Welcome to the Rundown where I give at least a sentence on every single fantasy relevant player this week. Let’s begin!
Lamar Jackson couldn’t be slowed by the Patriots’ dominant defense last week. In Baltimore’s Week 6 meeting with Cincy, he shredded them both through the air and on the ground. He’s the overall QB1. Marquise Brown hasn’t shown us a ceiling game in ages but this is a great spot for him to change that. Expect a few deep, exciting connections between him and Jackson. He’s a flex option with high-end WR2 upside. Mark Andrews has stumbled as of late but his health is improving and a date with the Bengals’ linebackers should yield Top 5 TE numbers. Neither Willie Snead nor Myles Boykin are recommended plays, given the low-volume nature of the Ravens’ passing attack. Mark Ingram II might be spelled by Gus Edwards sometime in the 3rd or 4th quarter, but until that happens, Ingram should eat up the Bengals’ front-seven. He’s a back-end RB1. Edwards could be started as a zero floor/touchdown ceiling flex.
Ryan Finley is in dire straits. Baltimore’s secondary has drastically improved as the season’s progressed and AJ Green is Out. Leave Finley in free agency. Both Auden Tate and Tyler Boyd are volume-based flex options. Their ceilings are capped though. Alex Erickson has seen volume in recent weeks. He’s not more than a low-end PPR flex option though. Tyler Eifert should not be in your lineup. Joe Mixon is just an RB3. It’s a tough matchup and this offense could be shutout. Ignore Giovani Bernard.
Josh Allen and his rushing-floor-ways sprint into Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium, with a much deserved mid-to-low QB1 ranking. Allen should have no issue putting up stellar numbers against Cleveland’s unimposing pass defense. John Brown remains a WR2, although his ceiling has not been as high as expected. Cole Beasley is a PPR-based flex option, coming off 3 straight games with a touchdown. Tight ends Dawson Knox and Tyler Eifert have flashed but have not consistently produced. They are not recommended starts at TE. As we predicted he would, Devin Singletary had his breakout last week. He’d won the snap count battle in all but one game that he’s been healthy for. Last week though, he won the touch battle too and capitalized. He’s a rock-solid RB2 from here on out. Frank Gore will retain a grinder role but he’s of little consequence. He’s a low floor/low ceiling flex.
Baker Mayfield’s dreary 2019 is expected to continue this week against Buffalo’s stampeding pass defense. He’s just a back-end QB2. Odell Beckham Jr. is likely to be shadowed by shutdown cornerback, Tre’Davious White. Beckham is just a low ceiling flex option. In the two games the Browns have played since their Week 7 bye, Jarvis Landry has racked up an absurd 23 targets. He’s a high floor flex option with easy WR2 upside in PPR leagues. He’s just a capped ceiling flex option outside of full-point PPR. Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins belongs on benches (or in free agency). Tight ends Ricky Seals-Jones (if he plays) and Demetrius Harris are low-end TE2s. The debut of Kareem Hunt hurts Nick Chubb’s ceiling. Dontrell Hilliard was already functioning as the team’s pass catcher — for whatever boneheaded Freddie Kitchens-based reason. (Give this a read — bad audio — to get a better understanding of this fraudulent head coach. Hat tip to Mr. Evan Silva for posting it on his twitter timeline.) Nick Chubb teeters precariously on the RB1/2 edge. He’s this week’s RB12 overall. Hunt is the RB33 — he’s startable as a flex in PPR leagues as he’s likely to immediately replace Hilliard with a slightly increased volume of work.
Update, morning of 11/10/19: Team doctors have refused to allow Matthew Stafford to play today, due to a back injury. Stafford wanted to give it a go but his request was denied. Jeff Driskel will start at quarterback for the Lions but he is not a recommended fantasy start.
