Let’s face it, there’s an enormous amount of information out there on Sunday mornings. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have the personalized lineup advice for you on the premium content. Again, there are 100 places you can go for that, so no reason to repeat ourselves or others.
The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. One player will be picked from each team who has dynasty value tied to the game – players at a pivot point where their value could increase or decrease based on opportunity and performance.
Minnesota at Philadelphia
What year is this? Cordarrelle Patterson has 11 touches for 79 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks. The Vikings appear to actually be making an effort to get him involved in the game and the results aren’t too shabby considering his career trajectory to date. It remains to be seen if he will continue to be involved with Stefon Diggs expected back from injury this weekend. If Patterson keeps getting touches, it’s time to buy.
This year, rookie quarterback Carson Wentz exploded onto the scene as a potential dynasty QB1. Unfortunately, he went from looking like a stud on the field to a dud in last week’s game against the Redskins. What you want to see from a young quarterback is if they can bounce back after a bad week. He is in a particularly tough spot against the Vikings, but the great quarterbacks find a way to get it done and I want to know if Wentz has that “it” factor.
Cleveland at Cincinnati
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It feels strange to be saying this, but Cody Kessler turned in a decent performance last week. The ceiling isn’t very high but if he can lock down the Cleveland starting job going forward he would be a low ceiling/high floor QB2/3 based on his skill set and the skill position players around him. He doesn’t need to light the world on fire, either, just make note of whether he is doing well in ball management and still churning out yards.
Don’t look now, but Tyler Boyd is starting to shape into a viable weapon for the Bengals. We had hoped this would happen sooner with the combination of his polish, the loss of Marvin Jones, Jr. and Mohamed Sanu, and the injuries for Tyler Eifert. Beggars can’t be choosers, however, and rookie production is what it is. Having caught seven balls for 112 yards over the past two weeks, I’ll be continuing to watch Boyd this weekend.
Buffalo at Miami
It looks like LeSean McCoy will be limited even if he is available to play on Sunday. Mike Gillislee is next in line for touches in the Bills backfield that has been shredding the NFL for the past month. What we want to see from Gillislee is whether he can pick up where McCoy leaves off, or if the Bills running game success has been the result of Shady’s skills. The upside isn’t huge, as McCoy will resume lead duties once healthy, but a capable backup is a valuable dynasty asset.
With Ryan Tannehill struggling and Arian Foster banged up, Jay Ajayi lit up the Steelers in week six to the tune of multiple touchdowns and over 200 yards. What isn’t clear yet is whether that was a fluke or if he can continue to prove capable if he continues to get touches. The passing game isn’t helping the run game out much, so it could be tough sledding for Jay if the Bills key on him.
Baltimore at New York (Jets)
In week six we expected to see Kenneth Dixon start to get more touches and begin to slowly chip away at Terrance West’s workload until, eventually, Dixon was the featured back. All of that is on hold after Dixon turned in a three touch, 12 yard performance while West put on a show with 27 touches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. That is monster production from West, and it will keep Dixon in a limited role for the foreseeable future. The Jets have given up big weeks recently to running backs, see if West passes another test and keeps Dixon on the outs.
The media is all over this one, but Geno Smith stands to gain or lose substantial value in the next week or two, starting against Baltimore. With Ryan Fitzpatrick getting benched and the team’s season looking to be in the gutter, it wouldn’t be hard for the Jets to see Geno falter and simply move on to their two more recent draft picks in Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Even if he does well, it could just be an audition for another team in 2017.
New Orleans at Kansas City
Quietly, “bad” Michael Thomas has over 40 yards and a touchdown in each of the last three games for the Saints. Put simply, that is stellar for a rookie that is considered to be the team’s third option, at best. If Thomas can keep the train rolling, he deserves to keep rolling up rankings and value sheets.
Word is that Jamaal Charles is experiencing some issues with his knee and may be scaled back or even held inactive in week seven. That opens the door for Spencer Ware to maintain his role even longer. I’ve nominated Ware quite a few times this season, but firmly believe the Chiefs featured back role is extremely valuable and not enough credence is being given to Ware’s secure hold on it both now and increasingly into the future.
Washington at Detroit
With Jordan Reed ruled out and still dealing with a concussion, Jamison Crowder stands to benefit the most on the Redskins. His catches didn’t improve in week six, but he did reel in his third touchdown catch of the year. With Josh Doctston still not a factor and Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson set to hit free agency, the potential for value gain with Crowder in the near future is enormous.
I’ll take credit for Golden Tate’s week six explosion after putting him in this spot in my article last week. What is great is that he finally produced in 2016 and looked like a monster while doing it. With Marvin Jones, Jr. getting fewer targets recently, Tate has an opportunity to step up and turn this into a streak. For his value to really recover, he will need to.
Indianapolis at Tennessee
How much longer can the Colts keep Andrew Luck upright? The defense is abysmal and the offensive line can’t protect him adequately. With injuries to Donte Moncrief and now Dwayne Allen, Luck barely has viable weapons to throw it to outside of TY Hilton. It is sad to see Luck go through this, and I truly hope that he can return to a high level of play in the future. In the meantime, I don’t see the value in buying him at his current price while similar production can be had much more cheaply.
