Tag Archives: football

Week 12 Primetime Moneymakers: Staying on Schedule

Week 11 saw the return of significant season-ending injuries and Week 12 is back to screwing with the schedule. After losing Joe Burrow and Rex Burkhead, among others, to injury last week we might lose an entire game due to COVID. An outbreak at the Baltimore Raves facility that has claimed Lamar Jackson and forced a shutdown until at least Monday. This obviously puts their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in even further doubt after the game was already moved from Thursday.

Moving that game may have been for the best. It was another week of taking it on the chin, going 1-3 in Week 11 which was an improvement over the week before. Undeterred, we must forge on with a two-game primetime slate. There’s still plenty of opportunities to make some money this week and if anyone is going to make it, it might as well be us (for a change, sheesh).

Staying on Schedule with Week 12 Primetime Moneymakers

Chicago Bears (5-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-3)

Spread: Packers -9

O/U: 44.5

What a fall from grace it’s been for the Chicago Bears (5-5 ATS) who began the season 5-1. They went into their bye on a four-game losing streak and with a loss to the Minnesota Vikings for the first time since 2017. As usual, their defense is among the best, ranking fourth in defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders and sixth in scoring. But their offense checks in at 29th in DVOA and 31st in scoring. You see the problem. Now, they turn back to opening-day starter Mitchell Trubisky with Nick Foles still on the mend. They also don’t know if Akiem Hicks will be available to stop the run.

The Green Bay Packers (6-4 ATS) should be 8-2. Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s fumble in Packer territory in overtime allowed for a game-winning field goal by the Indianapolis Colts. All three of Green Bay’s losses have been of a confounding nature for various reasons. They still rank ninth in total DVOA and second in offense DVOA. Their (sometimes glaring) weakness is their defense. After making tremendous strides last season, they have regressed some. They still rank 18th in defense DVOA (15th in 2019), but aren’t getting to the quarterback in the same way as before. Still, the trio of Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Aaron Jones is as good of an eraser as there is.

There isn’t much mystery here as the Packers have owned the Bears since Bret Favre’s time in Wisconsin with some highly critical games along the way including an NFC Championship. Chicago hasn’t beaten Green Bay since 2018 and, with the current state of both teams as it is, they don’t appear poised to snap that streak in 2020. Trubisky, who was already benched this season, has only thrown four touchdowns (with three interceptions) in five games against the Packers. So it’s unlikely he is the answer to their scoring woes, let alone breaking out of their slump. This game opened at Packer -7.5 and has only grown. Follow that lead and take Green Bay laying the points. We’re leaving totals alone this week for…reasons.

Seattle Seahawks (7-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1)

Spread: Eagles +5

O/U: 50

It was around this time last week that we were on the brink of eulogizing the Seattle Seahawks (6-4 ATS) in advance of their matchup with the Arizona Cardinals. “Let Russ Cook” took a backseat as Russell Wilson tied a season-low with 28 pass attempts and set a new season-low with 197 yards. The Seahawks still managed a 28-21 victory in primetime. Seattle is much like Green Bay in that they are carried by their offense. They rank fourth in offense DVOA but 23rd in defense DVOA. So perhaps they can find a happy medium between letting Russ cook and their run-heavy approach of the past two seasons.

Carson Wentz is fighting for his career as a starter with the Philadelphia Eagles (3-7 ATS) while they are fighting for the crown in the worst division in football. With a win, the Eagles would take over first place from the Washington Football team by virtue of having a tie in place of a loss. It’s a dubious honor but a loss could usher in the start of the Jalen Hurts era in Philly. The Eagles defense ranks 30th in DVOA thanks in no small part to Wentz’s league-leading 14 interceptions. But their defense ranks 13th bolstered by their stout run-stopping ability.

The Eagles have lost and failed to cover in each of their last two games and neither contest was against top-tier competition. On the other side, the Seahawks bounced back from implosion but have failed to cover on the road since Week 4 in Miami. Philadelphia is also getting healthier at wide receiver and tight end. Can they offset the juice seemingly added to Seattle’s pass rush by the addition of Carlos Dunlap? This feels like a trap after opening at -2.5, but home dogs have covered over 50 percent of the time making Philly plus the points feel best. Both defenses shut down the run meaning more passing which usually means more points. Pound the over.

Baltimore Ravens (6-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0)

Spread: Steelers -4.5

O/U: 45  

This on-again, off-again affair is back on again for primetime after being moved from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon, now to Tuesday night following an outbreak of COVID among the Baltimore Ravens (4-6 ATS). In the midst of what would be considered a down year offensively, the Ravens will face an undefeated opponent having not been allowed to practice until Monday at the earliest. On top of that, even if they end up playing the game, Baltimore’s 23rd ranked offense (DVOA) will be led by Robert Griffin III as Lamar Jackson has tested positive. They’ll be relying on their defense that ranks seventh in DVOA a little more than usual.

“Undefeated” might as well be a four-letter word as you won’t find many teams that will ever entertain the idea. The same goes for the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2) who are having an incredible season. They’re third in total DVOA, first in defense DVOA, fourth in scoring offense, and first in scoring defense. This is a well-rounded machine even if it isn’t always well-oiled. Pittsburgh has scored at least 24 points in every game this season while allowing an opponent to score more than that just once.  The Steelers also lead the league in sacks, just one more thing for fill-in RGIII to worry about come (hopefully) Tuesday night.

There is no way the Ravens can be as prepared to play this game as they need to be to have a chance. And that’s before factoring in a backup quarterback. When these two teams met back in Week 8, the Steelers came away with a 28-24 victory on a Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Chase Claypool late in the fourth quarter. It won’t get that close this time with the way this game is shaping up. 4.5 might not be enough for the Ravens to cover the first quarter, take Pittsburgh. And if you’re feeling frisky take the under. Baltimore might have trouble hitting their implied total of 20.5 and Pittsburgh could turn to James Conner and the run early with the Calais Campbell set to miss another game.

