A few days ago you were treated to a fantastic Sells equivalent which you can check out here. Today we take a look at those you should be trying to acquire. Let us know your thoughts, let us know YOUR OPINION. Because that’s what it is all about! Let’s see who can get these guys the cheapest!
The Denver Post, MediaNews Group.
Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos
There’s a feel-good factor around Denver’s offense at the moment. After finishing the season 4-1 with Drew Lock under centre, John Elway has added Pat Shurmur to his coaching staff and signed Melvin Gordon, Graham Glasgow and Nick Vannett in free agency.
All this looks good for third year receiver Courtland Sutton. Coming off a 1,112 yard, 125 target, 72 reception season, the former SMU man has firmly established himself as the Broncos WR1.
The addition of Shurmur looks set to only help Sutton’s development, with his track record as an Offensive Co-ordinator unquestionably good for young QBs and the passing game. If Shurmur can recreate this in Denver, then look for more fireworks from Lock and Sutton as they look to navigate a difficult AFC West.
In your Dynasty League, the time to buy Sutton might not be now. There are plenty of rumours linking the Broncos to a high quality deep threat receiver in the draft, with CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs both regularly mocked their way. This shouldn’t harm Sutton’s production, in fact it should help minimise double coverage. Others may disagree, getting caught up with the inevitable post draft-fever, make your offer then!
The Associated Press
Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles
Another young player that finished the season well, Miles Sanders was a game changer during the Eagles’ late drive to secure a play-off spot.
The 3rd round pick out of Penn State had an up and down start to 2019, with Jordan Howard forcing him out of the starting role for a string of games before going down injured in week 9. Sanders capitalised on this, increasing his playing time and yardage increase until he peaked against the Redskins in week 14.
Howard is now completely out of the picture, having joined the Dolphins, leaving Sanders in competition with Boston Scott as the Eagles’ presumptive week 1 starter. It’s a battle he should win, considering his potential as a dual threat back and the relative draft capital invested in both.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons
You’ve all seen the stat doing the rounds at the moment, the Atlanta Falcons have a starting offense built solely from first round picks. Calvin Ridley is amongst those, with the third year receiver currently occupying the WR2 designation behind Julio Jones.
Jones is contracted through 2024 and given the huge salary the Falcons have invested in him, it doesn’t look like he’ll be going anywhere soon. So why Ridley?
It’s all about consistency. In both his years in the league so far, Ridley has locked up 92 and 93 targets respectively, catching 64 of those in 2018 and 63 in 2019, those catches have gone for 821 and 866 yards, with 10 TDs in his rookie year, compared to 7 last year.
He’s the perfect flex player for your line ups, averaging above 10 points per game and providing the perfect complement to Julio it Atlanta’s offense. With such a stacked WR class this year, chances are he’s available relatively cheap in your league, and with Julio entering a period in which some players decline, Ridley could be set to ease in the other direction.
TJ Hockenson – Detroit Lions
After week one of the 2019 season, Hockenson was cleared off waiver wires everywhere. The first rounder caught six passes from Matthew Stafford, going for 131 yards and a TD. Huge numbers for a rookie Tight End.
From there, things went downhill, with Hockenson only adding another 230 yards across the whole season. When you look at the cards dealt to the Iowa product, it’s not hard to see why his form trailed off, when Stafford went down injured, a combination of Jeff Driskel and David Blough stepped into uninspiringly fill the void and the Lions only managed one win after week three.
So, why trade for him now? Everyone knows that rookie Tight Ends are to be avoided in fantasy, so that shouldn’t put you off when looking at Hockenson’s rookie production. Instead look at the upside, this year’s TE class is poor, he was a top 10 NFL pick for obvious reasons last year, and when fit, his QB is one of the most reliable in the game. Pick him up cheap where you can, and watch him develop into one of the league’s elite TE options.
Marcus Mariota – Las Vegas Raiders
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Mariota – Las Vegas Raiders
This time last year I picked up Ryan Tannehill in 3 leagues, I didn’t get a complete bargain in all cases, but he was cheap for a QB in superflex leagues. The things I liked about Tannehill were, his work ethic, his commitment to his team, his experience as a starter and the precarious nature of the QB he was backing up.
Fast forward 12 months and the irony is there for all to see that we could say the exact same of that QB, Marcus Mariota. The new Raiders QB has always been the model of professionalism, he’s got a ton of starts (including playoff games) under his belt and he’s backing up Derek Carr, who just doesn’t seem to fit the Jon Gruden school of thought.
