Jimmy Garoppolo, SF (at Seattle)
Garoppolo actually had a rough game against the Patriots last week on a day where everything went right for the 49ers. He also lost Deebo Samuel to a hamstring injury. He’s still set up for a potential ceiling game against the Seahawks with the backfield depleted. Seattle’s defense isn’t likely to get back Jamal Adams and even when they had him, they brought out the best in opposing passing games. Even Kirk Cousins had 247 and two scores. Two of the quarterbacks that faced Seattle this year have thrown for at least 450 yards and three have accounted for at least three total touchdowns. Cam Newton was a fantasy giant against Seattle. Garoppolo is a worthy QB2/Superflex/Streamer or DFS play.
Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (vs Los Angeles Rams)
Tagovailoa was considered on a par (at least) with Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert as a draft prospect, and we’ve seen what that rookie duo has done in fantasy leagues. Tagovailoa is aggressive and he has plenty of weapons along with two weeks to prepare for the Rams, who are traveling across the country on a short week of rest. Quarterbacks that aren’t from the NFC East or Nick Foles have thrown for seven touchdowns against the Rams in two games (Josh Allen and Jimmy Garoppolo).
Baker Mayfield, CLE (vs Las Vegas)
Mayfield caught fire against the Bengals once Odell Beckham Jr left the game, although it’s hard to know how much that should be chalked up to a Bengals defense that never forced him to go past his second read. The Raiders defense had 45 hung on them by Tom Brady last week, so they might not put up that much resistance to an offense that is running smoothly without its #1 running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Watch the wind forecast in Cleveland before committing to Mayfield.
Nick Foles, CHI (vs New Orleans)
It’s difficult to trust Nick Foles after his play has been bad enough to prompt questions about whether Mitchell Trubisky will get another shot, but the Saints defense has been so reliably beatable for big plays that it’s worth at least asking the question of whether to play Foles as a longshot DFS hit or desperation quarterback play. The Bears have quality targets at tight end, where the Saints have been vulnerable to tight ends, and their defense has allowed 18 total scores to quarterbacks and no fewer than two in any game - and that was just last week against Teddy Bridgewater. Watch the wind forecast in Chicago before committing to Foles.
Boston Scott, PHI (vs Dallas)
This one is almost as simple as start everyone against Dallas. Antonio Gibson ripped off a big run and a score against them, and they’ve given up at least 187 rushing yards in each of the last two games. Scott has momentum coming off a game-winning touchdown catch and he’s a good bet for at least five targets in a depleted passing game.
J.K. Dobbins, BAL (vs Pittsburgh)
Mark Ingram II is unlikely to play this week, which will put Gus Edwards and Dobbins on the spot. Edwards is likely to lead the backfield in carries, but his downhill runs are likely to be met with force by the Steelers defense. Dobbins has the agility and speed to threaten big plays and he’s an excellent receiver, which sets him up to exploit the absence of Devin Bush, who is the Steelers most athletic linebacker but sidelined for the season.
Deejay Dallas, SEA (vs San Francisco)
Dallas is the healthiest Seahawks running back and he’s likely to play a role on Sunday against the 49ers, who did show some cracks against the run in the win over New England last week. How big that role is will be up to Dallas and the medical condition of the other backs. Chris Carson could play despite his foot injury, Carlos Hyde could play despite his hamstring injury, and Travis Homer could play despite his knee injury. Dallas has looked superior to Homer in every way, and he’s a better pass catcher than Hyde. Dallas could also go into the game with a small role but either be the healthiest or most effective Seahawks back and earn more work as the game goes on. He should be on the desperation play and DFS long shot list.
Jamycal Hasty, SF (at Seattle)
Hasty has finished the game as the best 49ers running back on the field for the second straight week even though the coaches have not found a reason to give him work until the player(s) ahead of him go down. Kyle Shanahan said that last week being a planned rest week was the reason we didn’t see much of Jerick McKinnon, but that casts a shadow over McKinnon’s status and he looked spent in Week 6, when he relieved Raheem Mostert but was promptly replaced by Hasty when he was ineffective. The Vikings ran all over the Seahawks in Week 5, and when Kenyan Drake went down and gave way to the quicker Chase Edmonds, the Seahawks struggled to corral him. Hasty’s urgency and shifty style could give the Seahawks fits.
Joshua Kelley, LAC (at Denver)
The Chargers didn’t rely as much on their running game last week, but they actually had to lean on the pass deep into the game to keep up with Jacksonville. This week, it will be up to Drew Lock to put together a functional offense to give the Chargers a reason to go pass heavy, which is something he hasn’t done yet this year. Kelley is healthier than Justin Jackson right now and he got 12 carries to Jackson’s five. Denver’s run defense has been tough this year, but they lost a stalwart interior defensive line force against the run when Mike Purcell went down last week.
