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USATSI

Fantasy Football is all about the matchups. Even though you drafted your team with certain hopes and intentions, your weekly lineup decisions shouldn't be determined by the order you picked your players in. You need to check who your players play and make sure you've got the right guys in -- and the wrong guys out.

It's too early to be absolutely sure on which matchups will be easy and which ones will be tough, but we can take some educated guesses based on healthy personnel, defensive schemes, track records and key details of offenses. The things we know can help us minimize the impact of the things we don't know. This should lead to better decisions being made.

We'll go through every game and highlight the players who aren't obvious starts and sits (because you don't need to be told to start Jonathan Taylor). You should feel more comfortable starting or sitting players based on the information given, and feeling comfortable with your Fantasy lineup before the games start is the best feeling in the world.  

All lines from Caesars Sportsbook.

Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Thu, Sep 15 at 8:15 pm ET •
KC -4, O/U 54.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAC L.A. Chargers • #7
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ KC KC -4 O/U 54.5
OPP VS TE
22nd
PROJ PTS
10.1
TE RNK
10th
YTD Stats
REC
3
TAR
4
REYDS
54
TD
1
FPTS/G
14.4

What to know:

  • Everett's a solid player with good size, but make no mistake that it's his opportunity in one of the league's pass-heaviest offenses (62.5% pass rate in 2021) that makes him a starter. 
  • He was already a big part of the Chargers game plan in Week 1, playing on 11 of the 13 pass snaps Keenan Allen saw before Allen got hurt. He then played on 15 of the remaining 19 pass snaps. He caught three of four targets for 54 yards and a strong touchdown where he made a contested catch and barreled into his defender and his momentum carried him into the end zone. 
  • Herbert has targeted his tight ends on 20.9% of his career pass attempts, and 22.1% in career games against the Chiefs. 
  • Kansas City allowed a touchdown and a two-point play to Zach Ertz last week. White Ertz had just four targets, he got open quite a bit against both zone and man coverage.
  • You're starting Everett on his chances to keep contributing for L.A., especially in a matchup Allen isn't available for. I'd start him over Dawson Knox, Cole Kmet and Albert Okwuegbunam in all formats.
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
KC Kansas City • #25
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAC KC -4 O/U 54
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
12.8
RB RNK
20th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
42
REC
3
REYDS
32
TD
2
FPTS/G
22.4

What to know:

  • It's not the matchup that should scare you from starting Edwards-Helaire. Even though they allowed just 57 rush yards to Josh Jacobs last week, the Chargers still gave up 4.9 yards per carry (5.7 to Jacobs) and allowed the seventh-most yards after contact per carry (3.92) and had the fourth-most missed tackles (seven), all while seeing the fewest running back rushes (13). 
  • It's the amount of work for Edwards-Helaire that should make you pause. Edwards-Helaire rocketed to 34 rush yards on his first three carries and still ended up with only seven for the game. He played only 52% of the snaps until he was ultimately pulled in the middle of the third quarter because the Chiefs had such a big lead. 
  • The hope is that the Chiefs sort of saved Edwards-Helaire for the short-week turnaround, which is beneficial for running backs since defenses, as a group, take longer to recover than one rusher does. Edwards-Helaire has amassed 16-plus touches in two of three career games against the Chargers and recorded at least 12 PPR points in both.
  • You should start Edwards-Helaire for what feels like a favorable matchup. There's a chance for him to score (Brandon Bolden did last week against the Bolts), if not boost his workload and flirt with 100 yards. I'd start him over Miles Sanders, Ezekiel Elliott, David Montgomery and any Rams running back.
Flex Starter (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
KC Kansas City • #9
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAC KC -4 O/U 54
OPP VS WR
19th
PROJ PTS
11.6
WR RNK
25th
YTD Stats
REC
6
TAR
8
REYDS
79
TD
0
FPTS/G
11.9

What to know:

