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.
By virtue of his outstanding matchup -- Arizona is the most QB-friendly defense in fantasy -- Jimmy Garoppolo takes the QB15 spot with a great shot at cracking the Top 12. To make matters more fun, Arizona is also the most TE-friendly defense in fantasy. George Kittle deserves the overall TE1 ranking this week. Emmanuel Sanders assumed the No. 2 pass catching role in his debut last week, seeing 5 targets -- 2nd-most on the team. He’s a strong flex with easy WR2 upside this week. Deebo Samuel had more work schemed towards him on 2 carries -- one resulting in a score -- outside of his measly 3 targets. Samuel may see the highest volume of Patrick Peterson coverage of all of the 49ers WRs this week. He belongs on benches. Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne belong in free agency. Given the lack of coverage ability, it’s possible Marquise Goodwin could get loose for a long score. He’s not a recommended start though. Tevin Coleman has asserted himself as the unquestioned bell cow in this offense. He’s the RB7 this week, facing the middling Cardinals run defense. Coleman is also the only fully healthy running back on the Niners roster. Per the Pro Football Doc, Matt Breida likely suffered left inversion ankle sprain (use the interface to find the info -- site still in development). Breida will play and has a good shot return flex value, especially in PPR leagues. Both Raheem Mostert (quad) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (stinger) got banged up in last weekend’s game. We’ll monitor practice reports for more info.
Kyler Murray is just a high-end QB2 this week, staring down the barrel of San Fran’s ferocious defensive front. Christian Kirk was a target monster through the first three games of the season, totalling 32 in those contests. He got right back to it in Week 8, after missing three games due to his mid-game Week 4 ankle injury, nabbing 8 of 11 targets for 79 yards. Although San Francisco’s pass defense is stout, that kind of volume is too good to ignore. Consider him a WR2 this week. Larry Fitzgerald’s inability to deliver ceiling games in Kirk’s 3-game absence is enough for him to be dropped in most leagues. He’s a low ceiling 2nd-flex option only. Pharoh Cooper, KeeSean Johnson, and Damiere Byrd can be ignored. Keep an eye on TE Charles Clay. The old-timer caught 3 of 3 targets for 88 yards last week. Keep him out of lineups for now but he’s worth monitoring. David Johnson surprisingly participated in passing drills after stretching with the team on Wednesday, per Josh Weinfuss. It’s unlikely he plays but we’ll need to monitor his status to be sure. Chase Edmonds will not play on his injured hamstring. Kenyan Drake is a PPR flex only. The Niners’ defensive line will routinely overpower the Cards’ paltry blocking unit. Drake could see a high-volume of short yardage outlet passes though.
Deshaun Watson is the overall QB1 this week. He faltered when playing the Jags at home in Week 2, however, CB Jalen Ramsey has set sail for L.A.’s warmer waters since then. Playing in London’s neutral site does not give a home field advantage to either team. With DeAndre Hopkins no longer having to battle CB Jalen Ramsey for production, the All-World talent should be in strong contention for an overall WR1 finish this week. Disaster struck the Texans receiving corps last week with Keke Coutee surprisingly being benched for kick/punt returner DeAndre Carter and TE Darren Fells gobbling up a 90% snap share. It’s a coin toss whether Carter keeps Coutee’s job, however, in leagues that reward for return yardage Carter could be a sneaky 2nd-flex option. We’ve discussed Fells’ solid snap share on previous Rundowns and he’s proven to be a legit TE1 at this point. Kenny Stills was the top bust of Week 8. He had it all there, but game script took it away. If you’re feeling bold, this is another decent spot for him to catch a deep TD. It’s understandable to only consider him as a 2nd-flex option though. Carlos Hyde should rumble for 80 yards with a shot at a score in a decent matchup this week. He’s a lock for 18-22 weekly carries. Duke Johnson Jr. deserves 2nd-flex consideration in PPR leagues.
