The Docket: Week 7

A rundown of all the matchups, including notes on all the best players to start, sit and stomach in Week 7. 

Welcome to Week 7 of The Docket, a weekly column that offers strategy and advice on players that you should be targeting and avoiding each week. We bring the energy each week with the positive, neutral and negative charge. (Updated 10/20/16 12pm pst)

Bears vs Packers (-7.5 o/u 46)

Bears

Positive

  • Brian Hoyer, Alshon Jeffery, Cameron Meredith – The Packers secondary is missing three of their starters, making all three of these guys great plays this week, especially since the Packers are tougher to run on. Alshon is a high end WR1 after seeing 13 targets last week and playing against a defense giving up 43.5 FPG to receivers. Meanwhile Meredith continues to be the apple of Hoyer’s eye, racking up 27 targets the past two weeks, going 113/1 on 15 targets last week.

Neutral

  • Jordan Howard – The Packers pose a tougher matchup for Howard than in previous weeks. Zeke Elliot did abuse them last week, but he has the best offensive line in the league, while Howard just lost the leagues #5 rated Guard, Josh Sitton. After getting 93% of the team snaps in his first two games as the teams’ starter, a now healthy Ka’Deem Carey cut into his work load, seeing just 69%. I still think on a short week Howard will have an okay game, but the upside is probably not there this week especially on the road. As for Carey, they loved him in the pre-season and HC Fox has hinted at a hot hand approach. That said, I still think he is more of a handcuff and change of pace back at this point and not worth starting, but possibly worth grabbing if you are a Howard owner with all thee injuries to running backs right now. 
  • Zach Miller – The Packers have not given up a ton of production to tight ends this season, but the problems in their secondary is a concern. While he might not have a huge game, Miller makes for a decent TE1 this week.

Packers

Positive

  • Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers is tough to trust this season and it is strange to see him missing so many throws. Last week he was pressured on just 6 of his 46 drop backs, yet he just held onto the ball and missed some wide open throws he normally makes, such as an easy TD to Cobb in the end zone that he over threw.  That said, the Bears secondary is also banged up, and while they are giving up the 11th fewest passing yards to QBs this season, with Eddie Lacy out this week, I think Rodgers gets it done and starts to right the ship.
  • Randall Cobb – He’s played really well the past two weeks, seeing double digit targets and getting a few looks out of the backfield with Eddie Lacy injured. Last week he went 7/53/1 on 11 targets, but should have had another easy TD that Rodgers just missed him on. He should have his way with slot CB Cre'von LeBlanc.
  • Jordy Nelson – Still not being used as a deep threat and averaging just over 11 yards per catch, Nelson isn’t the same guy he was just yet two years ago. That said, he shouldn’t have any trouble with CB Tracy Porter, and is still getting the most red zone targets on the team. Look for Nelson to score this week, but it’s tough to predict a huge game until we see him look a bit better.
  • Ty Montgomery – Reports have come out that he should handle lead running back duties, at least for this week. Although, “running back” should be used as a loose term, since he is more likely to catch passes out of the backfield than rack up carries, with six of his ten receptions last week coming out of that position. While he is a bit boom or bust since we don’t have a great grasp on his usage just yet, he makes for an intriguing WR3 this week, albeit, one with some upside. 

Negative

  • Knile Davis and Don Jackson – One of these guys is going to get some carries tonight, but it’s uncertain which one. Davis should handle the load going forward, but on a short week they may go to rookie RB Jackson, who was pretty productive in college and supposedly looked good in camp. Unfortunately we don’t know who is going to get those carries so it is tough to trust either this week, especially against a Bears run defense that has actually been pretty good.
  • Richard Rodgers – Not worth reaching for as anything more than a dart throw getting a lucky TD. He just doesn’t see enough targets to be reliable week to week. 

Giants vs Rams (+2.5 o/u 44 – Playing in London, UK)

Giants

Positive

  • Eli Manning – The Rams are easier to pass on than run on, which is fine with a Giants team that has all but abandoned the run. Still, without Robert Quinn and Trumaine Johnson, this game sets up well for Eli. Just keep in mind for DFS, he is on the road and he has not been playing great this season.  
  • Odell Beckham Jr Jr. – With CB Trumaine Johnson still missing, Beckham should keep it rolling with another big game this week. As Rich Hribar mentioned in his Workbook column on Rotoworld, the Giants have run for just 53 yards a game the past three weeks, while throwing it on 72.4% of their offensive plays.

Neutral 

  • Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz – The Giants have thrown the ball on 72.4% of their offensive plays the past three weeks and both of these guys have solid matchups against a Rams team that has given up 42.6 PPG to opposing receivers. Boldin (8/60/1) and Tate (8/165/1) gave Rams CBs Troy Hill and Lamarcus Joyner the business last week, so these guys have a chance to do something … finally.

