- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Packers at Cardinals
- (Caron) Line: ARI -6.5 Total: 50.5
Game Thoughts: The COVID-IR list has hit the Packers
passing game particularly hard this week, likely eliminating both
wide receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard from Thursday’s
contest against the Cardinals. With their top two wide receivers
out and Marquez Valdes-Scantling still technically on the IR,
there are a lot of questions as to which players will be lining
up out wide for Green Bay this week. If Valdes-Scantling does
play, look for him to be the primary wide receiver aside from
slot receiver Randall Cobb. Cobb’s targets have been minimal
so far this season but he has seen 13 targets over his past three
games, so it would stand to reason that he should see an uptick
this week. It’s really tough to trust any of the Packers
wide receivers this week as anything more than a Flex, but that’s
more than you can usually say about them.
The other player who seemingly should see some additional work
this week is tight end Robert Tonyan. Tonyan had a huge 2020 but
has been a massive disappointment this season, primarily due to
a lack of touchdowns. He scored just his second touchdown this
past week, on four catches for 63 yards, which was his best performance
of the season. Assuming that the Packers will be utilizing wide
receivers who do not typically get to play with Aaron Rodgers,
it would make sense that Tonyan should be viewed as a low-end
TE1, even in a tough matchup against a good Packers defense.
Aaron Rodgers is typically a solid WR1 for fantasy but without
his top two wide receivers, he becomes a borderline benchable
fantasy asset this week. The Cardinals defense is very good even
if their secondary is not full of star players, so there’s
a decent possibility that fantasy owners have a better option
in single-QB leagues.
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.32
Running Game Thoughts: With the Packers passing game significantly
hampered, it would be wise to assume that they’ll lean more
heavily on their running game than they have so far in 2021. Aaron
Jones turned in one of his worst performances of the season in
Week 7 against Washington, but he had been on a fairly decent
tear over his previous two contests, so we shouldn’t expect
that the Packers have given up on him.
Jones looks like a strong bet to finish with at least 15 touches
this week and he could see additional usage in the passing game
due to the health of the other pass catchers in this offense.
Consider him a low-end RB1 for fantasy this week.
Fellow running back AJ Dillon should remain on fantasy benches
until we see his usage move up significantly, or if the Packers
are in what should be a strong game positive script.
Game Thoughts: A top three quarterback once again this
season, Kyler Murray has shifted from being one of the most active
runners in the league to one who has rushed for fewer than 20
yards more often than he’s rushed for above that number.
Still, his passing game success has increased so dramatically
that it hasn’t really mattered, although it has meant that
we’ve seen a more consistent fantasy output versus what
we saw this past year when he had quite a few huge spike weeks
and then would provide duds on occasion. Murray has made himself
an every week must-start and that’ll be the case again this
week against a Packers defense that hasn’t been great against
opposing passers and has struggled against mobile quarterbacks.
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) continues to be the
Cardinals’ best option in the passing game and he’s
now scored four times over his past three contests and he’s
scored at least 10 PPR fantasy points in all but one game this
season. Normally he’d have the difficult task of matching
up against star cornerback Jaire Alexander in this game, but Alexander
is currently on IR and won’t be back in time to face Hopkins.
Continue to roll with Hopkins as a low-end WR1 this week.
A.J. Green started the season off strong, but has taken a bit
of a back seat in recent weeks, as Christian Kirk has become more
involved in the offense and has now scored in back-to-back games.
Kirk and Green are both players who fantasy owners could consider
if they’ve been bit by the injury bug or if bye weeks have
you scrambling, but they’re low-end starters in normal 12-team
leagues. Rookie Rondale Moore has had some exciting moments this
season but he’s averaged fewer than four targets per game
over his past five contests, so he can probably be cut in most
seasonal leagues and he’s certainly not someone we should
be looking to start in this game.
Tight end Zach Ertz has been an interesting add for the Cardinals
and he got into the end zone this past week while tying Green
for the team-lead in receiving yardage in his debut this past
week. It would’ve been hard to imagine that Ertz could finish
as a TE1 this season if he stayed in Philadelphia where he’d
have to battle Dallas Goedert for playing time, but now the chances
that he’s fantasy relevant for the remainder of the season
seem pretty strong.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: The fantasy frustrations continued for
Chase Edmonds owners this past week as the running back finally
saw a season-high 15 carries, but it was accompanied by his lowest
catch total of the season as he caught just one pass. Edmonds
has now touched the ball more times than any player in the NFL
this season without scoring a touchdown. Normally this would be
a screaming positive regression situation, but the Cardinals have
essentially told us that Edmonds will only be scoring this season
if he gets the ball outside of the red zone and breaks it for
a touchdown. While we saw a decent floor from Edmonds earlier
this season, he’s now scored 10 or fewer PPR fantasy points
in three straight games, while catching three or fewer passes
in all of those games. He’s not droppable but Edmonds is
someone who fantasy owners should be worried about right now and
he’s more of a Flex than he is an RB2 right now given his
lack of ceiling.
Teammate James Conner has done enough to make Edmonds owners pull
their hair out, but Conner himself simply hasn’t been an
every week starter for fantasy either, despite the fact that he’s
already scored six touchdowns this season. Conner has been held
to 11 or fewer fantasy points in all but three games and he’s
almost a complete touchdown-or-bust fantasy player. The Cardinals
have a chance to score quite a bit in practically every game so
Conner is a decent bet to score each week, but he’s almost
completely unused in the passing game so there’s a very
low floor for him.
Dolphins at Bills
- (Ilchuk) Line: BUF -14.0 Total: 48.5
Game Thoughts: As Deshaun Watson trade rumors swirl,
Tua Tagovailoa posted some strong numbers in Week 7 (32-40-291-4
TD). However, he also threw two bad interceptions (his fourth
in four games) and the big play continued to elude this offense.
Tua is averaging just 7.1 yards per attempt, dinking and dunking
his way down the field. While that my keep the Bills’ pass
rush at bay this week, the more passes needed to get down the
field, the more chances for Tagovailoa to make a mistake, especially
against a Buffalo defense that will show him a wide array of pressures
Tua’s favorite target is WR Jaylen Waddle, who has 57 targets
and a team-high three scores. TE Mike Gesicki has snagged 21%
of Miami’s target share and leads the team in yards and
yards per game. WR DeVante Parker should be back after missing
several weeks due to injury. He offers some big play ability,
averaging just under 15 yards per catch. Fellow WR’s Preston
Williams and Will Fuller (injured) have been non-factors.
Simply put, there hasn’t been a team that’s been
better against the pass than the Bills. Buffalo ranks top 3 in
the NFL in just about every major category – Yards per attempt
(1st-5.7), TD’s allowed (1st-5), Passer rating (1st-62.1),
INT’s (2nd-10), and Completion percentage (2nd-58.3). Though
they have a lower-than-expected sack total (14), they do get pressure
on the pocket and will force Tua into his fair share of mistakes.
They are also tough defending up the seam, which is where Miami’s
leading receiver, TE Mike Gesicki makes his living.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Dolphins HC Brian Flores seems to have
learned from his mentor Bill Belichick that two, three, or four
running backs is better than one. Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown,
and Salvon Ahmed have shared the load thus far this season, and
in frustrating fashion, a different back seems to be the focus
of the game plan every week. Brown actually started in Week 7
before an early injury sidelined him. That should be good news
for Gaskin owners this week. Gaskin has been the Dolphins best
runner and offers a legitimate outlet in the passing game with
36 targets in seven games. With Brown going down, the team signed
Duke Johnson, but he’s not likely to be a major factor,
at least this week.
The Dolphins could find some elements of a winning game plan
on the ground. Buffalo is yielding 4.2 yards per carry, and while
they have stood tall against the run in the red zone, Gaskin and
Gesicki have been dangerous receivers down in the shadow of the
goal posts. Gaskin has yet to eclipse 15 carries in a game this
season, but with Brown out, a heavy run load against a beatable
run defense could make him a sneaky play.
Game Thoughts: You don’t need me to tell you about
Josh Allen. After a slow start to the season, he has passed for
300+ yards in three of his last four games (over 350 in two of
them) and connected on 12 of his 15 TD’s in the past month.
WR Stefon Diggs is the alpha dog of the receiving corps, averaging
over 75 yards per game, and the only guy in the group with a 100-yard
game on the resume this season.
WR Emmanuel Sanders has become the big play threat, averaging
over 17 yards per catch, and Cole Beasley, working mostly from
the slot, has been a valuable outlet in the possession game. He
could be a beneficiary of TE Dawson Knox’ injury with more
targets now available in the middle of the field. Converted QB
Tommy Sweeney stepped in mid-game for Knox (broken hand) and scored
a touchdown right out of the box. HC Sean McDermott says there’s
an opportunity in this offense for Sweeney, so he’s worth
watching this week to see how his role evolves.
The Dolphins have been vulnerable against the pass, to put it
nicely. They rank among the bottom five or six teams in the league
in yards per attempt (8.0) and passer rating (104.1), have allowed
15 passing TD’s (29th) and have just 3 INT’s (27th)
and 12 sacks (27th). Opposing QB’s have completed 65.8%
of their passes against this unit, which has given up 37 plays
of 20 yards or more. So here comes Allen, Diggs, Sanders, Beasley,
and company. Sign me up!
