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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 Justin Jefferson). 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, Nov 3 at 8:15 pm ET •
HOU +14, O/U 45
Possible Bust (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #6
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ HOU PHI -13.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS WR
NR
PROJ PTS
0
WR RNK
20th
YTD Stats
REC
38
TAR
51
REYDS
420
TD
2
FPTS/G
13.1

Dave's Notebook:

  • SMITH: Has five or more catches in five of his past six games but has notched 80 or fewer yards in four of those six with two touchdowns all season long.
  • SMITH: His usage has been odd, earning an ADOT (average depth of target) under 10.0 in every game this year except one. In fact his season-long ADOT of 8.24 ranks 57th among qualified receivers. Making things weirder is his average route depth at 9.14, which isn't super special but does rank top 20 among the 50 wideouts with at least 40 targets this season.
  • EAGLES: It seems the team utilizes him as a short- and mid-range receiver, not as a deep threat. Only four of his nine explosive pass plays (16-plus yards) were considered deep (pass traveled 16-plus Air Yards), and only two of those four were gains for more than 22 yards.
  • BLOWOUTS: Smith's four biggest target games were 12, 11, 8 and 7 targets. Only one of those games was a close one (Week 5 at Arizona, he had 11 targets), the rest were blowouts. It's also worth noting that the Cardinals began 2022 as one of the best defenses at stopping deep plays -- Smith had a 10-87-0 stat line.
  • SMITH: Averaged 17.3 PPR points in those other three blowout games but that includes an 8-169-1 stat line at Washington, a defense that grounded the Eagles run game and forced Hurts to throw.
  • ODDS: The Eagles are 12.5-point favorites at Houston. The oddsmakers are expecting a blowout.
  • TEXANS: Have seen the fewest pass attempts to wide receivers against them this season and as such have allowed the fewest receptions to WRs (10 per game!). However, wideouts are averaging a second-highest 14.74 yards per catch and fourth-highest 5.20 YAC/reception (yards after catch per reception, a stat that measures how many yards a receiver gets on average post-reception before getting tackled) against them with 12 completions of 16-plus Air Yards against them.
  • My hunch is that the short week and abominable Texans run defense (at 185.6 rush yards per game is the worst in the NFL by nearly 30 yards) will print a golden ticket for the Eagles to run the ball as much as they want. I do expect this game to be a blowout but I'm not convinced it will mean great numbers for Smith. He's flex worthy but keep expectations in check. I would rather start Chris Olave, Jakobi Meyers, Tyler Boyd and Josh Palmer.
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
DAL Dallas • #3
Age: 30 • Experience: 11 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs PHI PHI -14 O/U 45
OPP VS WR
6th
PROJ PTS
11.4
WR RNK
34th
YTD Stats
REC
32
TAR
53
REYDS
354
TD
1
FPTS/G
10.5

Dave's Notebook:

  • COOKS: At this point you should know what to expect -- somewhere between 6 and 11 PPR points, just like he's delivered in his past five games when he hasn't scored. 
  • COOKS: Improved his season-long catch rate to 60.4% but is still sporting the lowest receiving average over his past eight years. His ADOT (average depth of target) is also at a five-year low (9.2 yards). 
  • BARELY A POSITIVE: Last week he notched his longest (44 yards) and third-longest (26 yards) receptions of the season. Both came in the final two minutes of the game. 
  • EAGLES: Rank seventh in fewest Fantasy points to wide receivers. They've allowed 12-plus PPR points to just five wideouts in their past six games including Chase Claypool, who threw a touchdown, in Week 8.
  • Cooks was a disappointment for Fantasy last week in one of the easiest matchups possible. Now he'll play in one of the toughest on a short week. He's at best a bye-week replacement.
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 1:00 pm ET •
ATL +3, O/U 49
Flex Starter (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAC L.A. Chargers • #5
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL LAC -3 O/U 49
OPP VS WR
32nd
PROJ PTS
11.3
WR RNK
27th
YTD Stats
REC
26
TAR
40
REYDS
240
TD
1
FPTS/G
9.4
Palmer's a pretty good player with a very good opportunity. He's much safer in PPR where he should be able to compile solid stats in a favorable matchup. Once it's clear he's out of the concussion protocol, use him as at worst a flex.

Dave's Notebook:

