Welcome to this week's roundtable, where our fearless panel of fantasy pundits dive into a free-agent frenzy, dissect dynamic running back duos, and tell you which hot running backs and wide receivers will cool off and which ones on a cold streak will heat up.
With this in mind, let's examine what we think about these topics as we head into Week 11:
Free Agent Frenzy
Matt Waldman: The players listed below are free agents in a lot of formats, Pick two that you think will have the greatest fantasy impact—one short-term (1-2 weeks) and one long-term (more than two weeks).
- TE Jacob Hollister
- TE Jaeden Graham
- TE Luke Stocker
- TE Anthony Firkser
- TE Ben Braunecker
- TE Rhett Ellison
- WR Randall Cobb
- WR James Washington
- WR Kendrick Bourne
- WR Demaryius Thomas
- WR Rashard Higgins
- WR Olabisi Johnson
- WR Laquon Treadwell
- RB Brian Hill
- RB Kenjon Barner
- RB Dare Ogunbowale
- RB Darwin Thompson
- RB Kalen Ballage
- RB Myles Gaskin
- RB Patrick Laird
- RB Mike Davis
- QB Jeff Driskel
- QB Ryan Finley
- QB Brian Hoyer
- QB Chad Kelly
Who makes your list of notables?
Andy Hicks: I’m going to hate my short-term pick, but its Kalen Ballage for Miami. He is well on track to post the worst yards per rushing attempt of any running back with more than 70 carries in a season.
Two yards a carry just doesn’t cut it in the NFL, but he gets the Bills and Browns for the next two weeks and they are among the worst defenses against the run in the NFL. Whether he can lift his performance or whether the Dolphins give him at least 90 percent of the carries again remains to be seen, but until Mark Walton returns it seems Miami is going to trust him with the ball more than Myles Gaskin, Patrick Laird or anyone else who puts on a uniform.
Looking longer-term, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab Demaryius Thomas the rest of the way. It is clear that Sam Darnold focuses primarily on Jamison Crowder, with Thomas close behind. With the Jets schedule opening-up and a nice schedule against the pass, Thomas could easily be a WR3 or better on the run home.
Daniel Simpkins: Short-term, I would choose Brian Hill. We’ve seen in his stints with both Cincinnati and Atlanta that given the opportunity, he can be productive. We know that Devonta Freeman’s injury is severe enough that he’ll miss the next two weeks minimum, so I feel good about penciling in Hill to generate points for fantasy general managers while he fills in for Freeman.
Long-term, I still have a feeling that Darwin Thompson could play a role in winning folks a fantasy championship. Neither Damien Williams nor LeSean McCoy seems to be able to hang on to the ball and Darrell Williams is limited in his application.
What has been missing for Thompson has been an opportunity. With McCoy being a healthy scratch for Sunday’s contest with the Titans and Thompson being active, he moved one step closer. I feel if he’s given the chance, he could run away with the job, literally.
Jason Wood: I'll be honest, I don't have great hopes for most of this list, at least in terms of contributors to help you for a fantasy playoff push...
Waldman: You say this every week with my lists, which leads me to believe you play in eight-team leagues other than our Footballguys Staff league.
Wood: Or, more likely, you play in too many 50-player roster setups, Wildman.
Waldman: True enough. Proceed.
Wood: As I was going to say before you tried to be witty, desperate times call for desperate measures. In the near term, Brian Hill is the answer. It took every domino in the Falcons depth chart to fall, but Hill made the most of his opportunity against the Saints.
And based on the coaches' commentary after the game, Hill is going to be the feature back, for now. With the season at a crossroads and Devonta Freeman hurt, Hill has an opportunity to re-shape his career trajectory in the next few games.
I'll agree with Daniel that Darwin Thompson is the most exciting name of the bunch, particularly with a long-term or dynasty lens. The Chiefs quietly benched LeSean McCoy this week and it wasn't injury-related.
While Damien Williams is the lead back right now, you have to like Thompson's chances at carving out a role with McCoy out of the picture. Thompson profiles as a better three-down fit for Andy Reid's offense than Williams, and a strong showing as the No. 2 in November and December could set the table for Thompson to be the No. 1 in 2020.
Jeff Haseley: Russell Wilson likes to utilize his tight ends. He elevated the game of Will Dissly earlier in the season, and he's doing the same for Jacob Hollister. Seattle tight ends have 22 receptions since Week 6 (Dissly injury) and Hollister has 17 of them, plus 3 touchdowns. I don't see Hollister's involvement going away anytime soon. He is definitely a free agent to target for the rest of the season, if available.