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have been
sharing the load in the run game with Allen. Though the total
touches have nearly equal, Moss seems to have evolved as the RB1
on 1st and 2nd down and in the red zone, while Singletary is more
involved in the passing game as a receiver out of the backfield.
Moss is probably the more valuable fantasy back due to the red
zone work, but Singletary could be a PPR play with his receiving
Miami is allowing 4.2 yards per carry on the season, but they’ve
tightened things up a bit, limiting the Falcons and Jaguars to
less than 100 yards on the ground the last two weeks. That’s
a positive, but probably won’t affect the outcome much as
Buffalo figures to attack primarily through the air.
Game Thoughts: Things have quickly turned for the worse
for Sam Darnold and the Panthers offense. After four straight
games with 20 or more fantasy points, Darnold came crashing down
with two passing touchdowns and five interceptions in his last
He was so bad against the Giants on Sunday that head coach Matt
Rhule benched him in favor of PJ Walker, who managed to complete
just three of 14 passes for 33 yards.
Rhule has stated that Darnold is his starter this week and that
he still believes he Darnold is the QB of the future. Only time
will tell on the latter part, but at least Darnold and D.J. Moore
fantasy managers can get excited about this fantasy matchup.
The Falcons have given up the fourth-most points to opposing
quarterbacks this season, and they have yet to give up a rushing
touchdown to an opposing QB. 15 passing touchdowns and nearly
1600 yards in six games is a ton of fantasy goodness for a team
like the Panthers to exploit.
The question, is will Darnold stop seeing ghosts and start running
the ball again in the red zone that made him such a potent fantasy
asset in two QB leagues?
For whatever reason the 2021 season for Robby Anderson is a complete
bust and you can move on. In seven games, Anderson has just catches
for 204 yards and a pair of scores. He was on the field for 95%
of the offensive snaps last week, faced the No.2 CB for the Giants,
and caught three passes for 14 yards.
The optimist in me wants to point to his 20 targets over the past
two weeks and 49 on the year, but those appear to be empty targets
and Anderson is a bust.
D.J. Moore on the other hand should be in your lineup and is
poised for a big game. Although only one opposing WR has topped
100 yards in a game this season against Atlanta, They have given
up nine receiving touchdowns to opposing WRs in six games, including
multi-touchdown games to Mike Evans and Terry McLaurin.
Another reason to love Moore this week is the unfortunate neck
injury to starting cornerback A.J. Terrell. Terrell has been ruled
out, leaving Fabian Moreau and Kendall Sheffield as the likely
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie Chuba Hubbard continues to be the
lead running back for the Panthers with Christian McCaffrey on
IR with a hamstring injury. Hubbard saw 53% of the snaps last
week compared to 45% for Royce Freeman, which was a bit of a change
from Week 6 when Hubbard was on the field 65% of the time.
The Falcons rank 12th in points allowed to running backs over
the past three weeks, With Myles Gaskin and both Michael Carter
and Ty Johnson of the Jets reaching pay dirt. It would not surprise
us to see Hubbard reach the end zone, but it is likely that the
Panthers will look to pass the ball more against the Falcons than
trying to move it on the ground.
No.1 CB AJ Terrell is out and the Falcons have not given up more
than 74 rushing yards to any opposing backs.
Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan and the Falcons host Sam Darnold
and the reeling Panthers. Winners of two straight and three of
their last four, the Falcons have done a good job taking advantage
of a soft part in their schedule, with wins over the Giants, Jets,
With the Panthers losing four straight and Sam Darnold playing
like the Darnold of old, the Falcons have a good shot of winning
a third consecutive game.
From a fantasy perspective, Ryan is producing right about where
we as a fantasy industry collectively predicted. Not exactly a
true QB1, but a solid QB2 who has the ability to produce QB1 games
in the right matchup. His 19.6 points per game have him on pace
for .3 more per contest than last season, and he is on pace to
throw 34 passing touchdowns this year.
Kyle Pitts was drafted to be the unicorn rookie tight end who
would break all the tight end records. With 471 yards and 31 catches
through six games, Pitts is well on his way to break Mike Ditka’s
rookie record of 1076 receiving yards set in 1961. Pitts truthers
have the naysayers second-guessing their Pitts hate right now.
As we all expected, an Atlanta Falcon wide receiver is currently
ranked in the top five in fantasy points per game. Unfortunately,
that player is not second round pick Calvin Ridley, the player
everyone thought would breakout with Julio Jones leaving. No,
the WR to own so far this season is journeyman Cordarrelle Patterson,
who boasts six total touchdowns and over 500 combined yards in
The Panthers rank 22nd in fantasy points allowed to WRs and 20th
to QBs. They are an up and coming young defense that held Daniel
Jones, Jalen Hurts, and Jameis Winston with three combined passing
touchdowns in 2021. Those three did salvage their respective fantasy
days with three total rushing touchdowns - something we will not
expect to see from a statuesque, pocket passer like Matt Ryan.
No other team has allowed fewer points to opposing running backs
than the Panthers, including the Bucs, who have yet to five up
a rushing touchdown. To beat the Panthers you need to throw the
ball, and no other team has scored fewer points running the ball
than the Falcons.
To win this game the Falcons will need to protect Matt Ryan and
give him time to throw the ball. That may be a bit more challenging
with the likelihood of Stephon Gilmore making his debut for the
Panthers on Sunday. Gilmore, widely considered one of the top
corners in football, was traded to the Panthers by the Patriots
two weeks ago for late round picks.
With Gilmore joining a talented young secondary that includes
Jeremy Chinn and CJ Henderson, teams like the Falcons may find
it very difficult to move the ball against Carolina the remainder
of the season.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: No other team has done less on the ground
with their running backs than the Falcons. Those numbers are skewed
a bit because Cordarrelle Patterson is technically listed as a
wide receiver and not a running back.
However, even with those numbers added to the subpar performances
by Mike Davis, the Falcons would still be a bottom-half rushing
Teams that have found success against the Panthers have done
so through the air, which does not bode well for Davis, who currently
ranks 39th at the position with 8.5 fantasy points per game. He
is not getting enough work to justify starting him, and his volume
in the passing game has disappeared over the past two weeks.
Game Thoughts: Prior to their bye, the Steelers had to
sweat out an overtime win at home against a Seattle team with
Geno Smith making his first NFL start in nearly four years. Sure,
a win is a win, but it was a struggle. Perhaps the extra rest
will do Ben Roethlisberger (oblique/hip) some good as he manages
a strained oblique and sore hip. In Week 6, Big Ben completed
29 of 40 passes for 229 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs. It was the fourth
time in six games Roethlisberger has averaged fewer than 6 yards
With JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder) lost for the season, a new
name emerged as a popular target against the Seahawks in Pat Freiermuth
(7-58-0). The rookie nearly matched his season-to-date total Sunday
night, and his security blanket role is sure to remind fans of
Heath Miller, who was a longtime favorite of Roethlisberger. On
the outside, Diontae Johnson (9-71-0) seems set to lead the way
in targets most weeks while Chase Claypool (2-17-0) is more of
the designated downfield threat. James Washington (1-9-0) could
also be worth keeping an eye on.
Cleveland is currently ranked seventh in pass defense on the
year, and only the Bears and Vikings have registered more sacks
than the Browns (20). The last time they faced Roethlisberger
in the regular season, the veteran passed for just 162 yards and
a TD in a 31-point blowout. He and Freiermuth should remain benched
this Sunday, though the first-year TE is worth stashing in deeper
leagues. Johnson can be plugged in as a No. 2 receiver while Claypool
holds value as a No. 3.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: It took a few weeks, but Najee Harris
is now positioned as the top option in Pittsburgh’s offense,
topping 20 touches in each of his last four games. It can be a
grind at times, such as his 81 yards on 24 carries versus Seattle,
but his skills as a receiver allow him to supplement that production
-- he caught six passes for 46 yards and a touchdown in that Seahawks
game. Cleveland is as tough as anyone this side of the Bucs at
stopping the run, but Harris’ dual-threat skills allow him
to retain RB1 value.
Game Thoughts: After reinjuring his non-throwing shoulder
in Week 6, Baker Mayfield (shoulder) gave way to Case Keenum on
Thursday Night Football. Keenum threw for 199 yards and a TD in
the win over Denver, but with the extra rest it looks as though
Mayfield might return after missing just one start. Of course,
the reality is the Browns are going to try to run the ball down
Pittsburgh’s throat no matter who takes the snaps with the
passing game sprinkled in to keep the Steelers honest.
It doesn’t help that Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder) and Jarvis
Landry (knee) are both banged up. Landry, who was activated from
the IR before Week 7, suffered an unrelated knee injury, while
OBJ further exacerbated his existing shoulder woes. Neither has
been a full participant in practice, so you’ll want to monitor
their status leading up to Sunday. Even assuming both play, the
numbers have been mediocre at best most weeks, and there’s
no reason to think that will change here.
The Steelers haven’t been as strong defensively as we’re
accustomed to, and that includes the No. 15 pass defense. Pittsburgh
is doubtless hopeful that their five sacks of Geno Smith on SNF
usher in a more productive pass rush after they managed just 10
sacks over the first five games combined. There is minimal value
attached to Cleveland’s passing game right now, with Beckham
and Landry as nothing more than flex plays.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: With Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt
(calf) out of action against Denver, the Browns turned to D’Ernest
Johnson, who delivered 146 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
It looks like Cleveland will get Chubb back this week after missing
two games, but Hunt is on IR, so Johnson should still be involved.