So, I’m picking up Mariota where I can this year, half the league had him down as QB1 in the 2015 draft class, and in places he has flashed exactly why they believed that. With a bit of encouragement and the freedom to use his legs, Mariota can certainly be a starter in the NFL, if Carr slips you can bet Mariota will be straight in. Buy low, and buy now!
As the Hype Train Driver, I’m used to changing scenery. Looking out of the window, everything can look different from season to season. The NFL, and certainly fantasy football, are no different.
The Tight end position has been a bone of contention for many fantasy players over the years. The low number of fantasy relevant tight ends and the premium to get good ones has led to a variety of suggestions and solutions. Some leagues turned the TE position into a Flex spot including Tight end, others make it 1.5x points and some have scrapped the position altogether.
Going into last season, most people seemed to suggest that beyond Kelce, Ertz and Kittle, there’s very little out there. Through the season the likes of Austin Hooper, Darren Waller and Mark Andrews took flight and added their names to the “Relevant” list. Even the tandem at the Rams of Higbee and Everett became fantasy pickups. It leaves the fantasy world in an interesting position.
The free agency period has been hectic despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
As I currently see it, this is the situation at Tight End for each team:
The headlines this off-season have been made by Austin Hooper (going to the Browns), Hayden Hurst (filling the void in Atlanta), Greg Olsen (adding to the long list in Seattle), Jimmy Graham (being given yet another overpaid contract, this time from the Bears) and Eric Ebron (joining Vance McDonald in Pittsburgh).
With very few good quality tight ends left on the market, it appear a lot of teams are going to be relying on 2nd year tight ends stepping up or maybe even rookies. I’ll leave it to the podcast and twitter feeds to talk about those impacts on the NFL, but in terms of fantasy, Hurst has value, Hooper has some value but it’s more stunted than if he had stayed in Atlanta. Ebron will be a red-zone target so he has to score a TD to be relevant week to week. Jimmy Graham won’t see any kind of uptick while Greg Olsen may be a dark horse option if he can stay healthy. As the off-season rumbles on I’m sure it will be touched on more, but that’s my initial thoughts.
The 2020 Draft
There are a few interesting landing spots. The Patriots, Cardinals, Redskins, Panthers, Packers and Jaguars could be in the hunt for a new Tight End after some other possible spots were filled in free agency. There’s time yet for some trades, but many teams are going to be looking to develop the talent they have or target one in the draft. With 6 strong landing spots we could well see 1 or 2 rookie tight ends make it into starting line-ups.
There’s not as many standout options as in previous years but Cole Kmet (Notre Dame), Brycen Hopkins (Purdue) and Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt) are the 3 gathering the most interest. There’s not likely to be a 1st season breakout this season. Rookie Tight ends usually require a full season before becoming fantasy relevant and a feature of the offence but there have been times where this has been overruled.
The 2020 Season
After years of Gronk… Kelce… Then the rest; there’s now more than just 2 or 3 tiers of Tight End and no real dominant Tight End causing early round headaches in fantasy drafts. The lack of an outright #1 reduces the value and with so many options, 2020 might see tight ends fall down the order and, in some leagues, they may become a streaming position similar to QB’s and Defence/Special Teams.
Kelce, Waller, Andrews and Kittle are the guys who are going to give you a solid score every week and are a key piece of their offences. These will be most likely be the first 4 Tight Ends off the board and the value will probably be in drafting the 4th one so that you have the best RB and WR options possible, whilst still being able to trust your TE.
The next level contains tight ends where you’ll want to play them in plus matchups, and they will probably provide a good return more often then they will fail. The issue is consistency and knowing that any week there is a reasonable chance they won’t be much help. Tandems like Ertz and Goedert may find themselves here. Injury risks like Engram and Olsen may also feature here. Similarly, second season breakout candidates like Fant and Gesicki should be in this wide tier. (I’ll dive a bit more into this shortly).
The third tier includes those who are a gamble and the risk of them not performing is built into their ADP, and those who will be consistent but not in a very effective way. Rudolph and Smith in Minnesota are a duo that may stunt each other’s fantasy relevance, but Kirk Cousins doesn’t help either. Jimmy Graham may end up here depending on the TE and QB battles in Chicago. The rookie tight ends may also end up in this tier.
