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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, Oct 6 at 8:15 pm ET •
DEN -3.5, O/U 42
Start Him in PPR (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
BUF Buffalo • #20
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DEN DEN -3.5 O/U 42
OPP VS RB
8th
PROJ PTS
15.5
RB RNK
29th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
11
REC
17
REYDS
113
TD
0
FPTS/G
7.4
With Taylor out, Hines should step into a larger-than-normal role, though he probably would lose some carries to Phillip Lindsay. Hines would remain the Colts' passing-downs back in a not-bad matchup. You're looking for volume here -- at least six catches as he has in Week 1. He is not nearly as reliable to start in non- and half-PPR leagues. He'll be in my lineup ahead of Antonio Gibson, Tony Pollard and any Rams running back.

Dave's Notebook:

  • HINES: Was the first man -- and only man -- to replace Jonathan Taylor after Taylor's fumble/right ankle last week. 
  • HINES: Has caught 17 of 19 targets this season and actually boasts a 27.1% target per route run rate, meaning he sees a good dose of work from Matt Ryan when he's on the field. 
  • HISTORY: Per our Chris Towers, Hines has played 14 games with 10-plus touches and averaged 14.0 PPR points per game. In games he's played at least 50% of the snaps in, he's averaged 13.7 touches and 17.5 PPR points per game. Drill that down to just 2020 and 2021, and the numbers are even better: 15.3 touches and 22.8 PPR points per game!
  • COLTS: Figure to either play from behind or stay in another competitive game, making it likely Ryan will throw a good amount and that Hines will lead Colts running backs in snaps played. Should see a bump in carries on top of higher target volume. 
  • HINES: Owns an 81% career catch rate versus zone coverage compared to 70% versus man, and he registers just over 1.0 more YAC/reception (yards after catch per reception) versus zone than man. His results over his past three seasons and last season mirror those efficiencies against zone compared to man. 
  • BRONCOS: Rank seventh in zone coverage snaps played and have yielded an 83.3% catch rate (7th-worst) and a 7.27 yards per catch rate (11th-worst) to running backs. They've allowed a 91% catch rate and 8.5 yards per catch to running backs in their past two games. 
  • BRONCOS: What they're good at is not allowing a lot of big plays -- they allow just 5.47 YAC/rec to RBs (fourth-best) and they've missed one tackle against running backs on pass plays this season. 
Bust Candidate (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
KC Kansas City • #25
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs IND DEN -3.5 O/U 42
OPP VS RB
19th
PROJ PTS
10.6
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
139
REC
8
REYDS
49
TD
1
FPTS/G
7.2
Denver might give Gordon a shot at getting 15-plus touches, but he's 29 years old with FOUR fumbles (two lost) this season, and he's saddled with a tough matchup in Week 5. He certainly might score on the Colts -- a RB has done that to Indy in each of its past three -- but he's tough to call a must-start. At best he's a flex. I'd rather start Kareem Hunt, A.J. Dillon and Rhamondre Stevenson.

Dave's Notebok:

  • BRONCOS: Offensive coordinator Justin Outten said Gordon will "carry the load" this week but added that they'd "have a mix of Boone and then after that we gotta figure out who can spell & who feels best in that position. But we trust Melvin going forward." 
  • BRONCOS: Rotated Mike Boone and Gordon by series following the Javonte Williams injury last week. Boone was actually on the field first. They effectively rotated series, giving each other some rest when a drive went longer than a few plays. 
  • BRONCOS: No Denver running back has more than 15 carries in a game yet this year (Williams had two 15-carry games but was under 10 PPR points in each). 
  • GORDON: On the season, Gordon ranks 35th or worse among qualifying running backs in yards per carry (3.76), rush EPA (-0.50), yards before contact (1.08) and yards after contact per rush (2.68) and explosive play rate (2.7% -- he has one rush for more than 12 yards). He is 30th in avoided tackle rate (21.6%). 
  • COLTS: Have held running backs to 3.1 yards per carry (third best) and are top-7 in defensive total rush EPA, defensive rush success rate and yards before and after contact allowed. They're eighth-best in missed tackles on running back runs. They're also getting DeForest Buckner back at D-tackle. 
Flex Starter (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
DEN Denver • #10
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs IND DEN -3.5 O/U 42
OPP VS WR
4th
PROJ PTS
11.7
WR RNK
31st
YTD Stats
REC
11
TAR
21
REYDS
183
TD
2
FPTS/G
10.4
Jeudy has basically made three great plays through four games -- his two touchdown catches and a 32-yard bomb last week. That's what you're looking for from him here since his target volume doesn't figure to leap, even against a pass defense scheme he's been pretty good against. This is a tougher matchup than what he saw in Week 4. He's a solid start, but keep expectations in check and figure Jeudy as a No. 3 receiver or a flex. I would start him over Drake London, Diontae Johnson and Gabe Davis.

