The Primer: Week 10 Edition (Fantasy Football)
At this point, I’d consider us kind of like family, right? I mean, we do spend a lot more time together than I do with my own family in-season, so I’m just going to assume you’re nodding your head. Because of that, I’d like to share something with you that not many people know.
I want to one day write a novel.
The way I see it, The Primer is my way of working towards that. Some have reached out to me and said they cannot believe I don’t use a dictation service for the article, but believe it or not, I’d prefer it this way. Back in high school, I was one of those two finger typists who had to look at the keyboard while writing anything. I’m sure I was in the 20 word-per-minute range back then. Today, I’m probably in between 50-60 words per minute, depending on what I’m writing.
This past offseason, I did sit down and write the intro chapter to a fictional thriller, though if Stephen King is right (he probably is when it comes to this), I’ve likely lost the connection I had to those characters. Even after writing just a chapter, I can tell you that it’s much different than what I do here, as football stuff flows out of me. It requires lots of time and patience to write a novel, and you have to understand that there will be countless pages written that will simply be deleted.
There’s a reason I’m sharing this with all of you. While I’m not sure if you’d read a novel that I created, I want you to hold me accountable. When you tell someone about your goals – whether it be about your career, diet, relationship, goals, etc. – you are subconsciously telling that person because you want them to know what your intentions are, and you want them to hold you to them. They have become your motivators. The last thing you want to do is let down those you’ve confided in. You are my new support group and one that should now check in with me from time-to-time and ask me about the progress of my goal.
Don’t do it during fantasy season, though, as I’m lucky to get to the gym for 45 minutes and three times per week. By writing The Primer for you guys, I view it as my warm-up, as 30,000 words will seem like nothing compared to a 100,000-plus word novel. Thank you all for allowing me to do this and supporting the article throughout the season, it means the world.
In case you’ve missed it, I’ve been going back into The Primer on Saturday morning trying to update you on the injury reports that impact your decisions. While I cannot write a whole new article, I do talk about a lot of these things on our Sunday morning livestream, which is FREE to everyone. It’s where I discuss all the latest injury news and then take your questions live from 11-12am EST. Click here to be taken to our YouTube page where you can get notifications when we go live.
If you’re new here, here’s what you can expect out of this article each and every week: Numbers, facts, stats, opinions, and some shenanigans here and there. It’s my unbiased opinion about everyone on your roster. Whether it be season-long advice, DFS advice, or wide receiver/cornerback matchups, it’s all covered. The idea here is to give you as much information as possible and give you as much confidence as possible when you hit that ‘submit lineup’ button each week. Who should be in your lineup this week?
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: TB by 2.5
Alex Smith: It’s been a nightmarish start to the season for Smith, who has now scored in-between 12.4-16.8 fantasy points in each of the last seven games as he searches for his identity in Washington. The lack of reliable pass-catchers is apparent, as Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson continue to fail to separate. Missing his security blankets Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson hasn’t helped, either. Now he loses two more offensive lineman and Richardson goes on injured reserve? What else can go wrong? The question becomes… are the Bucs a team who’s so bad that they’ll allow him to break the 16.8-point threshold without all these players? There’s been no quarterback who’s finished with less than 18.2 fantasy points against them, including Nick Foles back in Week 2 when he threw for 334 yards and a touchdown. He was the only quarterback who didn’t finish as a top-12 option against them, as every other quarterback threw for at least two touchdowns. The injuries have started to pile up, as linebacker Kwon Alexander, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, and safety Chris Conte left this defense as what might be the worst in the NFL. They’re allowing a league-high 73.9 percent completion rate. I want you to keep in mind that the NFL record for completion rate for a quarterback is 72.0 percent (Drew Brees, 2017). They’ve allowed 18 more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the closest team (Saints). The Bucs haven’t been able to generate much pressure, as their sack percentage of 5.83 percent ranks 24th in the league, so it’s possible that Smith’s line issues may not be as bad for this game. Even with his lack of weapons, Smith should be flirting with high-end QB2 production this week, though there’s definitely some warning signs.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: It seemed like Fitz-Magic was nearly Fitz-Tragic at the start of the Week 9 game against the Panthers, though he managed to put together a solid fantasy performance in the end. He was named the Week 10 starter immediately, so he apparently did more than enough. Most expected the Redskins to be a better defense with Haha Clinton-Dix, though it didn’t seem to make a difference against the Falcons last week when Matt Ryan threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns. The truth is that the Redskins haven’t been a very good pass defense since the start of Week 3. In their last five games, they’ve allowed 158-of-233 passing (67.8 percent completion rate) for 1,842 yards (7.91 yards per attempt), and 13 touchdowns. Those are not the marks of a good pass defense, which explains why they traded for Clinton-Dix. The strengths of the Bucs also matchup really well with the Redskins weaknesses in the secondary, so there’s little reason to doubt Fitzpatrick as a mid to low-end QB1 this week.
