Game Thoughts: Cam Newton enters Thursday Night’s
matchup against the Steelers as the No.4 ranked quarterback with
26.6 fantasy points per game. Although Newton has just one game
of over 300 passing yards and three touchdowns, he has been one
of the most consistent fantasy quarterbacks this season with a
floor of at least two passing touchdowns and 30 rushing yards
in each game dating back to Week 1 against Dallas.
With all of the media hype surrounding Patrick Mahomes and the
Chiefs, Newton is quietly putting together arguably his best season
as a pro. The former first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft
is on pace to throw for 30 TDs for the second time in his career,
and he is completing 67% of his passes, well above his 59% career
Perhaps most impressive is that in addition to providing an excellent
baseline of fantasy points due to his rushing numbers, Newton
is also on pace to throw just eight interceptions. It is clear
that the Norv Turner experiment with Newton in Carolina has been
a smashing success and things should continue to get better with
tight end Greg Olsen back and first-round pick D.J. Moore getting
acclimated to the system.
After starting the season off as one of the worst passing defenses
in the league and allowing the most points to opposing quarterbacks
over the first four games, the Steelers have settled in an started
to sure up issues in the secondary. Like most defenses this season
matched up against Mahomes and the Chiefs and Ryan Fitzpatrick
and the Bucs, the Steelers struggled to stop those two high flying
offenses to the tune of nine passing touchdowns and 737 yards
But Keith Butler and the Steelers defense has been much better
as of late, holding Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Baker Mayfield, and
Joe Flacco to fewer than 290 passing yards and two touchdowns
each. Assuming that the Steelers are a suspect pass defense based
solely on the fact that they rank seventh in fantasy points allowed
is a poor assumption. With the calendar turning to November and
the weather starting to get colder, the Steelers have turned it
up a notch or two and present a reasonably tough matchup for fantasy
An intriguing matchup in this game will be Cam Newton’s
ability to run the ball and extend plays. Outside of Tyrod Taylor
Week 1, the Steelers haven’t faced a mobile quarterback
like Newton who can do damage on designed runs.
Another matchup to watch is the linebacker play of Jon Bostic
and Vince Williams covering Christian McCaffrey on passes out
of the backfield. Only the Jags, Titans, and Raiders have allowed
fewer passes to running backs this season, while McCaffrey ranks
fourth in the league in receptions by a running back, trailing
only James White, Saquon Barkley, and Alvin Kamara.
Last week’s two touchdown performance by Curtis Samuel
instead of the expected breakout game by D.J. Moore highlights
one of the most significant issues for fantasy owners with regards
to the Panthers offense. Cam spreads the ball around, and outside
of Devin Funchess in Week 7, no Panther wide receiver has reached
more than ten targets in a game, making Funchess, Moore, Samuel,
and Jarius Wright flex plays most weeks.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: McCaffrey’s 14.8 fantasy points
per game ranks 9th among fantasy running backs with at least 100
rushing attempts, while his 49 receptions through eight games
have the former Stanford Cardinal on pace for nearly 100 receptions
and 750 receiving yards. The two big knocks against McCaffrey
is the fact that he is not the most consistent player with three
single-digit performances sandwiched between monster games, and
the fact that Cam Newton eats into his potential value by sniping
Those factors will no doubt continue to affect McCaffrey for
the remainder of this season and the foreseeable future with Newton
under center, but that does not mean that McCaffrey cannot be
a low-end No.1 or high-end No.2 running back, especially in PPR
The Steelers present a difficult matchup for running backs looking
to run between the tackles with Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward
clogging up the middle. The few teams that have found success
running the ball vs. Pittsburgh tend to find more room outside
the tackles and on a counter plays.
No player has rushed for more than 75 yards on the ground against
the Steelers and only Carlos Hyde, Joe Mixon, and Alex Collins
were able to score a touchdown on the ground vs. Pittsburgh. Look
for McCaffrey to make most of his points through the air and on
runs to the outside of the c gaps.
Game Thoughts: The Thursday Night Football game between
the Steelers and the Panthers boasts the fourth and fifth ranked
quarterbacks in fantasy football with Cam Newton taking on Ben
Roethlisberger at Heinz Field. Big Ben’s 26.1 fantasy points
per game are by far the best of his 15-year NFL career, nearly
four-full points per game better that his best season to date
in 2009 when he threw for 4328 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns.
Roethlisberger is well on his way to throw for 5000 yards for
the first time in his career, while his 16 passing touchdowns
through eight games has him positioned to beat his own personal
passing touchdown mark of 32.
It is no coincidence that Big Ben is achieving such great success
with star running back Le’Veon Bell holding out this season
for a lucrative long-term deal. The team is more balanced on offense,
Big Ben has more weapons to trust in the passing game, and James
Conner is doing a more than impressive job filling in for Bell
in the passing game. It also helped that the Steelers defense
was dreadful over the first month of the season and helped create
game scripts that forced Ben and the Steelers offense to throw
more than usual.
With 51 receptions for 594 and a league-high nine receiving touchdowns
in eight games, Antonio Brown continues to be an elite wide receiver
and a fantasy stud. JuJu Smith-Schuster is an excellent No.2 wide
receiver with high target volume and the ability to put together
a monster game at any point, but the massive games that owners
came to know in the first half of the season have not been there
as of late, with only one double-digit fantasy performance in
his last five games.
Both players, along with Big Ben, are must-starts in a home primetime
matchup against a Panthers defense that is very giving to opposing
skill position players. As the No.9 ranked unit in fantasy points
allowed to quarterbacks, five QBs scored at least 23 points against
Carolina, including Ryan Fitzpatrick last week posting 243 passing
yards and four touchdowns at Bank of America Stadium.
The cornerback trio of James Bradberry, Captain Munnerlyn, and
Donte Jackson did a solid job limiting Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson
last week, but they will find it much more difficult to defend
the receiving corps of Brown and Smith-Schuster, with the latter
taking advantage of Munnerlyn in the slot similar to what Adam
Humphries did last week.
Vance McDonald owners frustrated by a lack of production this
season outside of his 112-yard monster game against the Bucs Week
2 may want to give strong consideration to playing McDonald on
Thursday night. Despite having two amazing linebackers in Thomas
Davis and Luke Kuechly, the Panthers allow the most points to
opposing tight ends and a league-worst seven receiving touchdowns
in eight games. Only the Cowboys Week 1 with Geoff Swaim and Blake
Jarwin failed to reach at least 74 yards or a touchdown against
the Panthers, making McDonald an attractive option Week 10.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: James Conner has done an excellent job
negating any leverage that Le’Veon Bell and his agent thought
they had over the Steelers with 168.5 fantasy points in eight
games. Only the venerable Todd Gurley has averaged more points
per game than Conner, and the second year player is just one touchdown
away from matching Bell’s entire touchdown production from
We do not have a ton of clarity when it comes to the long-term
status of the Steelers backfield. What we do know is that Conner
will be the guy this week and heavily active against a Panthers
defense that allows the seventh-fewest points to opposing running
backs at the midpoint of the season. The Panthers do allow a fair
amount of yardage on the ground as evident to their 4.5 yard per
carry allowed, but only three running backs have reached the end
An interesting matchup to watch will be the coverage of Davis
and Kuechly on Conner out of the backfield. All other running
backs not named Saquon Barkley have been shut down in the receiving
game by the Panthers with only Gio Bernard in Week 3 managing
to top more than 25 receiving yards in a game.
