Start/sit questions are never as black and white as start/sit articles make them out to be, but below I have some players I am eagerly hoping to start and some I'd rather not. Be sure to check out my Matchup Machine post, which will help you visualize how well defenses defend each position for fantasy when delving into your lineup decisions.
Quarterbacks Start Matt Ryan, Falcons versus Tampa Bay
Ryan didn't show up well in Pittsburgh last week, but he gets a great chance to get right back on the horse, a horse made of fantasy points. The Buccaneers went into Chicago before their bye and gave up six touchdown passes to Mitch Trubisky, who hadn't been playing all that well until getting to face the sieve pass defense the Buccaneers provided. On the season, Tampa Bay allows 370 yards, 3.3 touchdowns, 9.4 yards per attempt and the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. You aren't going to find a better matchup this week and there are some good matchups for quarterbacks.
Jameis Winston, Bucs at Atlanta
Winston isn't a slam-dunk in any matchup, but this matchup is about as close as it gets. With Matt Ryan and company likely throwing all over Winston's team, he'll be forced to throw the ball as well, and the Falcons pass defense is almost as bad as Tampa Bay's. So far, Atlanta has allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, with Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger all throwing for three touchdowns each. And the last time Winston played the Falcons was in Week 15, when he threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns, and that Falcons defense was better than the one they're sporting right now.
Sit Marcus Mariota, Titans versus Baltimore
The Ravens have allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards, the fewest yards per attempts, and the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks so far, and Mariota again looked out of sorts last week against the Bills. Mariota has upside, especially when he's running, but this isn't the spot to hope for a bounceback game.
Running Backs Start James White, Patriots versus Kansas City
Sony Michel has been limited in practice this week, and if he were to sit out, White would easily be a top-5 PPR back against Kansas City, but even if Michel is a full-go, this game sets up well for White. The highest over/under of the season is set for this Kansas City/New England game, and there's no-doubt that points will be scored. Patrick Mahomes has shown tremendous ability, even in his last two games where he didn't throw for multiple touchdowns. This Patriots defense should be easier to deal with, and there's a good chance the Patriots won't be able to run the ball as much as they have the last two games, which means White will be heavily used as a receiver.
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers versus Washington
McCaffrey continues to get great usage, as he's averaged 22.5 touches per game, which puts him as the fourth-best running back in usage so far this season. Washington ranks 30th in DVOA against the run and just gave up two rushing touchdowns to Mark Ingram. The Redskins also haven't faced a running back who has had over 18 touches against them, which we know McCaffrey will.
Sit Kenyan Drake, Dolphins versus Chicago
Drake is a good running back and deserves more work, but he's still splitting time with Frank Gore, and this week, they get a tough matchup with the Bears, who have allowed a league-low 2.9 yards per carry, 51.3 rushing yards per game, and 22.3 receiving yards per game to running backs. Really just about any Chicago defensive stat to do with running backs is the best in the league.
Derrick Henry, Titans versus Baltimore
The Ravens have allowed 3.7 yards per rushing attempt and just one rushing touchdown, while Henry hasn't topped 57 total yards or a touchdown all season. He'll need an extremely easy matchup, plus the team's offense as a whole playing well, before he puts up the numbers we'd like from him.
Wide Receivers Start Tyler Lockett, Seahawks at Oakland
The Seahawks want to run, and that has dampened the passing numbers across the board for them, but Lockett has remained a strong play, having scored a touchdown in four of his five games played. Oakland has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points and the most yards per reception with 15.8. Lockett is best with the long pass, and that's what the Raiders are worst at.
Julio Jones, Falcons versus Tampa Bay
Jones is an obvious start each week, but this is a perfect week for him to break out of his touchdown slump, as the Buccaneers are the worst pass defense in the league and he has put up strong numbers against them in his career. Four out of Julio Jones' last nine touchdowns have come against Tampa Bay, and he also has three two-touchdown games against them for his career.
Sit Corey Davis, Titans versus Baltimore
Baltimore had a top-end pass defense before Jimmy Smith returned, and he should now be fully back and ready to roll. Davis is Tennessee'a No. 1 target, so he should get his opportunities, but his upside takes a major hit this week.
Allen Robinson, Bears at Miami
Robinson will likely get a good dose of Xavier Howard covering him, and the Dolphins' pass defense has been good overall this season. If Mitch Trubisky can build off his huge game before the bye, Robinson could beat the tough matchup, but I expect there will still be growing pains for the young quarterback.
Tight Ends Start Austin Hooper, Falcons versus Tampa Bay
Hooper isn't going to be the next Gronkowski, but we saw last week that he could take advantage of a weak defense like Pittsburg. This week, Hooper faces another defense that gives up meaningful stats to the tight end position, as Tampa Bay allows the most fantasy points and receiving yards per game to tight ends.
Jordan Reed, Redskins versus Carolina
The Panthers have allowed an 80 percent completion rate to tight ends so far, and strong games to every decent tight end they've faced. Reed is coming off a down game, and the Redskins will likely try to get him more involved as well.