  • INJURIES: We know for sure Mike Williams is out. We did not see Keenan Allen practice on Monday, and when he did play in Week 7 his snaps were limited and his explosiveness waned into the second quarter. Palmer should run a ton of routes. 
  • PALMER: Has 14-plus PPR in three of his past five games. This includes his 12-target, 9-57-0 stat line versus Denver in Week 6, his most recent game.  
  • PALMER: Might be tasked with playing more along the outside this week with Williams hurt but has just one reception that traveled more than 15 Air Yards this season. His longest catch of the year, a 45-yarder, was a catch and run. He also caught just four passes that went that same 15 Air Yard distance in 2021. This isn't a crusher for his value, but it does mean he must have volume and/or a touchdown or else he'll struggle. 
  • VOLUME: Multiple Chargers receivers have had at least six targets in the same game five times. 
  • PALMER: Has seven career games with at least six targets and has posted 13-plus PPR points in five of them. 
  • FALCONS: Have allowed the second-most touchdowns to wide receivers this year (12 including six total over their past three games) and rank 11th-worst in catch rate allowed (65.6%). They rank second in most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers and most pass completions of 20-plus yards (29). 
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #14
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL LAC -3 O/U 49
OPP VS TE
30th
PROJ PTS
10.6
TE RNK
7th
YTD Stats
REC
27
TAR
45
REYDS
305
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.9
The Chargers are in a pinch with Mike Williams out. Everett figures to help replace him, even though Everett himself doesn't venture too far downfield often. Count on his volume to remain strong against a Falcons squad that's let tight ends rough them up a little. I'd start him in full-PPR over Zach Ertz, Tyler Higbee, Evan Engram and even Kyle Pitts.

Dave's Notebook:

  • EVERETT: Is top-three on the Chargers in every receiving category and most metrics including targets, catches, yards, red-zone targets, end-zone targets, YAC/reception (yards after catch per reception, a stat that measures how many yards a receiver gets on average post-reception before getting tackled), explosive plays and tackles avoided. In most of these categories, Mike Williams ranks higher. Williams will not play for at least the next two weeks. 
  • EVERETT: Has six or more targets in all but one of his past five games. In those five games, Everett has had 10-plus PPR points three times. 
  • FALCONS: Last week was the first time in seven games the Falcons DID NOT give up at least 10 full-PPR points to a tight end. 
  • FALCONS: Have seen the most targets go to tight ends against them this year (72) and rank bottom-eight in catch rate allowed and bottom-five in total yards and yards after catch allowed. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 1:00 pm ET •
CHI +5, O/U 45.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CIN Cincinnati • #88
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CHI MIA -5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS TE
10th
PROJ PTS
10.6
TE RNK
12th
YTD Stats
REC
21
TAR
30
REYDS
235
TD
4
FPTS/G
8.6
Gesicki has been one of the best tight ends in the touchdown-or-bust streaming tier, but his minimal usage in general caps any shot of him being a great option. There's also a tiny bit of worry about Jeff Wilson stealing some of Gesicki's touches inside the 10 since he's a physical runner with short-yardage experience. All that said, Gesicki's role lately has been bountiful for Fantasy purposes and shouldn't be ignored. I'd roll with him over Hayden Hurst, Robert Tonyan and Dawson Knox.

Dave's Notebook:

  • RED ZONE: Of Gesicki's 30 targets, seven have come in the red zone. If you don't think that's a lot, consider that this leads all Dolphins players and ranks tied for sixth among all tight ends. He's had five red-zone/four end-zone targets over his past three. 
  • TOUCHDOWNS: Gesicki scored in Weeks 6 and 8 and had a pass bounce off his face mask in the end zone in Week 7. He has been utilized as a scoring threat when the Dolphins have been in the red zone, but not quite at the goal line. 
  • GESICKI: Has a catch for at least 16 yards in each of his past five games, but still doesn't have a high target share (one game this year with a 20% rate and six with 12% or lower). 
  • BEARS: Have allowed 8.5 or more half-PPR points twice all season to tight ends (and no more than 10.5), but Gesicki may represent the biggest receiving threat at TE they've faced so far this season. Dalton Schultz had a 6-74-0 stat line against them last week. 
  • BEARS: Of the 17 red-zone touchdowns allowed this year (which is the sixth-most in the league), only five were passes. 
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
PIT Pittsburgh • #2
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIA MIA -5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS QB
27th
PROJ PTS
19.4
QB RNK
10th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1199
RUYDS
424
TD
10
INT
6
FPTS/G
17
Fields' rushing prowess is easy to embrace, especially since he takes off when there's pressure as well as on designed runs (like his touchdowns inside the 5 in his past two games). What he gives on the ground is a supplement to his now-efficient passing. Adding Chase Claypool should help to some degree; he just played the Dolphins in Week 7 (5-41-0). Fields' upside makes him a top-10 quarterback who has more appeal this week than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Geno Smith.

Dave's Notebook:

  • PAST FOUR GAMES: Fields has averaged 23.0 pass attempts per game with a 64.1% completion rate and 7.91 yards per attempt. It's not amazing but it's an improvement on his first four games (16.8 pass attempts, 51% completion rate, 7.03 yards per attempt). 
  • PAST FOUR GAMES: Fields has averaged 10.5 rushes and 69.3 rush yards per game, way better than his first four games (8.5 rush attempts, 36.8 rush yards per game). 
  • PAST FOUR GAMES: Fields has posted 18-plus Fantasy points in each with 25-plus in his past two against the Patriots and Cowboys
  • DOLPHINS: Gave up 5.9 yards per rush to Josh Allen (8-47-0) and 13.2 yards per rush (9-119-2) to Lamar Jackson this season. Those are the only quarterbacks with six or more rush attempts against them in 2022. 
  • DOLPHINS: Tied for second-heaviest blitz defense this year (37.6%) AND they've added Bradley Chubb, who has a respectable 13.7% pass rush win rate in 2022 according to Pro Football Focus. The Dolphins figure to keep bringing the heat. 
  • FIELDS: During his four-game hot streak he's predictably struggled throwing when blitzed (50% completion rate, -0.52 EPA/dropback, 63.9 QB rating). He's barely ran when blitzed (four carries, 28 yards) but does tend to move out of the pocket when he's pressured whether it's a blitz or not. When pressured over his past four games, Fields has averaged 9.1 yards per rush and has pretty much 50% of his rushing yards (138 of 277) when the heat's on. 
  • DOLPHINS: Each of the past four quarterbacks have posted 21 or fewer Fantasy points, but it's been Jared Goff, Kenny Pickett, Kirk Cousins and Zach Wilson. They've combined for four passing touchdowns and 20 rush yards. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 1:00 pm ET •
CIN -7.5, O/U 42.5
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CAR Carolina • #88
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CIN CIN -7.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS WR
13th
PROJ PTS
9.6
WR RNK
41st
YTD Stats
REC
10
TAR
17
REYDS
148
TD
0
FPTS/G
5
Marshall warrants mild consideration as a bye-week replacement in PPR leagues and as a DFS dart throw. He's making progress in his second season and definitely getting the right kind of attention from his quarterback. A favorable matchup shouldn't hurt. If you're stuck, I like his upside more than other bye-week guys like Alec Pierce, Julio Jones or Josh Reynolds.

Dave's Notebook:

  • PAST TWO WEEKS: Marshall has quietly had a 21.1% target share including two red-zone targets and three end-zone targets. Quarterback P.J. Walker has looked to him in single coverage situations (of which there have been many) and seems to even favor him on red-zone fade routes. 
  • MARSHALL: Is more of a physical receiver with good size (6-2, 200) but his speed is solid, too. He ran past a Falcons cornerback for a 27-yard gain along the sideline last week. He does need to improve his work in contested catches to come through as a dangerous end-zone threat, but he's been getting the chances.
  • BENGALS: Lost excellent cornerback Chidobe Awuzie to a season-ending injury on Monday, leaving them with cornerbacks Eli Apple (who didn't play Monday), Tre Flowers (who was also hurt late Monday), rookies Dax Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt, and veteran nickelback Mike Hilton. The Panthers will notice. 
  • Marshall warrants mild consideration as a bye-week replacement in PPR leagues and as a DFS dart throw. He's making progress in his second season and definitely getting the right kind of attention from his quarterback. A favorable matchup shouldn't hurt. If you're stuck, I like his upside more than other bye-week guys like Alec Pierce, Julio Jones or Josh Reynolds.
Possible Bust (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAC L.A. Chargers • #88
Age: 30 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CAR CIN -7.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS TE
16th
PROJ PTS
9.2
TE RNK
14th
YTD Stats
REC
33
TAR
43
REYDS
268
TD
2
FPTS/G
9
Even with a halfway-decent matchup, Hurst qualifies as a touchdown-or-bust tight end, but not one with high potential for yardage (he's topped 50 yards once this year). I'd rather start Evan Engram, Mike Gesicki or Tyler Conklin.

Dave's Notebook:

  • LAST WEEK: Hurst only drew four targets (11.8% share) but caught them all for a season-high 10.5 receiving average. More was expected, particularly since Ja'Marr Chase was out and Joe Burrow wound up throwing short for much of the night. 
  • PANTHERS: On the season, Carolina has allowed a 76.1% catch rate to tight ends (sixth-highest) and 10.9 yards per catch (11th-highest). Kyle Pitts racked up 5-80-1 on nine targets versus the Panthers' Cover-3 zone defense last week (a breakdown on a short catch-and-run contributed quite a bit). 
  • BENGALS: Spoke this week of running the ball more, something they should have at least mild success with given Joe Mixon's ability and the Panthers' 126.6 rush yards allowed per game. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 1:00 pm ET •
DET +3.5, O/U 49.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #8
Age: 40 • Experience: 20 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET GB -3.5 O/U 49.5
OPP VS QB
26th
PROJ PTS
23.7
QB RNK
12th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1800
RUYDS
20
TD
13
INT
4
FPTS/G
17.2
Simply put, this is the right matchup at the right time for Rodgers and the rest of the Packers passing game. I'm happy to take the chance on him having his best game of the season. I'd use him over Geno Smith, Trevor Lawrence and Derek Carr.

