- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Jets @ Colts -
(Swanson) Line: IND -10.5 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: After years and years of missed draft
picks and failed veteran free agent signings, It looks like the
Jets have finally found their quarterback of the future, after
rookie Mike White completed 37 of 45 passes for 405 yards and
three touchdowns in an upset win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Of course, I kid. While there might be a controversy between
Zach Wilson and White later this season, one game does not make
White the QB of the future, nor does it make him someone you should
consider starting on your fantasy roster.
White’s performance was impressive. Arguably the most remarkable
performance of the week when you consider it was the second-best
debut performance in NFL History. But now the Colts have some
tape to work with, and duplicating the feat on the road in primetime
might be a bit much to ask for the former Western Kentucky star.
Despite head coach Robert Saleh sounding optimistic early in
the week wide receiver Corey Davis is listed as Doubtful. That
will leave Jamison Crowder and a cast of thousands to rotate at
the receiver position including Elijah Moore, Keelan Cole and
On a negative note, the dynamic linebackers for the Colts, led
by all-pro Darius Leonard, are skilled at covering opposing running
backs out of the backfield and have not given up more than 35
yards to any RB in the passing game.
White made a living throwing to Jets running backs last week,
taking advantage of an aggressive Bengals defense with throws
to Michael Carter. He will no doubt look to continue to use his
running backs in the passing game but will find far more of a
resistance than the Bengals provided.
Starting strong safety, Khari Willis missed practice on Monday
with a calf injury. Should Willis miss because of the short week,
George Odum would step up in his place.
Veteran Jamison Crowder had a team-high nine targets among wide
receivers and converted eight catches for 84 yards. The Colts
have given up the sixth-most points to opposing WRs this season
and the second-most touchdowns on the year. Crowder is not a sexy
play, but that type of volume against a lousy secondary is hard
to pass up, especially in PPR.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Michael Carter was the RB1 last week in
AFFL half-point PPR scoring after posting nine catches for 95
yards on a ridiculous 14 targets. He also added 77 rushing yards
and a score on 15 carries.
He is clearly the running back to own on the Jets and a favorite
target for Mike White out of the backfield. While we anticipate
some catches for Carter, running the ball this week will prove
much more of a challenge.
Only the Panthers have allowed fewer fantasy points per game than
the Colts - a team that just limited Derrick Henry to 68 yards
on 28 carries.
The Colts are 10.5 favorites at home in a game that could go
sideways quickly for the Jets. I would be surprised to see Carter
get more than 15 carries in this game, but he will likely get
between five and ten targets. The question is will he be able
to do much with those targets with Darius Leonard in coverage.
Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz comes in as the No.20 quarterback
through eight weeks of play, with 18.7 fantasy points per game.
Although he has 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions, he
is actually averaging .2 fewer fantasy points per game than his
last season with the Eagles.
If you take out the 7.8 point turd he dropped in Week 3 on the
road against the Texans, he has at least 17 fantasy points in
every game, including 22.3 in each of his last two. Not great,
but certainly serviceable, making him a decent streaming option
in deeper leagues and super-flex options.
The emergence of Michael Pittman Jr. as a WR1 is the story of
the year for the Colts passing offense. Pittman has the size and
speed to be a dominant WR in the NFL, and we are all starting
to see it unfold on the field.
Pittman has three touchdowns and just under 200 receiving yards
in his last two games, including a career-high 15 targets last
week. He is the alpha dog and the favorite target for Wentz. Make
sure he is in your lineup this week and every week going forward.
T.Y. Hilton is in the concussion protocol and will miss this
game, and Parris Campbell is already out for the season. That
leaves Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal as the two wide receivers to
roster on the Colts.
Pascal is not at all sexy, but he does have 14 targets over the
past two games and could see around eight targets on Thursday.
The Jets have been surprisingly good against wide receivers this
season as opponents have found far more success on the ground.
No opposing WR has topped 100 yards or scored more than two touchdowns
in a game (The Bengals trio did combine for two scores and 180
yards last week).
This is not a great matchup for the Colts passing game, but you
still should feel comfortable with Pittman Jr., and Pascal is
worth a flyer as a flex in very deep leagues.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Jonathan Taylor fantasy managers should
be salivating at the thought of their stud running back taking
on the Jets at home in primetime.
The Jets rank first in fantasy points allowed to running backs,
with 13 total touchdowns and just over 1000 total yards in seven
games. Although Joe Mixon struggled with 33 rushing yards on 14
carries, he did add a rushing score and 4/58/1 in the air.
Look for Taylor to top 100 total yards with a score or two, making
him an elite start in all formats.
All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson was limited in practice with a toe
injury, but he should be good to go. There are no other injuries
on the Colts side of the ball that should affect this game.
Texans at Dolphins
- (Ilchuk) Line: MIA -5.5 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: Houston has been getting blown out on
the regular and Davis Mills has been piling up late game numbers
against backups playing prevent defense, which on its’ face
is fine. The problem is that he’s been so bad leading up
to that point. As Dean Wormer might say, “inconsistent,
inaccurate, and mistake-prone is no way to go through life son.”
This week, Tyrod Taylor has worked his way back into practice
and is expected to start but plugging him into your lineup in
his first game coming off a significant hamstring injury isn’t
Brandon Cooks is about the only receiver worth considering here.
He’s got 70 targets on the season (no one else even has
30), over 50 catches and nearly 600 yards receiving. Again, all
good on the surface, but the yards come in bunches and you never
quite know when you’re going to get them. His yardage totals
the last four weeks – 23, 89, 21, 83.
The truth is the Dolphins are not very good on defense, especially
against the pass where they rank in the bottom five in the league
in just about every category. I mean, this is the team that ended
Jacksonville’s epic losing streak. Miami has yielded at
least 30 points to their opponents in four of their eight games
this season, but they haven’t played anyone as bad as the
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: Mark Ingram was carrying the mail in Houston
before last week’s trade that sent him to New Orleans. What
we saw last week was that there’s really no one to take
his place. Rex Burkhead led the team in carries, but Phillip Lindsay
and David Johnson were nowhere to be found. It remains to be seen
how this all gets sorted out, so fantasy owners should not be
shopping for running backs in Houston right now.
The Dolphins have actually been respectable against the run,
allowing just 4.2 yards per carry on the season, and limited the
Bills to just about 100 yards on the ground last week. But that
could also be because it’s so darn easy to pass on them.
This week is a chance for Miami to get right on defense.
Game Thoughts: With the Deshaun Watson trade rumors behind
him (for now), it certainly appears that Tua Tagovailoa will remain
Miami’s starting QB for the rest of the season. But inconsistent
play and constant injury concerns (finger, ribs) make him a frustrating
That being said, he gets the Texans this week, a team that is
allowing over 30 points per game and ranks in the bottom third
of the NFL in sacks, yards per attempt and passing TD’s
Jaylen Waddle has over 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns
on 33 targets the last three weeks, and fellow WR DeVante Parker
(hamstring) is averaging over 80 yards per game over the last
two games. TE Mike Gesicki actually leads the team in receiving
yards, and RB Myles Gaskin is averaging five catches per game
and has three receiving TD’s on the season. If Tua’s
injuries limit him or keep him out of the mix this week, Jacoby
Brissett will fill in capably as a low-end QB2, though the whole
set of skill players probably takes a hit in that case.
There are a few bright spots on this Texans defense, but only
a few. For IDPers, LB Christian Kirksey is a young sideline-to-sideline
tackling machine. CB Lonnie Johnson has three of the team’s
seven interceptions, and DE Jonathan Greenard has seven of the
team’s 15 sacks. But as a unit, this group isn’t stopping
the Dolphins or any other team for very long.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Malcolm Brown had been trending towards
workhorse status before being sidelined by injury. Gaskin stepped
in and got 15 touches last week, including most of the 3rd down
receiving work out of the backfield. Unfortunately, Salvon Ahmed
continues to steal 8-10 touches per game, but until Brown returns,
Gaskin is a low-end RB2 with a little added value in PPR leagues.
