Behind The Sticks
Shots With MZE
Behind The Sticks
Shots With MZE
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. Week 7 was ok. I went 4-5-1 which is one win short of what we’re aiming for. Week 8 is a new opportunity though. Time to get better.
Ryan Tannehill, QB Tennessee Titans
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 14)
First, let me say this: yuck. I, like you, cannot believe that I am calling Ryan Tannehill a Thrive this week. Crazier things have happened I suppose. After replacing Marcus Marioto (shoutout Roger Goodell) in Week 7, the former Dolphins’ QB went for over 300 yards and 2 TD’s against a good Chargers’ secondary. Even better for the Titans’ QB, he gets to face the Buccaneers and their very giving pass defense. On the season, Tampa has given up the 7th most fantasy points to QB’s and the most passing yards/game with over 300. Their pass defense #sucksbutts. Having found chemistry with top receiver, Corey Davis, everything is shaping up for Tannehill to be the streamer of the week at QB.
Todd Gurley, RB Los Angeles Rams
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 8)
Anything with Gurley this season is a bit of a risk. If you drafted him high, it was risky. If you’ve traded for him, it’s risky. If you play him in DFS, it’s risky. You get it. We can’t be, for lack of a better word, pussies in fantasy football. Embrace the risk. Ride it, live it, love it. Sorry if that felt like a McConaughey Lincoln commercial. I understand the fear with Gurley. Last week in Atlanta, he played 61% of snaps (it was a blowout) and hasn’t seen his usual level of production. This week, the Rams will play the winless Bengals in London. That’s great news for TGII. Cincinnati has given up the most fantasy points to RBs and has allowed the most rushing yards/game on the season with 189. Their rush defense #sucksbutts (I know that’s twice). Despite not having his usual point total and production, Gurley still has the 7th most red zone carries in the league and should see plenty of opportunities for more. Ride the risk this week.
Ty Johnson, RB Detroit Lions
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 29)
I won’t lie, I don’t know much about this Johnson. He’s not the preferred Johnson in Detroit, but he’s the Johnson that’s going to have to work for now with Kerryon done for awhile due to his knee injury. What I have discovered about Ty Johnson, the 6th round pick out of Maryland is that his player comparison is Kenyan Drake. Drake is a damn good player; we just don’t get to see it that much because he’s stuck in the shit sandwich that is Miami. Johnson will be given the opportunity to carry the load left by K. Johnson this week in a matchup against the Giants. If you saw what Chase Edmonds just did to New York, this spot should be very interesting for you. The G-Men are giving up 131 rushing yards/game and have surrendered the 5th most fantasy points to RBs. The new Johnson should finish as an RB2 this week.
Courtland Sutton, WR Denver Broncos
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 18)
The second year WR from SMU has had a tremendous first 7 weeks to his season and is currently a WR1 in 12 team leagues. He deserves an award for being able to do that with Joe Flacco as his QB. That dude is an absolute statue back there. He’s tough to watch. Sorry, Broncos fans. Earlier this week, Denver shipped Emmanuel Sanders to San Francisco which vacates even more targets and opportunities for the skyscraper of a receiver. The Colts have been middle of the pack against WRs this year but Sutton has one of the better one-on-one matchups of Week 8 against Pierre Desir on Sunday, per Pro Football Focus. His QB is brutal to watch, but this guy is too good. I think he could crawl into low-end WR1 status this week.
Kenny Stills, WR Houston Texans
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 35)
Surprise, surprise: Will Fuller is hurt again. With Fuller being down for the 47th time in his young career, Kenny “Dollar Bills” Stills will more than likely fill that role. He did on Sunday against the Colts after Fuller’s latest injury where Stills dropped a 4/105 line on Indy. He should have even more opportunities this week against the Raiders. I, mean we all saw what Aaron Rodgers just did to Oakland’s defense on Sunday and more could be in store for their defense on Sunday against Deshaun Watson and company. The Raiders’ pass defense has given up around 290 passing yards/game and the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs. Stills is a volatile play because he’ll need to hit a big play or two to make it worth this call but at least his QB loves bombing it out. I think those big plays happen and Stills will be getting the bills for you and your team on Sunday.
Tom Brady, QB New England Patriots
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 6)
I’m by law required to say this because of who I write for: fuck this guy. Now that that’s out of the way with, let’s get to the fantasy breakdown. Brady is currently sitting at QB9 on the season but hasn’t wowed so far in terms of fantasy production. This Sunday could be more of the same against a Browns defense that has given up a little over 200 yards passing/game and should have a healthier secondary coming off of their bye week. New England should be in charge of this game and should continue to use their power running game and dominant defense to do it. They don’t need Brady to murder the opposition. (Brady proceeds to throw 6 TD’s on Sunday and we all get to hate him some more).
Christian McCaffrey, RB Carolina Panthers
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 2)
Yeah, I’m out of my fucking mind. I say this every week: there’s always a call that scares me most and here it is. The fantasy MVP so far will travel to San Francisco to take on their ferocious front 7. The Niners have given up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to RBs and have allowed under 100 yards rushing/game and that’s the basis for this call. CMC does get it done through the air frequently and could again on Sunday but the 49ers inside linebackers have some speed and coverage ability to potentially slow down white Tomlinson. I’m scared shitless on this one.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 12)
I don’t have much to say here. It’s the 4th time I’ve putt Chubb on this list and he’s beating me 2-1 so far. Those two wins of is are games where he stole my soul and then shit on my remains just for good measure, but we’re about to get even this week. New England’s defense is downright nasty and Belichick will always take away the other team’s best weapon and right now that’s Mr. Chubb. I don’t see the Pats fearing the Browns’ passing attack with Baker Mayfield looking like a less hammered Johnny Manziel and the Browns OLine letting more guys inside than a Kardashian. Chubb doesn’t finish as an RB1 or even a high end RB2.
T.Y. Hilton, WR Indianapolis Colts
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 7)
Hilton looked great on Sunday coming back from injury, ripping the Texans for 74 yards and a touchdown. This call has more to do with the potential matchup of Chris Harris Jr. on Hilton (unless the Broncos go full sale and dump Harris like they did Manny Sanders). Denver has allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to WRs and the 3rd fewest passing yards/game with under 200. Despite no Bradley Chubb, the Broncos’ defense is still a tough unit that can get pressure on QBs and make life tough on passing attacks.
Keenan Allen, WR Los Angeles Chargers
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 9)
Maybe you’re new here. Something is wrong with the Chargers and their offense. Allen was on this list last week so I’m going to go ahead and plagiarize myself and show you a few things that I said last week.
“There’s something seriously wrong with the Chargers’ offense and it’s their offensive line. Noted father of 1800 children Philip Rivers doesn’t have any time to throw and hasn’t hooked up with his top target as much as we’d like.”
“Until we see a get right game, I don’t think Allen finishes in the Top 10.”
Yeah, all of that shit still stands, especially against the Bears.
Thanks for reading!
Hank Mardukus is a fantasy football expert and the Fantasy columnist with Blitzed Football. You can yell at him on Twitter here.