Week 11 Primetime Moneymakers: Like Looking Into a Mirror

After weeks of having at least one stinker on the primetime NFL slate, we finally get treated to great matchups across the board in Week 11. All six teams are in the playoff hunt and two of the games feature divisional opponents. We also have no fewer than four MVP candidates and a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. You could say it’s pretty loaded.

Week 10 was a rough one. We committed a cardinal sin in betting: betting with the heart and not with the mind (looking at you, Chicago Bears), resulting in an 0-3 week. It’s the first winless week of the year and it stings. The record now stands at 8-11. Yuck. It is what it is and we won’t be dissuaded. As usual, there’s money to be made and if anyone is going to make it, it might as well be us!

Primetime Moneymakers: Like Looking in a Mirror

Arizona Cardinals (6-3) at Seattle Seahawks (6-3)

Spread: Seahawks -3

O/U: 57.5

Arizona Cardinal’s (5-4 ATS) Kyler Murray Hail Mary’ed himself back into the MVP race with his late-game heroics in Week 10. A 43-yard heave found stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone in the middle of three Buffalo Bills defenders. After starting the season 2-2, the Cardinals have won four of their last five to pull into a tie with their opponent in this very game. Arizona leads the league in total yards, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns. They’re also seventh in points per game. And they’re far from one-sided, ranking ninth in scoring defense and have allowed just 23 touchdowns, four off the league-lead.

Russell Wilson has seen his MVP stock dip in recent weeks. He threw 19 touchdowns to just three interceptions through the first five weeks. He’s thrown nine scores to seven picks and lost three fumbles in the four games since. The Seattle Seahawks (5-3 ATS) need Wilson to play perfectly because their defense is as porous as they come. Seattle ranks 32nd in total yards and passing yards allowed. They’re a respectable fourth against the run but are 28th in scoring defense. It’s why they’ve lost three of their last four after starting off 5-0. Letting Russ cook has led to them getting burned.

This is the matchup that started the recent woes for the Seahawks. Tyler Lockett was dominant and D.K. Metcalf famously hawked safety Budda Baker but the Cardinals won 37-34 in overtime.  A Wilson interception essentially sealed that one too. Arizona has won the last two meetings between these two squads after losing the previous three. These two teams are trending in different directions heading into this battle for a leg up in the chase for the NFC West crown. Ride the heater and take the Cardinals plus the points. Speaking of points, expect a lot of them. Arizona has allowed an average of 32.6 PPG over its last three contests while Seattle has allowed 32.7 in their last four.

 

Kansas City Chiefs (8-1) at Las Vegas Raiders (6-3)

Spread: Raiders +8

O/U: 56.5

Led by MVP-frontrunner Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs (6-3 ATS) sit just behind the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers for the best record in the NFL. The Chiefs are first in offense DVOA, per Football Outsiders, tied for first in points per game, and fifth in total yards. Mahomes is third in the NFL with 25 touchdown passes to just one interception. Kansas City may also get wide receiver Sammy Watkins back this week as well. He hasn’t played since Week 5 when these teams last met. They will be without tackle Mitchell Schwartz, however. Their defense is no slouch either. While they rank 14th in defense DVOA, they are sixth in scoring defense, allowing just over 20 PPG.

It’s been about as good of an inaugural season in Sin City as the Las Vegas Raiders (6-3 ATS) are off to their best start since 2016. They finished that season 12-4 but lost to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round. Derek Carr was an MVP candidate that season but suffered a broken leg in Week 15. Flash forward and Carr is having the best statistical season of his career while the Raiders offense is eighth in scoring, ninth in DVOA, and 13th in total yards. Their defense is ungood so they rely on a run game ranked fifth in rushing attempts and touchdowns, and seventh in rushing yards to keep them looking average statistically.

Las Vegas pulled off the shocker last time these two met, walking out of] Kansas City with a 40-32 victory over the defending Super Bowl champs. The Raiders are 3-1 since that game and have averaged 34 PPG over their last two contests. Too bad for them they are facing an Andy Reid team. His record coming off of extra rest is the stuff of legend. Add in the extra incentive of revenge and this could be a recipe for disaster if, unlike last time, the Raiders fail to establish the run. Look for the Chiefs to be aggressive early to eliminate that threat and protect their 27th ranked (30th in DVOA) run defense. Take K.C. but just moneyline as the Las Vegas ground game could keep this one close. That also makes the under appealing.

Los Angeles Rams (6-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

Spread: Bucs -4

O/U: 48

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for the Los Angeles Rams ( 5-4 ATS) of late. Despite coming off their bye week to beat the Seahawks, they’re just 2-2 in their last four games after starting the season 4-1 with road losses to the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins. Jared Goff is 12th in passing attempts and 11th in passing yards but has just 13 touchdowns (and six picks) to show for it. L.A. is eighth in rushing and their 14 rushing touchdowns rank second but they’re only 18th in scoring. The Rams defense is second in total yards, third against the pass, and fourth in stopping the run.

Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) are second in total DVOA while he leads the league in pass attempts and sits fourth in pass attempts. This is the Bucs best start since 2010 when they also started 7-3. They finished 10-6 that season but still missed the playoffs. That shouldn’t be an issue this year as they sit behind the 7-2 New Orleans Saints in the NFC South but Drew Brees just went on IR and Taysom Hill is starting his first-ever game in the NFL. The Bucs could easily find themselves in the catbird seat with a win. Tampa also boasts the number one defense in DVOA, though the unit has allowed 26 PPG over the last four games; nearly four points higher than their season average.