Broncos at Cowboys
- (Ilchuk) Line: DAL -10.0 Total: 49.5
Game Thoughts: QB Teddy Bridgewater has been efficient
(4th among NFL starters at 70%), but while he has posted two 300-yard
passing efforts and turned in five multi-TD games, he has not
been explosive, averaging less than 7.5 yards per attempt. In
the team’s four wins, the formula has been to run the ball
and rely on the short, quick-hitting, quick read passing game.
That could be the answer this week and help keep Dallas’
explosive offense off the field.
But, with Von Miller traded to the Rams in recent days, a good
Denver defense takes a hit. If the Broncos fall behind, they could
be forced into a game of catch-up. Bridgewater can play that game
and provide fantasy value as a low-end QB2. But it’s really
just a question of whether he gets a chance, and the Cowboys inability
to get to the passer is an added bonus. Courtland Sutton becomes
a WR2 with upside in that scenario.
WR Jerry Jeudy should outproduce Tim Patrick in his second game
back from an ankle injury, working the underneath routes that
Bridgewater loves, making him a legit WR3 with upside as well.
With Noah Fant likely out on the COVID list, look for TE Albert
Okwuegbunam, who stole some of Fant’s targets last week
in two-TE sets, to have added value.
The Cowboys have been a mixed bag against the pass. One thing
we know for sure, they can take the ball away. They lead the league
with 11 interceptions on the season, and they are top ten in the
NFL in opposing QB passer rating (87.8). However, they rank in
the bottom half of the league (21st) allowing nearly 8.0 yards
per attempt and yielding 13 scores through the air. They have
also been vulnerable against TE’s and have struggled to
consistently get the QB on the ground with just 12 sacks, amongst
the worst in the NFL.
The goal for the Broncos will be to get the ball out of Bridgewater’s
hands quickly. But if Dallas’ athletic linebackers can shut
off the passing lanes and force Bridgewater to hold the ball,
they could create issues for this Broncos passing attack.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: The Broncos have been a two-headed monster
in the run game. Despite sharing the load, Melvin Gordon and Javonte
Williams both rank in the top 25 in the NFL in rushing yards (397
and 355 respectively), and both are averaging over 4.5 yards per
carry. They can both add value in the passing game, averaging
2-3 receptions per game. Denver will try to establish the run
early in this one, so I’m looking at Gordon (because of
his scoring ability) as a low-end RB2, while Williams is a viable
The Cowboys defense has allowed 100+ rushing yards per game in
three of their last four contests and are yielding 4.5 yards per
carry on the season. If they can keep Gordon and Williams in check,
that would put the ball in Teddy Bridgewater’s hands where
Dallas can play to its’ strengths, forcing turnovers in
the passing game. But if the Broncos can run the ball, Denver’s
running backs will be the only marginal fantasy play in this offense.
Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott was a full participant in
practice this week and is expected to suit up and start after
missing last week’s game against the Vikings. He’s
an indisputable QB1 heading into Sunday.
Averaging 36 pass attempts per game and completing 73% of his
passes at 8.4 yards per attempts, with 16 TD and just 4 INT in
six games he’s as sure a thing as there is at QB right now,
even coming off a calf injury.
His stable is loaded, too. CeeDee Lamb (ankle) is a WR1, leading
one of the most explosive offenses in football in targets, receptions,
yards, yards per catch and TD’s. He’s been particularly
hot recently, averaging 100 yards per game and a score over the
last three weeks.
Amari Cooper is right behind him in every category. He has 13
catches for 177 yards and a score over the last two weeks. WR3
Michael Gallup could return this week, but his replacement, Cedrick
Wilson has made the most of his opportunity with seven catches
for 126 yards and a score in the last two games. If Gallup isn’t
ready to go, Wilson is a legitimate WR3/WR4 consideration.
TE Dalton Schultz has become one of Prescott’s most trusted
pass catchers, drawing at least seven targets in each of the last
five games, making him a starting consideration in 12-team leagues.
I could throw all kinds of stats at you, telling you how good
this Broncos defense is against the pass. They have been very
good, especially their young, athletic secondary. But with Von
Miller being traded away to the Rams this week, it all changes.
Miller had just 4.5 sacks on the season, but with him out of the
picture, the dynamics of this unit completely change, and a good
deal of pressure now shifts to that young secondary. They will
have their hands full trying to cover all these weapons in addition
to Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, who have combined for 36
catches this season.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Elliott is 6th in the NFL in rushing yards,
and Pollard, perhaps the best No.2 (and capable #1) in the league,
is just outside the top 20. Zeke is averaging just under 5 yards
per carry, while Pollard is getting nearly 6 yards per tote! The
offensive line is playing well, Dak’s arm has to be honored,
and as I mentioned above, Denver no longer has their best defensive
lineman. You can’t go wrong with either of these guys on
your lineup this week.
Game Thoughts: After Case Keenum stepped in and led the
Browns to victory on Thursday Night Football in Week 7, Baker
Mayfield (shoulder) was back under center this past Sunday. It
was about what we’ve come to expect: 20-for-31, 225 yards,
0 TDs. That’s the fourth time in his last six games that
Mayfield has passed for less than 250 yards and one or fewer TDs.
Whatever his toughness and intangibles may bring to the table,
his inability to produce decent numbers has rendered him one of
the worst fantasy quarterbacks out there.
Perhaps the biggest casualty has been Odell Beckham Jr. (1-6-0),
who may have played his final down for Cleveland after his father
posted a video critical of Mayfield. OBJ has been M.I.A. from
practice this week while his agents talked with GM Andrew Berry
about the receiver’s future. With or without him, Jarvis
Landry (5-65-0) is the true top target for the Browns, though
that designation is still tethered to modest production. Landry
is dealing with a knee injury, but he should be active in Week
Cincinnati was playing well defensively coming into last Sunday,
but there’s no way to spin how bad they were in allowing
Jets backup QB Mike White to pass for 405 yards and three touchdowns
in an upset loss. To underscore how unexpected it was, consider
this: the Bengals had given up seven passing TDs all season entering
Week 8. Regardless of how Cincy is playing, the Browns’
passing game is in shambles, and Landry as a flex option is as
good as it gets right now.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: Mayfield wasn’t the only injured
starter to return as Nick Chubb (16-61-0) was back following a
two-game absence of his own. It was his lowest output of the season,
and the Browns surprisingly shied away from the two-back approach
they typically deploy with Kareem Hunt (calf) as Week 7 star D’Ernest
Johnson had only five combined touches for 29 yards and a score.
Chubb hit the Bengals for 124 yards and two TDs in his lone game
against them in 2020, and he should rate as an RB1 against the
seventh-ranked Cincy defense this Sunday. As for Johnson, his
uncertain role makes him a dicey choice for a flex spot.
Game Thoughts: All season long, Joe Burrow has had an
asterisk affixed to his strong play, and last Sunday, it bit him
again. The asterisk is interceptions, and last year’s No.
1 overall pick threw his ninth of the season in the fourth quarter
against the Jets, setting them up for the winning score. The 259
yards and three TDs were a satisfactory offset, but the mistakes
remain an issue in his development. Burrow faced the Browns twice
last year, averaging 361 yards, 3 TDs and 0.5 INTs per game. Looking
back, they were doubtless the best two games of his rookie year.
He didn’t even have Ja’Marr Chase (3-32-1) back then,
and the LSU product’s dynamic debut season rolls on with
the first-rounder ranked in the NFL’s top five in receiving
yards, touchdowns and YPC. He was quiet last week, allowing Tee
Higgins (4-97-0) to be the focal point and deliver a season-high
in yardage. The TDs continue to evade him, however, as Higgins
hasn’t scored since Week 2. Even Tyler Boyd (5-69-1) got
in on the action. That trio figures to give the Browns all they
can handle, and C.J. Uzomah (4-33-0) is lurking as a threat as
In terms of yards allowed, the Browns have done a nice job this
year with their 220.1 per game ranking seventh in the NFL. Where
they’ve struggled is keeping opponents out of the end zone.
