Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons 1:05 p.m. EST
What a blow to the Vikings’ offense. First, they lost WR Justin Jefferson for at least four games and now have lost QB Kirk Cousins for the season. Now, fifth-round rookie QB Jaren Hall steps in, and who knows what to expect? As many of you know, I am a die-hard Viking fan. I don’t expect a whole lot this week. The Falcons’ defense ranks sixth, and I expect the Vikings to struggle to run the football, causing many third-and-long situations. The player I like the most is TE T.J. Hockenson, as the tight end can be a security blanket for a rookie quarterback. I expect WR Jordan Addison to be slowed down a bit, and I don’t think K.J. Osborn has a game that can make a fantasy difference. As mentioned, I don’t like the running game and am avoiding both Alexander Mattison and Cam Akers.
The Falcons are switching to QB Taylor Heinicke over Desmond Ridder, as Heinicke did finish the second half vs. the Titans last week. I am excited to see this move as the passing offense had more rhythm and Heinicke is more apt to throw the ball downfield. The problem is that their best WR Drake London is out for this week, otherwise, he would have been in a great spot. TE Kyle Pitts is also an option, as I think he can get into the end zone. RB Bijan Robinson hasn’t scored over 13 fantasy points in his last three games and the Vikings are fairly good against the run. Robinson is a very talented player, and he has the talent to score 20 points, but I wouldn’t expect it here.
Seattle Seahawks at Baltimore Ravens 1:05 p.m. EST
I think this is going to be a very tough game for the Seattle offense on the road vs. a good Raven defense. I often question their identity as some weeks they try to pound the ball with RB Kenneth Walker and then other times they get pass happy. I think Seattle will play from behind, and that means I really like D.K. Metcalf to be the focus of the offense. He had 14 targets last week and will need to have a good game for Seattle to stay in it. WR Tyler Lockett had the better week last week, and he could again this week, but I just feel like it’s a Metcalf week. Don’t be worried that Lockett isn’t practicing, as hamstring is listed as the reason why. He has been in this situation for the past few weeks and looks fine on game day.
The last time the Ravens were at home, their offense was simply dominant. I don’t expect them to be as good, but I do love QB Lamar Jackson this week. I expect 70 yards rushing and a touchdown on his way to 25+ fantasy points. TE Mark Andrews should be good for Seasonal leagues, but I am not expecting tournament-winning numbers here. In fact, I am not expecting one receiver to stand out. The passing attack has used eight different receivers in the last three games. RB Gus Edwards is coming off a three-touchdown performance, but I do not expect great numbers this week. I am playing Lamar naked in most lineups.
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers 1:05 p.m. EST
The Rams have to throw away last week as they ran into a buzz saw and were dominated early. This week they get a reeling Packer team that is struggling on both sides of the ball. I would really like the Rams to give the ball to RB Darrell Henderson, as this will be his third week and he should be in top-game shape. It’s time to stop the split backfield with RB Royce Freeman, as Henderson has more burst and is the better runner. Don’t be surprised by 80 yards and a TD. Matthew Stafford is dealing with an injured thumb, but I do expect him to play. Both WR Cooper Kupp and WR Puka Nacua are in play here, with my edge going to Nacua as he is the much cheaper option. TE Tyler Higbee has been the odd man out in this offense, and I wouldn’t expect much in this matchup.
The Packer offense has been terrible to watch. They haven’t scored a first-half touchdown in five weeks. I do expect them to play a little better here, and don’t be surprised if QB Jordan Love reaches 20 points. If you watched last week, he was inaccurate but did have at least half a dozen dropped balls. I can see him throwing for 250 yards and a TD now that all his offensive weapons will be healthy for a second straight game. He is just a sneaky option here, and you can play him naked as the Packers like to spread the ball around. RB Aaron Jones has been limited with touches, and it looks like that trend will continue this week as he has been limited in practice wearing a red non-contact jersey, which is concerning since he practiced in full last week. Look for Love and the Packers to score over 20 points, as they will have tough sledding for the next month after this game.
Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns 1:05 p.m. EST
The Cardinals come in with a big question mark of who is going to be throwing the football. After trading QB Joshua Dobbs, their starting QB will either be Kyler Murray or Clayton Tune. Murray is practicing in full, but primarily with the practice squad, which leads me to believe that Tune will be the starter. I’m not surprised if he does get the start because Cleveland would be a tough spot to throw Murray into coming back from a season-ending injury. Plus, I think the Cardinals don’t want to win; I think they would like to finish with the 2024 number-one draft pick. Regardless of who starts, I have no interest in any Cardinal player. TE Trey McBride will be played in Seasonal leagues, but I think he slows down here as the Browns are the best defense in the league vs. the tight end.
QB Deshaun Watson is practicing in full for the Browns and should be the starter. It is a good matchup, but I don’t know how much will be needed from the position. I could see the Browns up big and running in the second half. WR Amari Cooper would be about all I would think about playing in the passing game, as I think he will score a TD. TE David Njoku has been better of late but is dealing with an ankle injury, so I am hesitant to play him. As for the running game, this is a great matchup for the Browns, but who do you play? It’s a three-headed monster right now between Jerome Ford, Kareem Hunt, and Pierre Strong Jr. I think one of these guys could break out, but I just can’t take a chance. Monitor Ford’s status; he is limited, but he does say he feels fine. If for some reason they decide to hold him out, then I would bump up Hunt and play him in several DFS lineups.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans 1:05 p.m. EST
This has ugly game written all over it, but there are a few pieces I like. Did you listen to the broadcast last week when Tampa played the Bills? Tampa realizes that RB Rachaad White needs to be utilized more, as he has a lot of juice. He has 13 catches over the past two weeks, and he should continue that here. I loved White before the season, as he is much better than how he has been used. Look for him to be a top 10 back from here on out. I think one of either Mike Evans or Chris Godwin has a good game here, and I am leaning toward Godwin for DFS. Houston’s secondary doesn’t get beat deep and will allow the underneath, which Godwin excels at.
The Houston offense has been struggling both in the passing and running games. Receivers Nico Collins and Tank Dell have had limited fantasy production over the past three games, and their price reflects that as they were overvalued after hot starts. I prefer Nico this week in DFS, he is cheap, and one would figure he will be the go-to guy again soon. RB Dameon Pierce is out this week as he is dealing with an injury. With Pierce out, Devin Singletary sparks some DFS interest only because of his dirt-cheap price. TE Dalton Schultz is sneaky and can be a cheap option.
Washington Commanders at New England Patriots 1:05 p.m. EST
The Commanders were able to score 31 on Philadelphia last week, but that may be more difficult in New England. QB Sam Howell has been very inconsistent, although he has had outstanding weeks like last week when he was the top-scoring fantasy quarterback. Saying that, I think he will be lucky to break 20 points here. The Patriots’ defense just doesn’t bend that much. WR Terry McLaurin is a decent option but hasn’t scored over 18 fantasy points in over a month. It was nice to see WR Jahan Dotson get more involved last week, but can he have a repeat performance? RB Brian Robinson isn’t playable at this point. Why doesn’t he get more volume?
The Patriots also were dealt a major blow when rising WR Kendrick Bourne suffered an ACL tear. I partially blame myself for picking him up off waivers in almost all my Seasonal leagues. Saying that, they now need a WR to step up. The obvious choice is be WR Demario Douglas, who is dirt cheap. The only problem is that he will be heavily owned, but who else is there to turn to in the passing game? JuJu Smith-Schuster has been non-existent, and DeVante Parker is dealing with a concussion. Douglas may have the best game by default. Even though the Patriots are down key players, I still have to like QB Mac Jones a little here. Washington’s pass defense isn’t very good, and they just traded their two best pass rushers. I would figure Jones will have all day to throw and just figure out how to get it done, even if he has to use 10 different receivers. What about RB Rhamondre Stevenson? Maybe he gets more involved in the passing game. This is a good spot for him, but he isn’t getting enough rushing volume to be DFS viable most weeks.
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints 1:05 p.m. EST
I can quickly go over the Bears. Play nobody here. They will be lucky to clear 10 points against a good Saints defense.