Nelson Agholor, LV (at Cleveland)
Agholor had been making the most of the minimal targets he was getting going into Week 7, so it should have been no surprise that he posted a big game. He’s looking as skillful and fast as the most optimistic projection when he was drafted in the first round in 2015, and he’s playing inside and outside in the Raiders vertical pass offense. Cleveland will be vulnerable to the big play, just make sure the wind forecast isn’t too bad before trusting him on Sunday.
Denzel Mims, NYJ (at Kansas City)
Mims looked ready for NFL action in his debut last week after missing six weeks and camp with hamstring injuries. Breshad Perriman has a concussion and Jamison Crowder is nursing a groin injury, so Mims could be the primary garbage time target for Sam Darnold in a game that should get out of hand very quickly.
Mooney has been getting open deep frequently, Nick Foles just can’t hit him. Miller has had some huge fantasy outbursts in his recent past, but he isn’t getting a big enough role in the offense to rekindle that magic. Allen Robinson has a concussion and should be out this week, so this young duo will get most of the wide receiver targets against a Saints secondary that has lost track of D.J. Moore, Allen Lazard, and Mike Williams for long scores over their last four games.
Jakobi Meyers, NE (at Buffalo)
Julian Edelman is out this week with a knee issue and it appears has been playing through for a while, which would explain his poor play. N’keal Harry has a concussion, which does not explain his poor play. Meyers was the best Patriots receiver on the field last week, and that is going to be true again this week. What is unclear is just what that will mean for fantasy production with Cam Newton throwing the ball, but it at least makes Meyers a viable DFS longshot and desperation play.
Marcus Johnson, IND (at Detroit)
Johnson’s snap share, targets, and production have all taken a sharp upturn over the last three games heading into the bye for a Colts passing game that is looking for answers. This week he’ll get a Lions secondary that has given up two passing scores to Mitchell Trubisky, a two touchdown game to Andy Isabella, a two touchdown game to Tre’Quan Smith, a 143-yard game to Keelan Cole, and just last week allowed 224 yards to Falcons receivers. Johnson has game-breaking speed and could convert a long score in this one.
Jerry Jeudy, DEN (vs Los Angeles Chargers)
Jeudy has been a rare disappointment on the field in this stacked rookie class of receivers, but the hope is that will change this week with Tim Patrick trending towards missing the game with a hamstring injury and the offense reorganizing around making things easier for Drew Lock. The easiest throws will be to Jeudy when he has separated with his route running ability, so that should be a point of emphasis against the Chargers. It’s just up to Jeudy to execute for this sleeper pick to hit.
Make sure this game goes off as planned before counting on a Bucs receiver, but if it does, one or both or Johnson and Miller could hit. James Bradberry is lurking and matches up best with Mike Evans, who is likely to function as a decoy in any event. Miller has already had three games with at least 73 receiving yards and his best game of the year came last week as he gets healthier. Johnson is a natural for the slot role that Chris Godwin vacated when he broke his finger last week. Tom Brady is red hot and could help create fantasy overachievers against the Giants this week.
Mike Gesicki, MIA (vs Los Angeles Rams)
As we try to project what the left-handed Dolphins pass offense will look like for fantasy leagues, one important nugget emerged - Gesicki has been running full-speed routes with Tua Tagovailoa all year as a member of the scout team. It’s enough to hang your hat on when Gesicki is the primary receiving tight end (even though Adam Shaheen had an abnormal number of targets on a low snap count in Week 6), and Jalen Ramsey should wipe out at least one outside target on every snap.
Harrison Bryant, CLE (vs Las Vegas)
Bryant was a big hit when Austin Hooper went under the knife to have his appendix removed last week, with two scores in the last second comeback win with five lead changing touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. The Raiders have given up big games to Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce in their last two games out and Baker Mayfield has looked very comfortable throwing to Bryant.
Albert Okwuegbunam, DEN (vs Los Angeles Chargers)
A second week of Okwuegbunam getting enough targets to be fantasy relevant is enough to dismiss the possibility that his arrival on the scene was a fluke that was merely the product of Noah Fant being sidelined vs. New England. He equalled Fant’s seven targets last week, but caught all seven, compared to Fant’s three catches, so it’s clear that Drew Lock’s connection with his college teammate is intact. The Chargers have already given up four scores to tight ends in six games, so those red zone targets could bear fruit this week.
Jimmy Graham, CHI (vs New Orleans)
Graham has quietly been consistent for PPR leagues even after his early touchdown outburst cooled off. He could get back in the scoring column this week facing a Saints defense that has allowed six touchdowns to tight ends in six games, with only the Ian Thomas-led Panthers tight end group failing to notch one against them. Allen Robinson being out and the possibility of high winds in Chicago might enhance Graham’s outlook even more.