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Inside the Matchup
Week 8
10/23/19; Updated: 10/25/19

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | HC Green



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:

CAR @ SF | CLE @ NE | OAK @ HOU | GB @ KC



- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Redskins @ Vikings - (Swanson)
Line: MIN -16.0
Total: 42.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Washington Redskins fell to 1-6 on the season in a 9-0 loss at home to the 49ers in a slop-fest at the rain and muddy Fed Ex Field. They continue their 2019 season to forget on Thursday in a difficult road matchup against a red hot 5-2 Minnesota Vikings team that has won three straight while averaging 36 points per game.

The oddsmakers in Vegas have the Redskins as 14 point dogs and the lowest over/under of the week at 40 points. Everyone anticipates that Washington is going to lose big and not score many points on the road against Mike Zimmer’s defense.

From a fantasy perspective, there is not a lot to like on the Redskins, with rookie Terry McLaurin as the only player worthy of a start. Although McLaurin posted a career-worst one catch for 11 yards last week, most of that can be attributed to the weather and the stout San Francisco pass defense that has held opponents to an average of 150 passing yards or less this season.

The Vikings defense is a shell of its former self, and the secondary is nowhere near one of the best in the league. Matthew Stafford torched the Vikes for 364 yards and four touchdowns just one week after Carson Wentz threw for 306 and two TDs. While the Case Keenum-led Washington pass offense is far from on par with those two offenses is does give some confidence to McLaurin owners that he could have a decent performance.

McLaurin will likely see a heavy dose of Xavier Rhodes, which a few years ago would be a big red flag and a reason to look to another fantasy option. The 2019 version of Rhodes is not the same player as he once was - just ask Marvin Jones owners if Rhodes is a solid cover cornerback after last week’s four-touchdown performance.

Minnesota ranks 17th in points allowed to quarterbacks, ninth in points to wide receivers, and 20th in fantasy points to tight ends. Teams that are not offensively inept, like the Redskins, have been able to move the ball fairly well against the Vikings in the air.

Trey Quinn could be worth a start in a full PPR formats for owners in very deep leagues. Otherwise, you should avoid this offense like the plague and look to target other choice fantasy games like Arizona & New Orleans, or Green Bay & Kansas City.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: Adrian Peterson was the lone bright spot for Washington last weekend against the 49ers, with 81 yards on 20 carries in the mud and muck. It was the second performance this season for the ageless one in which he averaged more than four yards per carry.

Peterson suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter vs. San Francisco on a play in which he fumbled the ball. AD underwent an MRI on Monday to diagnose the severity of the injury, and according to ESPN’ Josina Anderson, Peterson said he has a grade 1 high ankle sprain and a grade 2 low ankle sprain. Most running backs would miss the game on the short week, but Peterson told Anderson he is good to go and will play against his former team.

Teams have found far more success passing the ball against the Vikings than trying to move the ball on the ground, which does not bode well for Peterson in his attempt to stick it to his former team.

If you take away the 116/1 game that Aaron Jones dropped on Minnesota at Lambeau back in Week 2, no other running back has scored a rushing touchdown or topped 53 yards rushing. Game flow also could be a thorn in the side of anyone looking to play Peterson, as the Vikings will likely score at will against the Redskins defense and could limit the number of rushing attempts for AD.

If Peterson’s optimism regarding the health of his ankle is misguided, look for Wendell Smallwood, the former Philadelphia Eagle, to be the primary ball carrier for Washington.

Value Meter:
QB2: Case Keenum (Low-End)
RB3: Adrian Peterson (High-End)
WR3: Terry McLaurin (Low-End)
TE2: Vernon Davis (Mid-Range)

Passing Game Thoughts: Perhaps getting blasted in the media by one of his star wide receivers is exactly what Kirk Cousins needed to light a fire under his rear end. Since Adam Thielen took a shot at Cousins and the Vikings anemic passing offense three weeks ago, only Deshaun Watson has more fantasy points at the quarterback position.

The reality is the Vikings are doing exactly what they should against terrible pass defenses like the Giants, Eagles, and Lions, throw the ball downfield, and exploit the weakness in their secondary. Captain Kirk delivered three consecutive 300-yard games, with 10 passing touchdowns and one interception in those matchups.

Don’t let the 15th overall ranking in fantasy points allowed fool you- the Washington Redskins are also a terrible pass defense, and the Vikings should be able to take advantage of this team on a short week. If you ignore the last two games for Washington, which include games against the lowly Dolphins and a game against San Francisco in a downpour, the Redskins would be a top-10 unit in points allowed to fantasy quarterbacks.

A negative factor for Cousins is the loss of Thielen to a hamstring injury. Rookie Olabisi Johnson filled in well for Thielen against the Lions, with four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. Owners in deep leagues looking for a sneaky play against Washington may want to consider a flyer on Johnson, a seventh-round pick out of Colorado State who made some solid plays against the Lions. The Redskins do not have much talent in the secondary outside of Josh Norman, and one would assume the team would focus their efforts on stopping Stefon Diggs as opposed to a seventh-round rookie. Laquon Treadwell could also see a boost in snap counts with Thielen on the shelf.

Another interesting player to consider is tight end Irv Smith. The rookie’s snap counts have not changed much this season (hovering around 50%), but he did see an increase in targets (6) and catches (5) last week, while hitting 60 yards against Detroit.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook looks powerful, elusive, and explosive, and the Vikings continue to make him the focal point of the offense. Cook has at least 100 yards or a touchdown in every game this season, with five games of over 100 rushing yards.

He is a stud and someone who you should play regardless of the opposition. Anyone who owns him already knows that and does not need help regarding whether to play Cook.

Considering the fact that the Redskins allow the 10th-most points to opposing running backs and are playing on a short week after a physical loss at home in the rain to the 49ers, and you have the makings of a Dalvin Cook monster performance.

Alexander Mattison is also in play as a low-end flex who may get more touches than normal due to a blowout win for Minnesota. Mike Zimmer will not risk running Cook like crazy in a positive blowout game script, giving Mattison a chance to get between 10 and 20 touches.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins (Low-End)
RB1: Dalvin Cook (Elite)
WR1: Stefon Diggs (Low-End)
WR4: Olabisi Johnson
TE2: Irv Smith & Kyle Rudolph (High-End)

Prediction: Minnesota 34, Washington 7 ^ Top

Bengals @ Rams - (Caron)
Line: LAR -13.0
Total: 48.5

Passing Game Thoughts: While his upside hasn’t been more than 20 points per game and he did turn in a disastrous performance against the Steelers back in Week 4, Andy Dalton has quietly been a fairly reliable streaming option as a middle-to-high-end QB2 most weeks. He’s probably not ever going to ascend again into the consistent QB1 range even if A.J. Green does eventually return to play for the Bengals this season, but Dalton does provide a fairly decent floor considering the general perception of him as a player.

This week Dalton and the Bengals will be matched up against a Rams defense that has been very hot or cold this season. They got completely humiliated for eight total touchdowns between Russell Wilson and Jameis Winston in Weeks 4 and 5, but they’ve only allowed two total passing touchdown passes in their other five games combined. Dalton and the Bengals will almost certainly need to pass to stay competitive in this game but this isn’t going to be an easy situation to succeed in.

The Rams added cornerback Jalen Ramsey this past week and he immediately paid dividends by containing Julio Jones in Week 7. Ramsey is one of the few corners in the league who typically shadow-covers the opposing team’s top option, but the Bengals will still be without A.J. Green and that leaves them without a locked in top receiver. Tyler Boyd has filled that role for the most part, but he typically plays out of the slot and Ramsey rarely shadows out of the slot. That likely means that Ramsey will be locked in with Auden Tate for most of the day, making an already shaky fantasy contributor even less appealing in this matchup.

Wide receiver Alex Erickson was one of the hotter waiver wire adds this week after his breakout performance in Week 7 where he caught eight passes for 137 yards against the Ramsey-less Jaguars. He could be in line for another decently high target number, but he’s still ultimately a fairly low floor player given that we’ve only ever seen him produce one quality fantasy game. If you want to throw him in as a cheap boom-bust option in DFS, go for it, but it’s probably best to avoid him and the other members of this Bengals passing game - other than Boyd - for now.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon has produced just 43 total yards on 21 touches over his past two games, both Bengals losses. Cincinnati’s offensive line has been a disaster all season and they’re simply not blocking effectively enough for Mixon to be an RB1 at this point. His workload, other than these past two weeks, has been enough that he’s been able to produce a few RB2 weeks, but he’s been more bad than he has good at this point.