  • Smith-Schuster's first game as a non-Steeler was a good one. His 13.9 PPR points were solid as he did most of his damage against zone coverage, even though the Cardinals went with a lot more man coverage than expected (only two of his six grabs were versus man coverage, one against a linebacker). Also, Smith-Schuster played just 37% of his snaps in the slot, so he clearly will be used in a more diverse way moving forward. 
  • There isn't much concern about starting him, but it's worth noting the Chargers did opt to play heavy man coverage against the Chiefs in both their meetings last year (even with Tyreek Hill). If they try that again, it figures to hurt Smith-Schuster because he's not as fast as other receivers at Patrick Mahomes' disposal.
  • Let's hope for a similar dispersal of targets for Smith-Schuster and expect at least 13 PPR points. I'd put him in my lineup ahead of Elijah Moore, Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson in PPR, and ahead of Chase Edmonds and Rashod Bateman in non-PPR.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 1:00 pm ET •
BAL -3.5, O/U 44.5
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
DEN Denver
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BAL BAL -3.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS RB
20th
PROJ PTS
12
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
25
REC
4
REYDS
40
TD
0
FPTS/G
10.5
I'm worried about Edmonds needing several big plays to come through. He's safer in full PPR, but his ceiling probably isn't any more than 15 PPR points. Even with the prospect of him doing well running outside zone, I'd still rather start Jeff Wilson, Travis Etienne, Michael Carter, and in non-PPR, James Robinson and Melvin Gordon.

What to know:

  • Baltimore's run defense was better at stopping runs between the tackles than along the edges last week, notably struggling with outside zone (6.2 yards per carry allowed). That's exactly the kind of run style the Dolphins want to use the most. 
  • Between that and the targets he should get near the sideline, there's a chance for a much more efficient game from Edmonds this week. Sixteen touches against the Patriots was encouraging, but six came in the fourth quarter when the Dolphins had a two-score lead. Miami is a 3.5-point underdog with an implied point total of 20.5 -- both of which do not suggest a great opportunity awaiting Edmonds. Edmonds also played zero of five red-zone snaps for Miami last week. 
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
BAL Baltimore • #7
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIA BAL -3.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS WR
2nd
PROJ PTS
11.8
WR RNK
33rd
YTD Stats
REC
2
TAR
5
REYDS
59
TD
1
FPTS/G
13.9
Figure Bateman is more of a low-end flex who needs more volume in order to sustain regular lineup usage. I'd rather go with Jarvis Landry, Curtis Samuel and Adam Thielen in all formats.

What to know:

  • Bateman can thank busted coverage by the Jets secondary for 93% of his yardage and his touchdown last week. He can thank himself for earning four other targets, including one pass going right through his hands.
  • Some fears have been realized with Bateman: He's not just competing with Mark Andrews for targets, but with another tight end (Isaiah Likely) and two other receivers (Devin Duvernay, DeMarcus Robinson). They're giving Lamar Jackson more targets to look for, ruining the concentrated passes we thought Bateman had a shot at getting every week. 
  • Further complicating the matter is the matchup. The Dolphins were excellent in suffocating the Patriots last week and even better doing the same to Jackson and the Ravens last year. This isn't an easy matchup for Bateman, who should draw No. 1 coverage. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 1:00 pm ET •
CLE -6, O/U 40
Flex Starter (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #32
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CLE CLE -6 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
9th
PROJ PTS
10.4
RB RNK
24th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
60
REC
7
REYDS
40
TD
0
FPTS/G
17
I'd flex Carter in PPR over Chase Edmonds, Jeff Wilson, Gerald Everett and Hall.
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #20
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CLE CLE -6 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
9th
PROJ PTS
9.4
RB RNK
34th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
23
REC
6
REYDS
38
TD
0
FPTS/G
10.1
I'd start Hall over Zach Ertz, Tony Pollard, Cam Akers and Devin Duvernay.

What to know:

  • Joe Flacco's top priority last Sunday was getting the ball out before getting hit. That's why Carter and Hall combined for 19 targets when only five of them appeared to be designed throws. Flacco will see a similarly strong D-line again this week in Cleveland, and there's little reason to believe he won't be as sensitive to the pass rush.
  • It should mean more receiving opportunities for both backs, though you'd like to give the Jets coaches the benefit of the doubt and expect more quick throws to their slippery receivers. But if the Jets struggle to run the ball like the Panthers did (Carolina only tried between-tackle runs and got stuffed), taking to the air along the edges might make a lot of sense.
  • Carter had a huge edge on third-down snaps (11 to Hall's two) and a slight edge in snaps inside the 10 (four to Hall's three). Until Hall finds his footing well enough to overtake Carter in those roles, Carter's the better Fantasy back
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CLE Cleveland • #27
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYJ CLE -6 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
6th
PROJ PTS
14.1
RB RNK
23rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
46
REC
4
REYDS
24
TD
2
FPTS/G
23
I'm banking on Hunt staying hot in a more favorable matchup than last week. I'd start him over A.J. Dillon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Cordarrelle Patterson.

