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Starts

Aaron Jones

He played on 74% of snaps and is leading the league in yards per carry. Any RB getting those types of snaps while also involved in the passing game is a must-start almost every week, regardless of matchup; Seahawks haven’t been great against the run anyway. Roll him out.. let’s hope Jamaal Williams stays in the shadows.

Kerryon Johnson

Similar to Aaron Jones, KJ’s snap count of 71% is very encouraging. He’s involved in the passing game even with Theo Riddick back, catching 6 balls last week. This type of usage (snaps + touches) is basically must-start territory. His goal line conversion after two failed attempts by LeGarrette Blount can be a sign of things to come as well. With the Lions struggling on offense and playing from behind more often than not, it’s Kerryon and Riddick on the field together rather than just Riddick in the backfield after Golden Tate was traded – the Tate trade is actually benefitting Kerryon’s usage more than we thought it would. With the Lions having one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in the league and Kerryon involved in the pass game, his floor remains high.

Alex Collins

Collins has a great rest of season schedule, and it starts this week against Cincinnati, who has allowed 5.5 yards per carry over the last three weeks and 5 yards per carry over the season. His volume hasn’t been consistent, but the Ravens have a chance at sustaining a lead and/or neutral game script against a Bengals offense who couldn’t find themselves last week without AJ Green. If they couldn’t get it together against the Saints at home, what are they going to be able to do against this Ravens defense in Baltimore? Collins has a shot at 15+ carries along with some goal line work. He’s always a risky start because of how this backfield stays in flux, but this can be the start of a nice run for Collins.

Dalvin Cook

He’s back. Tough matchup against Chicago, but he’s a 3-down back, and it’s a must to start talented 3-down backs on a good offense. You’ve been waiting for him to get back, and yes, it’s against a tough run defense, but he’s involved in the passing game enough to give you a solid return. Let’s just hope his hamstring holds up… it looked pretty good on that long run in Week 9 before his bye.

Dion Lewis

19, 23, and 22 – Lewis’ touch numbers over the last three games says a lot, mainly that’s that he’s the guy in Tennessee’s backfield. With him involved in the pass game as much as he is, he’s almost a must-start on a weekly basis. Sure, he’ll get vultured here and there by Derrick Henry, but he can get into the end zone without seeing goal line carries – see Christian McCaffrey. Not saying he’s on that level, but TDs on top of his 20-touch floor is just icing on the cake, especially in PPR leagues. The Colts have actually been pretty stout against the run on a per-carry basis, but they’re in the top-10 in allowing rushing attempts and top-3 in RB receptions.

Leonard Fournette

I just want to point out that he had 29 touches on 52% of snaps last week. I mean, that’s volume, and you have to start that type of volume every single week. I just put this here in case you were wondering whether you should start Fournette over anyone you’ve been starting over him while he was hurt.

Larry Fitzgerald

The rest of the season is pointing upwards for Larry when you consider his sub-par first half marred with injuries, inconsistent offensive play, and a change to a rookie QB. The next change was a good one – Mike McCoy getting fired and Byron Leftwich using his playmakers as they should. Larry’s averaging 9.5 targets over the last 4 games, and 11 over the last two. That target volume should turn into some fantasy points this week against the Raiders, who’ve allowed the 9th most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last 8 games. You probably drafted him in a PPR league to give you some consistency, and I think we should see that more often than not moving forward.

Sammy Watkins

Watkins should play this week, and if you’re not starting him in the shootout of shootouts, you’re doing it wrong. He moves around the formation a ton, and there’s no spot where the Rams defend WRs well enough to avoid him. Start the WR2 for Patrick Mahomes.. the decision is really that simple.