After three strong weeks, Matthew Stafford is likely to come back to Earth a bit in a tough matchup against the Bears’ secondary. He’s on the QB1/2 fringe, as the QB12. Given their outstanding usage, Kenny Golladay retains back-end WR1 status although a WR2 finish is possible, while Marvin Jones Jr. holds down a moderate WR2 ranking. Danny Amendola cooled off last week after back-to-back hot, high target-volume games. He’s likely to stay frosty this week — best left on the bench. TJ Hockenson garnered respectable volume since the team’s Week 5 bye, in all but one of the team’s 4 games. Chicago’s TE defense has been lackluster for 3-straight weeks, making Hockenson a reasonable start as a moderate TE1. With Tra Carson being placed on IR, the Lions’ backfield turned into a mostly two-man committee between Ty Johnson and JD McKissic. Johnson saw more touches last week but McKissic outproduced him. Both are mild-to-moderate flex options with Johnson slightly favored in Standard and McKissic in PPR. McKissic has the higher upside. It’s a good matchup too, as the Bears’ run defense has been subpar.
Mitchell Trubisky faces a paltry Lions’ pass defense this week. That doesn’t matter though. The inept signal caller needs to be left in free agency. That being said, Allen Robinson II is likely to get his this week. He’s a high floor/capped ceiling WR2. Ancillary pass catchers, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller and low ceiling 2nd-flex options in PPR. Avoid tight ends Adam Shaheen and Trey Burton. WR/RB Tarik Cohen remains an unattractive PPR 2nd-flex option. David Montgomery is finally getting the workload he deserves. In a cake matchup against fantasy’s most RB-friendly .5PPR run defense, the battered and bruised Detroit front-seven makes for an enticing David Montgomery-start. He’s a high-end RB2 with RB1 upside.
New York Giants at New York Jets: The Battle of Gotham!
Daniel Jones enters Week 10 as a high-end QB2, facing Jets’ pass defense that just allowed monster days to Gardner Minshew II and Ryan Fitzpatrick. With both Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard Out, Golden Tate is set up for a mammoth workload. Anything short of double-digit targets means things went haywire. He’s a WR2 with WR1 upside in PPR. Darius Slayton is a stream-worthy flex option. Wide receiver Cody Latimer and tight end Rhett Ellison are ignorable. Saquon Barkley is the No. 2 overall RB.
Sam Darnold appears as a tough-to-trust mid-to-low QB2, even in a good matchup. Adam Gase is inadvertently tanking this team — and Darnold’s confidence along with it. Robby Anderson is a boom/bust flex option. Jamison Crowder is a high floor, if capped ceiling, flex option with volume-based WR2 upside in PPR. Chris Herndon should assume some for of TE1 utilization. Demaryius Thomas is ignorable. Ryan Griffin would be a back-end TE1, should Herndon not be able to play. Herndon is expected to play though. Le’Veon Bell should be a RB1 in this matchup but the Gase factor drops him to the high-end RB2 range. Ty Montgomery is only a handcuff.
Patrick Mahomes will return this week, slightly ahead of Dr. David Chao’s expected timeline (use site interface to find Mahomes — site still in development). He’s a mid-range QB1, given the chance that KC gets a lead and rests him. He’s likely to be involved in gaining said lead though so start him confidently as a QB1. Tyreek Hill is a matchup-proof WR1. Sammy Watkins is a PPR flex option. Demarcus Robinson is a 2nd-flex in PPR while Mecole Hardman is a boom/bust 2nd-flex option. Travis Kelce is a no-brainer TE1 in a middling matchup. Damien Williams has seemingly reasserted control over the Kansas City backfield since LeSean McCoy’s Week 9 mid-game fumble. He’s an RB2 in a good matchup. LeSean McCoy is only startable as a very desperate flex option.
Update, morning of 11/10/19: LeSean McCoy has been announced as Out today. He’s a healthy scratch. Damien Williams should now be considered a mid-to-high RB2 with a chance to squeak into the Top 12 in scoring by weekend’s end.
