- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Dolphins at Texans
- (Bales) Line: HOU -7.5 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill has already been ruled
out of this game, opening the door for another Brock Osweiler
start. In two starts, Osweiler is averaging 309.5 passing yards
and 2.5 passing touchdowns on 37.5 pass attempts. He gets a matchup
against the Houston Texans, who are only allowing 238 passing
yards per game, but have allowed 14 passing touchdowns this season.
The Dolphins are sizeable underdogs, meaning Osweiler could be
forced to throw the ball 30+ times in this matchup.
Who exactly is he going to throw to? Albert Wilson has been placed
on the injured reserve, while Kenny Stills (groin) has been ruled
out. Danny Amendola will likely be their lead receiver this week,
while Jakeem Grant and DeVante Parker both come with tremendous
upside. Amendola has totaled 14 receptions for 143 yards and one
touchdown in two games with Osweiler, and he will likely be featured
early and often. Parker is more of a big, red zone threat, while
Grant is an explosive, big play waiting to happen. Tight end Mike
Gesicki and the running backs could also contribute more in the
passing game this week, although Gesicki hasn’t shown enough
(just 12 catches) to be trusted yet.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore have been
splitting touches this season, with Drake averaging 11.9 touches,
while Gore is averaging 11.0 touches per game. Gore has flashed
upside, but his lack of receiving makes Drake the better option,
especially in PPR leagues. Drake has also been heating up recently,
as he’s averaging 18.0 fantasy points over his last three
games. Still, Houston is allowing only 92.1 rushing yards per
game, while allowing only one rushing touchdown. They’re
also allowing one of the lowest yards per carry averages in the
NFL this season at 3.4 YPC.
Game Thoughts: The Dolphins have struggled at times against
the pass allowing 269 yards per game. With that being said, they
have only allowed 11 passing touchdowns, while recording 11 interceptions.
Deshaun Watson has had plenty of ups and downs this season, but
he’s averaging 276.7 passing yards and 1.4 passing touchdowns
per game. He’s also averaging 30.9 rushing yards with one
rushing touchdown this season.
DeAndre Hopkins has been the top receiving option for Houston,
averaging 6.7 receptions for 101.0 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on
10.1 targets per game. He also has 100 yards or one touchdown
in each of his last four contests. With Keke Coutee (hamstring)
ruled out, Will Fuller should resume a major role in the offense.
In three games with Coutee injured, Fuller is averaging a 6.3
/ 94.0 / 0.7 line on 9.3 targets.The However, the Texans will
likely spend a good chunk of this game running out the clock,
limiting opportunities for others in this passing game. Tight
end Ryan Griffin (illness) has been ruled out, leaving Jordan
Akins as a desperation play at the position.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: Lamar Miller is the featured back in this
offense and this is a matchup he can take advantage of. Miami
is allowing 136.7 rushing yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry
this season. They have also allowed six rushing touchdowns. Miller
is averaging 17.7 touches per game, and he’s coming off
of his best game of the season where he notched 100 rushing yards
on 22 carries. His work in the passing game is limited with 6
targets in his last two games but he should see positive game
script, adding to his value.
Game Thoughts: The Eagles have found some success through
the air recently, but this is a tough matchup. The Jaguars are
allowing a league-low 180 passing yards per game. They have also
allowed a league-low six passing touchdowns this season. Carson
Wentz has found plenty of success since returning from injury,
as he’s averaging 300.4 passing yards and 2.0 passing touchdowns
per game. With that being said, this simply is a matchup to avoid
for fantasy, as Jacksonville has been able to shut down the majority
of their opposing quarterbacks, allowing the second fewest fantasy
points to the position.
Alshon Jeffery is the only receiver for Philadelphia that should
be considered, as he continues to see a ton of volume each week.
Through four games, he’s averaging 6.3 receptions for 76.5
yards and 1.0 touchdown on 9.8 targets per game. Nelson Agholor
is a secondary option in the offense, but he has scored single
digit fantasy points in four of his last five games. Zach Ertz
is an elite option that needs to be considered in the Eagles receiving
group. He’s essentially a receiver labeled as a tight end.
On the season, he’s averaging an 8.1 / 88.3 / 0.3 line on
11.1 targets per game. While this is an awful matchup, Jeffery
and Ertz do come with some upside because of their expected volume.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Darren Sproles is out again, leaving Wendell
Smallwood and Corey Clement to split carries. They get a solid
matchup against Jacksonville, who is allowing 121.9 rush yards
per game this season. They have also allowed six rushing touchdowns.
Of the duo, Clement makes more sense, as he has seen a bigger
role than Smallwood in previous games. This may be another situation
to avoid, though.
Game Thoughts: This is a great matchup for Blake Bortles
and the Jaguars, as the Eagles are allowing 270 passing yards
per game this season. They have only allowed 10 passing touchdowns,
which is a bit of a concern. While this is a great matchup for
Bortles, he’s a player to avoid. He was benched last week,
and while he will start this game, it has been announced that
he’s on a short leash. He comes with too much risk for his
The Jags receivers are one of the most difficult to predict in
the NFL. Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief, and Keelan Cole are all
splitting targets. Westbrook continues to make the most consistent
option of the trio, while Moncrief and Cole simply possess upside.
The Eagles tend to give up big plays to receivers, and Moncrief
makes the best option of the trio this week. This isn’t
an elite situation to take advantage of, especially with this
game only featuring a 42.5 point total, and Jacksonville featuring
an implied total under 20 points.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette is out again this week
meaning, T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde will take over the snaps
at running back. Yeldon has looked outstanding when given the
start, but Jacksonville traded for Hyde for a reason. These two
will likely steal snaps from each other, and Philadelphia is allowing
only 85.7 rushing yards per game while allowing only four rushing
touchdowns this season. Not a good situation for fantasy production.
At this point, Yeldon is a slightly better option, as he’ll
be used more in the passing game, but this isn’t a week
to utilize the Jaguars backfield.
Ravens at Panthers
- (Bales) Line: BAL -2.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: Joe Flacco has quietly been enjoying a
solid season, as he’s averaging 295.3 passing yards and
1.6 passing touchdowns on 43.3 pass attempts per game. He gets
a decent matchup against the Panthers, who are allowing 260 passing
yards per game while allowing only 11 passing touchdowns this
season. This game could see more scoring than the projected total
of 44 points, meaning Flacco could find the end zone at a higher
rate this week.
John Brown has been the top receiving option for the Ravens this
season. While he’s only averaging 4.0 receptions, he has
turned those into 79.7 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game. Michael
Crabtree is another top option, as he has scored double digit
fantasy points in each of his last three games, totaling 17 receptions
for 225 yards and one touchdown. Willie Snead is the third receiving
option for Baltimore, as he’s seeing 7.1 targets per game
this season. Each of these receivers can be considered, but Brown’s
air yards make him the best option of the trio.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: Carolina has found success against the
run, only allowing 95.0 rushing yards per game. Furthermore, they
have only allowed four rushing touchdowns in 2018. Alex Collins
has somewhat taken over the Ravens backfield, but he’s still
losing some work to Javorius Allen. Allen can completely be avoided,
while Collins comes with some potential value but this is a terrible
matchup and attacking the Baltimore passing game is a significantly
Game Thoughts: Cam Newton continues to make one of the
best fantasy options at quarterback. He’s only averaging
237.8 passing yards and 1.8 passing touchdowns but he’s
averaging 42.8 yards and 0.5 touchdowns on the ground. Newton
does get a terrible matchup against the Ravens, who are allowing
only 190 passing yards per game this season. Baltimore has allowed
only eight passing touchdowns but Newton doesn’t need to
rely solely on his passing to score fantasy points.
Devin Funchess is the only receiver that should be considered
for Carolina. He’s expected to be shadowed by Brandon Carr,
who has been an above average cornerback season. Funchess has
scored double digit fantasy points in four of his last five games,
while scoring touchdowns in three of his last four. Greg Olsen
is the only other player in the passing attack that should be
considered, but he’s still dealing with his foot issue.
This game should stay close throughout, but Olsen is a player
that should be avoided until he proves that he’s fully healthy.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Christian McCaffrey is a safe option,
especially in PPR formats, but he has seen somewhat of a limited
workload recently. He has totaled 15 carries over his last two
games, but he also owns 13 receptions in those games. Baltimore
is only allowing 90.1 rushing yards per game this season, and
they have held their opponents to only three rushing touchdowns.
