- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Redskins @ Vikings
- (Swanson) Line: MIN -16.0 Total: 42.0
Game Thoughts: The Washington Redskins fell to 1-6 on
the season in a 9-0 loss at home to the 49ers in a slop-fest at
the rain and muddy Fed Ex Field. They continue their 2019 season
to forget on Thursday in a difficult road matchup against a red
hot 5-2 Minnesota Vikings team that has won three straight while
averaging 36 points per game.
The oddsmakers in Vegas have the Redskins as 14 point dogs and
the lowest over/under of the week at 40 points. Everyone anticipates
that Washington is going to lose big and not score many points
on the road against Mike Zimmer’s defense.
From a fantasy perspective, there is not a lot to like on the
Redskins, with rookie Terry McLaurin as the only player worthy
of a start. Although McLaurin posted a career-worst one catch
for 11 yards last week, most of that can be attributed to the
weather and the stout San Francisco pass defense that has held
opponents to an average of 150 passing yards or less this season.
The Vikings defense is a shell of its former self, and the secondary
is nowhere near one of the best in the league. Matthew Stafford
torched the Vikes for 364 yards and four touchdowns just one week
after Carson Wentz threw for 306 and two TDs. While the Case Keenum-led
Washington pass offense is far from on par with those two offenses
is does give some confidence to McLaurin owners that he could
have a decent performance.
McLaurin will likely see a heavy dose of Xavier Rhodes, which
a few years ago would be a big red flag and a reason to look to
another fantasy option. The 2019 version of Rhodes is not the
same player as he once was - just ask Marvin Jones owners if Rhodes
is a solid cover cornerback after last week’s four-touchdown
Minnesota ranks 17th in points allowed to quarterbacks, ninth
in points to wide receivers, and 20th in fantasy points to tight
ends. Teams that are not offensively inept, like the Redskins,
have been able to move the ball fairly well against the Vikings
in the air.
Trey Quinn could be worth a start in a full PPR formats for owners
in very deep leagues. Otherwise, you should avoid this offense
like the plague and look to target other choice fantasy games
like Arizona & New Orleans, or Green Bay & Kansas City.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Adrian Peterson was the lone bright spot
for Washington last weekend against the 49ers, with 81 yards on
20 carries in the mud and muck. It was the second performance
this season for the ageless one in which he averaged more than
four yards per carry.
Peterson suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter vs. San
Francisco on a play in which he fumbled the ball. AD underwent
an MRI on Monday to diagnose the severity of the injury, and according
to ESPN’ Josina Anderson, Peterson said he has a grade 1
high ankle sprain and a grade 2 low ankle sprain. Most running
backs would miss the game on the short week, but Peterson told
Anderson he is good to go and will play against his former team.
Teams have found far more success passing the ball against the
Vikings than trying to move the ball on the ground, which does
not bode well for Peterson in his attempt to stick it to his former
If you take away the 116/1 game that Aaron Jones dropped on Minnesota
at Lambeau back in Week 2, no other running back has scored a
rushing touchdown or topped 53 yards rushing. Game flow also could
be a thorn in the side of anyone looking to play Peterson, as
the Vikings will likely score at will against the Redskins defense
and could limit the number of rushing attempts for AD.
If Peterson’s optimism regarding the health of his ankle
is misguided, look for Wendell Smallwood, the former Philadelphia
Eagle, to be the primary ball carrier for Washington.
Game Thoughts: Perhaps getting blasted in the media by
one of his star wide receivers is exactly what Kirk Cousins needed
to light a fire under his rear end. Since Adam Thielen took a
shot at Cousins and the Vikings anemic passing offense three weeks
ago, only Deshaun Watson has more fantasy points at the quarterback
The reality is the Vikings are doing exactly what they should
against terrible pass defenses like the Giants, Eagles, and Lions,
throw the ball downfield, and exploit the weakness in their secondary.
Captain Kirk delivered three consecutive 300-yard games, with
10 passing touchdowns and one interception in those matchups.
Don’t let the 15th overall ranking in fantasy points allowed
fool you- the Washington Redskins are also a terrible pass defense,
and the Vikings should be able to take advantage of this team
on a short week. If you ignore the last two games for Washington,
which include games against the lowly Dolphins and a game against
San Francisco in a downpour, the Redskins would be a top-10 unit
in points allowed to fantasy quarterbacks.
A negative factor for Cousins is the loss of Thielen to a hamstring
injury. Rookie Olabisi Johnson filled in well for Thielen against
the Lions, with four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. Owners
in deep leagues looking for a sneaky play against Washington may
want to consider a flyer on Johnson, a seventh-round pick out
of Colorado State who made some solid plays against the Lions.
The Redskins do not have much talent in the secondary outside
of Josh Norman, and one would assume the team would focus their
efforts on stopping Stefon Diggs as opposed to a seventh-round
rookie. Laquon Treadwell could also see a boost in snap counts
with Thielen on the shelf.
Another interesting player to consider is tight end Irv Smith.
The rookie’s snap counts have not changed much this season
(hovering around 50%), but he did see an increase in targets (6)
and catches (5) last week, while hitting 60 yards against Detroit.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook looks powerful, elusive, and
explosive, and the Vikings continue to make him the focal point
of the offense. Cook has at least 100 yards or a touchdown in
every game this season, with five games of over 100 rushing yards.
He is a stud and someone who you should play regardless of the
opposition. Anyone who owns him already knows that and does not
need help regarding whether to play Cook.
Considering the fact that the Redskins allow the 10th-most points
to opposing running backs and are playing on a short week after
a physical loss at home in the rain to the 49ers, and you have
the makings of a Dalvin Cook monster performance.
Alexander Mattison is also in play as a low-end flex who may
get more touches than normal due to a blowout win for Minnesota.
Mike Zimmer will not risk running Cook like crazy in a positive
blowout game script, giving Mattison a chance to get between 10
and 20 touches.
Bengals @ Rams
- (Caron) Line: LAR -13.0 Total: 48.5
Game Thoughts: While his upside hasn’t been more
than 20 points per game and he did turn in a disastrous performance
against the Steelers back in Week 4, Andy Dalton has quietly been
a fairly reliable streaming option as a middle-to-high-end QB2
most weeks. He’s probably not ever going to ascend again
into the consistent QB1 range even if A.J. Green does eventually
return to play for the Bengals this season, but Dalton does provide
a fairly decent floor considering the general perception of him
as a player.
This week Dalton and the Bengals will be matched up against a
Rams defense that has been very hot or cold this season. They
got completely humiliated for eight total touchdowns between Russell
Wilson and Jameis Winston in Weeks 4 and 5, but they’ve
only allowed two total passing touchdown passes in their other
five games combined. Dalton and the Bengals will almost certainly
need to pass to stay competitive in this game but this isn’t
going to be an easy situation to succeed in.
The Rams added cornerback Jalen Ramsey this past week and he immediately
paid dividends by containing Julio Jones in Week 7. Ramsey is
one of the few corners in the league who typically shadow-covers
the opposing team’s top option, but the Bengals will still
be without A.J. Green and that leaves them without a locked in
top receiver. Tyler Boyd has filled that role for the most part,
but he typically plays out of the slot and Ramsey rarely shadows
out of the slot. That likely means that Ramsey will be locked
in with Auden Tate for most of the day, making an already shaky
fantasy contributor even less appealing in this matchup.
Wide receiver Alex Erickson was one of the hotter waiver wire
adds this week after his breakout performance in Week 7 where
he caught eight passes for 137 yards against the Ramsey-less Jaguars.
He could be in line for another decently high target number, but
he’s still ultimately a fairly low floor player given that
we’ve only ever seen him produce one quality fantasy game.
