All Betting Lines are from Bovada as of Friday (Wednesday for Thursday Night Football)
Teams on BYE this week: Ravens, Vikings, Texans, Broncos
Panthers @ Steelers (-4) (Thu 5:20 PM PDT):
Blurb: The Panthers have a tough matchup in this game against a improving defense on the road, but I’m not worried. Pittsburgh and Carolina have been good against running backs, but with the volume that Christian McCaffrey and James Conner see, there should be no reason for concern. Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton are both solid starts. The Panthers receivers have been hard to manage this year, it’s tough to pick which one will do good on a given week. D.J. Moore and Devin Funchess are both just FLEX plays for me. Antonio Brown and Juju should both be in your starting lineups. As for the TEs, Greg Olsen has come back from injury to be a virtual must start every week. Vance McDonald is in that low end starter tier for TEs. It’s not a great week for defenses, so Pittsburgh is a low end starter for me. I’m not very confident in them though, so try to do better.
Bills @ Jets (-7) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: Sam Darnold will miss this game for the Jets, and with Josh McCown starting, this would help Robby Anderson be a desperation play, but he’s doubtful to play this Sunday. Isaiah Crowell is a FLEX coming off an extremely disappointing game last week. Elijah McGuire got a decent amount of touches last week in his first game back from injury, so I’d throw him on the FLEX radar as well. I think with the shared touches and anemic offense it will hurt both backs. The Bills, however, do allow a lot of success to fantasy RBs. Chris Herndon is a desperation starter at TE, but he has been getting more and more playing time and usage which makes him interesting long term. On the Bills side, LeSean McCoy should get plenty of touches with Chris Ivory expected to miss this game. However, that really doesn’t make him anything more than a FLEX given the state of their offense. Both defenses are on the starting radar.
Patriots (-7) @ Titans (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: The Titans showed a lot of encouraging fantasy signs against the Cowboys coming out of their bye week. I still need to see another week of Marcus Mariota before recommending him as anything more than a desperation play, but Dion Lewis is almost a must start as he will see the most work in this backfield rushing and receiving. Derrick Henry is someone you start and hope for a lucky touchdown. Corey Davis has been heavily targeted, but hasn’t had the production to go with it. That keeps him in the FLEX range but if you have Davis you’re most likely starting him, he has a tough matchup against Stephon Gilmore this week. On the Patriots side of the ball, I expect Rob Gronkowski to be out again, but Sony Michel to be back in. Tom Brady’s production has not been very good this season, and on the road against the Titans I think there are better options out there. He is still a QB1 with a high floor, but he’s a backend starter for me. Josh Gordon is a firm WR2 with the volume he’s been seeing in this offense, and Julian Edelman is a WR2 as well, he sees a ton of targets. James White is a must start every week. If Sony Michel plays he is a RB2 but if he’s out, Cordarrelle Patterson is in play as a low end RB2/FLEX option. Although the Titans have been a good defense against the run, the ability of the Patriots offense gives me no concern about the matchup. My main concern with Michel is that he is coming off an injury, so the Patriots might ease him back in.
Lions @ Bears (-7) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: Last week Matthew Stafford did not look comfortable at all without Golden Tate, and it doesn’t get any easier for the Lions offense as they travel to Chicago to face a tough Bears defense. I really don’t like anyone on the Lions offense this week, except Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones as WR2/FLEX level players. Kerryon Johnson faces another brutal matchup, and with Theo Riddick back in his passing back role, Johnson’s usage will suffer just like last week. On the Bears side of the ball, this game is set up really well for Jordan Howard to build on his last two positive games against a favorable matchup. I like Tarik Cohen and Mitch Trubisky as well. Allen Robinson is back, so Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller should be benched, while Robinson is a WR2 / FLEX play. The Lions aren’t a good defense, and the Bears will have success.