Dave's Notebook:

  • 19 OR 20: Rodgers has posted either 19 or 20 Fantasy points in all but two games this season (Week 1 at Minnesota, Week 6 versus the Jets). He's tossed two touchdowns in 6 of his past 7 to help pace him.  
  • RODGERS: Has averaged 225.0 pass yards per game, a career-low since he became the Packers starter. That's gone hand-in-hand with his ADOT, which sits at an equally low 6.6 yards per throw. A weird number since ... 
  • DEEP THROWS: Rodgers is actually fourth among quarterbacks in pass attempts of 16-plus Air Yards, but his completion rate of 36.5% is 32nd. That's actually close to his adjusted completion rate (39.5% per Pro Football Focus), which weeds out drops and unaimed throws. It's a little surprising since he was mostly on-target on his deep throws at Buffalo. 
  • LIONS: Rank dead-last in catch rate allowed (73.1%) with the second-highest ADOT given up (9.18). They're right about league average in completions of 20-plus yards (24), but 19 of them traveled at least 16 Air Yards, which ranks sixth-most. 
  • LIONS: Have given up the third-most Fantasy points to quarterbacks this season with 22-plus going to all but two passers all year (Dak Prescott in his first game back, and Bailey Zappe). 
  • HISTORY: Rodgers has thrown multiple touchdowns in each of his past 11 against the Lions when he played at least 10 snaps. He's thrown for over 250 yards in 8 of those 11. 
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NO New Orleans • #21
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs GB GB -3.5 O/U 49.5
OPP VS RB
17th
PROJ PTS
9.5
RB RNK
19th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
464
REC
9
REYDS
57
TD
8
FPTS/G
15.3
Even with Swift on the field, Williams has kept a pretty steady diet of work and has the goal-line role on lock. Especially on a week where so many players are on bye, he fits into the No. 2 running back profile pretty easily. I'd start him over Kenyan Drake, David Montgomery and D'Andre Swift.

Dave's Notebook:

  • WITH SWIFT: Williams has dominated touches inside the 10 in Weeks 1, 2, 3 and 8 when D'Andre Swift has played -- an 11 to 2 advantage. He's scored two touchdowns in three of those four games and has averaged 15 touches and 68.3 yards per game. Not too shabby considering he hasn't played 50% of the snaps in any game this season. 
  • WILLIAMS: Has at least 12 touches in each game with Swift this season.
  • PACKERS: Of the nine running backs with 12 or more touches against them this year, all but one (Devin Singletary) scored at least 10 PPR points. That includes two Commanders running backs! There's your safety net for Williams. 
  • PACKERS: Giving up 5.15 yards per carry to running backs on the season (fifth-most), though they deserve credit for holding backs to just three touchdowns inside of 10 yards when they've been run on 20 times (that's the third-most in football). 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 1:00 pm ET •
NYJ +13, O/U 47
Sit Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #5
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BUF BUF -12.5 O/U 47
OPP VS WR
7th
PROJ PTS
10.1
WR RNK
30th
YTD Stats
REC
34
TAR
59
REYDS
429
TD
2
FPTS/G
11.1
If Garrett Wilson had a steadier quarterback, I'd recommend taking a chance on him as a starter. He's a thrilling receiver to watch and gets open frequently but has such an inconsistent, frantic passer that worked out on one big play last week but has had countless misfires and bad reads last week and this season. I wouldn't chance it with Wilson unless it's as a bye-week replacement receiver who could come through for 10 PPR points.

Dave's Notebook:

  • WILSON: Was on the same page as Zach Wilson on an improvisational deep ball early last week for 54 yards and had another five grabs for 61 yards after that. However, there were multiple plays where Garrett Wilson was open and Zach Wilson didn't throw it to him, instead frequently putting the ball in harm's way. Zach Wilson is far from a polished product and tough to trust with any Jets pass-catcher.
  • WILSON: Until Week 8, Wilson had posted 60 receiving yards or fewer in six of his first seven games.
  • WILSON: Has a 15.2% target per route run rate with Zach Wilson when facing zone coverage, which is low. Also has a 27.5% target per route run rate when facing man coverage, which is high. Unfortunately, the Bills play the sixth-most zone coverage in the league (74.9% of defensive snaps).
  • BILLS: Gave up two passing touchdowns last week, and for the second time in as many games (three passing touchdowns total allowed in their first five). They have let three wideouts get at least 12 PPR points over their past two games (six times on the season).
  • ODDS: The Bills are 12.5-point favorites, suggesting the Jets will have to throw plenty as they chase points. That might give some promise to Wilson notching another game with seven-plus targets, but it would be only his second such game with Zach Wilson.
Possible Bust (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #83
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BUF BUF -12.5 O/U 47
OPP VS TE
5th
PROJ PTS
6.8
TE RNK
10th
YTD Stats
REC
32
TAR
48
REYDS
309
TD
3
FPTS/G
10.1
There's only one reason to start Conklin: his target volume. Without Corey Davis on the field, throws from Zach Wilson have come his way and he's got some upside to deliver 10-plus PPR points. However, he also has downside to completely stink because of the matchup and because his quarterback isn't entirely accurate nor calm in making decisions on who to throw to. It's a total grab bag with Conklin, but at least game script should favor him. I'd rather start Tyler Higbee and Mike Gesicki, but not Hayden Hurst or Dawson Knox. I'd also bench Taysom Hill for Conklin in PPR.