John Brown and Willie Snead

I’m assuming Flacco plays, and while I’m not sure if we can trust either guy if Joe Flacco misses the game, the Bengals have been terrible at defending WRs in the slot and on the offense’s right side of the field, allowing the most fantasy points to those specific positions over the last 4 weeks. Snead lines up in the slot, and John Brown lines up on that right side on almost 50% of his routes. Snead should put him normal 6 for 60 game, so he’s a good PPR start for a safe floor, and Brown has some real upside in a nice bounce-back spot. As far as Crabtree goes, he’s an okay play in PPR leagues, but William Jackson III has been playing a little better lately on that left side. I would downgrade all if Flacco doesn’t play, only because we don’t know where the target distribution will be. If RG3 starts, he still has an arm, and Brown can still catch a bomb, making him a boom/bust play either way.

Alshon Jeffery

Alshon hasn’t come through in a couple of weeks since two amazing performances, but he should bounce back against a Saints team letting #1 perimeter WRs do their thing. Brandin Cooks, Stefon Diggs, OBJ, and Mike Evans all have had great games against the Saints, and we should expect that to continue this week. I’m usually starting Jeffery every week, but listing him here in case you lost a little confidence in him as a must-start.

Corey Davis

Davis is getting real volume right now while the Titans are looking to get their offense back on stride. It’s really tough to sit a guy who had two straight 10-target games against an Indy team who is 27th DVOA against a team’s #1 WR. Davis can have a safe floor and some ceiling combination for the rest of the season.

Desperate Starts

Mark Ingram

Like I said last week, Ingram is startable, despite his lack of production, and he ended up popping off on the same amount of touches he’s been getting prior to his big game. He’s getting around 15 touches on a great offense – that’s a guy you want in your lineup more often than not. The Eagles haven’t been as stout against the run as we’ve been used to; they’ve given up 5.8 yards per carry over the last three games, mostly due to Zeke last week, but they’re at 4.7 for the year, which isn’t great. The real issue is that teams aren’t running on them – the Eagles are allowing the least amount of carries. The Saints are going to do them, so it’s possible that they add another 20% of carries to the amount that Philly has allowed so far this season on their own in one week.

Theo Riddick (PPR)

Riddick should have a solid floor in PPR moving forward; he’s seeing time on the field while Kerryon Johnson is on the field. The extra opportunity of 16.5 WR snaps/game since Tate has been traded has correlated to 6.5 catches per game for him. Expect a 10-point floor.

Calvin Ridley

Ridley’s floor isn’t as safe as what we thought. He had a good matchup last week, but now that we have a bigger sample size, we can see a trend. In 6 of his 8 games, Ridley has averaging around 4 catches for 45 yards. The other two games were 7 for 8 for 146 and 3 TDs, and 6 for 9 for 71 yards and a 1 TD. His volume isn’t consistent, but we know he’s capable of a blow-up game. Either way, his floor isn’t rock bottom, so he’s playable when we see a good matchup. He had a good matchup last week, and even had a favorable game script, but didn’t come through. This week he has another one against the Cowboys who are great against that left side and slot, where Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu typically line up, but not so great on Chidobe Awuzie’s side where Ridley primarily lines up. The Cowboys are giving up the 6th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on that side, and Awuzie is being targeted on 25% of routes run against him, opposed to the 14% or so towards the other two corners.

Keke Coutee and Demaryius Thomas

The Redskins have been real vulnerable on the outside, so DT can have a good day if he sees the targets. This is the first game that he’ll be playing with Keke on the field, so it’ll be interesting to see how the target share plays out. The Redskins play better against slot WRs, but I’m not really worried about the matchup. The Texans passing offense as a whole has high upside, and I’d prefer Keke in a PPR league and DT in standard or half point.

Sterling Shepard

M.J. Stewart – the name we all love every week. Play your slot WRs against the Bucs; it usually works out. Shepard’s target volume of 3 last week was very disappointing, but he was averaging 7.5 the previous 4 games. The Bucs have allowed the most fantasy points to the slot position, so I’d take my chances for some upside with him this week. Much preferred in PPR leagues.