Negative

  • Orleans Darkwa, Bobby Rainey and Rashad Jennings – Not sure how carries and touches between these guys will pan out, especially since the Giants have abandoned the run in large part and they are playing against a solid run defense. Jennings did play on 46% of the teams snaps, so he is probably the best bet if you need one. 
  • Will Tye and Larry Donnell- Splitting reps and the Rams giving up only 9.7 FPG to opposing tight ends, so look elsewhere.

Rams

Neutral

  • Case Keenum – Viable in 2QB leagues if you are desperate, but the Giants have a solid passing defense.
  • Todd Gurley – After starting tough, the Giants have been run on the past three weeks, ceding yards to McKinnon, Lacy and West, giving up over 22 FPG to the position on the season. While his offensive line has held him back big time this year, even against a weak Lions run defense last week (14/58yds), he’s catching at least three passes a game over the past three weeks, adding 4/39 last week. While that helps his floor, he is still only trustworthy as a RB2 and nor worth paying up for in DFS except if you are being contrarian.
  • Kenny Britt - He had 5 catches for 75 yards two weeks ago and then seven catches for 136 yards and 2 TDs last week, and both TDs came against top notch CB Darius Slay. It’s a tough matchup against CB Janoris Jenkins in London, but Britt is getting it done weekly, putting up double digit fantasy points every week, so he is becoming a very solid WR3 with upside.
  • Brian Quick – Has the easier matchup this week, going up against CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, so this might be a Quick week, out performing over his compatriots Austin and Britt.

Negative

  • Tavon Austin- He’s seeing an insane 27% target share in this offense and doing very little with that production and faces off against solid slot CB Leon Hall. Too tough to trust, but he will come through on two or three games a season, it's just tough to predict which ones. 

Saints vs Chiefs (-7 o/u 50)

Saints

Positive

  • Michael Thomas – The Saints suck on the road, there is just no way around that. I’m putting him here since he should line up against CB Phillip Gaines, PFF’s 99th ranked CB. As your WR3 or DFS cheap play, he should come through again this week after snagging another 5 catches last week.

Neutral

  • Mark Ingram II – Of all the Saints big dogs, Ingram should be the most productive, but the Chiefs are still pretty stout against the run. Trot him out as a RB2 in season long and fade in DFS.

Negative

  • Drew Brees, Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead IV and Coby Fleener –This offense is so explosive at home that it is tough to sit any of these guys in season long leagues on the road, but they that’s exactly what you should do. Brees hasn’t finished in the top 20 in road games this year, Cooks will be covered by top notch CB Marcus Peters, Snead hasn’t done anything since Week 2 and Chiefs safety Eric Berry doesn’t allow tight ends to get out of neutral. 

Chiefs

Positive

  • Alex Smith – Great streaming option and has a great upcoming schedule for those in need of a QB. Saints giving up 23.7 FPG to opposing QBs. The only possible chance of a let down is if they just run ever play, which is certainly possible, like last week, so watch your overall exposure on DFS.
  • Jamaal Charles and Spencer Ware – In such an amazing matchup at home, both of these guys are viable this week, with Charles a RB2 and Ware a RB1. The Saints have given up 11 rushing TDs and are allowing 34.9 FPG to opposing RBs. Last week Ware played 62% of the Chiefs’ snaps with Charles handling 23%. The gap may close this week in better weather, but probably just a bit. I think Charles really starts to take over closer to December and certainly in the playoffs. With Ware running so well, why not let him crush teams in these easier running matchups. 
  • Jeremy Maclin – They have him in the slot a lot this year and they throw to random receivers in the red zone every week, which has limited some of his upside. He also hasn’t gone off yet even if good matchups, so best viewed as a WR3 even against a Saints team giving up 40.5 FPG to opposing WRs.
  • Travis Kelce – Was asked to block a lot last week due to the weather, which limited his upside. Outside of last week, he has seen at least seven targets in every game and the Saints are getting abused by opposing tight ends, giving up 14.5 FPG to the position. He’s a great play this week.

Neutral

  • Chris ConleyLed the team in targets last week, although with only 4, so that’s not saying much. How much will this team have to pass this week? Probably not much.  But against this secondary he could easily get loose for a few deep grabs. He seems to be teetering on the edge of a big game.

Bills vs Dolphins (+3 o/u 44.5)

Bills

Positive

  • LeSean McCoy (Mike Gillislee) – McCoy is locked and loaded as a RB1 against a Dolphins team giving up 4.5 YPC. If he can’t play this week, Gillislee should make for a solid fill in and a great DFS play at his price.
  • Bills Defense – They have been playing at an elite level and that should continue this week. In DFS I prefer playing defenses at home, but otherwise, they should be fine for you this week.