Cardinals at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -16.5 Total: 49.5
Game Thoughts: Arizona fans will be hoping that the bye
week gave the Cardinals coaching staff enough time to devise a
gameplan to face the red hot Chiefs, or this game could get out
of hand early. Josh Rosen has only thrown five touchdowns on the
season in 2018. To put that into perspective, the quarterback
on the other sideline - Patrick Mahomes - has five individual
games with four or more touchdown passes thrown. The contrast
in these offenses really couldn’t be more striking. But
if the Cardinals are to be competitive in this game, it’s
likely going to have to be with Rosen’s arm. Wide receiver
Larry Fitzgerald seems to finally be healthy and he’s been
seeing the type of target share that we’ve come to expect
from him over the past few seasons. That makes him an interesting
fantasy option here in Week 10 in what should be a high volume
passing day for the Arizona offense. It’s still tough to
think of him as anything more than a mid-level WR2 in PPR formats,
but that makes him easily the most viable fantasy option in this
The Chiefs have been bad against opposing passing games this season,
but not bad enough that we’re going to be trusting Rosen
in our lineups in anything other than DFS tournaments where his
low ownership and low price could end up being a difference maker
if he were to hit. Wide receiver Christian Kirk is the only other
player in the Arizona passing game who should even be considered
for fantasy purposes. He’s been the team’s best wide
receiver so far this season and he’s still seeing a significant
snap share, so you could do worse than him as a low-level WR3/Flex
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: The Cardinals’ offense simply hasn’t
been good enough to give David Johnson many opportunities at big
games this season, but the one thing that has been a big positive
for him is that he’s continued to get carries even when
the offense hasn’t been particularly effective. Johnson
has carried the ball at least 12 times in every game since Week
1 and while his yards per carry are way lower than his career
average, he’s still getting the money touches in this offense
near the goal line which has helped keep him from being a complete
fantasy disaster most weeks. We haven’t seen enough of a
sample size to say whether or not the shift at offensive coordinator
from Mike McCoy to Byron Leftwich will have significant impact
on Johnson, but we do know that it can’t get much worse.
If Leftwich continues to use Johnson in the passing game, as he
seems intent on doing, then that certainly will help Johnson achieve
higher weekly floor numbers, especially in PPR formats.
Typically teams that have high-powered offenses aren’t bad
against opposing running games given that the opposing offenses
usually have to pass the ball a lot to keep up, but that hasn’t
exactly been the case for the Chiefs. Kansas City ranks 31st in
the league this season in fantasy points given up to opposing
running backs and a lot of that has to do with their struggles
to contain opposing backs in the passing game. Their pure run
defense hasn’t been good either, so Johnson might actually
be a decent play despite what looks like it could be a negative
game script. Look at him as a low-level RB1 this week on the road
against the Chiefs.
Game Thoughts: Just looking at the box score of Kansas
City games would give you the impression that there’s no
way that they could continue this type of productivity, but they
just continue to do it. Patrick Mahomes has further extended himself
as the top-scoring player in fantasy in 2018 and all of his weapons
continue to benefit. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill has been in a bit
of a slump, failing to exceed 70 yards or score a touchdown in
either of his past two games, but wise fantasy owners should realize
that this number is bound to bounce back if the Chiefs continue
to pass the ball as heavily as they have been. Hill does draw
a tough matchup against Patrick Peterson this week, but that shouldn’t
be enough to keep him out of your lineup as he’s the type
of player who only needs one big play to return value.
With a two-touchdown performance, tight end Travis Kelce has
now established himself as the top fantasy tight end in the sport,
delivering both the high floor performances and high ceiling performances
that we look for to define a player as truly elite. Kelce is a
no-brainer high-level starter against any defense at this point.
The other player who’s been stepping up as of late is wide
receiver Sammy Watkins who has caught 17 passes for 243 yards
and two scores over his past three games. Unfortunately, Watkins
appears to be in danger of missing Week 10 with a foot injury.
That, combined with his relatively low overall target share this
season, should be a red flag to bench Watkins in most formats
this week. If Watkins does miss Week 10, a player who could be
looked at is Chris Conley, who figures to step in and play Watkins’
role. Conley himself is a big play threat who has been forgotten
about in this loaded offense, but who could be interesting as
a low-priced option in DFS tournaments.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Kareem Hunt continues to roll and he’s
now a top five running back for the season despite some struggles,
particularly in the passing game, earlier this season. Hunt is
still the lead back in this high-powered Kansas City offense which
gives him plenty of opportunities to get into the end zone and
put up huge fantasy numbers even in games where he doesn’t
crack 100 total yards.
There shouldn’t be much concern about Hunt this week, however,
as he and the Chiefs host an Arizona defense that ranks dead-last
in fantasy points given up to opposing running backs. The Cardinals
have already given up 12 touchdowns to the position this season
and Hunt seems like a great bet to add to that number in Week
Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan won the MVP award in 2016 as
a result of a career-year in which the former Boston College star
threw for nearly 5000 yards, with 38 touchdowns and only seven
interceptions. Ryan’s touchdown rate that year of 7.1% was
almost two percentage points higher than any other year in his
11 year NFL career, and his seven interceptions were only the
second time in which he threw less than 10 picks in a campaign.
It may surprise some readers to learn that Ryan is actually on
pace to finish with more fantasy points this season than in 2016.
Ryan is completing over 70% of his passes and his 2684 passing
yards through eight games has him well within reach to top the
5k yard plateau for the first time.
How is Ryan playing at an MVP level? The combination of a few
factors has created an excellent situation in which Ryan is thriving
for fantasy owners. First and most importantly, the Falcons defense
has been decimated by injuries, forcing Ryan to throw an average
of 38 passes each game to keep up. Secondly, the addition of Calvin
Ridley to the offense along with the change in philosophy of locking
in on Julio Jones has made the Falcon passing game more balanced
and difficult to defend.
Speaking of Jones, the All-Pro wide receiver scored his first
touchdown of the season last week against the Redskins. Much has
been made in the media and the fantasy industry regarding Jones
and his inexplicable struggles at reaching the end zone over his
last two seasons (just four TDs despite catching 171 passes).
But the reality is that Julio is on pace for 1800 reviving yards
and 120 receptions, and his 12.5 fantasy points per game in FFToday.com
standard scoring is actually higher than in the 2012 season when
he caught a career-high 10 touchdowns.
This week’s matchup against the Browns will be an interesting
test for the Falcons, as Ryan’s two worst games of the season
occurred on the road against the Steelers and the Eagles. Although
Greg Williams’ defense ranks 12th in fantasy points allowed
to opposing quarterbacks, those stats were somewhat skewed by
Patrick Mahomes last week (The Chiefs light everyone up) and a
four-touchdown fluke game on the road against Derek Carr of all
people. The Browns limited Big Ben, Joe Flacco, Sam Darnold, and
Jameis Winston to a combined three passing touchdowns in five
The way to beat the Browns is on the ground. Cleveland ranks
third in fantasy points allowed to running backs, and the front
seven of the Browns allowed a league-worst 12 rushing touchdowns
in nine games.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Tevin Coleman enters Sunday’s game
against the Browns on the heels of his best game of the season.
Coleman posted 154 total yards and two receiving touchdowns last
week against the Redskins for his first multi-touchdown game of
the year. Although he has not lived up to the hype as an elite
running back with Devonta Freeman out for the season with a knee
injury, Coleman is tied with David Johnson as the No.14 RB in
fantasy with 12.0 points per game.
Ito Smith continues to share the backfield duties with Coleman
and is an interesting low-end RB2 play this week against the Browns.
Smith leads the Falcons with four rushing touchdowns this season.
Smith leads the Falcons with 15 red zone carries and has a touchdown
in four of his last five games. Volume will not be there for Smith,
but the strong possibility of multiple red zone carries against
a team that allows the most rushing touchdowns is something to
consider this week.
The Browns are a tired and banged up defense after getting destroyed
last week by Mahomes, Kareem Hunt, and the Chiefs. Linebacker
Joe Schoebert continues to be limited with a hamstring injury
in practice while starting linebacker Jamie Collins and top corner
Denzel Ward did not practice on Wednesday.
Game Thoughts: Baker Mayfield’s rookie season has
been an up and down roller coaster as one would expect from a
first-year quarterback. Mayfield’s best game came against
arguably his most difficult opponent when he threw for 342 yards
and a score in a 12-9 win at home against Baltimore. But the former
Heisman trophy winner followed that performance up with a dud
against the Chargers in which he completed only 47% of his passes
and threw two interceptions.
In good matchups, like the team’s home game last week against
the Chiefs, Mayfield is a solid play with the upside of 300 passing
yards and a few touchdowns. This week’s home game against
an injury-decimated Falcons defense that allows the fourth-most
points to opposing quarterback would fall in the category of a
good matchup. All but one quarterback to face Atlanta this season
has scored at least 21 fantasy points, with Drew Brees, Andy Dalton,
and Jameis Winston each finishing with over 30 points in their
respective games. Even Alex Smith the No.22 ranked quarterback
based on passing yards was able to throw for over 300 yards against
the lowly Falcons, giving Mayfield owners a ton of confidence
that their QB should be a top 10 option this week.
