- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Ravens at Dolphins
- (Ken Ilchuk) Line: BAL -7.5 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: The story of the 2021 Baltimore Ravens
begins and ends with QB Lamar Jackson. It isn’t always pretty,
and as a fantasy owner it can be hard to watch sometimes (7 INT,
3 lost fumbles), but the production is impressive and surprisingly
consistent. He has at least 300 total yards in all but one of
the Ravens’ eight games (including a 500-yard effort in
Wk 5), he has thrown at least one touchdown in every game, and
has four multi-TD games. He has posted at least 27.0 fantasy points
every week and has two 30-point efforts, including his three-TD
performance against the Vikings last week. He’s a locked
and loaded QB1 every week.
TE Mark Andrews is in the midst of a career year. With more than
half the season to play, he is well on his way to career highs
in targets, catches, and yards. He is averaging 13.3 yards per
catch and 70 yards per game with two 100-yard efforts already
and is a top five play at TE this week. WR Marquise Brown is also
off to a career start as the lead dog with 46 catches on 69 targets
and a team-high 6 TD. Rookie Rashod Bateman is coming into his
own with strong outings in the last two games and Sammy Watkins
looks poised to return from a hamstring injury this week. Jackson
is relying less on his legs, and the result has been a surprisingly
potent aerial assault.
The Dolphins defensive stats got a slight boost last week against
the inept Texans, but this is still a bad unit that has allowed
a league-worst 41 plays of 20 yards or more, while giving up 17
TD’s through the air. With Jackson playing more from the
pocket and trusting his ability as a passer, all Ravens’
skill players are in play this week.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: Despite a more conservative approach to
running the ball, Jackson still leads the team in rushing with
nearly 40 more carries and 400 more yards than No.2 Latavius Murray!
He’s already got two 100-yard efforts to his name and is
averaging a ridiculous 75.0 rush yards per game. The team seems
to have settled on some combination of Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon
Bell at RB, with Ty’Son Williams headed back to the bench
and Murray still sidelined with an ankle injury. Freeman is coming
off his best game as a Raven, so I’d expect him to continue
to get the rock.
The Dolphins are allowing just 4.3 yards per carry, and don’t
look now, but they are allowing less than 100 ground yards per
game over the last three weeks. While that could potentially hinder
Freeman and Bell, I’m not sure the Dolphins have an answer
for Jackson, especially when he goes off schedule.
Game Thoughts: QB Tua Tagovailoa missed last week’s
game with a finger injury on his throwing hand, and his limited
practice schedule on a short week has some thinking he could be
on the sideline again for Thursday Night Football. If that’s
the case, we’ll see more of Jacoby Brissett, who struggled
against the lowly Texans last week to the tune of just 244 yards
and two interceptions, his only TD pass going to RB Myles Gaskin.
WR Jaylen Waddle and TE Mike Gesicki are the only fantasy relevant
receivers in this lineup, especially with WR’s Will Fuller
and DeVante Parker on IR. But in the final evaluation, this is
a team that scored just 17 points against the Texans. There’s
just not much to see here if Brissett is at the controls. If Tua
can go, there’s a hint of hope for a productive night.
This is not your older brother’s Ravens D. This group has
been beat up, allowing nearly 4.5 yards per carry in the run game
and getting burned regularly by the big play in the pass game.
Surprisingly, they have also struggled to get the QB on the ground
and haven’t been able to create the big play off turnovers.
Still, if Brissett plays, even this shell of a defense should
hold its own by shoring up against the run and forcing the QB
to beat them.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: RB Myles Gaskin has taken over the reins
in the backfield. He has 35 carries over the last two weeks, and
he has also been productive as a receiver with 25 catches over
the last five games. He’s a solid RB2 play this week against
a Ravens defense still trying to get on track
Buccaneers at Football
Team - (Ken Ilchuk) Line: TB -9.5 Total: 51.5
Game Thoughts: The last time we saw QB Tom Brady, he
was turning the ball over three times in a loss to the Saints
in the Superdome. That was two weeks ago, and despite also throwing
four touchdowns in that game, we’ve all seen Brady’s
ability to dwell on the negative and use it for motivation. With
extra seething time and extra prep time, don’t be surprised
if TB12 is the top fantasy point scorer in the league this week,
no matter who’s playing with him or against him.
Who will be playing with him is a big question mark. WR Antonio
Brown and TE Rob Gronkowski are not expected to play, and WR Chris
Godwin has not practiced due to a foot injury. His status is in
question. WR Mike Evans will be out there, and that’s obviously
a good thing for Brady, the Bucs, and fantasy owners. In the two
games leading up to the bye, Evans had four TD’s on eight
catches and averaged 18 yards per catch! He’s a WR1 this
week against a surprisingly bad Washington defense, whether Godwin
plays or not.
Despite a D-line full of 1st round pass rushers, Washington has
just 19 sacks on the season, have given up a ridiculous 20 touchdowns
via the pass, and have yielded the second worst opposing passer
rating (107.6) in the NFL. A fun prop bet for this one could be
how many possessions will the Buccaneers have before they DON’T
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Brady’s controlled passing game,
which has slowly replaced HC Bruce Arians’ “no risk
it, no biscuit” attack as the lifeblood of this offense,
acts as an extension of the run game. That means leading rusher
Leonard Fournette, despite being effective at 4.4 yards per carry
and bringing a physical presence to the offense, isn’t posting
big numbers or creating much fantasy value. Washington has been
respectable against the run, so look for Fournette as a receiver
out of the backfield. If you’re looking to take a flyer
on somebody, RB Gio Bernard’s receiving skills could be
in play, especially with Godwin and Gronk out of the mix.
Game Thoughts: Taylor Heinicke has been up and down throughout
the season. He has 11 TD passes, but he also has 10 turnovers.
His team was also 0-for-6 in the red zone in two games prior to
their Week 9 bye. He’s athletic and can extend plays with
his legs, but doesn’t always do it. He’s averaging
less than 7.0 yards per attempt over the last four weeks, but
he has four receivers with at least 20 catches on the season averaging
at least 10.0 yards per catch. WR Terry McLaurin and RB J.D. McKissic
are the top targets in the passing game, but this offense’s
inability to score or even move the ball consistently makes them
marginal fantasy options at best.
Tampa has been surprisingly average against the pass. They will
give up the big play occasionally, but they can also go get the
ball (4 INT in last three games). Washington has the weapons to
make a big strike, but doesn’t have the ability to sustain
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Washington HC Ron Rivera wants
to run the ball. The team has over 200 rushing attempts despite
playing catch-up in most of their games and averaging 4.6 per
carry. While RB Antonio Gibson is a talented runner, and McKissic
is a dual threat, there’s not enough volume here to warrant
fantasy interest. Heinicke, working mostly off schedule, is actually
the team’s second-leading rusher
Game Thoughts: Although Jared Goff avoided the turnover
bug his last time out, it’s hard to overstate how ineffective
he was moving the offense. The Lions scored a consolation touchdown
midway through the fourth to avoid the shutout, but by that point
they were down by 41 points. The leash seems to be getting shorter
with Goff, who finished 25-for-34 with 222 yards, 0 TDs and 0
INTs. It doesn’t seem like they see much in David Blough,
given they left Goff in during a blowout rather than take a look
at the Purdue alum, but file away the name Tim Boyle (thumb).
He was QB2 in Green Bay behind Aaron Rodgers and has been designated
to return from IR.
One move that should help is the addition of Josh Reynolds, who
was claimed off waivers from the Titans this week. Reynolds, who
has 123 career catches, immediately becomes their most accomplished
receiver and is also familiar with Goff as the two played together
in LA for four seasons. He’d be a smart addition in deeper
leagues. The arrival of Reynolds could push Amon-Ra St. Brown
(3-46-0) down the pecking order, weakening his already shaky value.
For the time being, T.J. Hockenson (10-89-0) remains the only
playable option in Detroit’s passing game; he’s a
Pittsburgh has been a middling pass defense, allowing 244.5 yards
per game via the air (15th), though they do rank in the top 10
in sacks (22). The Steelers failed to impress on Monday night,
allowing the Bears to erase 14-point fourth quarter deficit as
Justin Fields passed for 291 yards, which was nearly 100 yards
more than his previous career high. Despite that, Goff can’t
be considered a viable play this weekend.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: The strength of Detroit’s offense
has been its RB tandem of D’Andre Swift (12-27-0) and Jamaal
Williams (thigh). The latter missed Week 8 due to a thigh injury
and appears questionable to return against Pittsburgh. Swift was
held in check by Philadelphia, but he’ll still be central
to the gameplan, especially after the Steelers gave up 5.2 yards
per carry to the Bears on Monday. Play Swift as a solid RB2 with
Williams a flex option if he’s active.
