Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward redraft leagues but can also be used for setting DFS lineups, as these are the players I’ll likely have exposure to on Sunday. As always, the Thursday night game is ignored in this piece due to short shelf life.
Start of the Week: Russell Wilson at Saints: Wilson is fantasy’s overall QB24 in points per game among quarterbacks who have made at least three starts. Seattle is 28th in points per game (18.5) and 22nd in yards per game (336.7). Wilson has just five touchdown passes through six games and is on pace for a career-low in rushing yards. Ankle and knee injuries have absolutely held him back. A cheap, pieced-together offensive line also isn’t doing Wilson any favors. Wilson got off to a slow start last season before getting white-hot the second half of the year. A track meet setup in the Superdome presents a chance to turn it all around this season. New Orleans has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the year and the fifth-most over the past three weeks. The Saints are 28th in pass-defense DVOA and 26th in adjusted sack rate. After taking a beating and getting chased around by a harassing Cardinals defense last Sunday night, Wilson should mind a much more comfortable pocket. Games in the Superdome this season have had point totals of 69, 77, and 79. It’s surprising to see the over-under set at 47.5 this week despite Seattle’s top-end defense coming to town. Drew Brees can’t be stopped at home, and the Seahawks will have to keep up. It feels like one of those weeks where Wilson throws for multiple touchdowns and approaches 300 yards.
Jameis Winston vs. Raiders: Winston is coming off his best game since the season opener when he picked apart the Falcons. Last week in San Francisco, the 49ers provided a get-right spot for the Tampa Bay pass offense. Winston completed a five-game-high 70 percent of his passes and averaged a season-best 9.0 yards per attempt while throwing for 269 yards and three scores. Prior to Week 7, the Raiders had been allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. But their pass defense had its own get-right spot with erratic turnover-machine Blake Bortles. The Raiders stayed in Florida all week and have been practicing at IMG Academy ahead of a road date with the Bucs. Prior to holding Bortles to the overall QB19 finish, Oakland had allowed four top-six quarterbacks. The Raiders are 26th in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA and 27th in adjusted sack rate. Raiders-Bucs is one of three games with an over-under of at least 50 points this week, and its spread is just one point. It’s basically a pick’em and comes with big-time shootout potential. This Tampa Bay offense is so concentrated, with Winston, Mike Evans, and Jacquizz Rodgers doing the scoring.
Andy Dalton vs. Redskins: Dalton attempted a season-low 28 passes last week against the Browns, but averaged a season-best 11.0 yards per attempt and finished as QB7 thanks to a pair of long touchdowns to Brandon LaFell (44 yards) and A.J. Green (48). It was just Dalton’s second multi-touchdown game of the season. On paper, this date with the Redskins looks tough. Washington is 12th in pass-defense DVOA and ninth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. However, quarterbacks are averaging a healthy 7.5 YPA against the Redskins, and the quarterbacks they’ve faced haven’t been all that daunting. Dak Prescott, Cody Kessler, Joe Flacco, Carson Wentz, and Eli Manning aren’t exactly ripping up the stat sheet this season. In Week 1, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns against Washington. That’s obviously a while back, but the Redskins’ schedule has been pretty soft. Washington and Cincinnati will square off across the pond in London, and those games have been known to get a bit high scoring, with games featuring point totals of 57, 55, 65, 48, and 52 since the start of 2014. With Tyler Eifert healthy and off the injury report, Dalton finally has a full stable of weapons and should take off over the second half of the year. Redskins CBs Josh Norman (concussion) and Bashaud Breeland (ankle) are also dinged up.
