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.
This week, we are over halfway through the fantasy regular season and your league’s trade deadline may be coming up over the next several weeks. To that end, my selections this week are made with an eye toward players with short term dynasty value tied to this week’s games. These players are guys that you may want to target if you are in position to contend in 2016, or guys that you may want to sell if you aren’t contending. See how they do, then get ready to throw out some trade offers after this week to get ahead of the curve.
Detroit at Minnesota
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So far in 2016, Matthew Stafford has had a mix of stud games, dud games, and middle of the pack games. One thing his stud games have in common is that they came against less than stellar pass defenses. A second thing is that those games were relatively high scoring, with even the game against the Rams having both teams score over 28 points. Stafford’s price may be low after a rough patch, but he draws the Saints and Bears in weeks 13 and 14. These games fit the mold of stud games at just the right time of year. I would actually be more inclined to buy Stafford if he does poorly this week, because it may depress his value before it swings back up at the end of the year.
For the Vikings, Kyle Rudolph came out of the gates swinging with four outstanding weeks, and then tailed off a bit in terms of production. He is still a key cog in this offense, though. The Lions are bad against tight ends, and Rudolph’s schedule is pretty soft versus tight ends for the playoff weeks. Use week nine as a test to see if Rudolph can still rack up the points in a good matchup, and if he can, be ready to pull the trigger and ride him later if you need a tight end.
Jacksonville at Kansas City
This one is mostly a gut feeling all around, but TJ Yeldon never seemed like he was deployed to the fullest of his capabilities under now-fired OC Greg Olson. With the passing game underwhelming versus expectation and free agent signee Chris Ivory also not producing like expected, I think we will find out this week if Yeldon will be a more integral piece of the offense going forward. If the results are good, he could prove an excellent buy at the right time of year.
I have been chest thumping for Tyreek Hill since week three, but after his explosion in week eight it is time that everyone takes notice. Jeremy Maclin is struggling and Hill appears to be the wide receiver benefitting the most from that – as a rookie. My sordid love affair with Chris Conley aside, Hill is the guy I want to own in KC and you should too. His cost is still low and his target share is increasing. He’s already shown that he can turn virtually any touch into a splash play. He looks like he could actually be what we hoped Tavon Austin would be.
Dallas at Cleveland
Speaking of hope, I’m hoping it isn’t a tale of two seasons for Cole Beasley as he was an afterthought in week eight after being the target of choice for the majority of Dak Prescott’s early starts. Dallas figures to be ahead a lot this week, so we need to observe if and when Beasley gets involved. If it is early and often, he still presents an excellent value proposition in the remainder of the year.
If you have a pulse, you may have noticed that quarterbacks are dropping like flies in 2016. Enter Cody Kessler, who will be starting over a healthy Josh McCown. He isn’t outstanding but his price is still crazy low. You know the Browns defense is bad so the team will have to try to put up points to catch up, and he has Terrelle Pryor, Duke Johnson, Jr., and now Corey Coleman at his disposal. Does your team look like a contender but need cheap quarterback help to close out the year? Look into Kessler, this week should let you know what he can do.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
One quarterback we are mercifully getting back is Ben Roethlisberger. His value may be a little depressed after the injury and also because of his increasing age considering the beating he has taken through his career. That doesn’t make him any less appealing as a win now piece at quarterback. The Ravens have trouble defending against the pass and Ben should be back on track after this week, so keep an eye out if you’re wanting a higher tier quarterback.
The narrative continues to be that Terrance West will cede work to Kenneth Dixon sooner than later. Soon hasn’t arrived yet, though, and while West didn’t do himself any favors in his last outing with poor production, Dixon didn’t fare any better with his touches. Pittsburgh has been getting gouged by running backs and West may take full advantage. If he does, expect him to hold off Dixon. His value will always be low because Dixon is nipping at his heels, which would make him an excellent cheap option for a contender.
Philadelphia at New York (Giants)
This was supposed to be Zach Ertz’s year. Instead, the Eagles traded for Dorial Green-Beckham, and DGB is garnering an increased target load and the trust of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. Ertz is seeing his star fall as DGB is seeing his rise. With the NFL trade deadline behind us, the swirling rumors of the Eagles acquiring another wide receiver are put to rest. DGB can only go up from where he is, based on current trends. Who knows where that may take him by the end of the season.
Another player who came out strong this year but cooled off is Sterling Shepard. While I don’t expect he is cheap, his value is certainly lower than it was after week three. He also fits the mold of going up against high scoring teams in the playoff weeks and the Giants offense hasn’t changed substantially enough for us to lower season long expectations for the wide receivers. Shepard is the one of the bunch to target if you can pry him from his owner.
