FAVORABLE MATCHUPS (CASH/GPP)
Patrick Mahomes (DK – $7,100/FD – $9,500): After eight games, Mahomes is on pace to score 496.60 Fantasy points in four-point TD leagues or 5,052 passing yards with 56 combined TDs. Patrick passed for 300 yards in seven straight games while extending his four TD streak to three games. On the year, he has four TDs or more in five of his six starts. The Browns are 12th in the NFL against QBs with three teams passing for over 300 yards (PIT – 335/1, OAK – 438/4, and TB – 365/0). The Browns allow 7.0 yards per pass attempts with QBs tossing 11 TDs. Mahomes may be without his top WR Tyreek Hill this week due to a hamstring issue. If so, Patrick will lose an explosive option in the passing game. He’s playing at a high level with a great feel for making plays in the red zone. One of the safer plays in all formats even with one less weapon in the passing game. An excellent chance at another 300 yards with three TDs, but his salary is the highest on the board again this week.
Cam Newton (DK – $6,600/FD – $8,600): Newton doesn’t have the sexiness of the next generation QBs, but he still ranks 3rd in QB scoring after eight weeks. Cam has at least two passing TDs in six straight games while adding nice value in most weeks in the run game (62/309/4). He’s on pace for 39 combined TDs with 4,468 combined yards. Last week we saw the emergence of D.J. Moore (5/90 with two runs for 39 yards plus Curtis Samuel is getting closer to being a relevant receiving option. The Bucs continue to rank last in the NFL in Fantasy points allowed to QBs. They allow 8.8 yards per pass attempt with QBs tossing 20 passing TDs and gaining over 300 yards in five games. Great matchup with Newton having the tools to deliver a special game.
Drew Brees (DK – $6,100/FD – $8,400): Brees settled into his 2017 path in three of his last four road starts (217/0, 212/2, and 120/1) and the Saints won each game. Drew has three special games at home (439/3, 396/3, and 363/3). New Orleans hasn’t run the ball as well as last year (3.9 yards per rush), but they do have 12 rushing TDs with RBs doing plenty of damage in the passing game (59/472/3). Brees still lacks secondary WRs to support impact TDs in the red zone. The Rams are 5th in the NFL against QBs with one impact game (MIN – 422/3). LA will beat up on weaker offenses with their pass rush, but an experienced QB will use that aggressiveness to his advantage. This game is going to be wide open with plenty of scoring, but the Saints will score rushing TDs. Brees tends to have a high floor at home, and this matchup sets the stage for an even higher ceiling. Tough sitting on the sidelines with no piece of this game.
Jared Goff (DK – $6,000/FD – $8,400): Goff came off two short games (201/0 and 202/2) with Todd Gurley carrying the way in the Rams’ offense. After a slow start in the first half vs. the Packers, Jared finished with 295 yards and three TDs. Goff has 12 TDs in his four home starts compared to five TDs on the road in four games. New Orleans allows the 3rd most Fantasy points to QBs with two QBs delivering impact games (TB – 417/4 and ATL – 374/5). The Saints allow 8.7 yards per pass attempt with QBs tossing 15 TDs. New Orleans plays well vs. the run (3.2 yards per rush), which points to Goff leading the show this week with his right arm. With Cooper Kupp back this week, LA has all their tools to produce an impact game. Live option in Week 9.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (DK – $5,500/FD – $7,100): Other than one half vs. the Bears (9-for-18 with 126 yards with no TDs and one Int), Fitzpatrick has been special in 2018. He passed for 400+ yards in three games with 11 TDs with solid success in less than one half vs. the Bengals (194/2). Ryan averages 10.8 yards per pass attempt with 23 completions over 20 yards and eight gaining over 40 yards. Carolina ranks 20th in the NFL defending QBs with three poor showings (GB – 341/3, MIA – 380/3, and NE – 277/3). QBs have 15 passing TDs against the Panthers while gaining 7.5 yards per pass attempt. Tampa struggles to run the ball, and we know the Panthers will score. Sometimes a Fantasy owner needs a little Magic to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
MATCHUP RISK / AGAINST THE GRAIN (GPP)
Mitchell Trubisky (DK – $5,800/FD – $7,800): The Bears turned to their run game last week (34/179/1), leading to a shorter game in passing yards (220/2). Over his last four games, Mitchell has 14 TDs with three games with over 300 yards passing. The Bills have yet to allow over 300 yards passing in 2018, but they did give up three or more passing TDs in three games. Buffalo allows 6.8 yards per pass attempt with QB picking up 13 passing TDs. The Bills struggle to score points, which points to another steady game by Trubisky. Tough ride in the daily games on the road.
