Week 9 Game by Game Breakdown

Week 9 2017

ARI, TEN, JAX, GB, LAR, NYG all were on bye last week, so those are the teams especially at risk for increased variance this week. I’m also adding in some charts that Scott Barrett and Mike Beers put together as they are invaluable (you should also follow both on Twitter especially since these are much crisper there):

BUF (23) @ NYJ (20)

TyGod finally has a legit, healthy WR1 on this team – welcome to your new forever home, K-Benj! Unfortunately, they aren’t adding him to the Mon-Thurs slate so I won’t be able to late swap for him there. Grumblecakes. Either way, this acquisition should help all offensive options as it will open things up for McCoy and J-Matt, while also making K-Benj the only legit outside WR. While it is enticing to go Benjamin here right away, I won’t do it on the large slate as I doubt he has had time to learn the playbook or get chemistry with Taylor. He will line up across from Morris Claiborne, the Jets best CB, for most of his day as well. While Matthews hasn’t looked very good this year, I feel like his thumb should be nearing 100% and he will go up against the Jets weakest CB in the slot – 95th ranked Buster Skrine. We have also seen the Jets give up TDs out of the slot in back-to-back weeks, so I think J-Matt is more intriguing than one would first assume coming in here. He probably doesn’t have 20+ point upside, but he probably has a ceiling along the lines of 5-50-1.

While the Jets are slightly better against the run, 18th in DVOA, that is still nothing to write home about. Shady also gashed them for 23.9 points in Week 1, and between this, game script in his favor, and how he has looked recently, I fully expect Shady to see extreme ownership here. Outside of that game to McCoy and a 24.5 game to Fournette, however, the Jets haven’t ceded another 20+ point day on the year. Looking at their foes though, that seems to speak more about their competition than anything else as they played the Falcons, Dolphins x 2, Browns, Raiders, and Pats.

While BUF is 8th against the run and 12th against the pass, they are only 17th against TEs. Also, large-bodied receivers are the only receivers to have any success on Buffalo this year. I’m sure that Anderson in particular will have some ownership in contests on this slate, and he is always capable of a big play, but I think his ownership will be higher than it should here and I don’t like how he lines up against Buffalo (he will go up mainly against #5 CB, Tre-Davious White). ASJ is consistently seeing at least 5 targets – he has met or exceeded this mark in each of his last 4 games – and we have seen Buffalo occasionally lose TEs in coverage (I’m looking at OJ Howard two weeks ago when they just decided not to cover him). At $4900, lower ownership than Anderson, and in a good game script, he is who I would roll with if you must choose a Jets receiver here. It’s obviously less than ideal though since he hasn’t gone over 46 yards in a single game and you are relying on him to score a TD.

Powell and Forte continue their unattractive time share. I continue to stay away.

BAL (19.75) @ TEN (23.25)

Walker was still out of practice early in the week, but Corey Davis finally returned here. At this point, Walker is trending towards not playing while Davis should suit up. Either way, BAL is 2ndagainst the pass, and Jimmy Smith is as shutdown as it comes. I’m not sure if they will stick him on Davis or Matthews here, but I’m not willing to risk either since this is the strength of their D. Decker has also looked pretty terrible for most of the year and gets a less than ideal match-up in the slot.

While the Ravens are weaker against the run, they are still ranked pretty highly as they grade out 8th in DVOA. While I have talked before about how good Brandon Williams is, their o-line definitely has some question marks on their left side, and they have given up big days even since Williams returned (I’m especially looking at the 18-113-1 rushing line that McKinnon put up on them two weeks ago and the 36-167-0 line from the week before that from Howard). Murray is practicing in full now, so I assume his hamstring is 100%, but he is just one of those players that I never truly love rostering as I don’t really know if he has 30+ point upside is at this point. He has only had one 100+ yard game so far this year and, while he did put up 22 DK points in that one, he has failed to top 60 rushing yards in any other contest. He should see plenty of work here though as he saw 18 carries and 4 targets 2 weeks ago when he wasn’t 100%, and I think that they bye probably helped him a lot. Thus, I’m projecting at least 16-70-0.5 rushing with 3-4 targets as well. If he gets that TD, then he hits value. You won’t need many shares to put you overweight and I like having exposure to him in a positive game script with a good match-up. If you do roster him, just be ready to tilt when Henry gets an improbable 80-yard TD run on his handful of touches. In case you were wondering, I will not be rostering Henry as he only averaged 1.0 ypc against the Browns 2 weeks ago, saves you only $400, and I won’t be surprised if he sees even fewer touches this week due to DeMarco being healthier.

Flacco looks like he will be able to suit up for this one after a concussion he sustained last Thursday on a nasty hit. This is obviously good news for the Raven pass-catchers. Wallace has graded out very poorly this year, but gets the worst Titans’ CB and should see around 5 targets in a game where the Ravens figure to trail. At only $3600, if he scores a TD or goes over 100 yards, you are in pretty good shape. I don’t mind a sprinkling here, but definitely don’t go overboard.

