10 Series: 10 breakout candidates for 2020

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

This is my favourite time of year. Not only is it draft season and the free agency period where teams can look vastly different to how they looked at the end of 2019, it’s a chance to get away from the madness that’s happening around the world right now. It’s nice, if only for a moment, to also escape into watching tape from 2019 and sift through depth charts to try and glimpse who might catch fire over the coming season.

Obviously the draft is a few weeks away, and teams are going to continue to add in key piece as they look to strengthen their weaknesses, but, as things stand, here are five defensive and five offensive players that have a great opportunity to break out and become household names in 2020.


Defence


Raiders' Maurice Hurst Is Gaining Momentum – NBC Bay Area

Jack Thomas – Getty

Maurice Hurst – DT, Las Vegas Raiders

You remember this guy – he was the player that dropped from a potential day 1 pick all the way to the 5th round in the 2018 draft because of a heart condition. Well, it’s since transpired that in 2 years of football, that condition hasn’t affected him yet as he has played in 29 of a possible 32 games.

He came into the league as a top prospect out of Michigan with high pass and rush grades. But being a piece on a below average defense has hindered his opportunity to breakout and really show what he is capable of. However, the new-look Vegas team has made major moves on defense this year bringing in players such as Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski at linebacker, Carl Nassib on the edge, Damarious Randall, Lamarcus Joyner and Jeff Heath at safety and of course a running partner for Hurst at DT in Maliek Collins.

This new look defense is going to look a lot different in 2020 compared to last year, and the uptick in quality will see players like Hurst come into his own and perform to a scintillating level.


Shaun Dion Hamilton – LB, Washington Redskins

Another defense that looks significantly better with some key off season acquisitions is in Washington. They already have a stout cast on the defensive line with the likes of Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Matt Ioannidis, and adding to the secondary in the free agency only strengthens the whole unit. This is without mentioning the prospect of a certain Buckeye edge rusher who could be a Redskin soon too.

Shaun Dion Hamilton was better than you think in 2019
Icon Sportswire (Getty)

At linebacker, however, there is room for an emerging talent. Hamilton has been a bit part player since being drafted by the Skins in the 6th round of the 2018 draft, but last year was graded between Lavonte David and Luke Kuechly when it came to coverage marks. He will, of course have a returning Reuben Foster to compete with, but SDH has a shot of fitting in very nicely with this star studded cast and flying completely under the radar to breakout in 2020.


Rock Ya-Sin – CB, Indianapolis Colts

Ya-Sin was drafted last year early in the second round by the Colts to help add to the up and coming young defense that is improving year after year at Lucas Oil Stadium. Although he had a quiet year and didn’t produce any magic, he would have certainly learned a lot from veterans Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore.

The Colts added another veteran this off season in the shape of Xavier Rhodes, but again, the experience to gain for Ya-Sin learning the trade from a former pro-bowler will do him the world of good in his journey of progression. With Rhodes turning 30 before the season kicks off and Desir out during the free agency, Rock Ya-Sin has a chance to become a key piece in that growing defense and is a perfect candidate for a 2020 breakout.


Ed Oliver getting anxious for first-career sack with Buffalo Bills

Adrian Kraus – AP

Ed Oliver – DT, Buffalo Bills

Ok, so Ed Oliver is pretty much a household name already, especially after being drafted as a top-10 prospect just 12 months ago. But, i truly believe 2020 is the year that Ed Oliver takes the step onto the “elite players” plinth. He finished 2019 with 43 tackles, 5 sacks and 2 passes defended, incredibly strong numbers for a rookie interior defensive lineman.

With inferior offensive lines in Miami and New York (Jets), and no more TB12 in New England, Buffalo’s defensive line could all be beneficiaries of 6 ‘weak’ games on the calendar in 2020. Look for Ed Oliver to improve on those impressive rookie numbers and potentially escalate himself into the Aaron Donald/Fletcher Cox realm of conversation this time next year.