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. Week 6 was very successful as I went 6-3-1. Like I’ve said before, I consider 5 correct to be a solid week. So if you read last week, you’re welcome. And if you’re reading this week:
Daniel Jones, QB New York Giants
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 14)
First of all, we need a better nickname for Jones than “Danny Dimes.” I can’t think of one but that one just doesn’t hit for me. This week, the rookie from Duke and the Giants will take on the Cardinals in New York. I’m loving Danny Generic Fratboy Jones for a multitude of reasons. The most important one for him is that most of his weapons, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram, should return from injury. Great news because he won’t have to rely on a running back that they found on the street and a bunch of receiving options that they pulled out of a Manhattan bar. Add on top of that the Cardinals just got buttpounded by Matt Ryan for over 350 yards and 4 TD’s last week and on the season have given up the most fantasy points to QBs and the 3rd most passing yards. This game has shootout potential and Jones should be a QB1 this week in 12 team leagues.
Tevin Coleman, RB San Francisco 49ers
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 18)
Every time I see the name Tevin, I think of Tevin from I Love You, Man because he just the biggest douche in the world. Thankfully, Tevin Coleman isn’t that guy. The 49ers are 5-0. If you saw that coming, you’re either full of shit or an oracle. In his 2 games back from a high ankle injury, Coleman has looked pretty good while getting a ton of goal line work. The 49ers are going to run, run and run some more on a Washington defense that has allowed the 3rd most rushing yards/game in the league and the 6th most fantasy points. The R-Words are going to be in big trouble. I love both Coleman and Matt Breida this week and see Coleman finishing as a high-end RB2.
Frank Gore, RB Buffalo Bills
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 34)
2 weeks in a row with recommending an old running back. 2 weeks in a row with using the “guy with the old balls” gif from Big Daddy. It’s a good day. If you read my Adrian Peterson write-up last week then you’ve basically read what my Gore article is going to be. The Bills, off of a bye, get to take on the Dolphins this week in a game where Buffalo is heavy favorites. The veteran running back from the U has looked spry for his old age and the Bills have rewarded him with a heavy workload. On the season, Frank the Tank has 11, 19, 14, 17, and 14 carries. He’s getting the volume and this week he gets the matchup with a Dolphins defense that has surrendered the 2nd most fantasy points and 2nd most rushing yards/game to running backs. Frank is gonna Gore the hapless Dolphins (sorry).
Allen Robinson, WR Chicago Bears
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 26)
I’m going to keep this one pretty short and simple. Robinson is probably going to be shadowed by Marshon Lattimore, who has been lights out the last few weeks so that’s not ideal. ARob’s QB is either Mitchell the Bitchell Trubisky or Chase Daniel and that’s definitely not ideal. But, I don’t think I care. The former Jag WR is just too talented to not think that he finishes this week at least as a WR2. He owns a 25% target share and when actually given an opportunity to shine, he has. Don’t be afraid to fire up Robinson, even with the Saints defense playing well and the Bears QB situation being worse than we can put into words. Fun fact: the Bears passed on Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes for Trubisky. Sorry, Bears fans.
D.K. Metcalf, WR Seattle Seahawks
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 35)
I have no idea what D.K. stands for and I don’t even care to look it up. I’m just going to assume that it means Downfield King. On the season, Metcalf’s aDOT (average depth of target) is over 15 yards. He’s getting the opportunities to make plays downs the field due to his freakish body and athleticism and the fact that he really can’t run the precise routes yet because he looks like an 18 wheeler turning. But, let’s focus on the positives. His quarterback is the front-runner for MVP right now and Baltimore’s defense isn’t what it used to be. They did add Marcus Peters this week but even with that addition, the Ravens can be susceptible to the big play. This game should be a lot of fun between two QB’s who are playing at their peaks. I’ll put my money on Metcalf coming up big on Sunday.
Lamar Jackson, QB Baltimore Ravens
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 2)
Well you’ve arrived to the call that scares the shit out of me for the week. Calling Lamar Jackson as a dive is a dangerous idea considering how even when he can’t get the passing game going, he has the ability to be Right Vick and rush for over 100 yards. I don’t love the Ravens’ talented QB’s situation this week, however. He could be without Hollywood Brown once again as the rookie continues to sit out with an ankle injury. The Seahawks have been in the middle of the pack when it comes to QB production but their home-field advantage is a staggering one. Jackson is my favorite QB to watch in the league. He’s exciting and uber talented. He’s not facing a defense like the Dolphins, Cardinals or Bengals this week though. Seattle will make things tough for the Heisman winner.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB Dallas Cowboys
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 4)
I’m thinking that I’m just going to make a rule that whatever running back is playing the Eagles needs to have expectations tempered. On the season, the Eagles defense has allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points and the 2nd fewest rushing yards/game to RBs and this past week they slowed Dalvin Cook and the Vikings run game down. This week, Philly will take on the Cowboys in Dallas in a game where Amari Cooper might not play and we’re still waiting to see if the stud tackles the Boys’ have will return. Elliott does so much with the volume he gets, but he’s going to need Dak to step up a little bit this week and actually earn his $40M/season deal that he wants and create a little bit of breathing room if Zeke is going to return value. I think he finishes outside the Top 10 at RBs this weekend.
Le’Veon Bell, RB New York Jets
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 8)
He’s playing the Patriots. Belichick takes away the other team’s best player. New England’s defense has been ridiculous this season and held him in check a few weeks ago. There is hope with Darnold back but he doesn’t move the needle enough for me to really believe that he’ll return value. Do I need to say more? No? Ok, good.
Michael Thomas, WR New Orleans Saints
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 4)
Michael Thomas is a target machine and has been able to survive without Drew Brees because of Teddy Two Gloves reliance upon him. Things might be a little more difficult for MT this week though. The Bears are coming off of a bye and have given up the 5th fewest fantasy points to WRs on the season. Alvin Kamara is looking very iffy to play this week and if he doesn’t suit up, Chicago should and will key on the big money WR from Ohio State because behind Kamara and Thomas, there’s not much there on offense for the Saints.
Keenan Allen, WR Los Angeles Chargers
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 6)
As a Steelers’ fan, Sunday was awesome to see as there was Black and Gold everywhere in LA. Second, that’s what you get Chargers ownership for moving your team from San Diego. I hope every game is like that for you in the future. But let’s get to Allen. After going scorched earth, motherfucker on everyone to start the season, KA13 has slowed down considerably the last few weeks with only 11 catches for 99 yards the last three games. There’s something seriously wrong with the Chargers’ offense and it’s their offensive line. Noted father of 1800 children Philip Rivers doesn’t have any time to throw and hasn’t hooked up with his top target as much as we’d like. The Titans defense has been very solid on the season and have given up the 6th fewest passing yards in the league. Until we see a get right game, I don’t think Allen finishes in the Top 10.
Hank Mardukus is a Fantasy Football expert and a regular columnist for Blitzed Football. For tips on Fantasy you can find him on Twitter here.
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. Week 5 had some big misses (Cooper, Jacobs and McCoy – SORREY) but I finished 4-5-1. I’m shooting for 5 wins a week so a little off. It’s hard to believe that we’re 5 weeks in already. Hopefully, Week 6 brings us more success than last. Let’s get to it and enjoy.