The foot injury to Devonta Freeman will keep him out for a few weeks, making Brian Hill the team's go-to running back. He may only have a few weeks of value, and there is a small chance that his value may only be Week 11 at Carolina. The Panthers run defense has been awful lately, which makes for a good matchup for Hill. Atlanta then plays Tampa Bay, New Orleans, and has its rematch with Carolina, however, Freeman may be back in the action by Week 13.
Sean Settle: The one player I would target in the short-term would be Brian Hill. We have seen a short stint in Cincinnati and how productive he can be. The Falcons offense has played from behind the majority of the season and any running back that can catch the ball has significant upside in a PPR format. Hill falls in the short side category because Devonta Freeman will be coming back and will regain his starting role. Hill will be one of the most added players this week and used in DFS across the board.
The long-term fantasy impact will be Randall Cobb. He showed he has plenty left in the tank against the Vikings and defenses are going to continue to focus their attention on Elliott, Cooper, and now Gallup. Cobb will see a lot of single coverage and linebackers in coverage for the rest of the season and should see a big jump in workload after his most recent game. Dallas saw the need to throw the ball more against the Vikings and that should benefit Cobb for the rest of the season.
Chad Parsons: I am buying Brian Hill in the short term. With Devonta Freeman likely to miss 1-2 games, there is little else on the Falcons depth chart to prevent Hill from seeing at least 15 carries and pushing 20 touches per game. Game script is a concern with Atlanta's struggling defense (their showing against New Orleans was definitely an outlier this season-to-date), but Qadree Ollison has made little headway towards a role and Kenjon Barner is a sub-sized and nomadic back thus far in his career. Hill is a plug-and-play RB2 for lineups.
For the longer term, Jacob Hollister has a quality profile for sustained production being attached to a strong quarterback and without a dominant WR1. Hollister has 24 targets over the past four games and 16 targets (12-99-2 stat line) over the past two games. The schedule also includes a choice matchup against Arizona in Week 16 for Hollister.
Mark Schofield: For the short term, I think Ryan Finley would be the player to watch. While his debut against the Baltimore Ravens was not, shall we say, memorable (or perhaps it was memorable for all the wrong reasons) the Bengals do need to take the next few weeks and figure out just what they have in the rookie out of N.C. State. He will have some favorable matchups the next few weeks, with Oakland, Pittsburgh, the New York Jets, and the Cleveland Browns, so there is an opportunity there.
It will likely end come mid-December when Bill Belichick and the Patriots come to town.
Long term, I'll suggest Rashard Higgins. Cleveland media has been clamoring for him to be used more and more in the Browns' offense, and catching a game-winner against the Bills last week might be the final bit of evidence the coaching staff needs to give him more opportunities. He and Baker Mayfield have great on-the-field chemistry, and we should see that develop even more down the stretch.
Dynamic RB Duos
Waldman: The NFL has some productive fantasy backfields this year. Here are they are (with their current PPR ranking at their position):
- Aaron Jones(3)-Jamaal Williams(25):
- Austin Ekeler(4)-Melvin Gordon III (38): During the past five weeks, Gordon is a top-10 RB and Ekeler a top-20 option.
- Nick Chubb (6)-Kareem Hunt (N/A): Hunt and Chubb were 12th and 13th in PPR value last weekend in Hunt's debut.
- Alvin Kamara (15)-Latavius Murray (21)
- Jordan Howard (20)-Miles Sanders (27)
- Phillip Lindsay (13)-Royce Freeman (31)
- James White (24)-Sony Michel (27)
- Tevin Coleman (31)-Matt Breida (32): This was heading into Monday night of Week 10.
We're talking about 16 backs with essentially top-36 production--eight pairs with same-team affiliations.
Question 1: Which tandem has the most value down the stretch? Think of your answer in terms of "if you had to pick a tandem to be your two starting backs, which one would you choose?"
Question 2: Which tandems, If any, would you recommend as a draftable package in 2020 if they remain teammates?
Parsons: As a tandem, I trust the talent of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt the most. Chubb's workload was largely unaffected in Week 10 with Hunt's debut but Hunt still managed 14 PPR points on his own. Hunt would become an easy RB1 if Chubb misses time and the DNA of the Browns offense needs to be the running backs to simply the passing game and offensive line, which has largely struggled through 10 weeks.
