Since many people have been eliminated already and many of you want to win first place, I figured I would preview the games for this week to showcase the best matchups. Sorted from the best fantasy matchup this week to the worst!
1. Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Neither offense has a fantastic matchup but the volume each team is receiving in the passing game will make this game good regardless. Both Jared Goff and Dak Prescott currently rank in the top five for passing yardage. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott have both been stars of the second-half of the season. They should all be started regardless of matchup. The receivers for each of these teams have also been highly productive in the last few weeks.
Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper had another game where they both finished inside the top 20 of wide receivers. Robert Woods has taken over the role for the top wide receiver for the Rams recently and he should be started regardless of whomever else you have on your team. Michael Gallup has had several games recently where he has more yardage than Amari Cooper. The Rams do not have two good coverage cornerbacks left so Gallup will roam free this game. Both are some of the best starts to have this week in a game that may exceed 60 total points. Cooper Kupp has been difficult to evaluate recently because he has lacked the targets and yardage. If you have a strong receiving group on your bench, he may be worth benching. Tyler Higbee has recently been taking Cooper Kupp’s fantasy production away and he is also worth an add to your team. He could be in your starting slot if you don’t have one of the big three tight ends even if Gerald Everett remains out.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions
Jameis Winston is in the top five for passing yardage and passing touchdowns this year and this game should be no different. Mike Evans is now listed as out for this game so Chris Godwin will be fed with targets. Darius Slay has not been as dangerous as he started off the year. Justin Watson and Breshad Perriman took the targets away in Evan’s place last week as Justin Watson saw eight targets and Perriman saw six but had more yards per catch. If you need an emergency add, Justin Watson would be one of the better waiver adds to start this week. Since Mike Evans is out, Cameron Brate or O.J. Howard could be the second leading receiver by default again. Howard led the group last week but Brate has been scoring more most weeks. The running back situation is extremely difficult to figure out but Ronald Jones is worth a start if you are desperate at the position.
David Blough was not a terrible quarterback for fantasy last week. The running back situation should actively be avoided but the receivers still have potential. Kenny Golladay has repeatedly shown he can produce with any quarterback and should obviously be started in this matchup. Marvin Jones is gone for the season so Danny Amendola and Kenny Golladay will be boosted. Many forget Amendola did have 8 targets last week despite Jones playing the majority of the game. Amendola is a medium floor and low ceiling play this week.
3. Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
This is such a sneaky matchup for such excellent fantasy production. With the Titans’ top three cornerbacks likely to be out for this game, Deshaun Watson can be fired up as the top quarterback for this week. His production last week certainly showed and this is only an easier matchup. The running backs for the Texans will offer little to no production this week. DeAndre Hopkins is an obvious starter and Kenny Stills will be a high risk but very high reward player.
On the other side of this, Ryan Tannehill will see an easy matchup also. Both of these quarterbacks have the opportunity to be the number one quarterback this week. Derrick Henry also has the ability to be the number one running back for the week due to the Texans easy to run on defense. Since their injuries on defense happened, this Texans run defense has been one of the top 10 worst. Any of the Titans receivers are always risky to play any week but A.J. Brown has the potential for another monster game but could also bust if Tennessee just pounds the rock like they like to do. All other Tennessee wide receivers can be ignored like any other week.
4. Miami Dolphins at New York Giants
DeVante Parker is easily the leading receiver on Miami but if he is out, definitely downgrade Fitzpatrick as he would not be worth starting. Parker has a good chance of missing this game and if so, Allen Hurns would be worth the start if you are desperate. Patrick Laird has shown he can be a functional running back against easier matchups. Laird would be worth a start especially if DeVante Parker misses this game and you are weaker at running back. Many of the mid-range running backs this week have terrible matchups and Laird would have some sneaky upside in the passing game.
Daniel Jones is also expected to be out for this game but Saquon Barkley has significantly better fantasy production when he is able to have Eli Manning on the field. He should obviously be started regardless but just know that Barkley is a much better player with Eli Manning on the field. Eli Manning showed he was unable to support more than one wide receiver last week and that Golden Tate is worth benching if Manning starts. Slayton should obviously be started regardless of quarterback in the easiest matchup he will have this year. Sterling Shepard saw many targets last week but obviously had little production to show for it. Shepherd would be a very risky start this week and there are other wide receivers that are safer than him. Shepherd is only worth starting if you are very desperate or need a high-upside play to win your matchup.
5. Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
If you want a match up for the tight ends this week, this is the game for it. Drew Lock is a risky start this week since Kansas City has been better against quarterbacks the last few weeks. This does not stop his new top receiving option of Noah Fant though. Since the quarterback change, Noah Fant has been the top receiving option in Denver and Kansas City is one of the worst coverage units for tight ends. Courtland Sutton actually took a massive dip in production with Drew Lock at quarterback. Lock split the targets fairly evenly among his wide receivers in an easier matchup against the Texans last week. If you have solid receivers on your team, it may actually be worth benching Sutton. Phillip Lindsay will get one of his easiest matchups this week and will be worth a start. Lindsay is still seeing over 15 carries per game recently and some goal-line work.
Patrick Mahomes had a similar game to what we can expect this upcoming week. the Broncos are obviously an easier matchup but they have a similar structure in terms of team strengths. LeSean McCoy and the other running backs are unlikely to have much production this week and are worth benching even for players such as Patrick Laird or Jamaal Williams. Travis Kelce will be a must-start as he will most likely be the top targeted receiver for the team. Tyreek Hill is likely to have a good but not great game since the Broncos have had a massive decrease in yardage given up in the passing game the last few weeks. Sammy Watkins is also not a strong start and there are more safe options such as Allen Hurns or even Randall Cobb if you are desperate. The other receivers on this team must be avoided for starting and Patrick Mahomes will likely be an average quarterback in terms of production this week. The starter for the Giants, Jimmy Garoppolo, or Ryan Fitzpatrick would be riskier but much higher upside plays at quarterback this week. Those quarterbacks are also available in most leagues.
6. Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers
Since we have talked about the receiving game so much, it is time to talk about good matchups for running backs. Dalvin Cook is an obvious start this week against a week Chargers run defense. Alexander Mattison should also be owned as a good bench spot with Dalvin Cook battling injuries on a weekly basis. This Chargers pass defense has been scary recently and it is worth benching Kirk Cousins or Stefon Diggs for if you have tolerable other options.
Since the Vikings’ pass defense has been so bad recently, we can expect Phillip Rivers to repeat off of his bounce-back game. Rivers will likely have a few fantasy points less than last week but is worth a start if the other streaming quarterbacks are already picked over. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams should both be started. Williams is riskier since the Vikings have taller cornerbacks but he has received more usage in the last few weeks. Austin Ekeler is showing is is a star and is worth starting safely every week. Melvin Gordon is in an average matchup but should still be worth starting due to his goal-line production. The Chargers always end up hot at the end of the year, it’s just the beginning of the year that they need to figure out.