Welcome to your Start/Sit for Week 8!
I hope everyone had a good fantasy outing for Thursday (I’m writing this before the game). So I guess I can ad-lib?
Wow, did you see that catch that player made?
Oh man, this man was unstoppable!
Start. This. Guy. Every. Week.
Hopefully, that clears up my commentary for Thursday. On to the next!
There’s a ton of nice matchups this week. With only 2 teams on bye, we get some superstars back while others go on a week-long break. QBs that need great stat lines to get pass-poor defenses, running backs get to claim their stomping grounds, and wideout gets to pace corners. As always, I’ve included my outline for player rankings. Let’s get into it.
** Start of the Week **: This is my personal pick for the player I think has one of the best matchups for their position this week.
Start: These are players who have an enticing matchup, and could prove a massive asset to your fantasy team due to a vulnerability by an opposing defense or a breakout performance.
Sit: Players in this category have a poor matchup and could be rendered completely useless by game script or a digression in opportunities.
Flex Start: Players in a flex position are also usually controlled by a game script, but this opportunity benefits them (such as a WR2 receiving less attention than the WR1, thus increasing odds for a good performance).
Sleeper: For players that fly under the radar, the sleepers are potential breakouts for this particular matchup. Players that are not considered as big of a threat but have an increase in things such as targets or snap counts are ideal for this category and could surprise you for the week with a big game.
Teams on Bye this Week: Baltimore Ravens & Dallas Cowboys
New York Jets @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Start: Le’Veon Bell (RB)
Once again, Bell marks my only start. The Jaguars are a shell of their former defensive self, but they’ve allowed the 8th-most rushing yards per game. He should have a nice bounce-back game after last week’s shellacking.
Flex Start: Robby Anderson (WR)
While Bell makes the lone for-sure start, you can definitely take a shot on Robby Anderson in a flex. He’s one of Darnold’s favorite targets. Since Week 14 of last year, he’s seen at least 7 targets in games with Darnold. He’ll draw coverage for sure, so consider him a boom-or-bust player with WR3 upside this week.
That being said, don’t be surprised if you see this name under a different team next week.
If you sat Darnold last week, congrats. Do it again this week. The Jags are still a great pass-rush defense, and Darnold will have his hands full. As for Crowder, he’s not as big of a boom-candidate as Anderson, which is what the Jets need to gain a foothold. Herndon is still practicing in a limited fashion, but the Jags are susceptible to the TE position. If he’s not on the final injury report, he makes a nice streaming candidate due to his target volume.
Must Start: Leonard Fournette (RB)
What a matchup for Fournette. He’s been on fire this year (715 rush yards, 2nd in NFL), and now gets a Jets team that leads the league in rushing touchdowns allowed. They gave up 3 last week to Sony Michel (who has yards per carry of 3.3) and now get to try and contain Fournette (4.97 ypc). Good luck.
Start: Gardner Minshew II (QB), D.J. Chark (WR)
The Jets are a little harder to beat through the air, but they’re allowing the 9th-most passing yards a game. They were meticulously picked apart by TB12 just a few days ago to the tune of a shut-out. The Jags will lean on Fournette more in this game, but Minshew should do just fine as a streaming candidate.
Chark will no doubt draw over the top coverage from Jamal Adams, but Chark is a difference-maker for Minshew. Westbrook is questionable for the game, meaning more looks for Minshew’s No. 1 wideout.
Flex Start: N/A
Westbrook sat out practice this week, making him hard to trust. If he’s somehow in, he’s a nice flex option against a suspect Jets secondary. Conley is also intriguing for deeper leagues, but I don’t trust him to make as much of an impact as a WR3 with the Jags plans to feed Fournette.
Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts
Okay, I was wrong on Lindsay last week. He was completely shut out. But he’s too much of a game-breaking talent to be left for dead. The Colts are allowing the 6th-most yards per carry, and are weak against the pass, making a dual-threat back like Lindsay trouble for them.
With Sanders relocated to The Bay Area, Sutton is the unquestioned 1 on his team. Flacco likes him and targets him often, giving him at least 7 targets in every game this year. Fire him up in PPR against the Colts who have allowed 11 touchdowns to wide receivers this season.
