Once again, we get to deal with a Bye-Pocalypse. Six teams are relaxing this week. Fortunately, two of those six teams are fantasy irrelevant. It also helps that there are some pretty juicy matchups. So, without further ado…
The Evening Slate:
Sunday night, Kirk Cousins and his inability to perform in the evening gets to face Dallas. It won’t be any easier for Kirk without his top WR. Adam Thielen. Dak Prescott gets the matchup advantage, but I don’t love him either. I think I’ll look to the MNF game for my QB. Even though it isn’t a great matchup, Ezekiel Elliott needs to be in your lineups, since he has proven to be matchup proof. Dalvin Cook resembles that remark as well. I’ll likely try and fit both of them into the regular lineup. With Thielen out, Stefon Diggs will face a lot of double coverage. This suggests that maybe Olabisi Johnson or Laquan Treadwell might be a decent play at WR3 or FLEX. Michael Gallup faces Minnesota’s CB2, Trae Waynes, who has actually outperformed their CB1. At his continually rising price, I’ll likely pass this week. Amari Cooper, on the other hand, gets to face Xavier Rhodes, who is suffering his worst season to date. Cooper is a safe WR1 option and when I can afford him, I’ll play him. Randall Cobb has always had Minnesota’s number, but the depth of Minnesota’s secondary puts him firmly on my bench. Minnesota may use more Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith with Thielen out. I like Irv more than Rudolph this week since he sometimes lines up at slot WR. Irv is still TE4 on this slate, however. Jason Witten gets to face a Minnesota defense that has struggled with quality TEs all year. I like him as my TE2 on this slate, and probably a wise play if you cannot afford George Kittle. Dallas’ defense against the primetime-inept Cousins is probably the smart play this week. Minnesota’s defense is ok but I would only play them over Seattle.
Monday night, we get to watch potential NFL MVP, Russell Wilson face off against arguably the best defense in the NFC. Fortunately for the Seahawks, San Francisco’s vaunted run defense has fallen on hard times recently. That said, their pass defense remains elite. Since Week 3, they have allowed a total of TWO passing touchdowns. Wilson is better than all the QBs they faced over that span, so I still feel he will fare well. I’m just not expecting a blowup game for him. Jimmy Garoppolo is the guy I will roster on most of my teams. He is coming off his best game of the year (thanks to the addition of Emmanuel Sanders), and he gets to face a Seahawks’ defense that has been torched all season. With SF’s run defense going into the tank, Chris Carson becomes an interesting pivot from Cook and Zeke. I’ll have some exposure to him and could stretch to fit him in at FLEX. Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida will likely cost less than Carson, and each has FLEX appeal against a Seattle run defense that isn’t much better than their pass defense. A brave person might ignore both Cook and Zeke, and just go Coleman/Carson. That won’t be me though. Start Emmanuel Sanders, he may top 200 yards receiving this week. I’m also cool with starting Deebo Samuel, and perhaps even Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin. I’m not going to have a ton of exposure to the Seattle WRs because their price will be high, and they have the toughest matchup this side of Stefon Diggs. I feel better about the Seattle offense scoring their passing TD through the hands of Jacob Hollister. Hollister will be my TE3 on this slate, but at his price, he will likely return the biggest value. George Kittle is an elite play as well, I just don’t know if I can afford him. Perhaps to save some money, I use both Kittle and Hollister in a Double-TE play. Too many potential points here, keep both of these defenses on my bench.
The Main Slate:
I’m not ready to play Pat Mahomes yet. For me there are four choices up top this week: Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Jameis Winston and Drew Brees. Among them, Jackson and Murray are the two I feel the most confident about. There are three cheaper options that I like: Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones and Brian Hoyer (if he starts). I could also consider Ryan Tannehill on DK, but not FD. Jackson will run us 14.5% on either site while Murray will be just under 13%. The other four can be had for under 12% on DK.
I won’t completely ignore Christian McCaffrey this week. His price is absurdly high but it’s a great matchup. When I do use him, I’ll pair him with a cheaper volume option such as: Ronald Jones, J.D. McKissic, Ty Johnson, Kalen Ballage or Devin Singletary. One of those guys could also be a FLEX play this week. If I don’t use C-Mac, I will likely have two from this list: Aaron Jones, Mark Ingram, Marlon Mack and Derrick Henry. Whichever path you choose, keep your expenditure in the 30% range for RB1 and RB2. If you add the FLEX from here keep it around 8%.