This week Mixon will be against a Rams defense that struggled against Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb and Chris Carson earlier in the season but have since looked very good, holding the combination of Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman, as well as Devonta Freeman, to fewer than three yards per carry. Mixon is typically a pretty decent producer in the passing game but the Rams have also been quite good at containing opposing backs in the passing game other than McCaffrey back in Week 1. Mixon is good, but he’s not McCaffrey good.

The reality is that it’s probably not likely that most fantasy owners have good enough options to keep Mixon on their bench, but he’s much more of a Flex at this point than he is a reliable RB2 and he’s certainly not in the RB1 conversation until he proves it.

Value Meter:
QB2: Andy Dalton
WR2: Tyler Boyd
Flex: Joe Mixon
Bench: Giovani Bernard, Auden Tate, Alex Erickson, Tyler Eifert

Passing Game Thoughts: A horrifying Week 6 performance against the 49ers saw many fantasy owners swear off Jared Goff in Week 7, but the former No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick turned things around with a solid day against the Falcons this past week. Goff threw for 268 yards and a pair of touchdowns, his third multi-touchdown performance over his past five games. Goff is still distributing the ball to a lot of different targets, however, which has made it very difficult to predict which receiver is going to have a big game and when. But Goff himself should be in a good position to produce QB1 numbers this week against a demoralized Cincinnati defense.

We thought we had a good handle of things with Cooper Kupp producing four straight 100-yard receiving days but he’s now produced just 67 receiving yards over his past two contests, which could mean that we all got a bit overzealous about just how good and reliable he’d be for fantasy purposes. Still, Kupp is the top target in the passing game and can confidently be started as a back-end WR1, especially in PPR formats.

Robert Woods seems to be the next-best option for the Rams and he’s now seen at least seven targets in four of his past five games. He hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this season so his fantasy totals look pretty ugly, but he continues to be a big part of a solid passing game and can be trusted as a WR2 against this Bengals defense that allowed a secondary receiver, Dede Westbrook, to exceed 100 receiving yards against them this past week.

Last among the receivers right now is Brandin Cooks, who is probably the most physically talented of the bunch but who just hasn’t done much beyond his 100-yard game in Week 3. Cooks has now been held to just eight total catches over his past three weeks and he’s only seen 13 targets go his way during that time. If the volume doesn’t increase then we won’t likely see Cooks providing any sort of reliable floor on a week to week basis, which does unfortunately push him out of the WR2 conversation and into the Flex discussion.

Tight end Gerald Everett continues his breakout season and has now been targeted 34 times over his past four games. He’s scored two touchdowns over that span as well, so he’s being used in high-value areas of the field where he can produce quality fantasy points at a position that has been very weak throughout the league this season. Everett isn’t a stud, but he’s been one of the better tight ends this season. The Bengals have been fairly good against opposing tight ends this season but don’t be afraid to place Everett in your lineup if you don’t have one of the locked in studs at the position.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley has touched the ball at least 12 times in every game that he’s played all the way through this season, which has helped make him a mid-level RB2 despite having missed a game due to injury. The Rams offense hasn’t been quite as high-scoring as in years past but Gurley is among the best goal line backs in the business and has now scored five times over his past three starts.

The rushing yardage hasn’t been there and he only has one game with more than three receptions, but he’s a good bet to get things going and score at least one touchdown against this terrible Cincinnati run defense. The Bengals have conceded 10 total touchdowns to opposing running backs this season and they’ve conceded over 100 rushing yards to opposing running backs in all but two games this season.

Darrell Henderson is a player to keep an eye on this week with normal backup running back Malcolm Brown likely to miss his second-straight game. Henderson touched the ball 12 times this past week and could be in line for an even heavier workload in this one. He’s not a high-ceiling option given that he’s the backup option but you could do worse in your Flex if you’re in a tough spot this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff
RB2: Todd Gurley
WR1: Cooper Kupp
WR2: Robert Woods
TE1: Gerald Everett
Flex: Brandin Cooks, Darrell Henderson
Bench: Tyler Higbee

Prediction: Rams 33, Bengals 17 ^ Top

Cardinals @ Saints - (Green)
Line: NO -10.0
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Arizona opened the season 0-3-1 before winning three in a row, though considering their opponents were Cincinnati, Atlanta and the Giants it's hard to say if they've actually turned things around. Kyler Murray and the Air Raid offense certainly haven't torched opposing secondaries with the rookie failing to throw for a score in three of his last four games. Outside of last week, though, he's a high-volume thrower and has started making more plays with his legs.

Veteran Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson (ankle) have been the primary targets in the passing game, especially since Christian Kirk (ankle) went down in Week 4; Kirk hasn't played since and may be a game-time decision in Week 8. Former Rams special teamer Pharoh Cooper has actually seen action recently, which is proof that second-rounder Andy Isabella isn't ready. KeeSean Johnson, another 2019 draft pick, saw action early but has done little recently.

Whoever lines up with Murray this week is in for a tough matchup against a Saints team that has locked down their opponents since Drew Brees' injury. Although their numbers don't seem elite, much of that is due to garbage time production from Seattle, Tampa Bay and Chicago, which all scored fourth-quarter points when the game was out of reach. If you're looking for a comp, the Saints limited another mobile rookie, J-Ville's Gardner Minshew, to 163 yards passing in Week 6.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Bothered by an ankle injury leading into the game last Sunday, Johnson bowed out after only a few snaps and was replaced by Chase Edmonds, who proceeded to shred the G-Men for 150 total yards and three scores. We won't know Johnson's status until later in the week, but obviously if he's inactive that would shoot Edmonds' value skyward. Even if Johnson plays, Edmonds proved he's a weapon, and it seems unlikely that Kliff Kingsbury would put him on ice.

New Orleans has allowed just 90.6 rushing yards per game this season, good for ninth in the NFL, and they've checked the likes of Ezekiel Elliott (18 carries, 35 yards, 1 TD), Chris Carson (15-52-0) and Leonard Fournette (20-72-0). It's likely to be some tough sledding for the Arizona ground game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray (low-end)
RB2: David Johnson (if healthy)
RB2/RB3: Chase Edmonds (a solid RB2 if Johnson is down)
WR3: Larry Fitzgerald
Bench: Christian Kirk (ankle)

Passing Game Thoughts: Drew Brees (thumb) is returning to practice this week, and Sean Payton has said if he's "100 percent ready" he'll be back. Given how well the team has played with Teddy Bridgewater, however, combined with the Saints having a bye in Week 9, I have a feeling Payton will find a reason to keep Brees out and give him those two extra weeks to heal up. For now, it's something to keep an eye on.

After mostly playing a game manager role initially, Bridgewater has opened things up of late, passing for 314 yards in Week 5 and 281 yards and two TDs against the Bears last Sunday. If he gets the call against the Cardinals he could be a legitimate QB1, albeit on the lower end. The same holds true for Brees. If the future Hall of Famer returns I'd feel good about plugging him right back into my lineup despite the possibility of rust.

No matter who's taking snaps, Michael Thomas is a stud. He caught nine balls for 131 yards last week in Chicago and currently leads the NFL in receiving yardage (763) by more than 100 yards over Chris Godwin. After Thomas it's a mix of injuries—Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) and Jared Cook (ankle) were DNPs versus the Bears—and middling veterans like Ted Ginn Jr.

I'd expect newly reinstated Patrick Peterson to match with Thomas all over the field, and while that might mean a tougher day than usual I'm a firm believer in Thomas' Twitter moniker: @CantguardMike. For the season, Arizona sits 25th against the pass, and TEs have abused them, so if Cook can go his upside is intriguing.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: With Alvin Kamara (ankle/knee) banged up and inactive, Latavius Murray pounded the vaunted Bears defense for 119 yards and two scores on 27 carries. He even added five catches for 32 yards in a performance that might just remind the Saints why they signed Murray in the first place, to fill the Mark Ingram role. While there has been no official update on Kamara, the fact that the Saints cut Zack Zenner is a good sign Kamara is on track to play in Week 8.

If both Kamara and Murray are active I expect around a 60/40 split for Kamara based on his health and how good Murray looked last week. Arizona is a soft run D, surrendering 4.7 yards per carry and 129.1 per game (25th in the NFL), though they did a nice job against Saquon Barkley last week, holding him to 72 yards on 18 rushes.