Jarvis Landry trails only Adam Thielen in targets this season
with 100 looks in nine games. Unfortunately, Landry has not been
close to Thielen when it comes to converting those targets into
fantasy points, with Thielen averaging nearly double the fantasy
points per game than Landry. Not every target is equal, and the
inaccurate and contested targets Landry gets from Mayfield pale
in comparison to those thrown by Kirk Cousins to Thielen on a
Regardless, Landry is a must-start player this week with a floor
of ten targets and an upside of 100-plus receiving yards and a
touchdown. David Njoku is also an attractive option this week
against the Falcons, a team that has given up at least 48 receiving
yards or a score to Zach Ertz, Ben Watson, O.J. Howard, and Vernon
Davis. Outside of a head-scratching zero target game two weeks
ago against the Steelers, Njoku was the second-favorite receiving
option for Mayfield with 34 targets in his previous four games.
Owners of Duke Johnson will want to stay in the fire and continue
playing the pass-catching running back this week against Atlanta.
Interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens learned from the
inexcusable gaffe by his predecessor by making Johnson a focal
point last week against the Chiefs. The Falcons allow the fourth-most
yards to running backs and the most receptions, so don’t
be surprised if Johnson once again is featured with at least seven
targets out of the backfield.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Rushing Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb’s sub-four
yard per carry average over the past two games has been somewhat
of a disappointment, especially when he failed to reach 100 yards
last week on 22 carries against the Chiefs. But what is not disappointing
is the fact that he reached the end zone in two of his last three
games, and the Falcons rank 10th in fantasy points allowed to
Although Duke Johnson will continue to be the featured pass catching
back the Browns will look to limit the potent Falcon passing attack
by running Chubb early and often in the first half. If the game
stays within reach and the Falcons do not present a negative game
script by blowing out the Brown defense, Chubb should once again
reach at least 20 carries with the upside of 100 yards and a score.
The Falcons enter the game relatively healthy on defense with
safety Damontae Kazee, and defensive tackle Deadrin Senat limited
in practice on Wednesday with ankle and shoulder injuries. Both
players are expected to play, and cornerback Robert Alford may
be able to return this week after missing time with an ankle injury.
Game Thoughts: Derek Anderson looks poised to return
this week, which, sadly for Bills fans, is a monumental upgrade
on the alternative, Nathan Peterman. It really doesn’t matter
who is under center for the Bills as the strongest fantasy play
in this game is the Jets defense. The team’s leading receiver
last week was former QB, Logan Thomas, who replaced an injured
Charles Clay at tight end. He caught seven passes for 40 yards.
Kelvin Benjamin is on this team, but has no fantasy value. Continue
to stream defenses against the Bills.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Rushing Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy still has
some juice left. Unfortunately, it is completely useless on the
Bills. The team gets game scripted out of the run making the running
game useless past halftime. McCoy did catch four passes for 19
yards and has a solid receiving floor, but he’s a weak fantasy
option with no touchdown upside. McCoy’s last 22 carries
have gone for 23 yards. The Jets allow 4.1 yards per carry to
opposing backs, but it would be a miracle of the Bills running
backs managed to get there.
Bench: Derek Anderson, LeSean McCoy, Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones
Game Thoughts: Sam Darnold is going to the lead the league
in interceptions. His play can best be described as erratic. Darnold
has shown flashes of brilliance so I am not going to write him
off as a bust this early in his career, but I have a ton of concerns.
Darnold’s poor play has been destroying the fantasy value
of his teammates. Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa returned last
week, but neither made any significant impact.
However, things could change this week with the move to Josh
McCown at quarterback, who is a superior option to Darnold at
this point. In 14 games with McCown at QB, Anderson has averaged
13.26 PPR FPts/G. He averages just 8.5 PPR FPts/G without McCown.
It is something to consider if you need a bye week filler at wide
receiver or Flex. Chris Herndon has emerged as a legitimate TE
option. He went 4-62 last week, which is definitely usable in
fantasy leagues. The Bills aren’t good at many things, but
pass defense is one of them. The Bills are only allowing 212 passing
yards per game. Additionally, their offense’s inability
to score points renders opposing offenses moot as they don’t
have to do much. No one in this passing attack is worth using
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: With Bilal Powell out, a returning Elijah
McGuire stepped right into Powell’s role and actually played
more snaps than Isaiah Crowell. The Jets are not a team that will
experience positive game script very often, which is good news
for McGuire. This is a game the Jets should win, allowing them
to pound it with Crowell if they choose to. The Bills only allow
3.9 yards per carry, but have allowed nine rushing scores against
them. After Darnold’s implosion last week, look for the
Jets to lean on their ground game. Combine that with positive
game script and Crowell is a solid option this week.
Lions @ Bears
- (Swanson) Line: CHI -6.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: After inexplicably trading away Golden
Tate to the Eagles for a third-round pick last week, the Lions
offense looked out of synch, and Matthew Stafford was sacked 10
times in a lopsided loss to the Vikings.
The absence of Tate negatively affected Stafford as he no longer
had his safety valve receiving threat from the slot, and subpar
offensive line play did not afford Stafford enough time to find
Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones on slow developing passes downfield.
A common knock on offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter by Lions
fans is his perceived inability to make adjustments on the fly
and change his scheme based on game flow and the opposing defense.
Whether those perceptions are accurate or not, it did appear as
though he was slow to adjust the offense to the fact that Stafford
was under constant pressure, and changing to a short, quick passing
game would have been a smart move.
Based on his seven catches for 36 yards out of the backfield,
including 13 routes run out of the slot, Theo Riddick will likely
assume some of the underneath duties in the passing game with
the loss of Tate. Riddick is one of the more skilled pass-catching
running backs in the league, and his heavy usage brings Riddick
into consideration as a flex in PPR formats.
The Bears defense ranks fifth in the league in average yards
per game and third in fewest points allowed. Chicago ranks third
in fewest rushing yards allowed per game while allowing a league-best
one rushing touchdown on the season. The blueprint to beat the
Bears is to attack them in the air and not the ground with a quick
passing game. Chicago boasts the second most takeaways in the
league and the seventh-most sacks. If the offensive line is unable
to protect Stafford and give him time to throw, this game could
be a lopsided contest with multiple turnovers like last week’s
game against Minnesota.
To make matters worse for Stafford and the Lions, all-pro defensive
end Khalil Mack appears to be on the mend from an ankle injury
and may return to the field after missing the last two games.
If Mack does take the field and can play close to the way he was
pre-injury, Stafford could once again be under constant pressure.
The shared narrative in the fantasy community that the loss of
Tate would increase the target share for Jones and Golladay did
not come to fruition against the Vikings last week. Jones and
Riddick tied for the team lead with eight targets each, while
Golladay garnered just four looks and finished with a disappointing
three catches for 46 yards.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Rushing Game Thoughts: Kerryon Johnson apologists
expecting the former Auburn Tiger to continue to be a viable RB2
after his 19/158/0 game against the Dolphins Week 7 are cursing
the name of Matt Patricia and Theo Riddick after consecutive disappointing
performances against the Seahawks and Vikings.
Although game script played a part in Johnson getting only 20
combined carries in those two games, he still appeared to have
a solid floor with six catches for 69 yards vs. Seattle. That
floor seems to be a thing of the past with Riddick returning to
the field and assuming the primary role as the receiving back
for Matthew Stafford. Johnson will continue to get carries on
first and second down along with LeGarrette Blount, but his value
takes a big hit without the upside of five receptions a game,
and he will continue to be marginalized in games where the Lions
The Bears present a terrible matchup on paper for both Blount
and Johnson, with Chicago allowing the fewest yards to opposing
running backs and zero rushing touchdowns to RBs in eight games.
Nathan Peterman scored a rushing touchdown in garbage time last
week to break the Bears’ streak of holding opponents to
zero rushing touchdowns, but that should be taken with a grain
of salt as it occurred in the closing minutes of the game and
the Bears defense had all but phoned it in with a 40-point lead.
Game Thoughts: After a four-game stretch from Weeks 4
through 8 that included two 30-point performances and a monstrous
47-point game against the Bucs, Mitchell Trubisky came back down
to Earth against the Bills last week with 135 passing yards and
one touchdown. The lack of production in this game is attributed
to the fact that the Bears defense scored two touchdowns and the
Chicago offense did not need to do much when they had the ball.
