After watching him rack up 200 yards and two more touchdowns Thursday, I have to ask the question: Is Jonathan Taylor now the best running back in Fantasy?
It’s a fair question. If everyone were healthy and we were re-drafting, I would still take Christian McCaffrey over him, and I would have to take Derrick Henry over him too. I would probably take Najee Harris over him in PPR, too, and maybe Austin Ekeler. But … I’m not so sure about Alvin Kamara, given how much the Saints have gone away from the passing game — and how much they are likely to go away from it moving forward with Taysom Hill at QB. He might be No. 3, he might be No. 5, but Taylor is squarely in that discussion.
And he’s a type of player I have trouble valuing appropriately for Fantasy. Because, well … most running backs aren’t ripping off long touchdown runs as routinely as Taylor is — he had his third touchdown of 70-plus yards this season Thursday. Running backs who don’t catch many passes face a math problem in PPR scoring, but Taylor (and Henry, obviously) just look like the kind of outliers who can make up for that with big plays and touchdowns. Taylor doesn’t get the kind of volume Henry does, but he has 24 touches inside of the 10-yard line this season, so that doesn’t really matter so much. He’s an absolute superstar, and potentially the No. 1 RB in Dynasty formats, to boot.
In the rest of today’s newsletter, I’ll recap the Colts’ 45-30 win over the Jets that Taylor simply dominated, and then go through every game on the schedule to give you updates on every injury you need to know about in a week with plenty of big ones. I have answers to the toughest lineup decisions you’re facing and some key storylines for each game, too.
And if that doesn’t answer all of your lineup questions, send them my way at [email protected] with the subject line “#AskFFT” and they’ll get included in my Sunday morning mailbag — plus, you can catch the Fantasy Football Today YouTube stream Sunday morning at 11:30 am where Adam Aizer and I will be answering all of your lineup questions before the games.
Get ready for Week 9 with all of our preview content here:
And here’s what the rest of today’s newsletter has in store to help you get ready for Week 9:
- 🏈TNF Fantasy Recap: Colts 45, Jets 30
- 🔍Week 9 Game Previews: Vegas notes, lineup decisions, and injury updates
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🏈TNF Recap: Colts 45, Jets 30
Mike White looked like he might be on the way to another exciting performance for the Jets, but he suffered a right arm injury after leading the Jets to an early touchdown drive and was unable to return. We don’t know much more about the injury than that, but maybe Zach Wilson’s job will be waiting for him when he’s healthy enough to play after all.
- The big takeaway: This one wasn’t nearly as close as the final score, but it also wasn’t a great Fantasy day outside of Taylor and Nyheim Hines — that’ll happen when Danny Pinter, Jack Doyle, and Ryan Griffin combine for three touchdowns. But it was good to see a big game from Elijah Moore, who was the star of the Jets’ offseason. He’s been extremely quiet so far this season, but he had a team-high eight targets and turned them into seven catches for 84 yards, and a pair of touchdowns. He should be one of the top priorities on waivers for Week 10 as a rookie WR with big second-half breakout potential.
- Winner: Michael Pittman’s excellent season continues. He scored his fifth touchdown of the season in addition to five catches for 64 yards, and while that may not be his best game of the season, keep in mind that this game was over by halftime and the Colts threw to 10 different players, including a bunch of players who have barely had a role this season. Pittman is clearly the No. 1 option in this passing game, and it was good to see him have a good game even in a less-than-favorable game script.
- Loser: I’m not too worried about what it means for his future, but it sure was disappointing to see Michael Carter put up just 9.6 points coming off his big breakout game. For as much as Mike White peppered Carter with targets, Josh Johnson moved in the opposite direction, rarely even looking his way. Johnson isn’t going to be the long-term starter for the Jets, so I’m not too worried about it. Hopefully when Wilson is healthy, they’ll make a point to get Carter involved — he could use the safety valve.
🔍Week 9 game previews
There’s something to watch in every game on the NFL schedule every week, even if you have to squint to see it sometimes. This week, however, there are so many unanswered questions that it’s hard to settle on just one thing for each game. Here’s a look ahead at every Week 9 game, with some notes on what Vegas is expecting to see, some lineup help and one thing to watch for from each game:
All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Raiders at Giants
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Raiders -3; 46.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Raiders 24.75-Giants 21.75
The Giants look likely to be short handed yet again, which makes it tough to expect this offense to turn things around. Maybe one day we’ll see them at full strength.
