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The Worksheet

The NFL Week 8 Worksheet

by Rich Hribar
Updated On: October 24, 2018, 9:06 am ET

Week 8 is here, and we’re past the halfway point in the fantasy regular season. Hopefully everyone is setting up a playoff run, but if you’ve been unfortunate this season in your leagues, there’s always DFS to keep the fantasy juices flowing. Week 8 is another four-team bye week, so make sure that you get all Atlanta, Dallas, Tennessee and Los Angeles Chargers players out of your lineups this week.

 

For those that are new here, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.

 

As the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is an expectations-based column over a linear start/sit forum. The labels for each subset of players for each game is simply the vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player. Players that are high performers week-to-week are held to different standards than a secondary option in an offense. Every player runs into down weeks, and we’re trying to identify those moments, even for the star players you’re going to ride through thick and thin moments that don’t tally many low points during the season. That said, we’re still embracing some of the elements that will go along with a start/sit column as a byproduct of those expectations. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process.  Remember, you control your own team. If you are curious as to my personal weekly rankings, they can be found each and every week in the Season Pass section.

 

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All lines are taken from VegasInsider on Tuesday nights 

 

Dolphins @ Texans

 

Miami Rank @ Houston Rank
7.5   Spread -7.5  
18.5   Implied Total 26.0  
21.6 24 Points/Gm 22.1 21
25.3 18 Points All./Gm 20.6 8
55.6 31 Plays/Gm 67.7 6
65.6 23 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.4 22
42.2% 13 Rush% 43.5% 10
57.8% 20 Pass% 56.5% 23
46.2% 29 Opp. Rush % 40.8% 19
53.8% 4 Opp. Pass % 59.2% 14

 

  • The Dolphins have lost their past three Thursday Night games (all on the road) by a combined score of 98-14.
  • Over their four game winning streak, Houston has held opponents to score on 28 percent (14-of-50) of their drives, second in the league over that span behind only the Baltimore (23.3 percent).
  • The Dolphins have scored 10 touchdowns from outside of the red zone, tied with the Chargers for the most in the league.
  • Houston has allowed just two touchdowns from outside of the red zone, tied with Jacksonville for the fewest in the league.
  • Despite relying on big plays to score touchdowns, Miami is -11 in explosive plays (plays of 20-plus yards) gained versus their opponents, the worst differential in the league.
  • The Texans have scored two or fewer touchdowns in every game but one, tied for the fewest in the league.

 

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Lamar Miller: You know we're set up for a weird and potentially disappointing week when we're kicking things off by placing faith in Miller. But this is as good of a spot that Miller will see all season. Attached to a large home favorite on a short week against a Miami defense that ranks 28th in rushing points allowed (16.9) and 29th in receiving points allowed (15.1) per game to opposing backfields. Miller has out-touched Alfred Blue 40-17 over the past two weeks, alleviating any concern for a potential timeshare or lingering impact from the injury that forced him to miss Week 5.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • DeAndre Hopkins: He’s had limited production in back-to-back tough assignments and Miami ranks third in points allowed per game to opposing lead wideouts. Even with Hopkins catching just eight passes on 14 targets versus Jacksonville and Buffalo, he has also showed that he can fight through those matchups with a touchdown in each game.
  • Will Fuller: He bounced back six catches on eight targets last week after just four grabs over his previous two games. Fuller's best moments have now all come when with Keke Coutee off the field and with Coutee expected to be doubtful after reaggravating his hamstring a week ago, Fuller’s involvement should stick while Hopkins continues to draw the primary attention.
  • Kenyan Drake: He continues to get frustratingly out-carried by Frank Gore weekly despite having 175 yards rushing on just 25 carries over the past three games, but Drake is averaging 18.2 percent of the team passing targets per game and has 8.3 targets per game over the past three weeks. With Miami short-handed at the wide receiver position heading into Thursday, Drake could push for the team lead in opportunities while Houston has allowed a back to catch at least five passes out of the backfield in four of their past five games.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Deshaun Watson: He has added just 13 total rushing yards over the past two weeks while passing for 177 and 139 yards over the past two weeks. Miami is far from the Jacksonville or Buffalo defense, but Watson is clearly not healthy, which is an issue on a short week. I would prefer to see him bounce back and prove his health and willingness to use his legs again. Houston has one their better rushing environments in place to set up a game script that doesn’t force Watson to do a lot.
  • Brock Osweiler: I don’t want to shade Osweiler because he’s played well and has been useful for fantasy as the QB7 and the QB14 in his two starts. But he is working here on the road on a short week without his top-two receivers against a Houston defense that has five interceptions to allowing just three touchdown passes over their past three games.
  • Frank Gore: He’s out-carried Drake in five straight games, but this is not a good spot for his role against a Houston run defense allowing 3.3 yards per carry to opposing backfields, which is second in the league.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

 

Eagles @ Jaguars (in London)

 

Philadelphia Rank @ Jacksonville Rank
-3   Spread 3  
22.3   Implied Total 19.3  
22.0 22 Points/Gm 16.6 29
19.7 6 Points All./Gm 20.9 9
68.6 5 Plays/Gm 65.6 13
61.4 11 Opp. Plays/Gm 62.3 15
37.5% 22 Rush% 35.3% 25
62.5% 11 Pass% 64.7% 8
30.9% 1 Opp. Rush % 47.0% 31
69.1% 32 Opp. Pass % 53.0% 2

 

  • Jacksonville is allowing 1.7 offensive touchdowns per game, second in the league. The Eagles are allowing 2.0 per game (sixth).
  • The Jaguars have scored on just 4-of-35 possessions (11.4 percent) over the past three weeks, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Over that span, they've been outscored 90-28, the largest point differential in the league.
  • In four career games in London, Blake Bortles has thrown eight touchdowns to two interceptions while averaging 19.6 fantasy points per game.
  • Through seven games, the Jaguars have allowed 36 more points while having 18 fewer sacks and 11 fewer takeaways than at this point in 2017.
  • Over the past three weeks, the Eagles are averaging 82.3 rushing yards per game (28th) and 3.4 yards per carry (30th).
  • Just 59.6 percent of the yardage gained by opponents against Jacksonville has been through passing, the lowest rate in the league.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Zach Ertz: He’s as stable as they come as only Adam Thielen has more receptions than the 57 grabs that Ertz has on the season. He leads all tight ends in usage, ranking first in targets (78), target per route rate (27.4 percent) and team target share (28.1 percent).

