Should you really sit Jordan Howard, DeAndre Hopkins and Zach Ertz this week?
The 2017 fantasy football season has been so full of injuries and weird, up-and-down performances (aside from a surprising few), that there are no doubt many losing teams out there, still knocking on the door of the fantasy football playoffs. With two games left, your 6-7 team could sneak in. And if you’re on top of the standings, your goal from here out is to solidify your seed.
There are no more byes. We’re in the home stretch, and it starts in Week 12 with a Thanksgiving triple-header, but these are the start/sit suggestions for the Sunday/Monday games.
Start These Guys...
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. GB)
We’re seeing the effects of losing Aaron Rodgers start to show up on the other side of the ball for Green Bay. With Brett Hundley either turning the ball over or not able to extend drives, that leaves the defense on the field for long stretches of time. As a result, the Packers have gone from a top-15 pass D to the bottom five, one that’s giving up more than 260 yards per game. Big Ben should march up and down the field on them, riding high after his four-TD performance in Week 11.
Andy Dalton, CIN (vs. CLE)
Dalton hasn’t exactly been an NFL fantasy stalwart this season. After 11 weeks, he is the QB22, averaging about 13 fantasy points per game. He has responded well to playing the dregs of the league though. He put up a QB8 last week against Denver and he has a pair of QB3 weeks against the Colts and in his first game against the Browns. In that Week 4 matchup in Cleveland, Dalton fumbled the ball away on his first possession. Then he went off for 286 passing yards and four touchdowns. Only the fumble kept him from scoring 30 fantasy points. Play him with confidence in Week 12.
DeMarco Murray, TEN (at IND)
It’s been a roller-coaster year for Murray (above, right) owners and we saw it again last week against the Steelers. This week, however, Murray and the Titans are heading to Indianapolis – a team that allowed 232 yards and two touchdowns to the Titans’ RB duo back in Week 6. Look for Murray to bounce back this week against a defense that has also given up eight or more fantasy points to an RB in standard leagues each of the last six weeks. Murray should go over 100 total yards and hit pay dirt this week.
Carlos Hyde, SF (vs. SEA)
The “Legion of Boom” just isn’t the same anymore with all their injuries and even when they were still one of the best defenses in the league, Hyde has always found a way to score massive fantasy points against Seattle. In his last two games against the Seahawks, Hyde has rushed for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Look for another 100-yard day on the ground and a touchdown on Sunday.
Devin Funchess, CAR (at NYJ)
If Greg Olsen returns, it could bring some of the defensive pressure off Funchess, who’s the guy in Carolina right now. If Olsen doesn’t come back, then we might just get a repeat of Funchess’ Week 10 performance, in which he had a 5/92/2 line. The two touchdowns will be tough to repeat, but he could see more volume as well.
Rishard Matthews, TEN (at IND)
Indianapolis has still not figured out how to stop teams from throwing the ball. This week won’t be the week the Colts figure it out either. Marcus Mariota will have his pick of open receivers, but more often than not, that means Matthews. He has scored 17.9 PPR points or more in two of his last three games and the Colts are allowing the fifth-most PPR points to opposing wide receivers. That’s a recipe for success.
Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. CHI)
You’re probably not going to sit Ertz this week, but you should know that there is growing cause for concern. Ertz has seen six or fewer targets in each of his last four games after being targeted an average of 10 times in his previous four. He might be more injured than the Eagles are leading on and this week’s matchup is tough against a Bears defense that has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to tight ends on the year.
Jared Cook, OAK (vs. DEN)
Cook has been inconsistent, to say the least, scoring 20.6 fantasy points one week and following that up with 5.6 fantasy points the next week. But this week the Raiders are in win-now mode against a Broncos defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends and is allowing more than 90 receiving yards per games to tight ends. Cook should have a big day on Sunday.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
New England Patriots (vs. MIA)
The Pats defense started the year looking awful, and it looks like they have righted the ship, as they have been a different unit since their bye week. You know what else makes your defense look good? Jay Cutler (or Matt Moore too). The Dolphins are prone to turnovers and have thrown up quite a few awful offensive performances already this year. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a shutout with plenty of turnovers.
Sit These Guys...
Jared Goff, LAR (vs. NO)
After a dud last week against the Vikings, the schedule doesn’t get any easier for Goff and the Rams. This week, they go up against a Saints defense that has been above average against the pass this season. You may have seen Kirk Cousins put up big numbers this past weekend, but rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore didn’t play for much of the game and should be back on Sunday. With Robert Woods out and Lattimore shutting down Sammy Watkins, Goff will have a hard time finding yards in this one.
Josh McCown, NYJ (vs. CAR)
McCown was held in check the weeks before the Jets’ bye. He only put up 28 total fantasy points against Tampa Bay and Buffalo. The week off might help if he was getting tired. After all, he has already thrown as many passes as he has in any of his last 10 seasons. Rested or not, he faces a top-five NFL fantasy quarterback defense in the Panthers this Sunday. This does not bode well for a bounce-back week from 2017’s most popular streaming quarterback.
Adrian Peterson, ARI (vs. JAC)
Everyone knows by now that the Jaguars’ defense is elite, but earlier in the year, you could still run on them. Not anymore. The Jaguars have allowed less than 60 rushing yards per game in their last three games. In his last two games, Peterson has 55 rushing yards on 35 carries. You do the math. Peterson is an easy sit this week.
Jordan Howard, CHI (at PHI)
Howard has been great this year, and sitting him will be tough, but these are the type of decisions that need to be made if you are one of those fantasy owners fighting for a playoff spot. The Bears are facing the Eagles, who are favored by 13.5 points, meaning the Bears are going to have to play catch up, which eliminates Howard from the game plan because he’s not much of a receiver out of the backfield. Oh, and the Eagles are allowing only 71 rushing yards per game, best in the NFL.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (at BAL, Mon.)
It’s hard to sit your studs, but if you’re stacked at the position and got Hopkins cheap to start the season (maybe you have Devin Funchess or Tyreek Hill or anyone else), consider the fact that the Ravens are the second-best defense against the pass this year, allowing the second-fewest points to opposing wide receivers. Hopkins got it done against Patrick Peterson and with Tom Savage under center, but how long can that last? Especially without Will Fuller there to take the pressure off?
Davante Adams, GB (at PIT)
Adams has had back-to-back big games with Brett Hundley at quarterback. The pair has obviously formed a connection with 216 yards over two games, but this week will be different. The Steelers have one of the best defenses in the league and they will disrupt Hundley’s flow for the whole game. Pittsburgh has the fifth-stingiest fantasy defense for wide receivers. Sit Adams until a better matchup comes along.
Cameron Brate, TB (at ATL)
Ryan Fitzpatrick is looking like a perfectly acceptable replacement for Jameis Winston, but O.J. Howard gets work one week, Brate the next, and then you get three catches on 10 targets over the last three weeks and everything is awful. Brate has high Week 12 projections on multiple fantasy sites, and the matchup against the Falcons is juicy, but don’t play with fire.
Julius Thomas, MIA (at NE)
Thomas has been much better over the last three games, scoring two touchdowns and averaging 12.1 PPR points in each game. This week will be a different story, however. The Patriots are allowing an average of just 46.7 yards per game to tight ends. There are much better options than Thomas out there this week.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Denver Broncos (at OAK)
The Broncos’ defense has been getting torched lately – and this week, on the road against division rival Oakland, it might be the perfect storm. The Raiders need to get their act together on offense, and lately Denver has been the medicine for all that ails you. The Raiders should get it together this week for a high-profile, divisional matchup as they take advantage of the back-pedaling Broncos.