Flex Start: Royce Freeman (RB)
I wasn’t wrong on Freeman though. He scored his first touchdown of the year on the first drive and….that was it. All game. Despite the team struggles, he matches Lindsay’s dual-threat status and is a nice play this week for the same reasons.
Sit: Joe Flacco (QB)
He’s a sit every week.
With Sanders gone, Hamilton could easily inherit some of the abandoned target shares, making him a sneaky WR3 in deep leagues. Fant failed to make an impact last week. He was targeted often like I thought he would be but failed to do anything with his opportunities (1 reception on 5 targets for 7 yards). The Colts are the 3rd-friendliest team for Tight Ends, so once again I will throw Fant out there.
Brissett is in for it this weak against a very stingy Broncos secondary, but his high passing volume is too much to ignore. Hilton is also a PPR machine and demands a ton of attention (27% target share).
Flex Start: Marlon Mack (RB)
I’m tempering on Mack a little bit. The Broncos showed out on Williams and McCoy last week and I expect Mack to feel that pressure this week. While I think he’ll fare much better, he’ll still have his hands full (Broncos are middle of the pack in rush defense across the board).
This is a tough matchup for tight ends. The Broncos are holding Tight Ends to less than 11-points on average, severely capping Doyle and Ebron’s ceilings. A timeshare in Indianapolis is non-existent and Mack is healthy, so you can safely leave Hines and Wilkins on your bench or in free agency.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee Titans
Must Start: Chris Godwin (WR)
Godwin has virtually replaced Evans as the 1 on the depth chart and leads all receivers with an average of 110.3 receiving yards per game. He has a tough matchup against a Titans secondary that has allowed the 4th-fewest points to wideouts, but his pure volume (9 targets in 4 out of 6 games) and efficiency (6 touchdowns, tied for 1st in the league) make him a weekly must-start.
Start: Mike Evans (WR)
Evans is still a start despite his rollercoaster stat line. His reception average per game is way down (4.5, 32nd among wideouts), but he’s still ranked in the Top 13, making him a borderline WR1. Temper expectations for Evans, who always has a chance to have a breakout performance.
Flex Start: Ronald Jones II (RB)
The Titans are middling against the run, holding teams to the 13th-fewest rushing yards per game (95.14 ypg). Jones has lived in the timeshare of Arians’ offense this season, and has been held to less than 10 carries the past two games. He’s a more explosive back than Barber, which makes him a slightly better play for this match.
Barber has lost pass-catching chances to Jones, limiting his efficiency for this matchup. Howard hasn’t practiced in full this week with a hamstring injuring. He’s risky regardless as he’s been uber disappointing on the season.
Sleeper: Cameron Brate (TE)
Brate has been used more effectively than O.J. Howard this season, and while his usage isn’t mind-blowing, you can take on him as a streaming option this week (rostered in less than 1% of leagues). The Titans allow the 10th-most points to the position, and with Howard possibly missing the game (DNP this week with a hamstring injury), he’s a sneaky sleepy start.
You can throw on the Buccaneers. Tannehill is a major upgrade to the wideouts for Tennessee and is a nice streaming option for the week against a Bucs secondary that is allowing the most passing a game (304.5). We saw what Corey Davis could do with a competent QB throwing to him, making Tannehill’s chances to score pretty solid.
The Bucs are the complete opposite against the run, allowing the fewest yards per carry (2.9) and rushing yards per game (68), making Henry seem risky. He’s a complete bell cow, though, and should see enough pure volume to be a high-end RB2 for this particular scrimmage.
With Tannehill’s switch to the starter, Davis rose to fantasy-relevance for the first time all year. He leads the target share for the team (17.5%) and could produce a quality line for this week (the Bucs allow the second-most points per game to wideouts). AJ. Brown is more of a boom candidate, but could also make moves against this weak secondary.
Walker was out last week and hasn’t practiced this week, making him a risky play if he does. Smith was far from efficient last week and I would fade him if Walker is in. If Walker is out, Smith is interesting against the soft coverage from the Bucs. Flex him if he’s starting; otherwise, forget about it.
Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints
Murray’s awful outing last week is a forgettable performance for the budding star. He has a great chance this week to bounce-back in a big way against the Saints, who are giving up over 20 fantasy points a game to signal-callers. Fitz is also in line for another strong showing, with Christian Kirk limited in practice for a consecutive week. He’s still a dominant receiver and should be more than enough of a challenge for Marshon Lattimore.
Flex Start: Chase Edmonds (RB)
It was the Edmonds show last week. In the breakout performance, the 2nd year back tallied 27 carries for 126 yards and 3 scores. This week is again a chance for Edmonds to show what he’s made of, with the Saints allowing the 9th-fewest rushing yards a game. Edmonds is super-explosive though; I like his chances to score more than once again.
I don’t expect either one of these guys to play, with Johnson not practicing and Kirk still limited.
The Cards are one of the easiest teams to throw on, even with Patrick Peterson back in the fold. Bridgewater has a 7:1 TD-INT ratio over the past three games and is in line to throw some dimes against a Cardinals secondary that is tied with the Falcons for the most passing touchdowns allowed this season (17).
Michael Thomas is a PPR machine. He’s hasn’t busted once this season, and leads all receivers in targets per game (11.14) and receptions (8.8) per game. Kamara, meanwhile, is trending in the right direction. He sat out last week and lent his role to Latavius Murray, who absolutely dominated. If Kamara is back (which I believe he will be), he’ll be challenged out the gate against a Cards run defense that is 4th in the NFL against the run.
Flex Start: Latavius Murray (RB)
Whether or not Kamara is in, he may be held to limited action. With one of the best games of his career last week in the front of everyone’s minds, Murray is a strong flex play this week.
Sit: Jared Cook (TE)
He’s been a non-participant in practice this week and should be out. The Saints have a bye next week, giving him an extended period to heal up and get right.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Los Angeles Rams
This may surprise a few, but I like Tate and Erickson more this week than Tyler Boyd. Although it might have just been a result of game-script, Erickson shot up in targets the past two weeks with 6 and 14. Tate has also played on more then 90% of the offensive snaps for the past month, securing his floor as a high-end WR3.
Dalton has been poor this season and faces a good, solid defense that is more than enough to shut him down. Boyd should draw coverage from Ramsey, who held Julio Jones in check last week. Mixon has been bad for fantasy, and the Rams rank 3rd in yard per carry against opposing running backs (3.4).
Must Start: Cooper Kupp (WR)
I’m staying in the flames with Kupp, who has had poor outings in the past weeks. He gets the Bengals, who are giving up roughly 160 yards per game to wideouts, and is a bounce-back candidate to show out this week.
Goff had a great game last week after being stifled completely out in Week 6. Lucky for Goff, the Bengals are 29th in takeaways, giving him a nice floor and slightly raising his ceiling. He’s a game manager at this point, but he should be able to break away another decent game this week.
Gurley was disappointing last week, but it’s hard to not start him against a Bengals rush defense that has allowed 9 rushing touchdowns (tied for 2nd most) and the most rushing yards (189 yards per game). Everett is also a start, having accumulated at least 15 fantasy points in 3 of the last 4 games. His volume and target count is too high to not play him.
I see both of these wideouts as even plays this week. They’ve both been equally disappointing for fantasy owners, but the Bengals are one of the best matchups for wide receivers. Flex either one of them as a high-end WR3.
Brown has been ruled out this week and thus should not be played. Henderson also shouldn’t see much action with Gurley practicing in full, at least not enough to be flex-worthy.
New York Giants @ Detroit Lions
Must Start: Saquon Barkley (RB)
Saquon had a decent game back last week but should get a chance to really make a fantasy impact this week against a Lions team that has allowed the 5th-most rushing yards per game to running backs (139.17 ypg). The Lions give up the 2nd-most offensive yards in the league, further cementing Barkley’s case for a strong start.
Engram also returned last week but made zero impact (1 rec for 6 yards). He’s in a better position to produce this week, as the big-bodied playmaker plays against a Lions defense that has allowed almost 13 points per game to tight ends. His ceiling should be capped after last week’s showing, but he should return to fantasy graces with a positive game script.
