Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Start: Jameis Winston, Mohamed Sanu
Winston got 8.7 YPA over the second half of last year (and that was before Todd Monken started calling plays) and gets his first start of 2018 against an injury-ravaged Atlanta defense that’s yielded 40.3 points over the past three games. With a ton of pass weapons and no ground game to speak of — not to mention in a game with an Over/Under of 57.5 points — I have Winston as a top-five quarterback this week. Moreover, Cameron Brate is a must-start with O.J. Howard likely out.
Sanu has seen at least seven targets in each of the past three games, scoring a touchdown or reaching 100 yards in each of them. He gets a prime spot Sunday against slot corner M.J. Stewart, who’s allowed the most fantasy points per pass route (0.79).
Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings
Start: Dalvin Cook in DFS
Sit: David Johnson in DFS
Cook is a risk coming off an ongoing hamstring injury, but he returned to practicing fully this week and gets an Arizona defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Cook won’t need a full workload to be worth his DFS price in this matchup with the Vikings as double-digit favorites.
Johnson scored twice last week but managed just 3.1 YPC and is likely to see a flipped game script Sunday against a Vikings defense that’s limited RB receptions this season. Mike McCoy continues to struggle to get DJ out in space, making it tough to consider him a top-12 back this week.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns
Start: Baker Mayfield
Sit: Austin Ekeler
Mayfield threw for 342 yards (8.0 YPA) against a Baltimore secondary last week that got Jimmy Smith and entered allowing a league-low YPA by a mile. Money Mayfield now faces a banged-up Chargers defense that’s allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Ekeler has been fantastic (leading all backs in Elusive Rating) but has averaged a modest 8.0 touches over the past three games. It’s also tough to count on him to continue scoring at the same rate (he has two TD catches on six targets over the last two weeks). He gets a Browns defense that ranks second in DVOA.
Chicago Bears vs. Miami Dolphins
Start: Miami defense
Sit: Allen Robinson
The Dolphins are coming off back-to-back tough games in New England and Cincinnati but return home with the No. 5 ranked defensive DVOA, making them a sneaky cheap DFS option against a QB who’s taken seven sacks, thrown zero TDs, committed three turnovers, and gotten just 5.6 YPA in two road games this season.
Robinson owns a healthy target share, but he managed just 23 yards during Mitchell Trubisky’s eruption last game when the QB tossed six touchdowns. The wideout has yet to reach 85 yards in a game this year. He’s now up against a Miami secondary that ranks first in DVOA against No. 1 WRs, thanks to Xavien Howard and Minkah Fitzpatrick (who’s allowed a minuscule 0.15 fantasy points per pass route).
Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins
Start: Jordan Reed
Sit: Greg Olsen
Reed is coming off an absolute clunker (one catch on two targets) in a prime spot against New Orleans, but he should be busy Sunday with the rest of Washington’s wide receivers seemingly all questionable.
It’s good to see Olsen ready to return, but he’s at risk of re-injury at any time (his foot will eventually require surgery), and Washington’s secondary has held tight ends in check. Olsen’s return also dampens Devin Funchess’ outlook (and to a lesser extent, Christian McCaffrey’s).
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets
Start: Chester Rogers, Robby Anderson
Rogers has seen 11 targets in consecutive weeks and T.Y. Hilton is likely out again. The Jets have ceded the third-most fantasy points to the slot position, where Rogers has run 95 percent of his routes this season.
Anderson was on most fantasy benches/waiver wires when he finally broke out last week, and volume remains an issue (he’s yet to see more than six targets in a game this year). That said, he’s clearly got upside and this matchup is favorable.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Start: Antonio Brown and Tyler Boyd in DFS
Brown’s yardage is way down, but he’s on pace to score the most touchdowns of his career and the Bengals set up well for him (they’ve been stingy against the slot but have been burned by AB’s primary side (left) for the third-most fantasy points this season). He’s worth paying up for in Week 6.