Ryan Tannehill continues to be an excellent matchup-based streaming option. That goes for this week, as he assumes the QB15 slot. KC’s pass defense is Top 10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. With Corey Davis trending towards missing this week’s game (hip), AJ Brown would likely see his highest target total of the year. He’s a flex option with fairly good upside. Adam Humphries could see 2nd-flex, PPR-worth usage in this projected shootout as well. Like Corey Davis though, Delanie Walker is also trending in the wrong direction to play. Jonnu Smith would be a streaming-quality TE1 in that instance. Last week, Dion Lewis was surprisingly given some early game work. Once Derrick Henry got going in the 2nd-half though, the athletic mammoth bulldozed his way to a Top 5 finish across all formats. It’s possible that Henry was being disciplined for something unknown Whatever the case, he’s a mid-tier RB1 this week in a smash spot against the near-nonexistent KC Run D. Worth noting, the return of DL Chris Jones takes some of the fun out this matchup for Henry.
Release the hounds: Fantastic passing offenses against atrocious pass defenses… this should be a fun one.
Kyler Murray comes in as the overall QB4 in what should be this weekend’s highest scoring game. Christian Kirk is a high-end WR2 with WR1 upside. Larry Fitzgerald is likely the only big name player who can be left on benches. He just doesn’t have much left in the tank — a 2nd-flex option in PPR-only. Of the ancillary pass catchers, only WR Andy Isabella could be given streaming consideration as a boom/very likely to bust flex option. Of TEs Charles Clay and Maxx Williams, WRs Pharoh Cooper, KeeSean Johnson, and Damiere Byrd, someone is likely to score. It’s too up in the air to determine who though. Johnson has had the most recent success. The two-headed backfield of David Johnson and Kenyan Drake should be a pass-oriented fantasy goldmine. It’s possible both backs see 10+ targets with carries to boot. DJ is the overall RB9. Drake, coming off last week’s shellacking of the previously stout San Francisco 49ers, is a flex option with back-end RB2 upside in PPR. RB Chase Edmonds will miss multiple games with his hamstring pull.
Jameis Winston finds himself as the overall QB2 this week. The Arizona defense is unable to generate much of a pass rush — and the secondary, even Patrick Peterson, is nearly a nonentity. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are in serious contention to take overall WR1 and WR2 honors by weekends end. Fire both of them up, confidently, as astronomically high-end WR1s. Arizona is the most fantasy-friendly defense to opposing tight ends. If you’re in need of a streamer, Cameron Brate is the high floor option. OJ Howard is the bottomless pit-floor/ambiguous ceiling option. If there’s a week where Howard can do it, this is it. HC Bruce Arians anointed Ronald Jones II as the official starter, at running back, moving forward. Jones is expected to see a significant workload moving forward, with Peyton Barber relegated to fantasy free agency. Jones has yet to receive serious passing game work so he’s conservatively being ranked as the RB22. However, given the matchup, Jones could easily finish in the Top 15 at the position this week. Get him into your lineup, if you’ve got him. Dare Ogunbowale could see some passing game work this week. He’s a PPR-only 2nd-flex option in this one.
In such a tough matchup, Matt Ryan is downgraded to just the QB13. Julio Jones though, remains a WR1. His volume and talent make him matchup-proof. Calvin Ridley is a flex with, albeit hard to reach, PPR WR2 upside. Russell Gage has taken over the Mohamed Sanu role, making him a 2nd-flex. Austin Hooper is a matchup-proof Top 3 TE. Although Ito Smith is out and he’ll only have to compete against No. 3 back Brian Hill, Devonta Freeman is just the RB23. This is a brutal matchup for him.
Drew Brees showed no ill-effects from his thumb surgery, in his return to action in Week 8. Coming off the bye, the whole team should be well rested and healthy. Brees is the overall QB3 in this unbelievably soft matchup. Michael Thomas a Top 5-at worst WR. Field stretchers Ted Ginn Jr. and Tre’Quan Smith are both candidates to find the end zone this week, with Ginn being the favorite given Smith’s lengthy injury-absence. Ginn is a boom/bust flex option. Smith a boom/bust 2nd-flex. Jared Cook is a TE1. Alvin Kamara has returned as a full practice participant. Expect the stud back to have some work taken off of his plate after Latavius Murray played so well in his absence. Kamara is the RB3, while Latavius in an RB3 with back-end RB2 upside. The Falcons defense is notoriously bad against opposing backfields. Both should be in owners’ lineups.
