CBA: If this is real life? What’s it for Fantasy?

By James Fotheringham (@NFLHypeTrain)

The NFL players may feel caught in a landslide with no escape from reality, but if the current proposals in the CBA come to pass it has an effect on more than just those in the NFL. The players aren’t exactly in step with the NFL or the owners, however the prospect of a 17 game regular season with 2 bye week leaves a lot of questions for Fantasy Football.

If you’ve not been following the CBA talks then you’re probably best taking a listen to the podcast or looking it up on Twitter. However, the main talking point has been the prospect of a 17th game and an extra bye week to accommodate it. There’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge yet and I can see this one running and running, but if the NFL and the owners get their way, the fantasy world may be scrambling to figure out how to best use the extra time given to them.


Current Setup


For those who haven’t yet dipped into fantasy or who play in customised leagues, it’s probably worth me breaking down how the season runs under the current NFL system. (Note: All games mentioned are regular season NFL games).

Of course, many leagues will customise this depending on how many teams there are in the league. Some just do the Semi-Finals and add a week onto the regular season while others go for a full 8 team playoff schedule. There’s even an option (which I’ll explain more later) where you can have a 2 week playoff game (usually makes SF in weeks 13+14 and Final in weeks 15+16).


The Proposed Setup for the NFL


So, if the CBA in its current draft were to stand then we would have 19 regular season weeks (+1 game week + 1 bye week). Immediately discount week 19 as it’s the same scenario as the current week 17 (qualified teams will rest starters and eliminated teams will experiment or tank). It leaves 18 usable weeks.

Some may argue that teams may qualify earlier, and this rest their starters earlier, but the new play-off setup with only the #1 seed guaranteed a bye week means there should be more games with something on the line.

So how best to use these 18 weeks?

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A Few Ideas


Based on 8/10/12/14 team leagues (which are the most common) there are some options you can think about. Some of these are more complex than others. My advice would be unless you’ve got your thinking head on, I’d stop after #3.

  1. Status Quo – The setup that has been rocking all over the world for some time now could stay put. Just extend the regular season by those 2 weeks and have a Week 18 final, 17 for the semis, 16 for the wildcard round and 1-15 for the regular season.
  2. Fortnight Fight – In the final 4 each matchup can be over 2 weeks (15-16 and the final in 17-18). It’s a system I like as it needs you to think over a longer period and gives you a chance at redemption if one of your studs has a dud week. Could also do this with the wildcard round but that makes a week 13 playoff start and with bye weeks still likely to be happening it’s a risky option.
  3. Bring it all forwards – Pick the 3 weeks after the last bye week (predicting 14, 15, 16) and have the title decided while every team has something to play for. As I mentioned earlier, I actually don’t think it should be a worry if the playoffs also change but this would keep the timeframe exactly in step with the previous version.
  4. Two Seasons – A bit more radical this. Have a Week 1-9 Season and then restart with a 10-18 season. The first 7 weeks as the regular season and then a SF in the 8th week and a final in the 9th. Mid-season draft so you can reset with what you know, and you get to do the fun bit twice. You’ll have to have some strong tie breakers as with 7 games it could be tough to get only a final 4 but something like Points difference would work. In an 8 team league this could really work. Any more and you hit schedule issues and not every team plays every team. Of course, bye weeks may this potentially chaotic but with only 8 teams, if you make the roster size large enough it shouldn’t be too bad.
  5. League average (Nominated bye week) – Takes a bit of thinking to get your head around this one. Rather than playing head to head against one team, all the teams combine to make an average score. If you beat the average you get a win, otherwise it’s a loss. It means if you were in one of these matchups where you are the 2nd top scorer and play the top scorer you don’t get stung by it. With so many bye weeks to consider but no matchups you can choose a week (probably when your top pick is on bye) to nominate as a bye week where your score does not contribute to the average and you get neither a win or a loss. You could make 1 or 2 of these compulsory and they must be declared either pre-season or before the MNF game of the week before (depending on if you want it all setup in the pre-season or you want to manage things as they go on. Might be useful for injuries too…).

Mind Blown – Image Credit: Vincent Le Moign

There are a few possible formats but there’s one major question with will need answering before formats can be sorted. When will the latest bye week be? If there’s going to be teams on bye in week 14 it really limits the number of options as the fantasy playoffs cannot coincide with a bye week.

An interesting sub-plot may also be how the bye week gaps are determined. With 2 bye weeks per team are they all going to be equally split (so week 4+9, 5+10, 6+11, 7+12 and 8+13) or will it be a random split. Assuming they won’t be daft and give a team two bye weeks within a 3 week span this should lead to mayhem on the waiver wire but nothing fantasy owners haven’t seen before.

I’ll be watching on with interest as talks progress. If this does go ahead then the platform owners are then commissioners are going to be scrambling to setup leagues and setting with the new formats. It shouldn’t affect draft strategy too much unless they make a mess of the bye weeks, but it could bring fatigue and injuries even further to the front of peoples minds. Best ball won’t be affected, nor will Rotisserie leagues but those aren’t as common.

Whatever it ends up being, I can’t wait for free agency and the chance to talk about fantasy relevance again. It’s been too long since December!

The Hype Train Diversion

By James Fotheringham (@NFLHypeTrain)

With a bit of free time available for a change, I thought it may be fun to create the most British team I could, without just cheating and saying the Cleveland Browns (since we like an underdog and never succeeding). There’s a lot of artistic licence and some imagination which at least makes me sound like a Russell Wilson scramble.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with:


QB- Matt Ryan

Goalkeeper for premier league side Brighton. We love our soccer and since there is only ever 1 QB on the field for each team at once (playing the position, I’m ignoring the Taysom Hill role) and there is only one goalkeeper on each team, it fits in some way. It’s still the backfield in some way.


RB- Bo Scarborough

Oh I do like the be beside the seaside. A favourite haunt of mine in my childhood was Scarborough Sea front. With attractions such as the Sea Life Centre and the North Bay Railway (a personal favourite) it’s a very British seaside town and to have a namesake in the NFL seem fair.