Jones has been fantasy irrelevant since his dominating Week 3 performance over the Bucs, but he gets a Lions defense that is giving up an average 20 points per game to quarterbacks. He’s a good bye week streaming option this week.
Flex Start: Golden Tate (WR)
Tate has seen at least 9 looks each of the past two weeks and has delivered high-end WR2 numbers. It’s clear that Jones trusts him, making him a great flex against a Lions defense that surrenders 23 points a game on average to wideouts. With Darius Slay out, Tate looks prime to put up some numbers.
Slayton’s usage has gone down recently, making him useless to roster (especially with Shepard hopefully returning soon). Ellison’s usage last week was an outlier and I don’t expect him to do that again with Engram rearing to go on Sunday.
The Giants are giving up the 3rd-most yards per attempt (8.3), placing Stafford in a position to perform well. With Kerryon Johnson being placed on IR, Stafford is going to be airing it out to his favorite target Kenny Golladay. The Giants are allowing about 40 points per game to wide receivers, setting Golladay up for a big day and the chance to finish as a Top 5 receiver this week.
Even though Jones had an incredible game last week, Golladay is still the No. 1 on the team. I expect things to balance back out this week, but Jones is still a great play (at least 5 targets every game since Week 2). Ty Johnson is also in line for a great game. I’m tempering his output for his first real start in the NFL, but the Giants lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns allowed (10). He’s a great RB2 pick up this week (rostered in about 64% of leagues).
Sit: T.J. Hockenson (TE)
He hasn’t topped 32 receiving yards since his unbelievable Week 1 and is too prone to drops to be trusted in PPR or Standard. Sit him.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Chicago Bears
Fantasy darling Austin Ekeler has been dynamite, and I believe that he rises above the Bears modest defense to win you a week. He leads all backs in receptions (49), receiving yards (488), receiving yards per game (69.7), and receiving touchdowns (4). The Bears average 28 points a game for running backs, making a PPR player like Ekeler a great start.
Henry is the red-zone target for Phillip Rivers, earning 8 looks in his two games back and zero drops. The Bears haven’t been great against tight ends (11th in points allowed), earning Henry another start ’em up this week.
Flex Start: Melvin Gordon (RB)
Gordon rushed 16 times for 32 yards last week, a terrible outing that resulted in 2 yards per carry (in case math is hard). His workload is enough to keep in flex consideration though. He’s out snapping Ekeler for carries but hasn’t done much through the air, which has become Ekeler’s territory. Still, his pure usage, along with the Bears middling rush defense, should earn him some points this week.
Allen was downgraded to sitting out practice Thursday after dealing with a hamstring injury and only individual workouts on Friday. He’s questionable for Sunday. Rivers will also be a bench for me this weak as he faces a Bears defense that is allowing less than 14 points a game to the position.
Sleeper: Mike Williams (WR)
He’s seen multiple red-zone targets in recent weeks but has failed to bring in any of them. It’s an encouraging sign though. If Keenan Allen is out, I expect Mike Williams to receive a big uptick in targets. I’m also betting on him getting his first touchdown of the year this game. We’ll see.
Start: Allen Robinson II (WR)
I love Allen Robinson. As a Duval faithful, I was really saddened by his departure. His quarterback situation didn’t really improve, but his usage is up a ton. He has 7 receptions in each of the last 3 weeks and a touchdown in as many, making him a great option against a Chargers team that has allowed 10 passing touchdowns.
Flex Start: David Montgomery (RB)
The Chargers are allowing over 117 rushing yards a game to running backs, making Montgomery a fantastic season-long bounce-back candidate. Nagy would be a fool to not employ Montgomery’s tackle-breaking prowess against the middling Chargers D.
Mitchell Trubisky hates receivers not named Allen Robinson, I’ve decided. Trey Burton was a fantasy bust last year, and he’s producing even less then he was last year. You can comfortably ignore these names this week and most weeks.