Only Washington and Indy have given up more passing TDs than the
Browns’ 17, which is a problem Cincinnati can exploit. Burrow
and Chase are No. 1 plays to be sure. After that, Higgins is a
borderline WR2/WR3 with Boyd a solid flex.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: After essentially splitting carries in
the Week 7 blowout of Baltimore, Joe Mixon logged 91 yards and
2 TDs on 18 combined touches while Samaje Perine went without
a carry and had two receptions for 16 yards. That shows you that
Mixon is the featured back, and Perine will spell him now and
then. Cleveland is among the toughest teams to run on, allowing
84.8 yards per game (3rd) and 3.5 yards per rush (T-1st) on the
year. Even with that, Mixon offers low-end RB1 or strong RB2 value.
Vikings @ Ravens
- (Green) Line: BAL -6.0 Total: 50.0
Game Thoughts: Minnesota’s offense never found
its stride Sunday night, and that starts with Kirk Cousins, who
completed 23 of 35 passes for 184 yards and a TD in a performance
that was eerily reminiscent of his work against Cleveland in Week
4. It was the third time in four games that the veteran has managed
just one TD pass, and over those three outings he has averaged
just 221 yards passing. We know what Cousins is capable of on
any given Sunday, though that’s a statement that cuts both
Justin Jefferson (2-21-0) was held in check for the first time
all season, though he did draw a couple of penalties. He also
got banged up during the game but did return and should have no
restrictions going forward. Jefferson has supplanted Adam Thielen
(6-78-1) as the top receiver in Minnesota, though the second-year
pro hasn’t had nearly as much action in the red zone with
Thielen (6) doubling Jefferson in TDs (3). While their year-to-date
totals are similar, Jefferson is the steadier weekly play. Tyler
Conklin (5-57-0) has also emerged as the receiving threat at tight
end they’d hoped Irv Smith (knee) would be before he was
lost for the year.
Nobody in the NFL has allowed more yards per game through the
air than Baltimore (296.1) thus far, and they are one of just
six teams to yield more than 8.0 yards per attempt so it’s
not as though they’re giving up tons of underneath throws.
On paper, this looks like a good matchup for the Vikings. Then
again, so did Dallas. View Cousins and Conklin as low-end No.
1s at their respective positions. Jefferson and Thielen are weekly
plays regardless of whether you designate one or both as WR1s.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook rushing 18 times for 78 yards
in Week 8 is a bit of a Rorschach test -- did Minnesota failing
to get their offense going result in a down game for Cook? or
did a down game for Cook result in Minnesota failing to get their
offense going? Whichever side of the chicken-or-egg scenario you
favor, this much is clear: Cook got far fewer touches than we’re
accustomed to seeing. Expect that to be course corrected in Week
9 against the Ravens, even though they rank fourth in rushing
yards allowed per game (86.1) and 11th per carry (4.2). Cook remains
Game Thoughts: In two games since his 442-yard, 4-TD
evisceration of the Colts on Monday Night Football, Lamar Jackson
has passed for 424 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs while being sacked
eight times. His running has remained strong (20 carries, 139
yards in Weeks 7 and 8), but he hasn’t run for a touchdown
since Week 2 -- he totaled seven TDs on the ground in each of
his last two campaigns. Perhaps a week off to stew over their
41-17 loss to the Bengals will get Jackson and company locked
If there was a positive footnote to that Week 8 beatdown it was
the play of Rashod Bateman, who hauled in three passes for 80
yards in his second NFL game. Having the rookie turn into a reliable
option opposite Marquise Brown (5-80-1) would be a huge deal for
Baltimore, which has struggled to fill that spot. One such attempt
was the signing of veteran Sammy Watkins (hamstring), who returned
to practice Thursday but hasn’t played since Week 5 and
looks like he might miss another game even after having the bye
to rest. For now, Mark Andrews (3-48-0) remains the de facto 1a/1b
target of choice with Brown.
The Vikings are one of five teams to have yielded fewer than
10 TD passes this season, which is good. They also let unheralded
backup Cooper Rush throw for 325 yards and two TDs against them
last Sunday night, which is bad. Even worse, the Vikings lost
sack leader Danielle Hunter (pec) for the year with a torn pectoral
muscle. As usual, Jackson and Andrews as quality No. 1 plays at
their positions. Brown could fill a low-end WR2 slot of high-end
WR3. Bateman might not be lineup worthy just yet, but he’s
worth scooping off the waiver wire.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: Lead back Latavius Murray (ankle) didn’t
play in Week 7 due to an ankle injury and isn’t a sure bet
to suit up this Sunday, either. If he does, Murray would be the
lone playable option as a midrange flex. If he doesn’t,
Devonta Freeman (4-14-1) is probably your best bet, though he’d
be a bit of a stretch even as a flex. For reasons that remain
unclear, Ty’Son Williams (2-10-0) ran just six times in
the month of October, while Le’Veon Bell (5-5-0) has looked
closer to 49 years of age than 29. The Vikings rank 21st against
the run at 120.9 yards per game on 4.6 YPC.
Raiders at Giants
- (Ilchuk) Line: LV -3.0 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: QB Derek Carr is playing some of the best
football of his career. He has passed for well over 300 yards
in five of his seven games and has multiple TD’s in all
but one. If he had any sort of rushing production he’d be
an elite QB1 every week.
As for his receiving weapons, Henry Ruggs III’ Corvette
and NFL career crashed and burned this week, but Darren Waller,
arguably the best TE in the game right now, should be back from
his ankle injury and is as good an option as any to take on Ruggs’
I love WR Hunter Renfrow, and apparently so does Carr. Renfrow
has at least five targets in every game this year, and at least
eight in four of the Raiders’ seven contests. He’s
a low-end WR2 this week.
WR Bryan Edwards only averages 3-5 targets per game and Kenyan
Drake has been less involved in the passing game since taking
over more of the rushing load from the injured Josh Jacobs.
For all their struggles this year, the Giants actually rank in
the top third of the league in sacks and interceptions. But they
are allowing a completion percentage of nearly 69% and teams have
scored on them 15 times through the air, both among the worst
in the league. They tend to play shell coverage, which has kept
everything in front of them and limited opponents to just 7.1
yards per attempt. But that forces the defense into long drives,
and they must tackle to keep YAC yards down.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: With Josh Jacobs leaving the Week 7 game
against the Eagles with a chest injury, Kenyan Drake stepped in
with 14-69 rushing. Jacobs has had two weeks to heal and has practiced
this week. He should be a RB2 with his average 13 carries per
game. If he can’t go, look for Peyton Barber to take on
the workhorse load with Kenyan Drake returning to 3rd down work
as a receiver out of the backfield. New York is allowing 4.4 yards
per carry, so expect a balanced attack from the Raiders.
Game Thoughts: QB Daniel Jones has played better at times
this season, but he has just two multi-TD games and one 300+ yard
game through eight weeks of the season, and he continues to make
mind-numbing mistakes that kill scoring chances for the Giants
and fantasy owners alike. I would love to see him play just one
game with his full complement of skill position players. I also
wish OC Jason Garrett would include more scripted runs in the
game plan. Jones is a better athlete than he’s given credit
for, and letting him use his legs could spark the Giants offense
and provide some fantasy boost for owners.
WR Kadarius Toney looks like the top target for now, working
out of the slot and piling up targets (hopefully) with WR Sterling
Shepard out and WR Kenny Golladay still a question mark. TE’s
Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph both had touchdown catches against
the Chiefs last week, but neither has been a consistent fantasy
option to this point and shouldn’t be moving forward.
