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.
- PAST FIVE: Carr has scored 20-plus Fantasy points in each, attempted at least 30 passes in each and thrown multiple touchdowns in each.
- RAMS: Opposing teams have averaged 33.75 pass attempts per game against them on the season, and only the Saints have attempted fewer than 37 passes against L.A. in its past five.
- RAMS: Deserve kudos for accumulating a strong 40.9% pass rush pressure rate in their first game without Aaron Donald. Defensive end Michael Hoecht and edge rusher Leonard Floyd accounted for half of the Rams’ 20 pressures.
- RAIDERS: Have given up a pass rush pressure on 36.8% of their offensive snaps during Carr’s five-game streak, a considerable amount but not too much higher than the 34.8% they’ve allowed on the season. Obviously Carr has adjusted — his QB rating when pressured over those five games is 102.8.
- RAMS: Two of the past three QBs to play them have posted at least 28 Fantasy points (Andy Dalton and Geno Smith; Patrick Mahomes had 19).
- SINCE WEEK 7: Moreau is tied for the team lead in targets inside the 10 with Adams (three) and second in end-zone targets (five) behind Adams (six). Moreau has been an every-down player for the Raiders since Week 7 when he took over for Darren Waller.
- RAMS: The matchup is real good — a tight end has at least 10 half-PPR points against L.A. in five of its past six. All of them caught a touchdown. It’s not just studs — even the likes of Noah Fant, Cade Otton and Juwan Johnson have scored.
- THE BAD NEWS: Moreau is strictly a touchdown-or-bust tight end. He has consistently seen low target volume (five or fewer in all but two games) and does not get much yardage (under 50 yards in every game this year). And, Moreau has scored just twice this season.
Start Him in non-PPR (Lineup Decisions)
- LAST WEEK: Akers notched season-bests in snap rate (72%) and carries (17) with a pair of touchdowns. His rushing average collapsed from 4.5 in the first quarter to 2.7 in the final three quarters, but his role as the Rams’ feature back (85% of the RB carries, played 3 of 4 snaps inside the 10) figures to remain his for at least a week. There’s no evidence that Kyren Williams is a better runner.
- FILM: Last week was the best Akers has looked since 2020. He cut on a dime, had good vision, speed and balance along with just enough power to push for his short-yardage touchdowns. The biggest negative had nothing to do with him and everything to do with his O-line not consistently blocking well for him, which will be an issue until next year.
- RAIDERS: A RB has scored at least one touchdown on them in 5 of their past 6 games, and a RB has totaled 100-plus yards on them in 5 of their past 7 games. And, 7 of 8 rushers with at least 14 carries have put up at least 11 non-PPR Fantasy points against them. Akers has 14 carries in 2 of his past 3.
- RAIDERS: Have missed 31 tackles in their past five games (third-most in that span).
- LAST WEEK: His start against the Vikings began terribly with a tipped interception, another tipped near-INT, a number of off-target throws and nothing impressive until just before halftime. He then completed 17 of 31 passes for 248 yards in the second half (Garrett Wilson had 119 of those yards). Some of the throws were epic downfield tight-window tosses you wouldn’t expect from a former Day 3 pick, but it shouldn’t go unnoticed that White was 6 of 17 in the red zone in the half with no touchdowns.
- WHITE: Would have had 22 Fantasy points last week had Braxton Berrios hung on to a fourth-quarter, fourth-down pass flicked into his chest in the end zone.
- BILLS: Jared Goff and Jacoby Brissett became the second and third QBs to notch over 20 Fantasy points against them in 2022, and it came in the past three weeks. Mac Jones looked silly dinking and dunking against them last Thursday.
- QBs VS BILLS: Have averaged 35.4 pass attempts per game. Each of the past four have had 36 or more pass attempts.
Start Him in PPR (Lineup Decisions)
- LAST WEEK: Finished with 118 total yards in his first start on 20 touches (five receptions). But it took a while for him to get going (3.5 yards per carry through the first three quarters; 11.0 yards per carry in the fourth thanks to a 48-yard left-end run). Knight also had three carries inside the 5-yard line where he was tackled at the 1 twice but in the end zone zero times.