Game Thoughts: Get the ball out quick, take a handful
of deep shots, and avoid turnovers. That’s the formula for
Ben Roethlisberger circa 2021. The 39-year-old hit on 21 of 30
passes for 205 yards and a pair of TDs -- that marked just the
second time he’s thrown for more than a single touchdown
in a game this year. At this stage there’s no reasonable
expectation for Big Ben to deliver much more than that statistically,
which leaves him among the bottom half of fantasy QBs.
Roethlisberger could also be without Chase Claypool (toe) for
a while. Claypool injured his toe late Monday night, and though
an MRI revealed it was not a season-ending issue, the second-year
wideout could miss time. With JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder) already
out that puts more of the burden on Diontae Johnson (5-56-0) with
James Washington (1-42-0) likely to step into Claypool’s
downfield role. Expect Pat Freiermuth (5-43-2) to keep trending
upward as well; he caught both of Roethlisberger’s TD passes
While Detroit ranks a smidgen ahead of Pittsburgh in pass defense
(244.4 yards per game allowed; 14th), it’d never be considered
a strength. It’s simply the lesser of two evils in comparison
to their sieve-like run defense. While Big Ben should remain on
the bench in Week 10, Johnson is a borderline WR1/WR2 with Freiermuth
as a decent TE1 as well. Washington could be a lottery ticket
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: It was tough sledding for Najee Harris
(22-62-1) in primetime with 78 combined yards ranking as the second-lowest
output of his rookie year. Well, I have some good news for Harris
and his fantasy owners: the Lions gave up 236 yards and four touchdowns
on the ground in Week 8. While Detroit is unlikely to play that
poorly fresh off their bye, Harris is a high-end No. 1 fantasy
Saints @ Titans
- (Swanson) Line: TEN -3.0 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: Trevor Siemian completed 25 of 41 passes
for 249 yards against the Falcons last week, with two touchdowns
and no interceptions. It was a solid performance for the journeyman
quarterback and the 11th most points on the day by a QB, but it
was not enough as Atlanta won on a last-second field goal by Younghoe
Siemian logged touchdown passes to both Kenny Stills and Marquez
Callaway, with four different wide receivers posting 25 or more
receiving yards. Tre’Quan Smith led all pass catchers with
80% of the team’s snaps but managed just three catches for
53 yards on four targets.
The biggest question mark surrounding the Saints is the health
of star running back Alvin Kamara, who visited the training tent
during the game on Sunday against the Falcons and did not practice
on Thursday. The team also brought in a few veteran running backs
for workouts on Tuesday, which could be an indication of the coaching
staff’s concern over Kamara’s availability.
The entire offense runs through Kamara, both on the ground and
through the air. Should he miss the game, more pressure will be
put on Siemian and the passing game, especially if the New Orleans
defense plays as poorly as they did against Matt Ryan last week.
The Titans have been an up and down unit against opposing quarterbacks
this year. They held Patrick Mahomes to 206 passing yards and
no scores, only to have Carson Wentz throw for three touchdowns
the following week. They then bounced back and did an excellent
job getting pressure on Matthew Stafford from their front four
in a 28-16 upset win on SNF.
The Saints offensive line and their ability to limit pressure
from defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons and outside LB Bud Dupree
will be a key matchup in this game. While widely considered one
of the best offensive lines in the NFL, PFF.com has graded the
Saints as the No.14 offensive line through 10 weeks.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: The fact that the Saints brought in three
veteran running backs for workouts is not great for Alvin Kamara
managers. It also is not good that Kamara did not practice on
Thursday because of a knee injury. Both of those factors make
us think that Kamara may be iffy for the game, and should he go,
he could be limited.
Starting left tackle Terron Armstead was also absent with knee/shoulder
The Titans rank 24th in fantasy points allowed through nine games,
with just one 100-yard rushing game on their resume. The team
did a solid job last week limiting Darrell Henderson to just 55
yards, although Jonathan Taylor did manage 112 total yards and
a score the week prior.
Should Kamara be out, look for veteran Mark Ingram to carry the
load with Dwayne Washington also getting some work. Ingram has
been solid since returning home to the Saints, with a 4.7 yard
per carry average and 46 receiving yards in two games.
Some injuries on the defensive side of the ball for the Titans
could make things more attractive for Ingram and Kamara owners.
Starting linebackers David Long and Harold Landry did not practice
on Wednesday with hamstring injuries, while stud defensive lineman
Jeffery Simmons missed practice with an ankle injury. Bud Dupree,
their best outside pass rush option, also did not practice.
While we anticipate most of these players will play, it is clear
that the Titans are beat up defensively and could be in for a
letdown after last week’s big win over the Rams in Primetime.
Game Thoughts: The Titans won their first game in the
post-Derrick Henry world that they will live in for most of the
regular season. They did not run the ball particularly well against
the Rams, with Adrian Peterson, Jeremy McNichols, and D’Onta
Foreman combining for 74 yards on 22 carries.
They did not pass the ball particularly well either, with Ryan
Tannehill thawing for just 143 yards and one score.
What they did do well, is stifle the Rams offense and make just
enough plays when they had the ball to secure the win.
A.J. Brown continues to be a target hog, with 11 targets against
the Rams and 40 total in his last four games. He did not do much
with those targets, but you need to remember he was going against
arguably the best defensive back in the league in Jalen Ramsey.
At times this season, the Saints defense has looked like the
best unit in the league. Yet, they just gave up over 300 passing
yards at home to Matt Ryan and the Falcons, a team they should
have easily beaten.
Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Daniel Jones, and Sam Darnold all have
posted at least 300 passing yards and multiple scores against
the Saints, as their teams made the proper adjustment of throwing
the ball vs. New Orleans instead of running against the brick
wall that is the Saints front seven.
The Titans will try to run the ball, but they will find it difficult
against the New Orleans front that allows fewer than three yards
per carry. To win, they need to pass the ball, and the matchup
at home against this secondary is one in which Tannehill and the
wide receivers will find success.
Tannehill is a low-end QB1 with upside because of his rushing
in the red zone. You are for certain going to start A.J. Brown,
and Julio Jones, despite his lack of production, is still worthy
of a WR3 or flex.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: There is not a whole lot to like about
the running options for the Titans now that King Henry is on the
shelf. Adrian Peterson did score last week but looked every bit
of 36 years of age and was running too upright.
Jeremy McNichols looked solid in the passing game but averaged
less than four yards per tote on seven carries.
Even in a solid matchup, I’m not sure I would be excited
about playing any of these players. Against the stout New Orleans
front seven, I would avoid all of them if possible.
Falcons at Cowboys
- (Ken Ilchuk) Line: DAL -9.0 Total: 54.5
Game Thoughts: When WR Calvin Ridley stepped away from
the team, QB Matt Ryan stepped up. He’s connecting on 75%
of his passes the last two weeks, has thrown for 300+ yards three
of the last four weeks, and has tossed multiple TD’s in
six of the Falcons’ eight games. And remember, he’s
done it without his best receiver. TE Kyle Pitts and RB Cordarrelle
Patterson have filled the void, combining for 104 targets, and
no one else is close. They have also teamed up for three 100-yard
games and six scores. Ryan is a solid QB2 play, but against the
feast or famine Dallas defense, he could have low-end QB1 upside.
The Cowboys have improved their pass rush and in the secondary.
They rank 3rd in the NFL in INT’s, but they have also been
susceptible to the big play – they have allowed four scoring
passes of 20+ yards in the last three games. Denver exposed them
badly last week, but while Atlanta may pick up some tips from
the blueprint, we don’t expect back-to-back showings like
that. Still, Ryan and the Falcons will have chances to make plays
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: Atlanta has struggled to get going in
the run game. As it has been for a couple seasons now, the o-line
is not quite there. Mike Davis is a good between the tackles runner,
but this team is just not built to win that way right now, making
him an afterthought in the offense. Cordarrelle Patterson is a
lock as an RB1, but while he’s been a dangerous jack of
all trades, even in the return game, the run production has been
Dallas is allowing nearly 4.5 yards per carry this season, so
maybe this is a chance for the Falcons to take some heat off Ryan.
If they can win the line of scrimmage early, Davis could get enough
touches to earn some consideration as a flex option.
