Before we look forward, we must look back. The NFL season builds upon itself each week and offers up its share of highs and lows. This is on a cumulative basis but DFS gives us a fresh start each week. The key is to take everything as a learning experience while not overreacting in either direction.
Each week we will take a look at five positive and five negative situations that transpired from the week prior and what it means going forward. Let’s keep in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg and throughout the week we will go into further detail about other players that deserve our attention for the coming slate of games. That is why you need to stick with us throughout the week.
For those who have yet to subscribe, what are you waiting for? As a preview of what you can expect, let’s dig deep with Drew Sample. Rookie quarterbacks often form a close relationship with their tight end in the form of a security blanket. In Cincinnati, Joe Burrow is no different as he started off targeting C.J. Uzomah and then with him out for the season that attention has been transferred to Sample. To say the 2019 second round pick showed up out of nowhere on Thursday night be an understatement but we can’t dispute the performance. It came on a night where Burrow checked down quite frequently and attempted 61 passes (completing 37 of them for 316 yards and three touchdowns) which included 10 to Sample. Those were converted into seven receptions for 45 yards by Sample and I would look for him to continue to be busy moving forward. Since he essentially emerged out of nowhere, he likely will be priced right this week, and while Sample is touchdown dependent, the volume will also be there.
Behind the paywall, we will continue to take a closer look at some other players that stood out from a busy week of football. So, keep on going and take a look at what we have to offer.
The opponents haven’t been much in each of the last two weeks for Josh Allen, but the success really has been there. While Allen didn’t do much as a runner, four carries for 18 yards, that is almost preferable based on his success in the passing game. Perhaps the most important thing, even beyond the 24 completions for 417 yards, is that Allen didn’t throw an interception and he spread his attention around with eight different receivers being targeted while looking downfield with ease. Allen threw for four touchdowns with one of those going to his new weapon in Stefon Diggs who caught eight passes for 153 yards. Things will get tougher against the Rams this week but it’s hard not to like what we have seen from Allen to this point. Perhaps this week there will be better options out there, but don’t let Allen fall through the cracks and don’t discount him too much if things don’t go as smoothly for him on Sunday.
This week we focused on a few known entities at tight end while digging deep for bargains. A good number of those options (Jordan Reed, Mo-Alie Cox, Dalton Schultz) did pay off but they weren’t the only tight ends to have success this week. Jonnu Smith has become a critical part of the Tennessee’s passing offense and this is the case even when A.J. Brown is in the lineup. Over the first two weeks of the season Smith has been targeted 12 times and after a four catch for 84 yards effort this past Sunday, Smith has reached the end zone in consecutive games. After we saw Alie-Cox take advantage of the Vikings with five receptions for 111 yards this past week, Smith should follow suit.
It doesn’t matter how you get there, just that you do. For anyone who was watching the beginning of the Cowboys’ game on Sunday that had started Dak Prescott, they couldn’t have been pleased. I know I wasn’t. Ultimately Prescott threw for 450 yards and a touchdown but that isn’t what sent his performance to the next level. Prescott ran for three touchdowns against the Falcons as he led Dallas to an exciting and unlikely comeback. This week Prescott faces a Seattle defense that has been more than hospitable to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Once again he should be at the top of your quarterback list.
Austin Ekeler has yet to find the end zone this season, but that will likely change this week against Carolina. Despite his lack of touchdowns, Ekeler once again had a strong effort and we have a clear picture of what to expect from the Chargers backfield. Ekeler gained 93 yards on 16 carries and he was also a factor in the passing game catching four balls for an additional 55 yards. We have also learned that Joshua Kelley has value and is someone to keep an eye on as he rushed for 64 yards while catching two passes for an additional 49 yards. However it will be interesting to watch what happens with the Chargers’ quarterback situation as rookie Justin Herbert got the last minute start for Tyrod Taylor and proceeded to throw for 311 yards and take the Chiefs to overtime.
Everyone saw what Lamar Jackson is capable of last season and you have to pay a premium to secure his services each week. What Baltimore expects from Jackson is a lot different than fantasy owners and that was certainly apparent against Houston this past Sunday. Game flow didn’t work in Jackson’s favor as he led Baltimore to victory despite passing for just 204 yards and a touchdown. Jackson did add 54 yards on 16 carries which is unlike him as he is generally a lot more explosive. Despite the outcome of the game never truly being in doubt, Jackson did have trouble find much space to work with as he was also sacked four times. Expectations are going to be inflated this week as a shootout is expected with Kansas City, and I’m not sure Jackson is going to be worth the price.
Another quarterback who was victorious but could have looked sharper, was Tom Brady. At this point I’m thinking that Brady is not going to be a fantasy friendly quarterback as he is still working through the kinks in Tampa Bay’s offense. Brady should get Chris Godwin back this week and that will help, but with just 217 yards passing and a touchdown last week he didn’t do much to move the needle. And the fact that it came against a less than imposing Carolina defense leads me to continue being skeptical.
It’s never a good thing to see any player go down, and that is especially the case when they are a first round pick and prolific talent like Saquon Barkley. With a torn ACL, Barkley is now sidelined for the season and fantasy owners are now left trudging to the waiver wire. While there are likely going to be better options on the waiver wire, we are forced to look at Dion Lewis. Lewis is clearly the next man up and if didn’t score a touchdown last week, it would have been a lost afternoon. He gained just 20 yards on 10 carries although Lewis did catch four passes for 36 yards. Wayne Gallman, who was inactive on Sunday, will likely play a role going forward as well and there is speculation of the Giants signing Devonta Freeman. All told there isn’t going to be much to see here from a fantasy perspective as they will eat into each other’s production. Facing the 49ers this week also means there won’t be any room to run.
Carson Wentz and the Eagles were trailing all afternoon but that didn’t lead to much success for him as he still struggled. Based on game flow we should have seen Wentz rack up plenty of garbage time production but instead his game was reduced to boos from piped in crowd noise. Wentz threw for just 242 yards and two interceptions and while he wasn’t sacked, the Rams defense generated a great deal of pressure. Things should get better for Wentz against the Bengals this week but at this point it’s hard to trust him.
Kirk Cousins really couldn’t have played any worse last week. He threw for just 113 yards in a game that the Vikings were trailing from the start. Despite the name recognition, Cousins should be far from your fantasy team and he was intercepted three times while not throwing a touchdown pass. There could be weeks where Cousins does return some fantasy value but with performances like this he truly can’t be trusted. At this same time he is going to make it difficult to have faith in Adam Thielen as he managed just three receptions for 31 yards. Dalvin Cook’s day was salvaged by a late touchdown as he gained 63 yards on 14 carries but until things change, the running back is simply not worth the price.
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