has officially been ruled out for Week 4.

49ers Receivers

Just too hard to predict things here. Brandon Aiuyk was good last week, but if Darius Slay is matched up on him, I don't expect a repeat. Beyond that, there's just no consistency to bet on here. Kendrick Bourne keeps getting targets but is a weekly risk. Mohamed Sanu has just one target in two games. Meh. Don't see much reason to start a 49ers wideout in Week 4 unless I'm desperate.

UPDATE: Deebo Samuel is set to make his return from injury in Week 4, and is in WR3/FLEX consideration.

Other Matchups:

Miles Sanders (RB, PHI)

Not my favorite matchup for Sanders, as the 49ers Defense has allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards to opposing backs. But I'm predicting a pretty nice volume of work for Sanders in this one, as the Eagles may run the ball a lot early to keep Wentz from throwing the game away. He's a solid RB2 play.

San Francisco 49ers Running Backs

This offense uses the backs so much that I can't hate them, but it'll be tough to predict how this week goes. Jerick McKinnon should be the lead back, except is he fully healthy or will his rib injury still impact things? Will Jeff Wilson get a larger role? Will Raheem Mostert make a miraculous return? There are situations where you play these guys, especially Wilson in DFS, but it may be risky. McKinnon and Wilson are at least FLEX considerations for Week 4, but I wouldn't consider either of them slam dunks.

UPDATE: Raheem Mostert has officially been ruled out for Week 4. 

Greg Ward (WR, PHI)

He'll get the targets to be a WR4 in PPR. Anything more than that against this 49ers defense would be a surprise.

 

Matchups Analysis - Monday Night Football

Click here to read about the Monday Night Football matchup between the Falcons and Packers as well...



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Week 4 Lineup Spotlights, Streaming and Replacement Options

In a special edition of the Lineup Spotlight, we provide an in-depth rundown of potential players that can fill holes in your lineup this week. With so many players potentially unavailable for various reasons, many Fantasy leaguers are dipping into their reserves or going back to the waiver wire for viable starting options. We list them at all levels of preference here. It’s your complete guide to Week 4 fantasy survival.

We only list players here who are not considered regular starters, and many of the lower-level types could be available as weekend waiver pickups. At each position, players are listed in order of preference for your lineups. Skill position picks here are based on PPR ranks.

These insights are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a 10% discount and get access to all of my ranks in all formats, plus a full roster of tools and analysis for the entire 2020 season.

 

Week 4 Running Back Spotlights, Streamers, and Fill-Ins

Mike Davis: Maybe you don’t consider him a must-start option, but he is one this week. He has two games already with eight catches, and is one of only two NFL RBs to have accomplished that this year. The Cardinals allow the fifth-most receiving yards to RBs.

Devin Singletary: No team allows more Fantasy Points Per Game or receiving yards to RBs than the Raiders.

Jeff Wilson Jr: In Week 3, he scored twice in a game for the third time in the past two years.

Zack Moss: He should be ready to return to action this week and the matchup is ultra-friendly.

Ronald Jones: He can be a risk for disappointment for sure, but the volume will certainly be there with Leonard Fournette out.

J.K. Dobbins: You never know if any Ravens RB will produce well at any time, but Baltimore should dominate against Washington and the rookie could make some noise in the process.

Devonta Freeman: The matchup doesn’t look too good, but he could catch enough passes out of the backfield to finish with decent fantasy totals.

Chase Edmonds: Carolina allows the second-most FFPG to RBs and the third-most receiving yards. Edmonds can score from anywhere on the field and is a threat to steal some touches near the goal line as both a receiver and runner.

Jordan Howard: The Seattle-Miami game is expected to be high-scoring, and Howard could get a chance to finish off a drive or two with a short scoring run. You could get a line of 10 rushing yards and two TDs, but that is still 13 points.

Brian Hill: The Packers allow the third-most FFPG to RBs. He tore off a 35-yard run last week, too. Add him and keep him because Todd Gurley is always a significant risk to suffer another unfortunate injury.

 

Week 4 Wide Receiver Spotlights, Streamers, and Fill-Ins

Jarvis Landry: Dallas allows the second-most FFPG to WRs.

John Brown: He is underrated and often overlooked. He is a top WR3 play in Week 4. Brown had 10 catches and two TDs in his first two games and is ready to return from a calf injury.

Robby Anderson: The Cardinals are banged up in the secondary. He is one of four NFC WRs with 20 catches and 275 yards this season.

Sammy Watkins: No team can stop the Chiefs. He is unreliable and boom or bust, but you can take a chance on the “boom” if you need streaming help.

Isaiah Ford: This is the one guy your opponents may miss out on. Ford caught seven passes two weeks ago and secondary WRs have performed very well vs. the Seahawks.

Anthony Miller: Nick Foles does like throwing to slot WRs, as noted by RotoBaller’s Mike Florio.

Greg Ward Jr: The 49ers have injury concerns in the secondary, and the depleted Eagles may turn to Ward for more volume again.

Andy Isabella: If DeAndre Hopkins is out, he should get low-end WR3 consideration.

Randall Cobb: The Vikings rank 29th in FFPG allowed to WRs.

Hunter Renfrow: Injuries at WR make Derek Carr return to him for familiarity

Malik Taylor: This is a desperation special. He could step forward with Allen Lazard out, Davante Adams looking iffy and in a great matchup vs. Atlanta. A nifty DFS play, too.

The King and Jacob Gibbs of SportsLine Share Week 4 Sleeper and Value Plays

 

Week 4 Quarterback Spotlights, Streamers, and Fill-Ins

Joe Burrow: He leads the AFC in pass attempts and completions. The Jaguars rank 28th in FFPG allowed to QBs.

Baker Mayfield: The Cowboys allow the third-most FFPG to QBs.

Jared Goff: Has anyone noticed he has thrown two or more TD passes in seven of his last eight starts?

Kirk Cousins: A shootout with the Texans is a major possibility.

Teddy Bridgewater: He is actually seventh in the league in passing yards and faces the banged-up Cardinals secondary we have already mentioned.  He just needs to throw the ball successfully into the end zone more.

Nick Mullens: He threw for 343 yards last week and the 49ers get George Kittle and Deebo Samuel back. One of the most underrated backup QBs in the NFL.

 

Week 4 Tight End Spotlights, Streamers, and Fill-Ins

Dalton Schultz: The Browns allow the most FFPG in the AFC to TEs.

Robert Tonyan: He has scored in two consecutive games and the Falcons allow the second-most FFPG to TEs.

Rob Gronkowski: After catching six passes last week, he could be on the verge of his best game with Tampa Bay so far.

Tyler Eifert: It’s a “Revenge Game” vs. the Bengals.

Adam Trautman: The rookie will replace the injured Jared Cook and could get a TD target or two.



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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 4

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 4 of the NFL season. Dynasty owners, check out our separate Dynasty Risers/Fallers segment as well.

 

Week 4 Risers

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)

There wasn't much in the way of surprises last week at the quarterback position. The top quarterbacks were the names you'd expect. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the one guy that's been playing well mostly under the radar. Fitzpatrick only attempted 20 passes last week, but he completed 90% of them for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a third. The Dolphins won't experience positive game script like they did last Thursday that often. Fitzpatrick has legitimate gunslinger upside and is a great streaming option going forward, particularly in games where the Dolphins are facing a bad defense, but expected to lose. He is eventually going to lose his job to Tua Tagovailoa, but until that happens, Fitzpatrick is fantasy viable.

Noah Fant (TE, DEN)

There was never any question surrounding Noah Fant's talent. The biggest concerns facing him this season were quarterback play and target competition. Quarterback play remains a problem with Drew Lock out (and not very good to begin with) and either Jeff Driskel or Brett Rypien throwing him passes, but the target competition has disappeared. Fant is pretty much the last man standing with Courtland Sutton lost for the season and Jerry Jeudy banged up. Fant is averaging seven targets a game and that type of volume is invaluable at the tight end position.

Allen Robinson (WR, CHI)

The only thing shocking about Nick Foles taking over for Mitch Trubisky is that it didn't happen before Week 1. We all knew the moment Foles was signed that he was going to be the Bears' starting quarterback. For some reason, they went with Trubisky to open the year. After a truly awful pick, Matt Nagy had seen enough. Foles came in and while he's not particularly good either, he's a much better passer than Trubisky and his focus was on Allen Robinson. ARob exploded for 123 yards on 10 catches with a ridiculous touchdown he had no business scoring. With Foles presumably starting the remainder of the season, ARob is once again a WR1.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

Another wide receiver that benefited from a quarterback change is Keenan Allen. It was only one week, but fantasy gamers were overall pessimistic about Allen's prospects with Tyrod Taylor under center heading into this season. He was being drafted as a WR3 and after Week 1, that looked to be too high. With Justin Herbert, an actual real quarterback taking over, Allen is back to the guy we remember with Philip Rivers. Allen has seen 29 targets in Herbert's two starts and looks every bit like a WR1.

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

I generally try and avoid putting obvious elite names on this list, but Alvin Kamara needs to be recognized for what he's done and what he is this season. We knew going into this season that the overall RB1 would not be Christian McCaffrey (which is not to say McCaffrey would be a bust - just that someone else would be at the very top). After three weeks, the clear frontrunner is Kamara. He's coming off a ridiculous 13 catch, 139 yard, two touchdown effort with one receiving touchdown that was a work of art. Kamara is the entire Saints' offense without Michael Thomas. He is currently the overall RB1 and should be viewed as such going forward.

Darrell Henderson (RB, LAR)

The Rams' two year hatred of Darrell Henderson may have finally come to an end last week as they were left with no choice but to use him and watch him display his abilities. Henderson ripped off 114 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown and was the clear primary back ahead of Malcolm Brown. Regardless of when Cam Akers returns, it's hard to imagine the Rams going away from Henderson while he is playing this well. Henderson is a legitimate RB1 until further notice.

Carlos Hyde (RB, SEA)

With Chris Carson going down due to a knee sprain, Carlos Hyde is going to step into the primary back role in the Seahawks' elite offense. Hyde is a pure replacement level back, but that's enough to be productive if given 15 touches, which is what we can project for Hyde in Carson's absence. Travis Homer will likely play on passing downs, but Hyde is going to be the early down and goal line back. He is an every week RB2 until Carson returns.

 

Week 4 Fallers

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)

I was very high on Matthew Stafford this season after he was a top five quarterback for the first half of 2019 before getting hurt. After three weeks, things are not looking too good. Even after Kenny Golladay returned, Stafford was still unable to reach the 20 fantasy point plateau for the third consecutive game. This is despite Detroit not experiencing any positive game script yet. Stafford is hard to trust this week in a home date with the Saints and then he has a bye, which would put him at nearly the midpoint of the 2020 season without helping fantasy managers.

Jared Cook (TE, NO)

After two weeks of just a 65% snap share, Jared Cook added an ankle injury to his disappointing start to the season. Cook saw just three targets last week and now may miss time. When he returns, he may continue to rotate with Adam Trautman and Josh Hill or he may just have lost his job altogether. Cook is nearly a drop candidate.

Mike Williams (WR, LAC)

As Keenan Allen rises, Mike Williams falls. I shouldn't say falls; I should say tumbles. Williams is nothing more than a jump ball specialist, which would be great with Tyrod Taylor, who has no ability to throw timing routes, but not great for an actually talented Justin Herbert. Williams was targeted nine times in Week 1 by Taylor, but just five times in two games by Herbert. He's completely unstartable in even deep leagues.

Marquise Brown (WR, BAL)

I am ready to dismiss Hollywood Brown as a bust. He never profiled as a true alpha, but a stretch Z operating in a Lamar Jackson offense was supposed to be productive. 2020 has indicated that is far from the truth. Brown has been targeted exactly six times in all three games. He had 101 yards in Week 1, but the past two weeks have been disastrous. Brown was a non-factor in positive game script in Week 2. Then, in almost wire to wire negative game script against the Chiefs, Brown was even worse. If he can't produce in that environment, there's not much hope for him. Brown might be a sell low or the type of guy you hope snags a long touchdown next week and then you immediately try and move him.

D'Andre Swift (RB, DET)

It's about time to close the book on D'Andre Swift's rookie year. Why did the Lions even draft him? They keep drafting running backs (Kerryon Johnson, Ty Johnson, D'Andre Swift) and then signing players off the street days before a game and pushing them massive volume (Bo Scarbrough, LeGarrette Blount, Adrian Peterson). Swift is averaging four carries a game and played just 9% of the snaps last week. You can't really drop him because he is talented and the primary passing down back on a good offense, so the upside is there, but Swift is completely irrelevant while 44 year old Adrian Peterson dominates touches.

Josh Jacobs (RB, LV)

After looking like a potential league winner in Week 1, Josh Jacobs has come crashing back down to earth in Weeks 2 and 3. Jacobs is still dominating touches in the Raiders' backfield, but the problem is the matchups. Jacobs ran into the Saints and the Patriots and it doesn't get any better. Coming up, the Raiders face the Bills, Chiefs, bye, and then the Bucs. The Browns in Week 8 are Jacobs' next favorable matchup. That's a long way away for a guy that is supposed to be an RB1.



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Week 3 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

Welcome back, RotoBallers! It's Sunday Morning, Week 3... Do You Know Who to Start?

Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football lineup and start/sit questions, from around 10:30 AM to 12:45 PM ET.

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Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 3

Welcome to Week 3, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and players to go with when faced with tough lineup decisions for Week 3 of the fantasy football season.

These insights are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a 10% discount and get access to all of my ranks in all formats, plus a full roster of tools and analysis for the entire 2020 season.

Skill position picks here are based on PPR ranks.

 

Spotlight RB Starters for Week 3

Joshua Kelley, Chargers: Both Los Angeles RBs are in play this week. Carolina has allowed the most Fantasy Points Per Game to running backs over the first two weeks. Kelley had 113 scrimmage yards in Week 2 and has already effectively taken over much of the old Melvin Gordon role for the Chargers. He should be viewed as a low-end RB this week. Los Angeles does not need to put pressure on its rookie QB when the team can lean heavily on the RBs in this matchup. In many tight decisions involving Kelley, you should stick with most RB choices who take on heavier workloads over him. But he should be used over most other time share backs and flex-type options.

Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers: He made his first bid to take over the starting job last week and can seal it up against Denver. Fournette rushed for 103 yards and two TDs last week and showed why he was signed by Tampa Bay. He can solidify a position which has been an issue for some time now. Denver has allowed 227 rushing yards in the first two games and the defense may spend a lot of time on the field this week. Fournette likely sees the opportunity to officially seize the starting job and will take advantage of the chance. He is a low-end RB2 and a very promising flex option this week.

Jeff Wilson Jr., 49ers: Many fantasy players are focused on Jerick McKinnon taking over a significant role in an injury-depleted Niners backfield. But Wilson may be the lead ball carrier and inside runner for San Francisco this week, and he will certainly be the preferred goal-line option. Expect a time share in which both 49ers RBs will be useful as flex plays or lineup pluggers. Last season, Wilson had consecutive games with two TD runs in September. In a two-game sample in December of 2018, he had 226 yards from scrimmage and an eight-catch performance. Kyle Shanahan has not hesitated to go to Wilson when he has needed to reach into his RB depth pool, and he will produce at least respectable totals this week.

Devin Singletary, Bills: With Zach Moss out, Singletary should be quite busy against the Rams. Los Angeles has allowed the fifth-most FFPG to RBs among NFC teams. Singletary has 110-plus scrimmage yards in three of his past four home games. He totaled 76 yards from scrimmage on just a dozen touches in Week 2. In his rookie season, Singletary showed the willingness to take on an increased workload, carrying the ball 20 times in three games. He should get a decent amount of volume this week and is a viable flex or plug-in play.

 

Spotlight WR Starters for Week 3

CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys: He is the hot option for Week 3, as the matchup is highly appealing against a Seahawks pass defense that has allowed the most FFPG to opposing WRs. Lamb works out of the slot, and Seattle already has injury issues at LB and nickel back that only make Lamb’s draw even more appealing. He is a must-start Fantasy WR2 type this week. But if you have good WR depth, he is not a surefire option over more proven performers with strong matchups, such as Tyler Lockett in the same game, or Allen Robinson in a bounce-back spot vs, Atlanta. All three Dallas WRs are in play this week as Top 25 choices at the position. But I would not be using Lamb over Calvin Ridley based on a matchup alone. He is a very exciting play, but in 10-team leagues and on rosters where WR depth is excellent, you must be judicious about who you choose him over. In many tight calls, I would take the more established player.

Anthony Miller, Bears: He provided zero Fantasy points last week as he played less snaps than Darnell Mooney. Miller may be feeling the pressure to respond this week and Mitchell Trubisky will likely make an effort to get him involved in the passing flow again. Atlanta has allowed the fourth-most FFPG to WRs so far and this is a case of where a player rebounds from a down outing to regain his place in the offensive mix. The matchup is obviously a friendly one and Miller cannot afford to deliver two stinkers in a row, so he is worthy of WR3/flex consideration.

N'Keal Harry, Patriots: He caught eight passes last week, yet no one seems to be saying much about Harry. Cam Newton, though, is making a strong effort to get him the ball frequently, and Bill Belichick wants to see returns on the only first-round investment he has ever made on a WR in his storied Patriots tenure. Cam is a better passer than he was in Carolina already. His mechanics are improved, and Harry has an opportunity to play a prime role in the New England passing game. This could be the week when Fantasy players take real notice of Harry. Get ahead of those who will react after Week 3 and consider him for a WR3/flex spot.

Darius Slayton, Giants: The reflex move by most fantasy players is to think about reserving Slayton when they see the 49ers as the matchup. But the Niners have actually allowed the third-most receptions to opposing WRs after two weeks. They are also fifth among NFC teams in FFPG allowed to the position. The 49ers are badly banged up and cannot be viewed as the usual full shutdown unit. The Giants need to rework their offensive attack without Saquon Barkley and are a desperate team that can perform above expectations this week. Slayton hung 102 yards and two TDs against Pittsburgh in the opener and is the team’s best playmaker with Barkley out. He has three receiving TDs in his past three home games and should remain in many lineups as a WR3.

 

Spotlight TE Starters for Week 3

Drew Sample, Bengals: The Eagles have allowed the fourth-most FFPG to TEs and the most TD receptions (four). If you are without George Kittle this week, Sample is a quality plugger as Joe Burrow continues to gun the ball frequently.

Dalton Schultz, Cowboys: Facing Seattle is not exactly a plum draw for all pass-catchers. The Seahawks can cover the TE well when both of their starting safeties are in the game. Schultz is coming off a breakout game, though, and with the WRs drawing so much attention, he is also a viable plug-in.

 

Spotlight QB Starters for Week 3

Carson Wentz, Eagles: Philadelphia is in a must-win situation with a good matchup vs. Cincinnati.

Matt Ryan, Falcons: Don’t get matchup crazy and start Trubisky or Justin Herbert over him. Ryan is still a back-end QB1 this week. The stars deserve to stay in lineups when they have earned it, especially over less proven or reliable options. Defenses don't win every matchup, especially in today's pass-happy NFL.



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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 3

Hi, y'all! Two weeks of NFL action are in the books and we're moving on to another. Welcome to our Week 3 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 Monday Night Football matchup. Join us as we help your 2-0 team stay undefeated or guide you to a much-needed victory after a disappointing start to the season!

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @FAmmiranteTFJ and @juscarts and feel free to ask away! Let's get on to the matchups!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

Bears at Falcons

Matchups We Love:

Allen Robinson (WR, CHI)

Robinson is in a smash spot against a woeful Falcons secondary that ranks 29th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. The Bears' WR1 has gotten off to a quiet start (8 REC, 107 YDS in two games), but he has 18 targets (T-6th in NFL), so it's only a matter of time before he breaks out. Robinson should be peppered with targets in a likely shootout in Atlanta against a Falcons team that plays at the 8th-fastest pace in neutral game scripts in the NFL.

David Montgomery (RB, CHI)

Montgomery has looked solid thus far, putting up 146 rushing yards on 29 attempts (5.0 Y/A) in two games. What's most encouraging is that he's received six targets already (4 REC, 55 YDS) after totaling only 35 last season. Last week, Monty showed off his receiving skills with an impressive 28-yard touchdown. The Falcons rank 23rd in fantasy points per game to running backs, so this is a strong matchup.

Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL)

Ridley has gotten off to a blistering start this season, posting 16 receptions for 239 yards and four touchdowns on 22 targets, slotting him as the WR1 overall through two games. Julio Jones is banged up with a hamstring injury, so there's a chance that he might act as a decoy if he even plays, which will lead to more targets for Ridley.

Matchups We Hate:

Todd Gurley (RB, ATL)

Gurley looks like a shell of his former self, putting up RB19 and RB42 finishes in the first two games where the Falcons scored a combined 64 points. He is no longer a factor in the passing game (2 REC, 1 YD), so he depends on game script and touchdowns for fantasy production. While the game script could be in his favor with the Falcons as 3.5-point favorites, the Bears are stout against the run, ranking 13th in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs.

Other Matchups:

Mitch Trubisky (QB, CHI)

Trubisky on the streaming radar this week in a likely shootout against a Falcons Defense that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Keep in mind that this was against Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott, so temper your expectations with Trubisky, who has finished as QB8 and QB23 despite two strong matchups, demonstrating his volatility.

Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI) & Anthony Miller (WR, CHI)

Cohen has surprisingly only put up three receptions for 21 yards so far this season. While this profiles as a positive game script in a potential shootout, it's hard to trust him as more than a desperation FLEX or DFS tournament dart throw with this middling production. Miller also has a good matchup, but he's been mediocre so far, putting up four receptions for 76 yards on nine targets, making him a WR4 at best.

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)

Ryan takes on a Bears Defense that is allowing the 5th-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, so this is a lukewarm play. If Julio Jones misses this game, Ryan would become a player to avoid this week against Khalil Mack and the Bears pass-rush.

Julio Jones (WR, ATL), Russell Gage (WR, ATL) & Hayden Hurst (TE, ATL)

Julio's status is uncertain for this game, but even if he plays, there's a risk that he'll be a decoy, so you might want to bench him if you have a viable alternative. If Jones misses the game, Gage and Hurst would be in line for a bump in targets. Hurst is the better option, as the Bears are tied for 18th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Consider Gage a middling WR3 with Hurst on the TE1/2 fringe.

 

Rams at Bills

Matchups We Love:

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

The Bills just allowed Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki to go off for eight receptions, 130 yards, and one touchdown last week. Gesicki is used more as a slot receiver than in-line tight end, so this exploitable weakness benefits Kupp more than Higbee. Cornerback Tre'Davious White will make things difficult on the perimeter, so the Rams' best course of action on offense should be to feature Kupp.

Matchups We Hate:

Jared Goff (QB, LAR) & Robert Woods (WR, LAR)

Goff goes up against a Bills Defense that ranks 10th in fantasy points per game to quarterbacks after finishing 3rd last season, while Woods will be locked down by Tre'Davious White, who is one of the best cornerbacks in football. Goff can be avoided in all formats, while Woods is more of a WR3 that should be avoided in DFS. The Rams need to attack the middle of the field against the Bills.

Cam Akers, Malcolm Brown, & Darrell Henderson Jr. (RB, LAR)

The Rams running game is an easy avoid given their split usage and tough matchup (Bills rank 11th in fantasy points per game to running backs). If Akers is to miss this game (status is currently unclear), that would bump up Brown and Henderson, but not enough to consider as anything more than a DFS punt play.

UPDATE: Cam Akers has been ruled out for Week 3.

Stefon Diggs (WR, BUF) & John Brown (WR, BUF)

Diggs is off to a terrific start in Buffalo (16 REC, 239 YDS, 1 TD), but this is a tough matchup against an elite corner in Jalen Ramsey. The Rams are tied for the second-fewest fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers, so consider Diggs more of a WR3 this week. Brown is a bit banged-up with a foot injury and has six fewer targets than Diggs. He should be viewed as a WR4 for this game as the clear-cut number two in Buffalo.

Other Matchups:

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

Higbee had a big game against the Eagles (5 REC, 54 YDS, 3 TD), but his nine targets rank 22nd among tight ends. While Gesicki (75.5% slot usage) tore up the Bills, Higbee (9.6% slot usage) is more of an in-line tight end. The Bills limited Chris Herndon (13.6% slot usage) to six receptions for 37 yards, so it's tough to view this as a strong matchup for Higbee. Consider him a low-end TE1 here.

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

Allen is off to a terrific start with consecutive QB3 finishes, but the Rams are a tough matchup, as they rank 8th in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks. This game does not project as a shootout, so this looks like more of a floor game for Allen. Consider him as a low-end QB1 for this week.

Devin Singletary (RB, BUF) & Zack Moss (RB, BUF)

Singletary (57.43% of snaps, 19 rush attempts, 10 targets) and Moss (45.27% of snaps, 17 rush attempts, 4 targets) are pretty much splitting time, with Singletary as the slightly better option. They take on a Rams Defense that ranks 25th in fantasy points allowed to running backs, so this could be an opportunity for one of these backs to breakout. However, with their similar usage, it's hard to trust them as anything more than as a decent FLEX. At the same time, if Moss were to miss this game, he would become a play that I love.

UPDATE: Zack Moss has been ruled out for Week 3.

 

Washington at Browns

Matchups We Hate:

Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS)

Gibson's time is coming (snap share increased from 25.71% to 65.15%), but not this week. The Browns Defense is allowing the 7th-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs, along with 2.97 yards per carry. Washington's o-line has struggled this season and will now be without their best lineman in Brandon Scherff. The coaching staff has not yet featured Gibson in the passing game, so this is a bad spot in a game where Washington will likely be trailing.

Other Matchups:

Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS) & Logan Thomas (WR, WAS)

Washington's offense is becoming one of the more narrow units in football with McLaurin and Thomas each posting a 26.98% target share. McLaurin looked great last week (7 REC, 125 YDS, 1 TD), but he'll be matched up with Denzel Ward, who held A.J. Green to three receptions for 29 yards on 13 targets. The Browns (31st in TE points per game allowed) have struggled against tight ends, so Thomas has an opportunity to breakout. However, given the struggles of this team's o-line, I still consider them lukewarm plays. I like McLaurin on the WR 2/3 fringe with Thomas as a viable cheap option in DFS cash games and tournaments.

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

Mayfield takes on a Washington defense that ranks 28th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but the Browns are a run-heavy offense, so it's tough to rely on him here, especially at such a deep position with superior streamers available this week. This projects to be a low-scoring game controlled by the Browns, so I'd look elsewhere at QB.

