Thud of the week: Torn ACL ends Dion Lewis' breakout season
Dion Lewis (knee) is done for the season. Branden Bolden got ten offensive snaps after Lewis left the game, but don't be so bullish on him. Bolden is primarily a special teams player and every time this happens, the Patriots promote from the practice squad before esclating Bolden's role. That's how Lewis got this job, LeGarrette Blount before him last year, Jonas Gray before him, Blount the time before that in 2013.
If James White is put on the active roster, he is probably the primary receiving back. If New England signs someone off the street, it will be that guy. Be cautious with whomever that may be, as no receiving back has put up consistent PPR flex production in New England since Danny Woodhead in 2012 until Lewis.
Even Shane Vereen was volatile in 2014, not logging more than 8.7 PPR points in any week after Gray then Blount were carrying the ball. Lewis is more special than replaceable as people may think. The Pats extended Lewis' contract two years in the middle of the season, which pretty much never happens to a RB, especially on the Pats.
Studs of the week: Derek Carr and Jay Cutler for knowing where their bread is buttered
Derek Carr (24/44, 301/4/1) was not the #1 fantasy QB of the week, but we all need to love him for making two WRs fantasy studs for the week. Amari Cooper (7/88/1) and Michael Crabtree (7/108/2) split 25 targets of Carr's 44 attempts.. The run game may suffer in the coming weeks, but we know that Carr knows how to pepper these guys with targets.
Jay Cutler is always a disaster waiting to happen, but when he has one or two talented WRs, he exploits them and gives us fantasy gold. Alshon Jeffery (10/151/0) saw 16 of Cutler's 40 pass attempts for his third-straight 100-yard game. It is really hard to keep him out of the top-8, rest of season, especially in PPR where it is tempting to treat him as top-5 for consistent volume.
Dud of the week: The Chargers WR corps
Keenan Allen (kidney) on IR and Antonio Gates (knee) playing hurt raised intrigue all week as to who would emerge as Philip Rivers' high volume security blankie--Malcom Floyd or Stevie Johnson.
Floyd left the game after diving for his first target with what looked like a shoulder injury. Johnson (7/68/0) couldn't really get himself open and did nothing impressive after the catch. It was the the Danny Woodhead show, leading the team with 78 receiving yards and catching Rivers' lone TD pass. Johnson is a low-end WR3 in PPR, at best, until we see something; he had all week to cement a role and failed, but Johnson has never matched his hype, so what else is new?
Another Ben Roethlisberger injury to screw Antonio Brown owners
Ben Roethlisberger (foot) should be out of football activities for around two weeks. Landry Jones has showed us competence with great weapons at his disposal. But to expect him to give Antonio Brown (17/284/0) the volume of an elite running back is way too much to expect. Jones went 16/29 for 209 yards, a TD and two INTs in his lone start where Brown had a 6/124/0 slash line, so Brown is at least a WR2 with with upside with Jones, as opposed to below replacement level with Michael Vick.
No clue what to make of Frank Gore
Frank Gore was running really well this season. He just was not really getting the ball in flow. The Colts finally got to play with a lead against an elite defense and Gore got a 28/83/1 slash. Not pretty and he has been more efficient in lesser volume this year, but he played 63% of the snaps. His production is going to be largely attached to whether or not the Colts have their act together to win games.
The Jaguars run defense is a lot better than you may think
Chris Ivory's two TDs saved his fantasy day. He only gained 26 yards on 23 carries. Jacksonville is in an elite group with the Cardinals and Patriots as the only teams who have allowed 60 or fewer rushing yards in at least four games this season. Astonishing part of that stat is that Arizona and New England are blowing people out, so they abandon the run. That's not the case with the Jags. Their NFL-low 3.2 yards per carry allowed don't lie.
Don't go crazy on Taiwan Jones
Latavius Murray (concussion) left Sunday's game in a sad, scary moment for the RB1 in what continues to be maybe the roughest year for RBs that I can remember. Taiwan Jones was my primary handcuff for Murray, but is more just a freaky-fast dude than a rusher. He should be owned for speculation, but Marcel Reece is actually a really talented all-purpose back.
Jones was one of those "great athlete with sub-4.4 speed who isn't really good at football" that the Raiders drafted in 2011. He hasn't had more than seven touches in a game over his career. His season-high is five touches in Week 7, which was the first time had more than four touches since, well, that seven-touch game in 2011. Big play potential is there with his speed, but everything just seems like a worse Devin Hester here.
Attach Stefon Diggs projections to Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) left Sunday's game after a cheap shot. Concussions are volatile. We can hear he is fine on Thursday and not pass protocols on Saturday. He was not only relevant in 2QB leagues, as his trust in Stefon Diggs was making the WR a top-15 play. Trusting Shaun Hill to dodge the blitz and get Diggs ball the like that is a big reach. Bridgewater passed the first step of protocols on Monday.
LeSean McCoy hurt into a short week
LeSean McCoy (shoulder - 16/112/1) should play on Thursday. If, for any other reason, Karlos Williams (9/112/2) is a TD machine breathing down his neck, showing the world that RBs are overpaid. Williams now has five TDs in 56 touches this season.
The fears on Ronnie Hillman are real
The fear of trusting Ronnie Hillman (7/1/0) too much is that Peyton Manning does not trust him to pick up a blitz, so C.J. Anderson (7/34/0) is on the field for passing downs and the Broncos are not going to treat Hillman as a Marshawn Lynch type of clock killer. In a game where the Broncos were down 17-0 in the second quarter, Anderson played 27 snaps to Hillman's 24.
Denver hosts the Chiefs in Week 10, then go to Chicago for Week 11, so the opportunity is there for Hillman to get his 15 touches. But this was the week which was supposed to kickoff this run of closing out blowouts.
James Starks has Eddie Lacy's job, for now
Eddie Lacy (groin) is losing his job and not completely to injury. He was benched after a fumble, did absolutely nothing else in five carries, then there's an injury. Really close to just saying James Starks is the primary back in Green Bay.
This has been changing every week. What Lacy will be after that is unknown. An 80-yard per game endzone hunter or a TD-dependent plodder who needs the endzone to get nine fantasy points. Either way, it has become difficult to value him more than Jeremy Hill, who actually gets the ball.
Injuries around Chris Ivory putting him at risk
If you told me that Chris Ivory would be a top-5 RB at this time, I wouldn't have been surprised. If you told me that injuries would slowly begin to hurt his fantasy impact somewhere in November, I would have said, "Duh!"
If you told me that injuries would threaten his value, but he would be fine, I would have been shocked.
Nick Mangold (neck) missing any time is terrible for Chris Ivory, who is among the league leaders in rushes per game between the tackles. Mangold is still one of the best in the league and it showed without him on Sunday, as the Jets struggled to run efficiently. Ryan Fitzpatrick is set to have surgery on his thumb this Friday, so expect the Jets to predictably lean on Ivory in another tough matchup against the Bills in Week 10.
Thanks for joining us all, Jordan Matthews
Jordan Matthews (9/133/1) has his first double digit fantasy game since Week 2, largely in a high leverage second half against the Cowboys. We can still fade him in DFS against the Dolphins, but the matchup is decent and he's only $6,600 on FanDuel this week, so that will be difficult. The problem is that he will be on everyone's radar.
Why can't Mike Evans catch anymore
Mike Evans (8/152/0) is WR2'ing all up in our faces, but could barely haul in eight of his 19 targets. The misses really weren't on Jameis Winston. Balls were consistently bouncing off of Evans' hands. Winston continues to treat Evans as if he's on Winson's fantasy team.
Allen Hurns slowed down with injury
Allen Hurns has a sprained left foot. This is scary because he is dependent on big plays and those require making moves. He has produced like a WR2, but the regression toward the mean may come the bad way of him playing through injury. Bryan Walters (5/54/1) can be a sneaky PPR play where we are desperate. Maybe this is what gets Julius Thomas (3/14/0) going.
Buffalo run defense is still a thing
Don't let the Week 9 fantasy score of Lamar Miller fool you. He had a low-volume slash line (12/44/0; 7/97/0 in the pass game) dominated by his receiving game, and we already knew that Buffalo's pass D was terrible. Jay Ajayi (5/41/0) impressed in his debut to show himself as the true Miller handcuff, now that he is healthy.
The Cowboys run D just get worse
Sean Lee (concussion) could miss more time with his second concussion of the year. The Cowboys were a slightly below average run defense, but now, they are one to be targeted in DFS and in our flex decisions. Doug Martin and Lamar Miller should feast on them the next two weeks.
Don't pick up 49ers
I still have no idea how the Niners won on Sunday. The defense has been really strong at home, especially their run D, which has kept Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams, Eddie Lacy, and now Devonta Freeman under 100 yards in five games in Santa Clara. They have the Seahawks and Cardinals coming out of their Week 10 bye. Shaun Draughn (16/58/0; 4/38/0 in the pass game) had a decent showing, but they went into "don't eff this up mode early" and Blaine Gabbert almost effed it up with two picks in 25 attempts.
Dorial Green-Beckham was the Titans primary target
Dorial Green-Beckham (5/77/0) has been stashed on far too many rosters. His owners feel a bit vindicated, as DGB saw nine targets in Week 9--after only seeing more than three just once all season--to lead the team. Delanie Walker (7/95/2) saw eight and is rising stock in PPR but the TDs are hard to come by. The yardage makes sense, but the TDs were not exactly Marcus Mariota forcing Walker the ball.
We don't know what role Kendall Wright (knee) plays when he returns, but the top dog is DGB's role to steal. Wright should really only cut into Walker up the middle value.