Adrian Peterson and Kapri Bibbs: It was a very disappointing week for Peterson, who had been crushing as of late, but couldn’t find much room against the Falcons in Week 9 as he totaled just 17 yards on nine carries. There’s been two other games this season where he’s been held to 20 yards or less, and in the following games he totaled 19/120/2 and 19/97/0, so you can say he’s bounced-back well. Since losing linebacker Kwon Alexander, the Bucs run-defense has suffered. After allowing just 287 yards on 96 carries (2.99 yards per carry) and five touchdowns over the first five games, they’ve now allowed 333 yards on 61 carries (5.46 yards per carry) and six touchdowns over the last three games. On the season, they’ve allowed a touchdown every 14.3 carries against them, which is the worst in the league, while the closest team is once every 18.3 carries. This is projected to be a high-scoring affair between the two teams and knowing Peterson should be fresh after playing just 32 snaps last week, he needs to be put back into lineups as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2, though it does hurt that he just lost another two offensive lineman. It seems like Chris Thompson is going to miss time with a rib injury, so Bibbs can be played as a spot-start RB4/5 if you’re desperate. He’s found the end zone each of the last two games that Thompson has missed, though he’s only received 10 total touches in those games.
Peyton Barber: Yuck. That’s the one word I’d use to describe the Bucs run-game right now. Barber is clearly the starter with Ronald Jones out, but it doesn’t make a difference in his performance, as he’s now totaled 33 or less rushing yards in five of his last seven games. He’s caught just eight passes all year, so it’s not as if you can rely on production from there, either. The Redskins looked very beatable on the ground last week against the Falcons, but that was more of an outlier in what’s been a somewhat dominant defensive front for them. Prior to that game, they’d allowed 3.76 yards per carry and four touchdowns though seven games, though they had allowed some production through the air to running backs. They had also not allowed a running back more than 61 yards on the ground, which included Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley as opponents. Barber could always sneak under the radar and score a touchdown in a game with an over/under that’s above 50 points, but you shouldn’t bank on it, as he’s scored just one rushing touchdown all year. He’s just a low-end, low-upside RB3.
Josh Doctson: It’s almost been systematic with Doctson and Paul Richardson, as each of them have continually seen 5-6 targets per game. While Richardson never topped 63 yards, Doctson hasn’t topped 49 yards. He did score his first touchdown of the year last week, as Smith trusted him in a one-on-one situation, and Doctson looked like the player the Redskins drafted him to be, as he skied over rookie Isaiah Oliver for the touchdown. He’s going to see a lot of another rookie this week, as Carlton Davis will be the one matched-up with Doctson most of the day. He’s allowed three touchdowns on 35 targets in his coverage this year. He’s big (6-foot-1, 210 pounds), so it’ll be interesting to see if Smith throws him those one-on-one balls this week. There have been 10 wide receivers who’ve been able to post top-24 numbers against the Bucs, so if Doctson can continue to get the targets he’s been, he could surprise this week. The loss of Richardson to injured reserve should lead to some more targets, and the Bucs have allowed a massive 74.5 percent completion rate to wide receivers, which is more than two percentage points higher than the closest team. They also allow a touchdown once every 11.8 targets in coverage, so he could live up to WR4 status this week.