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE) & Kareem Hunt (RB, CLE)

Chubb and Hunt could wind up being one of the best running back duos in NFL history, but this is not a smash spot since they face a Washington defense that has played very well against the run (fewest points allowed to opposing running backs). Consider Chubb more of a high-end RB2 and Hunt as a FLEX play. The good news is that the Browns will likely control this game, so the volume could still be there for this dynamic duo.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE), Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE) & Austin Hooper (TE, CLE)

Beckham (4 REC, 74 YDS, 1 TD) got loose in the Bengals secondary last week, but he only received six targets. This makes him more of a lukewarm play against a Washington defense that ranks 18th in fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Landry (16.07%) and Hooper (10.71%) have low target shares, so consider them a WR4 and TE2 in this one. It's tough to play the guessing-game and decide which of these passing options will break out against a susceptible Washington secondary, so I can't put any of them as players that I love this week.

 

Titans at Vikings

Matchups We Love:

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

Henry hasn't broken out yet, but it's great to see that his volume (56 rush attempts in two games) hasn't declined so far. It's only a matter of time before he finds the endzone, as he leads the NFL with the most carries without a TD this season. Henry takes on a Vikings Defense that allowed rookie Jonathan Taylor to run for 101 yards and a TD on 26 carries. As long as Henry's getting this much volume in an exploitable matchup, he'll remain an elite RB1.

Jonnu Smith (TE, TEN)

Smith broke out last week (4 REC, 84 YDS, 2 TD) against the Jaguars and he now faces a Vikings defense that just allowed five receptions for 111 yards to Mo Alie-Cox. I expect Smith to remain the focal point of this Titans offense while A.J. Brown is out, so Smith is well-positioned for another strong game.

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

The Vikings are desperate for a win, so we could see Mike Zimmer opt to lean even more heavily on his playmakers here. Cook has only 26 rush attempts in two games this year, but I'd bet that we see him eclipse 20+ against a Titans Defense that just allowed 102 yards on 16 carries to undrafted rookie James Robinson. I think that the Vikings get a much-needed win here, so that would mean a big game from Cook.

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)

Thielen (3 REC, 31 YDS) had a slow week against Indy, but he still leads the team in target share (33.33%) and air yards (274). This type of desirable volume makes Thielen an every-week WR1. He takes on a Titans defense that is still without top corner Adoree Jackson, so this is an exploitable matchup for Thielen to get back on track.

Other Matchups:

Ryan Tannehill (QB, TEN) & Corey Davis (WR, TEN)

Tannehill and Davis have a good matchup (Vikings ranks 22nd vs. QBs and 31st vs. WRs in fantasy points allowed per game), but I don't think that the Mike Zimmer-coached defense can continue playing this poorly, so we could see them step up in a must-win game. Consider Tannehill on the QB 1/2 fringe and Davis as a decent WR3.

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Cousins (QB9 and QB33) has been on opposite sides of the spectrum in his two games this season, demonstrating his volatility as a fantasy quarterback. This projects to be a bounce-back game against a Titans defense that just allowed Gardner Minshew to throw for 339 yards (7.5 yards per attempt). Cousins is in play as a DFS tournament option or as a potential streamer, but I wouldn't be rushing to my waiver wire to grab him.

 

Raiders at Patriots

Matchups We Love:

Cam Newton (QB, NE)

Cam is back to MVP-form with QB6 and QB2 finishes so far this season, including double-digit carries in both games. His running ability makes him a matchup-proof QB1 for the rest of the year. Cam is the focal point of this Pats offense and it's not out of the realm of possibility to see him finish as a Top-5 fantasy QB. The Raiders rank 9th in fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, but they've also faced Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees, so they're not a matchup to fear here.

Matchups We Hate:

Henry Ruggs III (WR, LV), Bryan Edwards (WR, LV), & Hunter Renfrow (WR, LV)

It's tough to rely on these Raiders wide receivers because Carr is either peppering Waller with targets or spreading the ball around to his receivers. Ruggs has the most upside due to his downfield ability, but he's also the most likely to be covered by Stephon Gilmore. Consider Ruggs a WR4 with Edwards and Renfrow as WR5 options here. They simply are not getting enough volume to even consider.

Sony Michel (RB, NE)

Michel has a great matchup against a Raiders defense that ranks 29th in fantasy points per game to running backs, but this backfield is one to avoid right now. I wouldn't consider playing Michel or any of these backs in any format right now.

Other Matchups:

Derek Carr (QB, LV) & Darren Waller (TE, LV)

Carr (QB14 finish vs tough Saints Defense) is on the streaming radar against a Patriots Defense that ranks 23rd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Waller (38.71% target share) has been a volume monster, so he's matchup-proof, but we all know how Bill Belichick excels at taking away an opponent's best weapon, so temper your expectations here.

Josh Jacobs (RB, LV)

Jacobs is an every-week RB1 with a legitimate chance to finish as the best at his position this year, but this isn't a great matchup against a stout Patriots defense (3.91 yards per carry allowed) as road underdogs.  Jacobs is still a top-10 play at running back, but this is a lukewarm option that I would avoid in DFS.

Julian Edelman (WR, NE), & N'Keal Harry (WR, NE)

Edelman (8 REC, 179 YDS) set a career-high in receiving yards last week, so it appears that Cam is actually unlocking more of his potential. Harry (18 targets in two games) is starting to become more of a factor in this offense. The Raiders have been average against opposing receivers this year (16th in points per game). I don't expect this game to be a shootout like last week against Seattle, so the Pats WRs are lukewarm plays. Consider Edelman as a low-end WR2 and Harry as a volatile WR3 this week.

 

49ers at Giants

Matchups We Love:

Darius Slayton (WR, NYG)

Slayton is in a smash spot facing a 49ers Defense that will be without its best pass-rusher (Nick Bosa) and cornerback (Richard Sherman). The Giants lost Saquon Barkley for the season and will also be without Sterling Shepard, so we could see a significant bump in targets for Slayton. I expect NYG to transition into more of a pass-heavy offense, which means more shots to Slayton downfield.

Jerick McKinnon (RB, SF) & Jeff Wilson Jr. (RB, SF)

We could see the 49ers lean on check-downs to McKinnon and inside-runs to Wilson with Nick Mullens at quarterback and George Kittle likely out for a second consecutive week. The Giants have been stout against the run, ranking 11th in fantasy points per game allowed, but the expected volume for these 49ers' backs make them worthy plays this week. Consider McKinnon an RB2 and Wilson as a FLEX play with touchdown upside.

UPDATE: George Kittle has been ruled out for Week 3.

Matchups We Hate:

Devonta Freeman (RB, NYG) & Dion Lewis (RB, NYG)

This Giants backfield is an easy avoid as Freeman acclimates to a new offense and Lewis continues to look like a shell of his former self. I expect the Giants to move the ball through the air with Slayton mixed with some underneath passes to Engram and Tate in this game. We might also see Wayne Gallman get involved in the running game, so steer clear of these two.

Other Matchups:

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG), Golden Tate (WR, NYG), & Evan Engram (TE, NYG)

Daniel Jones is flying under-the-radar as a potential streamer against a depleted 49ers defense. I love him as a potentially low-rostered tournament play in DFS. Tate and Engram will likely see a bump in targets with Shepard and Barkley's injuries, but Slayton has the better matchup, as the 49ers struggle on the perimeter more than in the middle of the field.

Nick Mullens (QB, SF), Brandon Aiyuk (WR, SF), & Jordan Reed (TE, SF)

The Giants have been surprisingly decent against quarterbacks, allowing 6.98 yards per attempt (12th in NFL). It was encouraging to see Aiyuk play 72.13% of snaps, he only received three targets in his debut.  While the Giants rank 26th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers, it's hard to trust Aiyuk right now, especially with Nick Mullens. Jordan Reed looked great last week, but the Giants have been tough on tight ends (4th). Each of the 49ers pass-catchers get a downgrade with Jimmy G on the shelf, so these are lukewarm plays.

 

Bengals at Eagles

Matchups We Love:

Miles Sanders (RB, PHI)

Sanders is in an absolute dream matchup against a Bengals Defense that is allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to running backs. It was great to see Sanders step right back into the bell-cow role (20 carries, seven targets) in his first game returning from injury. I would expect 20+ touches in a positive game-script here, so Sanders looks like a top-5 RB and autoplay in DFS.

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

Wentz has been struggling mightily this season (QB23, QB24 finishes), but he has a get-right matchup against a Bengals defense that has allowed big plays in the passing game (8.06 yards per attempt, ranks 22nd in NFL). They haven't allowed a lot of fantasy points to quarterbacks (15.3 points per game, 2nd-fewest) but that's because their run defense has been so poor. I think Wentz steps it up here and turns in a Top-12 finish at QB.

Other Matchups:

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN), A.J. Green (WR, CIN), & Tyler Boyd (WR, CIN)

The Bengals passing game takes on an Eagles Defense that ranks 11th in fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and ninth to wide receivers. They have held WR1s like Terry McLaurin (5 REC, 61 YDS) and Robert Woods (2 REC, 14 YDS) in check. Green couldn't do much with his 13 targets last week (3 REC, 29 YDS) and this doesn't look like the matchup to bounce-back, as he'll likely be matched up with Darius Slay. This game sets up better for Tyler Boyd, who just allowed five receptions for 81 yards to fellow slot receiver Cooper Kupp. Consider Burrow a high-end QB2 and the two receivers as upside WR3s.

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

Mixon has been very disappointing in the early going (RB44, RB29 finishes), but it's a bit encouraging to see Zac Taylor slowly start to use him in the passing game (four targets, four receptions last week). The Eagles just allowed Darrell Henderson Jr. (12 ATT, 81 YDS, 1 TD) and Malcolm Brown (11 ATT, 47 YDS) to gash them on the ground, so perhaps Mixon gets it going here. I can't say this is a matchup that I love, so consider him a lukewarm play and low-end RB1 here.

Drew Sample (TE, CIN)

Sample takes over for the injured Uzomah. He had 9 targets last week, which makes him an intriguing streamer at tight end. The Eagles are allowing the most fantasy points per game to tight ends, so this is a great matchup for Sample. I wouldn't start him in redraft leagues, but he's absolutely worth a look in DFS tournaments.

DeSean Jackson (WR, PHI)

Jackson has a chance to get loose deep against a Bengals defense that allowed downfield threats like OBJ (43-yard TD) and Mike Williams (37-yard reception) to make big plays. The injury to Jalen Reagor should lead to a bump in targets for D-Jax, so that also bodes well for his outlook. I'd consider D-Jax as a WR3 in this one, but it's a lukewarm play because there's a chance that the Eagles focus on feeding Miles Sanders.

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI) & Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI)

The only reason that Ertz and Goedert are not listed on plays that we love is because they cut into each other's value a bit, even though the Eagles do use them both as TE1s. Goedert (17 targets) is slowly starting to supplant Ertz (14 targets), so I'd prefer the former over the latter. The Bengals are rank 12th in fantasy points per game against tight ends, so it's not a smash spot, but consider them both low-end TE1s.

 

 


Hi there RotoBallers, Justin taking over now. Thanks, Frank!

 

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers

Matchups We Love:

James Conner (RB, PIT)

Remember when we thought Conner would see his role reduced last week and he ended up playing 77 percent of snaps, with 16 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown? Yeah, let's not overthink this week either. Conner's the lead back. The Texans have allowed the fifth-most points to the running back position this year. Conner's a really strong play.

Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT)

Disregard what the Texans Defense did against the Ravens, who don't have a real go-to wideout yet. They allowed a pair of touchdowns to receivers in Week 1 against the Chiefs and almost allowed more if Demarcus Robinson hadn't had some drop issues. Diontae Johnson appears to have surpassed JuJu Smith-Schuster to be the primary target for Ben Roethlisberger, and I really like him this week. His target share continues to rise after a strong end to 2019 and now a strong start to 2020.

Matchups We Hate:

David Johnson (RB, HOU)

The Steelers are allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. David Johnson was held in check by the Ravens last week (11 carries for 34 yards) and is likely looking at another game in which his yards per carry are low and he loses opportunities in the second half because Houston is forced to throw more.

Will Fuller V (WR, HOU)

It's not that the matchup itself is horrendous, but more than Fuller wasn't even targeted last week and faces a pretty good Steelers Defense that won't give Deshaun Watson a ton of time to find Fuller down the field.

The Other Texans Receivers Too

There's just so little consistency here through two games. Brandin Cooks is the most interesting option after a pretty decent Week 2 but he's also dealing with a quad injury and had just 20 yards in Week 1. Randall Cobb is a low-volume slot guy. Kenny Stills needs injuries ahead of him to be viable. I think this is a receiving corps that we can trust against bad teams, but that we have to mostly avoid against strong defenses.

Other Matchups:

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

The Steelers Defense is pretty terrifying, but Watson's got too much upside to sit in this one (or ever -- don't sit Watson in season-long leagues!) Houston's trying to avoid an 0-3 start and Watson will take on a huge role on this offense to try avoiding that nearly insurmountable record. And while the Steelers defense has shut down the Giants and Broncos, Watson and the Texans are at a different level offensively. This won't be the lopsided Texans loss that so many expect.

Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)

The Texans just faced the league's two best quarterbacks in consecutive games. They held Patrick Mahomes to 211 passing yards and Lamar Jackson to 204. This run defense has been bad, and that's kept opponents from throwing a ton. Roethlisberger has solid upside as the Texans have yet to pick a quarterback off, but his lack of mobility limits his upside in this one. He's obviously startable, but I don't love the matchup.

Darren Fells and Jordan Akins (TE, HOU)

Both guys have value in deeper leagues and should be able to function as short yardage options for Deshaun Watson, who won't have the time in the pocket to let things develop downfield. Fells is a boom-or-bust, touchdown-dependent option. Akins is a solid deep league play based on recent volume. Both are fine. I don't hate them, at least, which is something when the Steelers D is so good.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)

Yeah, he's fine this week. Houston's secondary is fine, too. I just think Smith-Schuster -- who is dealing with a knee injury -- has been getting too many of his opportunities in the short yardage game and that without a touchdown, he'll have a pretty "ehh, this was okay" type of day.

Chase Claypool (WR, PIT)

Claypool's an interesting deep-league dart throw. He can make big plays. Houston can also allow big plays. He's definitely a better play than James Washington, who I didn't even bother to write about this week because I just have no interest in James Washington.

 

 

Matchups Analysis - 4:05/4:25 PM ET Games

There are four games on the afternoon slate for y'all. Let's break them down.

 

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers

Matchups We Love:

Justin Herbert (QB, LAC)

Look, I don't love Herbert as, like, your starting QB in a one-QB league, but I think he's a solid play in Superflex. Herbert stepped in as an emergency starter for the injured Tyrod Taylor in Week 2, gong 22-for-33 for 311 yards with a touchdown and interception, plus adding 18 rushing yards and a score. Carolina's defense hasn't given up huge numbers to quarterbacks so far, but this should be a game that doesn't feature a lot of great secondary play on either size, setting up plenty of chances for Herbert to have a strong second start.

Also, LOL:

Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley (RB, LAC)

The Panthers have allowed the most points to opposing running backs. Josh Jacobs scored three rushing touchdowns against them in Week 1 and had 46 receiving yards. Leonard Fournette had 103 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2, plus he, LeSean McCoy, and Ronald Jones II combined for 11 receptions. Ekeler's a RB1 option. Kelley is an RB3 option. This is a great chance for both players.

Matchups We Hate:

Mike Davis (RB, CAR)

Not only is Carolina without star running back Christian McCaffrey, but his replacement gets to pay a Chargers Defense that's allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. I can't in good conscience recommend that you play Davis in a single league this week. But I understand that a lot of owners may be in a crunch due to RB injuries, and Davis should get catches out of the backfield, making him more palatable in PPR leagues.

Robby Anderson (WR, CAR)

The Chargers defense allows the sixth-fewest net yards per pass attempt. Anderson -- and Curtis Samuel -- are best when they can be deep threats and this isn't a matchup where they can be deep threats.

Other Matchups:

Teddy Bridgewater (QB, CAR)

This is a good matchup for Bridgewater based on what the Chargers Defense has allowed to quarterbacks so far, but this is also Teddy Bridgewater in an offense that won't have Christian McCaffrey, so how much can you really love Bridgewater this week? I suppose he'll throw more with no McCaffrey, but at best he's a mid-tier QB2 option.

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams (WR, LAC)

The Panthers run defense is so bad that wide receivers haven't had as many opportunities to do damage against them. It's a trend that I think holds true this week, giving both Allen and Williams a lower floor and ceiling than usual. Plus, with a rookie at quarterback, I expect to see some safer throws to Ekeler and Henry. Don't dislike these two, but maybe not the best DFS plays.

Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)

The Panthers are only allowing 2.9 fantasy points per game to tight ends in standard scoring, but they did allow six catches to Darren Waller in Week 1 before shutting down the collection of disappointing guys who make up the 2020 Buccaneers tight end room. Henry should be more on the Waller end, with Herbert looking his way a good amount on short throws.

D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)

Bad matchup, but if I'm trusting a Panthers receiver, it's Moore, who has 22 targets through two games. Volume can fix a lot of things and while I think his ceiling is a little limited this week, he's always a solid floor play.

Ian Thomas (TE, CAR)

If there's one part of the Chargers pass defense that hasn't been so strong, it's been their defense of tight ends. In Week 1, they allowed five catches to C.J. Uzomah, and then last week got ripped apart by Travis Kelce. Thomas is no Kelce, but if you're already playing the tight end streamer game, Thomas could have some interest. Of course, his 2020 has gotten off to a really rough start, so don't be surprised if this is the last week we even write about him.

 

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

Matchups We Love:

Philip Rivers (QB, IND)

Yes, I'm worried about this offense with no Parris Campbell, but the Jets have a poor pass defense that would look even worse if the 49ers hadn't lost Jimmy Garoppolo to a mid-game injury last week. Rivers should be able to throw all over this secondary. He's a high-end QB2 with QB1 upside this week, especially if the connection with Michael Pittman Jr. starts to materialize.

Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND)

The Jets don't have a very good run defense and Taylor had 26 carries last week, rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown. Lock Taylor in as an RB1 this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Sam Darnold (QB, NYJ)

The Colts have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks so far. They picked Kirk Cousins off three times last week, and while Gardner Minshew had a good game against them in Week 1, he only had 173 passing yards. Darnold had three of his top receivers either miss practice or be limited in practice this week, which could leave the cupboard very dry. Sam Darnold isn't even a safe second QB in a Superflex this week.

Frank Gore (RB, NYJ)

Frank Gore got 21 carries against a beat-up 49ers Defense last week and averaged three yards per carry. The Colts are currently allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this year.

Whoever The Wide Receivers Are (NYJ)

Braxton Berrios SZN? Let's be real here: you want to avoid this whole Jets offense this week. Name a Jets receiver and then don't play him.

Chris Herndon IV (TE, NYJ)

almost flipped and put Herndon in the "other matchups" section just because he's got upside most weeks, but then I remembered that the Colts are allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, so...yeah, ignoring him too!

Other Matchups:

T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman Jr. (WR, IND)

I'd definitely play both guys this week. Hilton's been inconsistent but has a plus matchup that should see him finally putting up some solid numbers, and if he doesn't then we'll officially hit the worry button. As for Pittman, his targets jumped from two to six last week, but his yardage numbers were still low. He should have an increased role this week.

Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox (TE, IND)

If Doyle plays, both guys are solid plays but take enough away from each other to not have huge upside. If Doyle -- who is questionable with a knee injury -- sits, then Mo Alie-Cox is a great play. So, this is in the "other" category but if there's no Doyle, I'm all over Alie-Cox, who had 111 receiving yards last week.

UPDATE: Jack Doyle is list as questionable, and returned to practice as limited this week.

 

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks

Matchups We Love:

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

I know what you're saying. Loving Dak against Seattle??? But Seattle let Matt Ryan throw for 450 yards in Week 1 and then let Cam Newton throw for 397 yards in Week 2, plus rush for a pair of touchdowns. This defense has not been able to prevent opposing QBs from throwing all over them, and Dak should be considered a top fantasy option in this week's game.

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

I'll keep this short: Russell Wilson is a top fantasy option in season-long and DFS this week against an inexperienced Cowboys secondary.

Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

Lamb and Cooper both topped 100 yards last week, with both getting six catches. In what looks like it's going to be a game of back-and-forth offensive explosions, I have to love the top-two receivers on this Cowboys team.

D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)

Same thing as Cooper and Lamb, really. Two receivers who complement each other's games well in a high-powered offense (THAT IS FINALLY PASSING THE BALL AND UNLEASHING RUSS) against a Cowboys Defense that's allowing the sixth-most fantasy to the position. Love both of them in season-long and DFS.

Matchups We Hate:

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

Yeah, I was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find things I dislike about this game. I wouldn't play Schultz, even though he had a huge Week 2, with nine catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. It was an impressive showing, but Seattle is allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to tight ends and this feels like a let-down spot.

Other Matchups:

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

In a game that likely favors the passing game, I don't love Zeke. Which isn't to say I wouldn't play Zeke, because that would be a dumb thing to say. I'm not going to be dumb. But in DFS, I might not play someone going up against a Seahawks Defense allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs.

Chris Carson (RB, SEA)

Carson's a fine RB2 option and his involvement in the passing game gives him upside. But like with Zeke, this game projects to have a game script that favors the receivers, which likely leads to fewer carries and more uncertainty for Carson. He's still a solid RB2 in season-long, but is someone to maybe pivot off of in DFS.

Michael Gallup (WR, DAL)

Gallup has made some long catches, averaging 21.6 yards per reception so far this season. But the third-year receiver is also averaging just 2.5 receptions per game and has taken a clear backseat to Cooper and Lamb. Gallup is a fine upside play, but not someone who projects to be a consistent fantasy option.

 

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

Matchups We Love:

Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

Murray's an early part of the MVP conversation and faces a Lions Defense that let Mitch Trubisky throw for three touchdowns in Week 1 and hasn't gotten an interception yet. Add in Murray's rushing upside, and I love him as a high-end QB1 play in this matchup.

Kenyan Drake (RB, ARI)

The Lions are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and is getting a lot of usage so far, with 36 carries through two games. Drake has a chance to stomp all over this Lions front and should be considered a low-end RB1 in this matchup.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, ARI)

Remember when we thought this offense would spread the ball around too much for Hopkins to be the same level of player as he was in Houston? Well, he's been targeted 25 times already in two games, with a league-high 22 catches. Detroit hasn't been particularly great against the pass either.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, DET)

Defense is hard to predict on a year-to-year basis, but I'm not quite ready to abandon the whole "the 2019 Cardinals were horrendous against tight ends" narrative. Maybe this is the week that we either 1) see that it's still a problem or 2) realize it isn't. Either way, Hockenson's a solid play at tight end as he's caught all nine of his targets this season.

Matchups We Hate:

Marvin Jones Jr. (WR, DET)

With Kenny Golladay back, Jones will move into a smaller role. He's already averaging just four catches per game and hasn't had a ton of yards. Don't love the matchup. Don't love where he'll likely be at in the pecking order. Think there are definitely better plays this week.

Other Matchups:

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)

Don't look now, but the Arizona Cardinals appear to have a defense. Except, well...they faced Jimmy Garoppolo and Dwayne Haskins, so not world beaters, which is why I'm not completely out on Stafford this week, who should get wide receiver Kenny Golladay. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about Stafford in this one.

Adrian Peterson, Kerryon Johnson and D'Andre Swift (RB, DET)

Arizona's only been marginally better against the run than Detroit, setting us up for what could be a game of running backs doing a lot of running. The problem for Detroit? Predicting which of their backs you should play. All of them have some upside, but also extremely low floors. Consider Peterson and Swift to be slightly above Johnson in your rankings, but all of them are decent upside flex plays in deeper leagues.

Kenny Golladay (WR, DET)

Golladay returns from a hamstring injury and now gets to face Patrick Peterson? Yikes. But Terry McLaurin had a strong performance against this secondary last week and I'd be willing to bet on Golladay's talent in this one.

Danny Amendola (WR, DET)

Amendola was a low-ceiling, high-floor slot receiver before Golladay returned and he'll be a low-ceiling, high-floor slot receiver after Golladay returns. I don't think there's ever a bad time to flex in Amendola in a deep league.

Arizona's Other Wide Receivers

Against Washington, Andy Isabella and Christian Kirk each had just two catches. They got a bunch of yards, but their consistency is an issue. Larry Fitzgerald had seven catches but just 50 yards and is a safe play in full PPR leagues, but is unlikely to break off any huge plays. All of these guys are playable. None of them are exciting. It is what it is.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos

Matchups We Love:

Melvin Gordon III (RB, DEN)

The Buccaneers have struggled against the run. Sure, they've also faced some really good running backs so far, but Melvin Gordon is also good, and he's got the clear lead here in this backfield in terms of rushing attempts, especially with Phillip Lindsay unlikely to return this week. Should be a great game for Gordon.

Chris Godwin (WR, TB)

Godwin is expected to play after missing last week with a concussion. His ability to play inside and outside makes him a perfect receiver for Tom Brady, and in Week 1 they hooked up for six catches and 79 yards. Denver is allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season and should be a top option at wide receiver this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Whoever Starts At QB For Denver

Jeff Driskel? Blake Bortles? Doesn't matter, because I'm not playing either of them unless it's an emergency. [Update: It's Driskel.]

Ronald Jones II (RB, TB)

I think Leonard Fournette has grabbed the starting job from RoJo, which leaves Jones in a tough spot. Add in that Denver has done a good job limiting opposing running backs this season and Jones is probably best left on the bench.

All The Buccaneers Tight Ends

Yeah, we're right back to the "don't play tight ends in a Bruce Arians offense" thing. Last week, O.J. Howard was targeted three times, with one catch for 11 yards. Rob Gronkowski was targeted once, finishing with no catches. Tom Brady joining this team changed nothing for Arians.

Other Matchups:

Tom Brady (QB, TB)

It's not an ideal matchup for Brady, who has three touchdowns and three interceptions so far this season. But as he continues to grow more comfortable in the Bruce Arians offense, Brady will continue to settle into the role he'll play for fantasy managers all year: a decent QB2 option with matchup-based upside. There isn't as much upside this week, but the return of Chris Godwin will give him a solid floor.

Leonard Fournette (RB, TB)

Y'all, here's your new Buccaneers starting running back! Don't love the matchup, but do love the brute force of Leonard Fournette and the touchdown upside that he brings to the table.