The Oakland Raiders’ passing game shredded the Texans joke of a secondary last week and Gardner Minshew II should have no issue doing the same this week. He’s the overall QB7. DJ Chark Jr. is a locked-in WR1 this week. Expect big things from the breakout Jags’ star. With Dede Westbrook suffering setbacks to his shoulder and neck during last week’s contest, Chris Conley filled the void in a major way, hauling in a team-high 103 yards and a touchdown, catching 4 of 7 targets. Conley’s got an excellent shot to repeat the performance as a flex with serious WR2 upside. With Marqise Lee being placed on IR, Keelan Cole has long-shot 2nd-flex appeal in PPR leagues. He is not a recommended start though -- nor is TE Seth DeValve. The loss of JJ Watt along the defensive line puts Leonard Fournette to turn his weekly 25+ touches into Earth-shattering production. He’s the RB6 this week. Ryquell Armstead is just a bench stash.
Philadelphia continues to be a team we target for opposing signal callers. As far as matchups go, this is about as good as it gets for Mitchell Trubisky this year. Given his bottomless floor, he’s still just a QB3. He does have high-end QB2 upside though so if you’re desperate for a boom week and don’t have a good option, he could be your guy. Allen Robinson II’s usage and ability continue to make him a matchup-proof WR2. This is a blowup spot though, he’s absolutely got a Top 12 finish well within his range of potential outcomes. Passing game weapons, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Tarik Cohen can all be considered in the 2nd-flex-to-flex range this week, given the matchup. Cohen likely has the best chance to return true flex value. Trey Burton can still largely be ignored. David Montgomery was finally given bell cow usage against the Chargers last week and he delivered 147 yards from scrimmage and a score. LAC’s run defense is a far cry from Philadelphia’s awesome defensive front. It’s likely Montgomery retains most of the work he saw last week, however, the matchup drops him to the RB2/3 fringe.
Carson Wentz needs to be approached with caution, resting on the QB1/2 borderline. The Bears have been a run-funnel team this year, however, the return of DeSean Jackson appears possible this week and he would drastically change the dynamics of this offense. Jackson could be started as a flex option in Standard leagues. Alshon Jeffery is just a flex option, given the matchup. Both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert can both be started as TE1s this week given their near-even workloads over the last 3 weeks. Miles Sanders’s breakout has been coming for some time now but he’s here. His role as an offensive weapon, used both through the air and on the ground has seemingly stabilized. Meanwhile, Jordan Howard’s rushing usage has stabilized as well. Together, they are both playable as RB2s against a Bears run defense that has been outrageously friendly to Raiders, Saints, and Chargers’ backs over their last three games. It’s worth noting that Darren Sproles has may return from injury this week. If that’s the case, that could negatively impact Sanders’ passing game workload.
Given the Steelers stout front, Jacoby Brissett is relegated to the mid-to-low QB2 range. His offensive line can keep him in any contest though so he does have high-end QB2 upside. T.Y. Hilton remains a matchup-proof WR2, with an albeit capped ceiling. Pass catchers Zach Pascal, Nyheim Hines, and Parris Campbell are not recommended starts, even as 2nd-flex option. Tight ends Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron mostly cancel each other out on a weekly basis. Pittsburgh ranks as the 8th-most fantasy friendly defense for tight ends though so taking a flyer on the higher-upsided Ebron makes sense. Marlon Mack remains a stalwart of the RB1/2 borderline, given his matchup-proof 20-ish touch weekly workload.
Update: TY Hilton was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday (calf) but did not practice on Thursday, per Zak Keefer, indicating a possible setback. This is something we need to monitor.
It took facing the lowly Miami Dolphins for Mason Rudolph to deliver his first fantasy-viable outing in weeks. The Colts have a reasonably strong defense though, rendering Rudolph just a QB3. That being said, the talent of both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson should be enough to keep each one as a viable WR2 and flex option, respectively. This is a bet on talent and volume on the receiving end. Tight end Vance McDonald and wide receivers James Washington and Ryan Switzer are irrelevant for our purposes. Dr. David Chao believes James Conner suffered a “mild AC joint sprain” in his shoulder. This is likely nothing to worry about. (Dr. Chao’s site is still under development so you may need to find Conner on the site yourself, if the link doesn’t take you directly to his update.) Conner’s matchup-proof usage keeps him at the back-end of the RB1 ranks, even in a tough matchup. Jaylen Samuels is a worthwhile bench stash as he could return to having standalone value, regardless of Conner’s health.
Update 11/1/29: James Conner is Doubtful to play this weekend. Jaylen Samuels immediately becomes a back-end RB1, in line for 20+ touches.
