- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Falcons @ Panthers
- (Swanson) Line: CAR -2.5 Total: 49.5
Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan started the season on fire and
appeared to be one of the steals of the draft with two 30-point
games against Seattle and Dallas. Ryan threw for a combined six
passing touchdowns and 713 yards in those games, making Calvin
Ridley’s breakout third season a reality and Julio Jones
a PPR monster.
To the chagrin of fantasy managers of Ryan and all of the skill
position players on the Falcons, Ryan has six total passing touchdowns
in his five games, including two games in which he failed to throw
a single passing touchdown.
Jones missed two of those games in which Ryan struggled, including
the Week 5 matchup at home against the Panthers. Ryan threw for
a season-low 226 yards and no touchdowns against Carolina in what
appeared to be a good matchup, leaving fantasy managers wondering
if he should be dropped.
With Jones back in the lineup, Ryan stormed back with 371 passing
yards in his last two games and five passing touchdowns. Will
Ryan continue his recent surge, or will a hobbled Jones (who missed
practice on Tuesday) not be enough to keep Carolina’s young
secondary at bay.
No other team in the NFL had more turnover in their defensive
unit than the Panthers, leaving many to wonder if they would be
one of the worst in the league. Running the ball continues to
be the way to beat this defense, but the young secondary of Sam
Franklin, Jeremy Chinn, and Kenny Robinson has played well along
with veterans Eli Apple and Tre Boston.
You are starting Jones if he plays, Ridley is always a start,
and tight Hayden Hurst has been playing better as of late and
could have a nice day against a Panthers defense that has allowed
three receiving TDs to tight ends.
But don’t be surprised to see this as a big day for the
Atlanta ground game and Todd Gurley. Only the Texans, Packers,
Raiders, and Lions have given up more points to opposing running
backs, leading us to believe that interim head coach Raheem Morris
will try to ground and pound this game like they did last week
against the Lions.
Some injuries to keep an eye on in this game are wide receivers
Russell Gage and Julio Jones, along with offensive linemen Alex
Mack and Kaleb McGary. All four players were limited in practice
on Monday and Tuesday, and all four should be considered questionable.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: According to ProFootballFocus.com, Todd
Gurley ranks 46th out of 55 eligible running backs in 2020. Fortunately
for fantasy owners, the grading system for PFF gives us an idea
of the overall grade for a player, and that does not always correlate
to fantasy production.
Gurley may not look impressive to PFF.com, but he has been great
for fantasy managers, ranking 13th in fantasy points per game.
Gurley is averaging more points per game that Josh Jacobs, Joe
Mixon, James Conner, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, all of whom were
taken ahead of him in drafts based on ADP.
Gurley continues to find the end zone and is a massive threat
to score in this game. His only 100-yard game came against the
Panthers when the two teams faced off back in Week 5, and Gurley
also posted his best receiving day of the season (albeit just
four catches for 29 yards) vs. the Panthers.
Start Gurley with confidence in what could be another multi-score
game. Brian Hill could be an option in very deep 14-team leagues
as a change of pace/receiving back, but he is not getting enough
snaps in any other format.
Game Thoughts: Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers host
the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football in what could be
an excellent matchup for the veteran quarterback. Not only did
Bridgewater post one of his biggest games of the season against
the Falcons back in Week 5, but he could also get some reinforcements
at running back with the possible return of Christian McCaffrey.
Only the Seahawks have given up more fantasy points to opposing
quarterbacks than the Falcons, and every quarterback except Matthew
Stafford managed to post multiple touchdowns against Atlanta.
Only A.J. Brown and Chase Claypool have scored more fantasy points
than D.J. Moore over the last three weeks. Moore has posted exactly
93 yards in each of his last three games, including a 93/2 game
last week against the Saints. All three of Moore’s touchdowns
have come in the last three weeks, including a score against Atlanta
back in Week 5.
You can also start Robby Anderson with confidence, and Mike Davis/CMC
will be busy in the passing game against a team that is second
in receptions allowed to running backs. Atlanta has been bad against
receiving backs over the past few seasons and continues to be
a source of fantasy points for pass-catching backs in 2020.
Curtis Samuel returned to the field last week and promptly scored
on a rushing touchdown against the Saints. Although he played
in just 22 (48%) of snaps, Samuel had one more target than Moore
and could be a waiver option for owners in need of an upside player.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: Christian McCaffrey returned to practice
on Monday in a non-contact jersey. According to head coach Matt
Rhule, CMC is still not a lock to play in this game, and when
he does return, Mike Davis will still be used as the team gets
CMC back up to speed.
If you are a CMC owner and he is active, you are most likely
playing him. The Falcons rank 20th in points allowed to running
backs and would be much higher on the list if they weren’t
absolutely awful against quarterbacks and receivers. Even a limited
CMC is worth a start in this matchup - just don’t expect
a monster game because Davis will be involved as well.
Davis owners should also plug in their running back in this matchup
as a solid running back two or flex. Last week’s disappointing
3.6-point game against the Saints was the first time this season
as CMC’s fill-in where Davis did not score a touchdown.
An injury to left tackle Russell Okung is something to keep an
eye on for the Panthers ground game. Okung suffered a calf injury
against the Saints and did not practice on Monday or Tuesday.
Atlanta Defensive end Takk McKinley did not practice on Tuesday
with a groin injury. His absence on the defensive line would be
a big boost for both the passing and running game for the Panthers.
Steelers @ Ravens
- (Green) Line: BAL -4.0 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: In last week's battle of undefeated teams,
Ben Roethlisberger started fast before a rough second half that
included three interceptions. He finished with 268 yards passing
and two TDs, which is similar to his per-game averages of 241
yards and 2.2 TDs this season. The veteran had been exceedingly
careful with the ball to this point, but Sunday was a reminder
that Big Ben will take chances when he thinks they're warranted.
Against a familiar foe this Sunday, Roethlisberger is a QB2.
Perhaps the most illuminating aspect of Week 7 was who got the
targets in a game with playoff implications. JuJu Smith-Schuster,
who hadn't topped 50 yards since Week 1, was targeted 14 times
and finished with nine catches for 85 yards. Diontae Johnson was
the other primary target, catching nine of his team-high 15 targets
for 80 yards and two scores. Meanwhile, rookie Chase Claypool
caught just one pass for minus-two yards. It's important to note
that nearly all of Claypool's production came with Johnson injured,
so that's something to monitor in the coming weeks.
In at least a mild surprise, Eric Ebron was the clear No. 3 target
with six receptions and 50 yards on eight targets. The Ravens
are 14th in the NFL against the pass, giving up 230.8 yards per
game. They can apply pressure, though, with 22 sacks, and only
three teams have surrendered fewer touchdown passes. It's a bit
of a mess when it comes to sorting out value for Pittsburgh's
pass catchers, but consider Smith-Schuster a WR2, Johnson a WR3
and Claypool more of a flex. Ebron can be deployed as a low-end
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: A disturbing trend has been developing
over the past two weeks as Benny Snell has rushed for two TDs
on eight carries versus one TD in 40 for James Conner. We have
an emerging touchdown vulture, the most reviled of fantasy entities,
serving to diminish Conner's value while not creating standalone
appeal. Baltimore is yielding 109 rushing yards per game this
season (tied for 10th), though at 4.6 yards per clip they can't
be considered dominant. View Conner as an RB2.
Game Thoughts: In what has been a mostly quiet season
for the reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson is coming off his best all-around
game, passing for 186 yards and rushing for 108 to go with two
total TDs in Week 6. He'll be rested as he tries to navigate the
Steelers' relentless pass rush. A year ago Pittsburgh made life
miserable on Jackson, sacking him five times and forcing three
INTs in their lone meeting (RG3 started in Week 17). Despite a
tough matchup and poor history, Jackson is still a QB1.
