Last week saw a couple of hits at each position, but overall things did not go swimmingly. It seems like I may have been a week early on the Patriots defense resurgence. with Cam Newton torching them. 3 out of the 4 rookie RB’s endorsed last week didn’t work out for one reason or another, while Ameer Abdullah also proved me wrong by having a top 10 RB game last week. Sammy Watkins bombed despite being in a great spot, and the rest of the swim WR’s were average at best as well. The TE position was better, although Eric Ebron disappointed again. The hope is that now with a quarter of the season in the books, we should have a better idea of the NFL landscape for the season and can more accurately predict players on a week to week basis.
Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs):
I was torn between Deshaun Watson and Smith here, and while I do like both, Watson scares me a little now that he will actually be facing a quality defense again this week. I think this revitalized Alex Smith could be for real, and he gets a chance to do some more damage against the Texans banged up secondary this weekend.
Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals):
As long as the Cardinals are locked in to passing the ball 70% of the time, Palmer should maintain a relatively high floor with the Eagles leaky secondary also providing a relatively high ceiling this weekend. He finally has his top 4 receivers healthy as well to go along with Andre Ellington’s emergence as a pass catching weapon out of the backfield.
Jay Cutler (Miami Dolphins):
I feel a little dirty endorsing him this week after he failed miserably in two supposedly plus match ups recently, but I’m willing to go out on a limb here and suggest the Dolphins offense gets right this weekend. You can do worse this week with other streaming options if you need one to get through the bye.
Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams):
Goff’s been a better real life QB than fantasy QB this season, and facing the Seahawks defense shouldn’t help change that. I can’t consider him as a legitimate streaming option this week, with the Rams most likely to ride Todd Gurley heavily on Sunday.
Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers):
Last week was certainly nice to see for Newton owners, but I’m chalking that up to the Patriots abysmal defense more than anything. He gets a far tougher test in Detroit this weekend, who have yet to allow a top 20 QB in a week this season.
Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills):
He has been just average at best the past 3 weeks, and gets a stiff test this weekend going up against a quietly impressive Bengals defense. The Bills will likely find it hard to move the ball on Sunday and I’d expect a low score in this game.
Bilal Powell (New York Jets):
Powell is an obvious a must play this weekend after going off last week and now facing a Browns defense that has been mostly hopeless to begin the year. Even if the Browns show up and stop the run, which they actually are capable of, there should be enough touches on the ground as well in the passing game for Powell to return solid value.
Frank Gore (Indianapolis Colts):
He’s not the back he once was and this offense isn’t great right now, but Gore continues to be productive and should see enough volume Sunday to finish as an RB2 again this weekend.
Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers):
It’s another good match up for McCaffrey this weekend after he flopped last week as the Lions have been susceptible to backs in the passing game. Its more likely than not he see’s more than the 10 touches he got last week, At worst, he is an fine FLEX option in PPR leagues.
Tarik Cohen (Chicago Bears):
Rookie QB’s tend to lean on their RB’s and TE’s in the passing game early on in their careers, so I’m thinking Cohen winds up with a lot of looks in this game. The Vikings have also been struggling a bit containing those types of backs, so the match up works here. I’m leaning towards him over Jordan Howard as the leading fantasy scorer in this backfield in PPR this week.
Deep Dives–Andre Ellington (PPR), Elijah McGuire: The Eagles have actually been good at limiting opposing teams passing backs, but Andre Ellington should still see enough targets to produce some PPR flex value in this game. I imagine Powell will see about two thirds of the RB touches again this week, but that still leaves production opportunity for Elijah McGuire. The Jets should be able to do what they want on offense, and that would ideally be a run focused approach.
Lamar Miller (Houston Texans):
Last week was probably more of a fluke than anything else, at least until proven otherwise. He faces a much stiffer test this weekend, squaring off against a Chiefs defense that has been stout against the run to begin the year.
Legarrette Blount (Philadelphia Eagles):
Despite last weeks nice output, the Eagles face a Cardinals run defense that has contained every back they’ve seen thus far. He always has a chance to salvage the day with a goal line plunge or two, but banking on that can be very risky.
Ameer Abdullah (Detroit Lions):
The Panthers are tough against the run, and Abdullah will be playing on a bum ankle to make things worse. It’s nice to see his surprisingly high workload to begin the year, but I think they may have to scale it back a bit to help preserve him for the long run.