Game Thoughts: If we’re working under the premise
that last week’s blowout loss to the Broncos was an anomaly,
and it seems most people are at this point, then it’s time
for owners to hop back on the horse and ride QB Dak Prescott to
the fantasy playoffs. Even in that loss, Prescott threw two TD
passes. It was his fifth straight multi-TD game and his sixth
in seven games this season. He has three 300-yard games, two for
400+, and is well on his way to the best statistical season of
WR CeeDee Lamb has emerged as a bonafide WR1. With 41 catches
on 66 targets, he has 632 yards, three 100-yard games and four
touchdowns. Falcons CB’s AJ Terrell and Fabian Moreau have
combined for 15 passes defensed. They will matchup with Lamb and
Amari Cooper (13.3 yards per catch and a team-leading 5 TD’s).
That will be a battle early, but Atlanta’s lack of pass
rush is going to put a lot of pressure on the secondary over time.
Lamb and Cooper are both valuable plays in what could be a high
scoring affair. Look for TE Dalton Schultz (37 catches) to have
reception opportunities on the seams with the safeties possibly
split out wide to help on the wideouts.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott is on pace for over 1300
rushing yards, averaging just under 5.0 yards per carry, and adds
value with an average of 20 receiving yards per game. With 100
total yards per week, he’s a top RB1 play. With the Cowboys
in a 30-0 hole by halftime last week, RB Tony Pollard didn’t
get much opportunity. But prior to that game, he was averaging
over 11 total touches per game. In what could be a fast-paced
game, look for him to be closer to that number. He should be considered
as a flex option this week in all leagues.
Browns at Patriots
- (Ken Ilchuk) Line: NE -2.5 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: Man, does that Baker Mayfield dude compete
hard, or what? After a hellacious week of OBJ drama, Mayfield
answered the bell, completing nearly 67% for 218 yards and two
scores. It was his third multiple-TD game in his last four tries,
and his 10.4 yards per attempt was his best since Week 1. Don’t
expect more of that this week. Cleveland is about ball possession.
Run the ball, get it out of Baker’s hands quickly, hit the
TE’s on the seams and keep the chains moving. Plus, the
Patriots lead the NFL in interceptions, and there’s no need
to challenge that secondary when teams are having some success
running on New England, so look for more ball control and less
Baker this week.
That game plan is going to limit a group already short-handed
by the absence of Kareem Hunt (20 catches). TE’s Austin
Hooper and David Njoku are second and third on the team in targets,
respectively, and Njoku’s 341 yards leads the Browns. But
the two cannibalize each other when it comes to fantasy value,
and both are no more than a low-end TE2 this week. WR Donovan
Peoples-Jones is a big-play threat and moves into a starting role
with the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. But while he averages
over 20 yards per catch, he averages less than three targets per
game and just 44 receiving yards per game, making him a risky
play. WR Jarvis Landry is the more consistent option, though also
not explosive in terms of fantasy numbers, especially this week.
He’s a mid-range WR3.
The Patriots defense has got it figured out against the pass.
They are #1 in the NFL with 11 INT (they led the league in that
category last year as well), are second in Passer Rating allowed
(76.6), and third in opposing QB completion percentage (59.6).
Those are all good reasons to stay away from Mayfield and anyone
involved with the Browns passing attack, but also a reason to
consider the Pats as defensive option for your team.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: With Kareem Hunt still on IR with a calf
injury, and Nick Chubb on the Covid list, the ball could fall
into the hands of D’Ernest Johnson. His last start came
in Week 7 when he ran up 146 yards and a TD on 22 carries. He’s
averaging 5.3 yards per carry on 37 carries this season, and I’m
sure the Browns feel comfortable with him back there. Chubb could
still be in play. He is vaccinated, so he just needs to provide
two negative tests over 24 hours.
Either one will be a solid RB1 option against the Patriots this
week. The last three “good” teams New England has
played (TB, DAL, LAC), they’ve yielded 120+ yards on the
ground. Expect Cleveland to pound the rock and try to expose the
weaker link in this defense.
Game Thoughts: QB Mac Jones has been efficient though
unspectacular. He has started to push the ball down the field
a bit more in recent weeks, and his average per attempt continues
to climb, but it’s still not fantasy-notable and his turnovers
(9 in 9 games) are a concern for someone who is trying to manage
WR Jakobi Meyers is the top target by a large margin, but he
has yet to record a 100-yard game or a touchdown. Fellow wideouts
Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne are averaging about 15 yards
per catch, but only average four catches per game. TE Hunter Henry
has developed into a dangerous red zone threat with a touchdown
catch in five of the last six games.
The Browns pass defense is built around their pass rush. They
are amongst the best in the NFL with 27 sacks. DE Myles Garrett
is the spark there (league high 12 sacks). Owners should monitor
his status as he’s nursing a foot injury. But Pats’
HC Bill Belichick has a healthy respect for the player and will
likely have extra help worked into the game plan to limit his
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: As they have for years under Belichick,
the Patriots operate under a RB by committee approach. That’s
being put to the test with James White on IR and leading rushers
Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson both in concussion protocol.
Brandon Bolden and JJ Taylor figure to be next in line for reps
if the starters can’t go, but it seems certain that neither
will get a “workhorse” load in this game. It’s
hard to recommend any New England runners this week against a
Browns defense that ranks #2 in the NFL, allowing just 3.5 yards
Game Thoughts: Earlier this season there were some rumblings
that the Bills offense had become too Josh Allen-centric. It was
true, mostly because the Bills simply couldn’t run the ball
consistently. In fact, Allen’s 319 rushing yards accounts
for a full third of the Buffalo rushing attack. With no run game,
opposing defenses drop a safety out of the box and run a Cover
2 umbrella that takes away the big downfield throws and essentially
takes the top off the Bills offense. Until the Bills can do something
offensively to force that eighth defender into the tackle box,
there will be a cap on this group. With that being said, I would
imagine Allen has been chomping at the bit to erase the taste
of that awful 9-6 loss to Jacksonville last week, and the Jets
are the perfect mouthwash. This just isn’t a talented group.
Keep Allen as your QB1 and watch the redemption story play out.
Guys like WR Cole Beasley will have fantasy value early as Allen
will be forced to take the underneath routes where Beasley makes
his living (he had 8 catches last week). He’s a solid WR3.
TE Dawson Knox who had a hot start to the season before a wrist
injury, may be back this week. If he’s at full strength,
he could occupy a safety that would open things up for WR1 Stefon
Diggs and WR2 Emmanuel Sanders, who can attack downfield.
Gang Green this is not – at least against the pass. The
Jets are among the bottom five defenses in the league in opponent
completion percentage (68.7), yards per attempt (8.0), and opposing
passer rating (106.1). They’ve also allowed 38 plays of
20 yards or more. Safety Marcus Maye is gone for the season with
a torn Achilles, leaving a young, inexperienced secondary even
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: The Bills issues in the run game really
start up front on the offensive line. HC Sean McDermott has said
publicly that line play and the run game have been a focus in
practice this week. The Jets have been gashed in the run game,
allowing more than 4.5 yards per carry. This could be a great
“get well” game for the Bills o-line no matter who
the RB is. Zack Moss is in concussion protocol. If he plays, he’s
a top end RB2. If not, Devin Singletary could get a heavy workload
and garner his own RB2 ranking.
Game Thoughts: QB Mike White has been named the starter
this week with Joe Flacco dressing as the backup. He should have
WR Corey Davis back on the field along with Jamison Crowder and
Elijah Moore and Keelan Cole, who both out-targeted Crowder a
week ago. RB Michael Carter has also been a favorite target and
could see volume as an outlet against an aggressive Buffalo defense.
This Bills D is no joke. They rank top 5 in the league in just
about every major category and lead the NFL in yards per attempt
allowed (5.6) and opponent passer rating (62.9). The only place
they don’t stand out is in the sack department, but they
do get pressure on the pocket, so look for a lot of short, quick
passes. But Buffalo will be crowding the line of scrimmage to
negate yards after the catch and force White to push the ball
down the field. He has not been afraid to do that, but his accuracy
when doing so has been spotty.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: The Bills are allowing significantly less
than 4.0 yards per carry, and the Jets don’t have a back
that is averaging 4.0 yards per carry on the season. Enough said.
Carter is a dynamic player who can be elusive as a runner and
effective in the short passing game. He’s potentially a
low-end RB2, but Ty Johnson will steal snaps and I’m not
sure this Jets o-line can hang with the Bills front seven.