Value Meter:
QB1: Teddy Bridgewater/Drew Brees (whichever one starts; low-end)
RB1: Alvin Kamara (if healthy)
Flex: Latavius Murray (upgrade to RB2 if Kamara is down)
WR1: Michael Thomas
TE1: Jared Cook (if healthy)
Bench: Ted Ginn Jr., Tre'Quan Smith (ankle)

Prediction: Saints 27, Cardinals 16 ^ Top

Buccaneers @ Titans - (Green)
Line: TEN -2.5
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: If ever a player needed a week off to reset it might've been Jameis Winston, who was abysmal in a Week 6 loss to Carolina where he turned the ball over a half-dozen times, including five interceptions. For fantasy owners, the silver lining was the 400 yards he threw for, marking the third time in four games he's topped 375 yards passing. It'll be interesting to see what tweaks, if any, Bruce Arian implements coming out of the bye week.

One item that certainly won't change is the passing game flowing through Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who has emerged as a top-10 fantasy wideout. That pair was targeted 29 times in London, and Godwin is currently second in the NFL in receiving yards (662) despite having played in just six games. I wouldn't say that Godwin is a better player than Evans, but right now he's a better fantasy option as he benefits from the extra coverage that Evans demands.

O.J. Howard has certainly been the subject of many trade scenarios, but I doubt the Bucs move on from the first-rounder even though they steadfastly refuse to use him. Maybe that'll change this week after Hunter Henry did serious damage against Tennessee this past Sunday. For the year, the Titans rank 10th against the pass (232.9 per game), and the rush received a boost from the debut of first-round pick Jeffery Simmons.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Commitment to the running game is apparently sacrilege to Arians after his Week 6 game plan included 54 passes and 14 runs—yes, they played from behind, but it just a 13-point deficit midway through the third quarter when a Winston pick put them 20 down so the playbook was open to that point. Whether it's Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones as the top back this Sunday, the Titans will pose a challenge after holding the Chargers to 39 yards on 21 carries.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jameis Winston (low-end)
WR1: Chris Godwin
WR1/WR2: Mike Evans
Bench: O.J. Howard, Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones

Passing Game Thoughts: Making his first start of the season, Ryan Tannehill actually played pretty well, connecting on 23 of 29 passes for 312 yards and two scores. While he did fumble twice (both recovered by TEN) and toss a pick, Tannehill did a nice job of spreading the ball around, completing balls to eight different targets and actually involving the top three receivers. We'll see how he fares in his second start with an opponent that has a game's worth of film to analyze.

At least for one week, Corey Davis (6-80-1 in Week 7) and A.J. Brown (6-64-0) looked like a bona fide pair of starting receivers at the NFL level. Even Adam Humphries (4-40-0) got sprinkled in there. Delanie Walker (ankle), meanwhile, was bothered by an ankle injury and didn't play much. It's unclear how serious the injury is. For the time being, Davis is the only guy I'm comfortable starting, though even there I'm maintaining a healthy level of skepticism regarding a Tannehill-led offense.

Then again, the Titans are facing the NFL's worst pass defense, which is allowing a league-high 304.5 yards per game. Based on that, I think someone like Brown could be a desperation matchup play if you have an injured starter or need to cover a bye.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: If you wanna talk strength on strength in this game, this is where you find it: 247-pound Derrick Henry against the NFL's No. 1 rush defense (68 yards per game; 2.9 yards per carry). Power football is in Tennessee's DNA, but they may be forced to let Tannehill lead the way on Sunday. Dion Lewis, who is earning north of $4 million this year, carried once against the Bolts for two yards. #MoneyWellSpent

Value Meter:
QB2: Ryan Tannehill (low-end)
RB2: Derrick Henry
WR3/Flex: Corey Davis
Bench: A.J. Brown, Adam Humphries, Delanie Walker

Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Titans 19 ^ Top

Broncos @ Colts - (Green)
Line: IND -6.0
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Denver's offense was dismal last Thursday night, and it started with the inability to protect Joe Flacco. The immobile veteran was sacked eight times, leading to three fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Over the last three games he has averaged 193 yards per game to go with one total TD pass and a pair of picks. It's the latest example of John Elway's inability to identify QB talent in a post-Manning world, and now the countdown is on for Drew Lock (thumb) to debut.

Of course, Lock remains on IR, so it'll be Flacco again this week. The team finally traded veteran Emmanuel Sanders for a couple of picks, which leaves their passing game with exactly one reliable option in Courtland Sutton. Despite Denver’s struggles, Sutton has been a steady producer, topping 60 yards receiving in six of seven games. With Sanders gone, Sutton becomes Flacco's No. 1 (and perhaps No. 2) target.

Denver will need more from first-rounder Noah Fant, who has struggled with drops thus far, and DaeSean Hamilton. Elway also announced that Tim Patrick (hand) would be activated from IR but not until Week 11. The Colts currently rank 20th in passing yards allowed (250.2 per game), but they held up against Houston's Deshaun Watson, intercepting him twice despite allowing 308 yards through the air.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: With the passing game in disarray, Denver may ask more of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Lindsay (576 yards, 4 TDs in '19) and Freeman (496 yards, 1 TD) figure to see a lot of work both running and catching out of the backfield, something both are capable of. The Colts have allowed 119 rushing yards per game this (19th in the NFL), but you can bet they'll want to force Denver to pass on Sunday.

Value Meter:
RB2: Phillip Lindsay
RB3: Royce Freeman
WR2: Courtland Sutton
Bench: Joe Flacco, Noah Fant, DaeSean Hamilton

Passing Game Thoughts: Pop quiz! Who leads the NFL in TD passes per game? If you guessed Jacoby Brissett (2.33) you're right! The NC State product lit up the Texans in an early battle for AFC South supremacy for 326 yards and four touchdowns to give him 14 passing TDs in six games. He's definitely moving up in the fantasy world as well thanks to his athleticism and decision making, though he still needs to show more consistency as he's thrown for less than 200 yards in half of his six games this year.

One of the most surprising stat lines from Week 7 was Zach Pascal's six-catch, 106-yard, two-TD performance. It's too early to say he's arrived as a complement to T.Y. Hilton—especially when you consider how banged up Houston was in the secondary—but he belongs on your watch list. All Hilton did was drop another 74 receiving yards and a score on the Texans.

Eric Ebron also made a nice TD catch as part of his four receptions for 70 yards, which was easily his best game of the year. It's not enough for me to elevate him to TE1 status this week, but he's not far off if you're in need. Defensively, the Broncos sit third against the pass (195.3 yards per game). That sounds good, but they sure didn't look like an upper-tier defense last Thursday night, and will Chris Harris still be on the team?

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: It was another quiet day from Marlon Mack, who ran for 44 yards on 18 carries (2.4 YPC), marking the third time in the last five games that he has rushed for fewer than 55 yards. Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines both saw a few snaps, but it's the Mack Show in Indy, and thus far it's been feast or famine. Denver ranks 16th in rushing yards allowed (107.3), which gives Mack some upside this Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jacoby Brissett (low-end)
RB2: Marlon Mack
WR2: T.Y. Hilton
Bench: Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle, Nyheim Hines, Zach Pascal

Prediction: Colts 27, Broncos 13 ^ Top

Seahawks @ Falcons - (Green)
Line: SEA -3.5
Total: 53.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Russell Wilson is coming off of his worst game of the season. Against the Ravens, the MVP candidate completed less than half of his 41 passes for 241 yards, one TD and a brutal pick-six. While things should be considerably easier Sunday, remember two things: 1) Dan Quinn was Seattle's DC, so he knows Wilson well, and 2) Seattle prefers to impose their will on lesser opponents, which sometimes means modest passing numbers—just look at Wilson's quiet Week 4 against Arizona.

Seattle's passing game took a hit two weeks ago when Will Dissly (Achilles) was lost for the year with a torn Achilles. Without him, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf will need to do more. Lockett has made some of the NFL's most amazing receptions this season, but he's only had one really big game, most of which came in garbage time against the Saints. Other than that 154-yard showing, he hasn't topped 80 yards in a game.

Metcalf has all the physical tools and has made some nice plays down the field. He also had a game-altering unforced fumble last week and has caught just half of his 40 targets thus far. Jaron Brown has seen more work recently, and Jacob Hollister looks to be taking over Dissly's pass-catching role at tight end, at least until Ed Dickson returns, but neither player is worth owning.