Brock Osweiler vs. Lions: This may fall on deaf ears, but this spot is as good as any for the “struggling” — if we can call it that since we’re not sure he knows anything different — Osweiler. Fantasy’s QB31 through seven weeks, Osweiler has been nothing short of a disaster in Houston. He’s 30th in completion percentage, 33rd in yards per attempt, 30th in interceptions, and 31st in passer rating. That doesn’t exactly get one excited about the prospects of using Osweiler in fantasy. But a home date with the Lions has the stars aligned for at least a serviceable output. Detroit is dead last in pass-defense DVOA and fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. No team has allowed more touchdown passes, and only three teams have allowed more yards per attempt. The Lions allow 0.79 fantasy points per pass attempt, and Osweiler has attempted no fewer than 33 passes in a game and averages 38.3 per week. The Lions are also likely to be without top CB Darius Slay, who is Pro Football Focus’ No. 10 cover corner on the season. He pulled his hamstring in Week 7 and never returned. Slay didn’t practice Wednesday. While quarterbacks have an 82.7 passer rating when throwing at Slay, they have a 138.9 rating when targeting Lions CBs Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs. Just over the past three weeks, the Lions have allowed the QB5 (Kirk Cousins), QB2 (Case Keenum), and QB13 (Carson Wentz) finishes. Keenum and Wentz, like Osweiler, are fantasy cellar-dwellers, and they put up their big games in Detroit with Slay in the lineup. Osweiler gets to face this “defense” at home with a star-studded supporting cast. In a week with six quarterbacks on bye, Osweiler is a one-week streamer capable of posting a top-10 or -12 week.
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Dak Prescott vs. Eagles: Rookie of the Year candidate Prescott is fantasy’s QB11 coming out of his bye week and retains the starting job over Tony Romo (back) for at least another game. Prescott will also get Dez Bryant (knee) back in the lineup. Despite the mild fantasy success, Prescott has attempted 27 or fewer passes in 3-of-6 starts and thrown one or zero touchdowns in 4-of-6. He now gets a date with an Eagles defense that is No. 1 in pass-defense DVOA and second in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. This unit has allowed just one quarterback to finish higher than QB15 this season and none better than QB10. Eagles-Cowboys has the second-lowest over-under of the week at 43.5 points and features the two slowest-paced offenses in the league. Much like last week’s Vikings-Eagles game, this is one to avoid for fantasy purposes outside of Ezekiel Elliott.
Tyrod Taylor vs. Patriots: Fantasy’s overall QB3 last week, Taylor put up a big stat line against the Dolphins with a rushing touchdown. But 30.3 percent of his 221 passing yards came on a long, 67-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin, who roasted burn victim Byron Maxwell for the score. Goodwin, the Bills’ lone deep threat, managed to fill the box score with 93 total yards. Unfortunately, Goodwin also suffered a concussion late in the game and didn’t practice Wednesday, leaving him in doubt for Week 8. Without him, the Bills have no field-stretching ability whatsoever. And they’re already a pretty one-dimensional offense that prefers to play slow and run the ball. Obviously, if LeSean McCoy (hamstring) sits, which seems likely, Taylor may have to pick up more slack, but the Bills can simply plug Mike Gillislee in and hand him the rock 18-plus times. The Patriots field a middle-of-the-pack pass defense that checks in at 25th in pass-defense DVOA and 16th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. However, it’s so hard to feel confident in Taylor with no real threats to throw to in the pass game. Robert Woods, Justin Hunter, and Charles Clay aren’t keeping Bill Belichick up at night. And Taylor has a career 4:3 TD:INT ratio in three games against New England. With this game in Buffalo, I’m not as certain Taylor will have garbage time on his side.
Philip Rivers at Broncos: Rivers is coming off a monster game in Atlanta, where he topped 320 passing yards for the fourth time this season. The down side is Rivers isn’t throwing as many touchdowns this season with a pair of four-score games surrounded by four games with one or zero touchdown passes. Melvin Gordon has become a red-zone vulture with 10 total scores. And now Rivers gets as tough a matchup as there is in the league, on the road at Mile High. Rivers just faced Denver at home in Week 6 and finished as QB23. Dating back to last season, Rivers has averaged 202.7 yards per game with a 3:2 TD:INT ratio in three games against the Broncos. He hasn’t even been a QB1 starter on the season as fantasy’s QB14 in points per game. That’s unlikely to change come Sunday afternoon. Denver is No. 1 in pass-defense DVOA and No. 2 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. The Broncos have surrendered just four touchdown passes in seven games.