I am most bullish on Miles Sanders as a breakout 2020 candidate compared to his current appeal in the fantasy marketplace. The Eagles have struggled with injuries and a lackluster wide receiver corps and Sanders has survived (and thrived) mostly on receiving work. With a rising tide next year for the offense overall and a Year Two progression from Sanders, he is a quality RB1 bet for a cheaper cost/perception than most on the list.
Hicks: All things told this will be a close one between the Patriots duo of Sony Michel and James White and the Browns pair of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The schedule so favors the New England team it’s not funny, especially during the fantasy playoffs where they are up against the Chiefs, Bengals, and Bills. I do believe that Chubb and Hunt are the best pair here, but apart from facing the Bengals in week 14, they have average matchups against the Cardinals and Ravens to close out fantasy playoff.
The second question is so tough because there is so much still to play out this year. We also have to factor in contract situations, free agency and the draft as well. Let alone coaching changes and player development or regression.
I can see half these pairings such as Ekeler and Gordon, Howard and Sanders, etc not being a tandem in 2020. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt would be my likely choice, but Hunt is a restricted free agent and his talent alone could see another team pries him away from the Browns.
Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams would ultimately be my best bet though, as both are under contract in 2020 and despite my contention that the Packers would be so much better with a running back of elite-quality rather than Aaron Jones.
Jones has certainly found the route to the end zone and the confidence of Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur, but he is unlikely to reach 1,000 rushing yards this season and makes poor decisions running the ball often. Jamaal Williams is just a guy, but his fantasy value is coming from an incredible percentage of receiving touchdowns this year.
Schofield: I think Hunt and Chubb is the answer here, from both a talent and a scheme perspective. The most important play in my mind of Cleveland's win last week was a first-quarter 24 yard run from Chubb, where you saw the Browns run outside zone with Hunt leading the way as a blocker. Football is a matchup game and the ability to run a dual RB package, dictate defensive personnel from the defense and then attack it via the ground or the air is huge for an offense, and now the Browns have that.
Provided they stay together, I think Chubb and Hunt is again the answer. But if not them, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams is probably the safety bet. As Andy Hicks points out, both are under contract through 2020 and the Packers' offense seems to be hitting a bit of a stride with those players.
And as I told Matt on the most recent installment of our Quick Game podcast, New England backfields have scared me away—permanently.
Settle: For the rest of the season I am looking squarely at Sony Michel and James White. The Patriots have one of the softest remaining schedules and will be a very run-heavy team as they start to play in the elements in New England. With games against Miami, Buffalo, and the Jets left on the schedule we should all be looking at how many Patriots we can get into our lineups.
Looking into next year it is tough to predict who will still be together, but the tandem I would want is Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. The ADP should be far enough apart that you could grab both guys without much issue and the worst case is you would end up with one of the best handcuffs in the game.
Murray filled in with authority when Kamara was out and showed he could handle the starting duties without an issue. Kamara is a special back that is having a down season by his standards and should rebound nicely.
Haseley: The popular answer here is Melvin Gordon III and Austin Ekeler. Gordon is looking like the Gordon of old now and Ekeler is still a viable multi-purpose back. They would be my first choice, but we've touched on them already, which I agree with 100 percent.
Another answer that I like is Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in this scenario. Cleveland still has matchups against Miami, Cincinnati twice, and Arizona. I don't see much of a drop off for Nick Chubb now that Hunt is in the mix. I think both can produce good value to be a positive starter in your lineup. Hunt was used more as a receiver, catching seven passes last week, but I believe he'll see an increase in rushing opportunities as he gets more acclimated to the play calls and the Browns offense.
New Orleans has Latavius Murray signed through 2022 and Alvin Kamara is signed through 2020. Both should be popular options in the Saints offense at least through next season. Murray showed that he can be a factor when Kamara injured his ankle.
The question is, can both be equally productive at the same time? Early in the 2019 season that wasn't apparent, but teams change. Murray now has a boost to his confidence, which may carry over for the rest of the season and into 2020.
They both bring a specific niche skill to the offense. Kamara is more of a versatile, multi-purpose back, while Murray has an edge when it comes to power, size, and speed combination. The tandem, if both backs are on top of their game, is a potent combination.
Wood: Ekeler and Gordon would be the tandem if you had to start both running backs down the stretch. As you noted, Gordon has become the lead back again in recent weeks and there's no reason his role will be reduced. The Chargers are going to ride Gordon for all he's worth and let him move on in 2020.
But Ekeler maintains value because he's such a well-rounded player and fits in brilliantly as the team's de facto slot receiver. The combination of Ekeler/Gordon should outperform Jones/Williams marginally down the stretch.
