Every week Nic hosts his Fantasy Football Rundown on Twitter were he hits on every single NFL game and every single player that’s fantasy relevant. Tune in every Thursday at 3 PM EST to watch the Fantasy Football Rundown live and join the conversation.
TNF: Washington at Vikings
Case Keenum faces a brutal matchup at the Minnesota Vikings. He arrives dead last in my Tiered Quarterback Rankings this week. Just because Keenum won’t be a startable option, that doesn’t mean Terry McLaurin can’t be fantasy viable. Minnesota has been surprisingly friendly to opposing pass catchers, getting sledgehammered by at least one receiver in every game. Darius Slayton, Alshon Jeffery, Danny Amendola, and Marvin Jones. Jr. all either cleared 100 yards or scored -- in Jones Jr.’s case, four times. Terry McLaurin is a high floor WR2. Trey Quinn and Paul Richardson are unproductive and ignorable, as are tight ends Vernon Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle.None of the Washington running backs are startable. Adrian Peterson managed to suffer two sprains in the same ankle. Even if he does play, he will be ineffective. Chris Thompson is unlikely to play with his turf toe injury. Wendell Smallwood is the pass catching back and would take on lead back duties, should Peterson miss. He’s nothing more than a very desperate 2nd flex option. Update 10/24/19: Adrian Peterson is expected to play. Chris Thompson and Vernon Davis are Out.
Kirk Cousins Kool-Aid Manned his way into Tier 1 of my Quarterback Rankings, assuming the No. 10 overall spot after skipping his way to QB9, QB6, and QB3 finishes over the last three games. Washington’s pass defense is unimposing, providing Cousins with the chance to complete his 3-spot trend. We’ll need to closely monitor practice reports as HC Mike Zimmer recently stated that Adam Thielen has a shot to play on his pulled hamstring, although he’s currently listed as Doubtful. Thielen owners should plan on him being unavailable. Stefon Diggs is a surefire Top 10 option this week though. Even if Thielen were to play, he’d be severely limited. Diggs should see no fewer than 10 targets this week, providing owners with another sell-high opportunity. Should Thielen be confirmed as Out, WR Olabisi Johnson would be an intriguing flex play. Washington’s pass defense is mostly based on their pass rush, meaning Johnson wouldn’t see difficult coverage. Last week, he tied Diggs for a team-high 8 targets, catching 4 of them for 40 yards and a score. Update: Adam Thielen is Out. Tight ends Kyle Rudolph and rookie Irv Smith Jr. both received 6 targets, each reeling in 5 of them -- Rudolph for 58 yards and a touchdown, Smith Jr. for 60 yards. Washington was able to slow George Kittle last week so Rudolph and Smith Jr. shouldn’t be banked on to repeat their performance, however, Thielen’s absence clearly diversified the red zone passing tree. Both tight ends could be started in desperation as TD-or-bust options. Washington has been obliterated by opposing backfields -- outside of last week’s wonky game against San Fran. Dalvin Cook is the overall RB1, given the matchup. Alexander Mattison could be started as a risky 2nd flex option in Standard leagues given his chance of seeing some 4th quarter garbage time work.
Pete Carroll’s analytics-denial continues to plague this team -- and harm Russell Wilson’s box scores in the process. However, the Falcons defense is a cure-all for opposing offenses -- it’s the worst defense in the league. Russell Wilson is the QB6 this week. Atlanta’s secondary has delivered season-best performances to Nelson Agholor (11 targets, 8 catches, 107 yards, and a score in Week 2), AJ Brown (3 targets, 3 catches, 94 yards, and 2 touchdowns in Week 4), and Will Fuller (217 yard and 3 touchdowns in Week 6). Tyler Lockett is a back-end WR1. DK Metcalf is a solid WR2 with high-end WR2 upside. Jaron Brown is a 2nd flex option with moderate boom upside. Ignore David Moore. Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson are not recommended starts at tight end. Chris Carson is the RB4 this week. He’s a sure bet for 20 touches against a defense that can’t stop anything. CJ Prosise deserves 2nd flex consideration in PPR leagues. Rashaad Penny is not startable.
