Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers 1:05 p.m. EST
Falcon QB Desmond Ridder had quite the game last week, throwing for 347 yards. He will have a much tougher time this week, as the Carolina pass defense has been excellent. The way to beat the Panthers has been on the ground, but their defense is improving in that regard as well. The only player I am considering is RB Bijan Robinson, as I expect that he will get back to 20+ touches in this matchup. Let’s just hope RB Tyler Allgeier doesn’t get the touchdowns. I am out on WR Drake London and TE Kyle Pitts.
As for the Panthers, RB Chuba Hubbard is cheap, but Atlanta does have a good run defense. Still, we can’t ignore that he had 25+ touches and the Panthers just aren’t interested in passing the ball, especially when QB Bryce Young has been under intense pressure and inaccurate. WR Adam Thielen is still priced too high considering he has had many weeks of poor production. WR Jonathan Mingo is priced right; he led the team in targets each of the last two weeks, but can he catch six for 60 and score a TD? Probably not, considering he hasn’t scored all season, but if he does, he will be in the winning lineups. So, he is worth a hope and prayer for those who play many lineups.
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns 1:05 p.m. EST
It’s difficult to imagine the Bears scoring a whole bunch vs. a very good Cleveland defense. Still, QB Justin Fields is interesting no matter the matchup. He can score from anywhere on the field and can create with his legs. His ownership will be low, but he is priced up and has to have 100 yards rushing plus a TD, as I think he will struggle in the passing game. TE Cole Kmet would be the only other player I would consider here, as TE Evan Engram was the number one fantasy tight end vs. the Browns last week. I realize that WR D.J. Moore has three straight 20-point performances, but that ends this week.
Much like the Bears, I think the Browns are going to struggle to score as well. The Bears’ defense is healthy and is causing a lot of QB pressure right now. QB Joe Flacco has been a nice story, but I don’t think TE David Njoku is going to be running wide open for easy touchdowns this week. I don’t see either receiver Amari Cooper or Elijah Moore doing enough to win a tournament.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers 1:05 p.m. EST
As mentioned last week, the two players you want to play from Tampa are WR Mike Evans and RB Rachaad White. I think White has to be the focus here and will need to have a solid game if Tampa wants to win. He should score and surpass 100 total yards. Evans had a dud game last week, but I expect him to get open deep down the field, especially if CB Jaire Alexander is out again this week. WR Chris Godwin needs too much volume to be a good play, as he doesn’t get into the end zone. TE Cade Otton could be a sneaky punt option to reach the end zone. Maybe he and QB Baker Mayfield can establish a more consistent connection after that late game-winning TD vs. the Falcons last week.
The Packer offense is coming off a lackluster performance in which QB Jordan Love was just a tad off. Still, this is a great bounce-back spot for him and the Packer passing game. Desmond Ridder threw for 347 yards against this defense, and Love could do the same. WR Jayden Reed is priced too cheap, as he has averaged 16 fantasy points over his last five games. The matchup here is juicy, so he could easily approach 20 points. WR Romeo Doubs has taken a step back in fantasy and doesn’t appear to be getting much separation. He is playable, though, as it looks like WR Christian Watson will be out this week. Watson is a play if he were to somehow suit up. RB Aaron Jones may return, but I am avoiding all Packer running backs, including AJ Dillon.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins 1:05 p.m. EST
The Jets’ offense came on last week but to expect a duplicate performance may be a bit far-fetched. The Dolphins’ defense has been solid except for the final several minutes vs. Tennessee when they unexplainably played soft. Still, the Jets do have really good offensive weapons who can shine at any time. RB Breece Hall does most of his damage catching the ball, as he has 26 catches over his past five games. If he reaches the end zone, then he is going to get near 20 fantasy points at a cheap price. The same can be said for WR Garrett Wilson, but he will be covered by stand-out corner Jalen Ramsey. I don’t want to have to rely on garbage-time stats like the first meeting between these two teams. TE Tyler Conklin is getting enough targets and is still looking for a TD this season. He would be a huge bargain if he gets one here.