The Steelers are 12th in the NFL against the run (107.7 yards
per game), though they’ve allowed an NFL-low two rushing
TDs on the year. Assuming Chubb returns he’s a strong RB2
with Johnson checking in as a solid flex.
Bengals at Jets
- (Ilchuk) Line: CIN -10.5 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: HC Zac Taylor and the Bengals coaching
staff have taken Joe Burrow’s training wheels and tossed
them into the Ohio River! The second-year signal caller has been
given the green light to take to the air, heaving 30+ pass attempts
in three of the last four games (he had 29 attempts in the 4th
game). He’s responded with a 300-yard game, a 400-yard game
and 10 TD passes in that span. For the season, he is completing
69% of his passes for just under 2,000 yards in seven games, tossing
17 total TD’s and averaging over 9.0 yards per attempt.
He does need to cut down on the interceptions (8), but he is a
lock and load QB1 every week and could be in line for epic numbers
in this matchup, as are his stable of receivers.
WR Ja’Marr Chase is second in the NFL with 754 yards and
is a big play waiting to happen with a league-leading six plays
of 40+ yards. Fellow wide receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd
both have 40+ targets and TE C.J. Uzomah is second on the team
with 5 TD’s. That’s all good news for Burrow, but
they spread the wealth in this system, so PPR owners are going
to want to look elsewhere outside of Chase for their receivers.
All four receivers are averaging over 10 yards per catch (Chase
is at 21.5 and Uzomah is at 15.2).
The Jets have the youngest roster in the league, and that inexperience
has manifested itself on the defensive side of the ball. They
are talented and athletic, but they are learning on the fly, particularly
in the secondary. Gang Green ranks in the bottom third in big
plays allowed in the passing game (29 of 20+ yards), opponent
passer rating (102.2), and yards per attempt (7.7) while yielding
a 69% completion rate to opposing QB’s. They are also the
only defense in the NFL without an interception. Combine those
numbers with a very average 14 sacks and it starts to get hard
to figure out how the Jets even managed one win so far.
On top of that, injuries are piling up. S Jamien Sherwood, LBs
C.J. Mosley and Jarrad Davis, DE Carl Lawson, and S Lamarcus Joyner
are all expected to miss time due to injury. After watching the
Bengals tear up a good Ravens defense last week, fantasy owners
should be lined up for the impending airshow at Met Life Stadium
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon is the story in the Bengals
run game with 539 rush yards (3rd in the NFL) on 123 carries (2nd
in the NFL), and he has four rush TD’s while getting a bulk
of the work in the red zone and goal line packages. Owners should
keep an eye on Samaje Perine who returned to the lineup last week
and promptly stole some of Mixon’s reps in the passing game.
That’s been a strength of Mixon’s game in the past
and a place for him to do his thing out in space, so it’s
a bit concerning.
As bad as the Jets have been against the pass, they’ve
been fairly effective against the run, ranking 8th in the league
in yards per carry (4.1). However, they have allowed 11 rushing
touchdowns, second-most in the NFL. So while Burrow and company
will likely be throwing it all over the field, once they get near
the goal line, look for a heavy dose of scoring opportunities
Game Thoughts: The recently arrived Joe Flacco will likely
be inactive this week as just arrived in New York on Friday. He
played in a similar system in Denver in 2019 and for what it’s
worth, his completion percentage (65.3) and yards per attempt
(7.0) that season were among the best of his career. Mike White
is expected to start this game and given his lack of experience
it’s difficult to even consider Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder
and Elijah Moore as fantasy options. Running backs Michael Carter
and Ty Johnson have been averaging 7-8 targets per game, while
the tight end position has been nearly non-existent in this offense.
We’ll have to see if that changes with White behind center.
Cincinnati’s defensive unit is anchored by a couple young
linebackers who can play in coverage (rookie Logan Wilson leads
the team in tackles and INT’s), and safeties Vonn Bell and
Jesse Bates lead a capable secondary that doesn’t necessarily
take the ball away, but doesn’t yield the big play and has
given up just seven TD’s through the air (tied for 3rd in
NFL). They are also 6th in the league in opponent passer rating
(84.8) and 4th in yards per attempt (6.6). This Bengals defense
can pressure the QB (19 sacks – 5th in NFL) and should keep
things in check especially with White calling the shots.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie RB Michael Carter has emerged as
the lead back in New York. He’s quick and explosive with
very COD skills, but he is limited by average to bad line play.
He’s averaging a mere 3.5 yards per carry, and while he
can be a weapon as a receiver, he’s likely to average 50-60
yards per game without any reliable touchdown boost in his arsenal.
While Tevin Coleman seems to have faded from the picture, Ty Johnson
is stealing just enough touches to make both he and Carter fantasy
The Bengals have been solid against the run thus far and have
an impressive defensive line group. They are deep and aggressive
off the ball and are allowing 4.0 yards per carry.
Titans @ Colts
- (Swanson) Line: IND -2.5 Total: 50.5
Game Thoughts: As the No. 20 ranked quarterback in points
per game through seven weeks of action, Ryan Tannehill has been
a disappointment for fantasy managers based on what he accomplished
Tyler Heinicke, Sam Darnold, and Matt Ryan have all averaged
more fantasy points per game than Tannehill, who currently sits
with seven passing touchdowns in seven games. An inexplicable
stat when you consider he has A.J. Brown and Julio Jones at his
disposal, and with Derrick Henry forcing teams to play an extra
man in the box.
We would like to project this as the week in which the Tennessee
passing offense finally gets going, but we thought that would
be the case last week against the Chiefs, and that certainly did
not come to fruition.
There are some positives to consider. First, Brown posted his
first 100-yard game of the season last week against Kansas City
and also scored a touchdown - his first since Week 1.
Second, Julio Jones appeared to be OK in this game from a health
perspective and did not make his lingering hamstring injury worse.
The Colts have a much better run defense than pass defense this
season, with numerous injuries to their secondary that has an
aging Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes played well last week against the
49ers in a monsoon, but he is not the player he once was and can
be beat by big receivers like Brown and Jones.
The Colts have given up the 8th-most points to opposing WRs,
including a touchdown to both Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chester
Rogers when the two teams faced off Week 3 in Tennessee. Marquise
Brown torched them for a pair of scores and 125 yards in Week
5, and Deebo Samuel also had a great game last week with 7/100/1.
The Colts can be beat in the air and the Indy offense is much
better right now than when the teams faced off in September. This
should be a high scoring game and you want a piece of it, start
both Brown and Jones.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: Even when held to just a 3.0 rushing average
and 86 yards on 29 carries, Derrick Henry still came through with
over ten fantasy points because he threw a touchdown pass.
King Henry is the fantasy MVP of the year and entered last week
with more fantasy points than any of the starting quarterbacks.
Insane production from a generational talent.
Henry posted 28/113/0 the last time the two teams faced off,
with another 31 yards receiving in the air. I would expect a similar
stat line with a rushing touchdown or two added in for good measure.
On a positive note for both the passing and running game, the
Titans appear to be getting healthier on their offensive line.
Both starting tackles Kendall Lamm and Taylor Lewan practiced
in full on Wednesday and appear to be ready to play. Starting
guard Rodger Safford also looks like he will play after dealing
with some injuries last week against the Chiefs.
Game Thoughts: Based on the video of his sloppy interception/fumble
in the red zone against the 49ers last week, you would likely
think Carson Wentz has been terrible for the Colts in 2021.
That assumption would not be true, as the former first round
pick of the Eagles has just one interception in seven games and
is completing nearly 65% of his passes with 11 touchdowns strikes
on the season.
Not numbers you want to get excited about for fantasy purposes,
but certainly viable production for the Colts to win games and
enough output to make a few of the skill portion players in on
the team fantasy worthy.
Michael Pittman Jr. is the top wide receiver on the team and
the one you want on your fantasy rosters. The second year player
has 35 catches for 549 yards and a pair of scores. While the touchdowns
are not exactly what you would hope for, he has seven or more
targets in four a seven games.
The team will likely get T.Y. Hilton back in action this week.
Hilton missed the first five games with a neck injury, but returned
Week 6 with 80 yards on four catches. For the Colts to win, they
will need to get a similar stat line.
Outside of how they played last week against the Chiefs, the
Titans have been dreadful against opposing wide receivers. Only
Washington has given up more points and catches to wide receivers,
and 11 different players have at least ten fantasy points against
the Titans this season. Fire up Pittman and Hilton is worth a
start as well as a flex.
Mo Alie-Cox has a score in each of the last two games and four
on the season. His lack of volume makes him the ultimate boom-bust,
but if you are hurting at tight end and want a touchdown-dependent
option, Alie-Cox is on a short list of targets.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: The return of all-pro guard Quentin Nelson
was apparent last week for the Colts running game, as Jonathan
Taylor ran all over the 49ers at Levis Stadium.
For the Colts to beat the Titans, Taylor will need to be the
focal point of the offense and help the Colts win time of possession
and keep Henry and Co. off the field.
Outside of a huge game for James Robinson in Week 5, no other
running back has topped 63 rushing yards. The Titans shut down
Darrel Williams and the Chiefs last week, and the tandem of Devin
Singletary and Zack Moss did not fare much better the week prior.
