These players don’t have to be benched. Each team is different and league context matters. The matchups are more difficult than usual and if possible, seeking a better start is recommended.
QB Deshaun Watson vs. TEN
Watson isn’t getting much volume recently. Watson hasn’t passed for 300 yards since Week 5. In the last five games, Watson has 25 pass attempts or fewer. It’s difficult to produce Fantasy numbers when the pass attempts are that low, and Watson isn’t running much. He has 14 rushing yards or fewer in four of the last five games. Watson has one touchdown or fewer in four of the last six games. The over/under is 41, and if Marcus Mariota is out, the Watson won’t have to pass much. The Titans defense has been good despite allowing Andrew Luck to throw for 295 yards and three touchdowns last week. The Titans held Dak Prescott and Tom Brady in check the previous two games.
RB Kenyan Drake @IND
It’s challenging to have any faith in the usage of Drake right now. He will explode one of these weeks, but we have seen too many low floor games. Over the last three games, he is averaging 10.3 touches. Almost everyone believes Drake should get more touches than Frank Gore, but it isn’t happening over the last few games. At least Drake was becoming a big part of the passing game from Weeks 5-7 with 25 targets. Since then, he has ten in three games. Drake has 11 carries for 36 yards and six catches for 37 yards the last two games. The Colts have allowed 72 receptions to running backs, the third-most in the NFL and the Dolphins should play from behind. It’s possible Drake has a good game, but you’re putting faith in Adam Gase utilizing him the right way. That’s tough to do.
RB Jordan Howard @DET
With Chase Daniel expected to start in place of the injured Mitchell Trubisky, it makes sense for the Bears to feed Howard more. Howard hasn’t been good this season. Howard is averaging 3.4 yards per carry and is touchdown dependent. He’s barely involved in the passing game. He had ten receptions in the first three games of the season and has three catches in the last seven games. In Week 10, Howard had 11 carries for 21 yards and an 11-yard catch against the Lions. The Lions have been better against the run in the last three games, allowing 3.9 yards per carry.
WR Devin Funchess vs. SEA
The Panthers are starting to use more receivers, and after Devin Funchess dropped several passes last week, including a touchdown, one has to wonder if that will influence Cam Newton to look at Funchess less often. Funchess had eight targets against the Lions last week in a good matchup and had two catches for 39 yards and hasn’t scored since Week 7. In the previous four games, Funchess has 12 catches for 142 yards. If the Panthers are smart, more targets will go to D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel.
WR Corey Davis @HOU
It would have been nice to see what Davis could do over an entire season with a healthy Marcus Mariota. It appeared it was happening with two good games after the bye before Mariota got hurt last week and sat the second half. If Mariota is out and Blaine Gabbert starts, Davis is difficult to trust. Gabbert started against the Texans in Week 2 and Davis had five catches for 55 yards on seven targets, but the Texans are a better team compared to early in the season. The floor is low if Gabbert starts.
TE Kyle Rudolph vs. GB
Rudolph has disappeared from the offense, and if you don’t have a top tight end, you’re hoping for a touchdown. We used to be able to count on that from Rudolph, but not this season. Over the last four games, Rudolph has ten receptions for 96 yards. He hasn’t reached double-digit points in PPR formats since Week 4 and hasn’t scored since Week 3.
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