TEN does grade out stronger against the run, 14th in DVOA, and they have only allowed one 20+ point scorer on the year – Miller in Week 4 – but I don’t think that they are actually all that strong. They have seen a lot of RBBCs and if we start adding those lines together, we are looking at several other 20+ point games. For example, DJ-lite and Crowell combined for 24.2, Carson and Prosise tag-teamed them for 23.6 points, and while not a true RBBC, Ivory and Fournette put up 21.9 on them. Collins looked awesome last week as he tagged the Dolphins for 113 rushing yards on only 18 carries, and he is by far the best runner in this backfield. Collins costs only $4600 here and you will get him at super low ownership. It also helps Collins that Stanley is the top-graded run-blocking tackle per PFF.

IND (19.5) @ HOU (26.25)

After a non-contact injury during practice tore Watson’s ACL, Tom Savage has taken back over as a starter. This is obviously devastating for Watson after starting out his rookie campaign by setting the league on fire with a hyper-efficient pace that was on pace to shatter pretty much every rookie record out there. (I had around 500 words previously drafted on how I would fade him this week due to how unsustainable it was, but that’s neither here nor there at this point.) I obviously hope that he heals up soon and is able to return to his level of play as it was really fun to watch him, and he is clearly a great asset for the Texans organization. Also, depending upon how the Texans fare the rest of the year, I think he should still have a legitimate shot at Rookie of the Year.

So what can we do with Savage and the Texans here? The Colts secondary has just been decimated as they rank 30th against the pass and none of their CBs rank above 81st per PFF. We don’t have a ton of data on Savage as he lasted half a game against the Jags, but to be fair, the Jags have destroyed pretty much every opposing QB so far this year. For this week, Fuller is clearly completely hands off for me as he is way too pricey and the regression monster is hungry. Fuller has now had 7 receiving TDs on only 13 receptions over his previous 4 games, which extrapolates out to 52 catches for 28 (!!!) receiving TDs over the course of a full 16-game season. I originally loved Ryan Griffin as a leverage play, but I don’t think I can go here anymore. While he will remain a part of their game plan, he hasn’t seen a RZ target in the past 3 weeks, and I just feel like the whole scoring “pie” is much smaller now. Just as a quick note in case you were curious, Griffin saw only 2 targets last game, but averaged 5.75 targets over his previous 4 before that, so I’m thinking we can project around another 3-4 targets here. Hopkins price is through the roof, which is definitely hard to swallow, but I actually kind of like him here. He is going to see sub-5% ownership in a great spot, so it comes down to whether you think Savage is as bad as he looked in Week 1 or if that was just the Jaguars doing their thing. Personally, I’m willing to have some shares and give Savage the benefit of the doubt.

Since Watson’s injury happened midweek, the Texans also just might say, “screw it,” and pound the ball all day. HOU is overall the 5th-most run-heavy team in situation-agnostic scenarios this year, which definitely suggests that this is a definite possibility. The weird part about this is that they become the 10th-most pass-heavy team when they have a lead of 7+ points. I’m still unsure about how I’m going to interpret this information, so let’s keep diving in. Last week was the first week Miller saw over 20 carries on the whole year and apparently Foreman has been demoted due to poor practices (not due to walking out last Friday after the owner’s comments… sure). While he continues to be fairly inefficient as he has gone under 3.0 YPC in back-to-back weeks, over this time he has faced a very strong Browns team and a resurgent Seahawks squad (they have gotten much better after picking up Mo Wilkerson). While Indy does grade out stronger against the run, 19th in DVOA, they have held their opponent’s lead back under 19.5 DK points in only 3 weeks so far this year and have given up multiple rushing TDs in 2 out of their last 3. The HOU line does grade out fairly poorly per PFF – especially now that they traded away Brown – but they have generated 4.10 adjusted line yards (ALY) per FO, which is good enough for 13th-best. Labs currently has him projected at 21-25% ownership, and I think I’m going to be pretty far underweight on that.

The Texans lost another d-lineman as Christian Covington went down for the season with a torn triceps, but so far the line has somehow just kept chugging along as they rank 6th against the run. Unfortunately for Mack, they do also rank an even better 4th against receiving backs, so it’s hard to really love him here. It was heartening to see him get a season-high 11 carries last week and another 5 targets on top of that, with 2 carries and 1 target coming in the RZ, but I just don’t think I can roster him this week.

Surprise, surprise, Andrew Luck has now been placed on season-ending IR, so it’s Brissett’s show to run henceforth. Chuck Pagano has also talked again about how they have to get Hilton the ball more, and we know how much Hilton likes playing on artificial turf. Dan mentioned this in his video this week, but $4900 for someone with Hilton’s talent is insane, especially when we can comfortably project 7+ targets for them. Hilton will also avoid HOU’s top CB, Johnathan Joseph, for most of the day as Joseph stays put on the left side, while Hilton moves around quite a bit. Chuck Pagano could just scheme him completely away from Joseph, but I just don’t think he is talented enough to do that. While Hilton is chalky, I’m just going to eat some chalk on this one as you cannot afford to miss him at this price. As I mentioned last week, Doyle is also a volume-based option, just don’t expect another line of 12-121-1.