Per Joe Fann, Matt Ryan is expected to play, even with his likely high ankle sprain (according to Dr. David Chao). He’s my QB9. Ryan’s availability bodes well for the pass catchers, as does the trade of Mohamed Sanu. WRs Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and TE Austin Hooper should all see a bump in targets. The Seahawks’ recent acquisition of stud safety Quandre Diggs is concerning, however, manning the free safety spot in Pete Carroll’s defense is a big responsibility and all three pass catchers can safely be installed in fantasy lineups. Jones is a no-brainer WR1, Ridley a a WR2, Hooper -- currently fantasy’s TE1, is a Top 5 TE. Devonta Freeman is the RB20 this week. Seattle’s run defense has been workable and he’ll see no competition from Ito Smith (concussion). Now-No. 2 RB Brian Hill can be left in free agency.
Joe Flacco just lost Emmanuel Sanders via trade and now has to face Indy’s solid pass defense. He’s a back-end QB3. Courtland Sutton retains his matchup-proof WR2 status. Sanders’ departure means more targets for Sutton but also stiffer coverage as opposing teams can devote more attention to stopping him. The volume increase slightly raises his ceiling though. DaeSean Hamilton likely assumes the starting slot receiver role with Sanders gone. He’s a low-ceiling flex option in PPR for now but he’s a talented kid. One could do worse than choosing him as a bench stash. TE Noah Fant should see a slight increase in passing game usage, however, his pass catching ability has underwhelmed thus far. He has similar usage/bench prospects to Hamilton, respective to their position. Both Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman should take on 1-2 extra targets per game as well. However, Indy’s Darius Leonard-lead run defense is no pushover. Each back has his work cutout for him -- Lindsay is a RB2, Freeman a high-end RB3 with touchdown-based RB2 upside.
Jacoby Brissett looks like the real deal and his upcoming slate of pass defenses (DEN, at PIT, MIA, JAX, at HOU) keeps him firmly in the back-end QB1 conversation. Start him without fear. TY Hilton is likely to be shadowed by Chris Harris Jr., limiting Hilton to just a high floor WR2 status. Zach Pascal peaked all over the place last week, racking up 6 of 7 targets for 106 yards and 2 scores. With Parris Campbell battling an abdomen injury, it’s likely Pascal retains the rights to Indy’s No. 2 WR role -- putting him the moderate-to-shaky flex range. Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle hurt each other’s fantasy value, however, Ebron and his superior season-long stats (206 yards, 3 TDs to Doyle’s 149 yards and 1 TD) place him in the back-end TE1 discussion to Doyle’s TE2 designation. Marlon Mack is the RB12, squaring off with Denver’s workable run defense. Continue to ignore RB Nyheim Hines and WR Deon Cain.
Buccaneers at Titans
Jameis Winston’s got a tough one here. He’s a mid-to-low QB2, in this matchup. Unfortunately for Chris Godwin, he’s gotta go toe-to-toe with stud slot CB Logan Ryan. Godwin, TB’s No. 1 WR, should still hit back-end WR1 production, but it’ll be a stiffer test than most for the breakout player. Mike Evans is still the biggest boom/bust WR1/2, however, it’s possible he sees extra work given the Godwin/Ryan battle going on in the interior. Play him as a WR2. OJ Howard belongs in free agency but could be bench stashed in deep leagues by teams who are well ahead of the rest of their league mates in standings. H/t to Scott Smith, Howard popped up on the Bucs’ injury report today (Wednesday) with a hamstring injury too. Tennessee’s run defense has been middle-of-the-road this year, most recently being outplayed by the Denver RB duo in Week 6 and getting ripped up through the air by Austin Ekeler in Week 7. Ronald Jones II is on the RB2/3 borderline and can be flexed with relative confidence. Peyton Barber does not belong in starting lineups, nor does pass catching back Dare Ogunbowale.
Ryan Tannehill played very well last week and the whole offense should continue to benefit. He’s a mid-to-high QB2, with Top 10-15 upside, in a great matchup. Both Corey Davis and AJ Brown can be added to rosters, if available in free agency. Both players are solid, matchup-based flex starts with WR2 upside. Adam Humphries is a PPR-only 2nd flex option. Delanie Walker’s got a bad ankle (DNP on Wednesday), making Jonnu Smith a back-end TE1 option. Derrick Henry is a matchup-proof RB1 with a surefire 20+ touch workload.
