It’s time to take our weekly look around the NFL to see which players have the potential to set your roster on fire and which ones seem to be cooling down. I’ll try to avoid the obvious candidates for the players that are heating up, in addition to focusing in on higher profile players that could leave your team on ice this week. I will also be taking a look at their performance from the previous week, as well as what the matchup holds for them heading into Sunday.
Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
Matchup – Philadelphia Eagles
After a slow start to the season, Kirk Cousins has been on fire over the last three games. He was responsible for three turnovers in the season opener but has only thrown one interception since. Cousins also has thrown for 915 yards and seven touchdowns in the last three contests. What’s just as impressive is how much the veteran is spreading the ball around. Nine different players caught passes from the veteran quarterback against the 49ers last Sunday, which is generally a good sign of a quarterback that’s comfortable in his offense. Cousins has another favorable matchup this week against an Eagles defense that’s been friendly to opposing quarterbacks at times this season. Philadelphia has given up at least 23 points in four out of six games, so Cousins should have a good chance to continue his hot streak.
Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Matchup – Washington Redskins
Carson Wentz had his ups and downs last season as many rookies do. He came out of the gate hot but faded as the year went on. However, he’s taken a big step forward in his sophomore season, and I believe he has stepped into the weekly fantasy starter conversation. One week after throwing for 304 yards and four touchdowns, Wentz ended the day last Thursday with 222 yards and three scores to his credit. He’s thrown for at least two touchdowns in four out of six games and looks much more comfortable leading Philadelphia’s offense than he did at this point last year. He should be a strong start again this week when the Eagles host the Redskins. Washington allowed rookie CJ Beathard to throw for 245 yards and a touchdown after Brian Hoyer was benched last week. You’ve got to feel good about Wentz’s chances after seeing that.
Josh McCown – New York Jets
Matchup – Miami Dolphins
Josh McCown was a popular pick last week in daily fantasy leagues due to his matchup against a soft New England defense. The veteran journeyman didn’t disappoint as he threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets were the hands down favorite to finish this season as the worst team in the NFL, but they’ve actually been competitive at times. Hell, they only lost to New England by seven points last week. While I’d like to say that this game was a sign of things to come, McCown simply isn’t consistent enough to warrant a roster spot just yet. That being said, he could be an useful streaming option if the matchup calls for it. That’s not the case this week though. Leave him on the waiver wire this week on the road against Miami.
Adrian Peterson – Arizona Cardinals
Matchup – Los Angeles Rams
Whoa. Anyone who said that they thought Adrian Peterson would run for over 130 yards and two touchdowns in his debut with the Cardinals is either lying or high. I’ll be honest. I thought AP was done. Not only did he not fit into the New Orleans game plans, he didn’t look very good when he saw carries either. Peterson looked like a man on a mission against the Buccaneers and certainly looked like an elite running back again. While it was good to see the future Hall of Fame inductee prove his worth, I can’t imagine this will be the norm going forward. However, Arizona faces a Rams defense that just let Leonard Fournette run wild for 130 yards and a touchdown. Another repeat performance for AP isn’t out of the question.
Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings
Matchup – Baltimore Ravens
Where in the hell was this version of Jerick McKinnon when Minnesota needed him last season? After the huge hit the Vikings took after losing Dalvin Cook, the smart money was on Latavius Murray to lead the backfield. That is certainly not the case over the last two weeks. McKinnon had 99 total yards and scored two touchdowns in the win over the Packers. That performance put him at a total of 245 yards and three touchdowns over the last two games. Not only is he very active in the passing game, but his 5.1 yards per carry is impressive as well. Baltimore has struggled against talented running backs in a few games so far this season, so I’d continue to ride McKinnon until the wheels fall off.
Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
Matchup – Green Bay Packers
I sort of figured that Mark Ingram would see a few more carries after the departure of Adrian Peterson. However, I’d be lying if I said he’d carry the ball 25 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The Saints defense was uncharacteristically dominate against the Lions in a game that ended with a score of 52 to 38 in New Orleans’ favor, so I chalk up the large amount of carries to the Saints trying to milk the clock late in the contest. Ingram saw 12 more touches than in any other game so far this season, so I wouldn’t expect this type of output to become the normal expectation. With Aaron Rodgers likely done for the season, it’s hard to predict what Green Bay is going to look like for the rest of the season. Their defense did just allow a big performance to Jerick McKinnon, so I think Ingram is a strong start again this week.