Dave's Notebook:

  • COLTS: Top-10 in zone coverage snap rate with an affinity for Cover-3 schemes. Indianapolis has done well against slot receivers (top-10 in catch rate allowed to them, about league average in yards per catch and YAC/reception allowed) but they've managed to see the third-highest ADOT to slot wideouts through four weeks. The Colts are worse against receivers lined up outside. 
  • COLTS: Nickel corner Kenny Moore has allowed a 75% catch rate and plenty of YAC, and the Colts had an ugly coverage bust against Robert Woods out of the slot for a touchdown last Sunday. 
  • JEUDY: Way more dominant against man coverage than zone so far this year (thanks to the Seahawks' busted coverage in Week 1), but he has an 88% catch rate and an outstanding 14.2 yards per catch average this year against Cover-3 defenses specifically. 
  • JEUDY: 61% of his routes have come from the slot.
  • JEUDY: Discouraging 16.7% target share and nauseating 52.4% catch rate with two charged drops through four weeks smothers the upside. Maybe he's on the right track -- last week his target share was 20% and his catch rate was 80%.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 9:30 am ET •
GB -8, O/U 41.5
Flex Starter in Non-PPR (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
GB Green Bay • #28
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYG GB -8 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
16th
PROJ PTS
12.1
RB RNK
26th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
211
REC
9
REYDS
69
TD
1
FPTS/G
10.8
Dillon is always a good Fantasy start in theory because of his big, powerful talent. The reality is that he needs to score in order to be more than a modest non-PPR flex. As bad as the Giants have been, they've only allowed one rushing score this season. If you expect 10 non-PPR or PPR points from Dillon, you'll probably be alright. That makes him a low-end starter if catches don't count (ahead of Kareem Hunt and Melvin Gordon), but just a PPR flex ahead of low-catch touchdown-dependent runners like Ezekiel Elliott and Antonio Gibson in half and full PPR.

Dave's Notebook:

  • DILLON: Saw 18 touches in an overtime game last week, which was nice, but his 84 total yards and sub-10 PPR point total was not nice. He has at least 15 touches in 3 of 4 games. 
  • DILLON: Hasn't had 10-plus PPR points in a game since Week 1. Also has a 9% target share in his last three games. Dillon's played 41% of the Packers third/fourth down snaps in that span, but most of them have been short-yardage downs (five yards or closer). 
  • ODDS: Packers are 8.5-point favorites, a tell-tale sign that they're expected to play with a lead, which could lead to more rushing. 
  • GIANTS: Even though they held Khalil Herbert to modest numbers last week (101 total yards), the Giants still rank 7th-worst in rush yards per carry to running backs (5.12) and bottom-10 in yards before and after contact per rush allowed. Also ranked second-worst in missed tackles with 25. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 1:00 pm ET •
BUF -14, O/U 47
Bust Candidate (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
PIT Pittsburgh • #22
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BUF BUF -14 O/U 46.5
OPP VS RB
9th
PROJ PTS
12.9
RB RNK
24th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
202
REC
10
REYDS
48
TD
2
FPTS/G
11.3
If Harris is held scoreless, his stat line will be nasty. In fact, if you remove his scores, his PPR totals this season have been 4, 13, 8 and 7. That's what you should expect this week with just only some hope for a touchdown to boost those numbers by six points. Try to sit him if you can.

Dave's Notebook:

  • BILLS: On the season have allowed 3.07 yards per carry (second-lowest) and 5.19 yards per catch (fourth-lowest) to opposing rushers. 
  • BILLS: J.K. Dobbins caught and ran for touchdowns last week against the Bills, making up 12 of his 22 PPR points. Chase Edmonds rumbled for two short scores two weeks ago against the Bills, making up 12 of his 15 PPR points. 
  • HARRIS: Has one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown this season. He's averaging a rough 3.5 yards per carry and 4.8 yards per catch. 
  • STEELERS: Have run 15 plays from 10 yards or closer to the end zone over four weeks, tied for 10th fewest in the league. Both of Harris' touchdowns are from five yards or closer. Kenny Pickett had two goal-line plunges last week; Harris had one such carry. 
  • HISTORY: Harris had 45 yards on 16 carries and a four-yard catch against the Bills last year (his first NFL game). 
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
PIT Pittsburgh • #18
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BUF BUF -14 O/U 47
OPP VS WR
5th
PROJ PTS
12.5
WR RNK
27th
YTD Stats
REC
23
TAR
37
REYDS
207
TD
0
FPTS/G
11.7
Sitting Johnson feels like the safe play considering the matchup, the rookie quarterback, and the rookie quarterback's tendencies from his first half of football. Save for a massive target share or some uncharacteristic blown coverage from the Bills, Johnson won't have a great day statistically. He's at best a PPR flex. I'd rather start Josh Reynolds or Romeo Doubs.

Dave's Notebook:

  • STEELERS: Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett will make his first career start in a road game against the NFL's top-ranked pass defense. The Bills have allowed three passing touchdowns in four games against the Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens offenses. All four have better offensive lines and more experienced quarterbacks than the Steelers. 
  • BILLS: Rank top-10 in yards per catch (11.74), YAC/rec (3.0) and pass defense ADOT (9.91) allowed to wide receivers who line up outside. It does not get better for slot receivers -- the Bills rank top-6 in these same categories against inside-formation wideouts.
  • JOHNSON: Has lined up outside the formation and run a route on 128 of 139 routes this season. 
  • JOHNSON: Has thrived on volume throughout his career. He's enjoyed a 30.7% target share with Mitchell Trubisky, but once Kenny Pickett entered the game last week, that number shrunk to 16.7%. Chances are Johnson's target volume won't collapse, but it is worth noting that Pickett targeted George Pickens twice and Pat Freiermuth three times before targeting Johnson last week. Pickett also seemed to have his timing down with Pickens. 
  • UH OH: Here's a list of all the wide receivers who have exceeded 15 PPR points against the Bills this year: Cooper Kupp.
Bust Candidate (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
PIT Pittsburgh • #88
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BUF BUF -14 O/U 47
OPP VS TE
2nd
PROJ PTS
9.8
TE RNK
9th
YTD Stats
REC
18
TAR
30
REYDS
223
TD
1
FPTS/G
11.6
The matchup is an absolute nightmare for Freiermuth, who would have to see a slew of targets from the rookie passer in order to have even a chance at a solid PPR day (he would need a touchdown for non-PPR success). The only reason why you'd start him is that you'd have less confidence in a streaming tight end and/or don't want to carry an extra player.

Dave's Notebook:

  • BILLS: Rank top-6 in catch rate (48% is best in the league), yards per catch (8.5), and pass defense ADOT (4.12) allowed to rival tight ends through four weeks. They've allowed three tight end touchdowns in their past 21 games. 
  • BILLS: Have yet to allow more than 8 PPR points to a tight end this year. That's what Tyler Higbee had in Week 1 -- on 11 targets. Mark Andrews had just 3 PPR points against Buffalo last week. 
  • FREIERMUTH: Had a 3-36-0 stat line in one half with Kenny Pickett at quarterback (four targets), but it was against the Jets. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 1:00 pm ET •
CLE +3, O/U 47.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CLE Cleveland • #27
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAC LAC -3 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
30th
PROJ PTS
12.5
RB RNK
31st
YTD Stats
RUYDS
200
REC
11
REYDS
73
TD
2
FPTS/G
12.6
Hunt and the Browns have an excellent matchup that should bode well for their run game and play-action passing. If you started him last week, be ready to start him again this week in pretty much the best matchup you could ask for. I'd chance it with him over Najee Harris, James Conner and Ezekiel Elliott in non-PPR, and over Melvin Gordon, A.J. Dillon and Mark Ingram in full PPR.

Dave's Notebook:

  • CHARGERS: Have allowed the most yards per carry in the league (6.08) and are bottom-three in yards before and after contact allowed. The Browns should be set to run a bunch on them. 
  • CHARGERS: Gave up at least 14 PPR points to each of Dameon Pierce and Rex Burkhead last week.  They gave up 10-plus PPR points to James Robinson and Travis Etienne the week prior, and nine-plus PPR to each of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon in Week 2. 
  • HUNT: Saw under 15 touches for the first time in a game in Week 4, but posted his third outing with at least 4.0 yards per rush and second in three weeks with at least 8.0 yards per catch. He's totaled at least 60 yards and two catches per game. 
  • HUNT: Had two more carries inside the 10 last week. That's five in two weeks. Kevin Stefanski is giving him scoring opportunities. 
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CLE Cleveland • #85
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAC LAC -3 O/U 47.5
OPP VS TE
13th
PROJ PTS
9.8
TE RNK
11th
YTD Stats
REC
18
TAR
23
REYDS
201
TD
1
FPTS/G
10.5
I expect Njoku to remain a short-area target for Brissett, but given the Chargers' struggled stopping the run, my hunch is the Browns will aim to keep the ball on the ground this week. Njoku might be able to cobble his way to 10 PPR points, but his upside feels capped. I would rather take my chances with Taysom Hill in non-PPR and Pat Freiermuth in all formats.

Dave's Notebook:

  • NJOKU: Has seen his target share go from 18.5% in Week 2 to 32.3% in Week 3 to 20% in Week 4. All three numbers are terrific. He also has at least 10 PPR points in each of his past two games. 
  • NJOKU: Seemed to be more involved against zone coverage recently. In the past two weeks, 12 of his 17 targets have come against zone, complete with a 91.7% catch rate and 12.45 yards per catch. He's also played twice as many snaps against zone compared to man-to-man. 
  • CHARGERS: Have played the fifth-fewest percentage of zone coverage snaps this season. They've especially moved to man coverage more in the past three weeks. 
  • BRISSETT: Has a lower completion rate and QB rating versus man coverage than zone. 
  • CHARGERS: No tight end has more than 11 PPR or 7 non-PPR points against the Chargers this season. That includes Darren Waller (11 PPR) and Travis Kelce (10 PPR). No tight end has scored on the Chargers this year. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 1:00 pm ET •
JAC -7, O/U 44.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
JAC Jacksonville • #16
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs HOU JAC -7 O/U 44.5
OPP VS QB
9th
PROJ PTS
22.2
QB RNK
10th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
946
RUYDS
29
TD
8
INT
2
FPTS/G
19.7
Lawrence was under siege and had five turnovers last week against a terrific Philadelphia defense. This is a big step down in competition, and it's a favorable matchup similar to those he saw in Weeks 2 and 3 when he scored 24 and 28 Fantasy points. I would welcome Lawrence to the starting lineup ahead of Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson.

