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
I am weary of listing players who ought to do well because the opposing defense is so atrocious on paper. But here we are. Even with an injured receiving corps, Stafford should shine against a Vikings pass defense that has been frankly terrible. Minnesota is ranked 31st in the league in giving up fantasy points to quarterbacks, and their opponents are averaging 295 yards and 3 touchdowns against them. Play the Lions QB with a high degree of confidence.
QB Must Sit
I wanted to put Sam Darnold here for the second week. However, the Cowboys announced that Andy Dalton was being placed on the COVID-19 list after getting cleared from concussion protocols. I did not see anything encouraging in DiNucci’s last start, and he will be facing a Steelers defense that ranks in the Top 5 in any metric I could find.
RB Must Start
It is Chase SZN for all you Edmonds Truthers. With Kenyan Drake out, Edmonds should shine bright with a full workload. I would not be surprised if he sees 75% of the Cardinals offensive snaps. Also, consider the Dolphins are not very good at stopping running backs (27th in permitting fantasy points to RBs). I’m forecasting at least 14 fantasy points, and he should wind up Top10 for the week.
A month ago, the Texans faced the Jaguars, and Johnson had 103 total yard and 2 receptions. I feel those numbers are easily attainable, and I have the Texans running back projected for a touchdown and a few more receptions than last time. Jacksonville is struggling against the run as of late. In the last month, running backs are averaging 25 carries for 122 yards and 6 receptions. Johnson ought to get at least 12 fantasy points this week.
RB Must Sit
Should I leave a placeholder here for Gore? It seems like the Jets running back always has difficult matchups and is further hindered by New York having to play from behind and the fact that Jets’ head coach Adam Gase hates running backs. Patriots are 2nd in the league at denying RB’s fantasy points; Gore will be lucky to get more than 6.0, in my opinion.
I am not concerned with who might emerge as the starter this week (Taylor is “bothered” by a sore ankle). Ravens are stout against the run this year and are consistently holding opponents to less than 75 yards on the ground (total) but are prone to giving up dump-offs and wheel routes to running backs. I do not think either back can crack the 10.0 fantasy point plateau this week.
WR Must Start
Josh Allen has targeted Diggs at least 8 times in the last three games, and the Buffalo receiver is averaging 7 receptions for 73 in the previous month (but only one touchdown). Seattle has an awful secondary and allows the opposing team’s WR1 to score on average more than 20 fantasy points per contest. If Diggs can get into the end zone, I think he could get 30 fantasy points (without DSE bonuses).
The Washington wideout has been targeted at least seven times in the past three games and five times in the last 5 games. Volume and looks are king for the wide receiver position. This week, McLaurin will be lined up against James Bradbury for most of the game (who is not very good at stopping WRs because he is over-aggressive in playing the ball instead), and that should result in some big plays.
When the Lions get deep into their opponent’s territory, it is time for Jones to emerge, as evidenced by his 5 red-zone targets in the last three games. Combine this fact with the reality that the Vikings allow almost 3 touchdowns per game to opposing wide receivers, and Jones is in line for a big day.
WR Must Sit
The Packers are a Top 10 pass defense by almost any metric. Remove the 49ers starting QB and TE from the equation, and defensive coordinators will place a lot of attention on Bourne. In his last three contests versus Green Bay, Bourne has averaged 1 reception for 18 yards. I doubt if volume and targets get the wideout above more than 7.0 fantasy points this week.
Seahawks wide receivers have been on a fantasy feast this year (including Moore, who could be a WR1 or WR2 on many NFL teams). However, this week Moore will likely draw Levi Wallace for most of his coverage; Wallace is the 14th best in the league this year. The Bills secondary has been shutting down most receivers they have faces this year. Even in PPR scoring, I think 8.0 fantasy points is possible but overly optimistic. Find someone else to fill your WR3 or flex spots this week.
The Colts receiver has had a good season so far but will face a Baltimore defense that frustrates opposing wideouts. On the plus side, Pascal tends to shine when the Colts are underdogs (10.77 fantasy points averaged over the last three dog games and 8.0 fantasy points average in the previous 11 dog games). On the downside, the Ravens are a Top 5 defense at limiting fantasy points and yards gained to opposing WRs. Also, the more Michael Pittman gets up to speed (after returning from IL), the more he will put a dent in snaps for Pascal.
TE Must Start
The Chargers’ tight end has been averaging more than 6 targets per game this year, and the Raiders have had trouble covering the position (allowing 15.6 fantasy points per game over the last month). By game end, I expect Henry to break into double-digit fantasy points and likely crack the Top 10 at the position.
TE Must Sit
Some of my readers might see a trend here in TE Must Sits. That trend is do not play tight ends against the Dolphins. Miami is currently the 3rd best team in the league at denying fantasy points to the position. Expect between no more than 4 .0 fantasy points.