This article will preview the matchups for likely the final week of fantasy football for many of us. Matchups are listed in chronological order instead of by matchup. Players that are obvious starts will not be talked about significantly. We have a significant number of wide receivers on injured reserve so we can talk about their replacements.
Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I expected even bigger games from Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins but they still had very good games last week and should be started in one of the easiest matchups possible. Carlos Hyde had a much easier matchup than he will have this week and would be a very low ceiling option that could easily just put out 5 points like Duke Johnson. The Buccaneers sell out to stop the run and allow the pass. Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills could be started again this week like I said last week. Stills still sees an alarmingly low amount of targets so there are better players to start over him if you have depth and need safety. Fuller is becoming healthy again so he should have a solid game this week in an easy matchup. Fuller is a WR2 bordering on WR3 this week with a massive upside.
We now are confirmed as of today that Chris Godwin and Mike Evans will be out. If this killed your fantasy teams as much as me, you have to pick up the replacement receivers because this team will not stop throwing the ball. Both teams have a high chance of exceeding 30 points each and it will likely result in a shoot-out. Jameis Winston should be started over any other quarterback you have besides Lamar Jackson. Both Buccaneers running backs are very risky plays as they were last week except this week they will run the ball less. Breshad Perriman again has the opportunity to be a top-5 receiver again this week as he did last week with 32 points. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate saw 7 targets each last week in a much harder matchup than this week’s presents. Howard should be able to be started if you lack a top-5 tight end. Scotty Miller who was the next leading receiver is also in IR so Justin Watson should see an increased role but will be risky to play. Watson had just one game of solid production and then had his targets stolen by the tight ends. Expect this to happen again.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
This could be another ugly game for all offenses involved. Each defense is a must-start thought. Cole Beasley has a much higher chance of having a good game this week if the previous game was any indication. Brown was shut down in the last matchup while Beasley had starting potential on a team. Do not start any other player unless you do not have better options. Brown is a fade this week while Beasley is worth a start if you lack depth or if your main receivers are injured.
The Bills are Tom Brady’s kryptonite and I hope he would have been dropped a while ago in most leagues. Julian Edelman is an obvious start like all weeks and James White has that safe floor he has shown against run-funneled teams. Michel is another option if you are really lacking at running back but the game script is not good for him to be a safe option. Michel could have a decent game or he could fade into oblivion as he has shown in recent weeks.
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
This is once again a nightmare matchup for Jared Goff as indicated by his 58 net yards and 2 fumbles in the last game. None of the wide receivers were supported then and it is hard to expect much from this game either. Neither Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods had over 20 yards that game. Tyler Higbee was the leading receiver with 25 yards. The offense structure is different this time as Todd Gurley is healthier and more usable than the last game. Gurley is the only player who could be started with remote confidence. Higbee can be a start as the 49ers have shown their weakness to tight ends since the recent spell of injuries for them. Goff will be better than the last game because the defense is much more injured but understand just how much Goff burned owners last game while he took the whole Rams offense with him. This whole team is risky to bet on for offense but some players could put out some meaningful production. Follow the injury report through the week but it now seems that Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams (Both CB) will play this week. Dee Ford, Jullian Taylor, and Jaquiski Tartt are currently listed as out for the week which will help Todd Gurley and Tyler Higbee significantly. Cooper Kupp does have the best matchup of the 3 receivers in the slot but once again last week he was not targeted significantly (6 targets which ranks 4th). Brandon Cooks was actually able to lead the receivers last week in yards for the first time in many weeks. No other cornerback has the speed to match up with him based on 40 yard dash times. He is a dart throw that will likely yield 5 points but could have a big game.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
The Ravens are business as usual here for starts. Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, and the Ravens D/ST are automatic starts. Mark Andrews is a good play if you do not have Kelce/Kittle/Ertz/Hooper/Higbee. Marquise Brown is boom or bust as always but this is unlikely to be a boom game in a secondary that can match his speed. Besides the terrible secondaries of Miami, Cincinnati, Arizona, and the New York Jets he has posted mostly terrible fantasy games.
Nick Chubb should be started now that he has reclaimed his touches away from Kareem Hunt. The game script is not good but this does not matter for Chubb and the Ravens run defense is not great. Chubb had his best fantasy game against them earlier this year. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are low ceiling plays this week and both are on the injury report. Monitor this going forward this week. There is no reason not to start Beckham but do not expect a good game. Beckham has been the safer play in recent weeks but this will be a difficult matchup. Landry is a borderline starter based on your roster.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons
As with every week, it is very difficult to determine who Gardner Minshew will throw to on a weekly basis so any receiver you pick is a dart throw. Other analysts and I guessed wrong with Dede Westbrook last week with D.J. Chark injured. Chris Conley actually had the best game with 2 touchdowns. The Jaguars currently have 11 players who logged a limited practice on Thursday including D.J. Chark. Watch the injury report until the game starts as Chris Conley might once again be a starting option if you want to roll the dice. Minshew had a slightly above average fantasy day last week against one of the easiest matchups so I would not make it a priority to stream Minshew this week unless the top-12 or so quarterbacks are not available. Leonard Fournette is always a must start with the passing game usage.
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have a great opportunity this week but you were likely starting each regardless if you had them. Both cornerbacks and three defensive linemen have been injured for a while and are limited this week two. The Jaguars defense has been swiss cheese in recent weeks. Devonta Freeman is worth starting also. Freeman had the most difficult matchup last week for a running back so expect more. Calvin Ridley is now on IR so Russel Gage is a streaming option for a team in need of a WR. Austin Hooper really disappointed last week against what was a weakened secondary against tight ends. Look for a rebound.