We’re past the halfway point of the fantasy regular season and working towards getting rosters in order for the upcoming playoff stretch. Before we can officially get there, we still need to stack some wins. Week 8 was thankfully light on the injury front as far as major assets go, but we did have a fun trade deadline for once that could have a ripple effect moving forward. We have another heavy bye week for Week 9, with six teams resting this weekend, so make sure all New England, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, Cleveland, Chicago and Pittsburgh players are on your bench this weekend.
As for the token disclaimer, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.
Lastly, as the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is NOT a start/sit column, rather an expectations column. The labels for each subset of players for each game are simply a vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player that you can find at the end of the column. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process. Remember, you control your own team. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 9 games with a PPR light…
Bills @ Jets
|35.3%||2||Opp. Rush %||45.3%||26|
|64.7%||31||Opp. Pass %||54.7%||7|
- Buffalo is the only team in the league that has yet to run a play while trailing by multiple possessions on the season.
- The Bills have scored two offensive touchdowns on the road this season, the fewest in the league.
- LeSean McCoy currently has 23.5 percent of the Buffalo targets, second for all running backs. His career-high for target share is 16.2 percent in 2010.
- The Jets are allowing a passing touchdown once every 16.2 pass attempts, 31st in the league.
- The Jets average 4.4 red zone plays per game --the fewest in the league -- but have nine touchdowns scored from outside of the red zone, tied for second in the league.
- Josh McCown is the first Jets quarterback to throw multiple touchdown passes in four straight games since Ray Lucas in 1999.
- Over the past four weeks, McCown is the QB3 in overall scoring, finishing as the QB14, QB7, QB6 and QB4.
- After allowing 229 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks through four weeks, Buffalo has allowed 341.7 per game over their past three games.
- Just 35.5 percent of Austin Seferian-Jenkins' receptions have resulted in a first down, the lowest rate for all tight ends in the league.
Trust: LeSean McCoy (his ceiling has been uncorked by scoring in each of the two games and his floor is as good as there is due to his touch volume and averaging 5.4 receptions per game)
Bust: Bills Pass Catchers (Kelvin Benjamin has been the average WR20 per week over his past six full games, but what can we really expect from him on two days’ notice? The rest of the group has a new player seemingly perform every week), Jermaine Kearse (he’s in play as a low-level flex if you need it, but when he hasn’t scored, he hasn’t been useful, averaging 42.8 receiving yards per game)
Reasonable Return: Tyrod Taylor (he’s been down through three road starts so far, but always comes with an insulated floor with his legs and the Jets have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in six games, tied for the most in the league), Bilal Powell/Matt Forte (each are flex options, but cap each other’s ceiling. Both have been top-30 scorers in each of the past two weeks with both active while Forte has been a top-24 scorer in each of his past four full games), Robby Anderson (I haven’t given Anderson enough love in this post weekly, but he’s out-targeted Kearse 40-to-27 over the past six games and ranks sixth in the league in market share of air yards), Josh McCown (the Bills still aren’t allowing ceiling games to the opposing passers since they’ve kept the touchdowns allowed down, but are giving up a lot of yardage weekly and are still banged up in the secondary on a short week), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (his floor is poor when he doesn’t score because he’s yet to hit 50 yards in any game thus far, but Buffalo has allowed three top-10 scoring tight ends over the past two weeks)
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Ravens @ Titans
|47.9%||30||Opp. Rush %||42.5%||17|
|52.1%||3||Opp. Pass %||57.5%||16|
- 41.7 percent of the Tennessee offensive touchdowns have been via passing, the lowest rate in the league.
- Marcus Mariota has the most pass attempts (176) without a red zone touchdown on the season. The only other quarterbacks without a red zone touchdown are Mitchell Trubisky and C.J. Beathard.
- The Titans have thrown just 39.6 percent of the time in the red zone, the lowest rate in the league this season.
- The Ravens allow .79 passing points per drive, second in the league.
- Baltimore allows 17.6 completions per game, the fewest in the league.
- Mariota averages 18.3 completions per game, 28th in the league.
- DeMarco Murray has out-touched Derrick Henry 87 to 49 in quarters 1-3 this season while Henry has out-touched Murray 29 to 12 in the 4th Quarter this season.
- Baltimore running backs average 122 rushing yards per game, third in the league behind Jacksonville (147.4) and Dallas (123.4).
- 42.5 percent of Alex Collins' rushing attempts have gone for five or more yards, the third-highest rate for all backs with at least 50 carries on the season. 18.8 percent of his carries have gone for 10 or more yards, the second-highest rate of the same group.
- Collins has run a pass route on 18.2 percent of his snaps, the lowest rate for all running backs in the league.