Vegas has been holding opposing QB’s to just 6.3 yards
per attempt this season and a QB Rating under 90. They also have
almost 20 sacks and do a good job of pressuring the pocket, which
is bad news for Jones and an offensive line still working to put
it all together.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: There’s an outside shot that Saquon
Barkley (ankle) could make his return this week, but given his
injury history and the Giants bye coming next week, I wouldn’t
be surprised to see the Giants play it cautious and hold Barkley
for the Week 11 contest against Tampa Bay. Fantasy value ticks
up for everybody on the offense if he plays, but if not, Devontae
Booker seems to be settling into his role after four weeks of
carrying the load, averaging 4.0 yards last week and scoring twice
in the last three games. He’s a low-end fantasy option against
a Raiders defense that is allowing 4.6 per carry and has been
burned by big plays in the run game.
Falcons @ Saints
- (Swanson) Line: NO -6.5 Total: 42.5
Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan and the Falcons head to the
Super Dome to take on the Saints in a divisional tilt between
bitter rivals. The Falcons are looking to bounce back from an
ugly loss to the Panthers in which Ryan threw for just 146 yards
and a score, with two interceptions.
Prior to that game, Ryan did have back-to-back 300 yards performances
against two of the worst defenses in the league in the Dolphins
and Jets. But against a solid defense like the Panthers, Ryan
was constantly under pressure and did not have his full complement
of weapons, with Calvin Ridley leaving the team for mental health
Ridley will not play in this game on Sunday, and Ryan will once
again be under constant pressure from a Saints defense that just
tormented Tom Brady and the Bucs in Week 8.
With Ridley out, veteran Tajae Sharpe stepped into the starting
role and had five catches for 58 yards. Russell Gage was thought
to have been the wide receiver to step into a move voluminous
role, but an ankle injury limited his play last week and burned
more than a few fantasy managers.
Gage was a limited participant on Wednesday and is questionable
for Sunday but did say he expects to be active on Sunday.
Kyle Pitts had his worst game of the season last week, with the
Panther limiting the former first-round pick to two catches for
13 yards on six targets. Considering that Pitts had nearly 300
receiving yards combined in his previous two games, last week
was more than a shock to fantasy managers.
Look for Pitts to get at least ten targets in this game, assuming
that the subpar Atlanta offensive line can provide Ryan with enough
time to get the ball out. The Saints are stout at all three levels
of the defense and continue to dominate opposing QBs and running
The Saints have given up the 5th-fewest points to opposing QBs
and have forced more interceptions than touchdown passes allowed.
Although Daniel Jones, Tom Brady, and Sam Darnold all threw for
over 300 yards, the Saints shut down Aaron Rodgers at the Packers,
Taylor Heinicke of the Football Team, and Geno Smith of the Seahawks.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: The Saints have given up 402 rushing yards
on 133 carries this season, for an average of just 3.02 yards
per attempt. No opposing running back has topped 73 rushing yards,
and New Orleans has not given up a rushing touchdown since Week
Considering the Falcons are not a good running team to start
with, it is worth sitting Mike Davis in most games. In a matchup
against the Saints at home, it is almost a no-brainer to leave
him on your bench.
The one silver lining for the Saints run defense is they have
been susceptible to running backs catching passes. For that reason,
and the fact that he is really a WR with RB eligibility, starting
Cordarrelle Patterson is not a bad play.
There are multiple injuries on the Saints that should have a
positive effect on the fantasy production for Falcons skill position
players. Starting safety Malcolm Jenkins missed Wednesday with
a knee injury and is questionable for sunder.
The other major injury is the season-ending knee injury to Jameis
Winston. We assume that Taysom Hill will get that start if he
is able to clear the concussion protocol, but he may still be
limited, and Trevor Siemian will be thrust into the starting lineup.
Game Thoughts: The Jameis Winston experience is over
in New Orleans, at least for this season, as Winston suffered
a torn ACL and MCL against the Bucs last Sunday.
It is likely that Taysom Hill is going to take over as the starting
quarterback if he is able to clear the concussion protocol. If
not, it will be journeyman veteran Trevor Siemian.
When given a chance to start in four games last season with Drew
Brees on the shelf, Hill was more than a viable fantasy starter,
with three games of over 20 fantasy points and two games with
multiple rushing touchdowns.
Hill completed over 72% of his passes last season but failed
to top 300 yards in any game, and he did throw to interceptions.
His value is much higher in four-point per passing touchdown leagues,
as his rushing touchdowns are what make him so valuable.
The Saints will be without Michael Thomas this week, and for
the remainder of the season, with Thomas announcing on social
media he suffered another setback with his ankle. Thomas’
return would have made Hill far more attractive of a play, as
the two of them had a strong connection last year.
Saints wide receivers rank dead last in combined catches and
yards on the season, with 47/739/7. No Saint wide receiver has
topped 100 yards in any game, and none of them have more than
five receptions in any contest.
This is a run-first team that is now going to use a running quarterback.
It is entirely possible that the Saints will have even fewer passing
attempts going forward, especially in this game against an inferior
If forced to start a pass catcher on the Saints not named Alvin
Kamara, you can go with Tre’Quan Smith or Marquez Callaway,
but both are touchdown or bust options.
Editor's Note: Trevor
Siemian has been named the starter. Expect Taysom Hill to be active
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: We do not think it is a coincidence that
two of Alvin Kamara’s worst games last season came with
Tayson Hill under center, as running quarterbacks who are red
zone threats are not a good recipe for success for running backs.
Kamara did get a rising touchdown in two of the games against
the Falcons last season with Hill at QB, but he managed just two
total receptions for nine yards.
You are stating Kamara regardless, and the Falcons do rank 12th
in catches allowed to RBs while allowing eight total touchdowns
to RBs in seven games. Just don’t be surprised to see Hill
poach a rushing touchdown and a sizable reduction in passes out
of the backfield.
Game Thoughts: Josh Allen is the next quarterback who
gets the pleasure of taking on the dreadful Jacksonville Panthers,
who a week ago made Geno Smith look like a stud. Allen enters
the game as the No.1 QB in points per game, just ahead of Tom
Brady and Lamar Jackson.
Allen continues to be a monster both as a passer and a runner,
with 17 passing touchdowns and three scores on the ground. He
is a must-start option and worthy of his elevated price on DFS.
Cole Beasley has quietly been a top 10 wide receiver over the
past two weeks, with 17 catches for 198 yards and a score on a
whopping 22 targets. Considering he had a total of four targets
in Weeks 4 and 5, he has been an absolute monster as of late.
Beasley’s massive volume increase is likely due to the
absence of tight end Dawson Knox, who will likely miss this game
as well, and a decline in targets to Emmanuel Sanders. While we
cannot be certain if Beasley will continue to get those targets
or if some will go Sanders’ way, Beasley is worth a start
again as a WR3 with WR2 or WR1 upside.
With two touchdowns in his last two games and 14 catches for
129 yards, Diggs is still the top man to roster in the WR corps.
Sure, he is nowhere near on his torrid pace last season, but he
is still a solid low-end WR1 and should be in all lineups.
The Jags are a terrible team with a terrible defense that is
vulnerable across the board. They rank in the bottom 15 in points
to QBs, WR, RB, and TE, making them a plus matchup for all Bills
skill position players.
The main worry here is a sideways game script in which Buffalo
jumps out to a big early lead. That could mean less work for Allen
and the receiving options and more for Zack Moss and Devin Singletary
on the ground.
There are no major injuries on the Jags defense that are of concern
for this game. Backup linebacker Dakota Allen missed practice
on Wednesday and is questionable. Starting nose tackle Davon Hamilton
is dealing with a shoulder injury but was able to log a full practice
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: The running back tandem of Zack Moss and
Devin Singletary have combined for just 120.7 points this season,
making them the sixth-worst producing running back corps in the
Not surprising, as Josh Allen takes away with rushing production
of his own, and the Bills don’t run the ball that much.
Of the two players, Moss is the one to roster and start this
week as he continues to get a majority of the snaps. He played
on 64% of the snaps compared to just 34% for Singletary, and he
is often used late as the closer.
