Alex Smith, WAS (vs Cincinnati)
Smith might not have to throw it 55 times this week, but he should still have a good amount of success against the Bengals pass defense. The only quarterback that did not account for multiple scores against Cincinnati was Tyrod Taylor in Week 1. That list includes Gardner Minshew, Baker Mayfield (twice, including a five touchdown game), and Philip Rivers. The Washington passing game is coming into focus and Smith is riffing with Logan Thomas, Cam Sims, Steven Sims Jr., Isaiah Wright, and J.D. McKissic in addition to clear #1 wideout Terry McLaurin.
Joe Flacco, NYJ (at Los Angeles Chargers)
Flacco will remain the starter this week in good news for the Jets pass offense. The Chargers have allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in six straight games, including to Tua Tagovailoa, Derek Carr, and Gardner Minshew and none of them threw more than 27 passes. The Jets passing game will also have their top three receivers on the field together for only the second time this year. The first time, Flacco threw for three scores and 262 yards on only 25 attempts against the Patriots in Week 9.
Derek Carr, LV (vs Kansas City)
Carr gets to face the opponent that allowed his best game this year. The Chiefs surrendered 347 yards and three scores in Week 5, and he’ll have Bryan Edwards this time around in addition to the receivers he had in the first matchup. Patrick Mahomes II and the Kansas City offense should be primed to score big points in the rematch and force the Raiders offense to open up.
Kirk Cousins, MIN (vs Dallas)
Cousins has been highly efficient in recent weeks, throwing for at least 220 and two scores in four of the last five games, with the wind bowl in Green Bay when he only threw 14 passes (for 160 and a score). The Cowboys have allowed multiple passing scores in the last four games and seven of the last eight, including games against Kyle Allen, Carson Wentz and Baker Mayfield where none of them threw more than 30 times.
La’Mical Perine, NYJ (at Los Angeles Chargers)
Perine should get ample opportunity to show he can lead the Jets backfield for the rest of the way as the team comes out of the bye. While previous Jets running game output indicates that the outcome will be meager for fantasy leagues, the Chargers just gave up the biggest rushing yards number of the year for the Dolphins backfield, and the Jets offense should be as well-prepared as they have been all year coming off of a week of rest and playing with a full deck at wide receiver.
Jonathan Taylor, IND (vs Green Bay)
Taylor has gone all the way from possible league winner after Marlon Mack went down, to sleeper after his redraft stock bottomed out last week in the win over Tennessee. There’s reason for hope this week because Jordan Wilkins failed even more dramatically than Taylor last week and the Packers are up this week. A running back has scored against them in every game this year except last week vs. Jacksonville, when James Robinson still had 109 yards rushing. Five running backs have had multiple scores against them in nine games this year. Nyheim Hines also qualifies here but his status as a potential sneaky start this week isn’t so sneaky after his performance Thursday night.
Adrian Peterson, DET (at Carolina)
D’Andre Swift missed practice Thursday with a concussion which very much puts his Week 11 status in doubt. The Lions are likely to turn to Peterson, who still thrives on volume and could control the game against the Panthers who are likely to start PJ Walker or Will Grier at quarterback. Josh Jacobs, Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II, Austin Ekeler, and Todd Gurley all had their best fantasy games of the season against the Panthers.
Malcolm Brown, LAR (vs Tampa Bay)
Brown is a part of a three-headed committee in the Rams backfield, but against a team that is the clear #1 stopping the run, it makes sense for him to be the most used as the best back on passing downs. He is also proving to be the best at the goal line. Brown could make hay in the passing game in PPR leagues against a Bucs defense that has allowed at least five running back receptions in eight of ten games this year, and they allowed a running back touchdown reception in one of the two that didn’t meet that threshold.
Carlos Hyde, SEA (vs Arizona) **Thursday**
Chris Carson is unlikely to go this week, so Hyde should be the lead back against Arizona. He had a 15-68-1 line in relief of Carson the first time these teams met and also caught three balls. With Russell Wilson struggling to protect the ball, the Seahawks could go back to a run-first game plan that would feature Hyde, who should have a solid game as long as he doesn’t leave the game with an injury (which isn’t a given).
