Every week this article will look at the best and toughest matchups for each position in fantasy football. It also will give you five players whose fantasy value is on the rise.
Best QB Matchups
Jared Goff vs. Seahawks: Goff has been more down than up this season, but this is very much so a week to use him. Seattle allows 26.73 fantasy PPG to QBs this season and 372.5 pass yards, both the most in the NFL. But its not just that they've allowed some big games: they've consistently allowed QBs to put up points each week. The only two games this season where a QB hasn't scored over 20 fantasy points against them this season were Kirk Cousins, which who knows why, and Jimmy Garoppolo when he left early.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Jaguars: Rodgers is a must-start QB every week, but especially when he gets a juicy matchup like this. On the season, the Jags have given up 22.72 fantasy PPG, the third-most in the NFL. In fact, they have allowed a Top 8 fantasy QB in five of their last seven games. Start Rodgers in seasonal leagues and he is also a strong DFS option.
Other Favorable Matchups: Tua Tagovailoa vs. LAC, Baker Mayfield vs. HOU, Drew Lock vs. LV
Best RB Matchups
Antonio Gibson/J.D. McKissic vs. Lions: The Lions are the best matchup for RBs in the NFL. This season, they have allowed the most fantasy PPG to RBs (35.03). They've also tied for the most TDs allowed to the position with 15 and give up the most scrimmage yards per game to backs at 186.5 per game. Both of these backs are useful in fantasy this week but, with the Lions offense banged up and missing some key cogs, this could be a game where Washington looks to rely on their run game and defense, which means we would get a lot of Gibson.
James Robinson vs. Packers: The Lions and Packers have been going back and forth on which team can allow the most fantasy points to RBs. On the season, though, Green Bay has given up 33.86 fantasy PPG, the second-most in the NFL. They are also tied with Detroit for most TDs allowed to the position at 15. Robinson is now firmly entrenched as an RB1, but I think we should be talking about him as potentially a Top 5 back. He has 16 touches in every game this season, but he is averaging seven more touches per game in the last three weeks than the first six. He is a must-start option this week.
Other Favorable RB Matchups: Melvin Gordon/Phillip Lindsay vs. LV, Kareem Hunt/Nick Chubb vs. HOU, Leonard Fournette/Ronald Jones vs. CAR
Best WR Matchups
Cooper Kupp/Robert Woods vs. Seahawks: This should come as no surprise, but Seattle has been torched by WRs all season long. On the year, they are giving up 59.56 fantasy PPG to the position, while no other team has even allowed 46 PPG. They are issuing 279.5 receiving yards per game to wideouts, no other team is allowing 220. They have already allowed 10 Top 12 fantasy WR performances and a bunch in the Top 20. It is just a smash spot for WRs. Get your Rams in your starting lineup.
Allen Robinson/Darnell Mooney/Anthony Miller vs. Vikings: Minnesota is allowing 45.06 fantasy PPG to WRs this season, which is the third-most in the league. That includes allowing a Top-10 WR in four of the last five games (thanks Lions for snapping that streak last week). This is a favorable matchup for the Bears trio. Robinson is the must play of the bunch but the other two, who keep jockeying for targets, are both sleepers. I prefer Mooney of the two because the Bears use him as the deep threat, which means he can score points in bunches.
Other Favorable WR Matchups: Will Fuller/Brandin Cooks vs. CLE, Jarvis Landry/Rashard Higgins vs. HOU
Best TE Matchups
Eric Ebron vs. Bengals: Ebron has scored over 11 fantasy points in three straight games and has been a more consistent part of the Steelers offense as of late. There is a good chance of him continuing that streak against a Bengals team that has allowed 17.58 fantasy PPG to tight ends this season, the second-most in the NFL. That includes a league-high 68 yards per game and six scores to the position.
Evan Engram vs. Eagles: Engram has been playing better as of late, with his fantasy points increasing in four straight games and him seeing double digits in three straight games. The part I like the most, though, is the consistent usage, seeing nine, 10 and 10 targets in the past three weeks. Look for that volume to turn to even more production against an Eagles team that has given up the third-most fantasy PPG to TEs this season (16.46).
Other Favorable TE Matchups: Dan Arnold vs. BUF, Robert Tonyan vs. JAX, T.J. Hockenson vs. WAS
Fastest Rising Players:
- Brandin Cooks: Can we finally put some respect on Cooks' name? I don't even mean NFL teams stop trading him; I just mean in fantasy. He is a player that you should be starting weekly now that he is in sync with Deshaun Watson. Cooks has seen at least nine targets in four straight weeks, scoring at least 13 fantasy points in each of those games. He had over 17 in three of those and over 21 in two. What I am getting at is, he has a very safe floor and a high ceiling as he remains a great deep threat. Yet, each week, there's many fantasy managers wondering if they should start Cooks or insert random receiver here. Cooks is very much a WR you can trust.
- Leonard Fournette: Fournette returned from injury and took Ronald Jones' job. It seems to me that there is a perception that this is still Jones' job, but the work points to otherwise. In the past three weeks, he's played 66 percent of the snaps, compared to 32 percent for Jones. He has seen 6.3 targets per game to Jones' 3.3. He has also averaged nine carries per game to Jones' 7.7. The one advantage Jones has is he has two goal-line touches to Fournette's one. Both will remain involved but, to me, this is Fournette's backfield.
- Curtis Samuel: Speaking of putting respect on a player's name, I need to put some on Samuel. Samuel has seen his fantasy points increase in four straight games, including going for over 21 in the last two. Prior to last week, his usage in the passing game was about five or six targets but, against the Chiefs, he had a season-high nine targets in Week 9. He is also getting a few carries each week, including near the goal line, rushing for a TD in two of his last three. With Christian McCaffrey out this week, he could see another goal-line attempt this week. My concern is that Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore aren't going away, but Samuel has worked his way into the WR3 range.
- Jakobi Meyers: Say hello to the new number one wide receiver of the Patriots. Since returning from injury, he has scored double-digit fantasy points in all three games. But even better is that his fantasy points, targets and receptions have increased in each game. He has seen 10 and 14 targets in the past two weeks. Say what you want about Cam Newton and this passing game, but 14 targets? That is huge volume and makes Meyers a high-upside WR I am interested in moving forward.
- J.D. McKissic: Speaking of 14 targets, that is how many McKissic finished last week with. That number had me hyped for a receiver; just imagine how big that is for a running back. On the season, McKissic has 18 targets from Alex Smith, the most on Washington. But he has also been pretty consistent for fantasy, scoring double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. He is the new Chris Thompson in this offense.
Toughest QB Matchups
Russell Wilson vs. Rams: This is a "something's gotta give" matchup if I've ever seen one. On the season, the Rams are giving up the second-fewest fantasy PPG to QBs (14.79), but Wilson is putting up the second-most fantasy PPG among QBs (28.52). Wilson leads the league with 28 passing TDs, while the Rams have allowed 11 all season (fourth-fewest). This is not a week to bench Wilson because those weeks just don't exist right now. But do not be surprised if he doesn't have his normal Russ-type production. I would go in other directions in DFS.
Lamar Jackson vs. Patriots: Ugh. What has happened to Jackson? Last season, he averaged 27 fantasy PPG; this season, he has reached 27 fantasy points just twice. And this week he has a tough matchup against the Patriots who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy PPG to QBs (14.8). For the first time all season, I have Jackson ranked outside the Top 12 QBs, but he comes in at 13, so I understand why many may not be able to get away from him this week. But if you can get say a Jared Goff? Give me Goff.
Other Tough QB Matchups: Kirk Cousins vs. CHI, Joe Burrow vs. PIT, Teddy Bridgewater vs. TB
Toughest RB Matchups
Giovani Bernard vs. Steelers: It looks like Joe Mixon will once again be out, which means expect more of the "Gio Bernard Show," starring Gio Bernard! I never get why shows named after a person then say starring that person, but alas. Bernard has scored over 20 fantsay points in both of his spot starts and I do still have him ranked as an RB2, but the matchup is scary. I am not expecting him to top 20 once again as the Steelers have allowed over 17 fantasy points to one RB all season (Miles Sanders). On the season, they are giving up the fewest fantasy PPG to the position (17.7). You can start Gio, but temper your expectations.
Damien Harris/Rex Burkhead/James White vs. Ravens: First, anytime you see three names listed for RBs, that is a problem in itself. There is also Sony Michel who could be activated off IR at any point. Plus, you have to worry about Harris and his shoulder. Oh, and Cam Newton is likely going to steal any goal-line touchdowns. It is a mess and we haven't even discussed the matchup. The Ravens have given up the 19.23 fantasy PPG to RBs, the third-fewest in the NFL. Stay away.
Other Tough Matchups: Jerick McKinnon/JaMycal Hasty vs. NO, Wayne Gallman vs. PHI, D'Andre Swift/Adrian Peterson vs. WAS
Toughest WR Matchups
Marvin Jones/Danny Amendola vs. Football Team: Washington's defense is better than they get credit for. On the season, they are giving up just 25.81 fantasy PPG to receivers, the fewest in the NFL. That includes allowing just 132 yards per game and three touchdowns to the position. With Kenny Golladay out, there is no Lions receiver that you should be excited to start. They are purely deeper options for those who need a receiver that will get some volume.
