by Douglas Menefee – UPDATED 11/5 11:27AM PST
All write-ups below won’t include player changes after the above date. That will be updated in the rankings that include the same information as below.
PACKERS @ 49ERS
Rodgers is the QB7 through seven weeks, not including his bye with 1657/17 passing. His 17 passing TD’s put him 3rd best, and his team is 8th in positive game script. He only really had a tough time against the Bucs, whose number one pass defense (Football Outsiders) had him hitting QB27 in week six. His fantasy finishes are (2), (16), (7), (3), (27), (8) before week eight. On a short week, he gets the Niners, who rank 13th in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Rodgers is a bonafide QB1 who should finish in the top 12. The rough spot would be Adams matching up against Jason Verrett (PFF rating of 82.6) about 45% of the time. The 49ers have a tough sled having just played the Seahawks, then the Pack followed up by the Saints. I am sure they are aware of their demanding schedule, and they are already in a strong division, so it could lead them to really want to show up here. I still think Rodgers is match up proof here, and I think the Niners high pass defensive ranking is skewed because they have played the Jets, Giants, Eagles, Dolphins, Rams, and a downtrodden Patriots team. All that to say, I wouldn’t worry about Rodgers too much in this spot.
Jimmy reinjured himself, and Mullens gets the start here on a short week against a Packers team ranked 20th in pass defense DVOA (according to FO). Operating without Aiyuk and Kittle and uncertain if Reed returns, Mullens is at best a QB 15-20 options this week. His fantasy finishes are (32), (17), (29), (15).
Jimmy G – scratch
If a charming grin earned points, Garoppolo would be a legendary fantasy QB. Unfortunately, it doesn’t you have to be married to Ciara to get that sort of qualification. Jimmy G is mostly a game manager that has his good fantasy spots, but just like a bolt of lightning, you just don’t know when or where it’s going to happen. His fantasy finishes are (17), (25), (31), (8), (24) before week eight. If you want to test fate, Jimmy does get a plus matchup that may turn into a negative game script against the Pack, who rank 20th in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). If you are in a bye week and don’t have many options to choose from, you could ride on a fantasy…slide, slide slippity slide. It’s always scary to run with Jimmy, though, even in scenarios you think it will happen.
Aaron Jones – uncertain
Jones could be back this week, but it is a short week, and having just missed some games, it may give you pause. Even with pause, this is redraft, so you will have to roll with him and probably don’t have much choice. The hope was he has been missing games to get fully healthy, just like the Pack treated Adams. I would feel safe that they don’t want a player coming back too early, so I would catapult Jones back in the top 12 if he plays. The 49ers have a DVOA rush ranking of 6th, according to Football Outsiders. I will call bullshit on that, though, because they played the pass-happy Cardinals, Jets, Giants (minus the Bark), Eagles (they got behind), Dolphins, and Patriots. If Jones is playing, you can start him, and Rodgers should put them in a position to score. – reports suggest it seems unlikely Jones starts. If he does, he may be a risky option. He was limited in Tuesday’s walkthrough, according to Matt Schneidman on Twitter.
Jamaal Williams – scratch
If Jones doesn’t play, Williams is a high-end RB2 on a short week against the 49ers. As I stated in the Jones analysis, the Niners rank high in rush defense DVOA, but I feel that number is skewed based on their opponents. Rodgers has a chance to put the Pack in positions to score through the air or ground.
Tyler Ervin/Dexter Williams
If you are in a crunch or hurting at RB, you can use these dart throws as risky flex options against the Niners (if Jones doesn’t play). Williams will operate as the early-down back, so he would get the nod in a positive game script.
JaMycal Hasty/Jerick McKinnon/Austin Walter -Tevin Coleman scratch
Back to Niner normal, it’s tough to trust any of their running backs with all three of them going. Hasty lead in rushing this past week and McKinnon lead in receiving. The Packers are ranked 22nd in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. I can’t confidently predict who will have the better matchup. Play at your own risk. – Update it looks like Hasty and McKinnon should get work this week with half their team missing if they play. Hasty would be a low-end RB2 to flex option and same with McKinnon.
Adams holds 33.8% of the team’s target share and 30% of the redzone share. His fantasy finishes are (1), (74), (30), (2) before week eight. This week the Pack gets the Cali Golddiggers on a short week who rank 13th in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Adams matches up with Jason Verett (PFF grade of 82.6) on about 45% of his routes. Verett has only played two worthwhile WR’s in Parker and Woods, to whom he allowed a total of 4 receptions on 12 targets. Still, this is Davante F’in Adams. Yes, I have been drinking, but you will still get grade A analysis. You can start Adams as a bonafide WR1.
MVS is not a trustworthy start based on his fantasy finishes thus far this year. He has finished above 50th one time in the first week against the Vikings. Even though he can get a bomb, it’s not worth the risk.
There is a shot he returns this week, and if so, he could slide in as a risky low-end flex option against the Niners.
Tonyan is part of a long list of Green Bay tight ends who have had their day in the sun then got sucked down a Lambeau black hole never to be seen again. He re-emerged this week with a quality 5/79/0. His fantasy finishes in the two previous games were (26), (29). Tonyan is a risky TE3/4.
Brandon Aiyuk – scratch
Aiyuken would be the WR21 just through week 3-7. His fantasy finishes in that time frame are (12), (34), (56), (45), (20). This week the Niners get a Packers team that ranks 20th in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The Niners may be playing from behind in a negative game script, and Aiyuk should mostly avoid Jaire Alexander. Aiyuk is a high-end flex to low-end WR2 in this matchup.
Kendrick Bourne – scratch / Trent Taylor
Bourne mostly hovers in the 45ish area, which is enough to warrant fringe flex options but still not be a trustworthy start. This week he will line up mainly against Jaire Alexander (PFF grade of 90.8), so he should be totally avoided as a start. – Update with Bourne scratched for COVID as well Trent becomes a low-end flex option with opportunity.
George Kittle – scratch
Kittle is a must-start every week, and if you own him, you aren’t sitting him at all. He has had some volatility, but it comes with a huge payoff. Kittle is a pair of pocket Aces. He owns a 27.3% target market share on his team and is still the number 2 tight end through seven weeks, even having missed some time. The Niners may find themselves having to throw in negative game script this Thursday Night against the Wisconsin Whiz Kids. Kittle is a TE1.
Jordan Reed/Ross Dwelley
If Reed can return in time, he is a risky, in a pinch, TE starter with upside. If Reed doesn’t play or is limited, Dwelley could be a dart throw TE2/3 against the Packers with upside with limited receiving options.
GIANTS @ WFT
Instead of rambling off random stats, we all know Daniel hasn’t quite lived up to fantasy relevance this year, possibly because of line issues and RB injuries. You are probably never going to start him. In his last game against the Washington Generals, he finished as the QB19 with 112 passing yards and 1 TD. Washington is a run funnel defense that ranks 2nd in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Daniel is a top 24 QB, but mostly a sit in most fantasy leagues.
