Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes.
Start of the Week: Philip Rivers at Raiders: Fantasy’s QB11 in points per game halfway through the year, Rivers should be in the MVP mix for the 6-2 Chargers, who have won five straight. Rivers is coming off another strong performance on the road in Seattle last Sunday, finishing as the QB14 for Week 9 after again throwing multiple touchdowns for the ninth time in nine games. Rivers is top-10 in completion percentage, No. 4 in yards per attempt, fourth in touchdown passes, and third in passer rating. He now gets a Raiders team that has completely given up. Oakland is 32nd in pass-defense DVOA and 24th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. It’s a defense that just got shredded by second-year UDFA Nick Mullens, who was making his first NFL appearance, last week in San Francisco. Mullens threw three touchdowns, and the Niners hung 34 points on the hapless Raiders. Andrew Luck threw three touchdowns in Oakland the previous week. Russell Wilson did the same thing the game before that. Rivers faced this defense in Week 5 and completed 81.5% of his passes for 339 yards and two scores en route to the overall QB6 day that week. Coach Jon Gruden has lost his team, and the defense has mailed it in; Oakland remains dead last in sacks. The Chargers’ offensive line is No. 7 in adjusted sack rate. It should be a relatively clean afternoon for Rivers. The Chargers’ implied team total of 30 points is the third-highest of the week behind the Chiefs and Rams. Start all your Chargers regulars.
Russell Wilson at Rams: Wilson is playing some of his best football of the season right now. While some of that has a lot to do with a fluky touchdown rate, Wilson is the overall QB11 in points per game since Week 5. He’s thrown multiple touchdowns in four-straight games, and that includes a three-score afternoon back in Week 5 at home against these Rams. Wilson attempted just 21 passes that day, however, his second-fewest of the season to date, but averaged a robust 9.4 YPA. He’s been getting by on really low volume, as Seattle runs the ball at a higher clip than any other team. The Seahawks lost by just three points when the Rams were in town, but this one will be in L.A. While Seattle was able to control the game by running it down the Rams’ throats last time, this one figures to be a little different. Los Angeles is comfortable 9.5-point favorites and coming off a loss in New Orleans. The Rams need a win to stay atop the NFC playoff picture. There’s a good chance Seattle will be chasing points much of the second half, giving Wilson a shot at 30-plus pass attempts like last week when he fired off 39 passes when chasing the Chargers. The 51-point total for Seahawks-Rams is the fourth-highest of Week 10, and these teams combined for 64 in Seattle in Week 5. The Rams are 12th in pass-defense DVOA and 11th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but CB Marcus Peters is really struggling, and the defense has given up multiple touchdowns to Drew Brees, Case Keenum, Wilson, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers over their last seven outings.
Carson Wentz vs. Cowboys: Wentz is coming off the bye after shredding an injury-ravaged Jaguars secondary for 286 yards and three touchdowns in London two weeks back. He made his debut in Week 3, knocked the rust off against the Colts, and has been on a tear ever since. Wentz has multiple touchdown passes in five-straight and is the overall QB7 in that span. He’s attempted at least 30 passes in every game. Without a running game to speak of, the Eagles went out and traded for Golden Tate at the deadline last Tuesday, reinforcing the pass attack. Philly is one of those teams that shouldn’t even consider running the ball more than a couple handfuls of times in a game and just let Wentz do all the heavy lifting. Dallas is ninth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks but 26th in pass-defense DVOA and just got lit up by Marcus Mariota for 272 yards and three total touchdowns this past Monday night at Jerry World. Eagles RT Lane Johnson is expected back from an MCL sprain as well, which will help against stud pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Both of these offenses are bottom-10 in offensive pace, which is a mild concern here in terms of capping Wentz’s upside a bit, but I believe the lack of run game should lead to enough volume for Wentz to easily put up a top-12 week at home against a team on a short week with Philly also coming out of its bye.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Redskins: In four games FitzMagic has played start to finish, he’s thrown four touchdowns three times and three scores in the other. He had at least 400 yards passing in all three of his starts Weeks 1-3 before throwing for just 243 last Sunday in Carolina. Fitzpatrick was still the overall QB6 last week and is QB3 in fantasy points per game, including his two games where he played just one half in each. The Bucs now get to come home where Fitzpatrick has had a pair of 400-yard games with 813 yards and seven touchdowns in two outings against the Eagles and Steelers. The Redskins matchup isn’t all that daunting, as Washington is 19th in pass-defense DVOA, 25th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, and 19th in adjusted sack rate. The Skins just got flamed in their own backyard by Matt Ryan for 350 yards and four touchdowns last Sunday. Eli Manning had 316 yards the previous week. And Dak Prescottwas the overall QB2 in Week 7 in D.C. If the Redskins have it their way, they’ll slow the game down. Washington is 29th in pace, while Tampa is third. But not many teams throw the ball at a higher rate than the Bucs. Keep running Fitzpatrick out there as a mid-to-high QB1. The 51.5-point total is the third-highest of the week.
