Every Saturday morning, I'll take a quick look at all the week's games, offering my own brief take on what I think will happen, as well as touching on significant injury news since our Weekly came out. I'll check in over the course of the day to answer questions, too.
What follows is a brief look at all the games with how I'd react in my own lineups to injury developments or other news. The official rankings are the ones in the Weekly. Those take precedence. But sometimes players are very close, and in those cases I'm glad to offer opinions on how I'd approach those situations. Sometimes I like certain players more or less than Ian, and sometimes I have different risk tolerance with injuries etc.
Cowboys at Panthers: I consider this Tony Pollard's last chance. Not that I have him anywhere, I don't, but facing a defense that's struggled against the run all year long, this is where he has to have a good game. And I think he will. Dallas passing components also fine, last week showed that they can thrive even when they don't need to. For Carolina there's basically just Adam Thielen, I suppose some will use Chuba Hubbard too. Dallas hasn't been lights out against the run.
Steelers at Browns: Important game. Both are 6-3, neither is a particularly compelling playoff participant, one is almost certainly going, probably whoever wins this one. The running backs have appeal on both sides. Think I'm done starting George Pickens, and I'm wary of Amari Cooper with Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Low-scoring, defense-oriented, run-based battle. Not a lot of mystery; you start somebody here you're hoping they score, you know it's not going to be a shootout.
Bears at Lions: The Lions were originally my Survivor Pool pick. But then I looked ahead, which I never do, and realized if I pick the Lions this week I would have absolutely zero good options left for next week. (Lions home on Thanksgiving against the Packers, which also isn't a slam-dunk, but it's way better than any of the other options.) So I shifted off the Lions, but they were my first thought this week. As for the game, Justin Fields returns, I'd use him, and DJ Moore and Cole Kmet. The backfield is problematic, with D'Onta Foreman banged up and Khalil Herbert returning to an uncertain workload situation. And the Lions are a lot better against the run than the pass. So are the Bears, but I'm not sitting down Detroit's tandem, you'll note they're both ranked high.
Cardinals at Texans: Noah Brown questionable, but didn't practice all week, unlikely to play. Nico Collins returns, presumably fine, also Tank Dell. Devin Singletary, with Dameon Pierce out again, and of course C.J. Stroud against an iffy defense. For Arizona, Murray-Conner-Marquise-McBride. I mulled Houston as a Survivor pick, but not for too long.
Chargers at Packers: I think this game might be higher scoring. Neither defense has played great, Packers pretty banged up. Doesn't mean I trust the Packers receivers, since there are three or four who could reasonably be the top target, but overall production should be fine and I think Jordan Love is a viable streamer this week. Key Chargers starters too, including Quentin Johnston and maybe Donald Parham I think, given other injuries (Jalen Guyton apparently injured in practice, maybe OK but I'm not chancing him).
Titans at Jaguars: Jacksonville another team I mulled as a Survivor pick. They're home, they're coming off a bad loss to San Francisco, I think they'll bounce back. But they've also struggled against the pass, and for that matter Derrick Henry in recent meetings, so I ended up looking elsewhere. Starting DeAndre Hopkins, as mentioned earlier in the week. And probably Trevor Lawrence, disappointing though he's been. Etienne-Kirk-Engram, yes.
Raiders at Dolphins: I think reality sets in for the 5-5 Raiders here. Wins over the Jets and Giants the last two weeks, big whup. Dolphins should light them up, I'm starting all the key guys (including return Achane). Raiders will be playing catchup a lot so I'm good using Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs, for receiving production more than rushing. Dolphins should roll.
Giants at Commanders: So I went with the Commanders, as did most of my Survivor Pool. Picking against a team that seldom scores touchdowns is a decent strategy. I realize Washington's not that great either, and that they lost 14-7 at MetLife not too long ago. But their defense isn't good, they have minimal offensive weapons available, and even Saquon Barkley has to be thinking about the offseason and trying to stay healthy at this point, since he needs a new contract. Brian Robinson looks good. Little concerned about Washington's passing game since there are a lot of potential targets and the ground game should be working, but Dallas' was perfectly fine last week, so probably best to roll with them if you've got them.
Buccaneers at 49ers: In a league where I drafted Joe Burrow and Anthony Richardson as my quarterbacks, I will apparently be starting Baker Mayfield the rest of the way. Tampa's offense doesn't look great here, obviously, but Evans and Rachaad and Godwin are all kind of viable. And all key 49ers, as they will probably pick up where they left off last week.
N.Y. Jets at Bills: Must-win for both teams, I guess, with the Bills the more realistic playoff contenders. Obviously not a great matchup for Buffalo, but Allen-Cook-Diggs-Kincaid, I'll start them and take my chances. Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson usable against a defense that hasn't been great of late, granted their quarterback is Zach Wilson so overall offensive output will be poor.
Seahawks at L.A. Rams: Matthew Stafford returns, I'm using the key passing game components. Also key Seahawks, Rams D has been soft. Not much interest in the Rams' committee backfield. In contrast to the crowded AFC, Seattle at 6-3 has like a two-game lead for the final playoff spot in the conference, kind of crazy.
Vikings at Broncos: I was going to say, flex scheduling anyone? But in fairness most of the other games they could have switched in here are also unenticing. At least we've got the Joshua Dobbs storyline and the Broncos crawling back into playoff contention, sort of, after making one fewer mistake to lose the Monday game than Buffalo did. Neither defense is playing as poorly now as they did earlier in the year, but I don't think either defense is a shy away one either. Seems like Alexander Mattison will probably clear the concussion protocol, making Ty Chandler unusable. I like Javonte Williams and would probably use Courtland Sutton too. Justin Jefferson...I have him in a league. I'm also hoping he's left inactive (we should find out today) for one more week, since I'm nervous about how they'll bring him back or not. If he's active and playing, I think like his "current" ranking more than his "if active" one. Tricky situation, and I'm concerned about limited snaps. Might all be moot, but I don't think he's sure-fire starter if you have other good options.
Eagles at Kansas City: Super Bowl rematch on Monday night. Eagles have been weak against the pass, so it's a big thumbs up for me for Mahomes and Kelce (this should be obvious, but there have been some complaints about both lately). Rashee Rice a good matchup, a fine week to use him if you've got him. Kansas City defense has been impressive but I'll be using the key Eagles wideouts, Swift, and obviously Hurts too. It's a week to consider sitting down Isiah Pacheco, with the Eagles having played the run very well; maybe Jerick McKinnon gets a little more run. Should be a fun game.
Enjoy the games.