Dolphins @ Ravens
Story To Watch: Look, Adam Gase… I get it. Jay Cutler is like that Corvette you fantasized about driving in high school, and this past summer you were finally able to get a used one in the same year and model for only $1100. While it’s everything you dreamed about on the outside (The flashiness even matches the Dolphins’ aesthetic), turns out things aren’t so pretty under the hood. The catalytic converter needs to replaced, the check-engine light is constantly on, and there’s a very distinct cigarette smell that you can’t get out of the ripped leather seats. At a certain point you have to admit the maintenance cost has become prohibitive and it’s ruining your ability to get to work. Enter Matt Moore, the Honda Civic. Sure, there’s nothing glamorous about it, but it gets you from point A to point B without shutting down in the middle of the highway. That’s improvement! Under Moore’s wing last week, the Dolphins’ offense went from “plodding” to “humming” at certain points of the game, and now it feels like the Fins are primed to make a push after a huge win. This might be the end of Smokin’ Jay in Miami, but at least he died the way he lived – by not giving a shit whatsoever.
Safe Bets: With 35 targets in October and a score in three consecutive games, there are few receivers in the league hotter than Jarvis Landry right now. The NFL even dropped his domestic abuse case this week, which is probably the first time in history that the NFL has let something go. Everything is coming up Jarvis. Speaking of hot, Kenny Stills is coming off a two score game and seems to have a rapport with aforementioned economy sedan Matt Moore. If Devante Parker is out, which is highly possible, then Stills is a nice WR3 play with upside. With LeSean McCoy, Julio Jones, and James White all popping their end zone cherry last week, Jay Ajayi is like the last friend of his group to lose his virginity before heading off to College. It might take him 30 carries to get there, but I think Thursday will be the magical night that he becomes a man.
Hope For The Best: On the Ravens side, it’s kind of difficult to get excited about anybody, but it’s hard to argue against the 11 targets that Buck Allen totaled last week. It’s pretty futile for all Ravens skill players, but Buck would be the guy I would start. Matt Moore isn’t a terrible option, but coming off a short week and playing the Ravens, I would hope you’d have some alternatives. Still, he’s shown in the past that he can put up some fantasy points.
Hell No: With Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin both looking highly questionable, there isn’t a ton of upside here for Joe Flacco against a tough Miami secondary. Whether it be from a backward pass that gets ruled as a fumble, a deflected pass in the flat that gets returned for a touchdown, or throwing the ball into the 7th row on a simple out route, I would bet on Flacco embarrassing himself at least once during the game. It’s basically a forgone conclusion. A week after it looked like he was primed to takeover lead backfield duties, Alex Collins turned in a 10-30-0 dud line against the Bears. This should be an ugly game, but even still, I don’t think the volume is there for Collins to be fantasy viable.
Postgame Headline: “Dolphins get Moore for their money, topple Ravens 24-13”
Vikings @ Browns
Story To Watch: With all the flip-flopping going on for the Browns and their apparent inability to stick by a decision at quarterback, I mostly feel sorry for the pimple-faced kid forced to take Hue Jackson’s order at Burger King. How many times do you think he says he wants something before immediately changing his mind? I bet it goes something like this…
BK employee: “Hello, welcome to Burger King. Would like to try our ne….. oh Jesus, what can I do for you, Hue?”
Hue Jackson: Look, we know what we’re trying to accomplish with this meal, and we can say that the double whopper with cheese is the best option for this lunch, and all other lunches going forward.”
BK employee: “Are you sure? I mean, just last week you said you that the whopper didn’t put you in a position to have a good lunch. I thought you said you wanted to see what the Chicken Parmesan sandwich could do with a ‘full week of reps’? Whatever that means…”
Hue Jackson: I’m not going to get into that. We’ve looked at things and determined that the whopper is the best option for this franchise. The whopper is our starting sandwich.”
BK employee: “Okay, one whopper coming up for your ‘franchise’…”
3 minuters later…
Hue Jackson: We’ve decided to make a switch at sandwich. Whopper wasn’t getting it done, so we’re going with Chicken Parm from here on out…
Anyway, DeShone Kizer won this week’s episode of As The Hue Turns and his reward is to get his ass kicked by the Minnesota Vikings. Must be fun to play for the Browns…
Safe Bets: After a couple weeks where Jerrick McKinnon appeared to have a clear stranglehold on the rushing duties for the Vikings, things are suddenly a bit murkier to forecast in the backfield. Latavius Murray got back into the picture in a big way against the Ravens last week, piling up 113 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. I would feel confident starting both as RB2s this week even though the Browns’ rush defense is the only saving grace for an otherwise embarrassing season so far. While the Demarco-Derrick Henry double decker didn’t pay off against the Browns last week, the Vikings should do a better job getting their playmakers in space and opening up the offense (and unlike the Titans, they are actually well coached).