Dave's Notebook:

  • TEXANS: Allowed over 20 Fantasy points to a quarterback for the first time last week (Justin Herbert). However, despite an impressive 62.3% completion rate allowed, the Texans rank in the bottom-8 in yards per catch allowed (12.56) and YAC/reception allowed (5.52) with a second-to-last 18 completions of 20-plus yards and a league-worst 50 missed tackles on all defensive plays.
  • TEXANS: Have been playing less zone coverage week by week, including going man-heavy against the Chargers. 
  • LAWRENCE: Better against man coverage than zone but not bad against either one. His kryptonite seems to be pass rush pressure, which has been hit or miss for the Texans depending on the quality of the O-line they're going up against. Jacksonville has allowed a pressure on 30.3% of its plays, which is better than the league average. 
  • TEXANS: Especially not good against slot receivers, where they've averaged 13.1 yards per catch and 6.22 YAC/reception (both bottom-8). 
  • LAWRENCE: Has completed 67% of his throws when targeting a slot receiver for 8.58 yards per catch and four touchdowns. Christian Kirk has caught 13 of his 29 slot completions (Zay Jones has caught 10). 
  • ODDS: The Jaguars are a seven-point favorite and have an implied team point total of 25.25 points, tied for eighth-most of the week. The oddsmakers are expecting them to score. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 1:00 pm ET •
MIN -7, O/U 44
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #11
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIN MIN -7 O/U 44
OPP VS WR
21st
PROJ PTS
8.6
WR RNK
NR
YTD Stats
REC
8
TAR
16
REYDS
121
TD
0
FPTS/G
5.1
The Bears seem a little closer to letting Justin Fields cut it loose. A favorable matchup does open the door for Mooney to have another solid game. I wouldn't use him as anything more than a flex, but the mere fact he and Fields are trending in the right direction should make Fantasy managers feel a little confident. I'd take a chance on him over JuJu Smith-Schuster, Greg Dortch, Tyler Boyd and Elijah Moore.

Dave's Notebook:

  • BEARS: Still the NFL leaders in run rate (62.1%), but last week they at least tried to throw a little more (46.7% of plays). 
  • MOONEY: Last week had an ADOT of 21.6 yards and had a completion of 16-plus yards on three of four grabs. He's seen a target share of 25% or more and has been in the slot for over half of Chicago's plays in each of the past two weeks.
  • VIKINGS: Have struggled with wide receivers in general -- 69.2% catch rate (4th worst), 12.88 pass defense ADOT (third-highest) and just below league average with 13.26 yards per catch allowed -- but they're giving up an ugly 78.3% catch rate just to slot receivers. 
  • VIKINGS: 15-plus PPR points to speedy deep-ball receivers (Chris Olave, DeVonta Smith, Josh Reynolds) in each of their past three games. 
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIN Minnesota • #8
Age: 34 • Experience: 11 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CHI MIN -7 O/U 44
OPP VS QB
11th
PROJ PTS
22
QB RNK
9th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1031
RUYDS
19
TD
6
INT
4
FPTS/G
17.8
Cousins has not delivered to expectations over the past two weeks, but in a friendly matchup against a foe he knows, I feel like he's worth trusting again. If he stinks you may want to move in a different direction because he plays at Miami and then is on bye before seeing a mix of favorable and unfavorable matchups. Go ahead and start Cousins this week, but you'd be wise to get a second quarterback on your bench for the next two months if you don't have one already.

Dave's Notebook:

  • COUSINS: Despite his numbers, he was good last week save for an interception. He led the Vikings on five red-zone trips but came up a little unlucky on touchdowns (Jefferson TD run cost him). He was barely blitzed and pressured and the Saints played zone coverage 73% of the time. It was a recipe for success for Cousins. 
  • BEARS: Even with a young secondary, the Bears are surprisingly fifth in man coverage play rate this season. However, they're barely blitzing (20.2% blitz rate per dropback in their past three) and are league-average in pass rush pressure rate. 
  • COUSINS: Against man coverage this season he's completing just 42% of his throws and has a QB rating of 63.5. That's a big change from 2021 when he slashed man coverage regularly. But he's been pressured on 40% of those dropbacks and figures to see better one-on-one matchups for his receivers if the Bears opt for more man coverage this week. He should also have a little bit more time because the Bears' pass rush isn't that dangerous. 
  • BEARS: 20 Fantasy points on the dot to 2 of last 3 QB, including Daniel Jones last week. 
  • HISTORY: Cousins has posted 21-plus Fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 against the Bears with at least two touchdowns in each of the four. 
  • ODDS: The Vikings are a seven-point favorite and have an implied team point total of 25.5 points, tied for sixth-most of the week. The oddsmakers are expecting them to score. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 1:00 pm ET •
NE -3, O/U 46.5
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
DET Detroit • #16
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NE NE -3 O/U 46.5
OPP VS QB
24th
PROJ PTS
16.5
QB RNK
14th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1126
RUYDS
16
TD
11
INT
3
FPTS/G
27.7
The hunch is that the Lions are confident in letting Goff chuck it, and the Patriots don't have the pass rush to spook Goff like they did years ago. The two worries: That he struggles on the road, and that the Patriots wind up playing a lot of zone coverage and bank on Goff's inaccuracy. But as it pertains to low-end starting quarterbacks, Goff has unignorable upside, so he deserves the nod ahead of Carson Wentz, Teddy Bridgewater and Ryan Tannehill, but not Geno Smith.