Jets at Dolphins
This week’s matchup with the Miami Dolphins should be Adam Gase-proof. If it’s not, you’ll need to hold a fire sale for whichever Jets’ players you have rostered. Sam Darnold conservatively comes in as a mid-to-low QB2 this week, although his ceiling is significantly higher than that. Darnold can easily finish as a Top 15 option this week. Adam Gase is the worry though. The out-of-his-mind head coach also tried to run Robby Anderson out of town this week, before the trade deadline closed. He was unsuccessful though so the talented downfield threat remains. He’s a boom/bust flex option in this stellar matchup. Jamison Crowder is a locked-and-loaded WR2 this week, especially in PPR leagues. Demaryius Thomas is a boom/bust 2nd-flex option. If he’s able to play, Chris Herndon would be a surefire TE1 -- he got in limited participation on Wednesday. Ryan Griffin would be a fine streamer at TE, should Herdon sit again. Like his quarterback, running back Le’Veon Bell is conservatively ranked as just a high-end RB2. Were nearly any other coach at the helm, Bell would be a no-brainer RB1. However, given Gase’s distaste for Bell -- who he also tried to jettison via trade -- Bell can only be trusted outside of the Top 12. This is a smash spot for him though.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is the QB24 but could have mid-tier QB2 results. His penchant for throwing picks just makes his floor untenable. Devante Parker and Preston Williams retain flex viability against New York’s green-light secondary. Tight end Mike Gesicki and wide receivers Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant are boom/bust options that are far more likely to bust than boom. Mark Walton is a lightweight version of Matt Breida; a decent running back between the 20s who is oftentimes pulled for the bigger banger back once the team gets into scoring position. Given the cake matchup, Walton can be considered an upside flex play. Kalen Ballage, the aforementioned banger, is really just an oversized pass catcher who the team rams into the back of the O-Line. Don’t waste a flex spot on him. Leave him in free agency.
Kirk Cousins busted last week but is gifted another stellar matchup in Week 9 against a KC Chiefs defense that can’t stop anything. Until defensive linemen Frank Clark (neck, did not practice on Wednesday) and Chris Jones (Groin, limited practice participant) return to action, opposing passers will have all day to throw and opposing running backs will have daylight everywhere. Trust Cousins again as this week’s top streaming option. He’s the QB13 with easy Top 12 upside. Adam Thielen (hamstring) was able to get in limited practice participation on Wednesday, keeping him on course to return this week. He’s a big time WR1 if he’s able to play. Likewise, Stefon Diggs probably belongs on the WR1/2 borderline should Thielen play. Without Thielen, he’d push to be a Top 8 option. The snap share were there for Olabisi Johnson to produce last week (74%), the chips just didn’t fall that way though. If Thielen is back, Johnson belongs in free agency. If Thielen is absent once again, Johnson can be started as a capped-ceiling flex. Neither Irv Smith Jr. nor Kyle Rudolph deserve serious starting consideration. Dalvin Cook remained a Top 5 RB producer last week and that trend shouldn’t buck this week. He’s the overall RB2, locked in for 25+ touches.
Matt Moore held his own last week, working as the puppet at the end of Andy Reid’s strings. Minnesota’s pass defense has been stronger on paper than it has in real life. Moore is a strong QB2 play this week, who could be carried into the back-end of the QB1 producers on the backs of his outstanding supporting cast. Tyreek Hill is an every-week WR1. Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson rounded out the 3-wide receiver sets. Both of them are playable, if weak, flex options. Watkins, slightly stronger in Standard. Robinson, in PPR. Mecole Hardman did a lot with little last week, hauling in 2 of 2 targets for 55 yards and a score. He also added 86 return yards, for leagues that reward return points. He’s a boom/bust 2nd-flex option. Byron Pringle is ignorable. Travis Kelce is a Top Tier TE, as always. Moore and Kelce found a strong connection in last week’s game, keeping Kelce in the Top 5 producer column across all formats. LeSean McCoy looked to be Kansas City’s featured back last week until a fumble put him on the bench. Damien Williams was then given a chance as the lead back and managed to snag a should-be-Shady touchdown. Since the beginning, McCoy made clear that the only thing holding him back was learning pass protection responsibilities. His workloads have continued to increase and last week, before the fumble, he was even being feature in the passing game (he caught all 4 of his targets). I’m trusting the process and expecting McCoy to once again start the game as Andy Reid’s bell cow. Given the slight shakiness, he’s conservatively being ranked as a back-end RB2. He’s got mid-to-high RB2 upside though. Damien Williams is just a back-end RB3. Minnesota is so-so against opposing run games. Darrel Williams is obsolete.