Saints (-6) @ Bengals (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: Unfortunately for the Bengals, A.J. Green will miss this game with an injury. Without Green, it makes it tough to start Andy Dalton, even in a great matchup at home. I have Dalton comfortably outside my top 12 because of this. He isn’t a bad play at all if you’re desperate though. Joe Mixon has a tough matchup against a Saints defense that basically shut down Todd Gurley last week, and has been great against running backs all year. That being said, I think his volume / passing game usage will benefit him. Tyler Boyd is a good start, and if you want a dart throw receiver give John Ross a look as he will take over A.J. Green’s role on the outside. C.J. Uzomah is interesting at TE if you need one. On the Saints side of the ball, Brees, Thomas, and Kamara are all must starts. Benjamin Watson is a decent desperation play as well. I have confidence in Mark Ingram to bounce back this week, the last few weeks where he struggled were all tough matchups for a 2-down back, the role Ingram plays in this offense. Tre’Quan Smith is a desperation play.
Falcons (-5) @ Browns (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: On the Falcons side of the ball, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are must starts. Tevin Coleman is someone you’re starting if you have him. Austin Hooper is around that low end starter range. I think Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu are weekly FLEX options, and the way Atlanta’s offense is playing, you’re probably starting them. Ito Smith isn’t a bad FLEX. On the Browns side, Baker Mayfield is well worth streaming consideration in a great matchup at home, he’s thrown multiple touchdowns 3 weeks in a row. David Njoku is virtually a must start. Jarvis Landry is a WR2. Nick Chubb is a good start because of his volume, but I like Duke Johnson too after his usage went up with a new offensive coordinator last week. Atlanta has been bad against pass catching RBs, but they have a decent run defense. This downgrades Chubb a bit but elevates Duke Johnson.
Jaguars @ Colts (-3) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: The Jaguars need to come out and get a win to have any shot of making the playoffs, and that means their defense needs to play better. I think it will against the Colts. I’m confident in their defense for fantasy this week. That means I’m down on the Colts this week, I’m not confident at all in any of their players. I would bench Andrew Luck, but you probably have to start T.Y. Hilton and Marlon Mack even though I’m not confident in them this week. Jack Doyle is worth a start at TE, he’s the only Colt I’m somewhat confident in playing. On the Jaguars side of the ball, Leonard Fournette returns, and I think the Jaguars will pound the ball on the Colts. Fournette is the only Jaguar I’m starting with confidence, but one of Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, or Dede Westbrook should have a good game, the problem is it’s hard to know which one. If I had to pick one, I’d go with Moncrief.
Redskins @ Bucs (-3) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: The Redskins offense has a lot of injuries going into this game. They will be missing three starting offensive linemen, Jordan Reed might be out, and Jamison Crowder / Paul Richardson / Chris Thompson will be out as well. This makes me concerned about Adrian Peterson as the Bucs are pretty good against the rush on a yards per carry basis. Kapri Bibbs will again be a FLEX option with the Bucs allowing receiving backs to have success against them. If Jordan Reed is out, Vernon Davis slots in where I have Reed ranked right now, as a low end starter. On the Bucs side of the ball, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a low end starter because of the strength of the QB position, but I’m supremely confident in him this week. He is a touchdown machine, and averages almost 10 yards an attempt. O.J. Howard is a must start. The Redskins secondary has been exposed as of late, and I expect that to continue. Mike Evans is a strong start, just shake off last week’s game, it happens. Chris Godwin and DeSean Jackson are boom or bust plays, but they are strong WR3s because of the passing volume in the offense. Adam Humphries is a great desperation FLEX if you want someone to get you a guaranteed 40-60 yards. Peyton Barber is not a strong start, but you could do worse.