Dave's Notebook:

  • IN FIVE STARTS WITH ZACH WILSON: Conklin has seen an 18.8% target share. He's behind only Garrett Wilson in targets, catches and receiving yards. Somehow, Conklin is first in ADOT with Zach Wilson (11.96). 
  • LAST WEEK: Conklin somehow had four end-zone targets, catching two for inside-the-10 touchdowns. Both were good, clean reads from Wilson, too, as was one of his incompletions to Conklin in the end zone on a deeper throw.
  • PAST TWO WEEKS: Conklin's been more involved with Wilson -- at Denver he had six targets and versus the Patriots he had 10. Prior to that, Conklin five or fewer targets from Wilson. It's not lost on me that Conklin's rise has come with Corey Davis being hurt and Elijah Moore being phased into a smaller role.
  • BILLS: Rank sixth in fewest Fantasy points allowed to tight ends but have yet to allow a touchdown to the position and are top 10 in yards per catch (8.8) and YAC/reception (4.32) allowed to tight ends this year. It's true they got lucky last week as a penalty wiped out a touchdown to tight end Robert Tonyan, and they do have some issues at safety, but they're still one of the best schematic defenses in football. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 1:00 pm ET •
NE -5.5, O/U 39.5
Sneaky Sleeper in PPR (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
IND Indianapolis • #14
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NE NE -5.5 O/U 39.5
OPP VS WR
15th
PROJ PTS
9.3
WR RNK
38th
YTD Stats
REC
24
TAR
38
REYDS
373
TD
1
FPTS/G
9.6
Pierce has nine-plus PPR points in five of his past six games, setting up a low-end safety net you can feel decent about. I'm not saying to race him into lineups -- I even like Terrace Marshall a little bit more -- but with six teams on bye I feel like Pierce can fill in with a shot at some pretty good production given the matchup. He's in lineups for me over Curtis Samuel (same type of player, Pierce has more upside for smash plays), Marvin Jones and Julio Jones.

Dave's Notebook:

  • EHLINGER: When he took downfield shots last week, Pierce was the target on three of five throws of 16-plus Air Yards.
  • EHLINGER: Also did a nice job maneuvering around the pocket and finding targets, keeping plays alive when Matt Ryan couldn't. Ehlinger was sacked twice and ran three more times when pressured.
  • PIERCE: Had an ADOT of 20.0 yards last week, not only his highest on the season (by 5.5 yards!), but the highest by any Colts player this season. Michael Pittman's highest ADOT was 8.69 against the Texans in Week 1; Pierce has notched single-game ADOTs above 11 yards in five games, including each of his past three. He's their shot play guy.
  • PATRIOTS: Though they've held enemy wideouts to just four touchdowns this year (third fewest in the NFL), they've allowed 21 pass plays of 20-plus yards (13 on deep throws of 16-plus Air Yards) and 13.9 yards per catch to wideouts (fifth-worst). Specifically, receivers who line up wide are getting 14.98 yards per catch -- and 5.21 YAC/reception. That's a lot.  
Possible bust
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYG N.Y. Giants • #34
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NE NE -5 O/U 40.5
OPP VS RB
4th
PROJ PTS
11.1
RB RNK
20th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
100
REC
14
REYDS
108
TD
1
FPTS/G
5.2
Jackson should be in line for a good dose of touches on Sunday -- as many as 15. The concern is that they'll lead to just modest production. He basically needs to score or pick up a ton of receptions in order for Fantasy managers to feel satisfied, but the Patriots have been real good about not letting running backs score on them, nor does Sam Ehlinger have a great track record of targeting his running backs. He's a No. 2 rusher sort of by default because of his workload, but not one you should get excited to start. I'd rather start Jamaal Williams, Antonio Gibson or James Conner, but I'd start Jackson over Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Brian Robinson or A.J. Dillon.

Dave's Notebook:

  • JACKSON: Expected to start in Week 9 in place of Jonathan Taylor.
  • WEEK 6: Started in place of Taylor against the Jaguars and averaged 3.5 yards per carry with a short-yardage touchdown. As a rusher he was mildly good with 2.67 yards after contact per rush. but only 3 of 12 runs were good for five-plus yards. He's more of a grinder than a make-you-miss kind of back.
  • WEEK 6: Jackson impressed in the passing game, catching all 10 targets from Matt Ryan for 79 yards including an impressive 9.0 YAC/reception boosted by a pair of flat passes that went for at least 20 yards each. He looked natural catching the ball out of the backfield, which wasn't that surprising since he was an adept pass-catcher at Duke. But it should be noted the Colts had a unique gameplan for their game against Jacksonville and also had a quarterback who has habitually leaned on RBs through the air.
  • WEEK 5: Jackson also reeled in 4 of 4 targets against the Broncos, averaging 7.25 yards per catch.
  • PATRIOTS: Are uniquely good at limiting catch rate to running backs (68.2% is actually fifth-best in football), but on the season they're allowing 10.0 yards per catch (second-most) and 9.07 YAC/reception (second-most) to rival RBs. Even if you remove David Montgomery's 25-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Week 7, they're yielding close to those numbers. This has been a weakness for the Patriots.
  • SAM EHLINGER: Last week, Colts running backs combined for a 13% target share from the first-time starting quarterback. He also threw just 23 passes. Throughout his college career, Ehlinger never threw more than 14.3% of his passes in a season to his running backs at Texas.
  • PATRIOTS: Have allowed the third-fewest Fantasy points to running backs so far this season, but it's mostly because they haven't let up many touchdowns. Running backs are cracking 4.27 yards per rush against them, and five backs have totaled at least 80 yards so far this season (including four in their past five overall).
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 1:00 pm ET •
JAC +1.5, O/U 48
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
JAC Jacksonville • #17
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LV LV -1.5 O/U 48
OPP VS TE
26th
PROJ PTS
10.1
TE RNK
4th
YTD Stats
REC
32
TAR
45
REYDS
330
TD
1
FPTS/G
9.1
Engram isn't a touchdown-or-bust tight end, he's more of a modest catch-and-yardage dude who might score in a favorable situation. This Sunday would be one such situation considering the Raiders' struggles -- Engram does have an end-zone target in each of his past three. He's a better start than Tyler Higbee, T.J. Hockenson and Hayden Hurst.