Davante Parker (Miami Dolphins):
If there is going to be a big Davante Parker breakout game this year, this weekend seems like it could be the perfect recipe to make it happen. The Titans have been brutal on the perimeter all season long and don’t have the talent to fix it at the moment. The Dolphins passing attack has struggled too, but they at least have some talent there and a smart offensive mind in Adam Gase.
Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers):
Cobb has been surprisingly effective so far this season, and gets a juicy matchup this weekend. The Cowboys have just not been able to stop slot receievers on the year, so look for Cobb to be heavily involved, even more so if the team is without Davante Adams.
Rishard Matthews (Tennessee Titans):
This is obviously contingent on Marcus Mariota playing this week, but the Dolphins havn’t been able to cover opposing teams top wideouts and theres also the revenge game narrative at play here as well. He should finish no worse than a WR2 as long as Mariota suits up in a potential shootout.
Pierre Garcon (San Francisco 49ers):
Sure Vontae Davis is back and will likely shadow Garcon for most of the day, but he isn’t the corner he used to be and I’m sure Kyle Shanahan will find ways to get Garcon in plus match ups this weekend. He has been hit or miss all season, but the targets have been there and he is due to “hit” this week.
Deep Dives–Will Fuller, Jaron Brown: Marcus Peters will probably focus on Deandre Hopkins for much of this game, leaving Will Fuller a nice opportunity for a big play or two in the air. Larry Fitz is obviously still the recommended Cardinals WR to play this weekend, but Jaron Brown’s recent target share makes it hard to keep him on your bench.
Amari Cooper (Oakland Raiders):
Another brutal match up for Cooper to go along with the fact that EJ Manuel is starting at QB makes him unplayable again this weekend. Coopers talent is too immense to give up on just yet, but things aren’t exactly looking up for him this season.
Martavis Bryant (Pittsburgh Steelers):
Another tough matchup for the Steeler receivers this week, making Bryant extremely hard to trust this weekend. The Jaguars are the best in the league defending the WR position so far and have yet to allow any big plays through the air. Even still, until Bryant catches more than 3 balls a game, you can’t really afford to start him.
Sammy Watkins (Los Angeles Rams):
I was buying into Watkins last week, but perhaps week 3 was just more of a fluke than anything. He’s hard to trust on a weekly basis as is, but facing off with Richard Sherman and that Seahawk secondary make him nearly impossible to play this weekend.
Tyrell Williams (Los Angeles Chargers):
Williams finally had a big game this past Sunday, burning the Eagles secondary for a 75 yard TD. He still isn’t being targeted all that much and this match up itself is too tough for him to be used this weekend. Even if he avoids Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple could still give him fits.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (New York Jets):
Basically every TE facing the Browns may be on this list going forward this season. They have struggled to contain the likes of Ben Watson, Tyler Kroft and even Jesse James to begin the year, so ASJ is shaping up as a nice streamer this week.
Evan Engram (New York Giants):
He continues to be used heavily in the passing game, so he makes for a fine play this week against a Chargers team that is better suited defending the perimeter more than the middle of the field. His floor seems to be established too, something like 4 catches for 40 yards, still making him a decent PPR option given the current tight end landscape.
Hunter Henry (San Diego Chargers):
Just like the Browns, the Giants are a great team to pick on with opposing tight ends. They currently are last in the league in points allowed to the position, and while its tough to choose between Henry and Antonio Gates with them splitting time, I’ll take the potential upside Henry can bring.
Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys):
Green Bay is already tough on opposing tight ends and it doesn’t help Wittens cause that he isn’t being targeted much anymore. He could still get an endzone look or two, but outside of that I wouldn’t expect much from him.
Eric Ebron (Detroit Lions):
If the tight end position was more reliable the former first round pick would definitely be droppable in all formats. The Panthers happen to be good at defending opposing TE’s anyway, so it’s best to just leave Ebron on your bench still this weekend.
Jack Doyle (Indianapolis Colts):
Doyle again appears on this side of the list for this week as he is going against a 49ers defense that is surprisingly stingy against tight ends this season. Better days are ahead for Doyle, this weekends just not part of them.