Start of the Week: Devontae Booker vs. Chargers: Booker set new season-bests across the board in this past Monday night’s lopsided win over the Texans. He played 54.7 percent of the snaps and turned them into a 17-83-1 rushing line and a four-yard catch. Coach Gary Kubiak anticipated moving forward with an even timeshare between Booker and C.J. Anderson. But on Wednesday it was revealed Anderson is dealing with a multi-week knee injury that could possibly cost him the season. He’s at least going to miss Sunday against the Chargers, and Kubiak confirmed Booker will get the start, adding that it’s “up to [Booker]” how much of the load he can handle. With only special teams-types Kapri Bibbs and practice-squader Juwan Thompson behind Booker on the depth chart, Booker has a safe floor of 20 touches at the very minimum. The Broncos are a run-first offense that is seventh in the league in rushing attempts and eighth in run-play percentage. The run game has long been Kubiak’s foundation, dating back to Domanick Davis, Steve Slaton, and Arian Foster in Houston. San Diego’s run defense has improved since Joey Bosa entered the lineup. But the Bolts are still 18th in run-defense DVOA and 27th in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Over the past five weeks, only four teams have surrendered more fantasy points to the position. San Diego is also dead last in catches given up to opposing backs. Booker has 25-plus touches upside at home in a game the Broncos are five-point favorites. Two weeks ago against this same defense, Booker averaged 9.2 YPC on five totes. He has top-five potential at the position this week.
Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Raiders: Rodgers doing well against the 49ers last week was probably the most predictable outcome of Week 7. San Francisco’s run defense has been a sieve all season long, and Rodgers piled up 154 yards on 26 carries, while his backup, “Peyton Barber,” added 84 yards and a 44-yard touchdown on 12 totes. In two games filling in for Doug Martin (hamstring), Rodgers has amassed a whopping 62! touches. This Bucs offense is going through two players, and it’s Rodgers on the ground and Mike Evans through the air. This kind of offense is what fantasy owners dream about. There’s no guessing game here. We know who is getting the ball. Much has been made about the Raiders’ terrible pass defense, but they’re just as bad against the run. Oakland is 27th in run-defense DVOA and 23rd in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Only the 49ers, Browns, Dolphins, and Texans have allowed more rushing yards. Of those four, only San Francisco allows a higher yards-per-carry average. The Raiders yielded 6.45 YPC to Jaguars running backs last week. Oakland allowed the RB8 (Terrance West), RB15 (Melvin Gordon), and RB6 (Spencer Ware) in Weeks 4-6. Rodgers is a lock-and-load, volume-driven RB1 for at least one more week.
Matt Asiata at Bears: As of writing this late Wednesday night, I’m working under the assumption Jerick McKinnon (ankle) either will be limited or won’t play altogether. He twisted his ankle in the first half last week, quickly returned, but aggravated it and was mostly done for the day. McKinnon has been a massive disappointment since taking over for an injured Adrian Peterson anyway, though it’s not all his fault with the Vikings’ offensive line dead last in run-blocking DVOA. Asiata has back-to-back 55-yard rushing games with an end-zone visit in 2-of-3. He’s also managed to catch nine balls over the past two for an additional 71 yards in un-Asiata-like fashion. The receiving numbers are an added bonus. A LeGarrette Blount Lite version in a much worse offense, Asiata has multi-touchdown upside every time he steps on the field as a goal-line vulture. Vikings running backs have 16 red-zone carries since Peterson went down in Week 2. The Bears have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs, but they’re 20th in run-defense DVOA and 17th in rushing yards surrendered per game. If McKinnon is out, Asiata is a top-20 running back. If both play, Asiata is at the very least a quality flex play in standard leagues.
Ty Montgomery at Falcons: The position Montgomery is considered is up to the site, but he’s been moved to running back on both FanDuel and ESPN, and we’ve changed him to running back here after Aaron Rodgers flat-out said that’s Montgomery’s new position. Making his first start of the season last week against the Bears, Montgomery played 69 percent of the snaps. He handled nine carries for 60 yards and caught all 10 of his targets for 66 additional yards. Montgomery had a chance to score on a 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line but was stuffed on the play. His unique role as a hybrid running back-receiver should again lead to plenty of work Sunday. Atlanta is 26th in team defense DVOA and 24th against the run. The Falcons have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs and the second-most receptions to the position. This sets up perfectly for Montgomery to again be heavily utilized as a pass catcher, especially with Jordy Nelson potentially being taken away for stretches of the game by No. 1 CB Desmond Trufant. Packers-Falcons sports the highest over-under of the week at 53 points and will be played on the speedy Georgia Dome turf.
