How to Use: To decide between two players, start with their average. Kirk Cousins, for example, carries an average of 28 PPR points and is in a fantastic place playing against Dallas. The Cowboys show +5.50 for QB’s, so we may see Cousins go over 30 points. Brady is actually carrying an average of only 24 points (over the last 5 weeks only) and is playing the Chargers who are a surprisingly bad matchup for QB’s with a -5.21 points. Brady may struggle to hit 20 points
|QB Upgrades||QB Downgrades|
K Cousins v DAL
A Dalton v IND
C Wentz v SF
C Newton v TB
|D Brees v CHI
A Smith v DEN
T Brady v LAC
QB No Halftime Challenge: Cousins over Brees
It would take a lot of guts to target Brees at home for a challenge, but I think this is the week to do it. The Bears with Trubisky are not a pass happy team so far, to say the very least. I think they’ll try to take the air out of the ball and run, maybe even if they’re behind just to keep the Saints offense off the field and to protect their QB. The Saints defense has been harassing QB’s, but they haven’t been great against the run, most recently allowing Aaron Jones to have a 20+ point day. It all spells Brees not being asked to do a lot combined with not having a lot of opportunities if Chicago is able to possess the ball.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, have taken Cleveland’s place as being the most performance enhancing opponent. No QB, including CJ Beathard and Jared Goff, has finished with less than 20 fantasy points against Dallas. Meanwhile, Cousins has not finished outside of QB1 and has a season-low just above 20 points. While this is a divisional game, and those have a way of getting off script, I think this is just too good to pass up.
|RB Upgrades||RB Downgrades|
C. Thompson v DAL
L Bell v DET
L Blount v SF
C McCaffery v TB
L McCoy v OAK
D Martin v CAR
McKinnon and Murray v CLE
Hunt v DEN
D Johnson and I Crowell v MIN
RB No Halftime Challenge: McCoy over Brady
I don’t see a tempting challenge among these RB Downgrades with all of the Upgraded RB’s being big names. So I’ll just go after the biggest name on the block, Tom Brady. I listen to a fair number of fantasy football podcasts, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Chargers mentioned as a defense you might avoid playing a QB against. The Chargers, nevertheless, have yet to allow a 20 point game to a QB. Alex Smith’s lone QB2 week was against the Chargers. The Chargers were also a wet blanket for Carson Wentz, who posted fantasy numbers 7 points below his 5-week average. Brady is playing at home, and this is not a divisional game, but I don’t think it’ll be a ceiling type of week for Brady.
McCoy however, has all the dominoes lined up and ready to fall with his matchup against Oakland. Oakland’s secondary seems to be improving, and while that may not be great news for Tyrod, it does seem to be funneling production to the RB.In weeks 5,6, & 7 Oakland has allowed top 12 RB performances. Granted, 2 of the 3 were Melvin Gordon and Kareem Hunt, but the third was Buck Allen who hasn’t been able to crack the top 12 against any other opponent. And, while Melvin Gordon is a good back his 36 PPR points against Oakland was about double his average output. It certainly doesn’t hurt that McCoy is coming off a monster game himself, showing that he can make good on a slam dunk of a match-up.
J Doctson v DAL
D Baldwin v HOU
AJ Green v IND
D Thomas and B Fowler v KC
K Allen/ T Williams/ T Benjamin v NE
M Thomas v CHI
T Hill v DEN
T Gentry/ T McBride v NO
D Bryant v WAS
WR No Halftime Challenge: D Thomas over T Hill
I have to admit, this one makes me a little nervous. I have memories of last year’s Tyreek Hill posting nine catches for 52 yards and a TD against the Broncos. But in the last 5 weeks, the Broncos secondary isn’t giving up much. Even Keenan Allen was held in check under 10 PPR points. There does seem to be something of a soft spot for burners like Travis Benjamin and Johnny Holton, or maybe it’s just that if teams take enough desperation Hail Marys against you, eventually one connects.
Hill has proven, at least to me, to be more than a burner or gadget guy and in the last 5 weeks has produced a top 12 WR weeks and a WR2 week. However, when he has seen tougher defenses, like Washington and Pittsburgh, they’ve been able to keep him in check. I think the Broncos will be able to corral this young athlete.
Demaryius has been fairly quiet lately. But, this week he’s facing a KC secondary that allowed Amari Cooper to get right after struggling. Thomas will have a chance to do the same. He’s a talented pass-catcher. He’s going to right the ship eventually. My concern is that without Sanders pulling coverage it may be a little easier for the Chiefs to shut down what is clearly the number one option in Denver.
*For some reason, No Halftime would not allow this challenge to be created.
Streamers and Flyers
Jason Witten– With solid play from their corners, and not a lot of points allowed to wide-outs, the Washington professional football team tends to push attention into the TE. Witten has capitalized on matchups like Green Bay and San Francisco, putting up TE1 numbers. While the argument can also be made that Washington has seen quality TE’s, those TE’s are scoring even more than they usually do against this secondary.
Jared Cook – He has been surprisingly good this year with 2 TE1 weeks. Meanwhile, Buffalo is another strong defense pushing passes into the middle of the field.
Travis Benjamin- New England may be pulling it together on defense, but they’re also a team whose trademark move is taking away the #1 weapon of their opponent. Well, Benjamin is not that. He is, however, a player who’s capable of taking not a lot of volume and making it worth something. Against the Patriots Ellington, Sanu, and Desean Jackson have found a moment in the sun. Benjamin should get a shot or two sent his way
Washington Pass Catcher – I think the best play here is the aforementioned Josh Doctson, but the Dallas matchup might also be a good game for a pivot to Crowder or Pryor. I’d favor Crowder because he is retaining his snaps while Pryor is losing them.
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