The Dolphins had no problems throwing the football against the Jets in their first meeting as receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle both surpassed 100 yards. Hill is a bit dinged up and missed significant playing time vs. the Titans on Monday night. I have a feeling he is going to get the start, but he is very high-priced for damaged goods. Waddle is also expensive considering he has been inconsistent all season. This just doesn’t feel like a game that the Dolphins are going to march up and down the field. I like both running backs Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane, with my preference going to Mostert as he gets the goal-line work. I am worried that the loss of center Connor Williams may make running the ball a bit more difficult. The total is only 37, and this game in general feels too low-scoring to target much.
New York Giants at New Orleans Saints 1:05 p.m. EST
Giant’s QB Tommy DeVito is the talk of the city after leading the Giants back to a last-second win vs. the Packers on Monday Night. He is showing more and more intangibles, but he still only threw for 158 yards. His fantasy ceiling depends on his rushing ability, which is difficult to bank on, especially in a tough matchup vs. the Saints. WR Wan’Dale Robinson is the only receiver I will play as he is easily their top receiving option and is dirt cheap. Even though there is buzz surrounding DeVito, RB Saquon Barkley is the center of the offense. He needs to be successful if the Giants want any chance here. It’s going to be tough as the Saints will key on him. I think there are other backs with better matchups but he is so skilled that he has to be mentioned.
The Saints only had 207 yards of total offense last week, but I expect a better performance this week vs. the Giants. RB Alvin Kamara only had 15 touches in a game where the Saint offense was on the field for only 25 minutes. I expect him to get back to the 20 touches and 20 fantasy points. WR Chris Olave is dealing with an ankle injury and was only involved in 65% of the Saint’s offensive snaps. It’s difficult to play him at his price not knowing what kind of volume he will get. WR Rashid Shaheed and TE Taysom Hill were both back at practice on Wednesday, even though it was limited. I think both could make solid fantasy contributions, with Shaheed being a huge bargain if Olave doesn’t play. I have a feeling we won’t know a whole lot until Sunday but we just have to keep monitoring throughout the rest of the week.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans 1:05 p.m. EST
The Texans’ offense is just a mess right now. QB C.J. Stroud is dealing with concussion protocol. If he doesn’t clear, QB Davis Mills will get the start, and that is what I am planning for. WR Nico Collins is dealing with a calf injury and, WR Tank Dell is already eing out for the season. Running backs Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary are not playable and have a tough matchup. WR Noah Brown is interesting and could be in a smash spot here; I would like him a lot more if Stroud plays. Not all is gloomy, as TE Dalton Schultz is back and is practicing in full. I expect he gets peppered with targets, no matter who the QB is. It’s just a shame where this offense is now compared to where it was several weeks ago.
The Titan offense had an amazing final five minutes last week to score 15 points and surprisingly upset the Dolphins. QB Will Levis led the charge with 327 passing yards, but was that only because the Dolphins’ defense played way too soft? RB Tyjae Spears and WR DeAndre Hopkins were left wide open and made the Dolphins pay. They both have good matchups this week vs. a Texan defense that gave up 17 fantasy points to WR Garrett Wilson and over 20 fantasy points to RB Breece Hall last week. I think Hopkins is going to have a solid day, but Spears is the wild card. RB Derrick Henry is still the number-one option and the goal-line back. He will see the bulk of the workload and could get 20 fantasy points. Spears needs to be playing from behind so he can catch a handful of passes. The Titans are the favorites, making the script likely to benefit Henry. TE Chigoziem Okonkwo has been more involved over the past three weeks but just hasn’t scored a touchdown. I think he is very sneaky at a cheap price and low ownership.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots 1:05 p.m. EST
The Chiefs’ offense has been pedestrian and they have a tough matchup in New England. QB Patrick Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce’s prices are coming down, but are still too expensive to play. Meanwhile, WR Rashee Rice’s price has increased to above $6K on DraftKings, making him another player I am not interested in. I think the Chiefs win the game but I don’t know if one player is going to stand out to win a tournament. I am done listening to those predicting a big breakout game for this Chiefs offense. We have been waiting since the Bears’ game many weeks ago and it hasn’t happened.
There is only one player on the Patriots who I would consider, and that’s RB Ezekiel Elliott. He is most likely going to get 20+touches and appears to be QB Bailey Zappe’s favorite pass target. My only fear is that he is going to be highly owned. All other options, including TE Hunter Henry, are not worth playing here. Consider the Chiefs a top DFS defense to target.