Jaguars @ Colts
- (Swanson) Line: IND -10.5 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: Rookie Trevor Lawrence battled through
an ankle injury to lead the Jaguars to a surprising 9-6 victory
over the Buffalo Bills. Lawrence did not do much, with just 118
passing yards on a 15-26 passing, but he did take care of the
ball & limited mistakes that have cost him in the past.
For fantasy purposes, the rookie QB should not be played in anything
other than deep two QB leagues, and even in those matchups, he
is not a strong start. Lawrence has one game all season with more
than a single passing touchdown and a pair of games in which he
did not throw a TD at all.
As you would imagine, with a QB throwing just 118 yards, the
skill portion players on Jacksonville also took a nosedive last
week. The one glaring exception is tight end Dan Arnold, who has
quietly evolved into Lawrence’s favorite target. Arnold
has 17 targets over his previous two games, with 128 combined
receiving yards. He has not reached the end zone or topped 68
yards, but in a very shallow tight end pool, he is a fine start
From a matchup standpoint, it does not get much better for the
passing weapons on Jacksonville. The Colts are second in points
allowed to quarterbacks and lead the league with 23 passing touchdowns
allowed in nine games.
If Josh Johnson can post 26.5 fantasy points against this aging
secondary, you would think the Lawrence would be able to get at
least a few touchdown scores. It may come in garbage time, and
it might not be pretty, but look for around 250 passing yards
and a few scores from the rookie.
The Jags have one 100-yard receiving performance on the year
and just six total receiving touchdowns as a team at the WR position.
While teams have found success throwing the ball against the Colts
secondary, targeting wide receivers, figuring out which of the
four subpar options to start in Jacksonville is a challenge. Perhaps
avoiding wide receivers altogether is a good way to approach this
game, instead using Dan Arnold as a streaming tight end option.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Carlos Hyde got the start at running back
for the Jags last week vs. the Bills, and not surprisingly, he
did very little with his opportunity. The Bills are a strong defense
against the run, and Hyde is well past his prime.
James Robinson returned to the practice field on Thursday and
appears to be on track to play after missing last week with a
heel injury. While this sounds good for his fantasy managers,
the matchup against the Colts is not great, and Robinson likely
will get a split-carry load with Hyde.
As bad as the Colts have been against the pass this season, they
have been inversely just as solid against the run. Only two backs
have managed to score a rushing touchdown, and even the great
King Henry was held to just 68 yards on 28 carries back in Week
Considering the challenge of running against the Colts and the
high probability of a negative game script, and you have the recipe
for a frustrating day for Robinson's fantasy managers.
Some injuries to the Colts defense could help improve the outlook
of the Jacksonville offense. Starting corner Xavier Rhodes has
missed practice this week with a calf injury, while all-pro linebacker
Darius Leonard was limited with an ankle issue. The former is
far more questionable than the latter, although Leonard could
be hampered by the ankle in the game.
Game Thoughts: It might come as a surprise to many to
learn that Carson Wentz is the No. 1 quarterback in fantasy points
over the past three games, with nine total touchdowns and just
He has at least 22 fantasy points in four of his last five games,
including 24.2 last week at home against the Jets in what turned
out to be a blowout win for the Colts.
With the Jags coming to town, it could be another monster Week
for Wentz, Jonathan Taylor, and the Colts passing offense.
Michael Pittman Jr. has been the beneficiary of Wentz’s
monster run, with 19/255/4 over his last three games. Only Cooper
Kupp has more fantasy points over that stretch. Look for Pittman
to get around seven targets with 80 yards and a score.
After shutting down Josh Allen and the Bills last week, the Jags
currently rank 13th in fantasy points per game. While it was an
impressive performance to beat the top team in the AFC on your
home field, beating the Colts on the road is going to be a much
more difficult challenge.
For starters, the Jags will not be able to play cover-2 shell
defense and limit the big pass play because Jonathan Taylor will
destroy them if they do not play an extra man in the box. The
Bills struggled to run the ball last week with 22 total rushing
yards on nine carries and were frustrated by pressure from the
Jags and blanket coverage.
The Colts will be more successful running the ball, and the offensive
line should give Wentz more time than Josh Allen was afforded.
On the injury front, starting guard Quenton Nelson was limited
on Thursday with an ankle injury, and T.Y. Hilton was also limited
with a concussion. Nelson is looking like he will play, while
Hilton is a little more up in the air.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Jonathan Taylor is just a couple of points
away from passing Derrick Henry as the leading fantasy running
back, with 1114 total yards and nine combined scores. Although
he is not a true workhorse back in terms of snap count (65% on
average), he is producing like an elite back and should be in
line for the first overall pick next summer in fantasy drafts.
Jacksonville ranks 15th in fantasy points allowed to running
backs, but this number is a bit skewed by the 130/3 game Derrick
Henry dropped on them back in Week 5. If you take out that performance,
they have not given up another 100 yards game, and no running
back has reached the end zone since Henry.
This should not skew your view of Taylor too much but just be
warned that he may not find it quite as easy to run as he did
last week against the Jets. He is still an elite option and a
must-start, but 85 rushing yards and a score or two is more likely
than 200 combined yards like we saw last week.
Prediction: Indianapolis 34, Jacksonville 17
Vikings at Chargers
- (Caron) Line: LAC -3.0 Total: 53.5
Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins threw a season-lowest 28
passes in the Vikings’ Week 9 loss to the Ravens, but that
didn’t stop him from turning in his fifth 20-point fantasy
day of the season. It should be a bit concerning to fantasy owners,
however, that Cousins has now failed to reach even 200 passing
yards in back-to-back weeks after doing so in each of his first
six starts of the 2021 season. This is especially worrisome as
the Vikings now face the Chargers and their defense which has
given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing
quarterbacks this season.
The Chargers defense has held all but two quarterbacks (Patrick
Mahomes and Baker Mayfield) to fewer than 20 fantasy points this
season. That includes games against Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson,
Derek Carr and Jalen Hurts who are all top-13 fantasy QBs in points
per game average this season. This difficult matchup should move
Cousins down to being a QB2 this week.
His top receivers, however, should remain strong options, if for
no other reason than that the Vikings tend to funnel most of their
targets to them. Adam Thielen has actually been more productive
and more highly targeted than Justin Jefferson in recent weeks,
but it’s been Jefferson who’s been the more reliable
option. K.J. Osborn can be left on your bench in what is a tough
matchup as the receiver has been held to fewer than seven PPR
fantasy points in five of his past six games.
Tight end Tyler Conklin has caught five passes in each of his
past two games, but he’s been a low volume option throughout
most of the season and he’s scored just one touchdown on
the year. He’s a decent enough streaming option given his
floor, but the ceiling isn’t particularly high.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: We’re not going to speculate on Dalvin
Cook’s pending legal situation, but it’s currently
believed that the running back will be active this week in what
should be a good matchup for him against a Chargers defense that
has given up the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing
running backs so far this season. The Chargers have already conceded
11 rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs in 2021 and they’ve
given up at least 100 rushing yards to opposing teams’ running
backs in all but one game this season.
Assuming that Cook gets his normal workload, he should be a strong
RB1 for fantasy this week. Some might also point to Alexander
Mattison as a potential option in deep leagues, but he’s
simply not playing enough snaps - or seeing enough touches - to
be fantasy viable as long as Cook is healthy.
Game Thoughts: Justin Herbert turned in one of the best
performances of his young career both from a real-life standpoint
as well as a fantasy standpoint in Week 9 as he completed 84 percent
of his passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns while adding an
additional touchdown on the ground in a road victory over the
Eagles. It was a nice bounce back game for Herbert who had struggled
to do much from a fantasy standpoint in his previous two contests
against Baltimore and New England.
Now Herbert sets his sights on a Vikings defense that is coming
off of giving up two big fantasy games in a row to Lamar Jackson
and Cooper Rush. The Chargers QB should be looked at as a solid
QB1 this week, but there is now some concern that one of his top
weapons, Keenan Allen, could be limited. Allen missed practice
on Wednesday with a knee injury and while it’s being noted
as precautionary, completely missing practice is rarely a good
sign. While we do expect that he’ll suit up, he’s
seemingly less than fully healthy, so we could end up seeing the
team focus a bit more on Mike Williams than they have been as
Williams could use the uptick in work, as well, given that he’s
been targeted just 15 times over his past three games combined.
By comparison, he had been targeted at least nine times in four
of his previous five games before that. This downturn in targets
has, predictably, resulted in some pretty bad fantasy production.