Brian Burns – EDGE, Carolina Panthers

Another first round pick in the 2019 draft was the former Florida State edge rusher. He, like Oliver, had a blistering start to his NFL career where he notched 25 tackles and 7.5 sacks with a forced fumbled added in for good measure.

For me, Carolina are a team that will likely be the wrong end of the win/loss column in 2020, but it is apparent that new HC Matt Rhule wants to start rebuilding this defense first. That starts with Burns and he could find himself the centre of the rebuild alongside whoever Rhule selects in this upcoming draft – i’m sure Panthers’ fans would love to see Isaiah Simmons help rebuild the defensive in Carolina if he falls to them with the 7th pick. Look for Burns to quickly become a fan favourite at Bank of America Stadium in 2020 thanks to a breakout season.

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Offence


Nyheim Hines – RB, Indianapolis Colts

Since entering the league as a Colt from the 4th round of the 2018 draft, Hines has quietly sat as the RB2 on the Indy depth chart but made the most of his role as a scat back. His rookie year was impressive as he ticked over 740 all purpose yards (425 through the air) and combined for 4 TD’s. Although the stats weren’t as good in 2019, a significant down tick in quarterback could be to blame as Jacoby Brissett filled in after the shock retirement of Andrew Luck in the preseason.

How Indianapolis Colts can make Nyheim Hines their Austin Ekeler
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As we head into 2020, the Colts’ offense will be rebuffed by the signing of Philip Rivers, who knows how to get the best out of his weapons. None more so than a pass-catching running back. He is fresh off a 2019 season which saw Austin Ekeler thrust into relevance (especially in fantasy teams) as he notched 92 receptions for 993 yards including 557 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns; all whilst Melvin Gordon was the “main back” in town.

Even though Marlon Mack is competent in the passing game, Rivers loves a reliable dump off man out of the backfield. Hines is just that and is poised for a big breakout in 2020. Fantasy dynasty owners, now is your chance to get him on the cheap…


Mike Gesicki – TE, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins rebuild should be well and truly underway in 2020 after their 685-odd upcoming draft picks! Joking aside, there’s likely going to be a new QB in town whether it be Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert as the most likely candidates.

Gesicki was a a high draft pick (44th overall) in 2018 but didn’t see much of the ball in his rookie season. It was last year when the former Penn State man started to step up and saw 570 receiving yards and 5 TDs. So already Gesicki has had a mini breakout year, because those stats alone for the 2019 Miami Dolphins has to be viewed as impressive given their miserable start.

Gesicki should be a key target and redzone threat for whoever is throwing the rock in Miami next year and could be in for a much larger work load and hopefully productivity too.

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N’Keal Harry – WR, New England Patriots

If you have listened to a Full 10 Yard podcast with me on it over the last year then you probably know I am not a N’keal Harry fan. I just don’t think he’s as good as what people think he is. However, one thing is for sure, he is now one of the better offensive weapons in New England, which says a lot about the off-season transactions for Belichick and co.

Patriots vs. Titans: Pats still see time for N'Keal Harry to ...
Nancy Lane – BH

Edelman will be 34 come week 1 and in his 11th season with the Pats, Gronk is winning WWE titles, Phillip Dorsett has left and Mohamed Sanu is the wrong side of 30 and has only eclipsed 520 receiving yards 4 times in his career. As things stand, Harry is the only player in this offense that can breakout! Providing whoever is throwing the ball in Foxborough wants to utilise the high draft stock the Pats outlaid for Harry, you’d think he’d be a candidate for a 1,000 yards season. I still don’t like him, but he is a breakout candidate, can’t deny that.


Diontae Johnson – WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Johnson had a great campaign in his 2019 rookie season with 680 yards and 5 TDs. Not bad for a player supposedly battling for the WR3 role at the beginning of the season. And even better when it came off the back of a Big Ben injury which meant he was receiving throws from Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph.

Last year Diontae Johnson was everything we were expecting to see from teammate James Washington, and although Washington had more air yards to his name, Johnson looked the most complete receiver out of the the pack if you take out Juju.