Jerry Jeudy (WR, DEN)

Someone has to catch passes from Jeff Driskel with Courtland Sutton out. Jeudy should see double-digit targets moving forward just out of necessity, and while the Buccaneers haven't done a bad job defending receivers this season, Jeudy's target upside makes him a solid play.

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

You're starting Mike Evans in every season-long league, but I do have some questions about him in DFS. The Broncos don't allow a ton of yards to receivers, though they have allowed a good number of touchdowns and Evans already has two. Think this ends up being a strong game for Evans, but I have enough doubt to not want to pay up for him in DFS.

Noah Fant (TE, DEN)

Two weeks, two touchdowns for Fant, who looks like the next great NFL tight end. But Tampa has been extremely good against opposing tight ends this year, allowing just six receptions to the position. So, that's a negative for Fant, and while he should provide Driskel with a big, reliable target, the defensive numbers worry me just enough to question how much I'll use him in DFS.

 

 

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints

Matchups We Love:

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

The Saints have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing passers so far and just allowed three touchdown passes to Derek Carr. Rodgers has six touchdown passes so far this season and is completing 67.6 percent of his passes, which would be his highest mark since 2011. He'd be doing even better if not for some bad luck with drops, with an 8.5 percent drop rate so far. That'll regress back to average.

Drew Brees (QB, NO)

The fact that Drew Brees is last in the league in intended air yards and that Michael Thomas's status is up in the air this week worry me, but Brees still has some solid weapons -- Alvin Kamara, Tre'Quan Smith, Jared Cook -- and faces a Packers Defense that's is susceptible to the passing game. This should be a big game for offenses, with Brees being a solid low-end QB1 play with upside.

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

I don't particularly love this matchup -- New Orleans is pretty good against the run -- but Jones is a beast this season and is coming off a 168-yard, two-touchdown game against Detroit in which he also added four catches for 68 and a score. With Jones getting all this passing game usage, he's an easy RB1 play.

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

Packers are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs, including giving up three rushing touchdowns. I'd feel better about Kamara if the Packers were playing worse against backs in the receiving game, but he's still gotten 25 rushing attempts through two games. He's an easy RB1 this week.

Tre'Quan Smith (WR, NO)

We're assuming that Michael Thomas is out at this point, in which case Smith is the No. 1 receiver. He had five catches for 86 yards last week against the Raiders and the Packers are allowing the seventh-most points to wide receivers. Playing Smith as a WR2/3 is a smart call this week unless by some miracle Thomas suits up.

UPDATE: Michael Thomas has officially been ruled out for Week 3. 

Robert Tonyan (TE, GB)

Looking for a streamer? Tonyan caught two passes for 25 yards and a touchdown last week and the Saints have allowed the most receptions to tight ends of any team in the NFL.

Matchups We Hate:

Hate? In this game???

Other Matchups:

Latavius Murray (RB, NO)

Volume concerns knock him down some, but like I said with Kamara, this is a good matchup for running backs and I'd feel comfortable flexing Murray.

Davante Adams (WR, GB)

Adams is questionable with a hamstring injury. If he plays, you play him, but he'll also be covered by Marshon Lattimore, limiting some of his upside. I probably won't put Adams in a DFS lineup, but he's far too good to ever consider sitting him in season-long.

Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR, GB)

If Adams plays: Lazard and MVS are solid flex plays who'll likely play bigger roles than usual due to a likely limited Adams.

If Adams doesn't play: Lazard and MVS are solid flex plays who'll likely play bigger roles than usual due to there being no Adams.

UPDATE: Davante Adams is officially listed as doubtful for Week 3.

Jared Cook (TE, NO)

Packers have been pretty middle of the road in terms of defending tight ends. Cook had a touchdown last week but also just 13 yards. He's risky, but his upside -- especially if there's no Michael Thomas -- makes him a low-end TE1 option.

 

Matchups Analysis - Monday Night Football

Click here to read about the Monday Night Football matchup between the Chiefs and Ravens as well...



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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 3

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 3 of the NFL season. Dynasty owners, check out our separate Dynasty Risers/Fallers segment as well.

 

Week 3 Risers

Gardner Minshew (QB, JAX)

Two weeks into the 2020 season and Gardner Minshew has thrown three touchdown passes twice. Last week's game against the Titans is far more in line with what we should expect from the Jaguars. They have a bad defense that will force them into passing situations early and often. That's exactly what we saw with Minshew attempting 45 passes. Minshew has a real shot at attempting 600 passes this season and is quickly establishing himself as much more than a streamer. He might be an every week QB1.

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

The reason Blake Jarwin was a popular breakout candidate was because he was expected to be the primary tight end and was also super athletic. Dalton Schultz is just a guy. Well, as it turns out, that might be enough in a Dak Prescott offense. With the Cowboys decimated on defense and incapable of stopping anyone, Prescott is going to be throwing a ton. There are evidently enough targets to go around for Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, and Dalton Schultz. With a 90% catch rate and a very nice touchdown grab, Schultz is an immediate option at a weak position. He's at least a viable TE2.

Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT)

I'm not saying Diontae Johnson is better than JuJu Smith-Schuster (in both reality and fantasy), but I'm also not not saying that. Through two weeks, Johnson has seen a team high 23 targets despite completely faceplanting during the early portion of both his games. Johnson was a popular breakout candidate and one of my favorite mid to late single digit round targets. So far he's living up to the hype. He looks more WR2 than WR3 and, dare I say, WR1 is not impossible.

CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

It took all of two weeks for CeeDee Lamb to become an every week fantasy starter. Those of you that drafted him may not need him to start, but he's already a viable WR3. Similar to what I said about Schultz above, the Cowboys just need to throw and throw and throw some more because of their awful defense. There are plenty of Dak Prescott targets to go around and due to the presence of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, Lamb is the one that often ends up with the mismatch. Lamb has seen 15 targets through two games. He's on pace for 120 targets. That volume for a very good prospect playing with a top five quarterback in a top five offense is a recipe for success.

Darrell Henderson (RB, LAR)

For over a year now, I've gone on and on about how Darrell Henderson has no value because the Rams hate him. Never once did I say Henderson was a bad player. The Rams still hate him, but last week, they had no choice but to give him the ball as both Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown went down with rib and finger injuries, respectively. Henderson touched the ball 14 times and racked up 121 yards with a score. I'm sure the Rams will bury him on the depth chart as soon as they can, but, for now, they may be left without a choice. Akers is going to miss at least a game or two and while Brown is likely to play this week after undergoing minor pinky surgery, he's a plodder that is not going to handle a full workload. There's opportunity for Henderson to possibly convince the Rams he's the best running back on the team.

The Replacements (RBs, Everywhere)

Normally I don't like to use injuries as a way to talk about risers, but there were so many in Week 2 that I would be remiss to ignore them.

Mike Davis handled every running back snap after Christian McCaffrey went down and was used just as much in the passing game. He's an every week RB2 while CMC is out with his high ankle sprain.

Dion Lewis handled every running back snap after Saquon Barkley tore his ACL. However, the Giants are going to activate Wayne Gallman this week and they may sign Devonta Freeman. Lewis obviously has more value than he previously did, but this is going to be a timeshare and one you want no part of.

Jerick McKinnon was somehow the last running back standing for the 49ers last week. Raheem Mostert sprained his MCL and Tevin Coleman also has a knee injury. Both are not playing this week, leaving McKinnon as the primary back. He will share time with Jeff Wilson and possibly a free agent acquisition, but McKinnon is an RB2 and Wilson a Flex play until further notice.

 

Week 3 Fallers

40 Year Olds (QBs, TB and NO)

Tom Brady and Drew Brees are not done, but they sure look done as fantasy options. For Brady, it is worth considering whether it's Brady himself or the team change combined with a truncated training camp and no preseason. Regardless of the reason, Brady's performance has been lackluster. With quarterbacks having big games all across the NFL, it's concerning that Brady couldn't even reach 10 fantasy points against a laughably bad Panthers Defense.

Brees, on the other hand, just can't do it anymore. He's still incredibly smart and he will make it work a la 2015 Peyton Manning, but Brees' average depth of target continues declining. Granted he doesn't have Michael Thomas, but it's not like Thomas is this splash play deep threat guy. Even with Thomas, Brees never pushed the ball downfield. Now, he's doing it even less. Everything is short and underneath. The Saints still have a great offense so he's always capable of a three touchdown game, but the spike games are going to be few and far between for Brees.

Austin Hooper (TE, CLE)

Two weeks is far too soon to completely write off a near every down tight end on a team lacking passing game options behind its top two receivers, but Austin Hooper is trending towards droppable. Hooper has seen just six targets across two games and failed to reach five fantasy points yet. Perhaps a date with the Football Team's suspect pass defense can right the ship, but if not, it's curtains for Hooper.

A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

I am begging all of you reading this to not buy A.J. Green. I know it's very tempting because of the massive target numbers (22 in two games), but there's a reason his catch percentage is so low and it's not Joe Burrow. A.J. Green is done. Heading into this season, I was out on Green because I didn't want to roll the dice at his ADP that at age 32 after not playing for almost two years that Green was going to resemble his old self. However, I acknowledged the possibility that he was worth a shot because the upside was undoubtedly there. After two weeks, I believe we have our answer. Green does not look like the all pro dominant receiver from the early 2010s. He looks like a 32 year old whose ability has been sapped by age and injury. If the volume continues, he will hav weeks where he puts up Jarvis Landry type numbers, but there is no alpha wide receiver here anymore and by the looks of it (read: Tyler Boyd's usage), Burrow knows it.

Todd Gurley (RB, ATL)

Why not piggyback on the A.J. Green assessment with a similar one. While Green is done at age 32, far from shocking, Todd Gurley is done at age 25. It's astounding to see a guy that was a consensus top three running back in the NFL just two years ago turn into a guy that is probably not going to be in the NFL by 2022, but here we are. Gurley has nothing left. Given how great he was just two years ago, I don't believe his skills have eroded; it's the degenerative knee. Regardless of the reason, Gurley is no longer a viable NFL player. In a game where the Falcons scored 39 points, Gurley managed 61 yards on 21 carries and wasn't targeted a single time. He is a touchdown or bust running back that is apparently being pulled at the goal line in favor of Brian Hill and even Ito Smith. It would not shock me to see Gurley on waiver wires by midseason.



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Week 2 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

Welcome back, RotoBallers! It's Sunday Morning, Week 2... Do You Know Who to Start?

Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football lineup and start/sit questions, from around 10:30 AM to 12:45 PM ET.

Come join in on the fun, and get your start/sit and lineup questions answered. RotoBaller writers will be stopping by all morning to answer all questions that are asked. Good luck RotoBallers!

Note: You must register with a free account (on the top right), and then login to chat.

 

Week 2 - Live Expert Sunday Morning Q&A

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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 2

Hi, y'all! One week of NFL action is in the books and we're moving on to another. Welcome to our Week 2 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 part of 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 three of the early games, then the late afternoon and evening games. Let's guide you to that Week 2 victory!

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @FAmmiranteTFJ and @juscarts and feel free to ask away! Let's get on to the matchups!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

Panthers at Buccaneers

Matchups We Love:

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

Mike Evans was essentially a decoy against the Saints (4 TGT, 1 REC, 2 YDS, 1 TD) as he played through a hamstring injury. Head coach Bruce Arians has already stated publicly that he regrets not moving Evans all over the field to avoid cornerback Marshon Lattimore, so we can expect Evans to see more targets this week. The Panthers Defense allowed rookie deep-threat Henry Ruggs (5 TGT, 3 REC, 55 YDS) in the first half, so Evans has a great matchup here. Chris Godwin looks likely to miss this game, which would put Evans in a total smash spot.

Ronald Jones II & Leonard Fournette (RB, TB)

The Bucs' running backs have a great matchup against a Panthers defense that got shredded by Josh Jacobs (25 ATT, 93 YDS, 3 TD, 4 REC, 46 YDS). Jones played 47.14% of the team's snaps, while Fournette was only on the field for 12.86%, so it's clear that Jones is the lead back, at least for the foreseeable future. The strong matchup puts Jones on the RB2 radar, while bumps Fournette up to a FLEX dart-throw. It's likely that Fournette's snap count will grow as the season progresses, so he should see more action this week, but Jones is the obvious preferred play. This has the potential to be a blow-out, so we could see more usage for both backs.

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)

Christian McCaffrey received 26 total touches and played 97% of the team's snaps, so it's clear that the Panthers' new coaching staff doesn't plan on reducing his workload. He takes on a Bucs defense that is stout on the ground (3.02 Y/A allowed in 2019) that bottled up Alvin Kamara (12 ATT, 16 YDS). I would expect CMC to do most of his damage in the passing game as the Panthers play catch-up - the Bucs allowed eight targets to Kamara last week.

D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)

Moore had a disappointing season opener (4 REC, 54 YDS), but he still led the team in targets (9), air yards (100), and snap percentage (86.57%). While the Bucs held Michael Thomas in check (3 REC, 17 YDS), the Panthers will likely playing catch-up in this one, so Moore should be peppered with targets. While the Bucs have an improving defense, they still allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers last year. We need to see more proof before we determine that the Bucs' pass defense is no longer exploitable.

Other Matchups:

Tom Brady (QB, TB)

Brady has a good matchup against the Panthers, who allowed 239 yards and 8 yards per attempt to Derek Carr, but it's tough to love this play because Brady is still adjusting to a new offense. While he's still a Top-15 play in season-long formats, I wouldn't recommend him in DFS until he starts to show more chemistry with his receivers.

Scotty Miller (WR, TB), Rob Gronkowski (TE, TB), & O.J. Howard (TE, TB)

Miller (6 TGT, 5 REC, 73 YDS) showed some chemistry with Brady, so he is the preferred choice here, especially if Godwin is out. Gronk (77% snaps, 3 TGT) and Howard (53% snaps, 6 TGT) are touchdown-dependent options who will eat into each other's value, although we could see more usage here if Godwin is out.

Teddy Bridgewater (QB, CAR)

Bridgewater will likely air it out all game against the Bucs, but it's worth noting that this defense just limited Drew Brees to only 5.3 yards per attempt. We could see a lot of check-downs in this game, which benefits D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey, but not Bridgewater.

Robby Anderson & Curtis Samuel (WR, CAR)

Robby Anderson (82.09% snaps, 82 air yards, 8 TGT, 6 REC, 114 YDS, 1 TD) had a better game than Curtis Samuel (74.63% snaps, 74 air yards, 8 TGT, 5 REC, 38 YDS), but these two will cut into each other's value all year long. The Bucs limited big-plays from wide receivers last week (zero plays over 20 yards), which favors Samuel here.

 

Jaguars at Titans

Matchups We Love:

D.J. Chark (WR, JAX)

Chark (3 TGT, 3 REC, 25 YDS, 1 TD) had an underwhelming season debut, but he goes up against a Titans secondary missing their best corner, Adoree Jackson. Malcolm Butler (65.5 PFF Grade) and Johnathan Joseph (64.0 PFF Grade) are their remaining outside corners, so Chark has a chance to bounce-back here. There's also a chance that this game becomes a blowout, which means more targets for Chark.

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

Henry remained a volume monster last week, playing 75% of the snaps and racking up 34 total touches. It was encouraging to see three targets and three receptions against Denver - if Henry could become more of a factor in the passing game, that would be huge for his fantasy value. He takes on a Jags defense that allowed a combined 17 receptions for 142 yards to Colts' running backs last week. While this is mostly because Rivers loves throwing to his backs, it's still a good sign for Henry. The Titans have a chance for a blow-out here, which would mean more usage for Henry. In his last two games at home against Jacksonville, Henry has rushed for 397 yards and six touchdowns on 36 carries (11.02 yards per attempt). This is a smash spot, especially with A.J. Brown likely out for this game.

Matchups We Hate:

James Robinson (RB, JAX)

Robinson (68% snaps, 16 ATT, 62 YDS, 1 TGT, 1 REC, 28 YDS) saw volume in his NFL debut, but that was in a close game that the Jags ended up winning. It's a different story this week at Tennessee, where the Titans have a chance to really control this game. If the Jags are playing catch-up, you can expect more Chris Thompson, which makes Robinson a risky play this week.

Other Matchups:

Gardner Minshew II (QB, JAX) & Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR, JAX)

Minshew will likely have to play catch-up this week, so he has some upside against the Titans, but we did see him check-down pretty often last week, as the highest air yards went to Laviska Shenault with only 36, so temper your expectations. It was encouraging to see Shenault's usage in Week 1 as a hybrid, but you still need to take a wait-and-see approach with the talented rookie.

Chris Thompson (RB, JAX)

Thompson has a chance to rack up receptions in a game where the Jags are 9-point underdogs on the road in Tennessee. He's in play as a low-end FLEX in PPR formats, since I would expect the former Washington running back to see more snaps as the Jags encounter more passing downs.

Ryan Tannehill (QB, TEN), Corey Davis (WR, TEN) & Jonnu Smith (TE, TEN)

We could see Tannehill make some big plays against this weak defense, but there's risk that the Titans get out to an early lead and just feed Henry for the rest of the game. Davis (8 TGT, 7 REC, 101 YDS) had a really promising debut who should see an uptick in targets in Brown's absence, but this is a game where the Titans likely be playing with the lead as heavy favorites against the Jags, so fewer pass attempts seems likely. Smith (7 TGT, 4 REC, 36 YDS, 1 TD) also sees a bump in value with Brown out, but he's not quite a play I love because I think that the Titans will go run-heavy.

 

Giants at Bears

Matchups We Love:

Allen Robinson & Anthony Miller (WR, CHI)

Allen Robinson should be peppered with targets to appease him after a week of reports that he was unhappy with the team over a contract dispute. He goes up against a porous Giants secondary that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers last season. They gave up the third-most fantasy points last week against the Steelers, so it looks like they're picking up right where they left off. Anthony Miller (6 TGT, 4 REC, 76 YDS) turned in a solid debut and is on the WR4 radar this week.

David Montgomery (RB, CHI)

Montgomery (13 ATT, 64 YDS, 1 REC, 10 YDS) looked sharp in the season opener, which is encouraging considering the Bears were trailing for much of the game. If Chicago has the lead here, we could see a big game from Monty against a Giants Defense that just allowed Benny Snell to rush for 113 yards on 19 carries. Montgomery is a rock-solid RB2 in this exploitable matchup.

Evan Engram (TE, NYG)

The Giants couldn't get Engram (7 TGT, 2 REC, 9 YDS) going last week, but I expect him to be a key part of the passing game this time around. The Bears just gave up five receptions, 56 yards, and one touchdown to Lions' tight end T.J. Hockenson. They also ranked 23rd in fantasy points per game allowed to tight ends last year. Look for Engram to bounce-back in this one.

Matchups We Hate:

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

Daniel Jones is a playmaker whose rushing upside raises his weekly floor, but he gets another tough matchup against a Bears Defense that allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last season. Quarterback is such a deep position, so there should be no reason to start Jones this week against Khalil Mack & Co.

Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, & Golden Tate (WR, NYG)

Slayton looked like the clear-cut number one in this offense, monopolizing air yards (102, next closest: Shepard, 37) en route to six receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns. However, there's still a chance that these receivers cut into each other's value each week, especially when Tate returns to the lineup (currently limited in practice). The Bears allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers last season, so this is a tough matchup.

Other Matchups:

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)

Barkley was completely stymied on the ground last week, but it was encouraging to see his production in the passing game (9 TGT, 6 REC, 60 YDS). The Bears ranked 16th in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs last year, so this is a lukewarm matchup for Barkley. Consider him more of a mid-range RB1 instead of an elite option this week.

Mitch Trubisky (QB, CHI)

Trubisky's fourth-quarter comeback saved his fantasy day (20-36, 242 yards, 3 TD, 3 ATT, 26 YDS) and he'll look to carry that momentum into Sunday against a Giants defense that ranked 29th in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks last season. Trubisky carries some streaming and DFS tournament appeal against Big Blue.

Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI)

This profiles as more of a Montgomery game with the Bears as 5.5-point favorites, but if the Giants jump out to a lead, then Cohen would have more value. However, I expect Chicago to control this game, so Cohen is more of a middling FLEX option in PPR formats for this one

 

Falcons at Cowboys

Matchups We Love:

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

Dak had a disappointing debut for fantasy in Week 1 (QB19), but he's in a smash spot against a Falcons Defense that just allowed a QB1 overall finish to Russell Wilson. This is a projected shootout with a 53-point total, which is the highest on the slate, so Dak has a terrific combination of floor and upside here. Expect a bounce-back performance for the Cowboys' QB.

Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup & CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

All three of the Cowboys' receivers are in play against the Falcons, who allowed strong production to D.K. Metcalf (4 REC, 95 YDS, 1 TD) and Tyler Lockett (8 REC, 92 YDS). In Week 1, Cooper (8.1 aDOT) and Lamb (6.2 aDOT) were underneath options, while Gallup (15.2 aDOT) was targeted downfield. It's hard to say if this will stick on a weekly basis, but if it does, it bodes well for Gallup's value. Cooper (37.84% target share) remains the top dog in Big D - fire him up as a WR1, with Gallup as a WR2 and Lamb as an upside WR3.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

Zeke (22 ATT, 96 YDS, 1 TD, 3 REC, 31 YDS, 1 TD) looked fresh and explosive in Week 1. It was intriguing to see him used more in the passing game (4 TGT) after a year where he regressed from 77 REC, 567 YDS to 54 REC, 420 YDS. He has a chance to finish as the RB1 overall if the Cowboys start to get him more involved through the air. Zeke is my top running back of the week and a must-play in DFS.

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL), Julio Jones & Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL)

Fire up the Falcons trio in this projected shootout. Jones (40% air yards share) and Ridley (30% air yards share) are must-plays every week, but especially appealing in games where the Falcons face an elite offense. Ryan (QB7), Jones (WR8), and Ridley (WR3) have become one of the best stacks in fantasy football. Expect another game where these two wideouts are peppered with targets downfield.

Other Matchups:

Todd Gurley (RB, ATL)

Gurley takes on a Dallas defense that just allowed Malcolm Brown to rush for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Gurley had a decent Falcons' debut (14 ATT, 56 YDS, 1 TD, 2 REC, 1 YD), but he's no longer much of a factor in the passing game, so he's a better play when the Falcons are favored and projected to play with a lead. Consider Gurley an RB2 with touchdown upside in this shootout, but he's not a play that I love.

Hayden Hurst (TE, ATL)

Hurst should benefit from this matchup because the Cowboys Defense will be playing without linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee. The former Raven had a quiet debut in Atlanta (3 REC, 38 YDS), but we could see the Falcons try to target him more than five times here, given the depleted Cowboys' linebacking corps.

 

Lions at Packers

Matchups We Love:

D'Andre Swift (RB, DET)

This game presents an opportunity for redemption for rookie Swift, who dropped what would have been the game-winning touchdown pass in his season debut. The Packers' passing offense looks crisp and the Lions' secondary is banged-up, so there's a chance that Detroit will be playing catch-up in this game. Last season, the Packers allowed 130 targets (28th) and 94 receptions (T-23rd) to opposing running backs. Swift played 44% of the snaps in a game that the Lions led for three full quarters, a number which should rise in this one.

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB) & Davante Adams (WR, GB)

Rodgers put up a vintage performance in his season debut, completing 32-of-44 (73%) of his passes for 364 yards (8.3 Y/A) and four touchdowns. An absurd 17 of those 44 attempts went to Davante Adams, who blew up for 14 receptions, 156 yards, and two touchdowns. It only took one game for Rodgers to erase any concerns of playing in a run-heavy offense with limited weapons. He's back as a Top-10 quarterback and his running mate has a legit chance at finishing as WR1 overall. They should feast on a secondary that could be without corners Jeffrey Okudah and Desmond Trufant.

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

While Jones' debut (16 ATT, 66 YDS, 1 TD, 4 REC, 10 YDS) wasn't as productive as his teammates, it was encouraging to see that he received six targets, four of which came in the red-zone. Jones takes on a Lions Defense that ranked 29th in fantasy points per game to running backs last season. Detroit also allowed 864 receiving yards (29th) to opposing backs, so Jones has a chance at some strong all-purpose production.

Matchups We Hate:

Adrian Peterson & Kerryon Johnson (DET, RB)

It's crazy that Peterson (31% of snaps) essentially supplanted Johnson (26% of snaps) in only one week, but that's Matt Patricia for you. These two backs will see the bulk of their volume when the Lions are leading and I don't expect that to be the case against the Packers. Don't even consider starting either of these two, even as a DFS tournament pivot play.

Other Matchups:

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)

Stafford will likely be playing catch-up here, but it looks like Kenny Golladay will be out for a second straight week, so it's tough to love this play. The Packers Defense allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last season, so they're a tough matchup. Stafford looks like more of a high-end QB2 until he Golladay returns to the lineup.

Marvin Jones Jr. (WR, DET)

Jones (4 REC, 55 YDS) disappointed last week without Golladay - perhaps being the center of attention on the perimeter is a bad thing. Jones is more of a WR2 who needs an alpha WR1 to attract double-teams in order to thrive, so consider him merely a WR3, despite the likely volume. The Packers were torched by Adam Thielen (6 REC, 110 YDS, 2 TD), but he has amazing chemistry with Kirk Cousins - the same cannot be said for Jones and Stafford.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, DET)

Hockenson (5 REC, 56 YDS, 1 TD) had a great debut last week, leading some to ponder whether this is the start of a breakout season for the talented sophomore. He takes on a Packers defense that ranked 14th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends last year. Hockenson looks like a TE1 this week, especially if Golladay remains out, but I don't quite love the matchup - it's a lukewarm play.

Allen Lazard & Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR, GB)

As long as Rodgers is back to form with pinpoint accuracy on downfield throws, then Lazard and MVS are absolutely in play as upside WR4s with DFS appeal. Lazard (4 REC, 63 YDS, 1 TD) and MVS (4 REC, 96 YDS, 1 TD) both had success last week and they're in an exploitable matchup, so there's a chance at a repeat performance for at least one of them.

 

Vikings at Colts

Matchups We Love:

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)

Adam Thielen is going to see a ton of volume this season and he started his season off with a bang (32% target share, 54% air yard share). He takes on a Colts Defense that tied for 23rd in fantasy points per game allowed to receivers last season in a projected shootout. Thielen is locked-in as an every-week WR1.

