Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens 1:05 p.m. EST
The Lions come in as new NFL Darlings as they improved their record to 5-1. Still, I don’t trust their offense on the road, especially with RB David Montgomery out. They turn to a backfield of Craig Reynolds and Jahmyr Gibbs, who is going to play after missing the last two weeks, according to HC Dan Campbell. Neither project to have big games vs. a solid Raven run defense, but they can be used as bye-week replacements in Seasonal leagues. I want to see how Gibbs is used in the passing game. QB Jared Goff is much better at home, and the Ravens’ pass defense is excellent. Of course, you play WR Amon-Ra St. Brown in Seasonal leagues along with TE Sam LaPorta, but both will be a hard pass in DFS. WR Jameson Williams is also a bye-week replacement; let’s see if his targets go up. There will be much better games to play Detroit in as the season progresses.
There is something that tells me that QB Lamar Jackson is going to have a good game. Detroit’s defense is about stopping the run and having a tremendous pass rush. I think Jackson can evade the pressure, gain 70 yards on the ground, and create some big plays down the field. I like WR Zay Flowers and wouldn’t be surprised if either WR Odell Beckham Jr. or WR Rashod Bateman scored on a long play, but I love TE Mark Andrews. I think he will have some chunk plays vs. the 29th defense against the tight end and it would not surprise me if he is the top fantasy tight end for the week. I really like Baltimore in this game.
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts 1:05 p.m. EST
QB Deshaun Watson returned to practice in limited fashion on Thursday, leaving a chance that he will get the start on Sunday. If he is unable to go, then it will be QB P.J. Walker. Regardless of who the starter is, I really like WR Amari Cooper and TE David Njoku. Cooper had four catches for 108 yards last week, along with eight targets. He has a much better matchup here and could see double-digit targets. I am expecting at least seven catches and another 100 yards. A trip to the end zone would make him a huge DFS steal. I know Njoku hasn’t done much, but he should get involved here. I think this is a game where the score is going to be much higher than people think, as the total is 40.5, and I like the Browns’ passing offense as the Colts are good vs. the run.
As mentioned, I think this is going to be a higher-scoring game than people think. The Browns’ defense has been stellar and just held the 49ers to just 17 points. How are the Colts going to score? Well, if you look at the team total, Vegas has the Colts at 19.5. That says to me that they expect the Colts’ offense to be better than anyone thinks. Does RB Jonathan Taylor or WR Michael Pittman have a big week? Or does WR Josh Downs make some big plays? All will be low-owned and someone is going to score because Vegas is telling us that. I think I will play Taylor, as I think he can rack up a ton of catches and is most likely to reach the end zone.
Las Vegas Raiders at Chicago Bears 1:05 p.m. EST
QB Jimmy Garoppolo is out for Sunday, leaving QB Brian Hoyer as the most likely starter as he completed the second half last week. There is an outside chance that QB Aidan O’Connell could get the start as he did in Week 4 vs. the Chargers. Regardless of who starts, they must get WR Davante Adams the ball. He’s their best player, and Adams has been frustrated with his lack of usage of late. As we have seen from big-time receivers like A.J. Brown and Ja’Marr Chase, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I have to expect Adams to have a big game here. WR Jakobi Meyers has been Mr. Consistency, scoring 15+ fantasy points in four out of the five games he has played. TE Michael Mayer was more involved last week. Was that an anomaly, or is it the start of a trend? He is dirt cheap in DFS and could be a nice punt option. RB Josh Jacobs has been getting 25+ touches a game and is going to pop for 30 fantasy points one of these weeks. Why not against Chicago? Don’t be fooled by the Bears’ defensive showing last week, as the Vikings had holes and receivers wide open. The Raiders’ explosive weapons can exploit those weaknesses, expect at least 20 points.
As for the Bears, QB Justin Fields is out and makes way for QB Tyson Bagent. All I can really say is that he is dirt cheap in DFS and could be a flyer. The Raiders’ defense can put some pressure on, but they aren’t some stout defense anyone is afraid of. I could see 200-225 passing yards and also a few yards on the ground for Bagent. If he can get you even 15 fantasy points, then you can really load up a DFS lineup. WR D.J. Moore is a must-start in Seasonal, but I think you can find much better receivers at his price for DFS. TE Cole Kmet is going to be a pass for me as well. RB D’Onta Foreman could be sneaky. He had 16 touches last week and could easily have 5x value in DFS if he reaches the end zone with that type of volume.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots 1:05 p.m. EST
The Bills’ offense is so frustrating to watch at times. They have all the tools to score 30 points per game but often fall short. They abandon the run way too early, even when it is working, and that really diminishes RB James Cook’s fantasy value. The pass-happy offense is predictable and gets easy to scheme against. I think that is one of the reasons why they don’t get as deep in the playoffs as they would like. WR Stefon Diggs averages 25.5 points per game, but I think Patriot HC Bill Belichick will try everything in his power to limit Diggs, leaving WR Gabe Davis a DFS darling. I am not saying Diggs won’t get his, he will, but Davis will be the better bargain and get back into the end zone this week. You can play a Bills stack, but it does get expensive.