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Jonathan Stewart vs. Cardinals: It’s difficult to advise “sitting” a running back with Stewart’s workload potential. He averages 17 carries per game in the two he’s been healthy for this season. But this matchup is incredibly difficult. Arizona bottled up Christine Michael last week, holding him to 52 yards on 16 carries and the RB36 finish. The Cardinals have also held Todd Gurley (RB24) and Matt Forte (RB52) down in recent weeks. Arizona is No. 10 in run-defense DVOA and No. 2 in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Opposing backs are averaging just 3.45 YPC against the Bird Gang. Stewart will get his carries, but he’s unlikely to produce many yards on them and will have to rely on goal-line looks. And Cam Newton is Carolina’s preferred short-yardage runner.
Jordan Howard vs. Vikings: The darling of fantasy Weeks 4 and 5, Howard’s star has run out of shine. His snap share has bottomed out the past two weeks, with Howard playing just 45.8 percent of the snaps Week 7 against the Packers. In his Weeks 4 and 5 starts, Howard was in on 93.3 percent of the plays. Ka’Deem Carey played 54.2 percent of the snaps last week and has out-rushed Howard in back-to-back games. Now, Jeremy Langford (ankle) is back at practice and likely to return to the mix. Speaking this week, Carey was talking up a “three-headed monster,” which leaves none of these running backs in play as fantasy starts against Minnesota’s tough run defense. The Vikings are seventh in run-defense DVOA and 10th in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Howard has looked sluggish with the ball in his hands the past two weeks and might tumble to No. 3 duties.
Ryan Mathews at Cowboys: The Eagles don’t seem to have much of a plan in the backfield. The only constant so far has been Darren Sproles. Mathews’ snaps and touches have been all over the place since the start of the year. He played just 21 percent of the snaps in Week 6 before handling the bulk of the work last week against the Vikings. The problem for Mathews has been his ball security. In two of the past three games, Mathews has lost a fumble in the fourth quarter while the Eagles have been trying to milk the clock for a win. It costed Philadelphia a win in Week 5 at Detroit. Coach Doug Pederson said he’s not “down” on Mathews, but it’s fair to wonder what his workload will be in a crucial divisional game Sunday night. On top of those worries is a tough matchup. Dallas is eighth in run-defense DVOA and third in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Additionally, the Eagles (32nd) and Cowboys (31st) are the two slowest-paced teams in the league. Philadelphia is bottom-five in offensive plays per game, while Dallas is eighth in opponent plays per game. I’m staying away from Mathews and this entire Eagles offense wherever possible.
Start of the Week: Terrelle Pryor vs. Jets: Early in the week, Pryor was looking like someone to avoid with the prospect of rookie Kevin Hogan getting the start at quarterback. But on Wednesday, Josh McCown (collarbone) returned to a full practice and is expected to get the nod under center. It’s a big boost to all of the Browns’ skill players. Pryor played just 31-of-64 offensive snaps last week due to a hamstring injury suffered in Week 6, but he practiced on Wednesday and should be closer to full go this Sunday. In McCown’s lone start back in Week 2, Pryor was targeted eight times against a tough Ravens defense. Now the Jets bring their 31st-ranked pass-defense DVOA to town with no answer for opposing receivers. Darrelle Revis has appeared washed up, Buster Skrine is overmatched in the slot, and Marcus Williams can’t run with any receivers with speed. Pryor is 6’4/240 with 4.38 wheels. Revis has lost multiple steps, and Williams ran 4.57 coming out of college. The Jets have allowed the most catches of 40-plus yards and the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Expect Pryor and Gary Barnidge to dominate the target share. Pryor also leads the team in red-zone targets. He’s a high-upside WR3 play at home against a pass-funnel defense. The Browns aren’t likely to have much success running the ball against the Jets’ No. 2 run defense.
Michael Thomas vs. Seahawks: Thomas has drawn 9.5 targets per game over his last four and has seen no fewer than five in a single contest. At 6’3/212, Thomas also leads the Saints in red-zone targets with seven. Coming off a 10-catch, 130-yard game on 13 targets in Kansas City, Thomas isn’t someone to be scared off of just because he’s facing the Seahawks. The Saints are a different offense in the Superdome, and it really doesn’t matter who they play. Thomas runs over 50 percent of his routes at right cornerbacks, which means he should avoid Richard Sherman much of the day. Brandin Cooks figures to see the most of the All-Pro cornerback. In three home games, Thomas’ receiving lines are 6-58-0 on six targets, 7-71-1 on 10 targets, and 5-78-1 on five targets. The Saints have put up point totals of 34, 32, and 41 in those games. Their implied total of 22.25 this week seems low. But if New Orleans is to have success, it figures to be on the back of Drew Brees and the passing game. Any time the Saints are near the end zone, Thomas gets the ball.