Sleeper: Tarik Cohen (RB)
The Dinosaur Hunter did as expected last week, drawing more receptions than carries. I expect a similar pace this week.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Buffalo Bills
Flex Start: Jordan Howard (RB)
My only start this week is Howard. Solely based on his carries, I expect the Eagles to be shut down in most aspects as the Bills rank in the Top 10 in most categories against opposing offenses. He’s a decent flex option if you don’t have other options.
The Bills have allowed the 2nd-fewest passing touchdowns (4), the 3rd-fewest points allowed a game (15), and the 3rd-fewest offensive yards a game (292.6). They’re 3rd against tight ends, 4th against quarterbacks, and 10th against wide receivers. The Eagles struggled last week, they will struggle again this week.
Allen and Brown balled out last week, and they will ball out again this week. I was hesitant on Brown last week because of his limited showing, but he produced 5 receptions for 83 yards and touchdown against the terrible Dolphins defense. He gets another poor pass defense this week, making him and Allen high-value plays. The Eagles have allowed 14 passing touchdowns (tied for 4th most) and will have their hands full with a rushing quarterback like Allen.
Flex Start: Cole Beasley (WR)
Beasley flew under the radar and produced nicely last week on the back of a touchdown. I’m betting he gets another one this week.
I expect this to be a very pass-heavy game as the Eagles are very good against the run (3.7 yards per carry) and thus I’ll fade Gore and Singletary this week.
Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons
** Quarterback Start of the Week**: Russell Wilson (QB)
Wilson struggled last week, okay? It wasn’t his best performance. I guess what he’ll need is a good bounce-back game against say, I don’t know, a team that surrenders the most points to quarterbacks, the most passing touchdowns in the league (17), and are next to last in takeaways. Wait… is that the Falcons? Huh.
Fire him up.
Take what I said above and apply it to Lockett.
Chris Carson is a bonafide workhorse that has pass-catching in his profile. That, along with the Falcons allowing the second-most points a game (31.86), makes Carson a mid-range RB1 with high upside.
Flex Start: D.K. Metcalf (WR)
There should be more than enough targets to go around with the absence of Will Dissly. I like Metcalf’s chances to put up some good numbers in this game.
Brown hasn’t caught more than 3 balls in any game this season, so I expect Wilson to continue to feed Lockett, Carson, Metcalf, and possibly Penny first before finding him. Bench Penny regardless.
** Tight End Start of the Week **: Austin Hooper (TE)
The Hawks are one of the friendliest tight end matchups. With Sanu’s target share gone, Hooper will inherently earn a portion of that. Schaub will most likely need to dump off passes to Hooper, who gets a defense that’s allowed the 5th-most points to the tight end position.
Start: Julio Jones (WR)
Whether or not Matt Ryan starts this week, Jones is a big enough presence in the offense to command attention from the signal-caller. The Seahawks are middling in every way against the pass, so keep Jones in your lineup. You shouldn’t move him out, regardless.
Ridley is in flex solely because of his QB situation. With Sanu gone and Matt Schaub possibly starting, I’m not sure what to expect volume-wise from Ridley. He’ll get touches, but his ceiling (for this week at least) is limited. I do expect the Falcons to slightly lean on Freeman in the rushing game, as the Seahawks have allowed the 2nd-most rushing touchdowns in the league (9).
I don’t expect many big plays from Schaub (who I expect to start). Ryan is an okay option if he’s in, but I doubt he’ll make it onto the field.
Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers
Must Start: Christian McCaffrey (RB)
He’s back! Run CMC returns from the bye to a real challenge. Luckily for us, he’s superhuman. I’m not going to apply the defensive stats against McCaffrey because, in my opinion, he’s the top running back in the league. Start him this week, start him every week.
Flex Start: Greg Olsen (TE)
I will list the 49ers stats here, though. Olsen gets volume from Kyle Allen, but he’s a low-end TE1 this week. The 49ers are 2nd-best against tight ends, allowing roughly 6.7 points per game to the position.
The 49ers are 2nd in the NFL against quarterbacks, tight ends, and running backs. They are 1st against wide receivers and allow the least amount of passing yards a game (133.5). I’m fine benching all of these players this week.
Start: George Kittle (TE)
Kittle is a TE1 every week. Even against a Carolina defense that is Top 10 against tight ends, he’s a high-volume and agile playmaker who plays more like a big receiver.
