There’s no way that this week of football can be crazier than last right? Let’s hope not. This week marks the end of bye weeks, but also marks the end of the fantasy football regular season in leagues that try to avoid playing in week 17 so let’s get into these games so that you can make that playoff push!
Bye Week: Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Injury concerns: Julio Jones QUES, Todd Gurley QUES
Words I never thought I would say: Taysom Hill is succeeding as a QB. Sure, he isn’t doing the normal “passing” thing that you expect from a QB, but his rushing attack is succeeding and while Kamara is suffering with usage, Hill is putting the team on his back and this week faces the 31st ranked defense against fantasy QBs. As mentioned, Kamara has lost a lot of his role in this offense, but I think you still have to play him, but he falls into the RB2/Flex category now and shouldn’t be expected to be your bell-cow RB without Brees under center. Michael Thomas also is taking a little hit, but he has a fantastic matchup against a terrible Falcons secondary so still fire him up.
The Falcons D/ST, and kicker Younghoe Koo were the Falcons most relevant fantasy players last week posting 27 and 21 points respectively. This offense was missing Julio and Gurley, but that still shouldn’t be an excuse. If Julio sits, you sit Matt Ryan, simple as that. Calvin Ridley should be started weekly, but the fantasy relevance has lost its depth in HOTlanta.
- Start Hill
- Play Ryan according to Julio’s status
- Start Kamara, Gurley if Gurley is active
- Sit Brian Hill if Gurley sits
- Start Michael Thomas, Start Julio if active, Start Ridley
- Sit Jared Cook while Hill is QB
- Start Hurst
Cleveland Browns @ Tennessee Titans
Injury concerns: Jonnu Smith OUT
The Browns fantasy players have been pretty much carved out between Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, but coming off of a 28 point game, Jarvis Landry shot back into fantasy hope. Austin Hooper gets enough use from Mayfield that facing the 26th ranked defense against TEs, he should return enough value to be a top-10 TE this week.
Derrick Henry is superhuman and there is no way if he is active and healthy you are sitting him. AJ Brown and Corey Davis draw the 21st ranked fantasy defense at their position so there is value in this receiving duo. With Jonnu Smith I actually really like the streaming play of Anthony Firkser facing the worst defense against TEs in fantasy.
- Sit QBs here, but you can throw Tannehill out there in deeper leagues
- Start Chubb and Hunt
- Start Henry
- Flex Landry
- Start AJ Brown, Flex Corey Davis
- Start Hooper
- Start Firkser in deeper leagues
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Injury summary: Kenny Golladay OUT, D’Andre Swift DOUBT, Matthew Stafford QUES, Allen Robinson II QUES, Darnell Mooney QUES, Nick Foles QUES
Kenny Golladay owners, myself included, are used to it by now, but he is going to be missing this one. If Stafford is active, expected to play, he will be taking advantage of the matchup TJ Hockenson draws facing the 30th ranked defense against TEs. To at least my surprise, it seems that Mohamed Sanu is the receiver to have in the replacement of Golladay as he went off for 15 points last week, but keep in mind he is facing the second best defense against WRs this week so be wary of him and other WRs for DET.
Whether or not Foles is active, Trubisky is going to be the starter in this one facing the 26th ranked Lions defense. It makes me feel icky saying it, but if you need a streamer or a fill-in for bye weeks or injuries, I think you can trust Trubisky enough to throw him out there in deeper leagues. David Montgomery owners should rejoice, he is facing the worst defense against RBs in fantasy coming off of his best outing of the season. If Robinson sits, I don’t trust any other pass catchers in this offense enough to warrant a start.
- Sit QBs here unless in deeper leagues
- You can start AP or Johnson, but don’t do so with high expectations
- Start Montgomery
- Flex Sanu, Jones, Sit Marvin Hall
- Start Robinson if active, sit other Chi WRs
- Start Hockenson, Sit Graham
Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins
Injury summary: Salvon Ahmed DOUBT, Matt Brieda OUT, Tua QUES, Gaskin QUES
Unfortunately for Brandon Allen, this is going to be a much tougher test this week against a surprisingly stout Dolphins D. Gio Bernard, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins all retain flex appeal facing the 18th ranked defenses against their positions. Not much to say here without Burrow so the only Bengals you should consider are just those three players.
This one is tough to call for the Dolphins since Tua is reported to be a game time decision. That being said, the fantasy value of Gaskin, Parker, and Gesicki won’t be altered too much no matter which QB is under center. Gaskin is still on IR as of this writing, but if he gets activated, he won’t have much competition in the backfield. Devante Parker faces the 20th ranked defense against WRs and Gesicki faces the 28th against TEs so they should still be started this week.