What to know:

  • Not surprisingly, the Browns ranked seventh in run-play rate last week (52.7%), and that includes the Bears and 49ers topping the list because they faced off in wet conditions. Hunt played on more snaps (57%) than Nick Chubb (51%) and dominated third-down plays (16 of 18). 
  • The Jets did a good job keeping the Ravens running backs from hammering them last week (3.1 yards per carry allowed, 2.33 yards after contact per carry allowed, one missed tackle). The Browns obviously are a huge step up in competition. 
  • Hunt's posted 85.7 total yards and 15.1 touches per game in his past six playing in tandem with Chubb -- with seven total touchdowns.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 1:00 pm ET •
DET -1.5, O/U 48.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
WAS Washington • #82
Age: 31 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET DET -1.5 O/U 48.5
OPP VS TE
15th
PROJ PTS
9.2
TE RNK
13th
YTD Stats
REC
3
TAR
6
REYDS
45
TD
0
FPTS/G
7.5
On the hope Thomas plays more snaps in Week 2, I'm throwing his name out there as a low-end starter who is still available in 75% of CBS Sports leagues. I will take a shot on him in a favorable matchup over Dawson Knox, Cole Kmet and Mike Gesicki -- but not over Gerald Everett or Zach Ertz. Not yet.

What to know:

  • Considering that he didn't even start practicing until late August, I am very encouraged by the 60% snap rate Thomas played last week. I'm equally psyched for the 23.1% target-per-route-run rate he posted, meaning he specifically saw a target on six of the 26 routes he actually ran. And his 15.0-yard receiving average wasn't bad either.
  • Wentz does have a track record of leaning on his big-bodied teammates. In Week 1, 19.5% of his throws went to his tight ends. One of Wentz's three red-zone targets and one of Wentz's four end-zone targets were to Thomas. It helps that the Commanders run game is still a question mark. 
  • The Lions were a few blades of fake grass away from giving up a touchdown to Dallas Goedert on a catch-and-run last week. In fact, 86.7% of Goedert's yardage last week came after the catch. It's not like Goedert is some kind of track star; his speed is relatively comparable to that of Thomas. 
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
WAS Washington • #1
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET DET -1.5 O/U 48.5
OPP VS WR
11th
PROJ PTS
10.6
WR RNK
38th
YTD Stats
REC
3
TAR
5
REYDS
40
TD
2
FPTS/G
19
I'd start Dotson based on his upside ahead of Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore and Chase Claypool.

What to know:

  • Dotson's debut included a red-zone touchdown in which he was literally the only read for Wentz, a fantastic out-and-up route with savvy adjustment with a defender on him for another score and a clearly-practiced timing route (another one was a little off-target). 
  • Given how frequently Wentz figures to throw, and given the matchup against a Lions pass defense that allowed big plays downfield to A.J. Brown last week, Dotson could be in line to surprise once again. The chemistry developed between these two since May has shown off through one game. 
Sneaky Sleeper in PPR (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
WAS Washington • #10
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET DET -1.5 O/U 48.5
OPP VS WR
11th
PROJ PTS
9.5
WR RNK
45th
YTD Stats
REC
8
TAR
11
REYDS
55
TD
1
FPTS/G
19.2
I'd flex Samuel in PPR over Drake London, Adam Thielen, Rashod Bateman and Chase Edmonds. In non-PPR the list isn't as appealing -- guys like Tyler Lockett, Treylon Burks and Hunter Renfrow are behind Samuel there.

What to know:

  • Samuel had a ridiculous 26.8% target share in Week 1 with 6.0 yards after catch per reception ... and a measly 1.0-yard average depth of target. Samuel basically helped Washington make up for its lack of a reliable run game by being a short-area target. Only two of his routes went beyond 10 yards downfield. 
  • The Commanders figure to stick with their quick game as an alternative to the run. True, the Lions were smashed by the Eagles run game last week, but I'm not so sure the Commanders' version of that is as effective. 
  • The Lions allowed a 55.6% catch rate on passes that traveled 9 or fewer yards last week, third-best in the league. However, nine of the 15 completions the Lions did allow went for at least 10 yards with a couple of missed tackles involved. The Commanders should be able to scheme up Samuel for some modest gains, hopefully on good volume. 
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
WAS Washington • #11
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET DET -1.5 O/U 48.5
OPP VS QB
25th
PROJ PTS
18.8
QB RNK
15th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
313
RUYDS
12
TD
4
INT
2
FPTS/G
35.7
If I'm already recommending three Commanders players, and I didn't even mention Terry McLaurin or Antonio Gibson, then I obviously have to like Wentz. I'm ready to give him a try in his favorable matchup ahead of Justin Fields, Trey Lance and even Tom Brady, whose track record against the Saints is dicey.