Salvon Ahmed, MIA (at Denver)
Ahmed might share more with other Dolphins back this week because Matt Breida is due back, but he’ll also face a Broncos defense that allowed four scores and over 200 yards to Raiders running backs last week. Denver has lost key performers like Jurrell Casey and Mike Purcell in their defensive front and the results are showing against the run. The Dolphins will want to have a conservative game plan that feeds the running game and the Broncos offense is unlikely to be able to force them out of it.
Josh Reynolds, LAR (at Tampa Bay)
Reynolds was the top fantasy option among Rams wide receivers last week and he could easily repeat that performance this week. It doesn’t sound like Cooper Kupp is 100% and the Bucs secondary just gave up a long score to DJ Moore on a busted coverage last week. The Tampa run defense should force Jared Goff to throw a lot and Reynolds was a full-time player last week, logging as many snaps as Robert Woods and 19 more than Kupp.
Breshad Perriman, NYJ (at Los Angeles Chargers)
Perriman and Joe Flacco rekindled their connection from the Ravens days in Week 9 and they’ll have a chance to carry that over to the matchup against the Chargers this week. Watch Perriman’s practice participation, as he has been limited with a shoulder injury, but this isn’t a soft tissue leg injury that could be aggravated if Perriman opens up the afterburners, which he was able to do against the Patriots the last time we saw him out there.
Willie Snead IV, BAL (vs Tennessee)
Snead has had two great fantasy performances in the last three games, uncoincidentally just as Lamar Jackson is finding his range as a passer, even in a driving rain. Snead should continue to be a top target as Jackson has always been his best when he throws to the middle of the field, and the Titans bend but don’t break zone pass defense should encourage Jackson to nickel and dime with short quick throws to a zone beater like Snead.
K.J. Hamler, DEN (vs Miami)
Hamler has 10 targets in each of the last two games, so he is headed towards a breakout game one of these weeks. It makes sense that it would happen this week whether the quarterback is Drew Lock or Brett Rypien because the Dolphins outside corners should take away Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy, leaving the slot a more attractive target, which is where Hamler operates from.
Cam Sims, WAS (vs Cincinnati)
Sims has come on to be the starting Z receiver for Washington and he won this role just in time for a matchup with a Bengals defense that has been very generous to opposing wideouts, including allowing four touchdowns to Steelers receivers last week. Other receivers that do their damage downfield like Sims have gone off lately against the Bengals secondary, including over 100 yards to Marcus Johnson, Rashard Higgins, and Corey Davis over the last four games, and the best games of the year for Marquise Brown and DJ Chark before that.
Jalen Guyton, LAC (vs New York Jets)
Guyton has hit on a deep target for a 70+ yard score twice already this year, and he has a decent chance to do it this week against a Jets secondary that just shed Pierre Desir, their #1 corner. Jakobi Meyers got open at will against them the last time we saw the Jets take the field and Guyton actually got more targets (6) than Mike Williams (5) last week against Miami.
Taysom Hill, NO (vs Atlanta)
This one comes down to position eligibility in your league software. Hill could get more snaps at quarterback this week with Drew Brees out, and more of his snaps could come at the goal line to reduce the chances of a costly Jameis Winston turnover at a key juncture. Hill has at least 35 rushing yards in the last three games and he had 30 yards on the ground in the fourth quarter alone last week as the Saints were putting away the 49ers.
Eric Ebron, PIT (at Jacksonville)
Ebron wasn’t part of the passing touchdown party against the Bengals last week, but it could be his turn this week against the Jacksonville defense that has allowed seven scores to tight ends this year. Three of the scores came from 20+ yards out, and the Jaguars also allowed 63 yard reception to Jonnu Smith in a game that also saw him catch two scores.
The Rams will likely face a lot of blitzes from Todd Bowles’ Tampa defense, and they shouldn’t try too many passing plays that take a lot of time to develop. That could mean more targets for Higbee and Everett, who both had more snaps than Cooper Kupp last week. The Bucs have allowed six tight end touchdowns since Week 4 and Evan Engram, Jared Cook, and Noah Fant all had five catches for at least 46 yards in games against them when the tight end didn’t score this year.
Logan Thomas, WAS (vs Cincinnati)
Thomas has had two of his best three fantasy games of the year in the last three weeks and he appears to be on the same page as Alex Smith, who targeted him six times last week, completing four and all four went for first downs. The Bengals have allowed six tight end touchdowns since Week 5 and the best receiving yardage games of the year to Hunter Henry and Zach Ertz - both notching at least 70 in games against Cincinnati.