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The Worksheet

The NFL Week 8 Worksheet

by Rich Hribar
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

More than half of the fantasy regular season is now in the books and hopefully most of your teams are all still in contention.  If not, there's always Daily Fantasy available to feed your fantasy hunger. Week 8 is our first week with an abundance of teams on bye as six teams are off this week. Make sure to get all your 49ers, Dolphins, Steelers, Giants, Rams and Ravens players out of your lineups.

 

Let me provide the disclaimer that I encourage you use the game by game tables and data points in conjunction with your own information and thought process rather than searching out your own players in the individual player diagnosis and turning that section into a linear start/sit guide. You can always cross reference these thoughts with my weekly rankings for further context. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 8 games in a PPR light...

 

Jacksonville vs. Tennessee

 

Jaguars Rank @ Titans Rank
3   Spread -3  
20.3   Implied Total 23.3  
62.3 25 Plays/Gm 63.6 17
68.0 29 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.0 4
32.9% 31 Rush% 46.5% 5
67.1% 2 Pass% 53.5% 28
41.2% 22 Opp. Rush % 37.1% 7
58.8% 11 Opp. Pass % 62.9% 26

 

  • The Jaguars have trailed by two or more possessions for 41.7 percent of their plays, the highest rate in the league.
  • Jacksonville is last in the league in rushing attempts per game (20.5) while Tennessee faces the third fewest rushing attempts per game (22.3).
  • Last season, Blake Bortles was tied with Tom Brady for the most top-10 scoring weeks (10). This season, he has one scoring week above QB15.
  • 19.1 percent of the completions against the Titans have gained 20 or more yards, the second highest rate in the league behind Oakland (19.3 percent).
  • Allen Robinson has just three receptions of 20 or more yards on the season after leading the league with 31 receptions of 20 plus yards in 2015.
  • After ranking 30th in points per drop back through four weeks (.33), Marcus Mariota leads all quarterbacks over the past three weeks (.76).
  • Jacksonville is allowing 8.8 yards per completion, the lowest in the league and 5.7 yards per pass attempt, the fourth lowest in the league.

 

Trust: DeMarco Murray (while Jacksonville is allowing just 3.7 yards per carry to opposing backs, they are allowing 5.7 receptions per game to backfields for Murray's reliable volume to stack counting stats in either capacity as he has more than 20 touches in five straight games)

 

Bust: Chris Ivory/T.J. Yeldon (they’ve yet to be productive in tandem and the Titans are allowing the 6th fewest points per game to opposing backfields) Allen Hurns (he’s been consistent, but that hasn’t translated into usable production as he’s been a top-30 scorer just once on the season), Julius Thomas (the Titans have allowed 50 or more yards to six tight ends so far on the season, but Thomas is still dealing with an ankle injury and his targets have been far from stable week to week), Tennessee Wide Receivers (this group has three top-30 scoring weeks on the season with no receiver accounting for multiple ones)

 

Reasonable Return: Blake Bortles (he’s not trustworthy to use in seasonal leagues based on how poor he’s been in solid matchups on top of this being a short week road game, but I do believe he has a solid opportunity to still outscore Mariota through a bad game here as Tennessee has allowed back to back 300-yard passers), Allen Robinson (he’s yet to clear 60-yards in any game this season, but the Titans have struggled versus lead receivers, allowing six top-20 scorers and four top-12 ones), Marqise Lee (he’s the only player in this offense that is on any sort of an upward trend as he has five or more receptions in four of his past games and has been the WR30 and WR21 the past two weeks), Delanie Walker (Jacksonville has yet to allow a top-12 scoring tight end, but Walker lit up the Jaguars a season ago for 18 and 23 points and he’s still the most reliable passing game target for Tennessee), Marcus Mariota (this does set up as a letdown spot in comparison to how he’s performed the past three weeks as the Jaguars have allowed less than 250 passing yards to five of the six quarterbacks they’ve faced and Mariota has cleared 250 passing yards just twice, making him touchdown reliant in this one)

 

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Washington vs. Cincinnati (in London)

 

Washington Rank @ Bengals Rank
-3   Spread 3  
22.0   Implied Total 25.0  
63.3 20 Plays/Gm 64.6 10
61.4 9 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.1 5
37.7% 25 Rush% 40.7% 15
62.3% 8 Pass% 59.3% 18
39.1% 13 Opp. Rush % 42.8% 25
60.9% 20 Opp. Pass % 57.2% 8

 

  • Washington is second in the NFL in yards per play (6.2) on offense while Cincinnati ranks 5th (6.1).
  • Andy Dalton has completed 59.6 percent (28 of 47) of his passes 15 yards or further downfield, the highest of all quarterbacks with 20 or more pass attempts.
  • Washington is allowing a touchdown pass once every 34.7 pass attempts (8th) after allowing one every 18.9 attempts in 2015 (24th).
  • A.J. Green has accounted for 37.5 percent of the Bengals' receiving yardage, the highest for all receivers.
  • In his first game, Tyler Eifert played just 15 snaps.
  • Jamison Crowder has played 76.2 percent of the team snaps with Jordan Reed out after playing 65 percent of the snaps through five weeks.
  • Just 24.5 percent of DeSean Jackson's receptions have resulted in a first down, the second lowest rate for all wide receivers with 20 or more receptions behind Tavon Austin (23.4 percent).
  • The Bengals are allowing the fewest targets to opposing wide receivers (17.1) per game.
  • Matt Jones' snap percentage over the past four weeks has been 66 percent, 56 percent, 41 percent and 32 percent.