DEN (17.25) @ PHI (24.75)

Siemian was just god awful against the Chiefs, so Vance Joseph already demoted him for Osweiler (Joseph also stated that Lynch is not a candidate to start presumably due to his shoulder). If we wind back the clock to when Brock took over in 2015, we might be able to get a picture of how this passing game will shake out. Frankly, it wasn’t great. Osweiler had multiple passing TDs only twice over 8 weeks and threw 6 picks. In regards to WRs during that period, D-Thom and Sanders saw 30.5% and 23.2% of the targets respectively (thanks to Graham Barfield for doing the heavy lifting on that one). I’m also going to compare their game logs from that period to see if we can really like either here:

Week D-Thom Sanders
Receptions Yards TDs DK Score Receptions Yards TDs DK Score
10 7 71 0 14.1 0 0 0 0
11 3 59 1 14.9 0 0 0 0
12 1 36 0 4.6 6 113 0 20.3
13 6 61 1 18.1 3 19 0 4.9
14 10 95 0 19.5 2 17 0 3.7
15 5 61 2 23.1 10 181 1 37.1
16 7 59 0 12.9 4 67 1 16.7
17 5 117 1 25.7 5 99 0 14.9

As you can see, Manny was hurt for the first couple of weeks, and this seems to have really impacted Thomas as well. Once he returned, they went back and forth with big weeks, but D-Thom was the more stable option while Manny had the higher ceiling. It will make sense for the Eagles if they try and get Douglas on D-Thom as much as possible since he physically matches up better with him, but I assume that both Douglas and Mills will end up with about equal amounts of Sanders and Thomas (this is assuming that Darby doesn’t play here). While Mills continued to look very bad at the start of the year, he has improved a lot over the last few weeks and now gets an “Average” grade from PFF, so I definitely want to give him props for picking it up. I prefer Sanders due to his high upside – and personal bias since I have always been a Sanders fan – but I don’t hate Thomas since he saw over 30% of Brock’s targets previously. The Philly D will create turnovers here, so you need at least 300 yards and 2 TDs from Brock to hit 4x value since I assume he will give up at least 2 TOs here. It’s on the outside realm of happening, but I think I prefer Savage if you really want to go dumpster diving. I originally worried that Fletcher Cox might miss this one due to a suspension after fracturing Staley’s orbital bone last week, but the league has absolved him of wrongdoing, so this further downgrades the pass game (he’s a top-5 DI in the pass rush department).

As I noted last week, even though Philly is incredibly stout against the run, they are giving up a lot of receiving points to backs over the previous few weeks and they just gave up another 13.9 to Breida (this makes it 4 weeks in a row of 13.6+ receiving points to a back). This rules out CJA as he has seen only 3 total targets over his previous 3 games. Charles has seen 8 targets over this same period, but only 1 came in the last game. Booker has averaged over 4 targets through his past 3 and has also seen his carries rise in each of those as well, but due to the overall RBBC approach on a relatively weak offense, I don’t think I can roster any of them. I did just pick up Booker on my dynasty team, however, as I like his odds of making an impact moving forward.

Ertz got added to the injury report on Thursday with a hamstring injury, and getting added late is always worrisome, but Pederson said he will be good to go. This is very good news as the strength of their CBs funnels targets to the TE position, who they are definitely susceptible to as they only rank 27th against them.

Week Recs RecYards Rec TDs DK Points
Travis Kelce 8 7 133 1 29.3
Hunter Henry 7 4 73 0 11.3
Evan Engram 6 5 82 1 19.2
Charles Clay 3 6 39 1 15.9
Jason Witten 2 10 97 1 25.7

Ertz also has an incredible floor as he has gone over 13 points in every single contest this year (he has, surprisingly, not gone over 20 yet all year though). While he does have 5 TDs in his last 4 games, a pace that he obviously cannot continue, I’m definitely going to have some shares here.

The Eagles just traded for Ajayi and only had to give up a 4th rounder for him. Originally, I was fairly unhappy about this as I felt like the trade capital could be better spent elsewhere (e.g. OT), but after thinking about this some more, he statistically graded out as one of the best runners last year and this could be a steal. As my friend Derek pointed out, the Eagles just used a 4th-rounder on Pumphrey this past year, so that puts some real life perspective on what kind of RB you might get if you just kept the pick. I’m not optimistic that Ajayi’s knee will ever be 100% – it was bone-on-bone coming out of college, which is why he fell to the 5th round originally – but he clearly wasn’t working out in Gase’s system. Either way, I can’t roster him this week as DEN is 1st against the run and have only allowed 1 runner to go for more than 55 yards on the ground against them. Also, Ajayi has had less than a week to learn the playbook and I’m not actually sure how many touches he will get this week. I suppose you could hang your hat on this being a positive game script and DEN not having film on what kind of blocking schemes the Eagles will run for him, but I can’t do it.

ATL (22.5) @ CAR (20)

Apparently the Panthers traded away Benjamin “to help their run game.” The slightly longer explanation of this is that he was running such short routes, which clogged the area around the line of scrimmage. Personally, I assumed that having a 6’5” WR doing some blocking for you would be a good thing, but I haven’t watched enough of their tape to actually give a great opinion on whether this trade will help their ground game or not. I also assume that this means that Olsen is on track to return in the next week or two. Either way, Funchess is now the only even semi-legitimate outside WR on this team and should flirt with 8-10 targets here (he has seen at least 6 in every week after Week 1). Due to the projected negative game script, the trade, and his price of only $5400, he is going to be wildly popular here. While the Falcons are a fairly inept 25th in DVOA against the pass, unfortunately for Funchess, he plans to see Trufant for around half the day. Further dampening his prospects is that only fast outside receivers have fared well against the Falcons so far and Funchess plods away to the tune of a 4.7 forty. True, they haven’t really faced many WRs his size, but we just saw them bottle Gronk up for 3-51-0 last week, and that is the best recent comparison I can find. I won’t do a full fade on Funchess, but I also probably won’t match the field as I’m expecting 25-30% ownership on him.

