By: Jamy Bechler @WinningDFS101
Start/Sit – 2018 Fantasy Football – Week 7
When it comes to season-long fantasy football, you play your studs unless there is an injury, or you are loaded at a position and have other studs on your bench. Don’t overthink it. You are playing head-to-head against one opponent each week. You just have to beat that opponent (who also probably has weaknesses in their lineup). Unless you are a huge underdog that week, don’t get cute.
This article is to provide some additional information as you set your lineups this week. If you have a player that we list in the “sit” category, you shouldn’t automatically sit him because you might be replacing him with a much worse player. Think of Start/Sit rather in terms of “Confident/Cautious.” These are players that we seem to be getting a lot of questions about. We offer our take on whether you should take a confident or cautious approach to playing them this week.
In most cases, we don’t touch upon the obvious plays. There are other Start/Sit articles (I won’t name names) that will tell you to start Saquon Barkley because he is going against a Falcons defense that gives up fantasy points to Running Backs like they are Oprah giving out prizes on her TV show. He is in a plus matchup that made even Peyton Barber look like a good Running Back, but that’s not why you start him. You start him because he is a stud!!! This is obvious to anyone that follows football in any form. We don’t list obvious plays so we can look like we are smart when the obvious plays do what obvious plays do. That doesn’t help you. We try to look at some of the plays that are questionable and give you insights on those.
Remember to check the news and injury reports, leading up to roster lock for the various game times. Nobody knows exactly what will happen from week to week in the NFL but use all the information and resources available to you to make the best decisions possible for your lineup. Good luck and have fun!
Start – Jameis Winston @ Browns
Last week was special because Winston was going against the porous Atlanta Falcons defense. This week, he gets a tougher opponent in the Cleveland Browns (don’t let last week’s blowout against the Chargers fool you). Even though the Browns have a solid defense, this game is in Tampa Bay and the Buccaneers have too many weapons in the passing game. The Browns are decent but not that good to cover everyone. Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate all present good options for Winston. He finished last year on a high note. He played well in the preseason. He played well last week. The only negative (from a football perspective) is that he struggled in Week 5 but that was in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick in his first game back from suspension and it was against the Bears defense. Yes, it was against the Falcons but his 395 yards and 4 touchdown performance tells me that he is clicking.
Notables –Kirk Cousins @ Jets, Philip Rivers vs. Titans, Andy Dalton @ Chiefs
Sit – Eli Manning @ Falcons
I know, I know, on first thought, this seems like an obvious sit. Of course, we aren’t going to play Eli. But then again, on second glance, it is easy to talk ourselves into possibly using Eli as a streamer. Just this one time we might say. Atlanta is a “get happy” spot for offenses. Eli has a bunch of offensive weapons around him. If you like those weapons, then you should like Eli, right?!? There are some quarterbacks on byes this week so, yeah, Eli could work. After all, defenses and matchups do matter and the Falcons are a dream spot. Don’t take that bait. Talent matters, also. Eli doesn’t have it anymore. No, the Giants woes are not all because of Eli. They have a distraction in OBJ, a terrible offensive line, and some organizational dysfunctionality. But this doesn’t mean we play Eli even in a good matchup as a streamer (many respected sites are recommending him as a streamer). There are other options out there. But you’ll do good for yourself by avoiding him as a streaming start this week. If he is the Eli of old and the Falcons are the Falcons of now and Eli puts up 350 yards and 3 touchdowns, then brush it off and move on. More likely he goes for 225, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. You’ll have no regrets with that stat line.
Notables – Blake Bortles vs. Texans, Deshaun Watson @ Jaguars, Alex Smith vs. Cowboys
Start – Tarik Cohen vs. Patriots
This is a little off the board but if you are playing PPR (which is becoming more and more the standard), then Cohen is firmly in play. If you are not playing PPR, then you might want to look elsewhere. He has really come on of late with 7 catches in each of his last two games for a combined 211 yards and a touchdown. He has not been terrible taking handoffs either, but that is not his specialty. In those two games, he has rushed 18 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots are fairly stingy against the run but are susceptible to Running Backs out of the backfield. In the last two weeks (vs. the Colts and Chiefs), they have given up a total of 16 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown to Running Backs. Remember, Bears coach Matt Nagy came from Kansas City where they liked to use passes to the backs as an extension of the run game. Cohen has seen increased usage the last two weeks and one of those games was a blowout win and one was an overtime loss so he appears to be gaining favor regardless of the game situation.
Notables – James White @ Bears, LeSean McCoy @ Colts, Adrian Peterson vs. Cowboys
Sit – Kerryon Johnson @ Dolphins
Other than the top six or seven Running Backs, I am not a fan of many of the matchups this week. There are a lot of RB2s that could end up disappointing you quite a bit. I think you still have to play them (Carlos Hyde, Tevin Coleman, and Mark Ingram come to mind) because there are not a lot of other good options. This certainly is a Wide Receiver in the Flex position sort of week for me. As for Kerryon Johnson, he certainly has the talent to be an every week fantasy starter. However, he has yet to play 50% or more of the Lions’ plays. He is splitting time with Theo Riddick (third-down back) and LeGarrette Blount (goal line back). Coach Matt Patricia learned from the best (Bill Belichick) when it comes to having a running back by committee and frustrating fantasy owners. The Dolphins are not a particularly strong defense so this appears to be a good matchup. This isn’t a matchup issue as much as it is a coaching and playing time issue. You might catch fire in a bottle and Johnson goes for another 100-yard game like he did in Week 3 against the Patriots but the numbers say otherwise. He is averaging 10 rushing attempts per game and 2.6 receptions per game. Johnson is averaging an incredible Barry Sanders-like 5.7 yards per carry but if he doesn’t get much opportunity, you’ll have to get lucky by him breaking a huge run. He is talented, but I don’t trust the coaching.
