Loading scores...
The Worksheet

The Worksheet: Week 9

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

With six teams on bye this week and a massive amount of injuries across all positions, Week 9 is shaping up to be one the most intriguing weeks of the season.

As I salve my burns induced by missing on the Giants and Raiders passing games last week allow me to provide the token disclaimer. 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. With that out of the way, let’s hit all of the Week 9 games....

Cleveland vs. Cincinnati


Browns @ Bengals
11 Spread -11
17 Team O/U 28
65.8 Plays/Gm 63.7
66.6 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.0
37.1% Rush % 46.2%
62.9% Pass % 53.8%
45.9% Opp. Rush % 34.4%
54.1% Opp. Pass % 65.6%

 

  • 83.7 percent of Jeremy Hill's fantasy output stems from rushing, 7th highest in the league, but he ranks 17th in rushing points (59.2).
  • 42.4 percent of Hill's fantasy output has been from rushing touchdowns, the highest percentage of all backs in the top-40 of overall scoring.
  • Cleveland has allowed 30 runs of 10 or more yards, and 10 runs of 20 or more yards, both rank as the second most in the league.
  • Just 11.4 percent (28 of 245) of the runs against the Browns have been stopped for no gain or a loss, lowest rate in the league.
  • Giovani Bernard had a season low one rushing attempt last week after having eight or more in every game. His previous low for percent of team carries was 25.8 percent in Week 1.
  • A.J. Green has caught 69.7 percent of his targets this season. His career high is 59.1 percent in 2012.
  • Green had a season high 44.7 percent of the team targets last week.
  • Duke Johnson played just 24 snaps last week, his lowest total in a game this season. He's played less than half of the team snaps in all three games since Robert Turbin was activated.
  • Johnson is averaging just .320 rushing points per carry, lowest of all backs with 50 or more attempts.
  • Isaiah Crowell has 29 carries for 55 yards rushing since Turbin was activated.
  • Travis Benjamin saw just 12.5 percent of the Cleveland targets last week, his lowest total since Week 1 (9.4 percent).
  • Gary Barnidge has five games with six or more receptions, the most of any tight end.

 

Trust: A.J. Green (has had bumpy production against Cleveland and Joe Haden in the past, but he’s out again and Green is poised for a big second half), Jeremy Hill (if there’s a week to believe in him, it’s this one and the Bengals are huge home favorites), Tyler Eifert (Cleveland has faced a really light schedule against tight ends, but have still given up five scores to them and Donte Whitner will be out)

 

Bust: Travis Benjamin (has run into a rocky schedule and the Bengals have allowed just three top-24 receivers on the year), Marvin Jones (when the main cogs are rolling, he’s only a 5-6 target option), Johnny Manziel (expected to start on a short week, it's possible Manziel gives the Bengals trouble, but this teams hasn't been kind to quarterbacks so far), Isaiah Crowell (I doubt you’re considering using him, but if the byes have you in a bind, I’d still look elsewhere)

 

Reasonable Return: Gary Barnidge (volume and scoring potential have remained consistent), Andy Dalton (gave us his first fantasy hiccup last week and this game could be a week in which his overall yardage is capped and he’ll rely touchdowns), Giovani Bernard (hard to see him being phased out again and there should be work to go around this week in the run game), Duke Johnson (still staying on him as a flex even though he has seen his involvement get sapped, but the game script should warrant his usage in the passing game and the Bengals have given up big passing days to Danny Woodhead and Jamaal Charles)

 

Editor's Note: For updated rankings, fantasy news columns, IDP, injury analysis, dynasty and much more, check out the Rotoworld Season Pass.