It also had to do with the fact that the Bills are a pretty solid
defense against the pass and the Bears took advantage of Buffalo’s
deficiencies in rush defense to the tune of two rushing touchdowns
for Jordan Howard.
These factors for a low-scoring week for Trubisky and the Bears
passing attack could present themselves once again this week with
Chicago playing host to a Lions offense that allowed 10 sacks
and a defensive touchdown to the Vikings. If Khalil Mack and the
Bears defense continues their solid play and succeed in forcing
sacks and turnovers, Trubisky may be in line for another pedestrian
It also does not help that the Lions rank sixth in fantasy points
allowed to running backs while trailing the Dolphins by just one
rushing yard for the most yards allowed on the ground. Conversely,
the Lions are far more capable of stopping quarterbacks and the
passing game, as evident to their 25th overall ranking in fantasy
points allowed to QBs. Teams have proven over and over this season
that you can beat the Lions by running the ball effectively and
forcing Matthew Stafford to make poor decisions.
On the injury front, wide receiver Allen Robinson (groin) is
expected to play this week after miss the last two games though
he’s not be an attractive start lining up against cornerback
The Bears avoided a significant injury scare with wide receiver
Taylor Gabriel leaving last week’s game with an apparent
knee injury. According to head coach Matt Nagy, the knee injury
is not believed to be severe and Taylor “should be good
Slot receivers like Quincy Enunwa, Cole Beasley, Danny Amendola,
David Moore, and Adam Thielen all found success this season attacking
the secondary of Teez Tabor and Quandre Diggs. Don’t be
surprised to see Anthony Miller targeted early and often out of
the slot, especially if Gabriel’s knee flares up and if
Robinson is a surprise inactive.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: It hasn’t been pretty, and he certainly
has not lived up to his draft capital as an early second-round
pick, but Jordan Howard has been an excellent fantasy performer
over the past three weeks, with four rushing touchdowns and 167
rushing yards on 48 carries. During that span, Howard ranks 12th
in fantasy points scored by running backs, ahead of Phillip Lindsay,
Saquon Barkley, and Adrian Peterson.
All signs point to another strong week for Howard owners with
the Bears hosting a Lions defense that allows the second most
yards on the ground and the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing
running backs. Perhaps even more important is the fact that a
positive game script for Howard, including a heavy dose of second-half
carries, looks to be a strong possibility with the Lions struggling
on offense and Matthew Stafford turning the ball over.
Eight players reached double digits in fantasy points this season
when facing the Lions, including both Latavius Murray and Dalvin
Cook last week, while four running backs reached the century mark
in rushing yards, including Ezekiel Elliott’s 152 yards
Week 4 in Dallas. The Lions brought in defensive lineman Damon
Harrison to help address their run defense woes, but little has
changed as Harrison continues to get acclimated into Patricia’s
Tarik Cohen ranks 18th among running backs with 10.9 fantasy
points per game as the pass catching and home run option for Nagy
out of the backfield. The majority of Cohen’s points game
in a four-week span with the Bears playing behind or in shootouts
against the Bucs, Dolphins, and Patriots, but he was barely featured
last week with the Bears well ahead of the Bills in their 41-9
road victory. Like Trubisky, Cohen’s value could be limited
should this game follow a similar script to last week’s
game against the Bills.
Jaguars @ Colts
- (Bales) Line: IND -2.5 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: Blake Bortles has featured plenty of ups
and downs this season, averaging 252.6 passing yards and 1.3 passing
touchdowns on 36.3 pass attempts per game. He’s also averaging
32.6 yards per game on the ground. He was benched in Week 7 but
returned to the starting lineup the next week. Indianapolis has
struggled a bit against the pass, allowing 262.0 passing yards
per game but have only allowed 13 passing touchdowns, while recording
Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief, and Keelan Cole have been the
top three receivers for the Jaguars this season. They have spread
the targets out, making all of them uncomfortable options. D.J.
Chark has entered the mix recently at the expense of Cole, recording
eight receptions for 72 yards on 12 targets over his last two
games. This is far from an elite matchup for the Jacksonville
receivers, and it’s impossible to trust any of them. For
what it’s worth, Westbrook and Moncrief should see 6-8 targets
again this week, making them the best receiving options on the
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette has only played in two
games this season, but he’s expected to return to the starting
role in Week 10. He should see the bulk of the carries with T.J.
Yeldon and Carlos Hyde playing reserve roles. Yeldon comes with
receiving potential, while Hyde needs to stay on benches until
his role is defined. Indianapolis has been a slightly below average
run defense this season, allowing 109.9 yards per game and six
rushing touchdowns. Fournette can be considered because of his
talent and lead role, but it’s tough to know the touch distribution
in the first game with all three running backs healthy.
QB2: Blake Bortles
RB2: Leonard Fournette (mid-range)
WR3: Dede Westbrook (high risk)
WR3: Donte Moncrief (high risk)
Bench: Keelan Cole, T.J. Yeldon, Carlos Hyde
Game Thoughts: The Jaguars have featured one of the best
pass defenses in the NFL this season. They are allowing only 190.0
passing yards per game, while also allowing only nine passing
touchdowns with four interceptions. Andrew Luck has found plenty
of success this season, averaging 273.4 passing yards and 2.9
passing touchdowns on 42.8 pass attempts per game. While he may
see his efficiency decrease, Luck can still be considered as a
volume-based play this week.
T.Y. Hilton struggled in his last game, but he has scored double
digit PPR fantasy points in five games before Week 8. On the season,
he’s averaging 4.3 receptions for 58.8 yards and 0.7 touchdowns
on 7.8 targets per game. Chester Rogers saw double digit targets
in his games without Hilton, but has only seen five targets in
two games since Hilton’s return. Ryan Grant is questionable,
and Dontrelle Inman should start again if he’s out, but
neither make great options in this matchup. Jack Doyle returned
in Week 8, catching six passes for 70 yards and one touchdown
on seven targets. He should see a similar role moving forward,
and he should be one of the leading receivers for Indianapolis.
Eric Ebron will still have a role in the offense, but it will
be more limited than previous weeks. Still, he comes with touchdown
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Jacksonville has struggled a bit defending
the run, allowing 123.3 rushing yards per game and six rushing
touchdowns this season. Marlon Mack (foot) has been a featured
back when healthy, totaling 48 touches in his last two games.
He has turned those touches into 308 yards and four touchdowns.
He’s been limited in practice this week but is expected
to play as of Thursday night. If he’s out, Nyheim Hines
will gain value as a receiving back, but he could struggle once
again if Mack is healthy and starting. The Jaguars have given
up the 7th fewest fantasy points to running backs this season
making this a difficult matchup for Mack or Hines.
Game Thoughts: Brocktober carried over into November
with the news that Ryan Tannehill will miss another game this
week due to a shoulder injury. At this point in the season, we
hope here at FFtoday.com that you are not in a situation where
starting Brock Osweiler is an option that you are considering
outside of even the deepest two-quarterback leagues.
After a surprising three-touchdown game against the Bears in
Week 6, Osweiler returned to form as one of the worst quarterbacks
in the league with two terrible games against the Texans and the
Jets, with zero passing touchdowns and a completion percentage
There is very little to like about Osweiler and the receiving
options for the Dolphins with Miami taking on Green Bay in what
could be a get-right game for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Rodgers
should have very little trouble moving the ball and scoring against
a struggling Dolphin defense that gave up five passing touchdowns
to Deshaun Watson in Week 8 and 32.5 fantasy points to Mitchell
Trubisky in Week 6.
Osweiler will more than likely struggle to keep pace with Rodgers
and will force the ball into tight windows which could lead to
turnovers. Owners hoping for DeVante Parker to build off his 6/134/0
line two weeks ago against the Texans were treated to a one-catch
for eight yard dud last week against the Jets, a team that allowed
at least one double-digit fantasy performance to an opposing wide
receiver in all eight games prior to playing Osweiler on Sunday.
Not only is Parker not a great start this week, but he also may
not be worthy of a bench spot with the Dolphins playing against
the Colts, Bills, Patriots, Vikings, and Jaguars in the next five
If faced with the unfortunate task of playing a Dolphins wide
receiver I would err on the side of volume and play Danny Amendola,
the recipient of no fewer than six targets in his last four games,
including a season-high 11 targets in Week 6 against the Bears.