RB- Jay Ajayi

London’s own… although it could soon be Christian Wade in this spot. Ajayi is at least a Brit with a Superbowl ring, even if he didn’t do an awful lot with the Eagles in that run.

He moved to the US at the age of 7 so had the full school and college experience (Boise State), before being drafted to the NFL by Miami. He had some memorable 200yard games where he still is one of only 4 people to have two back to back. In 2017 he was traded mid-season to the Eagles and despite only playing 7 games, gaining 499 yards on 70 carries and 10 receptions, he did help them to a Superbowl ring.

After missing a long time through injury and being waived, he recently returned to the Eagles, although he is yet to see the ball. He can have the occasional mega day but has many days just tinged with disappointment. Sounds very British to me.


WR- Kenny Britt

Britt by name, and in being disappointing, an underdog that never succeeded and always last in the queue for targets, he’s even a Brit by nature.

There’s never been a British Wide Receiver even close to the NFL so this position was hard to club together. That being said, the old jokes about the England Cricket Team make me wonder if we are a nation that can’t catch more than a cold.


WR- Odell Beckham

Shame he doesn’t wear number 7 really. We definitely love our soccer and David Beckham is a name that the whole world knows. You thought there would only ever be one Beckham, but here we are, a different Football but a Beckham who is a high end celebrity with some skills. Not quite as much Posh when it comes to Odell though.


TE – Alex Grey

The former Rugby Union player is currently on injured reserve and on a futures contract with the Falcons but he’s still looking to forge a career in the NFL, although even making the field once in a regular season game looks like it will be an achievement. Apart from Mark Andrews sounding like he should be a London City banker, he’s all I have for this one.

With our sense of humour, the idea of a Tight End is amusing and with players like Ertz and Eifert providing amusing team names (My Ball Zach Ertz, My Tight End Ertz when Eifert and so on), there’s plenty of wit to be had here.


K- Graham Gano

He’s a Scot Gano, Ya know. He’s by no means the only Scot very good at kicking a ball a long way and high over the bar. He’s not too bad at getting it between the posts which is why he’s in the NFL.


P- Jamie Gillan

The Scottish Hammer even gets his home country into his nickname. #Proud. Like most proud Scots he would never have accepted the British Hammer and while he’s a Pro Bowl Calibre player, barely anyone has ever heard of him. In Scotland, the UK and even in Cleveland, not a lot of people know the absolute rarity which is happening on their doorstep.


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Individual defensive players (IDP)


DB- Earl Thomas

No UK link, just sounds like a visitor to Downton Abbey. Other similar links can be found with Duke Johnson and Bishop Sankey (remember him?).


DL- Jack Crawford

One of the longest serving exports to the NFL. Currently in Atlanta, although limited on snaps. He’s not going to be on Fantasy teams where you play IDP but he’s still flying the flag and is one of the modern player who showed (and still show) the way.

He was a 5th round pick in 2012 for the Oakland Raiders and also had a spell at the Cowboys. He did move across to the USA in 2005 at the age of 17 and went through the college system at Penn State, but he was still born in London.

Interestingly, he shared a class in London with Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame.


DE/LB- Efe Obada

From Nigeria to Netherlands to the UK before the age of 10. Homeless in London, eventually fostered, played for the London Warriors in BAFA at DE and TE and now plies his trade in Carolina as a DE.

The Cowboys, Chiefs and Falcons all took a look at him but on when the Panthers swept him up in May 2017 did he finally stick thanks to the International Pathway program.

He became the first International Pathway player to make a 53 man roster and by week 3 in 2018 he was playing in a regular season game. That debut was memorable as he got a sack and an interception, was given the game ball and names defensive player of the week.

He’s been quieter since then but is still on the team and came over to play in London earlier this year.

Hype Train Station – Week 16

By James Fotheringham (@NFLHypeTrain)

This is it. Hopefully if you are taking the time to read this, you are in your championship game (if not, good luck in avoiding the toilet bowl or any forfeits your league must have). There are a few things to consider this week. Teams who have qualified and cannot improve their seeding, teams that are trying to qualify and will be going all out to win, and teams looking to grab home advantage for the playoffs.

Houston and Tampa Bay may have a shootout although only the Texans have a chance to make the playoffs. The Bills play New England with a possible chance of usurping them as AFC East leaders and potentially end up with a first round bye. Dallas and Philly playoff in what may be a winner takes all match. The 49ers look to eliminate the Rams, the Titans look to hold onto their playoff hopes against a Saints team looking for the #1 seed in the NFC. Minnesota and Green Bay fight for supremacy in the NFC North, while at the other end the Bengals face the Dolphins in the latest Tankbowl.




Devonta Freeman (ATL vsJAX)

The Falcons and Jags are both out of contention, so this is a dead rubber, however Freeman needs to get into a groove and the Jags run defence are in a rut. There is a chance they use the time to try out rookie Quadree Olinson as the lead back after his performances in previous weeks so if you need a hail Mary play, there’s an option. 


Chris Carson (SEA vsARI)

The most one sides matchup where the favourite is playing for something and the other team is out of it. Seattle have a lot to fight for with the 49ers in sight and they will be looking for their workhorse to power them on.

Those needing a plausible deep option the play may be looking for players trying to establish themselves in the lead role or make their HC pay attention. The likes of Patrick Laird (MIA vsCIN), Chris Thompson (WAS vsNYG), Ryquell Armstead (JAX @ATL) and Justin Jackson (LAC vsOAK) all may have points to prove. There are others, but this is not an easy week for matchups.



Deandre Hopkins/Will Fuller (HOU @TB)

Again, this game will be fire and if both of these guys play, one or both are going to come up big. If they don’t then the Titans and steelers may just drag them out of the playoffs. The Pressure is on.


Tyler Lockett/DK Metcalf (SEA vsARI)

These two might both have big days as the Seahawks try and firm up a wildcard spot and take aim at the 49ers and a first round bye. Carson won’t be able to do all the work, and with how poorly the Cardinals secondary has played this year, Wilson will be out to exploit it as he does.