Hope For The Best: It feels like entire civilizations have risen and crumbled since we last saw Stefon Diggs in action. If he’s out again, then Adam Thielen remains a nice volume play at the WR3/Flex. I’m not in love with Case Keenum against a surprisingly proud Browns defense, but he isn’t going to torpedo your matchup either. If you’re anticipating getting big points elsewhere, he could be a nice game manager in a heavy bye week for QBs. Delanie Walker was targeted often and would’ve had a huge game last week if he was able to catch the ball. I’m not comparing the two, but Kyle Rudolph might also exploit the TE weakness.
Hell No: For approximately the 57th game in a row, Isiaiah Crowell was unable to get anything going on the ground. That’s not going to change when the Vikings meet them in London town. For whatever reason the Browns seem intent on limiting Duke Johnson Jr.’s touches. I know he leads the team in targets, but considering he’s the Browns’ only viable offensive weapon at the moment, that number should probably double. In any event, he’ll be hard to trust against Minnesota. While Hue Jackson hasn’t officially named a starting QB yet for Sunday, DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan are all merely interchangeable sack fodder. Don’t do it.
Postgame Headline: “Vikings nearly pitch shutout, dominate Browns 23-6 in London”
Jets at Falcons
Story To Watch: My fiancée took me out to a famous prime rib spot for my birthday not too long ago. I was sufficiently thrashed from the night before, so the classic options on the menu were a sight for sore eyes: California chili crusted pomme frittes, mussels in a Belgian beer broth with rosemary and fennel, and of course, cuts of 16 oz prime ribs braised in a burgundy sauce. What’s the first thing I hear when the waiter comes to take our order, though? “Hey babe, we should try this sushi out! It looks kind of different!” I’ll spare you the details of the entire meal, but needless to say that sushi is not the best option in a prime rib restaurant.
It was hard to turn down the woman that I’m going to spend the rest of my life with, but what’s Falcons’ OC Steve Sarkisian’s excuse for running a jet sweep to Taylor Gabriel on the goal line? Did he run it up to the middle to Devonta Freeman? No. Did he run a playaction bootleg to Austin Hooper in the back of the end zone? No. Did he throw the ball up to Julio Jones, one of the ten most athletic people on planet earth? Of course not. He opted for the sushi when he had prime rib options all over the menu, and it had similarly disastrous results. It should be apparent by now that the play calling is what’s hamstringing the typically dynamic Atlanta Falcons offense. Let’s hope they come to their senses soon and just order the steak for crying out loud.
Safe Bets: He had a few cracks at the goal line before the aforementioned sushi call above, so don’t be discouraged by Devonta Freeman’s scoreless outing vs. the Patriots. While the Jets bottled up Jay Ajayi last week (23 carries for 51 yards), the Falcons do a good job of getting their stud RB in space. I think he’s in for a big game. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is going to blow a gasket if Julio Jones doesn’t start getting the ball more, but at least he was finally able to get off the schneid with a bad ass touchdown during garbage time against the Patriots last week. That looks like a man who’s not taking shit any longer, just like Michael Douglas in Falling Down…
On the Jets side, it simply doesn’t get more automatic than Austin Sefarian-Jenkins these days. Talk about found money on the waiver wire. Similarly, Josh McCown has been paying dividends if you managed to scoop him off waivers a few weeks ago. He won’t blow the doors off against Atlanta, but 230 yards and two touchdowns is certainly attainable.
Hope For the Best: It was a major step backwards for Tevin Coleman against the Patriots in the foggy confines of Foxborough a week ago. The former yang to Devonta’s yin was relegated to second banana duties from the get go, but I think he’ll be back in the fold against a Jets defensive unit that’s less than formidable. While he’s looking more like a flex option with a healthy Matt Forte in the mix, Bilal Powell is clearly still the Jets first option on most drives. I think the split will be more in Billy’s favor than last week, especially with the Jets likely to fall behind early. Still, the offense can support both running backs. You’ve gotta understand that it’s a slot machine play with the Jets receivers, but if you had to place a bet, I’d probably go with Jermaine Kearse in this one. Mohammed Sanu saw a whopping 10 targets upon his return to the offense last week – that’s trust you can believe in. He’s a nice WR3/flex play going forward.
