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Chase Claypool (WR-PIT) - Claypool has been lackluster from a fantasy perspective, and that might not change in a game that should resemble a street fight on Monday night against the Bears. After that, he gets the soft Lions defense and then the Steelers face a string of opponents that should force them out of their conservative shell on offense: The Chargers, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Kansas City. Claypool should get more shots to win on downfield 50/50 balls, which aren’t a big part of the game plan when the Steelers are in control.
Elijah Moore (WR-NYJ) - Moore woke up with six targets on only 30 snaps last week. Mike White is running this offense true to its concepts and creating value where Zach Wilson couldn’t. This might be the lowest Moore dynasty value is for a long time if he has a strong game on Thursday night against the Colts.
Jeff Wilson (RB-SF) - Wilson is back at practice which means you shouldn’t wait any longer to pick him up off of the waiver wire. His fantasy performances when he was the uncontested starter were massive and make him worth a speculative add or even minor trade for a contender that needs a high upside running back stash. Elijah Mitchell will be in the Raheem Mostert role and maybe even a little more, but Wilson has proven his worth to the team in the past.
Van Jefferson (WR-LAR) - Jefferson has a much higher weekly and rest of season ceiling than most are contemplating. He is a full-time player and the primary deep threat after the Desean Jackson. He hasn’t had a ceiling game yet this year, but has already eclipsed 80 yards three times. As defenses seek to take away Cooper Kupp, Jefferson’s fantasy star should rise in the second half of the year.
Mark Ingram (RB-NO) - Ingram was quiet in his reunion with the Saints and the Superdome crowd, but he looked fast on his two receptions that went for 25 yards and he should get a lot more opportunity against the Falcons than he did against the top five Bucs run defense. His presence will allow the team to detach Alvin Kamara from the formation more often, which will be more necessary with Michael Thomas out for the year.
Mecole Hardman (WR-KC) - Stop me if you’ve heard this one before - the Chiefs are creating a role for Hardman that could increase his fantasy value. As Eric Stoner put it on the couch, he’s their Deebo Samuel. Using Hardman to stretch the defense horizontally and on high percentage throws that main set up run after catch opportunities and don’t require precise route running is a perfect way to cover up Hardman’s weaknesses and play to his strengths.
Kyle Pitts (TE-ATL) - The dream is coming to a close, at least for this year. Some big games and plays are still in Pitts this year, but Stephon Gilmore on Pitts in Week 8 with Calvin Ridley is a bad sign as most teams will give Pitts the respect an all-Pro generates and put their best cover corner on him. Pitts will still be the #1 fantasy tight end soon, but his arrow is pointing down.
Cordarrelle Patterson (RB/WR-ATL) - Like Pitts, Patterson should see more attention from opposing defense in Calvin Ridley-less offense. Everything is going to get tougher for the Falcons offense, and while Patterson could touch the ball more often, he’ll have fewer scoring opportunities, and the offense will have shorter drives and fewer plays. Whatever additional volume Patterson gets will be inefficient, and his existing role will be in a less effective offense now.
Damien Harris (RB-NE) - The Patriots have a working winning recipe with a solid defense, smart quarterback play, and a steady running game led by Harris, who is the only running back the team seems to completely trust. The remaining schedule has a run of Cleveland, Atlanta, and Tennessee after this week’s game vs. Carolina, all of which should easily allow Harris to get to 20 carries and have at least one scoring opportunity.
Elijah Mitchell (RB-SF) - Mitchell is practicing in a no contact jersey, which means he could play this weekend against the woeful Cardinals run defense. He has meshed well with the Kyle Shanahan running game, which should only get better with the return of George Kittle. Jeff Wilson’s return threatens to turn this into a committee backfield, but we tend to overestimate how early and how much players returning from injury will affect fantasy situations.
Adrian Peterson (RB-TEN) - Buy the ticket for this ride. Peterson is in great shape, he understands running the ball in the NFL as much as any back on the planet, and he is going to be installed in the backfield of a team that loves power running. Peterson is the rare kind of back that stays at the same energy level while the defense gets worn down, which is the Titans modus operandi anyway. Yes, he’s 36, but he’s also one of the greatest backs in NFL history, so he should be well-equipped to defy his age.