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.
The Rams defense have allowed the 12th most passing yards, 7th most passing TDs, 10th most rushing yards, but tied for the 19th most rushing TDs -- however, if the Seahawks are moving the ball downfield, Chris Carson will see red zone work. He’s a back-end RB1. -Russell Wilson is easily a QB1. Chris Godwin went nuts last week, finishing as the overall WR1 across all formats. This bodes well for fellow slot receiver Tyler Lockett -- a WR1 this week. DK Metcalf will see his requisite handful of deep shots -- and it’s likely he scores. Last week’s Bucs at Rams game featured a combined 172 snaps -- a 130-140 range is typical. Although it technically wasn’t an overtime game, we can think of it as such -- and we like targeting defenses who just played an abnormally high snap count, especially on a short week. The Rams defense is going to be sucking wind by the 3rd quarter. This game has blowout potential and I would feel confident in firing up DK Metcalf as a candidate to get loose for a long score. Will Dissly is a locked-in TE1. On this week’s Week 4 NFC Team-by-Team Notes podcast of Establishtherun.com, Adam Levitan shared a new narrative -- that of the Bible study. Apparently Will Dissly and Russell Wilson are going to Bible Study classes together and the connection, especially in the red zone, is evident.
Jared Goff is a mid-tier QB2. Cooper Kupp should do his normal WR1 thing. Robert Woods has had a subpar season and we can expect that to continue as Seattle’s pass defense has been alright. Brandin Cooks and his deep speed will always be a problem as the Hawks’ safety play is anything but safe. Cooks is a boom/bust WR2, Woods a flex. Todd Gurley is a rock-solid RB2, now that his passing game usage has returned. Concerns over his knee giving out at any moment, especially coming off such a high snap count (74!) from last week. Malcolm Brown is likely startable as a second flex option. Gerald Everett splashed last week but outside of that he’s been a non-factor. Chalk it up to the wonky game script and leave him in free agency.
Gardner Minshew is a QB2. Rock-solid floor and a mildly fun ceiling, chucking it early and often to DJ Chark, the downfield dynamo. DJ Chark is a low-end WR2 in this moderate matchup -- Panthers No. 2 CB Donte Jackson is out, per Rotoworld, although James Bradberry is good to go. Dede Westbrook belongs on the bench. Chris Conley belongs in Free Agency. Tight end James O’Shaunessy has touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and could be used as a desperation start for those in need. Leonard Fournette still hasn’t scored, continuing his ascension towards massively positive touchdown regression. Last week, he reminded those who drafted him, why they drafted him (245 total yards). He’s an RB1 this week. Ryquell Armstead got some usage, and found the end zone, last week and could be added for those interested in handcuffing Fournette.
After being high on Kyle Allen last week, he’s got to drop after his 3 fumbles-lost performance. He’s a back-end QB2. Moderate bounce-back games can be expected for Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, and especially Greg Olsen. The former two will be strongly negatively impacted if Jalen Ramsey suits up. Both are boom/bust back-end WR2s. Olsen is a TE1. Christian McCaffrey is the RB2 this week, being pushed down by Dalvin Cook and his beautiful matchup with the New York Football Giants.
Patriots at Washington
Tom Brady’s about to storm Washington’s castle. Locked-in Top 5 QB option this week. Julian Edelman is a dependable, volume-driven WR2. Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett are both good bets to fulfill their fringe WR2/3 expectations against Washington’s molasses-like pass defense. Tough to trust but this game sets up as a Sony Michel day. He’s a mid-tier RB2 with outstanding touchdown upside. James White is just a PPR flex.
Dwayne Haskins is not startable. Banking on a pick-6 from the Pats D is not unreasonable. Case Keenum is in a walking boot (Wednesday). Terry McLaurin is a PPR flex. Chris Thompson is a PPR 2nd-flex. Adrian Peterson, Jordan Reed, and Vernon Davis are not startable, regardless of availability.
Update 10/4/19: Per Craig Hoffman, Colt McCoy will be starting at quarterback — leave him in fantasy free agency. Both Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed are Out. Terry McLaurin is Questionable and will not be a recommended start if Active.