Hell No: I think the safe move would be to banish Taylor Gabriel to Siberia after the embarrassing jet sweep call last week, so I wouldn’t expect him to be a focal point for the Falcons going forward. Austin Hooper is someone you can set your watch to, except when you go to the check the time, a tiny spring shoots out and damages your cornea. You can’t depend on him.
Postgame Headline: “Falcons right the ship, control Jets in 29-17 win”
49ers @ Eagles
Story To Watch: The story to watch is that our beautiful baby Carson Wentz is all growns up. You’ll have to forgive me for gushing a bit here, but a guy like Wentz isn’t supposed to be for us. He’s the kind of franchise quarterback that’s allowed to be on the Patriots, or the Packers, or even the Steelers. He’s for the blue bloods of the league, not the Eagles. Sure, we’ve had some good quarterbacks in the past – McNabb, obviously, and Michael Vick in 2010 (my favorite season ever) – but clearly this is different. Look at this beautiful bomb dropped right in the bucket to Mack Hollins. Look at him evade the rush on this guaranteed sack, causing Sean McDonough to exude a smidgen of emotion for the first time in his career. And lastly, just look at this reckless throw that was placed right where only Corey Clement could make a play…
That’s the kind of play that Andrew Luck would make habitually early in his career (prior to his forced medical retirement by the Colts, that is). If Wentz can avoid similar negligence and incompetence from his own front office, I think we’re in for something special for years to come.
Alright, I promise I won’t ever do that again. As penance, I will castigate myself and admit that Dak Prescott also looks very good *throws up in mouth*
Safe Bets: In case you haven’t been paying attention, yea, you should start Carson Wentz this week. The Eagles are riding high and playing a 49ers defense that just surrendered 40 points at home, and the result likely won’t be any prettier on Broad Street. If you’re going by the eyeball test, Nelson Agholor is the best receiver on the Eagles. He’s electric with the ball in his hands and I think Dough Pederson will work to give him more opportunities. Note that I said best “receiver” on the Eagles, not best “player”. That honor belongs to Zach Ertz, who clearly has shed the “No YAC Zach” stigma that has plagued him to this point in his career. The 49ers just made Jason Witten look like a strapping young man, so Ertz should feast without issue.
Hope For The Best: I’m kind of at the end of the line with Alshon Jeffery. If we’re being honest, the dude can’t really run and he consistently fails to utilize his 6’3” frame in jump ball situations. He’s getting quality looks – two in the end zone just last week – but he’s not holding up his end of the bargain. You’ve been warned. Carlos Hyde is the only option for the 49ers, but his upside is severely capped with how often his team will be playing from behind (hint: it’s always). He’s an 80 total yard guy and you have to pray for a goal line plunge, which will inevitably take three tries to convert from inside the half yard line. With a healthy Wendell Smallwood back in the fold, it’s a little tougher to trust Legarrette Blount on a weekly basis. Still, the Eagles figure to dominate time of possession in this one, so Blount is a good bet for some clock-killing carries in the 2nd half. The Eagles just lost Jordan Hicks for the year, and as a result Jordan Reed cashed in for two touchdowns last week. I wouldn’t bet your mortgage on it, but George Kittle could pay off with a 4-55-1 line. Pierre Garcon might have a good PPR day, but don’t expect a touchdown.
Hell No: With Brian Hoyer under center, each 49ers drive was more futile and fatalistic than the Bataan death march. Things haven’t improved with rookie CJ Beathard taking over the reins. Torrey Smith is a ghost in this offense. The targets simply aren’t there to justify starting him. Corey Clement had a very impressive touchdown on a wheel route last week, but he’s not seeing the volume as a rusher to slot him in your lineup
Postgame Headline: “Eagles continue to soar, crush 49ers 33-17”
Bears @ Saints
Story To Watch: I never thought I’d see the day, but here we are – the Saints are a power running football team in 2017. Sean Payton should consider trading in his scummy visor and skoal look for the dapper wardrobe of a 1950’s coach, because his current play distribution is ripped straight from a dusty playbook out of the postwar era. With the hardnosed style of football that’s been adopted in the Bayou, I wonder if Payton’s laid back cadence and delivery has been replaced with sentences like “Nyah, I want a weakside toss crack here, see. Three yards and a cloud of dust, boys!”
In any event, it’s definitely working for the Saints. I don’t expect the rushing attack to let up, and against a Bears team that managed just four completions last week, this matchup could play out like an AFL game in 1937. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ovaltine commercials aired during timeouts. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it…
Safe Bets: The Saints are giving Mark Ingram everything he can handle, and he’s turning the opportunities into pure gold for fantasy owners. Expect another 20+ carry workload and a good chance for a goal line plunge in this one. Don’t rule out Alvin Kamara, either, as New Orleans is proving that they can support both backs for fantasy purposes. Kamara ripped off some chunk gains and even got some goal line work last week against the Packers, so it’s only a matter of time until the touchdown comes. On the Bears side, Jordan Howard figures to get the rock the entire game for a team that couldn’t complete 5 passes last week. I didn’t even think that was possible unless you forfeit the game in the first quarter (they actually won, though!) It’s actually been a strong season for Michael Thomas despite the fact that he’s only scored in two games thus far. I’m on board for 7+ catches and 80+ yards with guaranteed red zone looks, and that’s what he’s delivering. The TDs will come back soon.
Hope For The Best: There isn’t a reason to sit Drew Brees, but he isn’t exactly Dan Marino these days either. The focus on running the ball certainly hampers his upside for fantasy purposes, but he’s still a great bet for 2+ touchdowns every time he takes the field. That’s back to back weeks that Ted Ginn Jr. has been a major part of the Saints offense, and with Willie Snead’s status still up in the air, he’s quickly becoming Drew Brees’ 2nd favorite target. He’s a fine WR3.
Hell No: As mentioned above, Mitchell Trubisky only managed to complete four passes last week. There’s an outside chance he goes nuts and erupts for 11 completions or something, but the Saints have been surprisingly stingy this year. I’m avoiding him. The Bears acquired Dontrell Inman to shore up their nonexistent WR corps, but that’s like acquiring a Band-Aid after someone slashes your jugular. It isn’t going to stop the bleeding.
Postgame Headline: “Saints ground and pound their way 24-10 victory over Bears”
Chargers @ Patriots
Story To Watch: Given that it’s the Halloween season and everything, it seems like the appropriate time to mention that Phillip Rivers may very well be infected with the rage virus. With the Chargers back from the dead and ferociously attacking opponents throughout October, it’s now clear that September’s slump was merely the prologue stage of the 28 Days Later virus reaching maturity in its SoCal hosts’ bodies. And as for Rivers, well, the infection would finally explain the foaming at the mouth and incessant thrashing that accompanies every self-inflicted delay of game penalty.
That’s pretty much how Rivers reacts every time a flag gets thrown. It all makes sense now. On a serious note, though – the Chargers are whoopin’ ass and playing with purpose after their season looked all but over at 0-4 at the end of September. With a chance to go .500 against Tom Brady and the Patriots, this is easily the best matchup of Halloween weekend.
Safe Bets: Chargers coach Anthony Lynn openly called out Melvin Gordon for failing to punch it in on the goal line last week. Typically you hear PR mandated bullshit like “I’ve got to put our guys in a position to succeed,” or “We need to execute better at crucial moments,” not “Yep, that’s 100% on that guy. He fucked it all up.” I think Melvin will take his coach to task and respond in a big way against the charitable New England rush defense this week. Tom Brady hasn’t had to work too hard this season, but the results have been great for fantasy nonetheless. I think he’ll throw for another effortless 270 yards and 3 touchdowns in this one. Chris Hogan seemed clearly concussed to me last Sunday night, but he still managed to autopilot his way to 4 catches for 71 yards. Rob Gronkowski will obviously get his revenge for not scoring last week. You wouldn’t like Gronk when he doesn’t score. Zombie Phillip Rivers needs to feed, and the Patriots’ exploitable pass defense offers plenty of brains for the rabid signal caller to munch on.
Hope For The Best: Even though he scored on a “catch” and run last week, Brandin Cooks seems likely to draw the Chargers’ Casey Hayward in Foxborough on Sunday. He’ll still turn in a good performance, but I have a feeling this will be a Hogan game. Dion Lewis seemed to benefit the most from Mike Gilislee’s demotion last week, totaling 76 yards on 13 carries. I like him the most out of the Patriots running backs, but understand that Bill Belicheck reserves the right to fuck over your fantasy team without notice. It’s been a disappointing season for Keenan Allen (in standard scoring, at least), but a matchup with the Patriots is all it takes to get back in the saddle. I like him for 7+ catches and at least 80 yards. Hunter Henry has at least 70 yards or a touchdown in 4 straight games. Let it ride. James White has an outside shot at a receiving touchdown in this one, but don’t expect him to do an Earl Campbell impression with his minimal rushing opportunities.