Dave's Notebook:

  • ENGRAM: Has six or more targets and four or more receptions in each of his past four games with 50-plus yards in three of those four. He's delivered at least nine PPR points in each of those four (12-plus in two). He also scored last week for the first time in 2022.
  • RAIDERS: While they've been pretty good defending tight ends in general, they have given up six touchdowns to the position (third-most) and a slightly better than league average 67.9% catch rate.
  • RAIDERS: Moreover, they've let up at least nine PPR points to a TE in all but two games this year (Broncos in Week 4, Saints last week; Taysom Hill had 8 PPR points). 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 1:00 pm ET •
WAS +3.5, O/U 43.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
ATL Atlanta • #18
Age: 35 • Experience: 13 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS MIN -3.5 O/U 43.5
OPP VS QB
24th
PROJ PTS
21.4
QB RNK
9th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1734
RUYDS
40
TD
13
INT
5
FPTS/G
20.5
Even if the Commanders get Chase Young back and try to hound Cousins, I'd expect the Vikings to focus on getting rid of the ball quickly. Cousins has done that a lot this year and the results haven't been too bad. I might take the chance on Justin Fields over Cousins, but I'll start him ahead of Joe Burrow and Tom Brady.

Dave's Notebook:

  • COUSINS: Maybe he isn't dominating, but he has been good for Fantasy with at least 21 points in three straight games (and in all but two games this year). I particularly like that he's averaging a cool 37.7 attempts per game.
  • COMMANDERS: Statistically has been a pretty good unit lately, holding rival quarterbacks to a 65.7% completion rate in their past four games for 11.1 yards per catch and four passing touchdowns. Keep in mind, they faced Ryan Tannehill, Justin Fields, Aaron Rodgers and Sam Ehlinger in those games. Two had 19 Fantasy points but none had 20 or more.
  • COMMANDERS: On the season, their biggest weakness has been against outside receivers, yielding a 67.4% completion rate to them with a league-worst 16.35 yards per catch. Those numbers have not gotten better in their past four games -- their receiving average allowed is actually worse at 17.44. It could mean a massive week for Justin Jefferson. Adam Thielen too as he's played out wide on 68.7% of snaps this year. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 4:05 pm ET •
ARI -2, O/U 50.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
SEA Seattle • #7
Age: 33 • Experience: 12 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ARI ARI -2 O/U 49.5
OPP VS QB
29th
PROJ PTS
20.9
QB RNK
11th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1924
RUYDS
158
TD
14
INT
3
FPTS/G
21.1
This is an interesting matchup for Smith. I certainly think he'll see a lot of blitzes but it's an open question whether or not the Cardinals will succeed mightily with it (they didn't last week). I do think Arizona's offense won't sputter, so there could be a shot at Smith having to attempt 30-plus passes. I like him enough to call him a low-end starter this week in Fantasy behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, but ahead of Trevor Lawrence, Jared Goff and Taylor Heinicke.

Dave's Notebook:

  • WEEK 6: Smith played one of his worst games of the season, seemingly uncomfortable with the Cardinals pass rush that led to some misfires. However, even with those struggles the Seahawks drove into the Cardinals red zone five times -- and kick four field goals. Smith has played better football since.
  • CARDINALS: Pressured Smith on 28.9% of his dropbacks in Week 6, which is below average for them. On the season they rank 22nd in pass rush pressure rate (31.3%) but second in blitz rate (37.6%). It is worth noting they hit a season-high in Week 8 with a 42.9% pass rush pressure rate against the Vikings. 
  • SMITH: His kryptonite has been pass rush pressure -- on the year he has a 90.9 QB rating when pressured. In his two games since the Cardinals he's been pressured on just 23 dropbacks and has a QB rating of 96.9, so it seems he's handling it a little better.  
  • SEAHAWKS: Are winning with a balanced approach that has limited Smith's pass attempts. The 34 throws he had against the Giants in Week 8 were his second-most of the season and not necessarily part of what their offense wants to do. 
  • CARDINALS: Had earned the reputation of being one of the league's tougher pass defenses to have success against, but they've let up six passing touchdowns to Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins in the past two weeks. To be fair, Dalton also threw three interceptions and had two of his scores come in garbage time. 
  • CARDINALS: Half of the 14 touchdowns they've given up have gone to tight ends. 
  • CARDINALS: Remain among the stingiest when it comes to big plays, letting up just 10 pass plays all season involving 16-plus Air Yards (that's fourth-best). 
  • SMITH: Of his 13 touchdowns, 10 have been passes of 16-plus Air Yards. Ten such touchdowns lead the NFL, by the way. 
  • ODDS: The 49.5-point total for the game is tied for the highest of the week, and the Seahawks' 23.75 implied total is top-12. The oddsmakers are expecting a high-scoring game, not like their 19-9 Week 6 grind-a-thon. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 4:25 pm ET •
TB -3, O/U 42.5
Possible Bust (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAR L.A. Rams • #89
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ TB TB -3 O/U 42.5
OPP VS TE
27th
PROJ PTS
9.2
TE RNK
5th
YTD Stats
REC
36
TAR
56
REYDS
312
TD
0
FPTS/G
9.6
It sure would make sense for the Rams to revisit using Higbee in the offense given the matchup against Tampa Bay, especially since he's been a good short-area target for Matthew Stafford to dump off to. But Robinson's noticeable ascension has taken looks away from Higbee, and Van Jefferson's eventual contributions should, too. Higbee is a Fantasy starter by default, and the matchup helps, but isn't a promise that Higbee will be great. In PPR it's a close call to go with him over Mike Gesicki, but in non-PPR, I'd rather start Gesicki. I would start Higbee over Tyler Conklin and Hayden Hurst.

Dave's Notebook:

  • HIGBEE: His target volume has collapsed over the Rams' past two games. He's registered eight and has three catches to show for it. 
  • ROBINSON: Meanwhile, wide receiver Allen Robinson has 13 targets in the Rams' past two and has a 10-117-1 stat line to show for it. 
  • REMINDER: Higbee has not scored this season and has three end-zone targets in seven games. Robinson is tied for the NFL lead with 10 end-zone targets. 
  • BUCCANEERS: Were scalded by Isaiah Likely last week (6-77-1) and got beat for a 29-yard score by Tommy Tremble in Week 7. In their first six games they gave up just two touchdowns to tight ends (both on the Chiefs, one to Travis Kelce). 
  • It sure would make sense for the Rams to revisit using Higbee in the offense given the matchup against Tampa Bay, especially since he's been a good short-area target for Matthew Stafford to dump off to. But Robinson's noticeable ascension has taken looks away from Higbee, and Van Jefferson's eventual contributions should, too. Higbee is a Fantasy starter by default, and the matchup helps, but isn't a promise that Higbee will be great. In PPR it's a close call to go with him over Mike Gesicki, but in non-PPR I'd rather start Gesicki. I would start Higbee over Tyler Conklin and Hayden Hurst. 
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
TB Tampa Bay • #12
Age: 46 • Experience: 23 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAR TB -3 O/U 42.5
OPP VS QB
5th
PROJ PTS
21.1
QB RNK
13th
YTD Stats
PAYDS
2267
RUYDS
-5
TD
9
INT
1
FPTS/G
17.6
The Bucs' run game has struggled and the team has been pass-heavy all year. Expect that to continue. Perhaps given the emotional weight lifted off of Brady's shoulders this week, he can refocus on football and regain that sharp edge we've come to love him for. It's not an easy matchup in the least, but Brady should still be trusted as a low-end option. I would start him over Joe Burrow and Geno Smith, but not Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Fields.

Dave's Notebook:

  • BRADY: Yes, his passing has been inconsistent lately, but he's also had some terrible luck. Remember Mike Evans' big drop in Week 7? How about Cade Otton's touchdown bullet coming off the board because of a penalty in Week 8? If both of those plays hit, we're not even debating Brady as a starter, and Brady himself did nothing wrong on those plays. 
  • RED ZONE: We can't quite say Brady's been perfect, though. In the red zone over his past three games, he's thrown 29 passes (the most in the NFL by a mile) and completed 12 with two touchdowns and a 17.2% off-target rate. In the past, we would have seen many more scores and much better accuracy. 
  • RAMS: Jimmy Garoppolo had 21 Fantasy points on the Rams last week, the first QB to score that many in the Rams' past six games. Unfortunately for L.A., Garoppolo has probably been the best thrower they've seen in that span -- he played them twice along with Kyler Murray, Marcus Mariota, Cooper Rush and P.J. Walker. Yes, even Brady is better than those guys. 
  • BUCCANEERS: Remain the NFL's pass-heaviest team at a 68.4% rate. That'll come in handy this week as the Rams run defense ranks seventh with 105.1 rush yards per game allowed (and just four touchdowns). 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Sun, Nov 6 at 8:20 pm ET •
KC -12.5, O/U 46.5
Start Him (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NE New England • #7
Age: 27 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TEN KC -12.5 O/U 46.5
OPP VS WR
23rd
PROJ PTS
12.5
WR RNK
18th
YTD Stats
REC
34
TAR
48
REYDS
494
TD
2
FPTS/G
13.3
As the Chiefs' second-leading target-getter, Smith-Schuster should be counted on to deliver a safe floor with the potential for another big game given the matchup. How other Chiefs receivers fit into the offense remains a mystery, but Smith-Schuster figures to be more stable than the others. I'm happy to start him as a No. 2 receiver ahead of Adam Thielen, Tyler Boyd and Michael Pittman.