Defensively, there isn't much to say about the Falcons. They're awful. Only Miami has allowed more points per game than Atlanta (31.9), and their secondary ranks 28th against the pass at 274 yards per game. Wilson and company should be able to pick them apart. The question is will they...

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: ...or will they just feed Chris Carson the ball? Carson has run the ball 20-plus times in four consecutive games, topping 100 yards in each of the first three before being held to 65 a week ago. His ascension has left former first-round pick Rashaad Penny without a role. That's partly due to injuries, but he was active last week and played just two snaps. If there were a game to try to get Penny going this might be the one.

Then again, Atlanta's defense isn't nearly as putrid against the run, ranking 20th in the NFL in yards per game (113.7) but tied for sixth with just 3.7 yards per carry. Still, this smells like a potential drubbing with the Falcons' season circling the drain, Quinn maybe coaching his last game and a team perhaps looking ahead to their bye.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
RB1: Chris Carson
WR1/WR2: Tyler Lockett
Flex: D.K. Metcalf
Bench: Rashaad Penny

Passing Game Thoughts: As if things weren't going poorly enough for the Falcons, Matt Ryan (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of the team's shellacking at the hands of the LA Rams, and his status is up in the air for Week 8. Given where the team is and with a bye in Week 9, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Ryan give way to veteran Matt Schaub against the Seahawks. Schaub, 38, last started a game in 2015 when he was with the Ravens.

Atlanta also officially turned into sellers this week, flipping Mohamed Sanu to the Pats for a second-round pick. His departure should mean more action for the remaining trio of Julio Jones (6-93-0 last Sunday), Austin Hooper (4-46-1) and Calvin Ridley (4-30-0). Into Sanu's spot will likely step either Russell Gage or Justin Hardy, neither of whom warrant fantasy consideration at this point.

Despite a reputation as a frontline defense, Seattle has been mediocre this year, ranking 19th against the pass despite facing backups Teddy Bridgewater and Mason Rudolph (who came in for an injured Ben Roethlisberger) as well as Lamar Jackson, who did most of his damage on the ground. Obviously the outlook for Jones, Ridley and Hooper would diminish if Schaub replaces Ryan, but I don't think there's a scenario where you bench any of them.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: It was a particularly brutal week in a disappointing campaign for Devonta Freeman, who gained just 25 total yards before being ejected for throwing a punch at Aaron Donald... who literally lifted Freeman off the ground like a child. To add insult to injury (and other insults), Ito Smith (head) sustained a concussion and has already been ruled out this week.

Even with Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright, Seattle's defense has allowed 108 rushing yards per game, good for 17th in the league. No matter who's under center, I'd expect the Falcons to try to get something going on the ground to support a rusty Schaub or a gimpy Ryan.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (check his status)
RB2: Devonta Freeman
WR1: Julio Jones
WR3: Calvin Ridley
TE1: Austin Hooper
Bench: Ito Smith

Prediction: Seahawks 30, Falcons 17 ^ Top

Eagles at Bills - (Katz)
Line: BUF -1.5
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Fresh off a disastrous performance in Dallas, the Eagles look to rebound in another difficult spot against a strong Bills’ pass defense. The Bills have only allowed four passing touchdowns this season while recording six interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks barely average 200 yards against them. Tre’Davious White ranks in the top 10 in a number of metrics, most notably fourth in fantasy points allowed per target.

This is a bad matchup for Alshon Jeffery, who is coming off his worst performance of the season against Byron Jones, where he caught just two of five targets for 38 yards. It would be nice if DeSean Jackson could return from his abdominal injury, but that’s not happening, leaving replacement level Nelson Agholor as the second receiver.

Zach Ertz has predictably regressed to random TE1. He is not particularly athletic and is a product of volume, which simply hasn’t been there. Dallas Goedert is simply a better football player, but neither of them are particularly strong starts this week against the Bills, who have been stifling against opposing tight ends. Bills’ opponents have targeted the tight end at just a 12% rate and the Bills allow just 6.0 fantasy points per game to the position. It is just a bad spot all around for the Eagles’ passing attack.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: The Bills do allow 19% of opponents’ targets to the running back position. This could be a week where Miles Sanders racks up a few receptions as Jordan Howard struggles to get going on the ground against a defense that only allows 3.9 yards per carry. If the Eagles do find themselves in position to score, the Bills have allowed six rushing touchdowns and Howard is the goal line back. Unless game script forces Howard out like last week, he will dominate snaps and touches in this backfield. Look for Howard to command 12-15 carries and play more than half the snaps. With bye weeks and injuries taking their toll, Howard is still a solid floor play.

Value Meter:
QB2: Carson Wentz (high end)
WR3: Alshon Jeffery
TE1: Zach Ertz (mid-range)
TE1: Dallas Goedert (low end)
Flex: Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders
Bench: DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor

Passing Game Thoughts: The way to beat the Eagles is through the air. Unfortunately, Josh Allen isn’t particularly good at throwing footballs. He makes fantasy hay on the ground. Allen has at least 20 rushing yards in every game this season. With that being said, the Eagles have allowed 14 passing touchdowns and allow opposing quarterbacks to complete 65.7% of their passes. This is a great spot for John Brown and his 14.3 yards per reception to burn the Eagles deep making him a strong play.

As for the next receiver on the Bills, it is difficult to say. Zay Jones is gone. Duke Williams hurt his shoulder. Robert Foster was inactive last week, which shows what they think of him. He may be forced into action, but either way, it’s Brown or bust for Bills’ receivers.

TE Dawson Knox is an interesting streamer. He’s run 44 routes over the past two weeks and the Eagles are about average against the tight end. You can certainly do worse than five targets out of your tight end.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: In Devin Singletary’s first game back from his hamstring strain, he played just 39% of the snaps, clearly behind 88 year-old Frank Gore. Prior to Ezekiel Elliott last week, the Eagles stymied opposing backs. They still allow just 3.7 yards per carry, but opposing rushers just seem to find the end zone against them. It’s happened seven times. Gore will handle the goal line work, but it remains to be seen if the Bills to employ rational coaching and attack the Eagles where they are weakest – through the air. If that’s the case, we could see more of Singletary. If history is any indication, though, it will be a lot of Gore again because NFL teams just can’t get enough of him for some reason. Gore remains a floor play without any semblance of a ceiling.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (low end)
WR2: John Brown (low end)
Flex: Frank Gore, Devin Singletary
Bench: Duke Williams, Robert Foster, Dawson Knox

Prediction: Eagles 20, Bills 16 ^ Top

Chargers @ Bears - (Swanson)
Line: CHI -4.5
Total: 40.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Chargers enter Sunday’s game against the Bears in the midst of a three-game losing streak after falling to the Titans 20-23 in a shocking ending with Melvin Gordon fumbling the ball on the goal line.

The offense has been sputtering since Gordon returned to the line up to share the backfield with Austin Ekeler. The Chargers have scored just 13, 17, and 20 points respectively in their last three losses, with quarterback Philip Rivers throwing four interceptions and four touchdowns.

Turning the ship around this week on the road against Chicago will be a tough task for Rivers, as the Bears allow the sixth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks. Both Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins were held without a touchdown by the bears, and only Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum have managed to top 20 fantasy points.

Although Rivers is not a high-end play, owners of Hunter Henry should consider him a strong play based on his elite production since returning to the field. Chicago gives up the 13th-most points to opposing tight ends and could be exploited by Henry and Rivers.

One of the biggest concerns is the sub-par offensive line trying to protect Rivers against the potent pass rush of the Bears. Chicago ranks third in the league with 50 sacks on the year, and the Chargers 15th-ranked offensive line according to Football Outsiders, will struggle to keep Rivers upright. It is also not a good sign for the Chargers that starting guard Forrest Lamp is out for the season with an injury sustained last week.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: rank the Chargers as the No.24 offensive line in run blocking, with 23% of runs stuffed by poor blocking. Since returning to the team after a three-game holdout, Melvin Gordon has been nothing short of awful, with a 2.3 yard per carry average and zero rushing touchdowns on 36 carries. The former Pro Bowler does not have a run over seven yards this season and fumbled the ball twice on the goal line in the final minutes of last week’s loss to the Titans.

Austin Ekeler has not been much better rushing the ball at 3.6 yards per clip, but he does have three rushing touchdowns to go along with 49 receptions for 488 yards and four receiving touchdowns. The diminutive Ekeler has been the far better option than Gordon this season, and it would behoove the team to feature him over Gordon in the offense.

