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
Derek Carr vs Falcons: If you haven't learned by now, you can start your QBs against the Falcons. On the season, Atlanta has given up 25.84 fantasy PPG to the position, the most in the NFL. They've given up 22 passing touchdowns (T-second most in NFL) and six rushing TDs to QBs (T-most in NFL). I like Carr's chances of either throwing or running for a couple TDs this week. He is a QB1 in this great matchup.
Carson Wentz vs Seahawks: The Seahawks defense can't stop QBs, but Wentz has not scored 15 fantasy points in three straight games. But the matchup is what we care about here and this one really cannot get better. On the season, Seattle gives up the second-most fantasy PPG to QBs (24.45) and by far the most passing yards per game (355.1). Wentz is boom or bust due to his struggles, but there is certainly a lot of upside in this matchup.
Best RB Matchups
David Montgomery vs Packers: Don't forget about Montgomery as he returns from injury and a bye. The fantasy production wasn't what we wanted before he got hurt, but the volume was there. He had at least 14 carries in four straight games and has at least five targets in all but one game since Tarik Cohen was injured. With the Bears starting Mitchell Trubisky, defenses will have to worry about him running the ball more than they ever had to with Nick Foles. That can't hurt. Plus, the Packers allow the second-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (31.39).
Brian Hill vs Raiders: The Raiders, who have allowed 12 rushing TDs to RBs this season, are tied for the third-most in the NFL. They've also allowed the fourth-most fantasy PPG to the position at 28.64. This was set to be a favorable matchup for Todd Gurley, but he has since been ruled out. Hill is more of a flex option, but one you can pivot to as a Gurley replacement.
Best WR Matchups
Travis Fulgham/Jalen Reagor vs Seahawks: You had to see this one coming right? The Seahawks are in this column weekly as they have given up 54.99 fantasy PPG to WRs this season. That is not just the most in the NFL this season-- they are the only team since 2000 to allow over 46 fantasy PPG to the position. They are also giving up 259.7 receiving yards per game -- since 2000, no other team has even allowed 225 per game. Yeah, this is an all-time friendly matchup, meaning that both Fulgham and Reagor should remain in our fantasy lives. I like both as WR3s with a ton of upside this week.
Nelson Agholor vs Falcons: The Falcons have allowed 43.63 fantasy PPG to WRs this season, the second-most in the NFL. Even better is they have allowed a top-10 fantasy WR in three of their last four games. If any receiver can be trusted in Las Vegas, it has proven to be Agholor. He has scored over 13 fantasy points in five of his last seven games. Additionally, last week he saw nine targets, which ties his season high. Of those targets three went for 20-plus air yards and three were in the red zone. Here's a secret: the fastest way for WRs to score fantasy points are on long passes or touchdowns. The opportunity and matchup means start Nelson Swagholor this week!
Best TE Matchups
Darren Waller vs Falcons: Look, you know to play Waller every single week regardless of the matchup. It just so happens that he has a great one this week against the Falcons who have given up the most fantasy PPG (16.72) and touchdowns (8) to the position.
Hunter Henry vs Bills: On the season, the Bills have given up 15.52 fantasy PPG to TEs, the third most in the NFL. In fact, they are giving up the most yards per game to the position as well (64.2). Henry has also been playing better as of late, scoring 13-plus fantasy points in two straight games. Start him this week in what could be a very high scoring game against Buffalo.
Fastest Rising Players:
1) Antonio Gibson: With it being a pretty baron waiver wire week, I decided it would be a good time to pivot to the rising players to get some more established players in, but whose value is certainly still on the rise. No one is trending up more than Gibson after his three-touchdown turkey day, going for just under 37 fantasy points. In just 12 games, he went from a player that had 33 carries in college into an RB1. On the NFL Fantasy Football Show, Marcas Grant and I discussed if he will be a first-round pick next season, so that tells you just how far he has already come.
2) Austin Ekeler: The Austin Ekeler Air Guitar World Tour is back on track! Ekeler has been sidelined since Week 4 due to a hamstring injury. But he is back to running and working out and continuously tells his fantasy managers that he is going to score them big points. There is even more reason to be excited about Ekeler now than there was coming into the season. First, Herbert has ascended and taken this offense to new heights. But also, the RBs behind him that we thought would be a threat to his work have proven to be anything but in his absence. He had seen 20-plus touches in the first three games and big volume should be expected as Ekeler is the final missing piece to this offense with Herbert. He has a chance to play in Week 12 and whenever he is back for the Chargers, he is back for your starting fantasy lineup. It is going to be a ton of fun to see him win people championships.
3) Raheem Mostert: Mostert could be back as soon as Week 12 and he could bring Jeff Wilson and Tevin Coleman with him. The Niners backfield could go from baron to jam packed in a week. But there's no doubting who the lead back when healthy here is, as Mostert had double-digit touches in every game he's been active. He should be a nice boost for teams that have been waiting on him.
4) Michael Thomas : Last week I put on Twitter that if you drafted Thomas your season was probably over, and people were not happy. I am sorry -- I am not the one who you drafted in the first round and got less than 20 fantasy points from in the first 11 weeks. But after averaging just six targets per game with Drew Brees this season, he was targeted 12 times by Taysom Hill. He doubled his fantasy points on the season, scoring 19.4 fantasy points. It's the best anyone with Thomas has felt since draft day, so he is trending up right now.
