Game Thoughts: Philip Rivers has now failed to reach
15 fantasy points in his past two games, including this past week’s
victory over the Packers. However, this week’s game against
Oakland looks like a “get right” game for this entire
LA passing game.
The Raiders currently rank dead last in the NFL in fantasy points
per game conceded to opposing quarterbacks. They’ve already
given up three different 400-yard passing days and five of their
nine opponents have thrown for three or more passing touchdowns
against this defense. This past week it was Matthew Stafford who
hit both of these milestones. Along with giving up these numbers
to opposing QBs, the Raiders simply aren’t doing anything
defensively to make us concerned about a potential bounce-back
game. The Raiders have only forced three interceptions this entire
season and they’ve only held one quarterback - Kirk Cousins
back in Week 3 - to fewer than 15 fantasy points. Rivers might
lack the rushing upside that many of the top quarterbacks on the
board offer, but he provides one of the safest QB1 floors this
Predictably, along with the Raiders struggling to stop opposing
quarterbacks, they’ve also been terrible against opposing
wide receivers and tight ends. They’re currently giving
up the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing WRs and
the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing TEs. Needless
to say, this makes Hunter Henry a strong fantasy TE1 this week
as he looks to continue the hot streak he’s had since making
his 2019 debut in Week 6.
The player who fantasy owners have to be concerned about, however,
is Keenan Allen. Allen has now been held to 13 or fewer PPR fantasy
points in an astonishing six straight games. He’s had a
tough stretch of matchups, but we do have to be concerned about
his lack of production and perhaps more importantly his lack of
targets. Allen has been targeted six or fewer times in four of
the six games over that stretch. Still, Allen is a strong play
at wide receiver this week as the Raiders have given up four 100-yard
days to opposing wide receivers over their past three games alone.
Mike Williams finally eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the first
time this season this past week against the Packers and while
he still hasn’t scored a touchdown, there’s a pretty
decent chance that he gets out of that drought this week against
the Raiders. He’s still more of a mid-to-low-end WR2 in
PPR formats, but the upside is there for Williams to turn in his
first WR1 fantasy day of the season.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Melvin Gordon finally exceeded 35 rushing
yards for the first time in 2019 this past week in the Chargers’
win over the Packers as he rushed for 80 yards on 20 carries,
adding two touchdowns as a bonus. It was Gordon’s first
truly great fantasy game of the season and he out-touched Austin
Ekeler by a margin of 23 to 16. Ekeler is still going to remain
an important part of the offense and while it might be arguable
that he’s the better overall player, the thing that we should
be chasing is the touches. That makes him more of a PPR low-level
RB2 and more of a Flex play in PPR formats.
The Chargers have a solid chance of being up in this game, so
that could mean a relatively heavy workload for Gordon in the
running game. The Chargers should be able to move the ball relatively
well so that could translate into a few goal line carries. The
Raiders do have a much better run defense than they do a pass
defense, but Gordon gets the money touches in this offense and
that can easily translate into a nice fantasy day against a defense
that tends to struggle to slow down opposing offenses overall.
Game Thoughts: With five multi-touchdown performances
over his past six contests, Derek Carr is becoming one of the
better high-floor streaming options in fantasy football. He’s
done most of this damage with Tyrell Williams banged up, too.
Unfortunately this week he runs into a Los Angeles defense that
has been quite good against opposing quarterbacks. They’ve
given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to the position
and they just got done holding Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to
161 passing yards in Week 9. This means that Carr is still a streaming
option if you’re in need, but he’s not a strong one
in this particular matchup. Think of him as more of a high-end
Tyrell Williams failed to score a touchdown in a game he started
for the first time this season in Week 9. His ridiculous touchdown
rate was always unsustainable, but Williams has now been held
to fewer than 50 receiving yards in four of his past five starts.
We know that he’s a preferred red zone weapon for Carr so
there’s always the possibility that he does get into the
end zone, but Zay Jones and particularly Hunter Renfrow are beginning
to cut into his upside.
Renfrow himself might actually have some fantasy value this week
as he has now scored in back-to-back weeks and he saw a season-high
seven targets in Week 9. Renfrow would still be a low-end Flex
option in PPR formats at best, but he’s someone to keep
an eye on in deeper leagues as he’s seeing significant playing
Tight end Darren Waller is coming off of his worst fantasy game
of the season both from a final score PPR total and from a target
total as he saw just two passes come his way against the Lions.
Of course, this was probably more of an aberration than a trend
as Waller has been targeted at least five times in every other
game this season and eight or more times in five of his nine games.
Waller remains one of the better fantasy TEs on the board especially
this week with the injuries and bye week situation, so don’t
overthink it - keep him in your lineup even in what is an average-at-best
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: We’d love to see him get more involved
in the passing game, but if the Raiders keep giving him 20-plus
carries every week then Oakland rookie Josh Jacobs is probably
going to keep giving his fantasy owners the type of numbers that
we’re all going to be happy with. Jacobs has now rushed
for 120 or more yards in three of his past four contests and he’s
scored four times over that stretch as well. There just aren’t
many backs in the league who get that type of workload and it’s
going to continue to make Jacobs a strong RB1 play every week.
In Week 10, he’ll face a Los Angeles defense that hasn’t
been great against opposing running backs. They did hold the Packers’
duo of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams to just 40 total rushing
yards in Week 9, but they had given up over 132 rushing yards
per game to opposing running backs over their previous four games.
The Raiders just need to stay competitive in this game and Jacobs
should see another heavy workload against a mediocre run defense,
so he’s a mid-level RB1 here in Week 10.
Game Thoughts: Any discussion of the Chiefs' passing
game begins with one question: is Patrick Mahomes returning this
week? While no definitive answer exists at this time, signs seem
to be pointing to Mahomes being under center against the Titans.
If he is, the reigning MVP immediately resumes his status as a
must start. If not, KC will turn to Matt Moore for a third straight
game. Moore has passed for 542 yards and three TDs without an
interception in two starts.
As expected, top playmakers Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce have
continued to post solid numbers in Mahomes' absence with Hill
going off for 12 catches, 216 yards and a TD in the last two weeks
and Kelce right behind with 11-125-1. Sammy Watkins' return has
stabilized the passing game as he's the clear third option with
12 receptions of his own. With Watkins back, tertiary options
Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson no longer hold any appeal.
As for the others, Kelce and Hill are top-tier studs, while Watkins
is a WR3 with Moore and a possible WR2 with Mahomes.
Tennessee is solid defensively, sitting seventh in scoring and
17th against the pass. It'll be tough to maintain that minus Malcolm
Butler, who was placed on IR after injuring his wrist last week.
Now they'll need to contend with KC's speed minus arguably their
top corner; and if Mahomes is back, watch out.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: After LeSean McCoy had another critical
fumble in Week 8, Andy Reid gave the veteran only four touches
against the Vikings. That allowed original starter Damien Williams
to step back in and rush for 125 yards on 12 carries, including
a game-changing 91-yard score. The Titans are 15th against the
run, but they had all kinds of trouble with Christian McCaffrey
(166 total yards, 3 TDs) last week. Now, Williams is no McCaffrey,
but he still has some nice upside here.
Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill won his first two starts
after taking over for Marcus Mariota, but he did little last Sunday
until the outcome was decided. He ended up with 331 yards passing,
a touchdown and two INTs. He also ran four times for 38 yards
and a score. Falling behind multiple scores forced the Titans
to abandon their preferred method of attack and put the onus on
Tannehill. While he may be a better passer than Mariota, Tannehill
isn't going to put on a team on his back.
After three weeks with Tannehill at the helm it's still unclear
what the passing game will look like. Corey Davis (4-48-0 vs.
CAR) and A.J. Brown (4-81-0) bounced back after a quiet Week 8,
while red-hot Jonnu Smith (3-18-0) did little. Adam Humphries
(4-65-0) has likely been the steadiest option, but his moderate-floor,
low-ceiling contributions aren't the stuff of fantasy relevance.
Veteran Delanie Walker could return from an ankle injury this
week to further muddy the waters.
Kansas City sits 12th in pass defense (229.8 yards allowed per
game), but they've shown some encouraging signs recently, particularly
with the pass rush -- they sacked Aaron Rodgers five times in
Week 8 and then pressured Kirk Cousins into completing just 50
percent of his 38 passes. They've struggled against backs, though,
which might mean more aerial action for Derrick Henry, who just
caught a TD pass last week.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: In addition to his receiving TD, Henry
also ran 13 times for 63 yards and scored on the ground, giving
him 99 total yards and two TDs for the day. He'll face a Chiefs
defense that ranks 29th with 139.6 rushing yards allowed per game;
it's worth noting, however, that they limited Minnesota's explosive
ground attack to a mere 96 yards on 27 attempts as Chris Jones
returned to the d-line.
Lions @ Bears
- (Swanson) Line: CHI -2.5 Total: 42.5
Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford enters the Week 10 matchup
as the No.5 ranked fantasy quarterback and is on pace for his
second-best season as a pro. Stafford’s 19 passing touchdowns
are second in the league behind Russell Wilson, while his 2499
passing yards rank fourth in the league behind Philip Rivers,
Tom Brady, and Wilson.
Everything lined up well for Stafford to be a stud fantasy quarterback
in 2019. The Lions defense is terrible and cannot stop anyone,
the Detroit run game is once again MIA, and Stafford has one of
the deepest and most talented collections of skill position players
in the league.
The Bears defense is not quite as dominant as in previous seasons
with injuries to the defensive line, but they still rank 27th
in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and will present a difficult
challenge for Stafford.
Only two opposing quarterbacks have reached 20 or more fantasy
points against the Bears this season, with Aaron Rodgers, Carson
Wentz, Philip Rivers, Kirk Cousins, and Derek Carr all head to
one passing touchdown or fewer when playing Chicago.
Those teams took advantage of the Bears’ inability to stop
the run and focused on the ground game in their respective matchup.
It will be interesting to see how the Lions approach this game,
as their 20th-ranked rushing attack has struggled running the
ball all year.
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay continues his breakout third season
with seven reaching touchdowns and 640 yards in eight games. Although
Golladay does have two single-digit dud performances, he has a
touchdown in six of eight games and has reached 100 receiving
yards in three of his last four.
Only the Pats and the Bills have allowed fewer points to wide
receivers this season, and only Michael Thomas has topped 100
yards receiving in a game. Golladay may have a down game this
week, but he is still a must-start based on his touchdown upside.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: As good as the Lions have been offensively
this year, their run game continues to be a weak link. Detroit
ranks 24th in fantasy points scored at the running back position.
The tandem of J.D. McKissic, Ty Johnson, and Paul Perkins continue
to underwhelm, with no Lion running back topping 35 rushing yards
since Kerryon Johnson did against the Chiefs Week 4.
The Bears are bad against the run since Akiem Hicks went out
with a season-ending injury. It will be critical for the Lions
to take advantage of this weakness, with one of the RBBC players
needing to step up and deliver.
Ty Johnson is likely going to be the one to get the majority
of carries with McKissic acting as the third-down and passing-down
option. Look for Johnson to get around 15 carries on the day,
with offensive coordination Darrell Bevell trying to have some
balance against a defense that is strong against the pass.
For fantasy purposes, none of the Lions running backs are great
options, but in a week like this where there are a ton of good
players on bye, owners may need to play McKissic or Johnson as
Game Thoughts: The Matt Nagy offense that carried so
much promise over the past few seasons continues to underwhelm
with Mitchell Trubisky struggling mightily under center. Trubisky
is on pace to throw 11 passing touchdowns, with 2781 passing yards
and seven interceptions. The rushing yards and rushing touchdowns
that made him a viable fantasy option have all but dried up, and
he continues to make bad reads and inaccurate throws.
Allen Robinson has been the only skill position player in the
passing offense worthy of a start, but even he has been marginalized
over the past two weeks by terrible performances by Trubisky.
From a matchup standpoint, things do not get much better than
a Lions team that ranks seventh in points allowed to quarterbacks
and ninth in points allowed to wide receivers. All but one quarterback
who has faced Matt Patricia’s defense has come away with
at least 20 fantasy points, including Derek Carr last week in
Oakland and rookie Daniel Jones two weeks ago at Ford Field.
The Lions are a bad team that simply cannot stop the pass. They
also are the worst team in the league at stopping the run, and
Nagy could focus on running David Montgomery to control time of
possession and limit the number of passes by Trubisky.
You are going to start Robinson with confidence, but it is hard
to start any other Bears wide receiver or tight end even in this
plus-matchup. It would make sense for the Bears to also get their
running backs more involved in the pass game this week, as teams
have found a ton of success passing the ball out of the backfield
against the Lions.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: It was a tough start to the season, but
kudos to you if you managed to hang onto David Montgomery and
his five games out of eight of single-digit fantasy production.
You will be rewarded this week mightily, with the Bears running
roughshod over a Lions defense that gives up the most fantasy
points to running backs.
An amazing nine running backs in eight games have posted double-digit
fantasy points against the Lions, with three different backs posting
multi-touchdown games. Josh Jacobs torched the Lions for 120 and
2 last week, and Dalvin Cook also posted 142 and two when the
Lions hosted the Vikings Week 7.
As long as Nagy does not get cute and gives Montgomery 20 or
more carries the rookie will come away with a top-12 performance.
Tarik Cohen is only worthy of a flex start this season in games
that project to be run-heavy affairs like this one. Montgomery
will get the majority of carries, but Cohen could be a sneaky
start against a Lions team that has allowed the most receiving
touchdowns to opposing runs backs.
Game Thoughts: Lamar Jackson and the Ravens head into
Paul Brown Stadium to take on the Bengals after an impressive
37-20 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.
Jackson completed 74% of his passes for 163 yards and a score
vs. the Pats, adding another 61 yards and two scores on the ground.
With 29 fantasy points per game, Jackson is the No.1 ranked quarterback
in fantasy and his on pace to set the NFL record for rushing yards
by a QB.
Assuming that the Ravens do not suffer a letdown after a big win,
like what the Packers did last week when they failed to show up
against the Chargers, everything is in line once again for Jackson
to be a fantasy stud against the Bengals.
