Remember, start your studs! If you’re looking for QB, TE, or DEF streamers this week, I put them in the waiver wire article.
Figure out which running backs are going to do well this year has been such a toss-up. Start your studs, choose guys who are getting volume and call it a day. If you have a 3-down back, make sure they’re in there. Goal line TDs are very hard to predict. The only thing we can predict is volume, which is why I’m not going to list RBs to start – you know who’s getting volume. A few 2-down non-stud guys who shouldn’t have a negative game script and are startable this week based on matchups are Alex Collins, Doug Martin, Adrian Peterson, Ameer Abdullah, Kenyan Drake, and Latavius Murray. A few 2-down RBs who can fall into a negative game script or have not so great matchups are Orleans Darkwa, Samaje Perine, Alfred Morris, Marshawn Lynch, and Joe Mixon. A few 3rd down and passing backs that should give you a solid floor in PPR leagues are Rex Burkhead, Chris Thompson, Danny Woodhead, Duke Johnson, . Shane Vereen is a passing back that should be on the field a ton while the Giants try to catch up to the Chiefs, but he’s definitely more of a desperate play. Two other desperation plays are JD Mckissic and Austin Ekeler; McKissic should see the field plenty this week, but Ekeler is a riskier wild card, as he can either see increased opportunity based on his performance, or he can revert back to seeing 5-8 touches a game.
Yes, he has yet another QB throwing him the ball this week, but when you’re the QB of the Cardinals, you better find a way to pepper Fitzgerald with targets. Fitzgerald knows how to get open, so he should provide a bit of a comfort zone for Blaine Gabbert. The Texans have been a hot mess on defense lately, and they’ve specifically been giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to slot WRs. Gabbert did play very well in the preseason, and the competition in this game might be similar. You can’t sit Larry in this matchup.
You might have to keep Maclin in your lineup the rest of the year the way his matchups will play out. If you’re in need of a WR, he’s one I would target before your trade deadline is up. Maclin will see a lot of Demarious Randall, who is very vulnerable in the slot. Slots receivers Golden Tate and Adam Thielen had great games against the Packers, Cole Beasley had a 2 TD game against them, and even Brandon Coleman was able to score on them. Maclin is the #1 WR for the Ravens, he seems healthy now, and should continue playing well.
Jones wasn’t even shadowed by Jason McCourty last week, and still only managed to catch one pass. The matchup was pretty good, and he has an even better one this week when he’s on Kyle Fuller’s side of the field. The Bears have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on the right side of the field, where Jones runs about 50% of his routes from. Also, the Bears do a great job against slot WRs and on the other side of the field where Prince Amukamara has QBs hardly looking his way. For those reasons, Jones can see a healthy target share this week and have success.
Lee should see a lot of Jamar Taylor this week, who has allowed a healthy 0.36 fantasy points per route run to WRs lining up against him. It’s a matchup that can be won, and we’ve seen a healthy target share go Lee’s way with Allen Hurns on the field. Without Hurns this week, he should see close to 10+ targets. The Browns have done a great job on the ground, and might force the Jaguars to throw the ball more than they would like.
Hill has been up and down all season, but he plays the Giants this week. You probably heard it a million times over the past few weeks – this defense has given up. Because of that, big time playmakers have got it done against the Giants recently, so Hill is in a perfect spot this week. Hill moves all around the formation, so I don’t think the Giants are going to be able to get the guys they want on him this week. He needs to be in lineups.
DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry
Parker and Landry will see a lot of Tampa’s Robert McClain and Vernon Hargreaves this week, which is great news for both of them. McClain has done a better job recently, but is still a liability on the outside against good competition. Parker will see a good amount of Brent Grimes this week as well, but I’m not scared off by any of these corners. There’s no doubt that this defense has been playing better as of late, but they are still very leaky and banged up. As far as Jarvis Landry, he has the best matchup against Hargreaves, who has been allowing 0.41 fantasy points per route run against him, and has been targeted the most out of any of the Bucs corners.
Diggs is one of those players who just can’t sit in any given week. Yes, he’s going to be shadowed by Trumaine Johnson against the Rams, but I’m not worried about it. Johnson has actually been targeted a ton this year, and is allowing more fantasy points per route run against him than the other corners on that defense. Being shadowed by Johnson might actually end up being a good thing for Diggs, who can go off in any game. He’ll be in my lineup this week.