Jamison Crowder/Maurice Harris: It’s now been four consecutive weeks Crowder has been out, so it’s not going to be easy to trust him even when he does return, as he’s not been someone who plays well through injuries. He hasn’t practiced with the team the last few weeks, so even if he returns on a limited basis by the end of the week, the team may decide to play it safe, especially with the way Harris played last week, totaling 10/124/0 on 12 targets. The matchup against the Bucs couldn’t be better, as rookie slot cornerback M.J. Stewart has been used and abused throughout the season, allowing a 148.6 QB Rating in his coverage. Of the 40 targets he’s seen in coverage, but six of them have hit the ground, and he’s allowed a touchdown on five of them (one every 8.0 targets). Harris has played 85 percent of the snaps over the last two weeks, so he’s most definitely on the streaming radar and someone who should be considered a WR4 bye week fill-in this week. Update: Crowder did return to a limited practice and is listed as questionable. If he plays, that knocks Harris way down the ranks. Crowder himself hasn’t played well through injuries, so he’d be a risk/reward WR4 if he suits up.
Mike Evans: After dominating James Bradberry throughout his career, it was disappointing to see Evans post one catch for 16 yards despite seeing 10 targets last week. We have to shake it off as a bad game, though maybe his knee issue that had him miss a day of practice played into it? The fact that he saw 10 targets tells me no, but we’ll move forward. The Redskins used Josh Norman to shadow Julio Jones last week, though that didn’t work out too well, as he allowed 7/121/1 which doesn’t even include the would-be 59-yard touchdown where he legitimately tackled Jones and took the pass interference call. Norman isn’t the shutdown cornerback he once was, and last week’s performance could make the Redskins stick him back at LCB where he’s been the whole year. Evans has seen at least nine targets in six of the last seven games, so you should continue to plug him in as a low-end WR1 where it really shouldn’t matter what the Redskins do to try and slow down this pass-attack. The only concern is his knee and inefficiency last week, so maybe limit your DFS exposure to tournaments.
DeSean Jackson: We talked about it here last week, but the Panthers were going to be a tough matchup for Jackson, who was still fourth among wide receivers in pass routes last week. He was targeted four times, but Fitzpatrick was intercepted while trying to get the ball to him on one of them. The Panthers had allowed just one 40-plus yard passing play all season, so there was concern. The Redskins have been a bit more susceptible to big plays, as they’ve allowed 30 plays of 20-plus yards (16th-most in NFL) and six plays of 40-plus yards. They did struggle to contain speedster T.Y. Hilton back in Week 2 when he turned in 7/83/1 on 11 targets. Jackson is going to see a mixture of Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar, not two particularly fast defensive backs, and the safety duo of Clinton-Dix and D.J. Swearinger are developing a new relationship, so I’m not as shy about playing him as a low-end WR3 in this matchup who could overcome some snap issues.
Chris Godwin: It seems there’s nothing guaranteed about Godwin’s role in this offense, because after he played 70 percent of the snaps the last two weeks and was trending in the right direction, he dipped back down to 55 percent in Week 9 and saw just three targets. He’s talented and will be a player in this league, but he’s just not very dependable with Adam Humphries playing more snaps and DeSean Jackson splitting snaps with him. It’s why he’s failed to reach 60 yards in all but one game this year. The Redskins have allowed nine different wide receivers score against them this year, so there’s hope for a touchdown (as he did in four of the first five games), but seeing the decline in playing time doesn’t help. He’s just a touchdown-dependent WR4 until further notice.
Adam Humphries: After his eight-catch, 88-yard, two-touchdown performance, many will ask if he’s a start, but not for me. He’s now totaled at least 76 yards in three of the last four games, but the Redskins Fabian Moreau has been their best cornerback, and he’s the one Humphries will see on almost all his routes. He’s seen 36 targets in coverage, allowing 24/244/1 on them. When you look at Humphries performances over the last month, he posted them in matchups where the slot was the best matchup on the field. This isn’t one of them, making him just a WR5 option.