Sanders is new to The Bay Area, but he automatically jumps to the WR1 on the team. I’m fading expectations this week, especially considering the duress Jimmy G will face, but I expect he’ll do alright. Coleman has flipped Breida in carries and will face the 12th-ranked rush defense, but should get decent work. I expect this to be a low-scoring game, but Coleman will get the goal-line work if San Francisco reaches the red-zone.
While not as stingy as the 49ers, the Caroline pass defense is still phenomenal, ranking 2nd to only the Patriots in takeaways. I’m limiting all non-high volume targets this week.
Cleveland Browns @ New England Patriots
Flex Start: Nick Chubb (RB)
The Patriots are playing at home this week, and that means death to all visitors. Chubb will have his hands full against a Patriots defense that is 1st in the NFL against the run, allowing about 11 points to the position. They’ve allowed the 2nd-least rushing yards a game (74.7) and only 2 rushing touchdowns. He should do okay solely based on volume, but don’t expect him to be able to do much with one of the worst O-lines in the league blocking for him.
Do I even need to spell this out for you? Mayfield ranks first in interceptions (11), 29th in passing touchdowns (5). He gets a Pats pass rush defense (say that 5 times fast) that is 1st in the league. What else are they first in? Points allowed to QBs (6.6). The Pats are also 3rd against wide receivers (28.7 tot points). Did you fire up the Pats defense last week? Good.
Do it again.
The Patriots offense is riding the wave of their defense, which is just fine for Brady and friends. They get a Browns defense that’s allowed the 5th-most TD passes (12) and the 3rd-most rushing yards per game (154). I expect a high-end QB2, low-end QB1 performance from Brady and good outings for Edelman and Michel, the latter who should get rolling thanks to the likely absence of Burkhead (out the last 3 games with a foot injury).
Flex Start: James White (RB)
This is mainly a PPR play, but White has been one of the most consistent pass-catching backs in the league, second to only Austin Ekeler in receptions on the season. He should do fine against a Cleveland team that is 27th against running backs.
Dorsett hasn’t been involved as of late, and we don’t know what Sanu’s usage will be until this game. Cleveland is fairly middle of the pack in terms of tight ends defense, but Belichick may choose to mostly un this game, so the 4th or 5th options aren’t very ideal for an adequate fantasy output.
Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans
The Raiders will travel to Houston to take on the Texans, who’s defense is perhaps the easiest one Carr will face all season. The Houston secondary provides a nice breather after Minnesota, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Green Bay in the last 4 games. Houston is 28th against QBs, allowing the 5th-most points to the position. If he’s on the waiver, and options like Stafford aren’t there, you could do worse than Carr.
Josh Jacobs will also be busy. Bill O’Brien‘s defense is mid-range in rush defense, but Jacobs is explosive enough and could have a surprisingly good game despite nursing a shoulder injury. Waller also faces a good tight end matchup, but he’s too elite to be held,d to the same standards as regular tight ends and thus is always a start.
Flex Start: N/A
I suspect Carr might have a good game, but his number one wide receiver is most likely missing another game.
Sleeper: Keelan Doss (WR)
I like his chances to step up this week. He might lead receivers in receptions, with Hunter Renfrow having more than 2 receptions only twice on the year and Zay Jones still getting ingrained into the offensive scheme. He’s a nice deeper league flier.
** Wide Receiver Start of the Week **: DeAndre Hopkins (WR)
Oakland has allowed the 2nd-most passing yards per game (289.8), and have been incredibly easy to throw on. For a PPR monster like Hopkins, this is a win-win scenario.
Must Start: Deshaun Watson (QB)
Deshaun was almost my quarterback start of the week, and it’s easy to see why. Oakland is tied for the 2nd-most passing touchdowns allowed and is near the bottom in takeaways with 4.
Flex Start: Kenny Stills (WR)
I’m picking Stills over Coutee because of the consistency throughout the season. With Will Fuller‘s absence, Stills is set as the No. 2 in a high-passing offense. He’s rostered in less than half of ESPN leagues (44.5%), making him a great streaming option or even replacement if you had Fuller.