- BILLS: Have begun folding against running backs over their past six games, giving up 5.0 yards per carry and five total touchdowns to the position. Rhamondre Stevenson had 5.4 yards per carry last Thursday.
- WEEK 9: Michael Carter and James Robinson split work against the Bills. Each scored — Carter on a rush, Robinson on a short catch. Carter specifically had 6.3 yards per run. Mind you, this was with Zach Wilson at quarterback.
- LAST WEEK: Despite scoring and delivering 11 Fantasy points, too much involvement from James Cook has made Singletary risky. Singletary played one more snap than Cook, the first time all year they’ve been this close to even in snaps. And, Cook was the better runner, besting Singletary in yards per carry along with yards before and after contact.
- LAST WEEK: The Bills revealed a formation where Nyheim Hines ran in motion with Cook in the backfield. They did it 12 times against the Patriots, and Cook averaged 6.0 yards per carry thanks to a 28-yard jaunt. If that was unique to their matchup against the Pats then it won’t be seen much again, but if it’s a new curveball they’re going to use then it will absolutely take Singletary off the field and give opportunities to Cook.
- WEEK 9: Singletary totaled 48 yards and four catches in limited work in their loss at the Jets.
- HISTORY: Totaled three touchdowns against the Jets in two 2021 games, hasn’t scored on them otherwise and has one career game with 100 total yards.
- JETS: Have allowed 4.4 yards per carry and two rushing touchdowns in their past two games (both last week). A rusher has posted at least 10 non-PPR Fantasy points in each of their past two.
- SINGLETARY: Has 13-plus carries in 6 of past 7 and a touchdown in three of his past four.
Possible Bust (Lineup Decisions)
- PAST FOUR: Davis has seen seven or more targets in 3 of his past 4, which isn’t bad. He’s had more than 12 PPR points once in those four, which is bad.
- DAVIS: Remains the downfield threat for the Bills passing game — his ADOT has been north of 12.2 yards in all but two games this year, and 45% of his routes run have been 10 or fewer yards from the line of scrimmage.
- JETS: Have been outstanding both recently and all year defending passes to wideouts that travel 12-plus Air Yards. They rank top-five in defensive pass EPA, completions of 20-plus yards (21), completion rate (40.2%) and YAC/reception (2.77) allowed. Fun fact: In their past three games the Jets have given up a league-best 0.86 YAC/reception to receivers on throws of 12-plus yards.
- HISTORY: Davis has never scored on the Bills and has one game out of six with more than 39 yards (3-105-0 at the Jets last November). That includes a ridiculous 14 target game where he finished with a 3-39-0 stat line.
- LAST WEEK: Watson was clearly rusty and never seemed comfortable. He had a 22.7% off-target passing mark, worse than Kyle Allen, Brock Purdy and John Wolford, and he had only one completion good for 15 or more yards (a gem to Donovan Peoples-Jones for 27). To be fair, he also missed out on three possessions because the Browns defense scored twice and kick-return game scored once, leaving him with only 22 attempts.
- ALSO OF NOTE: Watson had seven carries but three were kneel-downs. He had 28 yards rushing on his four other carries, a nice sign that he’s comfortable with that aspect of his game. So that’s cool.
- BENGALS: The only QBs to notch more than 17 Fantasy points against the Bengals are Jacoby Brissett (who ran for a touchdown in Week 8 to finish with 22) and Patrick Mahomes (who had 20 Fantasy points last week). Cincy’s allowed only 11 passing touchdowns this season and ranks top-five in completion rate against at 63.7%.
- LAST WEEK: Collins effectively operated as Houston’s No. 1 receiver and saw 10 targets. Unfortunately they were only good for a 3-35-1 stat line, with two catches, 22 yards and the touchdown coming in the final four minutes of the game. Both catches were in tight coverage.
- COLLINS: Has at least a 22% target share in four straight games. In those four games he has seven red-zone targets and five end-zone targets. His PPR production in those games: 15, 9, 10, 12.
- WITH DAVIS MILLS: Collins had a below-average 59.6% catch rate but did average a modest 1.82 yards per route run, and a gaudy 14.4 yards per catch. Keep in mind, all of these numbers came while he shared the field with Brandin Cooks.
