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 QBs to Start
Matthew Stafford vs. Saints: Matt Stafford’s fantasy numbers have not been truly representative of his success this season. Despite leading the Lions to a 7-4 record and the top of the NFC North, Stafford has only cracked the 20-point mark 3 times this year. He should however get back on track in fantasy in a lucrative matchup with the Saints, who just let rookie Jared Goff throw for 3 TDs against them in his 2nd career game.
Colin Kaepernick vs. Bears: Don’t look now, but Colin Kaepernick is suddenly a QB1 in Fantasy. Since the 49ers Week 8 bye, Kaep has scored at least 19 fantasy points in every game, including 3 20+ point outings. Now he is coming off a 33 point fantasy day, where he threw for 3 TDs on nearly 300 yards, and rushed for another 113 yards. A matchup with a banged up Bears’ defense is a great opportunity to put up another great outing.
Tyrod Taylor vs. Raiders: Tyrod Taylor has had a very up and down season. If you look only at his last two weeks, Taylor has actually been surprisingly consistent, posting double digit fantasy points in 9 of 11 games, and posting at least 18 points in 6 games. The Raiders have struggled to keep opposing offense off the board, so Taylor should be able to post another strong outing.
Top 3 QBs to Sit
Blake Bortles vs. Broncos: Perhaps no team has been more disappointing this year than the Jaguars. Jacksonville came in as a popular pick for the playoffs, and are now sitting on a 2-9 record. While Bortles has managed to post double digit fantasy points every week this season, he’s only cracked 20 points 4 times, compared to 5 games of 15 points or less. Expect the latter this week against the elite Denver defense that is allowing an average of less than 13 points per game to opposing QBs.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Ravens: Tannehill truthers, relax. Yes, Tannehill is coming off a 26 point outing, that outing came against the San Francisco 49ers, and it was only his 2nd 20 point outing of the season. The Dolphins’ signal-caller is averaging only 15 points a game, and he gets a matchup with a Raven defense that looks like the Ravens of old, holding opposing QBs to 15 points a game. Keep Tannehill on the bench this week.
Andy Dalton vs Eagles: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The once formidable Bengal offense is a shell of its former team. With both A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard done for the season, Dalton has few options left to throw to. His numbers have shown it–not throwing for more than 1 TD in his past 4 games, and posting no more than 15 points in any of his last 3. With a tough Eagles’ defense lined up next, Dalton should be riding the pine this week.
Top 3 RBs to Start
Mark Ingram vs. Lions: Mark Ingram scored the most fantasy points last week and had one receiving TD and one rushing TD. Although he split snaps with Hightower, he managed to put up big numbers and it seems like he is back to becoming a key component of the Saints’ offense.
Matt Forte vs. Colts: Matte Forte averages around 1 TD or so and around 100 or so yards. He fits right into the Jets’ pass run option offense. His short routes are turned into large gains because of receivers taking the DBs deep. The Colts’ defense will not be able to stop Forte and their run game.
Jordan Howard vs. 49ers: With Jay Cutler hurt and Jeffrey suspended, Howard is one of the last stand-out players left. With 100+ yards in most games, he can only perform better numbers based off of how the Bears now rely on Howard.
Top 3 RBs to Sit
Chris Ivory vs. Broncos: Ivory has only scored above 10 points on week in standard; he seems unable to get huge yardage. His chances against Broncos are even slimmer since he is facing one of the best run defenses in the league.
Frank Gore vs. Jets: Gore took the backseat last game. He only contributed 38 yards This could be because of the weak O-line or because of the Colts’ strong offensive line. Even so, we would bench Gore against the surprisingly strong Jets’ defense.
Latavius Murray vs. Bills: The Bills’ run defense is half decent, so the Raiders will likely resort to using their elite QB, Derek Carr, and his two star receivers Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Murray will likely be used just to open up the passing game but not much more.
Top 3 WRs to Start
Sammy Watkins vs. Raiders: HE’S BAAAAAAAACKK! After a foot injury held Watkins out for the past 8 games, he returned with a vengeance last week against the Jaguars, getting 80 yards on only 3 catches. To make it more impressive, he only played on half the team’s snaps, playing 25 of the 55. Now he is expected to play 35-40 snaps this week, against an Oakland defense giving up an average of 25 points a game to opposing WRs. Watkins is looking like an elite option this week.
Brandon Marshall vs. Colts: Ryan Fitzpatrick came back last week and he immediately got back to finding his favorite target. Marshall rebounded with his first TD since Week 5, and his first double digit outing since that week. With Todd Bowles swearing Fitzpatrick will start this week, Marshall is a must start against a hapless Colts secondary. Vontae Davis is still not 100%, so Marshall should have the opportunity to capitalize.
Mike Evans vs. Chargers: We have learned our lesson. Never bench Mike Evans. Evans balled last week, posting 104 yards and 2 TDs against arguably the best secondary in football. He has now posted double digit outings in 8 of 11 games this season, and he gets a matchup with a San Diego secondary dealing with a slew of injuries and missing top corner Jason Verrett.
Top 3 WRs to Sit
Allen Robinson vs. Broncos: When a QB struggles, the top WR is guaranteed to struggle as well. This has been the case this season with Allen Robinson. A-Rob has posted single-digit fantasy points in 7 of his 11 games. The last two weeks, Robinson has posted a combined 5 catches for 42 yards. Now, Aqib Talib and the Bronco defense are licking their chops. Leave A-Rob on the bench before he disappoints.
Jarvis Landry vs. Ravens: While Jay Ajayi has been a revelation, the one man who has not benefitted is Jarvis Landry. Since the Jay Train got rolling, Landry has fallen off a cliff. The last time Landry reached double-digits in points was Week 3. He only has 2 100-yard days on the season, in Weeks 2 and 3, and he has only caught 1 TD since Week 3. A date with a revitalized Baltimore defense means this trend is unlikely to change.
Kenny Britt vs. Patriots: Every time Kenny Britt scores a TD, the fantasy world starts clamoring that he is next great waiver pickup. However, he is incredibly TD-dependent, having only crossed the 100-yard mark twice this season. With a rookie QB and a date with the staunch New England defense, he does not warrant starting this week.
Top TE to Start
Jimmy Graham vs. Panthers: Jimmy Graham is back to being the dominant force he was in New Orleans, and with a healthy Russell Wilson, the sky is the limit for his fantasy ceiling. A date with a Panther defense that is struggling to stop TEs, giving up an average of 11 points to the position, is just what the doctor ordered to rebound from last week’s slow day.
Top TE to Sit
Julius Thomas vs. Broncos: In case you can’t tell, you shouldn’t start your Jaguars this week. Julius Thomas is no exception. Thomas hasn’t had more than 28 receiving yards since Week 2. If he doesn’t find the endzone, he will disappoint, even in a good matchup. This week’s matchup is definitely not a good one, so don’t play with fire.