Darius Slayton (NYG @WAS)

Going a bit deeper, Slayton has been a great find for the Giants and against the Redskins he can keep that run going. Shepard, Tate and Engram would be the usual top 3 targets, but Slayton is making the most of each of them missing time and has solidified a position on the team going forwards. Slayton is fast becoming owned so those needing to dig deeper have: Chris Conley (JAX @ATL), Dionte Johnson (PIT @NYJ), Miles Boykin (BAL @CLE) and Scott Miller (TB vsHOU).




Jameis Winston/DeSean Watson (TB vsHOU)

This may be a shootout even though only one team really has something to play for. Winston is a low end league winner and Watson, a high end one. Both have back secondary’s and have been leaking points, which makes it very eye catching for the neutral and for fantasy.


Russell Wilson (SEA vsARI)

I’ve put a lot of Seattle players in here and Wilson is an obvious addition. Obviously throughout this article I’ve picked players who are going to be owned so this is aimed at DFS or those teams with line-up decisions in the final, hence why the next option is much more left field…


Drew Lock (DEN vsDET)

Lock has been having a ball since becoming the starter and against a weak Detroit defence, he can continue that trend. In a slightly similar situation (two teams out of contention) I like Gardner Minshew (JAX @ATL) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA vsCIN) if you need deeper options.



Zach Ertz/Dallas Goedert (PHI vsDAL)

I’ve been avoiding the huge NFC East game as it’s hard to call, but the one thing I feel comfortable saying, is that the Eagles passing offence will be largely centred around their Tight Ends. Injuries have hurt the Eagles and they should use a lot of two TE sets to allow Goedert and Ertz to receive looks. Jason Witten may also have relevance, but Ertz may be the #1.


OJ Howard/Cameron Brate (TB vsHOU)

Evans and Godwin are OUT. The load has to go somewhere and we know Jameis will pass the ball a lot.


Jacob Hollister (SEA vsARI)

Play your TE against Arizona, especially when your QB is Russel Wilson and you have everything on the line as I’ve probably said 4 times already. He may even be on the wire in a few places. If not but you are in need you could look for: Darren Fells (HOU @TB), Jack Doyle (IND vsCAR), Noah Fant (DEN vsDET), Jonnu Smith (TEN vsNO) and Hayden Hurst (BAL @CLE).  



Steelers (PIT @NYJ)

Again, I have to back my team in defence. They are doing the work to allow the offence to do just enough. Pittsburgh have a great shot at the last Wildcard which would potentially put them up against the NFC South victor which is gives them a genuine opportunity to rematch against the Patriots once more. The Jets wont offer much, even with Lev Bell playing his former employers.


Ravens (BAL @CLE)

The Ravens should be able to pick off Baker and the Browns and will be using this as a warmup fore tougher tests to come. They are improving and beginning to peak at the right moment.


49ers (SF vsLAR)

This is a difficult one, but Jared Goff still gives the ball away too often and I think the 49ers defence will be the difference. The Patriots have a similar scenario against the Bills and both these games see teams who are a win apart and will be scrapping to make the playoffs. It may be too little too late for the Rams though and the 49ers should show their playoff intentions.


Chiefs (KC @CHI)

Those needing to dig deeper may be able to use the Chiefs against the Bears since it is still Mitchell Trubisky and his inconsistency is his downfall. The Chiefs could still get a first round bye so they will be fighting hard, while the Bears are eliminated.


So, there you go. My last ramblings for this season and big thanks to the Full10Yards guys for their support this season and I look forward to working with them and improving over the coming years. Listen out for the podcasts, keep your eyes peeled on twitter and the fantasy sector will see you next season, but for now:

“We have arrived at week 16, where this Hype Train terminates. Please gather all your belongings, Check for trophies, belts and prize money before leaving the train. We thank you for using the Hype Train this season and we hope to see you again soon.”

Hype Train Station – Week 15

By James Fotheringham (@nflhypetrain)

For most people we are at the Semi Final stage. You’ve almost reached your final destination but there’s one last set of changes to make before the final journey. Who will lead you down the right track, and who may delay your shot at the title for another year?

David Montgomery (CHI @GB)

The Packers run Defence still gets gashed often and after rediscovering their offensive mojo a little bit, the Bears should look to lean on Montgomery (and to a lesser extent Cohen) to make a game of it against Green Bay. I don’t think it will be an express, more of a freight train, but it’ll get where it needs to.


Josh Jacobs (OAK vsJAX)

If Jacobs does return to the lineup after missing this week, I fear for the Jaguars. Out of the running and unable to stop other teams running on them, Jacobs may have a field day. If he isn’t available to play then the likes of Richard and Washington become valuable waiver wire pickups. Leonard Fournette at the other end might also have a chance of a big day.


Kareem Hunt/Nick Chubb (CLE @ARI)

The Cardinals are getting close to tanking territory with only 4 teams holding worse records. The Browns sees to have found a way to make 2 good running backs relevant and if you can play either of them, you probably should.


Chris Carson (SEA @CAR)

A team who run heavy against a team who struggle against the run. Unless there’s a change in Penny’s health, it’s Carson’s workload.



AJ Brown (TEN vsHOU)

I do remember saying a few weeks ago that AJ Brown might be a fantasy playoff stud and last week was incredible. He’s now the Hypest of Hype trains and yet is still on some waiver wires. The Texans secondary doesn’t have a lot left in order to derail him, so this could well be a fun ride.


Chris Godwin (TB @DET)

This should go without saying, especially now Mike Evans is going to be questionable. This is a hint towards DFS players that all your savings on other players should be used to field Godwin. If you can’t quite afford that luxury to create the team you want, Kenny Golladay is on the other side here and may be another stud to drop in there. It’s a good looking head-to-head.


Julian Edelman (NE @CIN)

Again, a stud to slot in if you can. Edelman always gets work and gets the job done when he plays.