Will Fuller – Houston Texans
There’s no way this can continue to happen right? Will Fuller has played in three games so far this season. Over that span he only has eight catches but has accounted for five touchdowns. I’ll say that again. Eight catches. Five touchdowns and 154 yards. That’s crazy efficient and in no way is this kind of production sustainable. The same could be said for Deandre Hopkins who has a similar stat line over the last couple of weeks. That being said, rookie Deshaun Watson is playing like a seasoned veteran and is everything Houston thought he’d be when they drafted him. I said it last week, and I’ll say it again. These kind of numbers are not sustainable, and Houston faces the famed Seattle defense after their bye. If Fuller catches another touchdown or two, then play this kid every week moving forward.
Nelson Agholor – Philadelphia Eagles
Matchup – Washington Redskins
Nelson Agholor has constantly been one of those players we all think is primed for a big year, but he never quite delivers. This season, however, he has earned the right to deserve our attention. Outside of Zach Ertz, Agholor has been one of the more consistent pass catchers for Carson Wentz this season. Alshon Jeffery isn’t exactly panning out to be the dominate threat we remember in Chicago, and Wentz has no problem spreading the ball around. As we all know, touchdowns are what we want to see in fantasy football. Agholor has scored in each of the last two games and has four touchdowns in the last six contests. He’s still unowned in almost 70% of leagues. Go grab this guy while you can and thank me later, because Philadelphia faces a fantasy friendly Redskins defense this week.
Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals
Matchup – Los Angeles Rams
A friend of mine was telling me a funny story earlier. His opponent’s starting quarterback had a bye, and his other option was Marcus Mariota. Feeling unsure about his backup QB’s status he decided to drop Larry Fitzgerald and pick up Brian Hoyer. I don’t need to tell you how wrong this is. To be fair, we didn’t know Hoyer would be benched. It wasn’t outside the realm of possibility, however, that Fitzgerald would have ten catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. My number one rule in fantasy football is this: Don’t get cute. Fitzgerald is just two weeks removed from a game where he had 149 yards and a touchdown. Two average games afterwards doesn’t warrant a drop. Play Fitz again this week against the Rams.
Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matchup – Buffalo Bills
Cameron Brate is slowly inching towards “Zach Ertz” territory for me. My theory on Ertz is keep playing the guy until he doesn’t have either 80 yards or a touchdown. Brate fits those requirements, because he has scored a touchdown in four straight games. So much for OJ Howard sucking all of those targets away, huh? Touchdowns are king in fantasy football, and Brate has scored four of them in four straight games. Even with Jameis Winston getting knocked out of the game early due to injury, Brate was still able to haul in six catches for 80 yards in addition to the touchdown against the Cardinals last week. It’ll be interesting to see how he well he does this week against the Bills. It’s a tough matchup considering Buffalo hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game this season. I’m probably playing him, but I’m not overly optimistic.
Austin Serferian-Jenkins – New York Jets
Matchup – Miami Dolphins
I’ve mostly tried to avoid the Austin Seferian-Jenkins hype over recent weeks, but it may be time to start paying attention. While his yardage totals are less than ideal (he hasn’t had more than 50 yards in a game yet), he’s being targeted enough by Josh McCown to be a serviceable fantasy tight end. ASJ was targeted 11 times against the Patriots and hauled in eight of them for 46 yards and a touchdown. He should’ve had another touchdown, but it was ruled a fumble in what was a terrible call. At this point I think ASJ has proven he deserves to be picked up off the waiver wire, and he should continue to see enough work to help your team win this week.
Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers
Matchup – Denver Broncos
After an incredibly frustrating start to the season, Hunter Henry is finally becoming more involved in the Chargers passing game. He didn’t see a single target in two out of the first three games of the year but has since had either a touchdown or 90 yards receiving in three straight contests. The trouble with Henry is he simply isn’t a priority for the Chargers. Phillip Rivers will always look Keenan Allen’s way first and foremost, and Los Angeles seems content with giving Melvin Gordon all the work he can handle. Despite a tough matchup on paper, Henry is an intriguing play against a Broncos defense that ranks near the bottom of the league against opposing tight ends.
Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Matchup – New England Patriots
You’ve got to be kicking yourself for drafting Matt Ryan at this point right? Last season’s MVP has struggled over the last few weeks and looks far removed from the dominate quarterback we saw last season. After losing his offensive coordinator, I was all but certain Ryan would take a step back this season. I just didn’t expect the sudden flood of turnovers. Through the last three games Ryan has given the ball up seven times and has thrown four touchdown passes. That’s quite simply bad football. Despite his struggles, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Atlanta faces beatable secondaries in the Patriots, Jets, and Panthers over the next three weeks. If Ryan is going to turn things around this needs to be the time.
Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders
Matchup – Kansas City Chiefs
It’s easy to look at Carr’s performance last week and think his poor play was simply due to his injury. While that certainly played a factor, Carr really struggled in the two games prior to his injury in week five. In fact, he’s not thrown more than 175 yards since week two. Combine that with the fact that Carr has one more interception than touchdown passes over his last three games, and I think there’s some definite cause for concern here. I’m not insinuating that Carr has suddenly turned into a bad quarterback, but his early season struggles may not be over anytime soon. His matchup with the Chiefs this week makes me nervous, and then Oakland faces both Buffalo and Miami on the road in back to back weeks. I’d advise finding a healthier option at quarterback until Carr’s schedule gets a little easier.
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
Matchup – Cincinnati Bengals
After starting the season with two strong games, Roethlisberger has struggled to get back on track over the last several weeks. He was one week removed from one of the worst games of his career and laid an egg once again against the Chiefs. Through four games Big Ben has topped 250 yards one time and has thrown only three touchdowns compared to eight turnovers. Even if you look at the whole season his touchdown to turnover ratio is seven to nine, which is obviously less than ideal. While a home game is typically cause for optimism for Big Ben, he faces a Cincinnati defense that’s only allowed more than 20 points one time so far this season. I’d be looking for better quarterback production if Roethlisberger was on my team.
CJ Anderson – Denver Broncos
Matchup – Los Angeles Chargers
CJ Anderson’s production this season has been a roller coaster ride for fantasy owners. He has just as good of a chance at putting up 25 fantasy points as he does one. Unfortunately, his numbers were on the lower end of that spectrum last week. Not only did Anderson rush only nine times for 17 yards, but he also failed to record a catch for the first time this season. Instead those honors went to Devontae Booker, and the second year back had four catches for 78 yards. With both Booker and Jamaal Charles competing for touches it might not bode well for Anderson’s value moving forward. He’ll still be the starter for the time being, but don’t be surprised if Denver looks to get more touches to the other guys if Anderson continues to struggle. He’s got a decent chance to rebound this week against a Chargers defense that’s prone to giving up points.
Lamar Miller – Houston Texans
Much like last season, Lamar Miller has just been sort of “there” this year. Outside of one big game where he had over 120 yards and two touchdowns, Miller hasn’t had more than 75 yards on the ground and hasn’t scored a touchdown since. While Miller is serviceable, there simply isn’t much to get excited about with his numbers. I would have thought that the emergence of Deshaun Watson would have opened things up a bit more for the veteran running back, but that simply hasn’t been the case so far. It also doesn’t help that Watson has been so active as a runner. I don’t see Miller’s production increasing much when the Texans face off against Seattle after the bye week.
Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions
I really wanted Ameer Abdullah to work out this season. This guy was electric at times as a rookie, but he’s been injured for vast majority of his young career. The Lions haven’t had much of a run game to speak of over the last few seasons, so I thought Abdullah would be a welcome addition and help keep all of the pressure off Matt Stafford. Unfortunately, Detroit fell behind early to the Saints and Stafford was forced to throw the ball early and often to help his team get back into the game. Abdullah has been mostly unimpressive outside of one game where he rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown. The good news is that he has an advantageous matchup after Detroit’s bye against a Steelers defense that’s given up big games to opposing running back this season.
Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
Matchup – New England Patriots
It only makes sense that if I thought Matt Ryan was going to take a step back this season then that would mean the same for Julio Jones. It’s not like Julio Jones has been terrible. He’s put up decent numbers at times through the first six weeks of the year. However, we’re nearing the halfway point if the season, and Julio only has one game with over 100 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. Considering he was a first round draft pick, those aren’t eye popping numbers. In fact, Jones is currently sitting at 38th in the league at the wide receiver position in fantasy points scored. To be fair, the Falcons had an early bye week. Still, it just feels like his performances have been lacking, and a lot of that can be attributed to Matt Ryan looking like Matty Ice. In a bad way. There is hope this week against a bad Patriots defense, and I think Jones gets on track eventually. Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.
Keenan Allen – San Diego Chargers
Matchup – Denver Broncos
I’m probably one of the biggest Keenan Allen advocates you’ll find, so it pains me to point out his flaws. Allen has never really been the type of player that scores many touchdowns. He depends on volume and yards after the catch to do his damage. While the targets have been there, Allen has just not accrued enough yardage to help his owners win over the last few weeks. He does have two 100 yard games to his credit through the first six games but hasn’t gone over 70 yards in any of the other four contest, which makes him a borderline boom or bust option. Unfortunately, I think this week it’ll likely be more on the bust side. Allen did manage to score his only touchdown on the season against Denver in the season opener, but he only gained a season low 35 yards. If you got him you’re likely starting him, but I don’t like the matchup.
Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs
Matchup – Oakland Raiders
I wasn’t sold on Tyreek Hill heading into this season, and my position hasn’t changed much over the first six weeks. Don’t get me wrong, Hill is an electric player with the ball in his hands and is a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the rock. I just don’t think his skill set is going to make him a number one receiver on an NFL roster. He’s a complete feast or famine type of player, and his stat lines reflect that. Hill has scored double digit fantasy points in alternating games each week this season. In games where he didn’t have at least ten points he hasn’t scored more than six. The good news is last year’s breakout star only had five catches for 34 yards against Pittsburgh last week, so he should find the end zone this week against the Raiders if that pattern holds true.
Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins
Matchup – Philadelphia Eagles
There’s one thing I don’t quite understand. Kirk Cousins has been on a roll over the last few weeks. The guy has thrown for 915 yards in three games, so how is it that the perceived top targets on this team are all struggling. Jamison Crowder, Terrelle Pryor, and Jordan Reed have all failed to meet expectations so far this season. I’ve found two things I can chalk this up to. One, the emergence of Chris Thompson. Two, Kirk Cousins is spreading the ball around. Last week nine different players caught passes, which has been to the detriment of Reed. Long believed to be the second best tight end in the game, Reed has failed to score more than seven fantasy points in a game this season. At this point I’m hoping for a big game so I can trade him. I’d like to say this week against the Eagles may be different, but I don’t have much faith that it will be.
Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings
Matchup – Baltimore Vikings
Kyle Rudolph finished last season as the third highest scoring tight end. If you own him I don’t have to tell you that he isn’t anywhere close to that this year. Rudolph’s success a season ago was dependent on targets in the red zone and a healthy amount of receptions. He’s getting neither so far. While he has caught more passes over the last two weeks than he did in previous weeks, he still hasn’t had more that 50 yards in a game and only has two touchdowns to his name. Sam Bradford attempted to make his comeback last week, but it’s clear he wasn’t ready. Case Keenum has been a fine backup, but Rudolph thrived with Bradford last season, so it would be good to see him back on the field. I’d expect more of the same this week against the Ravens.
Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints
Matchup – Green Bay Packers
Coby Fleener is still over 40% owned in fantasy leagues. I’m here to tell you that number is way too high. If you’re one of the ones holding out hope, go ahead and drop the guy. Last season Fleener was a popular sleeper candidate, and the writing was on the wall then. After scoring just 5.5 fantasy points in the last three games combined, I think it’s safe to say that you can find better options for your fantasy team elsewhere. If Fleener is still on your roster then move on and find someone that’ll improve your team.
As always, please feel free to give us a shout on Twitter @No_HuddleFFB if you have any questions or concerns regarding your lineup or just want to chat about fantasy football. Best of luck this week!