Each week I give some thoughts on some of the more interesting fantasy football plays and some players that you might want to avoid. Though primarily focused on season long PPR scoring, this advice can be used in other formats or for DFS consideration as well. Now for season long, most top starters should always be in your line-up even if they have a tougher match-up on paper so we won’t focus as much there. The one exception is at the quarterback position where there can be some value to streaming your QB even if you have a top tier guy. Also I will include a Thursday Night Football preview as well.
Thursday Night Football:
Colts: T.Y. Hilton, Marlon Mack and Jack Doyle remain out. This leaves a very weakened Colts offense on a short week road game, coming off an overtime game. It is not ideal as they could struggle to move the football, but the Colts passing game is still viable. Andrew Luck will likely throw 45-55 times in this game, versus a disappointing Patriots defense.
Quality Plays: Andrew Luck, Eric Ebron
Solid Plays: Ryan Grant, Nyheim Hines
Deep league/flyer plays: Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal
Patriots: It appears both Rob Gronkowski and Josh Gordon will end up playing tonight, though both are listed as questionable. The Patriots offense has been frustratingly inconsistent this season, but they are coming off a big win and were able to stay home during this short week. Julian Edelman is back and expected to play a large role. James White remains highly involved in the offense and is a great option for PPR formats. Rookie RB Sony Michel should have a positive game script again this week, which could see him get a fair amount of usage. While playing Brady is obvious, this probably isn’t going to be a week where he goes off for a big game. I would be cautious about playing Gronkowski given that he may sit later in the game if the Patriots are up. Gordon is unlikely to play a significant role this game unless New England is down.
Quality Plays: Tom Brady, Julian Edelman
Solid Plays: James White, Sony Michel
Deep league/flyer plays: Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett
Avoid if possible: Rob Gronkowski
Full Fade: Josh Gordon
Quality Plays: Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Philip Rivers, Blake Bortles
-Big Ben and Ryan play in the game with the highest projected over/under and this game looks to be the best shoot-out of the week. Brees is coming off a bad game and the Redskins pass defense has been impressive so far, but Drew Brees at home is typically hard to contain. Add in the narrative of him going for the passing record in prime time and it’s hard to not like Brees. The Vikings offensive line can’t run the football and the Eagles defense excels at stopping the run. Cousins will need to throw 45-50 times versus an Eagles secondary that has been very suspect this season. Bortles has been up and down this year, but when he’s had big games they have been huge. Expect him to throw alot versus a poor Chiefs defense.
Solid Plays: Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, Jared Goff, Cam Newton, Alex Smith, Matt Stafford
-Mahomes typically will be in the top tier, but this is by far his toughest defensive test yet. I don’t think the Jaguars can stop him, but they might be able to contain him. Carr has started to string together some really good games and faces a Chargers secondary that is giving up some big plays each week. Goff should be in line for a good game, but his upside is likely limited as the Rams figure to be up this week and not in a shootout. Newton is always a good option at home and faces a Giants defense that is really struggling. Smith will likely need to match Brees score for score, so expect more passing attempts for the Redskins this week. Stafford is at home versus a Packers team that has allowed a couple big passing weeks already this season. The one concern with Stafford is that the Packers could really look to slow the game down with their running game.
Guys to sit if possible: Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, Marcus Mariota
-Rodgers just hasn’t looked himself since injuring his leg. While he’s playing well from a real football perspective, his fantasy production has taken a serious hit. Watson is always dangerous, but playing the Cowboys in likely a slower paced game will limit his fantasy upside. Also, if Houston gets up in this game, Watson and the passing game may take a back seat. Mariota is coming off a huge game, but he’s still not 100%. The Titans should be able to dominate the Bills and that means it could be a 2nd half filled with hand-offs from the Titans.
Guys to play:
James Connor- Connor has been disappointing the past few weeks, but he’s getting a ton of targets and the Falcons are getting destroyed by backs out of the backfield. Should be a big bounce-back week.
T.J. Yeldon- Yeldon should play this week for an injured Leonard Fournette, and see usage both running and receiving. The Chiefs defense is struggling to cover backs out of the backfield and is giving up big running plays just about every game.
Matt Breida- The 49ers are at home and the Cardinals have been one of the worst teams versus the run so far this season. While Alfred Morris will get some work, Breida is clearly the better weapon in this offense and is getting more work.
Joe Mixon- Mixon is back this week and on top of that it appears that Gio Bernard will sit this week, giving Mixon even more opportunities. The Bengals are home favorites and the Dolphins have struggled against the run this season.
Guys to avoid:
Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman: Both running backs should be healthy this week and likely that means a true split back-field situation. It’s tough to really know who will get the ball and in what situation. It’s possible in a high total game one of these backs hits, but it’s tough to feel confident about it.
Dalvin Cook: As mentioned above the Vikings can’t run and the Eagles don’t let anyone run. Cook is still working back from an injury so he isn’t even likely to see added touches from the passing game. Just avoid this situation at all costs.
Adrian Peterson: Peterson just isn’t likely to find a lot of success versus a Saints defense that is allowing just 3.2 yards per carry. This game also figures to be more of a shootout meaning Peterson will probably be on the bench a lot more in this game as Chris Thompson should see a bigger role.
Others to avoid if you can: Jay Ajayi, Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde, LeSean McCoy
Guys to play:
Emmanuel Sanders- It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Sanders as Case Keenum has struggled of late, but this is a really good match-up for Sanders and one he could exploit for a huge game.
Calvin Ridley- Eventually you will want to get off the Ridley train as he’s due for some negative touchdown regression and his usage isn’t near what Julio Jones sees, but this feels like another good game for the rookie. It’s a high total game and the Steelers secondary is getting destroyed through the air.
Tyler Boyd- Boyd is getting more and more usage in the Bengals offense and has clearly established a connection with Andy Dalton. With Tyler Eifert now hurt, expect Boyd to continue to see a high level of involvement.
Nelson Agholor- Even with Alshon back, Agholor is still a quality fantasy option running out of the slot. That is where the Vikings have been burned so far this season, so look for a potential big game for Agholor.
Jordy Nelson- After a slow start to the season Nelson has 8 targets and a TD in each of the last two games. He has a good match-up and should see 7-10 targets this week.
Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief- It’s unlikely all three have good fantasy games, but it’s likely one or two really hit this week. The Chiefs secondary is very beatable and this game could see Jacksonville need to throw the ball 40-50 times. It’s tough to predict which receiver(s) will hit, but they are worth using this week given their upside.
Guys to avoid:
Larry Fitzgerald- Fitzgerald just can’t get anything going in this new Cardinals offense and he’s less than 100% healthy. Maybe eventually he and Josh Rosen can get something going, but right now you have to avoid him.
Corey Davis- Davis is coming off a huge game, but he’s dealing with an injury and it’s likely that the Titans get up big early in this game. If that happens there is no reason why Davis will even be on the field, much less the Titans even trying to throw the ball in the 2nd half.
Robbie Anderson- Anderson had a lot of preseason hype, but he’s struggled to get anything going with Sam Darnold. He’s a complete fade at this point and probably a guy you might want to trade in season long for anything of value.
Michael Crabtree- Crabtree is really struggling to start the year as he’s had a number of key drops. He’s still getting a decent amount of targets, but if he keeps dropping them expect that to change. This match-up is okay, but if the Ravens get up early the focus could be on the running game.
Note: This is a new section so I’ll be testing out some different formats. Let me know in the comments any ideas you might have.