The Bears have been terrible against the run this season after defensive lineman Akiem Hicks went out with a season-ending injury. Over the last three weeks, only the Browns have allowed more fantasy points to running backs than the Bears, a team known in previous years to be one of the better run-stopping units in the league.

From a strategic standpoint, it would make sense for the Chargers to try and run the ball heavily in this game to take advantage of the Bears’ weakness against the run, while also limiting the number of hits on Rivers.

On the injury report, the Bears enter the game defensively fairly healthy, with reserve safety Sherrick McManis out with a concussion.

Value Meter:
QB1: Philip Rivers (Low-End)
RB2: Austin Ekeler (Low-End)
RB2: Melvin Gordon (Low-End)
WR2: Keenan Allen (Low-End)
WR4: Mike Williams (Low-End)
TE1: Hunter Henry (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Things are not going well in the Windy City. Mitchell Trubisky is the No.35 ranked fantasy quarterback. Only the tanking Dolphins and the terrible Jets average fewer yards per game, and the head coach, Matt Nagy, called himself stupid for not running the ball more.

You can blame Nagy for the play calls. You can assign some of the issues to offensive line injuries and subpar play, but when you really focus on the play of Trubisky, it is hard not to wonder if he is a certifiable bust. He misses wide-open receivers, doesn’t make plays with his legs like he did last year, and he is a one-read QB who panics when that receiver is covered.

The one lone bright spot on the Bears has been the play of Allen Robinson, who has overcome shoddy quarterback play and questionable offensive play calls to be the No.20 ranked wide receiver in fantasy, with 41 catches for 464 yards and three touchdowns.

Robinson will likely get Casey Hayward shadow coverage this week, which is not quite as bad as in previous seasons. T.Y. Hilton, Kenny Golladay, Corey Davis, and even DeVante Parker all posted double-digit fantasy games against the Chargers. You can start Robinson as a No.2 WR with confidence, with the expectation of 80 yards and a possible score.

If the Bears are smart and Nagy takes his own advice, they will run the ball over and over again against a Chargers front seven that gives up the 9th-most points to opposing running backs. Marlon Mack, Phillip Lindsay, James Conner, and Derrick Henry each had monster games against this defense.

It would also be smart to run the ball to limit the pass rush of Joey Bosa and mitigate the number of bad throws and decisions made by Trubisky.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: David Montgomery and Joe Mixon are leaders in the clubhouse for the most disappointing running backs in fantasy this season. The rookie from Iowa State entered the season with a ton of hype based on impressive runs in the preseason and the assumption that he would be the three-down back that Nagy did not think Jordan Howard could be.
Instead, Howard is thriving in Philly (as a pass catcher too), and Montgomery is rushing for 3.3 yards per clip and just two total touchdowns. In last week's game against the Saints, albeit a stout run defense, Montgomery rushed the ball two times for six yards.

Montgomery has yet to top 67 yards in any game, and for some odd reason that makes zero sense when you consider how well he caught passes in college; Montgomery has 11 total catches on the season.

If there were ever a game for Montgomery to pull out of his slump, it would be this week against the Chargers. Everyone and their mother has managed to score a touchdown or two against this defensive line, including James Conner, who posted 119 total yards and two scores in Week 6.

The Chargers can also be beaten in the passing game out of the backfield, which could make Tarik Cohen a viable low-end flex in deeper leagues.

Injuries to the Chargers are another reason why we like Bears running backs this week. Defensive linemen Cortez Broughton, Justin Jones, Damion Square, and Brandon Mebane are all injured, with Square being the only one to practice on Wednesday.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mitchell Trubisky (Low-End)
RB2: David Montgomery (Low-End)
WR2: Allen Robinson (Low-End)
WR4: Taylor Gabriel (Low-End)
TE2: Trey Burton (Low-End)

Prediction: Chicago 17, Chargers 14 ^ Top

Giants @ Lions - (Swanson)
Line: DET -7.0
Total: 49.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Daniel Jones made General Manager Dave Gettleman look like a genius after his monster, four-touchdown performance in his first start of his career Week 2 at Tampa Bay. Jones looked confident in the pocket, made plays with his feet, and appeared to be worthy of the sixth overall pick that made Gettlemen the laughing stock of the league this summer.

The next four starts of Jones’ career were not quite as impressive. The former Tar Heel has yet to throw for more than 225 yards, despite two juicy matchups against the Redskins and Cardinals, while leading the league in that span with seven interceptions and a slew of fumbles.

Injuries to Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard greatly affected the overall performance of Jones and the Giants offense. But not all of the poor play should be blamed on lousy circumstances. The rookie has looked very much like a rookie, and the skill position players for the Giants are going to be negatively affected the rest of the season because of that fact.

Golden Tate has been one of the bright spots the passing offense since returning to the field after a four-game suspension. The veteran wideout has 12 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown over the previous two games against New England and Arizona and should be a solid PPR play this week against his former team.

If you buy into revenge game narratives, Jones’ return to Ford Field could be an attractive fantasy matchup. Tate is a type of player who would love to burn his former employer, and the Lions may be without Darius Slay, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury. The team will, for sure be without former starting safety Quandre Diggs, who was traded to Seattle for draft picks.

Shepard was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday due to a concussion. He is likely still a couple weeks away.

From a matchup standpoint, the Lions have been generous to opposing quarterbacks this season to the tune of 23.6 fantasy points per game (9th-most). Kirk Cousins lit up the Lions for 337 yards and four touchdowns last week, while Dalvin Cook ran wild with 125 yards and a pair of scores. The Lions did shut down Patrick Mahomes and Philip Rivers earlier this season at home, but they have struggled as of late, and the match up bodes well for Jones.

Evan Engram may take a page out of the Vikings playbook this week and post a monster game from the tight end position. With Matt Patricia focused on limiting the Vikings wide receivers and running backs, Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. each posted their biggest games of the year.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley picked up right where he left off in with 80 total yards and a rushing touchdown against the Cardinals last week. Barkley has 14 or more points in three of his four games, with the only subpar game coming in his injury-shortened game against the Bucs Week 3 when he suffered a high-ankle sprain.

You are starting Barkley with confidence based on the fact that he is going to get a ton of volume, and he plays against a Lions defense that frankly is not very good against the run or the pass. Only Miami and Cincinnati have given up more fantasy points to opposing running backs, with seven different running backs posting ten or more fantasy points.

Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, and C.J. Ham combined to score 36.1 points last week in a lopsided win for the Vikings. While I don’t anticipate Barkley scoring 36 points, he will get the majority of touches for the Giants and should be able to post 100 total yards and a score or two.

Value Meter:
QB2: Daniel Jones (High-End)
RB1: Saquon Barkley (Elite)
WR2: Golden Tate (Low-End)
TE1: Evan Engram (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford has quietly been one of the best values in fantasy football this season as a late-round and often un-drafted quarterback who currently ranked 7th in average fantasy points per game.

Stafford has arguably the deepest receiving corps of his career with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, and tight end T.J. Hockenson giving opposing defenses fits. The run game that we all anticipated would be better has not materialized, and the Lions defense continues to struggle and forces Stafford to throw more than he would like.

The result of these factors is Stafford is on pace to throw 590 passes or more or the first time since 2016, and he has three games of at least 28 fantasy points.

Stafford enters Sunday’s game against the Giants on the heels of a 364/4 day in a shootout loss against the Vikings. I don’t anticipate that the Giants will put up a fight and score as many points as Minnesota did, but you have to love a home matchup against a team that gives up the ninth-most points to wide receivers and the 11th-most to quarterbacks.

Teams have found success passing the ball on the Giants and the Lions will be without starting running back Kerryon Johnson for the remainder of the year. Sure, Darrell Bevel will try to get rookie Ty Johnson going on the ground, but he is a smart coordinator who knows how to take advantage of a defense’s weakness and passing at will against the Giants is the way to a victory.

Kenny Golladay owners who left last week’s game ticked off with Marvin Jones scoring all four receiving touchdowns will get some retribution this week against a Giants secondary with aging veteran Janoris Jenkins and rookie Deandre Baker.

Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, Adam Thielen, and Julian Edelman all posted big games against the Giants, and Golladay is due to for a bounce-back game.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: A knee injury to Kerryon Johnson will leave the Lions with Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic to share the load out of the backfield. Johnson is a sixth-round rookie out of Maryland who is a skilled runner and a talented pass-catching back. He has yet to find his groove running the ball with 83 yards on 23 carries, but he should be the one who will get the majority of work on first and second down.

The likely game script of the Lions leading in the second half could bode well for Johnson to get close-out carries. Bevell has a history of working with McKissic in his time with Seattle, but the veteran wide receiver turned running back is more of a change of pace/receiving option.

Owners will no doubt break the bank in home leagues for Johnson with the hope of RB1 return on their investment. As the No.4 ranked team in fantasy points allowed to the position, on paper, this home matchup bodes well for Johnson. But the uncertainty surrounding how the carries will be split between the two backs should temper the expectations a bit for Johnson owners. It should also be noted that the Lions overall have struggled to run the ball behind an offensive line that has not done a good job opening up holes.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (Low-End)
RB2: Ty Johnson (Low-End)
RB4: J.D. McKissic (High-End)
WR1: Kenny Golladay (Low-End)
WR2: Marvin Jones (Low-End)
TE2: T.J. Hockenson (High-End)

Prediction: Detroit 31, New York 14 ^ Top

Jets @ Jaguars - (Green)
Line: JAX -6.0
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: If you watched Sam Darnold on Monday night you might've felt the urge to sprint to a nearby eye-wash station and sanitize your pupils. In one of the ugliest performances you're likely to see, the USC product completed just 11 of 32 passes for 86 yards and four INTs (he also lost a fumble). His "ghosts" comment went viral, and he also lost a toenail after having his foot stepped on. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

It was the direct opposite of what Darnold and the Jets put on film in Week 6 when he returned from mono to throw for 338 yards, with 125 going to Robby Anderson, 98 to Jamison Crowder and 62 to Demaryius Thomas. So which are the real Jets? It's probably somewhere in the middle, but based on targets it appears as though a Darnold-led version will flow through the wideouts with a sprinkling of Le'Veon Bell.

Jacksonville turned the page on the Jalen Ramsey era with a spanking of the Bengals that included three interceptions of Andy Dalton. The Jags rank 17th in yards allowed via the air (243.9), which is a good reflection of their inconsistency, locking down Deshaun Watson one game only to struggle with Joe Flacco two weeks later.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: With 15 carries for 70 yards, Bell was the only respectable part of the Jets offense Monday night. After facing what seemed like 12-man boxes during Darnold's absence, Bell has found more room to run and looks elusive, even if big plays have been mostly non-existent. Outside of being embarrassed by Christian McCaffrey, the Jags' run defense has been pretty stout, though they'll be without Marcell Dareus (core), who is set to miss 4-6 weeks.

Value Meter:
RB1: Le'Veon Bell
Flex: Jamison Crowder
Flex: Robby Anderson (low-end)
Bench: Sam Darnold, Chris Herndon (hamstring), Demaryius Thomas

Passing Game Thoughts: Gardner Minshew has hit some bumps in the road recently, connecting on less than half of his passes in each of the last two games. He made his completions count last Sunday, averaging 17 yards per against the Bengals. Minshew added 48 yards on nine rushes. Rankings aside, the Jets have some talent on defense, and you can bet Gregg Williams is going to be aggressive in trying to rattle the rookie.

For most of this season the passing game has revolved around D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook, but Chris Conley had three receptions (on seven targets) for 83 yards in Week 7—his first notable production since posting a 10-170-1 line over the season's first two games. Despite that, I'm doubling down with the notion that Chark (3-53-0 in Week 7) and Westbrook (6-103-0) are the guys to own. They'll try to exploit a Jets secondary that's forced to play Trumaine Johnson, who was railed unmercifully by Booger McFarland on MNF.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: At one point I thought Ryquell Armstead might carve out a role. That hasn't panned out, and Leonard Fournette continues to be the focal point of the offense. He has 20 or more carries in four straight games, which includes three outings of 100-plus yards, but the 228-pound bulldozer inexplicably has one touchdown on 172 combined touches (144 carries, 28 receptions).

Perhaps that will change against the Jets, who have allowed just 3.3 yards per carry this year but have allowed an NFL-high 10 rushing touchdowns (in just six games).

QB2: Gardner Minshew (high-end)
RB1: Leonard Fournette
WR2: D.J. Chark
WR3: Dede Westbrook
Bench: Nick Folks (shoulder), Chris Conley

Prediction: Jaguars 23, Jets 17 ^ Top

Panthers @ 49ers - (Caron)
Line: SF -5.5
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Panthers have a tough task in front of them here in Week 8 but at least they’ve had an extra week to prepare as they’re coming off of their bye. Still, this is an extremely difficult matchup for an inexperienced quarterback like Kyle Allen. The 49ers have allowed the second-fewest points per game to opposing fantasy quarterbacks this season, including holding their past three opposing QBs - Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff and Case Keenum to a combined 255 passing yards and zero touchdowns.

Allen is simply off the board this week given the matchup and most of these receivers should be, too. Greg Olsen is a viable low-end TE1 just because the position is so terrible but he hasn’t been anything special since early in the season. Curtis Samuel has had moments where he’s looked good this season but this isn’t the time to trust him in your lineup. The only Panthers receiver who we should be looking at is D.J. Moore, who has scored at least 12 PPR fantasy points in all but one game this season. He’s not a high-upside option but he does have about as good of a floor as one can hope for in a matchup like this.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: It’d be hard to argue that any player other than Christian McCaffrey has been the fantasy football MVP so far this season. Just as he did a season ago, McCaffrey is doing it all as both a runner and as a pass catcher, including having already scored nine touchdowns through six games.

McCaffrey has one of the toughest on-paper matchups against a 49ers defense that has given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, but he’s still absolutely a locked in RB1 in any matchup given his monumental workload. The 49ers have not yet given up a touchdown to an opposing running back this season but if any player on the Panthers is going to get into the end zone, there’s a good bet that it’ll be McCaffrey.

Value Meter:
RB1: Christian McCaffrey
TE1: Greg Olsen (low-end)
Flex: D.J. Moore
Bench: Kyle Allen, Curtis Samuel

Passing Game Thoughts: The 49ers’ Week 7 matchup against the Redskins was supposed to be one of the best matchups of the season for Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco passing game, but it turned out that the weather had other plans as the two teams played in what was essentially a monsoon. Neither team did much on offense, especially through the air, and the game ended without a single touchdown scored.

This week Garoppolo does have another interesting matchup as he’ll be against a Panthers defense that was great against opposing passers earlier this season but has been quite poor against them over their past two weeks, having given up a total of 765 passing yards to the likes of Gardner Minshew and Jameis Winston in Weeks 5 and 6.

It seems likely that Carolina will focus on slowing down the 49ers running game which could leave some opportunities for Garoppolo to exploit, but his volume simply hasn’t been there for him to be a QB1 for fantasy purposes this week.

The 49ers wide receivers have been sort of a hodgepodge of mediocrity this season and they only added to the confusion this week when they added veteran Emmanuel Sanders via trade from the Broncos. Sanders is a quality receiver who should take over as the team’s top wide receiver very soon, but he may not play a full complement of snaps quite yet as he learns the San Francisco offense. It’s probably best to avoid these receivers for now because none of them are likely to command a high enough target share to provide a good floor or ceiling for fantasy.

Tight end George Kittle continues to be the top receiving weapon for the 49ers and is probably the only fantasy-relevant option in the passing game here in Week 8, other than Garoppolo in two-QB leagues. Kittle hasn’t been quite the fantasy producer in 2019 that he was in 2018, but he’s still an elite option at the position and he should be a major part of the passing game in this one.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: The weather didn’t really give us the results that we’d like to see from this backfield from a fantasy standpoint, but we did get some interesting information from the 49ers’ Week 7 victory over the Redskins. The 49ers backfield has been very much a split so far this season and it will likely continue to be so, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that Tevin Coleman is the lead back in this offense with Breida playing a complementary role.

