Fantasy Football Intelligence: Fish or Cut Bait

You may ask why you are looking at a picture of a trout with its mouth open. We also had a very nice shot of Newton right before he fumbled, but I thought most of New England would prefer the fish.

The fish is also in line with this week’s theme of Fish or Cut Bait. We are going to look at some performers whose value is on the rise and others who are either heading for a decline or who have run out of time to produce. Every game is important as we head into the end of the fantasy season and playoff fates are being determined.

FISHERMEN

  1. Cleveland Defense – They are 5-3 and the schedule is opening up. They will be fighting for a wild card and 5 of the next eight matchups are favorable, including @NYG and @NYJ in weeks 15-16. Grab them and stream someone else for the TEN, PIT and BAL games and their bye this week. The schedule also bodes well for Browns running backs though the usage is up in the air pending Nick Chubb’s return, which could be as soon as after the week 9 bye.
  2. Travis Fulgham, Eagles WR – 70+ yards or a TD in each start, he is currently WR6 in fantasy PPG. Jalen Reagor, Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders will reduce his targets a bit, but the variety of options will open up more space for him and the remaining schedule is friendly.
  3. T.J. Hockenson, Lions TE – He had a season high 10 targets (7/65) yesterday following three games in a row with a TD. He may see even more looks if Golladay is out again. If you have him or can acquire him reasonably, expect his value to increase. He’s at TE6, heading for TE4.
  4. Jordan Wilkins, Colts RB – This is a speculative pick, but he is only 2% owned and he just picked up 21 touches/113 yards/1 TD/2 pt behind one of the league’s best o-lines. He probably has not taken Jonathan Taylor’s job, but he has earned a bigger share and a longer look. Taylor also appears to be nursing an ankle injury that was not disclosed until after the game. Yesterday, Wilkins looked like the 2nd round pick, not Taylor. Nyheim Hines had a pair of scores and is the receiving back, so Wilkins is unlikely to be a workhorse, but RBs are dropping like flies and if you need one, Wilkins is worth a waiver pickup this week.
  5. Justin Jackson, Chargers RB – Only 56% owned, this is his backfield until Ekeler returns, which may still be a while. Joshua Kelley was passed by Troymaine Pope yesterday, and then Pope got hurt. Herbert is moving the team well and Jackson’s opportunity share will be there for a few weeks at least.

BAIT CUTTERS

  1. Devin Singletary, Bills RB – He’s rostered in 91% of leagues, but he’s a disappointment waiting to happen, especially in standard leagues. He had 15 touches and 92 yards yesterday, but in the red zone he is the #3 choice on the ground and no better through the air. Zack Moss may eat into his role even further. He has one TD this season and his next one is nowhere in sight.
  2. Mark Ingram, Ravens RB – Currently injured, he is down to 66% owned. Yesterday the Ravens had their best running day of the year without him. Last year’s 1,000 yards/15 TDs are not coming through the door and when he returns, he will be TD dependent, stealing upside from Dobbins and Edwards.
  3. D.J. Chark, Jaguars WR – Nicked up and underwhelming all year, he’ll now be missing his QB for at least a couple weeks. Currently WR39 in fantasy points per game, he trails his teammate Keelan Cole. In his last two games he caught 8/21 targets for 71 yards and no scores. He is 88% owned and a liability in your lineup.
  4. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers WR – He’s WR50 in fantasy points per game and is 96% owned. He’s here more because of the quality of Big Ben’s options than for anything else. If the Steelers trade him tomorrow, he’s off the list (unlikely to happen). He’s had less than 50 yards in 4/7 games and 43 yards and a TD in one of the others. Formerly a deep threat, most of his action has been on underneath routes while Diontae Johnson (when healthy) and Chase Claypool have amassed more air yards and target share.
  5. Matt Ryan, Falcons – We recommended him at the draft based on volume and an anticipated regression to the mean for his TD total. It hasn’t happened for a number of reasons. The acquisition of Todd Gurley led to a run/pass ratio in the red zone is more balanced, and while Gurley hasn’t been great overall, he’s been efficient around the goal line and is a surprising RB10 in standard. The coach and GM have been fired, the team is rebuilding. The defense is even worse than anticipated and can’t get off the field, keeping Ryan on the sidelines. Julio Jones has missed time and now Calvin Ridley is injured. Ryan currently sits at QB15, and while he was NFC player of the week in week six and was QB6 after the first two weeks of the season, he’s had one score or less in five of eight weeks and that is just deadly. He’s 97% owned, but don’t hesitate to stream Tannehill, Goff, Carr, Brees or other viable starters if they have a favorable matchup.

Here’s a song from a singer named Fish. Check out Phil Collins on drums.

Lee Benjamin

Lee Benjamin has been a football fan since Jim Plunkett was under center for the Patriots and his first ever fantasy football pick was a young Jerry Rice. He’s won more championships during Tom Brady’s career than Tom Brady, though unfortunately, they pay a lot less. His blog, Fantasy Football Intelligence, is published regularly on the WTPL, WTSN and Frank-FM sites. Lee spent over 25 years in New England media. He now resides in South Florida and enjoys freelance writing about sports and politics.