 

Oakland vs. Pittsburgh

 

Raiders @ Steelers
4.5 Spread -4.5
21.5 Team O/U 27
62.0 Plays/Gm 58.6
69.1 Opp. Plays/Gm 66.1
37.6% Rush % 44.1%
62.4% Pass % 55.9%
32.8% Opp. Rush % 38.4%
67.2% Opp. Pass % 61.6%

 

  • Oakland has allowed at least 250 passing yards in 10 consecutive games dating back to last year, the longest streak since the merger.
  • DeAngelo Williams played 84 percent and 93 percent of the Pittsburgh snaps in Week 1 and Week 2, ranking second in the NFL in carries (41) over those weeks and leading the league with seven carries of 10 or more yards.
  • In those games, Williams handled 84 and 80 percent of the team rushing attempts.
  • Williams is averaging .778 rushing points per carry, 6th highest of all backs with 50 or more attempts.
  • Oakland has allowed just 68.8 rushing yards per game over the past five weeks.
  • Martavis Bryant has at least eight targets in every game since returning. He didn't have any games last season with eight targets.
  • Heath Miller had 13 targets last week, his most since Week 13 of last season and the same total that he had over his previous six games combined.
  • Derek Carr leads the NFL in touchdown passes outside of the red zone with nine.
  • Carr is the first Oakland quarterback to throw three or more touchdown passes in back to back games since Kerry Collins in 2004.
  • Over the past three games, Michael Crabtree has been targeted on 28.4 percent of his routes compared to just 16.9 percent for Amari Cooper.
  • Cooper averages 9.6 yards per target (6th best of all receivers with 50 plus targets) while Crabtree averages 7.1 (25th).
  • The Steelers have allowed 10 different wide receivers to score 15 or more points in a game, tied with the Chiefs for the most in the league.
  • Latavius Murray has lost yardage on just four of his 115 carries (3.5 percent), lowest percentage in the league.

 

Trust: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant (a great spot for the Steeler passing game and Ben knocked some rust loose last week), Derek Carr (he’s torched better secondaries the past two weeks)

 

Reasonable Return: Amari Cooper (after some tougher individual matchups, this is a good get right spot for Cooper, but he’s still relying on yards after the catch and long touchdowns to hit his ceiling), Michael Crabtree (has had a solid season and developed a connection with Carr), Latavius Murray (Pittsburgh has allowed just one top-12 running back, but Murray’s volume and consistent positive yardage have already withstood some poor paper matchups), DeAngelo Williams (admittedly, I hate this matchup against Oakland, but the volume and scoring opportunities this offense can create are too strong to just fade him completely), Heath Miller (we know the whole Oakland versus tight end angle, but I see the receivers doing a lot of damage and not leaving a ton of targets for Miller)

 

Editor's Note: Play against our writers in the Rotoworld Football Championship – a series of one-week fantasy contests on FanDuel with $20K in FREE prizes! Enter the Week 9 contest before it fills.

 

Miami vs. Buffalo


Dolphins @ Bills
3 Spread -3
20.5 Team O/U 23.5
61.4 Plays/Gm 63.1
68.4 Opp. Plays/Gm 66.4
33.7% Rush % 45.3%
66.3% Pass % 54.7%
45.1% Opp. Rush % 36.1%
54.9% Opp. Pass % 63.9%

 

  • LeSean McCoy hasn't rushed for 100-yards in nine consecutive games, the longest draught in his career since his rookie season.
  • Tyrod Taylor leads the league in completion percentage on throws under 15 yards at 80.0 percent (84 of 105).
  • Buffalo averages just 2.1 red zone trips per game, last in the league.
  • In seven career games against the Bills, Lamar Miller has reached 75 rushing yards just once with just one top-20 finish.
  • Ryan Tannehill's career completion percentage facing Buffalo is 55.8 percent, lowest of any opponent he's faced twice or more.
  • Tannehill's career scoring finishes facing Buffalo: QB23, QB9, QB17, QB30, QB20, QB8 and QB18 in Week 3 of this season.