Bust: Marcus Mariota (Baltimore hasn’t faced a wealth of good quarterbacks over the front half of the year, but Mariota hasn’t been a QB1 since Week 1 and thrown one or fewer touchdowns in every game but one), TEN WRs (with Corey Davis returning, the target shares all get muddled a touch while Baltimore is allowing the third-fewest points per game receiving to opposing wideouts), Derrick Henry (his only two useful fantasy weeks have come in very specific climate in which he closed out big wins, but just hasn’t shown weekly usability with Murray still ahead of him), Ben Watson (if only we could on a short touchdown from Ryan Mallett every week), Buck Allen (he had just two fewer touches than Collins last week, but stacked nearly all of his usage when the game was out of hand, which makes him hard to use a flex option), Joe Flacco (he looks like he’s going to play this week, but still has yet to finish a week in the top half of scoring), Mike Wallace (the matchup itself is one that is appealing, but Wallace is still just a dart throw option as he’s topped five targets in just one game and topped 30-yard receiving just twice), Delanie Walker (he’s still dealing with an ankle injury and while the Ravens have allowed six touchdowns to opposing tight ends, they rank ninth in receptions allowed to the position)
Reasonable Return: Jeremy Maclin (he’s in a similar spot as last week as a WR3/flex, facing a defense that has been exploited through the air, while he has three of the five scores from the Baltimore receiving unit), Alex Collins (he had a season-high 20 touches last week and even had a red zone touch and caught two passes), DeMarco Murray (his ceiling has been capped due to playing through multiple injuries and Henry salting away leads when they’re presented to Tennessee, but he’s still turned in RB2 or better weeks in four of his past five games)
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Buccaneers @ Saints
|Tampa Bay||Rank||@||New Orleans||Rank|
|43.8%||23||Opp. Rush %||39.8%||8|
|56.3%||10||Opp. Pass %||60.2%||25|
- Opponents are running 16.1 percent of their plays inside of the red zone versus Tampa Bay, the highest rate in the league.
- The Buccaneers have allowed opponents to score a touchdown on 38.7 percent of their drives on the road this season, the highest rate in the league.
- Since the Adrian Peterson trade, Mark Ingram has been the RB2, RB7 and RB8. Alvin Kamara has been the RB21, RB11 and RB9.
- 23.8 percent (10-of-42) of Alvin Kamara's rushing attempts have gained 10 or more yards, the highest rate for all running backs with 20 or more carries on the season.
- Before last week, the last time the Saints won a game in which Drew Brees failed to throw a touchdown pass was Week 4, 2009.
- 60 percent (6-of-10) of the New Orleans offensive touchdowns over their three games since the bye have been rushing. League average for rushing touchdown rate is 30 percent.
- Tampa Bay has a league-worst 2.7 percent sack rate on opposing dropbacks while New Orleans allows a league-best 2.8 percent sack rate on dropbacks as an offense.
- Over their past five games, opponents have scored on just 22.8 percent (13-of-57) of their possessions versus New Orleans, the second-lowest rate in the league over that span.
Trust: Drew Brees (he’s largely just been a floor play because the Saints have run the ball well and played good defense, but the passing touchdowns are due to recoil since they’ve all been on the ground recently and the Bucs are 21st in touchdown rate allowed to opposing passers), Michael Thomas (he’s quietly been the WR13 or better in four of his past five games with seven or more catches in four of those games despite his ceiling being limited for similar reasons that Brees’ has, but draws a secondary allowing the most points per game to opposing receivers), Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara (Ingram’s two late fumbles could revert him back to the doghouse, but keep playing both members of this backfield confidently as high-scoring home favorites), Mike Evans (he’s fourth in targets per game among wide receivers while New Orleans has still allowed 90 or more receiving yards to three different receivers over the past three games)
Bust: O.J. Howard (he has more than two receptions in just one game), Jameis Winston (there’s a possibility that he may sit this week to get his shoulder right, but we won’t know until later in the week. Regardless, the Saints haven’t allowed a quarterback to finish higher than QB11 or score 15 points in a game since Week 2)
Reasonable Return: Ted Ginn (he’s been a WR3 or better in four of his past fives and the matchup couldn’t be any sweeter against a team that has allowed double-digit points to 14 different wide receivers on the season), DeSean Jackson (he’s third in the league in air yards for all wide receivers and the volume should be here in this game regardless of quarterback, while the Saints have allowed WR3 or better games to four different WR2s on the season), Doug Martin (he’s been an RB3 in each of the past two weeks, but is at 17.5 touches per game since returning while the Saints have allowed over 120 yards from scrimmage to each of the past two lead backs they’ve faced), Cameron Brate (even without scoring in each of the past two games, he’s shown he has a steady floor, finishing as a TE1 now is six straight games)
Rams @ Giants
|LA Rams||Rank||@||NY Giants||Rank|
|42.8%||19||Opp. Rush %||42.0%||15|
|57.2%||14||Opp. Pass %||58.0%||18|
- The Rams average 4.4 red zone drives per game, the most in the NFL while the Giants average 2.2 per game, 28th in the league.