What to know:

  • Expect the passing volume to stay up against a Lions pass defense that didn't look as good as its  56.3% completion rate allowed suggests (Jalen Hurts had an EPA per dropback of 0.29, fourth-highest in Week 1). It helps that the Commanders may not be ready to fully trust Gibson as a pure runner. 
  • As 2.5-point underdogs, it feels unlikely the Commanders will have a huge lead -- and even if they do I'm not sure they have a ground game to help them chew up the clock. I expect Wentz to throw north of 35 passes again, and that his talented and suddenly deep receiving corps could help push him over 300 yards with a couple of touchdowns. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 1:00 pm ET •
JAC +4, O/U 45
Sneaky Sleeper in PPR (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
BUF Buffalo • #20
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ JAC IND -4 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
21st
PROJ PTS
9.4
RB RNK
33rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
4
REC
6
REYDS
50
TD
0
FPTS/G
11.4
I'm counting on the Colts manufacturing touches for Hines so much so that I'd chance it with him in full-PPR only over Chase Edmonds, Rashaad Penny and both Patriots running backs.

What to know:

  • Frank Reich and Matt Ryan were men of their word, dialing up two designed pass plays for Hines along with four more targets (including two in the red zone) and three carries. 
  • After the Commanders sliced and diced the Jaguars defense with short-area targets to Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic and Curtis Samuel, expect the Colts to try something similar with Hines. Jacksonville allowed 92 yards to Gibson and McKissic on 10 receptions.
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
JAC Jacksonville • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs IND IND -4 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
11th
PROJ PTS
11.2
RB RNK
28th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
47
REC
2
REYDS
18
TD
0
FPTS/G
8.5
He remains a good low-end No. 2 running back in both formats, not just PPR. I'm ready to take my chances with the speedy Etienne over Ezekiel Elliott and David Montgomery.

What to know:

  • Etienne watched one end-zone pass sail over his head, had another would-be touchdown pass bounce off his hands and a third possible touchdown catch get popped out of his grasp by a defender for a fumble that went out of bounds. For his first game, I'd be really encouraged by his three red-zone targets, which tied for the team lead. It's clear he's someone the Jaguars keep in mind when near the end zone. 
  • Etienne is also blazing fast. It's a total 180 from the Dameon Pierce/Rex Burkhead combo the Colts saw last week. I suspect it will be hard for Indy to find a matchup for him. 
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #23
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs IND IND -4 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
11th
PROJ PTS
12.7
RB RNK
31st
YTD Stats
RUYDS
66
REC
1
REYDS
3
TD
2
FPTS/G
19.9
There's definitely touchdown potential for Robinson, but if he doesn't then I'm worried he'll leave you longing for more yardage. He's not in my top-30 at running back in PPR (behind Nyheim Hines and Michael Carter) nor in non-PPR (behind Travis Etienne and Melvin Gordon).

What to know:

  • Robinson looked amazing on his first carry and pretty good on his others, though his O-line struggled to consistently find space for him to run. 
  • The Colts should feel pretty comfortable matching up with Robinson and the Jaguars front five after they did a nice job containing the Texans run game (2.9 yards per carry to running backs) last week. Getting Shaquille Leonard back would make the matchup even harder on Robinson. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 1:00 pm ET •
NO +2.5, O/U 44
Bust Candidate (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
TB Tampa Bay • #12
Age: 45 • Experience: 23 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NO TB -2.5 O/U 44
OPP VS QB
16th
PROJ PTS
20.9
QB RNK
13th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
212
RUYDS
-1
TD
1
INT
1
FPTS/G
12.4
If you're starting Brady, it's because you can't bring yourself to bench the GOAT. I plan on benching Brady for Carson Wentz, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford this week.