McCaffrey is somewhat of a matchup proof player, but Baltimore
has performed well against running backs in the passing game.
McCaffrey can be used, but expectations should be tempered.
@ Bears - (Swanson) Line: CHI -8.0 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: Through the first seven games of the NFL
season it appears to be clear that the Jets made the right decision
on drafting Sam Darnold with the third pick of the 2018 NFL draft.
The former USC star continues to impress with a strong, accurate
arm, above average mobility, and the ability to make throws on
the run and be a leader of the offense. It is also apparent that
it will take the team a while to become relevant in both the AFC
East race and for fantasy purposes, as Darnold continues to make
mistakes typical of rookie quarterbacks and the Jets have very
few skill position players worthy of fantasy consideration.
Darnold ranks 31st at the position with 18.2 fantasy points per
game. He’s completed 124 of 221 pass attempts for 1552 yards,
with ten touchdowns and ten interceptions. Although he has more
passing touchdowns than Alex Smith, Eli Manning, Blake Bortles,
and Marcus Mariota, his ten interceptions on the year are the
most in the league.
To make matters worse, the Jets have been hit with many injuries
at the wide receiver and running back positions. Favorite slot
wide receiver Quincy Enunwa suffered a high-ankle sprain that
will force him to miss multiple weeks and top receiving running
back Bilal Powell sustained a season-ending neck injury.
Darnold faces arguably his most challenging task to date with
a road matchup this week against a Bears team that ranks 12th
in total defense. Chicago is tied for seventh in sacks with 19
and they lead the league with 11 interceptions. The front seven
of the Bears, led by all-pro Khalil Mack, put constant pressure
on opposing quarterbacks that often leads to rushed throws over
the middle and interceptions.
When given enough protection, opposing quarterbacks have been
able to put up points against the Chicago secondary as evident
to the fact that the Bears have given up the eighth-most fantasy
points to QBs through seven weeks. The blueprint for victory this
season against the Bears is to beat them in the air and not on
the ground, but the Jets are a run-first team, and Darnold has
been sacked 16 times - not exactly the team built to beat the
Bears on the road like New England did last week,
From a fantasy perspective, there are no players worthy of a
start in the passing game besides Robby Anderson, and he is more
of a high-risk, high-reward play. The injury to Powell will give
Isaiah Crowell more value in both the running and passing game,
but it would be wise to avoid all receiving options on the Jets
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: It may surprise some readers to learn
that Isaiah Crowell is tied with Mark Ingram, Sony Michel, and
Tarik Cohen for average fantasy points scored this season. The
former Brown has averaged more fantasy points than fan-favorites
Phillip Lindsay, Alex Collins, Austin Ekeler, and Kerryon Johnson,
and he has the same number of rushing touchdowns (5) as Saquon
Barkley, Kareem Hunt, and David Johnson.
The reason why Crowell has yet to garner much respect by fantasy
owners and analysts in the community the fact that he is the epitome
of boom-bust, with three games of at least two touchdowns and
200 yards mixed in with four sub-six point duds. Starting Crow
has been an exercise in patience and faith, especially over the
past two weeks in which he averaged less than three yards a carry.
Although the injury to Powell will no doubt give Crowell more
value this year based on volume, expecting a big game this week
may be a bad assumption. The possibility of a negative game script
fueled by a Chicago blowout could limit the number of rushing
attempts for Crowell, and the Bears allow the seventh-fewest points
to opposing running backs while not allowing a single rushing
touchdown this year.
Game Thoughts: Mitchell Trubisky ranks second in average
fantasy points per game behind only leading MVP candidate Patrick
Mahomes. The second-year quarterback has been on fire in October
with three straight games of over 32 fantasy points, including
a 47-point breakout performance against the Bucs in which he threw
for a career-high six touchdowns.
It may not be pretty, and he will often follow up a beautiful
pass with a questionable, head-scratching decision. But at the
end of the game, Trubisky continues to put up fantasy points and
should be in lineups this week at home against the Jets.
Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, Andrew Luck, and Kirk Cousins have
each posted strong performances in the last for games against
a Jets defense that ranks 14th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
Three of the four QBs threw for over 300 yards, including a season-high
388 from Bortles in Week 4.
To make things even more attractive for Trubisky and the Bears
passing attack, starting cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Trumaine
Johnson are banged up and could be out on Sunday, making an already
subpar secondary even more susceptible to the big play.
Nickle corner Buster Skrine managed to get in limited practice
on Wednesday and could return to action, but even when healthy
he has been very poor in the slot. Look for Trubisky to target
Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton in the middle against Skrine or
rookie backup Parry Nickerson.
The Bears are dealing with significant injuries of their own.
No.1 WR Allen Robinson has been limited with a groin injury, and
starting guard Eric Kush missed Wednesday’s practice with
a neck injury.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: Jordan Howard reached the end zone for
the second time this season last week against the Patriots as
part of an otherwise pedestrian 12/39 day. It was the first time
in three weeks in which Howard scored double figures in fantasy
points, but his volume and snap percentage continue to stay well
below what many anticipated this season.
Howard’s backfield mate, Tarik Cohen, continues to be the
running back to own in Chicago after a third consecutive week
with a touchdown and at least 80 total yards. Cohen’s skill
set fits well with what head coach Matt Nagy likes to do on offense,
and his value in the passing game has earned him more touches.
The Jets rank near the middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed
to running backs and wide receivers, but injuries to their starting
cornerbacks will give the Bears a solid opportunity to build a
big lead in the passing game. Look for Cohen to be active early
in the game with Howard hopefully getting more work in the second
half to close out the game. I anticipate a positive game script
for Howard created by turnovers and short fields from the Chicago
It has been tough for Howard owners to put their second or third
round pick in their lineup only to watch Cohen dominate in fantasy
points. If there were ever a week for that script to reverse,
it would be this week against a Jet team that just allowed 69
yards and two rushing touchdowns to Latavius Murray and the Vikings.
Game Thoughts: Jameis Winston has been a fantasy stud
since taking over the starting quarterback position from Ryan
Fitzpatrick in Week 4 against the Bears. Winston has taken advantage
of plus-matchups against the Falcons and Browns, throwing for
760 yards and five total touchdowns in his last two games. It
isn’t pretty, and Winston often makes terrible decisions
with the ball and takes too many sacks. But for fantasy purposes,
he ranks fifth in average points scored at the position and should
do well again this week against a Bengals defense that allows
the fifth-most points to QBs.
Six out of seven opposing quarterbacks have reached at least
20 fantasy points in their respective games against the Bengals,
and four of those six quarterbacks have thrown for at least 300
yards. Simply put, there is a reason why Vegas sharps have this
game at an over/under of 53.5 points - both teams allow a ton
of points and both teams have offenses primed to score.
The Bucs boast a wide receiving corps that ranks first in the
league in fantasy points per game (38.7). Mike Evans leads the
team with 591 yards and three touchdowns on 40 catches, while
veteran speedster DeSean Jackson is close behind with 526 yards
and three touchdowns of his own on just 23 receptions. Jackson
came out of the gates white hot with Ryan Fitzpatrick slinging
the ball deep but has cooled off as of late, with three games
of less than 10 fantasy points out of his last four.
Second-year wideout Chris Godwin leads the group with four reaching
touchdowns, giving fantasy owners an excellent floor of double-digit
fantasy points in four of his six games. In addition to leading
the team in receiving touchdowns, Godwin is the favorite red zone
target for Winston outside of his tight end tandem of O.J. Howard
and Cameron Brate.
All skill position players on the Bucs are strong starts in this
matchup, especially Mike Evans going against cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick
and William Jackson. Six No.1 wide receivers have either scored
a touchdown or posted 125 yards this season against the Bengal
secondary, including Tyreek Hill last week on Sunday Night Football.
To make things even more advantageous for the Bucs passing attack,
starting linebacker Nick Vigil and Vontaze Burfict are questionable
with knee and hip ailments while starting nickel defensive back
Darqueze Dennard is doubtful with a shoulder injury.
A matchup to watch in this game is Jackson lined up in the slot
against Tony McRae, or whoever fills in for Dennard. Look for
the Bucs to test the nickel slot on a couple of deep post and
nine routes from the slot, making Jackson an attractive play this
week as a boom/bust & DFS start.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Back Thoughts: Starting running back Peyton Barber is
questionable with an ankle injury. He did practice on a limited
basis Thursday but his status needs to be monitored by fantasy
owners. The Bucs would likely use the tandem of Ronald Jones and
Jacquizz Rodgers to carry the load if Barber misses, with the
former working as the first and second down ball carrier and the
later working in on passing and third downs.