- The Rams are allowing 11.0 passing points per game (fourth in the league) while Giants are allowing 17.9 passing points per game, 31st in the league.
- In four games against pass defenses that rank in the bottom half of the league in passing points allowed per attempt (the Giants rank 25th), Jared Goff has averaged 19.2 fantasy points per game with seven touchdowns to one interception.
- 88.2 percent (15-of-17) of the touchdowns scored against the Giants have been through the air, the highest rate in the league outside of Denver, who has yet to allow a rushing touchdown on the season.
- Todd Gurley has accounted for 32.5 percent of his team's fantasy output for non-quarterbacks, the highest rate in the league.
- 11.5 percent of Eli Manning's pass attempts have been on throws 15 yards or further downfield, the lowest rate for all quarterbacks.
- Since Odell Beckham was lost for the season, Evan Engram received 33.3 percent of the New York targets, providing 36.7 percent (11) of their receptions, 54.2 percent (142) of their receiving yards with both of their receiving touchdowns.
- Over that span, the Giants have averaged 20.3 yards per possession, last in the NFL.
Trust: Todd Gurley (he’s had at least 120 yards from scrimmage in five of his past six games and the Giants have faced two alpha backs on the season and each put up a top-8 week on them), Jared Goff (he’s gone as his matchups have gone this season and the Giants have allowed a top-10 quarterback in four straight games)
Bust: Tyler Higbee (you can always chase a score against a Giants defense that has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in every game this season, but Higbee is running a route on just 35.8 percent of his snaps, 37th at the position), Eli Manning (he’s thrown for 128 and 134 yards in the past two games and has now been the QB26, QB24 and QB26 in his three games without Odell Beckham this season)
Reasonable Return: Robert Woods (he’s had double-digit points in four of his past five games, leading the Rams in targets, catches in yards over their past five games), Cooper Kupp (he’s on the board whenever Goff is in play, but carries a low floor. Kupp hasn’t finished higher than WR50 in any of his four games without a touchdown), Sterling Shepard (he’s returning this week to a team that has targets available to support a floor play, but Shepard isn’t the type of receiver that will stack splash plays), Evan Engram (he’s been a beacon in a sea of disappointment for the Giants this season and even with Shepard returning should be a focal point for the passing game), Orleans Darkwa (he’s been an RB3 or better in each of his past three games and an RB2 in two of those while the Rams are allowing the most rushing points per game to opposing backfields), Sammy Watkins (he’s had five catches for 70 yards over four games heading into the bye , but if there was ever going to be a time for him to do something, this is it. He gets a boost with Janoris Jenkins being suspended and Goff has a favorable outlook to pursue, but don’t overstretch yourself to force him in)
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Broncos @ Eagles
|41.4%||13||Opp. Rush %||29.8%||1|
|58.6%||20||Opp. Pass %||70.2%||32|
- The Eagles have trailed for just 20.3 percent of their offensive snaps, the lowest rate in the league.
- The Eagles have out-scored their implied team total seven times this season, the most in the league.
- Carson Wentz is averaging a touchdown pass once every 13.9 pass attempts, second in the league.
- Zach Ertz is the first tight end to have double-digit points in each of his team's first eight games since Kellen Winslow in 2007.
- 38.7 percent of the receiving yards allowed by Denver has gone to opposing tight ends, the highest rate in the league.
- Opposing teams average 21.7 yards per drive against Denver, the fewest in the league.
- Opposing teams average 56.6 combined fantasy points to skill positions per game against Denver, the fewest in the league.
- Denver is allowing 90.1 yards from scrimmage to opposing backfields, fewest in the league. Philadelphia is allowing 91.6 per game, second in the league.
- Jay Ajayi's .34 rushing points per attempt rank last of the 34 running backs with 60 or more carries on the season.
- Denver has scored just five touchdowns over the past six weeks, the fewest in the league.
- Demaryius Thomas was a top-30 scorer in six of seven games with Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback in 2015. Emmanuel Sanders was one in three of his six games played that Osweiler started.