- Injuries: Saquon Barkley (ankle/COVID-19) — Barkley has been placed on the reserve list and while he’s got a chance to play, it seems like a pretty slim one. What’s not clear is whether he would be able to play even if he hadn’t tested positive for COVID. Expect Devontae Booker to remain the starter barring a change … Sterling Shepard (quad) — Has not practiced this week and looks like a long shot to play … Kenny Golladay (knee) — Was upgraded to a limited participant in practice, which is a positive sign, but not necessarily proof he’ll be able to play this week. I’m still expecting that I won’t be able to rely on him this week … Kadarius Toney (thumb) — Toney has been limited throughout the week in practice. I’m hopeful he’ll be able to play, but I probably wouldn’t view him as a starter until we see him at full strength. There’s upside here, but I would be looking at him as a stash, not a start.
- Toughest lineup decision: Hunter Renfrow — Start. My coworkers seemed to view Renfrow as something of a prize on waivers this week, but I didn’t share their enthusiasm. He’s a fine player to have around if you need someone to fill a starting spot, but there just isn’t much upside in his profile — he’s had seven games with more than 70 yards in his career. If you need someone to get you 11 PPR points, Renfrow is a pretty good bet, but he’s probably never going to be someone you are thrilled to have in your lineup, even with more targets available in the offense.
- What we’re watching for: How the Raiders receiving hierarchy looks will be a key one. I think Renfrow and Darren Waller will probably be the top targets, but that’s mostly been true all season. the question is whether someone like Bryan Edwards will have the opportunity for a bigger role after the release of Henry Ruggs. If I’m looking to stash someone on this offense, he’s probably the guy. On the Giants side, I’d like to see Kadarius Toney healthy and serving as the top target, because he needs to establish himself before Golladay and Shepard are back. This passing game is weirdly crowded.
Texans at Dolphins
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Dolphins -5.5; 46.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Dolphins 26-Texans 20.5
The Texans have been an excellent matchup for opposing offenses. Are the Dolphins equipped to take advantage?
- Injuries: Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) — Taylor is on IR so he isn’t officially on the practice report, but all signs point to him starting assuming he can avoid a setback. That should be a boon for Houston’s offense, and it would be good for Miami’s if Taylor makes the Texans a bit more competitive … DeVante Parker (shoulder/hamstring) — Parker has been limited this week, but he’s expected to play, just as he did last week when he had eight catches for 85 yards … Rex Burkhead (hip) — Burkhead played a surprisingly big role in Week 8 after Mark Ingram was traded, and it looks like he’ll have the chance to do the same in Week 9. David Johnson is currently the only RB in this offense I would even consider using, but Burkhead has a chance to earn a Fantasy relevant role, too.
- Toughest lineup decision: DeVante Parker — Start. Parker has played five games this season and he has at least 77 yards in three of them — including Tua Tagovailoa’s two full games. With Will Fuller still out, I think both Parker and Jaylen Waddle are worth starting in this matchup.
- What we’re watching for: I’ve been consistently wrong about Myles Gaskin’s role and value basically every week this season, so I’m just going to be skeptical about him moving forward. But Jamey Eisenberg has faith for this week, listing him as his Start of the Week, so I’ll be interested to see if they commit to him in a game they should win fairly easily. I’ll also be watching Mike Gesicki’s role to see if the dip in his target share in Week 8 was because of Parker’s return, or if it was just a blip. On the Texans side, I want to see what the running back split looks like. If it’s going to be a four- or even three-way split moving forward, we can just ignore it. I also just want to see Taylor back in at QB, because he brings a lot more to the table than Davis Mills, even if Mills might have more of a future with the franchise. Start Brandin Cooks with confidence with Taylor back.
Browns at Bengals
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Bengals -2.5; 47 O/U
- Implied totals: Bengals 24.75-Browns 22.25
The Browns have effectively dismissed Odell Beckham from the team ahead of this game. The weird thing is, it’s hard to say whether that’s a good or bad thing, which helps explain how that relationship deteriorated.
- Injuries: Jarvis Landry (knee)/Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin) — Landry should be viewed as a top-30 WR with Beckham out of the picture, but I’m more interested to see if Peoples-Jones can step up. People around Browns camp raved about him in the preseason, and this is his opportunity to take a step forward. Keep an eye on him.