DK Metcalf/Tyler Lockett vs. Rams: This is a tough matchup, but Metcalf is just as tough matchup for the defense. He has gone for over 90 yards in all but one game this season. Never sit him. But it will be interesting to see if they use Jalen Ramsey on him, or use him on Lockett and double team DK. While I say start DK, I have Lockett ranked as a WR3, which is the lowest I've ranked him all season. He has gone for under 50 yards and scored single-digit fantasy points in four of his last five games (the exception was when he went for 53 fantasy points). The Rams have also given up just 27.24 fantasy PPG to the position, the second-fewest in the league. Some receivers I would play over Lockett include Jerry Jeudy, Brandin Cooks, Christian Kirk, Tee Higgins, Antonio Brown and Chase Claypool.
Other Tough WR Matchups: Adam Thielen/ Justin Jefferson vs. CHI, D.J. Chark vs. GB, Jakobi Meyers vs. BAL
Toughest TE Matchups
Mark Andrews vs. Patriots: It's been a rough year for Andrews. He has scored less than seven fantasy points in five of his last seven games. He does not have a game with 60 yards this season. He hasn't scored a TD since Week 5. He has six targets or fewer in five of his last six games. And this week, he gets the Patriots who have allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to TEs (7.3). It's finally reached the point where I do not have Andrews in my Top 12 fantasy TEs for Week 10. Some options ahead of him include Ebron, Tonyan, Jimmy Graham, Austin Hooper and Jordan Reed.
Jared Cook vs. 49ers: Cook had a rough week last week, losing a fumble and having a costly drop. This week, he gets a Niners defense that has given up the third-fewest fantasy PPG to TEs (8.48). If I have been rolling with Cook, I will again this week, but I am starting to get a little worried with the Saints having their full allotment of weapons back.
Other Tough TE Matchups: Gerald Everett/Tyler Higbee vs. SEA, Hunter Henry vs. MIA
More Matchup Stats to Know:
CHI: Allowing fewest pass TD/gm this season (1.1)
CIN: Allowed seven Top-20 WRs in last 7 games
CIN: Allowed 1+ total TD to WR in 7 straight games
CLE: Allowed Top-20 fantasy RB in 4 straight games
DEN: Allowed Top-10 fantasy QB in 4 of last 5 games
DEN: Allowing 9th-most fantasy PPG to QB this season (20.76)
DEN: Allowed 6th-most fantasy PPG to WR last 2 wks (49.1)
DEN: Allowed Top-20 fantasy WR in 3 straight games
DEN: Allowing 6th-most rec/gm to TEs this season (5.5)
DET: Allowing 30.0 PPG this season (5th-most in NFL)
HOU: Allowing 4th-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (29.45)
HOU: Allowing most rush YPG to RBs this season (144.9)
JAX: Allowing 6th-most rec YPG in NFL this season (284.5)
LAC: Allowed 5th-most fantasy PPG to QB since Wk 4 (22.74)
LAC: Allowed 2+ pass TD in 3 straight games
LAR: Allowed 4th-fewest fantasy PPG to RB since Wk 6 (15.97)
LAR: Allowed three rush TDs to RB this season (T-fewest in NFL)
LV: Allowed 2+ rec TD in 4 of last 5 games
LV: Allowed three Top-10 fantasy WRs in last 3 games combined
LV: Allowed Top-10 fantasy QB in 4 of last 5 games
LV: Allowing 2nd-most fantasy PPG to QB since Wk 4 (24.64)
MIA: Allowing 5th-most rec YPG to WRs this season (193.9)
MIA: Allowed Top-25 fantasy RB in 5 of last 6 games
MIA: Allowing 7th-most rush YPG this season (131.8)
MIN: Allowed 3rd-most fantasy PPG to WR this season (45.06)
MIN: Allowed 20 receptions of 20+ air yds this season (2nd-most in NFL)
NE: Allowed Top-10 fantasy RB in 2 of last 3 games
NE: Allowed 5 rec TD on deep passes this season (T-3rd most in NFL)
NYG: Allowed Top-10 fantasy QB in 2 of last 3 games
NYG: Allowing 2nd-most pass YPG in last 3 wks (341.7)
PIT: Allowing 1.5 rec TD/gm to WRs this season (T-5th most in NFL)