- If Fitzmagic starts, start him
- Flex Bernard, Gaskin (if he is active)
- Flex Boyd and Higgins
- Start Parker, Flex Grant in the DEEPEST of leagues
- Start Gesicki
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Minnesota Vikings
Injury summary: Alexander Mattison OUT, Irv Smith Jr. OUT
James Robinson is going to carry this Jags offense. He is facing the 16th ranked defense against his position, but Mike Glennon is still going to be the QB. Glennon wasn’t horrible in his season debut last week, and he does get back a healthy DJ Chark. Chark is facing the third worst defense against his position so even with Glennon under center he should be able to put forth a lineup-worthy effort.
Thielen is off the Covid list and he is ready to join Justin Jefferson is their goal of taking down the 25th ranked Jags defense against WRs in fantasy. Alexander Mattison is going to be missing this one, so there is a real chance that Dalvin Cook doesn’t leave the field. This is going to be a ground and pound game for the Vikings as Cook is facing the 28th ranked defense against RBs in fantasy. Because of these matchups, Cousins sneaks into fantasy relevance this week against the 30th ranked defense against his position.
- Start Cousins
- Start Robinson, Cook
- Flex Chark, Sit Shenault Jr and Cole
- Start Thielen and Jefferson
- Sit TEs here
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans
Injury report: Will Fuller SSPD, David Johnson ACTIVE
Johnathan Taylor is off the Covid list and back in this one to confuse fantasy managers about who is going to get the hot hand in this backfield. Taylor should be in for a stout workload against the 30th ranked Texans defense against RBs. It was TY Hilton that went off last week for the receiving Corps, and even facing the 22nd ranked defense against WRs I expect that to be short lived for him. Look for Michael Pittman Jr. to regain his lead as the Colts WR you want to have in your lineups.
As the injury report notes above, Will Fuller got caught testing positive for PEDs and will be suspended six games which effectively takes him out of the rest of this season and the beginning of the next season so he can be dropped in all re-draft leagues. Focusing on players that will be allowed to play in this one, it is going to be a tough one for Deshaun Watson and whatever WRs are able to get thrown out there as they are facing the third and sixth best defenses against their respective positions. The returning David Johnson will see what he can do against a middle of the road Colts rush defense that is gashed by injuries and got absolutely exploited by Derrick Henry last week.
- Start Watson
- Start Taylor, Flex Hines
- Start David Johnson, Flex Duke Johnson
- Flex Pittman, Sit Hilton
- Start Cooks, Flex Coutee
- Avoid TEs here
Las Vegas Raiders @ New York Jets
Injury summary: Josh Jacobs OUT
Jacobs missing this game was a surprise, but look for Devontae Booker to pick up the reigns in this one against a bad Jets defense. The Raiders offense did struggle against a bad Falcons team last week, so hopefully they can rebound across the board. Apart from Booker, Waller is an obvious start this week facing the 27th ranked defense against TEs in fantasy, but it is still a guessing game between receivers for which one will be the most productive so take your best guess.
It feels like this Jets paragraph has come to be pretty standard, but we are going to switch it up this week. Gore retains flex appeal by sheer volume, but Crowder has fallen out of trust in my opinion. I think that rookie Denzel Mims has overtaken him and I think he is just a better receiver that has sustained value over the last three games for the Jets.
- Avoid QBs here
- Start Booker, Flex Gore
- Flex Agholor in deeper leagues
- Flex Perriman and Mims, Sit Crowder
- Start Waller
New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks
Injury summary: Daniel Jones DOUBT, Carlos Hyde QUES
I was just coming around to Daniel Jones and now due to his injury Colt McCoy is taking over the reigns under center. McCoy does face the worst defense in fantasy, but if you start him and he goes off, go buy a lottery ticket. Wayne Gallman draws the 23rd ranked defense against RBs and I still think even though it is a RB Committee that he is still the RB you want to have. Shepard and Slayton would be ranked much higher in rankings if they weren’t relying on Colt McCoy to get them the ball, but they do still deserve flex starts. Hopefully Engram continues his recent stretches of solid starts.
Coming off of his second worst outing of the season, Russell Wilson draws the fifth ranked defense against QBs in fantasy. You should still start him due to the potential for his rushing usage, but it is going to be a tougher matchup overall. Chris Carson returned last week and put up a decent performance, but this week he faces the 21st ranked defense against RBs. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are both top-six WRs on the season, and face the 17th ranked Giants defense. I still like Metcalf more than Lockett and have him ranked higher the rest of the season.
- Start Wilson
- Flex Gallman, Start Carson
- Start Metcalf, Lockett
- Flex Shephard and Slayton
- Start Engram
Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
Injury summary: Larry Fitzgerald OUT
I give up. The RB situation in LA is literally too unpredictable to call week-in and week-out. If I had to pick, I still think it is Henderson to be the main receiver of carries, and Brown to vulture a TD, but Akers just won’t fade away. Drawing the 23rd ranked defense against WRs, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are able to co-exist in the same offense, but I think Woods has a higher chance of going off than Kupp does. Tyler Higbee continues to disappoint so keep him away from your lineups.