Kyler Murray, QB Arizona Cardinals
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 7)
The number 1 overall pick is already flying high heading into Week 6 with a ranking of 7, so he’s going to need to go bonkers for me to look right on this. Luckily for me, he’s facing the Falcons at home in Week 6. Just in case you missed last week, Atlanta got absolutely skullfucked by Deshaun Watson to the tune of 426 yards and 5 touchdowns. Yikes. Their defense #sucksbutts and I’m partially convinced that they want Dan Quinn to get fired. Obviously, Murray isn’t on the level of my dear Watson, but it’s not hard to see the crazy upside Kyler brings this week. The Falcons have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs and have been getting torched for the last few weeks. Not only does the former Sooner QB have an opportunity to dominate through the air, we should see him continue to use his legs. The last two weeks has seen Murray finally start running (120 yards and 2 touchdowns) and the Cards have been more successful because of it. With Larry Fitzgerald and the possible return of Christian Kirk, I’m predicting Murray finishes in the Top 5 of QBs this week.
Kerryon Johnson, RB Detroit Lions
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 14)
What do you want me to do to my Johnson? Carry it on where? On who? Oh, you’re talking about the football player, Kerryon Johnson. Gotcha. Sorry, I’m a child. Who doesn’t like talking about Johnsons though? After this week, my bet is the Packers aren’t going to. After having a week off, the Lions will take on Green Bay on Monday Night Football where we’ll have to listen to Joe and Booger scream about God knows what. Watch that shit muted. Kerryon has a favorable matchup as the Packers have allowed over 138 yards/game on the ground and have given up the 3rd most fantasy points to the position. All of this is great for the 2nd year back from Auburn, but what’s even better is this: In the two games since the Lions cut CJ Anderson’s corpse, Johnson has seen 20 carries and 26 carries respectively. We’ll take that volume all day and then some. Kerryon finishes as an RB1 this week and potentially Top 10.
Adrian Peterson, RB Washington Redskins
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 31)
Hold on one second, I have to go puke….
Ok, I’m good. Sorry about that. But yeah, here we are. I’m going to recommend Adrian Peterson as a Thrive this week despite his old balls. This call is really all about the matchup. The Washington R-Words will travel to noted old person’s home Miami this week to take on the tanking Dolphins. On the season, Miami has allowed over 175 yards rushing/game (most in the league) and the most fantasy points/game to RBs. If Peterson and Washington can’t run here, they’ll never be able to. Interim head coach and cousin to Tom Callahan, Bill Callahan is an Oline coach and will look to run early and often because of course they will. Their quarterbacks are Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and Dwayne Haskins. Would you want to pass if those were your QBs? Fuck no. This game is so gross and this call is as well, but Peterson could crawl into RB2 range this week.
Stefon Diggs, WR Minnesota Vikings
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 22)
After Adam Thielen bitched and moaned about not getting the ball, the Vikings and Kirk Cousins rewarded him with 8 targets last week and over 100 yards receiving against the Giants non-existent secondary. Could Minnesota decide to appease their other star receiver this week? Let’s fuckin’ hope so because I’m sure we’re all getting tired of waiting for Diggs’ breakout game (yeah, I know he had over 100 yards against the Bears but he wasn’t universally started in that matchup). I know that Minnesota’s head coach and famous pirate Mike Zimmer want to pound the ball on the ground, but that gameplan might not be ideal this week against an Eagles defense that has allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league. What the Eagles have struggled to do is cover the pass, giving up over 270 yards/game and the 5th most fantasy points to WRs. Diggs is too talented to continue to not produce. Let’s hope Captain Kirk can get him the ball and we’ll be digging this dude all week.
DJ Moore, WR Carolina Panthers
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 34)
Calling on a Panthers’ player to be productive when white LaDainian Tomlinson, Christian McCaffrey is there, is a bold move. I’m all about DJ Moore this week though. Moore, the 2nd year WR from Maryland currently owns a 23% target share even with CMC stealing more targets. He’s going to continue to get looks against a Bucs’ secondary that had Teddy Two Gloves and Michael Thomas just eviscerate them in New Orleans. After that performance, Tampa Bay has given up the 4th most fantasy points to WRs and the most passing yards. DJ Moore isn’t Michael Thomas, but he’s definitely talented enough to take advantage of Tampa Bay like he did in Week 2 (14 targets, 9 receptions). Kyle Allen is competent enough to allow Moore to shine in London. Wake up early and watch DJ rack up more and more yards. See what I did there? Yeah, I’m fuckin’ clever.
Carson Wentz, QB Philadelphia Eagles
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 10)
Carson Wentz is one of my favorite quarterbacks in the league. He’s incredibly tough and makes ballsy throws regularly. I just don’t love him this week. The Eagles will travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings on Sunday who have allowed the 6th fewest yards and the 8th fewest fantasy points to the QB. Despite not having DeSean Jackson for much of the season and being without Alshon Jeffrey for stretches of play, Wentz sits at QB9 on the season and that just speaks to his incredible ability. I personally own him in a lot of different places and I’m almost hoping I’m wrong on this one. Minnesota plays incredible defense though and should continue that trend this week. City of Philly looking at me like:
Dalvin Cook, RB Minnesota Vikings
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 4)
I swear I’m not only picking dudes from the Eagles-Vikings game but here’s another one. This game reminds me of Cook’s setup a few weeks back against the Bears, an excellent front 7 who excels against the run but can be beaten through the air from time to time. The Eagles can definitely be beat through the air but as I mentioned above (see Diggs, Stefon) they’ve allowed the fewest rushing yards out of all 32 NFL franchises. Cook has been excellent this year, coming in 2nd in the league in rushing, but he’s going to need their Oline to really step up and have Kirk Cousins be competent for the 2nd week in a row. I don’t think Cook finishes inside the Top 10 this week.
Nick Chubb, RB Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 6)
I do not hate Nick Chubb. He’s a terrific running back who grinds out hard yards even with a shoddy offensive line. This will be the 3rd week in a row that Mr. Chubb has appeared on the Dives list. The first week, he nuked me and the Ravens, last week I was right in the Browns’ brutal Monday Night performance in San Francisco. This Sunday, the Browns play host to the Seahawks and their rush defense which has allowed only 80 yards/game on the ground. With Baker Mayfield slowly morphing into a shitty quarterback and a sober Johnny Manziel, Seattle should look to key on Chubb and make things hard for him. I’m sorry for saying Chubb and hard so much near each other but again, I’m a child. The Browns’ offensive line looks absolutely brutal and the Seahawks could shut Hot Chubb Time Machine down.
Mike Evans, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 11)
This might just be a vindictive call. How in the fuck-knuckles do you get a 0 as a big-time WR? Seriously. Even WRs like Stanley Morgan, who I was convinced was a porn star until I looked him up, had a catch last week. This week, it might not get much better. Evans has the constant struggle of having Jameis Winston as his quarterback which if you aren’t a Chris Godwin owner, is a total fucking nightmare. If he wasn’t an Uber gropin, crab stealin’, gun slingin’ QB, it’d actually be funny. But that dude just sucks way too often. Not only is he inconsistent, the Panthers have a dang good secondary led by James Bradberry. The Panthers have given up the 4th fewest passing yards on the season and kept Evans in check in their Week 2 matchup. What hurts Evans the most though is Carolina’s pass rush. The Panthers are second in the league in sacks. This impacts Evans greatly as he is primarily a downfield threat. Those routes take a long time to develop and if Winston doesn’t have time, the super tatted, skyscraper of a WR suffers. He’s more than likely going to suffer again this week.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
(FantasyPros Week 6 Rank: 19)
I love this player and I’m tired of writing too many negative things about him and having him as a Dive. But what can I say? He has a tough matchup against the Chargers secondary and has struggled so far this season in large part due to QB play. As of this writing it’s unclear whether or not Mason Rudolph will be back after getting knocked out on Sunday. That was scary as shit. I honestly thought he was dead. The fact that he might return to play this week is astonishing. If it’s not Rudolph under center, it’ll be Devlin “Duck” Hodges, an undrafted free agent from Samford. So yeah, not exactly feeling the WR2 status for Smith-Schuster this week. I’m sorry, JuJu. I still love you. Forgive me.