Neutral

  • Tyrod Taylor – Despite his lack of receiving weapons, the Bills have owned the Dolphins the past two years. He’s on the QB2 map this week.
  • Charles Clay – After going 5/73 two weeks ago, he went 5/52 last week. If that’s what you’re looking for, he’s your guy.  Also possible revenge game?  Maybe he catches 6 passes this week.
  • Robert Woods – Seeing 27% of the teams’ targets, so if you need 5 to 7 catches, he can do that for you, although surprisingly the (up until then) Dolphins corners, somehow played well last week.  He’s just an average player and an average play. Another guy to watch is Justin Hunter who is coming on a bit, but not worth starting just yet.

Dolphins

Neutral

  • Jay Ajayi – I’ve been pushing Ajayi since the pre-season, so I was happy to see HC Gase finally play smart and let their most talented back lead the charge. Hopefully he realizes that the best way for this team to win is to let Ajayi be the foundation of the offense and not Tannehill.  Unfortunately this is a tougher matchup against a Bills team giving up just 3.5 YPC and a game on the road, but I think Ajayi is a good bet to still see 20 touches since it should be a close one and we have seen what volume can do for a guy like Melvin Gordon III in San Deigo.  So he has some value this week, just not upside.
  • Jarvis Landry – In PPR leagues he always a good play, averaging 15 FPG against them the past two season, so he is a good bet to catch his normal 7 to 10 passes going up against CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, who is PFF’s 7th rated corner this year. He’s only a back-end WR3 in standard leagues.

Negative

  • Ryan Tannehill, DeVante Parker and Arian Foster – Despite last week, the Dolphins stink, and Tanny struggled against the Bills in both games last year, so if you can avoid it, don’t use any of these guys. Foster has lost the running job to Ajayi, although he may see some passing down work, and Parker won’t do much against these tough Bills corners, particularly Stephon Gilmore, and especially since he really doesn't have good enough technique to counter such a player. 

Ravens vs Jets (-1 o/u 42.5 )

Ravens

Positive

  • Terrance West – He had 27 touches last week and the team should keep riding him, especially with Flacco banged up. While the Jets do have a solid run defense, they have also been gashed on the ground the past three weeks, so keep using him.

Neutral 

  • Joe Flacco – Dinged up this week, so make sure to check his status, but the Jets aren’t pressuring the QB and have only 5 sacks on the season, so he should have time to throw against a defense giving up  24.5 FPG to opposing QBs. 
  • Breshad Perriman – The offense should open up more this week and he has the speed to beat CB Marcus Williams deep. Jets HC Bowles blitzed last week continuously, leaving his corners on the outside in man coverage. If he does that again this week, Perriman and Wallace could have monster games. He saw 8 targets last week and this is a sneaky spot for him to break out in a big way if Flacco is healthy. Great DFS GPP reach.
  • Mike Wallace – Will face off against CB Revis, who is no match for his speed these days. He has 9+ targets the past three weeks and has just missed on a number of deep shots, so he has some great upside this week. As mentioned above, if HC Bowles leaves Revis on an Island intent of blitzing, Wallace should have some big cacthes. 
  • Kamar Aiken – It looks like Steve Smith will be out again this week, so Aiken makes for a fine PPR WR3 facing off against very beatable slot CB Buster Skrine. 
  • Dennis Pitta – The Jets are giving up a lot of production to the tight end. Flacco looks his way in the red zone a ton and had 10 targets last week with the Jets giving up 15.2 FPG to TE’s.

Negative

  • Kenneth Dixon – His time is coming, but it may be Week 13 or Week 1 in 2017. Right now, it’s all about West.

Jets

Positive

  • Brandon Marshall – The drop off from Fitzmagic to Geno is not that big, if at all, so Marshall should be a target hog against a pass defense giving up the most TDs to opposing WRs on the season and with their top CB, Jimmy Smith, most likely out. I think Marshall is angry; you want to play him when he’s angry, especially at home.

Neutral

  • Quincy Enunwa – He will face off against beatable CB Shareece Wright, so despite not doing much lately, I have a feeling he puts up usable PPR flex numbers this week at home in a must win game for this team. 40% of the Jets snaps have been with 4-wide, hopeflly Geno Smith can take advantage of that better than Fitzpatrick did. 
  • Matt Forte and Bilal Powel – In another tough matchup on the ground, don’t expect many yards. Powell has also out snapped and out targeted Forte the past two games. I think both are viable as PPR flex options this week, but neither is a RB2.

Raiders vs Jaguars (-1 o/u 49)

Raiders

Positive

  • Derek Carr – These 10am games on the East Coast always scare me a bit, but the Jaguars are not a scary matchup in what should be a shoot out. They are far easier to throw on than run on, making Carr a solid backend QB1 as usual. 
  • Michael Crabtree & Amari Cooper – The Jags have two solid CBs, but both Jalen Ramsey and Prince Amukamara got lit up by Chicgao's WRs Alshon and Meredith last week, so these two should be good to go.  Cooper especially is coming on lately, putting up 6/138 and 10/129 the past two weeks, so he’s locked and loaded.