What to know:

  • Since joining the Bucs, Brady has one game with more than 23 Fantasy points against the Saints -- and two with under five! 
  • To be fair, Brady has typically posted better numbers against the Saints in his first meeting before completely wilting in the second. Both first meetings have been in New Orleans. 
  • But Brady has it tough this week -- Chris Godwin's out, Mike Evans' calf is ailing, Russell Gage's hamstring isn't all the way back, Rob Gronkowski's retired, and Antonio Brown is rapping somewhere. Somehow, Julio Jones is Brady's healthiest wide receiver. Oh, and the offensive line that's been an issue for Brady is about to get a serious test from a defensive front that has pestered Brady into at least three sacks per game since 2021. 
  • And as bad as the Saints defense played last week against the Falcons, they still held them to under 225 yards passing. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 1:00 pm ET •
NYG -2, O/U 43.5
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYG N.Y. Giants • #3
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CAR NYG -2 O/U 43.5
OPP VS WR
3rd
PROJ PTS
11
WR RNK
43rd
YTD Stats
REC
2
TAR
4
REYDS
71
TD
1
FPTS/G
15.1
Shepard should see more targets, but probably not as many Air Yards. Expect him to see six or seven targets and average something nice. He's at best a flex or bench wide receiver until we see an even more dramatic change in how he's utilized. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Amari Cooper are better options.

What to know:

  • Shepard landed most of his Fantasy points on an exceptionally rare play for him -- a 65-yard deep bomb touchdown. Busted coverage by Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton played a major role. It was the third-longest play of Shepard's career. 
  • This isn't to say Shepard looked bad, just that you shouldn't expect plays of even a third as long from him every week. To his credit, Shepard was noticeably quick off the snap and in and out of his breaks. He lined up everywhere.
  • The hunch is that the Giants ramp up his playing time (18 routes in Week 1). How could they not when they're rotating others like Richie James and David Sills? Kadarius Toney clearly isn't ready to be trusted by this coaching staff or else he'd be in there as often as Shepard. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 1:00 pm ET •
PIT +2, O/U 40
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NE New England • #37
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ PIT NE -2 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
22nd
PROJ PTS
10.5
RB RNK
37th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
48
REC
2
REYDS
10
TD
0
FPTS/G
7.8
Harris was more efficient in Week 1, besting Stevenson in yards per carry, yards after contact per rush and negative runs (four of Stevenson's eight carries went for 0 or negative yards). It's a brutal matchup for both guys, and you shouldn't start either.
NE New England • #38
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ PIT NE -2 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
23rd
PROJ PTS
9.8
RB RNK
38th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
25
REC
2
REYDS
2
TD
0
FPTS/G
4.7
If you had to trust one Patriots back, I'd suggest Harris since Stevenson hasn't done anything to diminish Harris' workload. Both Jets backs are better starts than the Patriots guys.

What to know:

  • Here's exactly how the Patriots running backs will be used this week: Ha, you thought I knew. No one knows. Maybe not even Bill Belichick. Who knows if his offensive playcallers even know?! 
  • But for real, with Ty Montgomery out it's probably safe to assume Harris will see a slight majority in third-down duties. I'm not sure Stevenson will be trusted after he played exactly zero third-down snaps last week (Harris played one). Stevenson did play three second-and-long snaps, which are kind of like third-down snaps. He didn't do much with them. 
  • The matchup is a doozy: The Steelers trashed the Bengals' new-and-improved offensive line, holding their running backs to 3.1 yards per carry over four quarters and overtime. The Steelers also allowed just 1.82 yards after contact per rush, second best on the week. The Patriots offensive line remains problematic and could be easily exploited. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 4:05 pm ET •
LAR -10.5, O/U 46.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
ATL Atlanta • #84
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAR LAR -10.5 O/U 46
OPP VS RB
8th
PROJ PTS
12
RB RNK
18th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
120
REC
3
REYDS
16
TD
1
FPTS/G
22.6
I have him ranked ahead of Clyde Edwards-Helaire because if neither guy scores I expect Patterson to get more total yards. That one's close, but it's not particularly close when comparing Patterson to Travis Etienne, Ezekiel Elliott or any Jets, Bears or Patriots running back. Give me Patterson over those guys.

