Must play: Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert has been on a tear since taking over the starting role in LA. My favorite to win OROY, Herbert perhaps is having the best rookie quarterback season we have seen since Patrick Mahomes (2018) and Dak Prescott (2016). While Herbert’s success has not equated to wins, which is not his fault, Herbert has averaged 25.1 points through his first five games as a starter. The Chargers are facing a Broncos defense that has been iffy at best. I am confident that Herbert will continue his success against the Broncos and even come out with the win. I also want people to take notes that Herbert may still be on your waiver wire and is my must pick-up in every league.
Must Sit: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
The T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Rivers connection has not worked out this season. Averaging 7.4 fantasy points this season, Hilton has yet to post a 100-yard game or even score a touchdown. This has been a surprise for many, as just two years ago, Hilton had reclaimed his status as a top-10 wideout — granted he was playing with Andrew Luck. Hilton is set to face the Detroit Lions this week, and while this may be a favorable matchup against a weak Lions secondary, it is not worth the risk in my opinion. I advise trading or dropping Hilton when you can get the chance as unless he and Rivers start connecting, it is going to be miserable for owners to have success.
Who to pick up:
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants (Owned in 38.4% of fantasy leagues)
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Fransisco 49ers (Owned in 27% of fantasy leagues)
Must play: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers
Teddy Bridgewater’s season has been very up and down so far, but if you dig into the details, it’s actually quite easy to predict his good days versus his bad days. Against teams in the bottom half of the league in terms of pass defense, he averages around 23 fantasy points per game, which is not shabby in the slightest. Against pass defense in the top half of the league, he averages around 15 fantasy points per game, and even that number is boosted by a 26-point outlier against the Arizona Cardinals. Knowing this, it’s clear that Bridgewater’s opponent affects his performance more than most QBs. Luckily for him, his next opposition is the team ranked dead last in fantasy points against — the Atlanta Falcons. Expect a big day from the Louisville alum.
Must sit: James Connor, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
After a blazing start to the season, Connor has settled down into a pretty consistent role. However, the undefeated Steelers are going up against their strongest challenge yet in the form of their biggest rivals — the Baltimore Ravens. While Connor has managed to get serious production against other big time run defenses, I believe the Ravens are going to start this game off by stacking the box and forcing the Steelers’ pass game to make a difference. This combined with my prediction of a strong game from Lamar Jackson and co., and I can see Connor getting his usage cut as the game goes on.
Who to pick up: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers (Owned in 10.8% of fantasy leagues)
Carlos Hyde, RB, Seattle Seahawks (Owned in 2.8% of fantasy leagues)
Must play: Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Okay look, I’m a lifelong Patriots fan, but even I can admit that last Sunday’s performance was shaky, to say the very least. This week, the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills take on the, uh, struggling Patriots. To start the season, QB Josh Allen was consistently hitting the 30 fantasy point threshold, and though he has evened off in the past month, has still stayed as a solid option. This week (as much as it pains me to say it), look to Allen to put up some good numbers against the Patriots. He’s coming off of a solidly mediocre week against the Jets with no TDs and 307 yards, is healthy and is poised to rebound against New England.
Must sit: Scott Miller, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buccaneers WR Scott Miller has been an on-again-off-again target for veteran QB Tom Brady this season, and though he’s coming off of an exceptional week against Las Vegas, I wouldn’t count on him to maintain his peak performances. In Week 4, he had a decent five receptions on seven targets for 83 yards, then did absolutely nothing the next week! If the variable patterns in his performances in the past weeks are any indication of how often Tom Brady will target this rookie, then stay far, far away from Miller this week. Take it from my personal experience: Don’t be tempted by the 23 fantasy points from this past week else be prepared to get a whole lot of nothing from Miller.
Who to pick up:
Carlos Hyde, RB, Seattle Seahawks (Owned in 0.5% of fantasy leagues)
Richard Rogers, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (Owned in 4% of fantasy leagues)
Must start: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Green, who was selected to seven straight Pro-Bowls to start his career, got off on the wrong foot with Bengals rookie QB Joe Burrow, even going as far as appearing to ask for a trade on the sideline mid-game during Week 5 against the Ravens. However, something has clicked since then and Green has averaged a team-high 12 targets over the past two games, racking up nearly 100 yards in each. This week, playing against a Titans defense that has surprisingly let up the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, Green should be in all fantasy lineups.
Must sit: Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants
One. That’s the number of games over 200 passing yards that Giants QB Daniel Jones has since Saquon Barkley went down with a torn ACL in Week 2. This definitely doesn’t bode well for Slayton’s fantasy value, especially considering another Giants wideout, Sterling Shepard, returned and outperformed him this past week. Slayton has been boom or bust this season, turning just under seven targets into only four receptions per game. Nothing inspires confidence about the Big Blue offense, especially an upcoming Monday Night matchup against a stifling Buccaneers defense. Slayton should be riding the fantasy pine in this week.
Who to pick up: Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (Owned in 47% of fantasy leagues)
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans (Owned in 30.2% of fantasy leagues)
Must play: Melvin Gordon III, RB, Denver Broncos
After missing Denver’s Week 7 contest with a non-coronavirus illness, Gordon put up a strong return to Denver’s backfield in Week 8, rushing for 68 yards on 17 attempts and also finding the end zone. While the Chargers run defense has been solid this year, what puts Gordon over the top for this week is that his main competition, Phillip Lindsay, could very well be out. Lindsay suffered a concussion on Sunday and has entered the league’s concussion protocol, according to head coach Vic Fangio. If Lindsay sits, Gordon should get another week as Denver’s bell-cow back, making him an attractive option at RB2 or Flex.
Must sit: Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Brown has had an up and down season so far, starting strong in Week 1 before delivering a pair of unimpressive showings. But Brown may have flipped the switch in Week 4; he’s recorded at least six targets and 55 receiving yards in each of Baltimore’s last three games, adding a score in one of them. Only Adam Thielen and Calvin Ridley have more receiving yards through the air (not counting yards after catch) than Brown’s 674, and he’s facing a Steelers secondary that has struggled for most of the season this week. I’m also a fan of starting players after bye weeks because of the extra time to rest, and sure enough, Brown and the Ravens are coming off theirs.
Who to pick up: Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots (Owned in 47% of fantasy leagues)
Must start: Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Robby Anderson should be in your starting lineup every week that he takes the field. Anderson has had double-digit fantasy points every week and has had at least four catches and five targets in every contest so far this season. He has done all of this without having a touchdown reception since Week 1, giving him incredible upside if he does start to haul in more touchdown passes. The Panthers host the Falcons this week, giving Anderson the opportunity to face an Atlanta defense that has given up the second-most passing yards and touchdowns to wide receivers per game. The game is on Thursday, so make sure to get Anderson into your starting lineup before it’s too late.
Must sit: Tua Tagovailoa/Dolphins’ WRs, Miami Dolphins
If you are desperate enough to have picked up Tua and plan to start him, let me offer a word of caution. Tua has attempted just two passes in his NFL career, and he has the privilege of facing the Rams defense in his first NFL start. The Rams defense is giving up just 212 passing yards per game, which ranks fifth in the league, and surrendering just over 100 yards rushing per game, which ranks seventh in the league. They also have this guy named Aaron Donald. Taking all this into account, it could be a rough afternoon for Tua, which also means a tough game for his receivers. Maybe I will be wrong, but I would steer clear of the Dolphins QB and receiving corps until Tua proves he is ready for the big stage.
Who to pick up:
Carlos Hyde, RB, Seattle Seahawks (Owned in 7.1% of fantasy leagues)
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers (Owned in 27% of fantasy leagues)