Dave's Notebook:

  • HISTORY: Bill Belichick famously pressured Goff like crazy in Super Bowl LIII, blitzing on 50% of their plays. He might try something similar this week but it'll be a challenge because of the protection Goff gets. 
  • GOFF: In a surprising turn of events, Goff has actually been better when blitzed (62.2% completion rate, 0.15 EPA/DB, 108.3 QB rating) this season than not blitzed (60.4% completion rate, 0.10 EPA/DB, 96.4 QB rating). Clearly, he's not bad either way. He's not quite as efficient when the pressure gets near him, but his QB rating is still north of 90.0. He's also felt pressure on just 49 of 159 dropbacks this season.  
  • PATRIOTS: Only against Mitchell Trubisky did the Patriots not blitz the quarterback on at least 29.7% of their snaps. Their season average blitz rate of 30.6% is top-10 in the league, but their pass rush pressure rate (29.9%) is ninth-worst. They're not getting to opposing quarterbacks even when they do blitz. That's a plus for Goff. 
  • PATRIOTS: 20-plus Fantasy points allowed to each of the past two quarterbacks they've faced (Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers); Rodgers was a bobbled touchdown away from 25 points. That also means the Patriots should have allowed seven passing touchdowns over their past two games instead of six. 
  • GOFF: Overall, the QB is top-12 in pass attempts per game (37.8!) and top-10 in EPA/DB (0.12). He's also top-3 in passing yards (1,126) and tied for numero uno in passing touchdowns (11). 
  • ON THE ROAD: In seven road games with the Lions, Goff has topped 20 Fantasy points once. That's a yikes. 
  • GOFF: 10th in off-target passing this season (13.9% of throws). 
Start Them (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NE New England • #38
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DET NE -3 O/U 46.5
OPP VS RB
31st
PROJ PTS
10.8
RB RNK
21st
YTD Stats
RUYDS
211
REC
11
REYDS
57
TD
1
FPTS/G
11
NE New England • #37
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DET NE -3 O/U 46.5
OPP VS RB
31st
PROJ PTS
12
RB RNK
18th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
246
REC
7
REYDS
29
TD
3
FPTS/G
13.2
The Lions run defense is terrible and the Patriots are sure to test it, even if the Lions load up the box and dare rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe to throw. Expect both backs to flirt with 15 touches each with the potential for some nice stat lines. I'd take Harris and his touchdown streak ahead of Stevenson even though Stevenson plays more snaps, but I would start both this week in any format over Nyheim Hines, Mark Ingram and Ezekiel Elliott.

Dave's Notebook:

  • LIONS: Given up 94 rushing yards and/or a rushing TD to a running back in 17 of their past 21 games (going back to start of 2021).  
  • LIONS: Allowed eight rushing touchdowns to running backs through four games including one to every running back who had at least nine carries. 
  • HARRIS: Has nine carries or more in 16 straight games including the playoffs. Perhaps more importantly, Harris has at least 14 touches in each of his past three games with over 80 yards in two of them and a touchdown in all three of them. 
  • STEVENSON: Has nine carries in each of his past three games and 10-plus touches in every game this year. Stevenson has also played more snaps than Harris (52.3% to 40.2%) and has dominated third and fourth downs for the Patriots (29 or 49 snaps). 
  • HARRIS: Has played 10 of 16 snaps from inside the 10 and has been luckier with the touchdown opportunities (five carries) than Stevenson (two carries). 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 1:00 pm ET •
WAS +2.5, O/U 42.5
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decicision)
Projections powered by Sportsline
TEN Tennessee • #2
Age: 30 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS TEN -2.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS WR
30th
PROJ PTS
13.5
WR RNK
38th
YTD Stats
REC
13
TAR
20
REYDS
167
TD
1
FPTS/G
8.9
If the Titans follow their usual game script, you'll need a touchdown from Woods in order to have a satisfactory Fantasy game. If the Commanders can right their offense, we could see Tennessee be forced to lean on Woods in a favorable matchup. There isn't a ton of upside, but there isn't too much downside. Woods is a notch better than JuJu Smith-Schuster, Greg Dortch and Michael Gallup.

Dave's Notebook:

  • WOODS: Effectively the Titans' No. 1 receiver with a 19.8% target share, Woods has lined up outside on two-thirds of his snaps. He's been solid, but he hasn't avoided any tackles, has one touchdown, only has two red-zone targets and only four plays of 16-plus yards. 
  • WOODS: Has exactly four receptions in three straight games, posted 12-plus PPR in each of his past two. 
  • COMMANDERS: Though they allow a fairly stiff 62.2% catch rate to WRs, they rank bottom-seven in all the major pass defense metrics: yards per catch (14.89), YAC/reception (5.20), pass defense ADOT (12.02). And they've allowed the most touchdowns to wide receivers this year (seven). 
  • TITANS: Will play without rookie receiver Treylon Burks, who was second on the team in target share before his injury. That might open up a few more targets for Woods. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 1:00 pm ET •
NYJ +3, O/U 46
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decicision)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #17
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIA MIA -3 O/U 46
OPP VS WR
23rd
PROJ PTS
11.5
WR RNK
34th
YTD Stats
REC
20
TAR
39
REYDS
255
TD
2
FPTS/G
14.4
JETS: In Zach Wilson's first start, Elijah Moore got going early then disappeared, Corey Davis came up aces late, but it was Garrett Wilson who had a target share north of 20% in each half. It might be one of those things that takes time, but expect the rookie wideout to develop into Zach Wilson's best wideout thanks to his speed and agility. DOLPHINS: More often than not it's been speedy receivers who have bested the Dolphins defense. Rashod Bateman had a long catch-and-run touchdown in Week 1, Isaiah McKenzie wound up being a critical factor for the Bills in Week 3. Miami did its best to take away Ja'Marr Chase last week and Tee Higgins had himself a big game, but it's unlikely for the Dolphins to focus on taking one receiver away. DOLPHINS: With a 37.1% blitz/dropback rate (fourth-highest), expect a big-time blitz to get after Zach Wilson to try and force some takeaways. The Jets have to know that's coming, and with Miami's top two cornerbacks unlikely to play, expect them to scheme up Garrett Wilson to be a reliable short- and mid-range target. WILSON: The trend continued with Wilson being a downfield, between the numbers type of passer. Garrett Wilson was more than capable of making plays in that area at Ohio State. This season he's seen 13 targets between the numbers, culling a 10-143-1 stat line. Not bad. Garrett Wilson's 35-yard completion from Zach Wilson last week was also between the numbers.

Dave's Notebook:

JETS: In Zach Wilson's first start, Elijah Moore got going early and then disappeared, Corey Davis came up aces late, but it was Garrett Wilson who had a target share north of 20% in each half. It might be one of those things that take time, but expect the rookie wideout to develop into Zach Wilson's best wideout thanks to his speed and agility.

DOLPHINS: More often than not it's been speedy receivers who have bested the Dolphins defense. Rashod Bateman had a long catch-and-run touchdown in Week 1, Isaiah McKenzie wound up being a critical factor for the Bills in Week 3. Miami did its best to take away Ja'Marr Chase last week and Tee Higgins had himself a big game, but it's unlikely for the Dolphins to focus on taking one receiver away. 

DOLPHINS: With a 37.1% blitz/dropback rate (fourth-highest), expect a big-time blitz to get after Zach Wilson to try and force some takeaways. The Jets have to know that blitz is coming and with Miami's top two cornerbacks unlikely to play, expect them to scheme up Garrett Wilson to be a reliable short- and mid-range target. 

WILSON: The trend continued with Wilson being a downfield, between the numbers type of passer. Garrett Wilson was more than capable of making plays in that area at Ohio State. This season he's seen 13 targets between the numbers, culling a 10-143-1 stat line. Not bad. Garrett Wilson's 35-yard completion from Zach Wilson last week was also between the numbers. 

Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 1:00 pm ET •
TB -8.5, O/U 48
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
TB Tampa Bay • #14
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ATL TB -8.5 O/U 48
OPP VS WR
28th
PROJ PTS
14.6
WR RNK
19th
YTD Stats
REC
10
TAR
13
REYDS
94
TD
0
FPTS/G
9.7
With a game under his belt and the rust knocked off, bank on Godwin to stay in sync with Tom Brady against a Falcons pass defense that's susceptible to slot receivers. His own track record against Atlanta is unparalleled. Godwin is a must-start for however long he is healthy.

Dave's Notebook:

  • GODWIN: There was no real snap count last week -- Godwin ran 45 routes, saw 10 targets (same as Mike Evans) and turned in a not-awful 7-59-0 stat line. Nearly 80% of his snaps came from the slot. 
  • FALCONS: Allow an above-average 73% completion rate to receivers who line up in the slot, and they're tops in football in holding them to YAC/reception (1.96). That said, the Falcons have seen the highest pass defense ADOT (12.97 yards) and the third-most targets to slot receivers this year (37), allowing the fourth-most receptions (27) and the third-most yards (334). 
  • HISTORY: Godwin had at least 16 PPR points in each of two games against the Falcons last year. He actually has at least 13 PPR points in each of his past seven against them. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 1:00 pm ET •
NO -5.5, O/U 46
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
SEA Seattle • #7
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NO NO -5.5 O/U 46
OPP VS QB
8th
PROJ PTS
18.6
QB RNK
16th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1037
RUYDS
64
TD
7
INT
2
FPTS/G
21.5
The Saints have held each of the past three quarterbacks to 14 or fewer Fantasy points. That's the only thing keeping Fantasy managers from rushing Smith into must-start status. Any quarterback with middling expectations has to be benched for Smith, who has delivered those middling expectations as well as crazy-high upside. I would start Smith over Ryan Tannehill, Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford, and I'd chance it with him over Jared Goff since he's not the one taking on Bill Belichick.