Mitchell Trubisky vs. Lions: Trubisky was the overall QB1 in fantasy points per game Weeks 4-8, putting up four 300-yard passing days with 13 touchdowns in four games while averaging 58 yards as a runner with a 14th score in that span. The rushing output was really raising his ceiling. But Trubisky went to Buffalo last week and predictably struggled against an above-average defense. He threw for just 135 yards with a score and a pick on 20 attempts while rushing for just six yards. He’s attempted fewer than 30 passes three of the last five games and had another with 31 attempts. The outlier was a 50-attempt afternoon against the Patriots in catchup mode. That shouldn’t be the case this week. The Bears are significant 6.5-point favorites playing in a game with the fourth-lowest total of the week at 45 points. The Lions are not good defensively, but they play at the second-slowest pace, and opposing offenses simply don’t run enough plays against them. It’s led to Detroit being No. 8 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks despite a 30th DVOA ranking in pass defense. The Lions are also No. 1 in adjusted sack rate and just got back RE Ezekiel Ansah from injury last week. Over their last three games, quarterbacks have attempted 31 (Brock Osweiler), 17 (Russell Wilson), and 22 (Kirk Cousins) passes versus Detroit. There’s not enough there for Trubisky, especially as a home favorite. The Bears know Trubisky isn’t very good, either. He’s dead last among 36 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus’ QB rankings through nine weeks and is 32nd in adjusted completion percentage. Expect another Jordan Howard day on the ground with the Bears defense doing work.
Dak Prescott at Eagles: I was starting to buy into the Prescott resurgence a bit, but last week he totally flopped in the second half against the Titans despite still having one of his better games of the season statistically. Prescott’s 243 yards passing were his third-most of the season while he also had just his fourth multi-touchdown game of the year. But Weeks 5-7, Prescott was averaging seven rushing attempts and scored twice on the ground in that span. That was giving him far more upside. It’s hard to count on rushing numbers for quarterbacks unless it’s Cam Newton. Prescott ran the ball just twice for 11 yards against the Titans. He now heads back on the road against an Eagles unit that is No. 9 in pass-defense DVOA and 22nd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Over their last four games, Philly has held Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning, and Blake Bortles to one or fewer touchdown passes. Cam Newton was the lone exception, and he led the Panthers back with a miraculous fourth quarter after doing nothing the first three frames. The secondary is a concern for the Eagles, but the Cowboys want to play a slow, methodical, defensive-oriented game while running the ball. Prescott hasn’t attempted more than 35 passes in a game this season and has five days under 30 attempts. All of that coupled with Philadelphia’s improving defense has Prescott as a mid-range QB2.
Nick Mullens vs. Giants: The belle of the ball and talk of the town following his totally-surprising three-touchdown performance on national TV last Thursday night against the lowly Raiders, Mullens is now the Niners’ starter for the immediate future. Oakland offered little-to-no resistance defensively last week, and a similarly-tanking Giants team is up next for the second-year undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss. The assumption is Mullens is more so a product of the system under coach Kyle Shanahan. While last week’s outing was exhilarating, the Giants now have tape on Mullens after the Raiders didn’t much to go off. It’s important to remember Mullens was bad in the preseason playing against second- and third-stringers, throwing three picks to just one touchdown on 43 attempts. He couldn’t ask for a better two-game stretch to make his NFL debut, but by no means am I expecting another top-eight day, let alone a top-15 one. The G-Men are a middle-of-the-pack 14th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but 27th in pass-defense DVOA and 31st in sack rate. I just need to see Mullens do it again before even considering him as a fantasy play outside of two-quarterback leagues.
