Every week, fantasy owners meticulously analyze their rosters and are faced with the dilemma of who to start and sit. As injuries pile up and the waiver wire fluctuates wildly, it becomes paramount to know which player has the best chance to accumulate the most fantasy points in a given week. While making this immensely important decision can seem incredibly intimidating at first, a more in-depth look at specific match ups along with each players unique skill set can be helpful in alleviating some of this pressure. Although there are rarely sure things in fantasy football, thoughtful owners can give themselves a leg up on the competition by, at the very least, taking a few extra minutes to gauge a players scoring trends and see how they fare week to week against their designated opposition.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
Although Tyrod Taylor may not be the most accurate or efficient passer in the NFL, his capabilities as a runner and as a deep passer make him a uniquely valuable asset in fantasy football. Against one of the best secondaries in the NFL, Taylor methodically picked apart the defense of the Denver Broncos as he completed 20 of his 26 passes for two touchdowns. What was particularly notable about this performance was that Taylor was not forced to use his legs to move the ball as he rushed for just 18 yards. Against the Atlanta Falcons, Taylor can be expected to look like the dual-threat offensive threat he has been throughout his career as the Falcons have given up 245.7 passing yards per game while allowing opponents to rush for 4.8 yards per attempt. If Taylor can exploit these weaknesses in the Falcons defense, he could easily put up his best fantasy score of the season.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos (vs. Oakland Raiders)
It’s no secret that the Oakland Raiders have one of the most porous defensive secondaries as they allowed Kirk Cousins and the Redskins to pass for 365 yards and three touchdowns. When you consider what Emmanuel Sanders has done against soft defenses this year (10.2 yards per reception), it becomes clear that the Raiders are poised to be gashed downfield again. Couple that with Sanders’ average yards after the catch statistic for his career (4.2 YAC) and the number two wideout should be able to garner big chunks of yardage while being a constant threat in the end zone.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. New York Jets)
While it’s almost always a safe bet to start any player against the jets, if you have a prolific running back on your roster you’re nearly guaranteed a high-scoring day for that player. Relinquishing 133.3 rushing yards per game, the Jets’ front seven is paper thin and will certainly have a difficult time stifling the six foot, 228 pound rookie running back. Although Fournette averages a pedestrian 3.5 yards per rush attempt, he more than makes up for it with his heavy workload. Even if Fournette does not achieve a 100-yard rushing day, his carries in the red zone will allow him to garner a massive point total by the end of the day.
Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. New York Giants)
One of the most shutdown secondaries in the league last year, the New York Giants have been become considerably more penetrable in this regard as they have allowed opposing receivers to go off for 9.4 yards per receptions. Specifically, the Giants have had issues stopping tight ends in the receiving game as they allowed Eagles tight end Zach Ertz to catch eight receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown. While Cameron Brate can not be considered as prolific as Ertz as a receiving target, he has proven to be a reliable intermediate receiving target for quarterback Jameis Winston. Against the vigilant Vikings secondary, Cameron Brate caught four receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown. While the target shares could be better, Brate is at his best in the red zone and will certainly be in a position to be utilized much more consistently against an inferior Giants defense.