Cincinnati ranks eighth in fantasy points allowed to opposing
quarterbacks, with each of their last four opponents reaching
21 or more fantasy points. Jackson posted an impressive 33 fantasy
points when the two teams faced off Week 6, with a career-high
152 rushing yards to go along with 236 passing yards.
Only the Dolphins and Falcons have forced fewer turnovers than
the Bengals, and Cincinnati ranks 31 out of 32 teams in forced
sacks. Not only do the Bengals not get pressure on the quarterback
or force turnovers, but they also allow the second-most points
to opposing running backs.
On paper, this should be a cakewalk for Jackson and the Ravens
offense, with the only real concern for lackluster production
coming as a result of a possible negative game script created
by the defense.
The one area that the Bengals have found success is limiting
tight end production, although you can argue that teams have had
so much success with other skill positions, tight ends are often
not needed to score points and win games.
The Ravens were the most successful team using the tight end
vs. the Bengals when Mark Andrews caught six passes for 99 yards
in Week 6. Andrews has been a disappointment as of late, with
four catches for 60 yards in his last two games. This could be
a bounce-back game for the No.1 ranked tight end over the first
two games of the year.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: A matchup against the Bengals is about
as good as it gets for fantasy running backs. A whopping twelve
different running backs have reached double figures against the
Bengals in eight games, including Mark Ingram, with 13.4 points
in Week 6.
Surprisingly, the two teams that had the most trouble running
the ball against Cincinnati were the Ravens and the Rams, two
teams with typically solid rushing numbers.
Ingram posted his best rushing total of the season with 115 yards
on the ground last week against the Pats. Although he did have
a fumble that led to a score, it was the best he has looked in
a few weeks and should carry over against the Bengals.
Gus Edwards continues to get around eight carries per game as
the change of pace sub for Ingram and hit pay dirt for the first
time this year. His volume is not great, but he is averaging 4.4
yards per carry and could be an interesting bye week flex option
in this matchup.
Game Thoughts: Andy Dalton was greeted with one of the
worst birthday presents one could get, as head coach Zac Taylor
notified the 32-year-old veteran that the winless Bengals are
going to go with Ryan Finley in the second half of the season.
As much as Bengals fans and fantasy owners want to blame their
terrible start on Dalton, the Red Rifle was on pace to set a career
high in passing yards and rushing touchdowns. His eight interceptions
compared to just nine touchdowns is obviously not good, but to
put the team’s woes only on Dalton’s shoulders.
From an organizational standpoint, it makes sense for the Bengals
to see if Finley, a fourth-round pick out of NC State, is their
quarterback of the future. If not, the team can then focus on
their likely early first-round pick on one of the many QBs slated
to come out in the 2020 draft.
Finley started all 13 games for the Game Cocks in 2018, completing
67% of his passes for 3928 yards, with 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah wrote in his draft profile that Finely
has “excellent field vision, with a similar frame and similar
game to Jared Goff. This is somebody that doesn’t have the
same arm strength as Goff, but he is tremendously accurate.
How Finley does in his first start against a veteran Baltimore
defense is anyone’s guess. We anticipate that he will struggle
like most rookies do making their first start, but he also can
be an injection of youth into the Bengals offense and boost some
of the skill position players.
Until we have more of a sample size it would be prudent to downgrade
Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate, while underneath options like tight
end Tyler Eifert and wide receiver Alex Erickson may be leaned
on more on quick passes.
On the injury front, John Ross and A.J. Green are still not ready
to return. Ross is still on IR and can return Week 12, while Green
is available to return to the field but has not been cleared by
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: The Bengals own the worst rushing attack
in the league. No team has run for fewer yards, scored fewer combined
fantasy points, and Cincinnati is still looking for their first
rushing touchdown. Eight games without a rushing touchdown is
pathetic, especially when you consider that Joe Mixon is one of
the best up and coming running backs in the league who averaged
nearly five yards per carry last year.
Giovani Bernard has been equally terrible, with a career-worst
2.7 yards per carry on his 30 rushing attempts in 2019.
Todd Gurley owners learned the hard way back in 2016 that no
matter how talented a player may be, a running back can only be
as good as the holes his line opens up, and the pass offense needs
to keep opposing defenses honest. Neither thing is happening for
Mixon in Cincinnati this season, and the owners who used a top
15 pick on him are likely struggling to make the playoffs.
There is little to suggest anything will get better for Bernard
and Mixon this week against the Ravens. Baltimore has allowed
the fourth-fewest points to opposing running backs over the last
five games, and no back has topped 65 yards against the Raven
front since defensive tackle Brandon Williams returned Week 5.
The Ravens are going to create a negative game script offensively
that will force the Bengals to abandon the run, leaving Mixon
and Bernard to make their points in the passing game on screens
Game Thoughts: Josh Allen enters Week 10 as the No.13th
ranked quarterback with 21.4 fantasy points per game. The second-year
quarterback has outperformed veterans like Kirk Cousins, Carson
Wentz, Philip Rivers, and Drew Brees.
Allen has not run the ball as much or for as many yards as he
did as a rookie, but he does continue to provide added value on
the ground with four rushing touchdowns and 247 rushing yards
on 61 carries.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Allen’s game is the
progress he has made in his sophomore season as a passer. The
former Wyoming Cowboy has increased his completion percentage
a full nine percentage points and is on pace to throw for 20 passing
Veteran Cole Beasley took some flak for the way he left the Cowboys,
blasting his old team as he left to sign with the Bills. From
a fantasy perspective, Beasley has not been amazing, but he is
on pace to set a personal best in receiving touchdowns and continues
to be a focus in the passing offense. Beasley only had two catches
for 13 yards last week against the Redskins, but he did convert
one of those passes for a touchdown strike and 7.3 fantasy points.
John Brown is the top target in the passing offense and the downfield
threat used in the passing game to take advantage of Allen’s
cannon of an arm. Brown has a floor of about 50 receiving yards
per game, with an upside of over 100 and a score against poor
pass defenses like the Jets and the Dolphins.
We assumed that the Browns pass defense would improve with the
return of cornerbacks Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward from injury.
Williams and Ward did limit the Broncos wide receivers to 56 total
yards, but Courtland Sutton did score on a circus grab on a 50-50
Another full week of practice for those two will certainly improve
the overall effectiveness of the Browns defense.
The Bills have enjoyed a fairly easy schedule so far this season
with six of their first eight opponents ranking in the bottom
half in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. When facing a
tough defense like New England, Allen did not have a great game
and only hit double figures because of a rushing touchdown.
The Browns do not constitute a tough defense on the same level
as New England, but they do present a far more difficult challenge
than the other teams the Bills have faced so far this season.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: A nagging hamstring injury to rookie Devin
Singletary delayed the inevitable, as the ageless wonder Frank
Gore worked as the primary running back for the Bills with Singletary
on the shelf.
With a season-high 20 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown, along
with 45 yards in the passing game, it appears that the future
might be now for the Bills rookie.
In the same game against the Redskins, Gore managed just 15 yards
on 11 carries, including a pair of hard-to-watch stuffed runs
at the goal line. It was a good run for Gore, and a bust in Canton
awaits, but now it is time for Singletary to take the reins.