Jordan Reed/Vernon Davis: Apparently Reed is dealing with neck and back issues, so maybe the Redskins use this as an excuse to get Davis more involved, as he’s simply been the better tight end to this point. Here’s a look at their production thus far:
It may not be apples-to-apples with one of them being the starter, but we’ve already seen Davis produce as a top-five tight end with Smith in the past. If Reed is held out, Davis will be a must-play. The Bucs are a bottom-three team against tight ends, allowing a 76.2 percent completion rate, 10.3 yards per target, and a touchdown every 12.6 targets. Think about this for a second… The Bucs have allowed 6-of-8 tight ends produce at least 15.2 PPR points against them. The worst two games against them were Ben Watson‘s 4/44/0 and C.J. Uzomah‘s scoreless performance in Week 8. You want the tight end who’s starting for the Redskins this week in your lineup, though we’re hoping it’s Davis at this point. Update: Reed is going to play.
O.J. Howard: Maybe the most undervalued tight end in both fantasy and real-life, Howard continues to post numbers on limited opportunities. Since coming into the league, he’s totaled 79 targets and has turned them into 54 receptions for 904 yards and 11 touchdowns. By comparison, Travis Kelce has seen 79 targets this year and has totaled 51 receptions for 741 yards and six touchdowns. This week, however, Howard will have his hands full with D.J. Swearinger, who’s been a nightmare to opposing tight ends. They’ve yet to allow a tight end total more than 48 yards against them, and it’s not even due to lack of volume, as they’ve allowed just 5.55 yards per target to them, which is the second-lowest number in the NFL. Howard has totaled at least 53 yards in every full game he’s played this year, so this should be interesting. Knowing the lack of production, it’s hard to take Howard off the TE1 radar, though he’s on the low-end this week.
Arizona Cardinals at Kansas City Chiefs
Line: KC by 16.5
Josh Rosen: Hope you enjoyed the bye week, Josh. Now time to head out to Kansas City as a 16.5-point underdog. That’s a rather large number but knowing one team is 8-1 and the other is 2-6, it makes sense. The Chiefs defense has been playing better than most give them credit for, as they’ve allowed just one of their last six opponents score more than 23 points against them (Patriots). The Cardinals offense looked better than it has all season before the bye week, which gives us hope under new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Rosen set career-highs in completions (23), attempts (40), yards (252), touchdowns (2), and fantasy points (19.3) in their Week 8 game, though it was against the 49ers. The Chiefs defense has allowed just 18.5 points per game at home this year, which goes along with the way they’ve played at Arrowhead Stadium over the last few years. After generating just two sacks in the first two weeks, they’ve racked up 24 sacks over the last seven games, including at least two in every game. Rosen is going to be under pressure this week, but if they involve David Johnson in the passing-game, it’ll help. The Chiefs haven’t allowed more than two touchdowns to any quarterback since Week 2, so it’s not a week to get cute and think playing Rosen in tournaments will pay-off. He should have enough attempts to deliver middling QB2 numbers, but you can probably find a better streamer.
Patrick Mahomes: We can go on-and-on about Mahomes’ accomplishments this season, but did find it amazing that he tied a single-season record last week when he threw for over 300 yards for the eighth-straight time, which only Andrew Luck has done before. The Cardinals are going to be a test, though, as they’ve allowed the sixth-fewest passing yards in the NFL this year. There’s been two quarterbacks who’ve thrown for more than 255 yards against them this year, and although one of them was Jared Goff (354/1), the other was C.J. Beathard (349/2), though it took him 54 attempts to get there. Since Week 2, the Cardinals haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for more than 7.7 yards per attempt, which is impressive considering 11 teams allow more than that for the season. This is where worlds collide, because Mahomes has averaged at least 8.2 yards per attempt in all but one game. Outside of a game against the Jaguars defense, Mahomes has scored at least 22.9 fantasy points in every game, while throwing 15 touchdowns over the last four weeks. He’s unbenchable, unavoidable, and absolutely playable despite the tough matchup. The scary part… he’s only getting better as he’s completed at least 70 percent of his passes in three straight weeks.