Joe Haden shadowed Julio Jones last week and may do the same to A.J. Green (who leads the NFL in yards per route run out of the slot), but either way, Boyd should continue to be a big part of Cincy’s offense in what projects as a shootout. He’s a top-12 WR on my board this week.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Oakland Raiders
Start: Chris Carson, Amari Cooper
Carson regained control of Seattle’s backfield last week after sitting a game and has surpassed 100 yards rushing in his last two outings. The Seahawks are by far the most run-heavy team in the NFL this season, and Carson ranks third in YPC after contact (3.8), so he’s suddenly trustworthy.
Few can match Cooper’s inconsistency (he’s averaged 122 receiving yards in two games and 12 in the other three), so he’s frustrating owners who were hoping all his pre-snap movement would lead to big numbers. Instead, he’s gotten the second-lowest yards per route run (0.45) among receivers out of the slot. Still, Seattle’s secondary is beatable and you can bet Cooper will be fed after seeing just one target last week. He’s just 24 years old and has faced an extremely tough schedule, so buy Cooper low if possible.
Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans
Start: Will Fuller in DFS
Sit: All Bills
As usual, be sure to check Fuller’s hamstring status, but he’ll be worth paying up for if active with Tre’Davious White locked onto DeAndre Hopkins.
The Texans’ defense hasn’t played well this season, but Buffalo is getting an almost unfathomable 3.6 yards per play. To put that into perspective, the Colts finished at the bottom of the league with 4.6 last year. When under pressure, Josh Allen is 6-for-38 with a 0:3 TD:INT ratio and an NFL-low 6.7 Passer Rating.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Denver Broncos
Start: Los Angeles defense
Sit: Royce Freeman
Temperatures call for the 20s with possible snow and Case Keenum may be asked to throw an uncomfortable amount of times as touchdown underdogs, which is a recipe for disaster.
Freeman is especially game script-dependent (he has 23 carries during two wins and 26 carries during Denver’s three losses), so he should be on fantasy benches against a Rams offense that should have little trouble putting a bunch of points on the board.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sit: Blake Bortles, Dak Prescott
Bortles had one of the uglier big-fantasy games you’ll ever see last week, thanks to a perfect game script that should fall on the opposite side of the spectrum Sunday, as this matchup features the lowest total (40.5 points) of the week.
Facing a mad Jacksonville defense that gave up an uncharacteristic 30 points last week is bad enough, but Prescott is also dealing with an offense that’s yet to have an aerial weapon emerge and a system that runs at an extremely slow pace.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans
Start: Michael Crabtree
Sit: Corey Davis
Crabtree has been bad this season, but he’s lined up this week to face a bunch of Malcolm Brown, who’s allowed the third-most fantasy points per pass route (0.58) this season.
Davis owns the fourth-highest target share in the league and he’s eventually going to go crazy, but as has been his theme all season, he gets a tough matchup this week. Baltimore has shut down outside receivers this year.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots
Start: Tyreek Hill and Josh Gordon in DFS
Hill has averaged just 55.3 receiving yards without a score over the past three games, but he remains a big part of the AFC’s leading scoring offense. In addition, Sunday night’s contest has a massive total approaching a whopping 60 points.
The answer is to fire up everyone in this game, and while Gordon remained limited in practice this week, he could see additional targets with Chris Hogan possibly out, and the Chiefs are an inviting opponent. Trade for Gordon now before his value skyrockets.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
Start: C.J. Beathard, Aaron Jones
The 49ers made an emphatic claim as the league’s worst team with a bad home loss to the Cardinals last week. It’s a fantasy wasteland outside of George Kittle with Matt Breida sidelined, and those in 2-QB leagues. Those in the latter could do worse than Beathard, who’s averaged 323.5 passing yards with five total touchdowns over two games (he can run a little, too). It will be ugly and feature turnovers, but Beathard will be throwing a ton Monday night, making him a viable, cheap QB option.
Everyone is tired of waiting for Jones to break out by now, and the quicker we accept Green Bay’s backfield will be a committee the better. That said, the game script on Monday night should finally result in 15+ touches for the exciting back.