L.A. is looking for just its third win this season over a team with a winning record after beating the Chicago Bears a few weeks back in addition to the Seahawks last week. Tampa is still seeking its first. If we look at the season, all three of the Buccaneers losses have been against teams in the top-five in DVOA. Their only win against a team in the top half of the league in defense DVOA is against the Denver Broncos. The Rams are eighth. But Los Angeles is just 2-3 on the road this season while Tampa Bay’s lone loss at home was to the Saints. Both teams are just 2-2 ATS over their last four, so we revert back to home-field advantage (and Goff’s disadvantage). That makes the Bucs the preferred play and with these defenses, hit the under.

Week 11 Waiver Wire: Indy 500

Week 10 is in the books and boy was it a thrilling one. Kyler Murray‘s late-game heroics surely vaulted him back into the MVP discussion while Russell Wilson definitely took a step back. But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here for help filling out your lineup.

We are in the final stretch of bye weeks. It’s a light one as Week 11 sees four teams on bye; the 49ers, Bears, Bills, and Giants. Then no teams are off in Week 12 before the Buccaneers and Panthers take a break in Week 13. But let’s help you replace Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and more in this week’s waiver wire.

Week 11 Waiver Wire: Indy 500

Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston

New Orleans Saints

Usually, when we talk about injury replacements impacting the waiver wire, it’s at one of the skill positions. But New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is set to have an MRI after taking a big hit in the first half against the 49ers. If he misses time, Jameis Winston could be handed the keys to one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL; ranking fifth in points per game.

Lest we forget, Winston threw a career-best 33 touchdown passes last season. He won’t be slinging it nearly as often or as far as he did in 2019 but he could be more efficient. If Brees’ reaction was any indication, he’ll miss next week against the Atlanta Falcons. They’re allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and that’s with them coming off of their bye. Winston could earn a nice contract out this if it extends multiple weeks.

Running Back

Nyheim Hines

Indianapolis Colts

Yes, this space to push Jordan Wilkins a couple of weeks ago. No, that hasn’t worked out. Yes, we are going right back to the Indianapolis Colts well. This time we turn our focus to Nyheim Hines who was a footnote in the section on Wilkins. He was Week 10’s RB4 through Sunday’s games and has the steadiest role between him, Wilkins, and rookie Jonathan Taylor.

Indy draws the Green Bay Packers in Week 11. They’ve given up a league-worst 15 touchdowns to running backs, four of which have been receiving (tied for second-most), and have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs. The same caveats apply here as with Wilkins. This is still a three-headed committee. Week 11 just might present an opportunity for multiple strong performances from this backfield. But Hines is looking like the safest bet right now.

Salvon Ahmed

Miami Dolphins

Is the University of Washington becoming the Miami Dolphins personal ‘Running Back U’? Probably not but like the injured Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed stepped into the starting role and racked up 90 yards on 22 touches against the Los Angeles Chargers. Not overly efficient but he also found the end zone and handled 21 of 25 running back carries. Gaskin is set to miss at least one more game on IR setting Ahmed up so handle another hefty workload.

He faces the Denver Broncos on the road in Week 11. That was once a matchup to avoid but they are middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to the position in 2020. They also just gave up the RB2 performance to Josh Jacobs and RB6 to Devontae Booker (pending Monday Night Football) of the Las Vegas Raiders in the same game. Miami is playing well defensively and they are trying to limit rookie Tua Tagovailoa’s exposure. These all bode well for Ahmed.

Handcuffs

As mentioned earlier, we are almost out of the woods on bye weeks. With only a handful of fantasy assets out this week and just two teams with byes remaining, bench depth is becoming less important. At certain positions, that is. Running back is the most valuable position because of how monopolized the touches are compared to wide receivers where teams routinely go four and five-deep. There isn’t a lot of depth at tight end as it is and things get murky as guys specialize down the depth chart.

Running back is fairly straight forward for the most part. Chances are, with all injuries this season, you’ve already seen who would be your starting back’s replacement and how he would be used. Be proactive and snag up that backup if you have space on your bench. Receivers that you wouldn’t start are less valuable than your starting runners handcuff. This doesn’t apply to all backups, but certain guys (Alexander Mattison, Latavius Murray, Jamaal Williams, etc.) need to be picked up just in case. Even if the case is to block your opponent if pettiness is your thing.

Wide Receivers

Michael Pittman Jr.

Indianapolis Colts

His dad was a Super Bowl-winning member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but the 6-foot-4 rookie out of USC is trying to make his mark on the outside. He did that in Week 10, checking in as the WR15 through Sunday. Pittman caught seven of eight targets for 101 yards and took a handoff 21 yards in his best game as a pro. His 15 targets over the past two games lead the team and came with the Colts both trailing and leading signaling a stable role. That’s notable because it was the first time Indy had Pittman, Zach Pascal, and T.Y. Hilton all active this season.

He’ll see the Green Bay Packers in Week 11. While Indy isn’t a high-volume passing attack by nature, ranking just 20th in attempts, Richie Jame hung a 9/184/1 line on the Packers a coulple of weeks ago. Hines and the guys running the ball might be the bigger worry. But it’s clear there is a desire to get Pittman going and a need for him to do so. It’s tough counting on rookies, though.

Corey Davis

Tennessee Titans

In a tremendous showing of personal fortitude, Corey Davis played last Thursday in the Tennessee Titans loss to the Indianapolis Colts. It was a modest performance, just 11.7 PPR fantasy points. But it was Davis’ sixth time in seven games scoring 10-plus PPR fantasy points this season. The one miss was against the Bears lockdown corners. If you were worried about the A.J. Brown, don’t. Davis’s two biggest games came in Weeks 7 and 8 with Brown in the lineup.

He gets the Ravens in Week 11. The matchup could be better as they’ve allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. But they have allowed solid outings to Jakobi Meyers and JuJu Smith-Schuster in recent weeks. Davis is right on the threshold for making this list but he also has better staying power than any receiver on the wire right now.