Trust: Zach Ertz (tight end Gibraltar so far on the season facing a Denver defense that inherently funnels targets away from wide receivers)
Bust: All RBs (there’s no doubt that moving to Philadelphia from Miami is a jolt for Jay Ajayi’s fantasy prospects, but he couldn’t possibly draw a worse matchup to start as Denver has nuked a slew of top-12 scorers on the season while the Eagles have allowed just one running back to reach 70 yards from scrimmage in a game this season), Alshon Jeffery (a short-lived soft spot on the schedule has passed as Denver is allowing the fewest yards per game to opposing wide receivers), Nelson Agholor (last week was a reminder that if he doesn’t score, the floor is low while he’ll lock up with Chris Harris in the slot this week), Brock Osweiler (he's been a QB1 in just four of his 21 career starts), AJ Derby (he’s had double-digit points in three of his past four games, but you have to get a touchdown from him as he’s yet to finish higher than TE17 without a score), Emmanuel Sanders (he's a lower-end WR3 returning from injury and playing alongside Osweiler, as his floor is inherently lower than Thomas' as he's finished as a WR2 or higher just once on the season)
Reasonable Return: Carson Wentz (it’s a matchup to downgrade Wentz from the top-8 quarterback he’s been in six of his eight games as Denver is allowing just 200.7 passing yards per game, but his legs, being a home favorite attached to a modest total should keep him in the top half of scoring at the position in a week that isn’t a strong streaming week), Demaryius Thomas (he still hasn’t scored in any of his past 13 games played, but has still been a stable floor option, posting double-digit points in every game except for two while opposing wide receivers are targeted 23.1 times per game against the Eagles, the second-highest rate in the league)
Falcons @ Panthers
|40.0%||9||Opp. Rush %||39.1%||6|
|60.0%||24||Opp. Pass %||60.9%||27|
- Opposing teams average 9.4 possessions per game versus Atlanta, fewest in the league. Opposing teams average 10.4 possessions per game versus Carolina, 29th in the league.
- Atlanta is averaging 6.2 yards per play on offense (second in the NFL), but rank 26th in plays run per game.
- Carolina is allowing 1.9 red zone possessions per game, fewest in the league.
- Devonta Freeman has averaged 13 touches per game over the past three weeks after averaging 19.8 per game in the four games prior to the Atlanta bye week.
- The Panthers have scored three touchdowns at home this season, the fewest in the league.
- Christian McCaffrey is the only running back with at least four receptions in every game this season.
- Atlanta is allowing 14.9 receiving points per game to opposing backfields, 31st in the league.
- After securing 24-of-35 targets (70.5 percent) over his first five games with 53.8 yards receiving per game, Devin Funchess has reeled in just 9-of-23 targets over the past three weeks for 29.3 yards per game.
- Cam Newton has accounted for 32.7 percent of the Carolina rushing yardage, the highest rate for any quarterback in the league.
- After averaging 10.8 yards per pass attempt Weeks 4-5, Newton has averaged 5.1 yards per pass attempt over the past three weeks, 32nd in the league.
Trust: Christian McCaffrey (you need a touchdown for him to reach RB1 levels, but the back with arguably the best receiving floor is facing a defense allowing the most receptions per game to opposing backfields while McCaffrey had nine catches for 101 yards on 1 targets the last time Kelvin Benjamin was out of the lineup)
Bust: Matt Ryan (he’s averaged 244 passing yards per game over his past four while throwing multiple scores just twice on the season while Carolina has allowed just two QB1 weeks on the season), Jonathan Stewart (he finally reached the paint last weekend and still just ended up as RB27, that’s the kind of ceiling we’re working with), Ed Dickson (40 percent of his points this season have come in one game as he’s been TE17 or lower in every week except for one), Devonta Freeman (he’s just been flex-worthy since the bye and now is dealing with a shoulder injury while he no longer has a stellar floor since he’s not catching passes this season and Carolina is fifth in the league in yards from scrimmage allowed to opposing backfields), Curtis Samuel (he gets the largest opportunity bump with the Benjamin trade as he’ll move to the starting Z receiver and should be picked up in leagues, but outside of being on the field more, we have little to go off of for inserting him into lineups)
Reasonable Return: Cam Newton (he’s been down far more than up this year and Carolina just traded their most effective wide receiver, but he’s staying afloat for fantasy because he’s rushed for 165 yards the past three weeks which has smoothed out the fact that he’s averaged 6.7 passing points per game over that span), Julio Jones (by definition he should steadily find himself in the bust section because he’s strictly been a floor play so far, finishing no lower than WR36 in any of his full games, but above WR24 just twice. As a positive, he does have four targets inside of the 10-yard line over the past two weeks), Mohamed Sanu (he has double-digit points and has been a WR3 or better in all five of his complete games), Tevin Coleman (with Freeman dinged up a bit, he received a season-high 15 touches, but is still just a flex option as he’s had one or fewer receptions in each of his past three games), Austin Hooper (last week was the first game in which he received more than two targets with Sanu in for the entirety of the game, but Carolina has allowed a top-10 tight end in four of their past five games if the bye week has you in need of an option), Devin Funchess (his targets and efficiency has dipped as Newton has regressed again as a passer, but for the short term without Greg Olsen and only McCaffrey as another viable option, Funchess should push double-digit targets and be the primary red zone option)
Bengals @ Jaguars
|45.4%||27||Opp. Rush %||41.2%||12|
|54.6%||6||Opp. Pass %||58.8%||21|
- Jacksonville has led by multiple possessions for 32.7 percent of their offensive snaps, the highest rate in the league.
- The Jaguars are second in the NFL in turnover differential (+8) while the Bengals are 31st (-10).
- 32.3 percent of Leonard Fournette's fantasy production has come from touchdown output, the highest rate for all top-30 scorers at the position.
