A word about my Must Start/Sit selections: I try to avoid listing Must Start players that are obvious plays and avoid deep depth chart players in my Must Sit selections. I primarily consider matchups that are exploitable on either side of the ball, and in essence, I offer Hot Takes with statistically backed confidence.
QB Must Start
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
Big Ben has been hot as of late, posting a QBr of 110.7 over his last three games while throwing 6 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Titans’ pass defense is not good. Tennessee has allowed and quarterbacks to average a stat line of 26/39-303-3 over the last month. Those numbers seem completely attainable by the Steelers signal-caller.
QB Must Sit
Drew Lock, DEN
This is a nightmare matchup for the Broncos quarterback. Chiefs are the 4th ranked defense in terms of limiting opposing QBs to fantasy points. In his only start against Kansas City last year, Lock had a dismal stat line of 18/40-208-0-1. This year’s defense is better. Lock will be fortunate to break 200 passing yards.
RB Must Start
Ronald Jones II, TBB
Rojo has quietly posted three straight games with more than 100 years of rushing. The Raiders are not very good at stopping opposing running backs from accumulating fantasy points (30th in the league), albeit most of the success is from RBs that are pass-catching threats. Jones may not break the century mark rushing, but I expect him to exceed 150 all-purpose yards.
David Johnson, HOU
The Texans offense is beginning to find its identity, and Johnson has carried the ball at least 16 times in the last three games. The previous three running backs have obliterated the Packers defense (31st at stopping RBs this season) they have faced (Rojo, T. Gurley, and A. Kamara). I project Johnson to have 125 combined yards with 3 receptions and a touchdown. Play him with confidence.
RB Must Sit
Frank Gore, NYJ
I hate to pick on the Jets, but running backs do not excel in Adam Gase offenses. The Bills are a Top 10 defense overall but are not very good at stopping the run. Unfortunately, Gore (under Gase) has only surpassed 50 yards rushing in two of the Jets six games this year (best was 21 rushes for 63 yards in week 2).
Damien Harris, NEP
This pick is all about the defense. Despite massive injuries to their defensive starters, the 49ers have managed to have the best overall defense in the league and are the 2nd best defense at denying opposing running backs fantasy points. The game script favors Harris having a good day, but I still only project 20 carries for 68 yards (which is more than any team has averaged against San Francisco in the last month).
WR Must Start
Robby Anderson, CAR
Here is an interesting stat about the New Orleans pass defense to consider: Saints are 1st in the league this year at stopping a team’s depth chart WR1 and 30th at stopping the same team’s WR2. D.J. Moore is listed WR1, and Anderson is named WR2. Anderson has been averaging 86 yards in the past month and has not scored since week 1. Expect a touchdown and 100 yards this week.
Terry McLaurin, WAS
This is simple: despite the chaotic situation at QB for Washington, McLaurin is excellent and trusted (at least 7 targets in the last three games); the Cowboys pass defense is terrible (giving up an average of 177 yards and 2 touchdowns over the past month to opposing WRs). I do not see Dallas improving much in one week.
Darius Slayton, NYG
The Eagles defense is hit and miss. Slayton will benefit from the return of Sterling Sheppard this week, and I suspect Philadelphia will have trouble covering Giant wide receivers overall. Slayton has good chemistry with his QB, and that should be the difference.
WR Must Sit
Anthony Miller, CHI
The second week in a row, I suggest Miller as a Must Sit. Rams defense is prone to the run and tight ends but has had great success in shutting down opposing pass receivers (team WRs averaging only 10 receptions for 124 yards in the last month). I will be amazed if Miller gets double-digit fantasy points.
Breshad Perriman, NYJ
The Jets wide receiver had his best game of the year last week coming back from an ankle injury that sidelined him for three weeks. Bills have a Top 10 defense and were embarrassed last week. I project 3 receptions for 53 yards for Perriman.
Jerry Jeudy, DEN
See my comments on QB Drew Lock above for more context on this matchup. Jeudy may benefit from game script volume (being a huge underdog), but this is a tough matchup (Chiefs are Top 10 in pass defense in almost every measure) for anyone, no less a rookie with little experience early in the season. If you have a choice, steer clear of starting him.
TE Must Start
T.J. Hockenson, DET
The second-year tight end is hot, and the Falcons defense cannot stop opposing TEs. On paper is a fantasy matchup made in heaven. Hockenson has been targeted in the Red Zone six times over the last three games. Atlanta has allowed half of the TEs they have faced scoring more than 22 fantasy points a game.
TE Must Sit
Houston Texans Tight Ends
So many issues here to untangle. Firstly, Jordan Akins is questionable but expected to play after dealing with ankle and concussion issues. Darren Fells has excelled in Akins’ absence but is primarily a blocking back. Lastly, Green Bay is usually very tough against TEs (last week’s performance by R. Gronkowski being statistically aberrant). Take your fantasy chances elsewhere if you can.
Connect with me on Social Media!
Twitter: @basiegel68 / Facebook: basiegel68 / Instagram: basiegel68