If you are in need of a home run play and want to roll the dice,
Jakeem Grant does have the speed and elusiveness to take a screen
or slant pass to the house.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: We all should be as lucky in life to find
someone who loves each of us with the same unwavering commitment
that head coach Adam Gase has for Frank Gore. The ageless one
continues to be the thorn in the collective sides of Kenyan Drake
owners everywhere after receiving 20 carries last week in the
field goal snoozer against the Jets. Like the three previous seasons
where Gore managed to rush for fewer than four yards per carry,
Gore converted those 20 carries against the Jets for a whopping
It may take some guts to play Drake this week after he burned
fantasy owners last week to the tune of 3.5 fantasy points. But
assuming that Rodgers and the Packers will blow out Osweiler and
the Dolphins early in this game, logic would tell you that Gase
will need to give Drake more than seven touches for Miami to have
a chance in heck of winning this game.
A matchup to watch that will have a direct impact on the success
of Drake for fantasy owners will be linebacker Blake Martinez,
the top run-stopping linebacker for Green Bay who left Sunday’s
game against the Packers with an ankle injury. Martinez was limited
on Wednesday and Thursday but does appear to be on track to play.
If he is unable to play well due to the injury and help in run
support, Drake could be able to break a few big plays this week.
Game Thoughts: With a touchdown or 100 yards in each
of his last four games, and with Geronimo Allison placed on IR
with an abdominal injury, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the talk
of the fantasy community and the No.1 waiver wire wide receiver
of the week. Trust is a big thing for Aaron Rodgers when it comes
to wide receivers, and Valdez-Scantling, a 6-5, 205-pound rookie
from South Florida appears to have the trust of Rodgers and should
be considered a strong WR3 with WR2 upside for the remainder of
Aaron Rodgers is a no-brainer start at home against nearly all
opponents, especially a Dolphins defense that gave up two 30-point
games to Mitchell Trubkisy and Deshaun Watson prior to last week’s
snooze fest against the Jets.
But it may be beneficial for Jimmy Graham owners to learn that
the Dolphins have been torched lately by opposing tight ends.
While shifting focus to opposing wide receivers, the Phins gave
up two touchdowns to Jordan Thomas and Michael Roberts in Weeks
7 and 8. They also gave up 62 yards on four catches to Chris Herndon
of the Jets last week. It has been a surprising turn for the worse
for a team that did not allow a reaching touchdown or more than
52 yards to the tight end position prior to Week 6.
The matchup to watch in this game for Packer skills position
players is cornerback Xavien Howard lined up against Davante Adams.
Howard did an excellent job limiting the No.1 wide receiver in
each of his first six games, including Amari Cooper and A.J. Green,
before DeAndre Hopkins torched him for 124 yards and a score in
Week 8. Adams owners will still want to play their stud wide receiver,
and a touchdown is still in the cards for one of the best red
zone wide receivers in the league, but don’t be surprised
to see Rodgers shift his focus to Graham and MVS.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: Just when we all thought that Aaron Jones
was finally taking control of the backfield in Green Bay, a late
fumble against the Patriots could postpone further the emergence
of Jones as a No.1 running back. Jones owns the best YPC average
in the league (6.0) of qualified running backs and flashes quickness
and vision that Jamaal Williams simply does not possess. But if
Jones continues to make bonehead plays and struggles in pass protection,
Williams will continue to be a factor.
If there were ever a week for a monster game from Jones it would
be this week at home against the Dolphins. Miami allows the sixth-most
points to the running back position, with ten opposing running
backs reaching double figures in fantasy points. Miami made Lamar
Miller look like a stud running back two weeks ago with 133 lads
and a score, and Kerryon Johnson torched the Phins for 158 yards
on 19 carries the prior week in Detroit.
There are fantasy points to be had on the ground in this game.
The question is will it be Jones to take advantage of the opportunity
or will Williams once again be a spoiler for Jones truthers.
On the injury front, the Dolphins have four defensive players
listed on their injury report, highlighted by stud free safety
Reshad Jones with a shoulder injury. Jones came under fire last
week for failing to return to the field after just 10 first-quarter
snaps. When questioned about his toughness and desire to play,
Jones was quick to defend his toughness and claimed he would play
this week against the Packers.
Patriots @ Titans
- (Bales) Line: NE -6.5 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: Tom Brady has been enjoying a solid season,
averaging 277.1 passing yards and 1.9 passing touchdowns per game.
He also comes with some rushing upside (not yardage), as he owns
two rushing touchdowns on the season. He gets a tough matchup
against the Titans, who are allowing only 226.0 passing yards
per game. They have also only allowed 11 passing touchdowns and
although Brady is considered a matchup proof quarterback and has
the potential to dominate any defense, this doesn’t feel
like a great spot for the Patriots QB. The only true concern is
negative game script, as the Patriots could get out to an early
lead and lean heavily on the run game.
Julian Edelman has looked outstanding since returning from suspension.
In five games, he’s averaging 6.2 receptions for 64.4 yards
and 0.4 touchdowns on 8.8 targets per game. He has also scored
double digit fantasy points in each of his five games. Josh Gordon
has been another major part of the passing attack. He comes with
a bit more risk, but posted a 5/130/1 line on 10 targets in his
last game. Over his last three games, Gordon is averaging 4.3
receptions for 90.7 yards and 0.3 touchdowns on 7.7 targets. Rob
Gronkowski continues to deal with his back injury, but he can
be started in all leagues if he’s active this week. He has
had a down season, totaling 29 receptions for 448 yards and one
touchdown through seven games.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: Sony Michel is expected to return to the
lineup this week, and he’ll immediately slot in to his normal
role. In his last three healthy games, Michel is averaging 105.3
rushing yards and 1.3 rushing touchdowns on 22.3 carries. James
White will continue to play a major role in the offense, as well.
He’s only averaging 26.1 rushing yards and 0.4 rushing touchdowns
on 6.7 rush attempts per game. Where he makes his money is in
the passing game, averaging a 6.8 / 59.0 / 0.7 receiving line
on 9.0 targets per game. White will likely be featured mainly
in a receiving role, while Michel takes the rushing attempts,
but both come with value in this game.
Game Thoughts: The Patriots have featured one of the
worst pass defenses in the NFL this season. They are allowing
274.0 passing yards per game to go along with 19 passing touchdowns.
They do own 11 interceptions, though. Marcus Mariota is coming
off of a good game against the Cowboys, but has struggled as a
passer this season. He’s only averaging 181.4 passing yards
and 0.7 passing touchdowns on 25.6 pass attempts per game. He’s
also averaging 31.0 rushing yards and 0.3 rushing touchdowns per
game, which has saved his fantasy lines on occasion.
The Titans have featured a very unproductive receiving group
outside of Corey Davis. Davis is only averaging 4.5 receptions,
56.4 yards and 0.1 touchdowns on 8.3 targets per game, but he’s
the leading receiver for the team. Tajae Sharpe could come with
some value if Taywan Taylor (foot) is out, but neither player
is seeing a ton of targets and Sharpe is dealing with an ankle
injury. This is an underwhelming passing attack, and there isn’t
much to like about it.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry has scored touchdowns in
each of his last two games, but he isn’t seeing enough touches
to be considered. He has taken carries away from Dion Lewis, but
the latter has still seen enough touches to be considered in lineups.
Over the last two weeks, Lewis is averaging 138.5 yards and 0.5
touchdowns on 21.0 touches (5.0 receptions) per game. This is
also a revenge game for Lewis, for those willing to play the narrative.
New England is only allowing 106.9 rushing yards per game, but
they have also allowed 4.5 yards per carry this season.
Saints @ Bengals
- (Swanson) Line: NO -5.5 Total: 54.0
Game Thoughts: With the NFL and Fantasy Football communities
enamored with the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes,
Drew Brees is quietly putting together a strong case for league
MVP in his 18th season in the league.
Brees’ 76% completion percentage through eight games places
him in line to crush his NFL single-season record of 71% that
he set last season. He is on pace to throw for just under 5000
yards and 36 touchdowns, with only two interceptions. The football
community loves to give Tom Brady unabashed love for the high-level
of quarterback play that Brady has delivered as a 40-year old,
but the fact is Brees is outperforming Brady while getting very
little media attention.