I told you last week to start Ryan Tannehill as “a mid-to-high QB2... with Top 10-15 upside”. He was the QB11. Unfortunately for this week, he’s a no-go, facing a very tough Carolina Panthers’ pass defense. He’s just a middling QB2 with little upside this week. Although AJ Brown did reel in an 8-yard touchdown his usage is still too infrequent to be trusted. The same goes for Corey Davis, TD-stealer Tajae Sharpe, and ineffective slot receiver Adam Humphries. Last week, tight end Jonnu Smith lead the team in targets (7), catches (6), yards (78), and found the end zone once. If the Titans don’t stick with him in this matchup, they’re leaving points on the board. Carolina has been. dusted by Cameron Brate and George Kittle in back-to-back games. Delanie Walker was sidelined at practice on Wednesday and should be left in fantasy free agency. Derrick Henry and his monstrous weekly workloads should be in for a treat this weekend as the Panthers have been the 5th-most fantasy friendly defense to opposing running backs in 2019. Having just allowed a combined 5 touchdowns to 49ers’ running backs in Week 8, expect the Panthers to grant Henry a King Kong performance in Week 9. He’s this week’s RB8.
Kyle Allen gets the starting nod once again, coming in as the QB22 in my rankings. This is a tough spot for Allen as the Titans play stingy pass defense. Both DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel remain moderate flex options, as both play primarily on the outside of the formation, therefore avoiding stud slot CB Logan Ryan. Tennessee has been generous to opposing tight ends, but Greg Olsen is a shell of his former self. He’s on the TE1/2 borderline. Alarm bells went off on Wednesday when it was announced that Christian McCaffrey was limited in practice with a knee injury. He’s likely to be fine, given that he was able to practice to some degree. However, Reggie Bonnafon needs to be owned by all CMC owners just in case the latter can’t go on Sunday though. CMC is a matchup-proof Top 3 RB every week. The Titans run defense in the bottom third of the league though, easily placing CMC as the overall RB1.
Washington at Bills
With Case Keenum in the league’s concussion protocol, rookie Dwayne Haskins is set to make the start at quarterback. It’s a brutal matchup for a poorly run team. He’s ahead of only Brandon Allen in the QB rankings and that may actually be a mistake. Terry McLaurin is the only pass catching option who should be on fantasy radars. He’s a low ceiling flex in this brutal matchup though. Assuming his ankle doesn’t keep him out, Adrian Peterson should be in line for 15-20 ineffective touches against the typically stifling Buffalo Bills run defense -- it’s worth noting that the Eagles RB duo did find great success against the bills last week. Chris Thompson has not yet returned to practice. Wendell Smallwood is ignorable.
Josh Allen is the QB6 -- he should have no issue posting gaudy numbers against this awful Washington secondary. John Brown is a WR2 with low-end WR1 upside while Cole Beasley is a legit PPR flex option. The tight end spot looks messy between Tyler Kroft and Dawson Knox. Knox had been on the upswing but has proven suddenly unreliable. The Bills have continued their bizarre running back usage last week, giving Devin Singletary significantly more playing time that Frank Gore (42 snaps to Gore’s 18) but they split the intended touch total evenly. Singletary logged just 3 carries but had 6 targets while Gore tallied 9 carries and had no passing game usage to speak of. Using the snap share as an indicator of who Buffalo actually wants to use, I ranked Singletary as a mid-tier RB2 and Gore as a back-end RB3. Singletary had no issue out-producing Gore last week -- 49 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown to Gore’s scoreless 34 scrimmage yards.
