You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.
I had Fields written down as a start before I even looked at the matchup -- that is how good he has been. Fields has now rushed for at least 47 yards in every game since Week 3 and he has scored over 17 fantasy points in every game since Week 5. But it all turned the corner in Week 6 against Washington. Fields ran for 88 yards in that game and since then there have been more designed runs than ever in the Bears offense. He is also throwing more on the run and just looks so much more comfortable. He was never a pocket passer and forcing him to try to be one was not working. This is his style of play, and it's led to him scoring over 23 fantasy points in three straight games, including going off in Week 9 for 42.7 fantasy points. He threw for just 123 yards, but a season-high three passing touchdowns. Oh, and he also ran for 178 yards, the most a QB has ever rushed for in a game. He added a touchdown on the ground for his third straight game with a rushing touchdown. Fields has become a must-start option and is quickly becoming a league-winner. And then you see who his matchup is against: the Lions, who have allowed 20.95 fantasy PPG to QBs, the third-most in the NFL. Fields against this defense? He could break fantasy once again this week.
Tagovailoa is becoming a regular in this article. This is his fourth straight week being a start, which means you should pretty much start him each and every week. He scored just under 16 fantasy points in Week 7, his first back from injury, then exploded for over 29 points and a QB1 finish in Week 8, before going for 24 fantasy points and a top-five finish last week. He has now thrown for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in two straight games. Everyone on the internet gets upset when you talk about his deep ball and how effectively he has been throwing it this season. Sure, he is not the strongest-armed QB in the league and no one is going to confuse him for Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes. But he is getting the job done and putting the ball in spots where his receivers can win. He deserves credit for the job he is doing. As for fantasy this week, as long as Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are playing, Tagovailoa is a starting option. The Browns defense may struggle more against the run than the pass, but the Dolphins' run game will help set up the pass. Tagovailoa and Miami's passing attack have been far too good to get away from.
Smith has played so well this season for the Seahawks. He took advantage of a good matchup last week against the Cardinals, throwing for 275 yards and two scores, while rushing for 38 yards. He scored 20.8 fantasy points. He has now scored 18.9 fantasy points or more in five of his past seven games. He has thrown multiple passing touchdowns in seven of nine games this season. That shows he brings a very safe floor each week. But he has been running more as of late. He has rushed for over 25 yards in two straight and in four of the past six weeks. In two of those games, he rushed for over 40 yards. In fantasy, 40 rushing yards is the equivalent of 100 passing yards. So, this new element to Smith’s game raises both his weekly fantasy floor and ceiling. This week he heads to Germany to face the Bucs, who have ranked middle of the pack against QBs. That is definitely schedule-impacted though. Both Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, the two best QBs Tampa Bay has faced this season, got them for over 21 fantasy points. Smith remains an option to start each week moving forward.
Mariota is coming off one of his worst fantasy games of the year, but has been mostly reliable as of late. Mariota has scored over 17 fantasy points in three of his last five games. That includes in Week 8 when he threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns, adding 43 rushing yards against the Panthers. Even with two interceptions, he scored over 22 fantasy points in that matchup. Plus, this is the team that allows the second-most rushing yards over expectation (146) against the quarterback with the most rushing yards over expectations on inside carries (73). Not only does Mariota lead QBs there, but he is fifth in the league behind only Rhamondre Stevenson, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry and Kenneth Walker. Talk about elite company. The Panthers have allowed a ton of production to opposing offenses as of late and the Falcons once again get to pick on them. Mariota is the top streaming QB option this week.
Cousins and the 7-1 Vikings are one of the feel-good stories of the NFL season. Cousins has been playing well, but for fantasy purposes he has been up and down. He has two games over 20 fantasy points this season and two with fewer than 13. The bulk of his games are around 16 fantasy points. But he has not played as well on the road as he has at home. On the road this season, he is averaging 13.7 fantasy PPG, with his high being 16.5 fantasy points. To put that into perspective, his worst game at home this season is 18.3 fantasy points. Plus, he faces a tough Bills defense that has allowed just 11.3 fantasy PPG to QBs, the third-fewest in the NFL. Cousins is not a must-sit given the QB position, but if you have options, it’s a week to go in the other direction.
Brady was a sit two weeks ago and after a garbage time touchdown on TNF, many of you let me hear it. He still finished that week as the QB17. Brady scored 15.2 fantasy points last week, which is his third-best game of the season. He has just one game all year with more than one passing touchdown, and we know he gives nothing with his legs as he has negative rushing yards on the season. The floor has been too low and the ceiling not nearly high enough to get Brady into your lineup each week, especially in a tough matchup, which is quickly what the Seahawks have become. In the past month, they have allowed just 12.98 fantasy PPG to QBs, the sixth-fewest in the NFL in that span. Unless you have no other options, get away from Brady this week.
Rodgers has yet to reach 17 fantasy points in a game this season, but he has yet to even reach 16 in the past month. The floor and the ceiling continue to shrink for the reigning back-to-back MVP. Last week was supposed to be a get-right spot against the league's worst defense in the Lions, a team Rodgers has historically dominated. And well, that just didn’t happen. Even with him rushing for 40 yards -- his most in a game since late 2018 -- Rodgers put up just 13.6 fantasy points as he threw one touchdown and three interceptions. He also has Romeo Doubs now dealing with a high ankle sprain and Aaron Jones in a walking boot after the game. If Rodgers flopped in a great matchup, not sure how you go back to the well against the Cowboys and their stout defense. The Cowboys have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy PPG to QBs at 12.9 per game. They also can get after the QB with the best of them. Not only can you sit Rodgers this week, but he is also droppable if you have another reliable QB on your roster.
Brady, Rodgers and Stafford as sits in the same week. There were times it would be rare to see any of the three on this list. Now, it's almost common, especially for Stafford, who is quickly becoming a regular here. Stafford has fewer than 12 fantasy points in all but two games this season -- and one was due to a rushing touchdown. He has thrown multiple touchdowns just once and has topped 300 yards once. The floor is very low, and the ceiling is pretty much non-existent. On paper this is a good matchup against the Cardinals, but earlier this season against Arizona, he was limited to 249 passing yards and no touchdowns, finishing with 10.2 fantasy points. There are certainly better options out there this week.