Ryan Fitzpatrick finds himself elevated to the QB22 spot, more so due to poor QB competition rather than a good opportunity. The Indy defense is solid and does a good job of limiting deep completions. With Preston Williams on IR and no other usable WRs to choose from, Fitz will likely lock-on to DeVante Parker who’s found the end zone in 4 of the last 5 games. He’s a legit WR2. Loving his big-bodied targets, Fitz also favored TE Mike Gesicki last week. The tight end hauled in 6 of 6 targets for 95 yards. He’s a TE1 streamer. Disregard other pass catching option for our purposes. Mark Walton got slapped with a 4-game suspension so it’s likely Kalen Ballage Time. The unexciting, oversized pass catching back should see 15 touches or more. He’s a risky RB3. Don’t be surprised if the coaching staff can’t stomach his play and opt to send Myles Gaskin out there instead. Gaskin is not a recommended start this week but he could be stashed.
Colts Update 11/9/19: Jacoby Brissett has been downgraded to Out. Brian Hoyer will start in his stead. Hoyer only fell one spot from Brissett’s high-end streamer ranking in the tiered QB rankings, linked below. Facing Miami, he should have no issue producing a usable fantasy stat line.
Jacoby Brissett has managed to practice in a limited fashion everyday this week, after spraining his MCL in Week 9. He’s a game-time decision but I consider him likely to start. If he plays, he’s likely to help the team get a lead before being pulled for backup Brian Hoyer. He’s a mid-to-high QB2 in this fantastic matchup. With TY Hilton and Parris Campbell both out, Zach Pascal deserves low-end WR2 treatment. He’s played well as of late and will operate as the team’s No. 1 WR. Chester Rogers and Deon Cain are likely to round out the 3-wide receiver sets. Rogers is a PPR, 2nd-flex option. Cain is not recommended. Jack Doyle has seen an uptick in targets and could be started as a low-end TE1. Eric Ebron is just a boom/bust TE1/2. Marlon Mack should see 25 touches this week. He’s the overall RB8. Nyheim Hines is too unreliable to be on fantasy rosters.
Not much is expected of Jared Goff this week. The Steelers have tightened up their pass defense and Goff will be without Brandin Cooks. He’s a mid-to-low QB2. Cooks’ absence likely means more work for Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods though. Kupp is a back-end WR1. Woods is a flex with slight WR2 upside in PPR. Cooks’ absence also enhances Gerald Everrett’s outlook. Everrett has made the leap into the TE1 ranks on his own merit, this is just a big plus. He’s a great start. Todd Gurley II faces a stiff test this week. He’s just a mid-tier RB2. As mentioned in the rankings, Darrell Henderson Jr. has double-digit touches in back-to-back games. He’s a low-end flex whose workload should continue to increase as the year progresses.
Like his Week 10 counterpart, Mason Rudolph also faces stiff competition. His poor outlook is further hurt by JuJu Smith-Schuster being Questionable for Sunday’s game with a toe injury. Diontae Johnson would likely takeover as the No. 1 receiver, he’s just a flex either way though. James Washington is not an advised start. Ryan Switzer would be in line for slot duty, should JuJu rest, but he should be left in free agency. Vance McDonald likely to be leaned on heavily in this one. He’s a TE1. James Conner is Out, making Jaylen Samuels the team’s lead back. Folks will be concerned over Trey Edmunds run game usage from last week. However, we have to keep in mind that Samuels was coming off surgery and still managed to lead the team in targets and catches — a perfect 13 of 13. He’s a mid-tier RB2. Edmunds will get work in the run game — possibly 12 or so carries. He’s a flex option in Standard.
Kyle Allen comes in as the final QB in the QB2 ranks. Green Bay’s pass defense is top notch. Both DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel are just flex options, albeit with strong upside given their gamebreaking abilities. The newly signed Donte Moncrief is ignorable. Greg Olsen continues to operate as a decoy, although this is a strong matchup. Consider him on the TE1/2 fringe with an off chance to score. The Packers’ run defense has reached Laughing Stock Level, keeping Christian McCaffrey safely as the overall RB1 this week. Reggie Bonnafon is his handcuff.