The Falcons are a bumbling 27th against the run, and I feel like trading K-Benj really means that they are committing to CMC here. I say “committing” only in the loosest sense as they have already given him a 25% market share and has seen at least 7 targets in each of his last 4. DK priced him all the way up at $6500, which irks me as that is a very high tag for a RB who gets extraordinarily little production on the ground. Even at this price tag, I do think that we should have some exposure to him as he is an excellent leverage play off of Funchess as he will see about 1/3 the ownership. If we remove the 2 outlier 3-catch games against the Falcons (I feel fairly comfortable doing this since their opponents just ran it against them in those two), they have given up an average line of 8.4-67.6-0.6 to receiving backs over their other 5, which calculates out to 18.76 DK points. Even though I liked J-Stew last week, it appears that his usage is dwindling as he has only topped 11 carries once over the past 3 weeks and it was very concerning to see him only get 11 totes during their win last week. He always has a better shot than most think to score a TD, but you really need 2 TDs with his limited usage for him to smash value, and that seems like a tenuous proposition at best.

It makes me cry that Julio has only seen 10+ targets in 6 games over the past season and a half. Just for comparison, AB has 17 over this same period. His price has now dropped down to $7800 and projects to see only 15ish% ownership, and the game/price history for Julio on Labs literally does not go back far enough to show the last time he was below $8k. Words literally fail me when I try to describe how poorly Sark is running this offense. Julio has seen 6 targets in the RZ across his last 2, and I have to think that at some point Ryan will just start targeting him regardless of the play call, so I will absolutely have some shares here. Sanu out-targeted him again last week, 7-6, and gets a juicy match-up against the 91st-ranked Captain Munnerlyn in the slot. Thus, Sanu might again be the play here. Sigh. I had some shares of Sanu last week, but I just prefer Julio this week at his price and ownership. I’m sure that Sark will make me rue this decision.

Freeman got banged up last week and hasn’t topped 12 carries in 3 straight weeks at this point (his volume is hovering at J-Stew level). Carolina also continues to be strong against the run as the season-high rushing yardage they have given up is 71, which came last week to Doug Martin. Between this, Sark’s bad play calling, and the RBBC nature of this offense, I really don’t want any of Coleman or Freeman.

LAR (23) @ NYG (19)

Jenkins will miss this one for violating team rules and this will be a huge hit to their passing D, which already ranks a lowly 22nd in DVOA. Kupp will have the hardest match-up against DRC in the slot, but we know that Goff will stare him down regardless (this frustrates the crap out of me). Goff targeted him an amazing 10 times overall with 5 of those coming in the RZ last week against the Cardinals, and the only time that he went under 7 targets over the past 4 was against the Jags. Personally, I feel like Kupp is fairly inefficient and doesn’t really have a 20-point ceiling, but we have seen him hit 17 points twice already, so I guess it’s possible he puts up 6-60-2 at some point. Woods is a guy I want to like as he should see his normal 6-8 targets here, but he hasn’t had a single target in the RZ over the previous 3 weeks, so you are basically counting on him breaking a long TD. And then we have Watkins. He is only averaging 3.75 targets across his last 4 and seen just 1 RZ target during this period, but he has trended upwards over the past couple with targets of 5>4>=4>2. He is only $4200 here, which is tremendous for his talent, but Goff just seems locked on to Kupp, so I don’t know if I can take the plunge. We also know that the Giants are incredibly vulnerable across the middle to TEs:

Week Recs RecYards Rec TDs DK Points
Jimmy Graham 7 3 51 1 14.1
Jeff Heuerman 6 2 24 1 10.4
Hunter Henry 5 3 42 1 13.2
Cameron Brate 4 4 80 1 18.0
OJ Howard 4 2 63 1 14.3
Zach Ertz 3 8 55 1 18.5
Eric Ebron 2 5 42 1 15.2
Jason Witten 1 7 59 1 18.9

Unfortunately, I just don’t think we can target Higbee here as he has only seen 3 targets in back-to-back weeks, but he did average 7 per game over the two before that, and Everett has only seen 3 targets total over his last 2 (but the 0 target outlier last week should regress back to his 3 target norm). If we get any word that Higbee’s usage will pick back up, he makes for an excellent cheap option.

The Giants are an even worse 24th against the run, and Olivier Vernon will probably miss this one (he hasn’t played since Week 4). While the anemic Broncos and Seahawks managed fairly poor rushing lines against them, if we go back to the Chargers in Week 5, we saw Gordon put up 37.3 points on them through a 100-yard rushing day and 2 TDs through the air. Gurley continues to be a workhorse as he has seen 22+ carries in 4 out of his last 5, and he has also seen 7+ targets in 3 of these. The Rams are also #3 in the league with 4.77 adjusted line yards per rush per FO. Needless to say, between the game script, his usage, and the Giants’ weakness to the run, Gurley makes for an outstanding play here.