 

Trust: Kirk Cousins (he’s finished in the top half of weekly scoring in five of the past six games and the Bengals have allowed a top-12 scoring quarterback in five of their past six games)

 

Bust: Andy Dalton (he also gets a bump if Josh Norman is out, but Washington hasn’t allowed multiple touchdown passes in a game since Week 1 and hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in four straight games), Brandon LaFell (even with two top-20 weeks over his past three, he’s had more than six targets in just one of his past five games), DeSean Jackson (four consecutive weeks outside of the top-40 and isn’t generating any splash plays), Tyler Eifert (we still need to see his snaps make a significant jump and Washington has yet to allow a tight end inside of the top-10 so far), Matt Jones (the staff has been working in a split even prior to his fumbling issues and if he doesn’t get a short score, there’s not much to like here), Rob Kelley (ditto the back half of the assessment of Jones for Kelley, he needs a layup scoring opportunity here)

 

Reasonable Return: A.J. Green (if Josh Norman ends up out, then bump him all the way up, but Green has gone dormant immediately following his monster games this season and at full strength, the Washington pass defense has been strong since Week 1), Jeremy Hill (he’s been extremely up and down outside of his injury, but this sets up as a game where the Cincy passing game can be limited and Washington is allowing 5.0 yards per carry to backs, the second highest in the league), Giovani Bernard (he’s found his footing with three straight top-20 weeks), Jordan Reed/Vernon Davis (Reed is practicing and expected to play, but if not, Davis has been a top-10 scorer in each of the two games with Reed inactive and the Bengals are allowing 9.5 yards per target to tight ends, the second highest in the league), Jamison Crowder (he’s been the most consistent part of the passing game and the Bengals have allowed top-30 weeks to similar slot options in Jarvis Landry and Cole Beasley so far on the season), Chris Thompson (he had an extended look last week with a season-high 12 rushing attempts which could roll over and has finished outside of the top-30 just twice on the season)

 

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Arizona vs. Carolina

 

Cardinals Rank @ Panthers Rank
3   Spread -3  
22.5   Implied Total 25.5  
71.7 1 Plays/Gm 68.5 5
63.0 13 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.3 15
40.8% 14 Rush% 39.9% 19
59.2% 19 Pass% 60.1% 14
39.9% 17 Opp. Rush % 42.6% 24
60.1% 16 Opp. Pass % 57.4% 9

 

  • Carolina is allowing 29.3 points per game (29th) after allowing 19.5 points per game (6th) in 2015.
  • Carolina is allowing 8.6 yards per pass attempt, the highest in the league after leading the league in 2015 (6.2 Y/A).
  • The Panthers have allowed 10 touchdowns from outside of the red zone this season, the most in the league.
  • David Johnson has over 100-yards from scrimmage in all seven games this season, the longest streak in Arizona franchise history.
  • Johnson leads the league with 11 carries from inside the 5-yard line.
  • Arizona is allowing 22.3 yards per opponent drive, the fewest in the league.
  • Arizona is allowing just 4.8 adjusted yards per pass attempt, second in the league to Minnesota (4.5 AY/A).
  • Just 7.5 percent of the plays against the Cardinals have come from inside of the red zone, the lowest rate in the league.
  • In five career games coming off a bye, Cam Newton has thrown three touchdowns to eight interceptions, but has averaged 44.6 rushing yards those weeks.
  • Greg Olsen's 610 receiving yards are the second most ever by a tight end through six games (Jimmy Graham 620 receiving yards in 2011).

 

Trust: David Johnson (even though this one isn’t daunting, he’s impervious to nearly all game scripts and matchups at this stage), Larry Fitzgerald (he has five or more catches in game while the Panthers have allowed a top-12 receiver in three straight games)

 

Bust: Kelvin Benjamin (it’s doubtful that Benjamin is fed enough targets to overcome this matchup as lead receivers have struggled to produce solid lines against Arizona), Jonathan Stewart (no one allows fewer total yards per game to opposing backfields than Arizona and he doesn’t have a role in the passing game to compensate a poor rushing game), J.J. Nelson (the return of John Brown caps his role, but with Michael Floyd potentially limited, maybe he finds an alternative route to targets)

 