If you want to throw him in as a cheap boom-bust option in DFS,
go for it, but it’s probably best to avoid him and the other
members of this Bengals passing game - other than Boyd - for now.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon has produced just 43 total yards
on 21 touches over his past two games, both Bengals losses. Cincinnati’s
offensive line has been a disaster all season and they’re
simply not blocking effectively enough for Mixon to be an RB1
at this point. His workload, other than these past two weeks,
has been enough that he’s been able to produce a few RB2
weeks, but he’s been more bad than he has good at this point.
This week Mixon will be against a Rams defense that struggled
against Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb and Chris Carson earlier
in the season but have since looked very good, holding the combination
of Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman, as well as Devonta Freeman,
to fewer than three yards per carry. Mixon is typically a pretty
decent producer in the passing game but the Rams have also been
quite good at containing opposing backs in the passing game other
than McCaffrey back in Week 1. Mixon is good, but he’s not
The reality is that it’s probably not likely that most fantasy
owners have good enough options to keep Mixon on their bench,
but he’s much more of a Flex at this point than he is a
reliable RB2 and he’s certainly not in the RB1 conversation
until he proves it.
Game Thoughts: A horrifying Week 6 performance against
the 49ers saw many fantasy owners swear off Jared Goff in Week
7, but the former No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick turned things around
with a solid day against the Falcons this past week. Goff threw
for 268 yards and a pair of touchdowns, his third multi-touchdown
performance over his past five games. Goff is still distributing
the ball to a lot of different targets, however, which has made
it very difficult to predict which receiver is going to have a
big game and when. But Goff himself should be in a good position
to produce QB1 numbers this week against a demoralized Cincinnati
We thought we had a good handle of things with Cooper Kupp producing
four straight 100-yard receiving days but he’s now produced
just 67 receiving yards over his past two contests, which could
mean that we all got a bit overzealous about just how good and
reliable he’d be for fantasy purposes. Still, Kupp is the
top target in the passing game and can confidently be started
as a back-end WR1, especially in PPR formats.
Robert Woods seems to be the next-best option for the Rams and
he’s now seen at least seven targets in four of his past
five games. He hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this season
so his fantasy totals look pretty ugly, but he continues to be
a big part of a solid passing game and can be trusted as a WR2
against this Bengals defense that allowed a secondary receiver,
Dede Westbrook, to exceed 100 receiving yards against them this
Last among the receivers right now is Brandin Cooks, who is probably
the most physically talented of the bunch but who just hasn’t
done much beyond his 100-yard game in Week 3. Cooks has now been
held to just eight total catches over his past three weeks and
he’s only seen 13 targets go his way during that time. If
the volume doesn’t increase then we won’t likely see
Cooks providing any sort of reliable floor on a week to week basis,
which does unfortunately push him out of the WR2 conversation
and into the Flex discussion.
Tight end Gerald Everett continues his breakout season and has
now been targeted 34 times over his past four games. He’s
scored two touchdowns over that span as well, so he’s being
used in high-value areas of the field where he can produce quality
fantasy points at a position that has been very weak throughout
the league this season. Everett isn’t a stud, but he’s
been one of the better tight ends this season. The Bengals have
been fairly good against opposing tight ends this season but don’t
be afraid to place Everett in your lineup if you don’t have
one of the locked in studs at the position.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley has touched the ball at least
12 times in every game that he’s played all the way through
this season, which has helped make him a mid-level RB2 despite
having missed a game due to injury. The Rams offense hasn’t
been quite as high-scoring as in years past but Gurley is among
the best goal line backs in the business and has now scored five
times over his past three starts.
The rushing yardage hasn’t been there and he only has one
game with more than three receptions, but he’s a good bet
to get things going and score at least one touchdown against this
terrible Cincinnati run defense. The Bengals have conceded 10
total touchdowns to opposing running backs this season and they’ve
conceded over 100 rushing yards to opposing running backs in all
but two games this season.
Darrell Henderson is a player to keep an eye on this week with
normal backup running back Malcolm Brown likely to miss his second-straight
game. Henderson touched the ball 12 times this past week and could
be in line for an even heavier workload in this one. He’s
not a high-ceiling option given that he’s the backup option
but you could do worse in your Flex if you’re in a tough
spot this week.
Cardinals @ Saints
- (Green) Line: NO -10.0 Total: 48.0
Game Thoughts: Arizona opened the season 0-3-1 before
winning three in a row, though considering their opponents were
Cincinnati, Atlanta and the Giants it's hard to say if they've
actually turned things around. Kyler Murray and the Air Raid offense
certainly haven't torched opposing secondaries with the rookie
failing to throw for a score in three of his last four games.
Outside of last week, though, he's a high-volume thrower and has
started making more plays with his legs.
Veteran Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson (ankle) have been
the primary targets in the passing game, especially since Christian
Kirk (ankle) went down in Week 4; Kirk hasn't played since and
may be a game-time decision in Week 8. Former Rams special teamer
Pharoh Cooper has actually seen action recently, which is proof
that second-rounder Andy Isabella isn't ready. KeeSean Johnson,
another 2019 draft pick, saw action early but has done little
Whoever lines up with Murray this week is in for a tough matchup
against a Saints team that has locked down their opponents since
Drew Brees' injury. Although their numbers don't seem elite, much
of that is due to garbage time production from Seattle, Tampa
Bay and Chicago, which all scored fourth-quarter points when the
game was out of reach. If you're looking for a comp, the Saints
limited another mobile rookie, J-Ville's Gardner Minshew, to 163
yards passing in Week 6.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Bothered by an ankle injury
leading into the game last Sunday, Johnson bowed out after only
a few snaps and was replaced by Chase Edmonds, who proceeded to
shred the G-Men for 150 total yards and three scores. We won't
know Johnson's status until later in the week, but obviously if
he's inactive that would shoot Edmonds' value skyward. Even if
Johnson plays, Edmonds proved he's a weapon, and it seems unlikely
that Kliff Kingsbury would put him on ice.
New Orleans has allowed just 90.6 rushing yards per game this
season, good for ninth in the NFL, and they've checked the likes
of Ezekiel Elliott (18 carries, 35 yards, 1 TD), Chris Carson
(15-52-0) and Leonard Fournette (20-72-0). It's likely to be some
tough sledding for the Arizona ground game.
Game Thoughts: Drew Brees (thumb) is returning to practice
this week, and Sean Payton has said if he's "100 percent
ready" he'll be back. Given how well the team has played
with Teddy Bridgewater, however, combined with the Saints having
a bye in Week 9, I have a feeling Payton will find a reason to
keep Brees out and give him those two extra weeks to heal up.
For now, it's something to keep an eye on.
After mostly playing a game manager role initially, Bridgewater
has opened things up of late, passing for 314 yards in Week 5
and 281 yards and two TDs against the Bears last Sunday. If he
gets the call against the Cardinals he could be a legitimate QB1,
albeit on the lower end. The same holds true for Brees. If the
future Hall of Famer returns I'd feel good about plugging him
right back into my lineup despite the possibility of rust.
No matter who's taking snaps, Michael Thomas is a stud. He caught
nine balls for 131 yards last week in Chicago and currently leads
the NFL in receiving yardage (763) by more than 100 yards over
Chris Godwin. After Thomas it's a mix of injuries—Tre'Quan
Smith (ankle) and Jared Cook (ankle) were DNPs versus the Bears—and
middling veterans like Ted Ginn Jr.
I'd expect newly reinstated Patrick Peterson to match with Thomas
all over the field, and while that might mean a tougher day than
usual I'm a firm believer in Thomas' Twitter moniker: @CantguardMike.
For the season, Arizona sits 25th against the pass, and TEs have
abused them, so if Cook can go his upside is intriguing.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: With Alvin Kamara (ankle/knee) banged
up and inactive, Latavius Murray pounded the vaunted Bears defense
for 119 yards and two scores on 27 carries. He even added five
catches for 32 yards in a performance that might just remind the
Saints why they signed Murray in the first place, to fill the
Mark Ingram role. While there has been no official update on Kamara,
the fact that the Saints cut Zack Zenner is a good sign Kamara
is on track to play in Week 8.