Nothing has changed in terms of pass catchers. Mark Andrews is
still a solid TE1, though with only 20 receptions his value fluctuates
significantly on whether or not he scores. Marquise Brown has
been better recently, averaging 73 receiving yards per game over
his last three; he's well suited to be a WR3. It's worth noting
that Baltimore signed Dez Bryant to the practice squad, though
he hasn't played a game since 2017.
Pittsburgh has yielded 217.5 passing yards per game this season,
good enough for sixth in the NFL. They also lead the league in
sacks (26) and are tied for fifth in INTs. While it's a tough
matchup for Jackson, the rearranged schedule definitely created
an advantage for Baltimore in terms of rest and preparation.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: Baltimore's ground game has been a mess
for fantasy owners, and now Mark Ingram's status is up in the
air after he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 6. He hasn't
practiced yet, and appears to be in danger of missing the game.
If Ingram sits, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards will see more work.
Edwards has primarily been the mop-up guy, but in a tough divisional
matchup would the Ravens prefer his experience over the rookie
Perhaps it doesn't matter. The Steelers are allowing just 68.8
rushing yards per game on the season and 3.4 yards per rush --
both of which rank second in the NFL. Still, keep an eye on Ingram's
status. If he can go, he's an RB3/flex. If he can't, consider
rolling with Dobbins at roughly the same value.
Colts @ Lions
- (Green) Line: IND -2.5 Total: 50.5
Game Thoughts: Even if they weren't publicly admitting
it, the Colts had to be asking themselves whether or not they'd
be better off with Jacoby Brissett after Philip Rivers put together
some shaky performances to open the season. In Week 6, Rivers
issued a reminder that he could still make some plays when called
upon, passing for 371 yards and three TDs in overcoming a 21-point
deficit to defeat the Bengals. It wasn't enough to erase an underwhelming
first five games, but it was at least a step in the right direction
for the veteran.
Incredibly, of Rivers' 29 completions, just one went to theoretical
No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton for 11 yards. The 30-year-old is averaging
just 40 receiving yards per game this year and hasn't scored a
touchdown since Oct. 20, 2019. He's still the most playable of
the group, though Marcus Johnson (5-108-0 in Week 6) has made
some noise. If he has a good game against the Lions he might warrant
waiver consideration. Trey Burton (4-58-1) has also officially
replaced early-season sensation Mo Alie-Cox as the top receiving
tight end in Indianapolis.
Detroit ranks 20th against the pass this season, allowing 248.7
passing yards per game, though it gets a boost from opponents'
willingness to attack them on the ground. The secondary is a suspect
group, but at least first-round pick Jeff Okudah is getting some
valuable experience. While the pass rush is also an issue, the
Lions hope the addition of Everson Griffen will help there.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Jonathan Taylor has generated workmanlike
production since assuming the primary role following the loss
of Marlon Mack. In five starts, the rookie is averaging 88 total
yards per game and has scored three TDs. He's complemented by
Nyheim Hines, who has a 23-246-1 line as a receiver on the year.
The Lions shut down Atlanta's run game last week, allowing just
66 yards on 26 carries, but even after that Detroit still sits
26th in the league with 131.8 rushing yards allowed per game for
the year. That makes Taylor a high-upside RB2 and Hines a flex.
Game Thoughts: Had it been any other opponent on the
other side of the field, Matthew Stafford would've watched on
helplessly as they kicked a game-winning chip shot as time expired.
Since it was Atlanta, however, they blew it, scoring a TD that
the Lions defense actively conceded and allowing Stafford to march
down the field and find T.J. Hockenson on the game's final play.
That gaffe not only saved the Lions, it saved Stafford from a
forgettable performance: he had 265 passing yards and no TDs on
the day prior to the last drive.
Even with that, Stafford is averaging 263 passing yards and 1.67
TDs per game on the season. Initially there was some thought that
the return of Kenny Golladay (6-114-0 in Week 7) would push Stafford
back toward his 2019 production, but that hasn't been the case
as this version of the Lions has at least been respectable running
the ball. That arrangement has left Golladay as the only weekly
play in the passing game and all but removed Marvin Jones from
the fantasy landscape -- for the year, Jones is averaging three
catches and 38 yards per game.
One bright spot has been the development of Hockenson (5-59-1),
who has caught a TD pass in three straight games and achieved
low-end TE1 status. After facing a porous Falcons secondary in
Week 7, this group will face a much stiffer test from the Colts,
which rank second in the NFL in passing yards allowed (199.7 per
game) and are the only team in the league with more interceptions
than TD passes allowed.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: Early on it looked as though the Lions
intended for Adrian Peterson to be the primary back, but in recent
weeks it has turned into more of a split with second-rounder D'Andre
Swift. In two games since the bye, Peterson has run 26 times for
69 yards and a touchdown while Swift has posted a 23-143-3 line
(and added seven catches for 28 yards). The Colts don't give up
much on the ground; they rank third in the NFL in yards per game
(88.3) and per carry (3.5). That leaves Swift with RB3 appeal
and AD as more of a flex.
Game Thoughts: In Week 5, the Vikings were one play away
from toppling the then-unbeaten Seahawks. Any goodwill that might've
generated was discarded one week later when Kirk Cousins tossed
three interceptions in a 40-23 defeat to the winless Falcons in
a game that wasn't even that close. That gives Cousins 10 INTs
on the year, which is tied with Carson Wentz for the most in the
NFL. While Cousins has salvaged his fantasy value here and there
with garbage-time production, he isn't someone to rely on in your
Despite that, Adam Thielen (32-415-7) is a bona fide No. 1 receiver,
both in the NFL and fantasy sense. He caught six passes for 110
yards and two scores in Week 1 against the Packers, though most
of that came in the fourth quarter. Expect Thielen to draw a lot
of attention from Jaire Alexander, who has become of the league's
top corners. Rookie Justin Jefferson has hit on a lot of big plays
and is averaging 19.2 yards per catch on the year. With Kevin
King (quad) unlikely to play, Jefferson might be in position for
a big game in Week 8. Consider Thielen a WR2 this week and Jefferson
Following a very slow start, Irv Smith has caught eight passes
for 119 yards over his last two games combined. He's a watch-list
candidate for anyone with an underperforming or injured tight
end. Green Bay is 18th in the NFL against the pass, surrendering
240.3 yards per game. The long-held belief, though, is the way
to beat the Packers is to run on them, so expect Minnesota to
try that approach first.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: While Alexander Mattison has looked impressive
spelling Dalvin Cook (calf) in games, his first start didn't go
according to plan as the Falcons held him to just 26 yards on
10 carries. Coming off of the bye, Cook is expected to return
this Sunday; back in Week 1, he ran 12 times for 50 yards and
two TDs against the Packers. Although Green Bay sits a respectable
12th against the run this year (110 yards per game), they're 20th
in yards per carry (4.6). If Cook plays, he's an RB1. If not,
Mattison slides in as an RB2/RB3.
Game Thoughts: Not much went right for the Packers in
Tampa Bay, and they went into Houston missing some key pieces
on offense. It didn't matter. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams
were locked in from the first whistle as AR12 connected on 23
of 34 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns -- it was his fifth
game this season with multiple TD passes and no interceptions.
Protection is the key for Rodgers, who was sacked just three times
in those five games combined. That includes Week 1 when he threw
for 364 yards and four scores without being sacked against Minnesota.
Of Rodgers' 283 passing yards last week, Adams collected 196
of them along with a pair of touchdowns. It was his best game
since the first meeting with the Vikings when he had 14 receptions
for 156 yards and two touchdowns. After that it's a bit of a mess.
For the second straight season a solid start for Marquez Valdes-Scantling
has fizzled, and he went without a catch last week. Allen Lazard
(core) hasn't played since Week 3 following core surgery; he's
back at practice this week, but it's unclear if he'll play Sunday.
