We are now through seven weeks and unless you are in some crazy fantasy league, that means you are officially in the back half of your fantasy schedule. With injuries seemingly at an all-time high, we are all looking for some sure bets and sleepers this week, and as always, I am here to deliver them to you with this week’s ‘Studs, Duds & Sleepers’!
Russell Wilson, Sea:
Wilson had three interceptions this week, showing us that he is indeed human. That being said, he still threw for 388 yards, three touchdowns and added 84 yards rushing, accounting for a measly 472 yards. He gets the 49ers this week who are decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball and haven’t played a high level quarterback since Week 1 (Kyler Murray).
Patrick Mahomes, KC:
Mahomes didn’t have a big week in the snow this week, but he didn’t need to. His defense and special teams gave him two touchdowns in their blowout of the Broncos, so there wasn’t much need to throw. He and this high powered Chiefs offense ought to have a field day this week against the Jets.
Others receiving votes:
Ryan Tannehill, Ten:
I am shocked by the season Tannehill is having, but here he is, with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions in 6 games. He and Derrick Henry should have a field day this week against a Bengals defense that cannot get to the passer, cannot stop the run and has a ton of injuries on the defensive line and the secondary.
Tom Brady, TB:
Don’t look now, but the 43 year old Brady is now second in the NFL with 18 passing touchdowns….oh, and is getting Antonio Brown. The only thing that could prevent him from having a huge week against the Giants, is if the Bucs get up so big, so early – a very distinct possibility – they could pull Brady and/or run the ball 40 times.
From The GetSportsInfo Podcast:
Derrick Henry, Ten
The Bengals defense has been better of late against the run, but they are still terrible. They are giving up 133.7 rushing yards per game (28th) at 4.9 yards per carry. Henry leads the NFL in yards (663) and touchdowns (7), and is the only running back averaging more than 100 yards per game (110.5). 200 all-purpose yards is not out of the realm of possibility for Henry this week.
Miles Sanders, Phi:
The Cowboys are a mess, and their league worst run defense – which is giving up 177.3 yards per game – is the worst part of the mess. So, as long as Sanders plays this week – and that is an if at this point, so make sure to follow this one – he should have a huge day against the Cowboys. At this point, my general rule is, start any of your players when they play the Cowboys.
Others receiving votes:
Ronald Jones, TB:
After a Week 2 explosion by Leonard Fournette against the Carolina Panthers, I declared Jones dead – from a fantasy perspective. Welp, I was wrong! Here we are, nearly at the half way mark, and Jones is fourth in the NFL with 506 yards, and while he does still split time with Fournette, the Bucs may run it 40 times this week against the Giants.
Alvin Kamara, NO:
Kamara is not putting up a ton of yards on the ground this year, but what he lacks in rushing yards, he makes up for in receptions and receiving yards. Kamara has caught 46 of his 50 targets, has seven touchdowns and 824 all-purpose yards. With Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas possibly out again, it may be another day of running the offense through Kamara.
Travis Kelce, KC:
It could get ugly really quick for the Jets against this Chiefs offense and while Kelce is my top candidate for a big day, I like all the Chiefs offensive players this week. Tyreek Hill may be the flashier player, but Kelce still leads the Chiefs in targets (56), receptions (50), receiving yards (501) and touchdowns (5 – tied with Hill).
George Kittle, SF:
The tight ends are leading the ‘Studs’ category this week! I love Kittle this week for two reasons – beyond the obvious fact that he is really good. First, he gets a Seahawks pass defense which ranks dead last in the NFL, giving up 368.7 yards per game. That is more than 35 yards per game than the second worst team, and 19 teams give up less than 368.7 yards per game…total. Second, the 49ers offense will be without, what seems like, their top eight running backs and now Deebo Samuel is out as well. So their game plan against the Seahawks should be a heavy dose of Kittle.
Others receiving votes:
Robby Anderson, Car:
I feel like he is still flying under the radar, but nearly half way through the season, only DeAndre Hopkins has more yards receiving and is averaging more receiving yards per game, than…yes, Robby Anderson. He and Teddy Bridgewater have a good connection going, and I expect that to continue this week against the league’s second worst pass defense. The Falcons give up more than 333 yards per game through the air, and have surrendered a staggering 19 passing touchdowns this season.
Keenan Allen, LAC:
In four of his five games with Justin Herbert, Allen has seen 10 or more targets and caught seven or more balls. Fresh off a 10 catch, 125 yard day, I expect Allen to have another big day this week against a bad Broncos team.
Cam Newton, NE:
We are starting to see now why Newton stayed unemployed so long. He has just two passing touchdowns, is throwing for less than 195 yards per game, and now has seven interceptions…on just 131 attempts! In fact, he is throwing one interception for every 12.6 completions. After going 9/15 for 98 yards, zero touchdowns and thee interceptions, Newton was finally benched, and while he is expected to be starting again this week, the leash has to be getting short.
Daniel Jones, NYG
The Giants are terrible and Jones doesn’t have a lot of help, and as a result, he shouldn’t be starting on your fantasy team. He ranks in the bottom seven in yards per game (201.4), completion percentage (61.9), interceptions (7) and rating (73.7). Those numbers are about to get worse this week against the Bucs, who posses one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Others receiving votes:
Tua Tagovailoa, Mia:
It is good to see Tua back on the field, but his two passes in their last game were the first passes he has thrown in a game in nearly a year and it if fair to wonder, with no preseason, etc. how much chemistry can he have with these receivers? You may see what rookies like Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are doing and think Tua may be worth a start…not so fast my friend.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pit:
Roethlisberger is putting up a good amount of touchdowns (13), but he ranks 23rd in passing yards, is coming off a three interception performance and will be facing a good defense for the first time this season.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dal:
I don’t know what is going on with Elliott, but after Dak’s injury, I expected big things from him and it just hasn’t happened. Maybe it is a result of the line, but in the two games without Dak, Elliott has just 24 carries 94 yards, no touchdowns and two fumbles. Now with some guy named Ben DiNucci likely starting this weekend behind a terrible line, I am not expecting much from Elliott.
