By James Fotheringham (@nflhypetrain)
Welcome back. If you bought your tickets over at the Hype Train Station for week 10 then thank you, if not then go and check it out otherwise the railway bias and puns may seem a little bit weird.
This is the “Scheduled Departures” board which is a run through of all the Sunday games which hints at the game narrative and where there may be points to be had. It’s here to help inform your last minute line up decisions and throw up a few ideas for those who play DFS. In essence, helping you work out who to choo choo choose…
It’s intended to be a light read since it covers a lot of games and the last thing you want to do is fall asleep and miss the train. This isn’t as pun heavy but usually the laughs come on Monday morning when I review how I’ve done.
So, let’s glance up at the board and see what’s on the schedule in week 10.
Ravens @ Bengals
The team that beat the undefeated Patriots against the only remaining winless team. The narrative all points one way, but there’s usually something odd in the NFL each week. Lamar Jackson has been limited in practice so Mark Ingram might be a very smart play this week. They’re barely going to have to throw the ball you would think.
The Bengals have a new QB in Ryan Finley and AJ Green freshly ruled out for a few more weeks so really, it’s Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon and if you are desperate, Tyler Eifert. Ravens DST are tipped by many to be the best of the week and it’s hard to argue with that.
Bills @ Browns
The Bills have impressed me this season, although if Josh Allen didn’t give the ball away so often, they would be more impressive. Devin Singletary and John Brown are must starts and I trust Allen to still put up a good score this week. Frank Gore will see playing time but nothing like he has done while Singletary has been battling injury. The other receivers I struggle to trust but in deep leagues, hey why not.
The Browns still haven’t got it together on offence. I’ve benched OBJ in a few leagues (for John Brown funnily enough) and the Bills are about the last team I’d want to be on him bouncing back against. Effectively the Browns may lean heavily on Nick Chubb so he’s a hot start.
Lions @ Bears
If you had the Lions passing game, David Montgomery and the Bears defence in one team you’d probably say it was a playoff contender. As it stands, each team has its own issues. For fantasy it’s hard to pick Stafford and that passing game against the Bears and it’s impossible to predict their run game at the moment. The one piece I have some faith in being useful for the Lions is JD McKissic but only in PPR leagues.
The Bears passing game is still off with Trubisky not looking like a first rounder never mind a first overall. David Montgomery looks like the guy to play. I’m wary about playing either defence because of what they can do. There’s going to be better options out there.
Giants @ Jets
The battle of New York and never has the been such little on the line. With Evan Engram out and Stirling Shepard doubtful, it’s safe to say the Giants are going to be Saquon Barkley heavy.
The Jets need to find some chemistry again (rather than the biology that Darnold found). Crowder may be a useful PPR piece and Lev Bell has another chance to redeem himself. I like the Jets DST this week although this does feel like a train wreck game.
Chiefs @ Titans
Pat Mahomes should be back which means any Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce shares are instantly increased. A frightening offence does come up against a very strong defence, so you have to be beware of the Titans. Their offence is hit and miss but I do fancy Tannehill as a streamer this week. Derrick Henry is the most reliable scorer, but AJ Brown and Corey Davis are flex plays if you’re desperate.
Cardinals @ Buccaneers
The Arizona defence remains a mess. Jameis Winston might have a field day and if you believe in the mantra of playing your TE against Arizona then OJ Howard is a must start (and how often have we said that this season). No need to try hunting points from the running game, they won’t be there.
Arizona meanwhile should have DJ back and he needs to be a spark from them. Murray and Kirk could well link up, so I’d not be keen owning either defence.
Falcons @ Saints
The Saints look like Superbowl contenders on both sides of the ball at the moment, while the Falcons don’t look good on either side. Matt Ryan is struggling, the defence is banged up and you’d have to say their player of the season is Austin Hooper, for continuing to stay relevant. Hooper, Julio and at a push Ridley are playable but beyond that, it’s all on the Saints. Even the likes of Ted Ginn have value.