Make no mistake, this is a good run defense and a not so good
pass defense and the Colts would fare better targeting them in
the passing game. However, just like the Titans, the Colts want
to be a run first team and Taylor will be given around 20 touches.
One player who has not been effective lately is Nyheim Hines,
who has fewer than three fantasy points in five of his seven games.
He did have his best game of the season when these two teams faced
off in Week 3, but then followed with 2.0, 1.8, 2.7, and 1.7 in
his last four. Start at your our risk.
Game Thoughts: Doubtless you’ve heard some variation
of “Person X is playing checkers, and Person Y is playing
chess.” In the case of Nick Sirianni, it feels like he’s
currently partaking in a spirited game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Nowhere does that seem clearer than in his handling of Jalen Hurts,
who, despite being a second-year QB that’s heavy on athleticism
but light on experience, is asked every week to carry a heavy
offensive burden while being afforded little help from a running
attack. It’s not that the Eagles can’t run. They don’t
even try it.
Well, it’d be more accurate to say their backs don’t,
as Hurts trails only Lamar Jackson in rushing yards among QBs
this season. A week ago, he ran 13 times for 61 yards against
the Raiders; as a passer, he hit on 18 of his 34 throws for 236
yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. His top targets are Dallas Goedert (3-70-0),
who returned from a Week 6 absence due to COVID in an expanded
role following the trade of Zach Ertz, and DeVonta Smith (5-61-0),
the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft. Last year’s
first-round receiver, Jalen Reagor (2-25-1), had a couple solid
showings early but hasn’t topped 25 yards since Week 3.
Although opponent passer rating isn’t a “fantasy
stat,” it can help establish the strength or weakness of
a defense. To that end, the Lions are last in the NFL, due in
large to their 15-to-4 TD:INT ratio and whopping 9.5 yards allowed
per attempt, which is comfortably the most in the league. Detroit’s
struggles solidify Hurts as a No. 1 option alongside Goedert with
both being borderline top-five plays at their position. Smith
is the only viable target outside as a WR3.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: With Miles Sanders (ankle) expected to
miss a couple of weeks, the tandem of Kenneth Gainwall and Boston
Scott will fill that role. Gainwell, who is third on the team
in carries (26) and yards (120), figures to get most of the work
as he’s a capable receiver as well. The Lions are 21st in
the league against the run, allowing 120 yards per game. Given
that Sanders averaged only nine carries per game in the lead role,
Gainwell shouldn’t be viewed as more than an RB3.
Game Thoughts: Surprise onside kicks and multiple fake
punts were part of the playbook in Week 7 as the Lions tried to
upset the Rams in LA. They came close, but their hopes were ultimately
dashed when Jared Goff was intercepted in the end zone, ending
a 15-play, 9-minute drive with zero points. The former Ram performed
about how you’d expect, throwing for 268 yards, 1 TD and
2 INTs. While he isn’t the reason the Lions are losing,
he’s not doing a lot to elevate those around him.
Other than T.J. Hockenson (6-48-0), the Lions are bereft of reliable
fantasy weapons in the passing game. Quintez Cephus (collarbone)
showed promise early, but he’s on IR with a collarbone injury
and looks unlikely to return. Amon-Ra St. Brown had 18 catches
in Weeks 3-6 but was not targeted in LA. Kalif Raymond (6-115-0)
has been inconsistent but leads the team’s wideouts with
26 receptions, 334 yards and 2 TDs. Hockenson is the only one
to earn a starting slot in fantasy leagues, though, as he’s
a solid TE1.
While the Eagles rank a respectable 11th in pass defense (227.7
yards per game), they owe quite a bit of that “success”
to their poor work against the run, which has led to teams keeping
the ball on the ground against them. To that end, Philly has given
up 26.4 points per game this year, which is 24th in the NFL, so
teams are moving the ball on them in whatever way they see fit.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: If they played for a better team,
the one-two punch of D’Andre Swift (21 touches, 144 yards,
1 TD in Week 7) and Jamaal Williams (12-57-0) would garner more
attention. As it is, that tandem has accounted for 1,064 of the
team’s 2,478 total yards and 7 of their 13 TDs. As noted,
the Eagles have struggled to contain the run, ranking 29th at
133 rushing yards per game. Plug Swift into your lineup as an
RB2 with Williams as a low-end RB3.
Game Thoughts: Moving the ball successfully was always
going to be a challenge last Sunday night in a torrential downpour,
but even grading on a curve couldn’t earn Jimmy Garoppolo
passing marks. Back under center following a one-game absence
due to a calf injury, Jimmy G completed 16 of his 27 attempts
for 181 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs; he also fumbled twice, losing
one. Although Mike Shanahan called it Garoppolo’s worst
game, he’ll start again this Sunday, though it feels like
a switch to Trey Lance (knee) is merely a matter of when.
With George Kittle (knee) still on IR, Deebo Samuel (7-100-1)
is the only reliable option in the 49ers’ passing game right
now. His 648 receiving yards rank fourth in the NFL, despite SF
having played only six games, and his 17.1 yards per reception
is eighth. He’s working through a calf issue that has limited
his availability in practice this week, but there is optimism
that he’ll suit up. Brandon Aiyuk (1-6-0) continues to rank
among the league’s most disappointing fantasy performers,
but he showed enough as a rookie that he’s at least worth
keeping on your watchlist in case he turns things around.
Statistically, Chicago may be a top-10 defense against the pass
(219.7 yards per game; 8th), but they had no answers against Tampa
Bay last Sunday when the Bucs pushed out to a 35-3 lead at halftime
that included four TD strikes from Tom Brady. The Bears lead the
NFL in sacks (21), but they’ll be without Khalil Mack (foot)
this Sunday and perhaps for quite a while afterwards, which is
a major blow. Even so, the only playable option in San Francisco’s
passing game is Samuel, who is a WR1 if he suits up.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: Since returning from a shoulder injury,
Elijah Mitchell has logged 28 of the 33 carries from San Francisco’s
running backs, firmly establishing himself as the top back and
casting fellow rookie Trey Sermon into the abyss. Mitchell has
run for 100-plus yards in two of his four games, but his lack
of work in the passing game could cap his value. He’s an
RB2 against the Bears’ 23rd-ranked run D, which will also
be affected by the loss of Mack.
Game Thoughts: There was a lot of angst among the Bears
fanbase about Matt Nagy’s decision to start Andy Dalton
ahead of Justin Fields when the season started. Given what we’ve
seen since Fields took over for an injured Dalton it’s a
classic case of be careful what you wish for. The rookie has taken
a pounding behind a suspect line, and even when given time his
accuracy and decision making have been spotty. Fields was mauled
by the Bucs in Week 7, absorbing four sacks, fumbling three times
(two lost) and throwing three interceptions. It was ugly.
Speaking of ugly, Allen Robinson (2-16-0), who caught 102 passes
for 1,250 yards and 6 TDs last season, is currently on pace for
a 56-607-2 line even with a 17th game. At this point you couldn’t
be blamed for jettisoning him to the waiver wire. Darnell Mooney
(2-39-0) has shown better chemistry with Fields, though he still
barely cracks the top 50 in receptions or receiving yards. Cole
Kmet (5-43-0) has shown some signs of life recently, hauling in
nine passes in the past two games; he had 10 grabs over the first
In terms of yards allowed, the 49ers have done well this season,
giving up just 205 per game, which is fifth-best in the NFL. The
splash plays have been notably absent, though, as their 12 sacks
are tied for 26th, and only the Jets have fewer INTs. They should
be plenty good enough to hold up against Chicago’s passing
game, though, where you could make a case that none of their players
should be in a fantasy lineup this week. If you’re in need
you could roll the dice on Mooney as a flex.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: Easily the most positive development recently
has been the play of Khalil Herbert. Pressed into action by the
injury to David Montgomery (knee) and subsequent COVID list visit
for Damien Williams, Herbert has carried the ball 55 times for
272 yards and a touchdown over the last three games. The 49ers
have been below-average against the run with their 119 yards allowed
per game only good enough for 20th in the league. Expect a heavy
workload for Herbert, who is a solid RB2. Williams could also
see action, though he had just four touches last week, and might
qualify as a lottery ticket play in deep leagues.
Rams @ Texans
- (Swanson) Line: LAR -14.5 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: The potent Matthew Stafford-led Rams offense
heads to Houston to take on the Texans in what might be the most
lopsided game this year. Stafford has an abundance of riches with
top receiver Cooper Kupp, along with Robert Woods, Tyler Higbee,
Van Jefferson, and DeSean Jackson.
Stafford also has the benefit of playing for one of the better
offensive minds in the league in Sean McVay. Add up all those
factors and you have the No.6 ranked fantasy quarterback and the
top ranked fantasy WR corps going against a team that ranks in
the bottom ten in points allowed to QBs, RBs, and TE’s.
The Texans have been surprisingly good against opposing WRs,
with only five touchdowns allowed in seven games. But that is
more of a correlation to the fact that they give up so many points
and yards to the other positions, and not an indictment to their
pass defense prowess.
Start all of your Rams pass catchers with confidence, as this
game should be over by half-time.
Higbee is an interesting play here based on the fact that Houston
has given up four passing touchdowns to tight ends over the past
three games. With so many options as his disposal Higbee may not
be needed, but based on matchup alone, you should consider him
a strong play.
