All Betting Lines are from Bovada as of Friday (Wednesday for Thursday Night Football)
Teams on BYE this week: Falcons, Chargers, Cowboys, Titans
Dolphins @ Texans (-7.5) (Thu 5:20 PM PDT):
Blurb: Don’t look now, but the Texans have won 4 straight and are taking control of their division. Meanwhile, Brock Osweiler will make another start with Ryan Tannehill still injured. The only recommended plays from the Dolphins are Kenyan Drake as a FLEX, and Danny Amendola as a desperation wide receiver play (albert wilson and kenny stills are both injured and will miss this game). This amounts to the Texans D/ST being #3 for me. On the Texans side, DeShaun Watson is battling an injury which has affected his play. Combine that with the fact that his offensive line is garbage, and he’s a low-end starter for me. Lamar Miller regained his workload last week and performed well (I believe he was actually just banged up, he wasn’t losing his job), so for this cakewalk matchup against Miami he’s a good play as an RB2 option. Hopkins is a must start, but with Keke Coutee expected to miss this game, Will Fuller gets upgraded to a WR2 / FLEX option.
Eagles (-3.5) @ Jaguars (Sun 6:30 AM PDT):
Blurb: The Jaguars are looking bad on both sides of the ball coming into this game, while the Eagles are looking to rebound after choking away a 17 point lead to the Panthers. I don’t think this game will be very fantasy friendly – both offenses will probably struggle to move the ball. On the Eagles side, you can do better than Carson Wentz, I have him ranked 16th. Zach Ertz is a must start while Alshon Jeffery is downgraded to a low end WR2/FLEX option. The Eagles running backs are really tough to gauge, it’s a three headed committee with Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, and Corey Clement. Clement and Smallwood are FLEX guys but I’m not particularly confident in them. I don’t recommend anyone on the Jaguars, no one in the passing game is reliable, while Hyde and Yeldon will probably split work against a really tough defense. I have the Eagles defense 4th, and the Jaguars defense 8th.
Ravens (-2.5) @ Panthers (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: This game is another one that I can see being defensive. Both offenses have shown they can be really good, but I think both the defenses have the talent to stop them. I have the Panthers and Ravens defenses 5th and 6th. Cam Newton is downgraded to a low end QB1, but Christian McCaffrey is someone you have to start even though he’s downgraded as well. Greg Olsen is someone you should bench, and Devin Funchess is in the FLEX mix but a lower end option. The Ravens passing game has a decent matchup, as the Panthers secondary is beatable. John Brown is a WR2, but Michael Crabtree is only in that Funchess range as a low end FLEX. Alex Collins and Javorius Allen are FLEX plays in a tough matchup.
Jets @ Bears (-8) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: The Bears defense is my #1 play of the week. The Jets’ Bilal Powell is out for the season, so Isaiah Crowell should get a big workload in an almost impossible matchup. A player to keep your eye on is Trenton Cannon, who will step into Powell’s role. I don’t have any confidence in other Jets players. On the Bears side of the ball, Mitch Trubisky is a good starting option at QB, while Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard should both have solid games. The Bears wide receivers have been tough to figure out, last week both Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel had horrible weeks even though the offense scored 30 points. Robinson is a solid FLEX, while Gabriel is a low-end FLEX play with Anthony Miller cutting into his playing time.
Buccaneers @ Bengals (-4) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: This is going to be a fantasy-friendly game. The Bucs defense is not good, while the Bengals defense can be exploited at times. Jameis Winston is a low end QB1 for me with plenty of upside with his throwing volume, but also a lot of downside with his carelessness. I like Mike Evans as a borderline WR1 as usual, and Chris Godwin / DeSean Jackson are FLEX guys. O.J. Howard is a must start TE. I don’t have interest in the running game, but if Peyton Barber is out, Ronald Jones could be a desperation RB play. On the Bengals side, Green and Mixon are must starts. Tyler Boyd is a firm WR2, while C.J. Uzomah is a starting TE option in a great matchup. Andy Dalton is my QB13 as a high end streamer / borderline starter. The Bengals defense could be a desperation play as the Bucs give up sacks and Winston is always good for some turnovers.
Seahawks @ Lions (-3) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: The Lions traded for Damon Harrison this week in order to stop their leaky run defense. I don’t think that will help for this week, so I like Chris Carson and the Seahawks running game this week. Doug Baldwin started getting more targets before the BYE week, and he should only be more productive after a week of rest. Tyler Lockett is a boom/bust FLEX play every week. I have Russell Wilson as my 15th ranked QB, I need to see him throwing more passes or gaining more rushing yardage before he breaks into the top 12. The Lions defense is a desperation start for me. On the Lions side, the Seahawks have basically been a good defense against the run, and average against the pass. Matt Stafford is my 14th ranked QB, the Lions have passed the ball less and less since the emergence of rookie Kerryon Johnson. Johnson is an upside RB2 with Theo Riddick out again. Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay are WR2s, while Marvin Jones is in the same boat as Tyler Lockett as a boom/bust FLEX. Jones simply doesn’t get volume anymore since Stafford throws less and Golladay and Tate soak up more targets.