This game projects to be a lopsided blowout for the Bills, and
Moss could be in line for some nice garbage time work.
Game Thoughts: Trevor Lawrence continues to learn just
how challenging it is to play quarterback in the NFL, especially
when you are the first overall pick on a terrible team.
Lawrence is completing fewer than 60% of his passes and is on
pace to throw more interceptions than touchdowns for a Jacksonville
team that just got blown out by Geno Smith and the Seahawks 31-7.
This should be another blowout loss for Lawrence and the Jags,
as the Bills are a much more refined offense than the Seahawks,
and the Buffalo defense is going to have a field day against Lawrence.
None of the skill position players on the Jags are great starts
this week. Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault could get a random
touchdown late, and the game script will be such that the Jags
are going to have to throw the ball a ton in the second half.
That is not a glowing recommendation for either player, but in
three WR leagues with a flex they could be worth a start.
A recent development with the Jags has been the emergence of
Jamal Agnew in the passing game. The return specialist went from
one target in his first three games to 26 over the last three,
including a reaching touchdown on six catches last week at Seattle.
For those looking for a sleeper play and a low-cost DFS option,
Agnew could have some value if he gets close to 10 targets again
Another player to consider is tight end Dan Arnold, who logged
72% of the snaps last week and posted eight catches for 68 yards.
Considering how terrible the tight end landscape is this season,
that type of volume is hard to find.
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.25
Running Game Thoughts: James Robinson suffered a heel injury
last week and has not practiced yet in preparation for Week 9.
He looks to be a long shot and could be limited should he suit
Veteran journeyman Carlos Hyde logged a limited practice with
a calf injury on Wednesday. Of the two, Hyde has the best chance
of playing and would provide the most value.
Regardless of who plays, the matchup against the Bills is not
great, as Buffalo has given up the second-fewest points to opposing
running backs. If you take out the three touchdowns given up to
Derrick Henry, the Bills have not allowed another rushing touchdown
on the season, and no opposing back has topped 45 yards.
If possible, I would look elsewhere than with the Jags ground
game. Conversely, the Bills are the top defensive play of the
week and could be a week-winning play.
Patriots @ Panthers
- (Swanson) Line: NE -3.5 Total: 41.0
Game Thoughts: Through eight games of his rookie season,
Mac Jones ranks 29th in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks,
with 1997 passing yards, to go along with nine touchdowns and
Not at all spectacular for fantasy purposes, but he has been
serviceable enough to make more than a few of the skill portion
players on the team fantasy relevant. Also, he is the highest
rated QB since Week 5, according to PFF.com. He may not be great
as a fantasy option, but he is impressing more than a few people
on the gridiron.
The wide receiving corps in New England has combined for just
four total touchdowns on the year, and no Patriot wideout has
a 100-yard game or multi-touchdown performance. Jones spreads
the ball around between Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, Jakobi
Myers, and N’Keal Harry.
Of those four, only Meyers and Agholor have fantasy value in
Tight End Hunter Henry is tied for second at the position with
four touchdowns on the year. His volume is not great, but he is
on the field for anywhere between 65% and 75% of snaps and is
the clear receiving threat at the position for Jones.
The Panthers rank 19th in points allowed to tight ends on the
season, with 356 yards and three scores allowed in eight games.
Not a plus matchup for Henry, but he is still a TE1 this week
and a low-end starter.
No other team in the league has limited opposing running backs
than Carolina, with just 13.4 points per game allowed over eight
contests. Outside of Dalvin Cook and Zeke Elliott, all other running
backs have been shut down by the Panthers, and no opposing back
has reached the end zone via a reception.
Look for New England to win this game with their defense and
short passes to their tight ends and wide receivers.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Damien Harris has been a solid fantasy
option this season, with six rushing touchdowns and 517 yards
on 118 carries. Although his lack of work in the passing game
limits his upside in PPR formats, he has a score in five of eight
games and three 100-yard performances.
Unfortunately, this matchup against the Panthers is not great
on paper for Harris, as the Panthers’ young defense is the
best in the league at limiting points to opposing running backs.
Teams have found success throwing the ball and playing defense
instead of running between the tackles.
This is not to say that Harris is a bad play this week, especially
when you consider he had 23 carries last week against the Chargers.
Just don’t be surprised to see him post a similar 3.5 yard
per carry average and not reach 100 yards.
Game Thoughts: It’s not an easy feat for a quarterback
with five rushing touchdowns in eight games to be ranked outside
of the top 12 at the position. 30 points just from rushing touchdowns
should provide enough of a floor for any QB to still crack the
If there were any QB in the league to pull off that feat, it
would be Sam Darnold. After four games of 20 or more fantasy points
to start the season, including 35 against the Cowboys in Week
4, Darnold has gone awol, with two passing touchdowns in his last
four games and no performance of more than 17 points.
Darnold is clearly seeing ghosts again. And it is only going
to get worse.
Bill Belichick has built a hall of fame resume designing defensive
schemes to confuse even the best of quarterbacks. A QB lost in
a mental slump like Darnold is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Of the wide receiver or pass-catching options, D.J. Moore is
the only player worth starting. Robby Anderson should be off-limits
and on your waiver wire.
If Christian McCaffrey comes back this week, it will be a boost
for all of the receiving options, as he creates an extra level
of difficulty for the defense. However, he is still limited in
practice and appears to be a long shot.
Darnold also has been limited and could miss this game with head
and shoulder injuries, opening the door for former AAF star P.J.
Walker to get the start. Walker completed just three of 15 passes
for 33 yards two weeks ago when he replaced the then benched Darnold.
The bottom line is there is not a ton to be excited about on
this team right now, and the matchup against the Patriots does
not bode well. The two best options in fantasy in this game are
the New England Defense and possibly kicker Nick Folk.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: The Panthers designated Christian McCaffrey
to return from IR this week, but it sounds like the star RB is
still limited and could miss this game.
The Panthers desperately need a spark on their offense. With
Sam Darnold a mess at quarterback and the possibility of P.J.
Walker getting the start, Carolina could be in for a long day
Rookie Chuba Hubbard has been serviceable as CMC’s replacement,
but he has averaged less than four yards per carry.
The Patriots typically boast a strong run defense that limits
the fantasy production of opposing backs. While they have some
stud players on defense, New England is not impossible to run
on and currently rank as the 14th-ranked team in fantasy points
If CMC plays, you are playing him. If not, Hubbard is worth a
start as a flex. The biggest worry for Hubbard is the game script,
as this game could go sideways quickly, and Hubbard could see
Chargers at Eagles
- (Ilchuk) Line: LAC -1.5 Total: 50.0
Game Thoughts: Despite struggling in back-to-back games
against good defenses in the Ravens and Patriots, QB Justin Herbert
is still one of the top fantasy plays at the position. Through
seven games, he has thrown for at least 300 yards three times
and posted four multi-TD games in seven tries. He has plenty of
places to go with the ball, too. WR Mike Williams has become the
big play threat in this offense (8 plays of 20+ yards and three
of 40 or more), and fellow wideout Keenan Allen is Mr. Consistency
with a team-high 69 targets and at least five catches in six of
seven games. RB Austin Ekeler is fourth in the NFL amongst NFL
backs with 33 receptions. TE Jared Cook is a reliable target,
though aging and a bit limited.
The Eagles have a reputation for being tough defensively. The
truth is they rack up stats against weaker opponents, but have
struggled against better teams. They apply a lot of pressure on
the QB in the passing game. Herbert will have to handle that.
If he does, the Chargers are one of those better teams who can
start playing downhill in a hurry.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Though he’s known more for his receiving
skills out of the backfield, Austin Ekeler is currently averaging
a very healthy 5.0 yards per carry and ranks in the top 20 in
the NFL in rushing yards. He’s an RB1 this week against
an Eagles team that is giving up 4.0 per carry and susceptible
to the run in the red zone. He’s also the only real option
for LA in the run game. Justin Jackson (quad) possesses a similar
skill set to Ekeler, but is no more than a handcuff.