- Toughest lineup decision: Jarvis Landry – Start. In nine games without Beckham last season, Landry averaged 14.6 PPR points per game, which would be good for WR27 this season. That’s about where he should rank, but I could very easily see him being a consistent top-24 WR moving forward.
- What we’re watching for: For the Browns, it’ll be interesting to see if Baker Mayfield can take a step forward without Beckham, which is what we saw last season. I’m skeptical that’ll happen, but if it does, it could mean one of Peoples-Jones or Rashard Higgins could be relevant as a big-play option. Both have shown brief flashes. On the Bengals side, I want to see if they continue to use Joe Mixon in the passing game — he has five targets in two of his past three games (and none in the other, of course).
Bills at Jaguars
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Bills -14.50; 48.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Bills 31.5-Jaguars 17
It’s really just a question of how much the Bills want to outscore the Jaguars.
- Injuries: James Robinson (heel) — The Jags downplayed Robinson’s injury when it occurred, but it is looking like he’ll have to sit out this week after he was held out of practice each of the first two days. Carlos Hyde is a fringe No. 2 RB if he gets the start … Cole Beasley (ribs) — Beasley hasn’t practiced yet this week, and while we’re used to seeing him get days off, this actually looks like it might be something to be concerned about. The Bills probably don’t need to push Beasley, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he sits this one out if he’s less than 100%. He’s a top-30 WR if he does play, and his absence would make Emmanuel Sanders a top-30 WR and would make Gabriel Davis a very interesting DFS play.
- Toughest lineup decision: Carlos Hyde — Sit. Obviously, it depends on your situation, but my preference would be to not use Hyde if I can avoid it. He’s a pretty middling playmaker and this is a tough matchup, so you’re just hoping for, say, 50 yards and a goal-line touchdown. If he can get that, great, but I would hope I have a more reliable option.
- What we’re watching for: The RB split is pretty much the only thing we have real questions about with the Bills at this point, with Zack Moss still seeming like the better starter. This should be a good opportunity for the Bills to rack up some RB production, but I only have Moss ranked a little higher than Hyde because of questions about his workload. On the Jaguars side, I’d like to see them use Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault more, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing Dan Arnold remain a focal point. He’s a top-12 TE for me this week with 23 targets over his past three games.
Broncos at Cowboys
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Cowboys -10; 49.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Cowboys 29.75-Broncos 19.75
Early on in the season it looked like the Broncos might have enough offense to at least hang in a game like this, but they’re averaging just 17.8 points per game over the past six.
- Injuries: Dak Prescott (calf) — Prescott was upgraded to a full participant in practice Thursday, a good sign for his expected return from a one-game absence … Amari Cooper (hamstring)/CeeDee Lamb (ankle) — Cooper seems likely to play, but there are some questions about Lamb. He suffered the injury during practice Wednesday and was unable to give it a go Thursday. It has been reported that both are expected to play, but we’ll want to keep an eye on Friday’s injury report to make sure. Just have a contingency plan in case Lamb isn’t able to go … Blake Jarwin (hip) — Jarwin hasn’t practiced this week, so I’m not expecting him to play. That could mean an even bigger role for Dalton Schultz, who has been and remains a must-start TE for Fantasy … Noah Fant (reserve/COVID-19) — There’s a chance Fant could be back in time for Sunday’s game, but it seems unlikely. Albert Okwuegbunam (knee) figures to see a pretty solid role and would be a viable streamer if he is able to play this week, but he’s been limited Wednesday and Thursday.
- Toughest lineup decision: Jerry Jeudy — Start. Jeudy didn’t play his typical role in Week 8 and Vic Fangio told reporters he wasn’t quite up to feel strength yet. Maybe he won’t be in this one, but I would expect to see more of Jeudy and for him to have a pretty good game in what should be a pretty pass-happy script for the Broncos offense. And there’s a chance Jeudy just goes off if he gets the opportunity.
- What we’re watching for: For the Broncos, it’s primarily about how the wide receivers are used. If Jeudy does see his role increase, will that still mean a big role for Courtand Sutton? I would expect so, but I want to see both thrive soon. And on the Cowboys side, I just want to see Prescott stay healthy and keep rolling — the start of this season has gone just about as well as you could possibly have hoped so far.
Vikings at Ravens
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Ravens -5; 49.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Ravens 27.25-Vikings 22.25
In an ideal world, these two run-first teams will put up enough points against each other that both have to pass more than expected.