Houston given up the sixth-highest yards per play this season
and ranks among the worst in allowing big splash plays in the
passing game. As they likely will focus on Kupp and Woods, Jefferson
could be a sneaky home run play in DFS and deeper leagues.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Darrell Henderson has done an excellent
job filling in for Cam Akers as the lead back for the Rams, with
417 yards and four rushing touchdowns on just 96 carries. He currently
ranks as the No.11 running back in fantasy, and should find no
issue improving his ranking this week against a terrible Houston
defense that ranks 9th in points allowed to opposing running backs.
The Texans have been gashed for 435 yards and four rushing touchdowns
over the past three weeks, highlighted by 145 yards and a pair
of scores by Jonathan Taylor.
Houston lacks playmakers at all three levels of the defense,
and their offense continues to put them in unfavorable game scripts.
Starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth missed practice on Wednesday
with a knee injury but does appear to be on track to play. The
one injury of note for the Texans on defense is starting linebacker
Christian Kirksey. He was limited on Thursday with a thumb injury,
but should still suit up for Houston.
Game Thoughts: Unlike the Rams who have an abundance
of riches on both sides of the ball, the Texans have just one
player worthy of starting on offense, and a defense void of anyone
likely headed to the pro bowl.
Brandin Cooks has the 5th-most targets of any wide receiver in
the NFL and is the one and only viable receiving threat for rookie
quarterback Davis Mills. Although he has tapered off somewhat
over the past few weeks, Cooks should be started in all formats
as a low-end WR2 or high-end WR3, especially in leagues that give
points for receptions.
Other than Cooks, the only other player who might be an option
is David Johnson as the pass-catching back for the team. Johnson
did have five catches for 27 yards last week and should get more
action with the departure of Mark Ingram to the Saints via trade.
We are not advising a start if Johnson in most formats, but in
PPR formats with multiple flex spots he is interesting. The Rams
have given up the 8th most receptions to opposing running backs
and Johnson, despite being a shell of his former self, is the
second best receiver on the team.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Mark Ingram was traded back to the Saints
on Wednesday, giving the 31-year-old veteran a new outlook on
the season and opening the door for Phillip Lindsay and David
Johnson to get more work in the backfield.
Neither player is a good option this week, although the Rams
have given up the 13th-most points to opposing running backs.
De’Andre Swift torched the Rams on a long receiving touchdown
last week, and he and Jamaal Williams did combine for over 100
The caveat, is that game between the Lions and Rams was surprisingly
close. This game, will not be, and rushing yards will be tough
to come by simply because of a sideways game script.
Because David Johnson is the better pass catcher, he is the more
favorable player to start if forced to play a Texan this week.
Jaguars at Seahawks
- (Caron) Line: SEA -3.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: Trevor Lawrence got his first NFL win
the last time we saw him as the Jaguars narrowly squeaked out
a victory over the Dolphins. Lawrence passed the ball 41 times
for 319 yards and a touchdown in the victory. While he extended
his streak of one-or-fewer passing touchdown games to five straight,
Lawrence has been more careful with the ball in recent weeks,
having thrown just one interception over his past three contests,
in contrast to the seven picks he threw over the Jaguars’
first three games.
Lawrence himself really isn’t a fantasy consideration in
most leagues right now other than in SuperFlex/two QB leagues
where he’s a fringe QB2, and now he’ll face a Seahawks
defense that has given up just four passing touchdowns over their
past four games combined. The Seahawks defense isn’t particularly
great, but their own offense is so conservative - especially right
now - that most of their games have been very low scoring. This
obviously isn’t great for the fantasy production of either
The one player who has been truly useful among Jaguars pass catchers
this season is veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones. Jones had his
biggest game of the season the last time we saw the Jaguars, back
in Week 6, when he turned in a seven catch, 100-yard, one touchdown
performance against the Dolphins. Jones is averaging nearly eight
targets per game which is by far the most on the team and it’s
enough to make him a solid WR3 for fantasy.
The only other Jacksonville wide receivers who we have much interest
in right now are Laviska Shenault and Jamal Agnew. Shenault saw
a season-high 10 targets back in Week 6 and has averaged nearly
seven targets per game on the season. His average target depth
is quite low so he’s not doing a ton with his opportunities
and he hasn’t yet scored a touchdown so his season long
statistics look bad, but this type of usage will eventually lead
to some decent fantasy production. Agnew, meanwhile, has broken
out a bit over his past two games, having seen a total of 13 targets
in those contests. He had only been targeted once in his first
four games this season, so this increased usage is certainly something
to note. He’s not worth even owning right now in normal
leagues, but he’s someone to keep an eye on in this game,
in case he sees an even higher target share in this one.
Tight end Dan Arnold is a relatively unknown player, but he could
be a decent bye/injury replacement this week. He’s been
targeted 13 times over his past two games and Jacksonville obviously
wants to involve him heavily in the passing game after trading
for him earlier this season. He’s not a sexy name and he
won’t likely give you huge production in any game this season,
but Arnold is someone who’s available in most leagues and
could be an option if you’re in a pinch, even though we’re
ranking him just out of TE1 range this week.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: By far the most useful fantasy asset in
this Jacksonville offense is, once again, James Robinson. Robinson
started the season off slow as he earned the trust of the new
coaching regime, but he has now averaged over 20 PPR fantasy points
per game over his past four contests despite the fact that the
Jaguars won only one of those games.
This week they have a real chance against what has become a bad
Seattle team in the absence of quarterback Russell Wilson. If
the Seahawks are unable to move the ball again this week, that
should give the Jaguars the opportunity to lean heavily on Robinson
yet again. He’s a high-end RB2 with top five upside against
Game Thoughts: The loss of Russell Wilson has really
hindered the production of the Seattle passing game and the offense
as whole. Geno Smith hasn’t been a complete disaster or
anything, but it’s quite noticeable that the offense is
not nearly as smooth and they haven’t been able to make
the big plays that we’ve become accustomed to seeing with
Wilson behind center.
This lack of firepower is extremely frustrating as this Week 8
matchup against Jacksonville appeared to be one of the potential
“boom” weeks for the Seattle passing game and now
it’s one where we have to be seriously concerned about starting
pretty much anyone. Smith himself is normally an easy sit for
fantasy, but the matchup against an awful Jacksonville defense
could make him intriguing in two QB/SuperFlex formats. He’s
still a low upside option, but it’s worth considering that
the Jaguars rank in the bottom 10 in the league in fantasy points
per game given up to opposing QBs even though they’ve faced
the likes of Tyrod Taylor, Teddy Bridgewater and Tua Tagovailoa
in three of their six games - all three of whom turned in 24 or
more standard fantasy points against the Jags.
Wide receiver DK Metcalf is probably still a must-start for almost
all leagues, but he’s no longer a WR1 with Geno Smith at
the helm. The Jaguars receiver has turned in just eight total
catches over his past two games with Smith at quarterback and
he needed a massive 84-yard touchdown reception to save what was
otherwise a horrible fantasy day against the Saints this past
week. Metcalf is good enough that he can make something out of
few targets, but he’s going to need to be hyper-efficient
if he’s going to continue to turn in WR1 fantasy days until
Tyler Lockett has now become an obvious bench asset. He was struggling
for a few weeks even before Wilson got hurt, but Lockett has now
turned in 11 or fewer PPR fantasy points in five straight contests,
including a 35-yard and 12-yard receiving day over his past two
contests. We know that Lockett is capable of delivering absolutely
gigantic weeks, but the number of duds he’s given us in
a row is just unacceptable and there’s very little reason
to believe that he’s going to suddenly see a massive increase
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: With Chris Carson still out, the Seattle
backfield remains a gross situation for fantasy. We have seen
that Alex Collins has been by far the team leader in carries over
the past three weeks, but he’s now averaging under 3.6 yards
per carry in his three games as Seattle’s primary ball carrier.
The Seahawks have been through this before with other backs, including
Carson himself, so they’re not likely to change course anytime
soon, but Collins’ upside is very limited for fantasy purposes
given that he’s not an active contributor in the passing
game. Collins has caught just six passes on the season and he’s
never been much of a pass catcher throughout his career, so he’s
going to need to get his points on the ground and via touchdowns.
With Seattle’s offense struggling as much as it is without
Wilson, the touchdowns are unlikely to come in bunches and fantasy
owners are more likely to be left frustrated than they are satisfied,
even in the good matches he faces like the Jaguars in Week 8.
Patriots at Chargers
- (Caron) Line: LAC -4.0 Total: 49.0
Game Thoughts: Mac Jones has been quite good as far as
rookie NFL quarterbacks go, but his fantasy production hadn’t
really matched his real-life production until Week 7 when he finally
earned his first 20-point fantasy game of his career. It took
a 300-yard, two touchdown, zero interception day to make it happen,
but Jones showed that he’s capable of helping the Patriots
hit the 50-point mark in a game and that’s something that
most didn’t think was possible at this stage of his career.
This week Jones and the Patriots will face a Chargers defense
that has been excellent against opposing quarterbacks, having
conceded the third-fewest fantasy points per game to the position
thus far. This is despite the fact that they’ve faced the
likes of Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, Baker Mayfield
and Lamar Jackson. The last time we saw them was in Week 6 when
the held Lamar Jackson to 167 yards passing, but they also allowed
him to rush for 51 yards in what was a blowout Ravens win so it
made sense that Jackson didn’t need to do much throwing.