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Alshon Jeffery:  The Jaguars are still allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing receivers and Jeffery had his one down week (2-39-0) in his toughest assignment during his four-game return to the lineup. But Jeffery has been the WR5 overall over those four weeks while averaging 9.8 targets per game while showcasing his scoring upside, finding the end zone four times.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Carson Wentz: It’s not a great streaming week, so you don’t have to go to great lengths to avoid him, but despite the Jaguars regressing on defense this season from a year ago, they are still among the league’s best. Jacksonville ranks first in passing yards allowed (195.4) to passers, second in yards per attempt (6.3) and third in passing points allowed per attempt (.337) on the season.
  • Wendell Smallwood/Corey Clement: Both are low-level FLEX options as the Eagles have developed an inability to run the ball effectively and neither player has shown much effectiveness with their opportunity. Smallwood has out-touched Clement 30-24 over the past two weeks if that breaks a tie for anyone.
  • Blake Bortles: Playing in London has been one of his favorite spots recently, but we can’t entertain using him when we know the leash only has a few links left.
  • T.J. Yeldon: With Hyde expected to be active, we are unsure on Yeldon’s rushing role, but he still should be heavily involved in the passing game given Jacksonville’s running game should be ineffective. While Yeldon dips to the RB3 group this week, he still leads the Jaguars in receiving touchdowns on the season with four.
  • Carlos Hyde: He was living solely on volume and touchdown production in Cleveland while the Eagles are the league’s premier pass-funnel defense allowing a league-low 7.2 rushing points per game to opposing backfields.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • Nelson Agholor: This is not a poor spot for him to be involved as Jeffery will work against Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye all game and slot receivers have four of the five touchdowns that Jacksonville has allowed to wideouts, but Agholor still requires a step of faith as he’s posted 45 or fewer yards in 5-of-7 games and has been higher than WR37 just once on the year.
  • Donte Moncrief: The Jaguars wideouts have been just about an impossible mission this season, but the Eagles are allowing the second-most points per game (20.7) to lead boundary wideouts. If you have to chase anyone here, Moncrief leads the team in targets (50) and air yards.

 

Ravens @ Panthers

 

Baltimore Rank @ Carolina Rank
-2   Spread 2  
22.5   Implied Total 19.5  
25.1 15 Points/Gm 23.7 18
14.4 1 Points All./Gm 21.8 10
74.1 1 Plays/Gm 62.7 22
62.4 16 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.7 6
38.0% 21 Rush% 41.8% 15
62.0% 12 Pass% 58.2% 18
38.0% 13 Opp. Rush % 37.1% 10
62.0% 20 Opp. Pass % 62.9% 23

 

  • Baltimore is allowing 2.3 red zone possessions per game (first) while Carolina is allowing 2.5 per game (third).
  • Cam Newton has completed 34.2 percent (13-of-38) of his deep passes (15-plus yards downfield), the lowest rate for all full-season starting quarterbacks.
  • Newton has a 115.2 quarterback rating from a clean pocket this season as opposed to a 41.5 percent rating when under pressure, the largest discrepancy in the league.
  • The Ravens Defense have hurried opposing passers on 14.3 percent of dropbacks this season, second in the league.
  • Ravens running backs average just 3.3 yards per carry, ahead of only Arizona (3.1 YPC) and Tampa Bay (3.2 YPC) on the season.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Christian McCaffrey: His ceiling has not been elevated like we had hoped with him playing a position-high 96 percent of the snaps because his rushing and touchdown production is still bottom-rung. His rushing production is being carried by a 28-carry, 184 yard game in Week 3, but he has just 194 yards on the ground on 50 carries combined in his other five games with 10 or fewer carries in four games this season. Baltimore is allowing just 90.0 yards from scrimmage to opposing backfields (second), but McCaffrey has held a high RB2 floor, not finishing lower than RB21 in any game this season.
  • Joe Flacco: He is third in the league in attempts per game (43.3) but has had some poor fortune in the touchdown rate department compared to that volume. The Panthers have been middling against the pass so far to give Flacco a usable floor with that volume, however, ranking 20th in passing points allowed per attempt (.451) and ranking 17th in yards allowed per game (265.5).
  • John Brown: He leads the NFL in air yards and ranks third in yards per catch (19.9). His types of targets can cause some volatility, but you stick with it weekly for the upside and he also leads the team with eight red zone targets on the season.
  • Michael Crabtree: He is sort like the Lamar Miller of wide receivers. He’s reached 70 yards just once on the season but has cleared 50 yards with at least five receptions in 6-of-7 games while averaging 9.7 targets per game.
  • Greg Olsen: He’s caught just 6-of-12 targets for 53 yards in his two games back in the lineup, but this a week for him to get more involved as 27.7 percent of the receptions against the Ravens have gone to opposing tight ends, the third-highest rate in the league.
  • Devin Funchess: He has yet to reach 80 yards receiving in a game which could be a problem against a Baltimore defense allowing just 52.3 yards per game (fourth) to opposing lead wideouts, but Funchess is the touchdown scorer in this passing game, finding the end zone in three of his past four game. The Ravens have let lead wideouts make a difference in the red zone, allowing a league-high five touchdowns to the position.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Cam Newton:  You don’t have to stream for Newton ever because of his trump card rushing the football, but this is a spot where his production could solely be limited to that rushing ability as Baltimore brings a lot of pressure per dropback and has allowed just one top-12 quarterback on the season.
  • Alex Collins: He’s managing just 53.3 yards from scrimmage per game over the past four weeks but has out-touched Javorius Allen 33-10 over the past two games. The problem is that he has needed to reach the end zone to be useful for fantasy, ranking as Rb34 and RB39 in each of his past two games with a score and Carolina has allowed just two rushing touchdowns to backs on the season.

 

 

Broncos @ Chiefs

 

Denver Rank @ Kansas City Rank
10   Spread -10  
22.3   Implied Total 32.3  
23.6 19 Points/Gm 37.1 1
23.4 13 Points All./Gm 26.0 22
63.3 19 Plays/Gm 63.0 21
65.1 20 Opp. Plays/Gm 68.9 29
38.6% 19 Rush% 41.3% 16
61.4% 14 Pass% 58.7% 17
42.8% 24 Opp. Rush % 33.2% 2
57.2% 9 Opp. Pass % 66.8% 31

 

  • The Chiefs have outscored opponents by +53 points in the first quarter this season (72-19), the highest differential in the league. The next highest team (Detroit) is at +32.
  • Kansas City is the only team in the league to score at least offensive touchdowns in every game this season.
  • The Chiefs have won six straight games against the Broncos, their longest streak in the rivalry since 1973. They have also covered in all six of those games.
  • Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 300 yards in six straight games, a franchise record. He is the first quarterback to have such a streak since Andrew Luck went eight games in a row in 2014.
  • Through seven games, Mahomes has four games with at least four touchdown passes, the most in any season for a Chiefs passer in franchise history.
  • Denver is allowing 5.5 yards per carry (31st) to opposing backfields while Kansas City is allowing 5.1 yards per carry (30th).
  • The Chiefs rank 32nd in rate of runs to gain five or more yards (41.3 percent) and rate of runs to gain 10 or more yards (18.1 percent).
  • Phillip Lindsay leads all qualifying backs in rate of runs to gain five or more yards (45.3 percent) and ranks fourth in rate of runs to gain 10 or more yards (17.3 percent).
  • Emmanuel Sanders is the first Broncos player to have a touchdown passing, rushing and receiving in the same season since Bobby Humphrey in 1989.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Patrick Mahomes: The Broncos held him to a season-low 6.9 yards per attempt in Week 4, but Mahomes already has a QB1 scoring week under his belt against the Broncos on the road in that game when he posted 22.9 fantasy points.
  • Kareem Hunt: He’s finally starting to see some steady use in the passing game, receiving 18 targets over the past four games after just three total to start the season through three weeks. That has elevated his ceiling as he’s gone over 140 yards from scrimmage in three of his past four games. Denver has approached the games against the high-powered Chiefs and Rams by allowing them to shred them through the rushing game while limiting big passing plays, lining Hunt up for another big week.
  • Travis Kelce: He averages 8.3 receptions on 12.3 targets for 118 yards per game over his past four games versus Denver with three touchdowns, including a 7-78-1 game when these teams met in Week 4.
  • Phillip Lindsay: He’s already led the Denver backfield in touches in every full game that he’s played and gets a boost now with Royce Freeman out for Sunday.  Lindsay has double-digit scoring in all of his full games and in the last game that Denver trailed big, he was targeted a season-high seven times.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Tyreek Hill: Denver has shown their hand in these games against the two best offenses in the league of selling out to prevent splash plays. Hill had a season-low 4.2 yards per target when these teams met in Week 4, but Hill still managed nine receptions with Watkins out of the game.
  • Sammy Watkins: He hasn’t had the ceiling of the other Kansas City offensive players, but he has established a safe floor. Watkins has been a WR3 or better in four of his past five full games.
  • Emmanuel Sanders: The only time this season that he hasn’t been a WR3 or better was when these teams last met in Week 4 when Sanders was the WR46. The Chiefs have been much better defending the slot and limiting ceiling weeks to receivers in general over the past five weeks, allowing just one wide receiver to score against them since Week 2. Sanders still has held a solid floor, catching five passes in every game but one this season while we should expect Denver to trump the 33 pass attempts they had when these teams met earlier in the season.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Demaryius Thomas:  He has to find the end zone and the Chiefs have allowed just one touchdown to a receiver over their past five games. In the four games that Thomas has failed to reach the paint, he’s been the WR77, WR41, WR72 and WR46.
  • Case Keenum: Chasing points from Keenum against the Chiefs already has blown up in our faces once, but the Broncos actually weren’t forced to play a jailbreak style as they led all the way up until two minutes left in the game. Keenum has been at his best for fantasy when Denver has trailed throughout the game but pursuing heavy points against the Chiefs has been a tougher task than assumed as they have allowed 10.2 passing points per game over their past three non-Tom Brady opponents.