Josh Reynolds

Los Angeles Rams

This one could be tricky. Josh Reynolds led the Los Angeles Rams in Week 10 with 10 targets, catching eight for 94 yards. All team-highs. He’s quietly behind only Cooper Kupp’s 31 targets with 27 of his own over the last three weeks. Kupp, if you remember, received a whopping 20 looks two weeks ago. Reynolds has scored double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games.

The risks here are three-fold. First, Reynolds is third in the pecking order on his team. Kupp and Robert Woods will generally garner far more looks. Second, the Rams are a run-first operation with three talented backs. Jared Goff moved the ball almost at will through the air in Week 10 and they still scored all their touchdowns on the ground. Last, but not least, L.A. faces Tampa in Week 11. They are 11th in fantasy points allowed to receivers but have shown cracks in recent weeks, allowing useful performances to several players.

Willie Snead

Baltimore Ravens

We’re getting even more dangerous now. Willie Snead snagged five of seven targets for 64 yards and two scores against the Patriots in primetime. It was Snead’s third game in a row with four-plus catches. It’s light work, but he has been effective with it; he caught five of seven targets for 106 yards a couple of weeks ago.

Snead is like Reynolds. His team is run-first with a good defense to keep it on schedule. But the Baltimore Ravens rushing attack is an even greater presence with Lamar Jackson. So Snead is behind the running game first and second even before getting to Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. Surely the WR7 in Week 10 has some long-term value. Brown and the offense have struggled so perhaps Snead can show some consistency against the Titans who are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Tight End

Tyler Higbee/Gerald Everett

Los Angeles Rams

In what has been an oscillating thing, Tyler Higbee led the Rams tight ends in production in Week 10 with three grabs (on six targets) for 60 yards. Gerald Everett had nine targets just a week ago. Both have the ability to be top-10 at the position but, more often than not, they just cannibalize each other. Everett got hurt towards the end of last season allowing Higbee to take off and we may need to see a similar occurrence to see one elevate fully.

Still, the state of the tight end position is such that if you find yourself needing one, there are worse offenses to attach yourself to. Goff is still 11th in pass attempts despite his team’s preference for the ground game. Tampa, L.A.’s opponent in Week 11, is allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to tight ends and this game could be a struggle on the perimeter.

Week 10 Primetime Moneymakers: Smash-Mouth Football

Granted, we didn’t get a preseason. But this season is absolutely flying by. We’re already in Week 10 and the playoff picture is taking shape. Kansas City is once again looking like the class of the AFC and really the entire NFL. That’s because the NFC is a clouded mess. Three to four teams can make a legitimate claim for best in the conference.

Another 2-1 week brings us to 8-8 on the season. Still not great but it has been a climb from the sub-.500 basement we were in. We are still struggling to nail down these totals, but that is secondary to calling winners. As usual, there is more money to be made and if anyone is going to lay claim to it it might as well be us.

Smash-Mouth Football On Tap in Week 10 Primetime Moneymakers

Indianapolis Colts (5-3) at Tennessee Titans (6-2)

Spread: Titans +1

O/U: 48.5

The Indianapolis Colts (4-4 ATS) come in allowing the fewest total yards (second in rushing and third in passing) in the NFL anchored by Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner. They are also third in defensive DVOA (second in run defense DVOA). Boasting superb line play on either side of the ball, they might struggle against Tennessee middling run defense but they should give Philip Rivers plenty of time in the pocket. He had seemingly regained his form, throwing six touchdowns and zero interceptions in the two games before his dud in Baltimore in Week 9. Those other secondaries are closer to what the Titans have been.

We saw a stingy Chicago Bears defense take Derrick Henry away last week and the Titans (3-5 ATS) still came away victorious. Ryan Tannehill got the job done, throwing two touchdowns with no picks. That brings him to 19 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Henry was held to just 68 yards on 21 carries last week and 75 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers three weeks ago. An ominous sign with him facing his toughest test. Tennessee only has 10 sacks on the season so they’ll need Malcolm Butler, trade deadline-acquisition Desmond King, and the recently-activated Adoree’ Jackson to tighten things up on the back end.

This is a battle for AFC South supremacy but it’s only the first act. These two teams will face each other in two weeks so this one could put the Titans in the driver seat of the division. The Colts only victory over a team with a winning record was against the Bears. The Titans have two such wins, but one of them was also the Bears. That makes this essentially uncharted territory for both teams with a slight edge going to the Titans. Is their victory of the inconsistent Buffalo Bills convincing enough? They also almost knocked off the Steelers. Take the home team getting no respect from Vegas. Also (reluctantly) take the under as both offenses could struggle.

Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at New England Patriots (3-5)

Spread: Patriots +7

O/U: 43.5

What a matchup this would be if it were 2018. As it stands, the Baltimore Ravens (4-4 ATS) should be looking at this as a tune-up. The Ravens have been highly-scrutinized for their offensive struggles despite having the exact same record through six games as last year. That’s because they’ve fallen from having the top-ranked offense in DVOA in 2019 to 23rd here in 2020. Both phases have regressed but it’s Lamar Jackson’s passing that’s suffered the most. His touchdown rate came down from the unsustainable level of last season while he’s throwing picks at the highest rate of his career.

You’d have to go all the way back to 1994 to find a New England Patriots (3-5 ATS) team that was 3-5 through eight games. Cam Newton has regressed as the season has gone on, though he had somewhat of a bounceback against the lowly New York Jets a week ago in primetime. This is easily the stiffest challenge of Newton’s tenure in New England. His offense is already 24th in DVOA and 28th in passing DVOA. 