 

Trust: Charles Clay (has seen a season low 11.9 percent of the targets in Week 7, but Miami has given up big weeks to every solid tight end they’ve faced, including 19.2 points to Clay in Week 3)

 

Bust: Lamar Miller (the Bills allowed their first 100-rusher in their last game. In fact, it was the first back to hit 60 yards on the ground against them. I don’t see that being a habit for this defense), Sammy Watkins (I’m skeptical on real return value in a week after such a long layoff), Jordan Cameron, Robert Woods (with everyone in this offense returning, that Week 7 volume is compromised)

 

Reasonable Return: Ryan Tannehill (I can’t peg Tanny week to week and I doubt this game is the bloodbath it was earlier in Miami. Every quarterback to face the Bills has thrown multiple touchdowns except Marcus Mariota), Jarvis Landry (take your 5-7 receptions and 60-80 yards home), Rishard Matthews (secondary receivers have been solid against Buffalo all season long, including Matthews and his garbage time output in Week 3), Tyrod Taylor (I’m cautious on any player returning from a multiple week injury, but Taylor has proven to have such a strong floor, posting 14 or more points in every game), LeSean McCoy (we’re at point where we just take the 20 touches and 85 yards of offense with McCoy and anything extra is gravy)

 

Washington vs. New England

 

Washington @ Patriots
14 Spread -14
20 Team O/U 33
66.1 Plays/Gm 65.9
59.9 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.6
40.2% Rush % 33.4%
59.8% Pass % 66.6%
43.7% Opp. Rush % 34.9%
56.3% Opp. Pass % 65.1%

 

  • Tom Brady leads the league in red zone pass attempts (50), while Kirk Cousins ranks third (44).
  • Brady is the only quarterback with 20 or more points in every game this season.
  • Brandon LaFell has seen his snap share increase from 71.6 percent to 81.9 percent last week while Danny Amendola went down to 47.2 percent, his lowest total since Week 2.
  • Washington is allowing 5.5 yards per carry on runs in the interior (from guard to guard on the offensive line), highest in the league.
  • Washington is the only team in the league without a passing touchdown outside of the red zone.
  • The longest touchdown that Cousins has thrown this season is seven yards to Derek Carrier in Week 5.
  • Jordan Reed has been targeted on 32.4 percent of his routes, the highest of all tight ends in the league.
  • No player has more targets (42) without a touchdown than Jamison Crowder on the season.
  • After averaging 139.5 rushing yards over the first four weeks, Washington has just 135 rushing yards total (2.2 YPC) over their past three games.

 

Trust: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman (look at that team total)

 

Bust: Matt Jones/Alfred Morris (word is that these two will continue to rotate in some fashion and the game script could be out of the window before we really find out), Jamison Crowder, Kirk Cousins (there may be some junk production to be had here, but I’m playing for that going in), DeSean Jackson (if I have him, I’m probably using him, but as was the case with Sammy Watkins, I keep low optimism for players returning from long layoffs)

 

Reasonable Return: Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon LaFell (this is a week in which multiple secondary options can be highly productive for New England, feel free to get them all in), Pierre Garcon (the poor man’s Jarvis Landry, take your five receptions for 60 yards and hope for a touchdown), Jordan Reed (the Pats have been tough on tight ends all season, but the volume should be here to get Reed to usable production for his position)

 

Green Bay vs. Carolina

 

Packers @ Panthers
-2.5 Spread 2.5
24.5 Team O/U 21.5
58.1 Plays/Gm 66.0
66.4 Opp. Plays/Gm 73.0
46.4% Rush % 50.4%
53.6% Pass % 49.6%
40.0% Opp. Rush % 36.9%
60.0% Opp. Pass % 63.1%

 

  • Last week was the first time in Aaron Rodgers' career that he failed to throw for at least 100 yards in a game with at least 20 pass attempts.
  • Rodgers has just one 300-yard passing game on the season, the same amount as Alex Smith and Luke McCown.
  • Rodgers hasn’t been a top-10 scoring quarterback since Week 3. The highest quarterback finish against Carolina this season has been QB14 by Russell Wilson.
  • Randall Cobb has totaled just 16 receptions for 132 yards over his past four games and currently has a career low 10.5 yards per reception.
  • Cam Newton is completing 16.7 passes per game, only ahead of Nick Foles.
  • 72.7 percent of Greg Olsen's receptions have gone for a first down, highest percentage of all tight ends with 20 or more receptions.
  • Jonathan Stewart has had 20 or more carries in three consecutive games for just the second time in his career.