Jarvis Landry (CLE @ARI)

Suddenly it all makes sense. OBJ has been nursing an injury all season and Landry has been getting more targets. With that clarity and the Browns near enough out of contention, OBJ ought to be shut down which opens up Landry for a bigger role.


Emanuel Sanders (49ers vsATL)

When he plays, he is a force to be reckoned with. Sanders is even passing for TD’s now. The 49ers are amping it up and the Falcons are one of those teams they should be able to express themselves against in their pursuit of the #1 seed.




Ryan Tannehill (TEN vsHOU)

I just mentioned AJ Brown, well it would be hard to ignore the role the guy at the other end of those passes was doing. Tannehill has a schedule that makes him more than a streamer. Now that his receivers are stepping up, he is someone worth getting onboard with. The Titans and Steelers are scrapping for the final wildcard spot, but with the Titans playing the Texans twice in three weeks, 2 wins might leave the Texans on the platform.


Jimmy Garoppolo (SF vsATL)

Again, a play who may be on a waiver wire and may cost a bit less in DFS but who has the matchup and the weapons to put up a big score.


Baker Mayfield (CLE @ARI)

He’s had a poor year, but this matchup suits him well and the fans will want some slim hopes to cling too before the Browns do the inevitable.


Tom Brady (NE @CIN)

Brady against the last team in the league, after a loss and while still hunting for the #1 seed and having taped why they were up to last week… do you need any further reasons?


Jameis Winston (TB @DET)

He may be a turnover liability, but his passing numbers and TDs keep making him a fantasy stud in many weeks. A rare player who is much better in fantasy than he is in real life.



Zach Ertz/Dallas Goedert (PHI @WAS)

This isn’t a great week for Tight Ends. Arizona have the Browns and Njoku is still just getting back into league action. Tampa Bay have the Lions and TJ Hockenson isn’t yet ready to be an option. The Bengals play the Patriots who haven’t exactly had a usable TE since Gronk left. This makes the Eagles against the Redskins look like the best matchup. Both guys have relevance now Ertz has proven his fitness.


Mike Gesicki (MIA @NYG)

Gesicki is on a roll and the Giants defence is a nice one to stream against. Keep an eye on Evan Engram at the other end since he may be a solid DFS options if he finally plays again.


Jonnu Smith (TEN vsHOU)

Continuing the love for the Titans offence, Smith is looking to become the #1 and stop Delanie Walker taking his job back next season. Last week was one of his best outings in a Titans jersey and a follow up here in a good matchup may finally tip him over the edge.


Steelers (PIT vsBUF)

If the Steelers want to win this game and give themselves a shot at the playoffs, it all hangs on this defence. The Bills offence isn’t frightening, but they need to step up to give their own offence the best chance they can.


Ravens (BAL vsNYJ)

The Jets can’t get a lot going and the Ravens just keep stamping on teams. This feels like a no-brainer.


Eagles (PHI @WAS)

Another decent enough defence against a poor offence. If Guice is missing, then the Eagles should swoop all over the Redskins.


Saints (NO vsIND)

The Colts look so mediocre on both sides of the ball this season and this is a matchup against a much better team. The Saints defence is very capable of doing work, although the 49ers did expose them majorly last week. 


Good Luck to everyone in their playoffs and playing DFS this week. Next week will be the final Hype Train Station visit of the season barring any disruptions so I will see you there hopefully.

Hype Train Station – Week 14

By James Fotheringham (@NFLHypeTrain)

ALLLLL ABOARD!

Apologies for the lack of a scheduled departures article last week. Those articles have been cancelled until further notice due to a lack of need.

Time for the fantasy play-offs to begin, and with bye weeks gone and most rosters pretty much set, the usual Hype Train Station is basically closed. Rush hour has long gone, and we are left with those late finishers trying to find their way to their final destination (which I hope for you is victory).

Since the landscape has changed, this trip to the Hype Train Station will ignore the waiver wire and ownership levels and concentrate more on which trains to jump on board. A bit of a start/sit, DFS and general information board. Ready to depart?




Devonta Freeman (ATL vsCAR)


Carolina looked like a very good defence at one point, but now it appears to be the Achilles-heel which is preventing a playoff run. Freeman returned from injury last week and it was steady but not spectacular return on Thanksgiving. This week is a much better matchup for Davonta to Run like a  Free man.


Derrick Henry (TEN @OAK)


Another high value player but against Oakland he should continue his hot-streak. There’s not as many gems in the cheaper ranks at RB this week.


Derrius Guice (WAS @GB)


The Packers have given up the 4th most yards to RBs and after his breakout last week against Carolina (who are 5th) he has a chance to go back-to-back. The Guice is definitely right now!



Devante Parker (MIA @NYJ)


The Jets returned to being terrible last week and are still struggling against the pass. The Dolphins meanwhile are enjoying their new found abilities and Parker is living up to about 5 years of failed hype. That train has finally arrived and still has some legs.


Kenny Golladay (DET @MIN)


The Vikings defence is seen as strong, but they have the 4th most yards conceded against WRs. After his promising debut on Thnaksgiving, David Blough can keep the receivers in Detroit relevant and Golladay has a chance to have a day.


Dede Westbrook (JAX vsLAC)


Dede has his mojo back having had a few weeks with Foles and even a return to the Minshew didn’t dent his statline. He’s not going to be overpriced in DFS which makes him a very nice middle-level candidate to allow you to pay up at RB.


AJ Brown (TEN @OAK)


If you want to dig a little deeper than AJ Brown may be your man. The Raiders are in the bottom 8 at defending the pass and Tannehill has really moved the Titans forwards. Brown is starting to hit a purple patch and he’s still on some waiver wires. Make sure you remember this Titan.




Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA @NYJ)


It makes sense that if Parker is a choice, so is Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins have been having some fun over the last few weeks and the freedom and time to gel seems to have made them forget about tanking and take the 3rd or 4th pick in the draft they will probably get. Now that’s what I call FitzMagic.


