When you walk into a bar, there are always a few guys that stand out. It can be for the right or wrong reasons. When you analyze data, players stand out in a similar way as good and bad fantasy plays. That’s why it’s common to see many analysts sharing the same advice. My recommendations will often reflect popular opinion, too. Other times, I try to point out some guys that don’t stick out as much. It’s a bit trickier and a greater risk of being wrong, but it’s much more gratifying when you nail it.
Week 6/Season Recap
Speaking of nailing it, I said to sit Marvin Jones last week despite what looked like a juicy matchup against the Jaguars. He finished with 2 catches for 8 yards. I wish I would have put more emphasis on my advice to start Keelan Cole. Call it women’s intuition, but I was really feeling him, and he racked up 143 yards on six receptions. Sometimes I need to trust my instincts more. I also said to sit Darrell Henderson. Missed calls: Andy Dalton, David Montgomery (start), and Logan Thomas (sit). Season tally: 23-12 (65%).
Ronald Jones at Raiders
RoJo has been on fire lately. Since taking over lead back duties, Jones has rushed for over 100 yards in three straight games. Last week he amassed 113 yards and two touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers. Leonard Fournette is looking iffy to return this week, and Jones has likely usurped him on the depth chart regardless. Those who have Jones should be licking their chops, as this week he faces a Raiders team allowing the second-most fantasy points to backs. They have also allowed eight total touchdowns to the position in just five games. The Buccaneers could have an added advantage in this one as the Raiders could be without several of their starters on their O-line due to Covid concerns. The game could be postponed.
Teddy Bridgewater at Saints
Matthew Stafford will be a popular dude this week as the Falcons give up the most points to quarterbacks. If Stafford’s unavailable, Bridgewater is a solid alternative this week. He is coming off of a clunker against the Bears, but that was somewhat expected based on the matchup. The only other bad game he’s had this season was in Week 2 against Tampa Bay. Over the last two weeks, the Saints have given up the fourth-most points to the position. Every single quarterback to face New Orleans this season has scored at least 20.5 fantasy points. Look for Bridgewater to rebound this week against his former team.
Calvin Ridley vs Lions
Outside of Kenny Golladay, Ridley has the most exploitable WR/CB matchup this week. He is in a smash spot against the Lions, contingent upon solid play from his quarterback Matt Ryan. Ridley has been targeted at least 10 times in four of the six games this season and has scored five touchdowns in that span. The presence of Julio Jones doesn’t lower his value at all, and Jones will eat too. With two of the most generous defenses in this game, this should be a fantasy points bonanza. The over-under is currently at 56.5 points.
Take a chance on him
Rob Gronkowski at Raiders
Since coming out of retirement to join his old QB in Tampa, Gronk finally looked like the New England version of himself. He had five catches for 78 yards and a score against the Packers. It looks like he’s shaken off the rust and has reestablished his chemistry with Tom Brady. On paper, Gronk has one of the most exploitable matchups for tight ends this week against Cory Littleton and company. Littleton was one of the best linebackers in the league last year with the Rams but has been a nonfactor on a struggling Raiders defense. Before their Week 6 BYE, TE Travis Kelce went off on the Raiders to the tune of eight receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. Gronk is no longer on Kelce’s level, but if there ever was a week to use the future Hall of Famer, this is it.
Other good starts this week: Kenny Golladay, Kareem Hunt
Jared Goff vs Bears
Quit trying to make Jared Goff a thing! Depending on league scoring, he has totaled fewer than 16 fantasy points in three out of six games this season. He struggled against San Francisco last Sunday, completing only 50% of his passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. His stats would’ve been even worse if it wasn’t for a 40-yard touchdown to Josh Reynolds late in the game. Cooper Kupp dropped at least one touchdown pass to be fair, but Goff has thrown for 200 yards or less in two of the last three weeks. He doesn’t fare well against stiffer defenses and now faces a Bears unit that allows the fewest points to quarterbacks. They are also allowing an average of less than one touchdown pass per game. Goff is 1-1 in his career starts against the Bears with 0TD, 5INT. Sit his ass.
Jerick McKinnon at Patriots
The Patriots have given up the fourth-fewest points and two total touchdowns to running backs this season. McKinnon probably won’t have much luck in the passing game either, as New England is allowing the fewest targets to backs. On top of that, JaMycal Hasty will probably get more touches this week. I’d still pick up Hasty if possible, as he received a lot of hype in the offseason. Both backs would better serve relegated to the bench this week, however.
Christian Kirk vs Seahawks
This is probably an outlier opinion this week. Kirk is tempting as it appears he has strung together some solid fantasy performances lately. The truth is, he’s only had 10 catches over the last three games. If it weren’t for a couple of splashy plays, he’d still be on the bench in a lot of leagues. Seattle is a middling defense, but this should be more of a DeAndre Hopkins game. Kirk likely won’t come through for you in this one unless he breaks off another long one. Hopefully, I’m nailing this call. *UPDATE 10/23* I made this call assuming both DeAndre Hopkins and Seahawks safety Jamal Adams would be active. Adams has already been ruled out, and Hopkins is questionable. Their availability obviously changes things.
Other recommended sits: Robert Woods, Chris Herndon
As always, start your studs! Unless it’s under extreme circumstances, obvious players will not appear in this column.
Logo graphic courtesy of @TheDiamondMike