 

Trust: Greg Olsen (basically a lock for 30 percent of the team targets each week)

 

Bust: James Jones, Davante Adams (I’m fading all boundary receivers with limited skill sets against Carolina most weeks), Aaron Rodgers (I don’t expect a low like last week by any means, but I’m also not going in expecting to come away with a QB1 week, either), Eddie Lacy (finally cracked the top-20 last week, but still produced just 45 total yards on just 12 touches)

 

Reasonable Return: Cam Newton (hasn’t been a top-10 quarterback since Week 3, but has consistently shown a reliable floor for this first time since his rookie season), Jonathan Stewart (touches have been there on the ground, but receptions and touchdown opportunities are always iffy), Randall Cobb (Josh Norman hasn’t shadowed inside often, meaning Cobb will has an opportunity once again, but the floor has proven to be really low)

 

Jacksonville vs. New York (AFC)


Jaguars @ Jets
n/a Spread n/a
n/a Team O/U n/a
66.0 Plays/Gm 68.1
69.0 Opp. Plays/Gm 62.6
37.2% Rush % 44.7%
62.8% Pass % 55.3%
42.7% Opp. Rush % 34.7%
57.3% Opp. Pass % 65.3%

 

  • Allen Robinson is tied with Rob Gronkowski for the most receptions of 20 or more yards (14).
  • Allen Hurns has caught a touchdown in five straight games, the longest active streak in the league and longest in Jaguars history.
  • Hurns has had at least 20 percent of the Jacksonville targets just twice this season.
  • Even with a bye, Blake Bortles is tied with Carson Palmer for the league lead on passes over 15 yards downfield (68).
  • Eric Decker has a touchdown once every 9.0 targets this season, the best mark of all receivers with 40 or more targets on the season.
  • Chris Ivory has carried 32 times for 58 yards combined over the past two weeks with a long of seven yards.
  • The Jets have converted 72 percent of their red zone trips into touchdowns, highest percentage in the league.

 

Trust: Eric Decker (regardless of the quarterback, Decker has always produced and with Marshall questionable, could vacuum targets)

 

Bust: Allen Robinson (he’s been steady, but the only usable weeks to come from receivers against the Jets have been ancillary options), Chris Ivory (he hasn’t looked right for two weeks and most of the positive work done by running backs against the Jags has been out of the backfield rather than on the ground), Blake Bortles (I can’t see this one getting away from the Jags to degree which normally elevates Bortles’ fantasy output), T.J. Yeldon (two 100-yard games over his past three and the Jets just no showed in Oakland against the run, but I’m not going to put stock into that being a weekly occurrence)

 

Reasonable Return: Brandon Marshall (dealing with multiple injuries, you won’t bench him in an otherwise soft matchup, but expectations should be tempered), Jets Quarterback (if it’s not Ryan Fitzpatrick or Geno Smith, then turn away, but Jacksonville has allowed 15 points to every quarterback they’ve faced except for Cam Newton in Week 1), Allen Hurns (footballs have to go somewhere else than towards Darrelle Revis this week), Julius Thomas (ditto)

 

St. Louis vs. Minnesota


Rams @ Vikings
3 Spread -3
17.5 Team O/U 21
55.1 Plays/Gm 62.4
66.0 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.0
48.2% Rush % 47.1%
51.8% Pass % 52.9%
39.8% Opp. Rush % 39.1%
60.2% Opp. Pass % 60.9%

 