 

 Browns @ Steelers

 

Cleveland Rank @ Pittsburgh Rank
8   Spread -8  
21.5   Implied Total 29.5  
21.6 23 Points/Gm 28.5 5
25.3 19 Points All./Gm 25.7 21
71.9 2 Plays/Gm 66.8 8
74.9 32 Opp. Plays/Gm 68.3 28
40.0% 17 Rush% 32.7% 29
60.0% 16 Pass% 67.3% 4
40.1% 17 Opp. Rush % 34.4% 3
59.9% 16 Opp. Pass % 65.6% 30

 

  • The Browns are -14 in sack differential versus their opponent, last in the league. The Steelers are +14 in sack differential, second in the league behind Baltimore (+15).
  • Cleveland has allowed five sacks in three consecutive games for the first time since 2006.
  • The Browns have punted 16 times in opponent's territory, the most in the league. The next highest team (Houston) has nine.
  • Cleveland has had the lead for just 19.7 percent of their offensive snaps, ahead of only the Giants (14.2 percent). The Browns have ranked 32nd in that category in each of the previous three seasons prior to 2018.
  • The last time that the Steelers lost at home to the Browns was in 2003, winning 14 consecutive games.

 

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • James Conner: He has 91.5 percent of the Pittsburgh backfield touches, the highest rate in the league and only Todd Gurley has more touches than Conner’s 10 inside of the 5-yard line. The Browns rank 25th in yards from scrimmage (155.7) allowed to opposing backfields per game, including 192 total yards surrendered to Conner in Week 1.
  • Antonio Brown: He averages 121.1 receiving yards per game against the Browns over their past nine meetings. Rookie Denzel Ward has begun shadowing receivers that he matches up with size-wise, but Brown managed a 9-93-1 when these teams met to open the season, including catching 5-of-7 targets for 50 yards and a score in Ward’s coverage.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster: He posted 119 yards in the game when these teams played earlier and over the past two weeks, the receiver playing away from Ward has posted a top-15 scoring week.
  • Jarvis Landry: A big second half last week against the Bucs turned his day around and he runs into another favorable matchup this weekend. The Steelers are allowing a league-high 110.9 receiving yards per game to opposing lead wideouts and have allowed receivers from the slot to post lines of 8-91-1, 9-128-1 and 7-105-1 over their past three games.
  • David Njoku: He’s been the TE5 in overall scoring since Mayfield took over as the starter and is tied for second at the position with 22 receptions over that span with Travis Kelce. Opposing teams have targeted their tight ends a league-high 26.5 percent of the time against Pittsburgh while the position has accounted for 30.3 percent of the receptions against the Steelers, the largest share in the league.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Ben Roethlisberger: We’re always looking to get him in play when he’s at home and he’s been a top-12 scorer in four of his past five games heading into last week’s bye. But Cleveland ranks first in passing points allowed per pass attempt (.327) and has allowed more than two touchdown passes just once in a game this season, which keeps Ben as a back-half QB1 this week.
  • Vance McDonald: He’s coming off a season-high eight targets, but still has seen his usage remain a moving target. Since returning to the lineup, McDonald has more than 15 percent of the team targets in just one game with 10 percent of less in three of those games. Cleveland is still expected to be without starting linebacker Joe Schobert, however and allowed Tampa Bay tight ends to catch 11-of-16 targets last week for 105 yards.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Baker Mayfield: Pressure could be an ongoing issue here against the Steelers who are second in the league with 3.7 sacks per game. Pittsburgh also closed out games heading into their bye by holding Matt Ryan to a QB19 finish and Andy Dalton to QB18.
  • Nick Chubb: He’s still squarely in the RB2 mix, but he still is going to run into similar issues as Carlos Hyde, in that he’s not going to catch many passes and needs to find the end zone week-to-week. The Steelers are allowing 87.3 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing backfields, the fewest in the league.
  • Duke Johnson: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Johnson managed just five touches in the first game with Hyde despite Cleveland chasing points the entire game. Johnson has yet to have more than six touches in any game this season while the Steelers are surrendering just 3.5 receptions per game to backfields, the fewest in the league.

 

Seahawks @ Lions

 

Seattle Rank @ Detroit Rank
3   Spread -3  
23.3   Implied Total 26.3  
23.8 17 Points/Gm 26.2 12
19.5 5 Points All./Gm 26.3 24
60.7 25 Plays/Gm 63.0 20
61.3 10 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.2 5
49.5% 1 Rush% 39.4% 18
50.6% 32 Pass% 60.6% 15
42.1% 22 Opp. Rush % 43.5% 26
57.9% 11 Opp. Pass % 56.5% 7

 