Kyler Murray is the QB12 this week. We can expect another huge helping of Chase Edmonds touches in the face of a stout Saints defense. The saving grace may be the Cardinals’ likely need to keep up with the Saints scoring. Christian Kirk (assuming he plays this week) and Larry Fitzgerald can be considered high and low-end flex options respectively. Even in Kirk’s 3-week absence, Fitz just hasn’t gotten the box-score-job done. Given their slot usage, they should mainly avoid shutdown corner Marshon Lattimore’s coverage though. Damiere Byrd, Pharoh Cooper, and KeeSean Johnson are all un-startable, as is blocking tight end Maxx Williams. Chase Edmonds is the RB10 this week. He’s a serious talent and should see 20-25 touches. Battling ankle and back injuries, David Johnson did not practice today on Wednesday. Do not expect David Johnson to play.
When evaluating the Saints this week (Week 8), we must consider that New Orleans gets their bye next week (Week 9). Drew Brees returned to practice in a limited capacity, stating his “plan” is to play this week. Rushing Brees back for an easily winnable matchup, rather than giving him two weeks of rest would be foolish -- especially considering how well backup QB Teddy Bridgewater has been playing in relief of Brees. For now, Bridgewater holds the QB11 ranking. I do not expect Drew Brees to play this week. Regardless of the starter at quarterback, Michael Thomas retains his elite WR1 status as a lock for double-digit targets in Week 8. Ancillary pass catchers can largely be ignored, however, Ted Ginn Jr. can be started as a matchup-based 2nd flex option in Standard leagues. Jared Cook did not practice on Wednesday (ankle) but he would be a back-end TE1 should he be available. Alvin Kamara also did not practice on Wednesday, battling his high ankle sprain. Similar to the Brees situation, this is an easily winnable game and his backup, Latavius Murray, is playing extremely well in his stead. Last week, Murray was given a mammoth workload (27 carries and 6 targets), finishing Week 7 as the overall RB2 (in all formats) behind Chase Edmonds, this week’s counterpart at home. Expect another stellar showing from Murray -- he’s the RB7. I do not expect Alvin Kamara to play this week. Backup running back Zach Line is ignorable.
The Rams pass defense has really only been had by Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson -- and that was before the addition of Jalen Ramsey. Andy Dalton as his paltry offensive line are nowhere near that level of competition. Dalton is merely a back-end QB2. Tyler Boyd has been peppered with an absurd 35 targets over the last 3 games. He’s only one usable fantasy outing in that span though (123 yards and a score in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals). He’s a PPR flex option. Auden Tate has outplayed Boyd on far fewer targets. However, he’s yet to come close to Boyd’s Week 5 ceiling. Consider Tate the higher floor flex option to Boyd’s low floor/high ceiling. Chasing Alex Erickson’s big Week 7 (8 catches for 137 yards) is likely to be fool’s gold. The 3rd-year player is still 3rd in the pecking order. Joe Mixon was out-rushed by Andy Dalton last week. That’s all you really need to know about the state of this rushing attack. The offensive line can’t stop anyone and Mixon’s year is shot because of it. He’s the RB34. Both RB Gio Bernard and TE Tyler Eifert are unusable.
The Cincinnati defense is mighty giving and the whole Rams offense should eat this week. Jared Goff is the QB7. Cooper Kupp should resume WR1 status after two down weeks. Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are both upside flex plays. Favor Woods in PPR and Cooks in Standard. Todd Gurley II is the RB14 with a shot to crack the Top 12. The workload for an elite finish is not there. However, 15 touches against the Bengals impossibly slow linebacking corps is more than enough for Gurley to tap high-end RB2 production. Darrell Henderson Jr. looks to have taken over as The Rams’ Official Change of Pace Back while the less flashy Malcolm Brown missed time (and may continue to) with an ankle injury. Henderson received 6 carries and 2 targets in Week 6 and 11 carries and 1 target in Week 7. The dynamic back should continue to see 10 or so touches, making him 2nd flex-viable given the matchup. He’s got single flex upside. Gerald Everrett has ascended to Elite TE1 status, finishing in the Top 6 in tight end scoring -- across all formats -- in three of the last four weeks.
Carson Wentz continues to miss DeSean Jackson’s deep speed. A matchup against the Bills vaunted secondary is sure to the heart grow fonder. Wentz is just a high-end QB2 this week. Alshon Jeffery is relegated to the WR2/3 borderline in this matchup while Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins can be left out of lineups (and rosters) entirely. Zach Ertz is just a mid-to-low TE1 in this matchup as well. Dallas Goedert maintaining a 59-74% snap share over the last four weeks doesn’t help Ertz’s cause either. Goedert is not a recommended start but one could do far worse in terms of TE dart throws/bench stashes. Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard continue to hurt each other’s fantasy value and in this matchup, there’s just not enough daylight for either of them to be bankable assets. Howard is the RB29, Sanders the RB30.