If both Kamara and Murray are active I expect around a 60/40
split for Kamara based on his health and how good Murray looked
last week. Arizona is a soft run D, surrendering 4.7 yards per
carry and 129.1 per game (25th in the NFL), though they did a
nice job against Saquon Barkley last week, holding him to 72 yards
on 18 rushes.
Buccaneers @ Titans
- (Green) Line: TEN -2.5 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: If ever a player needed a week off to
reset it might've been Jameis Winston, who was abysmal in a Week
6 loss to Carolina where he turned the ball over a half-dozen
times, including five interceptions. For fantasy owners, the silver
lining was the 400 yards he threw for, marking the third time
in four games he's topped 375 yards passing. It'll be interesting
to see what tweaks, if any, Bruce Arian implements coming out
of the bye week.
One item that certainly won't change is the passing game flowing
through Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who has emerged as a top-10
fantasy wideout. That pair was targeted 29 times in London, and
Godwin is currently second in the NFL in receiving yards (662)
despite having played in just six games. I wouldn't say that Godwin
is a better player than Evans, but right now he's a better fantasy
option as he benefits from the extra coverage that Evans demands.
O.J. Howard has certainly been the subject of many trade scenarios,
but I doubt the Bucs move on from the first-rounder even though
they steadfastly refuse to use him. Maybe that'll change this
week after Hunter Henry did serious damage against Tennessee this
past Sunday. For the year, the Titans rank 10th against the pass
(232.9 per game), and the rush received a boost from the debut
of first-round pick Jeffery Simmons.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Commitment to the running
game is apparently sacrilege to Arians after his Week 6 game plan
included 54 passes and 14 runs—yes, they played from behind,
but it just a 13-point deficit midway through the third quarter
when a Winston pick put them 20 down so the playbook was open
to that point. Whether it's Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones as the
top back this Sunday, the Titans will pose a challenge after holding
the Chargers to 39 yards on 21 carries.
Game Thoughts: Making his first start of the season,
Ryan Tannehill actually played pretty well, connecting on 23 of
29 passes for 312 yards and two scores. While he did fumble twice
(both recovered by TEN) and toss a pick, Tannehill did a nice
job of spreading the ball around, completing balls to eight different
targets and actually involving the top three receivers. We'll
see how he fares in his second start with an opponent that has
a game's worth of film to analyze.
At least for one week, Corey Davis (6-80-1 in Week 7) and A.J.
Brown (6-64-0) looked like a bona fide pair of starting receivers
at the NFL level. Even Adam Humphries (4-40-0) got sprinkled in
there. Delanie Walker (ankle), meanwhile, was bothered by an ankle
injury and didn't play much. It's unclear how serious the injury
is. For the time being, Davis is the only guy I'm comfortable
starting, though even there I'm maintaining a healthy level of
skepticism regarding a Tannehill-led offense.
Then again, the Titans are facing the NFL's worst pass defense,
which is allowing a league-high 304.5 yards per game. Based on
that, I think someone like Brown could be a desperation matchup
play if you have an injured starter or need to cover a bye.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: If you wanna talk strength
on strength in this game, this is where you find it: 247-pound
Derrick Henry against the NFL's No. 1 rush defense (68 yards per
game; 2.9 yards per carry). Power football is in Tennessee's DNA,
but they may be forced to let Tannehill lead the way on Sunday.
Dion Lewis, who is earning north of $4 million this year, carried
once against the Bolts for two yards. #MoneyWellSpent
Broncos @ Colts
- (Green) Line: IND -6.0 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: Denver's offense was dismal last Thursday
night, and it started with the inability to protect Joe Flacco.
The immobile veteran was sacked eight times, leading to three
fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Over the last
three games he has averaged 193 yards per game to go with one
total TD pass and a pair of picks. It's the latest example of
John Elway's inability to identify QB talent in a post-Manning
world, and now the countdown is on for Drew Lock (thumb) to debut.
Of course, Lock remains on IR, so it'll be Flacco again this
week. The team finally traded veteran Emmanuel Sanders for a couple
of picks, which leaves their passing game with exactly one reliable
option in Courtland Sutton. Despite Denver’s struggles,
Sutton has been a steady producer, topping 60 yards receiving
in six of seven games. With Sanders gone, Sutton becomes Flacco's
No. 1 (and perhaps No. 2) target.
Denver will need more from first-rounder Noah Fant, who has struggled
with drops thus far, and DaeSean Hamilton. Elway also announced
that Tim Patrick (hand) would be activated from IR but not until
Week 11. The Colts currently rank 20th in passing yards allowed
(250.2 per game), but they held up against Houston's Deshaun Watson,
intercepting him twice despite allowing 308 yards through the
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: With the passing game in disarray, Denver
may ask more of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Lindsay (576
yards, 4 TDs in '19) and Freeman (496 yards, 1 TD) figure to see
a lot of work both running and catching out of the backfield,
something both are capable of. The Colts have allowed 119 rushing
yards per game this (19th in the NFL), but you can bet they'll
want to force Denver to pass on Sunday.
Game Thoughts: Pop quiz! Who leads the NFL in TD passes
per game? If you guessed Jacoby Brissett (2.33) you're right!
The NC State product lit up the Texans in an early battle for
AFC South supremacy for 326 yards and four touchdowns to give
him 14 passing TDs in six games. He's definitely moving up in
the fantasy world as well thanks to his athleticism and decision
making, though he still needs to show more consistency as he's
thrown for less than 200 yards in half of his six games this year.
One of the most surprising stat lines from Week 7 was Zach Pascal's
six-catch, 106-yard, two-TD performance. It's too early to say
he's arrived as a complement to T.Y. Hilton—especially when
you consider how banged up Houston was in the secondary—but
he belongs on your watch list. All Hilton did was drop another
74 receiving yards and a score on the Texans.
Eric Ebron also made a nice TD catch as part of his four receptions
for 70 yards, which was easily his best game of the year. It's
not enough for me to elevate him to TE1 status this week, but
he's not far off if you're in need. Defensively, the Broncos sit
third against the pass (195.3 yards per game). That sounds good,
but they sure didn't look like an upper-tier defense last Thursday
night, and will Chris Harris still be on the team?
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: It was another quiet day from Marlon Mack,
who ran for 44 yards on 18 carries (2.4 YPC), marking the third
time in the last five games that he has rushed for fewer than
55 yards. Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines both saw a few snaps,
but it's the Mack Show in Indy, and thus far it's been feast or
famine. Denver ranks 16th in rushing yards allowed (107.3), which
gives Mack some upside this Sunday.
Game Thoughts: Russell Wilson is coming off of his worst
game of the season. Against the Ravens, the MVP candidate completed
less than half of his 41 passes for 241 yards, one TD and a brutal
pick-six. While things should be considerably easier Sunday, remember
two things: 1) Dan Quinn was Seattle's DC, so he knows Wilson
well, and 2) Seattle prefers to impose their will on lesser opponents,
which sometimes means modest passing numbers—just look at
Wilson's quiet Week 4 against Arizona.
Seattle's passing game took a hit two weeks ago when Will Dissly
(Achilles) was lost for the year with a torn Achilles. Without
him, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf will need to do more. Lockett
has made some of the NFL's most amazing receptions this season,
but he's only had one really big game, most of which came in garbage
time against the Saints. Other than that 154-yard showing, he
hasn't topped 80 yards in a game.
Metcalf has all the physical tools and has made some nice plays
down the field. He also had a game-altering unforced fumble last
week and has caught just half of his 40 targets thus far. Jaron
Brown has seen more work recently, and Jacob Hollister looks to
be taking over Dissly's pass-catching role at tight end, at least
until Ed Dickson returns, but neither player is worth owning.