The Rams are 3rd against the pass and 4th against TEs, but we know that Eli will lock onto Engram here regardless. Over his past two, Engram has gone for 6-60-1 and 5-82-1 against the Seahawks and Broncos respectively, and I assume that he will get another 7+ targets in this one. Shepard will return here, but he gets a touch match-up against Robey-Coleman in the slot, and I will be staying away from him.

The Rams are a much weaker 17th against the run, but the Giants backfield remains a mess. Darkwa seemed to take over after he had his 21-carry 117-yard game against the Broncos, but then he immediately saw his usage drop to just 9 carries against Seattle. Part of this might have been game flow, but that doesn’t really bode well here either since the Rams figure to lead. Assuming that they are trailing, Vereen will probably see the most targets, but they all seem to get a couple. If you think the Giants will somehow be leading this, I would roll with Darkwa under the assumption that he will get another 20+ touches, but this feels like an incredibly bold call.

CIN (16.75) @ JAX (22.25)

Let me start this section off by saying that Jacksonville is the premier defensive play on the week, slightly ahead of the Eagles in my opinion. The Cincy line is ranked 3rd-worst in pass protection per FO, and they have already given up 22 sacks on the year, which is only 11th-worst. Thus, we should see more sacks down the line. Dalton also has an already horrible 11:8 TD to INT ratio and is only averaging 209 yards per game. This could approach 1:1 by the end of the weekend. To make this even worse for the Bengals, JAX picked up Dareus last week, making their already frightening defense even better. I suppose you could take a flyer on AJG with the assumption that they force the ball to him come hell or high water ala Roethlisberger-style, but this is not a recipe for success overall. They could try to go Kroft here, but JAX is also 6th in DVOA against TEs. Kroft has averaged 5.5 targets over his last 4, so he should see a similar number here.

While Jacksonville ranks dead last against the run, they should be much stronger with Dareus. Cincy is also a bottom-3 line in regards to run blocking, and they couldn’t even get anything going against Indy last week, so I don’t have much hope for them here in what should be a much more negative game script. I also don’t want to pay $5100 for Mixon when I can have Collins cheaper and at lower ownership.

Dede Westbrook will return for this one, but I assume that they will ease him in here. Keep an eye on this though as if he returns with no limitations, I assume that he will line up primarily on the left side against the 93rd-ranked Dre Kirkpatrick. Regardless, I’m super excited for his return as he ran a 4.34 at his pro day and had an absolutely monster preseason (like 13-288-2 over 3 games and highest QB rating when being targeted by 20 points monster). Dude looked good and I can’t believe that I could get him on my dynasty team. Lee didn’t practice until Friday, so I doubt he is all that healthy at this point, and he will go up against the much stronger Jackson anyway. Hurns has a mediocre match-up against Dennard in the slot, but this is a low-volume passing offense regardless, so I don’t love targeting him. If you have to pick one of the two, I prefer Hurns, but I’m not expecting a huge game.

Fournette will also return here, so I won’t have to be suckered in by the Ivory trap, which I’m immensely glad for. While Cincy does rank stronger against the run – 10th in DVOA – I don’t fear them all that much as we have seen a RB put up at least 14.9 points on them in 4 straight weeks and Bell gashed them for over 190 all-purpose yards and 25.2 points two weeks ago. We know that the Bengals are going to feed Fournette here as he will definitely see over 20 carries and he is as much of a lock as anyone to get 100+ yards and an TD on the ground. Personally, I prefer Hunt and Gurley, but I think Fournette is a fine option.

TB (22.75) @ NO (29.25)

The Bucs are a hot mess on defense as they are allowing almost +5 points above expectation to QBs and over +8 to WR1s. Both Brees and Thomas will be popular, but I’m definitely going to have exposure to both. I’ve been playing Thomas the last couple of weeks and he hasn’t hurt me, but he also hasn’t really helped either since he hasn’t scored in any of his past 3 and hasn’t gone over 100 yards in a single game all year. Regardless, we all know that a huge game is coming, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss it. A good differentiation option is Ginn here, especially if the Bucs can keep it close. While we have seen him get only 4 targets in 2 of his last 3, when they were trailing against GB, we saw Brees target him 7 times in comeback mode, which he turned into 7-141-0. Brent Grimes will miss another one for TB, so this should pit Ginn against his replacement, Ryan Smith, further improving Ginn’s outlook. Willie Snead only played 4 snaps last week, but Payton has said that he “will have a role down the stretch.” I have no idea what that means, so I’m steering clear of both Snead and Coleman. TB is a surprisingly stout 11th against TEs, but Fleener has faded anyway and got out-targeted by Josh Hill last week. Sure, one of them might catch a TE because the NFL is wacky, but I prefer to bet on higher likelihood outcomes.