Perhaps this will be the coming out part for Jones apologists
who believe in the talent of the former USC Trojan star. Although
the second round pick ranks 64th in fantasy points and he is a
reason why the Bucs average a league-worst 79 yard for scrimmage
per game, the Bengals allow the fifth-most points to opposing
running backs and the defense will likely be without two starting
James Conner and Christian McCaffrey each rushed for over 100
yards against Cincy, and six players have scored at least ten
points, including Kareem Hunt and his massive 32.1 point game
last week at Arrowhead. Expecting a similar level of production
from Barber or Jones is likely unwise, but one could argue that
this is Jones’ best chance to show that Tampa did not make
a mistake when they drafted him in April.
Game Thoughts: The luster on the Red Rifle is nowhere
near as shiny after Andy Dalton came crashing back down to Earth.
In his first four games, Dalton was a fantasy darling with 11
passing touchdowns and two games of at least 335 passing yards.
Owners who used a late round flyer on Dalton were riding the wave
on what appeared to be a late-round steal.
With four games of at least 21 fantasy points already on the
board for Dalton and a matchup at home against the Steelers and
a road game against the Chiefs on the slate, it appeared as though
Dalton was poised to be a fantasy stud over the first half of
the season. But instead of capitalizing on choice matchups against
two teams who rank in the top four in fantasy points allowed,
Dalton reverted to his old self and looked awful on primetime
as the Chiefs beat up on the Bengals.
Have no fear Dalton owners, when the Chiefs and the Steelers
were purging points to opposing defenses all season long, the
Bucs said "hold my beer" and proved to the league that
nobody gives up fantasy points like the woeful Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Not only do Bucs allow the most points to opposing quarterbacks,
but they also give up the most points to tight ends and the fifth-most
to wide receivers.
To add insult to injury, the Bucs lost two key starting defenders
last week to injury, including stud middle linebacker Kwan Alexander
to an ACL tear. An already terrible defense lost arguably the
best coverage player in their secondary and linebacking corps.
To make it simple for fantasy owners, all skill position players
on the Bengals are excellent plays this week in what should be
a high-scoring game. A.J. Green is a no-brainer, and Tyler Boyd
owners frustrated by a lack of production last week will be much
happier on Sunday when Boyd runs free in the Tampa Bay secondary.
The Alexander injury makes C.J. Uzomah an even better start.
Set the UZI on full automatic and reap the benefits of playing
against a decimated defense that has allowed a receiving touchdown
to a tight end in each of the last four games.
The Bengals will be without speedy wide receiver John Ross due
to a hamstring injury.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: I have no clever puns to describe the
value of Mixon this week against the Bucs, other than the fact
that Mixon is fix’in to be a beast at Paul Brown Stadium.
With 386 rushing yards, 100 receiving yards, and three total touchdowns
on the year, Mixon’s 13.3 fantasy points per game ranks
10th among qualified running backs. Although he has yet to rush
for 100 yards, Mixon scored a touchdown in three of his five games
played and is averaging a respectable 4.6 yards per carry.
For as bad of a defense as the Bucs have been this year they
possess a strong run defense - or at least they did before injuries
to Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander. Alvin Kamara, James Conner,
Jordan Howard, and Tevin Coleman each struggled to run the ball
against Tampa Bay, and the Bucs have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher
on the year. But with Alexander out and McCoy a stretch to play,
the middle of the Tampa defense will not be as strong against
the run going forward.
Even if Mixon is unable to produce much on the ground, his value
as a receiver out of the backfield mixed with the fact that Tampa
has been torched by receiving backs gives Mixon a high floor for
fantasy owners this week.
Seahawks @ Lions
- (Swanson) Line: DET -3.0 Total: 49.0
Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners who drafted Russell Wilson
as a top-5 quarterback this summer are kicking themselves at the
midway point of the season with Wilson currently ranked as the
No.22 QB in fantasy points per game. Although Wilson is on pace
to tie his career-best of 34 passing touchdowns, he is no longer
running anywhere near the clip that made him a valuable asset
in years past. Wilson has yet to score a rushing touchdown, and
he is on pace to rush for a party 165 yards on 45 carries.
The Seahawks clearly want to protect Wilson from injury by limiting
his pass and rushing attempts with a run-heavy offensive approach.
Seattle ranks second behind the Rams in rushing attempts per game
and ranks dead last in passing attempts at 27.5 throws a week.
The offensive philosophy used by first-year offensive coordinator
Brian Schottenheimer not only has heavily negated the value of
Wilson, but it has also torpedoed the value of fellow early round
pick Doug Baldwin. A consensus top-36 pick by most experts, Baldwin
has yet to score a touchdown or catch more than six passes in
The lone bright spot in the offense and the primary beneficiary
of deep passes off play action is Tyler Lockett. The oft-injured,
speedy deep threat has five receiving touchdowns in six games
and has been one of the most consistent fantasy wideouts over
the first seven weeks.
The Lions enter the game allowing the 10th-fewest points to opposing
quarterbacks, with only Aaron Rodgers managing to throw for three
or more touchdowns and 300 yards against Matt Patricia’s
defense. Cornerback Darius Slay continues to do a solid job limiting
the No.1 WR on the opposing team, while safeties Quandre Diggs
and Glover Quin have not allowed big shots down the field outside
of the Green Bay game.
An interesting matchup to watch will be Lockett on deep play-action
passes against Slay and Quin. The Seahawks will continue to use
their run-first approach against a Lions team that allows the
fourth most yards and fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Schottenheimer will attempt the lure the safeties closer to the
box with a methodical ground attack with the hope of catching
the secondary asleep on play action.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: The paradox of the Seattle offense is
the fact that although Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer run
the ball the second most of any team in the NFL, no Seahawk running
back ranks in the top 30 at the position. Chris Carson leads the
team in rushing yards and attempts, with a respectable 352 yards
on 78 carries for a 4.5 YPC average. Mike Davis filled in admirably
when Carson was banged Week 4 with 101 yards and two touchdowns
against the woeful Arizona run defense. And first-round pick Rashaad
Penny, who many thought would be the bell cow this season after
the Seahawks traded up in the first round to grab the former San
Diego State Aztec, has the appearance of being a bust with 135
yards on 38 carries.
Guessing how the carries will be disbursed between the running
backs in Seattle is often an exercise in futility, as the happy
face, gum chewing Carroll is almost impossible to predict. Just
when we think that Carson is going to be a solid fantasy option,
Penny is used in the second half against the Raiders to close
out the game.
It is a shame that Carson is not more of a sure thing for bell
cow carries in what has the makings of an excellent matchup against
a Lions defense that allows the fourth-most points to opposing
running backs. Five running backs in six weeks reached double-digit
fantasy points against the Lions, including Ezekiel Elliott in
Week 4 with over 200 total yards and one receiving touchdown for
30 fantasy points.
The Lions made a big step in the right direction to help fix
their run defense woes with the trade for defensive lineman Damon
“snacks” Harrison from the Giants. According to Athlon
Sports, Harrison is the sixth-best DL in run defense, giving the
Lions a much-needed anchor in the middle of the defensive line.
Game Thoughts: Winners of three of their last four games,
the Lions and Matthew Stafford continue to evolve into something
that Detroit fans have not seen since the days of Barry Sanders:
a run-heavy team that no longer needs Stafford to throw the ball
50 times to win.
For the first time in his career, Stafford threw 30 or fewer
passes in his last three games, including a season-low 22 attempts
in last week’s 32-21 win on the road against the Dolphins.
With Kerryon Johnson providing a viable ground game, Stafford
is throwing the ball less and completing a higher percentage of
his passes. The former No.1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft
topped the 80% completion plateau against both Dallas and Miami
this season, an impressive feat for a QB with a career rate of
Although Stafford and the Lions are playing great real-life football,
a QB who throws the ball fewer than 30 times in a game and averages
just two passing touchdowns in not exactly a coveted fantasy asset.
Through the midway point of the fantasy regular season, Stafford’s
22 points per game average places him as QB19, behind Andy Dalton,
and C.J. Beathard. On a positive note, he does provide an excellent
floor with no game below 17 fantasy points.