New York (Jets) at Miami
Suffering from abysmal quarterback play, Brandon Marshall is a win now player who is still the top of the pecking order for his team and dominating red zone targets. At some point, either Ryan Fitzpatrick will get back on track and the magic will rain into Marshall’s hands, or Bryce Petty will get a shot and he really can’t be that much worse than Fitzpatrick has been for the past month. Marshall’s value is at rock bottom right now, and his skills don’t appear to have deteriorated yet despite his advanced age for a wide receiver.
I’m kind of ashamed that I haven’t written up Jay Ajayi yet, but that’s where we are. After two monster weeks, eyes have to be on him. I have said previously that the Jets rush defense can be used as a litmus test to see how good a running back is, and Ajayi is the next man up to test them out. If he continues his torrid pace in this spot, he’s shooting up the board.
Carolina at Los Angeles
After Cam Newton’s concussion, I wrote that I was concerned about changes to his deployment in games impacting his fantasy value. The past few weeks, we have seen Jonathan Stewart plunge in multiple touchdowns that Newton previously would have banged in between the tackles. That is precisely what I was worried about, and it adversely impacts Newton’s value going forward. See if that trend changes this week, and if not, it may be wise to invest in a stopgap quarterback option to make a run at a title this year if you were relying on Cam.
Not that you should be salivating over any of the Rams for this season, but Kenny Britt is proving to be the team’s de facto number one wide receiver. There isn’t immense upside in that, but there is value in rounding out a contending roster with even a bad team’s WR1. For that reason, see if he continues to get a healthy target share and if so, try to snatch him up on the cheap.
New Orleans at San Francisco
It remains to be seen what becomes of Tim Hightower going forward, but after last week’s explosion it’s hard to imagine Sean Payton just putting him back on the bench. Considering Hightower was reliable in spot starts last year and amazing in week eight, he may get the majority of rushing touches for the Saints going forward this year. Due to his shaky situation and advancing age, his value will remain low no matter what. Look to see if he continues to get the ball, and if so, he could be a great cheap addition for a team needing running back help.
The 49ers are kind of like the Browns in that they aren’t very good so you can expect them to keep trying to put up points to keep up. Much like Kenny Britt, Torrey Smith is a bad team’s WR1 and it’s never a bad idea to cheaply pick up a player like that as you make a run at a championship. See what happens this week, and if you like it, throw out an offer.
San Diego at Tennessee
With seemingly all other options injured, Dontrelle Inman could be the biggest beneficiary in week nine. Going forward, it is impossible to predict what impact that could have to his value, but I have to imagine that if he performs adequately he will remain more involved going forward… and that is worth at least something.
I had a friend and fellow DLF writer ask my thoughts on DeMarco Murray for a contending team this week. The price was right, turning depth into an improved starting lineup, so I told them to go for it, and I think that is a move you should go for also regardless of your running back situation. Simply put, he has been excellent and consistent all season and the only concern is if he were to get injured. His value will remain depressed due to Derrick Henry waiting in the wings, but as long as Murray is healthy he is the man and will be on many championship teams this year.
Indianapolis at Green Bay
Another quiet, aging, and lowly valued player that keeps producing is Frank Gore. He won’t produce like a top five running back in any given week, but his price should be extremely low and if he isn’t owned by a contender in your league and you want to contend, he should be owned by you and slotted in as your flex. It’s pretty simple – he is getting more passing work than anticipated and has a high floor and adequate ceiling.
Regardless of your team’s 2016 situation, Davante Adams is a man to watch this weekend. With 25 receptions in the last two weeks at his age, he should be on every dynasty owner’s radar. Since he was valued pretty lowly as recently as earlier this year, take the time to check in with his owner on price. You might get a pleasant surprise and get him cheaply. Look to see if he keeps up this torrid pace.
Denver at Oakland
Part of Trevor Siemian’s allure for the Broncos was that he was managing games well and taking care of the ball. Lately, he hasn’t taken care of the ball as well and that is a problem. Add on that the Raiders can probably score well even against the Broncos defense, and we will have a situation that could result in Siemian having to press and try to create points. That could mean more turnovers, and that could mean he is out of a job sooner than later. Watch this one closely, as Paxton Lynch could have instant value.
Going in the opposite direction is Derek Carr, who is playing out of his mind so far this year. There really is only one question for him this week: can he keep it going against the stout Broncos defense? If he does, do your best to snatch him up because he is certainly here to stay. If not, maybe still buy him but for a little less.
Buffalo at Seattle
Lately, LeSean McCoy has been the cog that makes the Bills tick, and then he was injured. Can he return to being the key cog without getting banged up again? If so, he is a fine buy for a contending team, but there is plenty of risk involved. Seattle is a tough spot for him here, so keep a close eye on his health, production, and usage to gauge where his value should lie going forward.
Yet another player who lit up the early season but has floundered lately is Christine Michael. What are we to make of him? With Thomas Rawls coming back at some point, it is time to make some final assessments about Michael’s long term and short term value. Will he remain the starter the rest of the year? If so, he is probably worth pursuing. If he continues to look shaky, maybe Rawls is the one you want to look into.