Dede Westbrook

The Steelers have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to slot WRs this year. It’s been super iffy to figure out which Jags receiver is going to come through in any given week, but it’s really whittled down to Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief, with Keelan Cole playing behind DJ Chark at this point. Westbrook has been their slot guy this year, and actually had good games when the slot matchup was favorable, particularly against the Patriots and Jets. His 10 targets last week provides a bit of a boost of confidence in him, but knowing this team, it can be false confidence as well. If you’re looking for a PPR play this week, he can be plugged in straight off of waivers in most leagues.

Tyler Lockett

Lockett’s been money most weeks, but it’s so hard to put him in your lineup because of the lack of targets. Remember when Marquise Goodwin smoked the Packers for two long TDs, almost three? Well, that’s what I think of when thinking about putting Lockett in my lineup this week. He’s boom/bust, but he’s booming for the most part.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

He’ll play the slot with Randall Cobb out, so he’s a better PPR play this week than when he’s on the outside. Sanders, Kupp, Keenan Allen, and Golden Tate have at least had good PPR days against the Seahawks, so I’m not worried about the matchup.

Josh Reynolds

Start him if you’re desperate; can’t go wrong in a game that has a projected Vegas total of 64 points. He’ll play on the outside where Robert Woods typically lines up, since Woods will go inside after the Kupp injury. That outside spot on the right, which or Orlando Scandrick’s side, is actually the vulnerability for the Chiefs secondary, giving up the 12th most fantasy points to WRs lining up over there compared to the slot and left side where they’ve held their own over the last 8 weeks, giving up around 22nd most to WRs. This is a high flying offense, and it’s not a bad idea to tie yourself to it any way you can, especially when they play 3-WR sets more than any other team in the NFL.

Golden Tate

Tate wasn’t fully integrated into the Philly gameplan last week, as he only played on 18 snaps. That’s not encouraging going into this game, but they are playing against the Saints, so if he doubles that number, maybe he can actually get something going. I’m looking for another option if I can, but at least the matchup might increase his potential on a per snap basis.

Josh Doctson

In a standard league, Doctson isn’t a bad play this week. He’s not getting a ton of volume, but he’s scored in two straight weeks, and will mostly see Johnathan Joseph, who hasn’t been great this year. The Texans are allowing the 8th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on that left side of the field where Doctson lines up on about 50% of his snaps. He’s a flier this week who has a shot to score.

Tre’Quan Smith

Oh boy. Zero targets last week. If you’re shooting for only upside, he has a great matchup this week against Philly, who have serious injuries and have no depth on the outside. He’s not a recommended play if you’re not okay taking a zero this week from the position, so if you’re projected to lose by a ton, hey, why not?

Temper Expectations

Tevin Coleman

Here are Coleman’s touch numbers over the past four weeks: 11, 13, 18, 14. The 18 seems like the outlier, doesn’t it? That’s the number we need to see more often for us to feel confident having Coleman in our lineup. But hovering around 12-13 touches isn’t going to cut it, especially against a Dallas defense this week allowing 3.6 yards per carry.

Joe Mixon

Mixon is getting solid volume, and if the game against Baltimore stays close, he can see close to 20 carries. Volume is king for a good running back, even in a tough matchup against a Ravens run defense.

Marlon Mack

One of the issues with Mack was his rest of season schedule. This week, he goes up against a Tennessee defense who have allowed only 2.9 yards per carry over the last three weeks and 3.9 yards per carry for the year. He didn’t get enough work last week to feel comfortable with moving forward, but we know they want to give him work. It’s possible they depend on the pass again this week to take advantage of Tennessee’s vulnerabilities. With that side, 15+ touches and a shot at goal line carries on a good offense keeps him very startable this week.

Adrian Peterson

The Redskins offensive line is in shambles, but Peterson got volume last week despite that fact. Will the Texans get out to a huge lead? Not sure that will necessarily happen, so it is possible Peterson gets volume – just don’t expect efficiency against a Houston defense allowing 3.6 yards per carry this year.