The matchup is great for the rookie, as the Browns allow the
eighth-most points to opposing running backs. Six backs have reached
double figures against Cleveland, including Phillip Lindsay last
week in Denver.
The Browns appear to be a team at the crossroads. Odell Beckham
Jr. is upset about not getting the ball, Baker Mayfield has aged
a decade in just his first full season as a starter, and fans
are already calling for Freddie Kitchens’ head.
If the dissension continues and the Browns struggle on Sunday,
don’t be surprised to see Singletary end up with another
Game Thoughts: On paper, the Browns looked like an unstopped
force entering the season. With Odell Beckham Jr. joining an already
loaded wide receiver corps and Nick Chubb churning up the yards,
Baker Mayfield looked primed to be a breakout fantasy quarterback
and was a favorite pick among many fantasy analysts and writers.
Eight games into the 2019 season, the Browns and Mayfield are
the biggest busts in the NFL. Mayfield ranked outside QB2 consideration
with a league-high 12 interceptions and only seven passing touchdowns.
The offensive line is terrible, and Mayfield continues to play
like a scared deer in headlights, often running for his life out
of the pocket instead of stepping up strong to make a throw.
Odell Beckham Jr., a perennial top fantasy wide receiver since
joining the league back in 2014, has one measly receiving touchdown
on the season and is averaging fewer points per game than John
Brown and D.J. Moore.
The talent is certainly still there and he is on pace for 134
targets, but the passes from Mayfield have been inaccurate and
under duress, and OBJ is struggling to find his mojo as a member
of the Browns.
Things don’t appear to be getting any easier for Mayfield
and the Browns. The Bills allow the fourth-fewest points to opposing
quarterbacks and the second-fewest passing touchdowns on the season.
Tom Brady was held without a passing touchdown by the Bills in
Week 4, and no opposing quarterback has thrown two or more passing
touchdowns in a game this year.
Needless to say, you want to avoid playing Mayfield at all costs.
You are going to start OBJ, but don’t expect a ton of points,
as the Bills play a ton of zone coverage to keep everything in
front of them while their front seven gets pressure on the quarterback.
No wide receiver has hit 100 yards against the Bills secondary,
while only two wideouts, T.J. Jones and DeVante Parker have reached
the end zone.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: The way to move the ball against the Bills
is on the ground. Seven opposing running backs, including Adrian
Peterson last week, have reached double figures in fantasy points
Look for Freddie Kitchens to try to take advantage of this weakness
by running Nick Chubb early and often, while mixing in Kareem
Hunt in his first game action since the suspension.
One of the best ways to limit the pressure created by the Bills
front seven is by running the ball and providing Mayfield with
play-action opportunities. In their win against the Ravens, the
Browns proved that they can beat nearly anyone if they control
the line of scrimmage and run the ball effectively.
A critical matchup in this game will be the middle of the Bills
defensive line, including Star Lotulelei and rookie Ed Oliver
against center JC Tretter and guard Joel Bitonio. Bitonio has
been the best offensive lineman on the team this year, but he
has struggled at times against quick interior linemen like Oliver.
Falcons @ Saints
- (Green) Line: NO -12.5 Total: 51.5
Game Thoughts: Matty Ice was Matty Ice Pack back in Week
8 when an ankle injury ended his 163-game starting streak and
moved Matt Schaub into the lineup. Despite the switch it was business
as usual for the Falcons, who fell way behind, threw for a ton
of yards and ultimately lost. That sounds like a possible recipe
for Sunday as well, as Ryan threw for 751 yards and seven TDs
in two games against New Orleans last year, both of which were
Even without Ryan, Julio Jones racked up 10 receptions for 152
yards in Week 8, his fourth 100-yard game this year. Calvin Ridley
(4-70-0) was solid as well, while Russell Gage caught seven balls
in a sign that he, and not Justin Hardy, will get the snaps that
Mohamed Sanu left behind. That could give Gage some fringe value
in larger leagues. Looking back at 2018, it was Ridley that lit
up the Saints. The damage: 15 receptions, 239 yards and 4 TDs
(Jones went 16-243-0).
Of course, that was then, and this is now. For the year, New
Orleans ranks 16th against the pass, and it wasn't long ago that
Marshon Lattimore blanked Mike Evans, and you can expect him to
cover Jones in Week 10. While the Saints could hold Atlanta down
for a while, I see the opportunity for tons of garbage-time production.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: How bad is Atlanta's running game this
year? In eight games, Devonta Freeman has rushed for less than
40 yards six times. He also doesn't have a rushing TD this season.
I don't see New Orleans, which is allowing just 84.2 rushing yards
per game, being the matchup to change that. Freeman has done more
in the passing game recently, however, and that could be his ticket
to decent value.
Game Thoughts: I figured the Saints would give Teddy
Bridgewater one final start in Week 8 to give Drew Brees' thumb
two extra weeks to heal. They didn't. Sean Payton reinserted Brees
into the starting lineup, and the veteran promptly lit up the
Cardinals for 373 yards and three scores. Rust? Nah. Like his
counterpart, Brees tossed seven touchdown passes in the teams'
two 2018 meetings, and he should return to must-start status for
the foreseeable future.
It's amazing that New Orleans' potent passing attack generates
only one surefire fantasy starter in the form of Michael Thomas,
who still leads the NFL in receiving and went for 11-112-1 in
Brees' return. Nominal No.2 receiver Ted Ginn Jr. had just two
grabs and remains too inconsistent to own. Tre'Quan Smith could
return from an ankle injury, and he's a potential waiver stash
in case his role expands. Jared Cook has missed time with his
own ankle injury but should be back as well. There's upside with
Cook, but he and Brees have hardly played together so it may take
Atlanta is an absolute mess defensively, and the only reason
they're 23rd against the pass is that teams take their foot off
the gas. The Falcons haven't come close to stopping anyone this
year, and this feels like a game where Brees and Payton can name
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Joining Smith and Cook
in returning from ankle woes is Alvin Kamara, who last played
Oct. 13 against Jacksonville. Prior to his injury, Kamara was
doing the heavy lifting in the backfield but expect that to change.
Latavius Murray racked up 307 total yards and four TDs during
Kamara's two-game absence, and I look for him to start filling
the old Mark Ingram role. Kamara remains the star, but there should
enough for him and Murray against Atlanta's woeful defense.
Giants at Jets
- (Katz) Line: NYG -2.5 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: I wonder when Giants’ fans will
start calling for the return of Eli Manning (which, to be clear,
is a terrible idea). Daniel Jones was dreadful once again last
week and has turned the ball over in every game he’s started.
He leads the league in danger plays and interceptable passes,
which combined with his general inefficiency has led to a medley
of bad performances. Jones has finished as the overall QB2 and
QB1 in two of his starts. In the other five, he has been between
QB19 and QB24.
The Jets are coming off allowing a top five performance to Ryan
Fitzpatrick so this could be a matchup Jones exploits. It remains
to be seen if Sterling Shepard returns from his concussion this
week but I highly doubt if after he was placed back in the protocol.