The QB situation is currently up in the air. Josh Allen cannot be counted on to clear the concussion protocol in time to play. Matt Barkley is not startable. Devin Singletary should resume lead back duties -- think 12-15 touches worth of flex production. Frank Gore is a low-end flex/2nd-flex option. John Brown and Cole Beasley are viable flex options, if desperate. Brown in Standard and Beasley in PPR. Dawson Knox is surprisingly a sneaky TE1 option. Tennessee gave up a TE touchdown in Weeks 1-3 and allowed Austin Hooper to go 9 of 11 for 130 yards in Week 4.
Marcus Mariota is pick-less through 4 weeks. This is probably the week that changes though. He’s a mid-tier QB2. Derrick Henry maintains RB1 status as a sure thing for 20 touches. Sadly, Delanie Walker drops to TE2 range against a brutal Bills defense. Both AJ Brown and Corey Davis are Sits this week as well. It’s possible one gets loose but it’s too tough to know which. Adam Humphries is there if you’re feeling lucky.
Lamar Jackson is a Top 5 QB, regardless of matchup. Mark Ingram is my RB13. Pittsburgh shut down Mixon but that was mostly because of hapless O-Line play. Marquise Brown is setup to go off this week. Pittsburgh’s pass defense has been a sieve. He’s a WR2 with colossal upside. Mark Andrews is a TE1. The foot injury will need to be monitored but he was never going to play more than 50% of the snaps anyway. Neither Willie Snead, nor Myles Boykin are recommended plays. Snead has to square off with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Boykin’s been quiet, outside of last week’s score. Gus Edwards should be owned in 12 team leagues as a Wayne Gallman-esque handcuff. Nada for Justice Hill.
Baltimore’s defense is only strong in name, allowing Mason Rudolph to maintain his High Floor/Capped Ceiling QB2 status. JuJu Smith-Schuster is a fantasy WR2 with a toe injury. Do not expect a ceiling game form him. Do expect a ceiling game from Diontae Johnson, who’s recorded lines of 3 catches on 6 targets, 52 yards, and a score followed by 6 catches on 6 targets for 77 yards and a score. Functionally, he is the alpha in the Pittsburgh passing game right now. He needs to be owned in all leagues and can be confidently started as a flex with WR2 upside. James Washington, Nick Vannett, and Vance McDonald (injured) are irrelevant. James Conner is a fringe RB1/2, while Jaylen Samuels is a must-add in all formats and could be boldly started as a flex this week. Both Conner and Samuels recorded 10 carries and 8 catches last week, with Samuels getting wild cat QB work.
Per JJ Zachariason’s episode 291: Week 5 Matchups of The Late Round podcast, the Cards are No. 1 in the league in Pace, while the Bengals are No. 6. Both teams have bad defenses. We can expect a surprise shootout here -- ignore the oxymoron.
Kyler Murray is a QB1. Larry Fitzgerald is on the WR1/WR2 borderline. With Christian Kirk out with an ankle injury, we can expect deep shots to both KeeSean Johnson and Andy Isabella -- making them both boom/bust flex options. Although David Johnson is my RB5, he’s got serious overall RB1 potential.
Andy Dalton is a back-end QB2, even with the great matchup. Expect Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert to pick-up the slack with John Ross out. Auden Tate is worthy of second flex consideration. Joe Mixon is a RB2 for the remainder of the year. The offensive line is just that bad. Giovani Bernard is not startable.
Although things don’t seem to be going well in Atlanta, Matt Ryan has largely maintained fringe QB1/2 status, or better. Last week he did drop to the QB16, however, the beatable Texans secondary provides a nice opportunity for him to return to the Top 12. Julio Jones remains a Top 3 WR option, regardless of format. Austin Hooper has taken over as the No. 2 pass catcher in Atlanta for now -- he’s a Top 5 TE across all formats. Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu have suffered for it, rendering both boom/bust flex options. Devonta Freeman’s big Week 3 snap count looks like an outlier. He’s back into the low 60% range. He’s a fringe RB2/3. Ito Smith is just a sporadic touchdown vulture.
Deshaun Watson has been boom/bust this year and Atlanta’s banged up defense sets the table for a boom. He’s the QB4. Expect all of Houston’s active WR corps to produce this week. DeAndre Hopkins is a WR1, -Positive regression is coming for Will Fuller, per Evan Silva:
Update: Kenny Stills friggin’ practiced today, per Sarah Barshop. With Kenny Stills likely out, Keke Coutee resumes his starting slot role. He’s got a good shot to smash the short, middle-area of the field. He’s a flex with WR2 upside in PPR.