Hank Mardukus is the Fantasy expert for Blitzed Football. You can yell at him on Twitter here.
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. Week 4 had some pretty big misses (Chubb and Godwin as Dives, whoops), but overall was a decent showing as I went 5-4-1 in my calls and that’s counting an L for Terry McLaurin after he was declared inactive. Let’s get to Week 5.
Andy Dalton, QB Cincinnati Bengals
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 15)
I know what you’re thinking, and yes I did watch Monday Night Football. Dalton was hit and sacked so much against the Steelers that I’m petitioning to change his nickname from the Red Rifle to the Red Rectum, because I’m pretty sure he’s bleeding out of his ass after taking all that abuse. If there’s a cure for an abused rectum in fantasy football, it’s the Arizona Cardinals. Man rocket Kliff Kingsbury will bring his team from the desert to Cincy on Sunday in a matchup of winless teams. To say the Cards have struggled on defense this season, would be an understatement. Through 4 weeks, their defense ranks 2nd in most fantasy points given up to QBs, 2nd most passing touchdowns against and have surrendered the 9th most yards through the air. Meanwhile, Dalton has ranked 3rd in dropbacks and 4th in passing attempts. The Bengals will be down John Ross this week, but this matchup is a glorious one. I think Dalton finds his way into being a QB1 this week. Let’s just hope that bleeding gets fixed.
LeSean McCoy, RB Kansas City Chiefs
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 15)
It’s important for us to look at this version of Shady McCoy as not the guy he was in Philly and Buffalo. He just doesn’t have the same ridiculous quicks that he did when he was younger. There’s still plenty of ability there though, and there’s definitely enough when you remember he plays with Patrick Mahomes. Give me that action all day boss. On Sunday night, the high flying Chiefs will welcome the Colts to Arrowhead. On the season, Indy’s defense has given up the 8th most rushing yards and 9th most fantasy points to RBs. McCoy isn’t playing every snap (46% last week), but at this point in his career, that’s probably for the best long-term. In a game that promises to have points galore, he offers very high-upside RB2/low-end RB1 status in Week 5.
David Montgomery, RB Chicago Bears
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 20)
Are we doing this again? Yes. Yes, we are. Do I love this man? Maybe. This is now David Montgomery’s 3rd appearance on the Thrives list early in the season. What can I say? I’m a sucker for DMont even though Matt Nagy hasn’t totally bought in yet. The bald, visor-wearing 2nd year coach is starting to show signs that he’s shaking off his stupidity. In the last 3 weeks, the rookie from Iowa State’s snap percentages have only gone up.
Alshon Jeffery, WR Philadelphia Eagles
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 23)
In the words of the great Aldous Snow, “Who could be scared of a Jeffery?” The big bodied WR for the Eagles finds his way on the Thrives this year for several different reasons. The first and probably the most important is that Philly’s offense is a dynamic one as it continues to get healthy. Beyond that, the former Gamecock (what a name) has a great individual matchup against the Jets’ Darryl Roberts who has struggled mightily this season to say the least. After defeating Green Bay last Thursday, Jeffery has had a little extra rest time for his injury so he should be back to 100%. In our case, we’re going to hope that leads to more red zone looks from Carson Wentz for the WR. Fire up Alshon with confidence on Sunday.
Calvin Ridley, WR Atlanta Falcons
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 25)
Some calls are just a hunch. This is one. Ridley and the Falcons will take on the Texans on Sunday, and they’ve struggled a little bit against opposing passing attacks to start the season surrendering 260 yards/game and have given up the 9th most fantasy points to WRs. The 2nd year wideout from Alabama does have a great one-on-one matchup this coming week against 93 year old Jonathan Joseph. How is this guy still playing? I feel like he’s been in the league since 1991. Regardless of his age, he’s not setup for the most success against a supremely talented WR. The Falcons need to get this young man going, though. After lighting it up in the first 2 weeks, Ridley has gone for 4 catches for 38 yards the last two weeks. That’s not gonna get it done. It starts to change this week.
Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Packers
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 7)
Does the dude ever stop bitching? He’s a great quarterback and is fun to watch play. It’s what happens in between plays that just irks me about him. He has a resting crybaby face and I just don’t get it. He’s so good. Why does he have to constantly look like he’s about to bitch about something? His bitching might continue this Sunday in a matchup against the Cowboys. Dallas’ defense has been impressive as they’ve allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs. That’s important and all but the bigger issue for ARod is going to be the potential lack of Davante Adams after he left the game against the Eagles in the 4th with a toe injury. It’s unlikely he plays, which leaves Rodgers’ top weapons as Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham. Not ideal. I don’t see him finishing in the Top 10.
Nick Chubb, RB Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 5)
Are you really going to do this again, Hank? Did you not learn your lesson last week? After being on the Dives list, Chubb went full rager (boner jokes again, yes!) on Sunday against the Ravens and buried my call. I’m going back to the well this week, however. The Browns will travel to San Francisco to take on the undefeated 49ers (that sounds weird) on Monday night. San Fran’s front 7 is legit, led by DeForest Buckner, Nick Bosa and a cast of other talented guys. While the Browns had great success on the ground against Baltimore, I don’t see it being the case against the Niners, who’ve given up the fewest fantasy points on average to RBs. If Chubb roasts me again, I might need to stop making boner jokes about him.
Josh Jacobs, RB Oakland Raiders
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 24)
They’re playing the Bears. Just don’t do it. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. Seriously. Moving on.
Amari Cooper, WR Dallas Cowboys
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 5)
We got a lot of repeaters on the Thrives and Dives this week. After nailing down Cooper as a Dive last week, I’m calling it again. The Cowboys just don’t have enough weapons through the air with Michael Gallup down to take the pressure off of their number 1 option. Add on top of that, the Packers defense has given up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to WRs on the season. I’m a card carrying member of the Cooper Troopers fan club, but even I don’t want to mess with him up this high against Green Bay’s new defense. The biggest reason I’m not a fan of this matchup is shutdown corner Jaire Alexander, who is likely to shadow Cooper. According to Pro Football Focus, Alexander has the 2nd highest coverage grade out of all eligible corners on the season. That’s no bueno for Amari.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 12)
This one hurts. It hurts a lot. There were very few people who were as big on JuJu heading into the season as me, but even I as a Steelers fan have to be a realist. This offense just isn’t going to get it done consistently enough to sustain a high-end WR1. We all watched Monday Night where the Steelers wouldn’t let Mason Rudolph throw the ball down field often and Smith-Schuster finished with 3 catches for 15 yards. If that’s the gameplan moving forward, that crushes JuJu. Even in a great matchup against a Ravens defense that’s actually struggled against the pass, I’m not loving JuJu this week. I’m sorry, JuJu. I love you.
Hank Mardukus is the Blitzed Fantasy columnist. You can yell at him on Twitter here.
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. After lighting the world on fire by going 7-1-2 in Week 2, I came crashing back to Earth in Week 3 with a 4-5-1 record. That’s still decent (I shoot for about 50%) but ideally we’d have a higher hit rate. That’s where Week 4 comes in.