That leaves Golden Tate as the Giants’ top receiver against
a Jets’ defense that only allows 8.0 fantasy points per
game to slot receivers. Regardless, Tate is a viable fantasy starter
as he has a 100% snap share and a high target floor.
Evan Engram has tailed off after a scorching start and is now
dealing with a mid-foot sprain. He’s not going to play this
week. Rhett Ellison is not a fantasy option regardless of matchup
and the Jets allow just 7.7 FPts/G to the position. Darius Slayton
is the only other name to consider as he played 100% of the snaps
last week with Shepard out. If you’re looking for a player
that is at least on the field, Slayton is your guy.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley is an obvious start every
week, but the elite RB1 we saw last year probably isn’t
coming back this season thanks to a downgrade in overall offense.
Barkley is coming off his worst full game of the season (15.5
fantasy points), which actually goes to show how high his floor
is. The Jets allow 18.1 fantasy points per game to opposing RB1s
and a 22% target share to opposing running backs. This could be
a spike week for the league’s most talented running back.
Game Thoughts: In that battle for the worst quarterback
in New York, Sam Darnold will throw his hat in the ring. Darnold
has thrown nine interceptions over his last four games and over
his last three games, he has a 3:8 touchdown to interception ratio.
The Giants are one of the weaker pass defenses in the league,
having allowed 16 passing touchdowns and 263 yards per game, which
includes a bad performance by Washington quarterbacks. With that
being said, Darnold had a dream matchup last week against the
Dolphins and couldn’t capitalize.
Jamison Crowder is coming off a nine target game and should have
no trouble against a Giants defense allowing 12.4 fantasy points
per game to opposing slot receivers. Darnold has also been targeting
his tight ends a lot, specifically Ryan Griffin, who has posted
two TE1 finishes over his last four games and should’ve
had a third last week had a touchdown not been overturned on an
awful replay decision.
The Giants actually are top five against the tight end in terms
of fantasy points allowed, but given the state of the position,
Griffin remains a streaming option (or Chris Herndon, if he’s
actually playing). Herndon was active last week, but he wasn’t
really active as the Jets just needed to field a full roster of
players. Demaryius Thomas has actually been playing around 80%
of the snaps, but he is far off the fantasy radar as a shell of
his former self.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Le’Veon Bell returned an RB1 performance
last week for the first time since Week 2. He’s still the
same player; he’s just in a very bad offense. Bell has scored
just twice the season and will look to get back into the end zone
against a Giants defense that has already allowed 10 rushing touchdowns
this season. After three consecutive tough matchups, Bell exploited
an easy one last week against Miami, particularly in the passing
game, with nine targets. He should be heavily used in that area
again and features a high floor in a favorable matchup. It is
worth noting that Bell is dealing with a knee injury and did not
practice Wednesday. He is expected to play, but if he doesn’t,
Ty Montgomery should be the primary beneficiary.
Game Thoughts: Faced with the daunting task of going
against the Saints and 49ers in a five-day span, Murray was thoroughly
unspectacular, passing for 461 yards to go with a pair of scores
in the two games. To his credit, the No.1 overall pick didn't
turn the ball over and kept his team close against the undefeated
Niners. Still, after Murray threw for 657 yards in Weeks 1 and
2 it looked like he'd be posting big-time numbers, but he's only
topped 300 yards once since and has no TDs passes in five of nine
Larry Fitzgerald has seen his role dry up since a hot start as
well, catching just seven passes for 58 yards over the last three
games combined. At least Christian Kirk is back from an ankle
injury as he offers a blend of explosiveness and experience that
no one else on the roster can match. He was silent in Week 9,
but he's the Cardinals receiver to own going forward. Rookies
KeeSean Johnson and Andy Isabella both scored Thursday night,
but neither has seen enough involvement to warrant ownership.
Newcomer Kenyan Drake and a returning David Johnson should be
factors as well, though since we've never seen them on the field
together it's tough to gauge how the team will divvy up the snaps.
Defensively, the Bucs are as bad as it gets against the pass,
most recently surrendering 378 yards and five TDs to Russell Wilson.
If you're tempted to write that off as an MVP candidate doing
MVP things, keep this in mind: in Tampa's previous three games
they allowed nine TD passes, all to backup QBs.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: With Johnson and Chase Edmonds (hamstring)
sidelined, Drake ran 15 times for 110 yards and a touchdown after
being acquired from Miami on Monday. He'll likely slide into a
secondary role with Johnson back, but Edmonds is expected to miss
another week as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
Tampa Bay brings the NFL's top-ranked run defense into the matchup,
allowing just 78.1 yards rushing per game. They looked anything
but stout last week, though, as Seattle ran 22 times for 145 yards,
a whopping 6.6 yards per carry.
Game Thoughts: Tampa's losing streak reached four games
Sunday despite pushing the Seahawks to overtime. Jameis Winston
played well, throwing for 335 yards and two scores without an
interception, though he did lose a fumble. That makes five times
in six games that Winston topped 300 yards, and he added multiple
scores in four. His turnovers remain an issue, but for fantasy
owners he's more than offsetting those with his other numbers,
and his Week 10 matchup is appealing.
Ever since getting shutout in Week 5, Mike Evans has been on
a mission, racking up 32 receptions, 474 yards and three touchdowns
in three games to emphatically announce his return as an elite
fantasy wideout. With Evans dominating, Chris Godwin has slipped
to a secondary role. He has 11 grabs for 104 yards in the last
two weeks, which calls into question his WR1 status. O.J. Howard
(hamstring) is due to return from a hamstring injury, but he's
been an afterthought all season.
Arizona's secondary gives Tampa a run for its money, ranking
29th against the pass this year despite the return of Patrick
Peterson (who did not look good Thursday night). This game has
shootout written all over it, so make sure Winston, Evans and
Godwin are all locked into your lineup.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: Bruce Arians finally announced that Ronald
Jones will be the team's starter, which is only about two months
overdue. Jones had 20 touches last week to Peyton Barber's four,
racking up 82 yards and a TD. That brings long-needed clarity
to the backfield, elevating Jones and dropping Barber's value.
The Cardinals rank 23rd against the run, allowing 126.9 yards
per game, but did a nice job against San Francisco's dynamic attack
Dolphins @ Colts
- (Green) Line: IND -11.0 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: While you can debate the long-term vision
of starting bona fide journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick over 2018 first-rounder
Josh Rosen, there's no doubt the offense has functioned better
under the veteran. Fitzpatrick passed for 288 yards and three
TDs last Sunday to earn Miami its first win of the season. For
better or worse, there's no fear in Fitzpatrick, which leads to
great days and some truly terrible ones. Facing a Colts team that
needs a win, I wouldn't roll the dice this week.
In typical Dolphin fashion, the positive feelings generated by
a win were tempered by the news that Preston Williams (knee) is
done for the year with a torn ACL. That heaps even more responsibility
on DeVante Parker, who has scored touchdowns in four of his last
five games. With names like Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson as
the other options outside, Parker could see double-digit targets.
I also think these means more action for Mike Gesicki, who has
quietly posted 15 receptions in his last four games.