Notables – Peyton Barber vs. Browns, Lamar Miller @ Jaguars, Isaiah Crowell vs. Vikings
Start – Kenny Golladay @ Dolphins
Unlike Kerryon Johnson and the Running Back by committee that the Lions use, the three wide receiver sets that the Lions use have been a positive for fantasy owners. The Lions passing game is condensed to three guys. Golden Tate should be an every week starter for fantasy purposes. Golladay is quickly becoming someone that should be considered one, as well. In Week 5 (the Lions had a bye in Week 6), Golladay led the team with 9 targets. He caught 4 of them for 98 yards and a touchdown. He also had another touchdown called back because of a penalty. He already has 3 touchdowns in 5 games and is averaging 10.4 yards per catch. He matches up well with a Dolphins team that gives up a lot of big passing plays. Golladay has scored 10+ PPR fantasy points in every game this year. He should be safe with the potential for tremendous upside.
Notables – Tyler Boyd @ Chiefs, Sterling Shepard @ Falcons, Jarvis Landry @ Buccaneers
Sit – Will Fuller @ Jaguars
This is a risky sit because Fuller can win you a week with his big play upside. However, he is not 100% healthy, his Quarterback who loves to throw deep to Fuller is not 100% healthy, and the Jaguars are finally at home after two straight disappointing road performances defensively. I think they are going to be mad and a mad Jaguars team is not one that I want to fire up a gimpy big play Wide Receiver against. In Fuller’s first three games, he caught 17 balls for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. Since he got hurt midway through the Colts game in Week 4, he has caught only 2 balls for 48 yards in the last two weeks.
Notables – Robby Anderson vs. Vikings, Chris Hogan @ Bears, Pierre Garcon @ Rams
Start – C.J. Uzomah
Uzomah is not flashy, nor has he put up big numbers this year. He is, however, the only Tight End left in an offense that has been throwing the ball quite a bit this year. In his most recent game (the only one that he’s been the only TE), he caught 6 balls for 54 yards. This week, he goes against a Kansas City defense that has allowed the second most yards per game to the Tight End position (91.7 ypg). They have only give up one touchdown on the year but there are only two teams that have given up more fantasy points to TEs than the Chiefs. This is the highest projected scoring game of the weekend (58.5 o/u), so there should be plenty of chances for Uzomah to rack up some yards and possibly get into the end zone.
Notables – O.J. Howard vs. Browns, Austin Hooper vs. Giants, David Njoku @ Buccaneers
Sit – Greg Olsen @ Eagles
I am not saying to necessarily sit Greg Olsen this week, but I am saying don’t automatically start him because of his name and that he is back in uniform. Be very cautious with Olsen this week. If you don’t have another TE then you play him. If you have another TE that is playing well and is in a decent spot this week, then consider pivoting away from Olsen for one more week. Only two teams have given up less fantasy points to Tight Ends than the Philadelphia Eagles this season. Overall, their defense hasn’t been as good as last year but they have defended the TE position pretty well (especially when considering that they’ve gone against Kyle Rudolph, Eric Ebron, and Austin Hooper, and O.J. Howard). Not only is Olsen coming off an injury and is probably not 100%, he wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire before the injury. In the eight games prior to his injury (7 last year and 1 this year), he had exactly 1 touchdown and had only one game where he went over 100 yards receiving. He was great, but he isn’t anymore, especially coming off of an injury going against a good defense. Be warned. He is no longer a must-start.
Notables – Charles Clay @ Colts, Cameron Brate vs. Browns, Geoff Swaim @ Redskins
Unless you have one of the top defenses that are probably an automatic start each week, then you might want to consider streaming your defense each week with a team that has the best matchup. Remember, low scoring games is not the only factor for a good defense. You can’t predict fantasy defensive scoring but you can predict opportunity. You typically want defenses that are aggressive and get pressure on the quarterback. This pressure can lead to turnovers. It is also a decent gamble to target defenses going against rookie or inexperienced quarterbacks. Playing at home is a plus. Finally, game flow matters. A game that will be slow with a lot of rushing attempts is not good for fantasy scoring. Also, it is possible for a defense and an opposing Quarterback to both put up good fantasy numbers in the same game (e.g. Andrew Luck throwing for a bunch of yards and touchdowns, but also getting sacked a lot and throwing interceptions). Here are three teams that you might want to consider streaming for this week, along with three teams you’ll want to be a little cautious with.
Start Notables – Chargers DST vs Titans, Colts DST vs. Bills, Bills DST @ Colts
Sit Notables – Titans DST @ Chargers, Bengals DST @ Chiefs, Panthers DST @ Eagles
About the Author-
Jamy Bechler is a fantasy contributor for CouchPotatoGM and FantasyPros. His DFS twitter is @WinningDFS101 and his website is FantasyFocusFootball.com. When he is not playing fantasy sports, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and is a leadership trainer, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). You can also follow his personal twitter account @CoachBechler. Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommends.
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