In his short stint, Allen has finished (23), (16), (17). He is more than likely on your waiver wire. The only primary concern you have in this game are Gibson and McLaurin (speaking of I have to finish watching that Ford v. Ferrari movie; I did like it). You aren’t starting Allen, but he did finish 16th in his last game against the G men with 280/2. Not too shabby if you need a fill-in.
Freeman has finished (24), (15), (33) from weeks 4-6. He finished with 18 carries in his last game against the WFT, totaled 57 yards, and finished 33rd. Freeman is a flex to low-end RB2 if he plays. If you are RB starved, then he is a viable fill-in.
If Freeman plays, Gallman is not a worthwhile start.
I mean hot damn. Can’t they just play this man full steam? Give him 80% of the snaps one time. Through seven weeks, Gibson is the RB17 with 84/371/4 and 19/147/0. He is 8th in evaded tackles and 9th in juke rate. His fantasy finishes are (28), (24), (5), (29), (26), (9). He has low volatility, and you can trust him as an every-week RB2. This week he gets a pass funnel Giants team, which he only got 9.5 PPR points against last game. It’s fair to downgrade Gibson somewhat this game, but he is still an RB2.
Sterling Shepard/Darius Slayton/Golden Tate
When Shepard, Slayton, Tate, and Engram all play, they cannibalize each other like the Donner party. Slayton finished as the WR32 with 11.8 PPR points in the last game against the WFT, and Tate finished as the WR87. I think Tate is a bench play, and Slayton and Shepard are flex options with low upside.
Engram is still seeing targets, although he only received 3 in the last meeting with the WFT. If you have Engram, you may be able to bank on his steady eddy performance as a TE3. There isn’t much upside though this year, it seems.
Scary Terry is the WR12 through seven weeks with 43/577/2 on 69 targets. His 69 targets rank him 5th in the league; he gets 30% of the redzone targets and team target share. Terry is 5th in air yards and 12th in deep targets. The only thing he needs is TD regression to hit. In his last game against the Gmen, he lined up against a tough James Bradberry and finished 12/74/0 receiving. He is a WR2 this week and still has upside despite his opponent, but you can still temper expectations that his ceiling is lowered.
Thomas has been on an upswing recently and finished (9) last time out against the Giants with 4/42/1. If you are in a bye week or are TE needy, Logan could be a good spot start for you.
BEARS @ TITANS
The Titans can provide a way for someone to get out of a beartrap, which would be greatly needed for Foles and gang. Foles is a long way from his seven touchdown parades and has finished mostly at the back-end in QB starts. According to Football Outsiders, he does get a plus matchup against the Titans, who rank 19th in pass defense DVOA. He still isn’t a trustworthy start unless you are really hurting at QB.
Tannehill is the QB7 through seven weeks, excluding their bye, with 1588/15 passing. His 15 TD’s rank him 6th amongst his category. Tannehill has a higher ranking O-Line that has allowed only 8 sacks through seven weeks. His fantasy finishes are (15), (7), (24), (1), (5), (15). This week he gets a Bears team that ranks 3rd in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Tannehill came in 15th when playing the Steelers, who are also ranked in the top third in pass defense. Tannehill has given QB1 performances throughout the year, but I would temper expectations this week against the Chi.
Montgomery is the RB21 through seven weeks with 96/353/1 rushing and 25/184/1 receiving. He has been hindered by his team’s inability to score. He favorable is ranked 5th in targets (33) and 7th in receiving yards. Mont’s fantasy finishes are (38), (8), (41), (37), (13), (14), (21). This week the Chi gets a Titans team that is ranked 16th in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. You know what you are getting out of Montgomery, which should hover around an RB2 start with a limited upside.
Henry pounded his way to the fantasy RB2 through seven weeks, excluding their bye, and hit paydirt last week against the Bengals. His stats are 144/668/7 rushing and 10/81/0 receiving. He is ranked number one in redzone touches with is 38 and 1st in rushing yards for the year. His fantasy finishes are (13), (38), (5), (12), (1), (15). This week he gets a more challenging Bears squad that ranks 10th in rushing defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. This isn’t necessarily a plus matchup for the Titans, and they could have a lower box score, but Henry is still a must-start RB1 with upside if the Titans can get a lead.
Allen is the WR15 through seven weeks with 44/544/2 on 70 targets. He is 2nd in the league in targets and 4th in air yards. The only thing he is missing is touchdowns as his team has been inept and hitting paydirt. Robinson might just be a safety valve with chances to score, but gives you more of a secure floor. His fantasy finishes are (33), (78), (4), (8), (20), (38), (44). According to Football Outsiders, this week, the Bears get a plus matchup against a Titans team ranked 19th in pass defense DVOA and doesn’t have a challenging CB matchup. Robinson is a safe floor WR2 with a limited upside in a plus matchup.
Darnell Mooney/Anthony Miller
Mooney has only finished in the top 36 one time, and he has mostly been a sit. This week he gets the more difficult CB matchup going up against Jonathan Joseph. Miller has been in around 60% of the snaps the past four games and is also not a recommended start. He does get the softer CB matchup this week against a lower-ranked Titans defense.
Graham is the TE8 through seven weeks with 27/234/4 on 42 targets. He has a 28.9% redzone target share on his team and plays a lower-ranked Titans defense this week that is 19th in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). Graham is a TD dependent TE, as many are, and if he scores, he gives you top 12 value. Graham is a TE2/3 this week against the Titans.
From weeks 5-7, Brown had fantasy finishes of (11), (4), (5) with 23/330/4. Brown is getting 23% of the team’s target share and 28.6% in the redzone. This week the Titans get a tougher matchup with the Bears, who rank 3rd in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Brown doesn’t have a challenging CB matchup against Jaylon Johnson (PFF grade of 54.1), and although this game may give pause, Brown should be fully functional as a WR1.
Davis has operated mostly as a flex option in his games played with low volatility. Before week eight, his fantasy finishes are (21), (34), (40), (28). This week he gets a more uncompromising Bears defense that ranks 3rd in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). He has a chance for middling production, but this week is one where you should temper expectations. Corey is a low-end flex to fringe flex option this week.
Smith is TE2 through seven weeks, excluding their bye. He had a rough go at it last week with higher expectations against the Bengals and has finished above the 35th TE in the previous three games. This week isn’t really a get right spot as the Bears have a stout pass defense. You may be starting him anyway, but he is a risky TE2/3 this week as his targets have considerably come down.
LIONS @ VIKINGS
Matthew Stafford – Covid list
Stafford is the QB16 through seven weeks, excluding their bye with 1580/10 passing. His fantasy finishes are (21), (19), (14), (12), (21), (14). He hasn’t given you much upside, but he is in a plus matchup this week with a Vikings team that middles in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). Stafford should give you his low volatile QB2 finish but does have a more significant ceiling in this game. He is a worthy fill-in and 2QB league start.
With Stafford on the Covid list, Daniel may get the nod as the starter. In 2019 (with the Bears) he had fantasy finishes of (20), (16), (30). His 20th finishes were against the Vikings which he had 195/1 passing. In 2018 he finished (17), (19). Daniels is not a viable starter. If he players it’s a downgrade for this team and an increase in production for the RB’s. It also may lower the production output of the WR’s on the opposing team and Kirk Cousins.