Indy is mid-pack defensively against the pass (231.2 yards per
game; 15th), though they have benefitted from playing Joe Flacco
and Mason Rudolph the past two weeks. That trend should continue
in Week 10 against a talent-poor Dolphins club.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Not only did Miami lose their No.1 receiver,
but top back Mark Walton drew a four-game suspension as well.
Couple that with the trade of Kenyan Drake and suddenly Kalen
Ballage shoots up the depth chart to RB1. He'll face the 18th-ranked
run defense this week and could be a fantasy factor purely based
on the number of touches he could see.
Game Thoughts: With Jacoby Brissett (knee) knocked out
of the game due to a knee injury, Brian Hoyer stepped in and threw
for 168 yards and three touchdowns (four if you count his pick
six). Brissett's MRI showed a sprained MCL, and though that's
good news his status for Week 10 is TBD. If Brissett can't go,
we'll be treated to a matchup of two of the most maddeningly inconsistent
journeyman in NFL annals. If he's cleared, I'd be wary of starting
Brissett coming off injury despite the opponent.
Whoever starts for the Colts won't have a full complement of
weapons as T.Y. Hilton (calf) and Parris Campbell (hand) will
both miss the game. Their absence puts a lot of pressure on Zach
Pascal, who has shown some potential recently, including a 5-76-1
line in Week 9. Minus those receivers, I'd expect more two-tight
end sets as Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron form a talented duo, even
if they haven't put up big numbers this year. If you need to cover
a bye I could see trying your luck with either one.
Miami is dead last in points allowed and 29th in yards. Their
pass defense is slightly better, ranking 20th, but some of that
can be traced to teams protecting huge leads with the running
game. Anyone that watched the Dolphins play Cover-0 on Monday
Night Football knows how bad this group, which is missing Xavien
Howard, can be.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: Marlon Mack has averaged 20 carries for
85 yards per game this season, and I'd expect him to be the focal
point of the offense whether it's Brissett or Hoyer handing him
the ball. The Dolphins are allowing 150.8 yards per game and 4.7
per carry this season. There's a lot of upside for Mack here.
Game Thoughts: The starting quarterback job for the Carolina
Panthers for the rest of the season and perhaps beyond now belongs
to Kyle Allen after the team placed Cam Newton on IR.
In six games as the starting quarterback, this season Allen has
averaged 16.8 fantasy points per game, coming in as the No.30
ranked fantasy quarterback. He is not producing enough fantasy
points to make him a worthy start in anything other than super-flex
leagues, but he is providing enough spark to the offense to keep
the other skill position players on the team valuable.
Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore are the primary wide receiving threats
for the Allen, with a combined 128 targets in eight games. Moore
leads the team with 564 receiving yards, while Samuel is tied
with Christian McCaffrey for the team lead with three receiving
Tight End Greg Olsen started out red hot with a combined 12 catches
for 185 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Tampa Bay and Arizona
in Weeks 2 & 3. The injury to Newton all but killed the ceiling
for Olsen with the 13-year vet failing to top 5.2 fantasy points
in any week under Kyle Allen.
The Packers defense ranks 25th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks
and sixth in points allowed to opposing running backs. The Panthers
offense runs through CMC, and the team will look to run early
and often to take advantage of Green Bay’s weakness on defense.
They will also use a run-heavy approach to limit the number of
snaps for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense.
This does not mean that Allen and the wide receivers will not
do much, but don’t be surprised if Allen posts a similar
232/2/1 line like he did last week against the Titans.
The young cornerbacks of the Packers, Kevin King and Jaire Alexander,
and talented up and coming players, but they can be beaten in
man coverage. Amari Cooper torched Alexander for over 200 yards
earlier in the season, and King, although big and lengthy, can
often be beat with speedy wideouts.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Owners of Christian McCaffrey
are blessed with the 2019 cheat code and the one player who you
start without consideration of opponent or situation. CMC is averaging
nearly six more points per game than Dalvin Cook, the No.2 ranked
running back, with a touchdown in all but one game this season.
You do not need advice on whether to start CMC this week against
the Packers. What you need as a CMC owner is an idea of just how
many points CMC may score in this choice matchup.
Green Bay allows the 6th-most points to opposing running backs.
Seven different running backs have topped 10 fantasy points in
nine games against Green Bay, and four of them have eclipsed 20
Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon combined for 150 rushing yards,
52 receiving yards, and two touchdowns last week. It would not
be surprising to see CMC post similar numbers this week at Lambeau.
Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers had been on a tear prior
to last week’s debacle against the Chargers. With eight
touchdown passes and 724 combined yards against the Chiefs and
the Raiders, it seemed likely that he would have success against
a defense that gave up 312 yards and two passing touchdowns to
Ryan Tannehill just two weeks prior.
Rodgers was under siege the entire game from constant pressure
from Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. The team looked lackadaisical
as if the outcome was a foregone conclusion, and the then 7-1
Packers were going to win in a cakewalk.
Rodgers said afterward that the loss will hopefully be a wakeup
call for the team, as the chatter of being a 7-1 team had gotten
to their heads.
The Panthers present an above-average opportunity for Rodgers
and the passing offense for two reasons. First, Carolina ranks
18th in points allowed to the quarterback position, with both
Jameis Winston and Ryan Tannehill each posting 30-point games
against the Panthers in the last three weeks. Second, the Panthers
offense should be able to run the ball and score on the Packers,
creating a positive game script that should keep Rodgers passing
the ball heavily into the second half.
Throwing the ball to Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones out of the
backfield had been part of the resurgence for Rodgers over the
last month. The Chargers did an excellent job of limiting Jones
to one catch for one negative yard, while Williams was held to
39 yards on six catches that included a garbage-time touchdown.
Look for Rodgers to try to have more success passing the ball,
although it would make sense for head coach Matt Lefleur to run
the ball against a Panthers defense that leads the league in rushing
yards allowed to running backs.
Although the Panthers have given up just five receiving touchdowns
on the year to opposing wide receivers, the No.1 option for opponents
have fared well against Ron Rivera’s defense. Chris Godwin
has to monster games against the Panthers, while D.J. Chark, the
new No.1 in Jacksonville, busted out with 164 and two touchdowns
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: Owning a player like Aaron Jones, who
shares touches in the backfield with a competent partner and someone
who plays in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense, can be frustrating
at times as touchdowns can come in bunches and sandwiched between
Jones rushed for 47 yards on 11 carries against the Lions Week
6 for a mere six fantasy points, only to follow up with a touchdown
against the Raiders and over 200 scrimmage yards on the road against
the Chiefs. The second-year tailback from UTEP then managed just
2.9 fantasy points against a Chargers team not known for being
a tough running matchup. It is possible that he could give you
another dud, but we think Jones will bounce back at home in what
projects to be a great matchup for both Jones and Williams.
The Panthers have given up a whopping 11 rushing touchdowns in
eight games. The 49ers blasted the Panthers for four rushing touchdowns
two weeks ago, and Derrick Henry followed up with two more last
week. You can run on the team, and the Packers will look to get
their ground game back on track against Carolina on Sunday.