Game Thoughts: Truth be told, Jalen Hurts’ production
in the passing game has been all over the place. He only has two
300-yard games and four games of less than 100 yards (a season-low
103 against Detroit last week). On the other hand, he’s
also turned in four multi-TD games. What has been consistent is
the run game, with at least 40 rushing yards in six games and
five rushing TD’s. He’ll need his legs this week.
Rookie DeVonta Smith is the No.1 option and leads the team by
a large margin with 56 targets. TE Dallas Goedert is Hurts’
security blanket and a legitimate red zone threat. RB Kenneth
Gainwell is another reliable receiver in the short passing game
with 31 targets. He could see a bump with Jordan Howard and Boston
Scott handling the running load and WR Jalen Reagor (ankle) potentially
sidelined by injury.
The Chargers are strong defensively, particularly in the secondary.
This group is among the best in the league in opposing QB passer
rating and yards allowed per attempt. The problem is they don’t
generate many big plays in terms of pressures or turnovers and
that limits their fantasy upside.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Hurts is actually the leading rusher in
Philly with 73 carries for 432 yards and 5 TD. He’s also
averaging an impressive 5.9 yards per carry. With RB Miles Sanders
sidelined by an ankle injury, the team signed veteran Jordan Howard,
who promptly responded with 57 yards on 12 carries. It’s
not hard to see him taking on the lead dog role, but Boston Scott
is still sharing carries, and Kenneth Gainwell handles most of
the receiving duties. That’s going to limit Howard’s
ceiling, but he’s still an RB2 in my book this week, running
against a Chargers defense that is giving up a league-worst 5.1
yards per carry on the ground.
Cardinals @ 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -2.0 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: While most expect that quarterback Kyler
Murray (ankle) will be on the field for Sunday’s game against
the 49ers, fantasy owners will need to pay particularly close
attention in the days leading up to the game, as Murray has still
not practiced as of Thursday.
If he’s able to go, Murray is in for a tough matchup against
a 49ers defense that has done a great job of containing opposing
passing games as of late. They’ve held opposing QBs to fewer
than 200 passing guards in four of their past six games, including
each of their past two games against Carson Wentz and Justin Fields.
While Wentz and Fields still got the job done from a fantasy standpoint
due to contributions from their legs, the concern has to be that
Murray simply doesn’t have that in his range of outcomes
at the moment given that he’s dealing with an ankle injury.
Despite being one of the league’s most productive runners
at the quarterback position over the past few seasons, Murray
has been quiet in that department here in 2021. In fact, he’s
been held to fewer than 25 rushing yards in all but two contests,
and both of those came when he wasn’t hobbled with a lower
If Murray isn’t running, he has to do everything with his
arm and while he’s been able to do it most weeks, this is
not a great matchup to be going on the road to face, especially
without his usual mobility. Of course Murray is probably a must-start
in most formats given how much you paid for him and the likely
replacements you have rostered, but understand that this is probably
a low-upside week with a floor that’s also lower than most
Along with Murray’s injury, the Cardinals are also dealing
with injuries to multiple of their top wide receivers. A.J. Green
hit the COVID-IR on Wednesday and is now unlikely to be able to
suit up for Sunday’s contest. Meanwhile, DeAndre Hopkins
is also dealing with a hamstring injury that’s kept him
out of practice all week and also limited him to just 16 snaps
in Week 8. While he’s a tough player who will almost certainly
be out there for the game, there’s a real risk that his
snaps are limited again, especially if the Cardinals are without
Murray and end up deciding that they’re better off just
not risking their star wide receiver’s health in a game
they’re going to struggle in offensively anyway. Make sure
to keep an eye on the injury reports as we head into this weekend’s
matchups, because we might get more information regarding this
injury as we get closer to game time.
With Green out and Hopkins potentially limited, there should be
some additional opportunities for wide receivers Christian Kirk
and Rondale Moore. Kirk has contributed five 10-plus PPR fantasy
point games already this season but he’s yet to have a truly
breakout game since the two-TD performance he had back in Week
1. Part of that is because he’s been competing with Hopkins
and Green for targets, however, so look for him to see a significant
upgrade in target share, particularly if Hopkins is out or noticeably
Moore has been fairly limited in the passing game as well, but
could be useful in deep PPR formats if the team is somehow without
both Green and Hopkins. Assuming Hopkins is healthy, though, Moore
should remain on fantasy benches until we see him utilized more
The addition of Zach Ertz in Arizona has been a pleasant surprise
for those who invested in him as the tight end has now scored
over total PPR 24 fantasy points over his past two contests since
joining the Cardinals. He actually already played against the
49ers back in Week 2 when he was a member of the Eagles roster
when he was held to just one catch for the day, but the Cardinals
are utilizing Ertz a lot more often this season and that should
give fantasy owners the confidence they need to ride with Ertz
as a low-end TE1 in Week 9.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: Chase Edmonds finally scored his first
touchdown of the 2021 season this past week, but his performance
was overshadowed by backup James Conner who scored both his seventh
and eighth touchdown of the year. Edmonds is still slightly ahead
of Conner on the season-long PPR fantasy rankings, but there’s
no question that Conner has been suffocating Edmonds’ fantasy
value by stealing away touchdowns. Edmonds does continue to out-snap
and out-touch Conner pretty much every week, however those touches
are not typically taking place near the goal line and that’s
been a killer for Edmonds’ fantasy upside.
Week 9’s matchup against the 49ers is a tough one for running
backs. The team has allowed just one 100-yard runner (Jonathan
Taylor) on the year and they previously held the Conner/Edmonds
duo to just 29 and 15 rushing yards respectively, while pretty
much containing both of them in the passing game. Conner was able
to save his fantasy day by getting into the end zone, but that
Week 5 contest against San Francisco was Edmonds’ worst
of 2021 and fantasy owners need to be careful in this matchup.
The running back position is completely devastated throughout
the league so we’ll still call Edmonds a low-end PPR RB2
for this contest, but this could very well be a tough game for
him again. Conner, of course, remains a complete touchdown-or-bust
fantasy option and while he’s delivered in the end zone
more often than not this season, there’s still plenty of
potential for him to completely bust, especially if the Cardinals
end up being without Kyler Murray and the offense ends up being
less successful because of it.
Game Thoughts: Expected to make another start following
a huge Week 8 performance on the road against the Bears, 49ers
quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo continues to hold off rookie Trey
Lance in what has been one of the more frustrating fantasy situations
throughout the league. Garoppolo has given us two absolute duds
along with a pair of “just okay” fantasy days, until
this past week when he not only threw for 322 yards, but also
surprisingly delivered a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Garoppolo is one of the league’s least-mobile quarterbacks
so we shouldn’t expect his rushing touchdowns to continue,
but the 49ers passing the ball 30 or fewer times is a trend that
we can pretty much bank on. That lack of passing ceiling makes
it tough to really trust Garoppolo as a fantasy quarterback even
in good matchups, but especially in tough ones like what he’ll
face in Week 9 against the Cardinals. Arizona has held opposing
quarterbacks to 280 or fewer passing yards in every game this
season, including three of their past four opponents to under
200 yards through the air (including Trey Lance), and they’ve
only allowed one quarterback to throw for more than two touchdowns
against them so far this season.
The one player in this passing game who continues to be a must-start
option is wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Samuel has been a monster
this season and has scored at 16 or more PPR fantasy points in
all but one game this season. It’s worth noting that he
was held to a season-fewest three catches against Arizona in Week
5, but he still got into the end zone (albeit as a runner) and
he was targeted nine times. He hasn’t been targeted fewer
than eight times in any game, so the floor should continue to
be there for him even if his ceiling is a bit limited in some
of these more difficult matchups.
Fellow wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has been seeing his playing
time increase recently, but he remains a must-bench for the time
being. He hasn’t reached even 50 yards in any game this
season and there’s just no reason to risk playing him against
a defense as good as Arizona’s.