For fantasy purposes, Brees’ 25.4 points per game are tied
for eighth with Jared Goff and only half a point behind Ben Roethlisberger
for fifth place. He is the owner of four games of at least 30
fantasy points, including 44.5 points against the Falcons Week
3. But he does have three subpar games sandwiched between his
big performances, making him less of a consistent fantasy asset
as other top-ranked quarterbacks like Mahomes, Cam Newton, Andrew
Luck, and even Big Ben.
The reason for Brees’ inconsistency has little to do with
poor play on his part and everything to do with negative game
scripts created by the stout running game by Alvin Kamara and
Mark Ingram, and periodic strong performances by the Saints defense.
The trend that should give Brees owners pause is the underlying
theme of his poor games, as both of his dud games occurred on
the road. Brees is a must-start each week when playing at home,
but playing on the road and outdoors in the elements could make
him less of a no-brainer play, even against a subpar defense like
Cincinnati allows the most yards per game in the league and the
most points to opposing quarterbacks over the past three weeks
with Big Ben, Patrick Mahomes, and Ryan Fitzpatrick each putting
up at least 300 yards or multi-touchdown performances.
New Orleans made a splash this week with the signing of veteran
free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant to a one-year deal. It remains
to be seen how Bryant will fit into the system, or if the former
Cowboy will get enough volume to be fantasy relevant. But the
addition of Bryant does give Brees another talented receiving
threat, especially in the red zone, and head coach Sean Peyton
will no doubt design some plays specifically to get Bryant involved.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: The return of Mark Ingram and subsequent
ten touch game by Alvin Kamara caused a ripple throughout the
fantasy community as Kamara owners accustomed to consistent, monster
games began to question if their stud player would be marginalized
in the second half of the season.
Those concerns proved to be premature and incorrect with Kamara
exploding for eight total touchdowns in his last five games, highlighted
by a three-touchdown afternoon against the Rams last week. Kamara
continues to be hyper-efficient with his touches and is a red
zone beast with the second-most red zone touches and targets behind
only Todd Gurley.
Mark Ingram owners frustrated by his lack of use last week in
a game where the Saints scored 45 points may get some redemption
this week in what could turn into a blowout win for New Orleans.
Not only do the Bengals allow the most yards to opposing offenses,
but they also give up the eighth-most points to running backs
and can be beat between the tackles. Kamara’s heavy workload
last week was partially a result of the Saints needing to score
on each possession in the hope of keeping up with the Rams. With
A.J. Green out with a foot injury, the Bengals may struggle to
keep pace with the Saints and Ingram should be more involved this
Game Thoughts: Andy Dalton appeared to be primed for
a career-year after starting the season with 11 touchdowns and
two thirty-point fantasy performances in his first four games.
The Red Rifle surpassed 330 passing yards in back-to-back games
against the Panthers and Falcons and threw for a season-high four
touchdowns in Week 2 against a tough Baltimore defense.
Things started to turn for the worse for Dalton and the Bengals
passing offense during a subpar prime time game against the Steelers
and a disappointing 11.4 point game against the Kansas City Chiefs
in what should have been a great opportunity to score points.
From Weeks 7 through 9, Dalton ranks 27th in fantasy points per
game, behind fellow struggling quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Derek
To add insult to injury, or injury to struggling offense, Dalton
will be without top wide receiver A.J. Green for the next few
games as Green heals from a toe injury. Green received good news
that surgery is not required and should be able to return this
year, but he will reportedly miss at a minimum of two weeks, including
this week’s game against the Saints.
Tyler Boyd is second on the team in targets to wide receivers
and will be the defacto No.1 wide receiver with Green on the shelf.
Boyd shined in his only opportunity this season as the lead wide
receiver with 132 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers when
Green left with an injury. John Ross will also receive an increase
in targets and volume opposite of Boyd, assuming the oft-injured
former first-round pick can stay healthy.
The matchup for Dalton and the skill position players for the
Bengals do not get much better with the Saints giving up the third-most
points to opposing quarterbacks. All but two quarterbacks going
against New Orleans reached at least 20 fantasy points this season,
including 30-plus games by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Ryan, and last
week by Jared Goff. Even Eli Manning managed to throw for 255
yards and a touchdown against the Saints, giving Dalton owners
confidence that he provides a solid floor of fantasy production
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: As pathetic as the Saints are at stopping
the pass they excel at stopping opposing running backs. Only the
Eagles allow fewer rushing yards this year and no running back
facing the Saints has rushed for more than 68 yards. MVP candidate
Todd Gurley posted his worst game of the season last week with
13 rushes for 68 yards and a score in the shootout at the Superdome,
and no opposing back has scored more than 16 fantasy points against
Dennis Allen’s defense.
Joe Mixon enters the game on Sunday as the No.8 ranked running
back with 15.4 fantasy points per game. His 4.8 yard per carry
average is more than a full yard better than how he fared in his
rookie season, and he surpassed his touchdown total from the previous
season with five total touchdowns in six games.
Mixon posted the best game of his career with 123 rushing yards
and two touchdowns two against the Bucs before the Week 9 bye.
It was the first multi-touchdown game of his young career and
only the second time in which he reached the century mark.
Game script and the solid run defense play of the Saints may
dictate that Mixon may struggle to run the ball and post fantasy
points on the ground. But he is still an RB1 play this week based
on his ability to make plays in the passing game, and the opportunity
for goal line and red zone carries.
Game Thoughts: Alex Smith has struggled with upside throughout
the season, as he’s averaging only 233.4 passing yards and
1.1 passing touchdowns per game. He gets an elite matchup this
week, with the Bucs allowing 307.0 passing yards per game this
season. They have also allowed a league-high 22 passing touchdowns,
while recording a league-low one interception. Their ability to
turn games into shootouts add to Smith’s value, as well.
The Redskins have dealt with a plethora of injuries this season,
and they recently put Paul Richardson (shoulder) on IR. Josh Doctson
flashed some touchdown potential last week, which could be on
display in a projected high scoring game. Jamison Crowder (ankle)
is questionable for this week, and he could potentially lead the
team in targets if he returns. Maurice Harris saw a major role
last week, totaling 10 receptions for 124 yards on 12 targets.
He should remain a solid part of the offense again this week,
although he may not see double digit targets again. Jordan Reed
(back) has recorded 45 or fewer yards in each of his last five
games, but he’s averaging 3.8 receptions per game over that
span, including two games with 5+ catches. He was also injured
last game, or he may have had 5+ receptions again. If he’s
out, Vernon Davis will step into a potential TE1 role.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: Chris Thompson (ribs) will miss this week
meaning Adrian Peterson will continue to work as the lead back.
He struggled last week, but he was able to record 97+ yards in
each of his three games prior to that. He could potentially see
20+ carries again this week, as well. Tampa Bay is allowing 107.1
rushing yards per game this season, and they have allowed 12 rushing
touchdowns. Peterson relies a bit on touchdowns, and he makes
a great option in what should be a high scoring game. Kapri Bibbs
is expected fill in the Chris Thompson role and give Peterson
a breather on early downs when needed.
Game Thoughts: Ryan Fitzpatrick will continue to start
for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has been elite this season, as
he’s averaging 368.3 passing yards and 3.8 passing touchdowns
in four full games. He also threw for 194 yards and two touchdowns
in less than half of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The
Redskins are allowing 254 passing yards per game and have given
up 15 passing touchdowns. It isn’t an elite matchup, but
Fitzpatrick has found success in bad matchups before.
Mike Evans only recorded one reception last week, but he saw
10 targets. He also averaged 7.7 receptions for 122.3 yards and
1.0 touchdown per game in his first three games with Fitzpatrick.
Surprisingly, DeSean Jackson saw only four targets last week,
while Chris Godwin saw three. They have been stealing snaps from
each other for the majority of the season, but they both come
with quite a bit of upside. O.J. Howard caught four of six targets
for 53 yards and two touchdowns last weekend, and he’ll
continue to be an extremely involved tight end in one of the top
offenses in the NFL.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: This is a week to completely avoid the
Tampa Bay rushing attack. Peyton Barber (ankle) has flashed some
weeks, but he has struggled more often than not, averaging only
3.6 yards per carry. He has also lost passing down work to Jacquizz
Rodgers, who does not own stand-alone fantasy value. Washington
features one of the best run defenses in the NFL this season,
as well. They are allowing only 89.4 rushing yards per game, while
holding their opponents to only seven rushing touchdowns. The
Bucs could potentially be losing early in this game, forcing them
to throw, as well.