Rams @ Steelers
- (Swanson) Line: LAR -4.0 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: The 5-3 Rams exit their Week 9 bye week
trailing the 8-0 division-leading San Francisco 49ers by three
games. The break came at a good time for an ailing team that needed
to get healthy and regroup after a disappointing first half of
After finishing second to the Chiefs last season in average yards
per game and points, the Rams rank tenth in yards and eighth in
points. Injuries and losses via free agency have plagued this
team more than head coach Sean McVay would like to admit, and
Jared Goff’s 22 points per game are two full points less
than last year.
Although the team used the time off to help Todd Gurley heal
up his score quad and other players improve on their ailments,
wide receiver Brandin Cooks is still out due to a concussion and
could miss multiple weeks.
Josh Reynolds stepped in well for Cooks against the Bengals before
the bye with three catches for 73 yards and a score. Reynolds
is worth a flex play in most leagues, but the majority of looks
and targets will go to Goff’s favorite target, Cooper Kupp.
Although the Steelers pass defense has been much better since
the addition of Minka Fitzpatrick via trade from the Dolphins,
you can still pass the ball on the Steelers. Pittsburgh ranks
15th in points allowed to quarterbacks over the previous five
games, which includes a 320/2 game by Philip Rivers and a three-touchdown
game for backup Brian Hoyer of the Colts.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley is one of a few early-round
running backs who have disappointed owners who selected him in
the first 20 rounds of drafts this summer. The perennial No.1
overall player is averaging 12.2 fantasy points per game as the
No. 17 back after seven games.
His 3.9 yard per carry average is the second-lowest of his career,
and his 81 total receiving yards on only 15 receptions is downright
shocking. Without touchdowns (seven in seven games), Gurley would
be an absolute bust even for a second-round pick.
Will the bye rejuvenate Gurley and the Rams running attack? The
bye cannot bring back the two offensive linemen they lost from
last season via free agency. But perhaps the extra week of rest
will give McVay the time to work on his once-vaunted ground game
and help Jared Goff by making defenses stay honest.
The one area Gurley owners should hope improves is the screen
game. It was something that make Gurley a dual-threat over the
previous few seasons that has been absent in 2019.
Game Thoughts: The Steelers have won two straight games
and three of their last four. The defense has been playing better,
and Mason Rudolph has limited the damage we often see from a young
quarterback with just four interceptions in 165 pass attempts.
The problem is the young quarterback has topped 200 passing yards
just twice this season, and he has yet to top two passing touchdowns
in a game.
The bottom line, Rudolph is doing precisely what Mike Tomlin
wants by keeping his team in games so they can lean on their defense
and running game. That is excellent news if you are Steelers fan
but terrible news if you drafted JuJu Smith-Schuster for your
fantasy team. The third-year wide receiver is on pace to post
his worst year as a pro, including targets, catches, yards, and
touchdowns. Interestingly, his yard per reception has gone up
over a full point from the previous year, gut the overall volume
is way down and so is the production,
The Rams traded a pair of first-round picks to the Jags for cornerback
Jaylen Ramsey, presumably to play lockdown man coverage on No.1
WRs like Smith-Schuster. If you drafted JuJu, you are likely going
to play him, but don’t expect a whole lot of production
with Rudolph looking to dump off passes to running backs and tight
With James Conner out last week with a shoulder injury, Jaylen
Samuels took over as the primary pass-catching running back for
the Steelers. Samuels came through with 13 catches for 73 yards
on a 13, making him a PPR darling in full PPR leagues.
Dionte Johnson’s streak of catching passes from Mason Rudolph
came to a crashing halt last week with one reception for three
yards against the Colts. With Ramsey presumably manning up on
JuJu it could be a case of Johnson coming through with a score,
but he also could goose you and destroy your week.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: James Conner is all but out again with
the Steelers hosing a Rams defense that ranks in the middle of
the pack in fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Rams
boast the best defended in the league in Aaron Donald and one
of the better pass rushing front sevens, but they are not great
against the run as evident to their six rushing touchdowns allowed
in eight games and 3.8 yard per carry average.
You can take advantage of their pass-rushing aggressiveness with
screens, counters, and other misdirection runs like the 49ers
did a few weeks ago.
Trey Edmunds earned the majority of carries with 12 for 73 yards,
while Samuels finished with a team-high 13 receptions for 73 of
his own. I would expect a similar distribution of touches this
week against the Rams, with Samuels getting more work if a negative
game script is created by the Rams going up big. Edmunds (ribs)
missed practice Thursday so check his status this weekend.
Vikings at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: DAL -3.0 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: There’s been some talk about Kirk
Cousins’ awful record in primetime games. I don’t
pay too much mind to that. What does matter is a matchup against
a tough pass defense allowing just 220.9 passing yards per game
with a 7:4 touchdown to interception ratio. This is a problem
for a quarterback without his best receiver, Adam Thielen. That
leaves Stefon Diggs to deal with Byron Jones, who is allowing
just 5.3 fantasy points per game and 1.19 fantasy points per target.
There is some squeaky wheel appeal with Diggs coming off a four
target, one reception game, especially given how hot Diggs had
been in the three previous weeks with three WR1 finishes. The
Vikings will have to play offense against the Cowboys, which means
that even in a tough matchup, Diggs should push double digit targets
and is talented enough to make it work.
Lining up alongside Diggs will be Olabisi Johnson. He played
nearly 85% of the snaps last week with Thielen out. If you need
a player that you know will be on the field, Johnson is a desperation
play, but with just two targets in each of his last two games
without Thielen, he’s hard to trust as anything resembling
Kyle Rudolph has been a little more involved lately, averaging
4.25 targets over his last four games, which is a stark improvement
over the 1.8 he averaged over his first five. If I’m chasing
a Vikings’ tight end, I’d rather Irv Smith, who has
seen his snap share rise with Thielen out and has 12 receptions
over his last three games.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: The Cowboys have been staunch against
the run, allowing 4.2 yards per carry and just three rushing touchdowns
to non-Aaron Jones players. None of this matters for Dalvin Cook,
who is always in fantasy lineups. Cook has found the end zone
in all but two games this season. He has eclipsed 100 total yards
in the same number of games and has six top five finishes. Alexander
Mattison is one of the best handcuffs in the league, but he is
no threat to Cook’s touches. You know what to do with Cook.
Game Thoughts: Outside of a stinker against New Orleans,
Dak Prescott has been a QB1 every week with no fewer than 18.2
fantasy points (every other game was over 20). The Vikings are
not as imposing of a matchup as one may think, especially on the
road. They only allow 225.1 passing yards per game, but they’ve
allowed 15 passing touchdowns. Amari Cooper will see a bunch of
Xavier Rhodes, which is great for Cooper as Rhodes has been downright
awful this season. He’s allowing 1.85 fantasy points per
target, 57th in the league, and 12.3 fantasy points per game,
59th in the league.
Michael Gallup is also a viable starter, although he hasn’t
been as hot since returning from his knee injury. Gallup is more
WR3 than WR2, but this game has shootout potential and Cooper
can’t catch everything.
Jason Witten is 37 years old, but still catches everything. His
85% catch rate is second in the league. Witten hasn’t finished
higher than the TE7 this season, but he’s also caught at
least three passes in every game. The Vikings allow 10.2 fantasy
points per game to opposing TE1s. Witten remains a streaming option.