Ingram fumbled twice this past week, so this definitely doesn’t bode well for him here. If you had him last year, you will probably remember how he fumbled twice over a period of 2 weeks then as well. Payton promptly benched him and then forced him into a RBBC with the terrible Tim Hightower for the rest of the year (he literally only saw 5 more carries than Hightower for the rest of the year). After Ingram’s second fumble last week, Kamara saw all of the additional touches afterward. With this type of history, I think Kamara will be heavily involved in this one and boy is this a perfect setup for him. While TB is stronger against the run, they still only rank 20th in DVOA and an even lousier 25th to receiving backs. NO also creates the most adjusted line yards in the league with 5.01 per carry, so this is obviously good for both Ingram and Kamara. Scott Barrett apparently talked to a beat writer about this situation, and the writer said that Ingram got his full complement of touches at Friday’s practice, so maybe Payton is becoming kinder and gentler with age. Regardless of whether Ingram loses touches or not, NO’s strengths versus TB’s weaknesses really align well for Kamara here. The Saints o-line is weakest on its interior as that is where Gerald McCoy roams and TB is at their strongest. While they are strong in the middle, TB has a lot of problems on the edge though, and that is where NO’s linemen grade out the best. Also, Kamara has a tendency to bounce outside anyway (if you pull up some of the NextGenStat charts for him, you will see this). While Kamara did only see 3 targets last week against the Bears, I feel like that is more about the Bears not really being competitive than anything else since he saw 7 the week before against GB. The problem is his price as he is all the way up at $6300, and he will have problems returning value if he doesn’t get more work or if he can’t keep up his hyper-efficiency. In sum, I like both Ingram and Kamara, but I won’t be surprised if I end up with more exposure to Kamara this week.

I love Doug Martin in this spot. Yes, game script is a concern, but Winston should be healthier here and there won’t be high winds causing him to make costly turnovers here. Martin has faced several tough run defenses in a row between the Bills (8th), Panthers (7th), and Cardinals (12th), but he still averaged around 17 carries and 2.5 targets in each. This week he gets a cupcake match-up against the 29th ranked Saints. NO just gave up 103 yards to Howard and 131 to Jones the week before that, with both of them averaging over 4.4 YPC (Jones was all the way up at 7.7). Martin only costs $5800, which is tremendous value for his bellcow role, and you will get him at around 5% ownership. Sign me up.

Marshon Lattimore is for real and currently ranks #1 among all CBs per PFF. This bodes ill for Mike Evans. I’m not sure if I will fully fade him or what at this point as I have concerns that Jameis will just target him regardless since this is what Jameis does (clearly not a great way to win the game if he decides to go that route here). D-Jax will also face a tough challenge in Ken Crawley on the other side, the 20th-ranked CB, but Winston has targeted him fairly heavily recently (8 apiece in back-to-back games). If they connect on the homerun ball, he can 3x his salary in one play. The Saints biggest weakness in their secondary is their slot and Adam Humphries will probably see his normal 5-6 targets here:

  Week Recs Rec Yards Rec TDs DK Points
Golden Tate 6 7 96 1 22.60
Chris Hogan 2 5 78 1 18.80
Adam Thielen 1 9 157 0 27.70

I don’t think I can bring myself to roster him though as I don’t think he has huge upside, and I just think Winston is going to focus on his other options. NO is also a strong 9th in DVOA against TEs, but they haven’t faced anyone of note since Week 2 where Gronk put up 6-116-1 on them. Brate is clearly not Gronk, but I think he is more talented than a lot of people realize and he has seen 8+ targets in 3 out of his last 4. His price is fairly high at $4500, but I definitely like him here.

ARI (20.75) @ SF (18.25)

In another blow to an already incredibly weak run D, DL Solomon Thomas has an MCL sprain, so he will probably miss this one. They are also losing SS Jimmie Ward to the IR due to a broken arm. Arizona OC Harold Goodwin had this amazing quote about AP, “It’s like an old stove. The more wood you put in it, the hotter it gets.” He went on to say how they would “feed the beast.” The Cardinals clearly want to limit what they have Stanton do here, and they are hoping that AP can put up another 100+ yard game like he did two weeks ago against the Bucs. The two big problems with this plan is a) I still feel like AP is fairly washed at this point and b) their o-line is bottom-10 in run blocking with 4 out of the 5 starters grading out as “Poor” overall per PFF. I’m not excited about it, but I might end up with a little AP here. Overall, I much prefer Martin in the same price range and a better offense though.

With Carson Palmer out, that puts Drew Stanton at the helm. Ugh. He might check it down to Fitz frequently, but I think that they are really going to try and cap how many times Stanton throws it especially since the game should remain close.

Joe Staley will probably miss this one with that eye injury he sustained, so this would be a major downgrade to their o-line. SF just gave up a 2nd rounder for Garoppolo and cut Hoyer, but now they are saying that he might not start at all this year. I find this hard to believe since they should see what they have in him since he will be a FA after this year. Regardless, CJ Beathard gets at least one more start this week, which I am wildly unexcited about. I’m further downgrading the passing attack here as Garcon has now been placed on the IR due to the neck injury he sustained last week. With Garcon down, I’m not sure if PP will shadow in this one with the dearth of talent on S, and he might end up just playing a side. If he does end up just on a single side, that will put him on Lord Aldrick for the majority of the time, while Goodwin gets the average Williams on the other side. Anyway, we know that Arizona is very beatable through the air when you don’t target PP:

Player Position Week Rsh RshYD RshTD Rec RecYd RecTD FantPt
Cooper Kupp Slot 7 0 0 0 4 51 1 15.1
Cameron Brate TE 6 0 0 0 6 76 1 19.6
Mike Evans WR1 6 0 0 0 3 95 1 18.5
Nelson Agholor Slot 5 0 0 0 4 93 1 19.3
Zach Ertz TE 5 0 0 0 6 61 1 18.1
Torrey Smith Outside WR2 5 1 -3 0 3 70 1 15.7
Brice Butler Outside WR2 3 0 0 0 2 90 1 17
Jack Doyle TE 2 0 0 0 8 79 0 15.9
Golden Tate Slot 1 2 7 0 10 107 0 24.4
Kenny Golladay Outside WR2 1 0 0 0 4 69 2 22.9