Hell No: Mike Gilislee is firmly entrenched in the doghouse, and I’m fairly certain that Rex Burkhead only gets carries to satisfy the white supremacists that line the seats of Gillette Stadium’s nosebleed section. Either way, I’m avoiding both running backs unless a change happens in the backfield. Danny Amendola’s effectiveness is dwindling by the week – avoid. Mike Williams hasn’t been able to do much and the Chargers have been winning without his contributions, so he’s merely a bench stash at this point. That’s three straight weeks of Tyrell Williams going under 30 yards since his fluky performance in week 4. Take away that Eagles game, and you have a glorified WR5 on your hands.
Postgame Headline: “Chargers keep up the good fight but fall short as Patriots win 28-24”
Raiders @ Bills
Story To Watch: It finally happened, guys. LesSean McCoy finally crossed the goal line this past weekend, and now I think it’s safe to say that all bets are off. Through the first 6 weeks of the season, Shady was like the drunk guy at the party who’s been holding off taking a piss all night long. He was politely listening to your boring conversation about bulletproof coffee while anxiously shuffling back and forth as his bladder expanded to the size of a watermelon. He finally was able to get to a bathroom and break the seal, though, so now it’s a forgone conclusion that he’ll be pissing all night long. So, congratulations to those of you who either held tough or managed to trade for Shady before last week’s scoring bonanza – he’s about to give the rest of the league a golden shower.
Safe Bets: Speaking of breaking the seal, Amari Cooper erupted last Thursday night to the tune of 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Talk about being backed up. I doubt he’ll explode once again, but he could get back to his weekly 100+ yard self now that Derek Carr is making a concerted effort to utilize him in the offense. Tyrod Taylor delivered on all of your streaming needs against the Buccaneers, so why not let it ride against the Raiders? He shouldn’t have too much trouble turning in another 16+ point performance. Obviously, LeSean McCoy should be locked in now that he’s LeSean McCoy again. He’ll keep the scoring rolling and do at least one shady bounce in this one.
Hope For The Best: I’m not exactly downgrading Michael Crabtree, but Amari’s resurgence doesn’t exactly boost his value. Still, he’s option 1A and 1B for Carr in the red zone, and that’s where he’ll continue to derive 90% of his value from. If you’re hurting at tight end (who isn’t?), then Jared Cook could be a good solution this week. Coming off a 100 yard performance of his own, Cook has a date with a Buffalo defense that just allowed a combined 158 yards and 2 touchdowns to tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. I wouldn’t get overly excited about DeAndre Washington or Jalen Richard in Marshawn’s absence. The two are likely to split carries and the Bills are the 4th stingiest unit against this run this year, allowing just 3.4 yards per attempt.
Hell No: I don’t have the statistic in front of me, but I read something recently that implied that Zay Jones is one of the worst receivers in NFL history. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, especially considering that the equally ineffective Jordan Matthews is back in the fold. It’s a marvel that Tyrod is able to pass for over 85 yards per game, actually.
Postgame Headline: “Shady dazzles as Bills hold off Raiders, 26-23”
Colts @ Bengals
Safe Bets: AJ Green and Andy Dalton are about the only truly safe calls in this one, although I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to give Joe Mixon another shot in a plus matchup. After last week’s loss to the Steelers, he rightly wondered why the Bengals are mental patients when it comes to play distribution. Mixon had 7 carries for 48 yards in the first half before his dumbass coach didn’t call a running play for the rest of the goddamn game. Here’s hoping The Bengals learned their lesson, but considering this is Marvin Lewis we’re talking about here, there’s an equal chance that the Bengals’most talented running back gets benched for merely speaking the truth. I’m willing to risk it against the Colts.
Fresh off an embarrassing spanking by the division rival Jacksonville Jaguars, TY Hilton figures to take his revenge this Sunday. He’s the only offensive weapon for the Colts, so think of him as a high end WR2 in this one.