The final tier is for the players who will remain on the waiver wire unless their matchup is particular tempting (e.g. Playing Arizona last season). The likes of Eifert, I.Thomas and Burton come to mind. The Tennessee situation is difficult to determine as Walker is injury prone and Jonnu Smith doesn’t seem quite ready to be the #1 so the tandem with him and Firkser may make them. The off season could change some of these scenarios, but it will take a few weeks of the season before it becomes a bit clearer.
Examining Tier 2
The success of schemes where Tight Ends are RedZone threats, check down options or planned in as pass catcher have led to an increase in targets. The fact George Kittle, and Travis Kelce ended up as the highest scoring Non-QB fantasy players (from the season) in the Superbowl shows the importance of the position in the modern NFL. The days of it being a baron landscape have been overblown in my opinion. This all bodes well for the new generation with the likes of Waller, Andrews and Goedert coming through.
The increase in the “Tier 2” Tight ends and the chances that one will crack tier 1 make the fantasy draft much more interesting. I’ve listed 20 players who could be in Tier 2. These wont all be tier 2 as fantasy season rolls around but there’s arguments for each of them. I’ve split them into categories.
Established Options: Doyle, Cook, Engram, Olsen, Henry, Fells.
Two TE Sets: Olsen/Dissly, Ertz/Goedert, Higbee/Everett, Howard/Brate, McDonald/Ebron, Njoku/Hooper.
Be it because of injury, QB play or competition these guys won’t be able to crack the upper echelons but are usually going to be playable.
Cook had a decent year with Drew Brees last season while Greg Olsen has moved to the TE haven in Seattle. Both he and Evan Engram are injury risks and if they are missing more often then you can play them, you’re better looking elsewhere.
Jack Doyle is perhaps the least spectacular on the list but is the most consistent and may actually be a sleeper pick now with Eric Ebron out of the way and Philip Rivers slinging the ball for one year in Indy. The recently franchise tagged Hunter Henry will be reliant on what the Chargers do at QB, while Darren Fells will need to prove that his form last season can be made consistent, though did sign a new deal this offseason. Jordan Thomas behind him may also steal some targets so buyer beware.
Two TE Sets
A big threat to the relevance of the TE position in fantasy is the two tight end systems. When one goes down the remaining player isn’t guaranteed to take off (but sometimes they do). It’s often a case that when both options are playing, one will take off each week, but it never stays consistent who it is.
Take Higbee and Everett for the LA Rams. After both toiled early on in the season, Everett broke out, only to then go down injured and leave Higbee to pick up the slack. It’s a combo where one or the other can work but together they ruin each-others value. Everett started getting the targets over Higbee and that got the ball rolling. They ended up with similar stat-lines, but I’d be wary of drafting either of them in 2020 as you’re going to have to hope you pick the one that takes off first.
I’ve mentioned Olsen already but when you look at Seattle, they could play 4TE and only 2WR looking at their depth charts. Olsen, Dissly, Hollister and Dickson could all be playable if they are in that weeks set. Will Dissly (when he’s fit) has been superb but you’re just waiting for something to break. He’s probably worth a roster spot while he’s active unless Olsen hogs all the targets.
Howard and Brate are going to have Tom Brady this year which leaves them as total wildcards so it’s obvious that some people will take the gamble in drafts. McDonald and Ebron at the Steelers are probably going to flip-flop in terms of being relevant but across a season they should be usable. I nearly put Njoku and Hooper into tier 3 but Baker can’t be that bad again can he? If Njoku gets trades he gets a boost and Hooper likewise become more trustworthy. Again, both will be a gamble but if anything gives them an uptick in opportunities, their draft stock will rise with it.
The big one currently is in Philly as the Ertz/Goedert combination is proving to be great news for the Eagles but bad news for fantasy. Ertz is still tabbed as a top 4 TE and with good reason. He is still a beast, a great catcher and can dominate a game. The problem is, Goedert is very much going to same way but has a few less years wear on the tyres. Using both is allowing them to stay healthier and give Wentz options. With their lack of true WR options I think you’ll find both can be top 12 options this season but calling which games will be Ertz dominated and which Goedert dominated may be the difference between a win and a loss.
Most rookie Tight Ends don’t hit in their first year but start really coming on in their second. There’s going to be some differing levels of improvement thanks to their respective teams’ philosophies and personnel but if it’s late in your fantasy draft and you fancy a gamble, hopefully one of these will be kicking around.
