Congratulations to anyone that started Christian McCaffrey, DeShaun Watson, Aaron Jones, Will Fuller, or D.J. Chark last week. Sorry to anyone who had to face one or more of them, I feel your pain. Overall, I’m happy with the picks I made in my first column last week, although watching Breida score on the very first play of the game from 83 yardsout made my sit 49ers RBs pick look pretty bad. With how he and Coleman looked, I guess that answers the question of what their backfield will look like for the foreseeable future. Dread it, run from it, Breida szn still arrives.
Byes this week: Bears, Bills, Colts, Raiders
Start of the Week: Matt Ryan at Arizona: What a disaster this season has been for the Falcons. Their defense is bad enough to make the Titans look like the Chiefs, Matty Ice has gone ice cold until garbage time, and their run game is almost non-existent. Matt is on pace for 710 pass attempts this year, well ahead of his 608 from last year. For our fantasy purposes, these all add up to great things, depending on the opponent, of course. Matt draws Arizona this week, who ranks just ahead of the Falcons at 29th against QBs. Look for him to put up yet another 300+ yard performance in what should be a shootout.
Kyler Murray vs Atlanta: A recurring figure in the start column from last week, Murray gets another choice matchup here vs the Falcons. Everything that’s been said about the Cardinals D, can be said about the Falcons. Their rankings are extremely similar, especially against QBs where the Falcons are 30th. Murray had his best fantasy game of the year last week against the Bengals, throwing for 253 yards and rushing for 93, with 1 TD on the ground. Murray is currently the 8th ranked QB and he’s doing this with only a 2.0% touchdown rate. For perspective, the league average is 4.4%, so Murray is almost guaranteed to raise that. He’ll likely start doing so in this game.
Lamar Jackson vs Cincinnati: While it should be obvious to start Lamar Jackson, I thought it would be worth mentioning anyway as I’ve seen far too many people panicking after he posted his worst game of the year last week versus the Steelers. There’s no denying it was an ugly outing, with three interceptions and only one touchdown against a very bad Steelers team. Upon closer inspection, the Steelers D is likely one of the more underrated units currently, that just happens to have the misfortune of being tied to a very injured and anemic offense currently. Owners should be able to put their fears aside this week as Jackson goes up against a team that allowed Kyler to have his best game yet.
Daniel Jones vs Patriots: A repeat in the sit column from last week, Danny Dimes won’t be worth a cent in this matchup. It should be pretty obvious to not start him here, but this matchup is so bad, that depending on league settings, I don’t think I would even want to start him in a 2 QB or Superflex league. Add onto this that Danny will be without Saquon, Gallman, Shephard, and Engram…..ouch. Saying they are shorthanded is an understatement. I sure hope for Danny’s sake that he can make the receiving corps of Golden Tate, Cody Lattimer, Darius Slayton, and *checks notes* Cody Core work.
Jameis Winston vs Carolina ( In London): The shame is Jameis has such potential to explode, yet can just as easily implode when you need him most. He is and always has been the epitome of boom/bust from the quarterback position. Carolina is another defense that was far too underrated coming into the season. The Panthers D are producing sacks and QB hits at a rate of 27% when rushing four or fewer, which is the highest rate in the league. They also have 18 sacks on the year, which ties the Patriots (with their cupcake schedule) for first in the league. With the Panthers D being 4th against the pass and this game being in London, look elsewhere for a QB in 1 QB leagues.
Kirk Cousins vs Philadelphia: A rare appearance in a start section, Kirk showed he actually has the ability to do more than just handoff to Dalvin last week against an awful Giants secondary. Kirk threw for 306 yards and 2 touchdowns with a very efficient 22 completions on 27 attempts. The very obvious, very legitimate frustrations of Diggs and Theilen were definitely heard by Kirk as he got them more involved than ever last week. Kirk should continue to placate them for at least another week against an Eagles secondary that is only marginally better than the Giants.