Defensively, there isn't much to say about the Falcons. They're
awful. Only Miami has allowed more points per game than Atlanta
(31.9), and their secondary ranks 28th against the pass at 274
yards per game. Wilson and company should be able to pick them
apart. The question is will they...
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: ...or will they just feed Chris Carson
the ball? Carson has run the ball 20-plus times in four consecutive
games, topping 100 yards in each of the first three before being
held to 65 a week ago. His ascension has left former first-round
pick Rashaad Penny without a role. That's partly due to injuries,
but he was active last week and played just two snaps. If there
were a game to try to get Penny going this might be the one.
Then again, Atlanta's defense isn't nearly as putrid against
the run, ranking 20th in the NFL in yards per game (113.7) but
tied for sixth with just 3.7 yards per carry. Still, this smells
like a potential drubbing with the Falcons' season circling the
drain, Quinn maybe coaching his last game and a team perhaps looking
ahead to their bye.
Game Thoughts: As if things weren't going poorly enough
for the Falcons, Matt Ryan (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in
the fourth quarter of the team's shellacking at the hands of the
LA Rams, and his status is up in the air for Week 8. Given where
the team is and with a bye in Week 9, it wouldn't be a surprise
to see Ryan give way to veteran Matt Schaub against the Seahawks.
Schaub, 38, last started a game in 2015 when he was with the Ravens.
Atlanta also officially turned into sellers this week, flipping
Mohamed Sanu to the Pats for a second-round pick. His departure
should mean more action for the remaining trio of Julio Jones
(6-93-0 last Sunday), Austin Hooper (4-46-1) and Calvin Ridley
(4-30-0). Into Sanu's spot will likely step either Russell Gage
or Justin Hardy, neither of whom warrant fantasy consideration
at this point.
Despite a reputation as a frontline defense, Seattle has been
mediocre this year, ranking 19th against the pass despite facing
backups Teddy Bridgewater and Mason Rudolph (who came in for an
injured Ben Roethlisberger) as well as Lamar Jackson, who did
most of his damage on the ground. Obviously the outlook for Jones,
Ridley and Hooper would diminish if Schaub replaces Ryan, but
I don't think there's a scenario where you bench any of them.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: It was a particularly brutal week in a
disappointing campaign for Devonta Freeman, who gained just 25
total yards before being ejected for throwing a punch at Aaron
Donald... who literally lifted Freeman off the ground like a child.
To add insult to injury (and other insults), Ito Smith (head)
sustained a concussion and has already been ruled out this week.
Even with Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright, Seattle's defense has allowed
108 rushing yards per game, good for 17th in the league. No matter
who's under center, I'd expect the Falcons to try to get something
going on the ground to support a rusty Schaub or a gimpy Ryan.
Eagles at Bills
- (Katz) Line: BUF -1.5 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: Fresh off a disastrous performance in
Dallas, the Eagles look to rebound in another difficult spot against
a strong Bills’ pass defense. The Bills have only allowed
four passing touchdowns this season while recording six interceptions.
Opposing quarterbacks barely average 200 yards against them. Tre’Davious
White ranks in the top 10 in a number of metrics, most notably
fourth in fantasy points allowed per target.
This is a bad matchup for Alshon Jeffery, who is coming off his
worst performance of the season against Byron Jones, where he
caught just two of five targets for 38 yards. It would be nice
if DeSean Jackson could return from his abdominal injury, but
that’s not happening, leaving replacement level Nelson Agholor
as the second receiver.
Zach Ertz has predictably regressed to random TE1. He is not
particularly athletic and is a product of volume, which simply
hasn’t been there. Dallas Goedert is simply a better football
player, but neither of them are particularly strong starts this
week against the Bills, who have been stifling against opposing
tight ends. Bills’ opponents have targeted the tight end
at just a 12% rate and the Bills allow just 6.0 fantasy points
per game to the position. It is just a bad spot all around for
the Eagles’ passing attack.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: The Bills do allow 19% of opponents’
targets to the running back position. This could be a week where
Miles Sanders racks up a few receptions as Jordan Howard struggles
to get going on the ground against a defense that only allows
3.9 yards per carry. If the Eagles do find themselves in position
to score, the Bills have allowed six rushing touchdowns and Howard
is the goal line back. Unless game script forces Howard out like
last week, he will dominate snaps and touches in this backfield.
Look for Howard to command 12-15 carries and play more than half
the snaps. With bye weeks and injuries taking their toll, Howard
is still a solid floor play.
Game Thoughts: The way to beat the Eagles is through
the air. Unfortunately, Josh Allen isn’t particularly good
at throwing footballs. He makes fantasy hay on the ground. Allen
has at least 20 rushing yards in every game this season. With
that being said, the Eagles have allowed 14 passing touchdowns
and allow opposing quarterbacks to complete 65.7% of their passes.
This is a great spot for John Brown and his 14.3 yards per reception
to burn the Eagles deep making him a strong play.
As for the next receiver on the Bills, it is difficult to say.
Zay Jones is gone. Duke Williams hurt his shoulder. Robert Foster
was inactive last week, which shows what they think of him. He
may be forced into action, but either way, it’s Brown or
bust for Bills’ receivers.
TE Dawson Knox is an interesting streamer. He’s run 44
routes over the past two weeks and the Eagles are about average
against the tight end. You can certainly do worse than five targets
out of your tight end.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: In Devin Singletary’s first game
back from his hamstring strain, he played just 39% of the snaps,
clearly behind 88 year-old Frank Gore. Prior to Ezekiel Elliott
last week, the Eagles stymied opposing backs. They still allow
just 3.7 yards per carry, but opposing rushers just seem to find
the end zone against them. It’s happened seven times. Gore
will handle the goal line work, but it remains to be seen if the
Bills to employ rational coaching and attack the Eagles where
they are weakest – through the air. If that’s the
case, we could see more of Singletary. If history is any indication,
though, it will be a lot of Gore again because NFL teams just
can’t get enough of him for some reason. Gore remains a
floor play without any semblance of a ceiling.
Chargers @ Bears
- (Swanson) Line: CHI -4.5 Total: 40.5
Game Thoughts: The Chargers enter Sunday’s game
against the Bears in the midst of a three-game losing streak after
falling to the Titans 20-23 in a shocking ending with Melvin Gordon
fumbling the ball on the goal line.
The offense has been sputtering since Gordon returned to the
line up to share the backfield with Austin Ekeler. The Chargers
have scored just 13, 17, and 20 points respectively in their last
three losses, with quarterback Philip Rivers throwing four interceptions
and four touchdowns.
Turning the ship around this week on the road against Chicago
will be a tough task for Rivers, as the Bears allow the sixth-fewest
points to opposing quarterbacks. Both Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins
were held without a touchdown by the bears, and only Teddy Bridgewater
and Case Keenum have managed to top 20 fantasy points.
Although Rivers is not a high-end play, owners of Hunter Henry
should consider him a strong play based on his elite production
since returning to the field. Chicago gives up the 13th-most points
to opposing tight ends and could be exploited by Henry and Rivers.
One of the biggest concerns is the sub-par offensive line trying
to protect Rivers against the potent pass rush of the Bears. Chicago
ranks third in the league with 50 sacks on the year, and the Chargers
15th-ranked offensive line according to Football Outsiders, will
struggle to keep Rivers upright. It is also not a good sign for
the Chargers that starting guard Forrest Lamp is out for the season
with an injury sustained last week.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: FootbalOutsiders.com rank the Chargers
as the No.24 offensive line in run blocking, with 23% of runs
stuffed by poor blocking. Since returning to the team after a
three-game holdout, Melvin Gordon has been nothing short of awful,
with a 2.3 yard per carry average and zero rushing touchdowns
on 36 carries. The former Pro Bowler does not have a run over
seven yards this season and fumbled the ball twice on the goal
line in the final minutes of last week’s loss to the Titans.