Reasonable Return: Cam Newton (this isn’t the same Cardinals defense that was melted by the Panthers in the NFC Title game a year ago as Arizona has destroyed opposing passing games so far, but they have allowed 70 plus rushing yards to Tyrod Taylor and Blaine Gabbert, giving Newton an in to producing on the ground), Carson Palmer (the matchup is solid, but it’s hard to go all in on Palmer considering he hasn’t finished higher than QB15 over his past four games and Arizona was a disaster earlier in the season traveling east), Greg Olsen (he is the only tight end with five or more receptions in every game this season and his targets are drying up, but his production is due for some slight regression eventually and Arizona has allowed the second fewest points to opposing tight ends), John Brown (the secondary Arizona receivers have been far from bankable week to week in terms of how they’re used, but if you’re going to swing, the Panthers have been victimized by the long ball)

 

Detroit vs. Houston

 

Lions Rank @ Texans Rank
3   Spread -3  
21.0   Implied Total 24.0  
59.9 30 Plays/Gm 66.9 7
61.0 6 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.6 10
38.2% 23 Rush% 40.0% 18
61.8% 10 Pass% 60.0% 15
39.3% 16 Opp. Rush % 49.7% 31
60.7% 17 Opp. Pass % 50.3% 2

 

  • After averaging 66 plays per game over the first three weeks, the Lions are averaging 55.3 plays per game (30th) over their past four games.
  • Houston has scored a touchdown on just 10.8 percent of their possessions, last in the league.
  • Matthew Stafford ranks second in the NFL in points per drive (2.31) while Brock Osweiler is last (.97) for all starting quarterbacks.
  • After having 18.1 percent of the team targets through five weeks, Golden Tate has 36.7 percent of the targets over the past two weeks.
  • Marvin Jones has accounted for 32.6 percent of the team receiving yardage despite only accounting for 20.1 percent of the team receptions, the largest gap between both for all wide receivers.
  • Brock Osweiler has completed 13 of 50 passes (26 percent) 15 yards or further downfield, the lowest completion rate for all quarterbacks with 20 or more downfield passes.
  • Detroit is allowing the most passing points per pass attempt (.597).
  • Detroit is allowing opposing passers to complete 74.2 percent of their passes, the highest rate in the league. The highest completion rate allowed over an entire season is 71.2 percent by the 2011 Colts.
  • The Lions are allowing 41.0 yards per drive, the most in the league.
  • Detroit has allowed the 10th most rushing yards in the league to opposing backfields, but rank 27th in rushing points allowed to running backs since they are the only team that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown to a running back on the season.

 

Trust: Matthew Stafford (the Lions haven’t been running many plays or garnering many possessions per game since their defense is so poor, but Stafford has remained extremely efficient and Houston has allowed two top-12 scorers over their past three games), Golden Tate (he’s risen from the fantasy ashes to have double digit targets in back to back games and 258 receiving yards as he’s taken over as the primary target while the Texans secondary is banged up), Lamar Miller (he was dinged up on Monday Night which resulted in him losing some touches to Alfred Blue, but if there are no lasting effects, Miller should gobble up yards as Detroit’s fantasy rush defense is a bit of a myth)

 

Bust: Detroit Running Backs (the group has collectively run for fewer than 100-yards in five straight games and even if Theo Riddick returns, Houston has allowed the fewest receiving points to running backs on the season), Eric Ebron (use caution on relying on players off multi-week injuries and the Texans have allowed one top-20 tight end on the season), Anquan Boldin (if chasing a touchdown only, you could do worse, but his four touchdowns are covering up that he hasn’t passed 60-yards in a game yet and has caught more than four balls just twice)

 

Reasonable Return: Brock Osweiler (I understand not wanting to use him, but Osweiler has had turned in 15 plus points in his three favorable matchups this season while all of his duds have come against top passing defenses and right now no one is softer versus the pass than the Lions), Will Fuller (a hamstring injury and Osweiler’s ineffectiveness vertically has thrown dirt on his hot start, but Detroit has already allowed 11 passing plays of 30 or more yards, tied for the third most in the league), DeAndre Hopkins (he’s run into a slew of terrible matchups and will likely draw Darius Slay in this one to cap his ceiling, but Slay hasn’t been bulletproof this season), Marvin Jones (he’s become more of a low volume, splash play/red zone option over the past month and that’s still just fine), C.J. Fiedorowicz (he’s been a top-12 scorer in three of his past four games with double digit points in three of those games while Detroit has allowed six top-12 scoring tight ends)

 

Seattle vs. New Orleans

 

Seahawks Rank @ Saints Rank
-3   Spread 3  
25.5   Implied Total 22.5  
64.3 11 Plays/Gm 69.5 3
64.5 19 Opp. Plays/Gm 66.2 26
41.2% 10 Rush% 32.4% 32
58.8% 23 Pass% 67.6% 1
39.0% 12 Opp. Rush % 41.6% 23
61.0% 21 Opp. Pass % 58.4% 10

 