Noah Fant is one of my major hopes for this season. Drew Lock has improved the QB situation in Denver and with Sutton breaking out, Fant found himself becoming relevant late in the season. He was well hyped last season after the draft, and this is probably the year he really gets going. Mike Gesicki falls into the same boat here. His main issue is being in Miami and not being certain what he’s working with. The advantage he has is that the offence is sort of being built around him as he’s one of the few decent, young offensive pieces they have.
TJ Hockensen may need a few things to go his way to truly break out. The Lions have never historically been a good place for Tight Ends but considering the capital they spent on him, they are going to have to find ways of getting him the ball. Matt Stafford isn’t a bad QB, he just needs to be 100% healthy mentally and physically (which he hasn’t been for a few years now). Dawson Knox is also a rookie who may need some team improvement to see relevance, however the Bills keep progressing and is Josh Allen can start finding Knox like he did towards the end of last season, then who knows what they may create.
Jordan Thomas is a long shot who could be a serious sleeper. If Darren Fells doesn’t come back and the Texans rest their hopes on Thomas, he will get the targets from Deshaun Watson and when you consider how good fells was for fantasy last season, that could be a decent position to have.
The final name to throw in here is Chris Herndon. He’s threatened to break out before but suspensions, injuries and QB changes have stopped that from happening. With a new season can come new hope, however he is last on my list at this level.
The Tight End landscape is now probably as wide spread as it has been for a long time. The calls for the position to be scrapped were a little pre-mature and now that younger guys are breaking through, and taking less time to become relevant, the turnover is only going to get better. The success of the Chiefs and 49ers this season with Kelce and Kittle as prime targets does bode well for teams trying to find their TE equivalent so it’s possible more teams may look this way.
The good news for fantasy is that it’s not as much of a headache as it used to be. The need to weight up when to take a relevant tight end was tough. You could guarantee a good one but which RB/WR would you miss out on? But if you waited too long and had to settle for what was left, was your RB/WR worth it? Now there’s enough late options to know it’s fine to delay. Where the likes of Waller and Andrews fall may be critical to how the fantasy draft season goes. It’s just nice to be able to say that fantasy Tight ends are becoming an interesting thing once more.
Its championship weekend in fantasy football, hopefully you’ve made it to the big game. Just one final set of selections could stand between you and the fantasy trophy for 2019. So let’s get into those all important picks!
QB – Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Matt Ryan has performed very well the past two weeks putting up 34 points against the Carolina Panthers and then 23 against a very good San Francisco 49ers defense. Without any real run game, the Falcons quarterback will have it all to do again but he is up against a very generous Jacksonville defense who have allowed a passer rating of 119.6 and an average of more than 22 fantasy points to opposing QB’s since week 12.
The Falcons have disappointed this season but Matt Ryan is still a very capable starter for championship weekend.
QB – Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys) at Philadelphia Eagles
Dak has been struggling with a shoulder injury but there is no chance he misses the biggest game of the season for the Cowboys. The winner of this game will essentially be the winner of the poor NFC East division. Both the Cowboys and Eagles came into the season expecting the division to be close, but not quite in this way.
Prescott put up 28 fantasy points against the Rams last week and in their first meeting against the Eagles, Prescott was 21-27 for 278 yard, one touchdown and an interception but the Eagles secondary is beatable. In this big game, I see the Cowboys taking the win and claiming the NFC East.
Notable Mentions: Jameis Winston (Bucs) vs Houston Texans, Ryan Tannehill (Titans) vs New Orleans Saints.
RB – Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals) @ Miami Dolphins
Mixon deserves some credit for his performance in 2019. The Bengals may well have the worst record in the NFL but he has been very productive, especially of late. In 6 of the last 7 games Mixon has at least 16 PPR points in some tough matches against the Rams, Ravens and Patriots. In last weeks game against New England he finished with 25 carries for 136 yards and 3 receptions for 20 yards. The Dolphins have allowed six touchdowns to opposing teams running backs in the past 4 games and at least 27 fantasy points per game!
RB – DeAndre Washington (Oakland Raiders) @ LA Chargers
Josh Jacobs is out so Washington is your starter. In week 14, Jacobs was out injured allowing Washington to be the lead back. He had a stat line of 53 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown as well as six catches for 43 yards on seven targets. This production resulted in 21.6 fantasy points and he up against a Chargers defense who have allowed 15 touchdowns and nearly 26 fantasy points a game to running backs. He is a great starter option in the flex.