Marvin Jones continues to be one of the biggest disappointment
for fantasy owners at the wide receiver position as the WR47 with
19 catches for 270 yards and three touchdowns. The emergence of
Kenny Golladay and the decline in passing volume in the offense
has relegated Jones to seven total catches for 133 yards and one
touchdown in his last three games. If not for a one catch, eight-yard
and one touchdown game against Green Bay in Week 5, Jones would
have given fantasy owners just over 10 total points since Week
The Seahawks enter Week 8 allowing the third-fewest fantasy points
per game to opposing quarterbacks. But don’t mistake this
team for the Legion of Boom from year’s past, as the Seahawks
have played against some of the worst quarterbacks in the league.
Any team with a resume filled with matchups against Dak Prescott,
Derek Carr, Josh Rosen, and Case Keenum would have artificially
inflated stats. Expecting a similar baseline of 250 yards and
two touchdowns from Stafford this week is well within the realm
of expectations, especially if the Lions succeed in moving the
ball on the ground and creating play-action opportunities.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: The Detroit Lions went over four years
and 70 games without a running back rushing for 100 yards in a
game before Kerryon Johnson rushed for 101 yards on 16 carries
in Week 3 against New England. The rookie second-round pick from
Auburn followed up that impressive performance with 158 yards
on a season-high 19 carries last week against Miami.
Johnson’s 6.4 yard-per-carry average is second in the league
among qualified running backs behind Matt Breida of the 49ers,
and his 444 yards over the first six games of the season has the
rookie on pace to be the first 1000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush
in 2013. Unfortunately for Johnson owners, Matt Patricia and the
Detroit coaching cadre continue to view LeGarrette Blount as the
goal line and short yardage back, which limit’s Johnson’s
overall fantasy value.
Johnson will look to build on his monster game against the Lions
this week against Seattle, a team that ranks 18th in fantasy points
allowed to running backs. Four running backs posted at least 13
fantasy points against Seattle this season, including Todd Gurley’s
29-point, three-touchdown game in Week 5. But if you take a closer
look at who the Seahawks have faced this season, it is pretty
impressive that they rank 18th overall against the rush, as Seattle
has faced off against Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, and David Johnson
- three of the four top consensus picks in fantasy drafts.
Third down and pass catching back Theo Riddick continues to be
limited with a knee injury and will likely miss the game against
Seattle. If Riddick is out, Johnson would be the beneficiary and
will see more passes out of the backfield, further increasing
his value, especially in PPR leagues.
Broncos at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -10.0 Total: 53.5
Game Thoughts: The Denver passing game continues to be
very hit-or-miss and it’s often not very predictable. There
have been some excellent on-paper matchups this season that they’ve
failed to exploit while other matchups that looked daunting -
such as against the Seahawks back in Week 1 - where Keenum and
the Denver passing game put up some nice fantasy numbers. This
past week the Broncos were simply in too dominating of a game
script to need to pass much. Keenum attempted just 21 passes -
by far his fewest of the season - as the Broncos crushed the Cardinals
by 35 points. This week, however, the game script should work
in the favor of Keenum and the other members of this passing attack.
The Broncos will face the Chiefs, who they kept up with at home
when these teams met back in Week 4, but who are capable of putting
up some monster point totals on the board. This week they head
to Kansas City where the Chiefs are a 10-point favorite, which
should presumably mean more pass attempts for Keenum than the
33 he threw against the Chiefs in the previous matchup. The Broncos’
trio of wide receivers - Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and
Courtland Sutton were all held out of the end zone and to fewer
than 60 yards in the previous matchup, but there’s plenty
of hope for more, especially for Sanders who has gone over 100
yards with a touchdown in each of the Broncos’ past two
games. Thomas hasn’t been quite so productive, but he also
has over 200 total receiving yards over his past three games,
including a pair of touchdowns over that stretch as well. Sutton
is still a stash-and-watch type of player at the moment who should
be on fantasy benches, but he does have touchdown potential in
this matchup against a bad Kansas City pass defense.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: The Broncos’ running game has become
a bit more predictable with rookie Royce Freeman expected to miss
this week’s game, which should lead to more touches for
running backs Phillip Lindsay and Devontae Booker. The trio had
been roughly splitting snaps and touches evenly and it’s
now looking increasingly likely that Lindsay will assume a larger
role with Freeman out, while Booker will also see a few more touches.
While Kansas City has been awful against opposing running backs
this season, it’s still important to be careful with these
types of situations. The Broncos could very well find themselves
down on the scoreboard on the road, which would almost certainly
lead to more passing than running. While Lindsay has shown that
he’s at least a decent pass catcher, it’s hard to
believe that Denver will suddenly start targeting him 10-or-more
times in this game, which would be needed to give him a high enough
floor to be considered a RB1. Instead, Lindsay goes from being
a low-end RB2 to more of a high-end RB2. Booker could be used
by fantasy owners who are in an absolutely desperate situation,
but his upside is very much limited, so it’s probably best
to stay away.
Game Thoughts: Another monster game from Patrick Mahomes
this past week has given him four games already this season with
four-or-more touchdowns. That type of production is not just the
best in the league this season - it’s historic. There’s
no question that he needs to be in fantasy lineups in any matchup
right now and the same goes for his top weapons, Tyreek Hill and
Travis Kelce, who continue to light up the fantasy scoreboards.
The only real question is what to do with Sammy Watkins. Watkins
has given fantasy owners a decently high floor in most games but
he hasn’t really had a “boom” game either. This
week he’ll be up against a Denver defense that held him
to his only goose-egg this season, and that was on only one target.
We have to assume that he’ll see more work than that in
this contest, but he’s probably a touchdown-or-bust option
this week and it’s tough to bank on that.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: The 2018 season didn’t start off
great, at least from a fantasy standpoint, for second-year running
back Kareem Hunt. While the passing game was thriving, Hunt was
left behind to pick up the scraps which really didn’t translate
into much on the box score. These past two weeks, though, Hunt
seems to be fully back as a major part of the Kansas City offense.
Hunt had caught only five total passes through his first five
games, but he has now had back-to-back individual games with five
receptions, including three total receiving touchdowns, which
has helped him produce huge fantasy numbers both weeks.
This week Hunt faces a Denver defense that is the only group he’s
rushed for over 100 yards against so far this season. Hunt went
for 121 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground, along with
54 receiving yards, and he should be in line for another big workload
in this contest, which makes him a strong play as one of the elite
fantasy backs on the board here in Week 8.
Redskins at Giants
- (Katz) Line: Pick Total: 42.5
Game Thoughts: The Redskins passing game might as well
not exist. They are 4-2 and I can’t figure out how although
it’s more of an indictment on their opponents and the dreadful
NFC East than anything else. Alex Smith has gone back into his
shell. He’s 21st in air yards per attempt and 32nd in true
completion percentage. Smith has yet to throw for 300 yards in
a game this season and just posted his second consecutive sub-200
yard performance. The Redskins leading receiver was Kapri Bibbs,
which speaks volumes to how anemic this passing attack is. Jamison
Crowder is looking likely to miss another game while Paul Richardson
has been limited in practice with knee and shoulder injuries.
Jordan Reed hasn’t exceeded 65 receiving yards in a game
and hasn’t scored since Week 1. He just can’t succeed
in this offense. The Giants are middle of the pack in pass defense,
but Redskins haven’t shown an ability to exploit any matchup,
favorable or not. This entire passing game is one to avoid.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: Do not go chasing Bibbs’
performance from last week. Focus on Adrian Peterson and, hopefully,
Chris Thompson. AP averaged a respectable 4.13 yards per carry
against Dallas and the Giants aren’t blowing out anyone
so game script should allow Peterson to see another 20-25 carries.
He is a volume based option that you hope can score. Thompson
has practiced on a limited basis for two straight weeks, but hasn’t
played. He will once again likely be a game time decision. If
he plays, expect him to resume his role as a strong PPR option.
The Giants allow a little over 40 receiving yards per game to
opposing RBs and Thompson is one of the better receiving backs
in the league. Both AP and CT are worthy starts if healthy.