Start of the Week: Aaron Jones vs. Dolphins: Even before Ty Montgomery’s game-ending lost fumble on a kickoff return against the Rams, the Packers had shown they were moving away from him and more toward Jones. Montgomery played just 11.5% of the snaps in L.A. in Week 8 and was then traded to Baltimore two days later. Over the last two games, Jones has been in on 61.5% and 58.1% of the plays. Both were Green Bay losses, but it’s a monumental leap after playing less than 30% of the downs his first four games. Jones has set season-highs in carries two-straight weeks with rushing lines of 12-86-1 against the Rams and 14-76-0 versus New England. He’s also run 40 routes in the pass game in that period, securing four of his five targets. Jamaal Williams is still a thorn in the side of Jones, but this being a two-man backfield is much more palatable than the three-man committee it was with Montgomery in the picture. The Packers are now coming back home as heavy 9.5-point favorites against a Dolphins unit that is 29th in fantasy points allowed to running backs and 32nd in total rush yards allowed to the position while surrendering over 4.6 YPC. Lamar Miller flamed this defense in Week 8 for 133 yards and a score on 18 carries as the overall RB11. The previous week, Kerryon Johnson turned 19 carries into 158 yards. And the game before that, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for 100 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. As long as coach Mike McCarthy stays committed to Jones’ talent, he should have no problem returning top-30 numbers this week with a good shot at again setting a season-high in carries. Upside is obviously there for a much bigger afternoon. Green Bay’s implied team total of 28.5 points is fifth-highest on the week.
Kenyan Drake at Packers: After recording double-digit touches in four-straight games Weeks 4-7, Drake was out-touched 21-7 by Frank Gore against the Jets. That’s ludicrous, but it was a knock-down, drag-out fight between AFC East rivals that ended in a 13-6 final score. Drake’s week-to-week usage is a concern, but with the Dolphins heading to Lambeau Field as 9.5-point underdogs, they’re going to need Drake’s big-play ability and pass-game prowess in catchup mode. The Packers are 15th in fantasy points allowed to running backs and 26th in run-defense DVOA. Green Bay also had top ILB Blake Martinez suffer an ankle injury last week against the Patriots. He’s far less than 100% after getting carted off that night despite his return. The Packers struggled to contain James White last week, as he racked up 103 yards and two touchdowns on 18 touches. Cordarrelle Patterson also had a big game on the ground with 61 yards and a score on 11 carries. The previous week, Todd Gurley led the Rams in rushing (25-114) and receiving (6-81-1) against Green Bay. Raheem Mostert had his breakout game the week before that with 12 carries for 87 yards. Running backs with speed and in space give this defense fits. Playing Gore would just be asking to lose. Drake should have no problem getting back to double-digit touches and is a solid RB2/3 play.
Isaiah Crowell vs. Bills: Crowell’s first season with the Jets has been swings of extreme highs and extreme lows. He has a 200-yard rushing game to his name along with a 100-yard, two-touchdown effort in Week 1. Crowell has been held to fewer than 50 rushing yards in the other seven games and offers nothing as a pass-catcher. This is a volume-drive play, however. The Jets play at the league’s slowest pace and want to let the defense and running game control the game. Against the league-worst Bills, that will be an option Sunday. There’s zero way this game gets away from the Jets, even with Josh McCown stepping in under center for an injured Sam Darnold. (One could argue that’s even an upgrade at this point in time.) The Bills are No. 10 in run-defense DVOA, but 23rd in fantasy points allowed to running backs because teams gather huge leads and run the ball down their throats in the second half. Crowell might not be totally healthy, but he has a good chance to surpass 15 carries and maybe even flirt with 18-20, which would be a new season-high for him. Elijah McGuire will certainly be involved as well, but this may be Crowell’s most predictable usage week of the year at home against one of the only inferior opponents the Jets will face.
