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.
NEW YORK JETS AT BUFFALO
Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen has used the past two games and his running ability to greatly alter his dynasty value. With back-to-back games as the QB4 or better and rushing for 234 yards in two games, Allen is suddenly a hot asset. Just months ago, dynasty owners were shamed for even selecting Allen in rookie drafts. Despite their rough season, the Jets are no pushover against quarterbacks, holding three of the past four opponents to a QB16 or worse finish.
After missing three games, the Jets will welcome back starting quarterback Sam Darnold to set up a battle of rookie signal callers. The USC product began the season well, defeating the Lions in the opener and posting three top 18 finishes in the first six weeks. Things took a turn after that between the foot injury that put him out of the lineup along with injuries to many of his supporting weapons. That will likely continue to be a problem as receiver Robby Anderson is questionable and running back Isaiah Crowell will play but has been dealing with a toe injury.
CAROLINA AT CLEVELAND
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The Browns have now played four games without former head coach Hue Jackson and rookie running back Nick Chubb has turned his expanded role into huge production and has made him one of the top ten backs in dynasty, per our latest dynasty ADP data. In those four games, Chubb has finished as the RB13, RB4, RB3 and RB12. The Panthers have been tough against running backs, though, limiting them to just 20.1 fantasy points per game, fourth-best mark in the league. They’ve also surrendered only three RB1 games all year. We’ll see if Chubb can keep his hot streak alive against the Panthers.
Last week, with the game on the line, the Panthers inserted backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke to throw a desperation Hail Mary pass. That signaled trouble for starting quarterback Cam Newton, who has long dealt with a bad shoulder. Newton later hinted another surgery could be in his future and he missed practice time during the week. Newton will be in action against the Browns but the injury could be a concern over the long-term.
ATLANTA AT GREEN BAY
The Packers will play their first game since 2005 without Mike McCarthy on the sidelines as head coach. Following last week’s embarrassing home loss to the Cardinals, McCarthy was canned. This should be good news for the Green Bay offense, especially quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Aaron Jones. Rodgers has only four top ten fantasy performances this season and only one in the past six games. The Falcons have been among the worst pass defenses this season, which could allow for a big bounce back for the future Hall of Famer.
The Falcons are hoping to bounce back from their worst performance of the season in last week’s home loss to Baltimore. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for a season-low 131 yards and finished as the QB29 while receiver Julio Jones caught just two passes for 18 yards. His WR83 finish is his worst since Week Three of 2016. This time, Atlanta faces an easier matchup against the Packers.
INDIANAPOLIS AT HOUSTON
Although he is one of the most frustrating players in the league after multiple disappointing years, veteran running back Lamar Miller of the Texans has put together an impressive streak as Houston cruises towards an AFC South title. Miller has exceeded 100 yards from scrimmage in five of the past six games, leading to five finishes inside the top 24 fantasy backs. With second-year back D’Onta Foreman experiencing continued injury issues, Miller is in line for a full workload in the season’s final few weeks.
The Colts were riding a hot streak until they ran into the Jaguars defense a week ago. Now on the outside looking in, this game presents Indy with a huge opportunity but a difficult one as they struggle with injuries. Receiver Dontrelle Inman and tight end Mo Elie-Cox have already been ruled out and the team’s top receiving threat, wideout TY Hilton, is a game-time decision due to a shoulder injury. Hilton has played well as of late, with weekly fantasy ranks of WR2, WR14 and WR17 entering this contest. Hilton had one of his best games of the season in Week Four against Houston, catching four balls for 115 yards. The Colts will surely need him to pull the upset.
BALTIMORE AT KANSAS CITY
The story of the Ravens offense continues to center around the quarterback position. While rookie Lamar Jackson is expected to make his fourth consecutive start, veteran Joe Flacco is questionable with the hip injury that sidelined him and he could be an active backup. The Ravens are undefeated in Jackson’s starts and have claimed the lead in the final wildcard spot. A win over the Chiefs led by the rookie would surely seal the end of Flacco’s time with the Ravens.
The Chiefs amazing offense took a slight hit over the past week as receiver Sammy Watkins suffered a setback in his attempted return from a foot injury. Watkins is now expected to miss the remainder of the regular season, prompting the team to sign former Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin. A butt of jokes in the dynasty community, Benjamin could not have asked for a better landing spot after the Bills abruptly cut him last week. Although he went unclaimed, this means he is not only part of one of the league’s top offenses, but he’ll also be a free agent following the season. Considering the timing of his signing, don’t expect to see Benjamin suit up this week.
