Bazooka-armed Allen to unload on Browns
Josh Allen, Buf, QB (45 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $28)
Matchup: at Cle
Vegas Line/Total: Cle -2.5, 41.5
Every year an unsung fantasy hero flexes his superhuman strength by carrying those willing to take on the risk. Last fall, Allen was that caped crusader. It was around this time, the then rookie found his groove. Leading up to the breakout, he would’ve lopped off innocent onlooker limbs in an axe-throwing league. He was often inaccurate and reckless with the football, evidenced by his league-worst 65.5 adjusted completion percentage and mounted turnovers. Then he caught fire.
He wasn’t threading needles like Drew Brees, but his downfield aggressiveness (12.6 aDOT) and rushing profitability (476 yards, 5 TDs) catapulted him up the ranks. His resulting 0.70 fantasy points per dropback over his final six contests trailed only Lamar Jackson.
Allen, without much publicity, is once again riding a heater. Since Week 7, he’s averaged 206.7 pass yards per game, 30.8 rush yards per game, posted an 8:0 TD:INT split (4 rush scores) and slipped inside the position’s top-10 twice. His recent stretch of highly beatable opponents has certainly boosted the bottom line, which should continue this week in Cleveland. The Browns’ secondary, back at full strength, is better than advertised giving up 7.7 yards per attempt, 236.6 pass yards per game and 2.0 passing TDs per contest. However, Allen’s multi-dimensional assets and long-strike arm (9.3 aDOT), will prove far more problematic for a vulnerable unit which stroked the ego of Denver’s Brandon Allen last Sunday.
Fearless Forecast: 226 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 41 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 23.1 fantasy points
Bills rookie RB circling the wagons
Devin Singletary, Buf, RB (49 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $19)
Matchup: at Cle
Vegas Line/Total: Cle -2.5, 41.5
Passing off land, title and fortune from patriarch to heir is an exercise as old as time. Since Frank Gore’s existence on this planet precedes the signing of the Magna Carta, we knew, eventually, his time to relinquish the torch was near. Out-snapped 83-to-39 by Singletary the past two weeks, a changing of the guard is finally in full swing. If the switch is adhered to by Sean McDermott, the rookie could ramble his backers to not only a playoff berth, but possibly bragging rights.
Singletary is about to dash and bash his way to a sensational 2019 finish.
Earlier this season on snack-sized workloads the youngster impressed. Unleashed last week against Washington on a season-high 23 touches, he bolted his way to 140 total yards and a score. He glowed in all phases, showing edge-burst, power and elusiveness. On the year, he’s notched 2.68 yards after contact per attempt and compiled the 12th-highest elusive rating according to Pro Football Focus. With a running QB to keep defenses guessing and a top-five run-blocking offensive line, RB1 tallies could become commonplace.
This week, the youngster is gifted another friendly matchup. After crumbling under the weight of enormous expectations, the Browns have transformed into a peaceful pack of Chihuahuas. On the year, they’ve surrendered 4.9 yards per carry, 160.4 total yards per game, seven total touchdowns and the eighth-most fantasy points to RBs. Also near the basement in adjusted line yards allowed and run stuff percentage, they’re an ideal opponent for a fast-rising rusher.
Fearless Forecast: 17 attempts, 79 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 17.2 fantasy points
Saints RB savior still worth a start with or without Kamara
Latavius Murray, NO, RB (36 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $19)
Matchup: vs. Atl
Vegas Line/Total: NO -12.5, 51
The Tennille to the Captain. The Oates to the Hall. The other dude from WHAM! to George Michael. When it comes to musical duos, sometimes the secondary member doesn’t receive deserved recognition (editor’s note: nor do Brad’s musical references).