  • Seattle is allowing the fewest points per play (.217) in the league while New Orleans ranks 5th in points per play (.422) on offense.
  • The Saints have allowed 27 or more points in eight straight games at home, tied with the Baltimore Colts over 1980-1981 for the longest streak in NFL history.
  • The Saints have scored 27 or more points in nine straight games at home, the longest streak by a team since the 2013 Dallas Cowboys.
  • New Orleans is allowing 3.8 touchdowns per game, the most in the league.
  • Seattle is the only team in the league that hasn't trailed by two or more possessions at all on the season.
  • Seattle ranks 27th in rushing yards per game (82.7) after averaging 135.7 yards rushing per game (third) in 2015.
  • 20.6 percent of the rushing attempts against the Saints this season have come from inside of the red zone, the highest in the league.
  • Just 8.2 percent of Russell Wilson's pass attempts have come from inside the red zone, the lowest percentage for all starting quarterbacks.
  • Drew Brees has thrown at least three touchdowns in eight consecutive games at home, one away from Peyton Manning ('12-13) for the longest streak ever.
  • Seattle has allowed back to back 300-yard passers for the first time since 2010. They have never allowed three straight in franchise history.
  • Brandin Cooks is the only wide receiver in the top-12 of overall scoring with fewer than 20 percent of his team's targets.
  • Michael Thomas' 36 receptions are the most by a rookie receiver through a team's first six games of a season since Anquan Boldin's 39 receptions in 2003.

 

Trust: Russell Wilson (it’s concerning for his ceiling that Wilson isn’t running at all but this is a ripe get-right spot for him as the Saints have allowed 17 or more points to every quarterback except one), Christine Michael (after a run of facing three straight teams in the top-12 of fewest rushing yards allowed to backs, Michael gets a Saints defense that is allowing the most points per game to opposing backfields), Jimmy Graham (no revenge game narrative needed as Graham himself has been back to form, catching five or more passes and scoring double digit points in four straight games), Doug Baldwin (the Saints have allowed six top-12 weeks to receivers and have allowed season highs to slot receivers Sterling Shepard and Dontrelle Inman on the season, a place where Baldwin does all of his damage)

 

Bust: Brandin Cooks/Michael Thomas (the only top-20 days for receivers facing Seattle have come from high volume, one stop passing game options in Brandon Marshall and Julio Jones and the Saints aren’t that type of passing offense), Mark Ingram (Seattle is allowing the third lowest points per game to opposing backs and that’s including the all-purpose damage done to them a week ago)

 

Reasonable Return: Drew Brees (Brees’ home dominance will be tested against the Seattle pass defense, but they haven’t been invincible from counting stats over the past two weeks), Willie Snead (I prefer Brees’ sum of parts over any of these receivers doing a lot of damage on their own, but Snead can avoid all the perimeter defenders in the Seattle secondary in the slot), Coby Fleener (he’s been the TE2 in each of his past two games at home and if the boundary receivers could struggle to stack production, then he should find opportunities)

 

Kansas City vs. Indianapolis

 

Chiefs Rank @ Colts Rank
-3   Spread 3  
26.5   Implied Total 23.5  
63.3 19 Plays/Gm 67.0 6
63.8 16 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.3 18
39.7% 20 Rush% 35.8% 27
60.3% 13 Pass% 64.2% 6
40.0% 18 Opp. Rush % 39.1% 14
60.0% 15 Opp. Pass % 60.9% 19

 

  • Opponents have scored on 50 percent of their possessions facing the Colts, the highest rate in the league.
  • The Chiefs have run the ball on 58.6 percent of their plays the past two weeks after running 31.7 percent of their plays over their opening four games.
  • 42.5 percent of the runs against the Chiefs have gone for 5 or more yards, the highest rate in the league. 42.1 percent of the runs against the Colts have gone for 5 or more yards, the second highest rate in the league.
  • Spencer Ware has accounted for 75 percent of his team's rushing yardage (4th among running backs) and 18.9 percent of the receiving yards (first) despite having 37.2 percent of the team touches (13th).
  • The Colts are allowing 162.1 yards from scrimmage to opposing backfields, the second most in the league behind San Francisco (188.9).
  • 88.9 percent of Frank Gore's rushing attempts have gained positive yardage, the highest in the league.
  • 12.1 percent of Jack Doyle's targets have gone for touchdowns, the highest of all tight ends with 20 or more targets on the season.
  • Kansas City is allowing the most receiving points per game to opposing wide receiving units (44.1).