- 34.6 percent of the completions against the Bengals have gained 10 or more yards, the lowest rate in the league.
- 35.8 percent of the completions against the Jaguars have gained 10 or more yards, the second-lowest rate in the league.
- 41.5 percent of the rushing attempts versus Jacksonville have gained five or more yards, the highest rate in the league.
- 29.7 percent of the Cincinnati rushing attempts have gained five or more yards, 26th in the league.
- Joe Mixon averages .62 yards before contact, the second-lowest rate in the league for backs with 75 or more carries on the season, ahead of only Jay Ajayi (.60 yards).
- The Jaguars average length of touchdown pass versus Jacksonville is 5.1 yards, the lowest in the league. The league average passing touchdown length is 16.1 yards.
Trust: Leonard Fournette (he’s already practicing this week after having two weeks off while the Bengals have allowed 267 rushing yards since their bye week)
Bust: Andy Dalton (he’s been a matchup driven fantasy commodity for fantasy this season and no quarterback has finished higher than QB19 versus Jacksonville), A.J. Green (Jacksonville has allowed just one touchdown to an opposing wideout this season, but even in an expected to be rough matchup, both Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins turned in WR1 games versus Jacksonville, the only top-36 weeks scored on them this season to keep the lights on), Blake Bortles (even if the matchup was better, he’s not being asked to do much as he’s finished higher than QB15 and thrown for multiple scores just once on the season), Marqise Lee/Allen Hurns (the Bengals are allowing 23.6 points per game to opposing wide receiver units, fourth in the league and 7.7 receptions per game, the fewest in the league), Dede Westbrook (still in stash mode as Jacksonville is a low-volume passing game and the Bengals have not been a target for wide receivers)
Reasonable Return: Joe Mixon (the Bengals’ offensive line is his biggest obstacle to creating a ceiling because the volume has been there in creating a weekly RB2/flex option), Tyler Kroft (he’s been a TE1 in three of his past four games while the Jaguars should filter targets towards the interior)
Colts @ Texans
|43.9%||24||Opp. Rush %||42.6%||18|
|56.1%||9||Opp. Pass %||57.5%||15|
- The Colts have allowed eight touchdowns from outside of the red zone, tied for the most in the league.
- Will Fuller has four touchdown receptions from outside of the red zone, the most in the league.
- 24.6 percent of the completions against the Colts have 20 or more yards, the highest rate in the league.
- Opposing teams have out-scored their implied team total six times against the Colts, the most in the league.
- Jack Doyle has been targeted on 24.2 percent of his routes, the highest rate for all tight ends.
- Doyle has five or more catches in five of six games this season, behind only Zach Ertz (six) for the most in the league for tight ends.
- Houston has scored a touchdown on just 2-of-39 possesions with Tom Savage at quarterback over his career.
- DeAndre Hopkins was a top-12 scoring wideout in just two of his pst 16 games and the WR37 or below in nine contests in games that weren't started by DeShaun Watson.
Trust: Lamar Miller (even with Savage, Miller's workload is safe as a home favorite back that is averaging 19.6 touches per game and he played a season-high 87 percent of the snaps last week)
Bust: Frank Gore (he posted a season-high 101 yards from scrimmage last week, but the projected game script should neutralize him quickly this week), Tom Savage (he's given us no signs of fantasy usability to this point, the hope here is that he just doesn't torpedo Hopkins, Fuller and Miller)
Reasonable Return: Jack Doyle (he has 32 targets over his past three games since returning from a concussion while Houston has allowed a TE1 in three of their past four games), Jacoby Brissett (he’s been the QB14 or higher in four of his past six games with three top-10 games while Houston has allowed 15 or more points to four of the past five quarterbacks they’ve faced ad one who’s defense has been whittled down due to injuries), T.Y. Hilton (I know you don’t want to play him after catching just five passes for 61 yards over his past three games, but Houston is allowing a league-high 9.3 yards per target to opposing receivers if you have to keep floating him out there), Marlon Mack (he’s now been RB25 or higher in all four games in which he’s had at least nine touches), DeAndre Hopkins/Will Fuller (the Colts secondary has been gicing enough to keep using both in lineups with Savage, but each of their ceilings are in jeopardy as they ranked first and second in the league in points per game at the position with Watson)
Cardinals @ 49ers
|43.1%||22||Opp. Rush %||48.3%||32|
|56.9%||11||Opp. Pass %||51.7%||1|
- After scoring on 4-of-8 possessions after switching over to C.J. Beathard in Week 6, the 49ers have scored on just 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) of their possessions the past two weeks, last in the league for teams that played a game in each of those weeks.
- Pierre Garcon has the most targets (67) on the season without a touchdown.
- Carlos Hyde has six or more targets in six games this season, tied for second in the league.
- In 11 games without Carson Palmer active since he joined the team, Arizona drops from 25.5 points per game to 17.1, going from 1.96 points per possession to 1.39.