Duke Johnson vs. Falcons: Fantasy managers who roster Johnson will certainly be throwing him into the starting lineup after his Week 9 explosion against the Chiefs. Johnson set season-highs across the board with 10 touches for 86 yards and two touchdowns while playing 46.7% of the snaps. That snap rate falls in line with Johnson’s season average, but new OC Freddie Kitchens made it a point to get the duke in Johnson’s hands in space. It’s something old OC Todd Haley could never seem to understand. The matchup against the Falcons is just as ripe. Atlanta is 29th in fantasy points allowed to running backs and dead last in catches surrendered to the position. Coach Dan Quinn’s defense simply doesn’t put a premium on stopping running backs as pass catchers. Saquon Barkley caught nine balls against them in Week 7. Peyton Barber of all people caught a touchdown in Week 6. James Conner had 75 receiving yards in Week 5. Alvin Kamara reeled in 15 passes in Week 3. MLB Deion Jones (I.R.) isn’t eligible to return until later this month. The Browns are five-point home dogs in a game with a 51-point total. Fire Johnson back up as an RB2/FLEX in PPR leagues.
Tarik Cohen vs. Lions: Cohen played over 50% of the snaps last week for the third-consecutive game after not doing that at all the first six weeks, but with the Bears throttling the Bills, Cohen touched the ball just seven times. He managed 13 scoreless yards on those, showing us his scary-low floor. Cohen’s ceiling is sky-high, but the floor is just as low. He typically gets more run when the Bears are involved in a competitive game and/or chasing points. The Lions are not a tough draw, but Detroit plays at the second-slowest pace, and Chicago is touchdown favorites at home. The Bears aren’t as good as their record, and the Lions aren’t as bad as they played last week, but the home team should have little trouble winning this one. It has the feel of a Jordan Howard day in the Bears backfield. Running the ball and playing defense should be enough for a win. And with Allen Robinson (groin) back out wide, that’s just another body Cohen will have to compete with for targets in an already-low volume pass attack. The Lions are bad against running backs, allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to the position, but as mentioned, this sets up better for Howard. The 45-point total for Lions-Bears is the fourth-lowest of Week 10.
Mark Ingram at Bengals: Ingram made his season debut in Week 5 against the Redskins and finished as the RB9 that week/ Since then, Ingram hasn’t scored a touchdown and is the overall RB50 in fantasy points per game. Ingram played 54.5% of the snaps against Washington, but has been out-snapped by Alvin Kamara by a wide margin in all three games since. Kamara is also dominating the red-zone work in that span, out-targeting Ingram 4-0 and out-carrying him 8-4. This has the feel of maybe a day where the Saints could get Ingram back on the horse, but the numbers haven’t been there the last month, so it’s really tough to blindly go against those with a leap of good faith. The Bengals don’t field an imposing run defense, checking in at 28th in fantasy points allowed to running backs and 27th in DVOA, so could take a stab at a touchdown with Ingram. He may just have to break one, something ingram hasn’t been able to do in recent games despite facing similarly-bad run defenses. Ingram is more of a low-floor RB3/FLEX with most teams having better options.
Matt Breida vs. Giants: Breida has been on the injury report every week since Week 3, first hurting his knee that week against the Chiefs, and then suffering an ankle sprain in Week 5. The ankle has been the real problem, but he’s somehow yet to miss a game despite being called “doubtful” numerous times during the week leading up to Sundays. He’s aggravated the injury a number of times and hasn’t been nearly as effective. Over the last four games since the sprain, Breida is averaging just 3.4 YPC with a combined 47-162-1 rushing line. He has just one catch on one target in that span as well after catching 11 balls the first five weeks. The good news for Breida is he’ll have had 11 days to rest on a mini bye after playing Thursday night in Week 8 and then not again until this coming Monday. Also, the 49ers just lost Raheem Mostert to a season-ending broken arm. The concern is that Breida just has not had the requisite amount of time off altogether with his ankle and may never be 100% again this season. The Giants also play incredibly slow offensively, and their defense faces the fourth-fewest plays per game when on the road. Alfred Morris figures to reenter the picture in the Niners’ backfield with Kyle Juszczyk seeing pass-game work. Jeff Wilson and Matt Dayes are on the practice squad, and one figures to get a promotion this week. Breida is going to need a touchdown to return value. Morris is eighth in the league in carries inside the 10-yard line with 12; coach Kyle Shanahan refuses to quit him. Breida’s ankle injury likely severely diminishes his chances of breaking a long run for a score. This game’s 44-point total is the third-lowest of Week 10.