Dolphins @ Colts
The Dolphins can’t even tank properly. After beating the Jets, they are now losing the race to the first overall pick to the Bengals. The Colts are sweating on the fitness of Brissett but if he’s not set to go, Brian Hoyer should be good enough to beat Miami. It’s a WR by committee for both teams and each should have a gem for fantasy and DFS… sadly you’ll need a time machine or a crystal ball to figure out who it will be. Marlon Mack is a must start, while Kalen Ballage feels like a horrible option but a lot of people are going to be led down that route to the desperation station.
Rams @ Steelers
Somehow the Steelers beat the Colts last week and at home to the Rams it’s plausible that they can win again. With Cooks out, Woods and Kupp take the passing strain while Todd Gurley doesn’t seem too hampered at the moment. Goff is the only major offensive piece I struggle to suggest playing but I still think he’s a top 12 this week.
The Steelers won’t have James Conner this week and that’s a massive blow. Samuels will be the guy, but this may be a Juju week. I struggle to back any of the Steelers depth receivers in this match up so if you have the Rams DST, I’d be playing them.
Panthers @ Packers
It’s basically Christian McCaffrey vs The Aarons. Rodgers and Jones are looking strong and if Davante Adams finds some form now he’s returned form injury then there’s not much which can stop the Packers. Even their defence is solid so even with CMC on the other side, I can see them being top 10. The Depth WR and Jimmy Graham are maybe where the Packers are harder to trust but, really, you shouldn’t need to. CMC is the one bright spark for the Panthers. You can’t play their defence, QB or receivers so there’s not much hope I’m afraid.
Vikings @ Cowboys
Finally, the prime time slot has two strong teams looking for playoff spots. If the Vikings are again without Thielin (which looks likely) they may have to take a few Diggs to Stefon and maybe call in some help from Rudolph. It’s a game that points heavily towards Dalvin Cook and similarly Zeke on the other side. Dak is still looking good but the receivers have gone a little quiet of late. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup need to make some noise.
The last section is “The Signal Box” where I pick out a few situations where you should be giving the player a green light and proceed to play them. Some need a caution light to warn you that there is a potential for danger ahead and then there’s the Red for danger signal which is situations to avoid.
Jameis Winston (TB) – Yes, he turns the ball over a lot, but he still puts up big numbers each game. He’s against Arizona, which should be enough to convince you.
Mark Ingram (BAL) – The Ravens won’t need to pass much against the Bengals so Ingram should get a lot of work in early.
Marlon Mack (IND) – Lead back against the Dolphins? Yes please!
Michael Thomas (NO) – The Falcons are struggling against receivers, MT is one of the best.
Davante Adams (GB) – Now he has a game under his belt, so long as the rust has gone, he should be great.
Travis Kelce (KC) – With Mahomes back, he may be key in breaking down the Titans.
Bills DST – Outside of the obvious teams to stream against, the Bills against the Browns sounds tasty.
Matt Ryan (ATL) – The Saints defence weakness is in the passing game, but Ryan hasn’t looked right all season.
Kalen Ballage (MIA) – He may now be the lead back but he’s still on a terrible offence.
Robby Anderson (NYJ) – While he has a good matchup, I’m not sure this is going to be his game.
Mark Andrews (BAL) – Great matchup but the Ravens might not need him to do much.
Bears DST – The Lions are not tame.
Daniel Jones (NYG) – The Jets sounds like a good matchup, but you need more than your RB to catch the ball.
Frank Gore (BUF) – Father Time hasn’t been catching him up, but Devin Singletary has.
DJ Moore/Curtis Samuel (CAR) – The Packers are decent, and I still can’t trust Allen.
Vance McDonald (PIT) – Of all the playable TE’s on the slate, he’s maybe the one I’d least fancy rolling out there.
Panthers DST – They are a high ranked defence but after recent slips, Green Bay isn’t a team you want to see against them.