- COWBOYS: Are middle-of-the-pack in Fantasy points allowed to wide receivers and in several other metrics against outside receivers. They might be a little more susceptible to perimeter wideouts with cornerback Anthony Brown injured; Trevon Diggs has mostly stuck to one side of the field this season but did follow Michael Pittman when he lined up wide after Brown’s injury last week. The same thing could happen this week to Collins. Diggs has given up a not-terrible 65.5% catch rate this season.
- LAST WEEK: Cousins started the game 1 for 8 passing and didn’t play like his normal self against the Jets, completing 60% of his passes for just 4.9 yards per attempt. His off-target rate was 14.3% (11th-highest), and in fact his off-target rate in his past four games is 11.7% (ninth-highest).
- COUSINS: Has one good game in his past four — an improbable 299-yard, three-touchdown effort against the Patriots on Thanksgiving. He struggled otherwise against the Bills, Cowboys and Jets, three very good defenses.
- LIONS: Have allowed the most Fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Signal-callers have notched 26 or more Fantasy points against them in three of their past four games, and all but four passers have 22 or more this season, including Cousins in Week 3 (260 yards, two touchdowns, no turnovers).
- HISTORY: Cousins has multiple passing touchdowns in 4 of his past 5 against the Lions and at least 250 passing yards in four straight. He’s dominated the Lions specifically in Detroit, posting at least 23 Fantasy points in each of four games there while with Minnesota.
- LAST WEEK: After seeing a slew of short targets the game before, Thielen went right back to working further downfield and seeing more contested and, frankly, off-target throws from Cousins.
- THIELEN: Isn’t a burner like he used to be, so his coverage is always going to be tighter on downfield throws compared to shorter ones where he can run a slick route and get open for a second or two. The exception is when he’s running wide open like he found himself late last week on a 25-yard reception against Cover-2 coverage.
- LIONS: Are improving against the pass and aren’t seeing teams chuck it further downfield like they did at the beginning of the season, but they’re getting thrown on a lot — 27.3 targets per game just to receivers in their past three. The good news for them (and not for Thielen) is that they’re holding receivers to a 61.9% catch rate (ninth-lowest), 12.9 yards per catch (just about league average) and 3.94 YAC/reception (a little better than league average). They’ve improved across the board compared to the beginning of the season thanks to some personnel decisions and a strong pass rush.
- WEEK 3: Thielen scored for the first time in 2022 on the Lions, adding six grabs for 61 yards with it.
- HISTORY: Thielen has three career touchdown catches in 16 games against Detroit, and only the one in Week 3 since 2019. In fact, Thielen has five or fewer catches in 7 of his past 8 against them. And it’s not because their defense has been so good, it’s because they’ve been able to find other ways to move the ball.
- GOFF: Has thrown two touchdowns in consecutive games, getting pretty good passing volume in each (35-plus attempts including the blowout win last week). He hasn’t thrown an interception in four straight. It helps that his receiving corps is as stocked as ever with Amon-Ra St. Brown thriving, D’Andre Swift’s reps increasing, D.J. Chark back and rookie Jameson Williams beginning to see a little playing time.
- VIKINGS: Didn’t allow a passing touchdown last week, but should have given up one if not two to the Jets. Definitely allowed over 300 yards passing for the fourth-straight week. Minnesota’s allowed at least 21 Fantasy points to 5 of the past 7 QBs it’s taken on.
- VIKINGS: Are among the worst at defending running backs through the air, allowing an 89% catch rate, 9.2 yards per catch and a gaudy 10.16 YAC/reception to RBs in their past four. All three stats rank in the bottom quadrant of the league, and it’s been a consistent problem all year. The Lions RBs totaled a 29% target share last week against Jacksonville and should be right about there this week too. That helps Goff.
- WEEK 3: Goff was pretty pedestrian, throwing for 277 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Swift got hurt in the middle of the game, Chark got hurt late in the game, St. Brown wasn’t special and T.J. Hockenson accounted for his only score. The offense is more explosive now.
- HISTORY: Only has one amazing game out of three against the Vikings while with the Lions (Week 13 last year), but he has attempted at least 35 passes in each meeting and has at least 275 yards in each of his past two.
Analysis to come.
Analysis to come.
Analysis to come.
Analysis to come.
Analysis to come.
Analysis to come.
Analysis to come.