Dave's Notebook:

  • SMITH: Enters the week with the fourth-best EPA/DB among qualifying QBs (0.21), third-best in QB rating (108.0) and best in off-target throws (just 4.5% of passes). No wonder he has posted 20-plus Fantasy points in three of four games. 
  • SMITH: He's been great when blitzed or not blitzed (QB rating over 100 for both), and he's been good against zone coverage but straight-up dominant against man coverage (67.7% completion rate, 0.58 EPA/DB, 137.4 QB rating, 9.42 yards per attempt, 12.9% TD rate). He just doesn't see much man coverage (33 dropbacks on the year) because of his receivers.
  • SMITH: At his worst when he's pressured (64.9% completion rate, -0.11 EPA/DB, 83.7 QB rating). The Seahawks have worked around that by scheming up easy short and intermediate throws, frequently with Smith on the move. He's really only done poorly against the 49ers dominant pass rush. 
  • SAINTS: Dead last in pass rush pressure rate (19.9%), third-to-last in blitz rate (15.6%) and they play the 11th-most man coverage. The only game this year the Saints amped up the blitz and pass rush pressure was against the Panthers, who have a bad offensive line. They've otherwise played a conservative zone defense most of the time. 
  • LIONS: Rank higher in blitz rate and pressure rate than the Saints, and Smith just crushed them for 320-2-0 through the air. 
  • ODDS: Seattle has an implied team point total of 20.0 and are 5.5-point underdogs. That's not the perfect recipe for Fantasy success.
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
SEA Seattle • #20
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NO NO -5.5 O/U 46
OPP VS RB
4th
PROJ PTS
13.2
RB RNK
29th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
292
REC
4
REYDS
16
TD
2
FPTS/G
11.7
The matchup against New Orleans is a tough one for Penny. They've been pretty good against rival running backs, but Penny's upside pushes him into the top-20 among runners. He should have a safe floor of 80 total yards. I'd rather start Jeff Wilson and Damien Harris given their matchups, but Penny is still worth starting over James Conner, Kareem Hunt and the Rams running backs.

Dave's Notebook:

  • SAINTS: Top-10 in rush yards per carry (3.95), rush attempts per touchdown (103.0) and yards after contact per attempt (2.5) allowed to running backs. They're a little light in yards before contact per attempt (1.45), but they've also allowed one lonely rushing touchdown to a running back (Cordarrelle Patterson in Week 1).
  • SAINTS: It should also be noted that they've allowed at least 80 total yards to a lead back in three of four. Make that number 74 total yards and it's all four games. 
  • PENNY: Eviscerated the Lions poor run defense last week to prop up his season-long numbers, but before Week 4 he ranked outside the top-20 among qualified RBs in yards per carry, yards before and after contact, explosive rush rate and five-plus-yard rush rate. Now? He's top-17 in nearly all of those categories. 
  • PENNY: Also note that Week 4 was the first time the Seahawks gave Penny more than 15 touches, and it was his first game with more than 70 total yards and his first game with a touchdown. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 4:05 pm ET •
CAR +6.5, O/U 39
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIA Miami • #23
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CAR SF -6.5 O/U 39
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
12.6
RB RNK
17th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
255
REC
7
REYDS
58
TD
1
FPTS/G
10.6
It's hard to expect a big game from Wilson since others before him didn't put up big stats, but Wilson should see work and the 49ers run scheme has been effective. There's certainly room for another score and potentially 90 total yards from Wilson. He's a No. 2 running back who should start ahead of Najee Harris, James Conner and Kareem Hunt.

Dave's notebook:

  • WILSON: Has 15-plus touches in three straight games, posting a minimum of 74 yards and getting over 100 total in two. He's delivered at least 11 PPR points in each. 
  • PANTHERS: Would you believe the Panthers haven't allowed more than 11 PPR points to a running back in three straight games? They've done a nice job against Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and James Conner. 
  • PANTHERS: Despite their success against running backs, they still allow 4.58 yards per carry on the season and are second-worst in defensive rush success rate. 
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CAR Carolina • #2
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF SF -6.5 O/U 39
OPP VS WR
6th
PROJ PTS
10.9
WR RNK
39th
YTD Stats
REC
13
TAR
29
REYDS
138
TD
1
FPTS/G
9
If you haven't had the confidence to sit D.J. Moore before, you should now. The 49ers have the pass rush and pass coverage to keep Moore's numbers low unless he gets force-fed underneath targets like Cooper Kupp did last week. You'd be hard-pressed to find a receiver you'd sit for Moore in Week 5.

Dave's Notebook:

  • MOORE: In a week where the Panthers tried to get Moore involved (11 targets), he finished with 11 PPR points and a lonely 50 yards (which is a season-high). 
  • 49ERS: Just kept Cooper Kupp to 8.7 yards per catch. Before that they held Courtland Sutton and DK Metcalf for under 100 yards each. Only Kupp and Lockett have over 100 yards, and no one has scored on them in the past three weeks. 
  • PANTHERS: Quarterback Baker Mayfield figures to be under a ton of pressure snap after snap as the 49ers boast one of the best pass rushes in football. San Francisco hasn't allowed a passing touchdown in three straight games against Geno Smith, Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 4:25 pm ET •
LAR -5.5, O/U 43
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
DAL Dallas • #21
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAR LAR -5.5 O/U 43
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
10.3
RB RNK
30th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
227
REC
5
REYDS
27
TD
1
FPTS/G
9.3
Elliott has enjoyed favorable matchups for three straight weeks and only came up with big Fantasy numbers in one of them. Now he'll face a stingy Rams run defense that should be up to the task of limiting Elliott. He hasn't even had 15 PPR points in a game this season. He should be an easy sit -- I'd rather start Jeff Wilson, Rashaad Penny and both Patriots running backs.