RB2: Adrian Peterson (low end)
RB2: Chris Thompson (low end, PPR, if he plays)
Bench: Alex Smith, Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson,
Game Thoughts: Eli Manning apparently threw for 399 yards
last week. I say apparently because, watching that game, it looked
like nothing was happening. He didn’t throw a touchdown
until there were five seconds left in the game. Sterling Shepard
and Odell Beckham Jr. dominated with 310 combined receiving yards
while Evan Engram returned and was barely targeted. He did look
healthy and Manning just missed him on a would be touchdown. The
Redskins allow an opposing completion percentage of 66.8% and
have allowed 10 passing touchdowns this season. Manning still
looks awful and the offensive line is an abomination, but Beckham
is going to be just fine.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley was largely contained by
the Falcons, touching the ball a total of 23 times for just 94
yards. It was his first game under 100 total yards but he still
had a great fantasy day because of his nine receptions and his
touchdown. That’s what makes Barkley an every week elite
option – even when he’s inefficient, he’s productive.
Washington has been one of the better run defenses in the league,
allowing just 4.0 yards per carry, but they’ve also faced
the fewest rushing attempts on the season at just 132. Regardless,
the Giants consistently scheme the ball into Barkley’s hands
so the matchup is of no concern for his fantasy owners.
Game Thoughts: The Browns and the Steelers face off for
the second time after playing to an overtime tie on a rainy and
windy Week 1 in Cleveland. Since that game, the Browns won their
first game in over a year with a 21-17 victory over the Jets on
Thursday Night Football in Week 3 and played in three more overtime
games. Former starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion
and was replaced by first overall pick and QB of the future Baker
Mayfield, and tailback Carlos Hyde was traded to Jacksonville
to allow rookie Nick Chubb to take over in the backfield.
In four games as a starter and one in relief, Mayfield has experienced
the usual ups and downs that most rookie quarterbacks experience.
The former Oklahoma Sooner has completed 58% of his passes for
1291 yards, with six passing touchdowns and five interceptions.
He ranks 27th overall in fantasy points per game, but his average
of 19.5 fantasy points places him ahead of Alex Smith, Sam Darnold,
Case Keenum, and Marcus Mariota.
The receiving group of Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, and David
Njoku has not done a good job helping their rookie QB, as only
the Jaguars and Bengals have more drops on the season than the
Browns. Njoku leads all tight ends in drops with four, Callaway
has three big drops of his own, including a few easy deep touchdown
grabs, and the usually sure-handed Landry has two.
Perhaps this will be the week that the Browns passing offense
finally gets things going, as the Steelers come out of their bye
allowing the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks in fantasy
points per game. Only Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and the New Orleans
Saints allow more points to opposing quarterbacks. But a closer
examination of the numbers reveals a team that has done a much
better job of late after allowing 11 passing touchdowns and well
over 1000 yards to Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Joe
Flacco from Week 2 to Week 4.
The Steeler defense under Keith Butler ranks 20th over the past
three weeks in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks after holding
both Matt Ryan and the potent Atlanta offense to 17 points at
home and Andy Dalton to 229 passing yards and two touchdowns in
Week 6 against Cincinnati.
A matchup that will be important for fantasy purposes is nickel
CB Mike Hilton lined up against Jarvis Landry in the slot. With
top Steeler CB Joe Hayden on Callaway outside, Landry will likely
see another massive target share in what has the appearance of
a positive game script fueled by a Steeler blowout.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: After signing Carlos Hyde to a multi-year
deal this offseason, the Browns surprised some by using a second-round
pick on Georgia running back Nick Chubb. The Chubb pick made it
clear that Hyde was not viewed by the new front office of John
Dorsey as the long-term solution at tailback, and the mid-week
trade of Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars last week for a late-round
draft pick was not a surprise by many who follow the team.
Chubb has been the far more explosive player in limited action
this year, and it made sense for the team to move on from the
veteran. Duke Johnson will likely continue to be the passing down
and third down option, while Chubb will get a near-workhorse level
of action on early downs.
As the No. 28 ranked team in fantasy points allowed to running
backs it is reasonably clear that opposing defenses have found
more success passing the ball than running it against the stout
front of Stephon Tuitt, Cam Hayward, and Javon Hargrave. No opposing
back has rushed for more than 75 yards against the Steelers, and
only four RBs, including Hyde Week 1, have scored double-digit
fantasy points vs. Pittsburgh. Of the two backs in the Cleveland
backfield, Johnson may be the one to own this week in what could
be a lopsided win for the Steelers.
Game Thoughts: With all of the drama in Pittsburgh surrounding
Le’Veon Bell’s holdout and Antonio Browns’ complaints
about not getting enough action, Ben Roethlisberger is quietly
on pace to set career-highs in passing touchdowns and fantasy
points. His 65% completion percentage is his best since 2015,
and he is on pace to throw the ball over 600 times for only the
second time in his 15-year NFL career.
Although Brown is still crucial in the offense and the primary
target for Big Ben, the emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster is the
reason why Ben is having a great season and why the Steelers are
one of the most potent offenses in the league. Smith-Schuster
is a big-bodied slot receiver who creates mismatches against nickel
and linebacker coverage, while also possessing the ability like
Brown, to stretch the field and make big plays in the passing
The Steelers wide receiving group ranks 7th in the league with
an average of 29.6 fantasy points per game, while Brown and Smith-Schuster
rank fourth and 18th overall respectively in fantasy points per
game at their position. Brown ranks sixth in total targets 72
(despite playing in only six games because of the bye) and is
tied with Davante Adams and Calvin Ridley for second in receiving
touchdowns at six.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cleveland pass defense
ranks 18th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.
Greg Williams’ defense has played well at times, limiting
Drew Brees and Philip Rivers to just two passing touchdowns each,
while allowing only one passing touchdown combined to Big Ben,
Sam Darnold, Joe Flacco, and James Winston. If you take out the
somewhat fluky game against the Raiders in Week 4 when Derek Carr
threw four touchdown passes, the Browns defense would be right
behind the Jaguars for the fewest touchdown passes allowed through
A stout pass rush outside by Myles Garrett and inside from Larry
Ogunjobi and Emmanuel Ogbah is a big reason why the Browns have
been successful against the pass. Teams have found it challenging
to run deep routes in the face of such pressure and the ability
of the front four to get pressure on the quarterback without blitzing
allows Williams to mix up his coverage schemes. The absence of
starting linebacker Joe Schobert was a big knock against the Browns
when they played the Bucs last week. If Schobert is unable to
play again this week due to a hamstring injury, look for Big Ben
to attack the middle of the field with tight ends Vance McDonald
and Jesse James.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: Another week of media reports claiming
a return of Le’Veon Bell proved to be false, as the all-pro
running back did not report to the team on Monday and is not going
to play this week against the Browns. The loss of Bell has been
a catastrophic hit to many fantasy rosters, but the Steeler running
game and offense overall has not suffered as much as perhaps Bell’s
agent would have hoped.
James Conner ranks fifth in the league in fantasy points per
game (18.9) and is second behind only Todd Gurley in rushing touchdowns
with seven in six games. Although Conner slipped up with two subpar
performances against the Bucs and Ravens, he has double figures
in fantasy points in the other four games played, including two
30-plus point monster showings against the Browns Week 1 and the
Falcons in Week 5. Cleveland made a point to limit Big Ben in
the first meeting between the two teams, opening the door for
Connor to take advantage of light boxes and a wet field. His 31
carries for 135 yards, and two touchdowns in that game were all
Beating the Browns on the ground as opposed to in the air has
been a theme over the first half of the season. Three running
backs have rushed for over 130 yards against Cleveland, while
both Melvin Gordon and Conner each scored over 30 fantasy points
in their respective games. Although the Bucs failed to do much
on the ground last week against the Browns, there is no evidence
or underlying statistic to suggest that Conner will have trouble
running the ball on Sunday. He is a must-start in a game that
will likely end in a lopsided fashion for the Steelers.
Colts at Raiders
- (Caron) Line: IND -3.0 Total: 50.5
Game Thoughts: No player in the NFL has attempted more
passes than Andrew Luck’s 311 so far this season. It hasn’t
always been particularly efficient or pretty to watch, and his
weapons are certainly subpar, but gigantic volume like this almost
always leads to fantasy viability and that’s exactly what’s
happened with Luck. He’s now thrown 20 touchdowns on the
season - just two fewer than Patrick Mahomes - and he’s
the No.3 fantasy quarterback. With Jack Doyle returning to practice
with the possibility of returning this week, the Colts’
passing situation is a bit more confusing than it has been recently,
but it should only help Luck.