Notable Mentions – Miles Sanders (Eagles) vs Dallas Cowboys, Marlon Mack (Colts) vs Carolina Panthers.
WR – Terry McLaurin (Washington Redskins) vs NY Giants
McLaurin had a little bit of a slump in recent weeks, that was until he put up 32 fantasy points against the Eagles! In the past two weeks he has 9 catches on 12 targets for 187 yards and two touchdowns. It would appear that he is finally clicking with Dwayne Haskins (who was also his QB at Ohio State) and the Redskins look primed for great production from both in the coming years.
The Giants allow the fifth most fantasy points to opposing receivers and they are tied for third in touchdowns allowed to receivers with 20. McLaurin missed the first match between the teams this season but look for him to make up for the missed time with a good stat line.
Its championship weekend and I’m picking two players to start from the team with the worst record in the NFL! Thats the beauty of fantasy football. To an extent, you can ignore the teams record and just look at match ups, and Boyd has a great one this week against the Miami Dolphins defense.
The Dolphins have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, with 25. With A.J. Green and Auden Tate both out, Boyd will see plenty of opportunities which is always good news for fantasy owners.
Notable Mentions – Tyler Lockett (Seahawks) vs Arizona Cardinals, Breshad Perriman (Bucs) vs Houston Texans.
TE – Hunter Henry (LA Chargers) vs Oakland Raiders
Henry is coming off an awful game in last weeks loss to the Vikings but he has a positive matchup this week against the Oakland Raiders. The last time these two teams met, Henry had a touchdown and 13 fantasy points. The Raiders defense has allowed the sixth most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Henry should see plenty of targets if you have survived long enough to stick with him!
TE – Dallas Goedert (Philadelphia Eagles) vs Dallas Cowboys
Goedert is a solid fantasy starter this week at the tight end position. The Dallas Cowboys defense was highly thought of before the season started but they haven’t really lived up to the hype. They have also been exploited by tight ends all season. Goedert and Ertz lead the Eagles in the passing game so look for the Eagles to attack the Cowboys weakness often.
Goedert has seen at least 6 targets in every game since week 11 and he should eclipse that against the Cowboys with injuries at the wide receiver position.
Notable Mentions: Jared Cook (Saints) @ Tennesse Titans.
QB – Tom Brady (New England Patriots) vs Buffalo Bills
Brady is struggling, make no excuses about that. This week he is facing a very good Buffalo defense that caused him all sorts of problems earlier in the season. I wouldn’t just list Brady as a sit but as a total bust this week!
RB – Carlos Hyde (Houston Texans) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hyde performed well against the Titans last week but I wouldn’t trust him on Championship weekend. The Bucs defense have allowed just 3.1 yards per rush this season which ranks third in the league. It’s too risky in my opinion.
WR – John Brown (Buffalo Bills) @ New England Patriots
Any receiver that is going up against Stephon Gilmore I would list as a sit. Gilmore is arguably the best corner in the league, stats don’t lie. Perimeter receivers have scored just two touchdowns all season against the Pats and have averaged the fewest fantasy points.
TE – Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys) vs Philadelphia Eagles
Witten had a solid performance last week against the Rams but the Eagles defense has been tough on opposing tight ends allowing just 4 touchdowns and the fifth fewest fantasy points this season. In the week 7 matchup between the two teams, Witten was held to just 33 yards. Don’t chase the points based on last week!
Congratulations/Commiserations* . You’re in the final or some horrendous 3rd/4th/5th/6th place* playoff. It’s all on the line and we’re in choppy waters as some players may get shut down for the final weeks of the season. *delete as appropriate
Let’s get to it…
Quarterback – Ryan Fitzpatrick – Miami Dolphins
There is literally no option I like this week who is going to be available for you. If you’re unfortunate enough to be stuck with Tom Brady & Jared Goff then maybe throw a dart at Ryan Fitzpatrick in the Tank Bowl between Miami & Cincinnati this Sunday but the matchups for the QBs that aren’t Top 10 are just pretty unfavourable.
Running Back – Mike Boone – Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook went out of the game against the Chargers with a fresh injury and could miss next week’s huge game at home to Green Bay. With Alexander Mattison also missing Sunday’s game this could open up opportunities for Boone who bagged two scores thanks to those aforementioned injuries.
If – like me – Cook has carried your team to the playoffs then maybe look at snapping Boone up incase Cook can’t go against Green Bay.
