You have lineup questions, we have lineup answers -- at least we hope so. Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is here to help fantasy managers make difficult roster decisions. And you know what is a good move? Starting Christian McCaffrey. But that's too obvious, so you won't see such simple analysis here. Instead, we're exploring more debatable situations. And if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out the latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings.
The Texans' passing attack is quickly becoming one of the best in the league and certainly one of the best in fantasy football. Dell saw 14 targets last week, catching six of them for 56 yards and a touchdown. He topped 18 fantasy points for a second straight game and fourth time this season. But it wasn’t just Dell. Brown joined CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill as the only receivers with 150-plus yards in consecutive games this season. This offense continues to show it can sustain multiple pass catchers. Even if Collins returns this week, Dell is a start against the Cardinals, who rank in the bottom 10 in yards allowed to WRs. You can also start Collins if he returns -- in which case Brown goes from a strong start to a high-upside flex option. There may be volatility with so many studs to target, but the upside is too high to get away from.
The Seahawks' secondary was able to shut down Commanders receivers last week, despite the big game by Sam Howell. But you should expect better results from McLaurin this week against the Giants. Last week, the Big Blue gave up 404 passing yards and four touchdowns to the Cowboys. The G-Men have allowed the second-most yards to receivers on the season. In total, they have allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to the position. McLaurin got them for six catches, 90 yards and 15 fantasy points in Week 7. He has averaged 18.5 fantasy PPG against them in his career (18.8 in 2022) and has topped 13 fantasy points every time he’s faced them. He is a must-start option this week -- and Jahan Dotson, who had been playing well prior to last week, is in play as a flex option.
Technically, Addison is coming off of two down games in a row. But, when a “down performance” still means double-digit fantasy points, I will sign up any day. Addison has hit double digits in all but one game this season. He has topped 16 points five times and gone over 21 twice in the last month. Addison has a QB who is thriving in a new system, and seemingly everyone else around him is banged up in some capacity. Addison has the highest passer rating when targeted against zone coverage in the entire NFL (min. 150 routes). This week, he gets the Broncos, who run zone coverage 75 percent of the time (above the league average of 71 percent). Denver also tends to give up a lot of production. Addison remains a very solid start this week and moving forward.
Rice disappointed in Germany, but don’t overlook the underlying stats from that Week 9 game. He led Kansas City receivers in snaps for a second straight outing. The week prior, he led in both snaps and routes. He is slowly growing into the Chiefs' WR1 in both usage and production. He leads their wideouts in targets, catches, yards and touchdowns so far this season. The hope is that he becomes an even larger part of the offense after the Week 10 bye. He has a great shot to do so this week against the Eagles, who have allowed the third-most yards, most touchdowns and the most fantasy PPG to receivers. Get Rice in your lineup in what should be a high-scoring Super Bowl rematch.
IF YOU NEED A DEEPER OPTION ...
Smith-Njigba continues to be the third receiver for the Seahawks, but he has been more consistently involved as of late. In his last five games, JSN has averaged 5.6 targets, 4.2 catches and 52.6 yards per game. He has two touchdowns in that span, as well, and has now scored more than eight fantasy points in all five of those games. He’s topped 12 in three of his last four. He brings a safe floor as far as streamers go. Plus, he has more targets against zone coverage than DK Metcalf, and the Rams run zone at an above-average rate.
It’s been quite the season for Thielen. He went from a late-round pick (or, in many leagues, a waiver-wire pickup) to a must-start option ... and then back into the fringe mix. And its only Week 11! He has picked up fewer than 50 yards in two straight games and has fewer than 20 total fantasy points in those two outings combined. But this is primarily about the matchup. The Cowboys have allowed the second-fewest yards to receivers -- they and the Jets are the only teams to not yet allow 1,000 total yards to the position. Plus, Dallas has allowed the ninth-fewest yards, sixth-lowest passer rating and second-lowest completion percentage to slot receivers. Thielen runs 64 percent of his routes from the slot. You may not have another option, but if you do, take it.
It wasn't an ideal Monday night for Davis, who had a bad drop that lead to an interception and finished with fewer than 10 fantasy points. He’s been in single digits in four of his last five, will have a new OC this week and draws the toughest possible matchup for wide receivers. The Jets have allowed the fewest yards to receivers and have yielded just one touchdown to a WR all season long. They have given up the fewest fantasy PPG to the position -- by far. Plus, Davis runs 70 percent of his routes out wide, which means he will have Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed all over him. His specialty is winning downfield, but no team has been stingier on deep passes. New York has allowed just 83 yards all season on deep passes, to go with no touchdowns and three interceptions. Davis was limited to just five fantasy points against the Jets in Week 1 and has been held to fewer than 35 yards in three straight matchups against Gang Green. Avoid Davis this week.
Remember when you were a kid and would tell your younger sibling to just keep running and you’d eventually throw the ball ... only you never did? That’s basically how the Steelers use Pickens. He has run the third-most go routes in the NFL -- basically a straight-line downfield route. Over a third of his targets have come on these routes, and that number has only increased since Diontae Johnson’s return. We know Pickens can win downfield; the issue is that his QB simply cannot. It’s why he is averaging just 8.6 fantasy PPG when Johnson is active and has topped double digits in just one of those five games. Now he gets the Browns, who have allowed the third-fewest yards and second-fewest fantasy PPG to receivers. Get away if you can.
What do New Year's Eve, the 2023 New York Mets and Calvin Ridley all have in common? EXTREME overhype. I’m guilty of hyping up two of those three things (you will never catch me going somewhere crowded on NYE). Ridley has only topped seven fantasy points once in his last four games. He’s done so twice since Week 1. He is a boom-or-bust option with little boom. He’s played very well against man and press coverage in the past, but that has not been the case this season. It’s been a disappointing year for Ridley and the Jags' passing attack as a whole. He should be viewed similarly to Gabe Davis right now, which means you can sit him unless you need an upside swing.