Free-agent recommendations refer to 12-team league formats, unless specifically stated. FAAB $ amounts are based on a $100 budget.
Bye weeks: Packers, Giants, Seahawks, Titans
1-Week Plug & Play
Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons
This one could go either way, mainly because of the shakeup within the coaching ranks of the Falcons on defense. Allen went for 307 yards, one TD and a pick against the Green Bay Packers in a game that was anything but conducive for passing the ball. Atlanta held Drew Brees in check with a strong pass rush that seemingly came from nowhere. Eight of Atlanta’s 13 sacks on the year have come in the last two games (6 in Week 10). The Panthers given up 13 sacks in the last three contests. Provided Carolina can keep Allen upright, the Falcons have given up at least 21 fantasy points in six games this year. Even with Russell Wilson not throwing much in Week 8 and Brees’ stinker in Week 10, this matchup is 46.7 percent better than average using data from the last five weeks. Allen is a worthwhile gamble and better suited for leagues that utilize multiple starters at quarterback.
Grab & stash
Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Update from last week: Following the bye week, Foles returns to the starting lineup. Jacksonville comes back to face Indianapolis on the road and then Tennessee, also on the road. In Weeks 13-16: TB, LAC, at OAK and at ATL. Add him for depth and keep an eye on how he handles two divisional foes before trusting with a brilliant closing schedule. In all likelihood, he’s a QB2 in leagues that allow or require starting more than one signal caller. It’s tough to envision a gamer getting into the postseason without a better option than Foles, but some gamers are adept at playing the matchups — and he sure has them in his favor down the stretch.
priority free agent
Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons
Keep close tabs on Devonta Freeman after the veteran left with a foot injury in Week 10. (Update: Freeman’s injury will cost him approximately two games, per reports.) Hill was the next man up, logging 71 total yards and a receiving touchdown on 21 touches vs. a stingy New Orleans defense. It wasn’t exactly efficient, but as we so often remind readers of The Huddle, opportunity matters more with running backs than any position. RB Ito Smith (concussion) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, and Hill has just Qadree Ollison to worry about for losing touches from the backfield, should Freeman miss action. The rookie was inactive eight straight games to open 2019 and didn’t touch the rock in Week 10. The offensive line is in shambles, but as we’ve seen most of the year, Atlanta is intent on involving its backs in the passing game as an extension of the running game.
1-week plug & play
Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Despite not carrying the ball more than twice in any of the last five games as Josh Jacobs thrives, Richard has carved out a niche role as a pass-catching option. He has eight targets in the last two games, landing seven for 99 yards in total. The Bengals are the driving force for this recommendation. This is the second-best matchup in PPR scoring, and much of it is due to having given up 44 receptions for 435 yards and a three TDs in nine games. The matchup of late has improved on paper, but mainly because of the opponents. With four quality running games on vacation, Richard makes for a reasonable risk-reward decision as a weak RB2 or a flex in PPR.
priority free agents
Darius Slayton, New York Giants
There’s a lot of all or nothing going on here, and the rookie is still learning the ropes as he goes. The good is when Slayton has been on, look out! The New York Jets and Detroit Lions each gave up two TDs to him in the past three weeks, enveloping a four-target, one-catch game vs. Dallas. Slayton has at least 11.2 PPR points in 50 percent of his games, and reports suggest WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) could miss the rest of the year. The Giants are on vacation this week, but he needs to be acquired and stored in reserve. The remaining schedule is hit or miss, however: at Chicago (27th), vs. Green Bay (24th), at Philadelphia (8th), vs. Miami (18th), at Washington (16th).
Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders
The rookie has 16 targets in his last three games, scoring twice and posting at least 8.2 PPR points in each game. Defenses have focused on limiting tight end Darren Waller in that time, and it has forced QB Derek Carr to look Renfrow’s way more often. Furthermore, being a rookie, the speed of the game is slowing for him, and he is looking more comfortable on the field. The Raiders face Cincinnati, at the New York Jets, at Kansas City, vs. Tennessee, vs. Jacksonville, and at the Los Angeles Chargers to close out the fantasy season. All of those matchups are either statistically favorable or should force Oakland to pass more than usual.
1-Week Plug & Play
Ted Ginn Jr., New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ginn’s role remains scant, but he has at least three targets in three-quarters of his games since Week 5. That game’s meeting vs. the Bucs resulted in a touchdown on his two catches, and he scored vs. Tampa in 2018’s lone battle. The Buccaneers have to pay extra close attention to Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, freeing Ginn to see isolated coverage. The Tampa defense has given up the most fantasy points per game to WRs in 2019, and six touchdowns against in the last three outings helps make this matchup 48.6 percent easier than average for fantasy exploitation.
1-Week Plug & Play/grab & stash
James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Seven receivers have posted at least 11 PPR points vs. the Browns in the past four games, and five total touchdowns have been scored in that window. The matchup is not ideal for volume, which isn’t really Washington’s game anyway. He and QB Mason Rudolph have displayed some chemistry in the past two games, connecting on 10 of 11 targets for 159 yards and a score. Fantasy gamers could do much worse than taking a flier on the second-year wideout.
Grab & stash
Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals
Two weeks ago, the rookie landed a lone target for 88 yards and a score, displaying his elite speed in the process. In this space, I suggested Isabella could be given more chances in the coming weeks to see what he is capable of doing with extra work. Last weekend, the Cardinals threw to him three times that resulted in 78 yards, averaging a wealthy 26 yards per grab. He has double-digit points in PPR in consecutive games and could emerge as the Cardinals a few matchups that could work in his favor down the stretch. This week, at San Francisco, is not one of them, but the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12, followed by meetings with Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Seattle all are within reason for their various struggles vs. the long ball.
priority free agents
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Savvy owners were ahead of the curve and snagged him late last week after he was cleared and inserted the third-year Howard into the lineup vs. Arizona’s woeful defense of tight ends. Had you missed out on the news or simply didn’t need him — because it’s not like Howard had done much before he missed consecutive games — then it’s worth checking the wire. He’s likely on a roster in more competitive or deeper leagues. Polling industry leagues, he’s available in about 30 percent of them. Looking at casual setups, Howard’s ownership rate is roughly 40 percent. Howard faces the Saints for a second time in Week 11, and it’s not an ideal matchup (only 1 TD allowed to TEs this year); he was held to one catch in the first meeting. Afterward: at Atlanta, at Jacksonville, and vs. the Colts — all bona fide “start ’em” matchups for tight ends.
Availability: ~45% aggregate
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
With four TDs in his last four games, including two vs. the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10, the veteran tight end has shaken off a tortoise-like start to the season. The hamstring injury keeping Adam Thielen out of the lineup has helped free up some looks, and the offense has shifted into a heavy play-action approach in recent weeks. Rudolph faces Denver (21st) in Week 11 before the bye, and he returns with matchups at Seattle (8th), vs. Detroit (11th), at the LA Chargers (27th), and vs. Green Bay (6th) to close out 2019. Three of the five matchups are well within the range of making him a quality fantasy play.
1-Week Plug & Play/grab & stash
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Regardless of the quarterback, Doyle has seen at least four targets in each of his past four games. The veteran is finally healthy, and it’s showing with three performances of 10-plus PPR points in a row. Matchups ahead vs. Jacksonville, at Houston, vs. Tennessee, and at Tampa Bay in the next month should allow Doyle to keep up the strong fantasy play. The Jaguars gave up four TDs over the last 15 catches by the position (highest frequency), and Tampa Bay ranked as the easiest matchup to exploit in the past five weeks entering Week 10 (2nd in 2019). The Texans and Titans rank in the middle of the pack vs. tight ends. No T.Y. Hilton (calf) for a few more games should continue to assist in Doyle’s relevance.
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders
Eifert has shown a little bit of his former prowess in the past two games. The Bengals made the change to rookie QB Ryan Finley in Week 10, and he wasn’t entirely awful. There were moments of competence, and the veteran tight end was looked to only four times, landing a line of 2-20-1, marking his first score since Week 2. The target count over that two-game uptick stands at 13. Eifert’s previous best over a two-week window was 11 way back in the opening two games of 2019. The Raiders have yielded seven TDs to the position in nine games, allowing the fourth-most PPR points. Four of the seven scores have come in the last three games, and this matchup goes from being 32.2 percent better than average over the course of 2019 to 53.6 percent above the league’s average in those three outings.
Austin Hooper (knee) is expected to miss a few games, and an MRI will determine the extent of his absence. (Update: Sprained MCL, week-to-week.) The backup is veteran Luke Stocker, known more for his blocking skills than his ability to catch the ball, but he has sneaky skills. Atlanta faces Carolina in Week 11, which isn’t a worthwhile matchup to deploy Stocker. Should Hooper miss several games, the schedule turns to Tampa Bay in Week 12, and even Stocker can be a worthy fantasy play.
1-Week Plug & Play
Dan Bailey, Minnesota Vikings vs. Denver Broncos
No team has permitted more field goal attempts than the Broncos in 2019. Twenty-two of the 25 kicks have connected, and 14 of the 15 PATs have been true. The average of 9.4 points against ranks as the most in fantasy, and Minnesota’s offense could struggle to exploit Denver to its full capability in the passing game. Bailey has two games with at least four field goal attempts in the past six games, and he has made seven straight (15-for-17 in 2019).
Steven Hauschka, Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Miami is on a heater and could keep Buffalo’s erratic offense in check. The Dolphins ceded 31 points to the Bills in Week 7, and Hauschka was responsible for three field goals and a pair of extra points. The season-long stats against Miami are highlighted by the third-most field goals against (22), the matchup rating is 39.6 percent better than average since Week 6.
1-Week Plug & Play
Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
Detroit has provided at least two sacks in each game since Week 3, and the Lions have turned it over in four straight contests at a rate of 1.5 per game. Injured QB Matthew Stafford could be back this week, although nothing is certain. The Lions would trot out Jeff Driskel once again. While he wasn’t terrible vs. the Bears, it’s likely this matchup will result in a low-scoring output by Detroit without Stafford. The Cowboys have averaged three sacks and 2.33 takeaways a game in the last three appearances, generating at least 11 points in two of those three games.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
While the matchup is only average based on season-long data, the Colts may be without Jacoby Brissett once again. Should he return from a knee sprain, his mobility could be compromised vs. the Jaguars’ pass rush. Quarterback Brian Hoyer would start again if Brissett is still on the mend, and he’s coming off of a three-interception game. Indy has given up 10 sacks in the last three weeks. Jacksonville returns from its bye week as the No. 4 sack leader in football, even if inconsistent.
New York Jets at Washington Redskins
Washington has yielded 26 sacks in nine games this year, and 11 have come in the past three games alone — 65 percent in the past five contests. Washington will stick with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins after the Week 10 bye. He has made three appearances, throwing four interceptions without a touchdown pass. Oddly, the one start was the only game without a turnover. Averaging only 6.5 yards per attempt, it is obvious he is tentative to push the ball down the field, and the expected points against the Jets should be low. New York is coming off of its top fantasy effort since Week 3 with six sacks, two takeaways and a defensive TD.