Now Big Ben is back under centre, Diontae Johnson could find himself becoming the downfield target for a more accurate and stronger passer of the ball. Juju will likely remain the target hog, and Washington will still likely be viewed as the second option meaning Johnson will see less and less of the main coverage down field. He has a chance to breakout and be apart of re-igniting that electric Steelers’ offense of years past.


Denver Broncos news: Noah Fant sets team record for rookie TE catches

Justin Edmonds – Getty

Noah Fant – TE, Denver Broncos

Fant had a slow start to his NFL career and didn’t find himself with over 38 receiving yards in a game until week 9. Although it’s not widely expected that rookie tight ends are to be productive in year 1, with a 1st round price tag, you’d have expected a bit more from him I dare say. Fingers could point to shoddy quarterback play though, after all, it was Joe ‘Noodle Arm’ Flacco and 6th round rookie Brandon Allen attempting to throw the ball around in Denver for the first two thirds of the season.

The last 5 games of the season where Drew Lock took over as signal caller for the Broncos, Fant’s numbers went up to average 45 yards per game and a touchdown every other game. As things stand, Fant along with Courtland Sutton are the only real receiving threats on the team. Now, one would assume Denver will be selecting a wide receiver to join them in day 1, if not certainly day 2 of the draft; but Fant will still have the potential to break out this year providing he can claim all of the redzone traffic and continues to capitalise on his big play ability trait.

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).

The Semi-Irrational Playoffs Forecast – Part 2

By Jake Linley-Brown (@JakeLB12)

Welcome to Part 2 of The Semi-Irrational Playoffs Forecast, which has more gravitas when every word begins with a capital letter. In Part 1, we looked at those players who might be the ‘smash glass in case of emergency types’ when you’re stuck for a Flex or WR2. 

Now, it’s time for defences/special teams and handcuffs. As the old adage goes, ‘defence wins championships’, which is exactly what we’re hoping for with some of these selections. I don’t have an adage or quip for handcuffs – I just know I never want to be in them. 

As with Part 1, this forecast is based on semi-irrational thoughts with a few stats thrown in for good measure. And no obvious selections either, duh. Let’s dig! 


TIER 1 – MOST CONFIDENT ABOUT


New York Giants D/ST (4.9% owned in ESPN)

Weeks 14-17: @PHI, vs MIA, @WAS, vs PHI
72.0 Points through 11 games (17th in top D/ST scoring)

If you’re a glass half full kinda guy or gal, then you might be rewarded by plumping with the Giants D/ST come playoff time. After posting a modest 6 points on the road to the Bears last Sunday, this week is a home contest versus Aaron Rodgers. Not keen, to be honest. 

BUT WEEKS 14-17! I am keen. Philadelphia are struggling big time, as Caron Wentz is not looking like the old Carson Wentz. In fact, Philadelphia are 22nd in Total Team Offence stats – a far cry from the Superbowl team a couple years back. 

Even better, in between that Philly sandwich are matchups against the Dolphins and Redskins, who are 30th and 32nd respectively in Total Offence. You literally (just about) could not have it any better. Tempting, right? 


Green Bay Packers D/ST (20.5% owned in ESPN)

Weeks 14-17: vs WAS, vs CHI, @MIN, @DET
63.0 Points through 11 games (24th in top D/ST scoring)

Right, okay. The Packers put up a donut last Sunday in San Francisco, and they’ve also acquired sub-zero point tallies on 3 occasions this season. I just had to get this off my chest before I try and sway you to pick a D/ST ranked at number 26. 

With that out the way, let’s discuss the good stuff. As mentioned in the Giants D/ST section, the Redskins offense just isn’t very good (news flash), so starting your playoff run to glory is more than achievable with the Packers as your D/ST. That’s followed by Mitch Trubisky visiting Lambeau, and I don’t know about you, but anytime I can get Mitch, on the road, I’m liking my chances. 

Weeks 16 and 17 may not look fruitful on paper against the Vikings (8th in total team offence) and the Lions (9th), but way back in Week 2, the Packers D/ST scored 9 points against Minnesota. They then snagged 5 points against the Lions, who back then had Matt Stafford – this time round, that may not be the case. As a filler for a couple weeks, the Cheeseheads could be worth a gamble. 


TIER 2 – SLIGHT WORRY, BUT STILL

Los Angeles Chargers (33.1% owned in ESPN)

Weeks 14-17: @JAX, vs MIN, vs OAK, vs @KC
63.0 Points through 11 games (24th in top D/ST scoring)

It’s been a disappointing season in many ways for the most un-loved team in Los Angeles. Injuries, the ageing quarterback, crowds dwindling. A team that had promised so much at the start of the year have just become ‘another team’. 

Something they can hang their imaginary hat on, however, is the solid play of their defence. Despite the lousy record and measly 11 takeaways, the defence ranks 5th in team total stats. When you consider the teams ranked higher than them, it’s pretty impressive. 

The Week 17 matchup against the Chiefs is bad, I won’t deny. But the Jaguars and Raiders are middling teams who will give this D/ST opportunities.


Denver Broncos D/ST (19.8% owned in ESPN)

Weeks 14-17: @HOU, @KC, vs DET, vs OAK
61.0 Points through 11 games (27th in top D/ST scoring)

The Broncos fans have had it tough this season. Flacco, then Brandon Allen, and now there’s murmurs of Drew Lock. Courtland Sutton aside, this is an offence that shouldn’t be capable of winning any games, let alone keeping them close. 

The reason Denver has had any shot? That Vic Fangio led defence. Weird stat alert: Despite sitting at 3-8 in the AFC West, they’ve actually allowed less points than anybody in their division. It’s that sort of statistic why they sit 8th in total defence stats. 

The downer to these good vibes is the takeaways total – only Miami have less than this unit. But Week 15 aside, I like the opportunities for sacks and points allowed. Deshaun Watson is good but gets hit. Jeff Driskel is Jeff Driskel, and the Raiders are just meh. 


TIER 3 – SEMI-IRRATIONAL ON STEROIDS

Miami Dolphins D/ST (6% owned in ESPN)

Weeks 14-17: @ NYJ, @ NYG, vs CIN, @ NE
22.0 Points through 11 games (32nd in top D/ST scoring)

Oooh boy. This tier is called ‘on steroids’, but there’s a chance it might be on other drugs, too. I won’t bore you with the gory details of how bad this team is, or what’s happened in the past. This is a flat-out gamble, let’s make that clear. 

If you are the sort of person who walks under ladders down the high street, then have I got the D/ST for you – the Miami Dolphins! Week 17 is a write off and I can’t give you any incentive to select Miami when going into Foxboro, but just look at that poo-poo platter beforehand.

The Jets, the Giants and the Bengals are all in the bottom 5 for offensive points scored. Heck, the Bengals are the worst team in the league. That’s pretty damning evidence…just be careful, young padawan. 


NOTHING SEMI-IRRATIONAL HERE, JUST HANDCUFFS

Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens (5.4% owned in ESPN)

Mark Ingram has this backfield on lock, but in games where the Ravens are rolling – a regular occurrence these days – Edwards gets some decent volume. The Jets, Browns and Steelers remain on the schedule too, so to keep Ingram fresh for the playoffs, Gus might get more involved than we think.


Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings (17.4% owned in ESPN)

For many people, Mattison is the unequivocal number 1 handcuff in fantasy. Couple reasons – 1) the Vikings dependence on the running game, and 2) Dalvin Cook’s injury history. He’s stayed on the field so far, but the doubt always remains. Not to mention, Mattison has looked more than capable in his appearances this season.


Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys (12.1% owned in ESPN)

This past Sunday in dreary New England, Pollard received his highest touch volume since Week 7. The week before, he scored 17.6 PPR fantasy points. If something is brewing down in the Lone Star State, make sure you have a piece of it on your bench (for now). 

Good luck in the playoffs – until we meet again. 

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!

DFS – Week 8

By Andy Goddard (@godsy1985)

How are we at week 8 already?!

With the season flying by, we now have more valuable information to help gauge who to pick in the weekly games. Here’s my lineup!


QB – Russell Wilson – $7,200 (Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons)


Image credit: Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Wilson is coming off his worst fantasy performance of the season in the Seahawks loss to the Ravens, but he has a major upside this week, the Falcons secondary! Whilst the Falcons have talent on the offensive side of the ball, their defense is worryingly poor. They have allowed an average of 24.64 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and Wilson has the skills and weapons to exploit this further. He has been averaging 25.4 fantasy points across the season.

Wilson is part of the league MVP talk, and rightly so. He has been very impressive so far this season and should be padding those stats on Sunday!


RB – Marlon Mack – $6,100 (Detroit Lions @ Indianapolis Colts)


In last weeks game against the Texans, the Colts won the game through the air with Jacoby Brissett throwing 4 touchdowns. This week I think the Colts will be a much more balanced offense and could actually lean heavier on the run. The Detroit Lions are ranked 28th against the run giving up an average of 139.2 yards per game to running backs so look for Mack to cash in this week!

Mack is averaging 14.5 fantasy points per game but, in my opinion, should be well placed to eclipse 100 rushing yards against the Lions.


RB – Sony Michel – $5,200 (Cleveland Browns @ New England Patriots)


Michel had his best outing last week in the Patriots easy win over the New York Jets, scoring three times. He has amassed 21 points or more in two of his last three games and with Rex Burkhead likely to still be out, Michel will see most of the running duties for the unbeaten Patriots.

Michel also has value in the receiving game this season with his 6 catches resulting in 51 yards. He will of course, share the load with James White but Michel is the go to running back inside the 10 yard line and offers more opportunities for touchdowns.


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WR – Tyler Lockett – $7,000 (Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons)


If you have read any of my DraftKings articles before you will know that I always advise to select a receiver from the same team as your quarterback. With Wilson being my pick for quarterback, it was easy to pick Lockett as the wide receiver!

Averaging 16.8 fantasy points per game and having already clocked up 515 yards, Lockett is primed to go off again the poor Falcons secondary. With Will Dissly done for the season, Lockett’s targets could increase further. He is expensive but will be well worth the investment!


WR – Kenny Golladay – $6,400 (New York Giants @ Detroit Lions)


Image credit: Rey Del Rio / AP

If you had Golladay anywhere near your fantasy team last week, I feel sorry for you, but don’t be put off this week. Golladay has a favourable matchup against the Giants as their defense has given up an average of 140 yards per game and the seventh most fantasy points to receivers lined up out wide. Golladay is still averaging 15.6 FPPG and has 4 touchdowns from 25 receptions.

Golladay is on the field for over 80 percent of the offensive snaps and the Giants D has allowed the second most yards per pass attempt this season. Stick with him!


WR – Courtland Sutton – $5,300 (Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts)


Sutton is now the number 1 receiver in Denver after the trade of Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers. There was a very valid argument that he was already the number 1 as his 80.6 yards per game ranks 11th in the league. Sutton is averaging 16.2 FPPG and the only concern is that without Sanders, Sutton will draw a lot of coverage.

He has scored at least 11.6 fantasy points in his last five games and he has a very advantageous matchup this week as he will be up against Colts CB Pierre Desir. This matchup is ranked as the third best this week for all wide receivers, according to Pro Football Focus.


TE – Josh Hill – $3,200 (Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints)


This pick is a little bit of a gamble. With Jared Cook out last week due an ankle injury, Hill was an able deputy. At the time of writing, Cook is listed as doubtful so you could get great value at just $3,200 for Hill. He caught all three of his targets for 43 yards in the Saints win over the Bears. Drew Brees is also hopeful of returning the action this week so the gamble has so many upsides, it’s worth it!


FLEX – Latavius Murray – $5,800 (Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints)


Image credit: Derick E. Hingle / USA Today

Alvin Kamara is currently listed as questionable. If he cannot go, Murray should get a huge workload against the Cardinals. He was excellent last week against the Bears racking up 119 yards on 27 carries, adding 31 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

The Cardinals defense is allowing 4.7 yards per carry to opposing running backs and Murray has already performed very well against them when he replaced the injured Dalvin Cook last year, rushing for 155 yards and a touchdown.