Kirk Cousins (MIN vsDET)


It’s hard to justify the big numbers of the likes of Mahomes, Rodgers and Jackson when their matchups aren’t fantastic. Kirk Cousins isn’t to their level, but the Lions aren’t up to much defensively and with Adam Thielin potentially returning to the line-up, the yards are there.


Ryan Tannehill (TEN @OAK)


Oakland give up a lot to QB’s and the Tannehill and Titans resurgence make this a nice matchup which you may be able to grab on the cheap. Check your waiver wires as well if your struggling, he will be available on some platforms (pun intended).


Duck Hodges (PIT @ARI)

And finally, if you really want to pay low for a QB to go heavy on RB in DFS then look no further than the QB who is facing the 2nd worst defence against QB’s and who put up a very despicable score against the Browns. It’s Duck season in Pittsburgh and Hodges is hunting for wins to get the Steelers into the playoffs.



Jack Doyle (IND @TB)


No Ebron to take away targets, Brissett at QB able to find him, the 2nd worst team against TE’s and a receiving corps that means the Colts need to use the Tight End… do you need any other reasons? Even with the likes of Kelce and Kittle around, I think Doyle is my number 1 TE this week. The Doyle Express is ready to depart.


Vance McDonald (PIT @ARI)


Tyler Higbee proved last week that no matter how little a TE gets used during the season, when they play Arizona, if they are the pass catching Tight End they will get points. Vance is very much a pass catching TE and if Juju is still out this becomes an even bigger must. Even with the QB change, this McDonalds Farm will benefit from having a Duck in it.


Mike Gesicki (MIA @NYJ)


How has it come to this? 3 Dolphins in my list of players to possible play in DFS and pick up if they are on the wire. How times change. Still, you can’t ignore the hot streak Gesicki is on and the freedom the Dolphins have. I think it may be the Jets that will want to throw a Ge-Sicky.



Vikings (vs DET)


While I am comfortable backing Golladay, the Lions are still going to give up points and it’s also very possible that Blough will come back to earth with a bump.


Colts (@ TB)


For as long as Jameis Winston is throwing the ball to the opposition, defences are going to score against the Bucs. The Colts get that help this week and while they aren’t the best defensive outfit, they may not need to be.


Browns (vs CIN)


At home to a divisional rival (although both are basically out of playoff contention) the Browns will want to make a statement and do something. The Bengals are still looking to lose, although the win last week avoided the goose egg. The Browns aren’t great, but the Bengals are worse.


Ravens (@BUF)


The Ravens are now making their move for the #1 seed which is going to need their defence to keep up with their offence. The matchup against the Bills works well for them and after grinding out the win against the 49ers, they look like they have what it takes to go all the way.

Other potential options include: Chargers (@ JAX), Steelers (@ ARI), Titans (@ OAK), Packers (vs WAS).

Scheduled Departures – Week 12

By James Fotheringham @NFLHypeTrain


The final bye week but with the Chargers, Chiefs, Vikings and Cardinals all taking the week off there’s going to be a lot of fantasy players scrambling for streamers. A lot of benches are reading like an NSYNC song so you’re going to want to keep your eyes peeled for who other players drop as you could grab a steal for the fantasy playoffs if you get ahead of the game.

For this week, here’s a run down of the Sunday games and a small nudge towards some viable options.


Broncos @ Bills

Two decent defences and two hardly potent offences. Josh Allen still has value due to his legs, Singletary should continue to build on his role and John Brown is usually good for points even in a tough matchup.

The Broncos haven’t been much worse under Allen than they were under Flacco, in many ways they are actually better. The lack of potent receivers hurts them and with Phillip Lindsey questionable, Royce Freeman may not be a bad call in a pinch.

Both defences are very good options.


Giants @ Bears

Bad offence vs mediocre defence compared to a mediocre offence against a decent defence. The Bears DST are the best play here and if Saquon is playing he’s obviously a starter.

I can’t decide if the Giants receivers are worth playing since with Shepard back, Tate in the mix and Slayton there’s a lot of uncertainty. Engram and Ellison are out so they have no real TE which means they would all be playable if it wasn’t the Bears.

The Bears themselves are stuck with Trubisky which means only Allen Robinson has receiving value. David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen are startable but not at the top of the pecking order.

The Giants DST is still a legitimate option this week.


Steelers @ Bengals 

I get the sense that last week may light a fire under Mason Rudolph. If only he had some receivers to benefit from it. Juju is out so the load falls on Washington, Johnson and MacDonald. They may well all be relevant, or one could get peppered so it’s a risk, but against the Bengals, I’d be fine with playing any of them and obviously Jaylon Samuels with James Conner out.

The Bengals will struggle against the Steelers defence and I’m even struggling to advise playing Mixon and Boyd unless you really are hamstrung by bye weeks. Steelers DST are a candidate for the #1 DST this week and while many will be advising Cincinnati are a good option, I’m not so sure.


Dolphins @ Browns    

The Browns remembered how to win last week, but with their top defenceman missing, their offence still not fully in sync and competition for touches, I can’t say I have high hopes. There’s talent, but it’s not being realised.

The defence isn’t a sure fire thing against the Dolphins who have resurged a bit under FitzMagic and he should have some relevance once more. There are enough pieces missing for Kalen Ballage to be relevant and Devante Parker should be the main receiving threat.

Those struggling at Tight end might have David Njoku as an option but will definitely have Mike Gesicki as a streaming candidate.


Bucs @ Falcons

If Jameis Winston didn’t turn the ball over so often I’d advise avoiding both defences and playing plenty of offence.

Now that Freeman is doubtful and while Winston is throwing his chance at a future starting spot away, I can’t advise using Brian Hill, but I can give the Atlanta defence some love. They’ve picked it up since beating the Saints and they’re on a little bit of a run. Be aware that Matt Ryan is questionable but if he’s good to go again then Julio and Ridley are musts.

The Bucs may have finally figured out how to use RoJo in the run game and keep Evans and Godwin happy. Outside of those 3 and Jameis, it’s hard to see there being enough production.