Cousins is the fantasy QB19 through seven weeks with 1475/11 passing. After a big win against the Packers, the Vikings play a Lions team coming off a loss. The Lions basically middle in pass defense and rank 23rd in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The Vikings may stick with what works and ride Cook again, depending on the game script. Cousins is a 2QB start and a top 24 option but will probably be a QB2/3 this week with room for production.
In his last three games before the tough matchup against the Colt’s, Swift has fantasy finishes of (17), (3), (16). The game script did not go the Lions way this past game, and I would scratch it off as an outlier. Swift got 6 carries for 1 yard. This week the Lions get a Vikings team who ranks 20th in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. I would still give Swift a low-end RB2 to flex designation this week in a possible bounce-back spot.
Peterson, who has been playing in the league since 1969, typically will give you a low volatile safe floor and low ceiling from week to week. This last matchup was a tough spot for the Lions against a stout Colts defense. If you are RB starved, Peterson is a fringe flex option to low-end flex against a Vikings defense that is ranked 20th in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders.
Cook smashed last week in a surprisingly positive game script against the cheesehead of Green Bay. He basically worked as their entire offense as he Tecmo Bowled it to 4 touchdowns. His fantasy finishes through weeks five are (11), (21), (6), (2), (10). Regression of 4 TD’s is likely to hit, but the Vikings get a plus matchup with the Lions, who rank 23rd in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The Lions can be attacked through the air and or ground. I expect more production from the Vikings receivers this week, but Dalvin is still a sure-fire RB1 with upside.
Mattison has been strictly Cook insurance and is only a bench play unless Cook gets hurt (no jinx).
Golladay left last week with a hip injury, so monitor his progress this week. Golladay has been an extremely low volatile WR with fantasy finishes of (22), (22), (20), (23). If he plays, he will be the same WR2 with upside against a Vikings team that is ranks 15th in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). According to PFF, he will possibly play Holton Hill, who is not a challenging CB.
Marvin Jones, Jr.
Jones finally showed up with one of his multi-TD games with 2 tugs last week against the Colts in negative game script. Jones’s fantasy finishes are (48), (38), (59), (102), (79), (37). Even though this is a possible plus matchup, he is not a trustworthy starter, but if Golladay is out, you could risk it and start him as a flex option if you are in a tough spot. I would rank him as a fringe flex at best.
Amendola finished with 3/54/0 last week in a tough matchup with the Colts. Amendola, cousin of Edelman, son to Wes Welker, has only finished above 50th once. He is a bench play even if Golladay is out.
Hockenson is the TE5 through seven weeks, excluding their bye with 22/256/4 on 31 targets. He holds a 28.6% redzone target share on his team and finished last week with a quality 7/65/0. His fantasy finishes are (5), (19), (15), (12), (14), (4) before week eight. Hockenson is a TE2/3 this week in a plus matchup against the Vikings.
Thielen clocks in, before his bye, as the WR2 with 32/415/7 receiving. He is 7th in air yards and 3rd in red-zone targets. He has a whopping 40% red zone target share and a 29.2% team target share. His fantasy finishes are (4), (82), (38), (4), (4), (24). He comes with some volatility but has a significant upside. Last week’s game favored Cook to the dismay of Thielen and Jefferson owners. This is a possible bounce-back spot against the Lions. Neither Thielen nor Jefferson has a challenging CB matchup. Thielen is a WR1 this week, with the only thing hindering him from being effective is a hefty dose of Cook.
Jefferson, like Thielen, was limited last week in a positive game script that featured Cook. Jefferson, through week 3-6, would be the WR3 with 25/493/3 receiving. His fantasy finishes in that span are (2), (28), (66), (1) before week eight. This week the Vikings get the Lions, in which they could again roll through Cook in the right scenario. The Lions rank 23rd in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. I tend to believe things balance out, and this may be a bounce-back spot for the Vikings receivers. Jefferson doesn’t have a strong CB matchup this week, and he slides in as a WR2 with upside. Just temper expectations, of course, if Cook again takes the lead.
Irv Smith, Jr.
Irv had an increase in snap shares over the past two weeks and had 3 redzone looks. He finished last week with 1/16/0, but before that, he finished as the TE (12), (15) in the previous two games. He is not a confident start and is a bench play.
PANTHERS @ CHIEFS
Through seven weeks, Bridgewater is the QB18. His fantasy finishes are (19), (29), (21), (4), (12), (23), (13). This past week the Falcons defense showed up on a short week and held Teddy to a meek 176/1 line. If you have a bye and don’t have much to choose from, you can roll with Teddy in a possible negative game script he will have to throw. It still seems like somewhat of a risk as he has only finished respectively three times. Bridgewater, fingers crossed, should be a top 15 play this week.
Mahomes regression hit this week as he balanced out his past few “down” spots as Mahomes threw for 416/5 and didn’t feature the run to the dismay of CEH/Bell owners. Mahomes is the QB4 through seven weeks with 1899/16 passing and 34/165/2 rushing. His team is 6th in positive game script, and Mahomes is 7th in passing yards and 4th in passing TDs. His fantasy finishes are (14), (8), (1), (17), (2), (10), (23), and probably 1st this past week. This week Mahomes gets a Panthers team that ranks 17th in pass defense and 28th in rush defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). It’s possible the game balances out or shifts back over to CEH and Bell, but Mahomes has a chance as any to score. Mahomes is as always a top 12 option and bonafide QB1.
It’s likely CMC returns this week, and if so, he slides back in as an RB1. KC ranks as the 31st ranked defense in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire/Le’Veon Bell
Clyde air and Bell split carries last week with 6 each, and both caught 3 passes. Mahomes took the reigns last week as the revenge game didn’t happen with Bell. This week they play a Panthers team that ranks 28th in rush defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). CEH and Bell cut into each other production and, for now, should be seen as flex options with upside in the right game script.
Anderson is the WR10 through seven weeks with 46/641/1 on 61 targets. He is 12th in air yards and has a 26.9% team targets share. Anderson is due TD regression, and it could happen in a possible negative game script this week against the Chiefs. The Panthers may be playing from behind hear forcing Teddy to throw more. Anderson is a low-end WR1 to WR2 this week in a possible plus matchup.
Moore is the WR13 through seven weeks with 31/567/3 on 53 targets. He is 11th in air yards and is in on 100% of the routes thus far this year. He has a lower redzone share on his team with 11% but has capitalized on those opportunities with 3 tugs. This week the Panthers may be playing from behind against the Chiefs, which may bolster Moore and Anderson’s production. Moore is a low-end WR1 to WR2 this week against the Andy Reid Facemasks.
Samuel finished last week leading his team with two touchdowns, one on the run and the other in the air. He went 3/23/1 rushing and 4/31/1 receiving. Before this week, Samuel’s fantasy finishes are (51), (84), (48), (58), (35), (24). His snap shares vary per game, but he averages 65.3%. He has had an uptick the past three games but is still a risky start. He does get the Chiefs this week that might turn into a negative game script for the Panthers. Samuel is a fringe flex to low-end flex option.