Williams has been held to fewer than eight PPR fantasy points
in all four of the games that he’s been held to five or
fewer targets. Williams has regressed back to closer to his career
averages, but this seems like a pretty ideal matchup for him to
get back on track, especially if Allen is limited.
Allen himself should be considered a low-end WR1 if he’s
on the field as he’s now scored at least 10 PPR fantasy
points in every game this season. He hasn’t had the ceiling
that Williams has, but he’s been extraordinarily consistent
and a player who needs to be in fantasy lineups each and every
week, especially in matchups like this one.
The Vikings have been excellent against opposing tight ends this
season as they’re one of only three teams that haven’t
yet conceded a touchdown to the position. They haven’t played
the most difficult matchups, but they did hold Mark Andrews to
just 44 yards this past week and T.J. Hockenson went for just
22 yards against them back in Week 5. Jared Cook is only a borderline
starter each week anyway, but this isn’t a week to put him
in your lineup.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Austin Ekeler remains one of the league’s
most-utilized running backs and he’s now touched the ball
at least 15 times in all but one game this season. Ekeler is used
a ton in the running game, but more importantly he has been a
consistent producer in the passing game and he’s now on
pace for over 75 receptions on the year.
This heavy usage has allowed Ekeler to score at least 11 fantasy
points in all but one game this year and he’s actually exceeded
over 20 points in all but three games. He’s an every week
RB1, similar to Christian McCaffrey, because he’s almost
completely game script-proof. The Vikings have been fine against
running backs this season, but this isn’t a matchup to worry
about - get Ekeler in your lineup as usual.
Panthers at Cardinals
- (Caron) Line: ARI -10.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: With Sam Darnold placed on IR with a shoulder
injury and Cam Newton only signed on Thursday, the Panthers are
expected to turn second-year quarterback P.J. Walker to make the
second start of his professional career. Walker played late in
the Panthers’ 2021 Week 7 blowout loss to the Giants in
what has been his only significant playing time this season, completing
just three of his 14 passes for 33 yards.
Walker threw the ball 34 times, completing 24 of those passes
for 258 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in his only
previous professional start against Lions back in Week 11 of the
2020 season. While Walker himself wasn’t much of a star
in that game, he did earn a win and, perhaps more importantly,
was focused on getting the ball to his top three receivers who
at the time were D.J. Moore (11 targets) , Robby Anderson (nine
targets ) and Curtis Samuel (10 targets). Walker was actually
quite effective at getting the ball to those receivers as they
all caught at least seven passes on the day, with Moore leading
the way with 127 receiving yards.
It’s hard to be very excited about the Panthers passing
game with a relative-unknown at quarterback, but at least we know
that Walker has identified Moore and Anderson as players to key
in on in the passing game. With Samuel gone and no other receiver
yet stepping up as a consistent third option, look for Christian
McCaffrey to play a bigger role in the passing game.
Moore has struggled to produce much since his early season dominance,
having failed to reach even 15 PPR points in five consecutive
games now. Still, the targets he’s seeing remain relatively
strong as he’s been targeted an average of nine targets
per game in those five contests.
With the Panthers matching up against perhaps the NFL’s
best team, the Cardinals, there’s a real possibility that
this game could get out of hand on the scoreboard. That would,
of course, possibly lead to more pass attempts than normal for
the Carolina offense despite the fact that they’re starting
a much less experienced quarterback. We should still be avoiding
a player like Walker for fantasy, but there’s enough of
a potential for another 10-target game for Moore that we should
remain confident that he’ll be a quality low-end WR2 this
Anderson, on the other hand, should not be in serious fantasy
consideration at this time. He had been seeing some decent target
numbers from Weeks 4 through 7, but he’s since been held
to just three and one target over his past two games. Certainly
there’s a possibility that Walker could end up looking Anderson’s
way more often than Darnold did, but this has not been a good
enough passing game to support even one fantasy-relevant receiver
most weeks, let alone two.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: Christian McCaffrey returned in Week 9
after missing five games and although he was certainly on something
of a “pitch count” from a snaps standpoint, he certainly
was utilized heavily when he was on the field. McCaffrey touched
the ball 18 times in the 29 snaps he played. What this should
tell us is that, while the Panthers were a bit careful with him,
we should be expecting that he has returned to serious RB1 overall
status. McCaffrey is as game script independent as any player
in the league and we shouldn’t be particularly concerned
that he’s facing a Cardinals defense that has conceded the
sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
The Cardinals have done a great job at containing opposing runners
on the ground this year, but where they’ve struggled a bit
is against pass catching backs. They allowed 10 receptions to
49ers running backs this past week, seven to Packers running backs
in Week 8, and eight receptions to Texans running backs in Week
Given the relative inexperience of Walker, expect that the Panthers
will lean heavily upon McCaffrey again this week. If the game
remains relatively close on the scoreboard, expect McCaffrey to
see plenty of carries out of the backfield. But if (and likely
when) the Panthers fall behind by multiple scores, we should see
McCaffrey utilized heavily in the passing game. Contrary to perhaps
what is popular opinion for fantasy running backs, McCaffrey is
the type of player who can truly thrive in this situation and
he should be looked at as a truly elite option this week despite
what looks like a potentially difficult matchup on paper.
Game Thoughts: An ankle injury kept Arizona quarterback
Kyler Murray sidelined in Week 9 alongside his top two wide receivers
DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green. This led to veteran Colt McCoy
getting the start on the road against the 49ers. It would’ve
been difficult to expect much from the Cardinals offense without
their star players, but McCoy actually performed quite well, completing
22 of his 26 pass attempts for 249 yards and a touchdown.
As of Thursday, neither Murray nor Hopkins has practiced heading
toward their Week 10 matchup against the Panthers. While neither
player has to practice in order to start, the Cardinals offense
performed well enough without them that there’s a real chance
that the team will opt to give the duo another week to get healthy
here in Week 10. If that happens, look for McCoy to start again
with A.J. Green, Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore (neck) lead
the way as the team’s top three receivers.
Kirk (six receptions) and Moore (five receptions) both caught
every pass that came their way from McCoy in Week 9, but with
Green expected back from the COVID list here in Week 10, there’s
a good chance that they’ll both take a back seat to the
veteran in the targets department. Still, assuming that Hopkins
is out, there’s reason to believe that all three of these
receivers could be viable WR3/Flex options against the Panthers
here in Week 10.
The Panthers have been excellent against opposing wide receivers
in 2021, but if there’s a place they’ve struggled,
it’s been against outside receivers. Minnesota’s Adam
Thielen and Justin Jefferson, who both play primarily outside,
both turned in solid performances against the Panthers, as did
New York’s Corey Davis and Houston’s Brandin Cooks.
Meanwhile, Carolina has been excellent against opposing slot receivers,
including holding Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb to just two catches
for 13 yards back in Week 4. This information could be useful
as we attempt to identify where the Cardinals’ pass attempts
are likely to go, and we can assume that Rondale Moore will continue
to primarily play out of the slot when he’s on the field.
With that information, we can assume that Moore will likely be
taken away by the Carolina defense, leaving Green and Kirk as
the stronger plays this week.
If Hopkins does return, look for him to be limited in snaps, making
him a WR3 this week and bumping both Kirk and Green down to being
just PPR Flex options.
Assuming Murray is out again this week, McCoy should probably
remain on fantasy benches. If Murray does play, look for him to
be more of a low-end QB1 this week as opposed to the high-end
option we’re used to.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Perhaps the most fantasy-relevant injury
of Week 9 happened in the Cardinals backfield when Chase Edmonds
was knocked out of the game, leading to a full workload for James
Conner, who delivered with an absolutely monster performance against
an overwhelmed 49ers defense. Edmonds has since been diagnosed
with a high ankle sprain which will keep him out for at least
a few weeks.
The Cardinals have not made and significant moves involving their
backfield this week, so we should expect another heavy workload
for Conner, who has been one of the league’s most productive
fantasy players primarily due to his incredible touchdown production.
Conner has already scored 11 touchdowns this season and now he’s
likely going to get even more work, so it’s time to start
talking about him as a potential top-12 weekly fantasy running
Conner’s first start will come in what is a tough on-paper
matchup against the Panthers. Carolina has given up the fourth-fewest
fantasy points per game to opposing running backs so far this
season. On the bright side, they have given up two 140-yard rushing
days already, to Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook. While Conner
may not be quite on that level, he’s been so heavily utilized,
particularly near the end zone, that he should still be considered
a relatively strong play this week.
