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.
- 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.
Flex Starter (Lineup Decisions)
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Sneaky Sleeper (Lineup Decisions)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Sneaky Sleeper in PPR (Lineup Decisions)
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
Analysis to come.
Analysis to come.
Analysis to come.
Analysis to come.