For the Titans, Marcus Mariota looked out-matched for a few weeks before turning in superstar fantasy performances in week five and six. Totalling seven touchdowns in his last two games, the Colts defense are an excellent spot for him to keep his hot streak alive. As with all fantasy assets, consistency is key to value. If Mariota keeps stringing good performances together, his value should go up.
Oakland at Jacksonville
Would the real Michael Crabtree please stand up? Coming out this season, he looked like the de facto WR1 for Oakland, and he went gangbusters on Baltimore in week four. Then, puzzlingly, he has five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown in weeks five and six combined as Amari Cooper ascends. It’s tough to tell what to make of Crabtree. He could return to looking like the WR1, or he could continue to be second or even third fiddle.
Not many quarterbacks have seen their trade value fall further than Blake Bortles has this season. After a breakout 2015, he has regressed sharply with no standout performances to date in 2016. His production is still adequate as a QB2, but that won’t cut it when he was drafted to be a QB1. Oakland has a penchant for putting up points and giving up points, so this game could turn into a shootout. Having said that, it can only turn into a shootout if Bortles is even capable of engaging in one at this point.
Tampa Bay at San Francisco
Last week, Jacquizz Rodgers looked the part of a running back that can carry the load for a team. It is shaping up that he’ll get another opportunity to continue to show his worth this week against an horrific 49ers run defense. This is probably one of those genie in a bottle situations. Once Tampa Bay started giving Quizz touches and he started doing what he has done with them, it will be hard to not give him at least some touches going forward.
After a lackluster start to 2016, Torrey Smith came alive with Colin Kaepernick back under center for the 49ers. While Smith had a fine day, it could have been much better had Kaepernick not overthrown him on another would-be long touchdown. Is the rapport between these two for real? What does it mean going forward? Can they connect more consistently down the field? All great questions that we will have to watch the games to find the answers to.
San Diego at Atlanta
Another rookie that has been dominating is Hunter Henry. With over 60 yards in his past four games and a touchdown grab in his past three, he is simply doing what rookie tight ends aren’t expected to do. With Antonio Gates returning to health, Henry saw his snap count cut back but still produced in week six. Will that continue against a Falcons defense that has been gashed by Coby Fleener? Henry’s value still has plenty of room to either grow or fall back to earth.
In week six, Tevin Coleman turned in a dud. While Devonta Freeman didn’t excel, he did at least produce measurable stats worthy of a flex start. To be fair, that isn’t bad for a running back on the road against the Seahawks defense. This offseason, Freeman’s value took hits as question marks surrounded his workload. Those questions continued into the season with split touches for him and Coleman, but Freeman has produced despite reduced touches. If the touches swing to his favor after some inefficient performances from Coleman, Freeman could once again be on the rise.
New England at Pittsburgh
It’s becoming difficult to ignore how involved in the game plan James White is with Tom Brady playing. Pulling in eight receptions on nine targets in week six for 47 yards and two touchdowns, we are entering the territory where it may be prudent to question if White maintains this role even once Dion Lewis returns to health. If White keeps this up, he’ll necessarily move up the board.
With Ben Roethlisberger down with an injury, Le’Veon Bell will need to demonstrate that he can be the absolute focal point of the offense and stay healthy. It may not be an issue in the first week sans Ben, but eventually I suspect Bell could get banged up and a huge knock on him has been his multiple injuries. Check in to make sure he comes out unscathed after this contest before you breathe your sigh of relief.
Seattle at Arizona
So far this year, Jimmy Graham has been looking like his old self despite struggling with the Seahawks in 2015 and suffering a patellar tendon injury. That said, he now has a new hip injury and Tyler Lockett is healthy. Mostly, I just want to see if Graham can keep it up or if he is overperforming. Many have been dubbing him a top five tight end once again. I’m not there yet, but more strong performances could sway me.
The Cardinals are really banged up on offense, and if Carson Palmer ends up being on the sideline Sunday I’m not even sure that JJ Nelson will have a legitimate shot to produce; however, I’m going with him. John Brown is doubtful, Michael Floyd looks bad, Jaron Brown is injured, and the Cardinals don’t really use tight ends. All of this adds up to opportunity, and with uncertain futures for the rest of the wide receivers it will be good to see what Nelson can do.
Houston at Denver
This year began with a big head scratcher as to what tight end might emerge in Houston, or if it even mattered after low usage for the position thus far in Bill O’Brien’s tenure as head coach. The past few weeks, it appears that CJ Fiedorowicz could be distancing himself from the pack. Remember that O’Brien was with the Patriots in the Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez days, so the lead tight end theoretically can become quite valuable for the Texans.
This week, Devontae Booker has multiple things going in his favor. He has been more efficient on the ground lately than CJ Anderson, the Texans run defense is soft, and the coaching staff has stated that they want to get Booker more involved in games. Add in that Houston’s offense has been anemic and Denver’s defense is smothering, and this lines up as a good game script for a strong running game performance from Denver. How big a piece of the production pie Booker carves out this week will be indicative of his future value.