New England and Buffalo played this week in one of the weirdest games that I can remember. It was 30 degrees with wind gusts of 50 mph and snow in Buffalo, New York, and some very strange stat lines came out of it. New England won the game 14-10 despite only throwing three passes. Mac Jones was handing the ball off for pretty much the whole game as the Patriots ran the ball 46 times. Every field goal and extra point were on the same side of the field, and kickers were 0-1 on the other side. This was one of the ugliest games I have watched in a long time, and I hope there were very few people depending on these players to produce.
I am not a weatherman and cannot predict if the weather will affect a game a week in advance, but I can identify 1 “start,” 1 “sit,” 2 “sleepers,” and 2 “busts” for every position for the upcoming week. Let’s start with quarterbacks.
Start: Dak Prescott DAL vs WAS
Over the last three weeks, Dak Prescott is averaging only 13.05 fantasy points per game. This week Dallas gets a very soft passing defense in Washington who has been very kind to quarterbacks this season. They are responsible for giving Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, and Josh Allen their best game of the season. I am calling my shot this week and saying it will happen again with Dak Prescott. This defense is so bad that I have full confidence in saying that the Dallas quarterback will score AT LEAST 25 fantasy points this week and has a real shot at overall QB1.
Sleepers: Teddy Bridgewater DEN vs DET, Taylor Heinicke WAS vs DAL
Sit: Jimmy Garoppolo SF vs CIN
This week there aren’t many awful quarterback options, which is evidenced by Jimmy Garoppolo’s appearance. He is looking for a bounce-back game against Cincinnati, and I don’t think he gets it here. The San Francisco quarterback has only scored over 20 fantasy points once and has looked very average throughout the season. Cincinnati is in the top 10 in the least fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Combine that with a very questionable San Francisco passing attack, and you have yourself a bench player. I would start both Teddy Bridgewater and Taylor Heinicke over Garoppolo as he has a very low floor this week.
Busts: Matt Ryan ATL vs CAR and Cam Newton CAR vs ATL
Start: Saquon Barkley NYG vs LAC
Saquon Barkley has been one of the biggest disappointments of the season, which is virtually everyone was fading him. Saquon is providing nowhere near first-round value and will get you around 17-18 touches a game. This week he the Los Angeles Chargers, who have a lockdown pass defense but a very suspect run defense. Backup quarterback Jake Fromm will look to get Saquon Barkley the ball at every opportunity. This week will be the first one that we see Saquon eclipse 60 rushing yards and vault teams into the playoffs. Barkley has a high-RB1 ceiling this week with a high-RB2 floor. He is in my lineups everywhere I have him, and I am banking on him to make the playoffs.
Sleepers: Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC vs LV and Melvin Gordon/Javonte Williams DEN vs DET
Sit: DeVonta Freeman BAL vs CLE
A majority of the top running backs are playing below-average rushing defenses this week. DeVonta Freeman is the only one who sticks out here who is providing RB2 value. Baltimore is playing Cleveland in a divisional rivalry this week, which is a game that I anticipate being very low-scoring. Cleveland has allowed the 10th fewest fantasy points thus far. Expect Freeman to have a similar line to last week against the Steelers. Start the Baltimore running back as a flex that will have a low floor and a touchdown-dependent ceiling.
Busts: Tevin Coleman/Ty Johnson NYJ vs NO and Zach Moss/Devin Singletary BUF vs TB
Start: Elijah Moore NYJ vs NO
Elijah Moore has gone from a consistent waiver wire add to a consistent sleeper and now a “start.” Notice a pattern here? Elijah Moore is breaking out and has flown under the radar. The former second-round pick is averaging 5.6 receptions, 84.6 total yards, and 1 touchdown per game over his last five. That amounts to 20.1 fantasy points per game, which would put him at the WR4 (average not total), only behind Justin Jefferson, Deebo Samuel, and Cooper Kupp. Elijah Moore is not only a start this week, but for the rest of the season as he will provide WR1 value the whole way.
Sleepers: Marvin Jones JAC vs TEN and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine TEN vs JAC
Sit: All New York Giants WRs NYG vs LAC
This one is a bit different, but I could not single out one of the receivers on New York to sit. They all have WR2 upside when healthy. Pay attention to “when healthy” because no one can predict which receivers will play this week. Whoever does play, keep them on your bench as the Los Angeles Chargers have one of the best passing defenses in the league. They will look to confuse Jake Fromm in his first game as a starter, and this team likely won’t get anything going through the air. ESPN is projecting Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney, and Kenny Golladay to play this week. All three have touchdown-dependent flex upside with an unimaginably low downside.
Busts: Odell Beckham LAR vs TB and Courtland Sutton DEN vs DET
Start: Dawson Knox BUF vs TB
Dawson Knox had a horrible game last week, as did every pass catcher in the Buffalo vs New England game. Buffalo is getting a change in scenery as they trade in the cold and snow for the warm and humid this week in Tampa. The Buccaneers have a below-average pass defense and are worse against tight ends. Throw away last week, as Dawson Knox will get back on track this week. Tampa Bay is currently the 9th most fantasy points to tight ends, which makes Dawson Knox have an upper-tier TE1 ceiling.
Sleepers: Austin Hooper CLE vs BAL and Gerald Everett vs HOU
Sit: Tyler Higbee LAR vs ARI
Tyler Higbee has been surprisingly consistent this season as he has scored between 9 and 12 fantasy points in 8 of his 12 games. One of the games where he scored below 9 fantasy points was in week 4 against the Cardinals. The Rams have the same opponent in Arizona. Currently, they are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Tyler Higbee will only have a solid showing if he finds the end zone. If not, he is a TE2 who should be left on your bench.
Busts: Pat Freiermuth PIT vs MIN and TJ Hockenson DET vs DENW