The same applies to Murray. Though Alvin Kamara earned all the fanfare during the draft season, it’s the sidekick who’s penned platinum hits. With the frontman sapped by a high-ankle sprain, Murray has not only stepped up the mic, he’s commanded a captivated fantasy audience. On an exhaustive 62 touches against the Bears and Cardinals he slammed his way to 307 combined yards and four touchdowns. Brawny (3.59 YAC/att, RB7) and surprisingly elusive (25.2 missed tackle%), Murray, even with a healthy Kamara, could be in line for larger than expected work post-bye. He won’t force a full-blown committee, but 10-12 grips per game seems appropriate.
This week against fading Atlanta, Murray is a legit RB2 in 12-team leagues. The Falcons have given up just 3.9 yards per carry to RBs, but due to the forgiving nature of their pass defense, mail carriers have plunged into the end zone with regularity (9 times). They also rank inside the top-10 in adjusted line yards allowed and run stuff percentage. Still, behind New Orleans’ top-shelf offensive line, expect Murray to again chart nicely.
Fearless Forecast: 11 carries, 46 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13.8 fantasy points
Indy’s new WR horse worth saddling
Zach Pascal, Ind, WR (14 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $17)
Matchup: vs. Mia
Vegas Line/Total: Ind -11, 44.5
Trusting anyone in an Indianapolis offense not named T.Y. Hilton or Marlon Mack is equivalent to shoving spoonfuls of mayonnaise into your pie hole (Yep, disgustingly, it’s a thing). Some, as strange as it may seem, would find it scrumptious. Others, meanwhile, would deem it revolting. No matter where you stand on the Great Mayo Debate, one thing is for certain, Pascal is sure to satisfy the tongue in a hellacious six-team bye week.
Whether it’s Jacoby Brissett or Brian Hoyer under center, the 6-foot-2, 214-pound undrafted vet will be a focal point, particularly inside the red zone. Over the past three weeks, he attracted 15 targets catching 12 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Boasting a 4.75 YAC per reception during that span, he’s brilliantly filled the massive void left by Hilton.
This week, Pascal and the Colts welcome Miami, a tanking team which improbably secured its first win last week against the Jets. Though abuzz from that triumph, the Dolphins remain guppies on defense. They’ve allowed 8.6 pass yards per attempt, a 9.5 average depth of target and the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs. The WR’s likely tagalong, corner Nik Needham, has yielded a 101.3 passer rating and 62.5 catch percentage.
In line for abundant targets with Parris Campbell also sidelined, Pascal will be a rascal on the road.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 73 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 15.8 fantasy points 0:11 4:23 Fantasy Football Pickups – With T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell out, grab Colts’ Zach Pascal
Sanders to deliver Nashville HOT numbers
Emmanuel Sanders, SF, WR (56 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $21)
Matchup: vs. Sea
Vegas Line/Total: SF -6, 45.5
While Jimmy Garoppolo might have taken his shot with Erin Andrews, his impeccable looks, judicious decision making and pristine record is ours, and ours alone. The QB, off his first four-TD performance of his still green starting career, is in the midst of a strong second half showing. He hasn’t shook the ground statistically as the Niners have leaned on their dynamic defense and ground game, but with defensive coordinators focused on containing Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, an increased reliance on his arm down the stretch is plausible. This is presumably why Sanders was acquired from Denver days before the trade deadline.
The quick-footed receiver has established an instant rapport with Garoppolo. Through two games, he’s played on 88.4 percent of San Francisco’s snaps, catching 11 balls for 137 yards and two touchdowns. His 11.4 average depth of target in Arizona is a promising sign for not only his usage, but rest-of-season fantasy potential. Top-20 finishes should be frequent, including this week.
“Inconsistent” best summarizes Seattle’s pass defense. After a sluggish start, it tightened up briefly only to falter the past three weeks. Over that span, it’s allowed 7.8 pass yards per attempt and the 13th-most fantasy points to WRs. Since Week 5 six wideouts have scribbled 10 fantasy points or more against it. Sanders’ projected assignment has given up a 90.5 passer rating this season.
Ya, baby! Sanders and Jimmy G are becoming quite the couple.
Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 76 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 16.1 fantasy points
SHOCKER SPECIAL (Under 10% started in Yahoo leagues)
Ronald Jones, TB, RB (10 percent started; Yahoo DFS: $15)
Matchup: vs. Ari
Vegas Line/Total: TB -4.5, 53
There are some who would rather chance paralysis at the fangs of a king cobra than play any Tampa running back. Counting on either Jones or Peyton Barber tests one’s risk tolerance. However, in a brutal bye week, the worst on this year’s fantasy calendar, desperate times call for desperate measures. Put your faith behind the former Trojan and he might just reward you with a double-digit performance.
The second-year rusher has cut through defenses with a dull blade. Outside the RB top-20 in yards after contact per attempt (2.76) and elusive rating (60.7) according to Pro Football Focus, he’s not the picture of perfect efficiency. The Bucs aren’t the greatest run-blocking team, ranking middle of the back in the category, but even against light fronts, Jones has rarely logged chunk runs. It’s no wonder his run success rate hovers around 45 percent, per Sharp Football Stats.
Arizona, though, is a penetrable front, which could lead the rusher to cross the chalk in consecutive weeks. Since Week 7, the Cards have allowed 4.4 yards per carry, 104.4 rush yards per game and seven total TDs to RBs. On the year, they also rank No. 22 in adjusted line yards surrendered.
Undoubtedly, Jones is a pinch your nose play, but after receiving a ringing endorsement from Bruce Arians, his odds of cranking our a top-20 line are respectable.
Fearless Forecast: 15 carries, 66 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 13 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14.9 fantasy points
BONUS FLAMES (Under 60% started)
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mia (Ind -10.5; $21) – Imagine suffering from pogonophobia (fear of beards) and not being able to enjoy the fruits of Fitzmagic’s chin labor. The journeyman and his glorious face sweater has lately warmed fantasy box scores. He’s surpassed 20 fantasy points twice in his past three contests averaging 253.3 pass yards per game while totaling seven total touchdowns. He hasn’t registered much deep-ball success over that span (33.3 rating on passes of 20+ yards), but he’s established a smooth red-zone rhythm with DaVante Parker and Preston Williams (RIP, 2019 fantasy season). Not to be overlooked, Miami’s defensive inadequacies continue to push a skyward agenda. At first blush, Indy’s secondary is a unit to avoid. The Colts rank inside the top-10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs. However, under the surface, they’ve given up a healthy 7.5 pass yards per attempt. Their generous RACR, a measurement which denotes receiving yards a player creates for every air yard thrown, allowed also suggests downfield tackling hasn’t been a strong suit. (FF: 261-2-1-16-0, 19.0 fpts)
RB: Kenyan Drake, Ari (TB -4.5; $17) – In a performance few saw coming, Drake played the role of Great Pumpkin on Halloween, gifting believers a whole heap of points. Setting the tone early with a 36-yard scamper, the rusher from late 2017 reemerged, dusting the vaunted Niners for 162 total yards and a touchdown on 19 touches. Additionally, the Miami castaway forced three missed tackles and bulled his way to 5.87 yards after contact per attempt. His spectacular effort is Exhibit A in the case of Miami’s incompetence. Over the past two seasons his underutilization was nothing shy of criminal. With David Johnson expected back his workload will reduce. Still, I suspect Kliff Kingsbury will form a near 50-50 split between the two rushers moving forward. Drake is too dynamic to be cast in a 5-8 touch per game role. This week’s matchup is a toughie. The Bucs are trench stalwarts allowing 3.3 yards per carry, 93.6 total yards per game and the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs. But in an offense predicated on spacing, Drake will continue to operate at peak efficiency. (FF: 12-48-3-25-1,14.8 fpts)