  • The Lions are averaging 56.0 offensive plays over their past three games (30th) after averaging 70.0 per game through three weeks (fifth).
  • Matthew Stafford has attempted 30 or fewer passes in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.
  • The 248 rushing yards by the Lions in Week 7 were the most they've had in a game since Week 13, 1997.
  • Kerryon Johnson played a season high share of snaps (55.3 percent) and usage per snap (57.9 percent) on the season in Week 7.
  • Johnson averages 3.43 more yards per carry on his rushing attempts than any other rushing attempt by his team, the highest gap for all backs with 50-plus carries on the season.
  • 48.1 percent of the Seattle offensive yardage over their past three games has been through rushing, second in the league behind Buffalo (50.2 percent).
  • Russell Wilson is the first quarterback to throw three or more touchdowns on fewer than 25 passes in back-to-back games since Philip Rivers in 2010.
  • Wilson has thrown a touchdown on 12.3 percent of his completions, trailing only Patrick Mahomes (13.5 percent) for full-season starters.
  • Detroit is facing the fewest targets to wide receivers (15.0) per game. Seattle is targeting their wide receivers 15.3 times per game, tied for 31st in the league.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Russell Wilson: He is being asked to do a lot with the small amount of volume he is getting weekly, leaving the margin for error thin for his fantasy floor since he has just 6.2 rushing points all season. But if he needs to remain efficient, Detroit can accommodate as they rank 29th in passing points allowed per pass attempt (.562).
  • Chris Carson: He disappointed overall in Week 6 before the bye, but he had a touchdown called back by a penalty. He still led the Seattle backfield in touches with 14 but wasn’t allowed to close the game out as Rashaad Penny rose from the grave and played late in the fourth quarter. The matchup is favorable as Detroit is 27th in points allowed per game to opposing backfields and are allowing a league-high 6.0 yards per carry to running backs. They have added Damon Harrison to help in that area, but his immediate impact and playing time is still a question.
  • Doug Baldwin: He has led the team in targets in two of his three games back in the lineup and as the primary slot receiver, will avoid primary coverage from Darius Slay.
  • Kerryon Johnson: He’s coming off a season-high 21 touches out of the bye and had a season-high 13.6 percent of the team targets. The thorn of LeGarrette Blount remaining a goal line option is still in place and Seattle has allowed just one back to reach 80 yards on the ground to begin the season. 
  • Kenny Golladay/Golden Tate: The Lions offensive shift has started to cap the opportunity for their playmakers. Golladay has four or fewer catches in each of his past three games with four or fewer targets in two of those games. Tate is down to 7.3 targets per game over the past four weeks and has been better than WR36 just once in that span. These are still the two primary options in the passing game, which is keeping them in play at a discounted expectation level if Detroit continues to operate a low-volume passing game.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Matthew Stafford:  The Lions have shifted gears as a slow-paced running team and we’ve seen the fantasy impact on Stafford. He has finished higher than QB14 just once on the season despite having multiple touchdowns in five straight games. His yardage should rise above the totals from the past two weeks as Detroit lead big in each game, but both of these teams want to play slow-paced, grinding type of offense, which makes Stafford have to do a lot in a small window.
  • Tyler Lockett: He’s scored a touchdown in five of six games, which has masked that he is receiving just 5.3 targets per game. He has just three catches in each of the past two games and has seen his usage in slot dip to 51.1 percent of the time in those games after 63 percent through four games.
  • David Moore: He has just five catches on seven targets total over his past two games, but three have found the end zone. The volume needs to grow to be more table of an option to lean on in lineups.
  • Marvin Jones: He has four or fewer catches in every game this season and has been the WR61 or lower in three straight games. As the clear number three option outside of the red zone, Jones is a touchdown dependent WR4 option.

 

Buccaneers @ Bengals

 

Tampa Bay Rank @ Cincinnati Rank
4.5   Spread -4.5  
24.8   Implied Total 29.3  
27.8 8 Points/Gm 26.3 11
32.7 32 Points All./Gm 29.0 28
66.7 9 Plays/Gm 59.7 27
63.5 19 Opp. Plays/Gm 69.6 30
35.8% 24 Rush% 34.0% 27
64.3% 9 Pass% 66.0% 6
35.4% 4 Opp. Rush % 37.2% 11
64.6% 29 Opp. Pass % 62.8% 22

 

  • The Bengals are allowing 439.6 yards from scrimmage to skill players per game (31st) while the Buccaneers are allowing 431.7 per game (30th).
  • The Buccaneers are averaging 93.7 fantasy points per game for skill players (second) while they are allowing 96.3 per game to the opposition (32nd).
  • 80.9 percent of the yardage gained by Tampa Bay this season has been through passing, the highest dependency in the league.
  • The Bengals have forced a three and out on just 10.7 percent of their opponent's drives, the lowest rate in the league. League average is 20.7 percent.
  • Opposing teams are converting 56 percent of their third down plays for first downs versus the Bengals, the highest rate in the league. League average is 40 percent.
  • DeSean Jackson has caught 7-of-17 targets (41.2 percent) from Jameis Winston this season after catching 16-of-19 (84.2 percent) from Ryan Fitzpatrick.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Jameis Winston: He has thrown for over 360 yards in four straight starts dating back to last year as this offense is built to do one thing and one thing only. He’s also added 29 and 55 yards rushing in his two starts this season, wiping away the turnover or two he has per game. The Bengals are 30th in passing yardage allowed per game (310.9) and are 28th in passing points allowed per game (19.3).
  • Mike Evans: After two down games he bounced back with seven catches on 11 targets while the Bengals have struggled to contain top options, allowing a WR9 game to Tyreek Hill, WR12 game to Antonio Brown and a WR8 game to Julio Jones in three of their past four games surrounding a game versus the Dolphins.
  • Andy Dalton: He has been a letdown lately for fantasy, finishing as the QB18 or lower int three straight games, but we have to hold our nose and go back to him at home here. Tampa Bay has allowed over 20 fantasy points to every quarterback they have faced except for Nick Foles and rank dead last in passing points allowed per game (25.3).
  • O.J. Howard: He’s been a top-10 scorer in each of his past four full games played while the Bengals are 31st in receptions allowed (6.9) and 28th in yardage (74.4) per game to opposing tight ends.
  • A.J. Green: He’s seen 10, 12 and 14 targets over the past three weeks and has been a top-25 scorer in six of seven games. Tampa Bay is allowing a league-high 8.7 receptions and 23.1 points per game to opposing lead wideouts.
  • Joe Mixon: He has just 46 yards through the air after 54 yards receiving in Week 1 with just 15 and 16 touches over the past two weeks, but this is a good spot to see his usage rise in a high-scoring game at home. The Tampa Bay defense is middle of the pack, ranking 17thin rushing points allowed (12.8) per game to backfields, but they are still expected to be without Gerald McCoy and just lost middle linebacker Kwon Alexander for the season.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • DeSean Jackson: He and Winston haven’t connected like he was with Fitzpatrick, but he still has double-digit points in each of Winston’s two starts. Cincinnati has allowed multiple top-36 scorers at receiver in three of their past four games.
  • Chris Godwin: He ran a season-high 45 routes last week after averaging 22.8 per game through five games. He is a touchdown dependent WR3 but leads the team in targets inside of the 10-yard line (seven).
  • Tyler Boyd: A bit of a floor has creeped in with Boyd as he’s been the WR61 and the WR63 in two of his past three games, but last week was the first time that he was below 20 percent of the team targets since Week 3. The Buccaneers are more giving to lead wideouts but have also allowed top-15 games to secondary options such as Taylor Gabriel and Ted Ginn on the season as well.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Tampa Bay RBs: Peyton Barber is dealing with an unclear injury while Ronald Jones was sharing some passing work with Jacquizz Rogers late after Barber’s exit last week. This backfield is averaging a league-low 79.5 yards from scrimmage per game.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • C.J. Uzomah: He received just two targets last week but managed to find the end zone. He once again finds himself in a desirable spot for those in need of a tight end as the Buccaneers have allowed a top-12 scoring tight end in every game this season and just lost Kwon Alexander for the season.

