The game between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams is likely to feature plenty of offense — but it may well be one-sided. Fantasy managers who pick the right side are likely to be rewarded, but on the other side, it’s a lot murkier. There’s usually someone on the Giants’ offense worth at least a FLEX, but determining who that is comes down to a coin flip.
Who should you start for the championship (or the Toilet Bowl)?
- Matthew Stafford: The Rams have scored 32.4 points per game over their last five contests, and Stafford has been instrumental in that process, throwing 14 touchdowns and just one interception. Although he can turn back into a pumpkin with interceptions at any point — and the Giants seem to force many turnovers lately — Stafford’s track record right now makes him a must-start. The Giants are actually mediocre against passers this season in fantasy, ranking 16th in points per game allowed, but Stafford’s lowest output over the past five weeks is 18.5 points.
- Kyren Williams: Williams has rattled off five straight 14+ point performances, doing so both with a good yards per carry average and hitting the end zone. Last week, he put up 16.40 PPR points despite not registering a target. His multi-faceted ability makes him a weekly start. That the Giants rank 24th in PPR points allowed to running backs is the icing on the cake.
- Cooper Kupp: Kupp certainly hasn’t been the fantasy automatic he was last year, but he’s been drawing more targets lately after an ice-cold stretch. Playing the team ranked 28th against receivers should help.
- Puka Nacua: While Kupp isn’t Mr. Automatic, the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week is. Nacua faces that same Giants defense after posting nine receptions, 164 yards, and a score against the strong New Orleans defense, good for 33.00 PPR points. Start him.
On the fence
- Saquon Barkley: The Giants’ running back is always a risky start because of the team’s putrid run-blocking. Over his last six games, he’s alternated a dud with a solid performance. If you’re superstitious, stay away from Barkley after his 19.40-point PPR performance last week. More importantly, the Rams allowed the second-fewest PPR points per game to running backs, in large part because they don’t give up receptions or touchdowns.
- Demarcus Robinson: Robinson has come out of nowhere to score a touchdown in four consecutive games and put a stranglehold on the Rams’ WR3 spot. He caught six balls for 82 yards and a score against New Orleans. Robinson can also benefit from the Giants’ poor pass defense, but there may be only so many mouths to feed.
- Darren Waller: The Rams rank 26th in PPR points allowed to tight ends, but Waller has scored just 13.20 points in two games since coming off IR. Then again, Waller’s best games of the season came with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback.
- Darius Slayton: Slayton scored 18 PPR points last week in large part thanks to a 70-yard touchdown from Taylor. Since Taylor has the highest big-time throw rate (8.9%) among passers with at least 125 dropbacks, Slayton is one of the most likely beneficiaries of those throws. He’s certainly not reliable, but he’s a possibility for the desperate, even against a Rams defense that ranks 13th in PPR points allowed to receivers.
- Tyrod Taylor: Taylor can gain yards on the ground, but he’s never thrown for many yards through the air or scored touchdowns. All that makes for a lackluster fantasy play.
- Wan’Dale Robinson: Robinson actually had his second-best game of the season against Buffalo with Taylor at the helm, catching eight balls. Still, the Rams cover the short area of the field fairly well, which means Taylor is more likely to try to take some shots in this game.
- Jalin Hyatt: Hyatt could well take those big-time throws instead of Slayton, but there’s no reason to even take a flier on that.
- Daniel Bellinger: Bellinger scored 8.30 PPR points last week, which may not be much to write home about but is worth a look in some of the tight end-starved leagues. Still, it’s impossible to trust him despite the defense he’ll be playing against.
- Tyler Higbee: The Rams’ tight end had one big game in the last few weeks, but he’s been relegated to bit duty with all the receiving proficiency.
Around the NFL
- Patrick Mahomes is truly your run-of-the-mill fantasy quarterback at this point. He’s not bad, but he’s not likely to win you the championship. He goes up against a similar caliber defense, as Cincinnati ranks 18th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Don’t start Mahomes unless you’re desperate.
- Kyler Murray is coming off a strong performance against Chicago and now faces a juicy matchup against Philadelphia. The Eagles rank 29th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Murray struggled against the Steelers and 49ers before last week, but both teams rank in the top seven in fewest fantasy points allowed to passers. You can likely comfortably start Murray this week.
- This is a very unusual statement, but sit many of the Dolphins’ players this week, especially Tua Tagovailoa. The Ravens are the No. 1 defense against quarterbacks, the No. 3 against running backs, No. 10 against receivers, and No. 6 against tight ends. I wouldn’t say to sit Tyreek Hill, but the rest of the pack is at risk for a dud.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be the Chiefs’ starting running back with Isiah Pacheco down. He put up 20 PPR points against New England in his previous start. The Bengals rank 13th in PPR points allowed to running backs, but it’s worth trusting Edwards-Helaire as an RB2 or FLEX this week.
- Ezekiel Elliott takes over for the injured Rhamondre Stevenson and is a definite start. He’s been experiencing a target avalanche, especially last week when he had 11 targets, but he also had 19 in the three weeks prior. The Bills rank 17th in PPR points allowed to running backs. Ride the Zeke train in fantasy.
- Derrick Henry has been an excellent PPR option in three out of the past four weeks — but the lone exception was against Houston. Although the Texans rank 19th in PPR points allowed to running backs, Henry’s volatility throughout the season and his low snap share over the past four games make him hard to trust. Use him as a FLEX more than an RB2.
- Chris Olave and Nico Collins were both limited at Wednesday’s practice but have great matchups as their teams’ clear WR1. Olave faces Tampa’s 30th-ranked PPR defense against receivers, while Collins goes up against Tennessee’s 27th-ranked unit. C.J. Stroud is on track to return for Houston. Start both of these players.
- Jake Ferguson has seen eight targets in four straight games and put up at least 10 PPR points in three of them. Facing Detroit’s 25th-ranked PPR defense against tight ends, Ferguson may be worth a start due to the volatility at the tight end position. He’s been the second target in Dallas after CeeDee Lamb.
- The Jets face the Browns D/ST this week, but they’re a weekly start, anyway. The Jaguars D/ST faces Carolina this week, so they’re the start of the week.