Negative  

  • DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard – Washington out snapped Richard last week, so he looks like the better option, especially since it is easier to throw on the Jags than run on them.  Unfortunately that Jags have only allowed on running back to put up over 70 yards on the ground against them this season.

Jaguars

Positive

  • Blake Bortles – The Raiders have the 29th rated pass defense according to Football Outsiders, so this is a great matchup despite his poor play all year. He is the king of shoot outs and garbage time and this should be one of those games against a Raiders team giving up over 19 passing points per game, but putting up a good number of points.
  • Allen Robinson – The yardage hasn’t been there for Robinson, but keep trotting him out as a WR1 given his huge target share in this offense.  But it’s disconcerting that he has hasn’t had more than 60 yards receiving the past five weeks, yet this matchup is as good as it gets at home against a Raiders defense that has allowed six 100 yard receivers in only 5 weeks.
  • Julius Thomas – It’s a good idea to play your tight ends against a Raiders defense that can’t stop the tight end, especially when your tight end is playing at home. Maqise Lee is siphoning off his targets, but the Raiders do give up 17.8 FPG to tight ends.

Neutral

  • T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory – There is nothing scary about this matchup, with the Raiders giving up over 125 rushing yards, 5.1 YPC and 29.3 FPG to opposing RBs. That said, both of these guys aren’t looking that great, with Ivory averaging only 2.9YPC last week and Yeldon only catching one pass. Total coin-toss on playing them and on which one is a better play.
  • Marqise Lee – He’s catching 5 or 6 passes a game now and should have an easy go of things against beatable slot CB D.J. Hayden. Every fantasy player wants to ignore his existence, but if you need some points, he’s your guy.
  • Allen Hurns – Tough to trust since he hasn’t done anything, but if you want to play that cheap DFS option that has a chance to go off, he’s as good a candidate as anyone else out there. Could be this weeks Kenny Britt.

Vikings vs Eagles (+2.5 o/u 40)

Vikings

Positive

  • Stefon Diggs – Looks like he should play this week with two weeks rest. This is a tougher matchup against an Eagles defense that has covered the back end well, but they move Diggs around and he should be able to take advantage of left CB Jalen Millsl and slot CB Ron Brooks for some catches and some good run after the catch. It’s the Eagles safety play that should prevent any deep action, but that’s not really Digg’s game.

Neutral  

  • Sam Bradford – He should be serviceable in all 2QB leagues, but not a great matchup for DFS use.
  • Jerick McKinnon – The Eagles struggled with Riddick two weeks ago, as he dropped 11/49 on the ground and 6/33/2 in the air on them. He should easily see 15+ touches, making him a RB2 play in PPR leagues with the Eagles giving 4.9 YPC, but he has very little upside for a DFS use.
  • Adam Thielen – With Diggs back, he should take a back seat again, but he faces off against beatable slot CB Ron Brooks. If Diggs is out, look for him to lead the way in targets once again.

Negative

  • Kyle Rudolph – The Eagles have solid safety play, giving up just 5.8 FPG to opposing TEs. While Rudolph has some serious mojo with Bradford, best to temper expectations, yet I could still see him scoring a TD.
  • Matt Asiata – If you need a cheap TD, the Ass man can always come through since he is their goal line back. But only viable in standard leagues as a RB3 or bye week fill in.

Eagles

Neutral

  • Darren Sproles – Viable PPR flex play since the Eagles won’t be able to run or pass on the Vikings, he could actually be their only viable weapon. He’s not a great play by any means, but viable, yes.

Negative

  • Carson Wentz, Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham and Nelson Agholor – Against this Defense, even on the road, just don’t do it. Don’t do it. You can try, but you shouldn’t do it. Last week Wentz really missed RT Lane Johnson as fill in RT Vaitai got beat far too often, making it tough for Wentz to play well. You can check out what I mean from Matt Waldman, who broke this down brilliantly in his Top 10 column. As for the receivers, DGB seems to be emerging over Agholor, so he’s someone to stash on your bench in deeper leagues for possible future use and in dynasty leagues.
  • Ryan Mathews – In an amazing matchup he got just 9 carries, playing a mere 21% of the teams snaps despite averaging more than 6 yards a carry while Smallwood and Barner combined for 6 carries and did absolutely nothing with them. Part of the problem was that the Eagles Defense scored twice, keeping the team off the field. Nonetheless, his usage is concerning enough to drop him down to a flex play in choice matchups and an avoid in this weeks matchup unless you are in TD dependent league since he is the goal line back.
  • Zach Ertz – The good news is that Ertz has been on the field for 87% of the teams snaps the past two weeks; the bad news is that he isn’t seeing a ton of targets, as Wentz has regressed lately and has also spread the ball around. He remains a talented player that is going to be spotty for fantasy until we see better consistency from the Eagles, which may only come next season, if at all.