- Larry Fitzgerald has finished higher than WR30 in just two of nine games in which Drew Stanton has thrown double-digit passes. In those games, he averages 4.4 receptions for 44.9 receiving yards.
- One of those games was Week 7 last year when Fitzgerald caught 6-of-8 targets for 81 yards and two touchdowns versus the 49ers.
- Just 19 percent of the offensive yardage gained by Arizona has been from rushing, the lowest rate in the league.
- The 49ers have allowed 89 runs of five or more yards (31st), 31 carries of 10 or more yards (31st) while 26.5 percent of the rushing attempts against them have resulted in a first down (28th).
Bust: C.J. Beathard (he’s been brutal the past two weeks and while he will start this weekend, the shot clock has started for his benching now that the team has traded for Jimmy Garoppolo), Drew Stanton (while the matchup couldn’t be better, he’s a tough sell as he’s finished in the top half of quarterback scoring just twice in his nine starts in Arizona and was the QB20 in this same spot a year ago), George Kittle (three catches on six targets the past two weeks and has finished higher than TE17 just once), John Brown (he only reached 50 yards or had more than three receptions once with Carson Palmer, so the floor is bottomless with the quarterback change), Andre Ellington (the 49ers are allowing the most receiving points per game to opposing backfields, but Ellington’s use has been tied to very specific game script, which is tough to anticipate and has been limited with a quad injury in practice this week), Marquise Goodwin/Aldrick Robinson (you can take a shot on either producing a long ball against a secondary that has allowed splash plays this season, and neither may be shadowed by Patrick Peterson, but with Beathard playing at such a low-level, they are only plays in deeper leagues)
Reasonable Return: Carlos Hyde (receiving work has saved his floor as he’s failed to reach the end zone in six of eight games and had 16 or fewer carries in every game but one), Larry Fitzgerald (he’s the only receiver for Arizona that you can have faith in and the expectations have to be as a floor-based WR3), Adrian Peterson (he’s completely game script dependent, so his floor is low, but Arizona should be able to keep him active this week even with Stanton at quarterback while San Francisco is allowing 182 yards from scrimmage to backfields per game, the most in the league), Trent Taylor (Taylor has a season-high 10 targets when these teams met in Week 4, but they were coming from Brian Hoyer. He's a floor flex option)
Washington @ Seahawks
|42.5%||16||Opp. Rush %||40.6%||10|
|57.5%||17||Opp. Pass %||59.4%||23|
- Chris Thompson's 442 receiving yards are the most through seven games for a running back since Charlie Garner in 2002 (449 yards).
- Thompson has eight receptions of 20 or more yards, tied for third in the league.
- Thompson played a season-high 80 percent of the Washington snaps last week, topping his high of 61 percent from Week 6.
- In five games that Jordan Reed has missed, Vernon Davis has averaged 11.4 points per game (with 9.7 or more in four) while finishing as a top-10 scoring tight end three times.
- Davis has 17 receptions of 20 or more yards since joining Washington last year, only behind Rob Gronkowski (20) and Travis Kelce (23) for all tight ends.
- 16.7 percent of Russell Wilson's pass attempts have come from inside of the red zone, the highest rate in the league.
- Jimmy Graham leads the league with eight targets from inside of the 5-yard line. He had three such targets since joining the Seahawks in 2015.
- Wilson has accounted for 94.1 percent of the Seattle offensive touchdowns, the highest team dependency on a quarterback in the league.
- Wilson has scored 67.1 fantasy points in the 4th Quarter this season --the most of all quarterbacks--which make up 42.5 percent of his total on the season.
- 86.4 percent of Paul Richardson's receptions have resulted in a first down, the highest rate for all players with at least 20 receptions on the season.
Trust: Russell Wilson (he’s scored 25 or more points in four of his past five games and is third in the league in touchdown passes since Week 2 despite having a bye), Jimmy Graham (he’s had double-digit points in each of his past five games while Washington is allowing 81.1 yards per game to opposing tight ends, the most in the league), Chris Thompson (he’s had 15 or more points in six games, tied for the most of all running backs and Washington has embraced having him on the field more than they were suggesting they wanted to earlier in the season)
Bust: SEA RBs (record scratch), Tyler Lockett (he’s had the lowest floor of the Seattle wideouts while matching up with Josh Norman the most of the group), Paul Richardson (this is a tough assignment on the boundary as Richardson will run nearly 90 percent of his routes against Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman, but you can still continue to play Richardson as boom/bust WR3 while Wilson is on fire because he’s their scoring threat at the position, catching five of the seven scores this wide receiving unit has), Kirk Cousins (even with Earl Thomas out, we have to press pause on Cousins being a locked in starter on the road in Seattle with the Washington offense being so banged up. He’s been sacked eight times over the past two weeks after being sacked eight times over his first five games while depending on a satellite back to be the cornerstone of his passing production), Josh Doctson (he’s scored in three of his past five games, but has eight total receptions over that span and is still just a stash as he’s yet to finish higher than WR38 in any week), Rob Kelley (he’s yet to post eight points in any game this season), Ryan Grant (he gets a bump with Crowder inactive, but Crowder hasn't been effective for fantasy himself and Seattle has allowed five or more receptions to six wideouts all season)
Reasonable Return: Doug Baldwin (he’s had 22 targets and 15 receptions coming out of the bye while he’ll get the most favorable individual of the Seattle wideouts running 70 percent of his routes from the slot), Vernon Davis (while this isn’t as strong of a spot as he had earlier in the season when Reed missed a game versus Oakland, he’s been viable every time Reed has been absent at a position many owners are likely looking for help at)
Chiefs @ Cowboys
|41.2%||11||Opp. Rush %||36.7%||3|
|58.8%||22||Opp. Pass %||63.3%||30|
- The Chiefs scored 24 or more points in seven games, tied with the Eagles for the most in the league.