Panthers @ Saints

Value to be had on both offences and possible the Saints defence. I like Kyle Allen and his receivers this week as well for the obvious CMC.

The Saints should have Brees, Kamara and Thomas all firing, Jared Cook is starting to get more targets and Ted Ginn is a TD dice throw. This might also be a good game to watch.


Seahawks @ Eagles

Now it gets difficult.

Russell Wilson and Chris Carson are locks for starting places (although the Eagles run defence means if you are stacked at RB, he’s not so critical). After that it depends on how you feel. Metcalf, Hollister, Agholor, Jeffrey and even Ertz aren’t sure fire things. Goedert is eating into Ertz share, Jeffrey still isn’t 100% and Agholor is, well, Agholor. Jordan Howard could be back, but the Seahawks aren’t pushovers and he still has to share with Miles Sanders and potentially Jay Ajayi.

It’s a mess which may have points somewhere but good luck predicting who it will be.


Lions @ Redskins

If Matt Stafford was in at QB I’d be enjoying the idea of Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. As it stands with Jeff Driskel, I like them, but not as much. The RB situation with McKissic and Scarborough will dominate a lot of bye week ruined teams this week and hopefully Scarborough can pull off a similar feat to what Jonathan Williams did for Indy on Thursday night.

The Redskins now have an offensive piece you can consider in Derrius Guice and he and AP are playable against the Lions. McLaurin has got some overhyped projections on some platforms so be careful.


Raiders @ Jets

Oakland are threating a playoff run now. Derek Carr is looking solid, despite the lack of receivers, Darren Waller is a league winner and Josh Jacobs is odds on for ROTY. It’s a mix that will serve them well in Vegas when the move happens, but they may leave Oakland in some style. All of the above are playable, as is Tyrell Williams.

The Jets are a bit of a mess but seem to be on a slight elevation in terms of altitude. The Oakland pass defence is very porous, so the likes of Anderson, Crowder, Griffin and Lev Bell are in the frame. Darnold and Carr are actually good streams this week for those in a pinch.


Jaguars @ Titans

Nick Foles will step up his return this week which could be good news for Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark. Since they have lost 3 starting tight ends the offence has dipped and teams have zeroed in on Fournette and Chark. They are still playable against the Titans but don’t expect a huge haul.

The Titans are better under Tannehill, but Derrick Henry is the only player I’d have confidence in. He does usually dominate the Jags so he could be a very handy DFS option, but beyond that, I quite like both defences here.


Cowboys @ Patriots

Daks back and this time he faces the Patriots defence which has been stellar, although this is the toughest test, they’ve faced not named the Ravens. Dak, Cooper and Gallup are a force, Zeke is Zeke and Jason Witten can pop in when he needs to. It’s potent and it’s effective, the Patriots may struggle to find an answer, much like when they faced Lamar.

The Patriots themselves need Edelman to recover from his shoulder injury otherwise it could be tough sledding.

The Cowboys aren’t the greatest defence, but they are solid enough and the Patriots are not at full strength. They tend to find a way, but Bill doesn’t usually care about your fantasy team anyway.


Packers @ 49ers

The final game sees the Packers and 49ers square off in a matchup between teams who are doing well, but you’re not quite sure how.

Aaron Rodgers is doing enough to win games, despite the lack of receiving talent outside of Davante Adams. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have picked up the slack but face a tough test in the 49ers defence. If Adams is covered and Jones is prevented from running, it’s going to be a long day.

The 49ers defence is stout, but the offence is not so stable. If Kittle is fit to play then he also improves the prospects for Deebo Samuel, Jimmy Garoppolo and the running backs. As it stands, Tevin Coleman is a strong starting choice, although the Packers defence isn’t one to write off.


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Proceed

QB – Derek Carr (OAK @ NYJ) – I like both QBs in this matchup but again, the Hype Train is advocating using a Carr… scandalous.

RB – Derrick Henry (TEN vs JAX) – Henry tends to hoover up the Jags, I can’t see him sucking this week.

WR – DJ Moore (CAR @ NO) – It’s a tough week for receivers. I tried not to go obvious so I had to think a bit Moore.

TE – Ryan Griffin (NYJ vs OAK) – Again, I like both TE’s in this game, but with Carr at QB in this list I thought I’d put Griffin to the TE slot.

DST – Steelers (PIT @ CIN) – The Bengals are going to caught up against something as hard as Iron and tough as Steel.


Caution

QB – Tom Brady (NE vs DAL) – He will probably find a way to win the game, but Tom terrific isn’t going to be so good for fantasy.

RB – Brian Hill (ATL vs TB) – Freeman may be missing but I don’t think Brian will take them over the Hill this week.

WR – Terry McLaurin (WAS vs DET) – Haskins still isn’t ready, and McLaurin may be fast but he’s more and F1 choice than an A1 choice.

TE – Zach Ertz (PHI vs SEA) – Goedert is eating into his share and it Ertz for his owners.

DST – Panthers (CAR vs NO) – They’ve been good this season and the Saints have been inconsistent, but this is not a week to be cute.


Danger

QB – Daniel Jones (NYG @ CHI) – The Bears might just smother Jones in this one. Danny Dimes may lack a few cents here.

RB – Jordan Howard (PHI vs SEA) – A crowded backfield, a return from injury and a decent opposition. Howard you like that? Not very much.

WR – Courtland Sutton (DEN @ BUF) – Tough sledding, especially with an inexperienced QB. I’d not fancy having him Sutt-on my starting line-up.

TE – Jimmy Graham (GB @ SF) – The 49ers defence should crunch the packers. Graham won’t be a cracker.

DST – Jets (NYJ vs OAK) – IF I like the offensive pieces then it’s obvious I’ll hate on the defensive ones. The Jets DST will likely remain grounded.


That’s it for another week. Apologies for the pun level at the end, some of those were terrible. More of the same next week!