Start of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald at Chiefs: In OC Byron Leftwich’s first game at the helm in Week 8 against the 49ers, Fitzgerald played 100% of the snaps for the first time this season. He set season-bests in catches (8), targets (12), and yards (102) that game while also scoring a touchdown. Fitzgerald’s play has been on a steady upswing, as he’s 10th in the league in targets per game over the last four weeks with a 9.3 mark. The 35-year-old is also over an early-season hamstring injury. Josh Rosen got the ball out quicker and targeted Fitzgerald, the running backs, and tight ends on 62.5% of his throws in Week 8. The Chiefs have been really good against the pass the past month or so after getting lit up a bit in September, but the Cardinals are going to be chasing points all afternoon as massive 16.5-point underdogs on the road. On top of that, both of these defenses are bottom-four in opponent plays against them with the Chiefs being No. 7 overall in offensive pace. Therefore, the Cardinals are going to be playing from behind, going up against a faster-paced offense, and in turn facing a defense that routinely sees a lot of plays against it. It would be a shock if Fitzgerald doesn’t see double-digit targets. He and David Johnson are by far the only Cardinals worth firing up in this spot.
Dede Westbrook at Colts: Coming into this, I knew I wanted to get exposure to this game somehow, and Westbrook was the one that jumped off the page as the best matchup. The Colts operate at the second-fastest pace in the league, which in turn leads to their defense facing a ton of plays, 10th-most to date. We want to get a piece of the Jaguars offense. The run game is off limits with Leonard Fournette coming back to join Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon as a committee. And the Colts have done relatively well against outside receivers. That leaves sophomore Westbrook, who is running 92.7% of his routes out of the slot, and inside wideouts have had pretty decent success against this Colts defense. Seth Roberts caught a touchdown in Week 8. Jermaine Kearse had a 9-94 day in Week 6. Julian Edelman debuted with a 7-57 day the week before. And Keke Coutee had 11-109 in Week 4. Westbrook has played well over 75% of the snaps the last five weeks and settled right in as the slot man between Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, and D.J. Chark outside. In that span, Westbrook has averaged 6.2 targets per game with a couple scores and a 100-yard effort mixed in. He leads the team with four red-zone targets over the last two weeks. With the Jaguars playing up in pace in a dome environment, Westbrook has some WR3 appeal.
Jarvis Landry vs. Falcons: Landry has been a major disappointment in the box score of late. He’s been held to 50 yards or less without a touchdown three of the last four weeks with the lone exception being a 10-97-1 throttling of the Bucs’ league-worst secondary. All the peripheral numbers are there for Landry, though, and a breakout game should again be on the horizon. Over the last four weeks, Landry’s 11 targets per game are second in the NFL only to Julio Jones (12). The volume is there, and Landry was still fed in new OC Freddie Kitchens’ first week calling plays last Sunday. The matchup with Falcons slot CB Brian Poole looks exceptional on paper. Poole has allowed the most touchdowns among qualifying nickel corners at Pro Football Focus and the third-highest passer rating in his coverage. Atlanta is 29th in DVOA versus slot men and 28th as a unit against the pass. The 51-point total for Falcons-Browns is the fourth-highest on the board, and the Browns figure to once again be playing catchup all afternoon. Redskins slot man Maurice Harris had a career day with 10-124 against Atlanta last week. Sterling Shepard went 5-167 the game before. Adam Humphries had 3-82 in Week 6. Tyler Boyd had 11-100 in Week 4. This is as prime a spot Landry will see in 2018.
