Welcome to my first weekly fantasy football article. I know it’s late in the year, and you need to stick with people you can trust, but I appreciate you being here anyway, hopefully I don’t screw it up for you. Before I start with the advice, let me tell you a bit about my fantasy history.
I’ve been playing fantasy sports since high school, around the year 2000. I started on Smallworld (that’s a name that will bring you back), and I was instantly hooked. I’m currently playing in six leagues this season (I got cut from my Guillotine League), and play DFS and Best Ball through the “Draft” app.
I have three kids, teach math, write articles for Pats Pulpit, and host the Patriot Nation Podcast, so I’m really busy. I sometimes find it hard to keep up with all my leagues, but the guys in them make sure I stay involved. Because that’s why we’re doing this after all, right? To hang out with our friends and get to talk trash when you knock off an unbeaten team, like I did last week.
Anyway, let’s get to the fantasy stuff, sorry to ramble, I’ll try not to in the future, after all, I’m no Matthew Berry. He’s earned the right to ramble.
Most leagues have three weeks left in the regular season, so this is the time where you need to be playing your best to get ready for the playoffs. The best advice I can give you is to roll with the best players you have available. Don’t get cute and bench Joe Mixon or Andrew Luck because they have bad matchups. Trust that your big dogs will come through, as they have all year. I always think about what would happen if I took that guy out and he had a monster week. How stupid I would feel if I benched a guy I’ve been starting all season in a game I needed to win because of the matchup, and I lose because I benched him. Now, if you have someone with a great matchup, and they’re a solid player, then you can justify it, but don’t take out Mixon and start Peyton Barber because he has a favorable matchup.
To finish off, I’m going to give you three guys in three different categories. There are going to be Must Start guys, that one speaks for itself, On The Fence guys if you have a solid matchup with a good player that can replace them do it, but don’t bench them for just anyone. And, finally, Be Careful guys, players you should consider benching if you have anyone who can fill in.
David Johnson, RB, Cardinals - Johnson was having a very disappointing season, so why am I all of a sudden sold on him? His week last week, I think, will be a trend moving forward. They were coming off the bye last week, and I was saying to anyone that would listen that they were going to re-evaluate, and figure out that they needed to get their best player the ball more often. That’s what happened, and I think it’s going to continue this week.
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts - I know the Colts are playing the Titans this weekend, and they just made Tom Brady look like a normal 41 year old QB, but check out what’s happened to the other 2 teams the Patriots lost to. It took the Jags a few weeks, but they went into the tank, and the Lions became a terrible defense after only allowing 10 to the Patriots. I would expect the Titans to come back to earth this week, especially on the road in a divisional game.
Robert Woods, WR, Rams - With Cooper Kupp being done for the season with a torn ACL, those targets are going to have to be spread around. I don’t know how much Cooks is going to run the routes that Kupp was running, so I’m banking that Woods takes the lion’s share of those targets and should be a solid play against a Chiefs defense that’s been playing better, but isn’t great.
ON THE FENCE
Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys - He has a great matchup, he’s clearly the #1 receiver, but he plays for the Cowboys. Start him if you don’t have anyone solid behind him, but I don’t love it.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts - After back to back 100 yard, 2 TD games, Mack laid an egg against the Jaguars on Sunday. He has another tough matchup against the Titans this week, and, although I think Tennessee may struggle this weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mack have a tough time this weekend. Again, he has some upside, but, if you have someone good behind him, don’t hesitate to sit him down.
Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles - Wentz should be a beast every week, and you know it’s going to be a shootout this weekend against the Saints. He struggled against the Cowboys last week, however, so I don’t know how much I trust him right now. Play him if you have to, but there are certainly better plays this weekend.
Corey Davis, WR, Titans - He had a great game against the Patriots last weekend, that’s true. It’s also true that he hasn’t been fantasy relevant for most of the season(in full PPR leagues, he’s scored under 10 four times this season). I don’t know if I’d trust one great game, even if he does have a decent matchup this week.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints - It seems pretty clear that Alvin Kamara is the #1 back in New Orleans. That leaves Ingram depending on touchdowns instead of touches. That is a situation that you never want to put yourself into. I understand the upside, but his floor is low, even this week.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers - Would I outright bench Big Ben this week? I don’t think so. But I hate his matchup. Remember what happened last year when they played the Jaguars? Now, these two teams are in totally different spots, but with Fournette coming back last week, the Jags may be getting a little swagger back. Especially based on the way they played the Steelers last year, it might be a tough week for Pittsburg.
That does it for this week. I hope you had as much fun reading as I did writing, and hopefully my advice helps you out in your push to the playoffs.
Pat is the host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats