Last week was the best of this young season in terms of my fantasy surprises. Deshaun Watson had a monster performance, Tyrell Williams fully utilized his big play ability, Austin Seferian-Jenkins was a solid contributor, and the Steelers defense came up big. This is the first week of the season to feature our regularly scheduled bye weeks. For year long fantasy players, this could put them in a tough spot as they don’t want to release a core player for a one week option. If that is your dilemma, try and find a player who you at least think could give you similar value over the remaining weeks. While your fourth or fifth receiver that you release might not start every week, try to at least find someone who you’d feel comfortable using similarly in spot start situations.
QB: Carson Palmer vs Eagles: I’m actually a fan of both quarterbacks this week in the Carson Bowl, but Palmer gets the edge due to the lack of ground game and the struggles at cornerback for the Eagles. Since David Johnson went down, Palmer has attempted 45 passes per game and hasn’t had less than 325 yards. While the Eagles will be able to pressure Palmer, the chance of the Cardinals playing from behind could lead to even more pass attempts. Expect around 330 yards and two touchdowns.
RB: Duke Johnson vs Jets: Even when their games are close, it seems Hue Jackson hasn’t been a huge fan of running the ball in 2017. Through four games, Browns running backs have combined for just 60 rushing attempts. While Johnson does have two rushing touchdowns on his ten attempts, that isn’t where his value lies. In points per reception leagues, Johnson has been a gem leading the Browns in receptions and receiving yards. This week, Johnson has another favorable matchup and assuming he sees some targets in both the pass and running game, could pay off in a big way. Expect around 90 total yards and a touchdown.
WR: Jaron Brown vs Eagles: Over the past two weeks, Larry Fitzgerald not surprisingly has led the Cardinals with 22 targets in the passing game. Not far behind is Brown with 18. In the past three weeks, Brown has had either 70 plus yards or a touchdown so a decent floor seems to be establishing. Despite that, he is still a cheap option on some of the daily fantasy sites in a matchup that should be favorable. Expect around 70 yards and a touchdown.
TE: Jesse James vs Jaguars: Few teams can match what the Jaguars have at cornerback, so while Antonio Brown should remain in all fantasy lineups (and Martavis Bryant in most leagues), they might not have huge performances. Here is where James comes in. The Jaguars have had struggles defending tight ends, so at a shallow position a player who could catch a handful of balls and a touchdown is worth a shot. Expect around 50 yards and a touchdown.
K: Harrison Butker vs Texans: Butker made the game clinching field goal for the Chiefs this past Monday night, and again has another chance on a national stage. In a game taking place in a dome that could end up being high scoring, he’s worth a look if your primary kicker is on bye this week. Expect around two field goals and three extra points.
DEF: Ravens vs Raiders: If you were to tell me I would’ve recommended a defense going up against this Raiders team just a month ago, I’d probably think you were crazy. Now with EJ Manuel replacing an injured Derek Carr and Amari Cooper in a funk, the move makes a lot of sense. Both these teams will probably rely on the ground game to take pressure off their quarterbacks. However, I don’t currently have enough faith in Manuel to sit a defense that might have him throwing 30 plus times. Expect around three sacks and an interception.