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals 4:05 p.m. EST
The 49ers are in a great spot here, and all weapons should be considered. RB Christian McCaffrey is my favorite player to target as he is almost a lock to reach 20 fantasy points with 30+ upside. QB Brock Purdy still hasn’t cracked $7K on DraftKings, which is absurd considering he has 23+ fantasy points in five of his last six games. He has so many weapons and can be played by himself if he spreads the ball around. WR Deebo Samuel, though, has been the best fantasy receiver over the past three weeks, which has caused his price to rise, but he is still affordable. WR Brandon Aiyuk is solid but hasn’t had that huge game. It could happen, but for a few extra hundred, I prefer Samuel. I think TE George Kittle is the fade here, although considering there aren’t a lot of good tight-end matchups, he always has the chance to be the best tight end on the slate. I think we have to have at least one 49er in our lineups.
Arizona doesn’t have a good matchup on paper, but I can see QB Kyler Murray scrambling around and creating plays. Seattle’s Drew Lock scored 17.3 fantasy points against the 49ers last week, and he can’t run like Murray. It’s a long shot, but he will be extremely low-owned. He has several receivers who don’t stand out but all seem to chip in. TE Trey McBride is big and athletic and can catch any contested ball. His price has creeped up, but he can score 20 fantasy points regardless of the matchup. RB James Conner looked great last time out vs. Pittsburgh, but San Francisco is very stingy vs. the run, and I would not recommend him this week.
Washington Commanders at Los Angeles Rams 4:05 p.m. EST
The Commander QB Sam Howell has been a solid 20 points this season, but the rest of the team has been mediocre at best. WR Terry McLaurin is so underwhelming, and WR Jahan Dotson isn’t getting open. I think this leaves WR Curtis Samuel as the receiving option I want to play the most. TE Logan Thomas is in a great spot against the Rams, who give up a ton of points to the tight end, but Thomas has been in these spots before and underwhelms. RB Brian Robinson isn’t practicing; if he isn’t able to go, I would expect Antonio Gibson to get most of the work, and he could be a huge bargain.
The Ram offense is picking it up and they are in a smash spot against a very bad Washington defense. QB Matt Stafford is priced super cheap and WR Cooper Kupp is very affordable. These two will dominate many of my lineups, and I will most likely have WR Puka Nacua in lineups that do not involve Kupp. One of them is a sure bet to go off and be in the winning lineups. RB Kyren Williams is getting all the running back volume and is priced about $1K too cheap. I would be shocked if the Rams don’t score 27-plus points. Like the 49ers, I think we need at least one Ram in all of our lineups.
Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills 4:25 p.m. EST
There hasn’t been a much better combo than QB Dak Prescott and WR CeeDee Lamb over the last two months. Both will have to be on their A-game if they want to beat a hungry Buffalo team that has run the gauntlet of tough opponents. I am worried that the Bills will do whatever they can to take Lamb away, forcing Prescott to find WR Brandin Cooks and TE Jake Ferguson. I think the Bills play a good game here and feel the Dallas passing game may struggle. The Cowboys are going to have to exploit the Bills’ below-average run defense if they want to win this one. RB Tony Pollard hasn’t lived up to the pre-season hype, but this could be his game to shine when not many will expect it. Look for coach Mike McCarthy to get him 20 touches here.
As mentioned, this is a huge game for Buffalo, and they have been battle-tested. They are going to have to find a way to get the ball downfield, as running the ball will be difficult. QB Josh Allen is the highest-priced QB on the board but he’s going to have to rush for 50 yards and score a TD to break value. He could easily do it, but it’s asking a lot against a tough Cowboy defense. Much like the Cowboys’ passing game, I am worried about the Bills’ passing game. WR Stefon Diggs has had sub-par production in four out of the past five weeks, but he can still be matchup-proof. Speaking of missing, where was WR Gabe Davis last week? Only two targets? He has to get more involved. TE Dalton Kincaid will most likely play banged up, and TE Dawson Knox is back in the picture eating up some volume. Can we turn to RB Jared Cook, who has been excellent the past four games? Dallas’ run defense has been amazing, so I am not expecting a whole lot on the ground. Vegas has this game as the highest total of 50. I am either a genius or really dumb because I have it at 43 and would be surprised if this isn’t a defensive battle.