Philip Rivers (QB, IND), T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND), Parris Campbell (WR, IND)

The Vikings pass defense looked horrendous last week, allowing a 73% completion rate, 8.3 yards per attempt, and four touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers. Conversely, Rivers looked capable of moving this Colts offense, throwing for 363 yards (7.9 Y/A) against the Jaguars. Hilton (80% snaps, 38% air yards share, 12.1 aDOT) and Campbell (82% snaps, 37% air yards share, 11.9 aDOT) monopolize wide receiver volume for the Colts and are prime plays in this one. The Vikings allowed Davante Adams to go off with Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling also playing well, so this is a highly exploitable matchup.

Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND) & Nyheim Hines (RB, IND)

With the injury to Marlon Mack, Taylor takes firm control of this backfield. It was very encouraging to see his receiving volume (6 TGT, 6 REC, 67 YDS), considering that was his main criticism coming out of the draft. Taylor is a strong RB1 should dominate early-down carries, but Hines looks like Austin Ekeler-lite for Rivers, who continues to show his affinity for checking down to his backs. Hines caught all eight of his targets for 45 yards while rushing for 28 yards and another touchdown, so he's absolutely in play as a solid FLEX. If the Colts are trailing in this game, look for Hines to put forth another solid performance.

Other Matchups:

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

The Vikings simply do not throw the ball enough for Cousins (25 pass attempts) to warrant a start in any format besides as a DFS tournament punt play, even in a projected shootout like this one. Even though Thielen is an elite play, I wouldn't consider using Cousins.

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

Cook is still an RB1, but it's a bit concerning to see his usage from last week: 58% of snaps, 12 carries, two targets. Obviously he's a must-start in season-long leagues, but I'd look elsewhere in DFS. It looks like the Vikings might be trying to limit his workload in order to keep him fresh for the stretch run.

Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

Jefferson (69% snaps, 3.3 aDOT) is not really worth considering while he's used like this. We need to see his snap percentage increase before firing him up as a WR3. Even in this shootout, I'd look elsewhere in all formats. The Vikings don't pass enough to support two fantasy-relevant wide receivers.

Jack Doyle (TE, IND)

Doyle (4 TGT, 3 REC, 49 YDS) should be in line for better weeks, as Rivers loves to throw to his tight ends and Doyle is a dependable veteran. He's more of a floor play though, and I prefer to start players with more upside. Still, in this shootout, Doyle looks like a high-end TE2, even though he's facing a Vikings Defense that allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends last year.

UPDATE 9/19: Jack Doyle has been ruled out for Week 2.

 

Bills at Dolphins

Matchups We Love:

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

Josh Allen dominated the Dolphins last season for a combined 458 passing yards, five touchdowns, 88 rushing yards, and one touchdown in two games last season. The Dolphins just allowed Cam Newton to rush for 75 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, so there's a lot of upside here. John Brown practiced in full, so he should be good to go for Sunday, making Allen a Top-5 QB for Week 2.

Stefon Diggs & John Brown (WR, BUF)

Diggs (94% snaps, 20% target share, 32% air yard share) and Brown (93% snaps, 22% target share, 37% air yard share) monopolize receiving production for the Bills. They face an improved Dolphins Defense that includes corners Xavien Howard (59.4 PFF Grade in Week 1) and newcomer Byron Jones (63.0 PFF Grade in Week 1), but that doesn't strike fear in me yet because the rest of the defense is still a work in progress. Both of these receivers are well-positioned to provide WR2 value for Week 2.

Matchups We Hate:

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA), DeVante Parker (WR, MIA), & Preston Williams (WR, MIA)

The Bills allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and fifth-fewest to wide receivers last season. Despite playing in a game where they'll likely have to air it out to catch-up, the Dolphins' pass-catchers are a clear avoid. We simply can't trust them here.

Jordan Howard (RB, MIA), Myles Gaskin (RB, MIA) & Matt Breida (RB, MIA)

The same goes for the Dolphins' running backs, who are locked in the dreaded three-man committee: Gaskin (63%) surprisingly led the team in snaps, but after signing Howard and trading for Breida, you have to still think that the team has plans for them. Add in the fact that the Bills' run defense is also stout and this is an even easier avoid.

Other Matchups:

Devin Singletary & Zack Moss (RB, BUF)

Singletary (59% snaps, 7 targets, 9 carries) played slightly more than Moss (45% snaps, 4 targets, 9 carries), but this has the look of a clear-cut committee. Both backs have a strong matchup in a game that the Bills project to control, so they have FLEX appeal in this one.

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)

It was encouraging to see Gesicki line up in the slot on 32-of-45 snaps (71%), so even though he had a slow game (5 TGT, 3 REC, 30 YDS), he's one of the best buy-lows at tight end right now. The Bills allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends last year, but I'd rather go with Gesicki at tight end than Parker or Williams at receiver due to the less depth at tight end. I like this matchup a bit more than I do for the perimeter receivers. Even if you don't start him, make sure Gesicki is not available on your waiver wire.

 


Hi, Justin taking over now. Thanks, Frank!

 

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Matchups We Love:

Insert Starting Eagles Running Back Here

Maybe it'll be a healthy Miles Sanders. Maybe it'll be Boston Scott. Heck, maybe somehow it'll be Corey Clement. But whoever it is, they'll face a defense that let Ezekiel Elliott make a big impact in Week 1, with Elliott scoring both a rushing and receiving touchdown. I'd especially love for it to be Sanders doing it, as he'll end up with a really high snap rate.

Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods (WR, LAR)

The Eagles allowed the second-most touchdowns to wide receivers in 2019, and while they held the Washington Football Team to just one passing touchdown last week, that's more on Dwayne Haskins than anyone else. I don't trust this Eagles secondary, making both Kupp and Woods very strong plays.

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

Tight end Logan Thomas came from nowhere to have four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown against this team last week. So, yes, you should play Tyler Higbee, who is actually a very good tight end and not a mystery like Thomas was. Easily a fantasy TE1 this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

Wentz's lack of weapons really caught up to him in Week 1, as despite throwing for a ton of air yards, he finished with just 270 passing yards and threw a couple of interceptions. Now, he's got to face a Rams Defense that has Jalen Ramsey on it, plus other solid secondary options. They held Dak Prescott to just one touchdown in Week 1, and Dak's a better quarterback that Wentz. (Yeah, I said it, Eagles fans!)

Darrell Henderson (RB, LAR)

Yeah, ignore the depth chart having him over Akers. Henderson is an afterthought here and shouldn't be in your lineup.

DeSean Jackson (WR, PHI)

Jackson is a boom/bust deep threat who might be covered by Jalen Ramsey for most of this game. Pass.

Other Matchups:

Jared Goff (QB, LAR)

The Eagles held Dwayne Haskins under 200 yards in Week 1, but I think the credit for that might rest more on Haskins being Haskins than on the Eagles Defense being good. Yes, I'm worried enough about Goff to consider him just an okay fantasy play, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Eagles secondary issues from the last few years bite them again and for Goff to go off. We'll see. If you're feeling risky, move this to the "love" category.

Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers (RB, LAR)

The Eagles were middle of the pack against the run last week against Washington and I think Brown/Akers will siphon each other's snaps and carries off just enough to make neither a great play. But this defense has some holes and Brown in particular was getting the right kind of usage for fantasy purposes in Week 1.

Jalen Reagor (WR, PHI)

I don't know who gets the Jalen Ramsey assignment, but my gut says it's DeSean Jackson. That would make Reagor a potentially interesting deep league option after a Week 1 in which he caught one pass for 55 yards.

 

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets

Matchups We Love:

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

The Jets allowed a big fantasy day to Josh Allen in Week 1. Garoppolo isn't Josh Allen -- the rushing upside just isn't there -- but he's a solid quarterback who has a plus matchup this week against a Jets Defense that shouldn't scare anyone. He's a solid QB2 option.

Raheem Mostert (RB, SF)

In Week 1, Mostert played 60 percent of the offensive snaps for the 49ers. He's not the runaway top guy here, but he is the top running back and will see the majority of the work against a weak Jets defense. Mostert's a strong RB2 candidate.

Kendrick Bourne and Brandon Aiyuk (WR, SF)

The Jets defense is susceptible, but the 49ers don't really have guys outside of a questionable George Kittle who can really make you pay. But they do have two guys I really like in deep leagues or as dart throws in DFS: Kendrick Bourne, their leading wide receiver in yards last week, and Brandon Aiyuk, a rookie who is making his NFL debut after missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury. Both guys are going to fly way under the radar and have solid upside.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

So, first off, Kittle is questionable with a knee injury. He could very well miss this game, in which case you obviously don't want to play Kittle (though you might want to play Jordan Reed!) But if Kittle suits up, we can assume he'll be Garoppolo's No. 1 option, making him the same must-play TE1 that he always is.

UPDATE 9/19: George Kittle has been ruled out for Week 2.

Matchups We Hate:

Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman (RB, SF)

The air quality issues last week likely contributed to Coleman having just a 10 percent snap share. I expect a little more Coleman and a little less McKinnon this week, with the two serving as backups to Raheem Mostert, who should get over half of the running back snaps. I like who these two play against, but I don't like the uncertainty around their roles.

Chris Herndon IV (TE, NYJ)

Yes, he had six catches in Week 1 against Buffalo. But he also lost a fumble and five of those catches were in the fourth quarter. Maybe that means he'll ride some momentum into Week 2? Or maybe it means he's going to have a slow start against a good defense and struggle to put up TE2 numbers.

Other Matchups:

Sam Darnold (QB, NYJ)

I can't hate Darnold this week, because the 49ers did allow the fifth-most points to a quarterback in Week 1, but I also can't love Darnold, because he's 1) still Sam Darnold and 2) still facing a 49ers Defense that scares the hell out of me. Darnold's not a must-sit in two-QB leagues, but he's also not a start in one-QB leagues.

Frank Gore (RB, NYJ)

With no Le'Veon Bell, we'll see a lot of Frank Gore against what should be a good 49ers defense. I think we'll see just enough of Gore to make him a flex option for fantasy managers, and while the Niners defense is good, it did allow two Week 1 rushing scores.

Jamison Crowder (WR, NYJ)

The only major wide receiver threat on this Jets team, Crowder was targeted 13 times in Week 1. But he's also dealing with a hamstring injury that might keep him out of Week 2, which knocks him down to this group.

UPDATE 9/19: Jamison Crowder has been ruled out for Week 2.

Breshad Perriman (WR, NYJ)

If Crowder is out, Perriman becomes an upside play in deeper leagues and a really interesting DFS value.

 

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers

Matchups We Love:

Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)

Denver's defense didn't play great in Week 1, even if the scoreboard says they allowed just 16 points. And with A.J. Bouye now on the injured reserve, their pass defense drops another peg. Roethlisberger returned after missing most of 2019 and threw for three Week 1 touchdowns. I like his weapons. I like his matchup. This should be a good week for him.

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT)

After a disappointing 2019, Smith-Schuster opened 2020 with six catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Consider him a high-end WR2 in what should be a plus matchup for the Steelers passing game. As for Johnson, he was targeted 10 times against the Giants and while he has less touchdown upside than Smith-Schuster, he'll have a great chance to rack up yards and is a solid WR3 option.

Matchups We Hate:

Drew Lock (QB, DEN)

Oh no, get Lock all the way away from me this week. While I think he's going to have a solid second NFL season, the Steelers Defense scares me. They picked off Daniel Jones twice in Week 1, and while the Giants moved the ball well at times, Jones was also aided by a late touchdown to Darius Slayton when things were out of reach. Lock's going to get knocked around in this one.

Melvin Gordon (RB, DEN)

It's not that you need to bench Gordon. It's just that you've got to know the danger going in, which is that he faces a Steelers defense that held Saquon Barkley to six rushing yards last week. Like Barkley, Gordon can make some things happen in the receiving game, but he's going to find it incredibly tough to find room to work with on the ground.

James Conner (RB, PIT)

A hobbled Conner struggled in Week 1, exiting the game after six carries for nine yards. The Broncos appear to be a good team against the run, and it's hard to trust Conner right now. Is he even the lead back now? This is a situation to steer away from if possible, especially in building a DFS lineup.

Courtland Sutton (WR, DEN)

Even if he does play, we'll be looking at a player dealing with a shoulder injury going up against one of the NFL's best defenses. I'm not confident at all in Sutton in Week 2 as more than a deep league option.

James Washington (WR, PIT)

He had a touchdown in Week 1, but was targeted just three times and lost a lot of playing time to rookie Chase Claypool. I don't think he's got a big enough role right now to justify starting him in season-long leagues.

Other Matchups:

Benny Snell Jr. (RB, PIT)

The same downside as Conner, but with the upside of coming off of a 19-carry, 113-yard Week 1 against the Giants. Snell looked the part of a lead back in that game, and I'd rather take a flyer on him in DFS than play Conner. Still, I don't really love the idea of starting any Steelers running back in season-long leagues.

Jerry Jeudy (WR, DEN)

The rookie had four catches for 56 yards in Week 1. He should be the safest receiver option on the Broncos this week, though the matchup against a good Steelers secondary is worrisome. Still, with Sutton not at 100 percent, Jeudy should get the necessary targets to avoid a bust game.

Noah Fant (TE, DEN)

Will he repeat his five catches for 81 yards and a score from Week 1? Not likely. Pittsburgh held Evan Engram mostly in check last week, and while Fant is talented, I don't think he's reached the point where he's matchup proof. Consider him a solid TE2.

 

 

Matchups Analysis - 4:05/4:25 PM ET Games

Three games on the afternoon slate for y'all. Let's break them down.

 

Washington Football Team at Arizona Cardinals

Matchups We Love:

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, ARI)

Hopkins was targeted 16 times in Week 1, catching 14 of them for 151 yards. This is the No. 1 receiver that Kyler Murray has been needing, and he's going to get a ton of passes thrown his way this week. Consider Hopkins a contender to be the overall WR1 this season and a weekly candidate to lead all receivers in fantasy scoring.

Kenyan Drake (RB, ARI)

Washington held the duo of Boston Scott and Corey Clement in check last week, but I don't really know if I'm going to read much into shutting those two down, ya know? I'll read more into Washington being a middle of the road team against the run in 2019 and Drake having 18 touches in Week 1. He should see plenty of work in this one and is a strong play at the running back position.

Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS)

I expect more usage from Gibson this week against an Arizona team that struggled against the run in Week 1. If Gibson can see his snap share rise from 26 percent to closer to a 50/50 split with Peyton Barber, he'll be an upside play in 12-team leagues and a really great option in DFS.

Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS)

I don't love this passing attack, but McLaurin's a very talented receiver who's the clear No. 1 guy in this receiving corps, and the Cardinals Defense can be exploited. I like McLaurin to be a solid fantasy WR2 this week based on opportunities.

Logan Thomas (TE, WAS)

Guess what didn't happen last week? The Cardinals defense didn't allow a touchdown to a tight end. But they allowed 16 of them last season while also allowing more fantasy points to the position than any other team. Yes, it's a new year. No, I'm not ready to say the Cardinals are going to better than "really bad" against tight ends in 2020. Thomas is a great streamer.

Matchups We Hate:

Dwayne Haskins (QB, WAS)

Okay, yeah, not even looking at the matchup data here. Haskins has thrown for 200 or more yards three times in his NFL career. Until I can see him do that consistently, I'm not playing him in a fantasy league unless I have absolutely no other options. Sorry.

Other Matchups:

Kyler Murray (QB, WAS)

I just don't know what to think about this Washington defense, and that makes me lower on Kyler Murray than I'd usually be. In Week 1, they allowed just the 24th-most fantasy points to a quarterback and were able to pressure Carson Wentz into mistakes. Murray's rushing floor should raise him to a higher floor than Wentz had, but I do think there's reason to be slightly lower on Murray than usual, even if you still definitely need to play him in almost every format. (I guess you can bench him in an 8-team league if you have a better option.)

Christian Kirk (WR, ARI)

Week 1 was not kind to Christian Kirk, who had one catch for no yards against a really good 49ers team. He should do better against a worse Washington team, but...man, it's hard to trust Kirk this week. I was bordering on putting him on the "hate" part of this.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)

Fitzgerald is a safer version of Christian Kirk, in a way. Won't have an explosive game at this stage of his career, but should use his sure hands to bring in more catches. If Washington's defense had looked worse in Week 1, I'd like Fitzgerald a lot more. But overall, he's fine.

Peyton Barber (RB, WAS)

Barber only had 29 yards against the Eagles, but he had 17 carries and led the NFL in red zone carries, plus found pay dirt twice. The Cardinals gave up more fantasy points to running back than any other team last week, and Barber should have some more chances to dive into the end zone. I love Barber as a deep league flex option or a DFS value play, but don't like him much in shallower leagues.

Steven Sims Jr. (WR, WAS)

Talented player who is going to have an inconsistent role every week until Dwayne Haskins gets better. Probably a weekly boom/bust guy, so if you're needing points once the afternoon slate arrives, you might be able to throw him in a lineup and cross your fingers.

 

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

Yeah, this seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it? Houston held Patrick Mahomes to 211 passing yards in Week 1, but he still threw three touchdowns and they allowed running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to rush for 138 yards and a score. Lamar Jackson has a chance to eat up this defense in Week 2. Consider him the overall QB1 this week in your Week 2 rankings.

J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram II (RB, BAL)

The Texans couldn't contain the Chiefs run game last week, and now they get to face an even scarier run game. Dobbins and Ingram cannibalize each other's value too much for either to be an RB1, but if you're looking for guys who can be strong RB2/3 options this week? Both guys have a lot of upside in that kind of role.

Marquise Brown (WR, BAL)

The only Ravens receiver worth playing in most formats this week is Brown, who is coming off a five-catch, 101-yard game. Houston's secondary struggled against the Chiefs, and Brown has lots of upside in this matchup. Consider him a high-upside WR2.

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)

LOL, there's a pattern here, which is liking all of the Ravens. Andrews is one of the elite tight ends and Houston was struggling to contain tight ends in the second half of 2019. Andrews had a pair of touchdowns last week and should be a good bet to find the end zone again.

Matchups We Hate:

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Yes, the matchup is terrible for the Texans. Baltimore just dismantled the Browns, holding Baker Mayfield to 21-for-39 passing and 189 yards. And yes, last year against Baltimore, Watson threw for just 169 yards and no touchdowns and had just 12 rushing yards. But it's really hard to ever bench this man in a fantasy league. Smart idea to avoid him in DFS games in Week 2, though.

Non-Will Fuller V Wide Receivers (WR, HOU)

Fuller's role makes him a relatively safe option even in a bad matchup, but the rest of the receivers here are huge risks. Randall Cobb had just three targets in Week 1. Brandin Cooks had five, but caught just two and is dealing with a quad injury. Kenny Stills was an afterthought. And this week, they face an even tougher defense. I'm not starting any of these guys.

Other Matchups:

Will Fuller V (WR, HOU)

While the matchup is bad, Fuller's the top option for quarterback Deshaun Watson and was targeted twice as much as any other Texans receiver last week. He's got too high of a floor due to his target share here for me to dislike him this week, even if the Ravens secondary has the ability to shut him down. He's been a boom-or-bust guy in the past and 2020 is trending towards that "bust" part disappearing, but this week might be a vintage "will he get 160 yards or 30 yards" Fuller game.

 

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers

Matchups We Love:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

With the Chargers missing Derwin James, I love Mahomes this week, and while I have Jackson just ahead of him in my overall rankings, Mahomes is a clear top-two option and a must start at all times, obviously. But also, this is a really nice chance for him to pile up the yardage and a good week to play him in DFS leagues.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

David Johnson had a strong game against the Chiefs Defense last week, and they should have trouble containing the even-more electric Ekeler this week. He's a threat on the ground and in the receiving game and should be considered a low-end RB1 this week.

Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)

If there's someone on this team who really benefits from Tyrod Taylor, Week 1 suggested it might be Henry, who had five catches for 73 yards. The Chiefs have struggled in the recent past against tight ends, and Henry should be considered a solid TE1 option.

Matchups We Hate:

Tyrod Taylor (QB, LAC)

Taylor was okay in Week 1, going 16-for-30 for 208 yards and adding seven yards on the ground, but a matchup with the Bengals probably should have produced better results. Now, he faces a Chiefs team that did allow a rushing touchdown to quarterback Deshaun Watson in Week 1, but also held the Texans and their talented passer mostly in check until garbage time. I have no interest in starting Taylor in a fantasy league this week. Maybe he gets some late production. Maybe.

Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)

For the second year in a row, Sammy Watkins had a huge Week 1. And for the second year in a row, he should fall back down to earth after an impressive start, because the Chargers have a much better secondary than the Texans. Watkins is a risky boom-or-bust option, with an emphasis on "bust."

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB, KC)

Yeah, I'm saying it. CEH was so good in his debut aside from some goal line struggles, but the Chargers held Joe Mixon to 3.6 yards per carry and out of the end zone in Week 1. You obviously start Edwards-Helaire in season-long, but I'm very concerned about him as a DFS option this week.

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams (WR, LAC)

The Chiefs have been really good against wide receivers lately, including holding all of Houston's non-Will Fuller receivers in check last week. With Tyrod Taylor under center, fewer targets are available in this offense, and both Allen and Williams feel like guys who could bust this week. They won't both bust, but the sample size of them with Taylor is too small for me to confidently pick one over the other. I'd avoid both in DFS.

Other Matchups:

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

Is it true that Travis Kelce hasn't been particularly good against the Chargers? Yes. Is it true he only has one touchdown against them? Also yes. But it's also true that Travis Kelce is Travis Kelce and you do not even need to consider benching him or even avoiding him in DFS because his ceiling is incredibly high.

Tyreek Hill (WR, KC)

Like Kelce, the bad matchup is made up for by the fact that Hill is high-ceiling speedster who can break off a touchdown at any moment. Maybe play him in fewer DFS lineups than usual this week, but he's still a solid fantasy WR1, with maybe a lower floor than usual against a good Chargers Defense. But it's really hard to hate Hill at any point.

Joshua Kelley (RB, LAC)

Kelley appears to be the new backup to Austin Ekeler. I like the matchup, but don't know if I like the role, which makes him a deep league flex option or a DFS value play.

 

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks

Matchups We Love:

Cam Newton (QB, NE)

Newton had a pair of rushing touchdowns in Week 1 and now faces a Seattle defense that allowed a ton of passing yards to Matt Ryan and the Falcons last week. Ryan threw for 450 yards in that one, and while Newton won't come close to that, the Falcons proved that the Seahawks Defense has some flaws against the pass. Newton's a low-end QB1 option.

Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)

After a big Week 1 in which he caught all right of his targets for 92 yards, Lockett is the Seahawks receiver who feels the most matchup proof this week. The 'Hawks look like they're finally throwing the ball a ton, and Lockett's going to the player who benefits the most from that, making him a weekly WR2 option.

James White (RB, NE)

White's role as a passing down back and short-yardage receiving threat on an offense with some serious holes at wide receiver makes him a strong weekly play in full PPR leagues.

Matchups We Hate:

Greg Olsen (TE, SEA)

Yes, he had a Week 1 touchdown, but this Patriots Defense remains really good and when it comes to guys at the fringes of fantasy value, I'd rather just steer clear of them.

Patriots Receivers (NE, WR)

Lot of issues here. The Seahawks allowed a ton of yards in Week 1, but New England's wide receivers might struggle to take advantage. Cam Newton won't throw as much as most other quarterbacks, limiting how many targets can go to receivers. N'Keal Harry has a low ceiling and a low floor. Damiere Byrd is an afterthought. And Julian Edelman played just 58 percent of snaps and has a knee injury. Am I really supposed to play those guys?

Other Matchups:

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

Seattle is letting Russ cook, but the Patriots allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks in Week 1 than any other team did. Something has to give, and I'm not confident enough in either side to really know if what gives is the Patriots Defense or Russ. That makes Wilson a little risky in DFS, though you start him with no questions asked in season-long leagues.

D.K. Metcalf (WR, SEA)

Tough matchup, but hes coming off a 95-yard, one-touchdown Week 1, so seems like a bit of a wash, right? New England's defense is really good, but after a lot of opt outs, I do wonder if they'll have the right personnel to stop Metcalf from having another strong game. But I am concerned enough about how well Week 1 went for New England to consider keeping Metcalf out of DFS lineups.

Chris Carson (RB, SEA)

Two receiving touchdowns salvaged a rough rushing day for Carson last week. This week, he faces a tough Patriots defense. But Carson's ability to make things happen in the run game and pass game gives him a high floor, making him a solid RB2 option, albeit one with a lot of downside considering this matchup.

Sony Michel (RB, NE)

The primary early-down back for New England, Michel should be better than expected this year as long as he keeps his feet moving forward. Is he a poor man's 2019 Mark Ingram? Maybe! And if so, that's enough to make him an RB3 option this week.



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Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 2

Welcome to Week 2, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and players to go with when faced with tough lineup decisions for Week 2 of the fantasy football season.

These are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a 10% discount and get access to all of my ranks in all formats, plus a full roster of tools and analysis for the entire 2019 season.

Skill position picks here are based on PPR ranks.

 

Spotlight RB Starters for Week 2

Malcolm Brown: While Cam Akers was looking surprisingly tentative, Brown had 110 scrimmage yards and two rushing TDs in Week 1. Brown ran with authority and apparent confidence, and until Akers starts to look like the decisive runner he was drafted to be, Brown has RB2 potential and should definitely be considered in that range this week. You should be starting Brown over the likes of players with tough matchups such as Melvin Gordon, or with less certain roles, like James Conner.

Ronald Jones II: I am well-known for not being a Fantasy fan of Jones, but he actually did not look bad at all against a tough New Orleans front in Week 1. The matchup looks a lot friendlier vs. Carolina and he could get some chances to finish off drives with short-range TD runs. Jones is aiming for his third game in row at home with 100-plus scrimmage yards. If Jones delivers the goods, trade him after this game. At the very least, a time share with Leonard Fournette is still a very strong future possibility. That still may be Jones’ best eventual scenario. Bruce Arians acquired Fournette to take on a significant role, not to be a lesser-used reserve. If both RBs play well it keeps  them fresher throughout games and forces the defense to account for both of their styles.

Jonathan Taylor: There were some concerns about the rookie’s ability to catch passes out of the backfield early in his career, but he had six catches last week, the second-most receiving yards by a rookie RB in an NFL debut since 2000. Taylor is now ticketed to start sooner than expected with Marlon Mack done for the season. He should have a good statistical floor because of the instant potential versatility. If he gets into a rhythm as a ball carrier there is also a pretty good ceiling this week. Start Taylor with confidence as a RB2. The numbers will at least be adequate.

