Research from the NFL Edge (game breakdowns and Matchups) is leveraged in this space to help us make sharper decisions on some of the key start/sit questions in fantasy
1. Would you start Best Ball darling, Dameon Pierce, despite Houston being a 7.5 point home underdog?
The Texans are not expected to score much against a very tough Colts defense. They’re also highly likely to be trailing, and we’d expect Rex Burkhead to play more than usual if the game plays out that way. The Colts ranked third in the NFL in rush DVOA last season. If you have better options than Pierce, you should go ahead and start them, as this Colts/Texans game would have to be a bit wonky for him to produce a matchup-winning score in this spot.
2. How do we handle Antonio Gibson in a great on-paper matchup despite rumblings that Jonathan Williams will mix in?
Papy notes in his writeup of the Jags Commanders game that Jacksonville ranked 19th in rush DVOA last season while being considerably worse against the pass. It has been clear all summer that Washington wanted to make Brian Robinson its starting RB until he tragically was shot in a robbery attempt. Papy also notes Jacksonville could easily lean pass heavy in this spot, and with Washington likely to mix in both Jonathan Williams and J.D McKissic, Gibson will need to find the paint to make it worth starting him.
3. Are you starting Dak Prescott and Justin Fields in tough matchups this week?
The Bucs allowed the second most pass attempts in the NFL last season, mainly because they were so tough to run against. Their game in Dallas this week has a 50.5 total and Prescott will likely be forced to throw a ton considering they will be without starting left tackle Tyron Smith due to a torn hamstring. The Cowboys will try and establish the run early, but once that doesn’t work, I’d expect a pass-heavy game plan as long as the Bucs are putting up points. Start Dak.
Fields is much thinner as the Bears have one of the lowest implied totals on the slate at just 16.5. JM notes in his DFS interpretation for this game that he respects the Niners defense, and even with Fields’ rushing upside, he will not be going near the Bears offense on tighter DFS builds. In other words, there are better options than Fields in one-QB leagues.
4. Which ancillary Chiefs player do you feel most confident in starting sans Mahomes/Kelce/JuJu in a likely shootout with Arizona?