Browns vs Bengals (-9.5 o/u 46)

Browns

Positive

  • Terrelle Pryor – His injury is something to pay close attention to, but he is seeing double digit targets every week and can always add some rushing and passing yards. The high floor and big ceiling makes him a solid WR3 play every week.

Neutral

  • Duke Johnson Jr – With the Browns having a tougher time running the ball, he should be fairly active and the Bengals just allowed James White to catch 8 passes and two TDs last week. While he may not get a ton of yards or score any TDs, he’s at least a good bet to catch 5 or 6 passes, so a good PPR flex play.

Negative

  • Isaiah Crowell – After a great start, he’s put up two duds in a row so he is tough to trust against a solid Bengals run defense playing at home that has really only given up a big run game to Zeke Elliot in Dallas.
  • Gary Barnidge – Needs a touchdown to come through and the Bengals play the tight end very tough.

Bengals

Positive  

  • A.J. GreenJoe Haden has handled him in the past, but Haden is either going to be out or playing hurt this week and doesn’t even look like the same guy he was last year, so Green should be in for a monster week, and probably the top play of the week at the position.
  • Giovani Bernard – A great start this week with Hill dealing with a shoulder injury and had 19 touches last week.  Receiving backs have also given the Browns problems all season.

Neutral

  • Andy Dalton – He is throwing for more than 250 yards every week, and while the TDs haven’t been there, the Browns giving up very solid 27.7 FPG. Great streaming and DFS option at home this week especially if Eifert is back.
  • Jeremy Hill – While he is not someone to fade, the Browns have actually played running backs tough, but he is a good bet to score this week, so he makes for a solid RB2, but there is some downside.
  • Brandon LaFell – Lets the team in red zone targets and scored two weeks in a row. Not a lot in terms of yards, but good shot at a TD and 5 catches for 50 yards.
  • Tyler Eifert – He’s back practicing this week, so if he plays, he’s a solid start at a position that lacks much consistency and against a Browns team giving up 8/98/1 per game the TE. It would be good to wait a week to see how he does, but those LaFell red zone looks could very well all go his way.

Colts vs Titans (-2.5 o/u 48)

Colts

Positive

  • T.Y. Hilton – While the Titans have a decent secondary, Hilton will be moved around a lot and will abuse CB Parish Cox when he gets some looks against him. Last weeks game should be more of an aberration, so he’s locked in as a high end WR1 back at home in the dome.

Neutral  

  • Andrew Luck – The Titans have a decent defense, although one that normally Luck would have no trouble with. Unfortunately his offensive line isn’t helping him out very much and he is missing WR Donte Moncrief big time, with Dorsett not a plug and play fill in. In season long, he is locked in as a QB1, but he’s hard to pay up for and trust in DFS, especially with the Titans controlling the clock on offense with their run game.
  • Frank Gore – The Titans are actually very solid on the ground, but so were the Texans, and he put up 22/106 against them last week. While Gore no longer has much upside, if you are looking for a steady backend RB2 or flex play, especially in standard leagues, he should be fine.
  • Jack Doyle – With Allen out this week, Detective Jack Doyle enters the streaming conversation, running routes on 31 of the team's 41 pass plays last week. He’s not a sexy option, but he’s a viable one, who has scored in 3 of 6 games. Great DFS play if you want to pay down.

Negative

  • Phillip Dorsett – He’s banged up, not playing well and might not play. 

Titans

Positive

  • Marcus Mariota – The past two matchups have been great and Mariota has been taking advantage. After scoring 4 TDs in Week 5, he followed that up with 284 yards and 3 TDs last week. While the passing yards will never be very high, he’s getting it done through the air and one the ground. Look for him to have another solid game this week against a weak Colts pass defense.
  • DeMarco Murray – He’s a top RB play every week, especially at home averaging 4.6 yards per carry and is 4th in catches with 24. Remember what Lamar Miller did to this Colts defense last week? He dropped 149/1 on the ground and 3/29/1 in the air. Well, Murray should do something similar this week. Fire him up in all formats.
  • Delanie Walker – He stunk it up last week and killed everyone. He should bounce back this week, and has averaged 16.6 FPG against them over his past four games.

Neutral

  • Kendall Wright – He played on just 36% of the teams’ snaps last week, but showed he is the teams best receiver by far, dropping 8/133/1 on the Browns last week and making a beautiful diving catch. Look for him to keep things rolling this week against very beatable CB Patrick Robinson in the slot.
  • Rishard Matthews – He should avoid shut down CB Vontae Davis, playing on the other side of the field. He won’t catch a ton of passes, but could give you another 70 yards and a TD like last week. A mere bye week fill in or deeper league play.

Negative

  • Derrick Henry – Just a high-end handcuff for now, but at least he is running better.  
  • Tajae SharpeVontae Davis likely won’t shadow anyone this week, but he does play on Sharpe’s side of the field in their base offense, which means that Sharpe will do nothing … again.