What to know:

  • This seems like a real tough matchup for Patterson, but so was last week's and he hammered the Saints for 120 rush yards and a score. Of his 22 rushes, 13 went for at least five yards with three gaining more than 12. Playing with a mobile quarterback definitely helped. 
  • Even if the Falcons find themselves playing from behind, Patterson can contribute as a pass-catcher against what's expected to be zone coverage by the Rams. It gives him a floor of about 10 PPR points. 
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
JAC Jacksonville • #25
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ATL LAR -10.5 O/U 46.5
OPP VS RB
2nd
PROJ PTS
13.2
RB RNK
14th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
47
REC
5
REYDS
26
TD
0
FPTS/G
12.3
The matchup and potential game script favors Henderson quite a bit, so I'm expecting one of his better games in a matchup that's more favorable than what the basic stats say. Henderson is a must-start ahead of Cordarrelle Patterson and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. I'd even start him ahead of Alvin Kamara and his tough matchup against the Buccaneers.

What to know:

  • The Falcons may have held the Saints' running backs to under 70 rush yards, but it still failed the test. For one thing, Taysom Hill rumbled for 81 yards against them -- those stats will show up as a tight end scoring them but you know what Hill really is. For another thing, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram totaled 13 carries and had 61 yards on them -- a 4.7 rushing average. 
  • By now you know Henderson dominated playing time and touches for the Rams in their Week 1 loss. He didn't look half-bad, either. Coach Sean McVay said this week that Cam Akers would get an opportunity to help but made no definitive statements about how much Akers would play. For what it's worth, Akers looked awful in his limited snaps. 
Bust Candidate (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAR L.A. Rams • #1
Age: 29 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ATL LAR -10.5 O/U 46.5
OPP VS WR
31st
PROJ PTS
13.5
WR RNK
26th
YTD Stats
REC
1
TAR
2
REYDS
12
TD
0
FPTS/G
2.2
I'm not sure how much upside Robinson actually has. This feels like a matchup the Rams can win with a big dose of Kupp and Henderson. And it's not some kind of easy matchup for Robinson, because I'm not sure those exist. He's at best a flex who I'd sit for Allen Lazard and Marquise Brown, but would start ahead of Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore.

What to know:

  • Robinson looked old last week. He would get open on his routes, but by the time he did Matthew Stafford was either throwing to someone else (usually Cooper Kupp) or getting pressured by the Bills defense. Robinson also struggled to separate against corners playing man coverage against him. 
  • This week's matchup is better in that the Falcons' pass rush shouldn't get to Stafford nearly as often. That will help Robinson get some opportunities he couldn't get in Week 1. But he also will need a big bump in targets. Coach Sean McVay said in the wake of last week's loss that he would like to get Robinson more involved, but mentioned he wanted to get "a lot more guys involved."
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 4:05 pm ET •
SF -9.5, O/U 41.5
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
SF San Francisco • #5
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SEA SF -9.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS QB
16th
PROJ PTS
19
QB RNK
14th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
164
RUYDS
54
TD
0
INT
1
FPTS/G
9.9
While it's hard to get excited about Lance, he does offer enough upside to be a better Fantasy starter this week than Justin Fields, Jameis Winston, Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence.

What to know:

  • Before the Chicago rain turned Soldier Field into the world's largest Slip 'N Slide, Lance completed 8 of 14 throws for 121 yards. That's 8.6 yards per attempt. Not bad. He also had a deep pass rate of 21.4% through three quarters. Again, not bad. 
  • The Seahawks are coming off of an emotionally charged Monday night win in which its defense played 66 snaps. Notably, the pass defense allowed 340 pass yards and 7.93 yards after catch per reception (fourth-most in Week 1). 
  • It only helps that the 49ers won't have Eli Mitchell rockin' in the backfield for a while. There might be more chances for Lance to take off and run. He's averaged 58.0 rush yards in his three starts. 
Bust Candidate (Lineup Decision)
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIA Miami • #23
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SEA SF -9.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
23rd
PROJ PTS
9.9
RB RNK
30th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
22
REC
2
REYDS
8
TD
0
FPTS/G
5
Play it safe and start Wilson as a touchdown-needy flex ahead of Rashaad Penny in non-PPR, but ahead of Tony Pollard, Devin Singletary and Nyheim Hines in full-PPR.