Miles Sanders: Many fantasy owners need to know when to shed the concerns about injuries. There is nothing reportedly lingering about Sanders’ hamstring issue from Week 1, and he has practiced in full. Sanders may be utilized quite a few times in the passing game because Carson Wentz’s toolbox at receiver seems almost empty other than at TE. You can assuredly start Sanders a fantasy RB2. You will at least get respectable fantasy totals in his return.

 

Spotlight WR Starters for Week 2

CeeDee Lamb: All three of the top Dallas WRs are in play this week as Top 25 choices at the position. Lamb may be on the verge of his first impressive pro performance. He already showed a solid rapport with Dak Prescott in the opener and displayed good yardage after the catch potential. I would expect his first NFL TD against Atlanta.

Parris Campbell: He caught six passes for 71 yards in the opener and Philip Rivers relied on him for possession grabs. That is a highly encouraging sign. We have yet to see Campbell unfurl his downfield skills, and if he can make both chain-moving and big-play catches, that gives him a lot of Fantasy promise. He is a must-start as a Fantasy WR3 against a Minnesota secondary that was shredded last week. Philip Rivers will have time to locate Campbell behind a solid offensive line. Campbell is also one of our Top Sleeper and Value Plays for Week 2 in the video below:

The King and Joe Gallina's Sleeper and Value Plays for Week 2 

Marquise Brown: The Ravens’ exciting second-year wideout is in fantasy WR1 territory this week. He is healthy and coming off his third career 100-yard game if you include the playoffs. In most decisions where you ask “Brown or” someone else who is never a must-start, the answer will definitely be Brown this week. He simply is a lock in a great matchup vs. Houston. I only have 10 other WRs ranked ahead of Brown this week. He  had six receiving TDs in seven road games last season.

N'Keal Harry: He caught five passes against Miami and Cam Newton has been talking Harry up. If you are desperate for some WR help this week, take the shot on Harry. He fits the bill of the type of WR that can work well in the new-look Patriots offense with Newton. He can take a quick-hit pass and gain some yardage after the catch. The Seahawks will be focused on containing Julian Edelman and watching Newton as a runner, which could open up Harry to make some significant plays and truly get onto the fantasy radar for the first time in his career. Harry may also register his first TD catch from Newton this week. Remember, Bill Belichick drafted Harry in the first round and wants to start seeing the returns.

 

Spotlight TE Starters for Week 2

Jonnu Smith: He is shooting for his third game in a row at home with 60-plus receiving yards. With A.J. Brown out and Corey Davis commanding a lot of defensive attention, Ryan Tannehill should look for Smith frequently. He is a big, very athletic target who learned under the tutelage of Delanie Walker. "He took me under his wing" Smith told USA Today about Walker. He was one of those guys that helped transform the position as far as being able to do electrifying things with the ball in his hands." His combination of pure skills and what he has absorbed from the likes of Walker could push him to a breakout season that begins this week. Smith is a Top 10 start at TE  and should be used over some players that were drafted higher at the position, including Hayden Hurst and Noah Fant.

Dan Arnold: I have already broadcast his name widely as a “super sleeper”, and the fantasy splashdown of Dan Arnold happens this week. Washington allowed the most Fantasy points to TEs in the opener, and Arnold gets a much easier draw after facing San Francisco in the opener. Maxx Williams is also out, ensuring more playing time for Arnold this week. He is a Top 15 TE start and a good plug-in if you are without George Kittle.

 

Spotlight QB Concerns for Week 2

Aaron Rodgers: He has two-plus TD passes in four of his past five home starts vs. Detroit. That seems to be another good reason for Rodgers to sustain the momentum of his Week 1 outing. But Matt LaFleur likes to run the ball and does not want to put the offense purely on Rodgers' shoulders like Mike McCarthy did. Rodgers could be a good, but not great start this week as Green Bay reverts to establishing more of the offensive balance that led them to a 13-3 record last year while protecting Rodgers from more big hits. He is a Top 10 start this week, but not a Top 5 choice at the position.

Carson Wentz: As we have already indicated, Wentz has WR issues, and he also has protection concerns while heading into a matchup against the Rams. After he was sacked eight times by Philadelphia, now Wentz will line up against Aaron Donald. Forget his name appeal, Wentz is not a recommended fantasy starter for Week 2.



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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 2

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 2 of the NFL season. Dynasty owners, check out our separate Dynasty Risers/Fallers segment as well.

 

Week 2 Risers

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

After a disastrous 2019 and having not mattered since 2016, combined with one of the weakest set of pass catchers outside of Davante Adams, I admittedly wrote off the 37 year old Aaron Rodgers in 2020. After one week, that's trending in the wrong direction. Rodgers looked like his old self last week, completing 72% of his passes, taking shots downfield, and racking up the fantasy points with 364 yards and four touchdowns. One week does not a season make, but Rodgers, who many, myself included, had proclaimed as not a QB1, is firmly back in the QB1 ranks for the time being.

Cam Newton (QB, NE)

I usually don't double up on quarterbacks in this column, but Cam Newton needs to be mentioned. Newton has never been a prolific passer with a career completion percentage south of 60%. His fantasy value stemmed from his rushing ability. Over the past couple years, Newton was running less and less so it was fair to question if coming off multiple years of injuries whether Newton would resume running. That kept his ADP outside the top 12 quarterbacks. Well, we have our answer. Newton ran the ball 15 times last week, the second most of his entire career (he carried the ball 17 times in Week 6 of 2014). Bill Belichick, unsurprisingly, reworked the offense to cater to Newton's skills. The Patriots scored just 21 points last week and Newton posted 25 fantasy points. Imagine what can happen when the Patriots get into shootouts.

Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI)

It's rare that a team can actually produce two viable TE1s. We haven't seen it since Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. But the Eagles find themselves in exceptional circumstances in 2020 as their two best pass catchers are both TEs. Dallas Goedert played 79% of the offensive snaps in Week 1 and commanded a team high nine targets. Even though Zach Ertz is still the TE1 on this team, Goedert is simply better at football. It wouldn't be a total shock if the Eagles realized this and started featuring Goedert more. Any concerns about Goedert's usage should be assuaged for now and he's an every week fantasy starter.

Parris Campbell (WR, IND)

While there was no debate that the sophomore wide receiver was the Colts' WR2 entering this season, there was no clarity on how Parris Campbell would be used or whether Philip Rivers could support two fantasy viable wide receivers. Campbell's team high nine targets and the fact that his skill set meshes very well with what Rivers can do at this stage of his career bodes well for Campbell. I like Campbell's chances to become an every week fantasy WR3.

Will Fuller (WR, HOU)

To be fair, we've seen this story before. Will Fuller has done a tremendous job evolving his game from a pure burner to a complete wide receiver. With DeAndre Hopkins gone, Fuller is the locked in WR1 for Deshaun Watson. His health remains the biggest obstacle, but after a 10 target, 112 yard game to open the season, it's clear that Fuller can be at least a high end WR2 in fantasy.

Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines (RB, IND)

Ironically, Jonathan Taylor would have been on the fallers list if not for Marlon Mack's torn achilles. Taylor didn't play a snap in the first quarter and was clearly going to be the third most valuable asset in this backfield, at least to start the season. Mack's injury thrust Taylor into the primary role (Nyheim Hines was always going to be the complementary piece) and Taylor excelled. He looked fast, explosive, and, most promising, was heavily utilized in the passing game. Taylor caught all six of his targets, which was a concern for some based on his collegiate profile. Frank Reich outright said that Taylor is the starter going forward. He's an RB1.

As for Hines, his role was already way more significant than I expected. He was replacing Mack on third downs and was the guy in there near the goal line. With Rivers' completely washed and just checking it down all the time, it's very clear that Hines is going to have a role no matter how good Taylor performs, making Hines a must roster in fantasy as at least a flex play.

Malcolm Brown (RB, LAR)

It is irrational to deny reality. Malcolm Brown is the lead back for the Rams. That's reality. He carried the ball 18 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns while adding three receptions. The Rams like Brown and are not ready to turn the backfield over to Cam Akers just yet. Darrell Henderson, as I've stated since January, is completely irrelevant because the Rams hate him. Brown is nothing more than a replacement level plodder, but the Rams offense looked strong and he's going to get the goal line carries. He's worth rostering.

David Johnson (RB, HOU)

There were exactly two possibilities for David Johnson this season. He was either completely cooked and would dropped by Week 3 or he would be an RB1. There was no scenario where he'd be a middling RB2. He was either done or he wasn't. After watching one game, we can definitively say that DJ is not done - far from it. It's very clear that his issues last season were entirely due to injury. He's healthy and he's the same elite talent we saw back in 2016. That's the DJ I saw on Thursday night. Game script got away from the Texans, but DJ ran 11 times for 77 yards and caught three passes. He looked shifty and explosive. He was making defenders miss. Not that Duke Johnson ever mattered, but with Duke out, DJ is going to play every snap he can handle. If he stays healthy, DJ in the fourth round will end up being one of the best values this season.

 

Week 2 Fallers

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

Yikes! That's the only word I can use to describe Carson Wentz's opening week performance. He completed just 57% of his passes and allowed the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, Dwayne Haskins, to come back and beat him. Wentz's battered offensive line did him no favors, but he looked lost at times and made multiple bad decisions. I would be terrified to start him in Week 2 against the Rams.

The Late Breakout TEs

I don't want to put someone like Blake Jarwin here because this list isn't about injuries. Guys like Ian Thomas and Irv Smith were popular back of the bench fliers. They each saw two targets in Week 1 and are clearly not part of their respective offenses. They can be safely dropped for literally anyone else.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE)

Another season, but more of the same from Odell Beckham. I'm not ready to close the door on Baker Mayfield just yet, but I'm getting there. Beckham saw 10 targets, but was able to corral just three of them. One week does not a season make, but after 16 weeks of this, it sure looks like 2020 is going to be just as frustrating for Beckham. Let's see how he does against a far inferior defense, but I'm certainly holding my breath with Beckham.

Christian Kirk (WR, ARI)

There were some people, myself among them, who thought Christian Kirk was poised for a breakout year. The Cardinals run a ton of pass plays and DeAndre Hopkins can only see so many targets. Well, apparently there is no limit on the amount of targets that can go to Hopkins. Kirk was an afterthought in a game where Kyler Murray attempted 40 passes and dropped back to pass over 50 times. Kirk managed just one reception for no yards on five targets. Larry Fitzgerald was above him in the pecking order. I'm not writing Kirk off just yet, but I'm very concerned.

Leonard Fournette (RB, TB)

I don't care that it was one week with a new team. 48 year old Adrian Peterson walked onto the Lions and immediately dominated touches. 25 year old Leonard Fournette was apparently incapable of even resembling a competent NFL running back. Ronald Jones' offseason workouts clearly made a difference. Jones looked great while Fournette looked like LeGarrette Blount. Joining a team late is no excuse for what Fournette displayed. Five carries for five yards. It was pathetic and embarrassing. The only silver lining is that LeSean McCoy is completely toast as an NFL player so Fournette is very clearly the primary backup to RoJo. However, at this point, Fournette needs an injury to matter and even that might not be enough. There's a very real chance that Fournette's NFL career is closer to its conclusion than we think.

Le'Veon Bell (RB, NYJ)

Again, this column isn't about injuries, but Le'Veon Bell's appearance here is much more than that. Bell was last a fantasy force back in 2017. He's on the tail end of his career, but by all accounts, the talent is still there. The pass catching acumen certainly is. However, Adam Gase is probably the worst coach in NFL history. Sam Darnold is one of the five worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL. The Jets' top wide receiver is Jamison Crowder. Their offensive line is atrocious. And, to top it all off, Bell is going to miss multiple weeks with a hamstring strain. Bell is a bust. I'm confident saying that after just one week. This Jets team has no hope offensively even if Bell was healthy. With an injury tacked on to a bottom of the barrel situation, Bell is already a lost pick for fantasy managers.



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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 1

We're officially back RotoBallers! Welcome to our Week 1 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. Getting off to a strong start is key, so we're going to guide you to that Week 1 victory!

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @FAmmiranteTFJ and @juscarts and feel free to ask away! Let's get on to the matchups!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

Eagles at Washington 

Matchups We Love:

Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)

Zach Ertz goes up against a Washington defense that allowed 14.2 PPR points per game against tight ends last season, ranking 28th in the NFL. Washington's linebackers are mediocre: Jon Bostic, Shaun Dion Hamilton, and Kevin Pierre-Louis are nothing to worry about. In his last seven games vs. Washington, Ertz has averaged 8.1 targets, 6.4 receptions, 72.4 yards, and 0.3 touchdowns per game. Washington has a nasty front-seven that consists of five former first-rounders including rookie Chase Young, which could pose a problem for a banged-up Eagles' o-line. This could force Carson Wentz to get rid of the ball quickly, in which case Ertz would be his primary target. Ertz has a legitimate chance at a Top-3 finish at tight end for Week 1.

Matchups We Hate:

Dwayne Haskins (QB, WAS)

If you're considering starting Dwayne Haskins in Week 1, then you have major problems on your fantasy team. Even in Superflex leagues, Haskins is one of the worst options at the deepest position in fantasy football, so you need to take a wait-and-see approach with this sophomore quarterback until he shows some positive signs. While the Eagles ranked 14th with 21.1 fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, they have added cornerback Darius Slay to help address their issues in the secondary. Haskins is an obvious avoid for Week 1.

Steven Sims Jr. (WR, WAS)

Steven Sims Jr. garnered some offseason buzz for his strong finish to his rookie campaign that saw him post 36 targets, 20 receptions, 239 yards, and four touchdowns in his last four games, but he remains a bench stash until we see his role in the offensive scheme implemented by new offensive coordinator Scott Turner. I wouldn't even start Sims as a punt-play in DFS tournaments because of this uncertainty.

Antonio Gibson & J.D. McKissic (RB, WAS)

I'm bullish on Antonio Gibson's season-long outlook, but it's probably best to leave him on your bench for Week 1 after news that J.D. McKissic is listed as starting running back on the team's depth chart. McKissic is not worth starting either because he's merely a pass-catching specialist who will be splitting with Gibson. The Eagles allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs last season, so this is a tough matchup. Let's wait to see how Washington uses their backs before considering starting Gibson or McKissic.

Other Matchups:

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

Carson Wentz faces a weak secondary that ranked 26th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks last season, but pass-protection concerns with a depleted o-line against a ferocious pass-rush makes him a lukewarm play for Week 1. Expect Wentz to check it down to Ertz and Sanders often in this one. He's still a QB1, but I would consider him on the bottom end of that spectrum for Week 1.

Boston Scott (RB, PHI)

Boston Scott takes over for the injured Miles Sanders, which has fantasy players excited. Scott put up 340 total yards in four games when he received nine or more touches. While some believe that he's easily an RB2 this week, I view him as more of a flex play because I believe he'll be splitting time with Corey Clement, who was injured last season. Temper your expectations for Scott in this one.

DeSean Jackson (WR, PHI)

DeSean Jackson has a great matchup against a group of corners that includes Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby, but the Eagles' o-line issues could make it difficult for Wentz to have adequate time to find Jackson deep. Jackson is more of a lukewarm option due to pass-protection concerns. Jackson looks like a decent WR3, but I wouldn't suggest playing him over superior players with weaker matchups on paper. He'll likely be highly-rostered in DFS, so he looks like a clear fade in those formats.

Jalen Reagor (WR, PHI)

Jalen Reagor was a full participant in Thursday's practice, so there's a decent chance that he defies the odds and suits up for the Eagles in Week 1 after originally expected to be out until Week 2 at the earliest. Reagor looked great in Eagles camp and has a clear path to targets with only DeSean Jackson as a real threat on the perimeter. Taking a wait-and-see approach with the rookie is the more prudent approach, especially if Doug Pederson limits Reagor's snaps.

Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI)

Like Ertz, Dallas Goedert has a prime matchup, but as the team's clear-cut number-two tight end, he's not a play that I love. Goedert is more of a high-end TE2 whenever Ertz is on the field. He could be an interesting pivot if you want to exploit Washington's weakness against tight ends in DFS, as he'll have a lower roster percentage than Ertz.

Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS)

Terry McLaurin caused problems for the Eagles last season, posting a combined 16 targets, 10 receptions, 255 yards, and two touchdowns in two games, but he'll likely be shadowed by cornerback Darius Slay in this one, so it's a tougher matchup than last year. With that said, I still think that he's a mid-range WR2 in this game, it's just that he's not a slam-dunk pick that I'd be playing in DFS formats.

 

Seahawks at Falcons

Matchups We Love:

Russell Wilson (QB, SEA)

Wilson is one of my favorite quarterback plays on the slate and a clear-cut top-three option against a Falcons Defense that ranked 25th in fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season. This projects to be a close game (Seahawks favored by two points) and shootout (49-point total), so we could see Wilson erupt here. Many observers have advocated for the Seahawks' coaching staff to allow Russ to air it out, since the team sought to establish the run too often. This is the perfect matchup to start the transition from a run-heavy offense into an aggressive, aerial attack. Start Wilson with confidence in both season-long and DFS formats.

D.K. Metcalf (WR, SEA)

Metcalf really came on in the second half of his rookie season, posting 69 targets, 46 receptions, 717 yards, and four touchdowns in his final ten games (includes playoffs). At 6'4, 229-lbs with 4.33 speed, Metcalf is a mismatch for any secondary, particularly the Falcons, who are starting rookie A.J. Terrell and Isaiah Oliver at cornerback. The Falcons ranked 17th in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers last season. Fire up Metcalf in both season-long and DFS formats as a high-end WR2.

Tyler Lockett (WR, SEA)

While Metcalf is the flashier option with his size, speed, and athleticism, Tyler Lockett has fantastic chemistry with Russ and we can expect more strong production out of the sixth-year wideout out of Kansas State. Lockett should have no problem feasting in the slot against this porous Falcons secondary. Like Metcalf, he's another high-end WR2 in this game and I would seriously consider pairing both Seahawks' wide receivers with Wilson in both cash and tournament DFS contests.

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)

Matt Ryan remains a high-floor option as your fantasy quarterback, but this looks like a potential ceiling game in this shootout against the Seahawks. Seattle ranked 17th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks last season. While they've added stud safety Jamal Adams to their secondary, he excels more in the run game. Ryan is going to have to keep pace with Wilson by airing it out here, so he's firmly in play as a mid-range QB1.

Julio Jones (WR, ATL)

Julio Jones is always in play as an every-week WR1, but his outlook looks even better in this likely shootout. The Seahawks ranked 15th in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers last year. Julio also put up better numbers at home last season, where his yardage output increased by 12 in one less game, along with a 15.6 yards per reception compared to a 12.8 Y/R on the road. If you decide to stack the Seahawks in DFS, I would strongly recommend adding Julio as the opposing wide receiver option to get more action on a game that should feature a ton of fireworks.

Calvin Ridley (WR, ATL)

Calvin Ridley was everyone's favorite breakout target at wide receiver this offseason after putting up 93 targets, 63 receptions, 866 yards, and seven touchdowns in 13 games last season. The Falcons are very thin at wide receiver, so we'll likely see both Julio and Ridley get peppered with targets. As the number-two receiver, Ridley will get to avoid Shaquill Griffin, the top corner on the Seahawks. He has a real chance at starting his breakout season with a bang here. Consider Ridley an elite WR2 vs. Seattle.

Hayden Hurst (TE, ATL)

The Falcons gave up a second and fifth-round pick in exchange for Hayden Hurst and a fourth-rounder, so it's clear that they believe that he has what it takes to replace the departing Austin Hooper. Hooper leaves behind 97 vacated targets (in only 13 games), so there's real opportunity for Hurst to thrive in Atlanta. The Seahawks allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends last season, so you need to make sure Hurst is in your lineup for Week 1.

Matchups We Hate:

Greg Olsen & Will Dissly (TE, SEA)

The Seahawks have a crowded tight end room that includes Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister, and Luke Willson. It's likely that Olsen and Dissly will eat into each other's target share, making this a situation to avoid in fantasy. Each of these players will be touchdown-dependent and in a year where tight end is deep, you need to leave Olsen and Dissly on the waiver wire.

Other Matchups:

Chris Carson (RB, SEA)

Chris Carson has been a bell-cow for the past two years, receiving a combined 525 rushing attempts during that span, but the Seahawks plan to scale back his workload this season. They signed veteran running back Carlos Hyde, who has a redundant skillset to Carson as a between-the-tackles runner with limitations in the passing game. We could also see the Seahawks move to a more pass-heavy approach with their star quarterback and receiver duo. Carson takes on a Falcons defense that ranked 11th in fantasy points allowed to running backs last season. He's more of a mid-range RB2 in this shootout game. I wouldn't consider him in DFS.

Todd Gurley (RB, ATL)

It's hard to trust Todd Gurley with his knee issues, but he's in a good spot for a touchdown in this shootout. I think that the days of 80+ targets are gone for Gurley and we'll see his value derived from rushing volume. While you're obviously starting him as your RB2 given the draft capital it took to select him, Gurley is more of a mid-range option that I would avoid in DFS. The Seahawks ranked 20th in fantasy points allowed to running backs last season, but I expect the Falcons to move the football through the air.

 

Browns at Ravens

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

Lamar Jackson is an elite QB1 every single week because of his absurd rushing ability. In two games against the Browns last season, he ran for a combined 169 yards while also throwing for 485 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. While he's headed for negative touchdown regression - his 9% TD rate was the second-highest total all-time among passers with at least 400 attempts - this will be mitigated by a likely increase in pass attempts. The Browns ranked 20th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks last season.

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)

Mark Andrews broke out for 64 receptions, 852 yards, and 10 touchdowns in 15 games last season. We can project a bump in his 98 targets with the departure of Hayden Hurst and likely increase in team passing volume. Andrews goes up against a Browns Defense that allowed 11th-most points to tight ends last season. As Lamar's favorite target, Andrews is a high-end TE1 that should get off to a good start here.

Matchups We Hate:

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)

Baker Mayfield should see improvement in his overall efficiency with the Browns' upgraded offensive line and coaching staff. New head coach Kevin Stefanski is likely to implement a run-heavy scheme that will help mitigate Baker's turnover issues. I just don't see enough passing volume for Mayfield to excel as a fantasy quarterback - last season, when Stefanski was with the Vikings, Kirk Cousins attempted only 444 passes, which was 90 less than Mayfield. Expect Mayfield to be in tough against a Ravens Defense that allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks last season.

Kareem Hunt (RB, CLE)

Kareem Hunt is likely to play the James White role as a pass-catching back for the Browns. It remains to be seen how many carries he'll get in this offense, so this looks like a good matchup to leave him on the bench or avoid him in your DFS lineups. The Ravens allowed only 79 targets to opposing running backs last season, which was the fewest in the league. This does not bode well for Hunt's outlook in this one.

Jarvis Landry (WR, CLE)

It's tough to be bullish on a WR2 that spent most of his offseason rehabbing a hip injury, playing for a team that is transitioning to a more run-heavy approach, now facing a division rival that ranked 13th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Newly signed tight end Austin Hooper will also eat into Jarvis Landry's target share, so this is a player to avoid, especially against such a good Ravens defense.

Austin Hooper (TE, CLE)

Austin Hooper should be avoided in his Browns debut as we wait-and-see how he fits in Stefanski's offense. I expect him to eat into Landry's target share and become the number-two option in this passing game, but it's tough to rely on Hooper in this game. The Ravens defense is one of the best in the NFL against tight ends, allowing the fewest fantasy points to the position last year.

Other Matchups:

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)

While Kareem Hunt will eat into Nick Chubb's rushing upside, this is still one of the best pure runners in the NFL. He now plays for a team with a much-improved offensive line and for a head coach who has had success with the running game. The Browns will likely look to establish the run this season, which bodes well for Chubb. Last time these two teams faced off in Baltimore, Chubb ran for 165 yards and three touchdowns on only 20 attempts. The Ravens are stout against the run (4th-fewest points to running backs last season), so that makes Chubb on the RB1/2 fringe for this one as a lukewarm play.

Odell Beckham Jr. (RB, CLE)

The Ravens' pass defense is among the best in the NFL, allowing only 6.1 yards per attempt last season, which ranked 4th in the NFL, but Beckham is among the most talented wide receivers in the NFL, so we have to leave him here as a lukewarm play. You have to think that the former Giants' star is motivated to bounce-back coming off a disappointing debut season in Cleveland, so OBJ remains a mid-range WR2 despite the tough matchup.

Marquise Brown (WR, BAL)

Marquise Brown is fully healthy this season after playing his rookie campaign with a screw in his foot due to a Lisfranc injury, so we could see a breakout sophomore year. It also bodes well that the Ravens figure to pass more, since it's unlikely that they'll be blowing out teams as often as they did last year. Brown goes up against a Browns' defense that allowed the 9th-fewest points to wide receivers last year, so he's not a player that I love for Week 1, but he still looks like a solid WR3/flex play.

Mark Ingram & J.K. Dobbins (RB, BAL)

This looks like a situation to avoid until we see how the Ravens allocate snaps to their running backs. Obviously Mark Ingram had a high draft capital, so you're starting him as a mid-range RB2 in season-long leagues, but we need to avoid him in DFS. Dobbins begins the season as fourth on the depth chart, but take that with a grain of salt, as he still should see some volume in Week 1. If one of these backs were to miss time, they would be firmly on the RB1 radar. For now, they're lukewarm plays against a Browns defense that tied for 23rd in fantasy points allowed to running backs last season.

 

Jets at Bills

Matchups We Love:

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

Josh Allen comes in the season with the best weapons of his career after the acquisition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs and selection of rookie running back Zack Moss. He takes on a depleted Jets Defense that traded their best player in safety Jamal Adams, while also losing linebacker C.J. Mosley to an opt-out. The Jets are trotting out Blessuan Austin (71.4 PFF grade) and Pierre Desir (58.8 PFF grade) at corner, so Allen will have a chance to connect on deep shots to his two stud downfield threats.

Stefon Diggs (WR, BUF)

Stefon Diggs would be a slam-dunk pick if there weren't any concerns about his adjustment to a new team and offense, but I still love him against this depleted Jets' defense. Diggs looks like a solid WR2 against a Jets defense that ranked 22nd in fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers last season. He's firmly in play in both cash and tournaments on DFS, as perhaps players might shy away from him in his first game with a new team.