 

 

Jets @ Bears

 

NY Jets Rank @ Chicago Rank
7   Spread -7  
19.5   Implied Total 26.5  
26.0 13 Points/Gm 28.3 6
25.1 17 Points All./Gm 22.3 11
62.0 23 Plays/Gm 66.2 11
68.0 27 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.7 12
45.4% 7 Rush% 43.3% 11
54.6% 26 Pass% 56.7% 22
37.2% 12 Opp. Rush % 36.2% 6
62.8% 21 Opp. Pass % 63.8% 27

 

  • The Bears have scored a touchdown on 38.9 percent (14-of-36) of their drives over their past three games, third in the league over that span. They had scored a touchdown on 4-of-31 drives (12.9 percent) over their opening three games (30th).
  • Tarik Cohen has averaged 49.1 percent of the offensive snaps and 15.3 touches per game over that span after averaging 37.4 percent of the snaps and 7.0 touches per game through three weeks.
  • Jordan Howard has averaged 53.9 percent of the snaps and 12.7 touches per game over those weeks after 68.8 percent of the snaps and 21.0 touches per game through three weeks.
  • Cohen has 20.6 percent of the Chicago receiving yardage, which is the highest share for a running back on the season.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Tarik Cohen: He has been a top-6 scorer in each of the past three games as he’s seen his role continue to expand in the weekly game plan. He has at least seven receptions in each of his past three games while the Jets are middle of the pack, ranking 18th against the position in receptions allowed per game (5.7). There is a slight pause that his role could be reduced with the Bears as home favorites and the potential of not chasing points, but Cohen also leads all running backs in air yards over his past three games (with the next closest back over that span is 60 yards away) which signals that they are using him in specific ways and not just in the dump-off game. He also leads the Bears in targets inside of the 10-yard line with five.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Trey Burton: He has been a top-12 tight end in four of his past five games and now second for all tight ends with four touchdowns. He is coming off a season-high 11 targets, but was averaging just 4.6 targets per game prior to that, so we need to see that opportunity spike become sticky. The Jets are second in receptions to tight ends per game (3.1) on the season but have only one tight end targeted more than four times in a game against them this season.
  • Mitchell Trubisky: He’s been a top-5 scorer in each of his past three games with at least 300-yards passing in all of those games. While his volume could get shaved down here, the Jets are 24th in passing yardage allowed per game (285.0) and Trubisky has using his legs a ton of late. Trubisky's 6.1 rushing points per game trail only Cam Newton (7.3) on the season.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Jordan Howard: He found the end zone last week but managed just 48 yards and was out-touched by Cohen for the second time in three games. As a home favorite, he is play as a lower-end RB2/ high RB3 option, but his fantasy ceiling is largely dependent on scoring touchdowns while his floor is nearly unusable without them.
  • Allen Robinson: He’s seeing just 5.5 targets per game over the past four weeks and is averaging a career-low 11.4 yards per catch on the lowly amount of opportunities he is converting. He's also dealing with a groin injury that has forced him to miss practice all week.
  • Sam Darnold: He’s yet to have a top-12 scoring week on the season and is coming off his worst game of the season, completing just 40.5 percent of his passes. Chicago has allowed six passing touchdowns over the past two weeks to Brock Osweiler and Tom Brady, but there are better spots to pursue quarterback points from then on the road with Darnold.
  • Isaiah Crowell: Even with Bilal Powell expected to be doubtful, Crowell finds himself in a tough spot as a huge road dog against a Bears run defense that ranks 10th in rushing yardage allowed per game (76.8) to backfields.
  • Taylor Gabriel: We mentioned last week that there was concern that his target share dropped so quickly once Anthony Miller returned and he then saw a season-low four targets on Sunday. In the four full games that Miller has played, Gabriel has received 14.0 percent of the targets as opposed to receiving 27.9 percent in the two games that Miller either missed or was forced from the game, leaving Gabriel as a boom-or-bust WR4. If Robinson is out, however, Gabriel would climb up a rung.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • Chris Herndon: He has found the end zone in each of the past two games and is coming off a season-high seven targets. The one issue still is he has run just seven and 12 pass routes in those games, leaving his floor very fragile. The Bears have allowed a tight end to score in four of their past five games if you need to chase the touchdowns.
  • Jermaine Kearse: He recevied just two targetes last week, but with Robby Anderson doubtful and Quincy Enunwa still sidelined, Kearse is back in play as stopgap floor option against a Bears team that is far more vulnerable inside. 
  • Trenton Cannon: With Bilal Powell placed on injured reserve and Elijah McGuire still sidelined for at least one more week, Cannon will be the satellite back for the Jets as a large road underdog. In the loss to Minnesota a week ago, Cannon recived five targets, catching four for 69 yards. 
  • Anthony Miller :He received a season-high seven targets last week and we've talked every week about they way to attack the Jets defensively is through the slot. If Robinson is held out, Miller would climb into the FLEX mix.

 

Washington @ Giants

 

Washington Rank @ NY Giants Rank
-1   Spread 1  
21.5   Implied Total 20.5  
21.0 25 Points/Gm 19.6 27
20.2 7 Points All./Gm 26.4 25
64.3 15 Plays/Gm 61.1 24
60.0 4 Opp. Plays/Gm 62.6 18
45.9% 5 Rush% 31.5% 32
54.2% 28 Pass% 68.5% 1
36.7% 7 Opp. Rush % 42.5% 23
63.3% 26 Opp. Pass % 57.5% 10

 

  • Washington has led for 53.1 percent of their offensive snaps, the fourth-highest rate in the league.
  • The Giants have led for just 14.2 percent of their offensive snaps, last in the league.
  • The Giants have scored a touchdown on just 4-of-34 possessions (11.8 percent) at home this season, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Washington wide receivers average 8.8 receptions per game, ahead of only the Bills (7.0) on the season.
  • The last time that Eli Manning was a top-12 quarterback versus Washington was Week 3 of the 2015 season. In the five games since, he's been the average QB25 on 9.1 fantasy points per game.

 

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Saquon Barkley: He's rushed for fewer yards in four of his past six games and Washington has stacked the run in back-to-back weeks versus Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott, but that lack of rushing output hasn't mattered as Barkley leads all running backs in receptions (49) and receiving yardage (424) on the season and has yet to have a game with fewer than 20 points.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Odell Beckham: He’s been the highest scoring receiver in two of the past three weeks and is now tied for fourth at the position in receptions per game (7.6).  Washington has allowed the fifth-most points per game to opposing lead wideouts with at least seven receptions to four of the six WR1s they have faced but have yet to allow a top-12 scorer or one to surpass 83 yards in a game.
  • Adrian Peterson: He’s in play when the game script is going to stay positive or neutral and that’s something Washington has done while the Giants have led at the lowest rate in the league. The Giants also rank 19th in rushing points allowed per game (13.5) to opposing backfields and 62.5 percent of the touchdowns scored against them have been by running backs, 31st in the league.
  • Sterling Shepard: He has at least seven targets in five consecutive games and Washington has allowed WR3 or better scoring weeks to a pair of teammates in four consecutive games.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Alex Smith:  He has been the QB16 or lower in five straight games and ranks 25th in passing points per game (13.2). On the road with a subterranean game total is not the week to look for that to change.
  • Washington WRs: They’ve produced just one top-40 scoring week on the season as a group.
  • Jordan Reed: Tight end is so poor that it’s hard to just dump a guy with the talent of Reed -especially since he’s actually healthy- but he’s 12th at the position in targets (5.8), 16th in receptions (3.8) and 15th in yards (44.7) per game. He’s had single-digit points in four of six weeks.
  • Eli Manning: He’s thrown two or fewer touchdowns in every game this season and has had limited success against this defense over recent seasons. Washington has allowed a top-12 quarterback in four straight games, but also has given up rushing production over two of those games to Cam Newton and Dak Prescott, something Manning is not going to bring to the table.
  • Evan Engram: He has just 13.4 percent of the team targets in his three full games played while Washington hasn’t allowed any tight end to reach 50 yards in a game this season and has only allowed Jimmy Graham to catch at least five passes against them in a game this season.