New England was hit the hardest of any team by COVID opt-outs; mostly on defense. It has shown. They rank 10th in yards thanks to ranking fifth against the pass. They’re 21st against the run. Sounds like the perfect recipe for Jackson and Co. to get things back on track, which is strange to type about a Bill Belichick-led Patriots team. Jackson has always given the Patriots defense some issues anyway. But in this state, a Baltimore win feels inevitable. Take the Ravens and the points. The under is also tempting but having been burned on several matchups like this, hard pass

Minnesota Vikings (3-5) at Chicago Bears (5-4)

Spread: Bears +2.5

O/U: 43

It hasn’t been the season most envisioned for the Minnesota Vikings (5-3 ATS) but they haven’t given up. They’ve won two games in a row, have an offense ranked seventh in DVOA, and have the league’s leading rusher in Dalvin Cook toting the rock. The Vikings have rightfully limited Kirk Cousins’ exposure. They’ll need to jump out to an early lead if they are to keep this all up. Cousins is 0-3 against the Bears as a member of the Vikings.

Chicago (5-4 ATS) is in the midst of a three-game losing streak. If they are going to avoid their second losing streak in as many seasons (and protect their streak against the Vikings) they will need a few things. First, figure out the ground attack as Minnesota is slightly worse at defending the run. They were already struggling to run and David Montgomery is out this week with a concussion. Could we see a Cordarrelle Patterson revenge game? Second, figure out how to protect Nick Foles. Minnesota was already vulnerable to the pass and is set to be down Cameron Dantzler at corner. 

Matt Nagy is 4-0 as a head coach against Mike Zimmer. His team has a better record too. Still, the dam feels about ready to burst. Despite all of that, the pick is the Bears plus the points. It’s not all sentimentality (admitted Bears fan here). Cook has struggled against the Bears as much as Cousins has. A one-game reprieve from the recent doldrums right before the bye is a very Bears thing to do. The under is, again, the reluctant play. Chicago suppresses their own offense even better than they do opponents. Hard to see Lazor fixing it all in one week.

Week 10 Waiver Wire: Coastal Elite

Hopefully, you were on the giving end of one of the explosive performances from this weekend in the NFL. If you had Dalvin Cook or Davante Adams this weekend there’s a really good chance you walked away with a ‘W’. Unless, of course, the rest of your lineup proceeded to wet the bed (*dries tears*). Basically, there were several stars performing like stars this week.

There were also some surprises, confirmations, and a few other happenings. So this week’s wire will include a quarterback back from the brink, a running back that might finally get his chance, and a receiver that keeps popping up with big games in relief. That’s big with the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs joining the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets on bye. As usual, most if not all of these players fall below 50% ownership.

Rams and Patriots Headline the Week 10 Waiver wire

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff

Los Angeles Rams

Quick, who is the QB13 on the season? If your answer wasn’t one Jared Goff, thanks for playing. Goff and the Los Angeles Rams are coming off of their bye and he didn’t have a great game before the break. But he does have a couple of appearances in the weekly top-10 and several others in the top-18. Los Angeles is run-heavy this year, but this game presents an interesting challenge.

Goff draws the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. They’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks including the QB2 performance of Josh Allen in Week 9. Kyler Murray was the QB2 against them in Week 7. Seattle even let Nick Mullens finish as the QB16 in Week 8. The bottom line is, they are a sieve against the pass and fairly sturdy against the run. Fire up Goff, and all of his weapons for that matter, with confidence.

Nick Foles

Chicago Bears

This is where there is a clear delineation of real-life football from fantasy. In no world (in any way shape, or form) would Nick Foles be a recommended starting quarterback for your real team. But in fantasy, we don’t care how you rack up points, just rack ‘em up. Foles has one of the best defenses in the league behind him but his unit fails to move the ball most of the game; ranking 28th or worse in scoring and on third and fourth downs.

Since his first start in Week 4, however, Foles is actually QB17 on the season. He’s ahead of names like Ben Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford. Not elite fantasy quarterbacks by any stretch but all very serviceable. With a date against the Minnesota Vikings (who’ve allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks) on deck for Week 10, this might be a hold your nose situation.

Running Backs

Malcolm Brown

Los Angeles Rams

We just got done talking about how good Goff’s outlook was in Week 10 and now we’re going to tell you why Malcolm Brown could be useful in lineups. The Rams are still going to try establishing the run and Brown is just 20 carries and 144 yards behind team-leader Darrell Henderson. They both have three rushing scores. All of that without drawing one start for L.A. Henderson got banged up before the bye though he is expected to be fine. But that shouldn’t deter you from deploying Brown this week.

He’s gotten double-digit carries four times this season and Henderson was active for all of them. But in a game with such a high point expectancy, you want to get any viable piece of the action that you can. You’re probably still hoping he finds the end zone; only Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison surpassed 60 yards against the Seahawks. But again, double-digit carries. You aren’t finding that in many back-up running backs across the league. And don’t let the Rams get out to a lead like the Bills did.

Kalen Ballage

Los Angeles Chargers

Injuries suck no matter when they occur. But fantasy owners of Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson got a big fat goose egg in their lineups when he hurt his knee on the first play of the game against the Las Vegas Raiders. He played two more snaps but didn’t record a touch. It was a blow but Kalen Ballage stepped up in real life and might have a shot to do so for your fantasy team in Week 10.

Los Angeles hosts the upstart Miami Dolphins. They aren’t a cakewalk but they aren’t to be avoided either. Ballage, who was traded by the Dolphins to the Jets this preseason, out-carried rookie Joshua Kelley 15-9. While the latter got more action through the air, the former still managed to haul in two of his three targets for 15 yards, adding to his profile for Week 10. Of course, this depends on whether or not Jackson recovers, but if he misses time, Ballage could help you stay afloat.

