This week’s ‘Studs, Duds, & Sleepers’ is a painful one for me to write as I was knocked out of my fantasy playoffs by less than eight points. The reason? I started one of last week’s ‘Sleepers’ – Rashaad Penny – as my Flex…over Emmanuel Sanders and Darius Slayton. Penny tore his ACL early in the first quarter and Sanders and Slayton were first and third respectively last week in points scored by wide receivers. Ouch. For those of you still playing, good luck and enjoy this week’s ‘Studs, Duds, & Sleepers.’
Chris Godwin, WR, TB
Godwin and Mike Evans have combined for 231 targets, 148 receptions, more than 2,300 yards and 17 touchdowns. They rank second and third in yards and second and fourth in touchdowns. Evans is now out for this season with a nasty hamstring injury, so Godwin is the only show in town. This week he gets a bad Lions’ defense which has surrendered 26 passing touchdowns, ranks 30th in passing yards surrendered per game and has little to play for.
Darren Waller, TE, Oak:
Waller started the season hot, cooled down for about a five week stretch, and now seems to be heating up again. Although he hasn’t found the endzone in six weeks, he has 15 targets, 13 receptions and 173 yards the past two weeks and now gets a Jaguars team which seems completely checked out.
James White, RB, NE:
Nothing in fantasy football is tougher than predicting who will have big games for New England – especially in their backfield – but here is what I also know: the Bengals linebackers are bad, especially when it comes to covering backs and tight ends…and catching out of the backfield is where White excels. Over the last two weeks, White has 13 receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Look for him to have a big day in PPR leagues.
George Kittle, TE, SF:
With eight targets, six catches, 67 yards, a touchdown and the “I am all things that are man” play of the year last week, Kittle looks to be healthy again. Just in time for a bad Falcons defense.
Sam Darnold, QB, NYJ:
Darnold has been a solid fantasy starter (and real starter) in four of his last five games, but those five games were against the Giants, Redskins, Raiders, Bengals and Dolphins…not exactly the Ravens – whom he will be facing this week. The Ravens defense is tough, especially at home, and will likely take away the Jets running game and force Darnold to throw – which will not result in a successful day for he or the Jets.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cin:
Over the last six weeks, Mixon has finally looked like the 2018 AFC leading rusher, putting up 17+ fantasy points (PPR) in five of those six weeks. That being said, he is facing an angry Bill Belichick this week and Belichick is likely to key in on Mixon and force Andy Dalton to try and beat them.
Aaron Jones, RB, GB:
There may not be a more frustrating fantasy player for owners than Jones. Jones is Boom or Bust with very little in between. Over the past six games (PPR), Jones has averaged a solid 19.8 points, but he has gotten there by putting up: 44.6, 3.9, 27.3, 3.8, 7.1 and 32.2 respectively. In three of those weeks, he carried owners. In three of those weeks, he killed owners. Coming off a big outing against a bad Redskins team and going up against a good Bears defense, I expect a low scoring week for Jones.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC:
Mahomes has been dinged up all season, but now it is his throwing hand. Given the injured hand, combined with all his other ailments and a Broncos team which is playing well, I don’t expect a good game from Mahomes.
Adam Thielen, WR, Min:
Prior to injuring his hamstring, Thielen had started putting up some big numbers, but he hasn’t played in nearly two months now, so whether he plays or not this week, he will likely be eased back in and not see the amount of opportunities to make him worthy of a start.
Jameis Winston, QB, TB:
Despite leading the world in turnovers, Winston puts up some big fantasy numbers. Winston is seven yards behind Dak Prescott for the league lead in passing yards, and only trails Lamar Jackson in passing touchdowns. Despite his 23 interceptions, he still ranks seventh amongst quarterbacks in fantasy points per game, behind only: Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, and Russell Wilson.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, SF:
After four straight weeks of less than nine points, many owners (including me) had given up on starting Sanders…and then he busts out with 37 points last week. While I don’t see another 30 point output this week, I see Sanders having a good day against the Falcons.
Tom Brady, QB, NE:
With just 19 touchdowns in 13 games, Brady is on pace for his lowest touchdown total in more than 15 years and his 6.6 yards per pass attempt rank him 29th in the NFL. But, he is going up against a Bengals defense, which, although they are playing better of late, is not a very good defense…and they are going to get an angry Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and history says that is not a good thing for an opposing defense.
Jarred Goff, QB, LAR:
Goff has certainly taken a step back this year. He ranks in the bottom third of the league in terms of touchdowns, interceptions and completion percentage. But he is putting up yards – fourth in the NFL – and is playing better of late. Over the last two weeks, he has four touchdowns and more than 700 yards. I think Goff will have success against a disappointing Cowboys defense.
Darius Slayton, WR, NYG:
Having never caught a pass from Eli Manning prior to Monday night’s game, Slayton was hard to start, but after his second 30+ point game in the last four weeks, I’m not sure Slayton is a ‘Sleeper’ any more, but I bet a lot of owners are still hesitant to start him.