 

Trust: Spencer Ware (another dream matchup on deck while Jamaal Charles can be expected to be limited at best), T.Y. Hilton (he’s been a top-15 scorer in four of his past five and he moves around enough to avoid any potential conflict presented from Marcus Peters, who typically plays just one side of the field), Andrew Luck (he’s reeled off three straight top-8 weeks and the Chiefs have allowed top-2 weeks to high-end, high-volume passers already in Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger)

 

Bust: Jeremy Maclin (he hasn’t reached 80-yards in a game so far and hasn’t been a top-30 scorer since Week 1 as he’s squandered so many positive matchups that I don’t know how you can use him, but maybe I can reserve jinx him here as I’ve buried Randall Cobb and Golden Tate here before only to have them become fantasy Phoenixes), Jack Doyle (you can still use him based on his overall target and red zone opportunity, but the Chiefs have been a steady defense to avoid using tight ends against as they’ve yet to allow a top-15 scorer on the season after allowing just three all of 2015), Donte Moncrief (if available, I’m still cautious on thrusting him into lineups off such a lengthy layoff)

 

Reasonable Return: Alex Smith (the matchup is strong once again, but Smith has attempted just 46 passes the past two weeks and you never want to be caught over-relying on Smith to float fantasy games with fantasy touchdown production by itself), Travis Kelce (the passing game reduction has neutered Kelce the past two weeks, but the Colts are allowing a league-high 9.9 yards per target to opposing tight ends), Frank Gore (seemingly no matter the matchup or script, Gore is netting you 15-18 touches for 60-80 yards as a baseline week in and out)

 

New York (AFC) vs. Cleveland


Jets Rank @ Browns Rank
-3.5   Spread 3.5  
23.5   Implied Total 20.0  
63.4 18 Plays/Gm 62.4 24
61.0 7 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.7 23
40.1% 17 Rush% 38.2% 22
59.9% 16 Pass% 61.8% 11
37.9% 9 Opp. Rush % 45.0% 27
62.1% 24 Opp. Pass % 55.0% 6

 

  • Cleveland is the only team to allow multiple touchdown passes in every game this season.
  • Cleveland is allowing 8.3 yards per pass attempt, the most in the league.
  • 19.1 percent of Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass completions are on throws 15 yards or further downfield, the highest percentage in the league.
  • Cleveland is allowing the most points per target to opposing wide receivers (2.05).
  • Brandon Marshall has caught just 44.1 percent of his targets, the lowest of all receivers with 40 or more targets on the season.
  • Quincy Enunwa played just 64 percent of the team snaps last week after playing over 80 percent in each of the games since Eric Decker's injury.
  • Matt Forte played 83 percent of the offensive snaps in Week 7, his highest total since Week 2 and out-snapped Bilal Powell 57 to nine.
  • The Browns have trailed for 77.1 percent of their offensive plays, the highest rate in the league.
  • 33.9 percent of the runs against the Jets have gained no yardage, the highest rate in the league.

 

Trust: Brandon Marshall (he disappointed in a favorable a week ago, but has another prime spot as the Browns have allowed five top-10 scoring receivers), Matt Forte (the Jets have run the ball as the script goes, attempting 30 or more runs in every game they’ve kept within a score, which should be the case here)

 

Bust: Isaiah Crowell (the Jets are 7th against the run for opposing backfields, leaving Crowell in the touchdown or bust club), Josh McCown (the Jets defense isn't a bad spot for a spot start, but with McCown coming off a lengthy injury, there are better options if streaming), Terrelle Pryor (he’s not fully healthy and reeled in just three of 10 targets the last time McCown started), Quincy Enunwa (his long catch and run a week ago masked an ongoing trend of him losing snaps and targets)

 

Reasonable Return: Duke Johnson (although the Jets are strong versus the run, they’ve allowed the 8th most receiving points to backfields on the season), Ryan Fitzpatrick (every quarterback has 16 or more points with multiple scores against the Browns), Gary Barnidge (he’s reached 50-yards receiving in five straight games, but hasn’t found a ceiling due to having just two red zone targets all season long)

 

New England vs. Buffalo

 

Patriots Rank @ Bills Rank
-6   Spread 6  
26.8   Implied Total 20.8  
63.6 15 Plays/Gm 58.9 31
65.1 21 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.3 22
48.8% 3 Rush% 48.5% 4
51.2% 30 Pass% 51.5% 29
37.3% 7 Opp. Rush % 45.3% 28
62.7% 26 Opp. Pass % 54.7% 5

 

  • Since re-joining the Patriots in 2014, LeGarrette Blount has a rushing touchdown in 50 percent (12 of 24) of his regular games, the third highest percentage in the league over that span behind DeMarco Murray (53.6 percent) and Cam Newton (60 percent).
  • The Bills have allowed 30 runs of 10 or more yards, the second most in the league behind San Francisco (33) on the season.
  • Blount leads the league in 4th Quarter rushing attempts (42).
  • The Patriots have led by two or more possessions for 40 percent of their offensive plays, the highest rate in the league.
  • Martellus Bennett's percentage of team snaps has gone from 98 percent, 79 percent, 69 percent, 56 percent to 53 percent since Rob Gronkowski returned.
  • Rob Gronkowski has eight receptions of 20 or more yards since Brady returned, second in the league behind T.Y. Hilton (10) over that span.
  • Since returning, Tom Brady has thrown a touchdown once every 12.6 pass attempts, best in the league.
  • The Bills are the only team that hasn't allowed multiple touchdown passes in a game this season.
  • Julian Edelman's 5.9 yards per target ranks 45th of the 49 receivers with 40 or more targets on the season.