John Brown (WR, BUF)

John Brown was an absolute stud in his first season with Buffalo, posting 72 receptions for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. While Diggs is going to eat into Brown's target share, this is still a solid receiver who has an established rapport with Josh Allen. There's a legit chance that Brown outscores Diggs, at least in the early stages of the season. I love both Bills receivers in this matchup.

Matchups We Hate:

Sam Darnold (QB, NYJ)

Sam Darnold is only worth using as a streamer in Superflex leagues or a punt play in DFS tournaments to begin with, so he's an easy avoid against a nasty Bills Defense that allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season. Don't even think about using Darnold here, even in a 15-team Superflex league.

Breshad Perriman (WR, NYJ)

Breshad Perriman says he's 100% recovered from a knee injury, but there's always the risk that the Jets scale back the workload of their new receiver. That said, even if this wasn't a factor, Perriman would still be a clear avoid against cornerback Tre'Davious White and this Bills' pass defense.

Chris Herndon (TE, NYJ)

Chris Herndon has generated a lot of buzz over the last month, but this is not a good spot for him. The Bills allowed the second-fewest points to opposing tight ends last season. The Jets are really going to struggle moving the ball in this one and we could see Herndon stay back to block to help counter this Bills' pass rush. Leave Herndon on your bench here in an avoidable matchup.

Other Matchups:

Le'Veon Bell (RB, NYJ)

Le'Veon Bell is still a lukewarm play here despite the tough matchup because we could see him get a bunch of checkdown passes from Darnold as the Jets struggle to dink and dunk down the field. The Bills allowed the ninth-most targets to running backs last season, so this could be a point of emphasis for the Jets as they battle to score points against this tough defense.

Jamison Crowder (WR, NYJ)

Like Bell, Jamison Crowder could receive a bunch of checkdown targets as Darnold tries to get rid of the ball quickly. The risk here is that Crowder is a bit banged up with a hamstring injury, but the Jets really need him so it's tough to see his workload scaled back too much. Crowder is firmly in play as a low-end WR3 in PPR formats because he's likely to see some volume as the Jets play catch-up.

Devin Singletary & Zack Moss (RB, BUF)

This is a situation to monitor to see the way the Bills deploy their running back duo. There were reports in camp that stated that Singletary was falling out of favor with the coaching staff due to fumbling issues. We also don't know exactly how much Moss will be used. They remain lukewarm plays because of the positive game script in a potential blowout, but it's hard to play them in DFS while the picture remains muddled.

 

Raiders at Panthers

Matchups We Love:

Josh Jacobs (RB, LV)

Josh Jacobs is in a smash-spot against a Panthers Defense that tied for most fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs last season. Since then, they've lost linebacker Luke Keuchly to retirement as well as defensive linemen Mario Addison and Gerald McCoy to free agency. This projects to be one of the worst defenses in football and there's a legit chance for a Jacobs eruption here. He's an elite RB1 in Week 1 and my favorite DFS play at running back this week.

Teddy Bridgewater (QB, CAR)

Teddy Bridgewater joins an uptempo offense with new offensive coordinator Joe Brady calling the plays. Bridgewater has a stacked group of pass-catchers at his disposal, including studs like Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore. This game has the potential to become a shootout, as evidenced by its 47-point game total. Bridgewater takes on a Raiders defense that ranked 28th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks last season. He's a great streamer in season-long leagues and worth a look in both DFS cash games and tournaments.

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)

Christian McCaffrey is an every-week elite RB1, but this is a terrific spot against a Raiders defense that ranked 26th in receiving yards allowing to opposing running backs last season. While the Raiders improved their linebackers with the addition of Cory Littleton, they're still going to have their hands full with McCaffrey. Expect CMC to pick up right where he left off last season in this prime matchup.

D.J. Moore (RB, CAR)

D.J. Moore (11.2 aDOT) now has a quarterback that aligns perfectly with his skillset - Bridgewater (6.0 average target depth) should pepper Moore with targets in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Moore goes up against a Raiders defense that ranked 18th in fantasy points allowed to receivers, so this is a great matchup in a potential shootout.

Other Matchups:

Darren Waller (TE, LV)

You could argue that the additions of Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards will eat into Waller's target share, but you could also make the case that their talent and speed will open up room for Waller to work the middle of the field. Either way, he remains a top-8 tight end, but this is not a great matchup. The Panthers allowed the 5th-fewest fantasy points to tight ends last season. Luke Keuchly is gone, but Shaq Thompson is also good in pass coverage, so it's possible that the Panthers will remain stout against tight ends.

Henry Ruggs & Bryan Edwards (WR, LV)

I really like the talent of both of these receivers and expect both to emerge as the premier wide receivers on the team, but it's tough to see which one of them will burst loose against this weak Panthers defense that lost their top corner James Bradberry to free agency. The Panthers ranked 25th in points allowed to receivers last season, so it's a great matchup. I love playing one of these receivers in DFS tournaments as a punt play. For season-long leagues, you can take the shot if you're in a deeper format, otherwise, I'd take a wait-and-see approach.

Ian Thomas (TE, CAR)

Ian Thomas takes over the starting tight end position and has a chance for some volume with touchdown upside in this one, facing a Raiders defense that tied for 24th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends last season. Since I expect this to be a shootout, Thomas is on the radar as an upside TE2 and potential DFS tournament punt play.

Curtis Samuel & Robby Anderson (WR, CAR)

Both of these receivers have a great matchup, but I expect the targets to be funneled towards D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey. It's also tough to see which one of these two will breakout because we need to see how Joe Brady deploys his receivers. Each of these wideouts is worth a look as a tournament punt play in DFS, but beyond that, I'd leave them on the bench as WR4s.

 

Bears at Lions

Matchups We Love:

Allen Robinson (WR, CHI)

Allen Robinson is in a smash-spot against a Lions secondary that replaced stud corner Darius Slay with promising rookie Jeffrey Okudah, who is OUT for this game. Robinson put up a combined 14 receptions for 172 yards and one touchdown in two games against the Lions last year. The Lions allowed the second-most points to receivers last season, so we could see more of the same for Robinson here.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, DET)

T.J. Hockenson is one of the most talented tight ends in football and we all know how it takes time for players at this position to reach their potential. We could see a nice bump in production for Hock in his sophomore season. He takes on a Bears Defense that struggled against tight ends last season, ranking 23rd in fantasy points per game allowed. Hock is in line for more targets due to Kenny Golladay's absence.

Marvin Jones Jr. (WR, DET)

Marvin Jones takes over as the team's top receiving option with the injury to Kenny Golladay. Jones will see a bump in volume and now becomes an upside WR2. While the Bears have a solid defense, Matthew Stafford will be forced to pepper Jones with targets, so the volume outweighs the tough matchup.

Matchups We Hate:

Adrian Peterson & D'Andre Swift (RB, DET)

The signing of Adrian Peterson made this running back situation even more of a mess, especially from D'Andre Swift's perspective. It's unclear how much Peterson will be used, so he's an easy bench, even in the deepest of leagues. The same goes for the talented rookie, as Swift has missed significant time during camp, so his snaps will likely be reduced. Don't even consider playing these players in any format for Week 1.

Other Matchups:

Mitch Trubisky (QB, CHI)

Mitch Trubisky surprisingly won the starting job over Nick Foles. He's an intriguing option in Superflex leagues and as a DFS tournament play due to his rushing upside. The Lions allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last year, so there's a legit chance that Trubisky turns in a strong effort here.

Anthony Miller (WR, CHI)

Anthony Miller came on strong at the end of last season, posting two 100-yard games in his last five, including nine receptions for 140 yards against the Lions. He's not a matchup that we love because this is still Mitch Trubisky at quarterback and it's an offense that can't really sustain two productive receivers in the same game. Still, Miller is a solid WR4 and decent option in DFS tournaments.

David Montgomery & Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI)

David Montgomery is suiting up despite a groin injury, so we could see his snaps limited, so expect more touches than usual for Tarik Cohen. This is still a prime matchup though, so they remain lukewarm plays against a Lions Defense that allowed the third-most fantasy points as well as the fourth-most receiving yards to running backs last season.

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)

Matthew Stafford was tearing up the league last year before a season-ending back injury, averaging the fifth-most fantasy points per game among quarterbacks. He takes on a Bears Defense that allowed the sixth-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks, so this is a tough matchup, especially if Kenny Golladay was out. Still, Stafford is a fringe starter and lukewarm play here because of his sheer talent and passing volume.

Kerryon Johnson (RB, DET)

Kerryon Johnson appears to be the most likely option to carry the load in the Lions backfield, as Peterson was just signed and Swift has been banged up. He goes up against a Bears defense that was average against the run last season, so his potential volume puts him in play as a decent flex for Week 1.

 

 

Colts at Jaguars

Matchups We Love:

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

T.Y. Hilton gets an upgrade at quarterback with the arrival of Philip Rivers. He has a smash spot going up against a Jaguars' secondary that features cornerbacks Tre Herndon (54.7 PFF grade) and rookie C.J. Henderson. Hilton should be able to get loose deep in this one.

Jack Doyle (TE, IND)

Jack Doyle looks poised for an uptick in targets with the departure of Eric Ebron. Philip Rivers loves to check it down to his tight ends, so we could see a return to 2017 production. The Jaguars no longer have studs like defensive lineman Calais Campbell or cornerback A.J. Bouye on a defense that projects to be one of the very worst in football.

Marlon Mack & Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND)

Both Colts' backs are in a smash spot against a Jaguars' defense that allowed 5.32 yards per carry (32nd) and 30.1 fantasy points per game (T-31st) to opposing running backs. This is also a potential positive game script with the Colts favored by 7.5 points, so we could see them chewing the clock by running the football towards the end of the game. It's likely that head coach Frank Reich will go with the hot hand here, but both backs are in play as strong FLEX plays in season-long as well as tournament and cash plays in DFS.

D.J. Chark (WR, JAX)

D.J. Chark has the perfect setup to really take off this season, playing for a tanking team that will be playing catch-up virtually every game. He goes up against a Colts Defense that tied for 23rd in fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers. The Colts have the declining Xavier Rhodes (46.4 PFF grade) and Rock Ya-Sin (65.3 PFF grade) at corner, so Chark has a chance at a field day.

Other Matchups:

Philip Rivers (QB, IND)

Philip Rivers is purely a streaming option in season-long formats, but he's in play here against a weak Jaguars Defense. The risk here is that the Colts get off to an early lead and slow the game down by running the football, but it's worth a shot to play Rivers behind this dominant offensive line, especially as a DFS tournament punt play.

Parris Campbell & Michael Pittman Jr. (WR, IND)

Both of these young receivers have shown promise during training camp and have a great matchup here, but it's best to take a wait-and-see approach. Having said that, they're worth a look as DFS tournament punt plays facing off against this porous secondary. Consider both of them as WR4 options.

Gardner Minshew II (QB, JAX)

Gardner Minshew is going to be slinging it all season. Here he goes up against a Colts defense that allowed 7.52 yards per attempt (22nd) last season. It could be a positive game script where the Jags play catch-up, so Minshew is in play as a streamer in deeper leagues. I really like him as a punt play for DFS tournaments, as he's a virtual lock to have a low roster percentage.

James Robinson & Chris Thompson (RB, JAX)

James Robinson looks to be entrenched as the team's starting running back, but this is a negative game script where the Jags could fall behind early. It's likely that Robinson will see some work on early downs before being spelled by Chris Thompson in passing situations. The Colts defense allowed the fourth-most running back targets last season, so there's a chance for production here. Both of these backs look like RB4 options for Week 1.

Laviska Shenault (WR, JAX)

Laviska Shenault is intriguing because of his ability to make plays in the screen game and out of the backfield. The rookie is a playmaker who has a real chance to become the waiver wire darling post-Week 1. I really like him as a DFS tournament punt play but for season-long leagues, it's best to wait and see how he's used. If he's on your waiver wire, pick him up now!

 

Packers at Vikings

Matchups We Love:

Davante Adams (WR, GB)

Davante Adams is in line for monster volume playing for a Packers team with few options in the passing game. He goes up against a Vikings Defense that ranked 23rd in fantasy allowed per game to receivers. In two games against the Vikings last year, Adams put up 20 receptions for 222 yards on 25 targets. Fire up Adams as an elite WR1 and make sure to play him in both cash and tournament DFS games.

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

Aaron Jones should see an uptick in receiving production as the defacto WR2 in this offense, which should help offset the negative touchdown regression coming off an unsustainable 16 touchdowns. In two games against the Vikings last year, Jones rushed 46 times for 270 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings defense also allowed 120 targets to running backs last season, which ranked 21st in the NFL.

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

Dalvin Cook has a great matchup against a Packers Defense that allowed the sixth-most points to opposing running backs last season. They also gave up 130 targets to running backs, which was the five-most in the NFL. In one game against the Packers last year, Cook put up 187 total yards and one touchdown. Cook is an elite RB1 in this prime matchup.

Matchups We Hate:

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Kirk Cousins is merely a streaming option in all formats and this is a bad matchup. The Packers defense allowed the fifth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks last season. Cousins plays for a low-volume, run-heavy offense, so you need to take him off your radar for this one.

Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

Justin Jefferson is a talented rookie receiver, but this is a bad matchup against the Packers' secondary. Green Bay allowed the sixth-fewest points to opposing receivers last season. Jefferson is also listed as the third receiver on this Vikings' depth chart, so it's unlikely that he makes much of an impact in this game.

Other Matchups:

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

Aaron Rodgers is merely a high-end QB2 this season due to his limited weapons in the passing game. In two games against the Vikings last season, Rodgers completed 48-of-74 passes (64.8%) for 425 yards (5.7 yards per attempt), two touchdowns, and one interception. The only reason that he's a lukewarm play instead of an avoid is because his two main weapons have great matchups.

Allen Lazard (WR, GB)

Allen Lazard is intriguing because he has a clear path to playing time with the WR2 role wide open on this offense. He has a good matchup here against a porous Vikings' secondary, but it's best to treat him as solely a DFS tournament play here.

Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)

Adam Thielen is set for massive volume with Stefon Diggs' departure and Justin Jefferson's development. At the same time, this is a tough matchup here, so that makes Thielen more of a high-end WR2 this week as opposed to the weekly WR1 that he should be for much of the season.

Irv Smith Jr. (TE, MIN)

Irv Smith Jr. is an intriguing sleeper at tight end because of his clear-path to targets on a Vikings team with limited weapons. The Packers ranked 14th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends last season, but Smith's potential volume makes him on the TE2 and DFS tournament radar as a punt play.

 

Dolphins at Patriots

Matchups We Love:

Cam Newton (QB, NE)

Cam Newton has a smash-spot against a Dolphins Defense that allowed the third-most points to fantasy quarterbacks last season. It'll be interesting to see how much Cam runs this year - if he looks healthy then those who drafted him got an absolute steal. Cam has a massive chip on his shoulder after being released by the Panthers, so you can bet that he's highly motivated to have a bounce-back season.

Other Matchups:

Julian Edelman (WR, NE)

It's hard to trust Julian Edelman as anything more than a lukewarm WR3 play even in a great matchup because: 1) He's currently nursing a knee injury and 2) We need to see how he does with Cam. I don't hate the play since he plays the Dolphins, but if you have an option with more upside I'd go with that choice.

N'Keal Harry (WR, NE)

N'Keal Harry's profile as an big, athletic receiver with the ability to haul in contested catches reminds me of Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess, two wideouts that had success with Cam in the past. He's an intriguing WR4 right now because of those similarities and his prospect pedigree. The Dolphins allowed the third-most fantasy points to receivers last season.

Sony Michel & James White (RB, NE)

This profiles more of a Sony Michel game as a potential blowout with the Patriots as 6.5-point favorites, but Michel is going to be eased back after recovering from a foot injury. Plus, he's not a very good running back. White is the superior player, but I expect the Pats to get out to an early lead, so they won't really need his pass-catching skills out of the backfield. Also, it's unlikely that Cam will target him as often as Brady. Consider both of these players as low-end flex options for Week 1.

Matchups We Hate:

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)

Ryan Fitzpatrick is likely to be playing catch-up in this one, but this Patriots Defense remains a strong unit. It's going to be tough for the Dolphins to move the ball. The Pats allowed the fewest points to opposing quarterbacks last season, so I wouldn't consider Fitz in any format this week.

Jordan Howard & Matt Breida (RB, MIA)

Both of these backs are in a negative game script, as the Pats are likely to win by multiple scores in this game. Neither of them are great receiving backs, so it's hard to see them racking up receptions in garbage time. We also need to see how the Dolphins choose to use these backs, so take a wait-and-see approach and consider them RB4s.

DeVante Parker & Preston Williams (WR, MIA)

DeVante Parker has been limited in practice with a hamstring injury. Preston Williams is returning from a torn-ACL. The Pats allowed the fewest points to wide receivers last year. They also have the best corner in the game in Stephon Gilmore. Leave these two on the bench, they'll help you later in the season.

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)

Mike Gesicki opened the year as the number-two tight end on the Dolphins' depth chart. This is concerning because we've all heard about how new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey does not use his tight ends much in his scheme. Gesicki is a great athlete, but he needs to be on the bench in this one until we get more clarity.

 

Matchups Analysis - 4:05/4:25 PM ET Games

We've got just three games on the afternoon slate in Week 1 since one game that would usually be here (Titans at Broncos) is the second Monday night game. The headline game on this slate is the Buccaneers facing the Saints, a game that features Tom Brady's Buccaneers debut. That one should be on every fantasy player's radar.

 

Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals

Matchups We Love:

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

In Joe Burrow's NFL debut, I'm expecting to see the team lean fairly heavily on Joe Mixon. And why wouldn't they, since he's coming off consecutive 1000-yard seasons and hasn't fumbled since 2017. Burrow needs someone to relieve the pressure off of him, so why not give the ball to a sure-handed rusher who's averaged four-plus yards per carry over the past two years? Especially when the Chargers allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to running backs last year while shutting down the passing game on a much more consistent basis. I have Mixon penciled in as a must-start in season-long formats.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

The Bengals Defense struggled last season and I don't see 2020 going too much different, especially out of the gate. The Chargers offense is going to look much different now that Philip Rivers is gone, but the Tyrod Taylor-led offense should do one thing mostly the same as the Rivers-led offense did: get Austin Ekeler involved. While the 5'10'' back may cede some rushing work to Justin Jackson, he should still get a good number of carries, plus he averaged 5.75 receptions per game last season. Ekeler should serve as a great safety valve for Taylor just as he did with Rivers, and the Bengals aren't going to have the playmakers to stop Ekeler when he gets to the edge.

Tyrod Taylor (QB, LAC)

Taylor's Chargers debut comes against a Bengals team that allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season. I'm fairly high on Taylor this year -- he was a solid QB2 with QB1 upside during his starting tenure in Buffalo thanks to his rushing ability and some solid accuracy. He's a solid QB2 option this week against a Bengals defense that I just don't trust.

Matchups We Hate:

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN)

Yes, the Chargers don't have Derwin James this year, but they still have a defense full of playmakers and are set to make Joe Burrow's life difficult in his NFL debut. Without a preseason, this will be the first time Burrow is seeing an NFL defense outside of seeing the Bengals defense in scrimmages. Things are going to move fast. The SEC is tough, but the SEC still isn't the NFL, and Burrow is getting thrown right into the frying pan. I don't doubt that the No. 1 overall pick has good games this season, but I do doubt that those good games begin in Week 1. Too much uncertainty here.

Bengals Wide Receivers

Part of me just wants to copy/past "too much uncertainty here" from the above paragraph and go with it. Tyler Boyd's a pretty safe play because of his target upside, but this isn't the game where I want to be playing A.J. Green in his first football game in over a year, or where I want to be taking a risk on rookie Tee Higgins, or where I'd take the dart throw on John Ross III or Auden Tate. Green will (probably) return to form this season. Burrow's accuracy on deep throws will help this offense hum along by the end of the year. But not this week. Outside of Boyd, I'm avoid this group.

Other Matchups:

Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)

The Bengals were in the middle of the pack last year in terms of points allowed to tight ends. With Rivers under center, I'd really like this matchup for Henry, but Taylor's presence gives me enough pause to just feel kind of "meh" about it. Why? Because in his three seasons with Buffalo, his top tight end finished at TE14 twice and TE20 once. Now, that might just have been because his top tight end was Charles Clay, who is 100 percent not as good as Hunter Henry. I'll play Henry in leagues where I have him because I drafted Hunter Henry to be a weekly starter, but I'll feel a little scared about it.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

Basically the same stuff as the Henry blurb above. Taylor in Buffalo supported top receiver finishes of WR16 once and WR62 twice. Throw that WR62 stuff into the sun because it means literally nothing, but in 2015, Taylor helped Sammy Watkins to a WR16 finish, which is really the only positive we have to go off of in terms of season-long production. I think Allen's going to be fine, but like with Henry, I don't feel overly confident in saying that, you know?

 

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

Matchups We Love:

George Kittle (TE, SF)

This is the biggest no-brainer of the week. You're starting George Kittle in season-long no matter what because he's George Kittle, but he gets a boost in DFS this week because the Arizona Cardinals were so bad against tight ends last year. They allowed 14 touchdowns to tight ends last year, while the second-worst team in that category allowed 10.

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

Starting Jimmy G against the Cardinals last year helped me win some fantasy games and make the playoffs. Garoppolo had three games with 300 or more yards in 2019, and two of those were against the Cardinals. He threw eight of his 27 touchdowns in just those two games. This is THE matchup for Garoppolo. If you're got him on your roster and are even thinking about starting him, do it.

Everyone In San Francisco TBH

I mean look, this whole Niners team is startable this week in the right context. In the second meeting between these teams last year, the running game struggled pretty bad, but Deebo Samuel, Kyle Juszczyk, and Richie James are all 50-plus receiving yards, Kendrick Bourne caught a touchdown, and Ross Dwelley had two touchdowns. In the first meeting, Matt Breida ran for 78 yards and added 14 receiving yards and even Dante Pettis got in on the action with a touchdown. This is a week where 49ers players have more upside than usual. Sure, you aren't starting Kendrick Bourne in an 8-team league, but if you're 50/50ing a 49ers player and someone else for a spot, I'd give the Niner a slight edge.

Matchups We Hate:

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI)

Do I think Larry Fitzgerald still has value this season? For sure. I actually wrote about him earlier this week in my wide receiver column. But this is a bad matchup for the Cardinals, and while Kyler Murray's rushing floor and DeAndre Hopkins's projected role as the new top receiver on this team make them feel like safe starts, I'm avoiding some of the guys further down the pecking order. Christian Kirk? Sure, play him. Fitzgerald? Nope, I think he should sit this one out on your fantasy bench.

Other Matchups:

Kenyan Drake (RB, ARI)

Look, Kenyan Drake rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown and added 52 receiving yards in the first meeting between these teams last year, then followed that up with 67 yards in the second meeting. It was tempting to say I loved this matchup because of those numbers, but I'm just not sure I trust Drake that much against the 49ers Defense. Play him in season-long leagues, but he's a little risky in DFS this week because the 49ers were one of the best teams at limiting opposing running backs in fantasy last season.

Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

Murray's ability to run the ball keeps him out of the hate column this week. He had one of his lowest passing outputs of the year last season against this team, throwing for just 150 yards in the second meeting. But his 67 rushing yards and a touchdown helped him have a solid fantasy day. That's what we should expect on Sunday: a solid day with the possibility of some upside.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, ARI)

Last year against the Cardinals, Christian Kirk had 14 targets. Second among wide receivers in targets in those two games was Larry Fitzgerald with nine. Kyler Murray focused on one guy more in those games, and this year that one guy is likely to be new addition DeAndre Hopkins. You don't trade for Hopkins to not use him heavily immediately. Still, the low passing volume that we saw from Arizona in the second Niners game last year gives me enough pause to feel "meh" about this matchup for DFS purposes.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

TB: QB - 9, RB - 31, WR - 1, TE - 6
NO: QB - 11, RB - 29, WR - 5, TE - 22

Matchups We Love:

Chris Godwin and maybe Mike Evans (WR, TB)

The "maybe" is because Mike Evans is already dealing with a hamstring injury, so while I like the matchup against a Saints team that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to receivers last year, it's a bit of a "wait and see" when it comes to Evans. But Godwin, who should see plenty of work inside and outside, is probably going to be Tom Brady's favorite target this year anyway, and he's a great Week 1 play.

Drew Brees (QB, NO)

The Buccaneers allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last year. Brees played Tampa once last year, and while he only threw for 228 yards, he had three touchdowns and completed 80 percent of his passes.  In a matchup of old guy quarterbacks, I'm taking the Brees side, even if...

Tom Brady (QB, TB)

...I also like the matchup for Brady. The Saints allowed the 11th-most points to quarterbacks and while Brady looked like he'd slipped at times in 2019, he's now playing in a Bruce Arians offense. If he still has something left in that arm of his, this is the offense where he'll show it. And this is the matchup where he might show it as well.

Michael Thomas (WR, NO)

Can I just replace this entire section with the words "start all of your Saints and Buccaneers players?" Tampa Bay allowed a lot of fantasy points to wide receivers last year. Michael Thomas is the best receiver in the NFL. He had 19 catches in two games against Tampa last year. He's the overall WR1 this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Rob Gronkowski (TE, TB)

The only matchup I hate here is Gronk. It's his first game since February 2019. The Saints were better against tight ends than against wide receivers last year. And Bruce Arians offenses have traditionally been really bad for tight ends. I don't expect Gronk to come out of the gate strong this year, as his importance to the Buccaneers is much more tied into late-season and playoffs. I don't think I have Gronk rostered anywhere, but if I did, I'd consider sitting him.

Leonard Fournette (RB, TB)

The Saints allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs last season. Fournette has been on this team for a short amount of time. I don't expect to see the workload that Fournette would need for this to be a great Fournette game.

While we're here, Ronald Jones II? I also don't love him this week! If the Buccaneers do damage, it'll be via Tom Brady's arm.

Other Matchups:

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

The one thing that the Buccaneers did well last year was limit fantasy points to running backs. Kamara's not just any running back, though, so he avoids the hate part of this column. He had some solid games against Tampa last year and should be fine again this year, but I just don't quite love this matchup more than I love some other running backs when it comes to DFS lineups.