I like Michael Thomas, Tyreek Hill and Cooper Kupp this week, but each has one glaring wart that is scaring me. I’ll still use them, just not as often as I use the Tampa Duo. Mike Evans, in particular, is set up for a huge game (again). This week the second and third-tier has more potential value, so I will pair one of those five with two of the following: one of the Cardinals, one of the Jets, one of the Bills, Josh Reynolds, Zach Pascal or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. WR1 will cost you around 15% on either site. WR2 and WR3 should run you 20% on DK and 21% on FD.
This is a week that I like going Double-TE. Travis Kelce, Austin Hooper and Mark Andrews are my favorites up top. I hope to pair one of them with Gerald Everett, Vance McDonald or one of the Colts. I will also use some shares of O.J. Howard, Mike Gesicki and Charles Clay. If you go Double TE, keep your spending around 18%, or 10% for just one.
The Ravens make a lot of sense. That said, I doubt I can afford them. I prefer to roll with either the Jets, Lions or Giants at a little over 6%.
Here are my recommended lineups.
At DK: $7.3K for Lamar Jackson. $7.4K for Aaron Jones. $5K for Devin Singletary. $7.6K for Mike Evans. $10.5K for WR2 and WR3 (leaning Zach Pascal and Jamison Crowder). $9.1K total for Austin Hooper and Jack Doyle. $2.9K for the Lions’ defense.
At FD: $7.7K for Kyler Murray. $7.6K for A. Jones. $7K for Derrick Henry. $8.6K for Evans. $12K or less for WR2 and WR3 (leaning Pascal and Christian Kirk). $6.7K for Travis Kelce. $4.6K for Kalen Ballage at FLEX. $5K for the Ravens’ defense.
At Fanball (includes Sun Night): Murray, A. Jones, McCaffrey, Evans, Kirk, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Gerald Everett, Ronald Jones, and the Lions’ defense.
At Fantasy Draft (includes Sun Night): L. Jackson, McCaffrey, A. Jones, Robby Anderson, DeVante Parker, R. Jones, Marlon Mack, and the Lions’ defense.
Weekly strategy – Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson are the top two options for me. Jameis Winston and Drew Brees will be my pivots. If I need to save some money, I may choose one of the QBs in the battle of New York, or Ryan Tannehill. Mason Rudolph is the only true punt I’d consider.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Lamar Jackson, Ravens @ CIN ($7300 DK, $8600 FD)
Cincinnati has allowed a league-worst 44 rushing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. That number was bloated slightly by their last contest against Lamar Jackson. In that game, Jackson only threw for 236 yards and no touchdowns, but he carried the ball 19 times for 152 yards and a rushing score. I’ll be happy with half of that yardage if he can repeat the rushing score and add a passing one.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers vs. ARI ($6800 DK, $7900 FD)
Arizona has allowed three or more passing touchdowns in five games this year. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston has multiple passing scores and 300+ yards in five of his last six starts. 350-3 is certainly ascertainable here, just know he will also probably get picked twice. With this much upside, stack Winston with either of his top WRs and/or O.J. Howard.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals @ TB ($6500 DK, $7700 FD)
While the Buccaneers’ offense led by Winston has been on fire, there has been at least one passing offense hotter than them over that stretch. That offense belongs to whichever team is facing them. This week, that honor falls onto Kyler Murray’s shoulders. Murray ranks second in QB rushing yards. Of course, he has less than half as many as the league-leading Lamar Jackson. Still, he is a threat on the ground and through the air. Tampa has allowed 20 total QB scores over their last six games. I can find three for Murray here.
Drew Brees, Saints vs. ATL ($6700 DK, $8300 FD)
Drew Brees has played two full games this year. In those games, he has posted 370-2 and 373-3. He intends to start this week, and he will continue to play with a splint on his injured thumb. It didn’t seem to bother him last week against a bad Cardinals’ defense. Atlanta is only marginally better against the pass than Arizona, so another 325-3 is in play, as long as he doesn’t reinjure himself.
Daniel Jones, Giants @ vs. NYJ ($5700 DK, $7400 FD)
Rookies typically struggle in road games. Fortunately for Daniel Jones, the only road factor here is that he will dress in the road locker room. It remains to be seen how partisan the crowd will end up being, but it shouldn’t affect him too much against this swiss cheese pass defense. Over the last two weeks, they have given up six passing TDs to the dynamic duo of Gardner Minshew and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jones should have no trouble getting three of his own.