The Patriots’ offense isn’t very good, and I am not playing any of their players unless I am completely desperate. The Bills’ D could completely shut them down and should be the main defense to target.
Washington Commanders at New York Giants 1:05 p.m. EST
Is it just me, or is this game total about four points off? I see it at 37.5, but I have it at about 41.5. Both teams are Jekyll and Hyde offensively. Washington has inconsistent quarterback play from QB Sam Howell, but he does seem to flutter around 20 fantasy points every week. The Giants’ pass defense was surprisingly good last week against QB Josh Allen, and a repeat performance could bottle up the passing game. WR Terry McLaurin is cheap but can get open. I think either WR Curtis Samuel or WR Jahan Dotson could go off and be very sneaky in DFS. TE Logan Thomas let everyone down last week and I don’t think he can make up for it this week. RB Brian Robinson does have a great matchup as the Giants are 30th vs. the run, but he just doesn’t do enough in the passing game to take down a DFS tournament.
We still haven’t word who is going to be the starting Giants QB. I think it will be Tyrod Taylor as Daniel Jones isn’t cleared for contact as of yet and I think it’s just a formality until they rule him out. I thought Taylor looked okay in a hostile environment vs. a very tough Bills’ pass defense last week. If he can score 10 points there, I bet he can double that at home versus a weak Washington pass defense. Call me crazy, but I will be playing him quite a bit in DFS because of his cheap price. No receiver stands out to me as a must-have player, but I do like TE Darren Waller. I think he scores his first TD of the year. RB Saquon Barkley showed that he had some burst and looks 100%. Washington did give up five catches to RB Bijan Robinson last week, so I could see Barkley adding 10-15 points just in the passing game. 20 fantasy points seem about right for him
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:05 p.m. EST
Not much to say about this one. You start your studs like RB Bijan Robinson, WR Drake London, and WR Mike Evans in Seasonal, but I would avoid the game in DFS. A low total of 37 means we focus on the defenses as I see a few sacks from both sides.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams 4:05 p.m. EST
The Steelers are coming off a bye after beating the Baltimore Ravens with just 287 yards of total offense. It’s no secret that they have been disappointing the entire season. Maybe the week off and the return of WR Diontae Johnson will get this offense jump-started. RB Najee Harris has been a huge disappointment, but still has had 15+ touches in his last three games. If he can somehow score, he can get you some production, but at this point, he is nothing more than a bye-week replacement. Seasonal fantasy owners are left holding onto him and hoping he gets his season turned around. The Rams’ defense is better than anticipated and I think 15 points would be his ceiling. Diontae Johnson is back and is worth a flyer in all formats. He should immediately lead the team in targets and is a better DFS value than George Pickens. TE Darnell Washington could be a sneaky at min-price. He would have to score a touchdown, but the Rams don’t cover the tight end.
DFS players have a dilemma when it comes to RB Zach Evans, who should start and is at min-price. What kind of volume will he get, and can he score? The Steelers can be run on and Evans can easily 5x his value. What isn’t a dilemma is the passing game. I love a Matthew Stafford to WR Cooper Kupp and WR Puka Nacua stack. The Steelers will play more man defense, but their corners won’t be able to keep up. I could see 100 yards and a TD from each receiver. WR Tutu Atwell could also sneak in a long one, but I don’t think he will get the volume. TE Tyler Higbee is a pass in all formats. The only concern here is the Steelers’ pass rush, but I think Stafford will get the ball out quickly with his full complement of receivers.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks 4:05 p.m. EST
The Cardinals’ offense is trending down, as no one has been consistent fantasy-wise. RB James Conner is on IR, and his loss has been a major blow. RB Keaontay Ingram was able to get 12 touches last week but I don’t figure he does much here. I think the Cardinals will have to abandon the run as I think they play from behind the majority of the game. QB Joshua Dobbs has been inconsistent without a running game; he has faced a lot of pass rush and has had to scramble for his life. WR Marquise Brown is his best option, but I just think this is going to be an ugly game, and the Seattle defense is much better than their pass ranking. Why? Because their pass rush has been greatly improved, causing tons of pressure and creating 14 sacks over the past two weeks. Also, they were without super-talented rookie CB Devon Witherspoon and S Jamal Adams for the first handful of games. Since they have been back, there has been a major improvement in coverage. Plus, with an expected lead, Seattle can pin their ears back and head straight to the QB, making them a desired defense for all fantasy formats. Take note that TE Trey McBride had four receptions for 62 yards and can be used as a punt option TE for DFS.