Hope For The Best: It doesn’t get much uglier than a 27-0 Loss, so there’s nowhere to go but up for Jacoby Brissett and the Colts. Chuck Pagano is quite possibly the worst coach in the NFL (which is saying something in a league that contains Hue Jackson), but I think Jacoby can rise above his lame duck staff and deliver some respectable lines over the second half of the season. Tyler Kroft hauled in 4 of 4 targets last week, including a red zone touchdown. The yardage doesn’t exactly pop off the page, but he’s in the red rifle’s crosshairs now. Even though Frank Gore isn’t going away anytime soon, Marlon Mack is the running back you want on the Colts. In a season that is looking increasingly lost with each passing day, a youth movement could be underway soon.
Hell No: I was honestly shocked to see Jeremy Hill not only start the game last week (a symbolic gesture), but also start the 2nd half after Joe Mixon had clearly been dominating. I don’t understand the point of giving this guy 6 worthless carries per game, but I don’t pretend to comprehend the football genius of Marvin Lewis, either. I’m sure he’s got it all figured out. I wouldn’t rush into playing Gio Bernard, either, as the Bengals should be in control from the get go in this one (big emphasis on should, there.)
Postgame Headline: “Bengals rack it up, bury hapless Colts 24-10”
Texans @ Seahawks
Story To Watch:
Safe Bets: This is a difficult game to predict, but there’s one thing I feel confident about – there will be plenty of fantasy points to be had for the quarterbacks. Russell Wilson is looking better every week, and he could’ve easily had five touchdowns against the Giants if Jimmy Graham skipped his pregame routine of dipping his hands in KY jelly. Save that stuff for after the game, Jim! Moving on – the way Russell has been creating with his legs and finding his receivers deep down field (however questionable the calls may be), there’s simply nothing standing in the way of Russ getting 23+ fantasy points per game.
Deshaun Watson is an easy call just based on his insane production to this point, but there’s no denying that the legion of boom will be the rookie’s first true test of the season. Still, this guy will fall ass backwards into 15+ fantasy points just based on his ability to extent plays. I think this will be a good one for Lamar Miller. He’s looking more comfortable cutting lately and the Seahawks are exploitable on the ground. Russ just missed Doug Baldwin on what would’ve been a deep touchdown last week, but I took it as a sign that they’re getting closer. He’s as inconsistent as they come, but I think this will be a good game for Doug. I’m extremely hesitant to put Jimmy Graham here due to his massive drop issues, but his involvement in the offense has increased over the past three weeks. Until Russ gets fed up, I’d keep sending him out there.
Hope For The Best: It takes every fiber of my being to not put DeAndre Hopkins in the “Safe Bets” category, but here we are. I love the guy, but this feels like a 3-34-0 game, doesn’t it? Same goes for Will Fuller, although I fully acknowledge that I’m betting against the luckiest asset in fantasy by making that claim. Paul Richardson hauled in a bullshit touchdown last week, but he was impressive even if you took that fluky score away from his final line. Russ is looking for him more and more.
Hell No: It’s been an impressive stretch for D’Onta Foreman, but the volume simply isn’t there for him to be anything more than a dart throw flex/RB3. He’s about as exciting of a stash as there is, though. At this point, choosing correctly between Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy and J.D. McKissic each week is like blindly checking an answer on a multiple choice quiz you didn’t study for. While you have an outside shot at lucking into the right option, the infinitely more likely scenario is that you’re fucked.
Postgame Headline: “Seahawks fend off upstart Texans, seal victory 33-28 after late touchdown”
Cowboys @ Redskins
Safe Bets: Fresh off a game in which Ezekiel Elliott crushed the spirits of the 49ers with a three score, 217 yard performance, the fantasy grim reaper takes his talents to Washington for a divisional date with the Redskins. The on-again, off-again domestic abuser should continue to dominate. Not to be outdone, Dak Prescott added four touchdowns of his own against the hapless Niners, and he shouldn’t have any issues bringing home the bacon against a Redskins defense that Carson Wentz just bitch slapped. He’s in line for another 20+ point fantasy day. On the other side, Kirk Cousins’ fantasy day was a lot better than his real life performance against the Eagles, but fantasy is all we give a shit about. He’s a great QB1 in what should be an entertaining shootout. Chris Thompson continues to score despite all statistical indicators pointing to him slowing down. Sometimes, you’re just feeling it. There’s no reason to sit the guy.
