Thumbs Up of the Week: Justin Fields (v DET)
Since being unleashed as a runner in Week 6, Fields has averaged 27.63 fantasy points per game, and the rushing production is at an unprecedented level with 49 attempts for 408 yards (8.3 YPC) and three touchdowns over those four games. Maybe the Lions will be the team that sells out to bottle him up on the ground, but Fields throwing for 190 or fewer yards in each of the past four weeks hasn’t mattered at all—and he should only have increased confidence through the air based on his recent overall play.
Thumbs Up: Jimmy Garoppolo (v LAC)
Garoppolo probably isn’t an option that will carry you with a week-winning performance, but he’s averaging 271.8 passing yards per game with multiple scores in each of his past four outings—and the upgraded supporting cast for San Francisco increases both his floor and ceiling. Also, the Chargers often struggling to tackle could lead to a big night for the pass-catchers of the Niners with Jimmy G accurately hitting them in stride to create run-after-catch opportunities. Consider him a top-ten option this week.
Thumbs Up: Trevor Lawrence (@ KC)
I’ve mentioned a few times over the course of the season that Lawrence should eventually do more damage as a runner, and his legs have become a clear boost with three rushing touchdowns over the past four games—plus a season-high 53 yards on the ground last week. Jacksonville will have to put up points to pull off an upset versus Kansas City, so Lawrence should be viewed as a low-end QB1 with upside against a defense that has allowed a league-high 17 touchdown passes.
Thumbs Up: Daniel Jones (v HOU)
Having eyes on Jalen Hurts was an obvious priority for the Texans last Thursday night, but I don’t think they’ll have the same kind of focus on stopping Jones with Saquon Barkley in the backfield. That could result in another nice rushing day from New York’s quarterback—who is on a season-long pace of 771 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns through eight games. Don’t sleep on Jones as a borderline QB1/QB2 coming off the bye week.
Thumbs Down of the Week: Kyler Murray (@ LAR)
Rushing production for Murray has always been limited in matchups versus the Rams, but he’s really been contained over the past two meetings (including playoffs)—rushing for a combined 14 scoreless yards on just four attempts. Earlier this season, Los Angeles held Murray to a season-low 13.36 fantasy points despite him throwing 58 passes, and the dual-threat quarterback has failed to surpass 19.0 fantasy points in four of his past five games. I’d view him as a fringe top-ten option.
Thumbs Down: Russell Wilson (@ TEN)
There are a couple of things working in Wilson’s favor this week—one being the Broncos coming off a bye week to maybe have some things figured out, and the other being his performance last year versus Tennessee with 343 yards and two touchdowns through the air. However, fantasy owners should probably take a wait-and-see approach with Wilson having fewer than 14.0 fantasy points in five-of-seven appearances, and his lack of production on the ground limits the upside.
Thumbs Down: Matthew Stafford (v ARI)
In a year where various quarterbacks have struggled, Stafford has seemed to get a pass because of issues up front for Los Angeles—but he’s averaging 11.7 fantasy points per game and has only thrown for multiple touchdowns in one outing this season. With Cooper Kupp notably being contained by the Cardinals over the past few years, Stafford is in danger of another performance that barely cracks the double-digits if Allen Robinson II, Van Jefferson, and Tyler Higbee don’t become more involved.
Thumbs Down: Malik Willis (v DEN)
Ryan Tannehill (ankle) not seeming too close to playing last week could mean another start for Willis, and although I thought he performed much better than given credit for against the Chiefs, Denver has the NFL’s top pass defense in terms of both yards per game (165.8) and touchdowns (four) allowed. In what might be a slugfest on the road, Willis should probably be left on the waiver wire in redraft leagues considering he’s totaled just 8.6 fantasy points in two starts.
Thumbs Up of the Week: Ezekiel Elliott (@ GB)
Dallas and Green Bay haven’t faced off since 2019, but Elliott has typically dominated against the Packers with 115.0 rushing yards per game in four matchups (including playoffs), and Jerry Jones has said the team will go back to Zeke as their lead back this week despite Tony Pollard’s three-touchdown performance before the bye. Green Bay ranking in the bottom ten in terms of both rushing yards per game (138.6) and yards per carry (4.8) allowed sets up favorable for Elliott to return strong RB2 value on Sunday.
Thumbs Up: Brian Robinson Jr. (@ PHI)
Jordan Davis (ankle) being out of the lineup for the Eagles in Week 9 was felt with Dameon Pierce keeping Houston in the game, and the Philadelphia run defense is a real weakness without their first-round pick on the field. Overall, the unit is allowing 5.2 yards per carry on the season, so Robinson—with 15+ touches in three of his four starts—should find more room to run on Monday night and can be a quality low-end RB2.