Broncos @ Chiefs (-10) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: The Chiefs at home are a tough out, and the Broncos really don’t have the offensive firepower to keep up. I actually like the Chiefs defense this week as a borderline start, I think their pass rush can get after Denver but they are more risky with Justin Houston being out for this game. On the Broncos side, I would start Philip Lindsay as a borderline RB1/RB2 with Royce Freeman being out. Devontae Booker is a desperation FLEX as well. Demaryius Thomas is a FLEX, and Emmanuel Sanders is a borderline WR1/2 play. Everyone on the Chiefs is playable: Mahomes, Hill, Kelce and Hunt are fixtures in your lineup, Sammy Watkins is a FLEX, but not a confident one.
Redskins (-1) @ Giants (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: The Giants just traded away key pieces on their defensive line and secondary. They have trouble scoring points. This means the Redskins are going to FEED Adrian Peterson. This is a great matchup for him. Jordan Reed is my #13 TE, his lack of production has forced me to downgrade him, I think you can find someone better. Chris Thompson has FLEX appeal but if he’s out substitute that for Kapri Bibbs. I’m not confident in any other Redskins player. As for the Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley are must starts, and Evan Engram is a low end TE1. The Redskins are my #9 defense this week, they are underrated.
Browns @ Steelers (-8) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: Le’Veon Bell still hasn’t reported to the Steelers, so the James Conner show rolls on. The Steelers found their rhythm before the BYE, and I expect that to continue. Conner, Brown, and Juju are all must starts, Roethlisberger is my 7th ranked QB, and Vance McDonald is my 11th ranked TE. I’m confident in the Steelers with the way they’ve been playing, and being at home. I think their defense has also figured it out a bit, especially getting sacks, so I would throw them out there against the Browns, who have allowed a lot of sacks this year. Baker Mayfield is a desperation start, but Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and David Njoku are all solid starters. The Steelers do have a tough run defense, but Chubb’s workload and goal line work gives him upside.
Colts (-3) @ Raiders (Sun 1:05 PM PDT):
Blurb: The Raiders just traded Amari Cooper, and they now play a Colts defense that has a ton of confidence after shutting down the Bills (I know what you’re thinking, but the Vikings and Titans did worse). For the Raiders, Derek Carr is a desperation fill in, but I think Jalen Richard and Doug Martin are both in FLEX consideration after Marshawn Lynch being placed on IR. Jordy Nelson is a FLEX too since he is the de-facto #1 WR. Jared Cook is a solid TE1 given the state of the position and the absence of Cooper. I like all the Colts pieces in this game, Luck and Hilton are great starts, Mack is an upside RB2, and Ebron is in the same vein as Cook. Jack Doyle will make his return this week, which hurts Ebron slightly.
49ers (-1.5) @ Cardinals (Sun 1:25 PM PDT):
Blurb: This might set a record low in attendance, but it fortunately has a lot of fantasy relevance. On the 49ers side, RBs Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert are RB2 and FLEX plays against a weak Cardinals running defense, if Breida is out Mostert would be a rock solid RB2. Marquise Goodwin is a FLEX, I’m sure the 49ers will move him around to get away from Patrick Peterson (and the Cardinals have also played a decent amount of zone). George Kittle is a fantastic TE play every week as well. The 49ers defense is a desperation play, and the Cardinals are a borderline start. I have faith in 3 Cardinals players this game: David Johnson, and Christian Kirk / Larry Fitzgerald as FLEX plays. I’m excited for Byron Leftwich to take over as offensive coordinator.
Packers @ Rams (-8.5) (Sun 1:25 PM PDT):
Blurb: Two high flying offenses, two defenses that I don’t think can stop them. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are must starts. I like the passing game of the Packers because Talib is still injured for the Rams. Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb are both flex plays. Jimmy Graham is a solid start at TE in a good matchup. I’m strictly hands off the Packers RBs. Not a good week for them. The Rams are my 7th ranked defense, I think you can potentially do better based on your waiver wire but if you don’t want to change, they are a good start, but don’t expect a huge output. Goff, Woods, Cooks, and Gurley are all must starts, and honestly they are the only starts with Cooper Kupp out this week again. The Packers defense won’t be able to keep up with them.
Saints (0) @ Vikings (0) (Sun 5:20 PM PDT):
Blurb: This is the rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Playoff Game that ended in the “Minnesota Miracle.” You could do better than Minnesota’s defense, they are a desperation play for me. Thomas and Kamara are must starts, while Drew Brees is a solid option at QB. Xavier Rhodes will most likely miss this game for the Vikings. This is not the week for Tre’Quan Smith, and I also have to severely downgrade Mark Ingram as a 2-down back going against a stingy run defense. Benjamin Watson is a desperation play at TE. On the Vikings side, Latavius Murray is a 2-down back going against a stingy run defense as well. Even with Dalvin Cook out, he’s only a boom/bust play. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are both must starts, and Kirk Cousins is a great start as well. I think the passing game is how the Vikings will attack the Saints (Eli Apple won’t make a big impact just yet). I’m losing faith in Kyle Rudolph, and he’s only my TE15.
Patriots (-14) @ Bills: (Mon 5:15 PM PDT):
Blurb: I’m going to make this quick. The only Bills player you’re starting is LeSean McCoy as an RB2/FLEX and the Patriots D/ST is a must start. Brady, Gronk and James White are must starts. Josh Gordon is a WR2, while Julian Edelman is a safe, low upside FLEX. Kenjon Barner is a borderline RB2 with Sony Michel out. Chris Hogan is a dart throw play, he has gone over 65 yards in the past two games and could benefit if Tre’davious White shadows Josh Gordon.