 

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams

DAL: QB - 20, RB - 20, WR - 27, TE - 8
LAR: QB - 21, RB - 14, WR - 23, TE - 19

Matchups We Love:

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

If there's one position Dallas struggled against last season, it was tight ends. I still don't quite know if I really trust Tyler Higbee or if I believe his strong end to 2019 was a fluke, but this is definitely a matchup where I'll give him an opportunity to prove that he's ready to be a set-and-forget TE1.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

Zeke had 117 rushing yards, two touchdowns, and 43 receiving yards when these teams faced last season. The Rams might be able to slow down the passing game for the Cowboys, but expect Elliott to spend plenty of time toting the rock and cranking out five yard carries.

Rams Wide Receivers (WR, LAR)

Dallas got less experienced in the secondary this offseason, which should bode well for Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. What also bodes well for them? A higher projected target share this year now that the team doesn't have Brandin Cooks to take away looks. I'm extremely high on both guys this year, and a starting secondary of Anthony Brown, Trevon Diggs, Darian Thompson, and Xavier Woods, I don't see Dallas slowing these two down. Both should be in fantasy lineups.

Jared Goff (QB, LAR)

Did you see the names I mentioned above of guys who are starting in the Cowboys secondary? Sure, their front seven can get to Goff, but when he has time to throw, he'll have open receivers in good positions. Goff is ranked as a high-end QB2 this week, but I consider him a low-end QB1 due to the issues Dallas might be facing.

Matchups We Hate:

Amari Cooper (WR, DAL)

He's going to get shadowed by Jalen Ramsey. He had one catch for 19 yards against the Rams last year. You can't bench him in most formats (or can you???) but what you can do is not put Cooper in any -- or at least not many -- of your DFS lineups. He's not getting the football. It's going to take some miscommunication or some interesting playcalling to get a big Cooper game.

Other Matchups:

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

Cooper only had 19 yards in this matchup last year, but Dak managed 212 yards and two touchdowns and added 12 rushing yards. Yes, that meant he tied for his lowest yardage total of 2019 and...

Sorry, I lost track of where I was going with that, mainly because it was only going negative places. Here's the thing though -- with a new head coach and a new weapon at wide receiver, I think last year's game is about what Dak's floor is for this one. Am I basing that on some speculation? Sure, but this is a weird upcoming season and we don't have 2020 data yet, so sometimes we have to speculate.

Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

Cooper's going to blanketed, which should open things up for Gallup and Lamb to be fine options. Gallup's a high-end WR3 with some "getting more targets than usual" upside. Lamb's a WR4 with the same upside, but also with a pretty low floor because rookie wide receivers are incredibly hard to trust in fantasy. Neither guy screams "must play," but neither screams "must sit" either.

Cam Akers (RB, LAR)

Akers is the only Rams running back that I'm actually interested in for fantasy purposes, but he also sits third on the depth chart. I think that's a deceptive third and that Akers is going to get plenty of touches this week. Dallas doesn't seem like they'll be particularly good or bad against the run this year, so the real question here is what to expect with Akers in terms of role. That's why he's in this section instead of the "love" section, because there are enough questions around him to make him someone who you can't feel super confident about playing. Risky option, but with solid upside.



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The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 1

Welcome to Week 1 of the 2020 season, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and possible replacement options for your injured starters. I also provide some of my favorite DFS targets.

These are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a 10% discount and get access to all of my ranks in all formats, plus a full roster of tools and analysis for the entire 2019 season.

Skill position picks and analysis here are based on PPR ranks. Players to consider benching are also included.

 

Spotlight Starters and Matchups to Watch for Week 1

-Much of the Fantasy hype in Seattle surrounds DK Metcalf, and deservedly so. But don’t forget about Tyler Lockett. He finished with an 82-1,057-8 line last year even though he was not healthy for the full season, The continued emergence of Metcalf can only help him face less defensive attention than in the past and he remains Russell Wilson’s most trusted pass-catcher. He is a must-start in seasonal leagues and a strong DFS play.

-Nick Chubb rushed for 165 yards and three TDs the last time he traveled to Baltimore. The Ravens be focused on containing him and will try to put the game in the hands of Baker Mayfield. Entering a crucial season, Mayfield will face a pivotal test right away, and look for him to lean on Odell Beckham Jr.. Chubb may disappoint but Beckham will not. There will be volume, even against a quality secondary.

-Jamison Crowder had eight-plus catches in both games last year vs. Buffalo, and the Bills will be wary of him stacking up a heavy amount of receptions again. Look for Sam Darnold to rely on TE Chris Herndon, who is healthy again and should be headed for a breakout campaign. Don’t hesitate to start Herndon this week. It’s a tough secondary draw for the Jets and the tight end will be the safest route of moving the ball in the air. Someone has to catch passes, even if the opponent is a formidable one.

-Are we not giving the Raiders enough fantasy respect? Derek Carr became the first player in storied franchise annals to throw for 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons last year and his 70.5 completion percentage was also a Raiders record and second in the NFL. Josh Jacobs rushed for 1,150 yards despite missing three games. Hunter Renfrow finished strong last year and is a quality WR play, especially if you have to replace another injured WR. Yes, it seems like 18 years since the Raiders were good and and 37 years since they were great. Silver and Black hasn’t been much scarier than Cleveland Brown or Jet green in recent years. But the key position players other than Darren Waller deserve more positive fantasy recognition. Carr is a fine two-QB play and DFS option this week.

-The Lions and Bears will be a low-scoring affair and the defenses will be strong plays. Without Kenny Golladay, Matthew Stafford should look to second-year TE T.J. Hockenson more frequently.

-It seems like T.Y. Hilton is not getting much buzz because of the focus on the Colts running game. But he comes into the season aiming for his fourth consecutive 70-plus yard game and the draw should be a good one against Jacksonville. Philip Rivers could depend a lot on Hilton much like he did with Keenan Allen in Los Angeles.

-My big prediction for this week is that Miami will beat New England on the road. The Dolphins ate improved and the franchise is finally headed in the right direction. Mike Gesicki will have a big opener and Matt Breida may emerge as the Dolphins’ lead RB right away. Gesicki should be busy as the Patriots secondary focuses on DeVante Parker, and Preston Williams may be eased into action. Don’t hesitate to start Miami’s sleeper defensive unit, either. You may want to keep Cam Newton reserved for this week, as he is coming off a long layoff and is meshing with a new team. Miami has won two of the past three vs. New England and I would take them to cover for sure. The Dolphins beat the Patriots 27-24 in Foxboro late last year.

-I expect a low scoring game between Philadelphia and Washington as well. The Eagles are already banged up on offense and the Washington defense is underrated. Carson Wentz is not a Top 10 QB start this week. Washington may double-team DeSean Jackson to prevent big plays. Steven Sims is another good WR injury fill-in. This game will be closer than you think, too.

-The Bengals passing game should be off your radar in Week 1. Joe Burrow is a rookie QB seeing his first NFL action after an abbreviated preseason and the matchup is not an easy one against the Chargers. I would not recommend starting A.J. Green until you see how he performs. You have to be skeptical of him anyway. Bugger WRs wear down quicker and he is 32 years old with an obviously checkered recent injury history. In tight decisions involving Tyler Boyd, go with the alternative.

-Do not hesitate to start Rob Gronkowski as your TE or even at a flex spot if you don’t have a surefire option there. With Mike Evans likely out, Tom Brady should go to his favorite longtime target on key downs and in scoring situations. Scotty Miller is also a desperation WR play and a DFS option.

-Kendrick Bourne is another nifty play in DFS and for those is dire need of a WR replacement. The 49ers WR corps is saddled with injury issues and Bourne has caught TD passes in each of his last two meetings with the Cardinals.

-Even though Malcolm Brown is starting for the Rams, that will mean he is most likely to be on the field for the first play of the game. The Rams want to effectively run the ball in theor matchup vs. Dallas and throughout the season. If Cam Akers shows signs of life early he could very well get the same sort of workload we saw from Clyde Edwards-Helaire on Thursday. He should at least be started at flex spots.

-If Courtland Sutton cannot play Monday night, expect Drew Lock to frequently target second-year breakout candidate Noah Fant.



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Under-The-Radar Booms and Busts - Week 1

The NBA and the NHL are in the midst of their postseasons, and MLB is in the final month of its shortened regular season. Yet many sports fans and fantasy players who have been biding their time with those leagues are now ready for their main event of major sports --- and I am not talking about cornhole.

The NFL is back in action this week! Predicting which players will do what during the first week of the season is almost harder than predicting what Kanye West will do next, especially when there were no preseason games to watch. Fear not, fantasy footballers! I have some ideas of which players will be booms and which will be busts this week, with a special focus on players who were not selected within the first couple rounds of fantasy drafts.

Without further ado, here are my under-the-radar booms and busts for Week 1! Good luck, RotoBallers!

 

Week 1 Under-the-Radar Booms

Sammy Watkins (WR, KC) vs. HOU (Thursday)

Watkins deserves props taking a pay cut to stay with the reigning Super Bowl champs even if it means his numbers will take a hit since he is the No. 3 weapon in Patrick Mahomes’ passing attack behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Watkins has always done well in his career against Houston, though, as he has 256 receiving yards and three touchdowns in four games against the Texans. The Texans and their suspect secondary (29th vs. the pass in 2019) are bound to allow Watkins to break a couple of big plays against them in the opening game of the NFL season.

Robert Woods (WR, LAR) vs. DAL

Woods is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard years, though slot man Cooper Kupp and breakout tight end Tyler Higbee are the favorites of fantasy general managers entering the new season. Woods should see more action and targets since Brandin Cooks was dealt to Houston during the offseason. The steady veteran will run routes against a young Dallas cornerback crew that is lacking someone who can always shut top receivers down, so Woods should have no trouble getting open early and often this Sunday evening.

Jamison Crowder (WR, NYJ) at BUF

You would think using a wideout against Buffalo’s staunch secondary would be akin to sticking a blindfolded man in front of a firing squad. If Buffalo’s defensive backfield has a slight weakness, though, it is with its slot corners. Crowder exploited the Bills last season as he piled up 22 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown in two divisional tilts. With New York’s batch of receivers undermanned and banged-up, Crowder will certainly have his number called a lot this weekend. Do not shy away from him, especially in PPR leagues and DFS contests.

Indianapolis Colts Defense at JAC

Indianapolis’ defense does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the 1985 Chicago Bears or the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. This year’s Colts defensive unit is probably middle-of-the-pack with some possible top-12 upside if everything breaks right. The reason I believe the Colts are an under-the-radar play this week is Jacksonville’s offense. You trust the Jags’ running game now that Leonard Fournette was waived and Ryquell Armstead was placed on the COVID list? You trust quarterback Gardner Minshew to be more than a one-year wonder? I do not trust either, so that is why I think the Colts could rack up some defensive fantasy points this week.

 

Week 1 Under-the-Radar Busts

Mitchell Trubisky (QB, CHI) at DET

Trubisky won Chicago’s starting signal-caller job against stiff competition from veteran Nick Foles, but do not go penciling him for 300 yards and three touchdown tosses for the opening week. Even though Detroit ranked 31st against the pass last season, and even though Trubisky threw six touchdown passes against the Lions last year, their cornerback corps is revamped and upgraded after drafting Jeff Okudah with the third pick overall and signing Desmond Trufant this offseason. This is not the matchup made in Heaven you would think it would be for Trubisky.

CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL) at LAR

His future in fantasy leagues is brighter than a 1,000-watt bulb, but this rookie receiver might not get off to the greatest of starts in his first year. Lamb must battle Dallas’ top two receivers, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, for targets in the early going before he establishes himself. The Cowboys might take their time feeding Lamb tons of targets with two hungry pass catchers ahead of him in the pecking order. Lamb is someone to stay away from in DFS contests until he proves himself and the Cowboys prove they will get the ball into his hands.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI) at SF

Fitzgerald is a future Hall of Famer who still surprisingly has some gas in his tank as he embarks on his 17th season. He has a couple things going against him in Week 1, however. Fitz is facing 2019’s top-ranked pass defense, a 49ers crew that held teams to under 170 passing yards per week. Fitzgerald also now has to share targets with DeAndre Hopkins, who will undoubtedly find 8-10 Kyler Murray passes head his direction. Fitzgerald might be relegated to underneath-route duty and have his red-zone passes stolen by Hopkins. There will be better weeks to put Fitzgerald in your fantasy lineup.

Sony Michel (RB, NE) vs. MIA

Michel is coming off offseason foot surgery, so even though training camp competition Damien Harris is on the injured reserve with a hand injury, do not bank on Michel getting 20-25 carries right out of the gate. New England still has Rex Burkhead and James White around to share the workload. Michel should still see 10-15 touches, but who knows what he will do with them now that Tom Brady is not keeping front sevens honest and a couple of Patriots offensive linemen opted out of the season due to COVID concerns? Michel could be in for a 40-yard clunker for fantasy managers.



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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Super Bowl LIV Matchups Analysis

Welcome to our Super Bowl matchups analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering the final game of the 2019-20 NFL season between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, helping you make the best decisions for your DFS contests this weekend. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other relevant information.

Spencer Aguiar will cover the Chiefs, and Chris O'Reilly will round things out with his analysis of the 49ers. "Last game of the year, Brent! Can't hold anything back now!"

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @Teeoffsports and @cjoreillyCLE and feel free to ask away! Without further ado, let's get started.

 

Super Bowl LIV - Chiefs vs. 49ers (6:30 PM ET)

Matchups We Love

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

From just a statistical perspective, I'm not so sure that this is the best matchup on paper for the Chiefs and Mahomes. San Francisco ranks second in the NFL in defensive passing success rate, but I can't get myself to fade the dynamic QB. There is a chance that Andy Reid calls a more conservative gameplan early than some might expect, but I think it would pay dividends for them to try and wear the 49ers out with a high-tempo start. It is worth noting that the Niners play zone defense 77 percent of the time, and Mahomes has absolutely torched zone defenses this season. It is difficult for San Francisco to deviate from that usual setup because their corners down have the speed to play man-to-man. That might make them a little one-dimensional, which is something you never want to be against Mahomes.

Damien Williams (RB, KC)

I really like Damien Williams for Sunday. Vegas opened Williams' over/under for rushing attempts at 11.5, but that number has already been bet up to 12.5 and looks like it will continue rising throughout the week. San Francisco possesses an aggressive front-four unit, but running lanes do tend to open up with the increased pressure they attempt to provide.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

Linebackers Kwon Alexander and Fred Warner aren't ideal matchups for a tight end to face because of their coverage ability and speed, but a good game plan can quickly negate that if the Chiefs move Tyreek Hill around and line him up throughout the field. Kansas City's offense is geared towards finding the open guy, making it difficult to anticipate where this ball is going to go, but Kelce should prevail as one of Mahomes' top targets.

Raheem Mostert (RB, SF)

Raheem Mostert made the Packers look like the most disinterested defense to ever play in an NFC Championship game. Mostert rumbled for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries to put the Packers away early, and he should be in line for another high-volume outing as the 49ers attempt to control the clock and keep Kansas City's explosive offense on the sideline. There is good and bad in his outlook, as Tevin Coleman is working his way back from a dislocated shoulder he suffered against Green Bay. If Coleman is inactive or even limited, Mostert is staring down a stranglehold on the rushing workload. That said, the Chiefs did just pull off the impossible feat of keeping Derrick Henry under 70 yards rushing in the AFC Championship game. Part of that is because the Chiefs took the lead before halftime, and you could literally feel the pendulum swinging away from Tennessee in terms of whether they'd be able to continue force-feeding Henry the ball in the second half. Still, it proves Kansas City is capable of taking away what their opponents would most prefer to do on offense. So while I very much love Mostert from a volume and game plan standpoint, I'm wary of banking on another monster performance.

 

Matchups We Hate

LeSean McCoy (RB, KC)

LeSean McCoy's zero rushing attempts in the playoffs shows that head coach Andy Reid has placed his trust in Damien Williams. While I think that will continue on Sunday, I wouldn't be surprised to see McCoy carve out a small role for the Super Bowl. However, whatever his final share ends up being, it probably won't be enough to warrant consideration in DFS lineups. Williams is the man you want to own.

Matt Breida (RB, SF)

Matt Breida has nine touches in the 49ers' first two games, clearly rendering him as a distant third option in this backfield if Tevin Coleman gets the green light. Breida's outlook would change somewhat if Coleman is inactive or limited, but I'm not convinced he suddenly jumps to the forefront of this picture. Raheem Mostert is more than capable of handling the lion's share of San Francisco's backfield work, and I can't confidently pencil Breida in for any more than five touches.

 

Other Matchups

Tyreek Hill / Sammy Watkins / Mecole Hardman / Demarcus Robinson (WR, KC)

San Francisco's gameplan isn't going to be to shut down the Chiefs entirely, instead, they are going to have to pick and choose who they want to neutralize. The Niners' secondary won't have the speed to keep up with the speedy WRS on KC, and they could find themselves in trouble if the Chiefs do take a more aggressive approach. San Francisco is ranked in the middle of the pack when it comes to sack rate on first and second downs, and their defense could struggle if they don't create third and longs for Mahomes and company. The Chiefs are the best team in the NFL in preventing sacks on third down, meaning if Mahomes has time to throw, this could turn into a barnburner. I'd imagine we see the Chiefs move Tyreek Hill around on offense, and since Richard Sherman doesn't usually travel with a wideout anymore, we probably see him placed on Watkins for long stretches. That possesses a big downgrade for the wideout and makes him a little too boom-or-bust for my liking. Robinson and Hardman would be my preferred route to go if I was looking for someone not named Tyreek Hill, but it is most likely Hill that has a chance to shine on Sunday.

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

Put yourself in the shoes of a coaching staff that has had two weeks to game-plan for a seemingly invincible quarterback. How do you prepare to minimize the damage Patrick Mahomes is able to do against you? You play to your own strengths, and you try to keep him off the field for as long as possible. Part of what makes this such an intriguing Super Bowl matchup is that the 49ers' strengths line up perfectly with the objective. I'm not saying it will necessarily work, as I expect the Chiefs to win, but if any team can control time of possession with the ground game and make Mahomes look human defensively, it's San Francisco. As far as where Jimmy Garoppolo fits into this formula, I don't know how much further we need to look than at his playoff stats, which include just 27 passes attempted in two games. Garoppolo threw the ball eight times in the NFC Championship game against Green Bay, and while that is due largely to a 27-point halftime cushion, it's not as though Garoppolo contributed to the humongous lead through the air. Meanwhile, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman have combined for 69 rush attempts, 404 yards, and six touchdowns in the 49ers' two playoff games. Garoppolo has some intrigue from the standpoint that the Chiefs could force San Francisco to throw the ball more by way of actually putting points on the scoreboard, but this requires us to bet on game script as opposed to game plan. I'm more comfortable with the latter, considering it's what got San Francisco here in the first place.

Tevin Coleman (RB, SF)

If Tevin Coleman was 100% healthy, I'd be inclined to include him with Mostert among the loves. We all know the 49ers like to lean on the multiple-look rushing attack, and double-digit touches for both running backs would be a reasonable projection considering San Francisco's chances of winning will hinge largely on how effective its ground game is. But up until the divisional round when Coleman racked up 105 yards and two touchdowns, he hadn't been a factor in this offense for some time. Furthermore, it's not as though Mostert has been struggling to get by. Mostert more than deserves the featured role regardless of his teammate's health, and Kyle Shanahan should be comfortable letting him lead the way on Sunday. Feel free to factor Coleman in as a potential 10-touch play if he gets cleared well in advance of kickoff, just know that he doesn't have the inside track to much more than that.

George Kittle (TE, SF)

This might be the first time all season I've listed George Kittle outside the loves, but for the same reasons discussed in the Garoppolo segment, I have to admit I'm nervous about his fantasy outlook this Sunday. Kittle got by as an elite tight end during the regular season by way of a disproportionately high target share even though the 49ers were a low-volume pass offense. The playoffs, however, have given new meaning to the phrase "low-volume pass offense." For Kittle's opportunity to have remained the same as it was in the regular season, the 49ers would have to throw almost exclusively to him and no one else. Do I expect the 49ers to throw more than eight times against the Chiefs, or to exceed their two-game playoff average of 13.5 pass attempts? Of course. But without this game developing into a shootout, which I believe is the third-most likely possibility on Sunday, I'm not convinced Kittle will see enough targets to make him a definitively better option at tight end than Travis Kelce.

Deebo Samuel / Kendrick Bourne / Emmanuel Sanders (WR, SF)

As you've no doubt figured out by now, and probably already thought coming into this, the theme here is simple: I'd be surprised if the thing we remember about this Super Bowl is the 49ers passing game. They've locked horns in enough high-scoring affairs this season to let you know it's a possibility, but their identity tells us engaging in that style of play is something of a last resort. That said, you can't exactly fade the entire trio of Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne, and Emmanuel Sanders, especially considering the relatively boom-or-bust nature of the receivers on the other team in this matchup. I'm most worried about Sanders, who is supposed to be on the same plane as Samuel when it comes to opportunity, but has only been targeted three times in the 49ers' first two playoff games. This sets him up for an extremely wide spectrum of outcomes. Samuel leads San Francisco in targets for the playoffs with nine, and it's worth noting he was the only downfield pass-catcher to see more than one pass thrown his way in the NFC Championship game. Bourne has the lowest floor; the divisional round marked just the third time all season he saw five or more targets in a game, and he predictably regressed to his norm in the NFC Championship game with one catch and one target. I wouldn't label any of these guys as having high floors, but Samuel is the one I'd be most comfortable with and Bourne will come as a low-cost option for DFS players who stack their lineups with top guys. If you enjoy the feeling of being irretrievably on-edge for three hours straight, Sanders is a high-risk, high-reward play.

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DFS Wide Receivers To Target In The Super Bowl

In the AFC Championship game, the Chiefs took a lead against the Titans which forced Ryan Tannehill to pass the ball 31 times, but A.J. Brown still came up small with just 51 yards receiving. In the same game, Tyreek Hill was the Chiefs most productive fantasy-receiver, hauling in 5 passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns, but Sammy Watkins also had a solid day, leading the team in targets with 10, while gaining 114 yards and adding touchdown.

In the NFC Championship game, Davante Adams continued to be the only show in town for the Packers in the passing game, leading the team in targets (11), catches (9) and yards (138). For the 49ers, Kendrick Bourne came up extremely small with just one catch for six yards as the 49ers dominated with their running game. Deebo Samuel led the 49ers in receiving with just 46 yards and zero touchdowns as Jimmy Garoppolo only needed to throw the ball eight times in the game. In summary, between all of the recommendations from Championship Weekend, Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams worked out, while A.J. Brown and Kendrick Bourne came up small.

The Super Bowl presents some fairly difficult matchups for all of the wide receivers involved as both secondaries are very talented. There are, however, a few angles to target in this one. The 49ers only gave up 169.2 yards-per-game through the air in 2019, but they primarily play cover-3. The Chiefs will likely have Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill getting vertical with their routes, which should free up pockets in coverage for Sammy Watkins ($10,500 Fanduel / $7,000 DraftKings) to settle in and make a few catches. Watkins hasn't had a great season in 2019, but he's demonstrated the ability to exploit zone defenses at times, which gives him hope to come through against the 49ers.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Exploit

Tyreek Hill ($12,000 Fanduel / $11,000 DraftKings) figures to see a lot of Emmanuel Moseley in coverage this weekend. Although Moseley has been a good player for the 49ers Defense this season, the fact remains that nobody in the NFL can run with Tyreek Hill, and he always has a chance to get behind the defense and score on a long pass. The 49ers haven't been susceptible to the big plays this season, giving up just 34 plays of 20+ yards which ties them for first in the NFL, but that's largely due to the fact that the 49ers pass rush gets home to the quarterback so quickly. The Chiefs offensive line is better than most and they're healthy. On top of having a solid offensive line, Patrick Mahomes can move in the pocket, and retreat backwards if needed and still get an accurate pass off even if the launch point is 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. For all these reasons, the Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs can get it done against this stingy 49ers defense, and will likely be their toughest test of the season.

Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson's prices are rather low which makes both of them somewhat appealing. I spent some time trying to figure out which of these lower-end guys will come through this weekend, and it seems like their production is too random to make a confident prediction. Trying to predict when Robinson won't drop the ball is difficult, and Hardman is only playing 30% of the snaps which makes the odds that he scores on a long touchdown rather low. When it's all said and done, I am going to stay away from both Hardman and Robinson this week and focus on building my lineups around Hill and Watkins.

The Chiefs Defense has been very good against the pass this season, giving up just 6.7 yards-per-play which was sixth-best in the league. Kendall Fuller, who primarily plays in the slot, is the only Chiefs cornerback that has given up a catch-rate over 50% on the season and is also the only Chiefs defensive back to surrender a QB-rating higher than 80 when targeted. Knowing that, it appears the way you attack the 49ers secondary is over the middle, against the slot cornerback, not on the outside.

Kendrick Bourne ($7,000 Fanduel / $3,400 DraftKings) has played 53% of his snaps out of the slot this year while Emmanuel Sanders ($7,500 Fanduel / $5,200 DraftKings) plays out of the slot on 35% of the time. Althogh Bourne plays a greater percentage of his snaps out of the slot, Sanders played 513 snaps this season, compared to just 292 for Bourne. Sanders will play more snaps than Bourne in the Super Bowl, and because he will get more opportunities, if I am going to play any 49ers wide receiver this week, it's Sanders. Normally I would lean on Deebo Samuel because of his ability to run after the catch, but none of the Chiefs cornerbacks have surrendered more than 200 yards after the catch this season, and that's where Samuel thrives. George Kittle ($11,500 Fanduel / $8,400 DraftKings) is actually the piece of the 49ers passing game I am going to try to get into my DFS lineups most this weekend because he has a seven-inch height advantage over Tyrann Mathieu who figures to cover him for much of the game.




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Super Bowl Busts? Players To Consider Avoiding In DFS

The big game is finally here, and it feels a little strange that the Patriots won't be representing the AFC in this year's Super Bowl for the first time since 2016. Instead, it'll be a Chiefs team featuring a high-flying offense under mastermind Andy Reid, with superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes leading the ship. Will they be able to triumph over the 49ers, one of the NFL's top overall defenses? San Francisco also boasts an ingenious offensive approach under Kyle Shanahan and a multi-faceted running attack that hasn't been contained this postseason. It should be a fun one.

The biggest question surrounding this game is whether the Niners D can contain Mahomes, who has thrown for 615 yards and eight touchdowns in two playoff games leading up to this point. Oh, and he's also rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts. Led by veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, the 49ers were the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL in 2019, and they were also tied for fifth with 48 sacks. If rookie Nick Bosa and company can't contain Mahomes to the pocket and limit big plays down the field, they won't have much of a shot at winning this game. I'm predicting that the Chiefs rushing attack surprises with a big game, opening things up for Mahomes to do what he does best in leading the Chiefs to their second NFL title.