This week Luck and the Colts will match up against a Raiders defense
that has given up multiple passing TDs in all but one contest
so far this season, including four straight contests. The Raiders
are seemingly punting for next season already so it makes sense
that Indianapolis - who is not a good team itself - is actually
a road favorite in this contest. That could mean a positive game
script for the Colts, however, which might actually lead to fewer
pass attempts than usual and potentially a lower ceiling than
we’ve typically seen from Luck, even if his floor might
still be decent enough to be a QB1.
Unfortunately, the potential return of Doyle would hurt the upside
of fellow tight end Eric Ebron who has been tremendous while Doyle
has been out. If Doyle is unable to play, Ebron again slides in
as a TE1 against a bad Oakland secondary, but he’s a risky
start if Doyle does play. The only other player in this passing
game that we should have much interest in is T.Y. Hilton who hasn’t
shown us huge upside this season, but he’s given us a quality
fantasy day in all but one contest, so he’s still a low-end
WR1 or high-end WR2 in this matchup.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: The Return of Marlon Mack (see what I did
there?) has been a big boost for what was an ugly running game
in Indianapolis. Mack has now gone for 89 and 126 yards in back-to-back
contests, proving that he is by far the most productive pure runner
on the team. Rookie Nyheim Hines is still a pass catching threat,
but he hasn’t proven to be a consistent enough pure runner,
which has hurt is playing time and his upside.
Mack would seemingly be a great fantasy option this week against
a bad Oakland defense, but he was added to the injury report mid-week
and actually didn’t practice on Thursday, which is a major
red flag for his availability. If Mack is available, he’s
probably a low-end RB1 or a high-end RB2 at worst, but we will
need to monitor the situation. If he’s unable to go, Hines
would seemingly see the biggest boost in value and could potentially
fit in as a Flex or low-end RB2 option in PPR formats. Fellow
rookie Jordan Wilkins has been underwhelming even when Mack has
missed time this season, so it’s probably wise to avoid
him for now even if Mack does not end up playing.
Game Thoughts: The Raiders are coming off of a bye here
in Week 8, but they have now seemingly gone into full fire sale
mode, trading away wide receiver Amari Cooper. The immediate impact,
of course, is that the Raiders passing game likely takes a pretty
significant hit in what was already a poor offense to begin with.
Cooper had been wildly inconsistent this season and in 2017, but
he was still the best pure talent they had at the position. Now
with Cooper gone, the Raiders will have to turn to Jordy Nelson,
Martavis Bryant and Seth Roberts.
Bryant hasn’t shown much in Oakland and Roberts has never
been more than a mediocre Flex play in PPR formats, but the player
who we should be paying attention to is Nelson. Nelson already
led the group with 323 receiving yards on the season, but he is
now almost assuredly in line for an uptick in targets, which should
help give him a higher floor than what we’ve been seeing
out of him as of late. The entire passing game is still a major
crap shoot and perhaps still the only player worth putting in
your fantasy lineup is tight end Jared Cook, who had been red
hot to start the season but had checked in with two terrible performances
prior to the Raiders’ Week 7 bye.
With Cook rested and ready to assume an even bigger role in the
passing game, fantasy owners should look for him to resume his
role as a TE1 for fantasy purposes here in Week 8. The Colts defense
is giving up nearly 70 receiving yards per game to opposing tight
ends and they’ve given up their bigger games to some of
the more talented tight ends they’ve faced like Rob Gronkowski,
Zach Ertz and rookie Dallas Goedert. While Cook is maybe not quite
at that level of talent, he’s still among the more physically
skilled receivers at the position and he should be a solid fantasy
option in this contest and going forward. The rest of the Oakland
passing game should probably be avoided until we see how things
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: With Marshawn Lynch now on the IR, the
Raiders will presumably turn to the combination of Jalen Richard
and veteran Doug Martin to fulfill their running back duties.
Certainly Martin would seem to be the most obvious one-for-one
replacement for Lynch, but it’s worth noting that while
Lynch is typically known as a bruising back, he’s actually
been more elusive in Oakland than you probably realize. In fact,
given the running lanes he’s been given, Lynch has been
dramatically more effective than he probably should have been.
While Martin is more of a straight-ahead runner at this point
than Richard is, the truth is that we haven’t seen Martin
display much shiftiness in many years. He’s a poor tackle
breaker, doesn’t have great vision and really the only thing
he could potentially provide is volume in a low-upside offense.
There’s a chance that he sneaks in with a touchdown to save
his fantasy day, but the real upside play in this backfield is
Richard. Richard isn’t an amazing talent, but he’s
got more juice left than Martin does and he’s already proven
to be a contributor in the passing game, which has given him some
fantasy-relevant days even prior to Lynch’s injury. If the
Raiders opt to give Richard more touches, the upside if there
for him to be an RB2 for fantasy from here on out. If they decide
to shove Martin down our throats, the chances are good that neither
player is going to be a particularly trustworthy fantasy option
either this week or going forward.
This should be a decent matchup against a middle-of-the-road Colts
run defense, but we just don’t have a great grasp on what
Jon Gruden is going to decide to do with this running game. Until
we see the new offense in action without Lynch and Cooper, it’s
probably best to steer clear of this situation unless you’re
playing Richard is as low-end RB2 or Flex play in PPR formats.
49ers at Cardinals
- (Caron) Line: SF -1.0 Total: 42.5
Game Thoughts: C.J. Beathard had surprisingly been a
solid fantasy option during his first three starts for the 49ers
this season, but this past week we finally got a glimpse of what
can happen when things don’t go smoothly in this San Francisco
offense as Beathard threw for just 170 yards and one touchdown
while turning the ball over three times. Wide receiver Pierre
Garcon has become a non-factor for fantasy this season and even
the field stretching specialist Marquise Goodwin has been very
unpredictable with Beathard at the helm. The only real consistent
contributor in this passing game has been tight end George Kittle
who has elevated himself into the mid-TE1 range and has now given
his owners five double-digit fantasy days, which is pretty good
for a player who went undrafted in some leagues.
This struggling passing game will now head on the road to Arizona
where they’ll face secondary that has been shockingly good
against opposing quarterbacks this season, having given up just
seven touchdowns in their seven games thus far, while forcing
six interceptions. Much of that is due to the lackluster group
of quarterbacks they’ve faced, however, and Beathard himself
actually had his best fantasy game of the season thus far when
these teams met back in Week 5 when he threw for 349 yards and
two touchdowns, and ran in a touchdown, even with his two INTs.
That was in San Francisco, though, and this is in Arizona, where
the Cardinals typically play better. The only player in this passing
game who should be trusted for fantasy purposes this week is Kittle.
Everyone else is a wait-and-see at this point.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: Running back Matt Breida will likely be
a game-time decision this week and that leaves us with some serious
questions heading into the contest. This is an incredible matchup
on paper, as the Cardinals have been the league’s worst
fantasy run defense through the first seven weeks of the season.
In fact, the duo of Alfred Morris and Matt Breida combined for
152 total yards when these teams met back in Week 5, with fullback
Kyle Juszczyk adding an additional 75 receiving yards out of the
backfield. If Breida is able to play, he’s a strong RB2
in this matchup, but the fact that he didn’t practice on
Thursday has to be a strong indication that he’s probably
not going to suit up. With that being the case, the 49ers will
likely turn to Raheem Mostert to step in and see additional touches.
Mostert has rushed for 146 yards on just 19 carries over the
past two weeks and appears to be by far the more physically skilled
back between he and Morris at this point, but it all comes down
to coaching decisions. Morris still got nine carries this past
week, which was two more than Mostert, and while he only rushed
for 25 yards on those carries, he’s been involved in the
offense much more than Mostert has thus far. Mostert is definitely
an upside low-end RB2 if Breida doesn’t play, but Morris
just doesn’t possess enough burst at this point to be considered
a serious fantasy player unless he’s getting 20-plus touches
Game Thoughts: Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen had been
building momentum over his first few starts, but it all came crashing
down this past week when he was absolutely humiliated on national
television by the Broncos. Rosen turned the ball over five times,
making it back-to-back games where he’s failed to reach
even double-digit fantasy points, and he hasn’t exceeded
13 points in any start so far this season. Oddly enough, Larry
Fitzgerald had his first fantasy-relevant game since Week 1 in
the blowout against Denver as he was able to pull in four passes
for 40 yards and a touchdown, but he has still been a huge fantasy
disappointment this season and it’s tough to believe that
he’s suddenly going to turn things around.