We should expect that Conner sees the majority of the work on
the ground, but there is still another player who should be looked
at a bit from a fantasy standpoint. Eno Benjamin stepped in and
saw nine carries in Week 9, including scoring a touchdown, once
Edmonds went out. Benjamin is a somewhat similar player to Edmonds
in terms of skill set and was a decent pass catcher in college,
so there’s a possibility that he ends up playing more than
some would expect on the surface. He’s a risky start, but
there are so many injuries at running back right now that some
people may be looking for a one-week fill-in and Benjamin could
fit that bill in PPR formats.
Eagles at Broncos
- (Caron) Line: DEN -2.5 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: Jalen Hurts is truly the ultimate example
of a quarterback who is great for fantasy football even though
he’s been pretty bad from a real-life standpoint. Hurts
has now been held to fewer than 200 passing yards in four of his
past five games, throwing for a total of just four touchdown passes
over that stretch. However, he’s still been productive enough
as a fantasy player, primarily due to his rushing floor, and he’s
still delivered an average of nearly 20 fantasy points per game
over that stretch. Those are elite numbers and they’re happening
when he’s undoubtedly struggling as a passer. Hurts’
rushing ability is second only to Lamar Jackson and he’s
easily a top-half QB1 for fantasy.
This week Hurts and the Eagles will head to Denver to face a Broncos
defense that has one of the best secondaries in the league. In
fact, they’ve given up the third-fewest fantasy points per
game to opposing quarterbacks. It’s worth noting that the
Broncos haven’t yet allowed an opposing quarterback to rush
for even 30 yards in a game this season and that’s despite
the fact that they’ve faced some of the league’s more
mobile quarterbacks including Daniel Jones, Trevor Lawrence, Taylor
Heinicke and even Lamar Jackson. Still, Hurts runs so often that
he’s rushed for at least 30 yards in every game this season
and he’s been over 60 yards in five games, including three
straight leading into this week’s contest. Look for him
to lean heavily on running yet again and while this isn’t
a great matchup, he needs to remain in most fantasy lineups.
Unfortunately, Hurts’ receivers haven’t been very
productive. DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins have
just one game of more than six targets between the three of them
through the past four weeks. That’s just not enough volume
to be fantasy relevant most weeks. The Broncos have only given
up two 100-yard days to an opposing wide receiver and only one
wide receiver (Dallas’ Malik Turner) has scored multiple
touchdowns against them. Smith is a decent WR2/WR3 most weeks,
but this is a particularly difficult matchup so we’re going
to slide him down into Flex territory for this one.
Tight end Dallas Goedert hasn’t yet “popped”
in a game since the Eagles moved Zach Ertz, but the numbers indicate
that more production should be coming at some point. He’s
been fine, turning in three 12-plus-point PPR fantasy days over
his past five contests, but so there’s a good possibility
that you don’t have a better option, but it’s worth
noting that the Broncos have locked down opposing tight ends this
season so this isn’t a great situation.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: With Miles Sanders still sidelined, the
Eagles backfield has turned into a full blown committee. Boston
Scott led the way in snaps in both Week 8 and Week 9, with Jordan
Howard and Kenneth Gainwell both seeing some playing time as well.
Perhaps most interestingly, though, it’s been Howard who’s
led the team in carries since Sanders went out, and he’s
now scored three rushing touchdowns over the past three weeks.
We initially figured that we’d see some additional playing
time for Gainwell, but that really hasn’t come to fruition
as the back has not seen a significant uptick in snaps or touches.
What’s perhaps most interesting is that, after catching
a pass in each of his first seven games, Gainwell has since failed
to catch even one target in either of the two games that Sanders
has missed. This has meant that Gainwell’s fantasy value
has been practically nonexistent, while Howard has become a viable
Game Thoughts: It’s hard to view Teddy Bridgewater
as anything more than a low-end bye week fill-in, but the truth
is that the Broncos quarterback has actually turned in five 18-plus
point fantasy days already this season which has allowed him to
be a decent streaming option. This week he’ll face an Eagles
defense that has conceded multiple touchdown passes in five contests,
including a 356-yard, two passing touchdown performance to Justin
Herbert this past week. The Eagles haven’t been terrible
against quarterbacks, but given the other streaming options, Bridgewater
might very well be the best available option in a lot of leagues.
Jerry Jeudy has been Bridgewater’s most-targeted receiver
since returning from injury as he’s now seen 12 targets
over his past two games. Fellow receiver Tim Patrick was the star
this past week, but Patrick Has only been targeted more than six
times in a game once this season, so he remains a very low upside
option most weeks. Courtland Sutton had been the Broncos’
top receiver while Jeudy was out, but has since taken a big step
back corresponding with Jeudy’s return, as he’s been
targeted just six total times over the past two weeks. Sutton
had averaged nearly nine targets per game in the six contests
that Jeudy missed. We have to assume that better days are on the
horizon for Sutton, but the Broncos are just not a high volume
passing game to begin with and it’s hard to believe that
they’re going to be able to support multiple productive
fantasy wide receivers unless they end up being in more shootouts
or blowouts. This means that Sutton needs to be viewed as more
of a low-end WR3 with Jeudy being high-end WR3 and Patrick fitting
in as a Flex.
Tight end Noah Fant missed Week 9’s contest against the
Cowboys after being placed on the COVID list, but he’s been
activated and is expected to play this weekend against the Eagles.
This will mean that Albert Okwuegbunam should see a big drop off
in playing time and Fant will again become a viable TE1. Fant
has quietly averaged nearly seven targets per game this season
and while he has only turned in one really big week thus far,
he’s been a reliable enough TE1 when he’s been on
the field. This week he’s a sneaky solid TE1 given that
he’ll be facing a Philadelphia defense that has conceded
more points to opposing tight ends than any other team in the
league this season.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: The duo of Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams
continues to be excellent from an NFL standpoint, but there’s
just not quite enough volume to go around for both of them to
be great fantasy options. Instead, we’re stuck with one
of the two being mediocre most weeks with the other one being
a decent enough RB2 - it’s just unfortunate that there’s
really no way of figuring out which one will be which in a given
week. Because of this, we have to rank both of them as low-end
RB2/Flex plays, even against an Eagles defense that ranks in the
bottom half in the league at shutting down opposing running backs.
Game Thoughts: Coming off their bye, the Seahawks are
set to welcome back Russell Wilson (finger) from a three-game
absence after undergoing finger surgery. In his four full games
this season, Wilson averaged 261 yards and 2.25 TDs as the Seahawks
continued their long-standing philosophy of leaning on the running
game. Expect to see that approach this Sunday as well in an effort
to protect their defense and keep the ball away from Aaron Rodgers.
While that doesn’t preclude Wilson from QB1 production,
just know it’s a relatively narrow path to get there.
Wilson’s return should provide a boost for DK Metcalf and
Tyler Lockett as Seattle’s offense was even more buttoned
up with Geno Smith at the helm. In their four games together,
Metcalf averaged five catches, 71 yards and 0.75 TDs per game.
Lockett had very similar production (5-83-0.75) but is always
the more mercurial option; to that point he has topped 100 yards
receiving three times this year and finished with less than 40
yards in four of the other five games.
Even with Eric Stokes (knee) injuring his knee in warm-ups last
Sunday and joining Jaire Alexander (shoulder) on the sidelines,
the Packers still held Patrick Mahomes to a career low in passing
yards. They rank seventh in the NFL against the pass (210.4 per
game) amid loads of key injuries and will present a stiff test
for the returning Wilson. Metcalf is a solid WR2 while Lockett
is a risk/reward selection as your second or third receiver.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: While Wilson is the marquee return, Chris
Carson (neck) could also be back. While he’s officially
back at practice, the Seahawks still have 21 days to activate
Carson from IR, so it’s far from a given that he’ll
suit up in Week 10. If he does, he’s best deployed as an
RB3 since they’re unlikely to overwork him. Alex Collins
(groin) is also banged up. He worked as the de facto top back
with Carson out but figures to slide back down the depth chart.
He’d be a flex play as the primary and of no interest as
the reserve. Green Bay has been up and down against the run, ranking
16th at 110.8 yards allowed per game.
Game Thoughts: With Aaron Rodgers (illness) on the Reserve/COVID
list last Sunday, Jordan Love stepped in and made his first NFL
start. The results were mixed with the second-year pro looking
composed at times and shaky at others. Rodgers looks to be on
track to clear the NFL’s COVID protocol on Saturday. If
that happens, he’ll be the starter. If there are any setbacks,
Love would get the call. Rodgers hasn’t put up huge numbers
this season, but obviously the offense is much more dangerous
when he’s at the helm. Rodgers could be a low-end QB1 this
Sunday, whereas Love should be kept away from fantasy lineups.