This is a blowup spot for QB Josh Allen. The Eagles secondary is perhaps worse than Atlanta’s. Allen walks into Week 8 with the overall QB4 ranking. John Brown was given a veteran’s rest day during Wednesday’s practice. He’ll be a back-end WR1 in this explosive matchup. Cole Beasley is a startable flex option in PPR leagues. At the moment, it’s unclear as to who will fill the No. 3 WR role. Dawson Knox continues to see solid utilization and can be deployed as a back-end TE1. It’s great that Devin Singletary is finally healthy, however, he was out-touched by Frank Gore last week and now must face the Eagles ferocious defensive front. Singletary is an RB3, Gore and RB4 -- the assumption, of course, is that the more talented Singletary regains at least 50% of the backfield work this week, if not more.
On Dr. David Chao’s Pro Football Doc podcast this week, former Chargers center Nick Hardwick shared his thoughts on QB Philip Rivers’ 2019 play. What stood out to him most was Rivers’ seeing the rush, not feeling it. Quarterback’s need to keep their eyes down feel, not darting around to see if an end is coming their way. Expect Rivers to maintain mid-tier QB2 status behind a shaky O-Line, while leaning heavily on All-World tight end Hunter Henry -- the latter of which is a Top 5 at his position and can be considered matchup-proof. Given the fearsome Bears pass defense and head coach Anthony Lynn’s adherence to an anemic ground-and-pound attack with Melvin Gordon III, Keenan Allen can only be counted on as a low ceiling WR2. Mike Williams is a desperation 2nd flex option only. Austin Ekeler will continue to outproduce Gordon, despite being severely out-touched by Gordon. The Bears run defense has allowed at least one running back to post a double-digit fantasy finish in .5PPR scoring, through Weeks 2-7. Ekeler is a RB2, Gordon a RB3.
The Chargers’ defense is fairly banged up, making this a mildly manageable outing for Mitchell Trubisky. Buoyed by Allen Robinson and the matchup, he’s a back-end QB2 this week. Allen Robinson is one of the most talented receivers in the league and it’s a travesty that he’s never had a decent quarterback to play with. He’s a matchup-(and QB)-proof WR2. Anthony Miller has gotten more involved in the Bears’ game planning and could be started as a second flex option in PPR. David Montgomery continues to go criminally underused. The Chargers’ run defense has been charitable to opposing running backs though so he gets the last spot in the RB2 ranks. WR/RB Tarik Cohen is also a PPR second flex option, given the matchup. Tight ends Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen belong in free agency, as do wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Cordarrelle Patterson.
Daniel Jones is currently ranked as a QB3 but will be moved up into the QB2 rankings with the departure of Lions stud safety Quandre Diggs. This is a bounce back spot for Jones. Sterling Shepard has yet to be cleared of the concussion protocol, having suffered two already this season. I do not expect him to play. Golden Tate is a locked-and-loaded WR2. Evan Engram is a TE1. Darius Slayton will continue to be viable as a second flex option given his deep speed and the aforementioned trade of FS Quandre Diggs. Do not chase Rhett Ellison’s Week 7 touchdown. He belongs in free agency. Saquon Barkley did not suffer any setbacks last week. He’s this week’s RB3.
Matthew Stafford is looking down the barrel of a thunderous smash spot against the Giants’ hapless defense. He’s this week’s QB5. Deploy Kenny Golladay as a back-end WR1 and roll Marvin Jones Jr. out there as a WR2 with upside. Danny Amendola is a strong PPR flex. TJ Hockenson is sadly being asked to stay home and block. He is not a recommended start at TE. With Kerryon Johnson landing on IR, Ty Johnson steps into a workhorse role as the Lions’ lead running back. He will be spelled by pass catching back JD McKissic (this week’s RB47), however, it was The Ty Johnson Show once Kerryon left last week’s contest with his knee injury. The talented rookie should pummel the Giants’ weak run defense. He’s a mid-tier RB2 -- a solid spot for a waiver wire add.