 

Colts @ Raiders

 

Indianapolis Rank @ Oakland Rank
-3   Spread 3  
26.5   Implied Total 23.5  
27.0 10 Points/Gm 18.3 28
26.4 26 Points All./Gm 29.3 29
69.0 4 Plays/Gm 65.5 14
67.4 26 Opp. Plays/Gm 59.5 3
33.3% 28 Rush% 36.4% 23
66.7% 5 Pass% 63.6% 10
40.9% 20 Opp. Rush % 46.8% 30
59.1% 13 Opp. Pass % 53.2%  

 

  • Since returning in Week 6, Marlon Mack ranks second in the league in number of runs to gain five or more yards (18), runs to gain 10 or more yards (seven) and number of runs that resulted in a first down (12), trailing only Todd Gurley in all three areas.
  • The 220 rushing yards by the Colts in Week 7 were their most in a game since Week 4, 2007.
  • 22.4 percent of the pass attempts against the Raiders are 15-plus yards downfield, the highest rate in the league.
  • Just 15.4 percent of Andrew Luck's pass attempts are on throws 15-plus yards downfield, 32nd in the league.
  • Luck is being sacked on just 3.1 percent of his dropbacks, the lowest rate in his career.
  • Luck has thrown three or more touchdown passes in four straight games for the first time in his career. He is the second Colts passer to have such a streak, joining Peyton Manning (eight games) in 2004.
  • Luck leads the league with 17 red zone passing touchdowns.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Andrew Luck: He’s been a top-10 scorer in four straight games with three of those games in the top-four of the position. The Raiders rank 27th in passing points allowed per game (18.3) and are 32nd in yards per pass attempt allowed (9.0).
  • T.Y. Hilton: He returned to play just 53 percent of the snaps but was in on 20-of-27 of Luck’s dropbacks. Of course, he also caught a pair of touchdowns.  Hilton now already has six targets inside of the 10-yard line, matching a career high from that area of the field set in 2014. His four touchdowns from that area of the field are tied for the league lead.
  • Marlon Mack: He’s in another good spot once again to build off his strong showing over the past two weeks now that he is healthy. The Raiders rank 26th in yards from scrimmage allowed per game (156 yards) to backfields and have allowed four different backs to clear 100 total yards on the season.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Eric Ebron: Even with Jack Doyle returning, Ebron is a lower-TE1 optionm but it makes him more touchdown dependent like he was during the opening two weeks of the season. Doyle himself becomes a TE2 in his first game back in the lineup. Oakland has faced just one top-12 tight end on the season (David Njoku), so they haven’t been challenged by the position at all and we know that Ebron carries high-touchdown upside attached to Luck.
  • Jalen Richard: He’s been targeted on 33.9 percent of his routes run, the highest rate for any running back in the league and has at least six receptions in four games this season. The Colts are 30th in receptions allowed per game (7.0) to backfields and Richard still has an unknown track to more rushing opportunities.
  • Jared Cook: With the trade of Amari Cooper, Cook is arguably the best receiving asset the Raiders have remaining on their roster. The downside is that Cooper’s absence may not be a big deal for anyone since he was only targeted a tangible amount in two games all season. Cooper had games with just 5, 1 and 1 target over the past month and in those games Cook caught a combined 11-of-14 targets for 61 yards. But since the Colts force so few incomplete passes, we’re interested in Cook at home in this spot and the game total is suggesting we keep a little blind faith in the Oakland offense.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Derek Carr:  The matchup isn’t scary as the Colts are 31st in completion rate (72.1 percent) and 22nd in yardage allowed per game (280.1), but Carr and his offense’s performance are a big hang up. The Raiders have scored fewer than 20 points in every game but one and have 13 total points over their past two games. Carr himself has been higher than QB20 just once so far this season and has now been higher than QB15 in just 4-of-21 starts dating back to the start of last season.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • Doug Martin: He has arguably been the worst running back in the league since 2016, so we can’t just immediately pencil him in for entirety of the role vacated by Marshawn Lynch being placed on injured reserve. But we know the Oakland offensive line is capable and the Colts are not someone to be scared of. They rank 22nd in rushing yardage allowed per game (95.6) to opposing backfields and just allowed 134 yards on the ground to Chris Ivory and Marcus Murphy.
  • Jordy Nelson: A section of an article with both Martin and Nelson on the last leg of their careers is just where Jon Gruden wants us. Nelson has fewer than 50 yards in 6-of-7 games and in the three games in which he failed to score a touchdown, he was the WR70, WR86 and WR92. Two of those games came when Cooper had just three and one target, so it’s hard to elevate Nelson much beyond a “break glass for emergency” WR4, but the Colts did allow the ghost of Kelvin Benjamin to post a WR3 scoring week last weekend.

 

 

49ers @ Cardinals

 

San Francisco Rank @ Arizona Rank
0   Spread 0  
21.5   Implied Total 21.5  
22.6 20 Points/Gm 13.1 31
31.1 31 Points All./Gm 26.3 23
64.0 17 Plays/Gm 52.6 32
65.6 24 Opp. Plays/Gm 70.0 31
42.6% 12 Rush% 38.0% 20
57.4% 21 Pass% 62.0% 13
40.1% 18 Opp. Rush % 48.4% 32
59.9% 15 Opp. Pass % 51.6% 1

 