Thomas is not a viable TE starter, with his best finish being TE15.
Hill is the WR6 through seven weeks with 31/439/5 receiving on 48 targets and 7/54/1 rushing. He has 8 redzone targets, which rank 3rd in the league, and he has a 21.1% redzone target share on his team. Last week Mahomes caught up on his yearly stats, and Hill finished with 4/98/2 against the Jets. This week Hill gets a Panthers team that is rank 17th in pass defense and 28th in rush defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders. Hill lines up against Jeremy Chinn, who has a PFF grade of 48.8 and runs a 4.45. He is undoubtedly capable of speeding past him for a big catch. Hill is a confidence WR1.
DeMarcus Robinson/Mecole Hardman
Robinson and Hardman finally cashed in this week with a tug each. They still risky fringe flex starts that have a chance to score any given Sunday.
Kelce is the TE1 through seven weeks with 40/501/5 on 55 targets. He has a 28.9% redzone share and is 1st in air yards amongst tight ends. Kelce finished last week with a quality 8/109/1 line as Mahomes seemingly wanted to catch up on his stats. Kelce is a bonafide TE1 against the Panthers this week. He has finished in the top 10 seven out of eight times this year.
TEXANS @ JAGUARS
Even though it doesn’t seem this way, Watson is the QB5 through seven weeks of pigskin with 1786/13 passing and 23/109/1 rushing. If you were to count only the weeks after O’Brien was fired, Watson is the QB2, but they may have to do with their opponents more than anything else. His fantasy finishes this year are (11), (21), (16), (14), (6), (1), (9). This week he gets a Jacksonville team ranked last in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The Jags will be starting a new QB this week, so it’s possible a more defensive game is in order. Watson did finish as the QB6 in their last game with 359/3 passing. He is a top 10 QB this week with upside.
Mike Glennon/Jake Luton
The last full stretch we got out of Glennon was in 2017 for the Bears, where he went four games throwing for 4 TDs and 5 interceptions. Glennon is not a viable start this week. It looks as if Jake the snake Luton will be getting the start, but he is not a start either unless you just like to do the mess around, everybody doin’ the mess around. Luton went an accurate 2714 passing with 28 TDs and 3 INT’s for Oregon state last year in 11 games. He is not a rushing QB, so you are not safe with his legs. There could be a possible DL vs. OL mismatch here as the Jags have allowed 23 sacks, and Houston’s defensive line ranks 11th for the year with 16 sacks. JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus have 6 sacks between them. This game could ride through Robinson, but news reports say the Jags team wants to ride Luton’s accuracy and throw downfield. It’s a risky proposition in his first start for you to start him.
Johnson is the RB16 through seven weeks with 101/392/3 rushing and 16/161/1 receiving. His fantasy finishes are (9), (47), (25), (23), (25), (13), (12). You know what you are getting out of Johnson, and he is a respectable RB2 weekly with a safe floor and low volatility but almost no upside. This week he gets a Jags team that can be schemed on the ground and through the air. In his last game against them, he totaled 103 yards and finished 25th. Johnson is a mid RB2 this week with room for more if he scores.
Even though I love Duke, he hasn’t been readily used enough to warrant a start. The best he has finished was RB29 against the Packers in week seven with 42 yards. He has 3 redzone touches for the year and has yet to see the endzone.
Through seven weeks, Robinson is the RB3 with 144/668/7 rushing and 27/225/2 receiving on 32 targets. He is 7th in rush yards, 3rd in receiving, and 9th in evaded tackles. Robinson gets a new QB at the helm this week, and they play a Texans team that is ranked 27th in rush defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). They may get in a negative game script with the Texans, and hopefully, Luton uses Robinson as a safety valve. He finished with 70 total yards in their last meeting as the 30th ranked RB. His fantasy finishes are (34), (9), (4), (20), (30), (9), (2). He is a low-end RB1/2 this week with uncertainty at QB.
I am writing this before the trade deadline, and hopefully, my man is still on this team, although Brandin Cooks owners would be screaming otherwise. Fuller is the WR8 through seven weeks with 31/490/5. His fantasy finishes are (14), (a dud), (29), (9), (23), (3), (39). If he gets traded to (the Packers), he is on a short week and not a viable start. According to Football Outsiders, if Fuller stays in Houston, he is going against a Jags team that ranks 32nd in pass defense DVOA. He finished as the WR23 against them in his last game with 4/58/1 on 8 targets. He is a reliable WR2 this week with upside in a plus matchup. A contrarian viewpoint would be Fuller doesn’t get much work against a Jags team starting a new QB, and the Texans win defensively with TD’s going through Johnson.
Since Crennel took over, Cooks has had fantasy finishes of (3), (6), (37). According to Football Outsiders, he plays a Jags team this week that ranks 32nd in pass defense DVOA. He burned them in their last meeting in week five for 8/161/1 and finishes as the WR3. A contrarian view would be this won’t happen again, and or the Jags get dominated defensively with a new QB. Cooks will be a WR2 this week with upside and more if Fuller is traded.
Cobb is a low volatile WR with fantasy finishes of (84), (43), (17), (78), (43), (36), (20 in his GB revenge game). He tends to give you some safety as a high-end fringe flex to low-end flex if he scores. If Fuller is traded, Cobb becomes a flex option this week against a low ranked Jags defense. Otherwise, he is a dart throw fill-in if you are in a tough spot.
If Fuller gets traded, Stills will be in the conversation as a TD dependent fringe flex to low-end flex starter against the Jags.
Darren Fells/Jordan Akins
If Akins returns this week, he shouldn’t be used as a tight end start. Fells did score a TD last go around with the Jaguars and received 7 targets against the Titans. If Fuller is traded and Akins doesn’t return, its possible Fells could be a fill-in option, but he can only be ranked as a TE4 with room for production.
The Jags will be starting Jake Luton this week against the yard yielding Texans. The receivers may need to be downgraded or could possibly see some production if Luton is competent at the helm. They are still risky starts. Chark hasn’t lived up to his ADP expectation and is probably designated best as a flex option this week. He finished 3/16/0 in his last game against Houston. News reports say they want Luton to throw down the field so take that for what you may.
The Shenault had his best performance against the Texans in his last outing with 7/79/0 finishing as the WR25. He is a dart throw fringe flex option with a new QB at the helm. News reports say they want Luton to throw down the field so take that for what you may.
Cole has had some admirable fill-ins this year and is a fringe flex-start. He finished 6/25/1 in his last meeting with Houston, and besides one outstanding game against Detroit, he is mostly a risky TD dependent WR. News reports say they want Luton to throw down the field so take that for what you may.
Conley is not a viable play this week. He hasn’t had a fantasy finish above 49th this year.