Now’s the buy-low window for all Jets players. Their Week 8-16 schedule is as follows: at JAX, at MIA, NYG, at WAS, OAK, at CIN, MIA, at BAL, PIT. The only tough matchup in there is Baltimore but that’s assuming health and the continuation of a smooth transition for CB Marcus Peters. Sam Darnold missed Wednesday’s practice and is projected to be Limited on Thursday with a toe injury. He’s expected to play this week, facing the Jaguars’ pass defense that was middle-of-the-road before trading away Jalen Ramsey. He’s a high-end QB2. Jacksonville has been strong against deep threats in the passing game, however, we can expect 8 or so targets for Robby Anderson. He’s got the ability to get loose against anyone. Consider him a flex play with WR2 upside in Standard. Slot receiver Jamison Crowder may be affected by the potential return of tight end Chris Herndon. Herndon is only practicing in a Limited fashion on Thursday though and he’s fighting a hamstring pull. That’s not something that one should push. Expect Herndon to sit this week and for Crowder to retain his 10+ target workload. Given the short ADot (average depth of target) his chances of getting deep aren’t high. He’s a high-floor WR2 in PPR and a flex option in Standard. Demaryius Thomas is no more than a PPR 2nd-flex option. The Jaguars have given up big weeks to dual threat running backs all year -- Le’Veon Bell fits that bill. He’s the RB11.
Both Carson Wentz and Tom Brady had lackluster showings against the NYJ D, which might give one pause for starting Gardner Minshew II. Their box score weakness was only because they weren’t needed for their team to blow the Jets out. The Eagles won 31-6 and the Pats won 33-0. The Jaguars are unlikely to do the same, now that Sam Darnold is there to keep the Jets in games. Minshew is a high-end QB2 with QB1 upside. Dede Westbrook may not get a chance to build on his strong Week 7 showing, having missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday this week with shoulder injury. Should he play, he’d be a solid flex option across all formats in this plus matchup. Regardless of Westbrook’s availability, DJ Chark is a back-end WR1 who would have high upside if Westbrook were to miss. Chris Conley is merely a second flex option in PPR, however, he would gain flex appeal should Westbrook sit. TE Seth DeValve has not been a relevant part of the passing game and that should continue this week. Leonard Fournette is a healthy, workload monster. He hasn’t received fewer than 20 carries in 4 games and his newfound passing game usage -- he’s averaging 4.5 targets per game over that span -- helps tip the scales for an overall RB5 ranking. The Jets’ run defense is bad and banged up -- most notably, this year’s No. 3 overall pick, defensive lineman Quinnen Williams is day-to-day with an ankle injury. Ryquell Armstead is just a handcuff.
This is a likely meltdown spot for Kyle Allen. He’s my QB22 only because of the playmakers around him. He’d be a QB3, if not for them. Christian McCaffrey drops all the way to the overall RB2 spot, given the difficulty of the matchup and the Washington-based cakewalk Dalvin Cook gets this week. The entire Panthers’ pass catching corps is a recommended Sit this week. Both DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel have the ability to take one to the house on any given play. The Niners defense has locked opposing wide receivers down though. I would only start them as second flex options. Similarly, Greg Olsen has no business being a starter in fantasy lineups.
Carolina has slowed opposing passing games, resulting in a slight drop in the tiered QB rankings for Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s the QB19. The addition of Emmanuel Sanders does boost Garoppolo’s ceiling a bit, however, it’s rare that a receiver can switch teams during the offseason and produce a healthy season in the box score -- it’s far harder that to happen in-season. Consider Sanders a boom/bust flex option who would be on my bench if I had any Sanders shares. Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, and Deebo Samuel (assuming he plays) are all Sits this week. Matchups do not matter for the great George Kittle though. He’s a locked-in Top 3 option at the position. Carolina can’t stop anything on the ground though so this matchup sets up well for the 49ers backfield. Tevin Coleman has seen would-be bell cow usage over the last three weeks -- the team just runs the ball so much that there’s room for another fantasy-relevant back (Matt Breida) to eat too. Coleman’s a lock for 20+ touches, resulting in an RB17 tiered ranking. Matt Breida is a solid flex option across all formats. As noted in the tiered rankings, Carolina has been giving to running backs in the red zone, allowing 3 running back touchdowns in the last two games.
