By Paul Maughan (@morny7)
Over a quarter of the (Fantasy) regular season is done and dusted, and we’re at point where most of us know whether we’re “definitely pretty class at this game”, or if it’s time to insist that “we weren’t that bothered anyway, we just gambled on high-upside picks”.
After last week was the “week of the backup” (seriously, who on earth are Trevor Davis and Chester Rogers), it’ll be interesting to see if we see a swing back to more established players getting in amongst the touchdowns this week.
Unfortunately there’s no Dolphins this week, meaning we can’t just back everything against them. Even the Dolphins 2.0 (hey Washington) are up against the famously Fantasy un-friendly Patriots. However, there are some fantastic games with high-scoring potential, so let’s get right to it.
Andy Dalton (CIN) vs Cardinals
Yes, the Bengals were dreadful on Monday and yes, their offence was hopeless. But they’re up against the Cardinals defence, which is beyond bad. Even with John Ross missing, he should have plenty opportunity to rack up points against a defence which is comically obliging.
There’s also the added bonus that the Cardinals are a quick-fire team on offence, against a Bengals defence which is also pretty poor, meaning that Dalton should get plenty of opportunities to rack up points. Your instincts may scream at you not to pick an average quarterback, of a malfunctioning team, who sits behind a leaky o-line……but ignore that inner-voice and believe in the Red Rifle
Honourable Mentions: Deshaun Watson (HOU) vs Falcons, Phillip Rivers (LAC) vs Broncos
David Johnson (ARI) @ Bengals
It’s a tricky week for running backs (aside from the obvious stars you aren’t sitting no matter what). Not wanting to focus in on just one game, but David Johnson looks like an unmissable play here, especially in PPR leagues. His rushing stats aren’t great – he’s only rushed a total of 173 yards this season, average less than 6 fantasy points a game rushing.
However, you ain’t taking him for his rushing. It’s his pass-catching you’re all about. So far this year he is number one in the NFL for routes-run by a running-back, and is averaging 12.8 points a game in the receiving game. This is against four decent defences (Lions, Ravens, Panthers and Seahawks). He’s playing the Bengals this week, and will basically step up even further in the absence of Christian Kirk in the Cardinals passing game. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is, in effect a WR2 for the Cardinals this week (behind Larry) and in what should be a high-scoring game, it would be astonishing if Johnson isn’t rolling in points by Sunday night.
Honourable Mentions: James White (NE) @ Redskins, Marlon Mack (IND) @ Chiefs
Alshon Jeffrey (PHI) vs Jets
Basically, the Jets don’t have any outside cornerbacks. Trumaine Johnson is $70m of utter horror and Daryl Roberts is a guy you’ve likely never heard of (and never will). Nate Hairston has been alright, but they’re still giving up 45 points a game to WR groups each week. Further, they have a passable run defence, which will encourage Wentz and Pederson to attack increasingly through the air (not that they need much encouragement to begin with).
At this stage, it’s really about choosing who to go with, and I wouldn’t put you off Nelson Aghalor or even Whiteside if you want to take a flyer. But Jeffrey is a good safe shout – he should pick up plenty of receptions, plenty of yards and at least a touchdown in what I expect to be a high-scoring Eagles win.
Honourable Mentions: Josh Gordon (NE) @Redskins, Adam Thielen (MIN) @Giants
Greg Olsen (CAR) vs Jaguars
Aside from a quiet week last week Greg Olsen has been back with a bang this year, averaging 13 fantasy points a week. He’s looking a lot more like the Greg Olsen from a few years ago, and hopefully his injuries problems are behind him now.
The Jags defence is generally sound, but have struggled somewhat against Tight-Ends this year, giving up 12.6 points a game in fantasy. At home, and riding the crest of the Kyle Allen wave, Olsen should be safe for at least 10 points this week and if things fall right should get a few more.
Honourable Mentions: Tyler Eifert (CIN) vs Cardinals, Zach Ertz (PHI) vs Jets
QB – Jameis Winston (TB) @ Saints – Jameis has put up bucketloads of points the last two weeks, but the Saints defence has clicked into ‘carry Teddy’ mode, and should handle him comfortable. In fact, there’s every chance we see a classic “bad Jameis” day.
RB – Josh Jacobs (OAK) vs Bears – the kid is good, but he’s not being used often enough, is in a terrible matchup here (why take anyone against the Bears defence), and the Raiders lose any neglible advantage from being at home. Steer well clear.
WR – Sterling Shepherd (NYG) vs Vikings – he may have gone off under “Danny Dimes” (vomit incessantly) the last two weeks,but he’s up against a top-class defence and got Golden Tate fighting for his targets this week. Expect his numbers to half, at the very best.
TE – Delanie Walker (TEN) vs Bills – The Bills defence is pretty much the best in the league at this point, they give up nothing to Tight-Ends and Marcus Mariota will likely get about 0.01 seconds to throw before feeling pressure. Would personally advise fading any receiving players in this game – will be a trench battle.