Start of the Week: Mark Ingram vs Cincinnati: I guess you could say Ingram has been a bit up and down this year. His point totals so far in 0.5 PPR are: 24.70, 8.70, 34.50, 6.60, and 11.90. With the exception of week 2, Ingram has taken advantage of terrible run defenses to post his two highest scores of the season. Despite the amount of options Baltimore has, Ingram is still receiving the majority of snaps, with his highest usage of the year at 65% last week. The Bengals as a whole are completely hopeless, which should give Ingram more than enough opportunity to post another massive game this week.
Derrick Henry at Denver : I’ve never been big on Derrick Henry, especially when I play in PPR leagues where backs who don’t catch passes are far less useful. Henry has proven me wrong so far this year, having never scored less than 11 pts and scoring in all but 1 game. That’s a great consistency that owners hope to be able to rely on moving forward. The only worrisome part is that touchdowns are among the hardest things to predict each week, but against Denver’s beat up defense, Henry should have plenty of room to run and provide a solid floor regardless of touchdowns. Taylor Lewan working his way back into the lineup after suspension only helps as well.
Kerryon Johnson at Green Bay: Coming off of their bye week, the Lions take on division rival Green Bay. Since releasing C.J. Anderson, Kerryon has seen his snap percentage climb from 57 and 54, to 75 and 70%. This is a great sign for Kerryon owners as one of his biggest knocks, besides injury, was usage. Green Bay comes in ranked 14th against the pass and 26th against the run. Look for the Lions to exploit this weakness in a way the Cowboys regret not doing last week.
Ronald Jones II/Peyton Barber vs Carolina (In London): Who is starting for the Bucs at running back? Who will get the most playing time? The real question, for this week at least, is who cares? Place your bets as to who will get the most work in this running back carousel that rivals the Eagles as far as running back committees go, but my best is it doesn’t matter. Regardless of who you think gets the most playing time, they aren’t worth it in this matchup.
Jordan Howard at Minnesota: “It’s that damn Howard, he’s so hot right now.” -Miles Sanders owners. Well, well, well. If it isn’t the running back I dropped in a super deep league after his 3 points and 22% snaprate week 2. What? I’m not salty or anything, I swear. Jokes aside, it’s hard to ignore the hype around Howard after his 31 point explosion against the Packers, followed up by 12 more, including his 5th touchdown of the year vs the Jets. On top of this, Sproles is out, which prompted Doug Peterson to make a vague statement about Howard filling in for some of those snaps. The problem is, he’s still in a timeshare with Sanders and this game does not work in his favor at all. Going on the road vs a Minnesota D that has only allowed 1 RB over 100 yards on the year and his team likely playing from behind, means that Howard isn’t likely to get the opportunity needed for him to be relevant this week. In fact, if possible, I would recommend trying to sell him before his schedule gets absolutely brutal for the next 6 weeks, including a bye.
Carlos Hyde at Kansas City: I actually hate this recommendation for various reasons. Being a Chiefs fan, I watched him look awful in the pre-season, only to be cut and somehow come back to life with the Texans. Hyde has been anything but spectacular thus far, averaging only 62 yards per game, one of which was a 19 yard effort saved by a touchdown. For whatever reason, Bill O’ Brien sees it fit to give the ball to Hyde as much as possible with 2 games of 20+ rushing attempts and 10 being his lowest. I’m not entirely sure why they spent a 3rd rounded on Duke Johnson if they planned on playing Hyde for around 60% of snaps. Another thing I hate to admit, is that the Chiefs run defense is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Here’s a fun little graph, courtesy of Football Outsiders, which also supports Kerryon against Green Bay as a great play.
Add onto this that starting defensive tackles Xavier Williams and Chris Jones are both out for this game and words cannot describe how badly this could go for the Chiefs D.
*Side note* Should David Johnson be unable to go due to his back injury, Chase Edmonds becomes a must-start for this week as a low-end RB2/Flex play.