Thumbs Up: Kyren Williams (v ARI)
Williams got a write-up here last week and didn’t make his return from a high-ankle sprain, but not much has changed with Los Angeles again struggling on offense—including just three yards on five carries for Cam Akers. I still believe Williams will provide a significant spark to the offense, and the running game led the way in the Week 3 victory over Arizona with 20 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Now is the time to invest in the rookie.
Thumbs Up: Jamaal Williams (@ CHI)
While he didn’t find the end zone last week, Williams handled a season-high 24 carries for 81 yards, and he’s been an extremely stable option for fantasy owners to match the weekly touchdown upside (already four multi-score games on the year). Last season, Williams rushed for 65+ yards in both matchups versus the Bears, and he should remain a major piece of an improved offense with D’Andre Swift at less than 100%. We have the veteran as a top-20 play.
Thumbs Down of the Week: James Conner (@ LAR)
The usage for Conner last week was extremely encouraging with 71% of the snaps played and five receptions in his return. That said, he’s been limited to 44 carries for 120 yards (2.7 YPC) versus Los Angeles in three matchups since joining the Cardinals, and it’ll likely take touchdowns—on an underperforming offense—for him to return value as an RB2 play in Week 10. I’d rather start someone from the backfields of Dallas, Detroit, or Miami.
Thumbs Down: Miles Sanders (v WAS)
Sanders had another excellent game last week with 17 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown, so his preseason warning about Philadelphia having a committee hasn’t really impacted him in 2022. The matchup this week is tough with Washington’s improved run defense coming to town, though, and Sanders notably hasn’t been targeted in either of the past two games—and has just 42 receiving yards on the season. He’s still an RB2, but things look set up for a disappointment based on consensus RB1 expectations.
Thumbs Down: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (v JAX)
Edwards-Helaire played just 17% of the team’s offensive snaps last week with rookie Isiah Pacheco drawing his second start, and the running game in general gets a difficult matchup with the Jaguars allowing the third-fewest yards per carry in the league (4.0). Perhaps playing in a Patrick Mahomes-led offense can lead to a nice game even without a substantial role, but Edwards-Helaire been held to 35 total yards or fewer in five of his past six outings.
Thumbs Down: Broncos RBs (@ TEN)
Sunday will be our first look at the Denver backfield since acquiring Chase Edmonds from the Dolphins, so a headache between Melvin Gordon III and Latavius Murray could be even more frustrating with the prototype receiving back added to the mix. Facing a Tennessee defense that ranks No. 2 in the NFL against the run (87.6 yards per game allowed), I’d avoid Gordon, Murray, and Edmonds with the hopes that we get clarity about the backfield this weekend.
Thumbs Up of the Week: Darnell Mooney (v DET)
Mooney is coming off his best game of the season with a 7/43/1 line on eight targets, and he was outstanding last year versus Detroit by going for yardage totals of 135 and 125 in the two matchups. The Lions just held the Green Bay offense in check, but there were plays to be made—including on vertical throws that were missed. I like Mooney as a low-end WR2/FLEX with big-play upside and a high floor as the team’s primary target.
Thumbs Up: Allen Robinson II (v ARI)
Week 9 was another quiet game for Robinson when it looked like things were pointing in the right direction, but he did make a couple of contested grabs—and the first matchup against Arizona saw him targeted twice from the four-yard line (something I’m anticipating LA might go back to). Additionally, the Cardinals have limited Cooper Kupp to 73 or fewer receiving yards in four of the past five meetings (including playoffs), so Robinson should get a chance to make plays as the Rams try to find a winning formula on offense.
Thumbs Up: George Pickens (v NO)
Pickens was shutout in a difficult draw versus Philadelphia before the bye, but he’s now locked in as Pittsburgh’s top option alongside Diontae Johnson with Chase Claypool gone—and the rookie has mostly been productive with Kenny Pickett under center (11.3+ fantasy points in three-of-four games before the zero-catch performance). You can start Pickens as a high-ceiling FLEX for Week 10.
Thumbs Up: Kadarius Toney (v JAX)
Despite only playing nine snaps last week, Toney was targeted twice in his team debut, and the first coming on the game’s first offensive play is certainly notable. It might take longer than another week for Toney to be fully integrated into the Kansas City offense, but Jacksonville’s struggles in coverage and Toney’s increased attitude/effort with a new squad could lead to a start-worthy outing if he’s given enough opportunities.