- Kansas City has scored a touchdown on 35.7 percent of their drives on the road this season, the highest rate in the league.
- After scoring 96.8 points over his first three games, Kareem Hunt has scored 72.2 points over his past five games (RB12 in points per game over that span).
- The Chiefs have run just four plays from inside of the 5-yard line over their past five games, 29th in the league over that span.
- The Cowboys have scored a touchdown on 31.1 percent of their possessions, the highest rate in the league.
- Kansas City is allowing 41.2 percent of opposing rushing attempts to go for five or more yards (31st), 18.1 percent for 10 or more yards (32nd) and have just a 19.4 percent stuff rate (26th).
- 13.5 percent of the Dallas rushing attempts have gained 10 or more yards, the third-highest rate in the league.
- 85.1 percent of the Dallas rushing attempts have gained positive yardage, the second-highest rate in the league.
- The Chiefs are allowing 14.0 yards per completed pass (31st), but allow a league-low 53.8 percent completion rate.
Trust: Dak Prescott (last week’s disappointing output stemmed from game script and sloppy weather, but Prescott has previously been a QB1 in every game prior while the Chiefs rank 24th in passing points allowed per game and have allowed the sixth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks on the season), Alex Smith (he was still the QB14 in his worst game of the season came against arguably the league’s best defense while this matchup is far lighter against a Dallas defense that ranks 25th in passing points allowed per game), Travis Kelce (no player has more 100-yard receiving games since the start of last year than Kelce’s nine and although Dallas has yet to allow a TE1 on the season, the best one they’ve faced was Evan Engram was in his first career game), Kareem Hunt (he just had scoring opportunities since the start of the season and his worst game came against the league’s stingiest defense to opposing backs, so don’t run away from him against a Dallas defense that is facing the fifth-fewest touches per game to backs, but is still 20th in points per game to the position), Ezekiel Elliott (he managed to play another week at least and it's a sweet spot against a team that has struggled to defend the run and has given up tons of points on the road)
Reasonable Return: Dez Bryant (he’ll avoid Marcus Peters on roughly 73 percent of his routes, but has been touchdown dependent as he’s had more than 63 yards in just one game), Jason Witten (he’s been a TE1 in just one of his past five games with more than three receptions just once over that span, but the Chiefs have allowed a top-10 scoring tight end in three of their past four games if you need an option for the heavy bye week), Tyreek Hill (he’s been a frustrating own as a boom/bust option while the Cowboys have allowed just two receivers to reach 80 yards in a game this season), Demarcus Robinson (we were never chasing his WR26 week from Week 7 against Denver last week, but he's playing nearly 90 percent of the team snaps in a game that has the highest implied total of the weekend if you need a moonshot option)
Raiders @ Dolphins
|48.1%||31||Opp. Rush %||43.1%||21|
|51.9%||2||Opp. Pass %||56.9%||12|
- The Dolphins are allowing passers to complete a league-high 69.9 percent of their passes while the Raiders are allowing 69.5 percent to be completed, 31st in the league.
- 31.4 percent of the Miami rushing attempts have failed to gain yardage, the highest rate in the league.
- Miami is generating 56.3 combined fantasy points per game as a team for their skill players, last in the league. League average outside of them is 70.1 points per game.
- The Dolphins have scored on 21.8 percent of their drives, 31st in the league.
- Opposing teams have scored on 46.2 percent of their drives versus Oakland, the second-highest rate in the league.
- After using Amari Cooper in the slot on 34.6 percent of his routes in Week 7, he ran 22.4 percent of his routes from the slot in Week 8 per Pro Football Focus.
- Oakland averages 20.8 rushing attempts per game (last in the league) after averaging 26.8 per game (11th) in 2016.
- Miami is allowing opposing teams to convert 75 percent of their red zone possessions into touchdowns, the highest rate in the league.