Trent Taylor has looked bad and shouldn’t see more than 3-5 targets in a bad offense, so I don’t think you will regret not rostering him. Goodwin’s usage has swung wildly from 2 to 11 targets over the past 5 games and I just don’t think I can trust him here. As you can see from above, the Cardinals have had some issues with TEs, and Kittle’s target share rose up to 4 last week after his inexplicable 2 from the week before. I don’t love the play since we have seen his usage vary so much and the offensive pie is so small in general, but he is my pick to have the best receiving day.

Gurley was the first RB to put up 100+ yards on the ground against ARI and the Cardinals are 12thagainst the run in general, but Hyde continues to hover around 13 carries per game. I hate the usage and won’t roster him here unless Shanahan says that they will ride him hard. I don’t see this happening though.

WAS (18.75) @ SEA (26.25)

Earl Thomas has a “slight” hamstring pull, but has already been ruled out this week, so it doesn’t sound so slight to me. Chancellor was very limited in practice while Wagner missed both Thursday and Friday with another hamstring injury, so we need to monitor both of them here (Chancellor looks more likely to play at this point). Jordan Reed will miss this one with a hamstring strain, and Crowder was a DNP on Friday also with a hammy injury. He will go through warmups, but I will be very surprised if he plays. WAS will also be without starting OT Trent Williams in this one and starting C Spencer Long also hasn’t practiced all week. The good news is that RG Brandon Scherff returned to practice, so at least he should play here. You can consider the SEA defense here, but they are without a lot of their big playmakers and their best way to a big day will be a strip sack from their defensive front. I don’t love any of the WAS WRs here, but Davis should have full reign of the middle of the field with both Crowder and Reed out. Chancellor frequently lines up against TEs, so if he somehow misses this one, that would be even better for Davis’s prospects. SEA is overall #1 against TEs though, so you might just want to avoid everyone here altogether.

Chris Thompson continues to be hyper efficient and might be their best receiving option here (especially if Wagner misses). If he ends up getting double-digit targets, he will probably pay off his salary of $6100, but you are completely relying on volume and his athleticism here. I probably won’t end up here with Martin cheaper and Kamara/CMC slightly more expensive.

The Seattle o-line just got a huge upgrade as the Seahawks traded for Duane Brown, who was the Texans highest-graded lineman last year. He has sat out most of this year due to his contract dispute, but he returned last week and he will provide immediate help here. Carroll has also made it sound like Lacy will get a lot of work here. I’m not sure if the additional touches will really help him as he hasn’t looked good with limited work, but WAS is 11th against the run. Kareem Hunt and Zeke both put up 100+ rushing yards, and a couple of different backs have had multiple TDs, but I’m not comfortable predicting Lacy for either of these things. CJ Prosise should finally return for this one, but I make no guarantees on how long he will hold up for.

Jimmy Graham didn’t practice on Wednesday, but this seems like a maintenance day as he wasn’t on the final injury report. This is great news as TEs have consistently abused WAS and Graham is tied for the league lead in RZ targets:

Week Recs RecYards Rec TDs DK Points
Zach Ertz 7 5 89 1 19.9
Travis Kelce 4 7 111 1 27.4
Jared Cook 3 4 43 1 14.3
Gerald Everett 2 3 95 0 12.5
Zach Ertz 1 8 93 0 17.3

KC (25.75) @ DAL (28.25)

Zeke is officially playing after his final appeal came through. The drama will continue to unfold after this week and will potentially extend into the postseason if they make it that far. Unless they are damn sure that they can beat this thing, this seems sub-optimal to me as the Cowboys need Zeke for any kind of playoff run they plan on making. Either way, he is in a great spot here as he goes up against the 31st ranked Chiefs who have given up rushing TDs in 3 straight weeks and allowed Bell to truck them for 179 rushing yards a couple of weeks ago. As I mentioned last week, Zeke hasn’t scored under 17 points since Week 2, and that was the only time that this happened all year. He will also probably be the highest-owned back on the week. I don’t think that you can do a full fade unless you are super ballsy/moderately insane, but I don’t hate the idea of being underweight on the field (he will probably see 25-30% ownership). Zeke has also scored 5 TDs in his last 2 games, which is completely unsustainable.

If you decide to roll the dice and go light on Zeke, I highly recommend rolling with Bryant and Dak here (or going with the Dak-Zeke-Dez triple stack). Peters almost exclusively plays on one side, so Dez will already miss him for half of the day if he runs routes like he normally does. Jason Garrett could have him miss him entirely if he so desires, and I actually have faith that he could do this. Assuming that Dez does stay on the left, he will go up against replacement corner Ken Acker. The other reason that I really like Dez here is that he is tied for the league lead with 14 RZ targets. If Zeke’s TDs suddenly go to Dez, you are in a great spot, because if Zeke “only” puts up 150 yards and no TDs, those 18 points won’t kill you. Again, I’m not saying that this will happen, I’m just saying that Zeke’s TD rate is unsustainable and 18 points from a player priced at $9000 won’t end your day.