WR: Taylor Gabriel, Chi (Chi -3; $14) – Aligning oneself with any receiving Chicago Bear is, generally speaking, an exercise in futility. You might as lock your car doors, shift into neutral and slowly drive toward the chilly waters of Lake Michigan. Or just take the damn zero. Yes, Mitchell Trubisky is a walking, talking disaster, but Gabriel is worth the Hail Mary in Week 10. In his past two games, the speedster grabbed seven passes (on 9 targets) for 122 yards, totaling over 17 yards per route. Unlike Anthony Miller or Trey Burton, he’s a serviceable complement to Allen Robinson. This week, the mighty mouse should tiptoe his way around Lions. Detroit has surrendered the 13th-most fantasy points to WRs this year and 7.7 pass yards per attempt. Likely to see a mixture of Rashaan Melvin (117.7 passer rating allowed) and Justin Coleman (108.6), he’s a waivers hidden gem. (FF: 4-57-1, 13.7 fpts)
WR: Mike Williams, LAC (LAC -1; $16) – Williams may need to seek a medical specialist. The dude is plagued by an insufferable end zone allergy, a sickness which has ravaged many, most notably Davante Adams. His 6.8-3.6-66.3 average line is nothing to scoff at. Neither are his 9.8 yards per target, 15.9 aDOT and exceptional 18.3 yards per route. With 14 red-zone targets, the same number as Adam Thielen, he’s simply the bearer of bad luck. Eventually, Philip Rivers’ red zone looks will manifest into touchdowns. If there was ever the week for that to occur, this is it. Oakland has conceded 8.8 pass yards per attempt, a 9.2 aDOT, 12 touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to WRs. In a now or never scenario, Williams provides his backers with a Thursday night jolt. (FF: 4-88-1, 16.8 fpts)
TE: Ryan Griffin, NYJ (NYG -2.5; $11) – Identical to every middle school crush this no-game prepubescent encountered, Chris Herndon is the ultimate what if. Just when you think a week’s worth of practices was enough to set him free, Adam Gase refuses to use him. It’s possible the staff is easing Herndon in. It’s also possible the staff is full of nincompoops. But the real reason is most likely Griffin. Affections between Sam Darnold and the hard partier have escalated in recent weeks. Since Week 6, the tight end checks in at No. 5 in total fantasy output at the position tallying 0.21 fantasy points per snap. The Giants, on paper, are one of the league’s least accommodating defenses for TEs, but a closer examination reveals the underwhelming players faced. Even if Herndon logs a few snaps, Griffin, who’s scored three times in his last four, has a measurable chance of crossing the chalk. (FF: 4-47-1, 12.7 fpts)
DST: Baltimore Ravens (Bal -10; $13) – Grab a fork, Tom Brady, and resentfully shove that large slice of humble pie. In a marquee prime time showdown casual and fantasy fans desperately thirsted for, the Ravens rose to the occasion. They applied copious pressure on Brady, forced multiple turnovers and smudged New England’s once perfect record. With CB Jimmy Smith back in the fold and Marcus Peters on roster, this is a unit on the rise. No, it’s not the 2000 version, but Baltimore is formidable. This week rewarded with a rookie QB, Ryan Finley, making his first start, they should “CAW!” ceaselessly. The poor kid, working behind a dungeon-dwelling offensive line, is doomed to fail. Admittedly, our DFS accountants completely undersold them at $13. (FF: 10 PA, 303 YDSA, 5 SCKS, 3 TO, 13.0 fpts)
BONUS: Kareem Hunt (Cle -2.5; $15) — Exactly how many touches will Hunt receive after a nine-week hiatus? Your guess is as good as mine, but, don’t worry, resident gumshoe Baker Mayfield is sure to solve the mystery. In all seriousness, the former All-Pro is worth FLEX-ing in 12-team and deeper formats. Freddie Kitchens was adamant the rusher will “have a role” when prompted earlier this week. With Dontrell Hilliard logging 39.1 percent of the team’s snaps the past two weeks, it’s most conceivable Hunt receives 9-11 touches in his first action since departing KC. Fresh and motivated, he’s in a position to succeed. His Week 10 opponent, Buffalo, has come undone defending the run. The Bills have yielded 4.6 yards per carry, 133.6 total yards per game, nine combined TDs and the 12th-most fantasy points to RBs. Hunter gatherers, unite. (FF: 8-32-3-27-1, 13.4 fpts