Start of the Week: Will Fuller at Kansas City: Oh, hey there Will, nice of you to join us! After sort of just existing for the first four weeks, Fuller went off for 49.70 points in week 5. In one game, he nearly doubled his 26.3 combined points from those 4 weeks combined and went from WR 58 to WR9. Look for him to continue his hot streak vs the horrid Chiefs D in what could easily be the highest scoring game of the week.
Adam Thielen vs Eagles: It seems that Kirk is good on putting his money where his mouth is. After publicly apologizing to Thielen for not involving him and playing poorly, Kirk came through for his close friend, giving him 8 targets that went for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns on 7 receptions. Thielen gets another easy matchup against an awful Eagles secondary at home. Maybe the Vikings should have Kirk apologize to his receivers before every game. Then again, it could just be the awful defenses they’re playing recently.
Calvin Ridley at Arizona: Doing his best Will Fuller impression, Ridley has been all or nothing so far this season. Most recently, Ridley went for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. Most importantly though, aside from his awful 1 target game vs Indianapolis, Ridley has been targeted at least 6 times per game. With the amount the Falcons are forced to throw, he should continue to see more targets while playing near 80% of the snaps against the Cardinals in a game that could rival Kansas City vs Houston as for total points scored.
Marvin Jones at Green Bay: Jones has had some big games vs Green Bay in the past, but don’t go chasing waterfalls, I mean uh don’t go chasing past performances. While they aren’t the greatest, Green Bay has vastly improved their defense against the pass. Kevin King and Jaire Alexander are playing incredibly well together, so I wouldn’t expect much from the Detroit receivers in this game on the road.
Courtland Sutton vs Tennessee: Sutton has been one of the biggest surprises of 2019. Plenty of analysts have talked about the positives in his game, but even then, many thought the Denver offense with Joe “Elite” Flacco wouldn’t be able to support his talent. His talent has gotten him further than almost anyone would have expected so far, with him coming in as the #10 ranked WR on the year. Sutton likely falls back down to earth for this week as he faces a Titans D that haven’t allowed a 100 yard receiver yet this year.
Terry McLaurin at Miami: Little known fact, Scary Terry actually describes the situation he finds himself in with this team. Gruden is gone, the front office isn’t equipped to manage anything, and three awful options for quarterbacks. What a dire supporting cast this is for Terry. It’s honestly a miracle that he was able to manage 3 catches for 51 yards against the Patriots with Colt McCoy throwing him the ball. To make matters worse, interim head coach Bill Callahan has already gone full “old coach” telling the press that he wants to run the ball more. Despite all of this, Terry gets the best matchup possible against the Dolphins this week. In what may possibly be the worst game of all time, where the real winner is whoever loses in order to increase their #1 pick chance, we can only hope Miami is bad enough to help Terry overcome everything around him trying to hold him down.
Austin Hooper vs Arizona: For whatever reason, even when he has time to throw, Matt Ryan seems to just default to check down to Hooper whenever possible. Even though Eifert broke the streak of start all tight ends vs Arizona, it wasn’t entirely his fault as Dalton missed him for a touchdown which is a recurring theme. Hooper draws the best matchup possible here, giving him about the most upside possible for tight ends this week.
Gerald Everett: Much like Jordan Howard, Everett went from stud to dud in weeks 4 and 5. While his targets and snap% have increased substantially, his week 4 performance was against a near bottom-ranked Bucs pass D, in a game where Goff attempted 68 passes. His week 5 game took 11 targets which won’t happen every week. The biggest problem though, is that San Francisco’s defense has looked great from top to bottom. They’ve allowed an average of 3 pts per week to tight ends and only 1 touchdown on the year. One may argue that the 49ers’ opponents have all been terrible, which is definitely true, but if you have other options this week, I would rather not be the one to test if they’re for real until we know more. Everett should have better days ahead.
Cowboys at Jets
Chargers vs Steelers
Panthers vs Bucs (In London)
Saints at Jaguars
Rams vs 49ers
Jaguars vs Saints
Eagles at Vikings
Packers vs Lions