Jameis Winston managed QB10 results last week, facing stiff competition against the Titans great pass defense. Now he and his incredible wide receiver duo get to face off against a Seattle Seahawks defense that just allowed Matt Schaub to take the QB9 finish while throwing for 460 yards and a score. Schaub did have an interception and a lost fumble but throwing for 460 yards shouldn’t have been within the realm of possibility. Jameis Winston comes in as the QB9 this week, with as safe of a floor as he’s ever had in his career. Tee-up Chris Godwin and Mike Evans as surefire WR1s this week. Evans may have to work against Shaquill Griffin from time to time but Pete Carroll likes to keep his corners attached to a single side of the field. The Bucs can just have Evans stroll to the other side a voila, Expecto Patronum -- no more Griffin. Banged up and underperforming, OJ Howard was a DNP for Wednesday’s practice can be left in fantasy free agency. Cameron Brate is also injured (Wednesday DNP) so it’s unclear who man the tight end spot. It looks like practice squader Jordan Leggett may be the guy. It’s still early though so we’ll monitor reports to find out for sure. The Seahawks run defense has really only surrendered big days to featured running backs -- something that the Bucs don’t have. Ronald Jones II is a low ceiling flex, Peyton Barber could find the end zone but isn’t likely to go over 7-8 fantasy points regardless, and Dare Ogunbowale is sadly unusable.
For all of the points the Bucs wide receiver duo hangs on the Seahawks, Russell Wilson will have plenty to answer back with. Russell Wilson comes in as the QB3 against fantasy’s 8th-most friendly defense to opposing QBs. Consider this a preemptive notch in Wilson’s Race-For-The-MVP Belt. The Bucs D is also the 6th-best defense for opposing receivers to square off with, setting the table nicely for another low-end WR1 outing from Tyler Lockett and likewise a sky’s the limit flex spot for DK Metcalf. Both players need to be in their owner’s starting lineups. Big time blow-up spot here. It’s possible one of David Moore, Jaron Brown, or Malik Turner gets a red zone target but neither one is really worth banking on. If need be, Moore would be the guy (he saw significantly more snaps than the other two) but he’s only a desperation 2nd-flex option. Tight ends Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson were near-ghosts in the box score, however, Willson did drastically out-snap Hollister (43 to 22). Titans tight end Jonnu Smith just ripped up the Bucs defense last week and overall, Tampa Bay has yielded the 2nd-most fantasy points to the tight end position thus far. Consider Willson a boom/bust back-end TE1. Tampa Bay plays excellent run defense so Chris Carson will have his work cut out for him. His 20+ touch workload will keep him in the RB1 realm though, albeit towards the back-end. He’s the RB9. Rashaad Penny frustratingly saw 8 carries last week (taking them 55 yards). A complimentary workload like that also slightly dings Carson’s upside without doing a whole lot for Penny. The backup is the RB47 this week.
Lions at Raiders
Matthew Stafford’s deep passing is finally being utilized on a weekly basis and it’s pay big time dividends. The Raiders porous secondary aids his cause, landing him the overall QB4 spot. Kenny Golladay is a locked-in WR1 while Marvin Jones Jr. has excellent flex appeal. Danny Amendola also warrants flex consideration and has serious WR2 potential in PPR leagues. He and Stafford have found a connection over the last two weeks, hooking Amendola up with 16 catches on 19 targets for 200 yards (he added 4 yards on a punt return as well). The ascension of Amendola has solidified the nullification of TJ Hockenson’s middle-of-the-field passing game role. The man briefly referred to as TJ Gronkenson hasn’t been usable since Week 4. Oakland is the 3rd-worst defense at stopping opposing tight ends though so if you’re in dire straights, he could be plugged in as a Hail Mary. Ty Johnson’s not so grand day out last week might’ve cost folks a victory. Johnson was expected to receive mid-to-low RB2 usage but he fell awfully short. Instead, it was Tra Carson who ineffectively got the start. No one in the backfield did much of anything though and Ty Johnson did lead the backfield in snaps. My money is on Johnson to end up as the lead back but it does look as if this will be a committee for the time being. Johnson is just a mid-tier RB3. Carson is an RB4.