Duke Johnson Jr. won the snap count battle with Carlos Hyde last week, producing 56 rushing yards on just 6 carries (9.3 YPC) and secured 2 of 3 targets for 22 yards. Carlos Hyde, on the other hand, rushed 12 times for 58 yards (4.8 YPC) and caught 4 of 5 targets for 6 yards. Atlanta is the team to start your pass catching backs against so if you’re feeling bold, roll Duke out there in your flex spot. If playing it safe, they’re both low-end flex options.
Buccaneers at Saints
We have to take the high snap counts from last week into account, but not as much as the Rams, given the time the Bucs have to rest. Jameis Winston is a back-end QB1 in an away matchup with a Saints defense that has very fantasy friendly in 3 of 4 games this year. Both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have Top 12 WR upside. Evans can be ranked as such with Godwin, perhaps around the WR12 overall. At this point, neither OJ Howard nor Cameron Brate are safe TE1 options. Howard can be played in desperation and Brate is a candidate for 5 yards and a score -- albeit unlikely. Ronald Jones has taken over the Bucs backfield, however, he’s merely a flex option this week. As we discussed on the RB1: A Fantasy Football Podcast, the Saints D-Line, especially Sheldon Rankings, lived in the Cowboys backfield last week. Peyton Barber and Dare Ogunbowale will irritatingly siphon touches away from Jones as well.
Teddy Bridgewater is a QB3. Shaq Barrett is playing out of his mind. Michael Thomas will still eat as a WR1. None of Ted Ginn Jr., Tre’Quan Smith, Jared Cook, or Latavius Murray are worth starting. Alvin Kamara is still an RB1.
Vikings at Giants
Kirk Cousins is a QB3 with QB2 upside against the nonexistent NYG defense. Adam Thielen is a low-end WR1 this week, given the matchup and the real possibility that Stefon Diggs gets punished for speaking up about Mike Zimmer’s boneheaded game planning. Diggs is a risky start. Dalvin Cook is my overall RB1 this week and Alexander Mattison could see some 4th quarter action. He’s a must-stash for Cook owners. Ignore the tight ends.
This is a brutal matchup for Daniel Jones. He’s my QB18 on the week. His rushing floor will keep him relevant but we can’t expect much through the air. Things are up in the air for Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate. We’re guessing that Tate takes over as the primary slot receiver, which immediately pushes him into starting flex consideration. Shepard drops from a WR2 to a flex, given his deficiencies playing on the outside. Evan Engram is still a TE1. Wayne Gallman operated as a dual threat bell cow and we can expect that again this week. He’s the RB18.
Chase Daniel might actually give this offense a better chance to succeed than Mitchell Trubisky. He’s likely to turn the ball over less. David Montgomery’s snap count has gloriously increased every week. He’s a rock-solid RB2 in a delicious matchup against a paltry Raiders defense. Allen Robinson remains a high floor WR2, regardless of who’s throwing him the ball. Tarik Cohen is startable as a PPR flex, and really the only pass catcher worth considering.
Derek Carr is a QB3, facing the NFL’s toughest defense. Josh Jacobs lack of passing game usage, coupled with the Bears’ defense, drops him to the high-end RB3 range. Darren Waller will get his, no matter what. He’s a TE1. Tyrell Williams has scored in every game thus far. If they get to the red zone, he’s likely the first look. It’s a tough draw though so he’s downgraded to a flex option only.
Sam Darnold’s back. Even in a great matchup, his mono-infused rust drops him to QB3 range. Both Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson are limited to the flex/2nd-flex range, in PPR and Standard, respectively. Le’Veon Bell is a volume-driven RB1. Ignore the tight ends.
Carson Wentz should have no issue arriving at a Top 12 QB finish against the Jets. Zach Ertz is an unquestioned TE1. Alshon Jeffrey is on the WR1/2 fringe. Don’t bother with Nelson Agholor unless you’re desperate in a PPR flex kind of way. Jordan Howard was a Top 3 RB across all scoring formats last week and he needs to be started this week as an RB2. His rushing success was great but it was his passing game work that did the convincing. Howard’s been a one-dimensional battering ram for most of his career. Catching 3 of 4 targets for 28 yards and a score is big for this guy. Miles Sanders is a flex option only.