What to know:

  • The Seahawks allowed over 100 rush yards to Broncos running backs on Monday night on just 20 carries. They also gave up 5.8 yards per catch and a 93.3% catch rate to Denver's running backs. And, of course, they played 66 snaps of defense on Monday and may be tired after a big-time victory at home. 
  • However, Wilson's got company for touches. It's true that he averaged 16.8 carries and 1.5 catches per game in four starts last season, all while splitting rushing work with Deebo Samuel. And he came up with 14.7 PPR points or more in half of those games. But he didn't have a rushing quarterback sharing the field with him, nor did he have two rookies come in and potentially take playing time away from him. 
  • Wilson knows what he's doing out there, which will probably punch his ticket to at least half of the snaps, but he's not explosive in the least and might slug his way to a decent stat line. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 4:25 pm ET •
DAL +7.5, O/U 41.5
Bust Candidate (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
DAL Dallas • #21
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CIN CIN -7.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
5th
PROJ PTS
12.4
RB RNK
26th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
52
REC
1
REYDS
-3
TD
0
FPTS/G
6.2
Elliott should be more efficient than Harris was last week, and he'll probably see more touches. But the Bengals run defense is off to a great start while the Cowboys offense can barely find quality people to play. I wouldn't expect much from Elliott in his return to Ohio. I'd start Darrell Henderson, Cordarrelle Patterson, both Packers running backs and both Browns running backs ahead of Zeke.

What to know:

  • Elliott finds himself without his starting quarterback, or his starting left tackle, or his starting left guard. 
  • And he'll face off against a Bengals defense that absolutely humbled Najee Harris last week. Cincy may have seen the fewest rush attempts (13), but against running backs they allowed the fewest yards per carry (2.3), fewest rushing first downs (one!), the second-fewest yards before contact per rush (0.08 -- that's not a typo), and the fourth-fewest yards after contact per rush (2.23).
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 4:25 pm ET •
DEN -10, O/U 45
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
HOU Houston • #31
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DEN DEN -10 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
8.7
RB RNK
39th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
33
REC
1
REYDS
6
TD
0
FPTS/G
4.9
The Texans duo is clearly the biggest sticking point. Pierce won't be the only back in this offense and it seems pretty clear he's not yet trusted on passing downs (Burkhead played 13 of 14 third-down snaps last week). Until there's more clarity, Pierce shouldn't be in Fantasy lineups.

What to know:

  • Lovie Smith said this week he would give Pierce more work, but this is the same guy who wasn't sure if Pierce would be the Texans top option, then put him atop the depth chart, then gave him 11 carries in a Week 1 tie. I'm not calling Smith a liar, but he's doing a heck of a Bill Belichick impersonation. 
  • Denver's defense is coming off a short week, but at least they're at home and only played 55 snaps of defense on Monday. They didn't do a great job holding back Rashaad Penny (5.0yards per carry and a 23-yard run called back by a penalty) but should be capable of handling the Texans' duo. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 4:25 pm ET •
LV -5.5, O/U 51.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
LV Las Vegas • #4
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ARI LV -5.5 O/U 51.5
OPP VS QB
32nd
PROJ PTS
21.3
QB RNK
9th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
295
RUYDS
0
TD
2
INT
3
FPTS/G
17.8
Carr has 400-yard, three-score potential, which is why I have him ranked well ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz and even Tom Brady.

What to know:

  • Carr gets a terrific matchup a week after challenging a tough Chargers pass defense. Arizona was razed by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs last week to the tune of 9.2 yards per pass attempt and five passing touchdowns over nine drives. 
  • The real key here is the Cardinals' pass rush, which technically pressured Mahomes 16 times but sacked him not at all. Carr will still have to get the ball out relatively quick but should have success finding all of his main targets. 
  • The best part is that the Raiders defense probably won't give Kyler Murray much of a hassle either, so this has a big chance to be a shootout. The over/under was at 51.5 in the middle of the week. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Sep 18 at 8:20 pm ET •
GB -10, O/U 42
Bust Candidate (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #32
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ GB GB -10 O/U 42
OPP VS RB
12th
PROJ PTS
12.7
RB RNK
27th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
26
REC
3
REYDS
24
TD
0
FPTS/G
8
Montgomery has two career touchdowns (one receiving) in five meetings against Green Bay. He's also exceeded 15 touches twice. He's also never beaten the Packers. I'd rather call him a flex and start Darrell Henderson, Travis Etienne and Cordarrelle Patterson than Montgomery this week.