 

Trust: Tom Brady (the Bills have been stingy against the pass, but they haven’t faced a top-12 scorer yet on the season while even in a “down” week last week, Brady was good for 18 points and a QB8 finish), Rob Gronkowski (he’s averaged over 20 yards per reception in each of the past three games with Brady back)

 

Bust: Mike Gillislee (after last week, the Bills should rest LeSean McCoy, but we also had a glimpse of how teams can defend the Bills run game now that they have so few playmakers on offense), Chris Hogan (he’s totaled just eight targets since Brady returned with just three over the past two weeks)

 

Reasonable Return: LeGarrette Blount (in play for weekly touchdown upside alone and the Bills are fresh off allowing over 200 yards on the ground), James White (he’s a locked in flex play with Brady back and was the RB28 in the first meeting between these teams without Brady even active), Martellus Bennett (his snaps have steadily dropped and he hasn’t been healthy, but he still carries upside at a position void of ceiling producers), Julian Edelman (the only player that hasn’t displayed a ceiling yet with Brady as he’s finished as the WR46, WR67 and WR31, but has still had 27 targets come his way), Tyrod Taylor (he’s had little to work with in the passing game, but has been in the top half of scoring every week since Week 1 as he’s averaged 5.6 points per game from rushing alone), Robert Woods (if back, he was the WR17 against the Pats in Week 4 and the script here should call for more passing work for Buffalo)

 

Oakland vs. Tampa Bay

 

Raiders Rank @ Buccaneers Rank
1.5   Spread -1.5  
24.0   Implied Total 25.5  
63.1 22 Plays/Gm 71.0 2
63.9 17 Opp. Plays/Gm 62.5 11
38.7% 21 Rush% 41.1% 12
61.3% 12 Pass% 58.9% 21
40.5% 20 Opp. Rush % 45.3% 29
59.5% 13 Opp. Pass % 54.7% 4

 

  • Oakland is allowing 4.6 red zone opportunities per game, the most in the league.
  • Tampa Bay and Oakland are allowing 12.7 yards per completion, tied for the highest in the league.
  • Derek Carr averages 10.4 yards per completion, ahead of only Aaron Rodgers (10.1) and Joe Flacco (9.7) for full-time starters on the season.
  • 86.7 percent of the rushing attempts against Oakland have gained positive yardage, the highest rate in the league.
  • 44.9 percent of Jacquizz Rodgers' carries have gained 5 or more yards, the highest rate for all backs with 50 or more carries on the season.
  • Mike Evans leads the league with 31.7 percent of the Tampa Bay targets.
  • Evans is the only wide receiver other than Larry Fitzgerald with at least five receptions in every game this season.
  • Michael Crabtree ranks 7th in points while Amari Cooper ranks 10th. 29.2 percent of Crabtree's points are from touchdowns, while just 5.4 percent of Cooper's have stemmed from touchdowns.
  • Latavius Murray had 52.9 percent of the Oakland rushing attempts returning form injury, the highest he's had in a game since Week 1.

 

Trust: Mike Evans (the only real target in town and the Raiders have allowed seven 100-yard receivers on the season, the most in the league), Jacquizz Rodgers (he’s had 62 touches in his two games as the starter with over 100-yards from scrimmage in each and the Raiders are allowing 155.6 total yards per game to backfields), Amari Cooper/Michael Crabtree (the Buccaneers have allowed four different receiver pairings to post double digit points in the same game already), Derek Carr (Tampa Bay has faced a string of quarterbacks in the bottom half of fantasy production and are still 25th in the league in passing points allowed per attempt), Jameis Winston (Winston started to become a stable fantasy commodity as a rookie when the staff took a less is more approach with him and the Raiders have allowed four different quarterbacks to average over 10 yards per attempt, the most in the league)

 

Bust: Cameron Brate (he’s been damaged the most by the reduction in passing volume as he’s totaled just six targets over the past two weeks)

 

Reasonable Return: Latavius Murray (Tampa Bay has been solid against the run, allowing 3.7 yards per carry to backs, but they’ve allowed seven rushing scores to the position and Murray should get some scoring opportunities in an expected back and forth game)

 

San Diego vs. Denver

 

Chargers Rank @ Broncos Rank
5.5   Spread -5.5  
19.0   Implied Total 24.5  
63.3 21 Plays/Gm 63.1 23
67.0 27 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.7 20
40.4% 16 Rush% 43.0% 8
59.6% 17 Pass% 57.0% 25
33.5% 1 Opp. Rush % 42.8% 26
66.5% 32 Opp. Pass % 57.2% 7

 

  • Just 11.8 percent of Trevor Siemian's pass attempts have been 15 yards or further downfield, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Demaryius Thomas has been held to fewer than 50 yards receiving in three consecutive games for the first time since 2011.
  • The Broncos have scored a touchdown on 13.5 percent of their possessions over the past three weeks (27th) after 26.8 percent over their first four games (10th).
  • Since Antonio Gates has returned, Hunter Henry has played 83 percent, 68 percent and 63 percent of the team snaps.
  • Gates' 3.9 yards per target is last of all tight ends with 25 or more targets on the season. Henry's 11.2 yards per target leads the same group of 27 players.
  • When these teams met in Week 6, San Diego wide receivers combined for seven receptions and 56 yards on nine targets.
  • 23.2 percent of Melvin Gordon's carries have gained 5 or more yards, the second lowest rate for all backs in the league behind Rashad Jennings.
  • Gordon's 10 touchdowns are the most by a Chargers' player through seven games since LaDainian Tomlinson (11) in 2006.