- Injuries: Latavius Murray (ankle) — Coming out of the bye, Murray has missed both days of practice this week, so I’m not expecting him to play. Expect Devonta Freeman to be at the head of a three-way split that offers little to get excited about for Fantasy … Sammy Watkins (thigh) — Watkins practiced for the first time Thursday since suffering the injury in Week 5. We’ll see what his participation looks like Friday, because I’d like to see Rashod Bateman get an opportunity to be the unquestioned No. 2 WR coming out of the bye.
- Toughest lineup decision: Devonta Freeman — Sit. Again, wide receiver is such a mess for so many people that you may not have the luxury to sit Freeman, but … what’s the point? He has a season-high of 53 rushing yards and that’s his only game with more than 40. Maybe he gets a touchdown and isn’t a total zero, but the Ravens aren’t running as much as we typically expect, and both Ty’Son Williams and Le’Veon Bell have been a factor. Lamar Jackson is the lead rusher in the offense, and I would prefer not to have to rely on any of the other options.
- What we’re watching for: It’ll be interesting to see what the Ravens passing game hierarchy looks like, whether Watkins is back or not. In fact, it would be more telling if Watkins plays — if he does and Bateman is still clearly the No. 2, Bateman could be a second-half breakout. If he’s running third behind both Watkins and Marquise Brown, you could probably drop him. On the Vikings side, we just want to see Kirk Cousins play better — he has multiple touchdowns in just one of his past four games.
Falcons at Saints
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Saints -6.5; 42 O/U
- Implied totals: Saints 24.25-Falcons 17.7
It is, frankly, stunning to see an over/under between these two teams this low. It’s even more stunning that I can’t really argue it should be higher
- Injuries: Taysom Hill (concussion) — Hill was upgraded to a full participant in practice Thursday and seems all but certain to be cleared to play Sunday. The Saints haven’t confirmed whether he will start, but I would be legitimately stunned if they turned to Trevor Siemian ahead of him. But who knows with Sean Payton … Russell Gage (groin) — Gage was upgraded to full participation in practice Thursday, so it sure looks like he’s going to be out there for this week’s game. He’s just a low-end starter, more like a WR4 in PPR leagues. Remember, the Falcons are without Calvin Ridley (personal).
- Toughest lineup decision: Taysom Hill — Start. I mean, assuming Hill starts. He’s a top-12 QB for me this week, and I think he’s the Saints’ best hope of moving the ball consistently with Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas out for the year. He may not be great news for Alvin Kamara’s value, but Hill’s rushing skills make him a viable starting Fantasy option, one with significant upside if things break right. .
- What we’re watching for: If Hill starts for the Saints, you can start Hill and Kamara. If Siemian starts, you can start Kamara. That’s where we are with this team. On the other side, I need to see Matt Ryan step up without Calvin Ridley. This offense looked brutal without him in Week 8, and Ryan really struggled without Julio Jones last season as well. I’m still starting Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson in all formats, but Mike Davis is a viable PPR RB2 as well.
Patriots at Panthers
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Patriots -3.5; 41 O/U
- Implied totals: Patriots 22.25-Panthers 18.75
It looked like the Panthers might have an offense worth being afraid of early on, but Sam Darnold has collapsed over the last month or so. I think he really misses Christian McCaffrey.
- Injuries: Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) — McCaffrey has been present at both Wednesday and Thursday’s practice sessions, but because he’s still on IR, we don’t have an official designation of how much he worked. He’s been out since Week 3, but there is at least a chance he’ll be cleared to play this week. If he is, obviously, he’s a must-start … Sam Darnold (shoulder/concussion) — Darnold has been limited in practice both days this week, which seems like a good sign for his chances of playing. As much as he has struggled, I’m not sure P.J. Walker would be better for this offense … Terrace Marshall (concussion) — Marshall was taken off the injury report Thursday, so we can safely assume he’s coming back. He remains an interesting stash, especially if he can overtake Robby Anderson’s role in the offense.
- Toughest lineup decision: Chuba Hubbard — Start. This is obviously dependent on McCaffrey’s status, because you’re not starting Hubbard if McCaffrey plays. But he’s a pretty fringe-y starter even if McCaffrey isn’t active, right? After all, it’s a tough matchup. But Hubbard has had at least 16 touches in each of his last four games, and there just aren’t enough viable running back starters to sit one with a workload like this even against a tough matchup. Hubbard is RB20 for me.