What we do know is that Rodgers and Adams rank as QB1 and WR1,
Robert Tonyan (ankle) hasn't done much since his huge Monday
night performance back in Week 4, but he seems to be getting healthier
after tweaking his ankle versus Tampa Bay. Still, he's a tough
sell for a starting slot. Minnesota's young secondary has really
struggled this year, allowing 286.7 passing yards per game (29th
in the NFL). They also traded away Yannick Ngakoue during the
bye; Ngakoue had five of the team's 13 sacks.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: With Aaron Jones (calf) held out with
a mild calf strain, Jamaal Williams stepped in and racked up 114
total yards and a touchdown against the Texans last Sunday. While
Jones' injury is not considered serious, the Packers tend to be
highly conservative in holding out their players, so it's no sure
thing that Jones plays in Week 8. If he does, he's an RB1. If
Williams gets the nod again, he becomes an RB2 (he'd be a flex
play if Jones is up). The Vikings are 22nd in the NFL in rushing
yardage allowed at 127 yards per game.
Patriots at Bills
- (Katz) Line: BUF -3.5 Total: 41.5
Game Thoughts: For the better part of 20 years, the Patriots
were a fantasy gold mine. Midway through the 2020 season and there
is not a single Patriot worth starting in fantasy. I’m not
even sure if there’s anyone worth rostering. Cam Newton
scored fewer fantasy points last week than you did sitting on
your couch. Since his elite QB1 outing against the Seahawks, Newton’s
passing numbers dropped from 162 to 157 to just 98 yards last
week. He’s thrown one touchdown against six interceptions
in that span.
Julian Edelman can be dropped as he’s averaged two receptions
per game the past four games and is now out multiple weeks with
a surprise knee injury. N’Keal Harry is not an NFL player.
Damiere Byrd is real life rotational WR4. Jakobi Meyers should
be on a practice squad.
The Bills have a soft pass defense, allowing 271 passing yards
and two passing touchdowns per game, but I don’t know how
anyone can trust Newton this week. He has no one to throw to.
He’s running less. He’s pressing because no one is
open, leading to turnovers. The Patriots look like a bottom five
team and they very well may be.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Despite extreme negative game script,
James White played just 19% of the snaps last week. Both Rex Burkhead
and Damien Harris crested the 40% mark, but it doesn’t matter.
This team can’t score any points. Harris still leads the
team in carries every week so if you need someone in non-PPR to
get you 6-8 points, I guess Harris is useful for that. The reality
is the Patriots are a fantasy wasteland and there’s simply
no reason to be starting anyone on this team.
Game Thoughts: It’s been a down couple weeks for
Josh Allen, but I wouldn’t go worrying just yet. Allen actually
threw for 307 yards last week while completing 70% of his passes
while adding 61 yards on the ground. He was just unable to find
the end zone. Allen has been terrible in his three career starts
against the Patriots, but I do believe this is a different Josh
Allen. The Patriots have allowed the third fewest fantasy points
per game to quarterbacks at just 15.2. I don’t see a world
where you sit Allen, but perhaps this won’t be the game
he returns to first quarter of the season status.
Stefon Diggs may see a lot of Stephon Gilmore, who is the catalyst
behind the Patriots allowing just 18.7 fantasy points per game
to outside receivers. John Brown is practicing this week so hopefully
he plays. As the guy likely avoiding Gilmore, he could be the
better fantasy asset this week. Gabriel Davis saw just three targets
despite playing 95% of the snaps last week. He’s on the
field as an every down player with Brown misses, but he’s
not particularly reliable. Cole Beasley had a strong game last
week and now faces a Patriots team that leads the NFL in percentage
of targets to the slot. He’s worth considering this week,
especially if Brown is out.
With the entire Bills’ tight end group sans Tyler Kroft
out due to Covid protocols, Kroft actually had a pretty strong
day. He had 64 yards on four receptions and should’ve scored
had he not gone full Daniel Jones racing down the sidelines for
an easy TD. If Dawson Knox can’t play this week, Kroft is
back on the streaming radar at a depleted position.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Sean McDermott is getting a bit tired
of Devin Singletary. His snap count decreased from 75% in Week
6 to 54% last week. In Week 4, Singletary touched the ball 23
times. In Week 5, that number dropped to 12. In Week 6, it fell
to 11, And in Week 7, Singletary touched the ball 10 times. Three
consecutive weeks he’s been nonviable for fantasy. Zack
Moss hasn’t impressed either, but he played a season high
47% of the snaps last week and the team wants him to be good since
they drafted him. The Patriots allow 132 rushing yards per game
and are more vulnerable on the ground through the air, but the
Bills don’t have a running back you can trust at the moment.
Titans @ Bengals
- (Green) Line: TEN -5.5 Total: 53.0
Game Thoughts: Tennessee lost for the first time this
season in Week 7, falling to fellow unbeaten Pittsburgh, 27-24,
when Stephen Gostkowski's game-tying attempt drifted wide. Faced
with perhaps the NFL's most physical defense, Ryan Tannehill stood
tall and passed for 220 yards and two TDs while absorbing just
two sacks. The 32-year-old has definitively answered whether or
not the close to 2019 was a fluke and has moved into QB1 territory
by virtue of averaging 265 passing yards and 2.5 TDs over the
club's first half-dozen games.
His top target is A.J. Brown (6-153-1 in Week 7), who has shaken
off an early setback to post 293 yards and four touchdowns in
three games since returning from injury. Former first-round pick
Corey Davis (6-35-1) was back on the field as well last Sunday
after missing two games on the COVID list. While Davis had some
moments early on, he's more of a flex option whereas Brown is
a WR2 hovering in the vicinity of WR1 status. Jonnu Smith (1-9-0)
also carries some fantasy appeal even though he's posted back-to-back
The Bengals haven't been great against the pass this year, yielding
261.4 yards per game through the air, but they really bottomed
out a week ago when they let a struggling Baker Mayfield eviscerate
them for five touchdowns. They traded all-time sack leader Carlos
Dunlap this week, though he'd fallen out of favor and grown unhappy,
so perhaps that move will be addition by subtraction.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: Pittsburgh's run defense did an admirable
job in slowing Derrick Henry last Sunday as they held him to 75
yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. It's not the first time that
Henry has had to grind out tough yards as he's averaged fewer
than 4.0 yards per carry in four of six games this year. Things
are looking up in that regard this weekend with the Bengals allowing
4.9 yards per rush on the year and 133.7 yards per game (28th
in the NFL). Henry is always a must-start RB1, but he might be
the No. 1 play in all of fantasy football this Sunday.
Game Thoughts: By any measure, other than wins, Joe Burrow's
rookie year has been a resounding success. He put together his
best game statistically in Week 7, hitting on 35 of 47 passes
for 406 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. He also did his
first meaningful bit of running since Week 1 as he gained 34 yards
on six rushes and scored his third TD of 2020 on the ground. With
Burrow averaging nearly 42 passes a game he has become a legitimate
QB1 candidate in neutral and plus matchups. One point of concern:
six of Burrow's nine TDs passes came in his two games against
With the development of Tee Higgins (5-71-1 in Week 7) and resurrection
of A.J. Green (7-82-0), Cincinnati suddenly features three playable
wideouts. Tyler Boyd (11-101-1) continues to lead the charge from
the slot, carrying WR2 value, while Higgins has become more of
a big-play threat (team-high 15.2 YPC) as a WR3. Even with the
focus on getting Green involved, he's operating as more of a chain
mover and has yet to score this season. That makes Green a low-end
WR3 or a flex.
While some might still associate the Titans with grind-it-out
offense and a tough D, that really hasn't been their M.O. this
season. In fact, Tennessee is 26th against the pass through six
games (272 yards allowed per game), and they have really struggled
to get after the quarterback with only Jacksonville and Carolina
recording fewer sacks thus far than the Titans. This is a high-upside
matchup for Burrow and company.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: With Joe Mixon (foot) out of action last
Sunday due to a foot injury, Giovani Bernard was the primary back.
