This week we have a pretty light Bye week, with only the Ravens, Patriots, Bengals, and Jets off. That said, we have some interesting matchups in the NFL this week, which should allow for some big games from players.
We are getting to the point of the season where you may need wins to keep your playoff hopes alive, so these decisions get more and more stressful. It helps to take a moment to do some research on matchups in order to pick the best options to bring you a few more victories down the stretch.
Let’s look at who the big names are for this week’s Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em.
Tom Brady, QB (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
I was going to keep Justin Fields here, but that just seemed too easy. So I went with a much riskier option in Tom Brady.
Brady faces an interesting test this week against a surging Seattle defense that has been playing very well against Quarterbacks. But it’s still Tom Brady, who has attempted at least 40 passes every game since Week Three.
This game is in Tampa Bay and even though Seattle has been a big surprise this season, I think Brady is able to throw on them. And the Seattle offense has been good, whereas the Tampa Bay defense has been iffy, so this could be a higher-scoring affair than most think.
Tyler Allgeier, RB (Atlanta Falcons)
Cordarrelle Patterson returned from IR last week and immediately made his usual impact in the Atlanta offense. That said, Tyler Allgeier still had a big role and used it to rush 10 times for 99 yards. He also caught a pass for 24 yards.
This week the Falcons get a rematch of their shootout with Carolina on Thursday night, but there are a few reasons I don't think this will be a pass-heavy, high-scoring game again.
First off, it’s a Thursday night game that usually produces low-scoring slugfests. Second, a tropical storm is heading into the area Thursday evening, which should make this game very interesting. Windy and rainy conditions could push both teams to run the ball a ton, so Allgeier should get plenty of work alongside Patterson.
With how much Atlanta runs the ball, Allgeier is in a good position for a lot of work Thursday night.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR (Cleveland Browns)
Donovan Peoples-Jones has quietly been a solid PPR option for fantasy, finishing with at least 50 yards in all five of his last games. He has yet to score a touchdown, but that could change on Sunday in a potential shootout with the Dolphins.
The Dolphins' offense is obviously stacked and should throw all over the Browns, forcing Jacoby Brissett to throw a bit more to keep up. The Dolphin defense hasn’t been good, so DPJ has a great opportunity to get his first touchdown of the season.
If you need a flex start or Bye-week fill-in, Peoples-Jones is an intriguing option.
Cade Otton, TE (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Cade Otton has been solid as a target for Tom Brady with Cameron Brate out, and now faces the worst defense in the league in points allowed to Tight Ends. The Seattle Seahawks rank 32 nd and gave up 40 yards and a touchdown last week.to Zach Ertz.
With the run game struggling for Tampa, Brady will have to throw a lot to try and move the ball efficiently. Otton might not be a huge yardage guy yet, but he is a relatively safe bet for a touchdown.
He is a great streaming option in a plus matchup this week.
Will Lutz, K – (New Orleans Saints)
Usually, I like to pick Kickers who will be in a shootout, but today I went with a guy who is on a decent, but not great team. The Saints should be able to move the ball against a struggling Pittsburgh defense but are also not good enough to score every single time. They will stall out, allowing Will Lutz to attempt some field goals.
Lutz has always been a solid Kicker and should make a few in this one.
Arizona Cardinals, DST
I’m trying to pick streaming options as the Start ‘em defenses, so this week I’m going with the Arizona Cardinals. Now by no means has the Cardinal defense been good. In fact, they’ve been pretty awful.
But they do face a Rams’ offense that is struggling mightily to put up points. The Rams are averaging just 14 points per game over the last five weeks. Cooper Kupp is dealing with an ankle injury (didn’t seem to hinder him much last week but still) and the Rams legit can’t run the ball.
If your defense is on a Bye or just has a bad matchup, the Cardinals are an interesting choice….although I’ll be honest they aren’t that great so you gotta hope Kupp doesn’t go off for 200 yards.
Justin Herbert, QB (Los Angeles Chargers)
Justin Herbert just hasn’t been his usual self this season, disappointing many fantasy players who spent up to draft him this season. It’s really not his fault, since his top Receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have been hurt for the majority of the season.
Still, Herbert has only eclipsed the 300-yard mark twice, and his touchdowns have really fallen flat without his top targets on the field. Even last week against a horrible Atlanta defense Herbert only managed 245 yards and one touchdown.
This week the Chargers face a much stiffer 49er defense coming off a Bye. With Allen and Williams still sidelined, Herbert will have to rely on Joshua Palmer and Austin Ekeler against one of the top defenses in the NFL.
This might be the week to pivot if you have a backup option.
Latavius Murray, Chase Edmonds, Melvin Gordon, RB (Denver Broncos)
The Denver Broncos are a mess on offense, and now they muddied the backfield further by trading for Chase Edmonds, who was supposed to be the starter for the Dolphins this season.
Not only is the offense bad, but they also face the Titans this week, who is currently the sixth-best defense against the Running Back position. The Broncos are coming off their Bye, which means Edmonds had a week to really get to learn the Bronco offense, and the uncertainty of how this backfield shapes out makes it very hard to start any of them in fantasy.
I’d wait a week or two to see who gets the majority of the work before I start any of these guys.
Gabriel Davis, WR (Buffalo Bills)
The Minnesota Vikings may not be the scary defense it once was, but Gabriel Davis has done nothing recently to warrant starting. He’s been dropping passes, getting only two catches a game, and just struggling alongside the Bill’s passing game (at times).
Now Josh Allen has an elbow injury that could hold him out a week or two (or at least hinder his throwing arm), making Davis an even riskier start.
With Davis’ recent struggles and not 100% Josh Allen (or a backup), he is a sit this week.
Dalton Schultz, TE (Dallas Cowboys)
The Packers are struggling mightily to move the ball, but their defense against Tight Ends is the best in the league. That’s why I’m fading Dalton Schultz this week.
The Cowboys should be able to run all over the Green Bay defense, and between CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, they should be able to pass all over them too.
Add to that how good the Dallas defense is and you can see why this one will probably get out of hand quickly, allowing the Cowboys to work the clock with their Running Backs. Schultz might get a few catches here and there, but don’t expect a big fantasy day.
Eddie Piniero and Younghoe Koo, K (Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons)
With a tropical storm coming, you have to hedge your bets on these kickers this week.
If it does hit, you may not even see a field goal attempt with winds whipping. Now it’s not a 100% chance that this storm will hit so I may be eating my words later, but you may want a backup option if it indeed does get crappy by kickoff.
Even extra points may be iffy if it is windy enough, so maybe go with a safer option this week.
Tennessee Titans, DST
You might see the Titans playing the Broncos and think, “ah this is an easy stream option”. But something tells me the Broncos coming off the Bye might make it a bit more of a trap game for the Titan's defense.
For sure the Titans are good at defending the run, but they’ve been very susceptible to the pass. I really don’t want to believe that Russell Wilson is done, so hopefully, the Broncos used the Bye week to tweak their gameplan and maybe allow Wilson to make bigger throws.
The Bye week should also have helped Wilson’s lat heal, and I think he could put up some bigger numbers against this bad pass defense.
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