 

Trust: Devontae Booker (I do have some small concerns about how much the San Diego defensive line dominated the Broncos two weeks ago, but I also doubt the Denver game plan this week calls for the 50 pass attempts again and Booker’s all-purpose ability is too strong to pass up against a defense that has been torched by all-purpose backs on the season)

 

Bust: Philip Rivers (he’s gone 12 straight games against Denver without a QB1 performance), Trevor Siemian (passing games typically tail off in the back leg of divisional matchups and Siemian has thrown multiple touchdowns in just one start on the season), Demaryius Thomas (he’s masked some lower end games by finding the end zone and in the last meeting two weeks ago, Thomas found Casey Hayward the most often), Tyrell Williams/Travis Benjamin (Denver has just erased wide receiver production), Melvin Gordon (last time these teams met was an example of where Gordon’s floor lies when he fails to score a touchdown as he was RB27)

 

Reasonable Return: Emmanuel Sanders (he’s reached 80-yards in four of his past five games), Antonio Gates (I’m only interested here if Hunter Henry fails to clear concussion protocol because the Chargers will be forced to attack the Denver linebackers with their tight ends again. Gates has looked like a 36-yard old tight end this season, but still managed a top-10 week on 10 targets a week ago), Hunter Henry (if he’s cleared, I still prefer him to Gates despite the usage drop as he’ll be needed as a weapon in this game just as he was in Week 6)

 

Green Bay vs. Atlanta


Packers Rank @ Falcons Rank
3   Spread -3  
24.8   Implied Total 27.8  
66.5 8 Plays/Gm 63.6 16
58.8 1 Opp. Plays/Gm 68.4 30
37.8% 24 Rush% 41.1% 11
62.2% 9 Pass% 58.9% 22
38.8% 11 Opp. Rush % 35.1% 4
61.2% 22 Opp. Pass % 64.9% 29

 

  • The Packers rank second in the league in red zone opportunities per game (4.2) while Atlanta ranks third (4.0).
  • Atlanta has scored on 52.1 percent of their drives, the highest rate in the league.
  • Matt Ryan has averaged over 8.0 yards per pass attempt in six of seven games this season, the most in the league. No other players have more than four such games.
  • 40 percent of Julio Jones' receptions have gone for 20 or more yards, the highest rate of all players with 20 or more catches on the season.
  • 81.3 percent of Devonta Freeman's rushing yards have come on first down, the highest rate in the league.
  • Just 16.7 percent of Freeman's fantasy output is from touchdown production, the lowest of all backs in the top-12 of seasonal scoring (average for those players is 29.3 percent).
  • Just 5.9 percent of Aaron Rodgers' pass attempts have gained 20 or more yards, ahead of only Joe Flacco (5.8 percent) on the season.
  • The Falcons are allowing 308.1 passing yards per game to opposing passers, the second most in the league behind Oakland (308.6).
  • Ty Montgomery is the first Green Bay player to have double digit receptions in back to back games since Sterling Sharpe in 1993.
  • Davante Adams ranks third in points per target (1.84) out of the 49 receivers with 40 or more targets on the season.

 

Trust: Randall Cobb (he’s had at least 11 targets and 18 points in three straight games and will avoid Desmond Trufant in the slot), Aaron Rodgers (no matter whether you believe that Rodgers is in a career decline or not, I think we all can agree that the Atlanta pass defense is a bottom unit in the league), Matt Ryan/Julio Jones (Green Bay isn’t going to get away with the skeleton crew they’re using in their secondary against this duo), Devonta Freeman (despite the Packers ranking second in total yards allowed to running backs per game, Freeman is going to inherit an extra 8-12 touches as the feature back with Tevin Coleman expected to miss this game)

 

Bust: Jordy Nelson (he’s struggling to create plays vertically and is still expected to draw Trufant on the perimeter), Jacob Tamme (he hasn’t surpassed 20 yards in four consecutive games with nine total targets)

 

Reasonable Return: Ty Montgomery (I have no clue if his usage the past two weeks will be a weekly thing for the rest of the season, but for the short term, this is an offense that shouldn’t junk anything they’ve found success with), Davante Adams (he’s living a bit off touchdown production, but has seven or more targets in four of his six games while having a better individual matchup than Nelson on the outside)