Coleman saw 22 touches this past week to Breida’s nine and that now marks the second straight week that he’s seen 20-plus touches. That kind of usage is quite rare in today’s NFL and it’s enough to boost Coleman into the mid-to-high-end RB2 conversation. Breida could still be useful as a Flex for those in a tough spot but he’s not likely to see enough work to produce great fantasy numbers unless he breaks off a long run, which he is capable of doing.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jimmy Garoppolo
RB2: Tevin Coleman
TE1: George Kittle
Flex: Matt Breida
Bench: Emmanuel Sanders, Marquise Goodwin, Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis

Prediction: 49ers 24, Panthers 16 ^ Top

Browns at Patriots - (Katz)
Line: NE -13.5
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time with Baker Mayfield putting the extra rest to good use to heal up his injured hip and the team, in general, needing some time to figure out what’s wrong. Unfortunately, their welcome back party is being crashed by the league’s best defense. It is almost unfathomable that the Patriots have allowed one passing touchdown against 18 interceptions. They’ve allowed 48 points on the season, pitching two shutouts and holding two other teams to three points.

Mayfield is well off the starting radar and it’s hard to say Odell Beckham Jr. is an auto-start either. Beckham has finished better than WR35 just twice this season. If you choose to start him this week, you are doing so on name brand alone because facing off with Stephon Gilmore is a recipe for disaster. I know the Patriots have faced arguably the easiest schedule in NFL history thus far, but Gilmore ranks top two in coverage rating, catch rate allowed, fantasy points per snap allowed, and fantasy points per target allowed.

If anyone is going to be a fantasy producer, it will likely be Jarvis Landry. He’s run 62% of his routes from the slot and will avoid the Patriots’ best cornerback. With negative game script likely, the Browns should be throwing. We can be sure the Patriots’ defense is good, but it is entirely possible a real offense can do something against them. The Browns are, by far, the best team they have faced (which is admittedly a low bar). With two weeks to prepare, hopefully Freddie Kitchens has cooked up something innovative.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: No one runs against the Patriots because teams are always trailing so quickly. The good news for Nick Chubb is he has been very involved in the passing game. Chubb has seen at least four targets in all but one game this season. The Patriots have only allowed two rushing touchdowns this season. Chubb is a monster at the goal line, but this week looks more like a floor play than a ceiling one. Better weeks are ahead for Chubb, but even so, if you have him, you start him.

Value Meter:
RB2: Nick Chubb (mid-range)
WR3: Odell Beckham Jr.
WR3: Jarvis Landry
Bench: Baker Mayfield

Passing Game Thoughts: Tom Brady’s fantasy production rests entirely on whether he scores the touchdowns or if Sony Michel falls into the end zone three times like last week. The Browns have been decent against the pass, but they’ve also allowed 12 passing touchdowns. The Patriots just acquired Mohamed Sanu, although it is unlikely he is very involved during his first game with the team. His acquisition will soon render Jakobi Meyers irrelevant. Julian Edelman will continue to command double digit targets and Phillip Dorsett remains an excellent deep threat.

Josh Gordon’s season is over due to his knee injury. Ben Watson was active for the first time last season and played 76% of the snaps, seeing five targets. He’s at least a desperation streaming option at a terrible position. The Patriots have scored an inordinate number of their touchdowns on the ground. Regression is coming. This could be a week where Brady throws for three scores. He’s a surefire top 12 play this week.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: Sony Michel is still one of the least talented running backs in the NFL. He was completely ineffective last week. Fortunately for fantasy owners, he scored three times. Impressively, he barely cracked 20 fantasy points despite three touchdowns. Michel is the quintessential touchdown or bust option. The Patriots score a lot of points and are two score favorites this week. Game script once again should favor Michel. I have a feeling this is a Brady week, but if you have Michel, it is difficult to bench him given the touchdown upside.

The Browns have been weak against the run, allowing 5.0 yards per carry, but Michel is nowhere near good enough to exploit that. James White will continue to be the safest of the Patriots’ running backs. He saw eight targets last week, which was actually his lowest number in the past month. White only has one touchdown on the season, but you start him for his floor, which remains intact this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (mid-range)
RB2: James White (mid-range, ppr)
WR2: Julian Edelman (mid-range)
Flex: Sony Michel, Phillip Dorsett
Bench: Mohamed Sanu

Prediction: Patriots 27, Browns 17 ^ Top

Raiders @ Texans - (Green)
Line: HOU -7.0
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Oakland's two-game winning streak came to a screeching halt at Lambeau Field last Sunday, though it might not have been as lopsided as it seemed with a handful of key plays turning a tight game into a blowout. Derek Carr was mostly good, completing 22 of 28 passes for 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he turned the ball over twice in the red zone. Mike Glennon came on with the game out of hand and tossed a garbage-time TD to cut a 25-point lead to 18.

With Tyrell Williams (foot) out due to plantar fasciitis, Jon Gruden's game plan revolved around the tight ends, most notably Darren Waller, who looked unstoppable in racking up 126 yards and two TDs on seven receptions—one of those TDs came from Glennon, which was pure stat padding, but he also had an earlier score erased on penalty. Rookie Foster Moreau caught a touchdown pass as well and seems like a player on the rise.

On the outside, Williams' absence meant Oakland's top WRs were Trevor Davis and Keelan Doss of Hard Knocks fame. Both played respectably, and Davis has done some nice things since being acquired from the Packers, but the team is hopeful Williams can return from injury in Week 8.

Defensively, Houston is in disarray in the secondary due to numerous injuries. In an effort to shore up the position, the Texans acquired former first-round pick Gareon Conley from Oakland this week. You can bet he'll be looking to stick it to his former club, but I like Carr's upside here, especially if Williams is up.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: Josh Jacobs (shoulder) left the field Sunday for a couple of plays due to a shoulder injury but returned to rush for 124 yards on 21 carries. On the downside he was stoned inside the five-yard line multiple times, including fourth-and-goal from the one, and came away with no touchdowns. It turns out that injury wasn't minor, either, and there's legitimate concern that the rookie will be out this week.

Without Jacobs, the running game would go through DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard with Washington likely serving as the primary ball carrier. Houston is fourth against the run this season, so I'd expect the Raiders to attack via the pass whether Jacobs is active or not.

Value Meter:
QB2: Derek Carr
RB1/RB2: Josh Jacobs
WR3: Tyrell Williams (if healthy)
TE1: Darren Waller

Passing Game Thoughts: There's no disputing Deshaun Watson's ability, but it'd be nice to see a little more consistency from him on a weekly basis. For the year he has three games with three or more TD passes and four with one or zero. He's also been held to less than 175 yards passing twice. Logic says Watson should be in for a big game this Sunday against a Raiders defense that can't generate much of a pass rush, just traded a starting CB and got demolished by Aaron Rodgers for six TDs in Week 7.

If there's a negative for Houston's passing outlook this week it's Will Fuller (hamstring) being expected to miss multiple weeks after yet another injury. For all his talent, Fuller just cannot stay on the field. That loss should mean more targets for DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills and probably Keke Coutee as well. Hopkins was a WR1 already, so there's no change there. As for Stills, he enters the WR3 zone as a deep threat, while Coutee is more of a watch list guy—both Stills and Coutee have had durability woes of their own.

While not having Fuller hurts, the Raiders seem ill equipped to handle the remaining Texans wideouts after facing the Packers minus Davante Adams with minimal success. Oakland is second-to-last in passing yards allowed (289.8 yards per game) and trading away a starter probably won't help.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: Houston ran for 100 yards against the Colts last Sunday, but Carlos Hyde's 35 yards led the team, followed by Duke Johnson (34) and Watson (32). Although most NFL teams like to maintain a run/pass balance, the Texans could choose to follow Green Bay's playbook—the Packers called 15 runs to 31 passes before the final two possessions—and let Watson attack. To their credit, Oakland ranks fifth in the league in run defense.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson
RB3: Carlos Hyde
Flex: Duke Johnson
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
WR3: Kenny Stills
Bench: Keke Coutee, Will Fuller (hamstring)

Prediction: Texans 27, Raiders 24 ^ Top

Packers @ Chiefs - (Caron)
Line: GB -3.5
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Critics of Aaron Rodgers have been silenced - at least for one week - as the former multi-time NFL Most Valuable Player lit up the scoreboard with a gigantic five touchdown performance against the Raiders in Week 7. He did this despite being without his top target, wide receiver Davante Adams. Rodgers has now shot himself back into the mid-level QB1 range on the season and he looks poised to have another nice fantasy day here in Week 8 against a middle-of-the-road Kansas City secondary.