The veteran ran 13 times for just 37 yards but did add 59 yards
and a touchdown as a receiver out of the backfield. If Mixon returns,
he could be slotted into your lineup as a RB2. If not, Bernard
might offer shaky RB3 value given his abilities as a pass catcher.
The Titans have had issues with opposing ground games as well
this year, giving up 129.8 yards rushing per contest (23rd).
Game Thoughts: Given two weeks to bask in their upset
victory over the Chiefs, the Raiders returned to Earth with a
thud last Sunday in a 45-20 loss to Tampa Bay. Derek Carr, who
worked downfield so effectively against KC, saw little success
over the top outside of a 44-yard connection with Nelson Agholor.
When the dust cleared, Carr had completed 24 passes for 284 yards,
2 TDs and an interception; those are decent numbers, but any thought
that Carr was ready to step into a steady QB1 spot need to be
(at least temporarily) placed on hold.
On the outside, the aforementioned Agholor has been the most
dangerous player, leading the team's wideouts in both receiving
yards (292) and touchdowns (four). While Hunter Renfrow offers
value in PPR formats, Agholor is the lone standard-league option
as a shaky WR3 or flex. Inside, it's Darren Waller's world. Waller's
40 receptions are tied with Travis Kelce for most among NFL tight
ends, and Kelce has played in more games. Waller is a top-three
fantasy TE and a weekly start.
Cleveland has struggled badly against the pass this season, and
their 288.1 yards allowed per game via the air are more than every
team except Seattle and Atlanta. While it was noted that Carr
wasn't yet a reliable QB1, it's a role he can fill in the right
matchup, and the Browns certainly qualify for that distinction.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Matched against the NFL's top run defense
last week, the Raiders ran 24 times for 76 yards (and 29 of those
came from Carr and Henry Ruggs). Josh Jacobs is the standard bearer
in Vegas' backfield with just over 19 carries per game on the
year. There haven't been a lot of openings with Jacobs averaging
a measly 3.4 yards per carry, but his frequency of use allows
him to maintain RB2 status. As for the Browns, they're not quite
the Bucs, but they're one of just six teams allowing fewer than
100 yards rushing per game in 2020.
Game Thoughts: Obviously the big news out of Cleveland
this past week was the season-ending injury to Odell Beckham Jr.,
who tore his ACL trying to make a tackle after Baker Mayfield
tossed an early interception. For at least one week the move seemed
to rally the Browns as Mayfield went on to complete 22 of 28 passes
for 297 yards, 5 TDs and that fateful INT as part of a thrilling
37-34 win over Cincinnati. It's still unclear what the long-term
fallout will be, but Mayfield might benefit from not feeling the
need to get Beckham the ball a certain number of times per game.
Minus Beckham, Jarvis Landry moves into the No. 1 role. The veteran
is more of a possession receiver, so he's not a direct replacement
for OBJ, but Landry becomes a weekly fantasy option as a midrange
WR3. The biggest jump in value will likely be Rashard Higgins
(6-110-0 last week), who steps into the starting lineup opposite
Landry. Higgins is worth adding on the waiver wire and could even
be used as a flex in Week 8. Beyond that, Donovan Peoples-Jones
is a watch list candidate.
Austin Hooper didn't play last week due to an emergency appendectomy
and looks likely to be held out this Sunday as the team is off
in Week 9. Longer term, though, the Beckham injury could push
Hooper back into the top 10 of fantasy TEs. Without him, backups
Harrison Bryant and David Njoku combined for 76 yards and three
TDs. The Raiders rank 28th against the pass this year (283.8 yards
per game) and continue to have issues with their rushing the quarterback.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Kareem Hunt continued to ably fill in
for an injured Nick Chubb (knee) last Sunday, amassing 102 total
yards and a score. Initially it appeared as though D'Ernest Johnson
would see a decent number of touches behind Hunt, but that hasn't
been the case, leaving Hunt as an RB1 and the only source of value
in the Browns' backfield for the time being. Las Vegas is a mediocre
15th against the run this season, which equates to 119.8 yards
allowed per game.
Rams at Dolphins
- (Katz) Line: LAR -3.5 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: Jared Goff’s pass attempts have
gone up over the past couple weeks, but he’s still on pace
for just 508. Goff has just two 300-yard passing games. The Rams
want to get a lead and sit on it. Unless there’s negative
game script, don’t expect a pass heavy approach. Robert
Woods has 36 receiving yards or fewer in four games this season.
Cooper Kupp has at least six targets in every game since Week
2. He’s safer than Woods and has been more reliable.
The Dolphins have been stout at defending quarterbacks, but they’ve
also faced an AFC East schedule. Tyler Higbee (hand) did not play
last week and is questionable to suit up this week. Whether he
plays or not, he’s not a good option, but if he doesn’t
play, that means Gerald Everett is at least a desperation streamer.
Just 14% of the receiving yards allowed by the Dolphins has gone
to tight ends.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Sean McVay’s hatred of Darrell Henderson
was forcibly removed due to injuries to the other two running
backs. However, hatred does not just disappear – it is transferred.
Now McVay hates Cam Akers, who the Rams burnt a second round pick
on that doesn’t see the field. There’s no reason to
expect anything to change this week. It will be the Henderson
show with a sprinkle of Malcolm Brown. The Dolphins allow 27.1
fantasy points per game to running backs and allow 124 rushing
yards per game. Henderson has at least 14 touches in three straight
games making him a strong option.
Game Thoughts: It’s quite difficult, if not impossible
to analyze the Dolphins passing game heading into this week. Tua
Tagovailo is making his first career start in an incredibly difficult
spot trying to fend off Aaron Donald while throwing on Jalen Ramsey.
The Rams only see targets to wide receivers against them 51%
of the time, which puts DeVante Parker and Preston Williams into
questionable territory. It feels like this could be a Williams
game with Ramsey locking down Parker. The Rams allow just 14 fantasy
points per game to outside receivers, though. With the uncertainty
surrounding what a Tua offense is going to look like, fantasy
managers should exercise caution when relying on Dolphins. Ryan
Fitzpatrick’s gunslinger ways helped prop up this offense
and it’s unclear, at this point, whether Tua will be an
improvement for fantasy purposes.
Mike Gesicki has been largely invisible this year, but the Rams
see opponents target the tight end 26% of the time. Gesicki could
have a bounce back game.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: The good news about Myles Gaskin is he’s
a locked in workhorse. He’s playing around 70% of the snaps
and touching the ball 18-20 times a game. The bad news is he hasn’t
been particularly efficient and that’s not likely to improve
against a Rams defense allowing just 100 rushing yards per game.
Gaskin supplements his floor with solid passing game numbers.
He has at least three receptions and 22 receiving yards in every
game this season. A respectable 20% of the receiving yards allowed
by the Rams goes to running backs. Gaskin is pretty much locked
into lineups every week. Matt Breida is nothing more than a role
player and Jordan Howard literally doesn’t play.
Jets at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -19.5 Total: 48.5
Game Thoughts: After missing a pair of games, 23-year-old
Sam Darnold was back behind center in Week 7 when the Jets hosted
the Bills...and unfortunately, results were even worse than they
were prior to his injury when he was performing as a bottom-10
fantasy quarterback. Darnold’s miserable day featured a
12/23 line for 120 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Worst yet, the 84 yards he ran for back in Week 4 seemed like
a distant memory as Darnold didn’t even rush the ball once
on the day. This Jets offense is just other-worldly bad right
now and it’s extremely difficult to trust anyone within
it to give you any sort of fantasy production whatsoever. Darnold
hasn’t exceeded 230 passing yards in any game so far this
season, he hasn’t thrown for multiple touchdowns since Week
11 of 2019 and he’s now thrown six interceptions while scoring
just four total touchdowns on the year.