5) Jonathan Taylor : I couldn't not include Taylor here after he had 22 carries and four targets, while leading the Colts backfield with 53 percent of the snaps. Perhaps this was just good game-planning against the Packers, who struggle against the run. But if there was ever a time for the Colts to give Taylor more work, it would be right now. We have learned by now not to trust any of the Colts RBs after one game, but if I was to start any in fantasy this week it would be Taylor.
Toughest QB Matchups
Robert Griffin III vs Steelers: Pittsburgh allows the fewest fantasy PPG to QBs this season (13.44). This was a scary week to start a Raven before the game was up in the air due to COVID. Now? Stay far away and get someone else in your lineup.
Nick Mullens vs Rams: Look, you shouldn't be looking to start Mullens. Even in two-QB leagues, there are no byes this week, so hopefully you have better options. Not only has Mullens struggled as of late, scoring less than 12 fantasy points in his last two games, but the Rams are such a tough matchup. On the year, they allow the second-fewest fantasy PPG to QBs (14.08) and have not allowed a top-18 fantasy QB in over a month.
Toughest RB Matchups
Gus Edwards vs Steelers: When it was announced that Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins were sidelined due to COVID-19, it looked like his would be an Edwards week. But given that the Steelers allow the fewest fantasy PPG to RBs (17.39) and have allowed a top-20 fantasy RB in three straight games, it is looking dicey. With this game being moved and still potentially up in the air, paired with the tough matchup, I do not think it is worth risking it to get Edwards in your starting lineup unless you are desperate.
Melvin Gordon/Phillip Lindsay vs Saints: Gordon came through last week, but that was largely cause he scored two touchdowns. This week the Broncos face the Saints, who have allowed just three rushing TDs to RBs, the fewest in the NFL. They also give up the second-fewest fantasy PPG to the position at 17.51. Due to the tough matchup, he is more of a flex option for me than an RB2 this week. Stay away from Lindsay.
Toughest WR Matchups
Deebo Samuel/Brandon Aiyuk vs Rams: It would be great to get Samuel back this weekend, but either way, I think its still a week to avoid the Niners receivers. First, they could get all their RBs back this week, which likely leads to more running. Also, it is still Mullens starting and he has struggled as of late. Plus, the Rams are just a really touch opponent. On the year they have allowed the fewest fantasy PPG (29.38) and yards per game (129.3) and have given up just six touchdowns to the position.
Davante Adams/Allen Lazard/Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs Bears: Look, you never sit Adams regardless of the matchup. But the other two? Yeah, you can get away from them this week against the Bears, who allow the second-fewest fantasy PPG to WRs (29.35) and a league-low five touchdowns.
Other Tough WR Matchups: Bucs WRs vs KC, Bills WRs vs LAC, Steelers WRs vs BAL
Toughest TE Matchups
Tyler Higbee /Gerald Everett vs 49ers: The 49ers have given up just 7.88 fantasy PPG to tight ends this season, the fewest in the NFL. So not only is it a tough matchup for the Los Angeles tight ends, but the Rams offense relying on either the run game, Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods, there just isn't enough to make the tight ends weekly fantasy contributors. This week in a tough matchup is not the week to start them.
Mark Andrews vs Steelers: Pittsburgh allows just 8.04 fantasy PPG to tight ends this season, the second-fewest in the NFL. Mark Andrews has been playing better as of late, but that doesn't matter to me right now. With this game up in the air and the tough matchup I would advise playing it safe and going in another direction.
Other Matchup Stats to Know:
ARI: Allowing 19.93 fantasy PPG to QBs this season (8th-most in NFL)
ATL: Allowing 2nd-most fantasy PPG to WR this season (43.6)
ATL: Allowing 2nd-most rec YPG to WR this season (210.8)
BUF: Allowing 20.5 fantasy PPG to QBs this season (5th-most in NFL)
CIN: Allowing 4th-most fantasy PPG to TEs this season (14.92)
DEN: Allowed 20+ fantasy pts to QB in 2 of last 4 games
DEN: Allowed 76 rush yds to Cam Newton in Wk 6
GB: Allowing 2nd-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (31.39)
GB: Allowed 15 scrimmage TD to RBs this season (2nd-most in NFL)
JAX: Allowed 29.8 PPG this season (4th-most in NFL)
JAX: 9.0 fantasy PPG allowed to D/STs since Wk 8 (7th-most in NFL)
JAX: Allowing 6th-most fantasy PPG to TEs this season (14.47)
LAC: Allowing 20.12 fantasy PPG to QBs this season (6th-most in NFL)
LV: Allowing 4th-most fantasy PPG to RB this season (28.64)
LV: Allowing 8th-most rec YPG to WRs this season (177.6)
MIN: Allowing 3rd-most fantasy PPG to WRs this season (42.77)
MIN: Allowed 17 rec TD to WRs this season (2nd-most in NFL)
NE: Have not allowed a Top-30 RB in last 3 games
NO: Allowing 2nd-fewest fantasy PPG to RBs this season (17.51)
NO: Allowed 3 rush TD to RBs this season (fewest in NFL)
NO: Have not allowed a Top-20 RB since Week 4
NYG: Allowing 9th-most rec/gm to WRs this season (14.0)
NYJ: Allowing 10.0 fantasy PPG to D/STs this season (most in NFL)
TEN: Allowing 4th-most fantasy PPG to WRs this season (42.66)
TEN: Allowing 2nd-most rec/gm to WRs this season (17.2)