In the two games Shepard has played since coming back from injury, he’s seen 22 targets and turned that into 212 yards. He had 11 receptions last week! He has turned into a high-end WR2 with all of the injuries at the position, and he gets a juicy matchup in Week 11 against the Chiefs’ nickel corner Steven Nelson. Since Nelson has played as the nickel, he was targeted as ton and has given up 0.44 fantasy points per target, which sets up very nicely for Shepard. The Chiefs as a team have given up the 4th most fantasy points to slot WRs this year, the 7th most in the last 4 games, and the most overall fantasy points to wide receivers. Start him.
Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews
I really like the matchup for Rishard Matthews without Joe Haden in the lineup this week. He’ll be spending a majority of his time against Coty Sensabaugh, while Corey Davis will see Artie Burns. Burns has been good this year, but fell off just a bit in the last 4 games. I normally wouldn’t feel okay about starting someone who runs a majority of his routes against Burns, but Corey Davis is just talented and he will see volume. He’s emerging as the new #1 WR for this Titans offense, and with Davis moving around enough, he should put up a solid day.
The Cowboys were playing the slot pretty well earlier in the year, but they’ve fell off lately, allowing the 9th most fantasy points to slot receivers in the past 4 games. Agholor has had 2 tough matchups the past 2 games against K’Waun Williams and Chris Harris Jr., and has a good shot to bounce back against the Cowboys this week.
Jonathan Joseph has not been good this year, and has given up the single most fantasy points to WRs lining up on his side of the field; not only the most throughout the year, but the most over the last 4 games as well. He’s also giving up 0.47 fantasy points per route run against him, which is 2nd worst in the league. When John Brown isn’t lining up in the slot, where he spends most of his time, he spends a good portion of the rest of his time on Joseph’s side of the field. Brown is a very desperate play this week, but one that can win it for you.
With Patrick Peterson shadowing Deandre Hopkins, Will Fuller out, Bill O’Brien saying Ellington needs more targets, and Tyrann Mathieu being a liability covering the slot, I think this sets up a solid game for Ellington. I would prefer to start him in PPR leagues, expecting him to rack up short to intermediate catches with a low depth of target. Matheiu has gotten better as the year progressed, but he has still allowed the 12th most fantasy points to slot WRs in the last 4 weeks.
Jacksonville can be forced to throw the ball more than they would like to this week against Cleveland, who’s been allowing 3.1 YPC this year to RBs, best in the league. Cleveland hasn’t been allowing a ton of yards through the air, but have allowed 19 passing TDs, which is 2nd in the league only to the Giants and Jets. With Allen Hurns out this week, Dede Westbrook can get some volume alongside Marqise Lee. I would personally wait and see on Dede, but if you’re desperate and want to start him this week, keep in mind that Cleveland’s Briean Boddy-Calhoun has been playing lights out against slot WRs. He’s been giving up only 0.14 yards per route (best in league) and has only been targeted 9% of the time. With that said, the Browns defense is leaky enough for Westbrook to find room. This is all assuming Dede fills in for Hurns in the slot.
Here’s a sleeper for you. With Chris Hogan out, Dorsett played on 70% of snaps last week, and has been playing a majority of his routes on the right side of the field. It was expected that we wouldn’t see much out of him last week against Aqib Talib, but he goes up against David Amerson this week, who’s been giving up a gaudy 0.55 fantasy points per route run against him, and the Raiders have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs lining up on his side of the field in the last 4 games. When Dorsett isn’t playing on that side, he would be in the slot, where the Raiders have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to WRs in the last 4 games. This is more of a ceiling play in case the Patriots choose to exploit his matchups, and obviously a risk for a zero.
Can this be Snead’s breakout game? He wasn’t targeted last week, but the Saints didn’t need to throw the ball against the Bills whatsoever. Snead did play a season high 47% of snaps in Week 10, and draws a great matchup against the Redskins. We saw what Adam Thielen was able to do last week against them, and we know how good the Redskins play on the perimeter. Their achilles heel all season was guarding the slot, as they’ve given up the 2nd most fantasy points to slot WRs this year, and the most points to them over the last 4 games. Snead is a desperate play as he literally hasn’t had one startable game this entire season, but his snap count just make another jump this week, and Drew Brees usually likes to take advantage of glaring mismatches, so Snead can either drop another zero or have a breakout game.