Chargers at Raiders
- (Caron) Line: LAC -10.0 Total: 50.0
Game Thoughts: Philip Rivers would be nearly a lock for
NFL MVP in practically any other season, but even though that
goal seems unlikely, fantasy owners should still be happy with
his 19 touchdown total along with just three interceptions on
the season. In Week 10, he’ll face an Oakland defense that
he already torched for 339 yards and a pair of touchdowns back
in Week 5. That was a game where the Chargers scored just 26 points,
too, so there’s some upside even beyond that.
The Raiders have given up three-touchdown days to the likes of
Nick Mullens and Ryan Tannehill this season, so Rivers and the
Chargers have to be considered very strong fantasy plays even
in what figures to be a positive game script game for them. The
Raiders have also given up 23-or-more fantasy points to opposing
quarterbacks in five straight games.
The weapons in the Chargers passing game have been a bit difficult
to predict with Keenan Allen surprisingly not having many big
games this season, but Allen did finally crack 100 yards this
past week for the first time since Week 1. He’s a strong
WR1 for fantasy against an Oakland defense that he already beat
for eight catches and 90 yards earlier this season. Mike Williams
has only made two catches over his past two games, but he’s
made them count, scoring touchdowns on both of them. Still, he’s
simply not seeing the type of target volume we’d want to
see to make him anything other than a low-end, touchdown-or-bust
Flex play. The same applies for fellow receiver Tyrell Williams
who has actually scored four touchdowns on just nine catches over
his past three games.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: The two week layoff seemed to allow Melvin
Gordon get back to full health and he got right back in the swing
of being an elite RB1 with a 113 rushing yard, one touchdown day
on the road in Seattle. Gordon is practically matchup-proof at
this point as he’s either getting a ton of carries when
the team is up on the scoreboard or a bunch of catches if they
happen to fall behind. That type of usage can only be attributed
to a handful of backs in the entire league, so just enjoy it and
continue to plug him in, especially in matches like the one he
has here in Week 10 against the Raiders, who he already squashed
for 120 total yards and a touchdown when these teams played earlier
Fellow back Austin Ekeler hasn’t been nearly as productive
in recent weeks as he was earlier this season, but he’s
still getting usage in the passing game which does give him a
decent floor for a low-end Flex play. His upside isn’t great,
however, so don’t expect too much from him, especially in
a game where the Chargers are likely to be up, which would typically
mean fewer receptions for the Chargers backs.
Game Thoughts: The Raiders’ first game without
wide receiver Amari Cooper went about as well as one would’ve
expected. Derek Carr threw for just 171 yards without a touchdown
against a weak San Francisco defense in what ended up being a
blowout loss. If he’s not successful from a fantasy standpoint
in that type of matchup, it’s hard to imagine when he will
be. Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts and Martavis Bryant combined for
just five total receptions and none of them were fantasy relevant
whatsoever. Even tight end Jared Cook was held to just two catches
on the day. Cook, who has been the team’s top pass catcher
this season, caught just four passes for 20 yards when these teams
played back in Week 5, so it’s hard to have much excitement
about him, but he’s still a low-end TE1 mostly due to the
position scarcity. The rest of this Oakland passing game should
be avoided here in Week 10 against a Los Angeles defense that
has only given up five passing touchdowns over their past four
games - a stretch which includes their previous game against Carr
and the Raiders.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: It’s hard to run the ball when you’re
down multiple scores and that’s been the biggest problem
for the Raiders this season. Their offense is just not explosive
enough and their defense is a train wreck, so opportunities to
run the ball are simply too few and far between. Marshawn Lynch
still had some elusiveness so he was able to make it work some
weeks on limited touches, but a player like Doug Martin simply
doesn’t have the explosiveness to be a productive fantasy
asset, especially against teams that are capable of putting points
on the board like the Chargers can.
The player that’s interesting in this backfield is Jalen
Richard. He’s only getting a couple carries per game, but
Richard has been an absolute monster in the passing game during
this stretch of Raiders offensive incompetence. Oakland has lost
their past four games by a combined 85 points. In those four games,
Richard has caught 25 total passes for around 50 yards per game.
With the Chargers likely to get out to a lead in this one, Richard
is a decent, solid floor RB2 option in PPR formats. He doesn’t
have much upside, but 10 to 15 PPR points seems pretty likely.
Seahawks at Rams
- (Caron) Line: LAR -10.0 Total: 50.0
Game Thoughts: Russell Wilson finally exceeded 25 rushing
yards in a game for the first time this past week - a welcome
sign for fantasy owners who have been extremely disappointed with
the lack of bonus points they were getting out of their QB who
is typically an elite-level runner. Wilson hasn’t been racking
up the passing yardage this season, either, but he’s on
pace for historic-type rates in the touchdown department in comparison
to his total number of passes. Wilson has thrown a touchdown on
8.1% of his passes, which is well ahead of his career average.
There’s likely to be some regression in that number through
the second half of the season, but it’s also worth considering
that Doug Baldwin finally looked healthy for the first time this
season this past week. The numbers didn’t show it because
of his low target total, but Baldwin caught four passes for 77
yards and looked good doing so. He’s an interesting play
this week against the Rams, but he will likely see coverage from
Nickell Robey-Coleman, who is one of the better slot corners in
the league. Still, if the Seahawks see that Baldwin is finally
healthy, it seems likely that he’ll see a healthy target
share in this game which he should be able to utilize to overcome
what might be a difficult on-paper matchup.
Fellow receivers Tyler Lockett and David Moore have both been
hit-or-miss over these past few weeks and their target/snap numbers
are not much different. Lockett would seemingly be the stronger
play given his history in the offense and his touchdown rate this
season, but both are WR3s who have upside to be WR2s if they can
get into the end zone. Moore in particular is a dirt cheap DFS
option who will likely have very low ownership numbers, so there’s
reason to be hopeful there.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Chris Carson got injured again this past
week in the Seahawks’ loss to the Chargers and his availability
is now in question heading into Week 10. Even if he’s able
to play, though, it seems likely that he’d be splitting
touches with Mike Davis, who got 15 carries against the Chargers,
most of which came after Carson was out. Davis and Carson did
crush the Rams with over 170 combined rushing yards when these
teams met back in Week 5, so there’s reason to have optimism
for Davis if Carson doesn’t play. However, if Carson does
play, matching that early-season output on the road seems unlikely,
so there’s some risk that they just vulture one another
with lower overall production, thus making both players only borderline
Game Thoughts: Jared Goff and the Rams were the final
undefeated team heading into Week 9 and while they ultimately
fell to the Saints in New Orleans, fantasy owners still have to
be more than satisfied with the 391 yards and three touchdowns
that Goff had in the contest. Goff has now thrown for multiple
touchdown passes in three straight games and continues to be a
great floor play at quarterback with upside.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp made his return to the field in Week
9 after missing three games and he immediately got back to his
usual snap share as he was the only Rams pass catcher to play
every offensive snap for the team. That translated to five catches
for 89 yards and a touchdown, re-solidifying Kupp as a high-level
WR2 with WR1 upside on a weekly basis. This led to Josh Reynolds
hardly playing, which was expected as the Rams continue to deploy
their three wide receiver sets with Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert
Woods. Woods has been a bit disappointing in recent weeks but
he’s still making at least five passes per week so the potential
for more is certainly there and he can still be relied on as a
WR2. Cooks earned his third 100-yard receiving day of the season
in Week 9, along with his third touchdown. He’s also a high-end
The Seahawks secondary, even without the Legion of Boom, is a
tough test for any offense, but the Rams are just such a strong
offense that it’s hard to believe that they won’t
be able to produce at least a solid fantasy day through the air.
If you’re looking for the best option of the three receivers,
Kupp should be in line for another nice target day. He caught
six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown the last time these teams
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Gurley’s 19.9 PPR fantasy total
in Week 9 was actually his worst game of the season thus far.
Allow that to sink in for a minute. Yeah, his worst game was basically
20 fantasy points. To put that into perspective, only seven other
running backs even average 20 points per game -- and that was
Gurley’s worst performance. He’s proven to be matchup-proof
in this offense as he was able to accomplish this nice game even
in a contest on the road that the Rams lost by double-digits.