Austin Ekeler has not been much better rushing the ball at 3.6
yards per clip, but he does have three rushing touchdowns to go
along with 49 receptions for 488 yards and four receiving touchdowns.
The diminutive Ekeler has been the far better option than Gordon
this season, and it would behoove the team to feature him over
Gordon in the offense.
The Bears have been terrible against the run this season after
defensive lineman Akiem Hicks went out with a season-ending injury.
Over the last three weeks, only the Browns have allowed more fantasy
points to running backs than the Bears, a team known in previous
years to be one of the better run-stopping units in the league.
From a strategic standpoint, it would make sense for the Chargers
to try and run the ball heavily in this game to take advantage
of the Bears’ weakness against the run, while also limiting
the number of hits on Rivers.
On the injury report, the Bears enter the game defensively fairly
healthy, with reserve safety Sherrick McManis out with a concussion.
Game Thoughts: Things are not going well in the Windy
City. Mitchell Trubisky is the No.35 ranked fantasy quarterback.
Only the tanking Dolphins and the terrible Jets average fewer
yards per game, and the head coach, Matt Nagy, called himself
stupid for not running the ball more.
You can blame Nagy for the play calls. You can assign some of
the issues to offensive line injuries and subpar play, but when
you really focus on the play of Trubisky, it is hard not to wonder
if he is a certifiable bust. He misses wide-open receivers, doesn’t
make plays with his legs like he did last year, and he is a one-read
QB who panics when that receiver is covered.
The one lone bright spot on the Bears has been the play of Allen
Robinson, who has overcome shoddy quarterback play and questionable
offensive play calls to be the No.20 ranked wide receiver in fantasy,
with 41 catches for 464 yards and three touchdowns.
Robinson will likely get Casey Hayward shadow coverage this week,
which is not quite as bad as in previous seasons. T.Y. Hilton,
Kenny Golladay, Corey Davis, and even DeVante Parker all posted
double-digit fantasy games against the Chargers. You can start
Robinson as a No.2 WR with confidence, with the expectation of
80 yards and a possible score.
If the Bears are smart and Nagy takes his own advice, they will
run the ball over and over again against a Chargers front seven
that gives up the 9th-most points to opposing running backs. Marlon
Mack, Phillip Lindsay, James Conner, and Derrick Henry each had
monster games against this defense.
It would also be smart to run the ball to limit the pass rush
of Joey Bosa and mitigate the number of bad throws and decisions
made by Trubisky.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: David Montgomery and Joe Mixon are leaders
in the clubhouse for the most disappointing running backs in fantasy
this season. The rookie from Iowa State entered the season with
a ton of hype based on impressive runs in the preseason and the
assumption that he would be the three-down back that Nagy did
not think Jordan Howard could be.
Instead, Howard is thriving in Philly (as a pass catcher too),
and Montgomery is rushing for 3.3 yards per clip and just two
total touchdowns. In last week's game against the Saints, albeit
a stout run defense, Montgomery rushed the ball two times for
Montgomery has yet to top 67 yards in any game, and for some
odd reason that makes zero sense when you consider how well he
caught passes in college; Montgomery has 11 total catches on the
If there were ever a game for Montgomery to pull out of his slump,
it would be this week against the Chargers. Everyone and their
mother has managed to score a touchdown or two against this defensive
line, including James Conner, who posted 119 total yards and two
scores in Week 6.
The Chargers can also be beaten in the passing game out of the
backfield, which could make Tarik Cohen a viable low-end flex
in deeper leagues.
Injuries to the Chargers are another reason why we like Bears
running backs this week. Defensive linemen Cortez Broughton, Justin
Jones, Damion Square, and Brandon Mebane are all injured, with
Square being the only one to practice on Wednesday.
Giants @ Lions
- (Swanson) Line: DET -7.0 Total: 49.5
Game Thoughts: Daniel Jones made General Manager Dave
Gettleman look like a genius after his monster, four-touchdown
performance in his first start of his career Week 2 at Tampa Bay.
Jones looked confident in the pocket, made plays with his feet,
and appeared to be worthy of the sixth overall pick that made
Gettlemen the laughing stock of the league this summer.
The next four starts of Jones’ career were not quite as
impressive. The former Tar Heel has yet to throw for more than
225 yards, despite two juicy matchups against the Redskins and
Cardinals, while leading the league in that span with seven interceptions
and a slew of fumbles.
Injuries to Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard
greatly affected the overall performance of Jones and the Giants
offense. But not all of the poor play should be blamed on lousy
circumstances. The rookie has looked very much like a rookie,
and the skill position players for the Giants are going to be
negatively affected the rest of the season because of that fact.
Golden Tate has been one of the bright spots the passing offense
since returning to the field after a four-game suspension. The
veteran wideout has 12 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown over
the previous two games against New England and Arizona and should
be a solid PPR play this week against his former team.
If you buy into revenge game narratives, Jones’ return
to Ford Field could be an attractive fantasy matchup. Tate is
a type of player who would love to burn his former employer, and
the Lions may be without Darius Slay, who has been dealing with
a hamstring injury. The team will, for sure be without former
starting safety Quandre Diggs, who was traded to Seattle for draft
Shepard was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday due
to a concussion. He is likely still a couple weeks away.
From a matchup standpoint, the Lions have been generous to opposing
quarterbacks this season to the tune of 23.6 fantasy points per
game (9th-most). Kirk Cousins lit up the Lions for 337 yards and
four touchdowns last week, while Dalvin Cook ran wild with 125
yards and a pair of scores. The Lions did shut down Patrick Mahomes
and Philip Rivers earlier this season at home, but they have struggled
as of late, and the match up bodes well for Jones.
Evan Engram may take a page out of the Vikings playbook this
week and post a monster game from the tight end position. With
Matt Patricia focused on limiting the Vikings wide receivers and
running backs, Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. each posted their
biggest games of the year.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley picked up right where he
left off in with 80 total yards and a rushing touchdown against
the Cardinals last week. Barkley has 14 or more points in three
of his four games, with the only subpar game coming in his injury-shortened
game against the Bucs Week 3 when he suffered a high-ankle sprain.
You are starting Barkley with confidence based on the fact that
he is going to get a ton of volume, and he plays against a Lions
defense that frankly is not very good against the run or the pass.
Only Miami and Cincinnati have given up more fantasy points to
opposing running backs, with seven different running backs posting
ten or more fantasy points.
Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, and C.J. Ham combined to score
36.1 points last week in a lopsided win for the Vikings. While
I don’t anticipate Barkley scoring 36 points, he will get
the majority of touches for the Giants and should be able to post
100 total yards and a score or two.
Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford has quietly been one
of the best values in fantasy football this season as a late-round
and often un-drafted quarterback who currently ranked 7th in average
fantasy points per game.
Stafford has arguably the deepest receiving corps of his career
with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, and tight end
T.J. Hockenson giving opposing defenses fits. The run game that
we all anticipated would be better has not materialized, and the
Lions defense continues to struggle and forces Stafford to throw
more than he would like.
The result of these factors is Stafford is on pace to throw 590
passes or more or the first time since 2016, and he has three
games of at least 28 fantasy points.
Stafford enters Sunday’s game against the Giants on the
heels of a 364/4 day in a shootout loss against the Vikings. I
don’t anticipate that the Giants will put up a fight and
score as many points as Minnesota did, but you have to love a
home matchup against a team that gives up the ninth-most points
to wide receivers and the 11th-most to quarterbacks.
Teams have found success passing the ball on the Giants and the
Lions will be without starting running back Kerryon Johnson for
the remainder of the year. Sure, Darrell Bevel will try to get
rookie Ty Johnson going on the ground, but he is a smart coordinator
who knows how to take advantage of a defense’s weakness
and passing at will against the Giants is the way to a victory.