Mac Jones won’t be able to follow Jackson’s path of
fantasy production via his legs so this becomes a difficult matchup
as the Patriots are on the road against a team coming off of a
bye and a defense that has been difficult to throw against. Jones
could be a low-end QB2 in two-QB/SuperFlex leagues but he’s
probably a player to avoid this week in most situations.
When it comes to the Patriots pass catchers, the only one who
has really been consistently productive continues to be Jakobi
Meyers. Meyers has been targeted at least five times in every
game this season and he’s averaging over eight targets per
game. Remarkably, he still hasn’t scored a touchdown in
his NFL career so it’s tough to think he has a very high
ceiling, but he’s someone who is a solid PPR flex even against
a Chargers defense that has given up the league’s fewest
points per game to opposing wide receivers this season.
Tight end remains a committee situation in New England, but Hunter
Henry has really separated himself from Jonnu Smith as the team’s
more reliable pass catching weapon and he’s now inside the
top-12 producers at the position. The Chargers have been excellent
against opposing passing games in general, but it’s been
underreported that they’ve actually struggled quite a bit
against opposing tight ends. Sure, they’ve faced some of
the league’s best in Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and Mark
Andrews, but all of those players have produced big games against
the Chargers and this defense also gave up a huge game to Cleveland
tight end David Njoku back in Week 6. Look for Henry to be targeted
regularly in this one and he should be in lineups as a solid TE1
option this week.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: With back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances,
Damien Harris seems to have established himself as the primary
ball carrier for the Patriots after a few weeks of not-so-great
production in Weeks 3, 4 and 5. Harris now faces a Chargers defense
that has been crushed on the ground by opposing running backs.
Opposing team running backs have broken the 100-yard rushing mark
in all but one game against Los Angeles, including two games of
180 or more rushing yards.
With the Chargers having such a good pass defense, look for the
Patriots to lean heavily on their running game in this one and
that should mean another 15-plus touch day for Harris. He’s
not going to give you much in the passing game, but he can certainly
give you a solid RB2 fantasy day without catching passes as long
as he’s able to get into the end zone at least once, as
he’s now done in three straight contests.
Harris’ fellow backfield members Brandon Bolden, Rhamondre
Stevenson and J.J. Taylor have all seen some playing time, but
they’re essentially fighting for the same piece of the pie
as the team’s primary passing down back. It looked for a
couple of weeks as if Stevenson was carving out his role in the
offense by taking over as the lead third down back, but things
got back to normal in Week 7 when Stevenson didn’t play
a single snap meanwhile Bolden played the second-most snaps among
Patriots backs while catching six passes for a season-high 79
yards and a touchdown.
None of the other Patriots backs should be trusted as anything
more than Flex players, but Bolden is someone who you could sneak
into your lineup in PPR formats if you’re in trouble in
Week 7 or even beyond.
Game Thoughts: The last time we saw Justin Herbert and
the Los Angeles Chargers was back in Week 6 when they got absolutely
smashed on the road in Baltimore. Herbert turned in one of his
worst games as a pro and practically everyone else in the offense
struggled to deliver even minimal fantasy points. Needless to
say, their bye week couldn’t have come at a better time
as the team had an opportunity to regroup prior to hosting the
Patriots here in Week 8.
New England’s season-long defense against opposing quarterbacks
has been quite good thus far but their schedule should also be
noted as they’ve had the opportunity to play twice against
Zach Wilson along with games against Tua Tagovailoa and Jameis
Winston. They did, surprisingly, contain Tom Brady when they held
him to no touchdown passes, but then they got smoked in back-to-back
weeks when Houston’s Davis Mills threw for 312 yards and
three scores against them before Dak Prescott torched them for
445 yards and another three scores. Needless to say, we haven’t
seen the Patriots face many difficult passing games, especially
ones as efficient as the Chargers have been throughout most of
this season. Herbert probably shouldn’t be ranked as a top-half
QB1 this week, but he’s still firmly in the QB1 discussion.
His top two receivers, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, should
both be in fantasy lineups as well. The Chargers’ overall
target distribution has been extremely consolidated thus far and
there’s really no reason to think that won’t continue.
Williams has given fantasy owners four spike weeks and two dud
weeks so he’s been the definition of “boom or bust,”
but he’s been a lot more boom than bust and that should
make him a low-end WR1 in this one. Allen, meanwhile, has been
almost the exact opposite of Williams as he’s finished between
10 to 20 PPR points in every game. He really hasn’t given
and big weeks, but he also hasn’t completely dudded whatsoever.
He’s seen at least eight targets in all but one game, so
it would seem likely that we’ll eventually see a few big
weeks from Allen, but for now he’s a solid PPR WR2.
Tight end Jared Cook is the third option in the Chargers passing
game and can be considered a fringe TE1, but one of the things
holding him back is Los Angeles utilizing fellow tight end Donald
Parham in the red zone more often than we had expected. Parham
has scored twice on just nine total targets and certainly those
additional touchdowns would’ve been huge to give Cook more
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Week 6 was an unexpectedly brutal fantasy
performance for Austin Ekeler as the Chargers running back carried
the ball just six times for seven yards during an embarrassing
loss to the Ravens. Still, Ekeler avoided a complete disaster
as he was able to turn in four catches for an additional 48 yards,
giving him nearly 10 fantasy points for the day. While that game
was frustrating, Ekeler’s fantasy owners should take solace
in the fact that this is probably the worst game script that he’ll
face all season and he still didn’t completely ruin your
This week’s matchup against New England should be much better
as the Chargers are a five point favorite which should allow Ekeler
to see more work on the ground while still maintaining his normal
high target share for a running back. It’s not the world’s
best matchup on paper as the Patriots haven’t yet allowed
an individual 100-yard rusher this season, but they have given
up four 100-plus total yard days to backs and that should fit
well into what Ekeler is good at.
Game Thoughts: At 44 years of age, Tom Brady is in the
midst of his best statistical season for fantasy managers. His
26.4 points per game is .5 points more than his record-setting
50 touchdown campaign in 2007, and he is on pace to complete 67%
of his passes for only the second time since 2000.
The man is a freak and he is surrounded by some of the best weapons
of all time.
This week’s matchup should be interesting, as the one team
that has done a relatively solid job containing Brady over the
past two seasons are the Saints. Although Brady and the Bucs won
their Wild Card matchup vs. New Orleans last season, they did
lose both regular season contests, including Brady’s worst
game with the Bucs, when he had three interceptions and no passing
touchdowns. Brady should be out for redemption, and will look
to make up for those two regular season losses in 2020.
The matchup is not great, as he will be down Antonio Brown and
possibly Rob Gronkowski, leaving just Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Evans has had his struggles in the past with Marshon Lattimore,
and the Saints also go reinforcements last week with the return
of Marcus Davenport.
It is quite difficult to run on the Saints, with opposing running
backs managing just 2.77 yards per attempt. To win this game,
it will be on the shoulders of Brady on offense and defense’s
ability to shut down Alvin Kamara.
The matchup for Brady to exploit will be Chris Godwin in the
slot against Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Gardner-Johnson is great
in run support, but big wide receivers like Godwin who are elite
route runners can cause issues.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette managers have benefitted
from the veteran running back taking over the starting job and
running with it in 2021. The former LSU star has been on the field
for 295 snaps compared to just 95 for Ronald Jones, with Gio Bernard
also seeing 96 snaps of his own.
In this matchup, Fournette may see a slight decline in snaps
in favor of Bernard simply because the Saints are stout against
the run and are getting healthy on defense. Just ask the Seahawks
and Alex Collins of hard it is to run against Dennis Allen’s
front seven, as he likely is still having nightmares of Demario
Davis hitting him behind the line of scrimmage.
If you have Fournette you are starting him, but I would temper
expectations a bit. Bernard is worth a flex is very deep PPR leagues,
and Ronald Jones should be on the waiver wire.
Game Thoughts: Jameis Winston’s first season as
the unquestioned starter in New Orleans has been a success when
you consider the team is 4-2 and well within playoff contention.
For Winston fantasy managers, the jury is still out.
Winston has two monster games with five and four touchdown passes,
respectively, against the Packers in Week 1 and the Football Team
Week 5. He also has three games of one or fewer passing touchdowns,
and three games in which he completed fewer than 55% of his passes.
Only the Bears, Browns, and Lions have scored fewer fantasy points
as a WR unit, and the tight end tandem of Juwan Johnson and Adam
Trautman have just 172 receiving yards and three touchdowns combined.
There is not much to like from a fantasy perspective in the passing
game and Michael Thomas is still not practicing.
You can start Marquez Callaway with the hope of a possible deep
shot over the injury riddled Bucs secondary, but he is more of
a boom or bust play at this point.
The only player who is a must start in this game for the Saints
is Alvin Kamara, who has proved over and over again this season
that even when he struggles to run the ball, his value as a pass
catcher is unmatched.
And that is a good thing, because he is going to find it nearly
impossible to run in this game. Only the Panthers have given up
fewer points to opposing backs and no opposing back in seven games
has scored a rushing touchdown.
Look for Kamara to get around 10 targets with around 100 yards
and a possible score in the air.