The Texans’ pass defense has been a great matchup for most folks but Tyrell Williams’ unknown availability (plantar fasciitis) drops Derek Carr to the QB3 realm. Darren Waller should be a Top 5, if not Top 3 tight end option this week. Should Williams miss another game, Waller should hit the double-digit target mark. No. 2 tight end Foster Moreau is perhaps the next best option amongst the pass catchers. If Williams is out, he could be given 2nd-flex consideration. Outside of him though, Keelan Davis, Trevor Doss, Hunter Renfrow, and Zay Jones (if he’s active) are all ill-advised option. Josh Jacobs worryingly did not practice on Wednesday (shoulder injury) and is in serious jeopardy of missing Week 8’s contest. He’s currently the RB16 in a solid matchup. Should he miss, DeAndre Washington would likely step into bell cow duties with Jalen Richard as the change of pace back. Washington would be a back-end RB2, Richard a PPR, low ceiling flex.
Update 10/24/19: Per Matt Kawahara, Josh Jacobs was not seen during practice warmups on Thursday.
Deshaun Watson takes the overall QB1 spot this week in a fantastic matchup (Aaron Rodgers just threw for 429 yards, 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and rushed for 6 yards and a score) against a Raiders defense that just sent their best cornerback to… Houston. DeAndre Hopkins has a very good shot at finishing as the overall WR1 this week. Kenny Stills should kick to the outside on most snaps, to replace Will Fuller (hamstring). Oakland has been eviscerated by deep threat WRs this season -- Marquez Valdes-Scantling needed just 2 catches to hang 133 yards and a touchdown on them last week. Stills is a WR2 across all formats who has immense WR1 upside this week. Keke Coutee should feast on 8 or so slot targets as a stellar flex option in PPR formats. Oakland’s run defense is middling and Carlos Hyde should be able to post mid-to-low RB2 numbers against them, frustratingly operating as Houston’s lead back. Duke Johnson Jr. is just a 2nd flex option.
Baker Mayfield is just a back-end QB2 in this terrifying matchup. Keep him on your bench. Odell Beckham Jr. is just a WR2 this week and we should not expect any sort of ceiling game from him. The Patriots field the best fantasy-suppressing secondary in the league. Jarvis Landry could be flexed in PPR formats. Antonio Callaway needs to remain in free agency, despite the Browns’ insistence on using him. TE Ricky Seals-Jones has been very boom or bust over the last 3 games. Expect a bust this week as the Patriots also allow the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Nick Chubb is just a high-end, volume-based RB2 this week, given the matchup.
Although stud cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams should play this week, Tom Brady is still a Top 3 quarterback option. This offense has so many ways to win through the air, he’s extremely difficult to slow. The newly acquired Mohamed Sanu should immediately takeover slot responsibilities. He may take a while to fully adjust, given everything discussed in the 49ers section regarding receivers on new teams. However, Cleveland’s slot coverage is unimposing. It would not be a surprise to see Sanu immediately produce flex-worthy results and can be started as such. With Ward and Greedy back, life will be tougher than expected for Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett II. That being said, they’re still on the back-end WR2 radar. Edelman retains high-end WR2 upside in PPR given his target-hog nature. Dorsett similarly retains high-end WR2 upside in Standard, given his end zone connection with Tom Brady. Benjamin Watson is just a TE2. Cleveland fields a surprisingly bad run defense, locking Sony Michel in for another strong performance. He’s very likely to find the end zone in this one and is ranked as the RB15 because of it. He’s got back-end RB1 upside. As we said in the tiered rankings, James White is a lock for roughly ten .5PPR fantasy points. He has been within a point of that every week of the season thus far. Rex Burkhead continues to be a limited practice participant this week. Over the last 3 weeks, where he’s been inactive on gameday, Brandon Bolden has stepped into a productive change of pace role, delivering usable flex production. Until we get official word on Burkhead, both backs will remain out of the tiered rankings. However, should we get confirmation that Burkhead is out, Bolden would immediately become a solid flex option across all formats.
A change-up in play calling has brought the Aaron Rodgers production we’ve been hoping for. As noted in the tiered rankings, per Warren Sharp’s Sharp Football Stats (you’ll have to adjust the interface yourself), Rodgers is now throwing more on 1st than he is on 2nd and 3rd combined. Given the success offenses have with 1st and 2nd-down passing, we should be thrilled by the development and hope for more of the same. We’ve got Aaron Rodgers as the overall QB2 on the week.