NOTE: Due to a busy work week, these write-ups will be a little shorter than usual. My apologies but it’s free, so don’t bitch too much now.
Matt Stafford, QB Detroit Lions
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 13)
Matty Snapback has a chance to enter the Top 10 for QBs this week. In his matchup against Kansas City and the juggernaut that Patrick Mahomes is running, the Lions are going to have to play keep up. Stafford should have to go to the air early and often against a Chiefs’ secondary that has faced Gardiner Minshew, Derek Carr and an inaccurate Lamar Jackson. That’s significant to note because Kansas City hasn’t been terrible this year but Stafford and his weapons (Kenny G, Jones, Hockenson) provide a different challenge.
James Conner, RB Pittsburgh Steelers
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 7)
I’m not sure if this is me hoping things turn around for Conner and the Steelers or if I truly agree with what I’m saying here. So do with that what you will. The Terminator has a golden opportunity in a potential get right game for the Steelers this Monday Night at home against the Bengals. Cincinnati has struggled against the run, giving up the 2nd most rushing yards thus far. If Conner and the Steelers don’t get it done this week, I’m going to start drinking heavier.
Wayne Gallman, RB New York Giants
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 22)
After Saquon went down Sunday against Tampa, we’ve seen a lot of different opinions on Wayne Gallman and whether or not he can help your team that much. The one that has made me laugh the most though on Twitter is the amount of people who have said that Gallman isn’t Saquon. Well, no fucking shit he’s not one of the most talented running backs ever with generational abilities. If you follow those people, stop. They’re bad. Gallman does have a great opportunity this week at home against a Redskins defense that has given up the 4th most rushing yards this season. The G-Men’s offense looks reborn under Daniel Jones. I think Gallman will provide you high-end RB2 value.
Terry McLaurin, WR Washington Redskins
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 23)
I love this Giants-Redskins game. Both of their defense are fucking terrible and their offenses have been surprising. McLaurin, the rookie from Ohio State has had a tremendous start to his young career. In all 3 of his games, Scary Terry has gone for over 50 yards and a TD. Good news for him, that should continue this week as he is likely to see a lot of the burnt remains of Janoris Jenkins. He’s #suckedbutts this year. Be on the lookout however as he popped up on the injury report late in the week.
Christian Kirk, WR Arizona Cardinals
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 24)
Captain Kirk is a great volume play. In his 3 games so far, the 2nd year player out of Texas A&M has seen 32 targets which accounts for a 24% target share for the Cardinals offense. Arizona will continue to implement the air raid system with Kyler Murray and that’s a great thing for Kirk as he’ll continue to get looks every week. This week, Kirk should gets a great individual matchup against Shaquill Griffin of the Seahawks and should look to take advantage.
Deshaun Watson, QB Houston Texans
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 3)
Another week, and another appearance for my dear Watson on the Dives list. Last Sunday, Deshaun decided to take a big shit in my mouth with my call as he rolled to an absolutely bonkers game against the Chargers. I’m going back to the well this week though, however. Watson will face a Carolina defense that can get pressure on the quarterback. Houston’s offensive line has struggled so far and could again against the Panthers. Carolina’s secondary has been impressive as well, giving up the 2nd fewest passing yards. I don’t see Deshaun posting another monster game, but I also didn’t see my “parents” telling me that I was adopted either.
Dalvin Cook, RB Minnesota Vikings
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 5)
Yeah, Cook leads the league in rushing. And yeah, he’s looked great doing it. I’m going to bet against him this week, however. Chicago’s defense is ferocious and has given up the 5th fewest rushing yards and the 4th fewest fantasy points to the position. They’re also smart enough to realize that they need to take away the best thing Minnesota has and make Kirk Cousins beat them. If this season has been any indication, he can’t. I don’t see Dalvin finishing in the Top 10 this week.
Nick Chubb, RB Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 11)
Despite starting to take over the backfield as he should’ve all along (he played 99% of snaps last week), I think Chubb is gonna have a hard time against the Ravens this week. Boner jokes, they’re funny. Anyways, Baltimore’s defense has been stout against the run this season giving up the 3rd fewest rushing yards and 6th fewest fantasy points to the running back position. And much like the Bears’ D, I can see the Ravens’ D making the QB beat them. Baker Mayfield has not looked right so far and if that continues, the Browns offense is going to continue to struggle.
Amari Cooper, WR Dallas Cowboys
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 5)
Every week, there’s a call that scares me the most. This is the one for this week. Cooper will take on a Saints’ defense this week that has been lit up through the air so far. So why is he on the Dives, Hank? Well, his individual matchup isn’t one that I love. Marshon Lattimore is a solid cover corner who figures to shadow the Cowboys top option in the passing game. Additionally, news broke this week that Cooper had to get an MRI on his ankle on Wednesday. I’m not a big fan of that at all. If the Saints are smart, they’ll make another WR beat them.
Chris Godwin, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 15)
Tough matchup. A QB I don’t trust. Potential health problems. That’s a bad recipe for a young WR. This week, the 3rd year WR from Penn State will take on the Rams in LA. The Rams have been phenomenal against WRs this year as their secondary has shut down all of the passing attacks they’ve seen so far. And despite balling out last week, I don’t trust Jameis Winston at all, no matter how skrong he is. And much like Cooper, Godwin’s name popped on the injury report as well. He’s the GOD, but we should look to worship somewhere else this Sunday.
Hank Mardukus is a Fantasy Football expert and a weekly columnist at Blitzed Football. You can yell at him on Twitter here.
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. After an absolutely brutal Week 1 (2-6-2), I rebounded with an outstanding Week 2, going 7-1-2. I just needed to get that shitfest of Week 1 out of my system. Hopefully I’m ready to keep the fire coming for you. Let’s get to Week 3.
Jameis Winston, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(FantasyPros Week 3 Rank: 13)
What in the H-E-DOUBLE FUCK am I doing?! I’ve preached to you guys for a while now to never trust the crab stealin’, Uber gropin’ skrong QB from Tampa. Much like doing the stranger, this just doesn’t feel natural, but here we are. Winston is setup with an absolutely glorious matchup at home this week against the Giants. New York has gotten torched the first two weeks of the season by Dak Prescott and Josh Allen. The G-Men’s defense has given up the 3rd most passing yards on the season as well as the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs. They #suckbutts. The Bucs’ have the weapons on the outside to dominate the Giants’ lowly secondary in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. It’s hard to believe, and it’s incredibly difficult to trust, but I’m on board with Winston this week getting in the Top 10 of QBs.
Aaron Jones, RB Green Bay Packers
(FantasyPros Week 3 Rank: 10)
Matt Peter LaFleur needs to just #FreeAaronJones already. Recently, the 1st year head coach said to the media that he wants to split touches up between Jones and Jamaal the human bowling ball Williams. Yeah ok sure, Matt, and I want to be inflicted with gonorrhea. I’m not buying it. The 3rd year back from UTEP is the supremely talented one in this backfield and LaFleur knows it. He’s coming off an enormous Week 2 performance against the Vikings, going over 100 yards on the ground while adding 4 receptions. This week he’ll get to run behind his solid offensive line against a Broncos’ defense that has given up the 10th most rushing yards in the league to Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery. I love Jones this week.