Some injuries of note to consider in this game are starting linebacker
Lavonte David with an ankle injury, corner Jamel Dean with should/thumb
issues, and pass rush specialist Jason Pierre-Paul. David and
Dean look good to go, while JPP did not practice on Thursday and
looks less likely to play.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Khalil Herbert rushed for 100 yards and
added 33 receiving yards in last week’s blowout win for
the Bucs, on just 18 carries and 5 receptions. It turned out to
be a solid stat line and a bit of surprise, conceding how well
the Bucs have don against other, more established runners
Zeke had 33 yards, Miles Sanders managed just 56, and Damien
Harris posted -4 on four carries, yet Herbert is the first running
back since Dalvin Cook last season to top 100 yards on the ground
against the Bucs.
That provides some hope that Kamara can find some success running
the ball. However, even if he can’t he is still an excellent
play as a pass catcher.
Kamara had three touchdowns in two games last season against
this front seven, and should get close to 100 total yards and
a score on Sunday.
It is a little concerning that starting guard Andrus Peat missed
practice all week with a pectoral muscle injury and is likely
out for the game. You are still starting Kamara, but that development
certainly does not make things look good for the interior of the
Saints offensive line against Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea.
at Broncos - (Caron) Line: DEN -3.0 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: It’s hard to blame fantasy owners
who benched or even cut Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke
after he turned in back-to-back bad fantasy performances, but
those who stayed the course in Week 7 were rewarded with Heinicke’s
third 20-point fantasy day of the season. The QB threw for 268
yards and a touchdown with an interception, but most importantly
showed off the athleticism that we’ve seen in spurts when
he ran the ball 10 times for 95 yards. Heinicke is still a relatively
unknown player throughout the league so this rushing performance
was a surprise to most, but it’s worth considering that
this is now his third 40-plus yard rushing day of the season.
Only Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts have more of those games this
season. Certainly we can’t expect Heinicke to carry the
ball this much, or be this efficient, on a weekly basis, but we
should be looking at him as more of a runner than most of us had
previously assumed. If he’s able to add three or four fantasy
points per game on the ground, that’s essentially an additional
passing touchdown, and it makes him a viable bye week replacement
QB and a decent starter in two-QB formats.
Things are looking a little tougher here in Week 8, though, as
Heinicke and the Football Team head on the road to Denver to face
the Broncos. Denver has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points
per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. This is a bit skewed
as they’ve faced one of the easiest opposing schedules,
but this is still a defense that can force a ton of pressure and
they have one of the league’s most talented secondaries.
With this being the case, this is probably not the week to be
relying on Heinicke as your bye week or injury fill-in at quarterback.
He can still be a low-end QB2, but let’s wait until after
Washington’s Week 9 bye to get him into normal lineups,
as he’ll get to face the Buccaneers’ patchwork defensive
unit in Week 10.
The only truly reliable pass catcher in Washington right now is
Terry McLaurin and even he has already turned in four games of
fewer than 11 PPR fantasy points so far this season. McLaurin
has, however, exploded with three 25-or-more PPR fantasy point
games in the other contests so he’s been a great boom-or-bust
type player. He’s seen seven or more targets in every game
Heinicke has started thus far, along with 11 or more targets in
four of those six contests, so it seems reasonable to assume that
McLaurin’s floor will only get better while he maintains
his high ceiling. This doesn’t, though, mean that his Week
8 matchup against the Broncos is an easy one. The Broncos have
only allowed two 100-yard receivers this season and no wide receiver
has scored more than once against them so far. McLaurin should
still be looked at as a quality WR2 this week, but better days
are on the horizon.
Other wide receivers in the Washington offense can be forgotten
about for Week 8, but tight end Ricky Seals-Jones needs to be
given a look if you’re in need this week. Seals-Jones has
now been targeted 22 times over his past three contests without
Logan Thomas in the lineup, and he’s produced an average
of 12 PPR fantasy points in those contests. While Denver has been
quite good against opposing tight ends, the consolidated target
distribution in Washington makes Seals-Jones a startable TE1 this
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: A shin injury has kept Washington running
back Antonio Gibson limited in practice this week and it’s
also presumably led to less playing time than usual, but the thing
that fantasy owners should be truly concerned about is that J.D.
McKissic just will not go away. Just as he did in 2020, McKissic
has taken the lion’s share of the passing down snaps from
Gibson which has allowed him to stay fantasy relevant most weeks,
at least in PPR formats, but it’s also really hampering
Gibson’s upside. McKissic has caught 12 passes over just
his past two games.
It’s worth noting that the Broncos have been excellent at
containing pass catching backs, but they also haven’t played
against very many good ones. Still, no running back has caught
more than three passes against Denver, so this is probably not
the week to stuff McKissic into your lineup unless you’re
in a desperate situation in a PPR league.
So what do we do about Gibson? Well, he’s certainly been
disappointing over the past two weeks as he’s failed to
reach even eight PPR fantasy points in either contest, but he’s
still touched the ball a total of 28 times in those two contests
so it’s not quite time to panic yet. We probably need to
temper our expectations given McKissic’s usage and his shin
injury, but Gibson does get to face a Broncos defense that just
got done giving up 146 rushing yards and a touchdown to Browns
third-string running back D’Ernest Johnson in Week 7. It
took Johnson 22 carries to get there and it’s tough to assume
that Gibson will see that kind of usage, but there’s still
hope for a decent rushing performance in this game. Consider Gibson
a low-end RB2 this week and hopefully we’ll be pleasantly
surprised as he reemerges with an RB1 performance.
Game Thoughts: Teddy Bridgewater started off the 2020
season red hot with two 20-point fantasy performances, but he
has since failed to reach that number in five consecutive games.
This week he’ll have a chance to get back into that 20-point
club as he faces a Washington defense that, for all their hype
in the offseason, has been absolutely horrendous. The Football
Team has given up by far the league’s highest fantasy points-per-game
numbers to opposing quarterbacks, including five 30-plus point
performances. In fact, no starting quarterback they’ve faced
has scored fewer than 20 points in a game against Washington this
season. It’s not easy to recommend Bridgewater for fantasy,
but if there’s a week to trust him, this is certainly it
- at home against this awful defense, especially if things continue
down the path of Jerry Jeudy making his return.
Jeudy has missed six straight games for the Broncos after injuring
his ankle earlier this season and he’s been practicing this
week, leading many to believe that he’ll be on the field
this Sunday. Unfortunately, the Broncos do play in a late-afternoon
game so fantasy owners will need to have a contingency plan in
the event that he’s still inactive, but Jeudy could be looked
at as an immediate WR3 in this contest if he does play.
Of course, Jeudy return to the lineup will be a big dagger into
Tim Patrick’s fantasy value. Patrick hasn’t been producing
huge numbers, but he’s had 12 or more PPR fantasy points
in all but two games this season which has allowed him to be a
decent WR3/Flex option most weeks. Look for his targets to take
enough of a hit that he should be out of lineups, however, assuming
that Jeudy is back.
Courtland Sutton has been enjoying some big target volume games
and will likely not see a huge dip in production with Jeudy back.
This should be a great matchup for him either way, so get him
in your lineups as a solid WR2 option this week against a horrible
Washington secondary that has already given up 14 touchdowns to
opposing wide receivers this season.
Tight end Noah Fant has quietly been a solid TE1 for fantasy this
season, having already turned in four 12-plus PPR fantasy point
days. He’s been targeted six or more times in all but two
games and while we should expect that his target share does drop
a bit with Jeudy’s return, he should continue to see plenty
of playing time and enough targets to remain a TE1.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: The split Denver backfield continues to
be a frustrating situation for owners of both Melvin Gordon and
Javonte Williams. Both players struggled to do much on the ground
this past week against the Browns, but both also saved their fantasy
days by scoring touchdowns in the receiving game. Each player
is catching a few passes each week while maintaining about eight
to 12 carries on the ground, which is giving them a decent weekly
floor. Unfortunately, their ceilings are both very low as long
as the other player is playing consistent snaps.
Things won’t be easy for them this week, either, as they’ll
be facing a pass-funnel Washington defense that has actually been
good against opposing runners. The highest single-game rusher
they’ve faced so far this season was Alvin Kamara who rushed
for just 71 yards against them back in Week 5.
Both Gordon and Williams could be viewed as flex players, but
they’re both also benchable this week if you’ve got
decent enough alternative options.
Cowboys @ Vikings
- (Green) Line: MIN -2.5 Total: 53.5
Game Thoughts: Will he or won’t he? That’s
the question heading into Sunday night. The he, of course, is
Dak Prescott (calf), and the will he/won’t he is whether
he’ll be given the green light to play on the calf he strained
back in Week 6. Originally, the belief was that last week’s
bye would give the 28-year-old sufficient time to recover, but
his limited practice participation and comments suggest that’s
not a certainty. Without Prescott, the team would turn to Cooper
Rush, which would doubtless lead to a heavier reliance on the
New England had no answers for CeeDee Lamb (9-149-2) in Week
6, and the second-year pro has leapfrogged Amari Cooper (5-55-0)
in the pecking order. In fact, Cooper hasn’t topped 70 yards
in a game since Week 1 and has finished behind Lamb in yardage
in four of those five games. Lamb’s play isn’t the
only reason, though, as Dalton Schultz (5-79-0) has become an
emerging presence. In his last four games, the Stanford product
has gone for 75-plus yards three times and scored three TDs as
well. All three are playable regardless of who starts, though
only Schultz would retain his designation as a No. 1 option. Lamb
would go from WR2 to WR3, and Cooper would become a flex.