- What we’re watching for: With Marshall healthy, I’d like to see him overtake Anderson in the hierarchy. Anderson is a good player, but it just isn’t working for him, and Marshall is a talented young player who showed flashes early on, so I’d love to see him get some extended run as a big slot. Getting some easy throws to a big target could help settle Darnold down. On the Patriots side, I’d like to see Damien Harris keep proving me wrong. He’s been great lately.
Chargers at Eagles
- Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
- Line: Chargers -1.5; 50 O/U
- Implied totals: Chargers 25.75-Eagles 24.25
The Eagles finally got their ground game going in a blowout win over the Lions. The Chargers run defense is mediocre, but their offense should be able to keep the Eagles from ever really getting comfortable with a conservative approach.
- Injuries: Justin Herbert (right hand) — Herbert was limited Wednesday but got a full session in Thursday. He’s fine … Justin Jackson (quad) — Jackson hasn’t practiced this week and looks like a long shot to play. We’ll probably see more of Larry Rountree and Joshua Kelley, but neither has much value unless Austin Ekeler gets hurt … Jalen Reagor (ankle) — Reagor was upgraded to a limited practice Thursday, which actually comes as something of a shock given how the injury looked Sunday. I’d bet he won’t play, but that’s a good sign. Not that he has much more than just incidental Fantasy value at this point.
- Toughest lineup decision: DeVonta Smith – Sit. I vehemently defended Smith during our Tuesday night YouTube stream when Adam Aizer suggested he might be droppable, but you can’t feel terribly comfortable starting him at this point. Smith isn’t a must-sit, because he’s definitely the top target in this offense, but hasn’t been consistent yet. I have a lot of faith that he’ll get there eventually, but he’s a fringe starter right now.
- What we’re watching for: On the Chargers side, I’d like to see Herbert pull out of this little slide, and I’d like to see him bring Mike Williams along with him. Williams has struggled in three of his past four, with only one of those explained away so far by injuries. For the Eagles, it’ll obviously be interesting to see what happens with the running backs in a more competitive game. Boston Scott certainly looked like the lead back, and if you need to start one of them, he’s your guy as a low-end RB2.
Cardinals at 49ers
- Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
- Line: 49ers -1.5; 45 O/U
- Implied totals: 49ers 25.75-Cardinals 24.25
That is a line that indicates there are some real concerns that Kyler Murray won’t be playing this week. And he’s not the only significant injury we’re watching here.
- Injuries: Kyler Murray (ankle) — And there are concerns about Murray not playing because he has yet to practice this week. Murray doesn’t need to practice to play, as Kliff Kingsbury told us earlier in the week, but you’d definitely still feel better about his chances of playing (and playing effectively) if he gets on the field Friday. At this point, you should be making alternate plans just in case Murray can’t play … DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) — Hopkins has yet to practice this week as well, a bad sign for his chances of playing, as well. And, given that he played a limited role in Week 8 while playing through the injury, I’d say he’s a pretty risky play no matter what … Deebo Samuel (calf) — Samuel was upgraded to a limited participant in Thursday’s practice session, which is a good sign. He’s played through the injury in recent weeks but seemed to aggravate it last week. Friday’s session should give us a better sense of his chances of playing, but I’ll point out that I’m looking to add Brandon Aiyuk this week where I can regardless of Samuel’s status. I still think he can be a second-half breakout.
- Toughest lineup decision: How about all of the Cardinals wide receivers who aren’t DeAndre Hopkins. Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, and A.J. Green have all been involved throughout the season, and all would likely benefit from Hopkins being out — unless Murray doesn’t play. It’s such a fluid situation that I can only tell you that, if Hopkins doesn’t play and Murray does, I’d probably rank all three as top-40 options, at least.
- What we’re watching for: With so many injury questions hanging over this game, it’s hard to know what to watch for until we know who we’re watching. However, I’d like to see the Cardinals continue to feature Chase Edmonds over James Conner — Edmonds has 26 touches to just 15 for Conner over the past two weeks. On the 49ers side, I want to see if Aiyuk leading the team’s wide receivers in routes and snaps was just a fluke, or if he’s back to a full-time role.
Packers at Chiefs
- Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
- Line: Chiefs -7.5; 48 O/U
- Implied totals: Chiefs 27.75-Packers 20.25
With Aaron Rodgers out due to COVID-19, the Packers are going to get their first look at the future with Jordan Love set to make his first start.