Below are four potential DFS busts for Super Bowl LIV.

 

Raheem Mostert ($9,400 on DraftKings)

Mostert won a lot of people some money in the NFC Championship when he ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries (7.6 yards per carry). He's become the unquestioned leader of Shanahan's deep rushing attack and should be the focal point on the ground once again. On paper against a Kansas City rush defense that allowed 128.2 ground yards per game this year (26th in the NFL), Mostert seems like a great pick.

However, keep in mind that Tevin Coleman left the game early against the Packers with a dislocated shoulder and ran the ball just six times in the NFC Championship. In the Divisional win against Minnesota, Mostert had just 12 carries, and his only game with 20-plus totes was against Green Bay when Coleman was hurt. With Coleman on track to suit up this Sunday, expect more of a timeshare. I'm expecting the Chiefs to jump out to a lead in this one, which could also hurt Mostert's workload; he was targeted more than three times in the passing game just once in 2019 back on Sept. 15 when he caught three passes on four targets.

Tyreek Hill ($11,000 on DK)

The 25-year-old speedster will be in most DFS lineups for the Super Bowl, and for good reason. He's a potential touchdown waiting to happen on every single pass play, and the Chiefs like to air it out. Hill averaged a healthy 14.8 yards per catch this season and caught five of his seven targets for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the AFC Championship against the Titans.

But as mentioned earlier, the 49ers Defense allowed the fewest receiving yards per game (192.1) and were tied with the Bills in giving up the fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards (34). Hill will certainly have his chances to spring a touchdown, and most of his scoring has come in bunches this year, but if he can't break a big one against this stingy pass defense, he has the potential to be a bust for those that roster him. And if KC gets out to an early lead, they may not need to take as many deep shots to Hill.

Harrison Butker ($4,200 on DK)

Kansas City's offense can put up points with the best of them, which helped Butker become the highest scoring fantasy kicker during the regular season. And although the Chiefs put up a whopping 86 points against the Texans and Titans to get to Super Bowl Sunday, Butker only attempted one field goal in those two games.

The Chiefs kicker was outstanding during the regular season, converting 34 of his 38 field-goal tries (89.5 percent) and 45 of his 48 extra points. They say defense wins championships, and the 49ers have a good one. But in the end I think KC's offense will be too much to handle and won't have a problem getting the ball into the end zone, which will limit Butker's chances to put up more DFS points with field goals.

49ers Defense/Special Teams ($3,600 on DK)

It's been an incredible year for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's unit, as they allowed the second-fewest yards per game (281.8) and were the top passing defense in the NFL. But while they are stingy through the air and are a top-five pass-rushing unit, the 49ers defense has a weakness. They can be beat on the ground (112.6 rushing yards allowed per game) for an average of 4.5 yards per carry against them.

Often times elite defenses get the last laugh on the biggest stage, but I think Mahomes and the Chiefs offense as a whole is too much to handle. KC's mustachioed head coach will find ways to win on the ground to open up the Chiefs lethal air attack. San Francisco may not be able to get a leg up in the turnover department either, as Mahomes has taken care of the ball -- only five picks this year. And his offensive line has kept his jersey clean; Mahomes has been sacked more than two times in a game just twice all season. It helps that he's one of the best scrambling QBs in the game, which will be the difference.

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Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Conference Championships Matchups Analysis

Welcome to our NFL Conference Championships matchups analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering both of the AFC and NFC contests from the Sunday slate, helping you make the best decisions for your DFS contests this weekend. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other relevant information.

Spencer Aguiar will start off by covering the AFC Championship game that begins at 3:05 PM ET on Sunday, and Chris O'Reilly will take you home with his analysis of the NFC Championship that takes place later in the day at 6:40 PM ET.

If you have any additional lineup questions, follow us on Twitter @Teeoffsports and @cjoreillyCLE and feel free to ask away! Without further ado, let's get started.

 

Matchups Analysis - Conference Championships Round

Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (3:05 PM ET)

Matchups We Love:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

How will Patrick Mahomes follow up his 321-yard, five-touchdown performance? If stats have anything to say about it, I'd imagine he does quite well. The Titans enter the game ranked 23rd in the NFL when it comes to success rate against the pass, which could become an issue if they fall behind early. Tennessee has had the luxury of being ahead in games and knowing opponents are going to throw, so things could become dodgy if this gets off to a bad start for them.

Tyreek Hill (WR, KC)

Tyreek Hill's marginal showing against the Houston Texans last weekend might allow us to grab the speedster at lower ownership than expected. Hill torched the Titans earlier in the season for 11 catches, 157 yards and one score on 19 targets and could go back to being Patrick Mahomes' primary target on Sunday.

Matchups We Hate:

LeSean McCoy (RB, KC)

LeSean McCoy has been an afterthought for the Chiefs over the past month, and a mid-week illness is not going to help matters. McCoy was held out of practice on Wednesday and shouldn't be an integral part of their gameplan.

Kalif Raymond (WR, TEN)

Kalif Raymond's 45-yard touchdown reception against the Baltimore Ravens wasn't the first time we have seen the speedster break loose this year. His nine regular-season receptions for 170 yards equated to an average of 18.9 yards per catch, but you are really getting desperate if you go back to the well on Sunday for $3,400 on DraftKings. The Chiefs have not given up long passes this season, and Raymond will get a boost in ownership from his performance last week. That is a combination I'd prefer to avoid.

Other Matchups:

Ryan Tannehill (QB, TEN)

Averaging 80 yards per contest to begin the playoffs won't help you win any money in DFS contests, but you would have to imagine Ryan Tannehill will be forced to drop back and pass more often on Sunday. If you are picking Tannehill, you are hoping for the Chiefs to take a sizable lead early, and I do think that has a decent chance of happening. Expect the Titans to be Henry-heavy in the first half before having to eventually lean on Tannehill late.

Damien Williams (RB, KC)

The Titans feature a formidable front line, but Damien Williams gathered 109 yards from scrimmage when these two teams met earlier in the season. I anticipate we see Williams receive a handful of rushes and attempts through the air, making him a threat to find the endzone for the eighth time over his past four playoff games.

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

There is no taking away what Derrick Henry has been able to accomplish during the playoffs, but his string of success has come with a perfect game script. None of that means that Henry won't be able to keep the momentum rolling in Kansas City, but it does suggest that the bruising back will be better suited in a game where the Titans are within reach. I don't mind playing him against a weak Chiefs run defense that will likely be exploited early, but we are going to need that level of production to continue into the second half to pay for his salary.

Mecole Hardman / Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)

Both Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins are about as boom-or-bust as they come, but it is difficult to rule them out in a contest against a weak secondary like Tennesse's. The Titans are ranked middle of the pack in explosive plays allowed, and you could do worse if you are looking for a flier in GPP contests.

A.J. Brown / Corey Davis (WR, TEN)

I don't want to overly impact the wideouts for the Titans because of their sub-par showing in the playoffs. Ryan Tannehill has only completed 15 passes in two games, and there should be a more aggressive nature present if the game doesn't go their way early. A.J. Brown is an intriguing selection in GPPS that might go overlooked with the way the first two games have gone, while Corey Davis should have his floor increased if the team does indeed have to throw more often.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

Travis Kelce is $1,300 more than George Kittle this week on DraftKings. It will be worth monitoring both Kittle's ankle and Kelce's knee as the week progresses, but I find it challenging to go any route that doesn't involve one of those two for your builds. Kittle's reduced price tag intrigues me this week, but I am not going to talk you out of playing Kelce.


Jonnu Smith (TE, TEN)

If you are determined to go off the beaten path at TE, Jonnu Smith is your best choice available. There is no denying his boom-or-bust nature, but the Chiefs have struggled on multiple occasions this season to defend opposing tight ends.

 

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (6:40 PM ET)

Matchups We Love:

George Kittle (TE, SF)

George Kittle didn't do much in the Divisional round, but he also didn't have to. The 49ers bulldozed the Vikings on the ground, which yielded a passing attack that, even for the 49ers' standards, can be considered low-volume. Though the 49ers are a relatively heavy favorite for a conference championship game, I'm not expecting the Packers to go down without a fight. Kittle should reenter the equation in what figures to be a more balanced offensive attack from San Francisco as the 49ers try to win a more closely-contested game. For what it's worth, last week's dud was the first time since Week 13 that Kittle didn't go for at least 67 yards and/or a touchdown.

Davante Adams (WR, GB)

In the last 10 games Davante Adams has played, including the playoffs, he's seen double-digit targets in all but one. In his last four, he's averaging 8.75 catches and 118 yards, and has hauled in four touchdown receptions. Are the 49ers a tough matchup for wide receivers? Sure. Could the San Francisco secondary cap Adams' upside by committing its undivided attention to him, knowing the Packers barely even act like they have other players to throw the ball to? Why not. But I'm also of the mind that when your record is 14-3, you're not going to suddenly deviate from what has gotten you there. And when you're one win away from a Super Bowl appearance, you're probably going to want your fate resting in the hands of your best players. Adams is arguably Green Bay's best offensive player; his target share and the production he's put up with it are enough to make me look past the tough matchup at hand. Exercise caution, sure, but I'd rather be wrong for trusting Adams than wrong for fading him.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Raheem Mostert/Tevin Coleman/Matt Breida (RB, SF)

Last week, I advised against trusting Tevin Coleman in any format due to the fact that he ended the regular season on five straight games with single-digit touches. In true Kyle Shanahan fashion, however, Coleman literally ran away with the bulk of San Francisco's carries in last week's Divisional round win over the Vikings. Coleman logged 105 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, casting a level of doubt on this backfield that we hadn't seen in at least a month. Even though Raheem Mostert did not actually play his way out of the primary role (he and Coleman both averaged the same 4.8 yards per carry last week), we don't have much of a choice but to head into championship weekend believing Coleman is once again going to be a factor. The good news is that any split should be predominantly shared by Coleman and Mostert, as Matt Breida continues to be sparingly involved. The Packers have defended the run well of late, but it's been awhile since they faced a team that is as effective on the ground as the 49ers. Both Coleman and Mostert should receive fantasy consideration with the caveat that they're going to cut into each other's opportunity.

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF)

The Vikings earned seven first downs against the San Francisco defense last week, and one of those was due to a penalty. Minnesota's near-total inability to move the ball limited the need for Jimmy Garoppolo to throw, as he attempted just 19 passes on the day. While the Packers have had their ups and downs offensively throughout the year, one would think that Aaron Rodgers at least gives them the chance to put sustained drives together and keep the 49ers honest on offense. I'd take the over on 19 pass attempts for Garoppolo this weekend, so there's appeal here from an opportunity standpoint. Despite the regular season meeting between these two teams resulting in a lopsided 37-8 win for San Francisco, I'd be surprised to see the rematch go down the same way. Green Bay has played much better on both sides of the ball since that drubbing, and I expect the latter stages of this contest to require Garoppolo to engineer some drives through the air to fend off the underdog Packers at home.

Emmanuel Sanders / Kendrick Bourne / Deebo Samuel (WR, SF)

If you rostered any 49ers wideout in the Divisional round, I sure hope it was Kendrick Bourne. Bourne salvaged what would've been a pedestrian day with a touchdown, while Emmanuel Sanders never quite got going and Deebo Samuel was held mostly in check. We've already discussed the "why" a few times here: San Francisco simply didn't have to throw the ball last weekend. We've also discussed the likelihood of a heavier emphasis on the pass this time around. How much heavier is the valid question at hand, as the 49ers are still predominantly a run-first offense even when they don't totally abandon the aerial game. And that concerns me when trying to decide which of San Francisco's wide receivers will see the most of what's left over from George Kittle's target share in a close game. Samuel did lead the entire team in targets last week with six, but he and Sanders have largely shared the featured role. I'd rank Samuel slightly ahead of Sanders for this week, with Bourne factoring in as a more risky option despite last week's score.

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

It can be tough to separate the fantasy quarterback from the real-life quarterback when evaluating a player for these purposes, and that's especially true when the player in question is Aaron Rodgers. You want to believe he's still got that stone-cold assassin in him that can go for 400 yards and five touchdowns without breaking a sweat, and under the right circumstances he can. But a road matchup against the 49ers with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line tells me we're going to see more of what makes Rodgers a great real-life quarterback. In the six games (including the playoffs) since Green Bay got stomped by the 49ers in late November, the Packers Defense has held its opponents under 16 points per game. The Packers won all six games and have averaged well over 100 rushing yards per contest in this span. Does this sound like a trend toward a game plan that involves Rodgers slinging it all over the field from the outset, or is his opportunity likely going to be influenced by whether the 49ers can put him behind on the scoreboard early? San Francisco has been among the least favorable matchups for quarterbacks all year long, and one of its marquee victims during the regular season was Rodgers. The Packers will not win this game without the best possible version of Rodgers, the real-life quarterback, at its most pivotal moments. There is cause for concern over whether that will translate into the future Canton inductee qualifying as a high-upside fantasy QB, however.

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

Aaron Jones has been the perfect blend of opportunity and production, particularly in the touchdown department. His tendency to find the endzone in 2019 reached the point where you were genuinely surprised when he didn't. He continued his torrid scoring rate in the Divisional round with two one-yard plunges against the Seahawks. He may need another pair of scores to make him a safe fantasy play this Sunday. The well-rested 49ers Defense put a pin in the Dalvin Cook movement last week, proving that while this is still a much tougher unit against the pass than against the run, Jones' rushing windows on Sunday night aren't necessarily going to be as wide open as an Oklahoma prairie. Jones has gone through spells of inefficiency--even last week he only averaged three yards per tote--and it wouldn't be shocking to see the 49ers prevent him from picking up chunks upon chunks of yardage. San Francisco has done well to keep opposing running backs out of the endzone, surrendering just seven rushing touchdowns to the position on the season. I'm by no means going against Jones across the board in the NFC Championship Game, but I have my reasons for not going all-in on him, too.

Other Packers Wide Receivers (WR, GB)

Davante Adams was targeted 11 times in the Packers' first playoff game. The rest of Green Bay's receiving corps was targeted twice. Not twice each. Twice total. This is due in part to the fact that the Packers held two different 18-point leads, which naturally led to a more run-heavy approach, but the point remains. Green Bay probably isn't jumping out to a three-score cushion on the road against San Francisco, which should help open things up a bit more for the Packers' pass-catchers. But will it be enough to raise any of their respective fantasy values? With only four teams on the slate--or even two, if you're playing in one-game showdown formats--it's hard to argue totally against taking fliers on otherwise inconsequential players. That said, we have an entire season's worth of evidence that suggests the Packers' wide receivers other than Adams are extremely risky plays, especially in this matchup.

Jimmy Graham (TE, GB)

Jimmy Graham has caught seven of 11 targets for 98 yards in his last two games, which is certainly more than any other secondary Packers pass-catcher can say. One would think that with the 49ers keying on Adams downfield, the middle might open up for Graham to make a difference on Sunday night. With George Kittle and Travis Kelce still available in player pools, I'd prefer to play it safe here. But I wouldn't try to talk you out of diversifying with a few shares of Graham, provided you're constructing a ton of lineups.

Jamaal Williams (RB, GB)

Jamaal Williams has drifted into the background of Green Bay's offensive scheme. He hasn't recorded double-digit touches in a game since Week 13, and he hit rock-bottom last week with one carry and one reception in a victory over Seattle. That was in a game where the Packers held a substantial lead for most of 60 minutes. I expect Green Bay to get more creative offensively on Sunday night as it tries to pick apart a much better 49ers defense, which means Williams could see a more prominent role as a change-of-pace guy behind Jones. Still, Williams' downward trend is hardly one I want my fantasy hopes hanging on.

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DFS Wide Receivers To Target In The Conference Champinships

In the Divisional Round of the playoffs Davante Adams dominated the Seahawks and came through as the top wide receiver on the week. The Seahawks remained in cover-1 for most of the game and they simply couldn't stop Adams who was able to beat his man all day. Marshawn Lynch scored two touchdowns against the Packers last week, but other than that he unexpectedly struggled on the ground for the Seahawks, rushing for under three yards-per-carry. Due to the Seahawks struggles on the ground, Russell Wilson had to sling it more than usual and fed Tyler Lockett who was able to overcome a difficult matchup for 136 yards and a touchdown. Marquise Brown had a decent day but he was more of a volume receiver than a deep threat. As expected, the Vikings wide receivers didn't really come through as their entire offense struggled against the 49ers Defense throughout the game. In surprising fashion, the Chiefs wide receivers really underwhelmed as Travis Kelce and Damien Williams dominated. Here is a complete statistical recap of the Divisional Round recommendations:

  • Davante Adams - 8 catches, 160 yards, 2 TD
  • Marquise Brown - 7 catches, 126 yards
  • Tyreek Hill - 3 catches, 41 yards
  • Deebo Samuel - 3 catches, 42 yards
  • DeAndre Hopkins - 9 catches, 118 yards

This week is rather difficult to evaluate because there aren't any bad teams remaining, and the skill position players have difficult matchups for the most part. The Titans are good against the run and somewhat struggle against the pass which means the Chiefs wide receiver corps should have a good showing this week. Although Travis Kelce was the big performer for the Chiefs offense last week, he will see a lot of Kevin Byard in coverage this weekend which will present some problems for him. Derrick Henry has been dominant lately and although the Chiefs struggle to stop the run, you have to wonder if he can get it done three weeks in a row. Ryan Tannehill may actually need to unleash his arm this weekend if the Titans fall behind to the Chiefs, and if they do, Jonnu Smith and A.J. Brown should be the guys that come through.

I am going to stay away from Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders this week because they both have rather difficult matchups against the talented Packers cornerbacks on the perimeter. The Packers struggle defending the run which means their running backs should have success, and although Darnell Savage is having a decent rookie campaign, he gives up five inches to George Kittle which is problematic. The Packers offense came up extremely small against the 49ers when they faced off earlier in the season but I doubt that happens again. Davante Adams looks to be fully healthy and he's been unstoppable as of late, but the other Packers receivers are inconsistent and simply hard to trust. As you will read below, it looks like this is a week to play stud wide receivers for the most part when creating your DFS lineups.

 

Championship Weekend WR/CB Matchups to Exploit

Davante Adams ($8,300 FanDuel / $7,900 DraftKings) Ahkello Witherspoon

Davante Adams has scored or gone over 100 yards receiving in seven of the last eight games he's played in. Adams has been on an absolute tear and the Packers have moved him around the formation to get him open, playing him on the left side of the formation just under 40% of the time. If Adams lines up on the left side a majority of the game on Sunday, he will avoid Richard Sherman and should have a huge day as long as Aaron Rodgers has time to throw.

Tyreek Hill ($7,400 FanDuel / $7,200 DraftKings) Tramaine Brock

Last week, Marquise Brown had a big day against Tramaine Brock and the Titans Defense, going for 126 yards off of seven catches. Brown didn't really pop off a ton of huge plays, but he did have a 38-yard catch. The Titans Defense is decent against the run and somewhat susceptible to big pass plays down the field. Brock is playing alright, but he seems to be the weak link in the Titans secondary. As discussed above, the Titans are solid against the run and Travis Kelce has a troublesome matchup against Kevin Byard, which means this is likely Hill's time to shine.

A.J. Brown ($6,800 FanDuel / $5,200 DraftKings) vs Bashaud Breeland

It's widely known that A.J. Brown thrives against man-to-man coverage. Although both the Ravens and Patriots play a lot of man coverage, in both of those games, Brown found himself matched up against some of the best cornerbacks in the game, and he came up small in both contests. This week, although Bashaud Breeland is playing well, he is no Stephon Gilmore. Moreover, the Titans have controlled both of their playoff games to this point on the ground, but you have to think that will come to an end if the Chiefs are able to put some serious points on the board. If the Chiefs get up early on the Titans, Ryan Tannehill may be airing it out a lot to Jonnu Smith and A.J. Brown.

Kendrick Bourne ($5,400 FanDuel / $4,200 DraftKings) vs Tramon Williams

The Packers Defense is pretty good on the perimeter and if their pass rush is able to get to Jimmy Garoppolo, he may look to get the ball out of his hands quickly to his slot receiver and tight end. If the game plays out like that, Bourne could see a lot of volume in the passing game. Kevin King is a bigger cornerback and will cover Deebo Samuel who is similarly big and tough. Jaire Alexander should cover Emmanuel Sanders for most of the game and is capable of slowing him down. That leaves Bourne with the best matchup on the week, as he should see a lot of Tramon Williams in coverage. At his low price, Bourne is a decent option if you want to get both Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams into your DFS lineups.

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DFS Wide Receivers To Target In The Divisional Round

In the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs, there were several disappointing performances from quarterbacks which contributed to low production from some wide receivers. D.K. Metcalf ended the week as the No. 1 receiver and was a bright spot, but on the low side, Mohamed Sanu was absolutely dreadful, hauling in just one of his five targets for just 11 yards. Here is a complete statistical recap of the Wildcard Round recommendations:

This week, I am staying away from A.J. Brown for the second week in a row. Brown is good against man coverage and that's what the Ravens play for the most part, but the Ravens also have solid man-to-man cornerbacks who are capable of keeping Brown in check. When targeted in the passing game, all of the Ravens cornerbacks surrender about 10 yards-per-catch while in coverage, and Marcus Peters is the only cornerback that's surrendered more than three touchdowns (five) on the season. That being said, Peters is an aggressive defensive back and Brown may be able to get by him if Peters makes an aggressive play on the ball, but I don't know if I want to take a chance on that happening. On another note, although the Ravens rush defense gave up a stingy 93.4 yards-per-game on the ground this year, they did give up 4.4 yards-per-carry which tied them with the Cardinals for 12th-worst in the league. If the Titans commit to the running game again this week, Derrick Henry may come through for a second week in a row. I am going to fade the Vikings receivers this week as well. Although the 49ers Defense was vulnerable at times down the stretch, they were banged up. They are now rested and healthy and will likely return to the form which led them to surrender a league-best 5.9 yards-per-pass. On top of that, Stefon Diggs has been sick this week and Adam Thielen suffered an ankle injury in practice which makes things a little dicey.

I am also fading both Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf this week. The Packers Defense has given up just 19 passing touchdowns this season and just 232.6 yards-per-game through the air while giving up a healthy 4.7 yards-per-carry which is seventh-worst in the league. This leads me to believe Seattle will lean on the running game this week and pound the rock with Marshawn Lynch early and often. Although the Buffalo Bills lost against the Houston Texans last week, they put up the most total offense out of all the teams competing in the Wildcard Round. The Bills were able to run the ball for 172 yards and pass for 253 yards against that Texans Defense, both marks were second-best on the week. That being said, I am going to lean on Kansas City Chiefs players this weekend for the Divisional Round. As you will read below, many of the best wide receiver plays on the week are higher-end guys who are on the expensive side. That being said, Mark Ingram is the forth-most expensive running back on the board even though he is nursing a calf injury and Dalvin Cook, who is the third-most-expensive running back on the board has a difficult matchup against the 49ers Defense. If you roll with just one of the higher-end running backs and go with a guy like Duke Johnson as your RB2, you will be able to fit two of these stud, higher-priced receivers into your DFS lineups this weekend.

 

Divisional Round WR/CB Matchups to Exploit

Davante Adams ($8,400 FanDuel / $7,800 DraftKings) vs Tre Flowers

The Seahawks Defense has been vulnerable against the pass all season and Davante Adams is the main threat in the Packers passing game. The other Packers receivers are simply too hard to trust, and over his last three games, Adams has at least 13 targets in each, and has gained at least 93 yards and scored in two of those three games. The Seahawks defense struggles against the run, giving up 4.9 yards-per-carry, but this is the playoffs, and the Packers aren't going to hold anything back. They're going to feed their studs to win this game with Adams being one of them. While the Seahawks give up 263.9 passing yards-per-game, they have only surrendered 19 touchdowns through the air which ties them with the Packers for fifth-best in the league. While Adams isn't a good bet to score this week, he is likely to get targeted north of 10 times and rack up over 100 yards. If Seattle makes this game a shootout, Adams will go off.

Marquise Brown ($5,300 FanDuel / $4,400 DraftKings) vs Tramaine Brock

The Titans Defense has given up 55 plays of 20+ receiving yards on the season and Tramaine Brock has given up the second-most receiving yards while in coverage out of all the Titans cornerbacks even though he hasn't played in all of their games. Brock surrenders a catch rate of just under 70% and opposing quarterbacks have a rating of 110.7 while throwing in his direction. Out of the 472 yards that Brock has given up in coverage this year, 222 of them have come after the catch, which means there's a really good chance that Marquise Brown catches one and takes it a long way to the house this weekend. The Titans are very good against the run, giving up just 4.0 yards-per-carry, which means Lamar Jackson may have to win this game with his arm, especially with Mark Ingram still feeling the effects of his calf injury.

Tyreek Hill ($7,900 FanDuel / $7,600 DraftKings) vs Gareon Conley

Nobody in the NFL can run with Tyreek Hill, and the Chiefs will likely take a few shots to him early in an effort to put some points on the board quickly against the shaky Texans secondary. The Texans Defense gave up 58 plays of 20+ passing yards during the regular season which was eighth-worst in the league which indicates they are susceptible to the big play. These two teams faced off earlier this year in Hill's first game back from injury, and he was able to haul in five of his 10 targets for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

Deebo Samuel ($6,100 FanDuel / $5,200 DraftKings) vs Xavier Rhodes

Xavier Rhodes played very well last week against the New Orleans Saints, but he was banged up in the game, suffering what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Deebo Samuel is extremely difficult to bring down after the catch and if Rhodes is still suffering the effects of his injury, he may have trouble containing Samuel. Even without the injury, Rhodes has given up more yards after the catch than any other Vikings cornerback this season which sets up well for Samuel.

DeAndre Hopkins ($8,100 FanDuel / $7,400 DraftKings) vs Bashaud Breeland

The Chiefs Defense has been playing very well over the last few weeks and I understand that. However, the Chiefs are going to put a lot of points on the board against the vulnerable Texans defense which will force Deshaun Watson to put the ball in the air often. The Chiefs are almost double-digit favorites in this game, and if the Texans go down, they will go down swinging, throwing the ball to their No. 1 receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. Bashaud Breeland and the rest of the Chiefs secondary is playing very well, but Hopkins will get his. I would, however, rank Hopkins behind both Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill this week.

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