Seattle has to be disgusted with how they lost to the Bengals last week. They outgained them 381 to 214 total yards. In fact, they were inside the Bengals 10-yard line four times and only came away with three points. QB Geno Smith has been criticized since he threw two picks, but one was not his fault, as the receiver stopped on his route. The other was a bad pass, but it happens. It didn’t help that he was under constant pressure and was throwing on the run for most of the game. What I want to focus on is the positive, as he threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. He also got 10 different pass catchers involved, showing that he is scanning the field. He could have a big game this week against a porous Cardinal defense. There is an opportunity to throw for another 300 yards and two or three touchdown passes, with WR D.K. Metcalf being the biggest beneficiary, as I think he eclipses 100 yards. WR Tyler Lockett could also see 100 yards as he is coming off a six-catch, 94-yard performance. My only concern for the Seattle passing game is RB Kenneth Walker, who has been a sensational fantasy player this year and can easily eclipse 100 yards himself and score a touchdown or two. We can play both Walker and a Seattle receiver as a stack as last week we saw Rams’ WR Cooper Kupp and RB Kyren Williams dominate for 300 yards combined. I expect Seattle to win going away.
Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos 4:25 p.m. EST
The Packers come in off a much-needed bye to get healthy and to regroup. Their offense has been inconsistent and has had only one solid quarter over their past three games. Luckily for them, they take on an abysmal Denver defense that doesn’t stop the pass or run. All Packer players are in play, but I would really like RB Aaron Jones if he is available. So far, he has been limited in practice this week with a tweaked hamstring. I think he can push for 100 total yards and a touchdown with an outside chance at much more. If he is unable to go, then AJ Dillon will get most of the work. He can have a solid day but doesn’t have that ceiling potential Jones would have. WR Christian Watson is their most explosive receiver, but Romeo Doubs has been their most consistent. I expect one of these guys to go off here vs. the bad Denver defense despite QB Jordan Love’s inconsistency. A Packer offense coming off a bye could be a sneaky stack, and WR Jayden Reed can be a deep dive flyer for a milli-maker.
The Denver offense must run the ball to beat Green Bay, as the Packers have a top-10 pass defense and a top-three cover corner in Jaire Alexander. Unfortunately, the Broncos have a committee at running back. Last week, it was a split backfield between Javonte Williams and Jaleel McLaughlin. I am hoping the split was only because Williams was coming off a tweaked knee. I do like McLaughlin as a nice change of pace back, but it’s apparent that Williams is better and could dominate here if he were to get 20 touches … which he most likely won’t get. I am avoiding the passing game, especially WR Jerry Jeudy, who will most likely get Alexander in coverage. TE Greg Dulcich would have been an option, but I don’t know if he will play as he tweaked his hamstring. I would be out on TE Adam Trautman if he gets the start, as I don’t think he can take advantage like Dulcich can.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs 4:25 p.m. EST
This game features the highest total on the board at 48 surrounded by games that have lower-than-normal totals. When you think of the Chargers, you think of high-scoring offense with the talent they have. Three players come to mind: QB Justin Herbert, WR Keenan Allen, and RB Austin Ekeler; their DFS prices are expensive, so you are probably going to only be able to pick two if you do a DFS stack. They have various other pieces, but none have had much fantasy relevance. If I had to pick one player, though, it would be Ekeler. I think he has to have a big game, as the Chiefs can bring a pass rush and have a talented secondary. I think he will do most of his damage catching passes, though. Look for at least seven catches with 120 total yards and a touchdown.
As for the Chiefs, it’s all about QB Patrick Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce, but they will eat up a ton of DFS capital. They are difficult to stop, though. How many times have you seen Kelce wide open? The Chiefs also have a gaggle of various parts that can step up. RB Isiah Pacheco has been consistent and did catch six passes in his last game. A touchdown should get him near 20 fantasy points. WR Rashee Rice shows promise, but he hasn’t had that big game that can take down a DFS tournament yet. He is getting better and better. All in all, this game has a lot of big pieces but will have to sail over the 48 total to justify paying top DFS dollars for the studs. I think a stack of the lower-priced players could be sneaky.