Wide Receiver – Terry McLaurin – Washington Redskins
Are we thinking OROY for McLaurin? He’s got to be in the consideration as he’s been a huge bright spot for a team that has had a terrible year.
This week’s matchup is against the Giants and after he went for 5/130/1 against the Eagles I am backing him to have another big week against the G-Men in what we should be calling Chase Young Bowl.
Tight End – Noah Fant – Denver Broncos
I think we can give Drew Lock & the Broncos a pass against a superb Chiefs team in treacherous conditions. I think most QBs would struggle to get any sort rhythm going, let alone against the team who is a lock to be playing the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.
Despite that, Fant had 56 reception yards and I expect that to continue against the Lions who give up a touch under 8 fantasy points per game to Tight Ends.
This is a direct copy from last week, but seriously, it’s impossible to ignore what he’s doing. He is playing at a level higher than pretty much any other quarterback not named Lamar Jackson. Now that he’s let out from under the shadow of Adam Gase, he’s flourishing and if you were smart enough to pick him up cheap weeks ago, he’s been a gift. This week, there’s the added bonus that the Texan’s defence is a gift for opposing QBs (just ask Drew Lock).
I never thought I’d say it, but you cannot afford to ignore Ryan Tannehill for your playoff semi-final.
RB – D.Johsnon/C.Hyde
Both running backs are alright, and might get a modest point tally, but expect the Texans to attack vertically (this should be a big, big DeAndre Hopkins week) and what’s left for the backfield will be split. In a week where you’ll be looking for huge weeks from your running backs I wouldn’t be rolling the dice of either of these.
However, if it’s a roll of the dice you’re looking for……
Eagles at Redskins
RB – Miles Sanders
Yes, the Eagles backfield is a minefield for fantasy, but Sanders production has been consistently climbing week-on-week. With Jordan Howard still struggling to get fit, Sanders should continue to thrive. He’ll get lots of touches, giving him a nice safe floor, and his big play and receiving upside means he could be the sort of flex option to get you through to your playoff final.
RB – Adrian Peterson
He’ll get lots of touches and probably do okay (fantasy-wise). But you’re basically picking him for a maximum point potential of 12 points, and up against an Eagles run-defence which has consistently out-performed the secondary this year you’d be lucky to hit that. If you’re desperate for a Redskins pivot in this one, go for Terry McLaurin instead. Peterson is nowhere near being the right play here.
Browns at Cardinals
RB – Kareem Hunt
He’s been superb since returning from suspension, and he should flourish against such a porous defence. He gets slightly less of the rushing workload (behind Nick Chubb), but even so gets his share of rushing touchdowns. More importantly for people in PPR leagues, he’s to all intents and purposes a slot receiver and a points-magnet. If he’s on our roster, he has to play this week. It’s a no brainer.
RB – David Johnson
He’s had a very, very quiet season anyway but he’s almost been cut out of the passing game and is currently the middle man in a three-man backfield timeshare (Kenyon Drake is number one, Chase Edmunds number three – beware, none are good fantasy picks!). The Browns have a tough, steely defence and Johnson will barely lay a glove on them.
Vikings at Chargers
WR – Keenan Allen
Allen has been consistently great, without anyone mentioning it, all year. Rivers has had his struggles but he’s successfully used Allen as a safety blanket and his numbers show this. Against a Vikings defence which, surprisingly, gives up a lot of points to WRs, Allen has a floor of around 13-15 points. With a bit of luck and a touchdown or two, he could smash straight through his ceiling.
QB – Kirk Cousins
The world’s most belittled Franchise Quarterback should really struggle this week. The Chargers have a solid defence and don’t give up many points to wide receivers at all, and the Vikings will be expecting to hang their whole offense on Dalvin Cook (who should be a fantasy goldmine this week). Don’t even consider going near Cousins, he could derail your whole season.
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.
There’s 3 weeks left of the regular season, 2 weeks-ish remaining until Christmas, and 1 more Thursday night football game to watch, which is a perfect segue to our starting point. Let’s commence.
JETS @ RAVENS
RB – Mark Ingram
The Jets have one of the best run defences in the league, but there are a few red flags here. Not playing for anything and going again on a short week would make me nervous. My biggest fear? The opponent. Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens are the best rushing team in the league, rushing for over 50 yards more on average than the nearest team, the 49ers. With a little incentive such as home field advantage in the playoffs well within reach now, and game script likely meaning pounding the ball down a banged-up Jets D’s throat, I want all of Mark Ingram on Thursday.