Sterling Shepard at 49ers: Shepard had a career-best 167 yards two games back against the Falcons but followed it up with another lackluster 4-34 day against the Redskins. It’s been a peaks and valleys type of year. Shepard has 75 yards and/or one touchdown in four games but has been held to 50 or fewer scoreless yards in the other four. Shepard runs 70% of his routes out of the slot but moves around enough where he’ll get some outside looks as well. Either way, he should avoid Richard Sherman most of the night. Larry Fitzgerald smashed the Niners out of the slot two weeks ago with an 8-102-1 line. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had 103 yards two games before that. Keenan Allen led the Chargers with 7-63 in Week 4. And Adam Thielen and Golden Tate both had 100-yard days against San Francisco to open the season Weeks 1 and 2. Sherman has really been the 49ers’ only competent corner all year, and Odell Beckham figures to see the most of him while Shepard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley do the heavy lifting in the middle of the field. As the 28th-paced offense going to face the Niners’ eighth-fastest offense, the G-Men should run more plays.
Allen Robinson vs. Lions: Robinson injured his groin against the Patriots back in Week 7 and hasn’t played since. However, he returned to a full practice Wednesday and should be all systems go against the Lions in an important division game Sunday. Over the first three weeks, Robinson averaged 9.3 targets per game, heavily-aided by a 14-target day against the Seahawks. In the three games after, Robinson averaged five targets with eight total catches. He scored twice in those last three games, but Week 7 against New England was a bottoming-out point with one catch for four scoreless yards on five looks while also getting hurt late. Robinson dropped a pass and saw a couple errant passes sail by him. Mitchell Trubisky has been putting up numbers in the box score of late and in fantasy, but he’s still wildly inaccurate, checking in at 32nd in Pro Football Focus’ adjusted completion percentage, sandwiched between Josh Rosen above and Sam Darnold below. Dealing with his own quarterback’s problems, Robinson will also be tasked with CB Darius Slay’s coverage. All-Pro Slay is Pro Football Focus’ No. 24 cover corner out of 111 qualifiers. Trubisky also doesn’t throw enough passes, firing off fewer than 30 attempts three of the last five outings, with 31 in another and 50 in one against New England in total catchup mode. Scoreboard-chasing shouldn’t be a thing for Chicago this week as 6.5-point home favorites in a game with the fourth-lowest total of the week at 45 points. Coming back from a multi-week injury, Robinson is a TD-or-bust WR3/4.
Corey Davis vs. Patriots: Davis saw 34.5% of the target share last week in the win over the Cowboys, catching 6-of-10 looks for 56 yards. He also should have had a 10-yard touchdown, but Marcus Mariota missed him in the end zone on one of the quarterback’s lone misfires of the night. Good games have been few and far between for this Tennessee pass offense. Last time the fantasy community tried to buy into this unit was following Week 4 against the Eagles. The Titans then flopped over the course of the next month. What’s keeping Davis afloat, however, is his stranglehold on the lion’s share of the targets in Tennessee. But he draws a really tough date against Stephon Gilmore on Sunday. Gilmore is Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 cover corner out of 111 qualifiers and is playing some of the best ball of his career. He helped shut down Davante Adams for the most part last week. And I don’t have enough faith in Mariota to overcome this with his arm to throw Davis open. Davis is a decent buy-low candidate, but the price could drop even more after Sunday. This has the feel of another Dion Lewis game for the Titans in the short areas of the field.
Kenny Golladay at Bears: One of the perceived big winners of the trade deadline, Golladay was talked up in a big way all last week only to flop with three catches for 46 scoreless yards on four targets against the Vikings. Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times that afternoon, and Marvin Jones and Theo Riddick led the team with eight targets apiece. The Lions then went out and signed slot WR Bruce Ellington this week to try and replace some of what was lost with Tate. Detroit just plays so slow — 31st in offensive pace — that it’s hard to bank on any sort of volume. Golladay is averaging 2.3 targets per game since the Week 6 bye. At this point, we need to see it before we can believe it. The Lions’ implied team total of 19.25 points is the fifth-lowest of Week 10, and the Bears are No. 1 in team defense and fourth in pass-defense DVOA. Golladay will see a lot of Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara on the outside. The 45-point total is the fourth-lowest of the week.