I don't think Gordon/Ekeler will be teammates next year, so I'll fall back to Jones/Williams. Jones is the clear No. 1 in that duo, but Williams retains enough value in Matt LaFleur's game plan to justify RB2/Flex value in today's NFL (where very few running backs get heavy workloads).
Something has to give on the Broncos. The offense isn't dynamic enough to support both Lindsay and Freeman. Hopefully, the team will commit to one or the other this offseason.
Latavius Murray was amazing in Alvin Kamara's stead, but he was a virtual zero before Kamara got hurt. It's possible he showed enough in recent weeks to see more of a Mark Ingram II role down the stretch, but I'm not betting on it for 2020.
Simpkins: For me, I think it would be Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. If you could pour the talent of these pairings in a beaker, Chubb and Hunt’s beaker would be the fullest of any of these tandems. I also was encouraged by their usage. Watching them work from “Pony Personnel” a good bit of the time this weekend was fun and it will open up new possibilities for this struggling offense. The remaining schedule is not too daunting for Cleveland, either.
I highly doubt Chubb and Hunt will remain together, so I’m going to go with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. The average draft position will be far enough that you can realistically snag them both. The Saints continue to have one of the best offensive lines in football coupled with a brilliant quarterback who understands how to manipulate defenses and forces them to play both the pass and the run honestly. The Saints score a plethora of rushing touchdowns each year and even when Kamara is ailing, Murray can be quite serviceable.
HOt-Cold Running Backs
Waldman: These players have been hotter or cooler for the past four weeks compared to the season-long performance.
Hot RBs (Past four weeks vs. the entire season)--Gordon and his decision to hold out doesn't count despite his top-10 production since returning. Murray's injury-generated role due to Alvin Kamara's missed time also doesn't count.
- Jamaal Williams No.6 PPR (No.25 season-long)
- Saquon Barkley No.11 PPR (No.18 season-long)
- Tevin Coleman No.15 PPR (No.35 season-long prior to MNF)
Cold RBs (Past four weeks vs. the entire season)
- Mark Ingram II No.31 PPR (No.11 season-long)
- Phillip Lindsay No.32 PPR (No.13 season-long)
- Jordan Howard No.34 PPR (No.20 season-long)
Which player in the Hot Category is most likely to cool off? Which player in the Cold Category is most likely to heat up?
Simpkins: As much as it pains me to say it, it’s likely to be Jamaal Williams. Matt Breida got dinged up yet again on Monday Night Football and if he misses significant time, that will mean that most of the touches in the offense go to Coleman.
Saquon Barkley is dealing with an undisclosed minor injury himself, but it appears he’s in no danger of missing games. I expect that he’ll remain his usual productive self. That leaves Williams. He’s the only one on the list who’s going to have to play in a true committee, and while it’s a productive one, it’s obvious that Aaron Jones is the more valuable part of that pairing.
Mark Ingram II is the most likely to heat back up because of the quality of the offense. Lamar Jackson has been scooting into the end zone himself and throwing for touchdowns, not leaving many red-zone looks for Ingram.
Earlier in the year, Ingram had been benefiting from having and converting some short-yardage opportunities. While I don’t think Ingram gets back to finishing the number 11 back in PPR, I do think he’ll finish much higher than 31st as scoring opportunities normalize.
Hicks: Without a doubt, the player to heat up should be Phillip Lindsay. Denver has a nice run home and it is clear that Lindsay is the preferred option in this backfield.
It is also evident that his recent decline is due to a lack of production as a receiver for some reason. He is too good not to be utilized by the Broncos and as defenses start to tire he is the perfect back to take advantage.
The hot player to cool down award has to go to Jamaal Williams. Five touchdowns in the last four games is a clear anomaly, especially with four as a receiver. Williams does not see enough of the ball to remain a consistent option with only three games above seven carries a game. He is a nice borderline RB2/flex option, which is where his season-long stats tell the truer picture.
Wood: HOT to COLD will be Jamaal Williams, clearly, because he's not the lead back for Green Bay. Aaron Jones continues to dominate, and Williams' value is going to be far more game-specific.
COLD to HOT will be Mark Ingram II remains the top back in Baltimore, and the Ravens have put the league on notice in the last two weeks. While he's going to share touches and goal-line runs with Lamar Jackson and, to a lesser extent, Gus Edwards, Ingram remains a proven grinder and short-yardage asset.