Hope For The Best: I’m hoping that Josh Norman suits up so we can finally put an end to this horrible ad campaign with Dez Bryant. These awful commercials air approximately every 17 seconds, and I feel like the only way we can make them stop is if these two finally suit up and remember that they despise each other. For fantasy reasons, though, obviously I hope Norman takes his time coming back. Jason Witten turned back the clock and hauled in a pretty one-handed touchdown last week, but as with every Cowboys skill player who dominated, the caveat is that it came against the woeful Niners. Still, he’s back on the low-end TE1 map after a late September lull. Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins both expressed that they’re ready to unleash Josh Doctson, so we might as well plug him in our lineups and see what he can do. Jordan Reed turned in a vintage line against the injury-riddled Eagles linebackers, but I’d be lying if I said he looked good while doing it. Still, you should ride the wave against the Cowboys.
Hell No: I feel like I almost willed this into reality through my consistent bashing every week, but Terrelle Pryor Jr. seems to finally be exposed for what he is – a sh*t eater. If you drafted him early over the summer, it’s time to simply take the L. The Eagles monstrous defensive front thoroughly bottled up Rob Kelley last week, and I think the Redskins will be throwing early and often in this one. They suffered numerous injuries to the offensive line last week, too, so the lanes could be slimmer than usual (which doesn’t bode well for Fat Rob).
Postgame Headline: “Cowboys, Zeke win classic battle with Redskins 31-27”
Steelers @ Lions
Story To Watch: I used to play a game called The Sims where you could order your characters to undertake mundane tasks in everyday life. Just like in real life, though, their current mental health could have an effect on actions throughout the day. For instance, if your character isn’t in the right frame of mind, telling him to ‘learn cooking’ or ‘study mechanical’ could be met with the response, “I’m too depressed to study mechanical.” I’m wondering if that’s the situation with Martavis Bryant. Do you think Big Ben is in the huddle, calling out an elaborate play detailing every skill player assignment, and Martavis is thinking, “I’m too depressed to run a skinny post”? Probably not, but he’s clearly dissatisfied with the current game plan in the Steel City. He hilariously bashed his teammate this past week (not the first time that’s happened!), and followed it up by skipping work on Monday. That’s always a good move for the old quarterly performance review. I’m ripping on the guy here, but really, I just want to see the Steelers let him go. Ship him to the 49ers or Browns and let’s see what a cannabis-free Martavis can really do.
Safe Bets: The Steelers seem intent on feeding Le’Veon Bell like he’s about to get the electric chair, and what do you know, they actually have some wins to show for it. Don’t expect the gameplan to change anytime soon. Antonio Brown continued his double digit target parade against the Bengals, hauling in a touchdown in the process. That’s two in the last two games, and I have a feeling he’s dying to debut a dance on SNF that is a little edgier than the lame “hide and go seek” celebration from last week. ‘Tonio had his hands on his hips as if to say, “the fuck is this mickey mouse bullshit?”
Hope For The Best: Aided by the acquisition of Joe Haden, the Pittsburgh secondary has vastly outperformed expectations this season. Even against some stiff competition, though, I’d feel pretty comfortable starting Marvin Jones Jr. as a volume WR3. Golden Tate is still sidelined and Kenny Golladay isn’t 100% yet, so Marv should see the lion’s share (I’m sorry) of the targets for Detroit. The days of Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 430 yards and 5 touchdowns are looong gone, but he can still give you some low end QB1 numbers in this one. Against the Bengals last week, Big Ben appeared to have some noticeable zip on the ball for the first time this season. I would also consider Matt Stafford a low-end QB1 option; the Lions are going to be throwing in what should be a tight game. JuJu Smith-Schuster is apparently in the concussion protocol, but if he’s active, he could be in line for his best game of the season.
Hell No: As expected, Martavis Bryant’s public sandbagging of the organization went over like a fart in church for Mike Tomlin. He’s been demoted to the practice squad, so make sure he’s out of your lineup. Ameer Abdullah will likely be running into a bumble bee-colored brick all wall night long. Daniel Fells thoroughly outplayed Eric Ebron last week, but that’s sort of like outplaying a deaf guy in a game of marco polo. Fells shouldn’t be too impressed with himself, and you shouldn’t start him against a Steelers Defense that has only surrendered two touchdowns to tight ends on the season.
