There are six teams that have byes this week, making game selection all the more important. There are a few games on the slate that should produce higher scoring totals. With only a few weeks left before the playoffs start, every lineup decision is crucial. The intent of this article is to highlight players who will outperform or under-perform their weekly ranking and give you confidence while you’re making tough line-up choices.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Cardinals)
After a rough few weeks, Winston has been playing better football as of late. He’s thrown five touchdowns and has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his last three games. He’s now also two games removed from his horrid five-interception performance against the Panthers. This week he gets a juicy matchup against the Cardinals at home. The Cardinals have given up a league-high 24 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks and have allowed over 400 yards passing in three of their last four games. Patrick Peterson has recently returned to the lineup and is still one of the best in the league, but the Bucs still have enough firepower on offense to produce. Neither of these teams is particularly good on defense and as a result, we should see points being scored on both sides of the ball in this one.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts (vs Dolphins)
Mack is the lead running back on a team that is averaging 30.6 rush attempts per game. It’s now been four games since his last 100-yard effort but he gets a great matchup this week against the league’s worst rush defense — the Miami Dolphins; they are surrendering 150.5 yards per game and nine total touchdowns on the year to the running back position. Mack is averaging 4.3 yards per carry and although he has just three scores on the year, this is a great spot for him to get back on track. The Colts may be without their starting quarterback in this one as he suffered an MCL sprain last week. Whether Brissett plays or not doesn’t matter as the game plan should revolve around Mack and the running game. Mack is going to have a busy afternoon Sunday in Miami.
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears (vs Lions)
Since admitting that they needed to get Montgomery more involved, he has 41 rush attempts the past two games. The Bears know that this needs to continue this week and beyond if they want to succeed. Last time the Bears played a sub-par run defense, Montgomery went off for 135 yards and two scores. This week they get another plus matchup in the Lions who are giving up 113 yards per game and have allowed nine touchdowns on the ground to running backs this year. They have given up 170 or more yards in three of their last four games. If the Bears want to turn their season around they have to get the ball in Montgomery’s hands early and often. The Bears have proved time and time again that they can’t win games by throwing the ball so Montgomery should have himself a hefty workload this weekend.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints (vs Falcons)
Thomas got himself a new contract this past off-season and is earning his money in a big way. He’s consistently near the top in PPR scoring formats and on the year has 73 catches for 875 yards and four scores. He gets a dream matchup against a Falcons team that have been awful defensively this year. The Falcons are giving up 191 yards per game to receivers and have given up 12 touchdowns on the year, which is tied for second-most in the league. Thomas has gone over 100-yards in back-to-back games and is averaging 11 targets per game. He is also posting an average of 23.7 fantasy points per game in a PPR setup. Thomas is basically matchup proof and should have no problem filling up the stat sheet this weekend.
Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets (vs Giants)
There’s not much to like about the Jets offense right now, but it should be getting better these next few weeks. After starting last week with an opening drive touchdown and moving the ball at will against the Dolphins, things cooled off for Crowder and the Jets in a hurry. Crowder has yet to break 100-yards this year but has been the Jet’s best receiver to date. He gets a matchup against the Giants and rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine who will most likely draw his second start of the year. The Giants play a zone coverage defense which is a great thing for a possession receiver like Crowder. Darnold seems more comfortable making short to intermediate throws and Crowder should benefit from finding holes in the coverage. Crowder has a decent floor in this one and makes for a decent starting option with six teams on bye this week.
Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens (at Bengals)
The second-year tight end has had a few rough games in recent weeks but has been a pleasant surprise overall this season. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 4 but has 470 yards and three scores on the year. The Ravens are heading to Cincinnati this week to take on a Bengals team in search of their first win. Andrews gets a matchup with Shawn Williams for this one who has played in six games this year. In those six games, he has allowed an average of 26 fantasy points to opposing players. After being stymied in New England this past week catching just two passes for 21 yards, fire up Andrews who finds himself in a bounce-back situation.
Other Players to Like
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals (at Buccaneers)
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans (vs Chiefs)
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills (at Browns)
Zach Pascal, WR, Indianapolis Colts (vs Dolphins)
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (at Bengals)
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons (at Saints)