Injuries obviously create opportunity, which is great for fantasy football. We all love to pounce on the hot new running back who takes over the starting job and will receive 20+ touches a game. Unfortunately, injuries are also crushing to fantasy football. We went through a few a couple weeks ago with the loss of Dalvin Cook and Odell Beckham Jr., but no injury impacts the NFL or fantasy football as much as Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone. It’s crushing to know the Packers wide receivers aren’t going to have the same value and that both running backs, who previous had potential, will likely be rudderless. Quarterback is such a tough position that the next man up very rarely creates the same production as would happen with running backs. And the less production that exists in fantasy football, the less fun we all have. Production and opportunity are what creates trades and roster moves. This just creates despair, anger, and lower scoring games. Pour one out for the man State Farm guy.
Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. They’re especially important in daily fantasy sports (DFS). I never highlight your stars because you’re obviously starting them unless I tell you otherwise. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here or have specific lineup questions, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR. You can always ask about trades as well.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Tyrod Taylor (QB – Buffalo)
He doesn’t have any real receivers left, but Tyrod Taylor is a quarterback to look at this week. (Plus Tyrod uses those legs to snatch fantasy points as well.) The Buccaneers are giving up the third most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and have enough offense to push the Bills to get to 20 or so points to win. With Tyrod’s historical profile showing he plays better at home, this week’s home affair against Tampa Bay is a spot to use him.
Jerick McKinnon (RB – Minnesota)
We needed a week to see how things would shake out in the Vikings backfield, but what we thought is true. Latavius Murray is still bad at football and McKinnon is a playmaker. The Ravens have allowed over 150 rushing yards to running backs in three of their last four games. Look for McKinnon to smash again.
Orleans Darkwa (RB – N.Y. Giants)
Here’s a sneaky note about the vaunted Seahawks defense: they’re actually not that good against the run. Seattle is 26th in rushing defense DVOA according to Football Outsiders and that’s #bad. The Giants showed more of a commitment to the run last week with all their receivers missing and should do so this weekend because that’s the only chance they have to win.
Josh Doctson (WR – Washington)
The receiving situation in Washington is an unmitigated disaster. Terrell Pryor hasn’t done shit since coming over from Cleveland and something must be wrong with Jamison Crowder because he’s terrible this year. The coaching staff has made comments this week that Doctson needs to be more involved and it’s not just coach speak. Doctson is a former first rounder who’s now healthy and the Eagles have been getting beat by receivers all year.
Pierre Garcon (WR – San Francisco)
The 49ers will likely be losing early in this game and could be down big by halftime. San Francisco will have to throw most of the second half and Dallas’ secondary is their weakness. Even with C.J. Beathard in at QB, Garcon should see 10+ targets and plenty of production.
George Kittle (TE – San Francisco)
The same reasons that apply to Garcon apply to Kittle. Plus Kittle went to Iowa with Beathard, so they already have a developed connection. Kittle saw 8 targets last week, so he’s clearly a bigger part of the Niners offense.
Other guys you should start: Marcus Mariota (QB – Tennessee), Kirk Cousins (QB – Washington), Jared Goff (QB – L.A. Rams), Brett Hundley (QB – Green Bay), C.J. Beathard (QB – San Francisco), Carlos Hyde (RB – San Francisco), Jay Ajayi (RB – Miami), Joe Mixon (RB – Cincinnati), C.J. Anderson (RB – Denver), Adrian Peterson (RB – Arizona), Dion Lewis (RB – New England), Frank Gore (RB – Indianapolis), Wendell Smallwood (RB – Philadelphia), Chris Ivory *if Leonard Fournette doesn’t play (RB – Jacksonville), Michael Thomas (WR – New Orleans), Michael Crabtree (WR – Oakland), Devin Funchess (WR – Carolina), Rishard Matthews (WR – Tennessee), Davante Adams (WR – Green Bay), Kenny Stills *if Davante Parker doesn’t play (WR – Miami) Bennie Fowler (WR – Denver), Cole Beasley (WR – Dallas), Robert Woods (WR – Los Angeles), Jimmy Graham (TE – Seattle), Evan Engram (TE – N.Y. Giants), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE – N.Y. Jets), Austin Hooper (TE – Atlanta), Hunter Henry (TE – San Diego), Kyle Rudolph (TE – Minnesota)
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Andy Dalton (QB – Cincinnati)
Cincinnati’s offense has looked much better since switching offensive coordinators after a horrific start. Dalton has been part of that resurgence, but he’ll run into a brick wall known as the Steelers secondary this weekend. Pittsburgh has given up the second fewest passing yards per game this year, which is why they’re only giving up 9.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this year.
DeMarco Murray (RB – Tennessee)
None of us really expected Murray to have the season he had last year, but he’s definitely crashing back to earth in his age 29 season. He’s now in what seems to be a full time-share with Derrick Henry and Henry is getting the fourth quarter carries. Murray’s hamstring also started balking on him again last week, so look for Tennessee to rest him if they’re winning easily as expected vs. Cleveland. The Browns are also a sneaky-good run defense.
Jordan Howard (RB – Chicago)
The Bears have been run-heavy since switching over to Mitchell Trubisky at QB, but they’ll have a tough time doing that successfully vs. the Panthers this weekend. Carolina has only allowed one 100-yard rusher so far this season and also only give up a rushing touchdown in half their games. While Howard is sometimes featured in the passing game, this doesn’t look like a positive situation or a positive game script for him.
T.Y. Hilton (WR – Indianapolis)
Hilton generally plays better at home, but he’s going up against the best corners he’s seen all year. He also isn’t seeing the slot nearly as much as he has historically, so the Colts don’t seem likely to get him away from Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. It’s a matchup to avoid this week.
Martavis Bryant (WR – Pittsburgh)
I get the squeaky wheel narrative for getting Bryant more looks this week, but Cincinnati’s defense’s strength are the corners on the outside. Plus Pittsburgh is getting plenty from Juju Smith-Schuster so they don’t totally need to buy into Bryant’s complaints.
Cameron Brate (TE – Tampa Bay)
Even if Jameis Winston doesn’t play, you want to leave Brate on the bench this week. Buffalo hasn’t allowed a touchdown to tight ends so far this year and 71 yards is the most they’ve allowed in any game. The tight end position is slim, but you’ll need to find someone with better upside this week.
Other guys you should sit: Russell Wilson (WR – Seattle), Jameis Winston (QB – Tampa Bay), Philip Rivers (QB – San Diego), Eli Manning (QB – N.Y. Giants), Josh McCown (QB – N.Y. Jets), Doug Martin (RB – Tampa Bay), Isaiah Crowell (RB – Cleveland), Ty Montgomery (RB – Green Bay), LeGarrette Blount (RB – Philadelphia), Alex Collins (RB – Baltimore), Matt Forte (RB – N.Y. Jets), Jonathan Stewart (RB – Carolina), Jordy Nelson (WR – Philadelphia), Doug Baldwin (WR – Seattle), Keenan Allen (WR – L.A. Chargers), Stefon Diggs (WR – Minnesota), Alshon Jeffery (WR – Philadelphia), Amari Cooper (WR – Oakland), John Brown (WR – Arizona), Desean Jackson (WR – Tampa Bay), Jamison Crowder (WR – Washington), Martellus Bennett (TE – Green Bay), Jason Witten (TE – Dallas), Coby Fleener (TE – New Orleans)