One additional thing to keep an eye on for this matchup is the
status of tight end George Kittle. Kittle has missed the 49ers’
past three games and returned to practice on Thursday. Reports
are that he was running routes and looked to be back to his usual
self, which should allow him to get back on the field on Sunday.
Kittle is obviously an elite pass catching weapon at the tight
end position and instantly becomes a must-start at a depleted
position that is devoid of much upside beyond the top couple of
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: The 49ers’ backfield has long been
a confusing and frustrating one for fantasy owners, but rookie
Elijah Mitchell appears to have a stranglehold on the backfield
- at least for now. Mitchell missed a pair of games back in Weeks
3 and 4, but has otherwise dominated the touches in the 49ers’
backfield. He’s carried the ball at least 17 times in all
but one game that he’s been healthy - a number that very
few other backs can say they’ve achieved this season.
Of course, the one game that he didn’t carry the ball as
much in was back in Week 5 against the very same Cardinals defense
he’ll be facing here in Week 9. Mitchell was held to just
nine carries for 43 yards in that contest. He hasn’t proven
to be much of a contributor in the passing game this season which
could potentially limit his upside in this game, especially if
the 49ers do end up falling behind on the scoreboard.
There’s also a possibility, however, that Mitchell sees
even a bigger workload in the scenario that Kyler Murray misses
the game and the 49ers actually end up getting up early in the
game and leaning even more heavily on their running game than
they normally do. This could allow a potential “boom”
week from Mitchell who has been a quality RB2 in most games but
hasn’t yet delivered a truly week-winning performance for
Packers at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -7.5 Total: 48.0
Game Thoughts: The COVID-IR hit the Packers again this
week as quarterback Aaron Rodgers will miss at least Week 9’s
contest after testing positive. This comes a week after the team
was without both wide receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard.
Now with both receivers expected back on the field, they’ll
be in an even worse situation in Week 9, having to turn to former
first round pick and unproven quarterback Jordan Love to make
his first NFL start in one of the league’s loudest road
Love has been praised internally but we’ve never seen him
in serious action in the NFL, so there remains a deep concern,
from a fantasy standpoint, that he just isn’t good enough.
The Chiefs have given up the second-most fantasy points per game
to opposing quarterbacks, including a 20-point day to Daniel Jones
this past week. He’s obviously a huge risk and likely won’t
be asked to do a ton if the game stays close, but there’s
a real chance that the Chiefs run away with this one and the Packers
are forced to throw a lot more than they’re comfortable
with. That game script could lead to some decent fantasy production
from Love who should be looked at as a potential low-end QB2 this
Even with Love behind center, Adams remains a must-start, assuming
he’s active, against one of the league’s worst pass
defenses. The Chiefs have already given up four 100-yard days
to opposing outside wide receivers this year and that doesn’t
even include the two touchdown day that they gave up to Emmanuel
Sanders back in Week 5.
Lazard and the remaining Packers receivers are unquestionably
risky without Rodgers at QB, especially now that tight end Robert
Tonyan has been placed on IR. Marcedes Lewis becomes the de facto
TE1 in Green Bay and could contribute a touchdown here or there
for the remainder of the season, but he’s not worth a fantasy
start if Rodgers isn’t out there.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: We have to assume that the Packers will
be leaning heavily on their running backs this week given the
worrisome situation at quarterback. Aaron Jones and even AJ Dillon
should be looked at as startable fantasy assets this week, particularly
if you believe that the Packers can keep this game close on the
scoreboard. Of course, the risk becomes that the Packers fall
behind multiple scores and end up passing, which would almost
certainly ruin Dillon’s fantasy value. Jones, of course,
has proven to be a valuable asset in the passing game throughout
his career and could actually thrive in a pass-heavy environment.
The Chiefs have given up at least one 10-plus-point PPR fantasy
game to a running back on every roster they’ve faced - including
15 and 24 point games to both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt back
in Week 1 - so there’s plenty of potential for fantasy production
here. Go ahead and trust Jones as an RB1 and feel free to flex
Dillon, especially in non-PPR formats.
Game Thoughts: With three sub-20 point fantasy days over
his past four contests, one of the big talks of the fantasy world
this past week has been, “what’s wrong with the Chiefs
and Patrick Mahomes?”
While this is a fair question, it’s also worth noting that
the Chiefs quarterback is still firmly a top-six fantasy quarterback
on the season. Even the greats go through some tough stretches
and while there’s no guarantee that things change quickly,
it seems pretty safe to assume that the Chiefs will eventually
pull themselves out of this slump. The question is - will it happen
this week against the Packers?
For starters, it’s good for the Chiefs that this game is
taking place in Kansas City. Mahomes has scored at least 14 fantasy
points in every Chiefs home game over the past two seasons and
he’s consistently an elite producer at home. Perhaps more
importantly, though, he’ll face a Packers defense that is
one of the league’s worst in pressure rate. The Chiefs have
struggled to protect Mahomes in recent weeks, so this should be
a nice opportunity for them to keep their quarterback safe and
allow him to make the trademark downfield throws that’ve
made him one of the league’s best young stars.
The biggest concern for Mahomes owners shouldn’t be that
he’s struggled in recent weeks, but rather that it’s
very possible that the Chiefs could run away with this game early
and end up leaning much more heavily on their running game than
they typically do. Kansas City are Vegas favorites by about a
touchdown right now, which is one of the biggest lines of the
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill has remained an elite producer even
through the offense’s recent struggles and has to be looked
at as one of the top wide receivers on the board this week. The
Packers are again without top cornerback Jaire Alexander and they’re
not well equipped to deal with a super-stud like Hill.
Travis Kelce’s typical positional advantage over other tight
ends has been muted a bit this season. He’s still the TE1
in fantasy which makes him an obvious must-start in literally
any matchup, but he hasn’t reached 20 PPR fantasy points
in a game since back in Week 2. Still, he’s seen an average
of nearly 10 targets per game in the six games he’s played
since Week 2, so the peripheral numbers are there. We just need
him and Kelce to connect again, particularly in the end zone,
and fantasy owners will forget all about the “just so-so”
games that he’s been providing as of late.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: With Clyde Edwards-Helaire expected to
miss another game, the Chiefs are expected to turn to veteran
Darrel Williams to be their lead back once again. Williams has
played over 50 percent of the team’s snaps in every contest
since Edwards-Helaire’s injury.
Derrick Gore surprisingly made an appearance in this past week’s
win over the Giants, carrying the ball 11 times to Williams’
13, but it was Williams who was still trusted on the field on
most of the important snaps, especially down the stretch in securing
the win. Gore is someone who should be looked at in deep dynasty
leagues, but Williams is really the only back in this offense
who we should be interested in for the time being, considering
he out-snapped Gore by a rate of 52 to 16 in Week 8.
Williams isn’t a stud player by any means and he’s
been held to fewer than 10 fantasy points in two of his past four
games, but he’s also delivered two solid fantasy performances
in the three starts he’s made, including this past week
when he contributed a season high six receptions for 61 yards
in the passing game to go along with his 13 carries for 49 yards.
It’s also possible that the Chiefs pull ahead on the scoreboard
in this game and end up relying on the running game more often
than usual, which would obviously be a boost to Williams’
Titans at Rams
- (Caron) Line: LAR -7.5 Total: 53.0
Game Thoughts: The Titans lost Derrick Henry to injury
and despite claims from the coaching staff that the offense won’t
change significantly, it’s hard to envision a world where
Tennessee doesn’t become significantly more pass-heavy than
they’ve been so far this season.
We don’t yet know the status of wide receiver Julio Jones,
but missing him this past week didn’t stop quarterback Ryan
Tannehill from throwing for 265 yards and three touchdowns in
a win over the Colts - and that was with Henry still playing.
With Henry inactive and Jones potentially back this week, look
for Tannehill to push closer to 40 attempts vs the 30 attempts
he had been providing in recent weeks.
