Welcome to my weekly article where I dive into some matchups from the upcoming week of games that I’m particularly looking forward to watching. I’m going to dive into the fantasy implications of each of those match ups and give you my take on which players are must starts, who to take a chance on and who should be avoided at all costs.
Seattle Seahawks (2-3) @ Oakland Raiders (1-4)
London Baby! The first of the 2018 London games kicks off this week at Wembley stadium and I will be there for the fifth consecutive year to enjoy the spectacle. The teams in question will travelling a combined 10,000 miles this week to London, hardly ideal preparation but at least they are both in the same boat (or plane).
In terms of the match up, the Seahawks go into the game as -2.5 point favorites and from a fantasy perspective, the edge goes to the Seahawks as well.
Seattle are making an offensive transition and are becoming a run first team that is getting some traction in the league, with three consecutive games with a 100 yard rusher, something they’ve not had since the middle of the 2012 season. Chris Carson has been responsible for two of those three 100 yard games and should be in good position for another as the Raiders have conceded the fourth most fantasy rushing points so far in 2018.
From a receiver standpoint, Doug Baldwin is still working his way back to fitness and remains a risky start, though Tyler Lockett is taking up a little of the strain and posted a 98 yard and a touchdown performance in Week 5. Second year receiver David Moore, who bagged a pair of touchdowns last week against the Rams, has five catches in his last two games but would be a stretch to start this week based on such a small sample size.
Russell Wilson continues to be a fantasy frustration (especially for me as a big Russ owner), and he currently ranks as the QB22 in fantasy scoring and has only 42 rushing yards for the season, which is only 20th in the league among quarterbacks and he has fewer rushing yards than Matt Ryan, Ryan Fitzpatrick and a one legged Aaron Rodgers.
The Raiders up and down offense is driven by the resurgent Marshawn Lynch who is currently the RB13 in standard scoring and is a must start on current form, especially as his former team is a bottom 10 team in rushing points conceded.
Jared Cook continues to be a revelation at tight end and is currently the TE3 in standard scoring. The Seahawks have played tight ends well this season (7th best fantasy points allowed), but Cook’s form makes him undroppable at the moment.
At receiver, Jordy Nelson leads the way in fantasy points at receiver for the Raiders, despite less targets (28 vs 30) and receptions (20 vs 22) than Amari Cooper, whose volume is still extremely volatile week to week, with just one reception in Week 5. Derek Carr is a non-starter at QB, and currently sits as the QB 21 with the Seahawks 14th in fantasy points allowed to QBs.
Must Starts: Chris Carson RB
Solid Options: Tyler Lockett WR, Russell Wilson QB
Deeper Leagues: Doug Baldwin WR, Mike Davis, Seahawks D/ST, David Moore WR
Must Starts: Marshawn Lynch RB, Jared Cook TE
Solid Options: Jordy Nelson WR
Deeper Leagues: Derek Carr QB, Amari Cooper WR
Avoid: Raiders D/ST
Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) @ New England Patriots (3-2)
Statement games don’t come much bigger than this. This Week 6 matchup is the chance for the Chiefs to establish themselves as the premier team in the AFC, with the potential passing of the torch from last year’s MVP Tom Brady, to this year’s front runner Patrick Mahomes. There’s lots to like from a fantasy perspective in this match up, with neither defense a juggernaut at stopping opposing offenses.
From a Chiefs’ perspective, it’s easy. You should continue to start their best players at each skill position, as Patrick Mahomes (1st), Travis Kelce (1st), Kareem Hunt (7th) and Tyreek Hill (10th), all in the top 10 at their respective positions. The only consideration is Sammy Watkins as the current WR38 who has been steady if not spectacular but could be a solid flex play against a Patriots defense that is league average in points allowed to receivers. The only non-starter? The Chiefs defense, which ranks in the bottom for rushing, receiving and QB points allowed.
Because of the swinging gate that is the Chiefs’ defense, starters are available across the board for the Patriots in this matchup, though picking the player who is going to go off is tricky. The surest bets are at running back as the injuries the Patriots have suffered at the position means the defined roles for Sony Michel as lead back and James White as the receiving back both mean they are must starts this week. White especially is my player of the week as the Chiefs have given up more receiving points to running backs than any other team buy quite a distance.
At receiver, Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman are the best bets this week. Edelman had 5 receptions on 9 targets on his return to the team last week and will continue to see volume. Josh Gordon is another week into the Patriots’ system and his first touchdown catch will give Tom Brady confidence he can target Gordon in coverage and be successful. It should go without saying that Brady and Rob Gronkowski are must starts every week.
Kansas City Chiefs
Must Starts: Patrick Mahomes QB, Kareem Hunt RB, Travis Kelce TE, Tyreek Hill WR, Harrison Butker K
Solid Options: Sammy Watkins WR
Deeper Leagues: —
Avoid: Chiefs D/ST
New England Patriots
Must Starts: Tom Brady QB, Sony Michel RB, James White RB, Rob Gronkowski TE
Solid Options: Josh Gordon WR, Julian Edelman WR
Deeper Leagues: Phillip Dorsett WR, Chris Hogan WR
Avoid: Patriots D/ST
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
Like the game above, this is an easy one to identify starters from. Basically, start everyone! These two teams have two of the worst defenses in the league through the opening 5 weeks of the season and they average 55 points per game over the last 7 matchups.
The Bucs’ pass defense is up there with the Chiefs for the worst in the league and therefore should be targeted relentlessly this week. That means Julio Jones (obviously), Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley should be in your lineups, along with Matt Ryan who has been exceptional this season, just without the wins to prove it. Devonta Freeman looks to be a game time decision but if he’s out Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith are viable flex options.
For the Bucs, it’s Jameis Winston time and he should be a solid streaming target this week against a Falcons defense ranked 28th against quarterbacks. The trio of receivers in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin all again are must starts, and O.J. Howard is currently the TE11 and should also be started where he is rostered. The Bucs running game continues to be on life support and should be avoided despite the Falcons’ 30th ranked rushing points allowed.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Must Starts: Mike Evans WR, DeSean Jackson WR
Solid Options: Jameis Winston QB, OJ Howard TE, Chris Godwin WR
Deeper Leagues: —
Avoid: Any Bucs running back, Bucs D/ST
Must Starts: Matt Ryan QB, Julio Jones WR
Solid Options: Mohamed Sanu WR, Calvin Ridley WR, Tevin Coleman RB, Devonta Freeman RB (If he starts)
Deeper Leagues: Ito Smith RB, Austin Hooper TE
Avoid: Falcons D/ST