Redskins vs Lions (-1 o/u 48.5)

Redskins

Positive

  • Kirk Cousins – Lions giving up multiple TDs to every QB they have played this year and they even made Case Keenum look like Joe Montana last week, so he’s a solid QB2 play and DFS start.
  • Matt Jones – After averaging a pathetic 2.2 YPC in Week 5, he went off for 125 yards and a TD last week. Then again, Robert Kelley had five carries for 59 yards, so maybe the Eagles just had an off week. Jones also played on just 41% of the teams’ snaps, by far the fewest of the year. Nevertheless, this is a plus matchup against a Lions defense giving up over 5 yards per carry. It also might be a bit of a trap game on the road, since Gurley only had 58 yards on 14 carries against them last week. Don’t chase in DFS, but the matchup is at least good on paper for season long especially since the Lions still are without NT Ngata.

Neutral

  • Pierre Garcon - This actually might be a week to give Garcon a shot against CB Nevin Lawson who was abused by Kenny Britt last week. He makes for an intriguing streamer or GPP play.
  • Jamison Crowder – He isn’t seeing many targets, but in a game that should devolve into a shoot out, he should be able to take advantage of slot CB Quandre Diggs, PFF’s 101-ranked corner.
  • Chris Thompson – Actually played on 49% of the teams’ snaps last week, handling 12 touches. With the Lions giving up over 5 catches a game and 5.2 YPC, he’s a viable PPR flex play this week.

Negative

  • DeSean Jackson –DJax is boom or bust as usually and he might see a ton of CB Slay. He’s just a shot in the dark right now. At least he is playing indoors where his speed should give the Lions trouble and maybe if I put him here in Negative, he will play well.
  • Robert Kelly – He’s nipping at Jones’ heals, but not playing enough just yet to trust him.
  • Jordan Reed, Nile Paul or Vernon Davis – If Reed goes, he’s a great start this week, if not, Davis played on 97% of the teams snaps, making Paul all but obsolete, and Davis too hard to trust at his advanced age despite the great matchup.

Lions

Neutral

  • Matthew Stafford – It is never wise to bet against Stafford and this passing attack when playing at home, but the Redskins do have a tough secondary giving up only 16.5 FPG to opposing QBs. I would keep using him in season long, but probably the first week to really look elsewhere in DFS.
  • Anquan Boldin – With TE Ebron and RB Riddick still out, he should see a decent number of targets in the slot again after catching 8 passes last week. While the Redskins have two great outside corners, CB Kendall Fuller is decent himself, holding Jordan Mathews to just three catches last week.
  • Golden Tate – Without a solid run game; look for Stafford to keep throwing a ton. He has a tougher matchup this week against CB Bashaud Breeland, so don’t fret if he disappoints again this week, better times lay ahead.
  • Marvin Jones Jr – He faces off against top notch CB Josh Norman for much of the day, so not a great start this week.
  • Zach Zenner, Dwayne Washington – If both are active, they might cannibalize each other’s touches. If one is out, the other is a good play against a Redskins defense that is tough to throw on, but that gives up p 5.2 YPC on the ground.
  • Theo Riddick – If he plays this week, he should have 8 to 10 catches and is a great PPR play in all formats.

Buccaneers vs 49ers (+2 o/u 48)

Buccaneers

Positive

  • Jacquizz Rodgers – Rodgers owners should be rejoicing with Martin out again. The Niners do play a bit better at home, but he should see plenty of volume and they are giving up 33.5 FPG on the ground.  He ran for 30 times last game and teams are running on the Niners more than 25 times a game.
  • Mike Evans – He should see more than 30% of the teams’ targets with VJax done for the year, and he was already averaging 13 a game. He is locked and loaded as a high end WR1 this week despite the Niners having decent CB play.
  • Cameron Brate – With VJax out, Brate should be very active against a Niners team giving up Niners give up 15 FPG to opposing TEs.

 

Neutral

  • Jameis Winston – It’s a beautiful matchup against a 49ers team that is unable to bring a lot of pressure. The biggest issue with Winston though has been his accuracy, as over 26% of his passes have been off target. The good news is that he is throwing it deep a lot and should connect with Mike Evans on a few big ones this week. He’s still just a QB2, but someone to keep in the back of your mind for the fantasy playoffs where he gets the Saints not once, but twice!
  • Adam Humphries – With Vincent Jackson done for the year, he will slot in as the teams #2 receiving target, especially with Charles Sims out too.  He could see 10 targets this week and makes for an excellent PPR Flex play.

49ers

Neutral

  • Mike Davis – With Hyde out he should get a bulk of the carries and I think he gets close to 100 yards in this one. HC Kelly has a scheme and he is not quick to abandon it, yet the Bucs giving up just 3.7 YPC so he is not a Positive start, more of a hunch play.

Negative

  • Colin Kaepernick, Jeremy Kerley, Torrey Smith – I’m against playing any of these guys and think you can do better even if they do put up some points. Did you watch Kaep TD throw to Smith last week? He under threw him big time and Smith scored on a total blown coverage. Kaep can run, so if you need a QB2, sure, use him. I won’t.