NEW ENGLAND AT MIAMI
The Dolphins have managed to somehow stay alive at this late point in the season, currently sitting one game outside of the AFC’s final wild card spot and hosting the Patriots in what many are calling a very winnable game. Thinking about the Dolphins from a dynasty perspective though brings much uncertainty. None of the team’s current fantasy relevant players are locks to even be starters in 2019, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Kenyan Drake. The final month of the season could go a long way in telling us what to expect next season. As of now, this looks like a team to simply avoid for fantasy purposes.
For the first time in weeks, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is healthy. Well, at least he’s not on the Week Fourteen injury report. In what many expect to be his final season in New England and possibly in the league altogether, Gronkowski has endured his worst year. Gronk has just four TE1 performances through nine games and has historically struggled, averaging 61 yards per game across 12 meetings with Miami. We might be witnessing the final few weeks of the Gronkowski/New England relationship.
NEW ORLEANS AT TAMPA BAY
Coming off just their second loss of the season, the Saints will look to rebound against one of the league’s worst defenses, division foe Tampa Bay. While it is not fair to say running back Alvin Kamara has been struggling, his past three games have resulted in fantasy finishes of RB11, RB30 and RB14. Kamara hasn’t scored a touchdown or eclipsed 100 total yards in the past two weeks. The Bucs have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing backs this season, which could mean another huge week for Kamara.
The Buccaneers will be without veteran receiver DeSean Jackson as he deals with a thumb injury. Some reports even suggest he might be held out for the remainder of the season. Last week with Jackson out, second-year wideout Chris Godwin caught five passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. In a potential shootout with the Saints, Godwin is in line for another big game and a spike in his dynasty value.
NEW YORK GIANTS AT WASHINGTON
I thought this would just be focusing on the return of tight end Evan Engram after missing a pair of games with a hamstring injury. While the team is surely glad to have their starter back at that position, they’ve lost perhaps their most important player as they prepare to face the Redskins. In a shocker, wide receiver Odell Beckham was ruled out for the game with a quad injury. This is bad news for fantasy players in the first week of the playoffs but provided receiver Sterling Shepard with an exciting opportunity. Per Mike Clay of ESPN, Shepard averaged 8.6 targets when Beckham missed time last season. This season, Shepard has only exceeded eight targets in one game, way back in Week Four.
In a week in which reports suggested that veteran quarterback Alex Smith’s career is in danger due to complications from his broken leg, the Redskins will turn to veteran Mark Sanchez as their starter. It is a disastrous turn for the one-time NFC East leaders and as bad as the past month has been, Smith’s potential long-term loss leaves Washington with no real options at the quarterback position.
CINCINNATI AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The Bengals have lost quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver AJ Green and tight end Tyler Eifert this season and even breakout receiver Tyler Boyd has been ineffective without Green in the lineup. That leaves sophomore running back Joe Mixon to carry the offensive load for the remainder of the Bengals lost season. Unfortunately, in this game that means facing the heavily favored Chargers across the country. This is a tough spot for Mixon though he gets the Raiders and Browns following this matchup.
The Chargers will face the Bengals without the services of starting running back Melvin Gordon, who will miss his second straight game with a knee injury. That leaves the backfield work to the duo of rookie Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler. We saw last week that Jackson might be more suited for a lead role while Ekeler could retain his change of pace job. Facing the Bengals soft defense in a very winnable game, we should see a lot of both backs, making them strong options for fantasy lineups.
DENVER AT SAN FRANCISCO
The Broncos already dealt away veteran Demaryius Thomas earlier this season and they’ll now have to finish out the year without Emmanuel Sanders, who suffered a torn Achilles in practice this week. That leaves quarterback Case Keenum to rely on a pair of rookie receivers. While the highly-valued Courtland Sutton enjoyed his best game of the season last week, with four receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown, DaeSean Hamilton is a complete unknown. A rookie from Penn State who has missed time with injuries this year, Hamilton will now draw the start in the slot. He’s expected to be the second option behind Sutton and might even be found on some dynasty waiver wires.