Start of the Week: Jack Doyle vs. Jaguars: Doyle returned from a five-week hip injury last time out against the Raiders and played 73.1% of the snaps while leading the Colts with seven targets, including one in the red zone which he turned into a 10-yard touchdown. The Colts are going to use Doyle more as a blocker while Eric Ebron keeps getting pass-game opportunities, but Doyle is still going to be on the field a ton and has Andrew Luck’s trust on third downs and in the scoring area. That’s more than enough to make Doyle a fine week-to-week TE1. The Jaguars are still really good defensively against all positions, but they’re a bit more vulnerable in the middle of the field. With Jalen Ramsey likely to swallow up T.Y. Hilton much of the afternoon, Doyle, Ebron, and Marlon Mack should be attacking the middle of the field. Jacksonville gave up touchdowns to Eagles TEs Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert last time out. Cole Beasley tore up the middle of the field with two scores two weeks prior to that. And Travis Kelce had 100 yards in Week 5. Doyle should be owned everywhere.
Ricky Seals-Jones at Chiefs: Josh Rosen attempted a season-high 40 passes last time out in OC Byron Leftwich’s first game as the play caller. Seals-Jones was targeted on four of those, catching two. The issue is he and veteran Jermaine Gresham are splitting time at tight end, though RSJ played a five-game-high 72.7% of the snaps and ran a season-best 37 routes. Leftwich is stressing a quick release from Rosen to protect him from the shoddy offensive line. The Chiefs have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends. David Njoku had a 4-53 day last week after his goose egg the previous game. Jeff Heuerman of the Broncos caught a touchdown versus Kansas City in Week 8 and had another potential score fall to the ground on an end-zone look. He also led Denver with 57 receiving yards when the teams met in Week 4. C.J. Uzomah scored against the Chiefs in Week 7. Rob Gronkowski had a 3-97 night in Week 6. Niles Paul and James O’Shaughnessy combined for a 10-92 day the previous week. RSJ has some streamer appeal with the Cardinals as 16.5-point underdogs likely to be throwing the ball a ton.
David Njoku vs. Falcons: After averaging nearly 10 targets per game Weeks 4-6, Njoku has seen target counts of 6 > 0 > 5 the last three outings. He’s still done well in two of those games, but he might be one of the losers with Duke Johnson stepping up more in the pass game. Jarvis Landry also has a stellar matchup as highlighted above, but there should be enough for Njoku to put up a useful line. Atlanta has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to tight ends. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis combined for a 9-96 day last week. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate both caught touchdowns in Week 6. The Falcons remain without both of their starting safeties, who are on injured reserve. The 51-point total for Falcons-Browns is the fourth-highest on the board.
Vernon Davis at Bucs: As mentioned previously, Davis had a usable day against the Falcons last week, catching five balls for 62 yards as the Redskins’ second-leading receiver behind Maurice Harris. This offense is severely banged up and lacking weapons. And even at 34 years old, Davis is one of the better athletes at the position. The Bucs have been getting creamed by tight ends all year, giving up the second-most fantasy points and most catches to the position. Davis only plays about half the snaps, but ran a season-high 21 routes last week. The Bucs love getting into shootouts because their defense can’t stop anyone. I personally chose Davis off the waiver wire where I owned Kyle Rudolph in one league. There are far worse options than Davis in a game with a 51.5-point total.
Editor’s Note: We’re going to go over some streaming options at the tight end position. It’s too thin of a position with the injuries to Hunter Henry (torn ACL), Tyler Eifert (broken ankle), Will Dissly (torn patella tendon), and Delanie Walker (broken ankle). Jack Doyle recently returned from injury to help out. But Kyle Rudolph, Jeff Heuerman, and the Ravens and Texans TEs are all out on bye this week. In the “Sits” section, I’ll caution some tough matchups.
Rob Gronkowski has yet another tough draw and has missed two of the last three games with ankle and back issues. The Titans have allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends and are one of just two teams yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end. Gronk hasn’t had 100 yards or one touchdown since Week 1. Jared Cook crashed back to Earth last week with two catches for 20 yards against the 49ers and now gets a Chargers defense that is No. 1 in DVOA versus tight ends led by rookie Derwin James. C.J. Uzomah should see more of a target share with A.J. Green out, but his individual matchup is pretty tough with the Saints top-10 in DVOA and fantasy points allowed to tight ends.