Kyler Murray was banged up last week and it showed as he only put forth 7 fantasy points in PPR leagues. He does face a tough Rams defense, but without an injury designation headed into this one I think that he is able to get back to giving you his usual reliable points. Kenyan Drake went off last week, but faces the sixth ranked Rams defense and so I think that actually helps Edmonds value as the receiving back in this one. We have seen that the lack of Fitzgerald does NOT mean that Christian Kirk retains automatic value, but he and weekly starter DeAndre Hopkins the best defense against their position this week so it may be tough sledding.
- Start Murray
- Flex whatever Rams RB you feel comfortable with
- Flex Drake and Edmonds
- Start Woods, Kupp. Flex Reynolds in deeper leagues
- Start Hopkins, Kirk a DEEP flex
- Avoid TEs here
New England Patriots @ Los Angeles Chargers
Injury summary: Cam Newton QUES, Julian Edelman OUT, Kalen Ballage QUES
Cam is expected to start in this one, but he will probably miss your lineup unless you are in deeper leagues or in dire need. James White showed why he is valuable especially in PPR leagues and he got the hot hand for the NE RBs last week. Jakobi Myers is still the only Pats pass catcher I’d want with Edelman missing the game.
Austin Eckler hit the field for the first time in a while last week and he put up 23 points in PPR. He is going to draw still a ton of volume in this backfield and have a lot of use going forward so you should be able to reap the benefits of holding onto him. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams draws the 12th ranked defense against WRs so that’s valuable, but Hunter Henry gets stuck with the sixth best against TEs. Justin Herbert should still be started on a weekly basis, but this one may be tougher facing the seventh ranked defense against QBs.
- Start Herbert
- Start Harris, Flex White, Sit Michel for now
- Start Eckler
- Flex Myers
- Start Allen, Flex Williams
- Start Henry
Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers
Injury summary: None
Zach Ertz is back which most likely means that Dallas Goedert is going to regress back to role secondary role and still be relevant, but you can’t expect 20 points from him this week like last week. Miles Sanders should be the focus of this offense facing the second worst defense against the run in fantasy and so he should see plenty of work. Travis Fulgham has risen and apparently peaked already in fantasy as he, Jalen Reagor, and Alshon Jeffrey don’t retain much value on a week-to-week basis now.
This Green Bay offense has been sustainable for a lot of different parts of their offense. Jones and Williams do draw the seventh best defense against RBs, but they have shown that they can co-exist for value for the both of them. You are starting Adams every week, but he and Lazard get a middle of the road defense against WRs and so you can feel good throwing them out there. I even like Robert Tonyan again in this one against the 22nd ranked defense against TEs.
- Start Rodgers
- Start Sanders
- Start Jones, Flex Williams
- Sit Philly WRs
- Start Adams, Flex Lazard
- Start Ertz, Start Goedert in deeper leagues
- Start Tonyan
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs (SNF)
Injury summary: Jerry Jeudy QUES, Phillip Lindsay QUES, Clyde Edwards-Helaire QUES
Even though part of Kendall Hinton will be enshrined in the HOF forever, it is back to Drew Lock for Denver. Lock gets the 13th ranked defense against QBs, and his WRs will draw the fourth best defense against their position so it is going to be tough for him to go off here. In their last meeting, Lock didn’t throw a TD, but did throw 2 INTs so I would sit him. Melvin Gordon is unreliable and I really think you should just sit him. With Jeudy banged up, look for Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler to pick up the slack.
Tyreek Hill put up 57 points in PPR scoring last week and this week gets the 13th ranked defense of the Broncos. Sammy Watkins is back, but you easily could have missed that fact last week because he just wasn’t needed. CEH is dealing with an illness, but even if he sits this won’t elevate Bell to must start because we haven’t seen anything out of him since he joined the Chiefs. You are obviously starting Mahomes and Kelce each week so keep on keeping on there.
- Start Mahomes
- Sit Gordon, Flex Lindsay
- Flex CEH if active, Flex Bell if CEH sits, Sit Bell if CEH active
- Flex Jeudy if active. Flex Hamler and Patrick if Jeudy sits
- Start Hill, Flex Watkins, sit Hardman
- Start Fant
- Start Kelce
Don’t forget to check out our article coming out for what to do with your WFT, Steelers, Bills, 49ers, Ravens, and Cowboys players as they play on Monday and Tuesday this week!
If you have any questions or want to send me your fantasy football opinions, find me at @TeddyRicketson on Twitter.
As always, good luck with your matchups this week (unless you’re playing me).