For many leagues, this is the final week. If you are in this week, chances are you have some stars on your team and maybe have questions about the flex spot or quarterback. I will go over some players who may be worth sitting that were drafted high as well as the flip side of that. Matchups are very important as we know how each defense performs at this point of the year. Last week’s article went over matchups a lot and overall held true throughout the week. Those matchups to avoid and pursue are still relevant. Let us start with some borderline starters.
High ADP Players to Sit
The Seattle Passing Game
As described last week, Washington is a terrible matchup for all positions. But, this is still a continuation of a pass offense that fell apart. If we look at the last four weeks, Russell Wilson is 21st in fantasy points per game. Now that Chris Carson is back, this team does not need to pass. Here are the attempts in the last four weeks: 27, 27, 43 and 31 (the 43 was against the New York Jets). It does not help that Wilson has no rushing touchdowns in that time and is averaging slightly below two touchdowns per game in those weeks.
By having fewer pass attempts and touchdowns, that affects D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Metcalf is at least averaging decent touchdown production but he has just one in the last four games (against the Jets). His receiving yards were 177 against Philadelphia four weeks ago but have trended down to 80, 61 and 43 yards the last three weeks. Tyler Lockett should be an afterthought next week unless you need a Hail Mary. His yardage totals were 23, 63, 52 and 34 yards the last four weeks with no touchdowns. It sounds painful to say but Marvin Jones, Keke Coutee and Tyron Johnson have been outproducing them by a lot. Seattle also faces the Los Angeles Rams, which is a terrible matchup.
Cooks seems to lack upside since Will Fuller is gone. He is a solid floor play for 8-11 fantasy points (half-point per reception leagues) but is unlikely to cross 13 points. If you like 5-8 catches for 60-85 yards he is your guy. Starting him depends on what you are looking for in a starter. Keke Coutee has been a touchdown vulture and Chad Hansen has been stealing significant yardage. Cincinnati has a very underrated secondary which will make things harder on Cooks.
Do not think David Johnson’s 11 receptions for 106 yards (his stats from last week) will be a trend. His next closest game for the year is four catches. He has one game of three catches and the remaining are 1-2 catch games. This is now an offense that will not be playing with a positive game script so his rushing production is capped. He has had single-digit rushes in the last two games. He presents significant risk with medium upside. This is a discouraging split in carries. David Johnson led the group with eight carries out of the total 21 carries last week. Buddy Howell recently started receiving carries as Houston realized all of its running backs are not good. Even leading running back Duke Johnson had eight carries the previous week. There are few opportunities for this backfield especially when unknown receivers are stealing the touchdowns. Cincinnati has also had Top 12 run defense performances the last three weeks per Pro Football Focus.
This is 80 percent due to matchup but it needs to be taken seriously. Tampa Bay can legitimately shut down any running back not named Dalvin Cook. Detroit has become increasingly worse at run blocking which is a nightmare scenario against arguably the best group of defensive linemen in the league. Devin White is also fast enough to chase him down in pass coverage. Atlanta’s leading rusher just had 24 yards last week. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 37 yards against Tampa Bay. The Los Angeles Rams combined for 37 yards on 20 carries. This is very much a pass funneled defense with no upside for running backs. Tampa Bay is also favored by 10 points which is even worse for this team.
The Whole New England Offense
Cam Newton has been a poor passer the majority of the year but now the rushing production has disappeared too. You can’t trust someone who only threw two touchdown passes in the last five weeks combined. Over the last three weeks before Miami, he had less than 150 total yards from scrimmage. Newton is dead to fantasy and he drags down the entire offense now. Sony Michel and the New England running backs had a great opportunity against Miami and blew it as noone had over 10 carries.
This one looks like a no-brainer on paper. He has had three games of 100-plus yards in the last five games. New England does its best to take away the top receiving option. This leaves Beasley with more targets. He is just a fringe play but he has had 10 or more targets in four out of the last five games.
Without any Kenny Golladay to compete for targets, Jones is the WR1 by default. As mentioned before, Tampa Bay is a pass funneling defense and this team is expected to lose by a lot. Last week, Jones had 12 targets while the next closest receiver had five. He has 12 targets in three out of the last four games with two games of 100-plus yards and a touchdown. He will again see a significant amount of targets this week also.
Salvon Ahmed/Myles Gaskin
Whoever starts for this team will be in for a treat. Watch the injury report. In two out of the last three games, the leading running back had 20-plus carries and some receptions. Las Vegas will present an excellent matchup and has been one of the worst run defenses. Expect Miami to be winning most of the game, too. Remember, Las Vegas gave up 150 yards to Johnathan Taylor and allowed Ito Smith to rush for 5.4 yards per carry.
Melvin Gordon without Phillip Lindsay
If Lindsay does not play, Gordon enters an excellent spot, especially in points per reception leagues. Believe it or not, he actually ranks eighth in points over the last three weeks for running backs. He has looked excellent in his playing time. Even the last game with Lindsay, he had 81 total yards and two touchdowns. The Los Angeles Chargers are an average matchup but the opportunity is there.
This is the streamer of the week if you have not picked him up already. He is locked into Top 10 production. He has turned into the new Kyler Murray. He is averaging 14.5 rushes per game and over 80 rushing yards the last two games and the passing production is just a bonus at this point. He had 338 yards passing last week with three touchdowns and has grown each of the last three weeks. Philadelphia is still playing for a playoff spot so do not expect the team to take Dallas lightly. That defense just gave up 200-plus yards and two touchdowns each to Kyle Allen and Nick Mullens.
He has the benefit of playing the New York Jets, which now has the crown for the worst passing defense. Baker Mayfield is actually fourth in fantasy points per game the last three weeks. He also topped 30 passing attempts in each of those games. Even against a negative game script and average defense in the New York Giants, he had 21 points.