What to know:

  • Montgomery was the Bears' lead back last week by about a 2-to-1 ratio over Khalil Herbert, but Herbert wound up being more efficient on the ground. He also stole a short-yardage score. 
  • I'm getting nervous that the coaching staff may give more work to Herbert, who seems like a better fit for their running scheme. That could happen sooner than later if Montgomery is going to continue averaging below 4.0 yards per carry. And it might happen as soon as Week 2 if Bears playcaller Luke Getsy believes Herbert is the better matchup against his old squad. 
  • Green Bay's defense was expected to be very good this year, but they missed eight tackles on Vikings runs last week along with a league-average 4.5 yards per rush allowed to running backs. I suspect they'll be much better against Montgomery and a weaker Bears offensive line. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Mon, Sep 19 at 7:15 pm ET •
BUF -10, O/U 49
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
TEN Tennessee • #18
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BUF BUF -10 O/U 49
OPP VS WR
26th
PROJ PTS
8.3
WR RNK
44th
YTD Stats
REC
6
TAR
9
REYDS
66
TD
0
FPTS/G
10.6
A slippery route runner in the same mold as Hunter Renfrow, Philips is a waiver-to-lineup pass-catcher who should contend with another 12-point PPR game. I'd chance it with him over Devin Duvernay, Tyler Lockett and Renfrow himself.

What to know:

  • In his very first NFL game, Philips had a 29% target share along with a preposterous 43% target rate when he was on the field (9 targets over 21 routes). A good dose of his targets and catches came when the Titans found themselves in a close game -- four grabs in the fourth quarter. 
  • Expect another game from Tennessee where they're not playing with a big lead. Mike Vrabel's crew have played the Bills tough in each of the past four seasons with only one game being decided by more than one score (it was a Titans win under weird Covid-related circumstances in 2020). Anyway, it's the time of game script that should definitely help Ryan Tannehill's new favorite receiver.
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
BUF Buffalo • #88
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TEN BUF -10 O/U 49
OPP VS TE
10th
PROJ PTS
8.6
TE RNK
17th
YTD Stats
REC
1
TAR
2
REYDS
5
TD
0
FPTS/G
1.5
Consider rostering someone like Logan Thomas, Albert Okwuegbunam or even Taysom Hill over Knox.

What to know:

  • Look, I want to start Knox because it's a matter of time before Josh Allen finds him for a touchdown. Knox, I'm sure, would like to score to honor a family member who recently passed. But this is a tough matchup to count on it. 
  • In the Titans past 17 regular-season games (all of last year and Week 1), they rank top-5 in completion rate to tight ends, yards allowed to tight ends and touchdowns allowed to tight ends. Being fair, they've also seen the eighth-fewest targets to tight ends, but it's still a pretty impressive run. Making it worse? Knox has played Tennessee in each of the past three seasons and failed to exceed five PPR points in any matchup. Knox's schedule does not get easier against the Dolphins and Ravens in Weeks 3 and 4, 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Mon, Sep 19 at 8:30 pm ET •
PHI -2, O/U 50.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIN PHI -2 O/U 50.5
OPP VS RB
26th
PROJ PTS
10.8
RB RNK
22nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
96
REC
2
REYDS
9
TD
1
FPTS/G
18.5
I especially think the Eagles will prioritize running the ball to help them dominate time of possession, something they struggled with last week at Detroit (the Lions were better at converting third downs than the Eagles were).

What to know:

  • While I don't like his 50% snap rate last week, I did love his 7.4 yards per carry and the Eagles offering of a goal-line carry. Sanders looked particularly spry and should be Philly's lead back for however long he's healthy. 
  • The Vikings did a terrific job shutting down the Packers pass game in Week 1 but still allowed 6.2 yards per carry to Packers running backs including a petrifying 2.94 yards before contact per rush, third-worst mark on the week. 
  • Sanders had a relatively-good 1.38 yards before contact last week and should be even better statistically thanks to the matchup his O-line has against the Vikings' defensive line. 
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #6
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIN PHI -2 O/U 50.5
OPP VS WR
6th
PROJ PTS
10.4
WR RNK
39th
YTD Stats
REC
0
TAR
4
REYDS
0
TD
0
FPTS/G
0
I can't say the targets will be plentiful, but I do think the Eagles can beat the Vikings on play-action passing, and I specifically think Smith can catch one or two deep balls for scores in a matchup with one of the highest point totals in the week. Smith is worth a shot over Julio Jones, Rashod Bateman and Sterling Shepard.

What to know:

  • The Vikings pass defense wasn't as great as it looked. When wide receivers were specifically targeted in Week 1, the Vikings allowed 12 of 16 passes completed, and that doesn't include a horrific drop by a wide-open Christian Watson. The Vikes allowed a league-average 4.25 yards after catch per reception. 
  • They also should have a tough time defending both Smith and A.J. Brown. It might be too much speed for them to handle.