Phillip Lindsay

Royce Freeman should be back this week, so Lindsay should revert back to his 13-15 touches instead of the ~20 he’s seen since Freeman has been out. He should still be as efficient as he has all year, so his floor is still relatively high. Chargers run defense is middle of the road.

Julio Jones

He’s going to see a lot of Byron Jones this week, who’s been amazing this season. He’s allowing the least amount of fantasy points per route run against him in coverage, and teams just aren’t throwing his way. Dallas a whole has allowed the least amount of fantasy points to WRs on that left side of the offense this year, so Julio will have to make up for it when he sees Chidobe Awuzie on the other side, where he spends about 25% of his time on the field. You’re not sitting him obviously, but don’t be surprised if he has a sub-par game.

Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller

Robinson and Miller both had a great game against a Lions team last week who have been vulnerable in the slot all year, and who was without their #1 shadow corner Darius Slay. This week, Robinson will see a shadow from Xavier Rhodes, so he gets a bit of a downgrade. We’ve seen Robinson disappear in some games this year, and that’s because the Bears have a ton of weapons they can choose to deploy in any given week depending on the matchups they like. He does move into the slot where Anthony Miller primarily plays, and while this was a pretty good matchup in the beginning of the year for slot WRs against the Vikings, they’ve really stepped it up lately. I would temper expectations for both guys this week.

Tyler Boyd

It’s a tough matchup as a whole for the Bengals against the Ravens, and their offense looked pretty bad last week in a great matchup without AJ Green. Boyd didn’t play a normal complement of snaps last week in the blowout, but did play on the outside more often – 36% of the time compared to the 10-20% he’s been playing with Green in the lineup. Because of it, he’s more of a risky start this week, but when he does play in the slot, it’s the best matchup for WRs when you consider the options against the Ravens. They’ve given up the 11th most fantasy points to WRs lining up out of the slot against Tavon Young over the last 4 weeks, so Boyd has a chance to produce for you with volume. Dalton only threw the ball 20 times last week, so Boyd’s 4 targets resulted in a healthy 20% target share.

Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton

You’re starting him, but tough matchup this week against Desmond King, who’s one of the best nickel corners in the league. I wouldn’t stress it though, since Sanders should see volume either way. Sutton might not see a ton of volume in this game with Casey Hayward potentially shadowing him on the outside. If I can bench him for another option, I would.

Kenny Golladay

Golladay will likely see volume with Marvin Jones potentially missing this week, but he’ll see a shadow from James Bradberry if that were to happen. Golladay should see volume, so he’s still a play, but temper your expectations because of the potential shadow situation.

TY Hilton

Adoree Jackson shadowed Josh Gordon last week, and could do the same this week with TY Hilton. The Titans are finally realizing that they can’t let opposing teams expose Malcolm Butler with their #1s. This isn’t a matchup I’m benching Hilton for; we know he’s a guy who can break one on any play. The shadow situation is just something to be aware of.

Keenan Allen

He has a very tough matchup this week against Chris Harris, but the volume will probably be there anyway. The Broncos also don’t stick Harris directly on a guy man to man all game long, so there will be times where Allen can take advantage. I wouldn’t necessarily sit him, but his upside is limited this week.

Sits

Devin Funchess

Now that he’s in my sit section, he’s probably going to off. Funchess hasn’t been coming through with all the weapons healthy for Cam Newton. Three straight games of 5 or less targets without exceeding 44 yards. Darius Slay was back in practice for a limited session, and it looks like he’ll be good to go this week. If Slay doesn’t go, Funchess gets an upgrade to a desperate start. If he does play, he’ll shadow Funchess, which doesn’t bode too well for a guy who hasn’t been producing in good matchups. I’d be looking to sit him if Slay is good to go.