David Montgomery, RB Chicago Bears
(FantasyPros Rank: 21)
Mr. Montgomery finds his way on the Thrives list for the 2nd week in a row after his head coach Matt Nagy decided to listen to our pleas and give the rookie the ball more. The only question now is this: will Nagy continue being smart or will he fall back into outsmarting himself? If he continues keeping the ball out of Mitchell the Bitchell Trubisky’s hands, the running back from Iowa State should have another solid outing for your fantasy teams. This week, the Bears will take on the Redskins at home on Monday Night Football. Do yourself a favor and mute the game because, yikes to that MNF crew, and enjoy watching D-Mont on mute rip up a Redskins defense that has given up the 2nd most rushing yards so far this season.
Kenny Golladay, WR Detroit Lions
(FantasyPros Rank: 17)
Last week, Kenny Golladay Powers and his smooth routes were on my Dives list when he was facing a tough matchup against the Chargers. And Golladay responded to my challenge because he definitely read this piece by torching the LA secondary for over 100 yards and a TD. I see you, Kenny. The Lions will travel to Philadelphia this weekend in a matchup that the tall receiver should dominate. On the season, the Eagles have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs while giving up 680 yards through the air. In his first two games, Golladay has seen 19 targets (26% target share) and that number should increase in a game where the Lions should look to the air for offensive success. Kenny gonna make it rain this week.
Marquise Brown, WR Baltimore Ravens
(FantasyPros Rank: 32)
I’m not 100% sure what the guys at FantasyPros are thinking with this ranking, but I’ll take it. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Brown is shaped up to ball out this week in a game that has the biggest shootout potential. Not only is he a big play waiting to happen, he’s been highly targeted by Right Vick Lamar Jackson. On the season, Brown has seen 19 targets, which equates to a 30% target share in this explosive offense. His snap total in Week 1 was a concern (18% of offensive snaps) but last week he jumped up to a 65% snap rate. The lightning quick rookie from Oklahoma has a terrific one-on-one matchup against KC corner Charvarious Ward and should win consistently on the outside. Time for Hollywood to shine again. He just needs to dance like Leo when he scores.
Deshaun Watson, QB Houston Texans
(FantasyPros Rank: 4)
This one hurts. My dear Watson is one of my favorite players to watch in the league and calling him a Dive isn’t meant as an insult, so please forgive me, Deshaun. I do not love his matchup this week though. The Chargers have a decent secondary and a formidable pass rush with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Unless the Texans’ offensive line stops leaking like Henrik Lundqvist’s five-hole, (I know he’s good, but hooray it’s hockey season, too) Watson is going to be in trouble. He gets the shit beat out of him every game. And while his mobility can save him from pressure, he still gets hit way too often and has been sacked 10 times this season. If you have him, you’re obviously playing him. I just don’t love this spot for the QB from Clemson.
Le’Veon Bell, RB New York Jets
(FantasyPros Rank: 9)
I’ll admit, I was wrong about Lev. He’s looked like his old self in his action with the Jets. The dude is just a great back. This week shapes up to be a potentially difficult one for Bell, however. Traveling to Foxboro to take on the Patriots is always a challenge. It’s going to be an even bigger challenge with Luke Falk at QB. Who and a what is a Luke Falk? If Sam Darnold could not tongue-fuck someone when he kisses, this would be a better opportunity for Le’Veon , but alas here we are. Besides winning, cheating and being a generally miserable human, if there’s one thing Bill Belichick is known for, it’s that he takes away the other team’s best weapon, and in the Jets’ case, their only weapon. Unless Bell just says fuck it and takes every snap himself, I don’t see him as an RB1 this week.
James Conner, RB Pittsburgh Steelers
(FantasyPros Rank: 18)
Another tough one to put down for me on Dives is James Conner. But, I can’t be a homer. He’s got a lot of question marks right now. His health status is a question (no practice as of Wednesday) as well as his new situation with second year QB Mason Rudolph taking the keys to the offense. If that wasn’t enough, Conner faces a 49ers defense this Sunday that has only given up 3.2 yards/carry and has surrendered the 4th fewest fantasy points to the position. They are going to key on the 3rd year back from Pitt much like other defenses have. So far this season, Conner has faced an 8 man box on 38% of his carries. Not ideal. That number could go even higher unless Rudolph and the Steelers offense can turn it around.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
(FantasyPros Rank: 9)
Thomas is an absolute beast and has a terrific matchup against the Seahawks secondary that has struggled thus far in 2019. So why is he on the Dives? Quarterback. Who the hell is going to be throwing him the football on Sunday? Is it Teddy Two Gloves or Taysom “Steve Young” Hill? (Where does Sean Payton get comparing that dude to Steve Young? I mean, seriously.) Either one doesn’t inspire much confidence. In both games this season, Thomas has seen 13 targets and volume will have to continue to be there for him to return value. Problem is, the volume might not be there. The Saints like to put the ball on the ground and should lean on Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray even more with Drew Brees down for 6 weeks.
T.Y. Hilton, WR Indianapolis Colts
(FantasyPros Rank: 14)
I swear that I don’t hate T.Y. Hilton. He is perpetually a dive for me and I can’t exactly explain it. He’s a tremendous football player but for some reason, I just don’t trust him all that much. Teams have to start figuring out that he’s the only weapon that the Colts have in the air right now (don’t bring Eric Ebron at me, please. I said weapon.) The Falcons could and should bracket Hilton and make others beat them. Not only should they do that, they should let shutdown corner Desmond Trufant shadow him everywhere (Trufant doesn’t traditionally shadow). Even if they don’t follow through with that strategy, Hilton could be in for a tough week. The Falcons have given up the fewest passing yards this season and that number is inflated by Kirk Cousins’ Week 1 performance of 98 yards, but this defense is improved in 2019. Hilton gets here a lot and usually burns me. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen again.
Thanks for reading. I really appreciate all of the views. Throw a follow at me on Twitter. I’ll make it worth your time. @Blitzed_Fantasy
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. Let’s just say that Week 1 didn’t get off to a great start. I came in thinking I was spiting hot fiya and all I did was spit out shit. This week, things are gonna turn around. I believe it, and you need to as well. Let’s get to it.
QB Buffalo Bills (Fantasy Pros Week 2 Rank: 15)
This dude had 4 turnovers last week against the Jets and still found a way to finish with over 16 fantasy points on the week. He literally finished behind Trubisky, Big Ben and Jameis Winston in grades according to Pro Football Focus and in case you missed it, they #suckedbutts last week. This week, Josh “Uncle Rico” Allen gets to take on the Giants and their absentee defense. Dak Prescott lit up the GMen for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns in Dallas last week while giving up a lot of chunk plays. Not only does Allen possess a cannon for an arm, his mobility keeps his floor high. The 2nd year signal caller finds his way into QB1 status this week.
RB New England Patriots (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 18)
In the words of the great White Goodman, let me introduce you to my fitness consigliere, Michel. Picking a dude as a Thrive who had more carries than yards in Week 1 isn’t normally a recipe for success. But, when you get to play the Miami Dolphins and their defense that just gave up 59 to the Baltimore Ravens in a vicious slaughtering, you can look past some things. Not only did the Fins let Lamar Jackson light them up all day through the air, they gave up 190 yards on the ground as well. The Patriots have a good offensive line and should roll in this one, and if we know anything about Belichick, he’ll run the score up until the game’s over. Michel should bounce back this week.