  • Todd Gurley is the first rookie running back to ever rush for 125 yards or more in four consecutive games and the first back to do it overall since Frank Gore in 2011.
  • Gurley is second in the NFL in runs of 20 or more yards (seven), first in runs of 30 or more yards (five) and first in runs of 40 or more yards (four). He has a run of at least 40 yards in each of the past four games.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, 70.3 percent of Tavon Austin's receiving yardage is after the catch, third highest percentage in the league.
  • Nick Foles hasn’t passed for 200 yards in a single game since Week 1.
  • Over the past five weeks, Stefon Diggs is tied with Jamison Crowder for the most receptions (24), leads in receiving yards (394) and is tied with Amari Cooper in receiving touchdowns (two) of all rookie receivers (all have played four games over the span).
  • Diggs has been targeted on 27.5 percent of his routes, 10th highest of all receivers.
  • Teddy Bridgewater has completed just 33.3 percent (eight of 24) of his passes in the red zone. That mark ranks the lowest of all quarterbacks with 20 or more pass attempts.
  • The Rams have allowed just two passing touchdowns in the red zone, fewest in the league.
  • Adrian Peterson has six games with 20 or more touches, the most in the league.
  • Peterson ranks 42nd in points per touch (.68) on the season out of all backs with 50 or more touches.

 

Trust: Todd Gurley (admittedly, he’s had some soft spots to pillage and the Vikings have been solid against the run of late, but he’s the only part of the offense you can buy into weekly)

 

Bust: Teddy Bridgewater (his ceiling is and floor are low and no quarterback has hit 16 points versus the Rams this season), Kyle Rudolph (he’s likely catching two passes, you’re just hoping one is a touchdown)

 

Reasonable Return: Adrian Peterson (you can make the same case for Peterson as I did with Gurley, only his matchup is tougher and hasn’t shown the consistent ceiling so far this season, he’s been more of a floor play weekly), Tavon Austin (his usage inherently makes him a volatile option, but has been a top-40 receiver in four straight weeks), Stefon Diggs (only Antonio Brown has hit for 20 points against the Rams, but they’ve allowed a few doubles and the targets have been there)

 

Tennessee vs. New Orleans


Titans @ Saints
n/a Spread n/a
n/a Team O/U n/a
62.1 Plays/Gm 71.4
58.4 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.8
39.3% Rush % 36.9%
60.7% Pass % 63.1%
47.2% Opp. Rush % 40.6%
52.8% Opp. Pass % 59.4%

 

  • The Titans average just 25.4 yards per possession, fewest in the NFL.
  • Tennessee has scored on just 25 percent (21 of 83) of their offensive possessions, lowest in the league.
  • Antonio Andrews had 80 percent of the Titan carries last week, the highest share for a Tennessee running back this season.
  • Tennessee is averaging just 18.0 rushing attempts per week over the past three weeks, fewest in the league.
  • The Saints have faced just 18.3 rushing attempts per game over the past three weeks, second fewest in the league.
  • The Titans allow 4.0 sacks per game, most in the league.
  • Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins are the only receivers to have more than six catches in a game against the Titans.
  • The 614 yards by the Saints last week were just the third time ever that they've had 600 yards of offense in a game.
  • Drew Brees was the first quarterback to complete 80 percent of his passes on 50 or more pass attempts last week, going 40 for 50 passing.
  • Ben Watson’s target share per week: 10.4%, 10.5%, 10.5%, 7.3%, 11.6%, 30.8%, 11.1%, 20.0%.
  • Mark Ingram averages .703 rushing points per carry, second highest in the league of all backs with 100 carries. Tennessee is allowing .617 rushing points per attempt, 12th most in the league.

 

Trust: Drew Brees (was missing his ceiling due to touchdown production and the regression came in the form of an avalanche last week), Mark Ingram (with Khiry Robinson on the shelf, there shouldn’t be as much touchdown pilfering)

 

Bust: All Titans outside of Delanie Walker (the Saints defense isn’t great, it’s not even good, but the Titans have a plethora of offensive injuries at wide receiver, Zach Mettenberger has been dreadful and if Marcus Mariota plays, will be coming off of a long layoff. Take on that Tennessee will be forced to try and match points in a week in which they are going through a coaching change), Ben Watson (the pattern is that he’s seen five targets a lot more than 10, and I believe this is a week where the Saints can pound the ball)

 

Reasonable Return: Delanie Walker (has 12 or more points in five of six games, the only player you feel comfortable with on this offense), Brandin Cooks/Willie Snead (Cooks has held a steadier share of targets while Snead has held more consistent scoring opportunities), C.J. Spiller (with Robinson out, that frees up Spiller to inherit enough touches to have a floor)