The question now becomes just how much Henry’s presence
on the field has been affecting the passing game. We have to assume
that opposing defenses have been focused much more heavily on
the running game than they will be going forward. Of course, analytical
data also shows us that play action passing can still work even
when a team is not effective running the ball, but Henry is definitely
an outlier in many ways and this could certainly be one where
he’s affecting defenses much more than his backups will
be. Still, Tannehill’s perceived uptick in pass attempts
should at least help to maintain his value and could lead to even
more production overall. The upside for Tannehill is actually
higher without Henry than it was with him, just given the expected
Whether or not it helps Tannehill individually remains to be seen,
but it should - theoretically - lead to more targets for the pass
catchers and the primary recipient of those targets should continue
to be A.J. Brown. Brown has now been targeted 29 times over his
past three games, catching 25 of those passes for an impressive
379 yards and two scores. He and Tannehill have been connecting
at an incredible rate and now we’re looking at Brown potentially
seeing one of the league’s highest target rates. He got
10 targets for the first time this season in Week 8 and this is
a WR1 to get excited about once again.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: With Henry out, the Titans are now expected
to turn to a committee backfield of Jeremy McNichols and the newly
acquired D’Onta Foreman and future Hall of Famer Adrian
McNichols has been playing a role as the Titans’ primary
passing down back this season whereas Foreman and Peterson have
not yet played a snap for a team this season and have not had
time to learn the Tennessee playbook. Running backs are often
able to pick up offenses quickly and still get significant playing
time right away so we shouldn’t allow this to be the only
reason that McNichols is the perceived top back here in Week 9,
but it’s definitely something to consider that he’s
the only one who has experience in the offense.
More importantly, McNichols possesses the pass catching ability
that neither Peterson nor Foreman have shown throughout their
careers. He has five games of three or more receptions already
this season and that was in minimal time spelling Henry. Assuming
that Peterson and McNichols essentially split the rushing work
with Foreman picking up the scraps, McNichols is really the only
back who fantasy owners should have much excitement about this
week, and even that should only be as a PPR Flex.
Game Thoughts: The stud season for Matthew Stafford continued
this past week as the Los Angeles quarterback threw for his fifth
300-yard game of the season, as well as his fifth game with three
or more touchdown passes. It came alongside another absolutely
monster game from both Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, along with
a solid performance from Van Jefferson.
Things only get better for this awesome offense in Week 9 as they
face a Tennessee defense that has given up the fifth-most fantasy
points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. Stafford,
Kupp and even Woods are must-starts in this great matchup, but
what becomes interesting is that Jefferson could even have some
potential to produce in this one. Jefferson has been giving up
a lot of snaps to DeSean Jackson this season, but now that Jackson
has been released, it would seem likely that Jefferson will continue
to play almost every snap in this offense. He’ll still be
behind Kupp and Woods but he’s now seen at least four targets
in six straight games. There’s a real chance that he has
value, especially in plus-matchups like this one.
Tight end Tyler Higbee hasn’t panned out as a top tight
end despite the fact that he’s playing a ton of snaps in
a good offense. Part of that would seemingly be because Jefferson
has stepped up, but the reality is that Higbee just isn’t
seeing a consistent enough target share to be anything more than
a low-end TE1. The position is garbage and banged up as a whole
so you might not have a better option, but there’s not much
to be excited about here.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: If someone told you that the Rams would
be without Cam Akers and that Matthew Stafford would be an elite
fantasy quarterback through the first half of the season, it’d
be hard to believe that the Rams would also have an RB1 for fantasy.
But that’s exactly where we are, as Darrell Henderson is
currently sitting as a top-12 fantasy RB in PPR formats following
his two touchdown performance in Week 8. The Rams running back
has delivered at least 15 in all but one game he’s played
this season, making him not only a high upside option but also
a surprisingly high floor running back.
The Rams are a touchdown favorite over the Titans which could
mean another heavy rushing day for Henderson, so look for him
to deliver another quality fantasy RB1 day here in Week 9.
Game Thoughts: With a young quarterback the No. 1 thing
you want to see is progress, and last Sunday afternoon felt like
a much-needed step in a positive direction for Justin Fields,
who was coming off the Bucs blowout where he turned the ball over
five times amid constant pressure. Facing the 49ers, Fields helped
guide the Bears to points on five of their first six drives, highlighted
by an incredible 22-yard TD run on a fourth down that looked like
it would end with a sack. He still had his struggles, tossing
his seventh INT and fumbling twice more (though neither was lost),
but he finished with 103 yards on 10 carries, which is encouraging.
It was still a mostly safe passing game with Fields averaging
6.5 yards per attempt as he went 19-for-27 with 175 yards, 1 TD
and 1 INT. Darnell Mooney (6-64-0) was once again the rookie’s
favored choice; in fact, Mooney (9) and Cole Kmet (6) were the
target on more than half of Fields’ throws. That left Allen
Robinson (3-21-0) to contend for scraps, further rendering the
one-time fantasy WR1 not just unplayable, but not even worth rostering
in many formats. Mooney, meanwhile, has moved up to flex status
and is the only reasonably safe option in Chicago’s passing
The Steelers enter Week 9 ranked 13th against the pass, allowing
239.7 yards per game alongside an 11-to-2 opponent TD:INT ratio
-- only the Jets have fewer INTs. Pittsburgh’s 19 sacks
are tied for 10th, which is below what we’ve come to expect.
They faced a similar, ground-focused Browns offense last Sunday
and held them to 306 total yards and 10 points in a divisional
road win. This is another tough matchup for Chicago.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: With David Montgomery (knee) already out,
Damien Williams (knee) departed early in Week 8, leaving Khalil
Herbert as the last man standing. He’s served as the bell
cow the past three games, averaging 104 combined yards and scoring
once. Pittsburgh’s run defense (106.0 YPG; 12th) hasn’t
been as stout as in recent years, but they held up alright against
a top-tier back in Nick Chubb (16-61-0) last Sunday. View Herbert
as a solid RB2.
Game Thoughts: By recent Steelers standards, the passing
game had some juice last weekend with Ben Roethlisberger connecting
on 22 of 34 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown. The 7.8 yards
per attempt were his second-highest mark this season. TDs continue
to elude Big Ben, however, as he has now thrown for exactly one
score in six of seven games on the year. He’s not getting
sacked (good), and he’s avoiding turnovers (also good),
but until his red-zone work ticks up he should remain on your
The same cannot be said for his top targets. With JuJu Smith-Schuster
(shoulder) lost for the year, Pat Freiermuth (4-44-1) has emerged
as a fringe TE1 play; he has 11 catches on 14 targets in two games
since the Smith-Schuster injury. That loss also solidified Diontae
Johnson (6-98-0) as the No. 1 receiver in the Steel City with
the third-year pro logging 26 targets in the same stretch. Chase
Claypool (4-45-0) has seen roughly the same usage with less production,
but for now we’ll call it anomaly.
After a pretty good start, Chicago’s defense has had a
couple of tough weeks in a row, getting shredded by Tom Brady
in what amounted to basically a half of action in Week 7 and then
giving up over 300 yards to Brady’s former understudy Jimmy
Garoppolo last Sunday. A foot injury to Khalil Mack could be part
of the problem, but it doesn’t explain away all their struggles.
That gives Johnson, Claypool and Freiermuth a little added appeal
for fantasy owners in this one.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Najee Harris (26-91-1) continues to deliver
the goods for the Steelers, topping 100 total yards in four of
the last five games. A quick glance around the NFL at the status
of other high-usage backs paints a pretty bleak picture long term,
so fantasy owners should enjoy it while it lasts. That enjoyment
should continue into Week 9 against a Bears defense that is one
of five to have allowed at least 1,000 yards running the football
this season; that includes Elijah Mitchell’s 137-yard effort
last Sunday. Play Harris as a high-end No. 1 fantasy back.