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 (unless he's on bye). 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.
Burrow is coming off his best game of the season after throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He added 43 yards on the ground, which is a huge indication that his calf is healthy, and finished with 27.62 fantasy points. He has now thrown multiple passing touchdowns in three straight games. A fully healthy Burrow is a must-start QB and he looks fully healthy again. The Bills' defense also gave up more than 19 fantasy points each to Mac Jones and Baker Mayfield in the last two weeks. Burrow is a top option this week.
Prescott has topped 24 fantasy points in each of his last two games. In the first of those two outings, his production was enhanced by his rushing totals, which is why I was skeptical about starting him last week. My bad. He had his best game of the season, throwing for 304 yards and four touchdowns, while also running for 19 yards. Those four passing touchdowns matched his total from the prior four games combined. This week he will be throwing against the Eagles, who have been extremely stout against the run but have struggled against the pass. They have allowed the sixth-most passing yards and are tied for third-most passing touchdowns surrendered as well. They’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy PPG to QBs. Start Dak this week.
Stroud didn’t live up to expectations last week but he has a bounce-back opportunity against the Bucs. The Bucs have allowed the 10th-most fantasy PPG to QBs and are giving up 271 passing yards per game. Plus, they have allowed four rushing touchdowns to QBs, tied for the most in the league. Stroud scored his first rushing touchdown of the season last week and while he doesn’t run often, he does have the ability to make plays with his legs. He has also thrown multiple passing touchdowns in four of his last six games. Given the QBs that are on bye this week and the matchup, Stroud is a top-12 fantasy QB heading into Week 9.
Howell scored 31 fantasy points and was the fantasy QB1 last week. He threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns. Howell has scored at least 18 fantasy points in five of his last seven games. He has topped 21 points three times in that span, so there is clearly a high ceiling. The floor isn’t the safest, and there is some trepidation this week, given what a Bill Belichick-led defense can do to young quarterbacks. But given the numbers Howell has put up, paired with the fact that the Patriots' defense has not been great against the pass, Howell is certainly in play. He is a great replacement option for Jared Goff or Trevor Lawrence, who have a bye week.
IF YOU NEED A STREAMER ...
I have gone back and forth more than I want to admit about whether to include Levis as a streamer or a sit. You all know by now what he did against the Falcons in his first career start: 238 passing yards, four touchdowns and 26.6 fantasy points. Now he gets the Steelers, who run a lot more man coverage and generate pressure at a much higher rate than Atlanta. Last week, in an admittedly small sample, Levis threw all of his touchdowns against zone and completed just a third of his passes when under pressure. Still, given that there are multiple starting-caliber QBs on bye and a ton of injuries at the position, I'm including Levis as a streamer. He could fill in for Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff or Brock Purdy -- just understand that the floor is incredibly low, while the upside is clearly quite high. He is in play in two-QB leagues, as well, this week. If I didn’t use him as a streamer, I would have considered Mac Jones, who is also an option with a strong matchup against the Commanders this week.
Smith was a sit last week and was held to just 13.86 fantasy points. He has been held to fewer than 14 points in four straight games. Smith has only topped 16 fantasy points once this year, after averaging nearly 18 per game last season. The floor has been low and the ceiling is missing entirely for the Seattle signal-caller. I would get away this week against the Ravens, who have allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to QBs. They have allowed just six passing touchdowns and have given up a league-low 71.4 passer rating. Sit Smith this week.
Stafford was a sit last week and it’s time to double down. He's coming off his third straight game with fewer than 15 fantasy points. He has not reached 17 points in a single game. That’s simply unplayable for fantasy. Early on, he was at least piling up the yards, but he has thrown for 231 or fewer in four straight and has only one game with multiple passing touchdowns this season. His touchdown rate of 2.9 percent ranks 25th in the NFL. The Packers have been stingy, allowing the 10th-fewest fantasy PPG to QBs. And Stafford is now dealing with a thumb injury to boot. Just avoid him this week.
Love got off to a hot start this season but has since come back to earth. In his last four games, he has averaged just 13.1 fantasy PPG. He has not topped 250 passing yards in any of those games and has just four total passing touchdowns. He has thrown eight interceptions in his last five games, with at least one in every game. He's adding some value with his legs, but not enough to make up for the lack of volume in the passing attack. The Rams just gave up a bunch of production to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, which might tempt you to plug in Love if you need a QB this week. I would look elsewhere until he shows us he can sustain better numbers as a passer.
Mayfield is coming off one of his best games of the year. He threw for two touchdowns and scored more than 21 fantasy points against the Bills. However, if you’re considering Mayfield for a stream this week, I would avoid him. The Texans are an extremely stingy secondary. They have given up a league-low five passing touchdowns this season. Mayfield has been solid, but the floor is too low to trust him in this matchup.