DAL continues to be ranked low against TEs – they are 29th this week – they continue to not allow big days to them. I thought their reckoning had finally come in the form of Jordan Reed last week, but he promptly got injured. Kelce has seen his targets fluctuate a mystifying amount as he only saw 5 against the Raiders, who are historically weak against TEs, but then came back with a strong 10 target game against the Broncos (who are also weak against TEs). Hopefully he sees another double-digit target day, but no guarantees here. DAL has also been abused out of the slot, and the Chiefs do run Hill out of there on 38% of his routes, so he could have several big plays from there especially if they have him run out of there more frequently.

I know that I have been poo-pooing Kareem Hunt over the past couple of weeks, but I absolutely love him in this spot. Dallas is 30th against the run and is allowing over 4.3 YPC. Hunt also has not scored in his last 5 games, but is tied for the 7th-most RZ carries in the league. Hunt is still seeing 18+ carries even in difficult match-ups (he has gone below 17 only once since Week 2), and his receiving gives him a super solid floor. Due to his lack of big games and currently high price tag, you will get him at an ownership discount this week. I recommend loading up as I think he has an excellent chance of going for 100+ rushing yards with a couple of TDs here.

OAK (23.5) @ MIA (20.5)

Parker plans to return for this one, as does Cutler. Hooray (I am actually excited about Parker, but Cutler warrants the sarcasm intended here). OAK is currently dead last against the pass and, due to the game script and losing by far their best RB, we should see Cutler air it out more than he normally does here. Parker also gets the luxury of going up against Oakland’s weakest corner, while Landry faces their strongest in the slot. Sure, Cutler could absolutely try to force it into Landry, but I sincerely hope that he doesn’t as we have seen talents such as Mike Wallace and Jermaine Kearse bitch slap the Raiders from the left side so far this year. Parker is better than both of them and runs over 40% of his routes from this side.

Between trading away Ajayi and losing LG Steen to the IR, I have little interest in this backfield, and their OC confirmed that Drake and Williams will form a RBBC. One of them might have a good game as the Raiders have allowed over 100 all-purpose yards to a lead back in 3 straight, but they faced McCoy, Hunt, and Gordon over this period. I don’t think that either Drake or Williams compares.

The Dolphins did just place FS Nate Allen on the IR and they already ranked 28th against the pass before this. Cooper and Crabtree split their time between left and right pretty evenly, and whoever finds themselves against Xavien Howard will benefit whenever a passing play is called (Howard currently grades out as an abysmal 112th out of 115 CBs). Both Crabtree and Cooper saw 10 targets in their last one, so just pick your favorite between the two of them. I can harp on about Cooper who clearly has the higher ceiling, but he also drops a ton of passes, and Carr seems to mesh better with Crabtree.

Miami is a much stronger 3rd in DVOA against the run, and I am wholly uninterested in the Raiders RBBC.

DET (22.25) @ GB (21.25)

I’m going to continue on with my MJ love here and I’m seriously pissed that I haven’t been able to play him on the DK main slate for 3 weeks now, which is utterly ridiculous. As Scott Barrett noted, MJ leads all WRs in air yards (394), targets (25), RZ targets (6), and end zone targets (7) over the previous two games. The cherry on top here is that he will line up across from the 111th-ranked King for most of his day. Tate also has an excellent match-up against Damarious Randall in the slot who is the 103rd-ranked CB. Furthermore, an additional week certainly did his shoulder some good, so I’m expecting Stafford to tear apart GB with these two.

Abdullah has expressed his frustration over not getting more short yardage and goal line carries. I don’t think the squeaky wheel gets any grease here though.

Hundley has not looked good so far. As a pro, he has a 1:5 TD:INT ratio and less than a 50% completion rate, so I don’t think you can trust any of his WRs here even though they just had their bye week to try and work some of the kinks out. If you have to pick one, I would take Adams since Slay will shadow Nelson and Cobb has a tough match-up in the slot, which leaves the 95th-ranked DJ Hayden on Davante.

While DET is slightly stronger against the run, since just having Jones run it worked so well for the Pack last time, I assume that is what their game plan will be here as well. GB has also created the 4th-most adjust line yards on the season so far, so I definitely anticipate them making space here even against a relatively stout defense. We have also seen both Freeman and Ingram rush for 100+ yards on the Lions, and the last time a RB failed to score at least 1 TD on them was in Week 2. I continue liking Aaron Jones a lot even in a negative game script.

Quick Hits for Bye Teams

NE – Hogan had an MRI on his arm as he left last week’s game, and it sounds like he will miss a week or two with an AC joint issue.

PIT – The Steelers told Martavis that he is part of their Week 10 game plan, whatever that means. JuJu also ran most of his routes outside instead of in the slot, which was an interesting departure from what we had seen over the previous several weeks, but I assume he will move back inside with the return of Bryant.

CLE – The Browns cannot even competently trade for a QB as they botched their acquisition of AJ McCarron because they didn’t call the league to announce the trade to them due to partying too hard over the trade. Bengals fans – this is good news for you as this clearly means McCarron will be awesome (i.e. because fate would not let a good QB go to the Browns). Also, Josh Gordon got reinstated. I’m definitely rooting for him and if you haven’t watched his Uninterrupted video, it’s definitely worthwhile.

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