RAVENS @ COLTS
Lamar is the QB7 through six weeks before their bye with 1135/10 passing and 50/346/2 rushing. He is 2nd only to Murray in rushing for the year. His fantasy finishes this year are (4), (18), (23), (5), (18), (4). Last week against a stout Steelers squad, he went a solid 208/2 and 65 yards rushing. This week he gets another strong defense with a Colt’s team that ranks 4th in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). Their defensive line should not give them the same fits as the Steeler’s, who ranked number one with 26 sacks through seven weeks. The Colt’s line is ranked in the bottom third with 13 sacks for the year, so the same mismatch of the Raven’s weaker O-Line shouldn’t occur. I think Vegas expects this to be a defensive game with one of the week’s lower scores (46) and some uncertainty with the Ravens billed as a 3 point favorite. Lamar is a top 12 option even if he has given you some spotty starts nonindicative of his draft ADP.
Rivers went back in time and delivered a Peyton Manningesque 371 yards and 3 touchdowns in last week’s stint against the Bengals, who kept pace more than folks expected. This week poses a tough matchup for the Colts as the Ravens rank in the top third in both pass and rush defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). Don’t bank on a repeat performance here. Rivers has hovered around the QB24 mark all season.
Gus Edwards/Jk Dobbins/Mark Ingram
It seems as if Ingram will be out in this matchup with a high ankle sprain. When all three play, it’s a wash, but Edwards and Dobbins give you flex consideration without the trio. Edwards finished up last week with 16/87/1 rushing, and Dobbins went 15/113/0. The Colts are a stout defense, so temper expectations, but still worthy starts, especially when RB’s have been thin.
Jonathan Tayler/Jordan Wilkins/Nyheim Hines
All of us were expecting JT to eat in a plus matchup last week, but I guess he had a bothersome ankle and went 11/22/0 and no receptions. His fantasy finishes for the year have been (15), (14), (23), (36), (18), (8). He is a low volatile RB2, but he can only be trusted as a flex option this week against a strong Ravens defense, which ranks 3rd in rush defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). Add on that this bothersome ankle, and you have a risky start. If Taylor doesn’t play, Wilkins should look (as a low-end flex) as a he finished 20/89/1 as the primary ball carrier. That was against the Bengals, though. If the Colts get behind in this game, they could use Hines services, but it’s highly unlikely he gets 2 tugs off 3 receptions again. Hines is a TD dependent fringe flex-start.
Brown is the WR32 through six games before the bye with 26/376/1 on 40 targets. He is 9th in air yards but only has a 4.8% redzone share on this team. Brown salvaged his day with a 1/3/1 line against the Steelers. I am not sure that counts as TD regression, but I am sure Brown’s owners will take it. Brown becomes a squeaky wheel narrative this week as he complained about not getting used enough in week eight on Twitter. The Ravens play a potent Colts team this week who rank high in pass defense, but their line shouldn’t give Lamar the same issues as the Steeler’s did. Brown should also avoid Xavier Rhodes this week, which he may see around 22% of the time. His fantasy finishes have mostly kept him hovering around a low volatile quality flex with (26), (52), (94), (38), (16), (42). Brown gives you a safe floor and is a high-end flex with upside for the narrative.
Snead served some serious yardage against the stout Steelers for a steller 5/106/0. He still services as a sit even with his sizzling performance.
Andrews is the TE3 through six weeks before the bye with a 20/243/5 line on 33 targets. He holds a 38.1% redzone share, which is rank 4th and is 5th in air yards amongst his position. Andrews had a dud last week against a difficult Steeler squad and finished 3/32/0. He gets another formidable foe this week against the Colts, but they did give up a 7/65/0 line to Hockenson last week. The Colts have not played any top tier tight ends yet this year. Andrews serves as a TE1 in a possible bounce-back spot. He has boomed three times and busted four. If you have him, you are starting him without question.
Doubtful to play. Wouldn’t have been a reliable starter anyways.
Michael Pittman/Zach Pascal/Marcus Johnson
Hilton is doubtful to play this week, not that he was giving you sound output. I am not trusting this game after the Ravens lost to the Steelers, and Rivers may divvy it up between everyone, leaving no bright spots—Pittman as the most challenging CB Matchup against Jimmy Smith and Johnson the softest. None can be trusted as standout starts, though.
Trey Burton/Jack Doyle/Mo Alie-Cox
Mo is questionable this week, but it’s hard to trust anyone here if he is going. The best bet is Trey, but with risk.
SEAHAWKS @ BILLS
I could save my word count here and talk little about Wilson since you will be starting him anyway, but I will go over some stats just for the hell of it. Wilson has a stupid amount of TDs for the year. There you go. He has 22, in fact, and is 8th in passing yards; 9th in air yards. If 8-bit video games just came out today, you would take the Seahawks in Tecmo Bowl and bomb it to DK and Lockett somewhat evenly. In one of your Tecmo Bowl games, if you gave all of your passing yards to Lockett, then you would might be a Christian about the situation just like real-life Russell Wilson and provide the same to DK in the next outing. That is just the type of guy he is. The high flying Wilson’s play the Buffalo Bills this week, a game Vegas is pinning as the highest-scoring game of the week (54.5).
The Bills rank 18th in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders), and the Seahawks tend to give up yardage themselves, which may lead to an all-out points fiasco. Or it may not. That’s just how life is. Like I was expecting very little word count here, but that shit didn’t happen. Seattle’s line isn’t amongst the best, and the Bill’s defensive line is ranked 12th with an adjusted sack rate of 7.3% (according to FO). Wilson’s positive attitude always makes the best of situations, though. Seeing as Russ has finished in the top five 4 times and never outside the top ten, none of these words matter at all. He is a QB1.
Allen has allotted agonizing but not atrocious air metrics recently in the aftermath of his astounding alpha-like adventures in September 2020, Anno Domini. A wise man knows a wise man knows nothing, but we could project a return to form for Allen against a Seahawks defense that has yielded as many yards as the Star Wars universe has yielded stormtrooper body counts. You get a Star Wars reference since I got a chance to catch up and watch the Mandalorian. I just wonder if Gus Fring has a Pollo stand in space. Allen’s last four finishes are (14), (17), (19), (19). He should slide back in as a top-12 option though this week, or here is to hoping he does. His first four finishes were (3), (3), (3), (6).
Chris Carson/Carlos Hyde/DeeJay Dallas/Travis Homer
DeeJay Dallas took the helm last week as Hyde and Carson were scratched. Dallas finished with 18/41/1 and 5/14/1 receiving. The Bill’s are ranked 26th in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. If They are scratched again, DeeJay is an RB2 fill, and Homer is best as a bench play living an odyssey away from the field. If Hyde plays, it’s possible both get the rock and have to be dropped down to flex starts. If Carson plays, he slides back in as an RB1/2 against the Bill’s depending on his health.
Devin Singletary/Zach Moss
Moss had his most robust game of the year against the Patriots on 51.8% snaps. He finished with 81 yards and 2 tugs, which ranked him as the RB6 for the week. Singletary also had a nice day with 92 yards. Both running backs could see work here but are still mere low-end flex options with upside if they score.
DK was the beneficiary of balanced yin yang forces as he finished with an outstanding 12/161/2 against the hobbled 49ers. He is the WR1 through eight weeks with 36/680/7 on 59 targets. Dk is 2nd in air yards and TDs for the year. Metcalf gets a Bills team this week that ranks 18th in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Lockett gets the slightly softer CB matchup, but that doesn’t matter here. Metcalf is a WR1 with upside in a possible high scoring affair.