David Johnson: While it wasn’t a wildly successful game for Johnson in his first game under Byron Leftwich, there were some promising signs. He totaled 20 touches (more than enough volume), 59 rushing yards (2nd-highest total this year), four receptions (2nd-highest total), and 41 receiving yards (tied highest output of the year). Granted, it was against the 49ers, but this week isn’t any tougher. The Chiefs are a match made in heaven for a pass-catcher like Johnson, as they’ve allowed a league-high 1.94 PPR points per target to running backs. The 159.4 PPR points they’ve allowed through the air alone to running backs is 27.9 more points than any other team in football. They’re also allowing a massive 5.16 yards per carry, but it’s not often running backs rack up the attempts against them due to gamescript, though over the last four weeks, we’ve seen Nick Chubb, Philip Lindsay, and Sony Michel all reach the 18-carry mark. The Chiefs have allowed a league-high 15 running backs score at least 11.8 PPR points against them. Johnson should be considered a rock-solid RB1 this week and one you should consider playing in DFS.
Kareem Hunt: He was the lock of the week for me in Week 9, so seeing him score three touchdowns wasn’t all that shocking. If you wonder, “Mike, where’s this lock of the week?” Well, on the FantasyPros Football Podcast, we name one player who is well worth their cost of admission in DFS that week, so you should try and tune into the show. Click here to hear who that player might be this week. Hunt has been playing so well, it’s impossible not to love him right now. And now, he’s going against a Cardinals defense that’s allowed five top-10 performances to running backs. The best part is that most of it has been on the ground, where Hunt does most of his damage. They’ve faced 236 carries (most in NFL), allowed 1,057 rushing yards (4th-most), and 10 rushing touchdowns (3rd-most). There’s been just one game where they’ve held the opposing team of running backs to less than 24.5 PPR points (was the 49ers), and outside of the 49ers, they’ve allowed at least one running back to tally 16 PPR points in every game, which is typically good for a top-15 performance and a solid floor. Knowing their pass-defense is a strength, the Chiefs will likely lean on Hunt at home in a game they’re projected for 33.3 points. He’s an elite RB1 play who can be used safely in cash games.
Larry Fitzgerald: It appears Fitzgerald may have been brought back to life by Byron Leftwich, as he was targeted a season-high 12 times in their Week 8 win over the 49ers, totaling 8/102/1, which were all season-highs. He’s been targeted 28 times over the last three games, so it appears that he and Rosen have gotten on the same page. But here’s the issue… Remember when the Chiefs defense was the laughing stock of the fantasy football community before the season began? Well, their secondary has allowed the third-fewest yards per target (7.18) to wide receivers. They have allowed a lot of fantasy points to them because of the volume, as they’ve faced a league-high 225 targets to them. Fitzgerald will see a lot of Kendall Fuller in this matchup, who has played rather well over the last few weeks, including holding Jarvis Landry to just 6/50/0 last week, Emmanuel Sanders to 4/57/0 in Week 8, and Tyler Boyd to 3/27/0 in Week 7. The one reason for optimism is that Leftwich had Fitzgerald run just 64 percent of his routes from the slot, while Mike McCoy had him there 78 percent of the time, which means Fitzgerald will get some shots against others. He’s back on the WR3 radar due to his increased volume, but the matchup isn’t as good as some may think.
Christian Kirk: It seems that Kirk has settled back in as the No. 2 option at wide receiver, totaling 20 targets over the last three weeks, while Fitzgerald has racked up 28 of them. Kirk has still caught two of Rosen’s four touchdowns over the last four weeks, but his two red zone targets this season scream that they may be somewhat fluky. Kirk lines up all over the place, so he won’t see one cornerback more than the others, though the Cardinals would be wise to get him matched-up with Steven Nelson, who has played over his head this season, while Kendall Fuller and Orlando Scandrick are a bit tougher. Whatever the case, it’s likely that Rosen drops back to pass a lot in this game, as opponents average 42.2 pass attempts per game against the Chiefs. Volume will be critical as the Chiefs have allowed the fewest fantasy points per target (yes, I’m serious), but he’s in the somewhat low-upside WR4 area.