Haseley: Likely to cool off? Jamaal Williams. As many have indicated, Williams' presence among the top backs is due to his affinity for scoring touchdowns - 5 in the last five games. Once those touchdowns subside, Williams will return to a flex option, at best. Only one of those five games did he surpass 65 total yards. Scoring alone can't justify consistency in fantasy terms. It should be an indicator to consider trading him if you have him.
Likely to heat up? Mark Ingram II. The Ravens offense is clicking on all cylinders. Ingram has 8 touchdowns in nine games with two multi-score games. He also has three 100-yard rushing games and he consistently sees double-digit carries per game. The scoring should continue and expect him to roll for 100 yards every three games.
Settle: Looking at this list of hot running backs it is easy to see how Jamaal Williams will cool down over time and return to his mean. He has played very well as a receiver and those numbers should not continue. With Davante Adams coming back healthy the Packers will look like a totally different team. Five touchdowns in dour weeks is a great stretch, but he will not come anywhere close to that for the rest of the season.
Mark Ingram II is the back that will get things going down the stretch for the Ravens. They simply have not needed him so far this season and that has caused the lack of production. There is no point wearing down your lead back when the team is up by multiple touchdowns and that has caused the dip in usage. As the games get closer and the Ravens are truly playing for something, expect Ingram to put up solid numbers the rest of the way.
Parsons: In a firm committee, Jamaal Williams is likely to cool off outside of an Aaron Jones injury. The schedule of rushing defenses also is tough for Green Bay through the end of the season outside of Week 14 against Washington.
I will buy Phillip Lindsay as a riser from the past month. Denver's schedule turns optimistic with Buffalo, Kansas City, and Detroit left with strong projections for opposing backs and the Chargers another positive matchup.
Schofield: I think the player likely to cool off is Barkley.
Waldman: Look at you with the answer many wouldn't expect!
Schofield: That be me...
The Jets did a good job of bottling him up as a runner last week and turned him basically into a receiving option. However, when you study him in the Giants' offense, his ability in pass protection is impressive. That might mean fewer and fewer opportunities for him as a receiver since he will be tasked with pass protection responsibilities. Add to that his recent injury, and there is a recipe for regression.
Now I may very well be an outlier here again, but I'll go with Jordan Howard as a player with a chance to heat up. Obviously the Eagles have a huge stretch of games coming up, as they play New England and Seattle over the next few weeks.
Coaches from the Andy Reid tree (including Doug Pederson) have enjoyed success against Belichick, and I expect that to continue this week. The Eagles have also been using more and more of Howard and Miles Sanders in the backfield at the same time, so I think Howard's usage is going to increase as well over the next few games.
Hot-cold wide Receivers
Matt Waldman: These players have been hotter or cooler for the past four weeks compared to the season-long performance.
Hot WRs (Past four weeks vs. the entire season)--I'm not counting Tyreek Hill and Golden Tate because they returned from suspensions
- Marvin Jones Jr No.5 PPR (No.13 season-long)
- Stefon Diggs No.3 PPR (No.14 season-long).
- Jamison Crowder No.12 PPR (No.31 season-long)
- DeVante Parker No.13 PPR (No.36 season-long)'
- Darius Slayton No.15 PPR (No.42 season-long)
Cold WRs (Past four weeks vs. the entire season)
- Chris Godwin No.19 PPR (No.3 season-long)
- Cooper Kupp No.27 PPR (No.6 season-long)
- Keenan Allen No.29 PPR (No.11 season-long)
- D.J. Chark Jr No.39 PPR (No.12 season-long)
- Robert Woods No.44 PPR (No.25 season-long)
Which player in the Hot Category is most likely to cool off? Which player in the Cold Category is most likely to heat up?
Schofield: Jones is probably the easy answer here. Between the injury to Matt Stafford, the uncertainty over what the Lions have in Jeff Driskel and their schedule over the next few weeks (games against Dallas, Chicago, and Minnesota are on the docket) that Lions offense might be in for a rough stretch.
With the return of Nick Foles to the lineup, there will be opportunities abound in the downfield passing game. Foles loves seeing single coverage on the boundary and attacking vertically, so Chark is going to get a boost in targets and opportunities over the next couple of contests. The Jaguars also have a very favorable schedule, as they do not face a Top 10 defense the rest of the way.
Parsons: I am not buying Jamison Crowder's production to continue. The sub-sized option has scored in back-to-back weeks despite a 6% career touchdown rate and a generally struggling Jets passing game. With Demaryius Thomas, Robby Anderson and Le'Veon Bell's key targets as well, Crowder will have a tough time maintaining top-20, or even top-30, production without a strong run of touchdown rate.