Chargers vs Falcons (-6.5 o/u 53 )

Chargers

Positive

  • Philip Rivers – This game should be a shoot out and Rivers is game. The Falcons are giving up 301/2 on average to opposing QBs, so look for him to put up some big numbers.
  • Melvin Gordon III – He isn’t playing well, he really isn’t. If you take away his one big run last week, he went 26 for 46 yards, but none of that matters when you see 27 touches a game.  He should be a solid RB1 once again due to sheer volume, goal line work and the Falcons giving up 9 catches a game to opposing RBs.
  • Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Henry – Expect all of these guys to join in on the fun. Benjamin has the toughest matchup against CB Trufant and he’s also been playing fewer snaps than Williams and Inman. All these guys should be moved around, so I wouldn’t expect any of them to be totally shut down. Henry seems to be Rivers go to guy despite playing on fewer snaps than Gates. The Falcons giving up 17.5 FPG to opposing TEs. Keep rolling with him.

Negative

  • Antonio Gates and Dontrelle Inman – It’s tough to trust either guy, yet a big game is possible for those in dire need of help. Inman had one big game due to a broken play and Gates is seeing targets, but just not doing anything with them.

Falcons

Positive

  • Matt Ryan – While the San Diego defense has been bringing some pressure and playing better than anyone expected, thanks in large part to a great rookie class, if the Seahawks and Broncos can’t shut him down on the road, what makes you think the Chargers can do so at home.
  • Julio Jones – Fortunately the Chargers defense is banged up, which means Julio is in for a big game, especially at home. He does have a tough matchup against CB Casey Heyward, PFF’s #10 CB. But if he can put up points on the road against CB Richard Sherman, he can do it at home against Heyward.
  • Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman – Both of these guys should go off this week against a Chargers defense giving up 8 receptions and nearly 70 yards through the air to opposing running backs.  The Chargers have been playing pretty solid run defense, but these two should be fine on the ground to playing in the dome at home.
  • Mohamed Sanu – With all the injuries to the Chargers secondary, Sanu makes for a solid WR3 play with upside this week going against slot CB Craig Mager, PFF’s 90th rated CB. He makes for a great DFS reach.

Patriots vs Steelers (+7 o/u 46)

Patriots

Positive  

  • Tom Brady – He’s Angry Tom. Angry Tom is good for fantasy. You should start Angry Tom who threw 4 TDs against them last year and who will be missing DE Cameron Heyward and ILB Ryan Shazier
  • Rob Gronkowski – Gronk also loves Angry Tom. With LB Ryan Shazier still limited and possibly out again, Gronk should dominate even more than he would dominate if they did have all their defensive pieces.
  • James White – While White had a good scoring game, the final fantasy point total can be a bit misleading. He rushed 7 times for a measly 19 yards and missed a block as well on one play. That said, with Tom Brady leading the charge, White had an easy time catching the ball 8 times for 47 yards and 2 TDs. White is a fine player, but he is not Dion Lewis, fortunately for Fantasy owners, Brady gets him in wining positions, so he is fine PPR RB2 or Flex play if you need, but probably a guy to sell high on.
  • LeGarrette Blount – The Steelers have allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and there is a bit of a revenge game narrative this week too. Look for Blount to have a good game against this defense that just got lit up by Jay Ajayi and that could be missing DE Cameron Heyward, ILB Ryan Shazier and Vince Williams

Neutral

  • Julian Edelman – With all the mouths to feed, his target share is taking a major hit. He use to be a no brainer PPR stud, but I’m not quite sure what he is right now. Best used as a WR3 in PPR leagues, since he doesn’t catch many TDs, until we see him perform better.
  • Martellus Bennett – Since Gronk returned, Bennett has seen a steady decline in his snap shares, going from 98% to 79% to 69% and then 56% last week. Bennett can score multiple touchdowns any given week, but just know going in that he is not a sure thing, but very few tight ends are this year (see Delanie Walker last week).

Negative

  • Chris Hogan  - With Malcolm Mitchel banged up, he should see all their deep shots, but unfortunately they only needed to take one last week. He will be boom or bust in a matchup against the Steelers without Big Ben.

Steelers

Positive

  • Le'Veon Bell – Unlike Antonio Brown, Bell’s numbers don’t dip as drastically without Big Ben at the helm, dropping from 22.3 PPG to 19.3 PPG. Unfortunatley Pats HC Bill Belichick likes to take out one player a game and it makes sense for him to shut down Bell, especially after raving about him this week. He can then force backup QB Landry Jones to try and beat them. Bell is still locked and loaded as a RB1, but he comes with some risk. 

Neutral

  • Antonio Brown – The loss of Big Ben is huge. With him he averaged 24.7 PPG and without him just 10.3 PPG. Facing off against a tougher defense, it makes Brown a fade in DFS, and a WR2 in season long. Sorry to have to break it to you guys.