Tyreek Hill: It seemed like Hill was back to his normal self in Week 9, playing 61-of-63 snaps in the win over the Browns, though he finished with less than 9.0 standard fantasy points for the fifth time in seven weeks. He’s been bit of a boom-or-bust receiver this year, as he’s now scored 20-plus PPR points in four games, while scoring less than 15 PPR points in each of the other five games. You’ll live with it though, because he’s still providing a stable floor, as he’s totaled at least 56 total yards in every game. The Cardinals defense has allowed just four wide receivers top 71 yards against them this season, with two of them being Rams wide receivers (Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods), and the others being Adam Thielen and Emmanuel Sanders. The closest comp for Hill would be Cooks who caught seven passes for 159 yards, though he didn’t score. It’ll be interesting to see what the Cardinals do with Patrick Peterson, who has done some shadow coverage at times this year. Peterson does run a 4.3-second 40-yard-dash, but he was burned by Marquise Goodwin in their game before the bye week for a 55-yard touchdown. Hill is unbenchable, but knowing the Cardinals have been tough on wide receivers and allowed a league-low five touchdowns to them, he might not have the upside he typically does. Consider him a WR2 for this week and one who you can limit exposure to in DFS (though I’d always have some exposure in tournaments).
Sammy Watkins (check for updates, likely doubtful): Outside of the one game against the Broncos where he had to leave early, Watkins has averaged 6.7 targets per game in the offense. He’s also totaled at least 62 yards in four of his last five games, so he’s starting to show a somewhat reliable floor in fantasy. The Cardinals have been a tough matchup for receivers though, as they’ve allowed just 1.63 PPR points per target to them, which ranks as the ninth-lowest number in the league. As mentioned in the Hill notes, they’ve allowed a league-low five touchdowns to receivers, though some of that may be due to how bad the run defense has been (they’ve allowed 12 rushing touchdowns). They’ve allowed just seven wide receivers to finish as top-36 options against them, leaving you feel a bit torn on how to feel about Watkins. But here’s the thing – if Patrick Peterson shadows Hill, Watkins will be matched up with Bene Benwikere in coverage, a matchup he can win. Update: Watkins needed an MRI on his foot this week, which is terrible news for him, as he’s had foot issues throughout his career that he’s sometimes tried to play through, though he was inefficient. It appears unlikely he’ll play this week, so make sure you have an alternate option. Even if he does play, he’s a risky WR4 with this news. Saturday update: Watkins did get in a limited practice, so the door is open for him to play, though I’d be seeking alternatives.
Ricky Seals-Jones: In the two weeks before Mike McCoy was fired, Seals-Jones had run 42 routes compared to 25 for Jermaine Gresham. In the first game under Leftwich, Seals-Jones ran 36 routes compared to just 8 routes for Gresham. The results may not be ideal (just two catches for 12 yards), but the routes will lead to production. The Chiefs have been a team who’s allowed plenty of production to the tight end position, as they’ve allowed the second-most yardage (649) to the position, behind only the Bucs, who everyone plays tight ends against. There have been six tight ends who’ve totaled at least 53 yards against them, and of the two who didn’t (Jeff Heuerman and Antonio Gates), one of them scored a touchdown (Heuerman). They’re really missing Eric Berry in the secondary, who has still yet to practice in-season. Seals-Jones should be considered a solid high-end TE2 option for Week 10 and one who can be streamed.