Kenny Golladay owners who left last week’s game ticked
off with Marvin Jones scoring all four receiving touchdowns will
get some retribution this week against a Giants secondary with
aging veteran Janoris Jenkins and rookie Deandre Baker.
Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, Adam Thielen, and Julian Edelman all
posted big games against the Giants, and Golladay is due to for
a bounce-back game.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: A knee injury to Kerryon Johnson will
leave the Lions with Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic to share the
load out of the backfield. Johnson is a sixth-round rookie out
of Maryland who is a skilled runner and a talented pass-catching
back. He has yet to find his groove running the ball with 83 yards
on 23 carries, but he should be the one who will get the majority
of work on first and second down.
The likely game script of the Lions leading in the second half
could bode well for Johnson to get close-out carries. Bevell has
a history of working with McKissic in his time with Seattle, but
the veteran wide receiver turned running back is more of a change
of pace/receiving option.
Owners will no doubt break the bank in home leagues for Johnson
with the hope of RB1 return on their investment. As the No.4 ranked
team in fantasy points allowed to the position, on paper, this
home matchup bodes well for Johnson. But the uncertainty surrounding
how the carries will be split between the two backs should temper
the expectations a bit for Johnson owners. It should also be noted
that the Lions overall have struggled to run the ball behind an
offensive line that has not done a good job opening up holes.
Game Thoughts: If you watched Sam Darnold on Monday night
you might've felt the urge to sprint to a nearby eye-wash station
and sanitize your pupils. In one of the ugliest performances you're
likely to see, the USC product completed just 11 of 32 passes
for 86 yards and four INTs (he also lost a fumble). His "ghosts"
comment went viral, and he also lost a toenail after having his
foot stepped on. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...
It was the direct opposite of what Darnold and the Jets put on
film in Week 6 when he returned from mono to throw for 338 yards,
with 125 going to Robby Anderson, 98 to Jamison Crowder and 62
to Demaryius Thomas. So which are the real Jets? It's probably
somewhere in the middle, but based on targets it appears as though
a Darnold-led version will flow through the wideouts with a sprinkling
of Le'Veon Bell.
Jacksonville turned the page on the Jalen Ramsey era with a spanking
of the Bengals that included three interceptions of Andy Dalton.
The Jags rank 17th in yards allowed via the air (243.9), which
is a good reflection of their inconsistency, locking down Deshaun
Watson one game only to struggle with Joe Flacco two weeks later.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: With 15 carries for 70 yards, Bell was
the only respectable part of the Jets offense Monday night. After
facing what seemed like 12-man boxes during Darnold's absence,
Bell has found more room to run and looks elusive, even if big
plays have been mostly non-existent. Outside of being embarrassed
by Christian McCaffrey, the Jags' run defense has been pretty
stout, though they'll be without Marcell Dareus (core), who is
set to miss 4-6 weeks.
Game Thoughts: Gardner Minshew has hit some bumps in
the road recently, connecting on less than half of his passes
in each of the last two games. He made his completions count last
Sunday, averaging 17 yards per against the Bengals. Minshew added
48 yards on nine rushes. Rankings aside, the Jets have some talent
on defense, and you can bet Gregg Williams is going to be aggressive
in trying to rattle the rookie.
For most of this season the passing game has revolved around
D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook, but Chris Conley had three receptions
(on seven targets) for 83 yards in Week 7—his first notable
production since posting a 10-170-1 line over the season's first
two games. Despite that, I'm doubling down with the notion that
Chark (3-53-0 in Week 7) and Westbrook (6-103-0) are the guys
to own. They'll try to exploit a Jets secondary that's forced
to play Trumaine Johnson, who was railed unmercifully by Booger
McFarland on MNF.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: At one point I thought Ryquell Armstead
might carve out a role. That hasn't panned out, and Leonard Fournette
continues to be the focal point of the offense. He has 20 or more
carries in four straight games, which includes three outings of
100-plus yards, but the 228-pound bulldozer inexplicably has one
touchdown on 172 combined touches (144 carries, 28 receptions).
Perhaps that will change against the Jets, who have allowed just
3.3 yards per carry this year but have allowed an NFL-high 10
rushing touchdowns (in just six games).
Panthers @ 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -5.5 Total: 41.5
Game Thoughts: The Panthers have a tough task in front
of them here in Week 8 but at least they’ve had an extra
week to prepare as they’re coming off of their bye. Still,
this is an extremely difficult matchup for an inexperienced quarterback
like Kyle Allen. The 49ers have allowed the second-fewest points
per game to opposing fantasy quarterbacks this season, including
holding their past three opposing QBs - Baker Mayfield, Jared
Goff and Case Keenum to a combined 255 passing yards and zero
Allen is simply off the board this week given the matchup and
most of these receivers should be, too. Greg Olsen is a viable
low-end TE1 just because the position is so terrible but he hasn’t
been anything special since early in the season. Curtis Samuel
has had moments where he’s looked good this season but this
isn’t the time to trust him in your lineup. The only Panthers
receiver who we should be looking at is D.J. Moore, who has scored
at least 12 PPR fantasy points in all but one game this season.
He’s not a high-upside option but he does have about as
good of a floor as one can hope for in a matchup like this.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: It’d be hard to argue that any player
other than Christian McCaffrey has been the fantasy football MVP
so far this season. Just as he did a season ago, McCaffrey is
doing it all as both a runner and as a pass catcher, including
having already scored nine touchdowns through six games.
McCaffrey has one of the toughest on-paper matchups against a
49ers defense that has given up the second-fewest fantasy points
per game to opposing running backs, but he’s still absolutely
a locked in RB1 in any matchup given his monumental workload.
The 49ers have not yet given up a touchdown to an opposing running
back this season but if any player on the Panthers is going to
get into the end zone, there’s a good bet that it’ll
Game Thoughts: The 49ers’ Week 7 matchup against
the Redskins was supposed to be one of the best matchups of the
season for Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco passing game,
but it turned out that the weather had other plans as the two
teams played in what was essentially a monsoon. Neither team did
much on offense, especially through the air, and the game ended
without a single touchdown scored.
This week Garoppolo does have another interesting matchup as he’ll
be against a Panthers defense that was great against opposing
passers earlier this season but has been quite poor against them
over their past two weeks, having given up a total of 765 passing
yards to the likes of Gardner Minshew and Jameis Winston in Weeks
5 and 6.
It seems likely that Carolina will focus on slowing down the 49ers
running game which could leave some opportunities for Garoppolo
to exploit, but his volume simply hasn’t been there for
him to be a QB1 for fantasy purposes this week.
The 49ers wide receivers have been sort of a hodgepodge of mediocrity
this season and they only added to the confusion this week when
they added veteran Emmanuel Sanders via trade from the Broncos.
Sanders is a quality receiver who should take over as the team’s
top wide receiver very soon, but he may not play a full complement
of snaps quite yet as he learns the San Francisco offense. It’s
probably best to avoid these receivers for now because none of
them are likely to command a high enough target share to provide
a good floor or ceiling for fantasy.
Tight end George Kittle continues to be the top receiving weapon
for the 49ers and is probably the only fantasy-relevant option
in the passing game here in Week 8, other than Garoppolo in two-QB
leagues. Kittle hasn’t been quite the fantasy producer in
2019 that he was in 2018, but he’s still an elite option
at the position and he should be a major part of the passing game
in this one.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: The weather didn’t really give us
the results that we’d like to see from this backfield from
a fantasy standpoint, but we did get some interesting information
from the 49ers’ Week 7 victory over the Redskins. The 49ers
backfield has been very much a split so far this season and it
will likely continue to be so, but it’s becoming increasingly
clear that Tevin Coleman is the lead back in this offense with
Breida playing a complementary role.
Coleman saw 22 touches this past week to Breida’s nine and
that now marks the second straight week that he’s seen 20-plus
touches. That kind of usage is quite rare in today’s NFL
and it’s enough to boost Coleman into the mid-to-high-end
RB2 conversation. Breida could still be useful as a Flex for those
in a tough spot but he’s not likely to see enough work to
produce great fantasy numbers unless he breaks off a long run,
which he is capable of doing.