In Week 10, Gurley is again possibly the top overall option on
the board as he faces a Seahawks run defense that he beat up for
113 total yards and three touchdowns back in Week 5. Seattle has
been relatively good against opposing running backs this season,
but they’ve still conceded quality fantasy days to Ezekiel
Elliott, Melvin Gordon and even David Johnson. While those backs
have all been good this season, none of them have been producing
at the pace of Gurley, who could be in line for another huge game
here in Week 10.
Cowboys at Eagles
- (Katz) Line: PHI -7.0 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: Amari Cooper’s debut went reasonably
well. He led the team with eight targets, good for just over a
25% team target share. He also caught a touchdown on a very nice
route. Dak Prescott threw for 243 yards last week, which is actually
his third highest total on the season. He also managed his third
consecutive multi-touchdown game. The Eagles have been a pretty
weak pass defense this year, allowing 269 yards per game. They’ve
also allowed a league worst 93.7 yards per game to opposing WR1s.
With that being said, Prescott is not the QB to take advantage
of favorable pass defenses, especially with the Cowboys so intent
on running the ball and not taking shots downfield. Perhaps things
open up in Cooper’s second game with the team, but this
coaching staff has never shown any ability to do anything. Cole
Beasley’s back-to-back useful PPR games are proving to be
nothing more than a random production spike. The Cowboys have
played eight games and Beasley has been useable in three of them.
He’s not a fantasy option.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: The Cowboys weak offensive output
is starting to negatively impact Ezekiel Elliott. While his fantasy
day was salvaged by 51 receiving yards on four receptions last
week, Elliott once again had a rough day on the ground, managing
just 61 yards on 17 carries. With the Cowboys installed as touchdown
underdogs, they may not be able to run the ball as much as they’d
like. The Eagles do allow 55.9 receiving yards per game to opposing
running backs so Zeke could have some success through the air
if the Cowboys choose to utilize him that way. On the ground,
the Eagles allow 4.5 yards per carry, but only 83.8 yards per
game. The latter can be attributed to their league low 150 rushing
attempts faced. You’re never benching Zeke, but expectations
must be lowered once again.
Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz needed one game to get his
bearings under him. Since his return, he’s thrown multiple
scores in every game after that first one back. His lowest yardage
total in that span is 278. Wentz has also rushed for at least
24 yards in all but one game. Wentz has proven to come with a
high floor, but also be matchup proof. Alshon Jeffery may have
a tough time this week against shutdown corner, Byron Jones, but
that will just lead Wentz to use his other options. Golden Tate
could have a very nice game operating out of the slot, challenging
the Cowboys linebacking group that will once again be without
Sean Lee. The Cowboys only allow 217 passing yards per game, but
they also don’t force turnovers, having recorded just two
interceptions on the season. With the season falling apart, the
Cowboys are on the brink of complete and utter collapse. Wentz
owners should not be deterred at all by the matchup. The Cowboys
also rank 26th in footballoutsiders’ DVOA against TEs, not
that you were worried about Zach Ertz anyway.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: What will the Eagles do at running back?
What I want and hope they do is push Josh Adams as the primary
back – a 50% snap share – and then sprinkle in Wendell
Smallwood with a small dose of Corey Clement. That would be the
optimal rotation. With all of the injuries to this running back
group, Adams is finally getting his change to prove how embarrassing
it was that he went undrafted while guys that shouldn’t
even be in the NFL like Ronald Jones went in the first round.
Adams rushed nine times for 61 yards against the Jaguars, but
still played just 29% of the snaps. Darren Sproles’ impending
return was going to put a damper on the potential Adams breakout,
but Sproles aggravated his hamstring injury and it wouldn’t
surprise me if this were the end of Sproles’ career. It
will once again between Adams, Smallwood, and Clement. The good
news for Adams is he appears to have surpassed Clement on the
depth chart. The bad news is he’s still behind Smallwood.
If I’m an Adams owner, I would prefer a wait and see approach,
Giants at 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -3.5 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: Evan Engram finally looks healthy which
should be in a shot in the arm for this struggling New York Giants
passing game. Engram got into the end zone this past week for
the first time since Week 2 and is now back in the TE1 conversation
after returning from his knee injury. While that helps Eli Manning,
it’s hard to argue that it makes Manning a viable QB1 for
fantasy purposes, even in what would appear to be a good matchup
on the road against the 49ers. Manning has failed to reach 20
fantasy points in all but one game this season, which he barely
cracked 20 points in against the Falcons in Week 7. Manning and
the Giants simply are not moving the ball at the pace we had hoped
in the preseason.
On a positive note, Odell Beckham Jr. appears to be fully unleashed
at this point and he’s now gone for over 130 yards in three
of his past four games, scoring a pair of touchdowns during that
stretch as well. The touchdown rate has been down this season,
but the usage and yardage totals are there. Trust the targets
and understand that Beckham will likely score more touchdowns
in the second half of the season than he did in the first half.
He’s still a strong WR1. Sterling Shepard has also flashed
WR1 upside but he hasn’t done so consistently and that’s
why he’s more like a mid-level WR3/Flex option in this matchup
against the 49ers.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: It hasn’t always been pretty on the
ground, largely due to the horrendous blocking in front of him,
but fantasy owners who took a chance on Saquon Barkley in the
first round of their drafts have to be extremely happy with what
they’re getting out of him. Barkley is a top five running
back in practically all formats, but he’s particularly strong
in PPR formats as he’s on pace for a whopping 116 catches
in his rookie season. If he reaches that total, it’d be
an NFL record for a running back, shattering the previous record
of 102 set by Matt Forte in 2014. In fact, a 116-catch season
would tie Barkley for 16th all-time, at any position, in single-season
What I’m getting at is that this guy is actually better,
for fantasy purposes, when the Giants are down on the scoreboard.
With 27 catches over his past three games alone, this trend doesn’t
seem to be going anywhere and it makes Barkley a rock solid RB1
in standard-scoring formats, along with a high-end RB1 in PPR
The 49ers defense has been about middle-of-the-pack against opposing
running backs this season, but they’ve struggled against
the bell cow-type backs that can also contribute in the passing
game, such as Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Kareem Hunt and David
Johnson. Barkley fits that mold and should be in all lineups this
Game Thoughts: One of the most unlikely first game breakout
players we’ve seen in years, 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens
has been announced as the starting quarterback for the 49ers’
Monday night contest against the Giants. Mullens threw for 262
yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers’ blowout win over
the Raiders. It’s hard to tell whether this was a legitimate
breakout of a future star or just a player getting an opportunity
to play against a truly broken Raiders franchise, but Mullens
has to give 49ers fans more hope than C.J. Beathard gave them.
Unfortunately for fantasy owners of the pass catchers in this
offense, Mullens really didn’t key in on any one receiver
during the victory so we don’t have much information about
who he’ll be looking for here in Week 10. The best bet continues
to be tight end George Kittle who is beginning to establish himself
as one of the league’s top young breakout tight ends. Kittle
has now gone over 75 receiving yards in six of his nine games,
making him one of the better floor plays at the position and a
player who has legitimate TE1 overall upside in any game. The
Giants have done a good job against opposing tight ends this season,
but a lot of that comes from their schedule. The only two “star”
tight ends they’ve faced have been Zach Ertz and Jordan
Reed, who both caught seven passes against them. The other pass
catchers in this 49ers passing game are just not trustworthy at
the moment and should be avoided if at all possible.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: Much like the wide receiver position, the
49ers backfield continues to be confusing and really hasn’t
given fantasy owners much upside this season. They’ve now
lost both Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert to season-ending
injuries and the duo of Alfred Morris and Matt Breida have had
more down games than up games thus far in 2018.
The Giants run defense hasn’t been too terrible this season,
but they’ve given up a double-digit standard-scoring fantasy
day to an opposing running back in every game they’ve played
thus far. That might also be schedule-driven a bit as the Giants
have played a lot of bell cow type backs who tend to get a lot
of carries. That’s not the case with the 49ers who are sharing
carries, rather unsuccessfully, between Morris and Breida. Still,
if there’s upside here for one of these players to go off,
it has to be Breida as he’s at least shown some explosiveness
with the ball in his hands this season while Morris has mostly
looked completely washed up. Breida is the better play, particularly
in PPR formats, but they’re both a bit risky even in good