- Injuries: With Davante Adams cleared to play, Aaron Rodgers is the only notable name unlikely to play this week.
- Toughest lineup decision: Darrel Williams– Start. As weird as it was to watch Derrick Gore come out of nowhere to take significant carries from Williams in Week 8, Williams actually ended up having a pretty great Fantasy game, scoring 17 PPR points while also playing a pretty typical 64% of the snaps. That game might weirdly have made me feel better about his Fantasy value with Clyde Edwards-Helaire out than his two-touchdown game back in Week 6.
- What we’re watching for: Well, we’re going to get our first chance to see the Packers offense without Aaron Rodgers in a few years, and Love, a former first-round pick, is the most promising replacement option they’ve ever had for him. Love will likely only play one or two games — Rodgers can’t be cleared from COVID protocols until next Saturday at the earliest — but it’ll tell us a lot about the future. I’m still treating Aaron Jones and Adams like elite Fantasy options even without Rodgers. On the Chiefs side, they’ve been weirdly out of sync offensively, scoring just 18.5 points per game over the past four. Teams have effectively taken away their downfield game, and Patrick Mahomes has looked a bit lost at times. I have faith they’ll turn it around, but obviously, I want to see it happen soon.
Titans at Rams
- Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
- Line: Rams -7; 53 O/U
- Implied totals: Rams 30-Titans 23
The Titans are about to experience life without Derrick Henry for the first time in years because he’s out 6-10 weeks with a foot injury.
- Injuries: Matthew Stafford (back) — Rams coach Sean McVay has already said Stafford will play, and I have no reason to doubt him. Hopefully he wasn’t just blowing hot air … Robert Woods (foot) — Similarly, it seems like Woods is likely to play through this injury, and the Rams have been overly cautious about injuries in the past with regards to practice, so hopefully this is nothing to worry about. Just make sure you have someone you can slot in just in case he does have to sit out, since this game is later on … Julio Jones (hamstring) — Jones has been limited each day so far, which is a positive sign, though obviously not a certainty that he will play. I still think Jones can make an impact for Fantasy this season, but I’m avoiding him until he proves healthy and productive.
- Toughest lineup decision: Adrian Peterson– Sit. I just don’t know how they’re going to use Peterson. I think he’ll be the lead back, but Jeremy McNichols figures to see a role, and I’m not sure D’Onta Foreman won’t have one either, given his experience with the team from last season. I’m fairly confident Peterson won’t have a role in the passing game, so why not just take a wait-and-see approach to how they use him before getting him in your lineup — if you have the luxury, that is. He’s an RB3 for me.
- What we’re watching for: Well, how do the Titans replace Derrick Henry? That seems like a pretty important one, huh? There’s certainly an opportunity for Ryan Tannehill to take a step forward and become one of the better Fantasy options at the position, but they’ll need to increase the pass volume as an offense in order to do that and I’m not sure they will. On the Rams side, things are pretty settled, but it’s still weird that Robert Woods has caught just 11 passes for 136 yards over the past three games. I thought he would be better with Matthew Stafford, but it really hasn’t happened.
Bears at Steelers
- Monday, 8:15 p.m.
- Line: Steelers -6.5; 39 O/U
- Implied totals: Steelers 22.75-Bears 16.25
Hopefully we’re in for a better game than that line suggests.
- Injuries: Damien Williams (knee) — Williams didn’t practice Wednesday. I would expect he plays, but you can’t trust him for Fantasy. The only question is how much Khalil Herbert will play, but I don’t think you can get away from him given how good he’s been the past few weeks.
- Toughest lineup decision: Justin Fields — Sit. If I had faith that the Bears offense we saw last week would be the one we see every week, it’d be easier to trust Fields. He ran the ball 10 times, and the Bears finally got him going in the read-option game, something they did far too rarely in his first five starts. This is a tough enough matchup that I think you can avoid Fields in one-QB leagues, and in one of my two-QB leagues, I’m starting Tyrod Taylor over him.
- What we’re watching for: I’m expecting this one to be about as ugly as the line suggests, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on how the Bears use Fields, especially as a runner. That’s the key to his Fantasy value, and it might just be the key to the Bears season, too. On the Steelers side, I’d like to see Ben Roethlisberger get Chase Claypool more involved, and I’d like to see Pat Freiermuth play a big role again. He has some breakout potential with seven targets in each of his past two games.