Lockett took a back seat last week as he finished as the WR1 the week before. DK and Lockett are the top WR’s through eight weeks, excluding their bye. Lockett has gone 49/575/7 on 63 targets. He is 2nd in TD’s for the year and 4th in redzone targets. Lockett is a surefire WR1 against the Bills this week and gets the softer CB matchup against Taron Johnson, who has a PFF grade of 48.9. The Bill’s rank 18th in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders.
Greg Olsen/Will Dissly
Dissly and Olsen are playing 50 to 60% of the snaps, and neither can be counted on as viable starters. The Bills have giving up yardage to TE’s when their linebackers are out.
Through eight weeks, Diggs is the WR6 with 54/695/3 on 79 targets. The Bills haven’t had their bye, so some of these numbers are skewed. Diggs is 1st in targets, 3rd in air yards, and has a team-high 28.9% target share. His fantasy finishes are (22), (2), (30), (17), (13), (17), (46), (26). According to Football Outsiders, he gets a plus matchup this week against the Cirque Du Russoleil’s who rank 30th in pass defense DVOA. Hopefully, for Diggs owners, Allen has a bounce-back week. Start Diggs as a WR1/2.
Brown played 83.9% of the snaps against the Patriots but only had 1 reception. I know it’s been hard to trust Brown as he has only had two quality finishes this year as a WR2. As long as he is healthy, he is a flex option this week with upside against a yard yielding Seahawks team. It comes with risk, so if you have someone better, don’t take the chance until you see Brown return to form. I like to be safe and wait in situations like this, but up to you. I do not think it’s a bad spot. If he doesn’t hit this week, then I would be worried.
Beasley has been an overall safe flex option with low volatility, except this last game. His fantasy finishes for the year are (44), (39), (27), (40), (37), (20), (11), (70). According to Football Outsiders, he gets a plus matchup this week against the Seahawks, who rank 30th in pass defense DVOA. Install Beasley as a plug and play flex.
BRONCOS @ FALCONS
After not having finished above QB22, Lock finished as the QB7 in week eight against the division rival Chargers with 248/3 passing. This week the Broncos get the Falcons, a pass funnel team that ranks 31st in pass defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Its possible Lock gets production, but the Falcons defense has been a little bit more stable recently. If you are in a pinch, you can use Lock, and maybe he does well and dances around, but inserting him comes with risk.
Ryan returned to form last week with 281 passing and surprisingly busted some running moves for 27 yards and a TD. Ryan is the QB10 through eight weeks with 2462/12 passing. Some of these metrics are a little screwy since they haven’t had their bye, but Ryan is 1st in passing yards and 2nd in air yards. His fantasy finishes are (7), (6), (27), (25), (24), (2), (21), (10). This week he plays a Broncos team that is 9th in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). He will be operating without Ridley, and this is one of the lower Vegas Falcons totals with 46. I would slightly temper expectations this week with Ryan unless Drew Lock can muster up another quality game. Chubb and Malik Reed have 5 sacks each for the year, and the Broncos D-Line ranks 5th overall vs. Falcons 17th rank O-Line (according to FO). Ryan is a top 15 pick, but with tempered expectations.
Melvin Gordon/Phillip Lindsay
Gordon and Lindsay basically split carries last week, and both played around the 50% snap share mark. I am mildly concerned for Gordon owners but not overly concerned. If this continues, Gordon gets the best of both worlds with receptions but falls down to a low-end RB2, and Lindsay moves up to a flex option. Monitor how the carries divvy up this week against the pass funnel Falcons.
Todd Gurley/Brian Hill
Mr. Gurley was in and out of the line up last week but finished with 46 yards and a TD. Although he finished as the 2nd best RB in the last go around with the Panthers. Gurley had 18 carries, and 6 redzone touches to Hill’s 11 and 1. Hill is a bench option while Gurley stands in as an RB2 weekly with low volatility. This week does boast a tougher matchup, but you aren’t sitting him just tempering expectations.
If Patrick’s hamstring heels up, he will return as a flex option this week against a pass funnel Falcons team. Before his injury, Patrick finished as the WR (32), (7), (24) in weeks 3,4 and 6. If he doesn’t play, that will boost the value of Jeudy and Fant.
If Patrick can’t go, Jeudy will be a flex option against the pass funnel Falcons. He finished with 4/73/0 with 162 air yards last week against the Chargers.
If Patrick doesn’t play, Hamler could be in for more but isn’t a trustworthy start. Just a fringe flex option. He did hit paydirt last week with 3/13/1.
Fant increased his snaps to 77.2% last week and finished with 9 targets going 7/47/0 in which he landed as the 8th best TE. The Falcons have been susceptible, although I always feel statistics can be skewed in specific scenarios. For example, Adams being out, so Tonyan got 3 TDs. Regardless they have given out TD’s to Olsen, Graham, Tonyan, Schultz, and yardage to Hockenson, and Irv Smith Jr. Fant is a TE1 this week based on these past performances.
Julio Jones has again operated as a WR1 weekly since getting over (no jinx) his injuries. Without Ridley, Jones gets a significant opportunity against the Broncos, depending on how the game plays out. He receives the softer CB matchup against Michael Ojemudia, who has a PFF grade of 58.9 and runs a 4.49 to Julio’s 4.34. Julio is a bonafide WR1 this week.
With Ridley out, Gage could get work, but he gets a more challenging CB matchup with Bryce Callahan. Gage has had his spots this year and is in play as a fringe flex option.
Hurst has finished (7), (8), (10) in his last three games, and is minus Ridley this week, which may give him opportunity. The previous few defenses aren’t as challenging as the Broncos, but Hurst is a top 12 TE2/3 this week with limited receiving options.
RAIDERS @ CHARGERS
Carr is the QB17 through eight weeks, including his bye with 1836/14 passing. His fantasy finishes are (25), (14), (20), (15), (9), (12), (21). This week he gets a divisional game against the Chargers, who middle in both pass and rush defense. The Chargers suffered a last-minute loss last week against the Broncos, and Carr is coming off a win in a windy Cleveland game. The Vegas score projects a high scoring 53.5 point battle. Derek should be a somewhat safe bye week fill-in and a top 15 QB option this week against the Chargers and a good 2QB league option.
Not counting week one, Herbert is the QB5 through weeks 2-8 with 1820/15 passing and 28/142/2 rushing. He is 11th in rushing yards and 7th in passing TD’s minus a week. His fantasy finishes are (12), (19), (7), (4), (1), (4). This week he runs up against a Raiders team that is ranked 29th in both pass and rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. This is a plus matchup for Herbert, who squarely is in line for a top 10 finish as a QB1.
Jacobs is the RB9 through eight weeks with 147/522/5 rushing and 18/122/0 receiving. He is 2nd in carries, 3rd in evaded tackles, and 7th in rushing yards. Jacobs has 30 redzone touches for the year, which is ranked 4th. This week he gets a Chargers team that middles in rush defense in a possible high scoring affair. Jacobs finishes have been somewhat volatile with results of (1), (24), (30), (28), (5), (39), (20). He is a low-end RB1 to high-end RB2 this week against the Chargers.