Dave's Notebook:

  • ELLIOTT: As the season rolls on, Elliott's consistency is waning. His efficiency has yo-yoed from week to week while his workload remains strong. He had a season-high 21 touches last week against Washington, but only 81 total yards to show for it. 
  • RAMS: Holding backs to just 3.84 yards per tote this year, Los Angeles allowed its first touchdown last week on a 32-yard run without DT Aaron Donald on the field. Before last week, no running back had more than 7 PPR points against the Rams, and aside from that run, the 49ers had 2.8 yards per carry. 
  • COWBOYS: Have been pretty run-heavy in Cooper Rush's three starts (48.6% of plays, 11th-most), but eventually they're going to face a tough matchup and force Rush to throw more. This matchup should be it. 
  • HISTORY: Elliott has scored and posted at least 66 total yards in each of four career games against the Rams (over 100 yards in three). But he hasn't faced them since he was 25 years old in early 2020. He's a different back now. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 4:25 pm ET •
ARI +5.5, O/U 49
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
ARI Arizona • #6
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs PHI PHI -5.5 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
17th
PROJ PTS
13.1
RB RNK
28th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
145
REC
13
REYDS
95
TD
1
FPTS/G
10.8
Between his offensive line not blocking so well and his defense letting up too many points too soon, Conner has either run inefficiently or fallen out of game scripts a bunch. And now he has a terrible matchup. He's morphed into a touchdown-or-bust running back with a dwindling role in the passing game. You shouldn't feel good starting Conner this week; Melvin Gordon, Nyheim Hines and Tony Pollard offer more potential.

Dave's Notebook:

  • CONNER: If you've watched him play, you've seen a burly, hard-charging-but-slow-moving runner with mediocre blockers. Only 11.1% of his runs are for zero/negative yards, but exactly 0% of his carries have been for 12-plus yards. He's also avoiding a tackle on just 26.7% of his carries (36th among qualifying running backs). 
  • EAGLES: Aren't among the best in run defense but have a way of making a game go sideways on an opponent. To wit, no one has seen fewer running back carries than the Eagles this year. And while they're giving up some below-average numbers (4.7 yards per carry, a rush touchdown every 16.5 carries, 1.48 yards before contact per rush), they've actually played lights-out in the past three games (3.45 yards per carry, a rush touchdown every 40.0 carries, 1.05 yards before contact per rush). 
  • EAGLES: No running back has had more than 10 PPR points against them in the past three weeks. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Oct 9 at 8:20 pm ET •
BAL -3, O/U 48.5
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
BAL Baltimore • #27
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CIN BAL -3 O/U 48.5
OPP VS RB
10th
PROJ PTS
15.2
RB RNK
22nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
64
REC
6
REYDS
39
TD
2
FPTS/G
14.2
While the Ravens clearly need Dobbins to help create their run identity, he continues to look more and more like a touchdown-needy back for Fantasy success. It might be rare for him to see more than 15 touches per game, and a tough matchup against a disciplined Bengals defense won't help his cause. I'd rather start Devin Singletary, Khalil Herbert and Damien Harris.

Dave's Notebook:

  • DOBBINS: 17 touches last week was great to see, and no one's complaining about two touchdowns. However, he didn't look much like his old self, specifically struggling to accelerate when he found open space. It feels like he is still quick in his cuts but doesn't have a second gear. Only three of his 20 carries have gone 6 or more yards, and none longer than 16. Subsequently, 13 of his runs have gone for 3 or fewer yards. 
  • BENGALS: In their first game without run-plugger D.J. Reader, they held Miami to 3.75 yards per carry. They did allow a receiving touchdown to Chase Edmonds and should have given up another if not for a bad drop. 
  • BENGALS: On the season they rank top-6 in yards per rush (3.67), rushing first downs (13), rush yards after contact per carry (2.43), and 10-plus yard rushes (five) allowed, and they're top-3 in missed tackles on runs (9).
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Mon, Oct 10 at 8:15 pm ET •
KC -7, O/U 51
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
LV Las Vegas • #4
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ KC KC -7 O/U 51
OPP VS QB
28th
PROJ PTS
17.9
QB RNK
13th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1038
RUYDS
66
TD
6
INT
4
FPTS/G
19
It's hard to say to sit Carr when everyone is starting Davante Adams and Darren Waller, not to mention Josh Jacobs. If you buy into past matchups based on the stadium, avoid Carr. The track record of him at a loud Arrowhead is not good at all. If you buy into the here and now, Carr has too many players around him to stumble. I'd start him over Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.

Dave's Notebook:

  • CARR: Didn't have to put up big numbers last week in a matchup his run game took over. That ended his three-game streak with at least 250 yards and two touchdowns. 
  • CHIEFS: Have been outstanding against the run but definitely susceptible to the pass. Every quarterback to play Kansas City has thrown two touchdowns, and three of the four have nailed down at least 23 Fantasy points. 
  • CHIEFS: Are about league average in blitz rate and below league average in pass rush pressure rate. That's great news for Carr, whose 2022 numbers have taken a nosedive when pressured (45.9% completion rate, -0.27 EPA/DB, 74.3 QB rating). 
  • HISTORY: Carr has one game with over 20 Fantasy points at Kansas City (2020 during Covid), but he does have at least 21 Fantasy points in three of his past four overall against the Chiefs. He's also completed at least 71% of his throws in each of his past four against the Chiefs.