Each week there are some obvious starts and sits in fantasy football. Other decisions are not quite so simple. With that in mind, I offer up some not-so-obvious picks with my weekly Studs, Duds & Sleepers. Here are this week’s picks.
QB: Justin Herbert (LAC) at ATL: Over his last three games Herbert has mustered just three TD passes while averaging 253 yards passing per contest. He should get Keenan Allen back out the bye, but now will be without Mike Williams (ankle) for several weeks. With a trip to Atlanta on tap, fantasy managers should be optimistic. Only two teams have ceded more FP per game (25.3) to quarterbacks this season.
RB: Rhamondre Stevenson (NE) vs. IND: Stevenson has emerged as the lead dog in the Patriots’ backfield with six straight efforts of 12+ PPR points and 21 more FP in each of his last three outings. Look for the hot streak to continue as the Colts pay a visit to Foxboro. Indy has allowed at least one opposing RB to reach 12 PPR points in every game this season.
WR: Jaylen Waddle (MIA) at CHI: Any concern that there weren’t enough balls to go around to make both Waddle and Tyreek Hill fantasy forces has dissipated. After the first eight weeks of the season the duo both are inside the top in fantasy points at the position across most formats. A matchup vs. Chicago’s defense that already has struggled against the pass and now just dealt their defensive heart and soul, Roquan Smith, leads me to believe the good times are going to continue.
TE: Evan Engram (JCK) vs. LV: Engram always is frustrating because he drops easy passes, but also at times shows flashes with great catches. He’s had six or more targets in four straight contests and has scored nine or more PPR points in three straight. The Raiders are on tap in Week 9 and they’ve yielded the third most fantasy points to tight ends so this season.
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QB: Derek Carr (LV) at JCK: After watching the dud effort turned in last week in New Orleans, I’m a bit gun shy to pull the trigger on any Raiders this week. Carr has been held to 15 fantasy points or less in three of his last four efforts and needs to play his way back into fantasy lineups.
RB: Brian Robinson (WAS) vs. MIN: Robinson’s story is inspiring, but his fantasy production has followed suit. He is a TD bust candidate as he offers no passing stats (only two targets in four games) and lacks big play ability. This week’s matchup vs. Minnesota is also problematic. The Vikings just one TD to running backs over the last three weeks.
WR: Brandin Cooks (HOU) vs. PHI: There were plenty of people surprised not to see Cooks dealt at the trading deadline, but nobody was more surprised (or disappointed) than Cooks himself. After the veteran took to Twitter and frustration and has been missing in practice since I’m not optimistic about his chances vs. Philly in Week 9.
TE: T.J. Hockenson (MIN) @ WAS: Hockenson was a surprising mover at the trade deadline, especially being traded inside of the division going from Detroit to Minnesota. While I am optimistic long-term that this will be a good thing for his fantasy value, fantasy managers should proceed with caution in his first week in a new uniform.
QB: Marcus Mariota (ATL) vs. LAC: It’s hard to watch at times, but Mariota’s fantasy production usually comes in some non-traditional ways. His rushing floor coupled with the anticipation of the Falcons needing to keep pace with the Chargers makes the veteran a usable option in a week with six teams on bye.
RB: Khalil Herbert (CHI) vs. MIA: Hebert has been better and more productive than teammate David Montgomery in recent weeks. After putting up 15 PPR points in back-to-back games at the very least Herbert is on the flex radar this weekend.
WR: Rondale Moore (ARI) vs. SEA: With D-Hop back Moore is nothing more than a complimentary piece in the Cardinals’ passing game, but as he proved last week that could still be enough to be relative in fantasy. His ceiling isn’t as high as some of the other wideouts in his range in the rankings, but his high floor makes him flex worthy here.
TE: Robert Tonyan (GB) at DET: The Lions’ secondary always offers hope for opposing passing games to get healthy. Tonyan’s usage in the Packers’ offense is on the rise in recent weeks. He just needs to find the end zone. He’s only scored once all season, but the Lions have allowed a tight end to score in four consecutive outings. Tonyan is a nice bet to pay dirt in this one.
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