Will Fuller vs. Lions: Fuller has strung together three bad weeks in a row, with a 1-4-0 line against Minnesota, a 0-0 on zero snaps against the Colts, and 4-22-0 against the Broncos this past Monday night. Things finally loosen up a bit for Fuller and the Texans’ pass offense as a whole. As mentioned earlier, the Lions have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks, which obviously means they’re bad against receivers. Detroit is 23rd in fantasy points yielded to the position and 32nd in pass-defense DVOA. With Darius Slay (hamstring) also likely to sit out, all of the Houston receivers should roam pretty freely throughout this secondary. Lions No. 2 CB Nevin Lawson has already given up three touchdowns, while slot CB Quandre Diggs has yielded a cornerback-worst 88.9 percent catch rate and two scores. Quarterbacks have a 138.9 rating targeting Lawson and Diggs. Fuller is back on the WR3 map and dripping with upside as a strong tournament play in daily leagues.
Stefon Diggs at Bears: Diggs is another receiver who hasn’t done much of anything in recent weeks. Since a monster Week 2 against the Packers, Diggs has posted receiving lines of 4-40-0, 5-47-0, and 2-18-0, with a missed game due to a groin injury sandwich in between. Week 8 presents a bounce-back opportunity. The Bears have, by far, allowed the most catches (120) to opposing receivers and the most fantasy points to the position. Bears CBs Tracy Porter, Cre’von LeBlanc, and Bryce Callahan are all of the bend-but-don’t-break type. Despite all of the catches and fantasy points allowed to receiver, Chicago is 18th in pass-defense DVOA and 17th in pass yards allowed. With the Bears ninth in offensive pace and Minnesota 28th, this is a rare spot the Vikings will be way up in pace. Sam Bradford should have cleaner pockets than he did last Sunday, and it’s not like the Vikings are flooded with pass-catching talent. The ball typically only goes to a few different pass catchers. Diggs should have a relatively safe floor Monday night.
Cameron Meredith vs. Vikings: After back-to-back 100-yard games against the Colts and Jaguars in Weeks 5 and 6, Meredith came crashing back to Earth last Thursday night against the Packers. He was targeted just twice, catching one ball for 12 yards. Matt Barkley played much of that game at quarterback after Brian Hoyer went down with a broken arm, so there’s an easy reason for the dip in production. But matchup-wise, this test with the Vikings can’t get much tougher. The Vikings are third in pass-defense DVOA and No. 2 in fantasy points allowed to receivers. Meredith runs most of his routes at left cornerbacks and will see a lot of ageless wonder Terence Newman on Monday. Newman is Pro Football Focus’ No. 8 cover corner out of 116 qualifiers. Quarterbacks have a 49.1 passer rating when targeting him, and Jay Cutler isn’t going to be the one to buck the trend.
Jordan Matthews at Cowboys: Over his past four games, Matthews is averaging just 4.5 targets per after seeing 23 total the first two weeks of the season. In that four-game span, Matthews has been held to 19 yards or fewer twice and hasn’t topped 75. This Eagles pass offense has completely fallen apart since RT Lane Johnson started serving his 10-game suspension. Philadelphia plays at the slowest pace in the league, and Dallas is right ahead of the Eagles at 31st. This is a game to simply stay away from outside of Ezekiel Elliott and maybe Dez Bryant. Cowboys top slot CB Orlando Scandrick (hamstrings) is also back at practice and set to return coming out of the bye.
DeSean Jackson vs. Bengals: Jackson is seeing targets; he’s drawn at least five in all but one game, but Kirk Cousins hasn’t been able to hit him on any deep balls since hooking up for a 44-yard touchdown Week 3 against the Giants. Jackson has been held to 55 yards or less in four-straight games. He has just two 100-yard games since the start of last season. Dubbed a boom-bust player, Jackson has certainly been more “bust.” The Redskins’ pass offense works best through the tight ends and Chris Thompson out of the backfield, featuring quick hitters out in space and over the middle. After getting off to a shaky start in pass defense, the Bengals have settled down a bit of late. They’re eighth in fantasy points allowed to receivers on the season and third over the past three weeks. Jackson at least gets the best individual matchup against LCB Dre Kirkpatrick, who is Pro Football Focus’ No. 84 cover corner out of 116 qualifiers, but it’s hard to trust Cousins to get Jackson the ball out where he can run underneath it. Jordan Reed is expected back to dominate targets.