Trust: Derek Carr (he’s thrown 52 and 49 passes over the past two weeks, while we can’t count on that volume being necessary here, Miami has been an efficiency booster, ranking 25th in passing points allowed per attempt), Michael Crabtree (he’s notched double-digit points in every game but one with the highest scoring upside while Miami is 31st in points allowed per target to opposing wide receivers)
Bust: Marshawn Lynch (you can hope for a touchdown, but his usage just can’t be trusted as he hasn’t had more than 13 touches in a game since Week 1), MIA RBs (if desperate for a flex, you can use either one. Kenyan Drake had a season-high six touches last week in the run game while Damien Williams had zero, but Williams still may be the goal line option as he had six carries inside of the 5-yard line a year ago), Jay Cutler (we’ve had a few other times where we’ve tried to prop up Cutler with a solid matchup, but he’s yet to finish higher than QB18), Kenny Stills (he lost his Matt Moore security blanket and has been the WR30, WR55, WR81 and WR84 in the games in which Parker has been active this season)
Reasonable Return: Amari Cooper (after Oakland seemingly found the skeleton key in getting Cooper on more favorable matchups inside, they went away from, it, but the matchup should be enough to provide opportunity to make a play on a ceiling game with a safer floor than he’s had in tougher games), Jared Cook (he’s been a top-10 scorer in each of the past two weeks aided by the immense volume of the Oakland passing game, but even with a dip in that volume this week, Miami is allowing the second-most receptions per game to opposing tight ends), Jarvis Landry (even in his worst game last week he saw 12 targets and is essentially the Miami run game), DeVante Parker (the matchup isn’t daunting as Oakland is middling defending wideouts, but he hasn’t played since Week 5, which leaves him with a low floor coming off injury)
Lions @ Packers
|41.7%||14||Opp. Rush %||46.5%||29|
|58.3%||19||Opp. Pass %||53.5%||4|
- Marvin Jones has been targeted on 23.6 percent of his routes over the past two games after receiving a target on 12.3 percent of his routes for the season prior.
- 70.6 percent of the receiving yardage allowed by Green Bay has gone to wide receivers, the highest rate in the league.
- Matthew Stafford's 38.6 pass attempts per game are tied with Tom Brady for the most in the league.
- Stafford has thrown multiple touchdowns in five straight games against the Packers, one game short of the Lions franchise longest streak against Green Bay set by Bobby Layne.
- Over the previous two games with both active, Aaron Jones out-snapped Ty Montgomery 87 to 27.
- Jones is averaging 2.46 more yards per carry than the other running backs in Green Bay, the highest average above rest of team average for all running backs.
- 32.3 percent of Brett Hundley's completions have gained more than 10 yards, ahead of only Joe Flacco (29.9 percent). His 7.9 yards per completion are the lowest in the league.
- Hundley has completed 2-of-11 passes (18.2 percent) 15 yards or further downfield, the lowest rate in the league.
- Green Bay has scored on 5-of-20 possessions with Hundley under center over their past two games.
Trust: Marvin Jones/ Golden Tate (both have been top-16 scorers in each of the past two games and are seeing equal opportunity in the passing game while the way to attack the Packers is through wide receiver play, something Detroit is happy to oblige by)
Bust: Ameer Abdullah (after averaging 39 percent of the team touches through four games, Abdullah has averaged 29 percent over the past three weeks, finishing as a RB4 or lower in each of those games), Theo Riddick (he hasn’t had more than seven touches in a game since Week 2), Eric Ebron (his 7.8 points last week were a high since Week 2 and only good for TE14, while Green Bay is the only team that has yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end this season), Ty Montgomery (he may turn this backfield into more of a split out of the bye, but you need to see that happen before placing blind faith into it), Martellus Bennett (he’s yet to be a TE1 or have a double-digit scoring game on the season and is already talking about retirement in season), Randall Cobb (his yardage has dropped in succession in every game this season, catching nine passes for 72 yards over the past three games), Brett Hundley (until we have some reason to believe he’s better than what we've seen from him, there’s no reason to run him out in lineups unless we're hoping for rushing output to carry him)
Reasonable Return: Matthew Stafford (he’s thrown for 300-yards in back to back games, but the Packers have allowed just one quarterback higher than QB10 on the season), Aaron Jones (you can’t count on long touchdown runs to elevate him weekly, but has had 14 and 20 touches over the past two games with Montgomery active, which is enough to create RB2 opportunity), Davante Adams/Jordy Nelson (I would consider both WR3 options this week. Opposing teams have been using their best cover guy to guard Adams and not Nelson, so Adams could draw Darius Slay the most, but here we have two players that are touchdown dependent commodities that have now had that scoring upside put in jeopardy)
Trust = Player to outperform baseline expectations
Bust = Player to underperform baseline expectations
Reasonable Return = Baseline Play that won't hurt you
**All Vegas Lines are taken from Yahoo listings on Tuesday Evenings