If there’s a bright spot whatsoever, it’s that we
did finally see the debut of rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims
in Week 7 as he caught four of seven targets for 42 yards. That
stat line is nothing to be overly enthusiastic about, but it’s
worth considering that the eight targets he saw were good enough
for a nearly 35 percent share of Darnold’s targets. He’s
still way too young and raw to be trusting in a starting lineup
at the moment, but at least there’s some hope there. Fellow
wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who had actually delivered three
100-yard games in his first three starts this season, did miss
Week 7 with a groin injury, so that certainly contributed to the
high target share for Mims, but Crowder is expected to be back
on the field here in Week 8 as he got onto the practice field
on Thursday. That means Mims should be kept on your bench for
now until we see more, while Crowder can be placed back in starting
lineups as a WR3/Flex in PPR formats.
Keep the rest of this passing game on your bench against the Chiefs
defense that has given up just nine total passing touchdowns so
far on the season.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: There isn’t much to get excited about
in this New York offense, but one thing that we’ve seen
develop in recent weeks is that rookie La'Mical Perine is beginning
to emerge as a defacto bell cow back now that the team has moved
on from Le’Veon Bell. Perine played on 70 percent of the
team’s snaps in Week 7, a 12 percent increase from his Week
6 snap share. While Gore is still seeing enough of a workload
on the snaps he does play to worry us a bit as fantasy owners,
the reality is that things are trending up for Perine even if
he’s playing in a bad offense.
The tough thing this week is that Perine is playing in what is
one of the worst possible matchups for him. The Chiefs are only
a middle-of-the-road fantasy defense against opposing running
backs on paper, but that number also needs context as they’ve
faced some pretty good opposing running games already this season.
The concern here is that the Jets, certainly one of the league’s
worst teams if not the very worst team, fall behind multiple scores
against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. That can sometimes
lead to some increased garbage time receptions for running backs,
but Perine hasn’t really been that pass catching weapon
that we’d hope for even in the multiple games where the
Jets have been blown out by their opponents. He has just six total
receptions on the season. If he’s not going to catch five
or more passes in a game where the Jets fall behind, that really
limits his upside and essentially takes him out of contention
to be an RB1 in fantasy unless he somehow sneaks into the end
zone a couple of times. We don’t expect Perine to be an
RB1 in really any matchup given how bad this offense is, but this
is really a spot where he could be game scripted out, so there
needs to be added caution given in this one. He’s still
a player who could be Flexed, but don’t expect a big outing
in this one.
Game Thoughts: A 43 point total for the Chiefs typically
means that quarterback Patrick Mahomes has carved up a defense
for huge fantasy points, but that actually wasn’t the case
this past week when Mahomes threw for just 200 yards and a single
touchdown as the Chiefs blew out the Broncos. It sounds crazy
to say, but it’s now been four straight games where Patirck
Mahomes has failed to exceed two passing touchdowns and he’s
been below 240 yards in three of those four contests. He has still
been contributing a bit on the ground so he hasn’t really
had a truly bad fantasy outing other than the one this past week,
but Mahomes hasn’t been his usual self through the air as
of late, even in what have been mostly competitive matchups.
We’re definitely not sounding the alarms or anything regarding
Mahomes as an elite fantasy QB1, but a game against the Jets -
who have failed to exceed 17 points scored in all but one game
this season - doesn’t look like one where Mahomes will have
to throw the ball much to secure a victory. Of course, we’ve
seen plenty of times where the Chiefs didn’t really need
to score and still ended up smashing a team by multiple scores
seemingly just for the fun of it, but there’s certainly
some concern that they’ll lean much more heavily on their
running game in this specific matchup.
Still, Mahomes is a top five QB1 for fantasy this week and Tyreek
Hill and Travis Kelce should remain in lineups as elite options
against what is realistically an overmatched defense. Both players
could and should have solid fantasy days even if the game isn’t
Down the depth chart, however, some curious things have been happening
as Sammy Watkins missed Week 7 with a hamstring injury and will
likely again be sidelined this weekend. That injury led to Demarcus
Robinson actually leading the team by playing 95 percent of the
Chiefs’ offensive snaps against the Broncos. Robinson is
the clear cut second option in this wide receiver group behind
Hill while Watkins is out despite the fact that he was targeted
just once in that game. Meanwhile, Byron Pringle and Mecole Hardman
saw the field for just 38 percent and 40 percent of the team’s
snaps. We would’ve liked to have seen Hardman be on the
field substantially more than this and he might find himself on
the bench even more often in this week’s game if the Chiefs
end up being up multiple scores early and not needing to stretch
the field as much. It’s probably wise to avoid the Chiefs
passing game this week aside from Mahomes, Hill and Kelce.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: While it was still rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire
who led the Chiefs backfield this past week in a blowout victory
over the Broncos, but the debuting Le’Veon Bell certainly
made his presence felt right away as he played on a third of the
team’s offensive snaps. Most importantly, he immediately
saw a high snap share in obvious passing situations, which should
be a caution notice for Edwards-Helaire owners who had already
seen their stud rookie losing passing down snaps to Darwin Thompson.
Certainly Edwards-Helaire is still the back to own in Kansas City,
but the presence of Bell seems like it’s going to cap the
rookie’s upside enough that he’s unlikely to be a
guaranteed RB1 anymore going forward. Still, Edwards-Helaire is
someone who fantasy owners should be considering a borderline
RB1/RB2 while Bell should be looked at as more of a low-end RB2/Flex.
If you’re looking for a narrative, the most obvious one
of the week is the “revenge game” for Bell, who was
cut just a few weeks back by this very same winless Jets team.
Now on a Super Bowl contender, Bell has the opportunity to really
stick it to his former team in this one, especially if the Chiefs
end up being ahead by multiple scores. Narratives can often be
overrated, but this is one of those that we really should be paying
attention to as it could make a lot of sense, game script wise,
for Bell to see a heavy workload in this contest.
Chargers at Broncos
- (Caron) Line: LAC -3.0 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: Don’t look now but we might just
have a new top 10 fantasy QB on our hands with Chargers rookie
Justin Herbert. Herbert has been absolutely frying defense as
of late, having thrown for 901 yards, 10 touchdowns and just one
interception over his past three games. Not only that, but he
showed off some mobility this past week when he rushed the ball
nine times for 66 yards and a score. Very few expected the Chargers
to have a high-powered fantasy passing offense this year, but
that’s exactly where we’re at right now.
The Chargers are cooking right now and it’s been wide receiver
Keenan Allen who’s been the primary beneficiary. Allen has
now seen double-digit targets in all but two games, and he still
got eight targets in one of those contests. He’s coming
off of a 10-catch, 125-yard day and Allen is beginning to again
look like the low-end WR1 that he’s been for so many years.
He doesn’t have the high touchdown outputs that many others
do, but Allen is extremely reliable and should be in all fantasy
lineups this week against the Broncos.
In addition to Allen, tight end Hunter Henry has been seeing a
pretty healthy target share so far this season. He’s not
on the top level of targets like the Kelce/Kittle/Waller tier,
but Henry has now been targeted at least seven times in all but
one game this season and he’s finished with double-digit
PPR fantasy points in all but two games. He’s yet to have
a true blowup game but Henry has been a reliable weekly starter
at the tight end position and his high target share should mean
that a positive regression in the touchdown department is eventually
The only other player in this passing offense who should be looked
at from a fantasy standpoint is Mike Williams, but he’s
been pretty quiet this season aside from the Week 5 game when
he caught five passes for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
That, not coincidentally, was also the game that Allen left early
with an injury. It’s probably best to leave Williams on
your bench until we see more consistent targets coming his way.
Denver’s pass defense hasn’t been terrible this season,
but their numbers have also been a bit skewed by what could have
been worse performances against the Buccaneers and Chiefs if those
teams really needed to continue to pass late in the game. This
isn’t a spectacular matchup for Herbert, but it is one where
we should trust the main passing game weapons.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: With Austin Ekeler still sidelined, it’s
been interesting to watch things play out in the Los Angeles backfield
between Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. While Jackson has been
the overall better fantasy asset primarily due to his passing
game usage, we actually saw a bit of a shift this past week when
the Chargers suddenly gave Kelley 17 touches to Jackson’s
10. A positive game script certainly helped the team lean more
heavily on Kelley, but there might just be more to it than that.