Aaron Rodgers sadly came back to Earth last week against the Chargers. This matchup is somewhat imposing, however, Ryan Tannehill cleared the 300-yard mark against them last week so we like his odds. He’s the overall QB6. Davante Adams should get back on track as a matchup-proof WR1. Marquez Valdes-Scantling remains a boom/often bust flex option. Geronimo Allison is a capped ceiling PPR flex option. Allen Lazard remains a part of this passing game but he’s a low floor/capped ceiling flex option only. Ignore Jake Kumerow. Jimmy Graham is a fringe TE1 in a bad matchup. The Panthers’ run defense has been devoted to providing opposing running backs with healthy box scores. Expect great outings for both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Jones is the overall RB6 while Williams is the RB24.
SNF: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys
Kirk Cousins has been largely awesome as of late. The Dallas defense is the real deal though and the absence of Adam Thielen dampens the light of his Week 10 outlook. His saving grace is that game script should keep the team throwing. He’s on the QB1/2 fringe. With Adam Thielen Out for Week 10, Stefon Diggs is set to pop off as a WR1. Bisi Johnson and (incredibly) Laquon Treadwell are both fringe low-end flex/2nd-flex options. Tight end usage has somewhat increased in Minnesota recently. Dallas is poor against the position. If you are desperate, Kyle Rudolph could be started. As could Irv Smith Jr., but it’s not recommended. As always, Dalvin Cook is a high-end RB1 regardless of opponent.
Minnesota’s pass defense has been extremely up and down. Dak Prescott should provide fine QB1 numbers, especially since Amari Cooper, although listed as Questionable, is expected to play. Given Cooper’s Questionable tag (and possible workload), Michael Gallup can be teed up as a flex play with WR2 upside. Ancillary pass catchers like Randall Cobb, Devin Smith, and Tavon Austin can all be ignored. Jason Witten saw a spike in targets last week. It’s unlikely that happens again this week though he could see 1-2 more than normal, given Cooper’s sore knee. He’s a fringe TE1/2. Like his Sunday Night counterpart, Ezekiel Elliott is a high-end RB1 regardless of opponent.
MNF: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Although Russell Wilson has his work cutout for him against the 49ers dominant (outside of last week) defense, he’s a locked and loaded QB1. Playing at an MVP level, it’ll be a fun night, watching him go to war against his old teammate, Richard Sherman. Tyler Lockett remains a WR1 in this matchup as he’ll mostly avoid Sherman’s perimeter coverage, running most of his routes in the slot. DK Metcalf will face his stiffest test of the year on Monday Night. Catching passes from Russell Wilson though, he’s still a strong flex option with WR2 potential. I expect Josh Gordon to play this week. Pete Carroll is an ego manic and he’ll want to make a statement. Gordon wont see heavy volume but he will see deep shots schemed for the express purpose of making a statement. Gordon can be started as a risky, yet possibly rewarding, flex option. With the deployment of Gordon, Jaron Brown and David Moore are shit outta luck. Leave them in free agency. Tight end Jacob Hollister should be used a zero floor/touchdown ceiling-only option. Chris Carson is a matchup-proof RB1/2 fringer. Rashaad Penny’s workload is likely to be capped at 5 carries. Ignore the wasted 2018 1st Round Pick.
Unlike San Francisco, Seattle’s defense is not good. Jimmy Garoppolo should boom this week — albeit within his realm of possibilities. Wilson and Co. will put up points and Jimmy G will be asked to respond. He’s in the packed group of high-quality QB2 streaming options. TE George Kittle has been unable to practice this week (knee/ankle) and his availability for Monday Night is in jeopardy. We will update the column when we have Saturday’s practice information. He’d remain a high-end TE1 if he plays. Emmanuel Sanders is a rock-solid WR2 with serious upside if Kittle were to sit. Deebo Samuel would be a flex option if Kittle is out. Dante Pettis would be a 2nd-flex option is Kittle is out, as would Marquise Goodwin. Leave Kendrick Bourne and Richie James Jr. in free agency. Tevin Coleman can be expected to produce reasonable RB2 numbers. Matt Breida is a great flex option, given the likelihood that SF has to pass to keep pace with Seattle.