Reports abound saying Davante Adams has made real progress in his turf toe recovery. HC Matt LeFleur even said he’s a “game time decision”. We’ll defer to The Good Dr. Chao on this one and err on the side of caution: He’ll be back in November (You’ll need to navigate the site’s interface yourself -- it’s just the way the link is.). For all the positive hoopla surrounding Adams, he’s yet to actually practice since injuring the toe. A turf toe injury is serious and he needs to be fully recovered before he can go back to accelerating and cutting at full speed.
Update 10/24/19: Adams only participated in warmups today, h/t Matt Schneidman.
When examining the numbers of opposing wide receivers versus the Chiefs, things can be deceiving. Although they’ve technically only given up the 10th fewest WR fantasy points, it’s important to note that Will Fuller dropping 3 touchdown passes in Week 6 would’ve shot this team defense tumbling down the ranking into the mid-tier realm. Both Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders hung respectable outings on them last week too (6 catches for 87 yards and 5 catches for 60, respectively). This secondary is more vulnerable than people realize and there’s reason to expect solid passing game production. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a back-end WR2 option with high-end WR2 potential. He can lift the lid off of any defense and has resumed full practice participation this week after battling nagging ankle and knee injuries. Preseason favorite Jake Kumerow and his 6’4”, 209lbs frame is a strong bet for a touchdown this week. He’s a reasonable flex option. Both Geronimo Allison and Allen Lazard are just middling flex options. Allison just hasn’t had a ceiling game since Week 4 against Philly. Lazard is a toss-up as the newcomer. Jimmy Graham is a run-of-the-mill boom/bust TE1. Unlike my Fake Teams cohort, Pete Rogers, I took Week 7 as a positive for Aaron Jones’ workload. Rogers argued in favor of Jamaal Williams moving forward on today’s (Thursday’s) podcast. I see Aaron Jones as the clear-cut lead option though. He blew up in Week 5 while Jamaal Williams was out. In Week 6, Jones was again the lead back but was benched after a fumble and a dropped touchdown pass, leading to Williams’ big box score. In Week 7, their snap counts swung strongly back in Jones’ favor (57% to 40%), with Jones out touching Williams as well: 12 carries and 4 targets for Jones -- 3 carries and 5 targets for Williams. Given the outstanding matchup -- Kansas City’s run defense is among the worst in the league -- this is a smash spot for both players. Aaron Jones is the overall RB9. Jamaal Williams is a great flex option as the RB28.
In writing this piece, I’ve realized I need to elevate Matt Moore from the QB22 spot. He’s playable as a high-end streamer, given the pieces around him. Green Bay has been decent against opposing pass offenses but we can bet that HC Andy Reid will scheme up touches for Tyreek Hill. Trust him as a WR1. The rest of the WR squadron is really up in the air. Mecole Hardman should remain on benches as his main trick is going deep. They’ve got Hill back for that now and Byron Pringle (leave him on your bench) will also compete will him for deep field targets. Demarcus Robinson may be flex-worthy in PPR leagues as his bread and butter is more of the short to intermediate area of the field. He could be used as a safety blanket from time to time. Travis Kelce should be a target monster this week as Moore will likely pepper him with targets all game long. GB has been mighty generous to tight ends this year, allowing Darren Waller and Foster Moreau to combine for 150 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns last week. I expect LeSean McCoy to further wrench control of KC’s backfield this week. He’s the most talented rusher and has said all year long that his biggest hurdle is mastering the pass protection responsibilities. He’s continued to do that and it’s likely McCoy seems 15+ touches as KC shifts slightly more towards the run in Patrick Mahomes’ absence. Damien and Darrel Williams are not recommended starts, although one could consider Damien in PPR leagues as a 2nd-flex option.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is just a QB3 this week. Things are not looking fantasy-viable in Miami. Of the pass catchers, Devante Parker is really the only one worth flexing. He’s had four-straight fruitful outings. Preston Williams, Albert Wilson, and Mike Gesicki can all remain in free agency. Mark Walton has theoretically taken over as the lead back in Miami. However, they may try to showcase Kenyan Drake ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline. Kalen Ballage is ignorable.
Mason Rudolph is a mid-to-low QB2. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a flex option in a great matchup. It’s likely that the Steelers opt to grind the clock out with James Conner though so expectations for JuJu should not be high. Diontae Johnson and James Washington are ignorable. Vance McDonald is a back-end TE1. As mentioned above, James Conner is likely to see 20+ touches in this blowout. Benny Snell is a high-risk flex option as he could see garbage time work. A start as a 2nd-flex is more reasonable but still risky.