While Rodgers was extremely efficient himself this past week, it seems pretty obvious that he does not have a “favorite receiver” with Adams out. Despite throwing 31 passes in Week 7, Rodgers did not target a single receiver more than five times in the game and he targeted eight different receivers, all of whom saw at least two targets come their way. That makes every member of this Green Bay passing game very risky and probably not worth starting in most seasonal formats. The one exception is tight end Jimmy Graham, who despite having practically no floor is at least a decent red zone threat while the Packers are without Adams.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: He hasn’t traditionally been known as a big time pass catching weapon, but Aaron Jones has really excelled as a receiver so far this season and he now ranks in the top 10 in the league among running backs in receptions. That has been extremely helpful for his fantasy floor because he hasn’t been used extremely heavily in the running game, having been held to 13 or fewer carries in all but two contests so far this season. Some of that comes due to the fact that the Packers are utilizing Jamaal Williams fairly regularly as a runner, but it also just has to do with the team leaning more heavily on their passing game.

Jones has been the better fantasy play most weeks, but these two backs continue to vulture one another’s touches and that makes Jones difficult to trust as an RB1 on a weekly basis. The duo does have a juicy matchup this week, however, as they’ll be up against a 99 or more rushing yards to a single opposing running back in all but two games this season. The Chiefs did, however, hold the Broncos’ duo of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, which is more similar to the Packers than almost any, to just 71 rushing yards this past week.

Still, Jones is a high-end RB2 in this matchup with RB1 upside as long as he gets the carries in the red zone. Williams should probably remain on fantasy benches but he has a decent opportunity for a touchdown and could be useful as a Flex particularly in non-PPR formats.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers
RB2: Aaron Jones (high-end)
TE1: Jimmy Graham (low-end)
Flex: Jamaal Williams
Bench: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow

Passing Game Thoughts: The knee injury to Patrick Mahomes was the biggest story throughout the league this past week as the reigning NFL MVP is expected to miss a few weeks. Mahomes leaves behind a talent-rich offense that is absolutely loaded with firepower at every position, but one that might be dialed back quite a few notches now that the team will be turning to veteran Matt Moore.

Moore isn’t completely incompetent but he certainly doesn’t bring the physical ability that Mahomes does to the offense and that will likely lead to fewer downfield looks to the likes of Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson, all of whom have had some of their best fantasy days of the season due to the deep passing ability that Mahomes possesses. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is also expected back this week which further clutters the target distribution, making Robinson and Hardman expendable in most leagues.

Hill is still a dynamic enough player to be considered a WR1 this week even in a relatively difficult matchup against the Packers, but he’s the only wide receiver in the Kansas City offense who we should be starting in weekly formats right now, at least until we see Moore establish a connection with one of the other pass catchers.

Tight end Travis Kelce has now failed to score a touchdown or reach the 100-yard mark since he did both all the way back in Week 2. Still, even with that odd elite-level scoring drought, Kelce remains the third-highest-scoring tight end on the season and he’ll face a Packers defense that just got done surrendering 172 yards and three touchdowns to the Raiders’ trio of tight ends led by Darren Waller’s seven catches for 126 yards and two scores. With the Chiefs offense unlikely to be looking to stretch the field as much as usual, that could mean more targets for Kelce so there might not be as big of a drop off in his fantasy scoring as some might be expecting without Mahomes.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: With Damien Williams having failed to reach even 30 rushing yards in a single game yet this season, it’s now all but locked in that LeSean McCoy is by far and away the better fantasy option in this backfield. It hasn’t always meant huge production for McCoy, but the touches have been there most weeks and he’s been in an offense that’s moving the ball down the field enough to give him plenty of touchdown opportunities.

It might be a bit more difficult for McCoy this week, however, as the Packers defense will almost certainly be focused on keeping the Chiefs’ running game in check with Mahomes sidelined. The “dare Matt Moore to beat us” strategy would seem to be a wise one and it could lead to more stacked boxes and less room for these Kansas City backs to show off their athleticism.

McCoy is a low-end RB2 at best in this game but he’s a solid flex option given that he should see 15 or more touches against the Packers here in Week 8.

Value Meter:
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce
Flex: LeSean McCoy
Bench: Matt Moore, Damien Williams, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle

Prediction: Packers 27, Chiefs 23 ^ Top

Dolphins @ Steelers - (Swanson)
Line: PIT -14.5
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The schedule makers for Monday Night Football must be kicking themselves over scheduling this dreadful matchup between an 0-6 Dolphins team and a Steelers team without Ben Roethlisberger.

The last time the Dolphins and the Steelers played on MNF was the infamous mud field goal game in which the Steelers beat Miami 3-0 on a rain-soaked field. The Dolphins would go on to finish 1-15 on the season- something that may well happen again in 2019.

Miami is tied with the Jets for dead last in points per game (10.5). They are second or dead last in nearly every single offensive stat, including yards per game, time of possession, and both rushing and passing yards. There is nothing to like about this team, except for the fact that they are skilled at tanking for Tua.

Despite the wasteland of terrible play that is the 2019 Miami Dolphins, there are a couple of very faint bright spots on the offense, at least in the passing game. Former first-round bust DeVante Parker has quietly put up low-end No.2 WR points, and rookie Preston Williams has flashed some skill from time to time with Ryan Fitzpatrick slinging the ball around effortlessly and without care.

Pittsburgh is going to win this game going away. In fact, it is going to be an ugly blowout with the Steeler defense likely scoring a touchdown or two. But for fantasy purposes, the blowout means passing opportunities for Fitzmagic throughout the second half and garbage time chances for both Parker and Williams.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: The running game outlook for fantasy owners is not as optimistic as it is for the receiving options in the passing game. The projected negative game script of a Steelers blowout could spell death for Kenyon Drake, Mark Walton and Kalen Ballage.

Walton rushed a season-high 14 times last week against Buffalo, for 66 yards and no touchdowns. It was the largest rushing total on the season and the most rushes a Dolphins running back has received all year.

Conversely, the Steelers have been stout against the run this season, with no opposing running back topping 100 yards and only two RBs reaching paydirt. Sony Michel managed only 14 yards on 15 carries Week 1, and Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler were equally dreadful Week 6 with a combined 32 yards on 13 carries.

Hopefully, you have other options than a running back in Miami. If not, go with Walton, with the assumption he will get the lions share of carries again.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ryan Fitzpatrick (Low-End)
RB3: Mark Walton (Low-End)
WR3: DeVante Parker (Low-End)
WR4: Preston Williams (Low-End)
TE2: Mike Gesicki (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Mason Rudolph is set to return to the field after a terrifying concussion against the Ravens in Week 5 in which the former Oklahoma State star passed out before he hit the ground. Devlin Hodges played adequately in his stead, leading the Steelers to a 24017 victory over the Chargers before the bye.
Chances are fantasy owners, unless they are in a two-quarterback league, are not considering playing Rudolph against the Dolphins. Sure, the matchup is about as good as it gets on paper, but there is also the scenario in which the Steelers defense and the ground game dominate the Phins, leaving Rudolph with a less than stellar fantasy day.

JuJu Smith-Schuster owners, on the other hand, will most definitely want to play their wide receiver, hoping to earn back some of the expensive draft capital that was thrown in the garbage when Big Ben blew out his elbow.

Miami has allowed an amazing 11 touchdowns to wide receivers this year and three games of at least 20 fantasy points. The players have quit. They could care less about winning, and for the most part, every No.1 wideout who has played Miami has at least a touchdown or 80 yards.

Diontae Johnson is an interesting play this week as a home run sleeper with massive upside. In the previous two games with Mason Rudolph, the rookie from Toledo had 11 catches for 104 yards and a score. It is not out of the realm of possibility that he once again sneaks behind the secondary and posts a long touchdown grab.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: James Conner owners will go to bed on Sunday night dreaming of touchdowns, blown tackles, and half-hearted effort by the Dolphins in what is by far the best matchup of the season for the stud running back.

Conner plays big at home and big in primetime, giving fantasy owners hope that he is going to destroy a defense that gives up the most points to opposing running backs. In just six games this season, the Dolphins have allowed nine total touchdowns and 1103 total yards.

Let that sink in a bit. The Dolphins allow an average of 183 total yards and 1.5 touchdowns a game to opposing running backs. It will be a disappointment if Conner does not reach 100 total yards and a score.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mason Rudolph (Low-End)
RB1: James Conner (High-End)
WR2: JuJu Smith-Schuster (Low-End)
WR4: Diontae Johnson (Low-End)
TE1: Vance McDonald (Low-End)

Prediction: Pittsburgh 34, Miami 10 ^ Top