After some early struggles, the Vikings have settled in nicely
and now sit 12th in the NFL in passing yards allowed (230.3 per
game). Beyond that, Minnesota leads the league in sacks (21) despite
having already had their bye. Only two clubs have yielder fewer
TD tosses as well. The Vikings will be without Patrick Peterson
(hamstring), who was placed on IR, which should be to Dallas’
benefit. If Prescott plays, he’s a QB1. Rush would not offer
any fantasy appeal.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: A year ago, Ezekiel Elliott was fumble
prone and showed little of the explosiveness he’d had earlier
in his career. This season, Elliott looks much more like the player
that took the NFL by storm out of Ohio State. He’s averaging
104 total yards and 1 TD per game, and he should be an RB1 no
matter who plays QB this week. Tony Pollard (10-41-0) is the wild
card. He’s been a nice change-of-pace option this season,
and his role could swell if it’s Rush under center. With
Prescott, Pollard is a flex play. With Rush, he’s an RB2/RB3.
This matchup is to Dallas’ advantage as the Vikings have
surrendered 128 rushing yards per game, which is 26th in the league.
Game Thoughts: Like Dallas, the Vikings logged a walk-off
overtime win over a mediocre opponent before enjoying their bye.
After two middling performances, Kirk Cousins got back in the
groove against Carolina, completing 33 of 48 passes for 373 yards
and 3 TDs. It was the veteran’s third game of 300-plus yards,
and he carries QB1 upside into every matchup. Of course, Cousins
often offsets the ups with downs, and in Weeks 4-5 he struggled
with just two combined TDs and a pair of INTs. That’s the
risk you take when plugging Cousins into your lineup.
Minnesota’s most bulletproof option is Justin Jefferson
(8-80-0). Through six games, the LSU alum is averaging 90 yards
on 6.9 receptions per; he’s also scored three times and
hasn’t recorded fewer than 65 yards receiving in a game.
Adam Thielen (11-126-1) is far more volatile. In his six games,
Thielen has only topped 50 receiving yards twice, but he leads
the team in touchdowns with five. Tyler Conklin (3-71-0) and K.J.
Osborn (6-78-1) have both had their moments as well, but much
like with the Chiefs it’s difficult to count on anyone beyond
the top two.
Feast or famine is probably the best way to describe Dallas’
pass defense. They have bled yardage (295.0 per game; 28th), but
their 11 interceptions top in the NFL, led by Trevon Diggs, whose
seven INTs are three more than anyone else. The Cowboys are also
near the bottom in pressure with 11 sacks leading just three other
clubs. We’ll see if the Vikings can exploit Diggs’
aggressiveness. Play Jefferson as a WR1 and Thielen as a WR2 this
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Unlike Dallas, the Vikings choose to only
feature Dalvin Cook (29-140-1) despite how well Alexander Mattison
has played when Cook has been hurt. It seems a short-sighted approach
given Cook’s ever-lengthening injury history, but it makes
life easy on fantasy owners from week to week. Cook is a matchup-proof
RB1 every time he suits up, and Mattison offers no value in those
situations. The Cowboys rank fifth against the run this year (86.2
yards per game) but 17th in YPC (4.3). Don’t be surprised
if the Vikings try to control the clock in this one.
Giants at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -9.5 Total: 52.0
Game Thoughts: It feels like many months ago that Daniel
Jones was averaging 23 fantasy points per game over the first
four weeks of the season and things have not been nearly as good
for the Giants quarterback in the three games since. This Monday
night matchup against the Chiefs might be just what he needs to
get back into the top-12 at the position, however, as he’ll
get to face a Kansas City defense that has given up the second-most
fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. In recent seasons
we’d write this off as the Chiefs just being so far ahead
of teams on the scoreboard that they turn to a “prevent”
type defense that allows teams to rack up passing yards but still
allows Kansas City to win. With the Chiefs sitting at 3-4 on the
season, however, it’s become glaringly obvious that not
only are opposing QBs benefitting from the “prevent defense”
factor when trailing, but they’re also lighting up the Chiefs
through the air enough that they’re actually beating them.
The Giants have a loaded wide receiver group that is unfortunately
decimated by injuries at the moment. The team is expected to be
without rookie Kadarius Toney as well as veteran Kenny Golladay.
Former 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis has been the biggest beneficiary
of the Giants’ banged up wide receiver depth chart as he’s
been targeted 16 times over the past two weeks, catching 10 of
those passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. If the Giants end up
being without Sterling Shepard again then Pettis is a decent PPR
There is reason to believe, however, that Shepard will be back
after the receiver logged a limited practice on Thursday. He’ll
now have three days to get fully healthy prior to the Giants’
Monday night game. Shepard’s return would be a huge boost
to the Giants’ pass catching unit as he’s been by
far the team’s most consistent producer when he’s
been on the field. Shepard caught seven or more passes in three
of the four games he’s played significant snaps in and he’s
very clearly Jones’ favorite target in the passing game.
If you own Shepard then it makes sense to make a move to acquire
Pettis this week as an insurance policy. Get Shepard in your lineup
as a WR3 and pay attention on Monday night. If he’s inactive
then pivot to Pettis and hope for the best.
The other player who may also be available on waiver wires in
your league is Darius Slayton. Slayton has battled his own injury
problems, but he was active in Week 7 against the Panthers when
he was targeted a team-high nine times. He’s the preferred
option if you’re choosing between him and Pettis in the
event that Shepard is out, but he might already be owned in your
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley could make
his return to the field this week, but all signs point to the
running back still being a week away as he missed practice again
on Thursday. Assuming Barkley is out, it looks like it’ll
be the Devontae Booker show again on Monday night as the Giants
head to Kansas City to face the Chiefs.
Booker has been decent in relief of Barkley thus far as he’s
averaged over 15 PPR fantasy points per game in the three starts
he’s made. He does have a somewhat difficult matchup against
Kansas City, however, as the Chiefs have been quite good at containing
opposing running backs. In fact, despite getting blown out this
past week, the Chiefs were able to contain Derrick Henry on the
ground, allowing just 86 yards on 29 carries (2.96 yards/carry)
to the monster half back. Henry was able to salvage an otherwise
poor (for him) fantasy day by surprising everyone with a passing
touchdown, but it was still an overall quality showing for the
Kansas City run defense. Prior to that game, the Chiefs had not
allowed a single running back they’ve faced to rush for
more than 55 yards since back in Week 2 when Baltimore’s
Ty’Son Williams ran for 77 yards against them. They have
also conceded just one running back rushing touchdown since that
Week 2 contest against Baltimore.
On a positive note for Booker’s fantasy owners, he is active
in the passing game and that’s where the Chiefs are getting
exposed on a weekly basis. He’s not Saquon Barkley as receiver,
but Booker has caught nine passes over his past three games and
he’s been used as a third down back throughout most of his
career, so expect him to be out there again in passing situations,
which could allow him to still turn in a decent enough fantasy
day even if the Chiefs do shut him down on the ground. Booker
is a low-end RB2/Flex this week in PPR formats.
Game Thoughts: For all the struggles that the Chiefs
have suffered through so far this season, quarterback Patrick
Mahomes remains an elite weekly fantasy option. The QB turned
in his first bad fantasy performance this past week against the
Titans in what was one of the worst games of his career. We can
sit and speculate that the league has “figured out”
Mahomes all we want, but the more than likely outcome here is
going to be that Mahomes gets back on track eventually. It could
and likely will happen this week as the Chiefs host the Giants
on Monday Night Football.
A poor performance against the Giants this past week actually
led to the Panthers benching Sam Darnold so there might be some
belief that the New York defense is better than it is. However,
a closer look at their game log will show you that while they’ve
done well against the likes of Jameis Winston and Sam Darnold,
they’ve actually been lit up by the better quarterbacks
they’ve faced including Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford and
even Taylor Heinicke. Mahomes certainly falls into that category
and one has to assume that the Chiefs will be looking to make
a statement by reasserting themselves as an elite offense on national
television. Look for Mahomes to deliver in this one.
The pass catching weapons in Kansas City continue to be a disappointment
aside from the obvious top two in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
No other Chiefs receiver has provided any sort of reliable fantasy
production and they should all remain benched until one of them
establishes himself as the third option in this passing game.
Until then, it remains the Hill and Kelce show, both of whom are
must-start elite options at their respective positions, as they
are pretty much every week.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Clyde Edwards-Helaire remains out which
has meant that Darrel Williams has been the Chiefs’ starter
over the past two weeks. A shockingly negative game script led
to Williams being used minimally on the ground in Week 7 against
Tennessee, but a more normal game script in Week 6 saw Kansas
City lean heavily on Williams as he carried the ball 21 times,
including a pair of touchdowns, against Washington.
Williams now faces a Giants defense that has already given up
three 100-yard rushers this season and he should be in line for
another day of around 15 carries. The other thing that’s
flying under the radar is that Williams is actually being used
a bit in the passing game. He’s looked at by most as more
of a plodder, but he’s now caught three passes in each of
the two starts he’s made for the Chiefs this season and
that added passing game usage helps make him a solid RB2 option
in this contest.