Green spends half of his time on either side of the perimeter, and will see both Bradley Roby and Aqib Talib. Talib has been solid on his side of the field, but Roby has been vulnerable on his side, giving up the 4th most fantasy points in the last 4 games. I’m not benching Green by any means in this matchup, and these are not the Broncos of the past.
We saw what happened last week against the Falcons without offensive line Tyron Smith. The Eagles have a pretty good pass rush as well, so if Smith is out again, we have to worry about the Cowboys offense and passing game specifically. Dez does have a good matchup on the outside against Jalen Mills, so I’m still going to play him. We have to assume that the Cowboys will make adjustments after that debacle last week… right?
Golden Tate has been getting it done lately, so it would be tough for anyone to bench. However, this week the Lions go up against the Bears, who have shut down slot WRs this year, with nickel corner Bryce Callahan giving up a stingy 0.20 fantasy points per route run against him. This information might be handy if you’re trying to make a tough decision between Tate and another receiver, but for the most part he’ll still be in my lineups.
Hopkins will draw Patrick Peterson this week, who’s been absolutely shutting WRs down this year. Tom Savage has been giving him the lion’s share of targets, but I don’t see that happening this week. It’s tough to sit a stud, so he’ll most likely be in my lineup unless I have very solid WR2s to play over him.
The question in this game is whether Xavier Rhodes chooses to shadow, and if he does, will he choos to follow Sammy Watkins or Robert Woods following his breakout? Rhodes has played very well this year; he hasn’t been targeted much and doesn’t allow many fantasy points to WRs running routes against him. It’s possible that Rhodes just stays on his side, but we won’t find out until game time. The matchup is great if Rhodes doesn’t shadow Woods, because he’ll see a lot of Trae Waynes, who has not been good this year. If you have another option, it might be worth considering them because of possible shadow coverage.
The Rams have done a good job overall as far as allowing fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Nickell Robey-Coleman has done a great job as a nickel corner this year, only allowing 0.21 fantasy points per route run against him, contributing to the Rams giving up the 9th least fantasy points to slot WRs. Thielen’s talent should rise above these numbers and put up a solid day anyway, so I’m not benching someone who has been on straight fire this season; just want to set the expectation that he probably won’t go off.
Thomas hasn’t gone off this year, and I wouldn’t expect him to against the Redskins. Breeland and Norman have done an exceptional job on the perimeter this year, but since Thomas’ game is more of a possession receiver, he’s most likely going to get his 5-7 catches for 60-80 yards that his floor has allowed him this year even in a tough matchup. I’m tempering expectations, but he’ll still be in my lineup every week.
Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder
Man, the Saints have clamped DOWN on wide receivers, giving up the least amount of fantasy points on the left side, the slot, and the right side of the field individually in the last 4 games. But let’s take a step back and take a look at who they faced. The Bills, who don’t get much production out of their wide receivers anyway, the Bucs without Jameis Winston playing the whole game, the Trubisky-led Bears, and a Rodgers-less Packers. Josh Doctson is going to blow up any game now, and Crowder has been seeing some serious target volume in his last 2 games. I’m okay starting both of them this week against this team, just keeping in mind that this isn’t last year’s Saints defense.
Benjamin will be followed by Casey Hayward, and that combined with the QB change is not something I want to be involved with. I rather sit Benjamin and see how things play out with the rookie QB. I would try to find another option this week.
Coleman is all set and healthy to come back, but he’s coming back against the Jaguars. A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey happen to appear in this article every week, and that’s because Coleman can get shut down. He was playing a majority of his routes on the outside before he got hurt, and even with volume it’s not looking pretty for the Browns this week.
Adams had a great game against the Bears last week, and he seems to have a rapport with Brett Hundley. However, he has a rough matchup this week as he will mostly see Jimmy Smith, who’s allowed the least amount of fantasy points to WRs on his side of the field. This Ravens secondary is tough to beat, so I don’t think it will be one of Hundley’s best days as a QB. I’m looking for another option outside of these GB WRs.
Even with Kupp being at the top of the league in red zone targets, he hasn’t done much with them. He’s clearly the third option in this offense behind Todd Gurley and Robert Woods, and doesn’t have the best matchup this week. The Vikings have been allowing the 7th least fantasy points to slot WRs, and Mackensie Alexander has been doing a slot job in the nickel, only giving up 0.24 fantasy points per route run against him. I don’t feel confident in Kupp this week.