Side note – Gus Edwards, if you’re in a desperate spot at Flex this week, might get a lot of garbage time volume. Just a thought.
QB – Sam Darnold
Contrary to Mark Ingram, I want none of Sam Darnold this week. As he’s about to embark on a brutal stretch (@BAL, PIT, @ BUF – yikes), Darnold might wish he had mono again for the month of December. This Ravens D is 8th in the league for takeaways and giving very little to anyone lined up behind centre. Darnold, however, just had a two week stretch against the Bengals and Miami where he started off bad to only reach lukewarm status; not good considering the opposing defences and the opportunity they both bring. I’ll pass.
COLTS @ SAINTS
WR – Marcus Johnson
Fast forward to the Monday night game now, and because tis’ the season for miracles, I’m going left-field on this one. Marcus Johnson was probably a guy you hadn’t heard of a month ago but this past Sunday against the Bucs, he came to the party. 3 catches, 105 yards and a touchdown looks like a line you’d see on ‘Madden’, but there is no denying the deep threat he carries. Using just common sense here, T.Y. Hilton is likely to be out again and Zach Pascal will almost certainly be shadowed by Marshon Lattimore. Can Marcus make the most of this opportunity?
Everyone but D. Brees, A.Kamara and M.Thomas
This might be seen as a cop out and you’re right, it is. But my thought process for this matchup solely relies on two things. For one, I anticipate Sean Payton does everything he can to resuscitate Alvin Kamara, this week. The star running back, who has majorly underwhelmed fantasy owners this season, scored 6.3 PPR points on Sunday in a game where his team scored 46 points – go figure. Secondly, I expect Michael Thomas to feast as always and by this point, will the Saints need to throw the ball anyway on a Colts D that is floundering? I doubt it.
BUCCANEERS @ LIONS
TE – OJ Howard
The big news out of Tampa this week is that Mike Evans looks done for the year. This means it’s officially Chris Godwin OJ. Howard season. I’m kidding, of course, but it does potentially mean Howard could be in for some more looks going forward. Jameis will continue to throw the ball for what seems a 100 times each week, and Godwin can’t catch them all, so we’re just playing the percentages here. O.J., fresh off the back of his highest receiving yardage of the season on Sunday, gets the Lions D this week who looks ready for their holidays to begin. In my book, it’s worth a punt.
RB – Bo Scarbrough
Scarbrough is an absolute tank of a man and I would not tell him he’s featuring in the ‘SIT’ section to his face. That being said, he’s thousands of miles away, so I’m going to act hard. Don’t get me wrong, the volume is there (19 carries last week), but he’s trending down in terms of points this past month. Reports are also stating he’s a ‘little sore’ from the loss against the Vikings. The biggest downer? The Bucs, for all their flaws, are an excellent unit against the run. In other words, don’t bo-lieve the hype.
BRONCOS @ CHIEFS
WR – Courtland Sutton
To me, this one is a no-brainer. Despite logging a quiet day in the shock win over Houston (5 catches, 34 yards), Sutton still saw more targets than any of his teammates. New rookie QB Drew Lock looks like he might be the key to salvaging some of this Denver season, and there’s no reason to doubt Sutton being a beneficiary. In the first meeting of these two teams this season, Courtland scored 14.7 PPR points thanks to 6 catches and 87 yards. The second meeting might entail playing catch up early, so let’s hope for more of the same this time round.
RB – LeSean McCoy
If you think you know what’s going on in the Chiefs backfield, please send answers on a postcard. Shady McCoy carried the ball for a team high 11 times for 39 yards against New England, but was actually out-snapped by Spencer Ware at the position. With Damien Williams, Darrel Williams and everyone with the surname Williams all out right now, McCoy might have one last shot to cement his place. I for one, however, am not buying he can do it.
It’s playoff time in fantasy football. No matter how well you have done up to now, one mistake could cost you the season. To help you as much as possible we have broken the games down. For this article we will be looking at just 4 games;
Panthers @ Falcons
Dolphins @ Jets
Chargers @ Jaguars
Steelers @ Cardinals
QB – Sam Darnold (NY Jets) vs Miami Dolphins
Yes, Darnold had an absolute stinker against the Bengals. The Jets did the typical Jets thing and got beaten by the only remaining unbeaten team in the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite the awful performance last week I would still persist with Darnold against another poor opponent in the Miami Dolphins. Prior to the Bengals game, Darnold had produced at least 21 fantasy points in three straight games and the Dolphins have allowed 29 touchdowns and the third most fantasy points to opposing QB’s this season. A divisional game at home, surely the Jets will make a massive improvement on last weeks performance.