Right now, there really isn’t much to like, let alone something
to love in this Arizona passing game, which is certainly among
the worst in all of football. Fantasy owners keep waiting for
Ricky Seals-Jones to happen but it just doesn’t seem like
it’s going anywhere given that he hasn’t caught more
than five passes in any game this season, he’s only scored
one touchdown, and he’s been held to fewer than 40 yards
receiving in all but two games this season. Seals-Jones was also,
perhaps most importantly, shut out when these teams played back
in Week 5, and he just isn’t a good fantasy option right
now. Rookie Christian Kirk is the only player who has any serious
fantasy appeal, as he’s gone over 50 yards in three straight
contests and four of his past five, but his upside is still very
low, making him a low-level PPR flex play at best.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: At this point, it’s
tough not to think of David Johnson as a fantasy bust. While he’s
totaled enough fantasy points to still be a low-end RB1 on the
season, Johnson’s points have come in very fluky ways, such
as short yardage touchdowns at a pace well above the league average
despite him being on one of the league’s worst offenses.
Johnson does have a nose for the end zone, but that type of production
is just unsustainable and we saw what can happen when he doesn’t
get into the end zone this past week when he ran the ball 14 times
for just 39 yards. Perhaps Johnson lost something physically during
his missed 2017 season, but it just seems like the lack of a serious
passing game threat, poor offensive line play and horrendous coaching
has led him to play well below the level we’d expect from
There is hope that things can still turn around, however, as the
Cardinals have begun to make some changes. The team fired offensive
coordinator Mike McCoy this week, who has been running one of
the most vanilla playbooks we’ve seen in many years, and
he’ll be replaced by former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback
Byron Leftwich. A change at offensive coordinator certainly doesn’t
guarantee a dramatic shift for the better, but the point is that
it’s hard for things to get much worse for Johnson from
a usage standpoint. If Leftwich even does something as simple
as just getting Johnson more involved in the passing game, he
should have a decent fantasy day this week against a San Francisco
defense that is conceding over 130 total yards per game to opposing
running games so far this season. Johnson himself rushed for a
pair of touchdowns against this very defense back in Week 5, so
there’s hope for another solid fantasy day in what figures
to be one of the better matchups he’ll face all season which
could actually see the Cardinals have a positive game script for
Packers at Rams
- (Caron) Line: LAR -9.5 Total: 56.5
Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners will have their eyes peeled
on Sunday afternoon as the Packers head to Los Angeles to face
the Rams in what could be the highest-scoring game of the week.
Aaron Rodgers has now thrown for 425-plus yards in back-to-back
games, both of which saw him handicapped with injuries at the
wide receiver position, but he has still managed to throw a total
of 12 touchdowns on the season while doing his typical incredible
work of avoiding mistakes with only one interception. Head coach
Mike McCarthy has said publicly that he expects to have both Randall
Cobb and Geronimo Allison back this week, which would certainly
be a blow to rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has produced
back-to-back productive fantasy days with those two out. Tight
end Jimmy Graham also earned his first 100-yard performance as
a Packer this past week, but could end up seeing fewer targets
with the other members of the passing game getting back onto the
The Packers will have their work cut out for them, however, as
they face a Los Angeles Rams defense that has made quite a few
quarterbacks look bad so far this season. The Rams are giving
up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on
the year and while Rodgers certainly is not the typical quarterback,
this is a more difficult matchup than he has been facing recently
against the 49ers and Lions. With that being said, it’s
almost a guarantee that the Packers will have to throw the ball
to keep up on the scoreboard in this game, so a third straight
400-yard passing day is not out of the question. That type of
volume would mean multiple fantasy-relevant pass catching weapons,
so feel confident in Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham as usual,
but also pay close attention to the injury reports on Sunday morning.
If we find out that both Allison and Cobb are playing, then it’s
probably wise to avoid them and the other pass catching options
due to unpredictability. But if only one plays, that player should
have some viability as a Flex option.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: It’s obvious that
Aaron Jones is by far the most productive and talented pure runner
in this backfield, but the Mike McCarthy offense obviously prioritizes
pass catching and pass protecting, so Jones continues to flounder
from a fantasy standpoint, as do Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams.
Thankfully, we really don’t have to be tempted by any of
them from a fantasy standpoint this week as they’ll be against
a Rams defense that has given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points
per game to opposing running backs this season and hasn’t
given up a touchdown to the position since Week 4. It’s
a bit intriguing that a lesser-talented back like Chris Carson
was able to crack 100 yards against this defense, but it’s
also worth considering that only one other back this season -
Melvin Gordon - has even reached 70 yards on the ground against
them. This is a backfield to avoid in almost any game at this
point, but especially one where the Packers are likely to need
to throw the ball at a higher rate than usual.
Game Thoughts: It’s not often that a road team
wins a game by nearly 30 points in today’s NFL, but that’s
what happened this past week when the Rams manhandled the 49ers
in San Francisco, and that’s also why Jared Goff didn’t
have a much bigger fantasy day. Goff was still decent, throwing
for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns while avoiding any interceptions,
but the team just didn’t need him to do much given that
they scored the first 22 points of the game. The 49ers were simply
not equipped enough offensively to muster much of a fight against
this high-powered Rams offense.
The Packers, on the other hand, have perhaps the greatest quarterback
of all-time on their roster and he’s throwing the ball like
crazy at the moment. Green Bay’s offense can struggle at
times, but they’re very rarely blown out, and that’s
a great thing for Goff and the Rams passing game. What’s
even better is that they’re facing a Packers defense that
has already given up multiple-touchdown games to four quarterbacks
in their six contests. The only ones who didn’t throw for
multiple touchdowns against them were Mitchell Trubisky (who did
rush for a touchdown) and Josh Allen (who is awful). While they’ve
been able to hold three of their six opponents to fewer than 200
yards passing, they’ve also faced some of the lowest-ceiling
quarterbacks in the league thus far, and the Rams certainly pose
a much bigger threat than teams like the 49ers or Bills do.
The Rams will likely again be without slot wide receiver Cooper
Kupp, which should mean added targets for wide receivers Brandin
Cooks and Robert Woods, who have both been excellent this season
and have to be considered low-end WR1s against a weak Green Bay
secondary in what could be a high-scoring game. The Rams target
distribution is so consolidated to their top receivers and running
backs that almost no one else has a chance of producing anything
significant. The only exception might be wide receiver Josh Reynolds.
Reynolds hasn’t done much with the snaps he’s been
given, but he actually narrowly led all Rams receivers in snaps
with Kupp out and should be in line to play upwards of 80 percent
of the snaps again this week. Reynolds only caught one pass for
19 yards this past week, but it’s worth noting that he was
dragged down at the one yard line or he would have scored a touchdown
on that catch. He’s still a deep flier type of player, but
he does have some potential to do something if you’re looking
for a very cheap play in daily formats.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: We’re seven games
into the season and Todd Gurley has already scored 14 touchdowns.
He’s on pace for 32 touchdowns on the season, which would
be an all-time NFL record for a running back. There’s little
question that Gurley is the most reliable superstar fantasy player
in the entire league right now and he’s been completely
matchup-proof this season, so there’s no reason to think
that he won’t just continue to rack up the fantasy points.
The Packers have been roughly middle-of-the-pack against opposing
running games this season, and they’ve only given up one
100-yard rusher, but Gurley is just too involved in an elite offense
to be concerned as anything other than the RB1 overall for fantasy
this week. If the Rams move the ball as a whole, as we expect
them to, it doesn’t matter if Gurley gets to 100 rushing
yards, because he’s going to put up a decent rushing day
along with catching between three to six passes and he’ll
have a great chance to score touchdowns. You really can’t
ask for much more than what Gurley gives you. He’s an elite
option every week, especially in games where the opposing team
is likely to fight back so he won’t end up conceding significant
touches to Malcolm Brown.
Game Thoughts: In what could be the most exciting game
of the week, the No.6 ranked New Orleans Saints offense returns
to Minnesota to take on the No.11 ranked Vikings defense in a
rematch of the divisional playoff game from last season.
Drew Brees continues to play at an elite level as the only starting
quarterback who has yet to throw an interception. He is on pace
to shatter his own NFL single-season record for completion percentage
(77.3), and his 26.4 fantasy point per game average ranks ninth
at the position. Brees threw for 294 and three scores against
the Vikings last season in the playoffs, completing 62.5% of his
passes. Although historically he has not fared as well in road
games vs. games at home, Brees does play better in the dome than
on grass, and he has thrown for over 300 yards in three of his
eight games against Mike Zimmer’s defenses.
