Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of my favorite things to do is to look for the quarterback that has the best matchup (Russell Wilson) and then use the opposing team's quarterback (Winston). Winston is tough to predict, but what I have found with him over the years is that he plays well when you least expect it. This game has that sense to it. The Bucs lost a bad game last week, and now they travel to the Pacific Northwest to play the imposing Seahawks. It seems like it should be a disaster. Not so fast. I think Winston keeps the Bucs close by throwing to his stud receivers and puts up huge fantasy numbers in the process.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
There's so much that I like about Carr this week. First, this is the first home game that the team has had since Week 2, so you know that he will be motivated to play well in front of the home crowd. Second, the Lions defense has been incredibly generous to opposing defenses (628 passing yards in the past two weeks) since Kerryon Johnson has been injured. Lastly, Carr looks way more confident this year and has used his full complement of receivers remarkably well. For the Raiders to beat the Lions, Carr will have to take advantage of the plus matchup that Tyrell Williams has on the outside and the one that Hunter Renfrow has in the slot. I think that comes to fruition, and Carr throws for over 300 passing yards for the first time this season.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets
This game could not have come at a better time for both Darnold and the Jets. Darnold’s confidence is hanging by the merest of threads, and luckily, he gets to play the hapless Dolphins who have zero interest in winning. Helping matters is the fact that head coach Adam Gase is motivated to embarrass his old franchise. Helping Darnold also is that the Dolphins top cover CB Xavien Howard was just placed on the season-ending IR. All things are in place for a huge day for Darnold. Take a chance on him settling down and having a huge day.
Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets
Nothing makes a fantasy player more excited than when a player complains about not getting enough touches, and then his coach agrees in the press. Jets head coach Adam Gase admitted that 12 touches were not enough for Bell against the Jaguars, so I am expecting him to make a concerted effort to get him the football. It helps that the Dolphins are the worst team in the NFL when it comes to stopping the run. Bell should have his biggest game of the season, so lock him into your lineups.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Denver's defense completely shut down Marlon Mack in Week 8, but I am not sure that they will be able to do the same to Chubb in Week 9. The Broncos must respect Beckham and Landry, which will prevent them from going all-in on stopping the run. As we saw last week against the Patriots, if Chubb gets even the smallest of creases, he will be off to the races. And for what it's worth, I doubt that Chubb will fumble again after last week's fiasco. Look for him to have 150-plus yards from scrimmage and a TD as the Browns play well in what has become a must-win game.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
The Chargers run defense has looked like a subway turnstile in the past month. The Steelers ran over them, then the Titans, and finally Bears RB David Montgomery ran for 135 yards against them last week. This week the Packers are going to give the ball to Aaron Jones about 20 times, and I can easily see him rushing for 100-plus yards and a TD.
Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
The Chiefs are thoroughly banged up in the secondary with Bashaud Breeland dealing with a shoulder injury. Also, Kendall Fuller is working through a thumb injury. If Kirk Cousins can continue his confident play—and if Dalvin Cook can rip off yards by the dozen—the play-action passing game will be wide open for Diggs to covert some big plays.
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
As poorly as the Bears offense has been playing, is as well as Robinson has looked this season. He has been a target machine (26.1% of the team's targets) that has averaged 16.7 fantasy points per game. The way to beat the Eagles is through the air, and it seems more than likely that Trubisky will be feeding the ball to Robinson as much as possible. Look for him to have a great chance at another 100-yd receiving game in a must-win matchup for the Bears.
Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions
Honestly, I feel like I am chasing last week's production a bit. Still, Amendola is going to be covered by LaMarcus Joyner, who has struggled in coverage for most of the season. Amendola is a perfect fit in the Lions quick passing offense, and he has developed a solid rapport with Matthew Stafford. In the two weeks since Kerryon Johnson has been injured, Amendola has caught 16 passes on 19 targets. It’s hard for me to jump ship now, especially since Las Vegas thinks this is going to be one of the higher scoring games of the week.
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
Packers CBs Jaire Alexander and Kevin King have done an exceptional job all season covering the top opposing wideouts. Where the Packers have been susceptible has been against opposing tight ends (they are the fifth-worst team in the league), which bodes nicely for Hunter Henry. Henry has been on fire since his return from injury, catching 18 passes for 244 yards and 2 TDs. Packers LBs Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith love rushing the quarterback, which should leave Henry open all game long in the middle of the field.
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
The Raiders have struggled covering opposing tight ends all year long (they are the fourth-worst team in the NFL), and last week, they let Texans Darren Fells catch six passes and get in the end zone twice. This is looking like a real problem for them defensively, which is something that I am sure that the Lions would like to expose. Let's throw in a smidge of recency bias with Hockenson, and I think you have a great chance of him finding the end zone this week.
Jack Doyle/Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts
I originally was going to list Ebron as a visionary play. Unfortunately, he was added to the injury report on Thursday with an ankle injury, which is a bad sign for availability. If he's out, I would still be just fine starting Jack Doyle. Pittsburgh is going to spend a lot of attention covering TY Hilton and Marlon Mack, which should leave a big gap for Doyle to expose. I particularly like Doyle in PPR formats, where I think he could get about 14-16 points this week in what should be a surprisingly high-scoring game.
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