Joe Flacco’s a back-end QB2, but his prospects are rising. Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders and balling out-the-building and both can be started as low-end WR2s with capped upsides. Noah Fant needs to be added by all tight end-needy teams as his weekly snap count remains high. Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay stay locked-in as back-end RB2s with the former due for some positive touchdown regression. They both function as do-it-all backs when on the field. Lindsay has a total of 322 yards from scrimmage to go with 2 touchdowns, while averaging 3.9 yards per carry and 8.4 yards per reception. Freeman owns 286 yards from scrimmage with no scores, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 6.9 yards per reception. DaeSean Hamilton belongs in free agency.
The QB13 slot may just need to be called Philip Rivers. Austin Ekeler is an RB2 and Melvin Gordon is on the RB2/3 borderline with serious upside. The Broncos are getting hammered on the ground and just lost Bradley Chubb. Keenan Allen is a thunderous WR1, given both the matchup and the litany of injuries this offense has suffered. Both Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin were limited practice participants and neither should be counted on. There are no tight ends here worth considering.
Packers at Cowboys
Aaron Rodgers played himself back into the QB1 discussion last week. The likely absence of Davante Adams elevates Marques Valdez-Scantling to the team’s No. 1 pass catching position. He’s a WR2 this week. Geronimo Allison deserves flex consideration and Jimmy Graham is a TE1. Aaron Jones has a sky high ceiling, even in a tough matchup. Jamaal Williams concussion looks to put 20+ touches on Aaron Jones’ plate. He’s an RB1.
Dak Prescott broke our hearts last week -- likely due to Jason Garrett getting his ignorant thoughts into the game plan. A return to Kellen Moore’s play-action offense is likely. He remains a QB1. Ezekiel Elliott is my RB3. The likely return of Michael Gallup is a boon for Amari Cooper. The former is a WR3, the latter a back-end WR1. Jason Witten is a desperation TE1/2 play.
Jacoby Brissett comes in as the QB14 this week but may be deserving of something a bit higher. Last week’s QB5 performance is noteworthy -- although it came against a weak Raiders defense, being able to seriously capitalize on those kind of matchups is important. Per Joel A. Erickson, TY Hilton practiced today, while Marlon Mack did not. Mack and his bum ankle have not been ruled out though. Both Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron scored last week, making them boom/bust TE1/2 options. Parris Campbell and Zach Pascal are WR3/4 dart throws.
Patrick Mahomes is the QB1. Travis Kelce is the overall TE1. It’s unlikely Tyreek Hill returns this week. The wide receivers should be considered as follows: Mecole Hardman, playing the Hill role, should be considered the best bet to house a long ball and finish as a WR2. Sammy Watkins is preferred in PPR leagues, on the WR2/3 borderline. Demarcus Robinson is a DGAF flex play that has a 50/50 shot to result in a double digit scoring finish. With Damien Williams returning to practice, the only back we can count on as a sure thing for 12-15 touches in LeSean McCoy. Damien and Darrel Williams eat into each other’s passing game work, while McCoy shreds defenses on the ground. For now, McCoy is a high-end RB2. Darrel a mid-tier RB2, and Damien is unranked. When we get Friday practice information, rankings will be updated. Damien would start over Darrel if active.
Baker Mayfield is the QB12. SF’s D-Line will give him fits but the secondary is lacking enough that he should be alright. This is a big time bounce-back spot for Odell Beckham Jr. SF has been middling against receivers. Both Jason Verrett (foot) and Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle) are both week-to-week. Richard Sherman has always struggled with speedy receivers, off the snap. Add Antonio Callaway but monitor practice reports closely. If Jarvis Landry cannot clear the concussion protocol and Rashard Higgins’ knee keeps him out again, Callaway immediately becomes a flex option. Ricky Seals-Jones is squarely on the back-end TE1 map. Nick Chubb flashed his upside last week and is locked into the Top 5 of the running back ranks.
Jimmy Garoppolo is a QB2. George Kittle is a Top 2 TE. Of Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, and Richie James Jr., Deebo is really the only one who garners safe flex consideration. The Browns’ defense is still a bit banged up but this is a full blown wide receiver committee right now. Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman are both RB3s. Breida is guaranteed 10-12 touches between the 20s. Outside of that, it’s an unknown. Coleman likely steps into goal-line work.
Update: The 49ers are expected to sign slot receiver Jordan Matthews, per Mike Garofolo.
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