The most significant difference in this game compared to last
year is the improvement of the Vikings passing attack mixed with
a decline of the Saints defense, which could lead to a higher
scoring game and force Brees and the Saints offense to throw the
The Vikings completed the 2017 regular season allowing the fewest
points to opposing quarterbacks. Zimmer's team was an absolute
wasteland for opposing QBs, with only three QBs throwing more
than one touchdown against the Vikings and only 12 passing touchdowns
total allowed on the year. Flash forward to 2018, the stout defense
that frustrated many opposing QBs and offensive coordinators enters
Week 8 allowing the 9th-most points to the quarterback position
and 11 passing touchdowns. Jared Goff and Carson Wentz proved
that the Vikings, while still good, can be beaten in the passing
game, and Brees will likely need to do the same for the Saints
to leave victorious.
Outside of the five-touchdown game by Jared Goff, very few No.1
wide receivers have found much success against the Vikings, primarily
due to the excellent play of pro bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Other than a Davante Adams touchdown Week 2, Rhodes has been solid
outside against receivers and would be a problematic matchup if
he were healthy and able to play on Sunday. Rhodes sustained a
foot injury last week against the Jets and has yet to practice
this week, making him a big question mark for Sunday Night Football.
Michael Thomas torched Rhodes in the playoff game last year to
the tune of seven catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns. With
Rhodes our or limited, Thomas could be a monster play.
A tight end has either scored or reached 100 yards in two of
the last three games against the Vikings, a team that typically
is quite tough against opposing TE’s. Owners in need of
a tight end may want to consider Ben Watson, the No.15 ranked
tight end over the past two weeks, with 10 catches for 73 yards
and score in his last two games.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: After starting white hot this fantasy
season with 20 or more fantasy points in three of his first four
games, including two-30 point performances, Alvin Kamara has been
a disappointment in the last two weeks against the Redskins and
Ravens. In his previous two games since Mark Ingram’s return
from a four-game suspension, Kamara has just 23 carries for 88
yards and one touchdown. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that
he has only five catches on six targets during that span for 26
Mark Ingram has also been unimpressive recently with 28 carries
for 85 yards. Although Ingram did post two rushing touchdowns
against the Redskins, his 3.0 YPC average is nothing to write
Both players are must-starts each week; however, owners should
temper their expectations against a Vikings defense that has allowed
only one rushing touchdown on the year and zero 100-yard rushing
games. As relatively bad as they have been against the pass, the
Vikings continue to be one of the more stout run defenses in the
The Vikings received positive news with the announcement that
defensive end Everson Griffin will return to the team after missing
the first half of the season due to mental issues. Griffin will
not likely suit up in this game, but his return will no doubt
strengthen the Viking front seven going forward. On a negative
note, starting linebacker Anthony Barr and starting strong safety
Andrew Sendejo missed practice on Wednesday with hamstring and
going injuries. Their absence in run support would boost the outlook
for both Kamara and Ingram.
Game Thoughts: The Minnesota Vikings made a significant
investment this offseason by signing Kirk Cousins to a lucrative
three-year, $84 million fully guaranteed contract. As a team that
was one fluke play away from playing against the Eagles in the
NFC championship, Minnesota took a financial risk with Cousins.
With Cousins on pace to set career marks in completion percentage,
passing yards, passing touchdowns, and most importantly in this
context, fantasy points, the gamble made by the Vikings has gone
For fantasy purposes, Cousins has yet to score less than 19 points
in a game while delivering over 35 points against the Packers
and the Rams. In big games against NFC powerhouses Cousins has
come up big, and could once again be a strong start this week
against the Saints.
Death, Taxes, the Sun coming up, and Adam Thielen posting at
least 100 receiving yards are the only certainties in life, or
as at least that’s what fantasy owners have come to know
so far in 2018. I do not need to tell you to start Thielen, just
like I don’t need to tell you to start Todd Gurley or Patrick
Mahomes. With Marshon Lattimore likely shadowing Stefon Diggs
on the outside and leaving Thielen to work his magic against Ken
Crawley or Justin Hardee another 100 yards is well within reach,
and it would not be a shock to have Thielen score a TD or two.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook is set to miss another game
with a hamstring injury, with media reports suggesting that the
second-year running back will likely be out until after the team’s
bye Week 10. Not exactly the type of news Cook owners were hoping
for from their early-round investment. Lingering hamstring injuries
to both Cook and Leonard Fourentte have all but killed those poor
souls who invested in the two breakout rookies from last season.
After a slow start to the season as the primary back with Cook’s
absence, Latavius Murray has been nothing short of amazing over
the last three games. The veteran tailback ranks eighth in fantasy
points scored during that time, with 266 rushing yards and three
touchdowns for 15.9 fantasy points per game. With Cook almost
a certainty to miss, be sure to keep plugging Murray in your lineup
over the next few weeks.
One of the reasons why Murray has found so much success is the
easy slate of games over the last two weeks against the Cardinals
and Jets, two teams who rank in the bottom half of the league
in run defense. Arizona allows the most points to opposing running
backs, and Murray did not miss out on his opportunity to pick
on a terrible team.
The Saints are on the other end of the spectrum as the No.30
ranked defense against fantasy running backs. Although one could
argue that one of the reasons why New Orleans is solid against
the run is a result of the team struggling against the pass, the
truth is the Saints are good against the run, allowing a paltry
2.75 yards per rush and only three rushing touchdowns on the season.
Due to the fact that this could be a high scoring game and Murray
is going to get some excellent volume, owners should still consider
him a low-end No.1 RB this week. Just don’t be surprised
if his points come more from touchdowns than yards.
Patriots at Bills
- (Katz) Line: NE -14.0 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: This is a surprisingly tough spot for
the Patriots passing attack and it has nothing to do with the
quality of the Bills defense. The team will probably score four
touchdowns but Tom Brady may not have to throw much. You have
to hope that on limited attempts, Brady is throwing a couple TDs.
Julian Edelman remains Brady’s top target, especially with
Rob Gronkowski banged up, but Josh Gordon is coming on strong.
He played a season high 81% of the snaps last week and his role
continues to grow. The splash is coming. As for Gronk, he is no
lock to play this week and it is especially problematic because
not only is this game Monday night, but the Patriots know they
don’t need Gronk to beat the Bills. I would not bank on
Gronk playing unless we have confirmation by Sunday morning. The
Bills are only allowing 210 passing yards per game, but have allowed
13 passing touchdowns which makes sense given their -94 scoring
differential, rendering it unnecessary for opponents to throw
much in the second half. If you’re starting any Patriots,
you are assuming the risk that they only play three quarters.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Sony Michel was emerging
into a legitimate weekly RB1 given his touchdown upside in this
offense but unfortunately suffered a knee injury last week leaving
the Patriots thin at the position. James White will see increased
usage for sure, but he can’t do it all. Currently, Kenjon
Barner is the only other viable option so we have to think he
will assume the majority of the early down work and goal line
carries. With bye weeks in full swing and so many fantasy owners
starved for RB, you can do worse than gambling on a few yards
and a touchdown from Barner. If and when this game gets out of
hand, it will be Barner churning the clock.
Game Thoughts: Derek Anderson was dreadful last week,
yet was still a huge upgrade on Josh Allen and Nate Peterman.
Continue to stream defenses against the Bills. Kelvin Benjamin
can’t get open and I’m not entirely sure he even cares
enough to try. Neither he nor Zay Jones has any fantasy value,
along with this entire passing game. The Patriots defensive stats
simply do not matter because every defense is elite when it faces
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy was concussed last week. He
practiced on a limited basis Thursday and certainly has a chance
to play this week. The good news is he does have the extra day
to clear the protocol. The bad news is you need to know by Sunday.
You don’t want to start McCoy even if you have him, but
sometimes fantasy owners are backed into a corner and McCoy may
be your only option. In that case, he is simply not productive
enough on this team to be worth gambling on unless you at least
have Chris Ivory or Kenjon Barner as insurance. This game will
feature a ton of negative game script and the Patriots do allow
60.7 receiving yards per game to opposing RBs, but the Bills won’t
be able to achieve enough first downs to exploit this weakness.
I think McCoy ends up playing, but you should sit all Bills.