ONE NIGHT STAND
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
Carr busted out in a big way with an Abe Lincoln against the Chargers as well as a career-high 282 yards. Taking a page out of the old-school Raiders playbook, Carr completed touchdown passes of 77 and 47 yards and had three more pass plays of 17 yards or more; in fact, he started the game 5-7-147 on plays marked as “deep” in the game log. Sure, his last six deep balls were five incompletions and a game-ending pick, but it’s clear the kid gloves are off and Carr has freedom to bomb away. Against an Arizona secondary that’s allowed 833 yards and six TDs the past two games, he’s certainly worth a shot this week.
Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots
Bolden has been thoroughly unremarkable thus far this year, with 25 yards on 15 carries. But with Stevan Ridley done for the year he’s first in line for New England’s between the tackles carries. An uptick in volume portends a touchdown for Bolden, who has scored in four of the five career games in which he carried the ball at least eight times. James White has more upside and remains the dynasty stash, but for the short term—at least until New England’s brutal finishing schedule against running backs—Bolden is looking at goal line carries for the resurgent Patriots offense.
Josh Hill, TE, Saints
With Jimmy Graham likely to miss this week’s game in Detroit—and maybe another game or two afterwards—there’s a need for a tight end to step up in New Orleans. Ben Watson had more targets in the win over Tampa Bay, but Hill has two touchdowns to Watson’s none. And nondescript tight ends have found the end zone thrice already against the Lions. Hill could be your bridge through a tough stretch of the Saints schedule until Graham returns—hopefully in time for a pair of favorable TE matchups in Weeks 11 (Cincy) and 13 (Pittsburgh).
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
Frequent visitors to The Huddle forums know that Taz is our resident J-Stew apologist, but at this point even he has written off the oft-injured, always disappointing Carolina running back. That might be bad timing, as no team has an easier finishing schedule for its running backs. You don’t even need Stewart to be healthy for the next month, though if he could show up for a home game in Week 11 against the Falcons that would be nice. Post-bye the Panthers get the Vikings, Saints, Bucs, and Browns, plus if your fantasy playoffs extend into Week 17 there’s a rematch with Atlanta. Encase Stewart in bubble wrap, stash him in the depths of your roster… and hope he’s healthy come December.
PUT A RING ON THAT THING
Andre Holmes, WR, Raiders
There’s plenty to like about Holmes, more than just the 20 targets, nine catches, 195 yards and three TDs over Oakland’s past two games. He has a quarterback in Derek Carr who is everything the Raiders desperately hoped he would be—and who is getting the green light to go deep, taking advantage of Holmes’ size-speed combo platter. Holmes will benefit from James Jones’ veteran leadership and a Raiders team that will be forced to play from behind all year long—yet still has one of the more fantasy-friendly schedules for receivers. If your league has been asleep at the wheel on Holmes, break the FAAB budget to acquire his services the rest of the way.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins
Landry’s burst onto the scene last week with a long kick return and 6-75-1 receiving, but he’s actually been building into that role for the past month. In fact, over the past six games Landry has usurped Brian Hartline as Miami’s fantasy WR2. He’s not pushing to unseat Mike Wallace any time soon, but there’s no question Landry is a playmaker. And with defenses focusing their attention on Wallace, Landry should have ample opportunity to keep making plays the rest of the season.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
Make no mistake, the Saints backfield remains a fantasy clusterboink. But pre-injury Ingram accounted for three of their four RB rushing scores and a little more than half of the rushing yardage; more importantly, he saw 14 more carries than Pierre Thomas and 10 more than Khiry Robinson in the two games prior to his injury. He’s expected to return to his previous role, which means a dozen carries at better than five yards a pop plus a goal line look or two. That’s a worthy addition to any fantasy lineup.
Brian Tyms, WR, Patriots
Maybe Tyms pushes his way into the Patriots’ inconsistent receiver rotation, though it’s tough to bank on him being a reliable fantasy provider when he’s battling Rob Gronkowski, Tim Wright, and Brandon LaFell for Tom Brady’s attention. At minimum he brings a size-speed combo to the table, one the Patriots haven’t seen for quite some time. But dynasty leaguers should note Tyms had great chemistry with Jimmy Garoppolo in the preseason. So anything this year is bonus, and long term… hey, it’s worth a shot.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
As a fantasy owner heavily invested in Allen, I’ve been more than willing to stomach the excuses thus far. Sure, the opening slate was tough, but… Jacksonville? The Jets? Both at home? And he still can’t find the end zone? The 10-catch, 135-yard outing against the Jags provided hope, but he’s still being outperformed (fantasy-wise, at least) by Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal on a week-in, week-out basis. You could wait and see if Royal’s rib injury turns out to be anything that might cost him time, at which point I’d marginally warm up to rekindling things with Allen. However, the way this season has rolled maybe all a Royal injury would mean is that it’s time to fire up Seyi Ajirotutu. If you find someone more optimistic than you about Allen’s prospects against the third-toughest schedule for wideouts the rest of the way, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Sophomore slump, indeed.