Hype Train Station – Week 12

By James Fotheringham (@nflhypetrain)

The Last Good Bye… week of the season. The Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers and Vikings will be watching on from the Platform as everyone else catches up. After this it’s the crucial games leading up to the fantasy and real life playoffs. The waiver wires get thinner, trade deadlines kick in and



If you didn’t grab him last week, Guice is a must pick-up this week. He’s 50% owned but after this set of waiver wires it will be closer to 80%. Tarik Cohen (60%), Jaylen Samuels (60%) may be out there and are also worth looking for. However, if they are all gone in your league then here’s some other options to look for:


jonathan williams 0%

nyheim hines 30%

With Marlon Mack looking questionable with a hand fracture there are carries to be had in Indianapolis. Williams and Hines will probably see most of the work but maybe in a close split, so don’t be expecting miracles. With their main start out, can these Colts fill those shoes?


raheem mostert 10%

jeff wilson 0%

Mostert was dropped from many teams as the Coleman/Breida combo returned. This week Jeff Wilson got a crucial TD and Breida was out. Mostert had a disappointing day but with time to recover from injury he might be the better bet for next week, but Wilson is a very good, deep option. Who must start? Will soon know.


Kalen Ballage (MIA) – 30%


He may be a mediocre player on a terrible team, but he is getting the touches and is often a TD option. The Miami guy is good if you’re in a vice.


Lookout for injury returners as well as replacements. Will Fuller (60%) and John Ross (10%) may well return this week.


Josh Reynolds (LAR) – 10%


We don’t know what the issue is with Robert Woods and while he and Cooks are out it leaves Kupp and Gurley to receive. Clearly Goff is going to need more options, even if he uses them sparingly. He’s a great option but the risk is that too many Cooks May spoil his outlook.


James Washington (PIT) – 20%


The Steelers will be angry after the defeat to the Browns and with the whipping boy Bengals in town, anyone is an option. If there’s no Juju or Dionte then Washington will be capital to the Steelers success.


Deebo Samuel (SF) – 30%


If you didn’t pick him up last week you really have to now. Options for Garoppolo are thin on the ground and Samuel is starting to establish himself. Will they team up and form the Garoppodeebo?



MASON RUDOLPH (PIT @ CIN) – 10%


He has enough chips on his shoulder currently to supply a small fast food chain, so the Bengals may get toasted. He will need help from Vance McDonald and Washington but as one Rudolph goes on bye, it’s time for another to take the reigns.


SAM DARNOLD (NYJ VS OAK) – 10%


This seems an icky play but the Raiders do give up points to the QB and with the receiving corps starting to show signs of life, it’s not a bad time to plug him in. Let’s see if he wins the battle against Derek Carr; Mono y Mono.


RYAN GRIFFIN (NYJ VS OAK) – 0%


The Jets play the Raiders and with a pretty weak pass defence, Griffin becomes a useful asset. I can’t use the same punchline as last week so let’s see if Griffin can raid Oakland for points.


JACOB HOLLISTER (SEA @PHI) – 10%


I mentioned it last week, Hollister seems to be cool in Seattle and provides Russell Wilson with an outlet to keep his MVP level season going. We’ve had body spray and cool dude puns, so this week let’s see if he can fashion a good fantasy day.


TITANS (TEN VSJAX) – 40%


Remember the Titans, they were in bye last week. The Jags have pretty much knocked themselves out of the running so it will be a bit of a learning curve coming up. In this situation the Titans tend to smash the Jags so there are worse options.


GIANTS (NYG @CHI) – 0%


The Giants DST is terrible, but Trubisky feels worse.


LIONS (DET @WAS) – 0%


Near enough the same scenario as the above. Terrible defence, worse offence.



These are the last advanced tickets of the season, from next week the article gets shorter as we get towards the business end and the playoffs.

I can’t see people dropping Kyler Murray or Pat Mahomes, Rivers has been awful, but Kirk Cousins has the Seahawks, Lions and Chargers in his next 3 games. Not a terrible draw.


Damien Williams has a shot at a resurgence if he stays healthy but could be a drop candidate for some teams.


Mike Williams may be a heavy drop and he has disappointed many this season. So much so, he will probably turn up for the fantasy playoffs and win leagues. Keep an eye out. Diggs, Thielen, Hill and Kirk won’t fall off benches and not a lot else is worth a pickup so no help here.


Kyle Rudolph is getting an enlarged role with Thielen out and even when he returns, the chemistry is back up and running and it’s simply been working. Henry and Kelce won’t drop and the Cardinals TE’s are nearly all still on the wire.

Scheduled Departures – Week 11

By James Fotheringham (@nflhypetrain)

ALL ABOARD! Trains for week 11 are about to depart.

WARNING: Lineups may close up to 30 seconds prior to kickoff.



There are no trains for Tennessee, Green Bay, New York (Giants) and Seattle this week so you may have a few different routes to take on your way to points, but don’t worry. The departure board is here to guide you where to go. Let’s take a look.


Falcons @ Panthers


Despite their victory against the Saints last week, I still feel the Falcons are a team to stream against.

The Saints are bitter rivals and the team played out of their skin defensively to beat them. The offence is still shaky and losing Austin Hooper hurts them, but it may be a spark for Julio and Calvin Ridley.

The Panthers as usually have CMC but Kyle Allen has been quietly improving and now DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel might also be playable in addition to Greg Olsen, who frankly has always been an option when you look at how sparse the TE position is now.       


Cowboys @ Lions


Matt Stafford will miss another game, so Jeff Driskel takes on the mane role for the Lions. It limits how good Golladay and Marvin Jones are but from last week’s evidence they should be serviceable.

The Cowboys are strong against the run and with options limited JD McKissic is playable but not with a lot of confidence. The Cowboys DST looks a good play while the opposite is true for the Lions.

Dak, Cooper, Gallup and Zeke should all feature and Zeke is going to be heavily owned in DFS. He is a guy to pay up for so it’s time to send Zeke to the buffet car so he can eat.