I don’t think Keke or Fells will see enough looks this week to be worthy of roster spots, and the running game will be second to the passing work. Hyde and Johnson are both volume and touchdown-dependent. In a matchup that doesn’t favor them, they’re a bench.
Green Bay Packers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Must Start: Aaron Rodgers (QB)
Last week showcased why we love Aaron Rodgers. He posted a perfect passer rating (153.8) and was responsible for six total touchdowns. This week he gets another beat-up defense that will be without a couple of playmakers, making life a bit easier for Rodgers. Kansas City is allowing about 19 points a game to QB’s, setting up Rodgers for another strong performance.
Start: Aaron Jones (RB)
My only other sure-fire start is Aaron Jones, who caught his first receiving touchdown of the year last week. The Chiefs defense has allowed the 5th-most rushing touchdowns on the season (9), and will probably be even more vulnerable with the absence of defensive stars Frank Clark and Chris Jones. I like him as an RB1 this week.
Flex Start: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR)
With Davante Adams out yet again, MVS may lead the way this week as Rodger’s main target. The depth chart for wide receivers has been plagued by injuries, but MVS has been playing through his. If you need someone to flex out, MVS could do well enough in the WR3 range to warrant a roster spot.
I expect Adams to be out this week again, but he should be back next week against a slacking Chargers team. Kumerow and Allison haven’t been fantasy relevant at all this season, and even though Kumerow scored last week, he’s buried deep on the depth chart along with Lazard. The Chiefs have only allowed 1 TE touchdown on the year, making Graham extremely risky. There are better options on the waiver. Jamaal Williams is also too tough to trust, with up and down production throughout the season. Bench him as well.
The two elite options for Kansas City take a significant bump down in their projected totals for this week with Patrick Mahomes nursing a disclosed knee cap. Hill and Kelce are both safe dump-off targets though for backup Matt Moore, who should be under plenty of duress during the game. Temper your expectations for Kelce and Hill as a high-end WR2 and low-end TE1 for this game.
Flex Start: LeSean McCoy (RB)
The new lead back in KC, McCoy has lead the team in carries over the past two weeks. He’s been more efficient than Damien Williams in the passing game as well and should be leaned on by Moore a fair amount for this game, making him a fine flex option.
Moore’s struggles as a vertical passer and the loss of Mahomes passing prowess severely limits any receiving option not named Tyreek Hill. Williams has also been losing touches to McCoy and has been averaging a 3.6 ypc. Sit all of these guys.
Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Flex Start: DeVante Parker (WR)
The only Dolphin to have a touchdown in each of the past 3 weeks, Parker is a deep-league flex shot that may produce decent WR3 numbers. He’s a nice shot if your waivers are empty; just remember though, that a QB change halfway through the game can severely cap his ceiling.
The Steelers have the 5th-highest sack rate in the NFL and are great last stuffing the run, holding backs to the 9th-lowest ypc (3.8). These players are all hard to trust due to the matchup and the team’s poor offense. I don’t expect Chad O’Shea to retain Offensive Coordinator duties by the end of the season.
** Running back Start of the Week **: James Conner (RB)
Conner is back to full health after the bye week and enjoys a nice matchup against a Dolphins team that’s allowed the 2nd-most rushing yard per game. He should dominate the field on Sunday.
The Dolphins have allowed the 2nd-most passing touchdowns and the highest yards-per-attempt rate in the league. This puts Juju squarely in the running for a WR1 week and Mason Rudolph as one of the top streaming options at the position.
Flex Start: Jaylen Samuels (RB)
Samuels is back to practicing in full after having his knee scoped just a few weeks ago, and may see some nice usage alongside Conner in a complementary role.
Vance is returning from an absence and can’t be trusted to put up even decent numbers. Washington and Moncrief are also far from fantasy relevance and shouldn’t even be rostered at this point.
Zach Hargis is a writer for Dynasty Football Digest. He enjoys playing the drums, doing voice impressions, and quoting The Office. If any of those things interest you, he welcomes you to follow him on Twitter @ZachFFDrummer and to check out his personal interests on Instagram @zakktastic.