The 49ers will be playing without running back Matt Breida for the first time all season, despite his numerous injuries. Breida missed much of last week’s game and was quickly ruled out for this week’s game. This opened the door for little-known rookie Jeff Wilson to see significant playing time. He earned 23 touches and gained 134 yards. With an expected full workload against the Broncos, Wilson is an exciting fantasy option despite the poor matchup.
DETROIT AT ARIZONA
The Lions team is clearly headed nowhere and the offense itself looks nothing like the team we saw early in the season. Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson continues to miss time with a knee injury and he won’t play against the Cardinals this week. Also, quarterback Matthew Stafford is questionable with a back injury. Even receiver Kenny Golladay has missed some practice time with a quad injury, though he’s good to go for this week.
The Cardinals will play the rest of the season without rookie receiver Christian Kirk, who was placed on the injured reserve list with a broken foot. Even with veteran Larry Fitzgerald soaking up targets, Kirk has actually been the Cardinals best receiver throughout the season. This leaves rookie quarterback with options like JJ Nelson behind Fitzgerald. This could also be a chance for second-year man Chad Williams, if he can get healthy. Kirk will be a top dynasty trade target.
PHILADELPHIA AT DALLAS
The red-hot Cowboys will look to win their fifth straight game after shocking the Saints last week, this time hosting the division-rival and defending Super Bowl champion Eagles. Dallas was famous years ago for their “triplets” and the current version, including quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receiver Amari Cooper is pretty good, too. Prescott has four straight finishes as the QB17 or better, while Elliott has finished no worse than the RB7 over the past month. Finally, this turnaround can actually be linked back to the team’s controversial trade for Cooper, who has four games as the WR26 or better with Dallas after weekly finishes including WR82, WR87, WR101 and WR108 with Oakland.
After a pair of top 20 fantasy performances, rookie running back Josh Adams flopped last week, finishing as the RB39 despite running for a season and career best 85 rushing yards. The difference is Adams failed to score a touchdown for the first time in three weeks, reminding fantasy owners of his limited weekly upside. Adams faces a difficult matchup against the Cowboys, who have only given up one RB1 game since Week Three.
PITTSBURGH AT OAKLAND
The Steelers have already proven they can succeed without running back Le’Veon Bell but now they’ll also be missing his replacement, second-year back James Conner. Pittsburgh will lean on a combination of rookie Jaylen Samuels and veteran Stevan Ridley. Samuels will reportedly draw the start and although his role has been quite limited this season, he’s had some success. In the only two games in which he had at least five touches, Samuels found the end zone. With Bell all but a lock to be with a new team next year, this game and possibly the upcoming weeks will tell the Steelers a great deal about their long-term backfield situation.
The Raiders made a surprising move this week, signing veteran running back CJ Anderson. This could be related to the knee injury suffered by starter Doug Martin, who is still expected to play this week, or the decision to leave former starter Marshawn Lynch on the injured reserve list for the remainder of the season. Regardless, we could actually see Anderson eat into Martin’s role, though all we really want is more work for playmaker Jalen Richard.
LOS ANGELES RAMS AT CHICAGO
After two missed games with a shoulder injury, Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will return to the lineup in Week Fourteen. Prior to the injury, Trubisky was rolling with five top ten fantasy finishes in his previous seven games. His return is also good news for pass catchers Allen Robinson and Trey Burton, who struggled with Chase Daniel at the helm.
The Rams lost backup running back Malcolm Brown last week after he suffered a shoulder injury, which could put rookie John Kelly in position to see some carries down the stretch. The Rams have already clinched their division and are in position to lock down a first-round bye. That would put them in position to rest key starters, including running back Todd Gurley. Look for Kelly on dynasty waiver wires in shallow leagues.
MINNESOTA AT SEATTLE
After beginning the season with seven top ten fantasy finishes in his first eight games, Vikings receiver Adam Thielen has slowed down with just one game inside the top 20 over the past month. After eight week, Thielen had nearly a 40 point gap on the WR2, DeAndre Hopkins but in the five weeks since, he is just the WR19. Thielen will try to get back on the elite track as the Vikings attempt to hold onto the final wild card slot in the NFC.
The Seahawks have struggled with injuries all season long and veteran receiver Doug Baldwin is now a game-time decision with a hip injury, putting fantasy players in a tough spot given the Monday night schedule. Regardless of Baldwin’s status, Tyler Lockett has established himself as the top target in the Seattle offense.
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