Start of the Week: C.J. Fiedorowicz vs. Lions Over the past month, Fiedorowicz is tied for eighth among tight ends in targets per game at 6.5. During that span, Fiedorowicz has seen target totals of 5, 8, 8, and 7. He’s taken over as the Texans’ top pass-catching tight end and is third on the team in red-zone targets. At 6’5/265, Fiedorowicz drew some loose Rob Gronkowski comparisons coming out of Iowa in 2014. He’s been slow to develop, but things have started to click. And now he gets the juiciest matchup a tight end can ask for right now. The Lions have surrendered the third-most catches for the most touchdown and third-most fantasy points to the position. Across seven games, Detroit has allowed seven top-nine tight end fantasy finishes, which includes Lance Kendricks (TE8) in Week 6 and Richard Rodgers (TE8) in Week 3. These linebackers can’t cover a lick.
Cameron Brate vs. Raiders: Brate’s targets have been down the past two weeks, seeing a total of six against the Panthers and 49ers, but he’s certainly emerged as a red-zone threat and chain-mover behind Mike Evans and Jacquizz Rodgers. Tight end is an extremely shallow position this season and finding capable streamers is a chore. Playing the matchups has become the way to go about it. The Raiders are 28th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and 21st in DVOA against the position. They’ve allowed three touchdowns to tight ends over the past three weeks, including one to Julius Thomas in Week 7 and one to each of Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates in Week 5. Brate isn’t nearly as athletic as Henry and Thomas, but he’s a decent bet for a red-zone score Sunday.
Jacob Tamme vs. Packers: Tamme’s targets have dried up over the past month, seeing no more than four in a game each of the past five weeks. But when he’s seeing them, they’re typically coming in the red zone. Tamme has seen at least one red-zone target in every game this season and leads the Falcons with a whopping 10 targets inside the 20-yard line. He has three touchdowns on the year, and Matt Ryan just missed him on a fourth last week. The Packers have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to tight ends, and Green Bay-Atlanta sports the highest over-under Week 8.
Travis Kelce at Colts: With the Chiefs leaning even more on the run in recent weeks, Kelce has seen just six total targets over the past two games after seeing exactly seven each of the first four weeks. Kelce hasn’t seen a red-zone target since Week 3, but still leads the Chiefs with seven on the year. The Colts have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends and the third-most receiving yards to the position. Chiefs-Colts has the second-highest over-under of the week at 50 points and will be played in the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium’s dome.
Zach Miller vs. Vikings: Miller went through a three- or four-game stretch there as an every-week TE1 because he was seeing heavy volume from Brian Hoyer, especially in the red zone. But the first two weeks of the season, when Jay Cutler was under center, Miller was targeted a total of nine times, catching just seven for 47 yards. Cutler is back at quarterback for the Bears with Hoyer (arm) out for at least eight weeks. Cutler hasn’t seemed fond of throwing to his tight ends, and the Vikings are one of just five teams yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end this season.
Martellus Bennett at Bills: Bennett is capable of putting up a big game any time he steps on the field with this high-octane offense. But after his three-touchdown Week 5 against the Browns, Bennett has seen just six targets, catching all six for 53 scoreless yards. This week’s tilt with the Bills on the road doesn’t present an ideal bounce-back spot. As mentioned above, only five teams have yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end. The Bills are one of them. They’re fifth in fantasy points allowed to the position, surrendering a total of 17 tight-end catches through six games.
Eric Ebron at Texans: Ebron has missed the past three games with knee and ankle injuries, but he returned to practice Wednesday and is fully expected to be back in the lineup Sunday. Unfortunately for him, the Texans are one of the best teams in the league at defending the tight end. They’re No. 1 in DVOA against the position and sixth in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. With Ebron also unlikely to be 100 percent, it just makes sense to chase down a different streamer.