Derek Carr is one of the very best streamers of Week 9. Facing a Detroit defense that’s allowing the 7th-most points to the QB position, Carr takes the QB12 spot, hot off of his own QB7 finish in Week 8. Tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Tyrell Williams are excellent starts this week. Waller is a no-brainer Top 5 TE while Williams, who has scored a touchdown in every game he’s played this year, is a ready-to-rock WR2. Speedster WR Hunter Renfrow got things going last week and should find fantasy success as a flex option this week. He’s a burner in a matchup where burners thrive. TE Foster Morrow is just not seeing enough work to be boom/bust viable. Josh Jacobs is a high floor RB1 who ceiling should spike if one or all defensive linemen Da’Shawn Hand, Mike Daniels, and Damon “Snacks” Harrison Sr. can’t play this week. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are ignorable as rotating pass catching backs.
Packers at Chargers
The Green Bay play calling has been released from the shackles of Donkeydom. Aaron Rodgers is a matchup-proof QB1, taking the overall QB2 spot this week. All-World WR Davante Adams has returned to practice in a limited fashion this week. Dr. David Chao believes he can play and be effective, on a limited route tree as video from practice shows just a slight favoring of his injured toe (use site interface to navigate if the link only goes to the main page -- site is still in development). Hat tip to Dr. Chao, his timeline through this debacle was an expected November return for Adams. Should Adams return, he’s an immediate WR1 with 10+ target upside.
Expectations should Adams return:
In Adams’ absence, Allen Lazard has taken more snaps than any other Packers’ receiver. It’s likely he retains rights to the field in 2 and 3-WR sets upon Adams’ return. Although he’s been less productive, Lazard would be a low-end WR2 without Adams and a flex option with Adams back. Geronimo Allison mans the slot as the No. 3 WR in the GB offense. 5 or so targets per game, resulting in matchup-based flex use. He would not be a recommended start this week against 2018 All-Pro slot corner Desmond King. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has just 11 targets in Adams’ absence, delivering us just one usable fantasy outing in the span. He’s a matchup-based boom/bust flex who isn’t likely to boom this week on that kind of usage. Jake Kumerow’s gangly frame appeared as a touchdown-albatross just once over the last four weeks. He’s not usable with Adams back. Jimmy Graham was just heating up in Adams’ last game, seeing 9 targets in that contest. The insertion of Jake Kumerow into the lineup seems to have reduced Graham’s red zone appeal. However, should Adams return, Graham would be a back-end TE1, with Kumerow heading to the bench.
Expectations should Adams not return:
Given the information listed above, Allen Lazard would be the No. 2 WR, based on snap counts and a viable flex option. Geronimo Allison would not be a recommended start. He’d lineup both in the slot and out-wide but in the slot he would see Desmond King. Perhaps he’s a low-end 2nd-flex play in this case. MVS’s odds of housing of his 3 or so targets would increase to the point that he could be used as a desperation 2nd flex in Standard. Jake Kumerow would be a touchdown-dependent 2nd flex. Jimmy Graham would be a touchdown-dependent TE2.
The Packers’ run game is an absolute ball either way though. Aaron Jones’ upside has finally been unlocked. No longer being used as an interior banger on 1st down -- Matt LeFleur has finally learned it’s important to throw the ball on 1st and 2nd -- Jones now leads the team in targets. In this glorious smash spot, Aaron Jones -- fantasy’s overall Running Back No. 3 in scoring, across all formats -- is set to potentially take hold of the overall No. 1 or 2 spot. He’s this week’s RB5. Likewise, Jamaal Williams, operating in a featured No. 2 RB role is an RB2.
Philip Rivers is sadly just a mid-tier QB2 in this matchup. The Melvin Gordon III-centric play calling doesn’t help either. He is only an “won’t lose your matchup for you” option. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are relatively equally low-end WR2/flex plays. It’s an unfortunate situation. Allen gets the slight nod in PPR leagues given his expected target workload. Mike Williams isn’t awful in Standard, given the more downfield-nature of his targets. Hunter Henry is in for a big day. The Packers have given up the 5th-most fantasy points to the tight end position this year. Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon III are ranked as side-by-side RB3s for this matchup. Ekeler’s receiving game usage makes him a low-end RB2/flex play in PPR leagues while Gordon’s rumbling usage gives him the same outlook in Standard leagues. The GB run defense is downright bad so it’s likely that both of these players finish in the RB2 realm.