Cardinals @ Chiefs (-17) (Sun 10:00 AM PDT):
Blurb: Sammy Watkins will probably miss this game due to a foot injury. He’s the only Chiefs player that people usually have questions about, because everyone else (Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, Hunt) are all must starts. With Watkins out, I have no interest in the Chiefs backups (Chris Conley / Demarcus Robinson). The Chiefs defense is a top-5 option, and a must start. On the Cardinals side, David Johnson is virtually a must start, but Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk are just FLEX options. I don’t like Ricky Seals-Jones at all, you can easily find a better TE on waivers.
Chargers (-10.5) @ Raiders (Sun 1:05 PM PDT):
Blurb: The Raiders look like they have given up on the season, so that’s great news for all Chargers players. Rivers, Gordon, and Allen are all must starts. I’m sure one of Tyrell or Mike Williams will score this week, but I’m not sure which one. The Chargers will surely rest Melvin Gordon a bit when the game becomes a blowout, so Austin Ekeler becomes a really good FLEX play. On the Raiders side of the ball, Jared Cook is a low end starter at TE while Jalen Richard and Doug Martin are FLEX plays. Last week Martin still got work in a blowout, so I think Richard is only useful in PPR formats, while Martin is a decent FLEX regardless. The Chargers defense is a top-5 option.
Dolphins @ Packers (-10) (Sun 1:25 PM PDT):
Blurb: The Packers really need this game, and I expect the Dolphins to be the victim of the Packers desperation mentality. Rodgers and Adams are must starts, and I have a lot of confidence in Aaron Jones and Marquez Valdes-Scantling as well. Jimmy Graham has starting consideration at the TE position. On the Dolphins side of the ball, this should be a Kenyan Drake game as I expect them to be playing from behind. Drake gets usage when the Dolphins are not in control of the game, which is why he barely got any touches last week. I wouldn’t start anyone else on the Dolphins. The Packers defense is a great option this week.
Seahawks @ Rams (-10) (Sun 1:25 PM PDT):
Blurb: Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and David Moore are all viable FLEX plays in a high scoring game, I’m certain one of them will score. Russell Wilson is a low-end starter at QB, but he should have good production trying to keep pace with the Rams. Chris Carson will also miss this game, so Mike Davis becomes a good start as well, but the downside is the Seahawks probably won’t run the ball as much as usual. On the Rams side of the ball, everyone is a must start: Goff, Kupp, Cooks, Woods, and Gurley. I like Kupp the best out of all the WRs in this game as the Seahawks have had the most trouble against slot receivers. The Rams defense is a good start this week.
Cowboys @ Eagles (-7) (Sun 5:20 PM PDT):
Blurb: The Cowboys offense is going to struggle, as the Eagles best quality as a defense is stopping the run, which is the Cowboys best source of offense. When the Cowboys are forced to throw, I actually like Amari Cooper’s matchup against the Eagles’ backup corners with Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones expected to miss this game. Cooper is still a so-so start because of the overall ineffectiveness of the Cowboys offense. They will feed him though. Ezekiel Elliott is a must start but temper expectations this week. On the Eagles side, their RBs are a three headed committee, which makes them all hard to start. If I had to pick one this game, I’d roll with Josh Adams, who looks like the best running back they have. Alshon Jeffery and Golden Tate should both have good games, as the Cowboys are below average on a yards/target basis. Zach Ertz is a must start, and you’re probably starting Carson Wentz as well.
Giants @ 49ers (-3) (Mon 5:20 PM PDT):
Blurb: Nick Mullens will make his second start for the 49ers, and they go up against a Giants team that is basically the same level as them. George Kittle is a must start, but I expect Matt Breida and Marquise Goodwin to have good games. Alfred Morris isn’t a good option, but if you are desperate throw him in as he’ll get some work with Raheem Mostert out for the season. On the Giants side, Barkley and Beckham are must starts, but Evan Engram is a borderline TE start. I think you can do better, but he isn’t a bad option. Sterling Shepard is in FLEX consideration this week. The 49ers defense is a possible starting option for me, I think they have an underrated front 7 that will get sacks against a porous Giants offensive line.