Justin Jackson/Joshua Kelley/Tremaine Pope
Justin Jackson lead this week with 17/89/0 and 53-yard receiving. Pope came in and out carried Kelley 10 to 7. For the time being, it looks as if Jackson has the lead on the job, having finished (22), (25), (8), and Kelley finishing (45), (26), (56) in his last three outings. Jackson is an RB2 against the low ranked Raiders defense, and Kelley is a low-end flex to fringe flex option.
Ruggs has finished once in the top 20 once. He has a chance for production, but he is a bench option this week.
Renfrow hit paydirt last week in a weather torn game. The Raiders get another high Vegas line, and these receivers could get production, but you can’t bank on any of them as viable starters. Renfrow is a fringe flex play.
Agholor is a TD dependent Raiders receiver who saw three touchdowns in the previous three games before last week. He is a bench option; otherwise.
Waller is the TE3 through eight weeks with 45/371/3 on 62 targets. He is ranked 2nd in targets, 1st in team target shares, and holds a 33.3% redzone share. He has hit the top five 4 out of 8 games. He is a TE1 weekly.
Allen is a weekly WR1 with Herbert at the helm. He is 4th in targets (75) and holds a 30.2% target share on his team, which is 4th best. His fantasy finishes since week 2 are (20), (3), (29), (40), (10), (9). This week, he is a top 12 option against a yard yielding Raiders team in a potentially high scoring affair with a Vegas total of 53.5. He gets a softer CB matchup lining up against Lamarcus Joyner, who has a PFF grade of 44.4. Start Allen with confidence.
Williams is a volatile boom or bust receiver that has hit big twice this year. He is like the old Fuller thus far. This is a plus matchup for Mike, but temper expectations as his floor gets really, really low. If you have the balls to play him, he may reward you with fine linens and endless barrels of cold draft beer.
Guyton is a one-game DFS dart throw weekly.
Henry is 8th in targets amongst tight ends and 11th in air yards, but only has 4 redzone targets and 1 touchdown. His redzone target share is 14.3%, which is lowering his overall production. It’s possible regression hits if Herbert starts looking his way. He is the TE14 for the year and a low-end TE2 to TE3 this week in a plum matchup.
STEELERS @ COWBOYS
The Steelers may dominate this game with their defense leaving crumbs for Big Ben. The Cowboys defense is ranked in the bottom third in both pass and rush defense. Big Ben is a quality 2QB start and possible streamer, but temper expectations in what could be a James Conner game. A contrarian view would be Big Ben still gets a few touchdown drives in this affair, which bolsters his production. He is a QB2 with possible upside.
A Cowboy’s QB
Whoever starts at QB for the Cowboys is not a worthy play in even a 2QB league against a stout Steelers squad.
Conner is the RB12 through eight weeks with 110/498/5 rushing and 18/125/0 receiving. This is a possible low scoring game with a Vegas line of 42, and the Steelers are only favored by 3, which seems low. The Cowboys rank towards the bottom in rush and pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). Conner is a top 12 RB1 option this week with possible upside depending on how this game goes.
Elliott gets a stout Steelers team this week, which ranks 1st in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Zeke has finished as the RB (18), (39), (35) in his last three games after Dak’s exit. He is a low-end flex option at best this week against the Steel Curtain.
JuJu Smith Schuster/Diontae Johnson/Chase Claypool
JuJu has the lowest volatility of the three amigos and is the WR31 through eight weeks. This game is a possible low scoring affair in which the Steeler’s defense and Conner could lead the way. It’s also possible there is some low upside production among the receivers. JuJu is a flex option, and Claypool and Johnson are boom or bust low-end flex plays.
Ebron has to top-five finishes this year but is a TE3/4 in a possible low scoring affair.
Amari Cooper/CeeDee Lamb/Michael Gallup
In the last three games, Cooper has fantasy finishes of (7), (28), (96). Lamb (27), (101), (47). Gallup (68), (113), (33). The Cowboys may turn to practice squad Cooper Rush this week against a tough Steelers defense. Cooper and Lamb could be considered risky low-end flex plays and Gallup a bench play. They are all “cross your fingers” starts.
Schultz has been a bench play since Dak exited.
DOLPHINS @ CARDINALS
We didn’t get enough insight on Tua in the first game as the Dolphins defensively gave the Rams fits, and Goff and the company turned the ball over too many times. Tua is not a suggested start until we see more out of him. He was an excellent college QB, as you may know, and finished 2nd in Heisman voting circa 2018 and 10th in 2019.
Through eight weeks and including a bye, Murray is the QB2 with 1847/13 passing and 65/437/7 rushing. He is 12th in air yards and 1st in rushing yards for the year. His 7 rushing TDs also rank him first. He has probably been the most consistent QB outside of Wilson with very low volatility as he has finished (5), (5), (6), (9), (5), (3), (2). This week he gets a Dolphins team that is a run funnel team who ranks 6th in pass defense DVOA and 32nd for rush defense (according to FO). Arizona’s O-line has given Murray excellent protection and rank 1st in that metric. They are 12th in adjusted sack rate (per FO), and the Dolphins D-line is ranked in the top 10 in sacks for the year. There shouldn’t be an issue here, and Murray is an unquestionable top 10 option QB1.
Jordan Howard/Matt Breida/Patrick Laird/Deandre Washington
Man, it’s been an abysmal year for running backs. If you have made it out unscathed, consider yourself lucky. Gaskins is out for a few weeks, and news reports suggest a combination of all the above may be utilized. I would imagine Breida being able to lead the way or being regulated to the third-down back and Howard re-emerging. It’s hard to trust anyone this week, but if you are in a pinch, you could roll with Breida. Although I wouldn’t trust starting anyone unless I am forced to. – Update there is a possibility Breida doesn’t play, which would push things in favor of Howard.
Chase Edmonds/Kenyan Drake
Edmonds seemingly looks like the better long term choice at running back over Drake. He played 54% of the snaps against the Seahawks in week seven for 145 yards total and finishing as the 5th best RB that week. This week he gets a plus matchup against a run funnel Dolphins team that ranks 32nd in rush defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). If Drake doesn’t play, Edmonds is an RB2 with upside and maybe even an RB1 this week against the Fins. If Drake does play, he is an RB2, and Edmonds is a high-end flex option if Drake is limited. Hopefully, for Drake owners, he doesn’t get Wally Pipped in one of the easier running matchups that could inflate Edmond’s output. For Edmond owners, the opposite of that take. A contrarian viewpoint would be that Murray vultures TD’s away from Chase, limiting his upside.
Devante Parker/Preston Williams
Parker nor Williams have a challenging CB matchup this week but go up against a Cardinals team ranked 10th in pass defense DVOA (according to FO). Parker received 2 targets last week in a mostly defensive game, so it’s hard to get a read on his rapport with Tua. For now, Parker is a risky flex option this week with room for production, and Preston is a bench play.
We still haven’t gotten a read on Tua yet to confidently suggest starting Gesicki. He is a TE3/4 option until we see more.