It’s not uncommon for rookie running backs to be eased into
things early in the season and then step into a bigger workload
after their team’s bye week. This increase in workload for
Kelley did indeed coincide with the Chargers’ Week 6 bye
week, so the rookie may be taking over this backfield - or at
least making it a true 50/50 split, until Ekeler comes back.
This week the Chargers face a Broncos defense that has surprisingly
been excellent against opposing running backs this season. Despite
not being a particularly great team, Denver has allowed the second
fewest fantasy points per game to the position thus far and they’ve
already faced some high-scoring backfields like the Titans, Steelers,
Buccaneers and Chiefs. The Chargers are a road favorite in this
game so there could be some positive game script in this one,
but these backs are more low-level RB2/Flex options this week.
Game Thoughts: It was probably too much to ask for a
breakout season from second-year quarterback Drew Lock after his
top receiver, Courtland Sutton, suffered a season-ending injury,
but this type of lack of production was certainly unexpected.
Lock has now played in three full games, missed two, and played
only a few snaps in another, but he’s only thrown one touchdown
on the season along with four interceptions and his season high
passing yardage mark is just 254 yards which he set this past
week in a blowout loss to the Chiefs. He did sneak into the end
zone on the ground once, but it’s been a miserable start
to the season for Lock and that hasn’t helped his pass catchers
develop into anything more than low level duds most weeks.
It’s probably too early to completely write off Lock as
an NFL quarterback, but it seems unlikely that he’s going
to become much more than a low-end QB2 in fantasy football this
season either. Lock does have an interesting matchup this week
against the Chargers who have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy
points per game to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. They
have, however, faced a difficult schedule thus far of Joe Burrow,
Patrick Mahomes, Teddy Bridgewater, Tom Brady, Drew Brees (and
Taysom Hill) and Gardner Minshew. Every starter they’ve
faced has scored at least 17 fantasy points so there’s something
to be positive about, although Lock is easily the worst QB they
will have faced so there’s always the possibility that he’s
the one who bucks the trend of consistent, solid fantasy QB production
against this defense. Lock can probably be slid into your lineup
as a low-end QB2 this week but that’s about it.
With Tim Patrick missing practice throughout this week due to
a hamstring injury, the Broncos receiver group is even more depleted
than it normally is. Patrick could very well miss this weekend’s
game which would thrust rookie Jerry Jeudy into an even more prominent
spot and it’d likely mean that we’ll see even more
of fellow rookie field stretcher KJ Hamler. Hamler is still too
raw and isn’t targeted enough to be a viable option in weekly
formats, but Jeudy ascending into the WR1 chair would at least
give us some hope that he can finally provide more than the low-double-digit
PPR output we’ve seen from him so far. He’s not a
must-start by any means but Jeudy is someone you could consider
Flexing this week if you’re in need.
Tight end Noah Fant is easily the best fantasy option in this
passing attack but even he has struggled to really break out this
season. He plays an extremely weak position without many other
viable fantasy options, though, so his five-plus targets in every
start this season are enough of a baseline for him to be considered
a TE1 in pretty much any league right now.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: This was clearly Melvin Gordon’s
backfield early in the season, but things have gotten a little
murkier over the past two weeks since Phillip Lindsay returned
as Gordon has looked rather pedestrian in his opportunities while
Lindsay has flashed some of the explosive play-making ability
that made him such a popular fantasy player in his rookie season
back in 2018. Lindsay did, however, suffer a concussion in Week
7 and has not yet been officially cleared of the league’s
concussion protocol. We’ll need to keep an eye on his status
prior to making any finalized opinion about this backfield heading
into Week 8.
Presuming Lindsay is able to play, look for him to see an increased
workload, particularly on the ground, in this week’s contest
against the Chargers. It might not be enough for Lindsay himself
to be much more than a desperation Flex play, but it could be
enough to affect Melvin Gordon quite a bit. Gordon is still likely
the primary passing down back which does help buoy his fantasy
value a bit, but a split carry backfield would turn him from being
a high-level RB2 into a low-level RB2 pretty quickly.
If Lindsay is unable to play, Gordon is actually in a potentially
pretty nice spot to produce some solid fantasy numbers this week.
The Chargers haven’t been bad at containing running backs
as a whole, but they’ve given up an average of 118 total
yards to their opponent’s top back over their past four
games. Gordon has touched the ball at least 18 times in four of
his five starts for the Broncos this season and he even had a
25-touch game in Week 4 when Lindsay was sidelined. That type
of workload cannot be ignored even in a bad offense.
Saints @ Bears
- (Green) Line: NO -4.5 Total: 43.5
Game Thoughts: When the Saints entered their bye week
it was assumed that when they returned in Week 7 it'd be with
the receiving corps finally intact. Instead, not only did Michael
Thomas (hamstring) fail to make his return but Emmanuel Sanders
(illness) missed the game as well after being placed on the COVID-19
list. Left with Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook and a bunch of backups,
Drew Brees still threw for 287 yards and two TDs in a divisional
win over Carolina.
Now the focus moves to Week 8, and it appears that the Saints
will be shorthanded once again as Thomas returned to practice
Thursday and Sean Payton seems to have no idea how/when Sanders
will be cleared to rejoin the team. If they're both out again,
Tre'Quan Smith (4-54-0 in Week 7) and Marquez Callaway (8-75-0)
should start, though Callaway has an ankle issue of his own. While
neither player is likely to offer much long-term value, both could
be plugged in as flex plays. Cook (3-32-1) has been pretty quiet
this season, but at a shallow position he can still be classified
as a TE1. Keep an eye on Friday’s practice report for Thomas’
Chicago has allowed the fewest TD passes in the NFL this season,
though two of the six came Monday night against the Rams. In terms
of yardage, the Bears rank eighth at 222.3 per contest. Some of
that has been happenstance -- the likes of Kenny Golladay, Julio
Jones and Chris Godwin were inactive against Chicago due to injury
-- but this is a solid defense. Brees has the smarts to pick at
the edges and move the ball, though, regardless of who's out there.
He's a QB2 in this one.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: Sans Thomas, Alvin Kamara
is the straw that stirs the drink in The Big Easy. He had 22 combined
touches in Week 7 and gained 148 total yards. Expect the Saints
to lean heavily on Kamara once again this Sunday. Latavius Murray
has done a nice job in a larger role this season, averaging 4.2
yards on his 63 carries. With the passing game operating well
below 100 percent, Murray should see enough action to offer flex
appeal. Defensively, the Bears are 15th against the run (119.7
yards per game), so this might be an area of focus for the short-handed
Game Thoughts: In four starts since taking over for Mitch
Trubisky, Nick Foles has averaged 238 yards passing and thrown
three TDs against five INTs. His lack of mobility finally became
an issue on MNF as well with the Rams able to collapse the pocket
and put Foles on the ground. While Foles is a better decision
maker and more accurate, he's still willing to put balls up for
grabs each week and has nowhere near the athleticism of Trubisky.
Keep Foles glued to your bench this Sunday.