 

New York (NFC) vs. Tampa Bay

 

Giants @ Buccaneers
-2.5 Spread 2.5
24.5 Team O/U 22
63.5 Plays/Gm 62.4
70.1 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.4
38.6% Rush % 48.7%
61.4% Pass % 51.3%
39.2% Opp. Rush % 44.6%
60.8% Opp. Pass % 55.4%

 

  • Doug Martin leads the league in rushing yards (230 yards on 30 attempts) on runs outside of either tackle. The Giants allow 5.4 yards per carry on those runs, 10th highest in the league.
  • Martin has a touch on 56.8 percent of his snaps, the second highest rate in the league behind Todd Gurley (62.3 percent) of players averaging 25 snaps per game.
  • The Giants have allowed 15 or more points to eight different running backs in a game this season, tied with the Chargers for the most on the year.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, 50 percent of Mike Evans' targets (27 of 54) have been deemed uncatchable, the highest percentage of any receiver with 25 or more targets on the season.
  • Jameis Winston has completed 53.8 percent of his passes 15 or more yards downfield (21 of 39), third highest percentage in the league behind only Tom Brady (55.0 percent) and Andy Dalton (58.3 percent).
  • Winston has completed just 61.4 percent of his throws under 15 yards, last of all full season starters.
  • Tampa Bay is allowing 8.6 adjusted yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks, 5th highest in the league. League average is 7.1 AY/A.
  • The Bucs are also allowing .575 passing points per attempt to opposing quarterbacks, the second most in the league. League average is .426 points per throw.
  • Tampa Bay has allowed 16 passing touchdowns in the red zone, most in the league.

 

Trust: Mike Evans (it’s been a rough road so far, but the volume has been there and he should find work on Jayron Hosley enough with Prince Amukamara still out), Doug Martin, Eli Manning, Odell Beckham

 

Bust: Rashad Jennings (the Giants have rushed for under 100-yards as a team in every game except one and Tampa Bay has allowed just one 100-yard rusher all season), Rueben Randle (hasn’t been a top-40 receiver since Week 3)

 

Reasonable Return: Jameis Winston (if there was ever week to dust him off a streamer, this is it. Every quarterback has hit 14 points against the Giants except Sam Bradford and Matt Cassel. The worry here is there aren’t enough healthy weapons for him), Austin-Seferian Jenkins (willing to bend on him coming off of injury since he’s a tight end and you want to chase a ceiling there more often than not and this matchup is so ripe), Shane Vereen (my hands are pretty much up in the air on trying to figure out when Vereen will be effective, but the passing game should be heavily used again this week)

 

Atlanta vs. San Francisco


Falcons @ 49ers
-7 Spread 7
27 Team O/U 20
70.2 Plays/Gm 59.6
62.6 Opp. Plays/Gm 66.0
41.8% Rush % 43.2%
58.2% Pass % 56.8%
36.1% Opp. Rush % 44.9%
63.9% Opp. Pass % 55.1%

 

  • Devonta Freeman has the third most rushing attempts from inside the 5-yard line (nine) in the league. San Francisco has faced 18 runs inside the five, second most in the league.
  • Freeman has six consecutive games with 100 yards from scrimmage, longest streak in the league and longest streak for a Falcons player since Warrick Dunn had nine straight in 2005.
  • Roddy White has been targeted on just 8.9 percent of his routes, which ranks 83rd of the 85 receivers with at least 150 snaps in route.
  • Julio Jones' 102 targets, 70 receptions and 892 receiving yards are the most ever through eight games in Atlanta history. His 70 receptions are the most by any player in NFL history through eight games played.
  • Just 42.3 percent of the Atlanta touchdowns have been passing, least percentage in the league.
  • The 49ers have scored just six offensive touchdowns over the past six weeks, fewest in the NFL.
  • San Francisco has 331 total yards of offense over their past two games, averaging just 3.0 yards per play.
  • The 49ers have 18 first downs over the past two weeks, fewest of all teams that have played twice by nine (Titans).