Hopkins is the WR5 through eight weeks, including his bye, with 57/704/3 on 73 targets. He has a 31.1% team target share but only 7 redzone targets for the year, which rank him 21st. TD regression could hit, but Murray does vulture some TDs with his rushing capabilities. This week he gets a Dolphins team ranked 6th in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders) but has a softer CB matchup going up against Byron Jones (PFF grade of 57.7) on 86% of his routes. Hopkins is a bonafide WR1.
In his past three games, Kirk has finished 5/78/0, 2/86/2, 5/37/2. His fantasy finishes in that time frame are (29), (4), (14). That TD trend is unlikely to continue, and Kirk gets a tougher CB matchup this week up against Xavien Howard (PFF grade of 78.4) on about 82% of his routes. I wouldn’t bank on Kirk this week but as a low-end flex to fringe flex option. I personally wouldn’t start him unless you are in a pinch. Temper expectations if you are expected another two TD game.
Fitzgerald has finished in the top 36 one time this year and did receive 8 targets last week, but he is a bench option this week against the Dolphins because of his inconsistent showings. He does not get a challenging CB matchup this week, for what that’s worth.
SAINTS @ BUCS
Brees is the QB9 through eight weeks with 1898/13 passing. He is 12th in passing yards and 7th in redzone attempts even without Michael Thomas. His fantasy finishes are (24), (22), (10), (19), (10), (10), (8). The Vegas line for this upcoming matchup against the Bucs is 54.5, with the Bucs favored by 4.5. He finished 24th in his last meeting with them with 160/2 passing. His road/home split finishes are (22), (19), (8). The Bucs are highly ranked in both pass and rush defense DVOA (according to FO). Brees is a risky QB2 this week against the Bucs. I’d probably place him around QB17, but he does have room for upside to finish in the top 12.
Brady is the QB5 through eight weeks with 2189/20 passing. He is 1st in redzone attempts, 3rd in passing TDs, and 4th in passing yards. This week he faces the Saints in a big divisional game at home. They lost in their last meeting 34-23, and Brady finished 9th with 239/2/2. It’s uncertain how much playing time Brown will get and if Godwin returns this week. The Saints are a little bit of a pass funnel defense, ranking 16th in that DVOA metric (according to FO). Brady is a top 12 QB1 option this week against them Nawlins No Limit Soldiers.
Alvin Kamara/Latavius Murray
Kamara is the RB1 through eight weeks with 87/431/4 rushing and 55/556/3 receiving on 66 targets. He is ranked 1st in targets and receiving yards. He plays a stout Bucs defense that lost in their last meeting on the road. Kamara finished as the RB8 in their previous meeting with 67 total yards, 8 receptions, and 2 tugs. Kamara is an RB1 this week, not as if you were going to sit him.
Ronald Jones/Leonard Fournette
Rojo’s barely punishable fumble cost him some work as Fournette lead in carries 15-7. Fournette finished as the RB26 and Rojo RB40. I imagine both will operate as usual in this upcoming game, which pushes them both down as flex plays as they share the load. LOL 🙂
Thomas may finally make his return this week against the Saints. I would temper expectations, but you are still starting him as a WR1, although he might finish as a WR2 in this first week back. The Bucs are formidable opponents but can’t guard Mike to beat anyone when he is 100%. This game is on the road and is a big divisional matchup in which they won the first go around. Thomas is a WR1, regardless.
If Sanders returns and Thomas doesn’t play, he will slide in as a high-end flex play to WR2 with some upside against the Bucs. If Thomas does play, he is a low-end flex play to high-end, with upside. His fantasy finishes are (42), (110), (28), (23), (9). In his last game with the Bucs, he went 5/15/1 with 41 air yards.
If Thomas and Sanders return, Callaway is regulated to a fringe flex to bench play that could get production but would be a risky start.
Cook is a boom or bust TD dependent TE that just seems to get TD’s every game. He has an 18.9% redzone share, but he gives you minimal points if he doesn’t score. I guess that is most tight ends. He did go 5/80/0 in his last matchup with the Bucs defense and is still a recommended TE2/3 this week in a possible high scoring game.
Mike Evans/Chris Godwin/Scotty Miller/Antonio Brown
If Godwin plays, Evans and Godwin will be both WR2’s with upside. We will not know how much work Brown will get, so he can only be recommended as a fringe flex-start unless you have huge balls. If Godwin is out, I might start Brown as flex-start as the Bucs will surely want to win this game and elevate Evans to a WR1. Miller could get work, but in any scenario, it would seem he would be a boom or bust fringe flex to low-end flex-start.
Gronk’s last four TE finishes are (18), (6), (2), (4). If all receivers are healthy, it muddies the picture, and Gronk would be a riskier TE2. He has seen a TD in his last three games. If Godwin is out, then I would raise my confidence in him.
PATRIOTS @ JETS
Tom Brady just playing Cam Newton
Cam has fantasy finishes of (6), (2), (28), (11), (28), (17). He has shown volatility but should be in a plus matchup this week against the Jets, which should give you a safe floor. The Jets are a pass funnel offense and rank 14th in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Cam should be a top 15 option, at least for this week, even though he is a scary start.
Darnold has had one game in the top ten; the rest are over QB26. He is not a viable start even though the Patriots can be on the air or the ground.
Damien Harris/Rex Burkhead/James White/Sony Michel
Even though I still think it’s shakey to ever trust a Patriots RB, since there are so many RB issues this week, Damien can be considered a risky flex option. He finished last week with 16/102/1 and no receptions. His upside is banked on him scoring, which could happen against the Jets. A contrarian view would be Harris only got 33.9% of the snaps and is not a trustworthy start. Rex out-snapped him, but Damien lead in carries 16-6. Rex isn’t a viable start. James White, operating as a receiver, could get some work here but is also a risky start and a fringe flex option. White has finished (41), (21), (9), (60), (45) in his five starts this year.
Frank Gore/Lamiycal Perine
Gore and Perine mostly split snaps, and Gore won the carry battle 10-8. Neither are good starts and mostly bench options. One could fall in for a TD, though. Perine gives you a better opportunity since he gets targets. He had 8 targets in the last three games. If you need an RB, it wouldn’t totally hurt to start Perine.
Jacobi Meyers/Damiere Byrd/Gunner Olszewski/N’Keal Harry
The only person I would bank on here is Meyers, who had 16 targets in the past two games and finished with about 8-9 points in 1/2 PPR and 10-12 points in PPR. The Jets are a pass funnel defense ranking 28th in pass defense DVOA (according to Football Outsiders). Meyers gives you very low-end flex vibes with upside in this affair. Byrd, Gunner, and Harry (if he plays) are not on the radar as viable starts.
If Crowder plays, he slides in as a WR2 with upside against the Patriots.
Denzel Mims/Jeff Smith/Braxton Berrios
If Crowder doesn’t play, it’s hard to trust anyone here, but Berrios has the most targets the last two weeks with 18, and Mims has 10. If you are in a terrible spot at flex, you could roll with Berrios first, then Mims.
Herndon has not been a viable start all year.
The Patriots and Jets are my favorite teams to write about this year.
Good luck this week.