Others: Terrace Marshall Jr. (v ATL), Sammy Watkins (v DAL)
Thumbs Down of the Week: Jerry Jeudy (@ TEN)
Jeudy has seemingly overtaken Courtland Sutton as the No. 1 target for Denver over the past month or so (53+ yards in five consecutive games), but I don’t like the matchup for him with Tennessee’s top cornerbacks—Roger McCreary, Kristian Fulton, and Terrance Mitchell—all being guys that should have an easier time with Jeudy than the big-bodied Sutton. While most have the former first-rounder ranked as a WR2, he’s more of a FLEX for me.
Thumbs Down: Terry McLaurin (@ PHI)
He was able to exceed 100 yards in the first matchup versus the Eagles this season, but this week will still be a difficult draw for McLaurin—who was held to yardage totals of 61, 40, 51, and 61 against Philadelphia in 2020/2021. Overall, Washington has averaged 15.3 points per game in the past four meetings of this NFC East rivalry, so McLaurin’s upside seems to be limited for those expecting WR2 production from him on Monday night.
Thumbs Down: Drake London (@ CAR)
London also gets a divisional rematch this week, but his inclusion here is more about the long-term struggles than the matchup (which won’t be easy versus Jaycee Horn). Since a hot start with lines of 5/74, 8/86/1, and 3/54/1 to begin his career, Atlanta first-round pick has been limited to a total of 17 receptions for 155 yards and zero touchdowns; he’s best left on the bench in a run-heavy offense for a game that I doubt will match the fireworks of the 37-34 result in Week 8.
Thumbs Down: Michael Pittman Jr. (@ LV)
The switch from Matt Ryan to Sam Ehlinger under center for Indy has been a definite ding on Pittman’s stock, and a renewed commitment to the running game under interim head coach Jeff Saturday could be another negative for the wideout’s outlook—at least in the short term. As for the matchup, Pittman was limited to 42 yards and 47 yards (with zero touchdowns) against Las Vegas in 2020 and 2021, so he’s firmly in the FLEX ranks rather than being a hopeful WR2.
Others: Brandin Cooks (@ NYG), Michael Gallup (@ GB)
Thumbs Up of the Week: Taysom Hill (@ PIT)
Saints head coach Dennis Allen sounds adamant about keeping Andy Dalton as the starting quarterback, but Hill created a “pop” from the crowd on his lone pass attempt on Monday night, and I have to believe he’ll eventually be unleashed once again after just one touch against Baltimore. Still the overall TE6 on the season, Hill should be used versus a shaky run defense of the Steelers.
Thumbs Up: David Njoku (@ MIA)
A couple of days ago, Njoku (ankle) said that he’s playing this week, and fantasy owners don’t need to waste time getting him back in lineups as a top-eight option. Prior to his injury, Njoku was on fire with 30 receptions (on 36 targets) for 379 yards in the previous five games, and he’s averaging 10.0 yards per target on the season. Miami is a matchup to attack with the fourth-most fantasy points per game allowed to opposing tight ends.
Thumbs Up: Tyler Higbee (v ARI)
Higbee is someone I often find myself lower on than the consensus, but a matchup versus Arizona—surrendering 16.4 fantasy points per game to the position—vaults him into the top ten at tight end for this week. In the first matchup this season, Higbee caught all four of his targets for 61 yards, and maybe the lack of targets against Tampa Bay will make him a priority for Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford on Sunday.
Thumbs Down of the Week: Pat Freiermuth (v NO)
Freiermuth should be a big winner from the Steelers trading away Chase Claypool, and I love his long-term rest-of-season outlook as a strong TE1. For this weekend’s matchup, though, the Saints continue to allow the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, and Isaiah Likely finding the end zone against them was on a unique play-action pass. Freiermuth is more of a low-end TE1.
Thumbs Down: T.J. Hockenson (@ BUF)
Another option that has a very encouraging rest-of-season outlook (he caught all nine of his targets for 70 yards in his Minnesota debut), Hockenson could have a tougher time on Sunday with the Bills being stingy versus opposing tight ends, and Josh Allen (elbow) possibly being out could lead to more of a low-scoring game. I’ll keep an eye on the status of linebacker Matt Milano (oblique) as a potential reason to boost Hockenson in the rankings.
Thumbs Down: Dalton Schultz (@ GB)
The return of Dak Prescott has been a major boost for Schultz—who has now gone for respectable fantasy point totals of 9.7, 7.4, and 10.4 when his starting quarterback has been in the lineup. Unfortunately, the matchup versus Green Bay is one to avoid for those counting on Schultz, as their defense is allowing 24.4 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends. I have Schultz as a midrange TE2 for Week 10.