Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger all have byes this week.
That’s unfortunate news if you own one of those stud quarterbacks in your season-long fantasy football league. But if you’re looking to scratch your fantasy football itch in another way, you came to the right place.
Below is our “optimal lineup” for DraftKings’ main Sunday slate (early afternoon and late afternoon games), which allots a $50,000 budget for a roster of nine players.
Quarterback: Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears ($5,600)
The New England Patriots have done a lot of things right over the last few weeks, but defending the pass isn’t one of them: They’ve allowed a whopping 717 passing yards and seven touchdowns over their last two games. The Bears finally are letting Trubisky air it out — 300-plus passing yards in two straight games — and that shouldn’t change Sunday in Chicago.
Running Backs: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys ($8,100); Sony Michel, New England Patriots ($5,500)
The Washington Redskins have a decent run defense, but that hasn’t stopped Elliott in the past. The Cowboys star has amassed 330 rushing yards in three career games against his NFC East rival with five touchdowns.
Michel also faces a stingy matchup on paper in the Bears’ run defense, but the “additions” of Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon really have opened up the Patriots’ run game, allowing the rookie to deliver big numbers in three consecutive weeks. Expect New England to continue feeding Michel.
Wide Receivers: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams ($7,000); John Brown, Baltimore Ravens ($5,700); Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers ($5,300)
Woods is locked in as the most dependable wide receiver on a loaded offense, and he should have no trouble exploiting a San Francisco 49ers secondary that allowed 100-yard efforts to two Green Bay Packers wide receivers last week.
The perfect cure for a wide receiver’s slump? The New Orleans Saints’ secondary, which despite playing decently well last week still is allowing the most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Expect Brown to take the top off this subpar defense.
Funchess has seen at least seven targets in four consecutive games and is Cam Newton’s clear No. 1 target, even with Greg Olsen back in the mix. He gets a beatable matchup in an inconsistent Philadelphia Eagles secondary, making him a nice bargain play.
Tight End: David Njoku, Cleveland Browns ($4,200)
The Saints’ defense is to wide receivers as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense is to tight ends. The Bucs are allowing an eye-opening 92.8 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends this season, while Njoku has increased his reception totals in three consecutive weeks.
Flex: Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers ($5,300)
Fun fact: Breida leads the NFL in yards per rushing attempt, with 6.8. So, while the matchup is bad on paper against a tough Rams front, he should get his touches at home in a divisional clash that may be closer than some expect.
Defense: Indianapolis Colts ($3,300)
Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman both are out for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, which means it’s Derek Anderson time in a road game vs. Indy. The Colts’ defense should be licking its chops.