  • Arizona is averaging 1.6 red zone possessions per game, the fewest in the league.
  • San Francisco is allowing a league-high 4.6 red zone possessions per game.
  • With their 28 points versus San Francisco in Week 5, the 49ers are the only team in which Arizona has scored more than 17 points against this season.
  • San Francisco is -13 in turnover differential in C.J. Beathard's four starts, the largest in the league over that span.
  • The Cardinals are the only team in the league that has allowed a rushing touchdown in every game this season.
  • Arizona has 586 fewer rushing yards than their opponent this season, the largest differential in the league. The next highest team (Cincinnati) is -297 rushing yards.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • George Kittle: He leads all tight ends in yards after the catch (367 yards) and the next closest tight end is Travis Kelce (271 yards). He’s been a top-10 scorer in 5-of-7 games this season including three weeks ago in this matchup when he caught 5-of-7 targets for 83 yards.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • David Johnson: It remains to be seen on how much the Cardinals will alter their offensive approach turning over play-calling duties to Byron Leftwich, but it will be hard pressed to be worse than how Johnson has been used through seven games. We know he’s going to touch the ball a lot in some capacity and Johnson’s only RB1 game this season came against San Francisco on the strength of two touchdowns, but that scoring upside will remain viable against a San Francisco defense that has allowed 10 touchdowns to backs so far on the season.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Marquise Goodwin: He’s had five or fewer targets now in every game this season and although he’s always just one play away from turning nothing into something, this isn’t a week to chase that as Arizona has stifled perimeter receivers so far on the season.
  • Josh Rosen: He’s been the QB23 or lower in all four of his starts with three touchdown passes to four interceptions. Maybe the new offense will jump start him, but he’s not a viable option even in 2QB leagues.
  • Larry Fitzgerald: He has seven or more targets in three of Rosen’s four starts but has yet to clear 40 receiving yards in any of those games. He managed just two catches when these teams last played, so you’re really just chasing the touchdown he scored last week.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • Raheem Mostert: He has 23 touches for 165 yards the past two weeks and Matt Breida just can’t get through a game health-wise. Even with Breida active, the 49ers are expected to limit his touches, leaving this backfield to Mostert and Alfred Morris against an Arizona team that is allowing 186.6 yards per game to opposing backfields, the most in the league and allowed 49ers backs to total 248 yards on 43 touches back in Week 5.
  • C.J. Beathard:  He quickly reminded us that he is a volatile commodity for streaming purposes a week ago, but it was also his first game having fewer than 17 points in four starts. Beathard has made two career starts against the Cardinals and has been the QB10 (20.7 points) and the QB14 (17.4 points), so he still deserves a look for anyone hunting for points in a soft week for quarterback streaming.
  • Christian Kirk: If you have to use an Arizona wideout, Kirk is still the preferred option since he’s actually providing a little bit of sizzle to his opportunities and has been the most efficient target for Rosen. Kirk has caught 18-of-25 targets (72 percent) from Rosen while Rosen has connected on 53-of-97 (54.6 percent) of his passes to anyone else in the offense.

 

Packers @ Rams

 

Green Bay Rank @ LA Rams Rank
9   Spread -9  
24.0   Implied Total 33.0  
24.7 16 Points/Gm 33.6 3
24.0 15 Points All./Gm 18.3 4
69.2 3 Plays/Gm 64.3 16
59.5 2 Opp. Plays/Gm 57.6 1
31.8% 31 Rush% 48.4% 2
68.2% 2 Pass% 51.6% 31
43.1% 25 Opp. Rush % 36.7% 8
56.9% 8 Opp. Pass % 63.3% 25

 

  • This point spread of +9 points is the largest point spread the Packers have had in a game with Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback.
  • 51.5 percent (35-of-68) of the Rams possessions have ended inside of the red zone, the highest rate in the league. League average outside of them is 27.4 percent.
  • The Rams are +57 in point differential in the first half and +50 in the second half, the best in the league in both halves.
  • The Rams turn 32.6 percent of their first down plays into another first down, the highest rate in the league. League average is 23.2 percent.
  • Todd Gurley's 14 touchdowns are tied for the most ever through the opening seven games of a season, joining Priest Holmes in 2002 and 2004.
  • Gurley leads the league in runs for five or more yards (59), 10 or more yards (19) and first downs (40) while gaining positive yardage on 88.2 percent of his carries, the highest rate in the league.
  • Gurley leads the league in opportunities inside of the red zone (56), inside of the 10-yard line (30) and inside of the 5-yard line (13).
  • 37.1 percent (13-of-35) of Gurley's targets this season have come inside of the red zone, the highest rate in the league.

 

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Brandin Cooks: He has just six catches over his past two games, but his target share is still in line with early season totals. The Rams have just had a dip in passing volume the past two weeks. This week they should be challenged a bit more defensively and keep the ball in the air while the Packers have allowed a 40-yard touchdown or a 60-yard reception in four of their past five games with the only exception being against the Bills.
  • Robert Woods: He has 13 or more points in six straight games with at least five receptions in all of those games.                 
  • Aaron Rodgers: He’s been the QB1 and the QB3 over his past two games as the Packers have had to chase the scoreboard hard in those games. The expectations should be similar here.
  • Davante Adams: He leads all wide receivers in red zone targets (14) and targets in the fourth quarter (28), both of which should mount in this projected game script. The Rams have allowed multiple touchdown receptions to an individual receiver in three of their past five games.
  • Jimmy Graham: He’s been a TE1 in four straight games and opposing teams are targeting their tight ends 25.1 percent of the time against the Rams, the third highest rate in the league.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Jared Goff: He’s been the QB18 or lower in three straight games, but he’s nearly impossible to write off since he’s in the most consistent offense per drive and is averaging 9.8 yards per pass attempt. But the scoring prowess of Gurley has been a thorn in his touchdown production while the Rams have not been pushed the past two weeks has made him reliant on doing a lot with very few opportunities. 

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Todd Gurley: Just seeing if anyone is paying attention and will ask me if they should play him on Twitter without reading.
  • Packer RBs: This is just a mess, and no one has really been useful on their own. The touch count over the four games since Aaron Jones returned to the lineup is 36 for Jones, 33 for Jamaal Williams and 28 for Ty Montgomery with Montgomery as the highest scorer in fantasy.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • Randall Cobb/Geronimo Allison: Both could be back this week after missing multiple games plus the bye week and could get thrown right back into a high-volume and high-scoring situation. The Rams have allowed 49-of-75 targets (65.3 percent) to opposing wideouts to be completed over their past four games and have allowed eight touchdowns to receivers over that span.

 

Saints @ Vikings

 

New Orleans Rank @ Minnesota Rank
1   Spread -1  
25.8   Implied Total 26.8  
34.0 2 Points/Gm 25.3 14
27.2 27 Points All./Gm 23.6 14
66.2 10 Plays/Gm 67.3 7
60.8 7 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.1 8
41.8% 14 Rush% 32.3% 30
58.2% 19 Pass% 67.7% 3
38.1% 14 Opp. Rush % 39.3% 15
61.9% 19 Opp. Pass % 60.8%  

 

