Cheerio everyone! We get our first taste of morning football this season as the Chargers and Titans head across the pond to give us the glorious 9:30AM EST NFL action we’ve all been waiting for. Let’s start with this game and touch a couple others that you should be keeping an eye out for.
On paper, this game shouldn’t be close. Philip Rivers is far superior to Marcus Mariota and is also healthy in comparison. Melvin Gordon is right up there with Todd Gurley III as the top fantasy RB this season and this should be another week where Gordon does enough to stay a top-5 RB play. I’m not as worried about Austin Ekeler siphoning touches anymore as it seems like the Chargers have moved on from giving Ekeler 10+ carries in any game. Again, I don’t see how you can justify starting either Dion Lewis or Derrick Henry (#NeverHenry) as the Chargers do well against the run. I think you still start Corey Davis in this one, but temper those expectations as I have him as a WR3 at best this week. He always will have the upside based on volume and target share alone, but this Titans offense is just bad when Mariota isn’t in rhythm or he isn’t 100% healthy. I would also fade Taywan Taylor this week as his targets have been all over the place and I have no faith in him pulling off a TD against a good Chargers D/ST. For the Chargers, you better believe this is the Keenan Allen week. He’s been the team leader in target share % and air yard % for the majority of the season. Expect him to win his matchup and for Rivers to feed his WR1 before heading to the Borough Market after the game for a good hog roast sandwich.
This is a game that has many moving parts in terms of fantasy relevance that need to be addressed. There is no Jay Ajayi for the remainder of the season, so expect a good split between Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood although I prefer Clement if I had to choose one. As for the receiving roles in Philly, Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffrey are the only real options to take away here they lead the team in both air yards % and target share % since Jeffrey returned from injury
The Panthers at this point have 4 viable fantasy options. Anyone not in their big four (Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess) is too much of a risk and not worth jeopardizing your week.
I refuse to believe that the Colts should be a 7.5 point favorite with a 1-5 record, but I don’t see how the Bills score here. Derek Anderson is technically playing “QB” for the Bills, but he’s been there just about a week. Not overly encouraging to be honest. They’re going to run the crap out of LeSean McCoy as they try and grind this game to a halt. I also expect Charles Clay to get some good looks here as Anderson has a history of favoring the TE. In the only time I’ll do this, I endorse the idea of starting Kelvin Benjamin as there is an actual history between him and Anderson.
Indy is going to have pretty much 3 guys worth starting as the Bills pass defense is actually rather elite at this point. Obviously you start Andrew Luck as he is on pace to throw the most pass attempts ever in an NFL season. That’s worth rolling him out there regardless of matchup, especially if the game is at home. Marlon Mack is a guy who could have a monster week and needs to be owned in all formats. Mack is clearly the top option for Indy at the RB position and when healthy, he outsnaps every other RB combined. He gets almost every carry and even sees targets in the passing game. Expect a lot of dump-off passes and for Mack to be on the receiving end. Eric Ebron is worth the start as the Bills LB’s are vulnerable in play action and run routes. He’s a favorite target of Luck and honestly should see a bunch of targets in this game. I’m holding off on T.Y. Hilton right now as he gets a brutal matchup against Tre White. Let’s see what Hilton looks like next week if he’s healthy and then we can return to having him in the lineup.
This matchup just screams underneath passing to the RB’s which is why I think all 4 running backs in this game (Tarik Cohen, Jordan Howard, Sony Michel, James White) are fantasy viable this week and should be started in all formats. This has the potential of a massive letdown game from Tom Brady and large manchild Rob Gronkowski. I’m fading all of the Pats WR’s this week as well despite everyone in love with Josh Gordon the past few weeeks.
For da Bears, let’s all just put the questions aside and acknowledge Allen Robinson as a WR1 in fantasy. Matt Nagy clearly has it figured out as Robinson is lining up all over the place and succeeding as well as leading the team in air yards and targets share. Taylor Gabriel is a must start as his speed will be a massive advantage against the old and slower Patriots defense. And because we all drafted him probably too early and over George Kittle, Trey Burton is a must-start this week and he’s always good for a TD.