 

Trust: Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman (the Atlanta ball distribution may be the most concentrated in the league)

 

Bust: Any San Francisco player (a team turning to Blaine Gabbert and Kendall Gaskins as their primary ball handlers)

 

Reasonable Return: Matt Ryan (has shown a limited ceiling so far and I expect the game script will allow for him Atlanta to throttle down at some point), Jacob Tamme (with no third receiver consistently showing up, some targets have to go to a third party)

 

Denver vs. Indianapolis


Broncos @ Colts
-3.5 Spread 3.5
24.5 Team O/U 20
64.7 Plays/Gm 67.2
63.1 Opp. Plays/Gm 70.0
38.6% Rush % 34.9%
61.4% Pass % 65.1%
38.5% Opp. Rush % 43.4%
61.5% Opp. Pass % 56.6%

 

  • Peyton Manning has thrown a touchdown once every 38 pass attempts this season, 37th in the league. His career mark entering 2015 was throwing a touchdown once every 17.1 passes.
  • Demaryius Thomas has reached 90 yards receiving in five games this season, tied for the second most of all wide receivers.
  • After averaging just 5.0 yards per play through their bye, Denver averaged 7.9 yards per play last week.
  • Ronnie Hillman had all four of the Denver carries in the red zone last week.
  • 10 of C.J. Anderson's 15 touches last week came in the second half as Hillman out-touched him 12 5o five in the opening half.
  • Andrew Luck is averaging .362 passing points per attempt, 30th in the league. Denver is allowing just .238 passing points per attempt, lowest in the league.
  • Just 19.9 percent of the passing plays against Denver go for 10 or more yards, lowest in the league. League average is 27.3 percent.
  • Donte Moncrief's target share has been just 13.6 percent and 14.9 percent the past two weeks after being 21 percent or higher in his first four games with Luck.
  • Denver has allowed just three top-24 scoring receivers on the season.
  • Opponents have scored on just 22.2 percent (18 of 81) possessions against Denver. League average is 36.6 percent.
  • The Colts have run the second most plays in the league (224) down 10 or more points. Houston is first at 253.

 

Trust: Emmanuel Sanders (both Sanders and Thomas have had just one week where both were top-12 options and this week Sanders gets the most favorable matchup)

 

Bust: Andrew Luck (outside of Tom Brady, there’s not a quarterback I’d start against Denver at this point), Donte Moncrief, T.Y. Hilton, C.J. Anderson (don’t want to start paying for late touches), Vernon Davis (hard to believe there will be more than a specific set of plays for him this week)

 

Reasonable Return: Demaryius Thomas (has had some success against Vontae Davis with two touchdowns in his past three meetings, but has posted yardage totals of 59, 48 and 82 yards), Peyton Manning (his game out of the bye felt very similar to the game Drew Brees had on Thursday Night against Atlanta in Week 6. There’s reason to start believing in a turnaround), Ronnie Hillman, Frank Gore (has been a top-12 back just once, but hasn’t been below RB26 since Week 2)

 

Philadelphia vs. Dallas


Eagles @ Cowboys
-3 Spread 3
23.5 Team O/U 20.5
68.1 Plays/Gm 62.3
69.3 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.1
39.8% Rush % 45.9%
60.2% Pass % 54.1%
39.8% Opp. Rush % 42.0%
60.2% Opp. Pass % 58.0%

 

  • Dez Bryant played 82 percent (50) of the team snaps in his first game back.
  • Dallas averages the second highest time of possession per game at 33:29. Philadelphia opponents average 33:19 minutes of possession, most in the league.
  • Darren McFadden has had 70.7 percent and 66.7 percent of the Dallas carries the past two weeks and has been a top-8 scorer each week.
  • The highest running back finish against the Eagles this season is RB18 (Mike Tolbert and Bilal Powell).
  • DeMarco Murray has carried the ball on 38.8 percent of his snaps, 16th in the league. He led the league at 50.1 percent in 2014.
  • Ryan Mathews leads all backs with at least 50 rushing attempts in rushing points per carry at .932 points.
  • Murray averages just 2.7 yards per carry (139 yards on 51 attempts) on runs over either tackle or off of either edge, lowest in the league of all backs with 40 or more carries.
  • Murray averages 4.5 yards per carry (168 yards on 37 carries) on runs behind either guard or up the middle.
  • Jordan Matthews' highest weekly finish since Week 2 versus Dallas has been WR43.