Rex Burkhead

New England Patriots

Speaking of wasting entire spiels, we included Damien Harris in our Week 9 write-up. Now Harris is dealing with a chest injury. But that allowed Rex Burkhead to re-emerge as a viable option. Burkhead finished as the RB8 in Week 9, rushing 12 times for 56 yards and three passes for 11 yards. He also scored two touchdowns, one each via the air and ground. It was Burkhead’s second appearance in the top-10. He was RB2 way back in Week 3.

The New England Patriots will face a tough matchup in Week 10, hosting the tough Baltimore Ravens. They’re allowing the fewest points to running backs this season but only the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans backs in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, and the Colts backs in Week 9 failed to crack the top-20 against them. James White is still around and Cam Newton is always a threat to vulture at the goal line. But Burkhead’s versatility will serve him well in what is sure to be a hard-fought battle in Week 10.

Wide Receivers

Jakobi Meyers

Sticking with the Patriots, if you watched Monday Night Football in Week 9, first I’m sorry. But second, you certainly noticed one Jakobi Meyers, Week 9’s WR4. The second-year former quarterback out of N.C. State was easily Newton’s favorite target on the night, garnering 14 looks and catching 12 for 169 yards. He was repeatedly open in the middle of the field as the New York Jets wanted Newton to throw down the field. He and Meyers picked them apart instead.

Baltimore is just as tough on wide receivers as back so this is going to be tough sledding for Meyers. The Ravens have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to receivers this season. They have, however, given up top-10 performances to Travis Fulgham and Terry McLaurin, and Tyreek Hill was WR12 in Week 3. Fulgham and McLaurin are probably better comps as target hogs on bad teams. That bodes well for Meyers.

Curtis Samuel

Carolina Panthers

There is some inherent risk in playing Carolina Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel, though admittedly less so than normal. Samuel had buzz coming into the season as a versatile playmaker and the coaching staff even talked him up as such. But he failed to even score double-digit fantasy points in any of the first four games this season. He’s flipped that over his last four contests, recording increasing point totals every week culminating with being the WR7. He’s also scored in each of the last three games. Samuel is the WR12 since Week 5 and is the WR6 (!!!) over the last three weeks.

Carolina draws an almost certainly pissed off Buccaneers team down in Tampa in Week 10. They’re 12th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers and only four receivers have finished in the top-20 for the week against them. Fortunately for Carolina, two of the receivers were Panthers. Both D.J. Moore (WR10) and Robby Anderson (WR12) did it in Week 2. Perhaps Samuel, who will be in the mix for carries if Christian McCaffrey misses more time.

KJ Hamler

Denver Broncos

This is our first rookie of the week after previous listings often had several at a time. But KJ Hamler might be emerging as a reliable option for the Denver Broncos at the right time. Drew Lock (who made last week’s article) has thrown five touchdowns over his last two starts. Hamler has nine catches, 88 yards, and a touchdown in that same span. He also finished as the WR29 in Week 9.

There are a few hurdles for Hamler to clear to maintain relevance. First, he is competing with fellow rookie Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick for targets. In his favor, Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam are both banged up, freeing up space (and targets) in the middle of the field should one or both miss time. Denver faces the Raiders in Week 10. They are 17th in fantasy points allowed to receivers.

Tight End

Irv Smith Jr

Minnesota Vikings

It’s one thing to ignore a one-off, TE4 performance. It’s another thing entirely to ignore Irv Smith Jr. having several top-12 performances. Or that he is the TE15 on the year despite having just three starts and playing behind Kyle Rudolph most of the season. In fact, Smith has out-snapped Rudolph in each of the last two games. The Minnesota Vikings aren’t the defensive force they once were so Smith has been a revelation.

Minnesota travels to Chicago in Week 10 to take on the reeling Bears. They have one of the best defenses in the NFL but there are weak spots. They effectively lock down the perimeter but have shown to be vulnerable to backs and tight ends at times. Chicago is 28th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and have given up six touchdowns to the position. Smith has been a weapon for the Vikings and that should continue in Week 10.

Week 9 Primetime Moneymakers: Game of the Week

Just when we thought it was safe, here we go again with COVID possibly interfering with the NFL schedule. Week 9 will see the Chicago Bears taking on the Tennessee Titans in Nashville down four starters and now a backup. If they actually get to play the game that is. This isn’t the only game to be impacted by COVID as the virus is popping up in more facilities.

We went 2-1 last week picking winners (thanks Carolina) but when it came to the spreads, fuggedaboutit. That does bring us to 6-7 on the season (don’t call it a comeback). Despite the COVID concerns, there is still money to be made. And, as usual, if anyone is going to make it, it might as well be us!

COVID Impacting Primetime Moneymakers in Week 9

Green Bay Packers (5-2) at San Francisco 49ers (4-4)

Spread: 49ers +7

O/U: 48.5

We get to see the impact of COVID right away in Week 9, as both teams have been affected. The Green Bay Packers (5-7 ATS) will be without running back Jamaal Williams due to COVID and still aren’t sure Aaron Jones is ready to return. Green Bay has the second-ranked offense in Football Outsiders DVOA, thanks in large part because of Aaron Rodgers. He’s thrown 20 touchdowns to just two interceptions. But the Packers also have the 29th ranked defense in DVOA. They typically need every bit of that offense.

No team has been hit harder by injuries than the San Francisco 49ers (4-4 ATS). They have already lost a lot of talent, including Nick Bosa. Now, Jimmy Garoppolo is set to miss the rest of the season (#NickMullensSZN) and George Kittle could return in Week 17, though there likely won’t be much incentive to do so. San Fran has managed to rank ninth and 12th in offensive and defensive DVOA, respectively.