Matthew Stafford (DK – $5,600/FD – $7,300): Stafford has two TDs in each of his last six games with three games with over 300 yards passing. Matthew is on pace for 32 TDs with 4,370 passing yards while averaging 36 passes per game. Last year he passed for 459 yards and two TDs in two games against the Vikings while failure on the road (209/0). Minnesota is league average vs. QBs with one disaster game (LAR – 465/5). The Vikings allow 8.1 yards per pass attempt with QBs tossing 12 TDs. The Lions traded Golden Tate this week, which does take away a weapon for Stafford. Possible two TDs with mid-tier yards.
Phillip Rivers (DK – $5,600/FD – $8,000): Rivers has two TDs or more in every game this year while passing for over 300 yards in three games at home. His only impact game came in Week 1 (424/3). The Chargers have run the ball well in 2018, which led to 30 passing attempts or fewer in five of their last six games. Seattle has the number one defense in the NFL vs. QBs with success in four games (CHI – 200/2, DAL – 168/1, ARI – 180/1, and OAK – 142/0). The Seahawks allowed over 300 yards passing in their other three games (DEN – 329/3, LAR – 321/1, and DET – 310/2). More steady than explosive with both team expected to feature their RBs.
Brock Osweiler (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,700): In his three starts for Miami, Osweiler passed for 860 yards with five TDs and three Ints. His best value came in Week 6 (380/3) at home against the Bears. Over this span, Brock has ten completion over 20 yards with three gaining over forty yards. The Jets allowed over 20 Fantasy points to QBs in four straight games. Four QBs passed for 300 or more yards against New York with the Colts having the most success (301/4). His receiving core has some injuries, but his salary is low enough to possibly surprise. He just needs the Jets to push the issue on the scoreboard.
Case Keenum (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,800): Over eight games, Keenum has three good games (329/3, 377/2, and 322/2). Case has an Int in every game this year with no game with over two TDs in his last seven starts. He’s on pace for 4,220 passing yards and 20 TDs. Houston held the QB position to fewer than 16 Fantasy points in four straight games while facing four weak passing teams (DAL, BUF, JAC, and MIA). Over the first four games, the Texans allowed 11 passing TDs with one disaster game (IND – 464/4). Houston will pressure the QB, and Denver has a step down in receiving talent after the trade of Demaryius Thomas. Only a flier.
BAD MATCHUP (AVOID)
Ben Roethlisberger (DK – $5,700/FD – $7,800): James Conner has two rushing TDs in each of his last three games, which has taken some of the pressure off of Roethlisberger in passing TDs. Ben has over 300 yards passing in four games with two strong games (452/3 and 353/3). In Week 4 at home vs. the Ravens, he passed for 274 yards and one TD. The Ravens are 3rd in the NFL vs. QBs. They allow 6.3 yards per pass attempt with QBs tossing ten TDs. Only one QB (CIN – 265/4) has over 300 yards passing against Baltimore. Fade for me on the road.
Sam Darnold (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,700): Over the last six games, Darnold passed for fewer than 210 yards in five games. Over this span, Sam has eight TDs and seven Ints. In Week 2, Darnold passes for 334 yards with one TD against the Dolphins. Miami is league average defending QBs with struggles in two of their last three games (CHI – 316/3 and HOU – 239/5). The Dolphins allow 8.6 yards per pass attempt with 16 passing TDs. I’d love to believe in Sam in this matchup, but his receiving core is in transition due to some injuries.
Deshaun Watson (DK – $6,300/FD – $7.900): Watson had his best game of the season in Week 8 (253 combined yards with five TDs). It was the first game all season that he wasn’t sacked. His success pushed him to 12th in QB scoring. Deshaun is on pace for 4,812 combined yards with 32 TDs. Denver averages three sacks per game with two teams passing for 300+ yards and three failure games in TDs (3, 3, and 4). Watson lost his WR2 last week for the season, but Demaryius Thomas will help stabilize the receiving core while needing some time to find his rhythm in the passing game. The Broncos’ defense isn’t where it needs to be, but they can pressure the QB. If they don’t get to Deshaun, he’ll have chances to make big plays in the passing game. More of fade than a rush to the ticket window.