  • Adam Thielen joins Charley Hennigan in 1961 as the only players to have 100-yards receiving in each of the seven games to open an NFL season. Hennigan had 78 yards in his eighth game.
  • Thielen is just the sixth player ever to have 100-yards receiving in seven straight games and the first since Demaryius Thomas in 2014. The all-time record is eight consecutive games set by Calvin Johnson in 2012.
  • Kirk Cousins ranks first in the league in completions per game (30.0) while Drew Brees ranks fourth (28.3).
  • Drew Brees has thrown for over 300-yards and reached 20 fantasy points in 3-of-8 games versus a Mike Zimmer coached defense.
  • The Vikings have allowed a touchdown on 12.2 percent (5-of-41) of their opponent's possessions over the past three games, third in the league.
  • Michael Thomas' 91.4 percent (53-of-58) catch rate is the highest for any player with more than 50 targets through six games of a season since targets have been tracked in 1992. The next highest wide receiver was Austin Collie in 2010, catching 81.5 percent (44-of-54).
  • The Saints have allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing in five consecutive games, their longest streak since 2007.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • Adam Thielen: A year ago, Thielen torched the Saints for 9-157-0 on opening night when he ran 72.7 percent of his routes from the slot. In the second matchup, the Saints used Marshon Lattimore to shadow Thielen on the perimeter as he ran only 27.9 percent of his routes from the slot that game and he still put up 6-74-0 on nine targets. This year, Thielen is running 60.8 percent of his routes from the slot and leads the NFL in targets (54) and receptions (42) from the slot while ranking second in yardage (440).
  • Kirk Cousins: He’s been better than QB16 in jut one of his past five games and his yards per attempt the past two weeks (6.4) has sagged. This week, the Vikings should be expected to throw the ball a ton as the Saints have not been able to be run on at all. The Saints have been a mixed bag defensively, but with their three best games coming against Tyrod Taylor, Alex Smith and Eli Manning that strength of offense may have had a large hand in aiding their top performances.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Stefon Diggs: Diggs also put work in against the Saints last year with games of 7-93-2 and 6-137-1, but it’s worth noting that he wasn’t even targeted in coverage against Lattimore in either game. This year, Diggs has been eating the toughest matchup on the perimeter and when he’s faced good corners, has had his softest production. Diggs was held to fewer than 35 yards in games against Tre’Davious White, Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne, but is still fifth in the league in targets and we shouldn’t anticipate the Vikings being able to run at all here.
  • Drew Brees: It’s a road game against a defense he has regularly fell short of his ceiling against, but this week is not nearly as strong of a streaming week as last week to give him major consideration to leave on the shelf. The Vikings have rebounded the past three weeks, but also have faced two rookie quarterbacks in Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold in their past two. Brees also was more than serviceable in each Minnesota game a year ago despite failing to hit his ceiling.
  • Michael Thomas: He’s cooled off from his hot start but managed to reel in seven catches last week in a tough spot at Baltimore. Thomas had success versus Xavier Rhodes when these teams met in the playoffs as he had a 7-85-2 line and Rhodes himself is dealing with an ankle injury. Thomas also carries scoring upside as he leads the league in targets (nine), receptions (eight) and is tied for the most touchdown catches (four) inside of the 10-yard line on the season.
  • Alvin Kamara: The Saints couldn’t run the ball at all against the Vikings a year ago, rushing for 60 and 80 yards total in each game, but Kamara was a factor, catching 4-of-7 targets for 62 yards and a touchdown when these teams last met. The Vikings have good against the run once again this year, ranking eighth in rushing yardage allowed to backs, but are more middling against the pass to backs, ranking 15th in receiving points allowed per game (10.9) to the position.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Latavius Murray:  He’s been a top-10 back the past two weeks, but this week runs into a Saints Defense that ranks first in yards per carry (2.8 yards) and rushing yards allowed per game (47.7) while allowing just one back to hit 50 yards rushing and none to reach 70 yards on the ground.
  • Kyle Rudolph: He’s a touchdown-or-bust option at a shallow position in a game that could feature scoring, so I don’t fault sticking with him. But he’s averaging just 5.0 targets and 40.3 receiving yards per game. He also had just eight catches for 54 yards in two games versus the Saints a year ago but did score a touchdown.
  • Mark Ingram: He has posted just 73 and 42 total yards in his two games on 18 and 14 touches and that meandering production has now been ongoing dating back to last year. Over his past six games played, Ingram is averaging just 49.7 yards from scrimmage. Minnesota is eight in the league in rushing allowed per game to backs, leaving Ingram as a touchdown dependent option.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • Tre’Quan Smith: He is the receiver occupying the role vacated by Ted Ginn, running 28 and 21 routes the past two weeks. You’d still like to see more usage to latch onto, but there could be deep opportunities to take advantage of against Trae Waynes.

 

 

Patriots @ Bills

 

New England Rank @ Buffalo Rank
-13.5   Spread 13.5  
29.0   Implied Total 15.5  
30.6 4 Points/Gm 11.6 32
25.6 20 Points All./Gm 25.0 16
65.9 12 Plays/Gm 59.6 28
66.6 25 Opp. Plays/Gm 62.6 17
43.8% 8 Rush% 45.6% 6
56.2% 25 Pass% 54.4% 27
36.9% 9 Opp. Rush % 42.0% 21
63.1% 24 Opp. Pass % 58.0% 12

 

  • Just 5-of-81 (6.2 percent) drives by the Bills have reached the opponent's 10-yard line, the fewest in the league.
  • Buffalo averages .194 points per play, the fewest in the league.
  • Bills quarterbacks have been sacked on 11.5 percent of their dropbacks, the highest rate in the league.
  • The Patriots have sacked opposing passers on just 3.1 percent of their dropbacks, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, Derek Anderson had a 39.8 quarterback rating from a clean pocket in Week 7, the lowest in the league.
  • Tom Brady has been a top-12 scoring quarterback in 12-of-22 games as a double-digit point favorite since the start of 2012 and has reached 20 fantasy points in seven of those 22 games.
  • In seven career games in Buffalo, Rob Gronkowski averages 6.3 catches on 9.6 targets for 104.3 yards and 1 touchdown per game. He has had 94 or more receiving yards in six of those games in a row.

 

Trust (spike starting production)

 

  • James White: He’s already closing in on career-highs in touches and yards from scrimmage and we’re only halfway through the season. With Sony Michel likely out, White should continue to be a fixture in this offense once again. With Michel out last week, White received a season-high 19 touches and leads the team in red zone targets (11) on the season.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)

 

  • Tom Brady: He has underperformed for fantasy in these spots as the Patriots power back has typically thrived. That player doesn’t exist heading into the game, so Brady should still do all of the lifting here to put the Bills away. That said, the Bills are allowing just 224.6 yards per game (fifth) to opposing passers and have kept both Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck under 200 yards through the air over the past two weeks.
  • Rob Gronkowski: All reports seems to indicate that Gronk will be good to go for Monday Night and he loves playing in his hometown, where he’s always crushed the Bills. If we get more positive news as the week moves on, we’ll move him up to full green light. The Bills have also allowed a touchdown to an opposing tight end in three of their past five games.
  • Julian Edelman: He’s come back with three top-30 scoring weeks, but those weeks have been anchored with back-to-back touchdowns as he’s averaged just 49 yards per game in those weeks. With Josh Gordon out here to take on the toughest assignment on the boundary, Edelman should remain a high-floor target and has seven red zone targets since returning to the lineup.
  • Josh Gordon: He’s now a full-time player, getting 25.7 percent and 19.4 percent of the team targets over the past two games. You keep using him based in his upside with that type of volume, but the Bills are allowing 48.6 yards per game to opposing lead wideouts on the boundary (second) and the most yards they’ve allowed to one of those receivers was 81 to Davante Adams, who needed 14 targets to get there.
  • LeSean McCoy: Expected to play, McCoy has 26 and 19 touches over his past two full games while New England is 21st in total yards per game (149.0) to opposing backfields.

 

Bust (underperformance)

 

  • Derek Anderson: If you post the worst quarterback rating while kept clean against the Colts, then you’re not an option as a double-digit dog.
  • Chris Hogan: He had a season-high seven targets last week, but will need Gronkowski to be inactive once again for us to believe in that rolling over. With everyone on the field, Hogan has fallen down to the fifth option in this offense.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)

 

  • Kelvin Benjamin: With Derek Anderson taking over, Benjamin had his first useful fantasy performance of the season, finishing as WR36 with 71 yards on four catches. Benjamin now has lines of 4-71-0, 5-70-0, 8-104-0 and 6-92-1 in Anderson’s past four career NFL starts and Benjamin himself had 5-70-0 and 4-104-0 in two games against New England a year ago.
  • Kenjon Barner: It's likely the Patriots add someone to the fold this week as Barner isn't really an early-down archetype, but for the time being, he's in play for desperate teams in a bye week crunch as a huge home favorite. 
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.