It bears mentioning that the Packers are 2-2 against the spread in their last four contests, though the 49ers are too so it probably doesn’t help you much. What does is the health of these teams. For as beat up as the Pack has been at running back they aren’t even sniffing what the Niners are going through. A Green Bay win is the easy call. Also, seven points just don’t seem like nearly enough here for San Francisco. Three of their four covers came against the dregs of the NFL. The other was against the up and down Rams.

New Orleans Saints (5-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

Spread: Buccaneers -4

O/U: 51

This is easily the game of the week, yes, even over Seahawks-Bills. The New Orleans Saints (2-5 ATS) should get Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders back for this one and Antonio Brown will make his Tampa Bay debut. Did I mention this is easily the game of the week? New Orleans comes in as winners of four straight. They haven’t exactly beaten a murderer’s row of opponents (they were a combined 13-17) but they are still seventh (offensive) and eighth (defensive) in DVOA.

It truly has become Tom-pa Bay after Tom Brady (successfully) lobbied for Brown after his head coach made it clear that wouldn’t be a possibility. At any rate, Brown joins a Buccaneers (4-4 ATS) offense that ranks sixth in DVOA and is flush with weapons. That’s good for Tampa in theory but can Brown stay in line if he isn’t being fed a heavy dose of targets? At any rate, the Bucs have won three in a row after their one-point loss to the Chicago Bears back in Week 5.

Can the Buccaneers superior pass-rush penetrate the Saints top-notch line? Can Tampa, who might be without guard Ali Marpet, hold up against a New Orleans rush that is pretty average? Neither team has been great against the number and clashes like these are often unpredictable. Given the Bucs are at home, though, and their superior defense (first in DVOA), they should be able to make it four straight. Forget the spread but jump on the over.

New England Patriots (2-5) at New York Jets (0-8)

Spread: Jets +7.5

O/U: 41.5

Yuck. Ideally, that would be the end of this entry but, alas, we must break it down. These two teams are more in a race for the first overall pick than contention for anything. Adam Gase has managed to alienate players en route to a 7-17 record over the last two years and still have a job. Cam Newton is quickly finding out how little patience New England Patriots (3-4 ATS) fans have for celebrity athletes that don’t perform to snuff. This was viewed as a transitional season anyway, but New England hasn’t started 2-5 since 2000. They finished 5-11 that season. They did, however, win the Super Bowl the next season.

Sam Darnold is dealing with a shoulder injury but the New York Jets (1-7) are confident he will play in this one. Will it matter for a Jets squad that ranks 32nd in points and 31st in totals yards? Darnold has missed two games this season and has thrown just three touchdowns to six picks. He did have an impressive rushing score against the Broncos a few weeks ago, but he is on track for his worst touchdown rate and second-worst interception rate of his young career. As bad as Newton has been in New England, Darnold hasn’t been much better.

It just doesn’t make any sense to bet on the Jets to do anything right. Their lone cover came in a shocker against the Bills but they have been mostly uncompetitive in 2020. New England, and Newton, in particular, started well but talent deficiencies have been evident as Cam has struggled post-COVID. He’s still facing the worst team in the NFL. If he can’t pull this one off, no matter who his weapons are, it might just be time to see what Jarrett Stidham can do. Don’t get cute, take the Pats. And while you might feel alright about the under might be the better play with how bad these two teams have been.

NFL Week 9 Waiver Wire

Another week in the books just means more opportunities to work the waiver wire. It wasn’t a great week for quarterbacks or running backs; save for Patrick Mahomes and Dalvin Cook, respectively. Tight end has been another issue altogether. We did hit on Joe Burrow and Brandon Aiyuk in Week 8, but it was a rough one overall for our suggested pickups.

There were, as usual, more injuries that will have a fantasy impact. However, they aren’t as pertinent as the status of injuries we were already monitoring. They still provide us with some fill-ins with the Bengals, Brown, Eagles, and Rams all on bye. What might be most shocking is there were a couple of rookies who had strong performances without an injury to a player ahead of them on the depth chart.

NFL Week 9 Waiver Wire: Lock Your Carr

Quarterbacks

Drew Lock

Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos pulled the upset and got the win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday thanks in no small part to Drew Lock. The second-year pro threw for 248 yards and three scores against L.A. He struggled in his first two games back from injury, completing just 53 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and four interceptions. But Lock completed better than 63 percent of his passes on his way to being the QB7 through Sunday’s games.

He gets the Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, in Week 9. Only three quarterbacks have finished outside the top-12 against them; Teddy Bridgewater (in the rematch), Matthew Stafford, and Nick Foles. Lock is a solid option for those going without Burrow this week.

Derek Carr

Las Vegas Raiders

Staying in the AFC West, we land on the most senior quarterback in the division. Derek Carr is in the middle of a career-year in real-life. That hasn’t necessarily translated to fantasy, though, where he’s just QB20 on the season. But he has had usable weeks, peaking as the QB9 in Week 5. He should be back on the streaming radar in Week 9 as Las Vegas takes on the divisional-foe Los Angeles Chargers.

They’ve allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and just traded away a member of their already depleted secondary. Lock was able to get himself untracked against them, scoring more than 20 fantasy points. Burrow (QB20), Bridgewater (QB21), and Gardner Minshew (QB14) are the only two passers to not crack the top-10 against the Chargers.

Running Backs

Zack Moss

Buffalo Bills

Despite the fairly even overall split of the carries, Zack Moss is the more desirable back going forward for the Buffalo Bills. Devin Singletary (14 carries, 86 yards) drew the start and had more yardage. But Moss (14/81/2) got the ball in high-leverage situations, including all the work inside the 10-yard line. Week 8 was also the first time Moss got the majority of the snaps. Perhaps Moss can help solve Buffalo’s rushing woes.

His Week 9 opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, are tough on backs but this could be a long-term play on the waiver wire. They’ve also allowed 145 yards to Chase Edmonds and 112 yards to  Alexander Mattison in recent weeks. Moss obviously won’t score two touchdowns every week. And Josh Allen, who was playing at an MVP level earlier in the year, is always a threat to take it himself around the goal line. But Moss might be the next best option for a team that led the league in red-zone plays entering the week.