QB – Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) vs Carolina Panthers
In the slate of games that we are covering here, the only other quarterback I would start is Matt Ryan. The Falcons have stated that they won’t be shutting down Matt Ryan or Julio Jones even though this has been a very disappointing season. Ryan had a solid performance in week 13 throwing for 312 yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons do have injuries on offense but all signs point towards Jones and Hooper being back to face the Panthers. The Falcons have struggled to run the ball this year so Ryan will need to get the offense going again. Look for him to eclipse 300 yards once more and find the end zone at least twice. Although this one does carry risk.
RB – Austin Ekeler (LA Chargers) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Melvin Gordon has taken over the lead running back role from Ekeler but he still putting up good fantasy numbers. He has scored at least 16 points in the last two games and he has a favourable matchup against a Jaguars defense that have allowed 6 touchdowns and the second most fantasy points to running backs since week 10. Ekeler has become a massive weapon in the passing game for the Chargers, with four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown last week. He may not be the number one back but he will continue to see plenty of action.
RB -Benny Snell Jr. (Pittsburgh Steelers) @ Arizona Cardinals
A free spot in the flex? I would be tempted to start Benny Snell. With James Conner being unavailable Snell has become the main man in the backfield for the Steelers leading the team in both snaps and touches during the last two games. He had 16 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown last week against the Browns. The cardinals have surrendered 11 total touchdowns and account for 9 of the top 20 fantasy performances by opposing running backs this season.
WR – D.J. Moore (Carolina Panthers) at Atlanta Falcons
D.J. Moore is posting great fantasy numbers recently. In fact, he has scored at least 17 fantasy points in the past 5 weeks and has an average of 103 yards per game! This run includes an impressive 31.4 fantasy points against the Saints in week 12. He has a very good chance at keeping this run going against a Falcons defense that has given up 10 touchdowns and the fifth most fantasy points to receivers lined up out wide. Moore has averaged over 32 routes per game in that position and he has at least 9 targets in the previous six games.
WR – James Washington (Pittsburgh Steelers) @ Arizona Cardinals
With JuJu Smith-Schuster very likely to miss another week, I would not hesitate in starting Washington who made the most of JuJu being missing last week with four catches for 111 yards and a touchdown against the Browns. The Steelers may have mediocre QB play but Washington is making the most of his opportunities. He has topped 90 yards and scored a touchdown in 3 of the last 4 games and boasts a massive 19.3 yards per catch average! This week he is up against a Cardinals defense that has been giving up deep shots all season, surrendering an average of nearly 5 plays per game of over 20 yards!
TE – Ryan Griffin (NY Jets) vs Miami Dolphins
Griffin is up against the Dolphins who have been very generous to opposing teams tight ends this season allowing more than 15 fantasy points to the position since week 10 and Griffin has already scored 11 fantasy points against the Dolphins in week 9 where he had six catches on eight targets for 50 yards. With tight ends at a premium this season, Griffin is a solid option this week.
TE – Vance McDonald (Pittsburgh Steelers) @ Arizona Cardinals
McDonald hasn’t put up any real fantasy numbers in recent weeks but here come the Cardinals who have been hit hard by tight ends all season long. The Cardinals have given up 13 touchdowns to opposing tight ends and although McDonald may be a risky choice, he should see plenty of targets this week, especially in the red zone.
QB – Philip Rivers (LA Chargers) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars defense have allowed just 16.7 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and just 8 touchdowns on their home field. Rivers could also be benched as the Chargers playoff hope disappear and Rivers will soon be a free agent.
RB – Kenyan Drake (Arizona Cardinals) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Drake may well be the leading back for the Cardinals but he could be in for another quiet day against the Steelers.
WR – D.J. Chark (Jacksonville Jaguars) vs LA Chargers
Prior to last weeks game against the Broncos, the Chargers have contained number 1 receivers very well and Chark is trending down with 10 fantasy points or fewer in three of the past four games. Chark is a risk that is not worth taking in the playoffs!
TE – Jaeden Graham (Atlanta Falcons) at Carolina Panthers
Graham had a very productive week against the Saints in week 13 with 16.10 fantasy points but don’t be tempted by one performance. Hooper will be back so Graham’s chances may be limited.