As if six teams on bye and a growing injury report was not enough to challenge our NFL fantasy roster selections, now we have coaches dropping subtle comments that owners need to ponder. At least Mike Tomlin wasted no time in telling us Martavis Bryant will be inactive this week.
But how will Bengals coach Marvin Lewis respond to Joe Mixon’s tantrum? He already told the rookie to grow up. Will he play his veterans this week or will Mixon see the 15-20 touches he was getting since Bill Lazor took over the offense?
And what does Andy Reid mean when he says the Chiefs are monitoring Kareem Hunt’s touches? Did Charcandrick West or Akeem Hunt just become fantasy relevant? What about Josh Doctson in Washington? He started Monday night’s game while Terrelle Pryor saw one snap in the first half. This week, Jay Gruden says he’ll “go with the hot hand” each week. Scratch another wide receiver from the value pile.
Here are some thoughts about players available for your weekend NFL DFS roster.
QB: Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton, and… Trevor Siemian?
Washington’s Kirk Cousins comes with the Monday Night discount this week. If you want to pay top dollar for Dak Prescott or Tom Brady, I can’t blame you. But tasked with keeping up with the aforementioned Prescott and his fellow Cowboys, Cousins is a great value.
Andy Dalton hasn’t been the best fantasy quarterback this season, but he was great against a bad pass defense when he played the Browns. This week, he plays the Colts. The Colts are not much better than Cleveland and with their star defensive back Malik Hooker out this week, they could be worse.
Here’s the problem. Everyone is touting Dalton as the value of the week which means lots of people will play him. That makes him safe since if he tanks for you, most people in your tournament or competition will be affected, too. But you also won’t get much more benefit than the thousands of other Dalton owners if he does well. Cousins for the higher price is worth it. Or…
You can go on a ledge with Trevor Siemian. Siemian has not been good for two weeks, but the Broncos have an extra day to figure out how to prop him up. It helps that he is facing the Kansas City Chiefs and their third-worst fantasy defense against quarterbacks. Siemian has also shown a propensity in his short career to step his game up in prime time. For the price, he could prove to be a steal in Week 8.
RB: Alvin Kamara, Matt Forte, and Jalen Richard
Much has been made of Mark Ingram’s playing time and results since the departure of Adrian Peterson from New Orleans. But let’s not forget about Alvin Kamara. His workload has not decreased. He continues to provide good yardage in his 15-20 touches each week. Eventually, he has to score. He is a good gamble to do so this week while Chicago concentrates on the senior partner of the Saints rushing tandem.
Matt Forte faces the seventh-worst fantasy running back defense in the Atlanta Falcons this week. Forte has been steady all year and his coaches are leaning toward him for short yardage and goal-line situations. He is priced well.
Jalen Richard faces a tougher defense when Oakland visits Buffalo. His third-down and passing role plays well in a game where LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor could force the Raiders to chase points. Buffalo could enter the game without two of their defensive backs. The Bills tough defense has already given up 350 passing yards per game twice in a row. All it will take is for the linebackers to take a half-step back to help the secondary to give Richard the space he needs to make things happen.
If Joe Mixon is not in the doghouse, he is a quality play this week. Look for comments from Cincinnati that might give a clue how much trouble he is in with Marvin Lewis. Dion Lewis and Chris Thompson are good alternates.
WR: Alshon Jeffery, Devin Funchess, and JuJu Smith-Schuster
Philadelphia’s offense has been on fire recently behind Carson Wentz. That has not always translated into good NFL fantasy numbers for Alshon Jeffery. Although he is the lead wide receiver, tight end Zach Ertz is the go-to guy for his young quarterback. This week could be different. The 49ers have one of the worst defenses against wide receivers, but they have the third-best against tight ends. It took an incredible catch by Jason Witten last week to put tight end points on the board. If Ertz has similar issues with the 49ers’ defense, Jeffrey should benefit.
Meanwhile, Carolina’s Cam Newton hasn’t been lighting the scoreboard up recently. But nothing fixes bad quarterback play like the Tampa Bay defense. I expect the good Cam Newton to show up this week and that makes every Panther receiver worth a look. Devin Funchess is the best bet and value.
JuJu Smith-Schuster will be a popular choice this week even though the player he replaces has done little for NFL fantasy rosters lately. But if you heard Ben Roethlisberger tell the media that Martavis Bryant wouldn’t see any more targets based on his tantrum this week, you have to believe Big Ben would love to see Smith-Schuster catch about 20 passes and score ten times while Bryant watches from home. Schuster is a good play.
If you will spend the money, I like AJ Green and Michael Crabtree better than Julio Jones and Antonio Brown this week. Nelson Agholor has become worth a weekly play, but I am intrigued by Deonte Thompson for the Bills. This week will show us if there is a connection between him and Tyrod Taylor or if last week’s debut was a fluke.
TE: Cameron Brate, Tyler Kroft, and… Darren Fells?
Cameron Brate and Tyler Kroft offer good value with positive matchups in Week 8. But perennial blocking tight end Darren Fells could be a sneaky find. In the Lions’ past two games, Fells scored three times and missed a fourth touchdown by a yard. Detroit is about done with Eric Ebron. Watch Fells as the dominant red zone target over Ebron against Pittsburgh.
DST: Carolina, Cincinnati, and the Chargers
Minnesota and Philadelphia are the defenses to own if you’re willing to pay for them. Carolina might give up points to Tampa Bay, but they will also get turnovers and the Buccaneers’ pass protection has looked a little shaky lately. Cincinnati is the most popular streamer against the reeling Colts. But the surprise of the week could come out of New England. Tom Brady will make sure his team scores points, but the Chargers are pretty excited about getting back to .500. Their fantasy D/ST point total will include several sacks and at least two turnovers, making them a quality play for the price.
There you have them… more things to think about before selecting this weekend’s DFS team. Check back during the week for more updates and advice about all thing NFL fantasy. If you have a specific question or need lineup advice, let us know at [email protected] Look for the answer in our NFL Fantasy Mailbag on Wednesday or our Friday DFS advice post.
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