Kirk Cousins (DK – $6,200/FD – $8,300): Cousins passed for over 300 yards in four games, but he hasn’t thrown more than two TDs in his last four games. Kirk continues to throw the ball well (70.7 percent completion rate) with two impact games (425/4 and 422/3). The Vikings have run the ball much better in their last three games (78/368/5), which is part of the reason for the step back in TD production. Detroit ranks 13th in the league defending QBs with one QB delivering an impact game (Aaron Rodgers – 442/3). The Lions do allow 8.6 yards per pass attempt while continuing to struggle vs. the run (5.1 yards per rush). Cousins has elite weapons in the passing game, which gives him a chance to pay off in many matchups. I expect 30+ points while at least one TD comes on the ground. In the mix in a must-win game.
Russell Wilson (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,700): Wilson is on pace for 37 passing TDs, but a career low in rushing yards (176) and regression in passing yards (3,557). Over his last three games, Russell has three TDs in each game despite averaging only 20.3 passing attempts per game. Wilson passed for fewer than 250 yards in each of his last six games. The Chargers held their last three QBs to fewer than 20 Fantasy points. They’ve faced two elite offenses (KC – 256/4 and LAR – 354/3) and five weak teams (BUF, SF, OAK, CLE, and TEN). Possible upside, but Wilson needs to regain his running value to help raise his floor. The Seahawks settled into a rushing team over the last few weeks, so they need game score to force them to pass.
Matt Ryan (DK – $5,700/FD – $8,200): Ryan is the second highest scoring average at QB in four-point TD leagues, but his success is padded by five home games in starts (272/4, 374/5, 419/3, 355/3, and 379/1). In his two road starts, Matt has one TD with two steady games in yards (251 and 285). The Redskins are league average defending QBs with one impact game (363/3). The Falcons struggle to run the ball (3.7 yards per rush) with some success in rushing TDs (7). In each of their last five games, Atlanta gained fewer than 4.0 yards per rush (2.2, 3.8, 3.3, 3.2, and 3.4) while allowing 20 sacks. A neutral matchup, but Ryan will have to have success passing the ball to win the game.
Baker Mayfield (DK – $5,600/FD – $7,400): Mayfield came up short in passing yards in his last two starts (215 and 180), but he did find a way to toss four TDs over this span. His best game in passing yards came at home (342) in Week 5 vs. the Ravens. On the year, he averages only 6.6 yards per pass attempts with eight TDs and six Ints in six games. The Chiefs sit 27th in the NFL defending QBs with three teams passing over 400 yards. QBs gain 7.7 yards per attempt vs. KC with 13 TDs. They’ve allowed only five passing TDs in the last five games. Cleveland will need to throw to win this week, but their best path to keep the ball will be feeding Nick Chubb. Mayfield has lost that loving feeling, especially in the daily games.
Joe Flacco (DK – $5,300/FD – $7,500): Flacco still doesn’t have an impact game in 2018. Over his last seven games, Joe has nine TDs with no game with more than two TDs. His best two games came on the road (376/2 and 363/2) in division games. He continues to average short yards per pass attempt (6.6). The Steelers are 28th in the NFL against QBs with four teams passing for over 300 yards and 17 passing TDs allowed. Their biggest failure came in two games (KC – 326/6 and TB – 411/3). Flacco doesn’t have that winning luster, but success in scoring by Pittsburgh could lead to a bump in passing attempts and production. Decent against the grain play.
Alex Smith (DK – $5,000/FD – $7,500): Smith has fewer than 200 yards passing in three straight games. On the year, Alex only has eight passing TDs in seven games with no game of value. Washington lacks firepower in the passing game, which makes him a tough dance in the daily space. The Falcons allow the 2nd most Fantasy points to QBs. They’ve allowed over 300 yards passing to all five teams at home. The Falcons allowed 17 passing TDs with QBs gaining 8.0 yards per pass attempt. Low hanging fruit who plays for a team that would rather run the ball.