RB Chicago Bears (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 33)
To pick David Montgomery is to trust Matt Nagy. Can Matt Nagy actually be smart this week and not a total fuckin idiot? We’ll see. I’m going to roll the dice and trust that he’ll recognize the fact that the rookie from Iowa State is his most talented running back and should get the ball more than 6 carries and 1 reception like he did in Week 1 against the Packers. We were all obviously disappointed by that usage (38% snap rate) and need to see more from DMont if he’s going to return his draft day value. A road matchup with the Broncos could help. On Monday night, Denver gave up 113 total yards and 2 touchdowns against fellow rookie Josh Jacobs. If used correctly, Montgomery could see similar success. When Nagy uses the rookie correctly, he’s gonna feel real good about himself.
WR Los Angeles Rams (FantasyPros Rank: 17)
Time for a Kupp check. In his return from a torn ACL, Kupp played on 90% of the Rams snaps while seeing 10 targets from rich-ass Jared Goff. He’s a trusted weapon who should continue to get even more comfortable as he sees more game action. This week, Los Angeles takes on the Saints in a rematch of the NFC Championship and is a game that screams shootout. Points should be scored fast and furious and I love Cooper Kupp this week not only for that but for his individual matchup. If he continues to play the majority of his snaps from the slot, he’s going to see a lot of PJ Williams. PJ Williams is no bueno. Cooper Kupp is going to eat him alive.
WR Oakland Raiders (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 33)
A backup 6th round pick was 22 for 25 for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns in emergency action for Jacksonville against the Chiefs defense last week. I’m no fan of cool guy Derek Carr, but I’m thinking the Raiders passing game can find a way to have some success Sunday in Kansas City in a game where Oakland could have to play catch-up. And if the Raiders are going to have success, Tyrell the Gazelle Williams is going to play a big part of it. With the release of total asshole Antonio Brown, Williams is the de facto number 1 option in the passing game and proved that on Monday night against Denver going for 6 catches and 105 yards with a house call. The Raiders will move him all over the field to get him looks and should find WR2 value in Week 2.
QB Carolina Panthers (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 8)
Wham bam no thank you, Cam. The QB in Carolina got off to a rocky start in Week 1 against the Rams talented defense only throwing for 239 yards and an interception. And while is passing numbers aren’t spectacular, his shoulder seemed fine. What concerns me most about the giant man playing QB is that he didn’t run. Like at all. He had negative yards for rushing. We’re interested in Cam because of his rushing ability and if his foot is still banged up from a preseason injury, we might not see him be too mobile anytime soon and that’s what scares me most. The Bucs defense played pretty well against handsome Jimmy Garoppolo and while Newton is a better QB, I don’t trust him until he starts scrambling. So Cam, for the sake of my fantasy team: Run.
RB Arizona Cardinals (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 9)
It took new coach Kliff Klingsbury all of one week to figure out that you need to throw the ball to DJ. In Week 1 against the Lions, Mr. Johnson caught 6 passes for 55 yards while adding 83 yards rushing in a game that ultimately ended in a tie. This week however, the young Cards travel to Baltimore in a less than ideal matchup. The Ravens absolutely skullfucked the Dolphins in Week 1 and should come in to Baltimore flying high off of their win. They did lose some key contributors to their defense this offseason, but it’s still a solid group that should give rookie Kyler Tyler Murray some issues. And if that’s the case, we could see Arizona playing from behind. Gamescript won’t be kind to Johnson. He’s going to have to get it done through the air if he hopes to live up to his rank this week.
RB Jacksonville Jaguars (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 16)
Earlier I attached a GIF of Uncle Rico with Josh Allen because they can both throw a football over them mountains. But if we’re going by physical appearance, Jags rookie Gardiner Minshew is the definition of that. And I bring up the 6th rounder in this Fournette write-up because that’s his QB for at least this week if not until Big Dick Nick Foles returns from injury. That’s significant. Halloween Leonard already faces 8 man fronts regularly, but with an unchallenged rookie QB in, he’s going to see them even more. And that’s going to start this week in Houston against a Texans team that got gashed by Alvin Kamara on Monday Night. I like Fournette, but he ain’t Kamara. And the Texans should bounce back on defense at home. Their defense only allowed 3.4 yards/carry last season. Much like Johnson, Fournette is going to need to get it done in the air if he’s to return value.
WR Green Bay Packers (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 4)
This is the one that might come back and get me the most. Adams is an awesome receiver playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback at home in a game that everyone who owns him is hoping he rebounds from his 4 catch Week 1 outing. Xavier Rhodes and the Vikings defense might have other ideas though. Last week, Minnesota held Julio Jones to 6 catches and only 31 yards on 11 targets (he did score a garbage time TD, but this is fantasy so we’ll take it) while swarming the computer generated quarterback Matt Ryan in the pocket and forcing him into some bad throws. The Vikings defense is legit and last year they allowed the 3rd fewest passing yards/game. Davante Adams is talented enough that shadow coverage normally won’t bother him, but Rhodes is a great corner. I’m betting on the Vikes and Rhodes here. Adams won’t finish in the Top 12.
WR Detroit Lions (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 21)
Casey Heyward and the Chargers made me look like an absolute fuckin’ moron last week. I called T.Y. Hilton as a Dive here and he proceeded to go out and light San Diego, er Los Angeles on fire (they should still be in San Diego). I’m going back to the well with Heyward again though against Kenny G and his smooth routes. The physical corner should shadow the lengthy Lions WR on Sunday and that could be reason enough for Matt Stafford to look to other options in the passing game. Dear Casey,
Hank Mardukus is the Blitzed Football Fantasy columnist. You can yell at him on Twitter here.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve made it. It’s finally Week 1 of the NFL regular season! After struggling through the offseason and the shitshow that is the preseason, we’re here. And with the start of the season comes a need for fantasy advice. That’s where I come in. Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who have a chance to do what this week. Week 1 is definitely the hardest time of year to write this because we don’t have much to go on in terms of data for this season. But, I’m not going to complain. That’s not what Blitzed is paying me for. They’re paying me to spit hot fiya at you and help your fantasy team. Let’s get to it.
QB Minnesota Vikings (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 14)
Everyone hated Kirk Cousins last year despite throwing for 4,300 yards and 30 touchdowns. But, when you pay a guy eleventy billion dollars like the Vikings did, I guess that’s fair. Captain Kirk gets to kick off year 2 of his tenure in Minnesota with a home matchup against the Falcons. Last season, Atlanta allowed the most fantasy points against the quarterback and around 260 yards/game through the air. They are returning two key starters in Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, so their defense should be improved, but I’m not ready to crown their asses the 85’ Bears yet. Plus, Cousins has arguably the most talented duo of wide receivers in the league in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to throw to (as of this writing, Diggs is questionable with an injury like he always fuckin’ is!) and what the Vikings hope to be an improved offensive line. I’m on Cousins this week. Sorry, that sounds weird. But I’ll ride Cousins. Nope, that’s worst. You get it, though.
RB Seattle Seahawks (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 7)
Total Request Live with Chris Carson Daly should be rejuvenated this weekend with the Seahawks playing at home against the Bengals. Seattle and play caller Brian Schottenheimer want to run, run and run some more and this situation sets up perfectly for the back from Oklahoma State. Not only is Carson a talented, powerful back, he gets to take on a Bengals defense that gave up 138 yards/game on the ground last year and is a significant underdog taking on Seattle and the 12th man. The Seahawks have talked during the preseason about giving Carson a role in the passing game and if they expand his role to that, fantasy owners should be stoked. He’s already in the Top 10 for the week, but I expect this beast to finish in the Top 5 this week.