Negative

Seahawks vs Cardinals (-2 o/u 43.5)

Seahawks

Positive

  • Jimmy Graham – The Cardinals have only given up 6.2 FPG to TEs this season, but they also haven’t faced a tight end as dominant as Graham. 5’9” Tyrann Mathieu is a great player, but he’s not shutting down Graham.

Neutral

  • Russell Wilson –  Averaging only around 15 FPG, he is clearly not healthy and able to pick up yards on the ground. Last week he had wide-open field in front of him on one broken play and he decided to try a throw into coverage instead. The Cardinal’s are giving up only 19 FPG, which makes him a player to avoid in DFS this week and one you can bench if you happened to also draft a guy like Rivers or Matt Ryan
  • Christine Michael – The Cardinals are allowing just 3.6 YPC to opposing RBs, but with Wilson at the helm, they haven’t faced a tandem of him and Michael. I think their defense will be on their heals and Michael will pop off a few big runs.

Negative

  • C.J. Spiller – It takes guts to reach for him as he is not seeing the field enough, yet, he has 6 targets last week and he may end up being the one player that does the most damage against the Cards in this one.
  • Doug Baldwin – Will see a lot of CB Tyrann Mathieu out of the slot, so just a WR3 this week on the road.
  • Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson Jr and Jermaine Kearse – None of these guys not worth starting against this tough Cardinal’s secondary.  Kearse at least did lead all Seahawks receivers last week with 5 targets, but for only 3 catches and 35 yards.

Cardinals

Neutral

  • David Johnson – Even though the Seahawks are stout against the run, giving up only 3.3 yards per carry, he is an all purpose back and will have a good game as always. I would stay away from him in DFS, as this could be a low scoring affair, so there won’t be big upside. 
  • Larry Fitzgerald - Averaging 6 catches a game and will avoid CB Sherman playing out of the slot. It’s not going to be an easy game for this whole offense, but if PPR leagues he should make for a decent WR3 with upside.

Negative

  • Carson Palmer – He’s not looking great and is going up against a defense giving up just 16 FPG to opposing QBs. His completion percentage against them last year was also well under 60%.
  • John Brown – Not a week to reach for him against Richard Sherman and company. That said, it wouldn’t be surprising for one of the Cardinals receivers to get deep for a TD, it’s just tough to guess which one. Brown would be the best bet.
  • Michael Floyd – He scored last week, that’s about all he did.

Texans vs Broncos (-7.5 o/u 41)

Texans

Neutral  

  • Lamar Miller – Miller finally got a positive matchup and torched the Colts for 149 yards and a TD. Unfortunately the tough opening schedule continues this week against a strong Bronco’s defense, although one that has been giving up 4.1 yards per carry.  The good news for Miller owners is that he gets a ton of weekly volume, currently 2nd in the league with 125 carries, but has had very few red zone rushes, with just four carries inside the 12 yard line.  Keep trotting him out in season long, but he is risky once again this week in DFS.
  • C.J. Fiedorowicz – Went 6/85/1 last week and has seen 20 targets over the past three weeks. The best spot to attack the Broncos is in the middle with the tight end, so he has a shot.

Negative

  • Brock Osweiler, Will Fuller V and DeAndre Hopkins – Going up against this defense is never easy. While Hopkins could see time on beatable CB Bradley Roby, their should be some safety help and Brock may not have much time to throw with this sort of pressure. As my man Sig Bloom mentioned on Twitter, since Kelvin Benjamin dropped 6/91/1 vs DEN in Week 1, The Broncos’ have given up 0 TDs to receivers, limiting A.J. Green (8-77), Mike Evans (5-59), T.Y. Hilton (4-41) and Julio Jones (2-29), to rather pedestrian bottom lines. This is also actually a reverse revenge game, where the Defense may want to punish Brock for acting cocky and leaving Denver.

Broncos

Positive

  • Emmanuel Sanders & Demaryius Thomas – This secondary is banged up, with injuries to both CBs Kevin Johnson and Jonathan Joseph, so they should be able to handle this secondary. That said, they are always hard to trust in DFS because they don’t have a great QB despite decent matchups.
  • Denver Defense – Look for them to get to Brock often. This could get ugly.

Neutral

  • C.J. Anderson – While the Texans have a tough run defense, they have allowed a top 24 running back every week this season, so while he has a tough matchup, he should be able to at least be used as a RB2 or flex option especially playing at home.

Negative

  • Trevor Siemian – The Texans defensive injuries help, but his still Trevor Siemian. Look elsewhere, but hopefully he does enough to get Sander and Thomas going.
  • Devontae Booker – Just a handcuff still, although a high end one at that. While he has looked pretty good, last week Anderson played 52 snaps compared to only15 for Booker. Anderson is also the main back near the goal line, sitting second in the league right now with 8 carries inside the 5.

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