DST – LA Rams – $3,800 (Cincinnati Bengals @ LA Rams)


The Rams are facing the Bengals! Im not sure how much more needs to be said at this point. The Bengals offense are having problems all over the field right now. They have allowed 3.4 sacks per game and given up 15 turnovers! The Rams D are a ‘must start’ this week!

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The winner will have 1 week to claim the prize otherwise it will expire and we will redraw a new winner. Process will continue until the prize is claimed.

Pick It Apart; LJ Collier

Pick it Apart!

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?

We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….

Pick: #29

Player: LJ Collier

Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks

Grade: B-

Analysis:

If you managed to get this fair with a perfect board, firstly you’re lying and secondly, you’d have been downed by this pick.

Seattle danced around the back end of the 1st round only ending up picking once. They invested that pick in Collier, the defensive end out of TCU. This has all the hallmarks of a classic Seattle pick; rugged, raw, and explosive with a decent amount of power. He isn’t the biggest or most athletic, but his profile is one that usually translates to a decent pass rusher in the NFL.

He’ll need to get a bit more bendy at the knees and hone his change of direction skills but will try and utilise his strength and his bull rush to knock the QB off his perch.

He doesn’t have a lot of starter experience in his College career and that will need to be developed by Seattle but I think we need to trust the coach and the front office on this one because historically, Seattle are a team who usually have different draft boards from everyone else and this pick seems to be no different. Their past record in drafting speaks for itself and whilst it’s hardly the start of the Legion of Boom 2, I am not going to sit here and say he’ll be a bust. You don’t bet against Pete Carroll. He is the master at getting the most out of the young studs.

Fantasy Football Impact:

Seattle aren’t quite the defence of old but still are a decent defence in the right matchup or at home. Collier will look to add to the sack column from day 1.

Pick It Apart; Jeffrey Simmons

Pick it Apart!

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?

We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….

Pick: #19

Player: Jeffrey Simmons

Drafted by: Tennessee Titans

Grade: B+

Analysis:

It didn’t feel right giving the Titans an A- for this purely because they got the injury discount.

Baked in to that as well is the fact that who knows whether Simmons will have the same juice and explosiveness on the edge. Uncertainty causes doubt, just look at the strength of the pound and Brexit. That being said, if Simmons was a full go and 100%, he would easily be a top 6 picks, well top 7 because you know…the Giants.

The Mississippi State defensive tackle is regarded as one of the most talented in this draft class and was considered a five star recruit coming out of Noxubee County High School. Simmons choose Mississippi State over Alabama and Ole Miss and his production increased each year through college. Unfortunately, Simmons tore his ACL whilst training for the draft so it’s unlikely that we will see him in 2019. When he does return, he’ll slot quite nicely in this Titans defence that is ridiculously underrated. After investing in linebackers Harold Landry and Rashaan Evans in 2018, this Titans defence has plenty of upside, youth and talent.

But what does Simmons bring on the defensive line?      

The 6”4, 300+lbs pass rusher is an impressive physical specimen, with lots of power and strength who will be a handful for double teams, let alone man to man.

On the flip side though, there are character concerns. In March 2016, he pleaded no contest to simple assault after attacking a woman (why? Just why do people do it?) but has been “out of trouble” since.

All in all, if Simmons can come back from the ACL tear and regain his elite talents, this could be a home run pick for the Titans and a pick that could see their defence be a stellar one for the foreseeable future. They’ll need him to be elite, with the depth at the position not great and other injuries there too.

Fantasy Football Impact:

Simmons certainly wont be troubling draft boards or IDP leagues this season, you have to wonder if he ever will considering the position he plays. In standard leagues, the Titans pose themselves as undrafted types, but that is an error on the GMs part because I think the Titans will keep opposing teams to low scores (3rd best in pts allowed, 8th best in yards allowed) and they have good turnover abilities on the back end. A sleeper pick for me.