- Deshaun Watson
WOW! Coming off of a five touchdown effort against the undefeated Chiefs, Deshaun Watson could be the most exciting player in football right now. Suffice it say, I don’t expect him to slow down against a soft Browns secondary that’s ranked 29th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Not to mention, Cleveland’s been surprisingly stout against the run this year, so the potential for more passing opportunities and scramble plays for Watson looks promising to say the least.
- Alvin Kamara
Kamara could be the biggest beneficiary of Adrian Peterson’s move to Arizona. Not only does the trade free up 7-10 touches per game in that backfield, but New Orleans has also proven that they love the young runner in the passing game and trust him between the tackles. In fact, his stellar game against the Dolphins might have just punched Peterson’s ticket to the Cardinals, so in a game where Michael Thomas could get shadowed by Darius Slay, I see big potential for Kamara.
- Todd Gurley
Guys, he’s fine. I promise. After disappointing against the Seahawks – a game that could have had an entirely different story if not for Gurley’s inopportune fumble at the goal line – I fully expect a bounceback for the incredible ball carrier this week against a Jacksonville defense that’s been run over this season. Plus, I doubt that Jared Goff is going to want to go anywhere near that Bouye-Ramsey secondary, so Gurley could end up getting elite volume this weekend between rushes and targets in the flat. Expect a monster day on Sunday.
- Larry Fitzgerald
There hasn’t been much consistency for Fitz this season, but one spot that’s remained constant is volume. In fact, he’s one of only three receivers to have at least 50 targets this season. That bodes well moving forward, especially against a Tampa secondary that’s allowing the most points in the league to opposing wideouts.
- Demarco Murray
Finally, Demarco actually looks to have a promising matchup and workload. (Knock on wood just in case I jinxed that.) But, with Marcus Mariota nearing a return on Monday – a game that shouldn’t be all that close – and Murray seemingly establishing himself as the clear starter over the past couple of weeks, this just might be his revival. As an added bonus, Taylor Lewan could also be back for the game which should help a line that was extremely disappointing last week.
Cause for Concern:
- Michael Thomas
It’s time to consider Darius Slay a shutdown corner. He just gets better and better and he held Michael Thomas to 4 receptions on 5 targets in week 13 of last season. The return of Willie Snead means Brees will have even more weapons and probably won’t have to challenge Slay very often, especially with Alvin Kamara poised to have a higher workload this week. Thomas should obviously be started in all leagues, but I’d temper expectations for the young receiver.
- Sammy Watkins
Ultimately, he is who we thought he was. Watkins exploded week three against San Fran, but has been invisible throughout the rest of the season so far. Unfortunately, I don’t expect that to get any better this week against a Jaguars secondary that is rivalling Denver for best in the league. This game should rest squarely on Todd Gurley’s shoulders and I’m not sure how many looks the former Clemson Tiger will even get.
- Ben Roethlisberger
Maybe he just doesn’t have it anymore. Coming off an abysmal five-interception effort at home, I think Ben can be dropped in just about all standard-sized leagues. Honestly, there are just too many good quarterbacks to roll the dice on a guy that over the past three years or so has been a completely different player on the road and at home. Now that he isn’t even contributing at home, what’s the point? If you expect Roethlisberger, who has historically been a far worse quarterback on the road, to turn it around in a hostile road environment against the undefeated Chiefs, then kudos to you. You must be a Steelers fan.
Sleepers and Streamers:
- Stephen Gostkowksi
It’s hard to justify mentioning kickers in a blog like this, but this one interests me. It’s no secret that the Pats’ D has been horrendous so far this year, nor is it surprising that their offense has blown the doors off some teams with Brady still at the helm. However, the Jets’ offense has shown an ability to hold its own, so is it that crazy to think that this could be a high-scoring affair? And even if it’s not, New England is notorious for doing everything it can to try to run up the score, especially against a division rival like the Jets. Most importantly, New York has had the best defense in the league once opposing offenses have gotten within the Jets’ 30-yard line, only allowing teams to score around 60% of the time. What does that mean? Field goals. Giddy-up.
- Austin Sefarian-Jenkins
There aren’t many stories better than ASJ’s redemption this year. Since coming back, he’s played great and has shown to have great rapport with quarterback Josh McCown, who he knows from their Buccaneer days. He hasn’t had less than four receptions in any of the games he’s appeared in this year and looks like McCown’s favorite target. Against the league’s worst defense – a defense that’s already surrendered four touchdowns to tight ends – I see potential for big things.
- Desean Jackson
Jackson has been earning more and more of the target share as the season’s progressed and that should only continue to grow. Being that the Bucs have such a vertical attack, Desean is a perfect fit for the offense and after showing off his elite speed against the Pats, his big-play ability is still in there. While Mike Evans will draw Patrick Peterson, Jackson could quietly feast on a shaky Justin Bethel on Sunday.