On the flip side, I am buying Keenan Allen to be better than WR29 going forward. Allen has a touchdown-less streak spanning seven games and 33 receptions on a strong offense with healthy volume (more than nine targets per game).
Settle: It has been a great run for Marvin Jones Jr, but things are going to cool down very quickly for him. There is no real timetable for the return of Stafford, and it is a huge drop off with Driskel at quarterback.
Jones put up outstanding numbers with four touchdowns against the Vikings, but all that did was inflate his numbers. Golladay is the receiver to own in Detroit and Jones will likely let you down the rest of the way.
The big goose egg from last week for Kupp is the anomaly on this list. He is too talented of a receiver on a great offense that is struggling right now. Jared Goff will figure it out and start to get the ball to his weapons on the outside.
There are some tough matchups sprinkled in the rest of the season with Chicago, Baltimore, Seattle, and San Francisco, but Kupp has the talent to be a top-end receiver against any of those teams. Look for a huge bounce back from the Rams as a whole as they make the playoff push at the end of the season.
Haseley: Likely to cool off? The likely answer here is Marvin Jones Jr, simply due to the Matthew Stafford injury factor, but Jones has played well with Driskel so far, with 5-77 performance in Week 10. It's a small sample size, but Jones may actually not lose much value with the Stafford injury.
The next obvious answer is Darius Slayton. Prior to the Week 10 game where he had 10 receptions for 121 yards and 2 scores, he averaged roughly 5 targets per game.
Injuries at receiver have hit the Giants hard, so the volume should continue, but to say he's at least a 10-target-per-game player seems too rich. Slayton was a popular rookie prospect despite the heavy names in front of him on the Giants depth chart.
Those names have dwindled away with injuries and he is displaying good fundamentals to go along with a nose for the end zone (5 touchdowns in eight games). I can see him being a flex option for now, but I don't see him transitioning into an every-week starter.
Likely to heat up? You can make a case for all of these to heat up because we saw it displayed from these players earlier in the season. If I had to pick one, I'd say Cooper Kupp.
He leads all Rams in targets (91), receptions (58), and receiving touchdowns (5). I don't see him disappearing from the offense like he did last week. I see that more as an anomaly, rather than a glimpse into the future.
Wood: HOT to COLD is Marvin Jones Jr as the clear choice because of Matthew Stafford's back. While Stafford's status for Week 11 and beyond is unclear, it's hard to imagine the Lions risking their veteran franchise quarterback when we know he's got broken bones in his back. If Stafford is out for the rest of the year, the Lions passing attack lacks appeal.
COLT to HOT...
Waldman: As in McCoy or Brennan?
Schofield: I choose Brennan.
Wood: You guys are almost funny. Seriously, All of these players are good bets to bounce back, but Chris Godwin is atop the charts. Godwin has drawn even with Mike Evans in terms of the pecking order, and performance. There will be spurts where Evans is better, and there will be times when Godwin is the go-to option.
Simpkins: I’m afraid Marvin Jones Jr is likely to cool down with Jeff Driskel quarterbacking. Matthew Stafford’s back problems paired with the team’s losing trajectory are likely to make the decision to shut Stafford down for the year easier.
Cooper Kupp will heat back up, but it may not be this week against the Bears, whose defense tends to suffocate the life out of its opponents. The offensive line will be missing its starting center for the rest of the year and right tackle Rob Havenstein for at least a game.
The Rams have an incredibly tough schedule coming up (Bears, Ravens, Seahawks, Cowboys, and 49ers in five of their next six weeks) and I project them to be trailing in many of these contests for significant portions of the game. That will mean Jared Goff is forced to throw the football and Kupp is probably the best, most trustworthy third-down receiver on their roster.
Hicks: It’s too easy to say that Marvin Jones Jr will cool off when his last four weeks include his four-touchdown game against the Vikings. That said he still should perform above his career average and be a bottom end WR2, but a lot of that depends on how long Matthew Stafford will be out for. Jeff Driskel is a big drop off from Stafford and Detroit could shut the veteran down if he is still struggling with back issues.
The player that has the best chance to heat up again is Chris Godwin. He has not had a touchdown in his last four games, compared to six in his first five. Whilst Mike Evans is around though, Godwin may be more a bottom end WR1 than the top tier player that Evans is. Godwin has proven his ability to play at this level though and 10 targets a game is more than enough for him to keep his performance levels high. A few more trips to the endzone will just secure the deal.