Travis Kelce: Ever since the Week 1 game where he was essentially shutout by the Chargers, Kelce has been on a tear, averaging 9.1 targets, 6.3 receptions, 91.9 yards, and 0.8 touchdowns per game. He hasn’t totaled less than five catches for 61 yards in any of those games, offering a floor higher than most tight ends’ ceilings. The Cardinals have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, but they aren’t as good as the numbers suggest. They’ve only faced 40 tight end targets this season, which is tied for the fewest in the NFL. On those targets, they’ve allowed 8.3 yards per target and a 70 percent completion rate, both of which are bottom-12 in the league. There’s been just one tight end who’s seen at least five targets against them and it was George Kittle (twice). In those games, they allowed him 5/83/0 and 5/57/0. It’s not as bad of a matchup as the overall numbers say, so feel free to play Kelce as you normally would.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Line: NYJ by 7.5
Nathan Peterman: We likely won’t know about the status of Josh Allen until gameday, but given their bye is in Week 11, it’s likely they play it safe with the guy they’re leaning on in the future. It’s possible we see Derek Anderson, though it won’t matter, as you don’t want to play a quarterback from this team, unless it’s Allen, and that’s because of what he offers with his legs. This matchup is on the road in New Jersey and the game has an over/under of just 37 points (Bills implied team total is just under 15 points). Like last week… just say no.
Josh McCown: The Jets offense has been trending in the wrong direction as the season’s gone on, and Sam Darnold‘s numbers reflect that. Over the last three weeks, he’d thrown for just 196.0 yards per game with two touchdowns and seven interceptions. Granted, he played against the Vikings and Bears for two of those games, but he’s clearly not in a good place right now. After hearing he was in a walking boot, it was no shock to hear that McCown would be the starter this week. The issue is that the Bills have not been a friendly matchup for fantasy quarterbacks, either, as just one quarterback has finished top-18 against them over their last seven games. The list of quarterbacks is impressive, too, as Kirk Cousins, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, and Mitch Trubisky are all part of that list, while Andrew Luck was the only one to score more than 17.0 fantasy points. Luck is playing the best football of his career, while McCown is walking in as a backup in his first game action of the year. He lived off the deep ball for his 2017 production, something the Bills have been great at defending, as they’ve allowed just one passing play of 40-plus yards all season. McCown is not a preferred streamer.
LeSean McCoy: While watching McCoy, you wonder what would happen if he played for someone like Bill Belichick, as he carries the ball like I carry a dumbbell at the gym. If it falls, it falls. He’s almost intentionally doing it too, and more than he ever has in his career. With Chris Ivory looking to be out for a while, McCoy will get all the work he can handle against the Jets, who have struggled against the run lately. Prior to limiting the Dolphins run-game to 60 yards on 24 carries, they’d allowed 422 yards on 83 carries (5.08 yards per carry) and three touchdowns to the combination of Broncos, Colts, Vikings, and Bears running backs. The Jets opponents have averaged 26.4 carries per game against them, so it’d be shocking if McCoy didn’t get to the 15-carry mark in this game, combined with his 4-8 targets in the passing game, he should offer a semi-decent RB2/3 floor in this game, though we already know his ceiling is limited as he’s failed to score a single touchdown on 108 touches this year.
Isaiah Crowell and Elijah McGuire: It was a dream scenario for Crowell last week, as he was playing against a Dolphins defense that had been carved up for nearly 400 rushing yards against the Lions and Texans the previous two weeks, so naturally, he’d total 49 scoreless yards on 13 carries. Ever since his 219-yard game against the Broncos, Crowell has totaled just 143 scoreless yards on 50 carries (2.86 yards per carry) and hasn’t received more than 13 carries in a single game. Insert McGuire, who returned from foot surgery in Week 9 and immediately out-snapped Crowell 36 to 23. It appears that he’s walked right into the Bilal Powell role in the offense that generated a respectable 13.0 touches per game. The Bills run defense is somewhat of a mystery, as they’ve held the Bears and Patriots run games to just 109 yards on 40 carries (2.73 yards per carry) over the last two weeks but allowed 219 rushing yards to the Colts the week prior. They were down linebacker Tremaine Edmunds last week, though it didn’t seem to matter much. Still, they’ve allowed four rushing touchdowns in the last three games, so they aren’t impenetrable. On the season, they’ve allowed a rushing touchdown every 20.1 carries, so that’s the hope for Crowell this week, as he seems to be capped with his carry totals. He is back on the low-end RB2/high-end RB3 radar despite his poor showing last week. As for McGuire, he’s the more versatile back who’ll be used more in the passing-game (five targets last week, Crowell hasn’t seen more than three in a game all season), though the Jets would be wise to limit the pass attempts this week. McGuire is on the high-end RB4 radar who may be more valuable than Crowell when the Jets have negative gamescripts.