 

Bust: DeMarco Murray (Dallas has allowed just three top-24 running backs and two of those (C.J. Spiller and Dion Lewis) caught touchdown passes), Sam Bradford (only Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan have been in the top half of quarterback scoring against Dallas this season)

 

Reasonable Return: Jason Witten (the Eagles are tough on tight ends, but Witten is a floor play regardless of the week), Dez Bryant (played significantly and was followed by Richard Sherman as a tune up for the stretch run. Cassel hampers his ceiling, but the touchdown upside is always here), Jordan Matthews (apparently he had a non-disclosed hand injury, but Dallas is giving up almost no production to wide receivers this season), Darren McFadden (his ceiling is hurt by the matchup, by the volume and receptions should keep him around lower RB2 totals), Zach Ertz (has yet to do much of anything, but Dallas has been leaky against tight ends this season)

 

Chicago vs. San Diego


Bears @ Chargers
3.5 Spread -3.5
23 Team O/U 27
65.6 Plays/Gm 70.6
59.4 Opp. Plays/Gm 57.2
43.4% Rush % 33.9%
56.6% Pass % 66.1%
45.9% Opp. Rush % 43.4%
54.1% Opp. Pass % 56.6%

 

  • Alshon Jeffery has been targeted on 33.9 percent of his routes, highest percentage in the league.
  • The Chargers have allowed opponents to score on 70 percent (14 of 20) of their drives the past two weeks, highest in the league.
  • San Diego has allowed six top-10 scoring backs on the season, most in the league.
  • Philip Rivers has 300-yards passing in five straight weeks; the Bears have allowed just one passer to reach 240 passing yards all season.
  • Rivers (five) and Jay Cutler (four) are two of only four quarterbacks to have 17 or more points in every game player over the past five weeks.
  • Antonio Gates returned last week with no practice and played 49.3 percent of the team snaps. He was targeted on 21.7 percent of his routes, almost identical to the 22.6 percent mark he had in Week 6 before injury.
  • Danny Woodhead had a touch on just 13.9 percent of his snaps last week, his lowest total of the season. His previous low was 20 percent in Week 3.
  • The Chargers have 1,443 yards after the catch, most in the league and 175 more than the next closest team (New Orleans).
  • San Diego hasn't rushed for a touchdown since Week 1, longest draught in the league.
  • Chicago ranks 31st in allowing opponents to score .486 points per play and San Diego ranks 32nd at .496 points allowed per play.

 

Trust: Alshon Jeffery (San Diego has regressed in the secondary the past few weeks and don’t have anyone who can match Jeffery physically), Stevie Johnson (should immediately vacuum up all of the horizontal targets Keenan Allen was getting)

 

Bust: Melvin Gordon (it’s been a broken record with Gordon, but this team just can’t run), Martellus Bennett (consistently hasn’t had production meet volume),  Malcom Floyd (doubtful that he soaks up too many targets with Allen’s injury as his route tree has been low percentage and volatile)

 

Reasonable Return: Antonio Gates (even gimpy and on limited snaps turned in 9.6 points last week), Philip Rivers (has been a passing machine, but the injuries to Allen and still ongoing with Gates lower his high end expectancy a touch), Dontrelle Inman (with Allen out last year, Inman was the WR26 and WR29), Danny Woodhead (a down week for touches, but was still on the field), Jay Cutler (you know what you’re getting with Cutler as a floor play), Jeremy Langford (I want to go all in on Langford in this matchup, but I need a week to see if the Bears aren’t going to pull any punches with his volume. If I have him, I’m still starting him.)

 

Context Key:

 

Trust = Set him in your lineups this week

Bust = Player to underperform season average

Reasonable Return = On par with seasonal average

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.