Jaguars @ Colts


This game is huge in the AFC South. If the Jags lose that’s the end of their hopes, if the Colts lose, they look shaky.

Brissett may well be back but not 100%, which against the Jags defence, is not what you want to hear. Hilton isn’t back and Pascal hasn’t been as good now people have put expectations on him. The Tight Ends for Indy may be the most fantasy relevant assets, along with Marlon Mack.

The Jags will again rely heavily on Fournette who has been good value this season when you consider how many busts there have been. Nick Foles returns and may well be a decent streaming option. Foles’ return also improves the prospects for Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark.

I was hoping to use Seth DeValve as a safety valve but now he’s ruled out I’ve had to reduce the pressure on that one.


Bills @ Dolphins


The Dolphins are on a resurgence and the Bills are maybe not the locking for the playoffs people thought they might be.

This game will probably return both teams to their usual scripts as the Buffalo defence is still strong.

It’s not a week to fish for points in Miami but it may be a big week for the Bills offence, especially Josh Allen who may be a decent options for DFS line ups looking to save money on QB.                  


Texans @ Ravens


This is a juicy matchup where quite simply, I want the offensive pieces on both teams and I’m not sure I’d want to risk either defence. Keep an eye on Will Fuller who is unlikely to play, which usually means goods things for DeAndre Hopkins.

Short and sweet.


Broncos @ Vikings


The Vikings again appear to be Thielin-less so it may be time to find Diggs again. Dalvin Cook will once again feature heavily on the menu and Kyle Rudolph might be a redzone reindeer once more.

The Broncos are still not looking great on offence and I wouldn’t want to play the defence against Minnesota.      


Jets @ Redskins

No first class available here.

Two dire teams. Derrius Guice returns for Washington but the Jets did completely stuff Saquon last week. Haskins and McLaurin still haven’t really clicked while the defence isn’t quite what we expected it to be.

The Jets have some decent receivers, Sam Darnold seems to be the issue. Le’Veon Bell isn’t performing either, but this is maybe is his week.                            


Saints @ Bucs

The Saints need a bounce back game and the Bucs are not a bad opponent to have for this. Brees, Thomas, Kamara and even Jared Cook may be a sneaky play at TE.

Jameis Winston and the passing attack are also looking tempting this week. Ronald Jones has become playable so apart from the defences and the Bucs TE’s, it’s a game to play what you have.                     


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Cardinals @ 49ers


The 49ers finally had their unbeaten record ended last week but this team is still “for real” (and I’m not just saying that to wind up Tim, honest…).

Losing Kittle is a huge blow to the offence and with Sanders looking limited if he plays at all, you want the running back who are fit and Deebo Samuel. The 49ers DST may be vital for them to succeed in this game but with the state of the Arizona running game and the passing attack still learning the system, it’s not a bad call.

Kyler should be solid this week, although the 49ers DST does make me scared to play Kirk and co. I’d avoid the backfield as the split between DJ and Drake feels very volatile.                           


Bengals @ Raiders


The Bengals are the only remaining team left who are able to put up a 100% record… of losing. Finley at QB and AJ Green still injured make them an offence to avoid apart from Mixon, Boyd may be a bit of a reach.

The Raiders are threatening to be a playoff team and Josh Jacobs is set to be a league winner for fantasy. He will be a heavily owned DST play again but be warned as it could be a Tyrell Williams game. The Raiders DST are an easy stream option too.


Patriots @ Eagles


After the Ravens derailed the Patriots shot at a perfect season, it’s time to see if the Eagles can continue to send them down the wrong track. This week they signed Jay Ajayi which suggests that Jordan Howard is questionable. Miles Sanders will get a lot of action but how much he will be able to do with it is uncertain. The receiver situation looks awkward as well with Jeffrey out and Agholor unable to catch a cold.

The Patriots will be back to trusting Brady, Edelman and co. You may want the Pats DST back in your line up if you have them.                                              


Bears @ Rams


The final game of the day is the Bears and the Rams. Two strong defences with questionable offences. The Steelers shut down the Rams and the Bears do a good job of shutting themselves down. David Montgomery is questionable so Tarik Cohen may be more worth playing than usual, Allen Robinson is usually relevant but after that you’re only playing the defence.

The Rams seem to only perform when Cooper Kupp is open. The Steelers had his number and Goff didn’t know where else to turn. Expect Kupp and Gurley to be the main men, albeit without particularly high expectations.


Time to take a look in the Signal Box and pick out a few player who are on the right lines and who may be taking a wrong route.


PROCEED


QB – Josh Allen (BUF) – A rushing QB against the Dolphins… do I need to say more?

RB – Josh Jacobs (OAK) – One of the hottest RBs in the league against the worst team in the league…

WR – Michael Thomas (NO) – The Saints disappeared last week, but they are coming back this week.

TE – Mark Andrews (BAL) – The Texans may not have an answer to Andrews.

DST – Cowboys(DAL)  – A somewhat tamed Lions team are going to get rounded up.


Caution


QB – Kirk Cousins (MIN) – He had no Thielin and Cook may leave him stewing.

RB – Phillip Lindsey (DEN) – The Vikings and Royce Freeman may halt Lindseys usefulness.

WR – Robert Woods (LAR) – Unless you’re called Kupp, it’s hard to score for the Rams.

TE – Zach Ertz (PHI) – Goedert’s production and the Patriots defence Ertz his value.

DST – Dolphins (MIA) – The Bills are usually a team to stream against but I think the Dolphin resurgence ends here.


Danger


QB – Carson Wentz (PHI) – The Patriots find Nick Foles harder to crack.

RB – David Johnson (ARI) – A fall from grace to the point where you can’t trust what he may do.

WR – Devante Parker (MIA) – The Bills may not even allow garbage time yards for him.

TE – OJ Howard (TB) – Godwin and Evans prevent TE from being a thing in TB.

DST – Lions (DET) – A weak run D against Zeke… Eeek.


That’s it for this week. Come back next week to see what is standing at the station and which Hype Trains will lead you to points.