Kelvin Benjamin: The Jets were still without Trumaine Johnson last week, though it seems almost certain he’ll return this week. That would mean Benjamin would match-up with a combination of Johnson and Morris Claiborne, both of whom are better on their side of the ball than Benjamin is on his. Despite missing Johnson for the last five weeks, the Jets secondary has allowed the fifth-fewest PPR points per target to wide receivers. Combine that with Benjamin’s miniscule 5.7 yards per target and you have a recipe for a WR6 in fantasy leagues.
Zay Jones: He runs over half of his routes in the slot, which gives him the best matchup on the Bills. The Jets have been destroyed by slot receivers this year, as the combination of Buster Skrine and Parry Nickerson has allowed 46-of-60 passing for 550 yards and four touchdowns in coverage. You’d have to go all the way back to Week 2 to find the last slot receiver who scored less than 9.7 PPR points against them, so it technically should be a high-floor matchup, though the quarterback situation keeps him down in the rankings. He’s now seen 27 targets the last four games, so he’s on the radar as someone you can use in a pinch during bye weeks. He’s still going to be stuck in the WR5 range due to the poor quarterback play.
Robby Anderson: He returned to a full-time role in Week 9 after missing the previous week with an ankle injury but will now head into a matchup with Tre’Davious White, who has allowed just a 50 percent catch-rate in his coverage this year and just 5.79 yards per target in his coverage. Anderson himself hasn’t topped 44 yards in 7-of-8 games this year and hasn’t scored a touchdown since back in Week 5. The Bills haven’t been prone to allowing big plays, either, as they’ve allowed just 24 passing plays of 20-plus yards, which ranks as the sixth-fewest in the NFL. Anderson is nothing more than a hail-mary option who you’d play hoping for one big touchdown. It helps that he’s got McCown back under center, who he’s shown success with in the past. He’s still just a WR5-type option in this matchup. Update: Anderson is considered doubtful for the game.
Quincy Enunwa: He returned to the lineup in Week 9, but he didn’t return to the slot role that he was so successful in earlier this season. Instead, the Jets continue to trot Jermaine Kearse there, who has played horrendously. Maybe, just maybe, you should put Enunwa back in the slot, as that’s when him and Darnold had their most success? Until they do that, we cannot trust Enunwa in fantasy, as he’s really struggled on the perimeter. On 25 slot targets, he’s averaged 8.1 yards per target and scored one touchdown. On 22 perimeter targets, he’s averaged 5.7 yards per target with no touchdowns. He hasn’t topped three receptions or 40 yards since way back in Week 4. It’s tough to know what to expect with McCown, as the two didn’t play together last year while Anderson and Jermaine Kearse did. Consider Enunwa a WR5 until they move him back to the slot.
Logan Thomas: With Charles Clay leaving the game last week against the Bears with a hamstring injury, Thomas stepped-in alongside Jason Croom and totaled eight targets which netted seven catches for 40 yards. Those seven catches were 37 percent of what Clay has on the season. With that being said, you don’t trust tight ends against the Jets, as safety Jamal Adams has been lights out. Tight ends have caught just 25-of-44 targets (56.8 catch-rate) against them for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
Chris Herndon: He’s slowly becoming a thing every week, as he’s now totaled at least 62 yards and/or a touchdown in each of his last four games. The issue is the inconsistent targets, as he’s seen 2, 7, 2, and 4 targets in that span, which is not enough to play him with the utmost confidence. On top of that, the Bills have been one of the best teams in the league against tight ends, allowing just a 55 percent catch-rate, and 6.18 yards per target to them. Tight ends have been targeted 13 times in the red zone against the Bills, which is the sixth-most in the league, but it’s tough to trust him for a touchdown with McCown right now, as the two have no experience playing together. He’s just a touchdown-dependent TE2 in this matchup.