Postgame Headline: “Steelers ride Bell to 6-2 record after bagging lions 26-14”
Panthers @ Buccaneers
Safe Bets: I’m just going to take the opportunity to admit defeat for advocating benching Jameis Winston last week. Never again, baby. He looked sharp and was tossing that thang all afternoon. It’ll be tougher against the Panthers, but Jaboo appears to be back in the zone. Cam Newton is now firmly entrenched in a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde routine this season, with the former rearing his ugly head during last week’s hellacious 17-3 loss to the Bears. Still, Tyrod Taylor just had his way with this Buccaneers defense, and Cam Newtown is basically an XL version of Tyrod. I like him in this one. Mike Evans is starting to look like the receiver we knew he could be, particularly on a would-be game sealing touchdown deep in the 4th quarter last week. I think the Jameis-Big Mike connection is back on the menu. OJ Howard stole the limelight, but Cameron Brate is still the preferred red zone option on this team.
Hope For The Best: Doug Martin was wildly ineffective as rusher last week, taking his 20 carries for just 49 yards. I’m not sure his performance will improve against the Panthers, but the volume is there, and that’s more than half the battle in fantasy. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess’ effectiveness is directly tied to what year Cam Newton thinks it is. If it’s 2015, then the duo is in for a good day. If it’s any other year in this history of mankind, well, let’s just say I hope you have some depth at WR. Desean Jackson turned in a nice day last week, hauling in 5 catches for 73 yards. If the Bucs are throwing (which they should be), he has some of the biggest upside out of the WR3 crop in the game. I wouldn’t stress about Jaccpot.
Hell No: Perhaps Dirk Koetter is a forgiving man of faith, but Adam Humprhies’ game losing fumble last week is a sure way to get exiled out of the goddamn city. The Bucs are now 2-4 in large part due to that blunder, so I don’t expect Jameis to be zeroing in on the diminutive receiver too often. Jonathan Stewart has been about as effective as an airbag filled with shrapnel. There are better options, even if you have to start a dead person. Christian McCaffrey has only topped 50 total yards twice in the past six weeks. If you want to start him, hey, go ahead. But by this point, you should know how I feel about him as a prospect.
Postgame Headline: “Jameis, Buccaneers keep season alive, outlast Panthers 28-20”
Broncos @ Chiefs
Story To Watch: We’re only heading into Week 8 of the NFL season, but it somehow feels like we’ve seen the Chiefs play thirteen times already. I don’t know what it is, but the NFL’s obsession with the Chiefs during prime time is bordering on state run communist television. It’s only a matter of time before Al Michaels doubles down on his moonlight gig as a standup comedian and says, “And now we check over with Michelle Tafoya who has some comments from our glorious dear leader Andy Reid!” They proudly wear the all red jerseys at every opportunity too. Just saying…
Safe Bets: Despite the Broncos as of yet undefeated track record of stifling elite running backs, there’s no way you should be sitting Kareem Hunt. It isn’t a coincidence that when the rookie phenom touches the ball 20+ times, the Chiefs come away with a win. I think Andy Reid will come to his senses and get Hunt involved early and often. Travis Kelce has slowed down a bit in the yardage department as of late, but his still a solid bet for a red zone score. I wouldn’t shy away. With the Broncos offense recently resembling the Hindenburg’s attempt at transcontinental flight, I’m afraid none of their players qualify for the “safe bets” category.
Hope For The Best: The communist Chiefs sure love to spread the wealth, but Tyreek Hill still figures to take home the bulk of the targets outside of Travis Kelce. You can’t expect the 70 yard bomb every game, but that’s what you’re here for. I have no problem slotting him as a WR2 and literally “hoping for the best. Alex Smith is probably the hottest player in football right now, but it’s going to be a little tougher against Denver. I bet his streak of clean football ends this week as he tosses at least one interception. This is kind of the last stop for CJ Anderson. He’s failed to eclipse the 10 carry mark in consecutive weeks, and Jamaal Charles and understudy Devontae Booker are increasingly responsible for the lightened workload. I’m fine with you starting him, but we’re all keeping our fingers crossed for the best case scenario of 60 total yards and a score here. Demaryius Thomas will likely be tangling with Marcus Peters, but with Emmanuel Sanders sidelined, he’s not the worst start in the world as your WR2.
Hell No: By this point, it feels like the days of Trevor Siemien being a viable fantasy QB existed in grainy black and white film. It’s been so long since he’s been a useful fantasy asset that he’s likely accumulating mold on your bench, or at least I hope he’s been. If I had my druthers, I wouldn’t touch Devontae Booker or Jamaal Charles. But if my life depended on it, hey… ain’t nothing wrong with hoping that the JC of KC delivers a smackdown to his former team .
Postgame Headline: “Chiefs continue scoring ways, soundly drop Broncos 30-17”