Sam Darnold, Jets @ vs. NYG ($5800 DK, $7200 FD)
The Giants’ defense sucks eggs as well. They have given up multiple total QB touchdowns in all but two games. They’ve also allowed 300+ yards passing in five games this season. This game could devolve into a shootout as neither team can or cares to stop the other.
|Mark Ingram II||$7,100||$8,000|
|Todd Gurley II||$6,100||$7,200|
|Ronald Jones II||$4,300||$6,300|
|Darrell Henderson Jr.||$4,100||$5,800|
Weekly strategy – I will use Christian McCaffrey when I can, knowing that I can’t afford to have only access to him. When I don’t use McCaffrey, I will likely use two from this list: Aaron Jones, Marlon, Mack, Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. If I do use C-Mac, I will pair him with one of: Devin Singletary, Jamaal Williams, J.D. McKissic, Ty Johnson or Kalen Ballage. I am leaning towards pulling my FLEX from TE this week, but one of those five could be in play there as well.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Christian McCaffrey, Panthers @ GB ($10500 DK, $10500 FD)
Christian McCaffrey has recorded 321 yards and four scores over the last two weeks, despite facing two of the best run defenses in football. He is beyond matchup-proof at this point. I’d pay $12K to fit him into my lineups and just cobble together everything else. This week, his numbers will be even more absurd as he faces a Green Bay defense allowing nearly 180 combo yards per game to opposing RBs. We could legitimately see a 250-yard, 3-TD performance here. We are talking slate-busting potential. 170-1 is realistically his FLOOR. Whether or not he hits 3x will depend on whether he finishes with just five or six receptions or if he finishes with double digits.
Aaron Jones, Packers vs. CAR ($7400 DK, $7600 FD)
I typically do not play two RBs in the same game as game script usually doesn’t favor that strategy. This week is the exception, Green Bay has a decent secondary, as does Carolina, but neither side can stop the run. Over the last three weeks, Green Bay has given up nine total RB touchdowns. Even harder to believe, seven of those have come in the last two games. I could make an argument for starting C-Mac, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams in this game.
Saquan Barkley, Giants @/vs. NYJ ($8800 DK, $8600 FD)
The Jets are middle of the pack against the run, but they have given up seven or more RB receptions to five different teams. With Evan Engram out for this game and Sterling Shepard questionable, expect Saquan Barkley to get an even higher target share.
Marlon Mack, Colts vs. MIA ($7000 DK, $7400 FD)
Marlon Mack is in a similar situation to Saquan, in that his team is also missing numerous skill position players. Marlon Mack isn’t as active in the passing game as Barkley, but he will be the featured artist for this offense against a Miami defense that is allowing over 175 combo yards and 1.25 TDs per game to opposing backs.
Devin Singletary, Bills @ CLE ($5000 DK, $6700 FD)
Last week, Devin Singletary grabbed the torch from Frank Gore and ran wild. This week, he gets to go up against a Cleveland team that has given up 192 yards per game to opposing RBs over their last four contests. Gore will likely get a few yards here and he makes a decent punt play, but Devin Singletary will go off and score at least once through the air.
Ronald Jones, Buccaneers vs. ARI ($4300 DK, $6300 FD)
It only took him a year and a half, but Ronald Jones has finally supplanted the vanilla, Peyton Barber as Tampa’s lead RB. Over the last two games, Jones has more than double the touches of Barber. This game will have a healthy final score, and so everyone on both sides is in play. At this price, Jones is a strong RB2 or FLEX. He should score here and could approach 100 total yards.
|Allen Robinson II||$6,300||$7,100|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||$6,200||$6,600|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||$6,100||$6,900|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||$3,700||$5,300|
Weekly strategy – My goal is to roster one of: Michael Thomas, Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, Chris Godwin or (my favorite) Mike Evans. I will then look to pair them with two from the third tier: one of the Bills, one of the Giants, one of the Jets, one of the Cards, Zach Pascal, Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Josh Reynolds. My only punt options are: Ted Ginn, Allen Lazard and Andy Isabella. I doubt I will find my FLEX here this week.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Mike Evans, Buccaneers vs. ARI ($7600 DK, $8600 FD)
Earlier this season, people dared suggest that Mike Evans was not the WR1 on the Buccaneers. He responded by posting three games with more than 180 receiving yards. Since Week 6, Evans leads the league in receiving yards, despite having his bye fall within that span. He is also scoring at will. You might think, the return of O.J. Howard could cut into his workload. He might if Jameis Winston knew who O.J. Howard was. Chalk Evans up for another 10-130-1 against a pass defense that has allowed more than 100 yards to four of the last five WR1s to face them.
Michael Thomas, Saints vs. ATL ($8300 DK, $8700 FD)
Speaking of monster stat lines, Michael Thomas is averaging a ridiculous 9-109-0.5 this year on an 11 targets per game average. That means that he has caught 82% of the passes targeted to him. Oh yeah, and he only had his starting QB for a shade over two games. Drew Brees returned last week and completed all eleven passes that he threw to Thomas. Thomas could be in for a huge game against a defense that has allowed 15 different receivers to top 50 receiving yards this year. My only real knock on Thomas here is that his DK price is more than Evans’ and they should both finish with huge lines. If you want to get cute here (and save some money), consider stacking Brees with Ted Ginn instead to get exposure to this contest.