Dave's Notebook:

  • TITANS: Rank fourth in most Fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. They are bottom-eight in catch rate (66.2%) and yards per catch (13.9) allowed to opposing wideouts. They've yielded nine touchdowns to WRs in seven games. Four receivers have at least 80 yards against them in their past six. 
  • TITANS: Specifically, they are horrid against outside receivers. The catch rate allowed? 69.8% (It was 76.7% before last week.) The yards per catch? 14.57. The YAC/reception? 4.00, which honestly is better than league average by a smidge. 
  • SMITH-SCHUSTER: Has lined up wide more frequently in his past two games (67% of snaps) than his previous five (53%). Smith-Schuster posted a 92.3% catch rate, a 19.75 yards per catch average and two touchdowns in his past two games versus a 62.9% catch rate, 11.68 yards per catch and zero touchdowns in his first five. 
Start 'em
10.0-7.00
6.99 - 5.01
5.00 - 0
Sit 'em
Mon, Nov 7 at 8:15 pm ET •
NO +2.5, O/U 48
Possible Bust (Lineup Decisions)
Projections powered by Sportsline
NO New Orleans • #7
Age: 33 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BAL BAL -2.5 O/U 48
OPP VS TE
17th
PROJ PTS
7
TE RNK
15th
YTD Stats
REC
3
TAR
4
REYDS
16
TD
7
FPTS/G
11.9
This is a good week to have expectations for Hill in serious check. The eight PPR points he's hatched in Weeks 7 and 8 are probably close to his ceiling this week. You should only consider him as a starting tight end, not as a flex, and he's best off in non-PPR since he doesn't catch many passes. I'd rather start Tyler Conklin and T.J. Hockenson in all formats.

Dave's Notebook:

  • HILL: Had 11 touches in a Week 8 blowout win, perhaps because Mark Ingram got hurt and the Saints needed help running the ball. 
  • HILL: Excluding pass attempts, the 11 touches were a season-high. Before Week 8, Hill maxed out at nine touches per game. 
  • HILL: Has notched eight PPR points in each of his past two games, numbers helped by passing production, which is a revisited wrinkle to his game. 
  • RAVENS: Ranked fifth in rush yards per game allowed on the season -- and that was before they added middle linebacker, Roquan Smith. With Chicago, Smith led the NFL in tackles. Per Pro Football Focus, he had a missed tackle on 4.8% of his rushing down snaps. He makes a good run defense even better. 
Start Him in PPR
Projections powered by Sportsline
BAL Baltimore • #80
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.

Dave's Notebook:

  • LAST WEEK: Filled in brilliantly for Mark Andrews, seeing seven targets and turning it into a 6-77-1 stat line against the Bucs. He's a big guy who profiles much more like Darren Waller or Evan Engram than George Kittle or Tyler Higbee. He was effective against both man and zone coverage but was a tad more effective against zone (15.0 yards per catch) than man (12.3).
  • LAST WEEK: Likely had a 23.1% target share from Jackson on snaps Andrews wasn't on the field.
  • JACKSON: Leads the NFL in percentage of targets thrown to his tight ends -- a whopping 43.7%. This shouldn't really surprise anyone given how he's leaned on Andrews his entire career, but it's a sign of how he consistently operates.
  • SAINTS: Mix it up and play different defensive coverages to scheme up against their opponent. Jackson has a lower QB rating, TD rate and EPA/dropback against zone coverage than man, so I suspect the Saints will play a lot of zone.
  • SAINTS: Give up the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to tight ends, and they've taken on some pretty good ones: Kyle Pitts (2-19-0), Hayden Hurst (3-21-0) and Zach Ertz (2-21-0; Hopkins played). No tight end has scored on the Saints this season, and no Fantasy tight end has had more than 9 PPR points against them.
  • We're starting Likely because he should have a huge role in the Ravens offense. I even think he can be the first tight end this year to get 10-plus PPR points against New Orleans. Starting him in that format over Kyle Pitts, Tyler Higbee and Hayden Hurst is a slam-dunk for me. It's non-PPR where I'm nervous about Likely's upside -- touchdown-scorers like Pitts, Mike Gesicki and Tyler Conklin are recommended ahead of Likely if catches don't count.