Browns at Patriots
- (Katz) Line: NE -13.5 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: The bye week couldn’t have come
at a better time with Baker Mayfield putting the extra rest to
good use to heal up his injured hip and the team, in general,
needing some time to figure out what’s wrong. Unfortunately,
their welcome back party is being crashed by the league’s
best defense. It is almost unfathomable that the Patriots have
allowed one passing touchdown against 18 interceptions. They’ve
allowed 48 points on the season, pitching two shutouts and holding
two other teams to three points.
Mayfield is well off the starting radar and it’s hard to
say Odell Beckham Jr. is an auto-start either. Beckham has finished
better than WR35 just twice this season. If you choose to start
him this week, you are doing so on name brand alone because facing
off with Stephon Gilmore is a recipe for disaster. I know the
Patriots have faced arguably the easiest schedule in NFL history
thus far, but Gilmore ranks top two in coverage rating, catch
rate allowed, fantasy points per snap allowed, and fantasy points
per target allowed.
If anyone is going to be a fantasy producer, it will likely be
Jarvis Landry. He’s run 62% of his routes from the slot
and will avoid the Patriots’ best cornerback. With negative
game script likely, the Browns should be throwing. We can be sure
the Patriots’ defense is good, but it is entirely possible
a real offense can do something against them. The Browns are,
by far, the best team they have faced (which is admittedly a low
bar). With two weeks to prepare, hopefully Freddie Kitchens has
cooked up something innovative.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: No one runs against the Patriots because
teams are always trailing so quickly. The good news for Nick Chubb
is he has been very involved in the passing game. Chubb has seen
at least four targets in all but one game this season. The Patriots
have only allowed two rushing touchdowns this season. Chubb is
a monster at the goal line, but this week looks more like a floor
play than a ceiling one. Better weeks are ahead for Chubb, but
even so, if you have him, you start him.
Game Thoughts: Tom Brady’s fantasy production rests
entirely on whether he scores the touchdowns or if Sony Michel
falls into the end zone three times like last week. The Browns
have been decent against the pass, but they’ve also allowed
12 passing touchdowns. The Patriots just acquired Mohamed Sanu,
although it is unlikely he is very involved during his first game
with the team. His acquisition will soon render Jakobi Meyers
irrelevant. Julian Edelman will continue to command double digit
targets and Phillip Dorsett remains an excellent deep threat.
Josh Gordon’s season is over due to his knee injury. Ben
Watson was active for the first time last season and played 76%
of the snaps, seeing five targets. He’s at least a desperation
streaming option at a terrible position. The Patriots have scored
an inordinate number of their touchdowns on the ground. Regression
is coming. This could be a week where Brady throws for three scores.
He’s a surefire top 12 play this week.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Sony Michel is still one of the least
talented running backs in the NFL. He was completely ineffective
last week. Fortunately for fantasy owners, he scored three times.
Impressively, he barely cracked 20 fantasy points despite three
touchdowns. Michel is the quintessential touchdown or bust option.
The Patriots score a lot of points and are two score favorites
this week. Game script once again should favor Michel. I have
a feeling this is a Brady week, but if you have Michel, it is
difficult to bench him given the touchdown upside.
The Browns have been weak against the run, allowing 5.0 yards
per carry, but Michel is nowhere near good enough to exploit that.
James White will continue to be the safest of the Patriots’
running backs. He saw eight targets last week, which was actually
his lowest number in the past month. White only has one touchdown
on the season, but you start him for his floor, which remains
intact this week.
Game Thoughts: Oakland's two-game winning streak came
to a screeching halt at Lambeau Field last Sunday, though it might
not have been as lopsided as it seemed with a handful of key plays
turning a tight game into a blowout. Derek Carr was mostly good,
completing 22 of 28 passes for 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns,
but he turned the ball over twice in the red zone. Mike Glennon
came on with the game out of hand and tossed a garbage-time TD
to cut a 25-point lead to 18.
With Tyrell Williams (foot) out due to plantar fasciitis, Jon
Gruden's game plan revolved around the tight ends, most notably
Darren Waller, who looked unstoppable in racking up 126 yards
and two TDs on seven receptions—one of those TDs came from
Glennon, which was pure stat padding, but he also had an earlier
score erased on penalty. Rookie Foster Moreau caught a touchdown
pass as well and seems like a player on the rise.
On the outside, Williams' absence meant Oakland's top WRs were
Trevor Davis and Keelan Doss of Hard Knocks fame. Both played
respectably, and Davis has done some nice things since being acquired
from the Packers, but the team is hopeful Williams can return
from injury in Week 8.
Defensively, Houston is in disarray in the secondary due to numerous
injuries. In an effort to shore up the position, the Texans acquired
former first-round pick Gareon Conley from Oakland this week.
You can bet he'll be looking to stick it to his former club, but
I like Carr's upside here, especially if Williams is up.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: Josh Jacobs (shoulder) left the field
Sunday for a couple of plays due to a shoulder injury but returned
to rush for 124 yards on 21 carries. On the downside he was stoned
inside the five-yard line multiple times, including fourth-and-goal
from the one, and came away with no touchdowns. It turns out that
injury wasn't minor, either, and there's legitimate concern that
the rookie will be out this week.
Without Jacobs, the running game would go through DeAndre Washington
and Jalen Richard with Washington likely serving as the primary
ball carrier. Houston is fourth against the run this season, so
I'd expect the Raiders to attack via the pass whether Jacobs is
active or not.
Game Thoughts: There's no disputing Deshaun Watson's
ability, but it'd be nice to see a little more consistency from
him on a weekly basis. For the year he has three games with three
or more TD passes and four with one or zero. He's also been held
to less than 175 yards passing twice. Logic says Watson should
be in for a big game this Sunday against a Raiders defense that
can't generate much of a pass rush, just traded a starting CB
and got demolished by Aaron Rodgers for six TDs in Week 7.
If there's a negative for Houston's passing outlook this week
it's Will Fuller (hamstring) being expected to miss multiple weeks
after yet another injury. For all his talent, Fuller just cannot
stay on the field. That loss should mean more targets for DeAndre
Hopkins, Kenny Stills and probably Keke Coutee as well. Hopkins
was a WR1 already, so there's no change there. As for Stills,
he enters the WR3 zone as a deep threat, while Coutee is more
of a watch list guy—both Stills and Coutee have had durability
woes of their own.
While not having Fuller hurts, the Raiders seem ill equipped
to handle the remaining Texans wideouts after facing the Packers
minus Davante Adams with minimal success. Oakland is second-to-last
in passing yards allowed (289.8 yards per game) and trading away
a starter probably won't help.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Houston ran for 100 yards against the
Colts last Sunday, but Carlos Hyde's 35 yards led the team, followed
by Duke Johnson (34) and Watson (32). Although most NFL teams
like to maintain a run/pass balance, the Texans could choose to
follow Green Bay's playbook—the Packers called 15 runs to
31 passes before the final two possessions—and let Watson
attack. To their credit, Oakland ranks fifth in the league in
Game Thoughts: Critics of Aaron Rodgers have been silenced
- at least for one week - as the former multi-time NFL Most Valuable
Player lit up the scoreboard with a gigantic five touchdown performance
against the Raiders in Week 7. He did this despite being without
his top target, wide receiver Davante Adams. Rodgers has now shot
himself back into the mid-level QB1 range on the season and he
looks poised to have another nice fantasy day here in Week 8 against
a middle-of-the-road Kansas City secondary.