RB San Francisco 49ers (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 31)
To Tevin Coleman owners’ chagrin, the 49ers listed Matt Breida as their starting running back to begin the season. He gets a pretty nice gift getting to fire off his season against the Tampa Bay defense. Last season, the Bucs surrendered 124 yards/game on the ground and the 6th most fantasy points to RBs. Even if Breida splits work with Coleman, he can more than return value. He’s a quick, dynamic runner and a special weapon in the passing game. Manrocket Kyle Shanahan is going to find ways to get this dude the ball. Play Breida.
WR Los Angeles Rams (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 19)
If you read anything I wrote last year, then you know that I fucking love Robert Woods. I think he’s a BAD dude, and so do the Rams. Aspiring male model/rocket scientist/head coach Sean McVay loves getting the ball into Woods’ hands any way possible and should look to do so again starting off the season against Carolina. Last season, Woods led the Rams with a 24% target share and should catch the eye of newly crowned King Jared Goff (my God, did he get a poop ton of money) more this season. Todd Gurley and his knee have been discussed at length this offseason and if it’s truly banged up, I think we could see the Rams go to the air more this season. Rolling the dice on the 3 stud Rams’ WRs can be tough, but Bobby to the Woods is worth it against a Panthers defense that gave up the 6th most TDs through the air last year. He’ll flirt with WR1 status this week.
WR Houston Texans (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 28)
The Texans visit the Saints on Monday Night Football’s opener and holy hell, this game should be a shootout. I’m pretty sure Houston is just saying to hell with running the football and letting Deshaun Watson air it out. I mean, Bill O’Brien has been on some wild shit since basically becoming the GM of the Texans. Acquiring Duke Johnson, Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills while saying bye-bye to Jadeveon Clowney and a ton of future picks, and I AM HERE FOR IT. Throw the ball 800 times a game, Billy! And this is where Will Fuller comes in. When he actually plays with Watson, he is an absolute stud. He’s never going to be more healthy than he is in Week 1 so use him before he falls apart! The Saints gave up the 4th most passing yards last season and we could see their best corner Marshon Lattimore shadowing DeAndre Hopkins, which should lead to Watson to look away from him a little more. I love Fuller this week.
QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 3)
It’s not that I don’t think Winston isn’t a decent play. He is. But coming in at number 3?! Holy schnikes! I do not trust this guy whatsoever, even in a terrific matchup. He’s turnover prone and that’s something that I don’t want anything to do with. Last season, Winston threw 14 INT’s in only 11 games and now he’ll be working under head coach Bruce Arians’ new system which calls for longer dropbacks and potentially more pressure. Like I said in my preseason write-up, more pressure means bad decisions which means interceptions which means I’m not a believer in a Top 10 finish this week for this crab stealin’, Uber gropin’ gunslinger.
RB New York Giants (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 1)
WHAT?! HUH?! ARE YOU FUCKING HIGH?! I know what you’re thinking, this is fuckin’ crazy. Saquon is a stud. He’s the best RB in the league. You don’t mess with him. I hear you. If you have him, you’re obviously playing him. This is where it helps to read up top (not a start-sit piece). Playing on the road in Dallas, my boldest call of the week goes here: Barkley won’t finish the week inside the Top 10. The Cowboys allowed the 5th fewest rushing yards/game last season while surrendering 3.8 yard per carry rate to rushers. Their front 7 is damn good. And if history indicates anything, they’ll stack the box against the 2nd year back from Penn State. Last season, Barkley faced an 8 man front on 23% of his carries. That is a huge number. They’ll try and let Eli Dumbface throw it to Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and the other unknown members, but I’m not sold on the GMen. I know it’s wild, but Barkley isn’t a super-duper play this week.
RB Tennessee Titans (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 21)
Nope, not gonna do it. I don’t care if he looks like Gigantor running a football, I won’t trust him. For starters, Henry has been banged up throughout training camp with a calf strain. Next up on my list of no-no is his role. If and when the Titans fall behind this Sunday against the Browns, Henry will lose passing game work to Dion Lewis. That’s a huge red flag! On top of that, Henry faced an 8 man box 32% of the time on his carries last season. When this large human is on the field, the defense knows what’s coming. For all the talk that Cleveland’s offense has been getting, their defense has improved significantly as well with Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon upfront. I’d never say it to his face because he could kill me with his pinky, but Henry is a bust this week.
WR Pittsburgh Steelers (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 6)
Oh, this pains me so much. What kind of Steelers fan am I to put this dude on the list? And to put him on the list when he’s going against the rival Patriots? Man, I suck. But, so does JuJu’s matchup. If there’s one thing I know about Bill Belichick (other than his hard on for white skill players) it’s that he knows how to take away an offense’s best weapon. And I’m sure the curmudgeon has spent most of his time game planning on how to do that to the number 1 in Pittsburgh. He’s going to challenge the Steelers ancillary pieces to step up and beat them. Last season, New England allowed the 2nd lowest catch rate at 61% and their defense is shaping up to be a pretty decent one this season. Trust me, this hurts to say and everyone knows it, but Belichick knows how to murder the Steelers. I don’t see JuJu as a WR1 this week. Cries uncontrollably.
WR Indianapolis Colts (FantasyPros Rank: 23)
T.Y. in texting used to stand for “thank you.” Fantasy owners and Colts fans alike have been saying thank you to Mr. Hilton for a while now as he’s been a standout receiver since coming into the league. This week, Hilton faces off against the Chargers without Andrew Luck (RIP, again) and Jacoby Beef Brisket Brissett at QB. I’m not trusting Hilton with Brissett until we see some sort of chemistry. Add on top of that, Hilton could be shadowed by corner Casey Heyward this weekend. I’m saying no T.Y. this week to Hilton.
Below are my TE rankings for the 2019 season. I considered writing a player capsule on each player, but I’ve decided my time could be best spent elsewhere typing up articles on calls of mine. I know that for your drafts you’ll probably use ESPN or Yahoo’s cheat sheets or base your rankings off of them. I don’t blame you. But, I’ll still give you my rankings for your personal use if you’d like. Be on the lookout on Blitzed in the coming weeks where I’ll be putting some time into individual players that I like this year and don’t. For now though, I’ll go position by position ranks. Assume league scoring settings are normal:
(25 pass yards = 1 pt. 10 rush/receiving yards = 1 pt. Pass TD = 4 pts. Rushing/Receiving TD = 6 pts. ½ pt. PPR)
TE Rankings (1-32)
Below are my WR rankings for the 2019 season. I considered writing a player capsule on each player, but I’ve decided my time could be best spent elsewhere typing up articles on calls of mine. I know that for your drafts you’ll probably use ESPN or Yahoo’s cheat sheets or base your rankings off of them. I don’t blame you. But, I’ll still give you my rankings for your personal use if you’d like. Be on the lookout on Blitzed in the coming weeks where I’ll be putting some time into individual players that I like this year and don’t. For now though, I’ll go position by position ranks. Assume league scoring settings are normal:
(25 pass yards = 1 pt. 10 rush/receiving yards = 1 pt. Pass TD = 4 pts. Rushing/Receiving TD = 6 pts. ½ pt. PPR)
WR Rankings (1-56)