 

Philadelphia vs. Dallas

 

Eagles Rank @ Cowboys Rank
4.5   Spread -4.5  
19.5   Implied Total 24.0  
60.2 28 Plays/Gm 65.5 9
59.2 2 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.2 8
45.4% 6 Rush% 51.4% 1
54.6% 27 Pass% 48.6% 32
38.3% 10 Opp. Rush % 34.6% 2
61.7% 23 Opp. Pass % 65.4% 31

 

  • The Eagles are last in the league in yards per game (274.7) over the past three weeks after ranking 13th (369.7 yards) over their opening three games.
  • Dallas is allowing just 7.0 yards per attempt to opposing wide receivers, the third lowest in the league.
  • The Cowboys average 41.0 yards per possession, the most in the league.
  • Dallas has scored a touchdown on 31.6 percent of their drives, the second highest rate in the league. The Eagles have allowed opponents to score a touchdown on 14.1 percent of their drives, the fourth lowest in the league.
  • 75 percent of Jason Witten's receptions have gained fewer than 10 yards, the highest rate for all non-running backs in the league with 20 or more receptions.
  • Dak Prescott ranks 27th in pass attempts per game (30.3), but ranks 8th in passing points per attempt (.469).
  • Ezekiel Elliott is the first running back to rush for at least 130 yards in four straight games since Chris Johnson in 2009.

 

Trust: Ezekiel Elliott (he still leads the league in rushing despite the bye week)

 

Bust: Dez Bryant (you’re using him where you have him, but as usual, tread lightly with expectations from players missing multiple games due to injury as the Eagles have allowed one top-24 receiver on the season), Jordan Matthews (he hasn’t finished above WR37 since Week 1), Ryan Mathews (he’s been capped around the 15-touch mark and has more than one catch in just once game while Dallas faces the fewest running back touches per game on the season), Jason Witten (he hasn’t posted a top-12 week since Week 1)

 

Reasonable Return:  Carson Wentz (Dallas has allowed 18 or more points to four of the six quarterbacks they’ve faced), Dak Prescott (Prescott has scored 17 plus points in each of his past five starts, but the Eagles are 7th in passing points per game allowed and have allowed just one quarterback to finish higher than QB15), Cole Beasley (he has scored double digit points in every game on the season)

 

Minnesota vs. Chicago 


Vikings Rank @ Bears Rank
-5.5   Spread 5.5  
23.0   Implied Total 17.5  
64.0 14 Plays/Gm 59.9 29
63.0 12 Opp. Plays/Gm 66.0 25
44.5% 7 Rush% 34.6% 28
55.5% 26 Pass% 65.4% 5
34.7% 3 Opp. Rush % 41.1% 21
65.3% 30 Opp. Pass % 58.9% 12

 

  • The Vikings have allowed three or more touchdowns in a game just once since the start of last season, the next closest team (Denver) is at five games.
  • The Bears have scored fewer than 20 points in six games this season, the most in the league.
  • Chicago has scored on just 26 percent of their possessions, the lowest rate in the league while opponents have scored on just 23 percent of their possessions against the Vikings, the lowest in the league.
  • The Vikings are 31st in the league in total yards on offense (299.2) per game and yards per play (4.7) while allowing a league-low 279.5 yards per game and 4.4 yards per play on defense.
  • Just 7.6 percent of the receiving yardage allowed by Chicago has been to running backs, the lowest in the league. 24 percent of the receding yardage allowed by Minnesota has been to running backs, the highest in the league.
  • 78.2 percent of the receiving yardage allowed by Chicago has been to opposing wide receivers, the highest in the league.
  • Matt Asiata has outrushed Jerick McKinnon 82 yards to 60 in the second half of games the past three weeks despite being out-carried by McKinnon 26 to 16.

 

Trust: Matt Asiata (he’s been a top-24 scorer in each of the past two weeks and the game script should aid him seeing significant touches regardless on the status of Jerick McKinnon)

 

Bust: All Chicago Offensive Players (the Vikings are a team to avoid in fantasy as they don’t have a weakness across any position in fantasy, while the Bears have been among the worst in scoring points on the season), Kyle Rudolph (he’s had one week outside of the top-12, but Chicago has allowed double digit points to just one tight end on the season and no tight end to top 50 yards receiving), Jerick McKinnon (he’s been a top-36 scorer in just one of the four games without Adrian Peterson)

 

Reasonable Return:  Stefon Diggs (he’s been quiet since his breakout in Week 2, but this is a spot where he could break that slump as the Bears allowed 10 receptions to three different players a week ago), Cordarrelle Patterson (I didn’t expect to be here, either, but here we are. Patterson has six or more targets in three straight games with back to back top-25 weeks)

 

Context Key:

 

Trust = Set him in your lineups this week

Bust = Player to underperform season average

Reasonable Return = On par with seasonal average


**All Vegas Lines are taken from BetUs Tuesday Evenings

Rich Hribar
Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.