With Robert Tonyan (knee) lost for the year, Davante Adams (6-42-0)
is the only fantasy option to consider among Green Bay’s
pass catchers right now. Love targeted Adams 14 times last Sunday,
proving he learned something from No. 12, and even though they
were not at the same page at times, Adams remains a must-start
option. Beyond that, the player to watch is Marquez Valdes-Scantling,
who returned from IR last week. MVS had his best game in Week
3 (4-59-1) before pulling his hamstring, and he might be worth
a speculative addition if you’re hunting for treasure on
the waiver wire.
Much like last year, Seattle started off terribly defensively
but has since trended up, though a quick glance at the quarterbacks
they’ve faced immediately calls the legitimacy of that improvement
into question. For the year they still rank 28th against the pass
at 273.9 yards per game, and this will be their stiffest test
since Week 5, assuming Rodgers takes the field.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: For as effective as the tandem of Aaron
Jones (12-53-0) and AJ Dillon (8-46-0 as a runner, 4-44-0 as a
receiver) was last Sunday, it’s surprising that they didn’t
see the ball more often with Love under center. The Packers like
to keep a lid on Jones’ workload to be sure, but under the
circumstances it still feels odd. If Rodgers does indeed return
you can pencil Jones in as an RB1 and Dillon as a flex against
Seattle and their 25th-ranked run defense (127.6 yards per game).
With Love, you might elevate Dillon to RB3 status and drop Jones
down to RB2.
Chiefs at Raiders
- (Caron) Line: KC -2.5 Total: 52.5
Game Thoughts: It’s now been three weeks in a row
that Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes disappointed fantasy
owners, as he’s thrown for just two total touchdowns over
that span. It’s also been five weeks since he exceeded two
touchdowns in a game. So, what’s wrong with the Kansas City
offense? Well, for starters, and perhaps most importantly, their
deep ball success rate has been terrible since their Week 5 loss
to the Bills. Some have suggested that the Bills created a bit
of a “blueprint” for stopping the Chiefs offense and
other teams picked up on it fairly quickly and have been implementing
things they learned from Buffalo. This has led to a significant
decrease in passing game success overall. Nevertheless, Mahomes’
upside means that he has to remain a fantasy QB1. He’s not
a locked-in elite option as he has been for a few years now, but
he’s still good enough that you’re not going to want
to bench him for someone you pick up off of waivers.
Even through Mahomes’ struggles, wide receiver Tyreek Hill
has continued to see an extremely heavy target share which has
allowed him to remain a strong fantasy producer. Only this past
week, against the Packers, was Hill truly kept in check as he
caught just four passes for 37 yards while failing to get into
the end zone. Even then, the Chiefs made it a priority to at least
attempt to get him the ball as he was targeted 11 times on the
day. Prior to that disappointing output, Hill had been averaging
a ridiculous 25 PPR fantasy points per game over his previous
five contests. One thing that’s a bit concerning is that
the Raiders have quietly been one of the league’s best defenses
in taking away deep passes. That’s obviously Hill’s
specialty, but he’s also capable of a lot more than that
so don’t be too alarmed. It’s sometimes easy to overreact,
but Hill has to remain a firm WR1 for fantasy until we see a long
stretch where he’s not seeing such a heavy target share.
Tight end Travis Kelce remains the top producer at his position
and while his output hasn’t been gigantic in recent weeks,
he, too, has remained a consistent top producer. Kelce has scored
at least 13 PPR fantasy points in all but two games this season,
including six games of 17 or more points. To put that in perspective,
the next best tight end - Baltimore’s Mark Andrews - has
scored 13 or more PPR points in just three contests and he’s
delivered just one game with 17 or more fantasy points. Needless
to say, the gap between Kelce and the rest of the field remains
a chasm and he should be in your lineup and ranked as the fantasy
TE1 as long as he’s healthy.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Kansas City running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire
returned to practice on Wednesday and reports are that he looked
great in his first work after spending the past four weeks sidelined
with a knee injury. The team has remained vague about when he
might actually return to live game action, but there is indeed
a chance that he suits up for Sunday’s game against the
Raiders. If he does, Edwards-Helaire would likely be part of a
committee backfield with at least Darrel Williams and perhaps
still some Derrick Gore. If they’re willing to risk him
being on the field at all, though, we have to assume that the
team is confident enough in his health that they’re willing
to give him a decent number of snaps that he would immediately
be viable again for fantasy purposes. Edwards-Helaire disappointed
a bit early in the season, but he saw at least 13 carries in every
game prior to getting injured in Week 5 and that was enough to
make him fantasy relevant in all but one contest.
Darrel Williams has filled in reasonably well, including catching
at least three passes in every game since becoming the starter.
While Edwards-Helaire came into the NFL touted as one of the best
pass catching backs we’ve seen in years, he hasn’t
lived up to the hype in that regard in Kansas City and he had
actually been losing a decent amount of passing game work for
Williams over the past two seasons. We have to assume that this
will continue even if Edwards-Helaire is back on the field, so
Williams should continue to be at least somewhat viable for fantasy
at least for the next couple of weeks. If he’s the starter,
look for Williams to continue to be a low-end RB2/Flex with high-end
RB2 upside if the Chiefs offense can get things back on track.
If Edwards-Helaire doesn’t play, Derrick Gore would likely
play the complementary role to Williams, but it’s worth
considering that his carries dropped from 11 in Week 8 to just
three in Week 9. He’s not fantasy viable at the moment.
Game Thoughts: The Raiders were without field stretching
specialist Henry Ruggs III for the first time this past week and
things did not look great for the passing game. Although Carr
threw for 296 yards on the day, it was on a surprisingly high
46 pass attempts as the team scored just 16 points on the day
against a bad New York Giants team. Carr ‘s 296 yards marked
the sixth time he’s reached at least that amount this season
so the floor has been there, but he remains a relatively low ceiling
option primarily because he doesn’t have the mobility to
compete with many of the other top quarterbacks. Still, Carr is
a great QB2 in fantasy leagues and he could be a low-end QB1 this
week in what should be a good matchup against a bad Chiefs defense.
Kansas City has given up the third-most fantasy points per game
to opposing quarterbacks this season, including a 30-plus point
day in half of their games.
The Raiders did also make a move to at least somewhat replace
Ruggs as they acquired veteran DeSean Jackson. Jackson has made
a career of being one of the league’s best field stretchers
and while he himself doesn’t always produce big numbers,
Jackson’s presence has been shown to help just about every
other player in the offenses he’s been part of throughout
his career. This should mean good things for wide receiver Bryan
Edwards, but more importantly for tight end Darren Waller. Waller
was targeted 11 times in Week 9 - the most he had seen since his
huge Week 1 performance - and he also produced his second-best
fantasy game of the season against the Giants. This heavy target
share is a good sign and he should continue to be the team’s
best fantasy weapon, along with being an elite fantasy producer
at the tight end position.
Edwards didn’t cost much in fantasy drafts so it’s
hard to be too disappointed in him, but the opportunity he’s
had to play significant snaps should have led to more targets
and more fantasy points than we’ve seen this season. Edwards
had yet to reach even 14 PPR fantasy points in a single game prior
to Week 9, but some had high hopes for him against the Giants
given that he was really the only outside weapon that had any
production at all this season. Unfortunately, Edwards completely
collapsed, catching zero passes on just four targets despite playing
the second-most snaps on the team (slightly behind Zay Jones).
Although he was a decent prospect coming into the NFL, Edwards
simply hasn’t put it together enough to be considered a
viable fantasy starter for the time being.
Speaking of Zay Jones, the second round NFL Draft pick by the
Buffalo Bills finally saw significant playing time in Week 9 after
Ruggs was released by the Raiders. Jones led all Raiders wide
receivers in snaps and was targeted four times, although he caught
just one pass for 20 yards. Expect that he will split some playing
time with Jackson this week, however, so neither of those receivers
should be considered in your lineup either, until we get a better
idea of what the team plans on doing in regards to usage.
The only Raiders wide receiver who should be in any lineups right
now is Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow has been the team’s best
PPR wide receiver this season and he continued to produce this
past week when he caught seven passes for 49 yards and a touchdown
while tying a season-high of nine targets. Renfrow has been targeted
at least five times in every game this season and his low average
target depth makes him a good bet to catch most of the passes
that come his way, although it does limit his upside. Renfrow
has been between 10 to 19 PPR fantasy points in all but one game,
meaning that he should be looked at as a high-end WR3 for fantasy.