* Note: Amari Cooper did not practice Thursday due to his knee
“locking up” on him. He had an MRI and saw a doctor.
We may not know his status by Sunday morning. Keep this in mind
when setting your lineup.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott is an every week RB1 no
matter the matchup. I wouldn’t worry too much about last
week’s anomalous performance where he didn’t see a
single target. It’s the first time that’s happened
all season and probably the last. Elliott still ripped off 139
yards on the ground. The Vikings have only allowed two rushing
touchdowns this season, so perhaps this won’t be a ceiling
game for Zeke. Either way, Tony Pollard is a complete nonfactor
and you are starting Zeke with confidence.
Seahawks @ 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -6.0 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: The top fantasy quarterback vs. the top
fantasy defense against quarterbacks: something has to give.
Russell Wilson is coming off of his best passing day of the season
as he torched the Buccaneers for 378 yards and five touchdowns.
His absurd 22-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio would typically
be looked at as unsustainable, and maybe it is to some extent,
but if anyone can keep up this kind of efficiency, it’s
The rushing upside for Wilson has been capped this season as he’s
been held under 35 rushing yards in all but one game. That’s
a bit of a concern because the Seahawks have been inconsistent
with his pass attempts as well. He’s thrown the ball fewer
than 30 times in four of the Seahawks’ nine contests. While
he’s still been fairly efficient in those games, it’s
tough to be overly confident that the Seahawks would be able to
get into the red zone consistently enough against the league’s
top fantasy pass defense. The upside is always there for him to
put up a big fantasy day in any matchup, but he’s more of
a mid-level QB1 this week.
One positive for Wilson is that the Seahawks added Josh Gordon
and it’s possible that he plays here in Week 10. It’s
too early to trust him in your lineup, especially given that he’s
playing Monday night and you won’t likely have any other
options if he doesn’t end up being active, but Gordon gives
the Seahawks a third viable weapon in the passing game and that’s
helpful for Wilson as he’s an obvious upgrade from Jaron
Brown and David Moore.
Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf remain start-worthy options in
all formats even with the addition of Josh Gordon. Metcalf is
consistently seeing end zone targets and his size and strength
give him the ability to take advantage of those opportunities.
He’s converted three touchdowns over the past two weeks
and while the matchup on the road against the 49ers is substantially
more difficult than the ones he’s faced against the Buccaneers
and Falcons, he’s still one of the most likely WRs in the
league to score a touchdown each week.
Lockett, meanwhile, has established himself as a trustworthy WR1
in fantasy this season. He’s only been held under 10 PPR
fantasy points in one game this season and he’s coming off
of back-to-back 100-yard receiving days. His targets were down
in recent weeks, but he blew up for an impressive 18 targets in
Week 9 against the Bucs. Certainly we shouldn’t expect anything
like that against the 49ers, but Lockett has been excellent this
season and shouldn’t be on fantasy benches anytime soon.
Tight end Jacob Hollister blew up with a two-touchdown game this
past week and has weekly touchdown upside which can’t be
said for most fantasy tight ends. The tight end position is very
weak overall, especially this week, so Hollister isn’t a
bad flier if you’re in need.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: With 90 or more rushing yards in five of
his past six games, Chris Carson has been one of the most consistent
fantasy backs in non-PPR formats this season. His passing game
usage has taken a dip recently, but the rushing usage gives him
a high enough floor to consider him a low-end RB1 or at least
a high-end RB2 in really any matchup.
The 49ers, of course, have been excellent as a whole this season
on defense, but it is worth noting that they’ve now given
up back-to-back 100-yard rushing days to opposing running backs.
Their Week 8 stumble against Christian McCaffrey is understandable,
but their inability to stop Kenyan Drake in Week 9 is great for
Carson’s fantasy prospects in this contest.
Game Thoughts: Jimmy Garoppolo’s four-touchdown
performance against the Cardinals this past week was his best
fantasy day of the season which should give fantasy owners some
confidence as he heads into this week’s game against the
Seahawks. Garoppolo has been much better since the team added
WR Emmanuel Sanders via trade as Sanders seems to be filling a
void as the 49ers’ X-receiver.
Sanders has now scored in back-to-back weeks as a 49er and his
seven-catch, 112-yard day against the Cardinals is enough to give
us confidence that he can be a WR2 in just about any matchup.
Sanders gets to face a Seahawks defense that just got rocked for
180 yards and a touchdown on 12 catches by Mike Evans and previously
gave up a 10-catch, 152-yard game to Julio Jones in Week 8. Certainly
Sanders isn’t on the same level that Jones and Evans are,
but he’s the obvious top receiver in this offense and should
see enough targets to be a mid-level WR2 this week.
The other 49ers wide receivers just haven’t been consistent
enough to be considered for fantasy purposes at this point. Deebo
Samuel would be the second-best option at wide receiver but he’s
not seeing a consistent enough target share to be trusted as anything
other than a cheap one-game slate DFS play on Monday night.
Tight end George Kittle predictably pummeled the Cardinals’
horrible pass defense this past week, catching six passes for
79 yards and a touchdown. It was his only his second score of
the season which has been a bit frustrating from an elite fantasy
tight end, but the production has still been there overall. He’s
caught six or more passes in all but one game this season, which
has allowed him to remain a TE1 despite his lack of scoring. The
Seahawks matchup is another under-the-radar great one for Kittle
as they’ve given up the fourth-most fantasy points per game
to opposing TEs this season, so continue to trust Kittle as the
fantasy super-stud that he is.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: The 49ers backfield continues to be extraordinarily
frustrating to predict from a fantasy standpoint. After Tevin
Coleman shocked the fantasy world by going for 105 yards and four
total touchdowns against the Panthers in Week 8, he came crashing
back down to Earth in Week 9 as he rushed for just 23 yards and
no scores in what should have been a great matchup against the
Cardinals in Week 9.
If you look beyond those final rushing totals, though, the real
story is that the touch distribution really didn’t chance
much from Week 8 to Week 9 in this offense. Coleman is still essentially
splitting touches with Matt Breida and while the offensive situation
is good enough that one or even both of them could have quality
fantasy games, it’s going to be very tough to predict which
one of them will do so on a week-to-week basis. The situation
is actually quite similar to the one in Denver right now, but
the offense is just much better as a whole. Still, Coleman and
Breida shouldn’t be viewed as significantly different from
one another until we start to see their usage change. Don’t
be a victim of recency bias when it comes to yardage or touchdowns
- we just don’t know what Kyle Shanahan is going to do from
week to week.
Coleman is likely the slightly better overall fantasy option given
that the 49ers have seemed to use him more often near the goal
line, but both backs have been victims of the Jeff Wilson touchdown
snipe from time to time, so Coleman getting into the end zone
is certainly far from a given. The Seahawks did give up a pair
of touchdowns to Ronald Jones and Dare Ogunbowale this past week,
but they’ve only allowed one back to exceed 70 rushing yards
against them this season. Because of this, Coleman and Breida
are both more of a low-end RB2/high-end Flex play here in Week