by Thomas Russo and Jason Li
**Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with the NFL in any way and this article simply contains the opinions of select students.
Start ‘em, Sit ‘em
Top 3 Starts at QB
Tom Brady vs. 49ers: Whether you like it or not, Tom Brady is a good football player. Very good. At least 27 fantasy points in 3 of 5 outings this season. The San Francisco 49er defense, however, is not particularly good at football. They have been giving up an average of 18 points per game to opposing QBs. Therefore, you have absolutely no excuse to sit Tom Brady this week.
Marcus Mariota vs. Colts: In the last six weeks, there has been no hotter QB in football than Marcus Mariota, who has scored no fewer than 16 points in any of the six games. He has thrown for at least 2 TDs each of those weeks, with a total of 17 TD passes over the last 6 weeks, including the 4 he had last week against the Packers. Oh, and he has a Colts’ defense allowing over 20 points a game to opposing QBs.
Eli Manning vs. Bears: Eli Manning is the king of inconsistency. He is the premier matchup-based start. In this case, this is one of the weeks where the matchup screams opportunity. The Bears’ secondary is depleted, and the Chicago offense is prone to turnovers. That combines for lots of opportunity for Manning to play well and extend his hot streak, where he has thrown for 7 TDs in the last 2 games
Top 3 Sits at QB
Carson Wentz vs. Seahawks: At the beginning of the season it looked like Carson Wentz could be a legitimate candidate for Rookie of the Year. However, he has cooled off significantly of late, scoring a MAXIMUM of 11.78 points over the last 5 weeks and posting SINGLE DIGIT points in 3 of the last 5 weeks. A trip to Seattle to face one of the league’s best defenses will likely not break that trend.
Jameis Winston vs. Chiefs: Jameis Winston seems to be leveling out in the 18-20 points a week range, but before you plug him in this week, consider that he has been an interception machine all season. He has thrown 10 interceptions in 9 games, and his best games have come when the Buccaneers have been forced to air it out. With Doug Martin returning to his usual workload, and a trip into Arrowhead Stadium does not bode well for that happening this week.
Sam Bradford vs. Cardinals: If anyone knows what happened to the Minnesota Vikings, please call Mike Zimmer immediately. After a 5-0 start, the Vikings have now lost 4 straight and fading fast from the playoff race. To make matters worse, Bradford has yet to reach 20 points this season. Now he gets to play a Cardinal defense holding opposing QBs to less than 14 fantasy points a game. Things don’t look good in the Frozen North.
Top 3 Starts at RB
Le’Veon Bell vs. Browns: Bell was a risky draft in the beginning of the year. But it sure paid off if you did draft him. He is a very talented running back with an experienced o line and we predict he will get at least one touchdown and at least 120 yards. The Browns’ defense is not the worst but it is pretty close.
Legarrette Blount vs. 49ers: Blount is a top 7 RB. He is the ultimate “redzone” threat next to Gronkowski. On average he gets 1.5 TDs and at least 80 yards. The 49ers’ run defense is weak to say the least and i think Blount owners will be very happy.
DeMarco Murray vs. Colts:Murray is a monster. Getting a rushing TD and a passing TD in the 1st quarter last game there is not much he cannot do. Wethink he’s going to get at least 130 yards and 2 TDS especially since the Colts defense cannot stop this beast.
Top 3 Sits at RB
Ryan Mathews vs. Seahawks: It is very hard to start anyone against the Seahawks defense. Matthews is no exception. I expect him to be limited to 70 yards or so and no TDs.
Doug Martin vs. Chiefs: The Chiefs’ defense is pretty elite to say the least. DOUG MARTIN is a veteran RB but he is coming off his injury and we expect a weak turnout his first week back.
Todd Gurley vs. Dolphins: Dolphins have one of the best defenses in the league. Todd gurley has not been able to have explosive numbers this year because of a weak O-line. Plus the Rams are starting a rookie QB so we expect some turnovers and less snaps.
Top 3 Starts at WR
Odell Beckham vs. Bears: After a slow start to the season, Odell Beckham has gotten back to doing OBJ things, finding the end zone 3 times in the last 2 weeks. Now he gets a Bears’ defense allowing almost 25 points a game to opposing WRs. Get ready Beckham owners, OBJ is going to soar this weekend at the Meadowlands.
Julian Edelman vs. 49ers: Julian Edelman has been quiet all season, but his looks like the week where he breaks out. With Rob Gronkowski out with a punctured lung, Edelman will likely command much of Tom Brady’s attention on Sunday. A matchup with a 49er defense allowing almost 27 points a game to opposing WRs sets the table for Edelman to have his first double digit outing of the season.
DeAndre Hopkins vs. Raiders: This is the week. Of all the players selected this season none have been more disappointing than DeAndre Hopkins. He has failed to post double digit points in 6 of 9 games this season, and Brock Osweiler has been absolutely abysmal throwing him the football. If Hopkins can’t turn in a good outing against a Raider defense allowing over 25 points a game to opposing WRs, it will be time to accept that he is a bust.
Top 3 Sits at WR
Jordan Matthews vs. Seahawks: Jordan Matthews has been a pleasant surprise this season. However, with Carson Wentz regressing, and Richard Sherman on deck, Matthews is due for an off day. In fact, Matthews has only posted 2 double digit outings in 9 games, and only has 3 TD catches on the season. Prepare for disappointment if you start him.
Stefon Diggs vs. Cardinals: Stefon Diggs appears to finally have come back to life last week after a 164 yard outing. However, it was the first time he reached the 100 yard Mark since week 2, and he only has 2 TDs on the year. The wild inconsistencies in the Viking offense, coupled with a matchup with Patrick Peterson this weekend, will likely lead to a regression for Diggs.
Randall Cobb vs. Redskins: The Packers seem disinterested in playing like the Packers, and Randall Cobb is following that trend. Cobb has been hampered by injuries all season, and his production has shown it. He has only cracked the 100 yard Mark once this season, and has become dependent on TDs to rack up points. With the emergence of Davante Adams, Cobb is sliding to the realm of a number 3 option, which is not good the way the Packers have been playing this season.
Top TE to Start
Martellus Bennett vs. 49ers: The short explanation as to why you should start Bennett can be found under Tom Brady above. The long explanation is with Rob Gronkowski out again this week, Martellus Bennett becomes a must start. When Gronk went down last week, Bennett stepped in for 7 catches and 102 yards. The other time Bennett had Brady all to himself, he had 6 catches for 67 yards and 3 TDs. And let’s not forget, the 49ers can’t stop anyone.
Top TE to Sit
Cameron Brate vs. Chiefs: Cameron Brate has been a TD machine in recent weeks, but this week does not look good. TEs are averaging less than 5 points a game against the Chiefs, and a trip to Kansas City rarely goes well we an offense has a turnover prone QB (see Jameis Winston above). There are better streaming options available this week.