Even after the QB change there remains just one viable weekly
play in Chicago's passing game and that's Allen Robinson (4-70-0
in Week 7). Unfortunately, his status is unclear for Sunday as
he suffered a concussion late against LA. That means he'll have
only six days to clear protocol. If he goes, he's a WR1. Beyond
Robinson you're looking at Darnell Mooney (3-40-0) and Anthony
Miller (3-20-0). Of the two, Mooney has the potential as his role
continues to grow. If Robinson is ruled out, Mooney could be a
Jimmy Graham (5-31-0) isn't going to run away from anyone, but
he's a reliable target underneath and in the red zone. As noted
earlier, it hasn't been a good year for tight ends offensively,
and as such you can justify Graham as a low-end TE1. New Orleans
is 17th against the pass (238.7 yards per game) but only Atlanta
has allowed more TD passes this year than the Saints.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Monday marked the fifth
consecutive game where David Montgomery has averaged fewer than
3.5 yards per carry; clearly the team misses the presence of Tarik
Cohen. Montgomery is a capable receiver, though, and is averaging
67 total yards per game over his last five. He can operate as
an RB3 against a Saints defense that's No. 4 in the NFL against
the run (89.7 yards per game). One item of note, Lamar Miller
is currently on Chicago's practice squad and could be elevated
to the active roster soon. Given his past success he's someone
to keep an eye on.
49ers at Seahawks
- (Caron) Line: SEA -3.0 Total: 54.0
Game Thoughts: An absolutely dominant victory over the
Patriots meant that 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s
zero touchdown, two interception day could be pretty easily overlooked,
but it’s now the second time in three weeks that the quarterback
has delivered some pretty ugly fantasy results. This week, however,
he gets an exceptional matchup against the league’s worst
fantasy defense against quarterbacks, the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle
has been horrific against opposing quarterbacks this season as
they’ve averaged an absurd 33.2 fantasy points per game
to the position. They haven’t yet held a quarterback to
fewer than 20 fantasy points in a game this season. Garoppolo
isn’t an exciting name right now given his recent struggles,
but this is a truly excellent matchup and one that he should be
able to exploit to at least a solid fantasy day. There are enough
better options that Garoppolo isn’t a top-12 option this
week, but he’s not a bad bye week fill-in if you’re
Whether Garoppolo goes off or just checks in with a pretty pedestrian
game, though, there’s one player who we should be pretty
confident about in this passing game and that is tight end George
Kittle. Kittle has been absolutely dominant so far this season,
having already reached 435 yards despite the fact that he missed
part of Week 1 and all of Weeks 2 and 3. He’s on pace for
nearly 1,000 yards yet again this year and he’s clearly
one of the best, most reliable fantasy tight ends in the history
of the game. While the Seahawks have actually been very good against
opposing tight ends this season, they haven’t faced anyone
near the caliber of Kittle so don’t be turned away by the
matchup - this is a must-start, elite player every single week
regardless of matchup.
If Garoppolo does end up needing to pass heavily, we could be
looking at an interesting game for wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
The rookie has stepped up in recent weeks, performing as the 49ers’
top wide receiver, and he finally got his first 100-yard game
this past week against the Patriots. With Deebo Samuel sidelined
again with another injury, Aiyuk is the odds-on favorite to lead
this group of receivers in targets and he’s easily the most
talented of the bunch, so look for him to potentially flirt with
double-digit targets for the first time in his young career. That
type of target share against a bad secondary is certainly something
that needs to be considered for fantasy purposes.
If you’re in some real trouble at wide receiver or Flex
this week, you could do worse than Kendrick Bourne, who should
slot in as the team’s second wide receiver option in this
matchup. The Seahawks have given up by far and away the most fantasy
points per game to opposing wide receivers this game, so there’s
room for more than one receiver to have a decent day against this
defense. Don’t expect anything crazy, but a six-or-so-catch
day is certainly a possibility.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: The 49ers backfield is always a confusing
one and they got us again this past week when it appeared that
Jerick McKinnon was in line for a huge workload day in a blowout
victory over the Patriots, only for Jeff Wilson to unexpectedly
step in and take over the lion’s share of the touches out
of the backfield. Even when the 49ers went up multiple scores,
it wasn’t McKinnon who saw the field - instead it was rookie
JaMychal Hasty who cleaned up in garbage time.
With Wilson now sidelined due to an injury, the backfield again
opens up, but now it’s even more confusing than usual despite
there really only being two players who could see significant
touches. McKinnon and Hasty are both viable options for those
in need this week, but they’re extremely risky, as Kyle
Shanahan hasn’t really given us a clear indication of which
player will be on the field more for the 49ers this weekend. It
is worth noting that Shanahan did say that he was trying to give
McKinnon some rest after he saw a heavy workload in the previous
few weeks, but we just don’t know for certain that he’s
going to be given that role back or if he’s going to end
up splitting touches with Hasty in this contest.
If you’re having to make a decision, it seems more likely
that McKinnon is the player who will get the start and see the
majority of the touches in this extremely productive San Francisco
rushing attack, but Hasty has impressed in the few opportunities
he’s had, producing 5.2 yards per carry on the ground.
Game Thoughts: His team might have fallen short in a
shootout with the Cardinals in Week 7, but fantasy owners were
once again delighted by the production from quarterback Russell
Wilson who has been an extraordinary fantasy asset this season.
Wilson three for 388 yards and three touchdowns while also adding
a season-high 84 yards rushing in the loss. His three interceptions
were the most he’s thrown since Week 14 of the 2017 season
when he tied that number, but it was still a nearly 30 point fantasy
day for the 2020 NFL MVP candidate.
Now heading into his second straight divisional game in an extremely
competitive NFC West race, Wilson will likely need to shoulder
an even heavier workload this week as running back Chris Carson
will be sidelined. Wilson has thrown the ball an average of 36.5
times per game which puts him on pace to easily surpass his previous
season high of 553 attempts from 2017, so the high passing volume
is already there, and this looks like another potential shootout
with the 49ers. Wilson has thrown multiple touchdowns in every
game this season and while the 49ers boast the seventh-stingiest
fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks this season, he
looks like nearly a sure thing to return QB1 fantasy numbers this
A high volume passing game from Wilson should mean great things
again for wide receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf who have
been absolutely dominant so far this season. Metcalf struggled
this past week as he saw a difficult matchup against outside cornerback
Patrick Peterson, but that helped open things up for an absolutely
gigantic game from Lockett who terrorized the Cardinals for 15
catches, 200 yards and three scores.
Metcalf does actually have another potentially difficult matchup
as cornerback Jason Verrett is having an amazing comeback season
for the 49ers and could end up at least partially shadowing Metcalf
this week. Metcalf is good enough that he can still get open against
Verett, but Wilson might end up looking Lockett’s way more
often than usual again this week if a perceived lockdown corner
is lined up against Metcalf. Still, both Metcalf and Lockett are
must-starts in what could be another NFC West shootout.
Tight end Greg Olsen is always a threat to score, but his low
target volume makes him a low-upside option and that’s just
not something we should be looking for in fantasy football.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Chris Carson left this past week’s
game with a foot injury and that led the way for the Seahawks
to turn to veteran Carlos Hyde, who was actually decently productive
against the Cardinals in his opportunity, rushing the ball 15
times for 68 yards and a score. Hyde appears to be the next man
up in this backfield that has historically been essentially a
one-back system, so he could be in line for a Carson-like 15-or-so
touches in this contest, provided that Seattle doesn’t happen
to fall behind multiple scores and end up abandoning their running
The 49ers aren’t a defense that teams typically want to
attack on the ground as they’ve been the league’s
best fantasy defense against opposing running backs so far this
season, giving up an average of just 12.7 standard points per
game to the position. They haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher
yet this season and they’ve only given up three total touchdowns
to the position on the year. They have, however, faced a pretty
weak opposing schedule of running backs overall, so those numbers
might look a bit better than they really are.
Hyde isn’t a high upside play given his lack of explosiveness
and pedestrian receiving skills, but he is a player who is in
line for a potentially heavy workload in a good offense. He’s
a mid-level RB2 in standard scoring leagues this week and a low-end
RB2 in PPR formats.
Cowboys at Eagles
- (Katz) Line: PHI -9.5 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: I really can’t fathom how things
could possibly go worse for the Cowboys. First, they lost their
entire offensive line. Then, they lost Dak Prescott. And now they’re
even without Andy Dalton, who, while certainly not playing well,
is at least better than this week’s starter, seventh round
rookie, Ben DiNucci. The Eagles have a strong pass rush and the
Cowboys have a decimated offensive line. DiNucci may not have
time to get the ball to the outside and when he does, if his college
numbers are any indication, the passes won’t be very accurate.