While Rodgers was extremely efficient himself this past week,
it seems pretty obvious that he does not have a “favorite
receiver” with Adams out. Despite throwing 31 passes in
Week 7, Rodgers did not target a single receiver more than five
times in the game and he targeted eight different receivers, all
of whom saw at least two targets come their way. That makes every
member of this Green Bay passing game very risky and probably
not worth starting in most seasonal formats. The one exception
is tight end Jimmy Graham, who despite having practically no floor
is at least a decent red zone threat while the Packers are without
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: He hasn’t traditionally been known
as a big time pass catching weapon, but Aaron Jones has really
excelled as a receiver so far this season and he now ranks in
the top 10 in the league among running backs in receptions. That
has been extremely helpful for his fantasy floor because he hasn’t
been used extremely heavily in the running game, having been held
to 13 or fewer carries in all but two contests so far this season.
Some of that comes due to the fact that the Packers are utilizing
Jamaal Williams fairly regularly as a runner, but it also just
has to do with the team leaning more heavily on their passing
Jones has been the better fantasy play most weeks, but these two
backs continue to vulture one another’s touches and that
makes Jones difficult to trust as an RB1 on a weekly basis. The
duo does have a juicy matchup this week, however, as they’ll
be up against a 99 or more rushing yards to a single opposing
running back in all but two games this season. The Chiefs did,
however, hold the Broncos’ duo of Phillip Lindsay and Royce
Freeman, which is more similar to the Packers than almost any,
to just 71 rushing yards this past week.
Still, Jones is a high-end RB2 in this matchup with RB1 upside
as long as he gets the carries in the red zone. Williams should
probably remain on fantasy benches but he has a decent opportunity
for a touchdown and could be useful as a Flex particularly in
Game Thoughts: The knee injury to Patrick Mahomes was
the biggest story throughout the league this past week as the
reigning NFL MVP is expected to miss a few weeks. Mahomes leaves
behind a talent-rich offense that is absolutely loaded with firepower
at every position, but one that might be dialed back quite a few
notches now that the team will be turning to veteran Matt Moore.
Moore isn’t completely incompetent but he certainly doesn’t
bring the physical ability that Mahomes does to the offense and
that will likely lead to fewer downfield looks to the likes of
Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson,
all of whom have had some of their best fantasy days of the season
due to the deep passing ability that Mahomes possesses. Wide receiver
Sammy Watkins is also expected back this week which further clutters
the target distribution, making Robinson and Hardman expendable
in most leagues.
Hill is still a dynamic enough player to be considered a WR1 this
week even in a relatively difficult matchup against the Packers,
but he’s the only wide receiver in the Kansas City offense
who we should be starting in weekly formats right now, at least
until we see Moore establish a connection with one of the other
Tight end Travis Kelce has now failed to score a touchdown or
reach the 100-yard mark since he did both all the way back in
Week 2. Still, even with that odd elite-level scoring drought,
Kelce remains the third-highest-scoring tight end on the season
and he’ll face a Packers defense that just got done surrendering
172 yards and three touchdowns to the Raiders’ trio of tight
ends led by Darren Waller’s seven catches for 126 yards
and two scores. With the Chiefs offense unlikely to be looking
to stretch the field as much as usual, that could mean more targets
for Kelce so there might not be as big of a drop off in his fantasy
scoring as some might be expecting without Mahomes.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: With Damien Williams having failed to reach
even 30 rushing yards in a single game yet this season, it’s
now all but locked in that LeSean McCoy is by far and away the
better fantasy option in this backfield. It hasn’t always
meant huge production for McCoy, but the touches have been there
most weeks and he’s been in an offense that’s moving
the ball down the field enough to give him plenty of touchdown
It might be a bit more difficult for McCoy this week, however,
as the Packers defense will almost certainly be focused on keeping
the Chiefs’ running game in check with Mahomes sidelined.
The “dare Matt Moore to beat us” strategy would seem
to be a wise one and it could lead to more stacked boxes and less
room for these Kansas City backs to show off their athleticism.
McCoy is a low-end RB2 at best in this game but he’s a solid
flex option given that he should see 15 or more touches against
the Packers here in Week 8.
Game Thoughts: The schedule makers for Monday Night Football
must be kicking themselves over scheduling this dreadful matchup
between an 0-6 Dolphins team and a Steelers team without Ben Roethlisberger.
The last time the Dolphins and the Steelers played on MNF was
the infamous mud field goal game in which the Steelers beat Miami
3-0 on a rain-soaked field. The Dolphins would go on to finish
1-15 on the season- something that may well happen again in 2019.
Miami is tied with the Jets for dead last in points per game
(10.5). They are second or dead last in nearly every single offensive
stat, including yards per game, time of possession, and both rushing
and passing yards. There is nothing to like about this team, except
for the fact that they are skilled at tanking for Tua.
Despite the wasteland of terrible play that is the 2019 Miami
Dolphins, there are a couple of very faint bright spots on the
offense, at least in the passing game. Former first-round bust
DeVante Parker has quietly put up low-end No.2 WR points, and
rookie Preston Williams has flashed some skill from time to time
with Ryan Fitzpatrick slinging the ball around effortlessly and
Pittsburgh is going to win this game going away. In fact, it
is going to be an ugly blowout with the Steeler defense likely
scoring a touchdown or two. But for fantasy purposes, the blowout
means passing opportunities for Fitzmagic throughout the second
half and garbage time chances for both Parker and Williams.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: The running game outlook for fantasy owners
is not as optimistic as it is for the receiving options in the
passing game. The projected negative game script of a Steelers
blowout could spell death for Kenyon Drake, Mark Walton and Kalen
Walton rushed a season-high 14 times last week against Buffalo,
for 66 yards and no touchdowns. It was the largest rushing total
on the season and the most rushes a Dolphins running back has
received all year.
Conversely, the Steelers have been stout against the run this
season, with no opposing running back topping 100 yards and only
two RBs reaching paydirt. Sony Michel managed only 14 yards on
15 carries Week 1, and Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler were equally
dreadful Week 6 with a combined 32 yards on 13 carries.
Hopefully, you have other options than a running back in Miami.
If not, go with Walton, with the assumption he will get the lions
share of carries again.
Game Thoughts: Mason Rudolph is set to return to the
field after a terrifying concussion against the Ravens in Week
5 in which the former Oklahoma State star passed out before he
hit the ground. Devlin Hodges played adequately in his stead,
leading the Steelers to a 24017 victory over the Chargers before
Chances are fantasy owners, unless they are in a two-quarterback
league, are not considering playing Rudolph against the Dolphins.
Sure, the matchup is about as good as it gets on paper, but there
is also the scenario in which the Steelers defense and the ground
game dominate the Phins, leaving Rudolph with a less than stellar
JuJu Smith-Schuster owners, on the other hand, will most definitely
want to play their wide receiver, hoping to earn back some of
the expensive draft capital that was thrown in the garbage when
Big Ben blew out his elbow.
Miami has allowed an amazing 11 touchdowns to wide receivers
this year and three games of at least 20 fantasy points. The players
have quit. They could care less about winning, and for the most
part, every No.1 wideout who has played Miami has at least a touchdown
or 80 yards.
Diontae Johnson is an interesting play this week as a home run
sleeper with massive upside. In the previous two games with Mason
Rudolph, the rookie from Toledo had 11 catches for 104 yards and
a score. It is not out of the realm of possibility that he once
again sneaks behind the secondary and posts a long touchdown grab.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: James Conner owners will go to bed on
Sunday night dreaming of touchdowns, blown tackles, and half-hearted
effort by the Dolphins in what is by far the best matchup of the
season for the stud running back.
Conner plays big at home and big in primetime, giving fantasy
owners hope that he is going to destroy a defense that gives up
the most points to opposing running backs. In just six games this
season, the Dolphins have allowed nine total touchdowns and 1103
Let that sink in a bit. The Dolphins allow an average of 183
total yards and 1.5 touchdowns a game to opposing running backs.
It will be a disappointment if Conner does not reach 100 total
yards and a score.