Baker Mayfield hobbles his way into a matchup against a Broncos pass defense that’s allowed the 3rd-fewest points to opposing signal callers this year. He is not at all a recommended play, ranked as just the QB23. Odell Beckham Jr. remains the lone suggested passing game option for fantasy purposes, albeit as just a WR2. He was limited in practice on Wednesday with a groin injury but is on track to play this weekend. Dr. David Chao shared that groin and hip injuries (the latter of which Beckham has been on the injury report with already this year) are often linked or even listed as the same injury (use site interface to find info, if necessary -- site is still in development). This is likely not a new issue for Beckham and you can confidently expect him to play this week. Jarvis Landry is a mild floor flex play in PPR only. Wide receivers Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins are ignorable, as are tight end Demetrius Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones. Nick Chubb’s 20+ touch workload remains the only constant in this offense. Denver’s run defense is only mid-tier so that kind of usage should deliver him modest RB1 production.
Brandon Allen is set to make an abysmal start against the Browns this week. He’s the worst ranked quarterback for Week 9. As a result, the only viable starter in the Broncos’ passing game is Courtland Sutton. He is, however, no longer the Top 15 option he was with Joe Flacco at the helm. Consider Sutton just a flex option. DaeSean Hamilton and Fred Brown are ignorable. Noah Fant is in line to see an increased workload with Jeff Heuerman shelved. He’s just a TE1/2 though. Both Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay are excellent RB2 options this week. Freeman gets the edge given his superior snap share and passing game usage. Lindsay also popped up on the injury report (wrist).
Tom Brady was removed from the injury report on Thursday. He’s the QB8 in a tough matchup. Julian Edelman remains a matchup-proof WR2 with outstanding season-long usage. Phillip Dorsett II is likely more of a flex option with WR2 upside. Mohamed Sanu is just a PPR 2nd-flex option while he adjusts to the New England offense. TE Benjamin Watson is obsolete for fantasy purposes. Sony Michel is downgraded to a back-end RB2 given the matchup. He’s still likely to see 18 or so touches. James White once again continued his 2019 streak of finishing within one point of 10 .5PPR points. He’s an every-week, high floor flex option. Rex Burkhead is not seeing enough work to be fantasy relevant.
The plan for the Patriots’ defense will likely be to shutdown Lamar Jackson. As Michael Lombardi always says, Belichick wants to make his opponent play left handed -- he schemes to stop their strength. In this case, that’s Lamar Jackson. Jackson’s dual threat ability keeps him in the QB1 conversation though, albeit at the back-end. The return of Marquise Brown significantly helps Jackson’s QB1-quest. Brown is a high-end flex option who could crack the back-end of the WR2 realm. Willie Snead and Myles Boykin are not startable. TE Mark Andrews is a TE1, rain or shine. Mark Ingram II is likely to see a slightly increased workload given the Patriots assumed intention of stifling QB Lamar Jackson. Expect a grinding high-end RB2 finish from the talented back. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill are likely to be silent this week.
Our fingers are crossed the Kellen Moore took back full control of the offensive play calling from the moronic-minded Jason Garrett. Luckily, the Cowboys get the Giants this week though so even if there are still some stinky hints of Garrett, Dak Prescott should have no issue flaming this atrocious defense. He’s the overall QB5. This, of course, bodes very well for Amari Cooper who is practicing in full (ankle) this week. This is a blow-up spot for Cooper, who should have no issue finishing as a WR1. Likewise, Michael Gallup has excellent flex appeal, with a shot at finishing as a back-end WR2, should he get loose for a long score. Ancillary pass catchers like Randall Cobb and TE Jason Witten are only startable as a desperation PPR 2nd-flex and a TE2, respectively. Ezekiel Elliott has a blow-up spot as well in this one. He should easily turn his 25+ touches into Top 5 fantasy production.
Daniel Jones is likely to come back down to Earth this week, facing a stout Cowboys defensive front that just added rotational pass rusher Michael Bennett. He’s just the QB19. Golden Tate has double-digit targets in back-to-back weeks, granting him matchup-proof WR2 status. Sterling Shepard is practicing in full, however, he still has not cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol. Should he play, he would bump Darius Slayton out of flex contention, as a flex-only asset himself. Evan Engram is a matchup-proof TE1. Saquon Barkley takes the overall RB4 spot this week, perhaps the lowest ranking he’ll see all year.