David Montgomery, Chi:
Montgomery has been a huge disappointment this year, with just 353 yards and one touchdown through seven games. I don’t see the fortunes of his season changing this week against a Saints defense which ranks fourth in rushing yards allowed per game (89.7).
Others receiving votes:
The Patriots running backs:
The Bills defense has not been what many (myself included) thought they may be this year, but neither has Cam Newton and the Patriots offense. After Cam’s abysmal day last week, I have to believe the Bills plan this week will be to pack the box against the Patriots to shut down the run and force Cam to try and beat them through the air. Combine that, with the fact that we never know who is going to get the touches in the Patriots backfield, and I would stay away from all their running backs this week.
Jerrick McKinnon, SF:
McKinnon is a capable back, and given the injuries the 49ers have had in the backfield – he is their 4th running back – an argument could be made that he will could be a good start this week….I don’t buy it. The 49ers have to keep him healthy, so I wouldn’t expect a heavy workload.
Julian Edelman, NE:
His quarterbacks went 15/25 last week for 147 yards and four interceptions, and only one of those receptions and 13 of those yards went to Edelman. In Week 2, Edelman had eight receptions for 179 yards. In the four games since, he has a total of eight receptions for 79 yards. On top of that, he has zero touchdowns on the year. Keep him on your bench.
Michael Gallup, Dal:
Gallup was a hot ‘sleeper’ pick this year, but outside of a big Week 3 performance – six receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown – he has been disappointing. In the two games since Dak went down, Gallup has a total of two receptions for 23 yards, and for the first time in his career, was held without a catch.
Others receiving votes:
Dolphins pass catchers:
DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki and Preston Williams were starting to perform with Ryan Fitzpatrick, but we have no idea how their chemistry will be with Tua. Like I said, I like Tua – and I like these pass catchers in general – but with no preseason to work with Tua, we have no clue what to expect.
Antonio Brown, TB:
I have no idea if he will be active this week or not, but even if he is, resist the urge to play him unless you are in a huge bind! Not only has he only played one game in the last two years, he hasn’t even been with a team for most of that time. We have zero idea what type of shape he will be in, how he will fit in this offense, etc. If you picked him up, you may want to leave him on your bench for a week or two so you can see what exactly you have.
Carson Wentz, Phi:
After a horrid start to the season, Wentz is starting to play quite well the past two weeks. Over the last two weeks, he has accounted for six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) and just one turnover, and this week, gets a Dallas defense which has already surrendered 16 passing touchdowns.
Justin Herbert, LAC:
Joe Burrow has gotten a lot of the talk, but Herbert is putting up just as big – if not bigger – numbers. The impressive rookie has accounted for 11 touchdowns and just one interception over his last three games – one of which was against a very good Tampa Bay defense.
Kirk Cousins, Min:
I know, no one wants to start Cousins, but he has been – and still can be – a serviceable fantasy starter. While he did throw three picks in his last game against the Falcons, he also put up a season high 343 yards and three touchdowns. Over his last four games, Cousins has nine touchdowns and he could find himself needing to score a lot this week against a frustrated Packers team.
Le’Veon Bell, KC:
He had only been in KC for a few days, but still saw six carries for 39 yards. With a game this week against his former team, expect Bell to see a decent number of touches and I would expect a big game. This is the classic ‘Revenge Game.’
Myles Gaskin, Mia:
For the same reasons I don’t like Tua and the Miami receivers this week, I like Gaskins. With Tua starting his first football game in over a year and getting ready to throw just his third game pass ever to any of his receivers, I expect the Dolphins to heavily rely on Gaskin and the running game this week. I could see Gaskin getting 30+ touches this week.
Giovani Bernard, Cin:
With Joe Mixon out most of the last six quarters, Bernard has 29 touches 122 yards and two touchdowns. Even if Mixon returns this week, Bernard is likely to see at least half of the carries and most of the work on third down…and therefore, could have value if you find yourself in a bind at the running back position this week.
Justin Jefferson, Min:
As I said above, Cousins play has picked up the last few weeks and some of that can be attributed to his connection with Jefferson. The electric rookie now leads the Vikings in receiving yards (537) and big plays (10) and has put up 100+ yards in three of his last four games and 165+ in two of his last four. Over that period, he has averaged nearly six receptions, 116 yards and a touchdown per game.
Jonnu Smith, Ten:
Smith leads the Titans with five receiving touchdowns, is second in yards (243), and gets a Bengals defense this week, that is: 1) sucks, 2) is decimated with injuries, and 3) can’t cover tight ends. Smith, Tannehill and Henry are all likely to have big games against this Bengals defense.
Brandon Aiyuk, SF:
Aiyuk pulled in six of his seven targets last week for 115 yards and with Deebo Samuel out, and the 49ers on their fourth string running back, their offense is likely to be mostly Aiyuk and Kittle this week…and against a terrible Seahawks defense, that could mean a big day for Aiyuk.