The Saints have many players in play. QB Derek Carr is dirt cheap and has three 20-point games in a row. He could easily carve up the Bears here, meaning WR Chris Olave or WR Rashid Shaheed has a big game. RB Alvin Kamara also figures to do well, but how much he will be needed? His fantasy value depends on receiving volume, and it may not be needed here. RB Jamaal Williams could be used more, especially in the second half. Not to mention, TE Taysom Hill has been involved more and is used down near the goal line. So, as you can see, even though the Saints have a great matchup, picking who to stack will be difficult, and I didn’t even mention TE Juwan Johnson or Michael Thomas.
Indianapolis Colts at Carolina Panthers 4:05 p.m. EST
The Colts like to play at a fast pace, and it has been reflected on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, there isn’t one player to turn to, as they like to spread the ball around. RB Jonathan Taylor is in a great spot against a bad Carolina run defense, but Zack Moss is still a thing and is taking half the volume. Still, I think Taylor is cheap enough and reaches the end zone here for close to 20 fantasy points. If he gets even more volume, then he has a chance at a monster day. WR Josh Downs has been an excellent DFS receiver over the past few weeks, but his price is starting to creep up. WR Michael Pittman has been as consistent as they come, averaging 19 points over the last three games, but I think we can find better options at his price this week.
On the Panthers side, it appears that RB Chuba Hubbard has surpassed Miles Sanders on the depth chart, but is that set in stone? Sanders was only on the field for 12 offensive snaps last week, but was that only because he was coming off a shoulder injury? His price is cheap enough to take a stab in a lineup or two, but I think the running game should be avoided until we maybe have a clear picture. The player we should be focusing on is WR Adam Thielen, who is my favorite player on the slate. He has at least seven catches in six straight games, and there is no reason to believe that he won’t do that on Sunday. If he scores, he will be in the winning lineups, and I think he does against a bad Colt secondary. QB Bryce Young could be sneaky here, and WR Jonathan Mingo is a dart throw to win the millions. I like a Carolina stack, and won’t be surprised if they score 20+ here. I will put $20 on a game stack to try and take down the million.
New York Giants at Las Vegas Raiders 4:25 p.m. EST
The Giants’ offense is a mess. Outside of RB Saquon Barkley, who do you turn to? QB Daniel Jones is back and is a wild card of some sort. He was a top 10 fantasy QB last season and, on paper, the Raiders’ defense isn’t very good. But Jones is coming off a neck injury and needs to have designed runs to reach his fantasy value. TE Darren Waller is out, leaving only WR Wan’Dale Robinson. I like him this week. The Raiders’ defense does have some appeal because edge rusher Maxx Crosby could create a lot of havoc here.
Speaking of messes, the Raiders are a mess and will have a new head coach in Antonio Pierce. He has named Aidan O’Connell the starting quarterback, which means I like WR Davante Adams quite a bit. I really think the firing of Josh McDaniels is going to motivate the team, especially Adams and RB Josh Jacobs. WR Jakobi Meyers is always a sneaky play, but O’Connell targeted Adams 13 times in his last start and I expect the same here.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles 4:25 p.m. EST
QB Dak Prescott and the passing offense have been heating up. WR CeeDee Lamb is coming off back-to-back 100-yard games and figures to be the number-one target once again vs. an Eagles’ defense that is dead last vs. the pass. I am expecting a high-scoring game, so Dallas stacks will be a focus, but they will be highly popular. Another build I like is to fade Lamb and play WR Brandin Cooks and TE Jake Ferguson. Ferguson has a great matchup, and maybe Cooks sees less coverage. You could also play them all together and hope for that 40-point game. RB Tony Pollard is the odd man out, even though he is at his cheapest price of the season. The Eagles’ run defense is just too good, and Pollard has only scored over 20 fantasy points just once this season.
QB Jalen Hurts is always in play, as he has over 21 fantasy points in every game but one. He has had great success throwing to A.J. Brown, who has a record-breaking six games in a row of 125 receiving yards or more. But something tells me to fade these two in this game. Hurts hasn’t been able to run like he should due to a leg injury. He is able to evade the pass rush, but he just can’t get up the field like he has in the past. I also think Dallas will pay extra attention to Brown, leaving more room for WR DeVonta Smith to make an impact. Don’t be surprised if TE Dallas Goedert makes some big plays and reaches the end zone. RB D’Andre Swift has been solid but is not scoring enough fantasy points to win a tournament. He is a pass for me here.