Jordan Wilkins

Indianapolis Colts

What seemed to be out of the ordinary actually has a logical explanation. Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich came out Monday and said rookie starting running back Jonathan Taylor is dealing with an ankle injury. Taylor still managed 11 totes but he could only turn them into 22 yards. Instead, third-year man Jordan Wilkins turned his 20 carries into 89 yards, also catching his lone target for 24 yards. This is Taylor’s role when healthy and Nyheim Hines gobbles up the receiving work pretty effectively.

There is also the matter of the Baltimore Ravens, Indy’s Week 9 opponent. They’ve allowed the fewest fantasy points to backs in 2020. Though, if we’re being honest, four of the seven backs they’ve faced have been the RB17 or better. And two of the other types of performances came over the first two weeks. Wilkins might have a tough time reaching the top-15 considering he gets almost zero action through the air. But he can certainly be a top-24 play in Week 9.

Damien Harris

New England Patriots

You cannot trust a New England Patriots running back. You cannot trust a New Patriots running back. You cannot tru…you get the idea. That’s typically the case but we may be seeing a shift in philosophy that has been looming since Tom Brady left for Tampa. James White has enjoyed the most stable role in this backfield, serving as a safety valve for Brady. But with the Patriots going with a more run-heavy approach with Cam Newton, Damien Harris might be emerging as the most trustworthy asset.

Harris has gotten 10-plus carries in three of four games he’s been active and has hit the century mark in two of them. New England lost all four games; hopefully easing at some concern over his being phased out by game script. He isn’t without worry, though. White isn’t likely completely gone from this offense and Rex Burkhead is the quintessential vulture. But Harris has been playing for Sony Michel and has given no reasons why he shouldn’t continue doing so.

Gus Edwards/J.K. Dobbins

Baltimore Ravens

For one week, at least, fantasy players finally got a glimpse of how the Baltimore Ravens backfield would produce with just two mouths to feed as opposed to three. The results were both Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins finishing in the top-15 in Week 8. Should Mark Ingram (ankle) miss another week, Edwards and Dobbins could be right back in the top-15 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Which of the two should be a priority might depend on your format. Edwards had one more carry and got the lone tote inside the 10-yard line so it’s likely him if your league is standard scoring. But Dobbins out-gained him (113 to 87) and was the preferred third-down option. He should be first-priority in PPR leagues.

Wide Receivers

Marvin Jones

Detroit Lions

Things have a way of coming full circle in sports. That usually manifests in the form of a veteran player signing for a final year, or even a one-day, contract to retire as a member of the team that drafted them. For Marvin Jones, it’s a little different. He was generally drafted toward the end of the eighth round or so as part of what was supposed to be a high-octane passing attack. He is just the WR52 on the year. In Week 8, however, he was the WR8.

A large part of why he was able to reach the ranking he did in Week 8 was because he caught two touchdowns. He caught two of them against the Colts; his just his second and third of the year. But he also got more opportunity due to Kenny Golladay exiting early with a hip injury. Golladay has already missed three games this season so perhaps Detroit takes the extra precautious approach. The Lions face the Minnesota Vikings who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers; just ask Davante Adams.

Darnell Mooney

Chicago Bears

We have had reason to suspect this was coming but it was nice to actually see Chicago Bears rookie receiver Darnell Mooney on the receiving end of a deep pass from Foles. For one thing, the Bears need all the offense they can muster. But, more important for fantasy purposes, it was the process paying off. Mooney has received three-plus targets in every game and has at least five in every game from Week 3 on.

Anthony Miller led Chicago in targets in Week 8 but that includes Allen Robinson; something no one should expect to happen again barring injury. He also still played fewer snaps than Mooney yet again. If one of these two performances was an outlier, it’s probably Miller’s. Sunday was his first game with more than four grabs all season. He’ll need to put together a couple more outing like this to regain the trust he began the year with. But the Tennessee Titans (seventh-most points to wide receivers) on tap, Mooney could yet again crack the top-16 like he did this week.

Kendrick Bourne

San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers are probably the most injury-riddled team in the NFL. They’re already down one All-Pro pass-rusher and two other key pieces from their vaunted defense. They are also without their top running back and lost his backup in what was his first game back. Now they will be without stud tight end George Kittle for basically the rest of the season. All of this is to say someone has to catch passes and in Week 8, at least, Kendrick Bourne was one of those people.

Bourne registered just one fewer target and had just 10 fewer yards than Brandon Aiyuk who led the 49ers in both categories. He’ll make for a better asset in PPR than standard, touchdowns will be harder to come by with Jimmy Garoppolo also set to miss an extended period of time. Nick Mullens has shown he can get the ball to his playmakers and with Deebo Samuel set to miss a couple more games, Bourne could be a nice FLEX play.

Tight Ends

Trey Burton

Indianapolis Colts

Another week, another rushing touchdown for Trey Burton. No, he hasn’t switched positions. He has just landed in one of the friendliest offenses for tight ends in the NFL. Frank Reich’s system helped revive the career of Eric Ebron and might be doing the same with Burton. He’s already surpassed his yardage and touchdown totals from 2019 with the Bears and he’s done so in half the games.

Mo Alie-Cox started in this role but got injured a few weeks back. This has allowed Burton to emerge for Reich, whom we won a Super Bowl as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. There are obvious risks. Philip Rivers hasn’t been great this year, Jack Doyle isn’t going away, and Burton is still a part-time player. Indy also plays the Ravens in Week 9. Their sturdy defense has been just okay at stopping tight ends and allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers Eric Ebron to catch four passes for 48 yards and a score.