Chiefs standout defensive back L'Jarius Sneed primarily covers
the opposing offense’s slot receiver and will likely be
on Renfrow quite a bit, so don’t expect Renfrow to break
out in this one, but he should still provide enough production
to not be disappointing in this one.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Like Renfrow, Josh Jacobs has been this
season’s “consistent, but not spectacular” fantasy
running back and he just so happens to also play for the Raiders.
Jacobs has delivered between 10 to 17 PPR fantasy points in every
game he’s played this season. He’s done it primarily
by scoring touchdowns, but Jacobs has also been catching more
passes than he had in the past which has helped boost his floor,
given that his rushing numbers have been bad on a per-carry basis
as he’s averaged just 3.8 yards per attempt.
Jacobs has quietly been conceding about half of his snaps to Kenyan
Drake in recent weeks so that, too, has been limiting his upside.
Drake has only carried the ball more than eight times in one game
this season, but he’s now caught at least five passes in
three games. He’s seemingly become the team’s top
pass catching back, which is notable especially in a game like
the one we’ll have in Week 10 against the Chiefs, which
could easily turn into a shootout. If it does, expect Drake and
Jacobs to again play about an equal number of snaps, which should
allow them to both be startable for fantasy purposes.
Rams at 49ers
- (Caron) Line: LAR -4.0 Total: 49.0
Game Thoughts: Rumors broke Thursday evening that the
Rams are finalizing paperwork to bring in former Cleveland Browns
wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but the star pass catcher will
likely be inactive - or limited - for Monday night’s game
against the 49ers. For this week only, expect that the Rams will
continue to roll with what has already been a very good group
of receivers this season, led by Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and
Kupp has been the WR1 for fantasy since all the way back in Week
1 and he’s only been extending his lead ever since. He’s
averaging a ridiculous 26 PPR fantasy points per game, which is
nearly six more than the next-best player at the position (Deebo
Samuel). To say that he’s been exceptional this season would
be an understatement. He’s been so good, so reliable that
there’s really no other player who could be considered ahead
of him on the weekly rankings as we head into Week 10’s
matchup with San Francisco.
Woods has also been heating up as of late, having now turned in
three straight games of 15 or more PPR fantasy points. He hasn’t
seen nearly the target share that Cupp has throughout the year,
but Woods has now been targeted 25 times over his past three games,
along with carrying the ball four times through that stretch,
so there’s plenty of reason to believe that he’s going
to continue to be productive against San Francisco. The 49ers
have been very good against opposing wide receivers as a whole
this season, but they’ve actually given up some decent days
to outside wide receivers. Davante Adams, Marques Valdes-Scantling,
DK Metcalf, DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Pittman Jr. have all scored
against the 49ers, so there’s some potential for Woods to
get back into the end zone here in Week 10.
Second-year wide receiver Van Jefferson will likely be the odd
man out once Beckham gets up to speed, but he should continue
to play significant snaps here in Week 10. While he hasn’t
been producing huge numbers with the opportunities he’s
had, Jefferson has now been targeted at least six times in three
consecutive games which does make him a potential Flex option
in this game.
Tight end Tyler Higbee continues to see a massive amount of playing
time, but the fantasy production just has not been there. He’s
failed to reach even 12 PPR fantasy points in all but one game
this season and he’s now outside the top 24 at the position
in non-PPR points per game at the position. Higbee is very much
a PPR-only option for now, but it’s worth considering that
he did see a season-high 10 targets in Los Angeles’ Week
9 loss to the Titans. That was a weird game script, though, with
the Rams falling behind by multiple scores early which really
caused them to lean heavily on their passing game in the second
half. Higbee is a startable TE just given how bad the position
is overall, but he’s a less-than-sexy option for sure.
Stafford is dealing with an ankle injury that he’s expected
to play through this week and while he’s coming off of his
worst fantasy game of the season this past week, it’s worth
considering that the Rams are truly all-in right now with this
passing game now that they’ve added Odell Beckham Jr. to
the mix. There isn’t a team in the league that’s deeper
with pass catching weapons than the Rams and Stafford has already
been an elite option this season, so look for him to continue
to sling the ball at a high level this week against what has been
a bad San Francisco defense.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: You wouldn’t think this based on
the personnel they have, but the 49ers have actually been quite
mediocre against opposing running backs thus far in 2021. In fact,
following the huge day they gave up to James Conner this past
week, the 49ers rank in the bottom-12 of the league in per-game
standard-scoring fantasy points conceded to opposing backs this
San Francisco now has the task of going up against Los Angeles’
Darrell Henderson who has been one of the biggest fantasy surprises
of the season. Henderson injured his ankle in the Rams’
Week 9 loss to the Titans and although he came back onto the field
later in the game, he was unable to salvage what was his worst
fantasy game of the season. Nevertheless, Henderson still sits
inside RB1 range in both PPR and non-PPR scoring this season and
he looks like a good bet to add to his numbers here against what
has been a bad 49ers run defense. He should be looked at as a
low-end RB1 this week given that we’re not exactly certain
how healthy his ankle is.
If Henderson does suffer any sort of a setback between now and
game night then we’d see the Rams turn to Sony Michel, but
otherwise Michel should be on fantasy benches given his lack of
usage in the passing game and Henderson’s heavy usage near
the goal line.
Game Thoughts: It’s been an ugly NFL season overall
for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but he’s actually
been fairly decent from a fantasy standpoint in most of his games.
Garoppolo got injured in the 49ers’ Week 4 loss to the Seahawks
so we won’t count that game, but he’s otherwise scored
at least 14 fantasy points in five of his other six starts. Unfortunately
this week he’ll face a Rams defense that has been quite
good against opposing quarterbacks, having not yet given up any
games of more than two passing touchdowns. They also held Ryan
Tannehill to just 143 passing yards this past week so Garoppolo
will need to step up in a big way if he’s going to be anything
more than a low-end QB2.
While Garoppolo isn’t really interesting for fantasy, he
actually has three weapons that could all be considered for your
lineups this week. Tight end George Kittle comes first as a must-start
as he finally made his return to the field this past week after
missing four weeks. Kittle immediately made his presence felt,
catching six of the eight passes that game his way against the
Cardinals for 101 yards and a touchdown. While he had been somewhat
disappointing to start the season, these are the kinds of games
that Kittle can produce and very few other tight ends can match.
He’s an elite fantasy option this week - and every week
- going forward, as long as he’s healthy.
Deebo Samuel has been a mega-stud for fantasy purposes this season
and he’s now scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in every
game thus far while averaging over 20 PPR points per game. Samuel
has been targeted at least eight times in every game, making him
one of the most reliable players in all of fantasy football this
season. He might end up seeing more attention from Jalen Ramsey
than he has in the past, but Samuel should continue to be targeted
heavily enough that he’ll be at least a high-end WR2.
If you’re looking for a bye week replacement or someone
who could break out (again) down the stretch this season, perhaps
Brandon Aiyuk could be an option for your fantasy squad. Aiyuk
has been in the Shanahan dog house but was targeted a season-high
eight times this past week against the Cardinals. He converted
six of those receptions into 89 yards and a touchdown and he looked
good in doing so, so don’t be surprised if he’s finally
worked his way back into being an important part of the 49ers
offense. San Francisco needs to pull out all the stops if they
hope to make a run at the playoffs this season and Aiyuk is one
of the players who could absolutely be a difference maker for
them. He’s only a Flex option until we see more, but the
signs are looking good.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: News broke this past Sunday morning that
the 49ers were activating Jeff Wilson from the PUP list which
immediately led to a flurry of transactions to add him throughout
the fantasy football world. As it turned out, though, the 49ers
are seemingly content with sticking with rookie Elijah Mitchell
- and for good reason. Mitchell has averaged an impressive 5.3
yards per carry and while he’s been less than stellar in
the passing game, his quick, intense rushing style has been an
important part of any of the successes that the 49ers have had
as a whole on offense here in 2021.
While JaMycal Hasty will likely continue to see plenty of passing
down work, Mitchell actually saw a notable uptick in usage in
that category this past week when he caught a season high five
passes for 43 yards. Mitchell has now touched the ball at least
13 times in all but one game that he’s been active, so that
type of usage alone cannot be overlooked. The Rams are a decent
enough run defense that we won’t likely see a huge game
from Mitchell, but he should be good enough that he’ll turn
in an RB2 day.