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs @ TEN ($7700 DK, $8000 FD)
Tennessee has a pretty solid pass defense. Of course, so did the Broncos, Packers and Vikings. Tyreek Hill disposed of them easily as well. Plus, a lot of that damage came with Matt Moore at QB. Pat Mahomes should return under center this week, elevating Hill (and the rest of the passing offense). My only concern here is if Mahomes is rusty, he certainly doesn’t have to worry about overthrowing Tyreek. Making things even easier, Tennessee has allowed huge games to Mike Evans and D.J. Moore the last two times out.
Chris Godwin, Buccaneers vs. ARI ($7400 DK, $8200 FD)
Yes, Arizona is bad enough that both Evans and Chris Godwin are going to blow up this week. Four different WR2s have scored against them this season. He might see more of a hit due to O.J. Howard’s return, but again Winston has to remember that Howard exists first.
Zach Pascal, Colts vs. MIA ($5300 DK, $6400 FD)
With their WR1, WR2 and WR3 all currently injured, Zach Pascal is one of the last men standing for Indy to throw the ball to. Only one team has not scored at least one TD with their WR1 against Miami this season. Pascal is the default WR1, so he should score too.
Jamison Crowder, Jets @/vs. NYG ($5000 DK, $6500 FD)
One of those guys to score against Miami was Jamison Crowder last week. Crowder has turned into a sort of Cooper Kupp-lite at a considerably cheaper price. Crowder often operates out of the slot, where fellow WRs such as: Danny Amendola, Randall Cobb (2x), Julian Edelman, Adam Thielen and Cole Beasley have destroyed the Giants this year.
Weekly strategy – I hope to find room in my lineup for one of: Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews or Austin Hooper. If I cannot, Vance McDonald, Eric Ebron, James Doyle and Gerald Everett make nice pivots. In addition, I hope to pair that TE1 with a dart throw TE2 at FLEX. Doyle may be that FLEX, or I may opt to go cheaper and consider someone like: Mike Gesicki, O.J. Howard, Jonnu Smith or Charles Clay.
Your Fantasy Four Pack:
Travis Kelce, Chiefs @ TEN ($6400 DK, $6700 FD)
Travis Kelce gets a decent matchup this week and he finally has a reasonable price tag too. Six times this year, Tennessee has allowed either a 100-yard receiving day for opposing TEs or a tight end touchdown. This was primarily because opposition refused to throw the ball to their WRs when facing the Titans. The TE stats against are down and the WR stats up over the last two weeks, but don’t let that dissuade you from using Kelce as part of your Double-TE play.
Austin Hooper, Falcons @ NO ($5500 DK, $6600 FD)
Austin Hooper 3.16 says I just scored a TD against the Saints. Much like Tennessee, opposing offenses are scared to throw the ball to WRs when facing New Orleans. With a price nearly $1K below Kelce on DK, it will be hard to fade Hooper. Their lines should end very similar.
Mark Andrews, Ravens @ CIN ($5200 DK, $6800 FD)
I don’t love this price on FD, especially since Lamar Jackson is spreading the wealth between Mark Andrews, Hunter Hurst and Nick Boyle. That said, the DK price is solid, and Andrews did just roll 6-99 against these Bengals Week 6. A repeat performance is not out of the question.
Gerald Everett, Rams @ PIT ($4500 DK, $5700 FD)
This is another situation where I like the DK price better than the FD price. Pittsburgh has allowed five teams to top-six TE receptions. With Brandin Cooks out, Gerald Everett could see an uptick in targets, or those targets might go to Josh Reynolds. I’ll have some exposure to Everett because of the price difference, but I’d rather save even more and roster Jack Doyle, O.J. Howard or Matt Gesicki.
Jack Doyle, Colts vs. MIA ($3600 DK, $5200 FD)
With injuries all over their passing attack, Jack Doyle will see a bump in usage. Miami hasn’t allowed a ton of yardage to opposing TEs, but quality TEs have fared well. At this price on DK, all you need is 5-50. I like the idea of pairing Doyle with one of the higher-priced TEs in a Double-TE strategy this week.
O.J. Howard, Buccaneers vs. ARI ($3300 DK, $5000 FD)
Yeah, I don’t trust O.J. Howard as far as I can throw him. Still, this is the Cardinals. They are allowing an average of 7-90-1 to the position this year. We know Howard has the skills to dominate this matchup, the question is will he be given the opportunity.