DiNucci completed just 56% of his passes his final year at Pitt.
The Cowboys will have to throw because they’re going to
get blown out, but as we’ve seen the past two weeks, without
Prescott, that hasn’t really mattered for improving fantasy
What this means for the pass catchers? If the past two weeks
were any indication, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, and Dalton Schultz
are left in the dust. The only viable fantasy starter is Amari
Cooper. He’s managed seven receptions in both games following
Prescott’s injury. The concern with Cooper is not the 21.0
points per game the Eagles allow to outside wide receivers, but
the fact that DiNucci was sacked in three of six drop backs last
week. The Eagles allow just 11.6 fantasy points per game to the
slot. You cannot start Lamb.
The Eagles have been beaten by the tight end though. They allow
17.2 fantasy points per game to tight ends. With the position
so weak, Schultz is still on the streaming radar.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: The loss of Prescott has destroyed Ezekiel
Elliott’s elite RB1 status. At this point, Elliott is no
longer a must start if you truly have strong options. If you were
fortunate enough to pick up guys like Boston Scott or Giovani
Bernard, they are no brainer options to play ahead of Elliott.
He remains a weak RB2 on volume alone. As long as he can get the
fumbling issues under control, Zeke is still going to touch the
ball 15-20 times. He won’t be efficient because the running
lanes aren’t there, but expect a number of checkdowns and,
you would think, Kellen Moore would call more screens in an effort
to get the ball out of DiNucci’s hands and into the hands
of his playmakers as quickly as possible. Just 18% of targets
against the Eagles go to running backs and they are one of just
a handful of teams yet to allow a receiving touchdown to a running
back, but they have allowed 11 rushing touchdowns already. The
problem is less the matchup and more the bottom five offense.
Game Thoughts: For as poorly as Carson Wentz is playing
this season, the fantasy numbers have mostly been there. Wentz
has completed fewer than 60% of his passes in three straight games
and his season long completion percentage sits at 58.6%. Fortunately,
Wentz has three consecutive two touchdown pass games and has rushed
for a touchdown in five games this season.
Jalen Reagor returned to practice and appears set to return this
week, but we won’t know for sure until hours before kickoff.
He’s an extremely risky play. Regardless of Reagor’s
status, it’s pretty clear that Travis Fulgham has cemented
himself as the WR1. Fulgham has double digit targets in three
straight games and is completely unbenchable. The Cowboys allow
27.1 fantasy points per game to outside wide receivers and have
allowed a league high 12 touchdowns to the position.
With DeSean Jackson back at home on IR, if Reagor can’t
go, Greg Ward remains the WR2. He’s not worth consideration
most weeks, but this is the Cowboys defense we’re talking
about. If you need desperation starters, this is the game to do
it in, but only if Reagor doesn’t play.
Richard Rodgers played 85% of the snaps last week and was targeted
eight times. He’s better than Zach Ertz and is an every
week TE1 until Dallas Goedert returns.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: With Miles Sanders set to miss one more
game so he can use the bye to get healthy, the Eagles will once
again turn to Boston Scott to lead their backfield. Scott played
69% of the snaps last week, but was on his way to an uninspiring
9.4 point performance before doubling his fantasy output on thee
game winning touchdown grab. Please do not let that one play fool
you into thinking Scott was a good start last week. With that
being said, the Eagles are going to score at least 30 points in
this game and win by at least 20 so there should be plenty of
running going on, particularly in the second half. The biggest
concern is whether Scott is pulled in favor of Corey Clement or
Jason Huntley. Regardless, as the Eagles build their lead, Scott
will be involved. The Cowboys allow 26.1 fantasy points per game
to running backs and are allowing 178 rushing yards per game.
Giants - (Katz) Line: TB -10.5 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: It almost felt like Tom Brady just wanted
a signature game for 2020. The Bucs handled the Raiders pretty
easily, yet Brady still threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns
while sneaking in a fifth. He completed a season high 33 passes
at a season high 73% rate.
Mike Evans has completed disappeared and is not a fantasy starter
in games Chris Godwin plays. Fortunately for those who roster
Evans, Godwin is out this week with a broken finger and Antonio
Brown is still a week away. That gives Evans one more game as
the clear top target. Evans played two games without Godwin and
put up 7-104-1 and 7-122-1 in them. The Giants allow just 23.0
fantasy points per game to outside wide receivers, making Evans
a must start this week.
Scotty Miller also had his best game of the season last week,
but he still played just 60% of the snaps. I don’t anticipate
a repeat performance even with Godwin out.
Rob Gronkowski has at least 52 receiving yards in each of his
last three games and a touchdown in the last two. He’s getting
it together as the season progresses, but the Giants have been
very effective at defending the tight end. They allow just 8.8
fantasy points per game and have surrendered just one touchdown
to tight ends. Gronk is staying in your lineups, but this could
just be the Mike Evans show as his last hurrah before AB and Godwin
completely vanquish his value.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: Ronald Jones was coming off back to back
to back 100-yard rushing efforts before being unceremoniously
thrust behind Leonard Fournette in the pecking order. It didn’t
make sense. It came out of nowhere. Fournette out-snapped Jones
56% to 43% last week and, most encouragingly for Fournette, saw
seven targets. Fournette looked the best he has all season. Jones
still handled the goal line work so he remains the preferred option,
but despite Jones’ play, Fournette could take over this
backfield at some point.
19% of the receiving yards allowed by the Giants have gone to
running backs. That bodes extremely well for Fournette if his
usage last week is indicative what to expect going forward. Given
bye weeks and injuries, you can get away with starting Fournette
this week, but if you can afford to give it one more week just
to see how real this is, I would advise doing so.
Game Thoughts: Daniel Jones had a strong fantasy effort
last week on the heels of an 80-yard rush that should’ve
been a touchdown. Jones totaled 92 rushing yards, while throwing
for two touchdowns so despite just 187 passing yards, Jones was
a QB1. This week, he faces the league’s best defense. The
Bucs allow just 14.7 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
Bucs’ opponents seem to hate throwing to wide receivers
against them, doing so just 56% of the time. Only five wide receivers
have caught touchdowns against them. That’s bad news for
Sterling Shepard, who returned to not much fanfare last week and
then put up a really strong performance. Shepard played 77% of
the snaps and saw eight targets. He is back to being the top option
for a passing game that can’t really support more than one.
Golden Tate has fallen to fourth on the target totem pole behind
Darius Slayton and Evan Engram. Engram has been a huge disappointment
this year, but 6-46 on nine targets is better than most tight
ends. The Bucs are a middling defense against tight ends so perhaps
Engram could be useful as Jones looks to avoid throwing at receivers.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: The real way to attack the Bucs’
defense is by throwing it to the running backs. The Bucs are one
of just four teams to allow over 20% of receiving yards against
them to go to running backs. The problem for the Giants and fantasy
managers is the Giants don’t really have good running backs.
Devonta Freeman has the ability to exploit this, but he’s
nursing an ankle injury and may not be ready. Wayne Gallman was
clearly ahead of Dion Lewis despite Lewis typically being viewed
as the passing down back. If Freeman can’t play, Gallman
is definitely the better alternative, but you can’t feel
great about starting Gallman even against a team that struggles
to defend pass catching running backs. With that being said, you
could do worse than a running back likely to see a 60% snap share
and 5+ targets.
Note: All but four of the Giants offensive linemen had to be
quarantined as of Thursday. If they can’t get cleared for
Monday night, it seems highly unlikely this game is played as
the Giants won’t have enough players. Given the uncertainty,
you should avoid relying on anyone other than the absolute must
starts in this game, which might only be Mike Evans.