General

Thoughts on 2018 AFC Playoff Teams

If you had told me at the start of the year that two AFC South teams would be in the playoffs, I might have laughed at you. Between the competition in the AFC North (Steelers, Ravens and Bengals always being in the hunt) and the AFC West still having the Chiefs and Chargers, my last thought was the Colts and Texans getting in to the postseason.

The AFC this year, like years past, seems to have quite a disparity once you travel down the list. The top two seeds, Kansas City and New England, are clearly the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.. but Baltimore represents a sneaky option to come out on top based on their defensive success. The Chargers could make a case as another sneaky option, but they have to prove themselves against Baltimore after losing to them Week 16.. otherwise they won’t get the chance, which to me is a little insane.

I think the playoff seeding system should see a slight transformation for upcoming seasons, and I would be happy to submit this proposal to the NFL; change the seeding system so that teams are ranked in order of their records, regardless of their division.

In my new system, the current seeding would look like this:

1) Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
2) Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)
3) New England Patriots (11-5)
4) Houston Texans (11-5)
5) Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
6) Indianapolis Colts (10-6)

Of course, tiebreakers like head-to-head record, division record, etc. would all stay the same.. but make it so a 12-4 team isn’t the friggin’ 5-seed just because they didn’t win their division. That’s all I’m gonna say on that.

Without further ado, what I think on each team in the AFC playoffs:

(6) Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck has led this team to 9 wins in their last 10 games, and this team is getting hot at the right time. Having T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron to throw to, Luck is finding himself the beneficiary of an overall strong passing attack. Marlon Mack has overall been far more efficient than most of Indy’s running backs in the past.

That being said, the defense for this squad is middle-of-the-pack. Outside of LB Darius Leonard, this defense doesn’t pop out at you in any way. I don’t have much confidence in this team’s ability to stop the Texans on the road – these teams have both changed a bit since Indy’s 24-21 win over Houston earlier this month. If the Colts beat Houston this weekend, it’s because Luck out-duels Deshaun Watson and passes for 350+ yards.

Even if this team does win against Houston, I don’t have them getting past the divisional round. I don’t see them keeping up with Kansas City.

 
(5) Los Angeles Chargers: I don’t think anyone would have guessed the Chargers would end the season 12-4. There’s definitely a lot of talent on this team, from Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen on offense to Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, Casey Hayward and Derwin James on defense.

Where I worry is in their recent performances. Rivers had a few consecutive bad games (Week 17 being a little more understandable as the running game and defense were featured far more). With the Chargers struggling offensively of late and a rematch with the Ravens on the horizon, this team will need to be on their A-game to topple Baltimore’s stingy defense.

If the Chargers make it past Baltimore, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go to the AFCCG. They’ve done well against the Chiefs this season and I think could give Kansas City a run for their money in the divisional round.. assuming they can topple the defensive juggernaut that is Baltimore.

 
(4) Baltimore Ravens: This team has done a makeover of their offensive identity, heavily leaning towards the run thanks to the style of rookie QB Lamar Jackson. The combination of Jackson and RBs Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon make for a rough combination to stop – this team has been averaging north of 200 yards/game on the ground since Jackson took over for the injured Joe Flacco.

Defensively, this team has been lights out. CB JImmy Smith’s return from his suspension early in the season added to an secondary that already was excellent at blanketing opposing pass-catchers. They host the Chargers in the Wild Card round, and I can’t imagine why they’d have trouble containing Melvin Gordon in order to force Philip Rivers into errant throws.. you know, like they did not too long ago.

Overall, the defense has a chance to carry this team far.. the biggest weakness of Baltimore is their lack of an effective pass attack. If Lamar Jackson can beat people with his arm, the rest will fall into place as there are going to be too many elements to stop.

 
(3) Houston Texans: Like the Colts, the Texans have been on a roll, with the latter winning 10 of their last 12 games. QB Deshaun Watson is as much of a dual threat as Russell Wilson was back in 2013-2014, making him a sharp thorn in the side of opposing defenses.

With WRs Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) and Keke Coutee (hamstring) sidelined lately, the passing attack has seen its moments of inefficiency. DeAndre Hopkins keeps his name in the “best WR in the league” conversation week by week with solid performances. RB Lamar Miller is always capable of a breakout performance if you don’t respect the running game.

Defensively, this team could be better, and that is what will kill them in these playoffs. A strong front seven on paper featuring J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and Bernardrick McKinney, they lack effectiveness in big games (see the Week 16 loss to the Eagles for instance). The Colts scored a combined 58 points on Houston this season, and will likely put up another 24 or 27 points at the very least this weekend.

I have the Texans trending in the right direction, but ultimately falling in the divisional round to New England.

 

(2) New England Patriots: It pains me as a Patriots’ fan to say this, but I just don’t think this is their year. They clinched a first-round bye, sure.. but they’ve been so inefficient on the road that it kills me.

This team doesn’t seem to have the passion that they had in the Super Bowl runs of old. They ended 11-5, which isn’t a bad record at all, however for Tom Brady-led Patriots team, it feels like a letdown. They’ve consistently put up 12-4 or better records for the last decade or so, with the last time they did worse than 12-4 being in 2009 (10-6).

They still have Gronk, and Julian Edelman continues to be effective in his 30s. The two-headed threat of Sony Michel and James White out of the backfield, with splashes of Rex Burkhead, has been monstrous through much of the season. Defensively though, this team feels underwhelming.

Getting to the AFCCG shouldn’t be a huge struggle with the first-round bye and all. The only way NE plays Baltimore is if Indy wins their game against Houston to advance against KC. Any other team, I’d have NE coming out on top (just barely against LAC). However, I think if a NE-KC rematch occurs, the game being at Arrowhead would tip the scale in KC’s favor.

 

(1) Kansas City Chiefs: What. A. Year. QB Patrick Mahomes became the third QB in NFL history to throw for 50+ touchdowns in a season (P. Manning and Brady being the other two). What’s crazier is that this is Mahomes’ first season as a starter. You won’t find a single Chiefs fan that misses Alex Smith (hope he can potentially recover from that awful leg injury from earlier in the season).

Even with the release of RB Kareem Hunt due to the video of him accosting a woman at a hotel going public, the Chiefs have been high-flying and multi-dimensional. RB Damien Williams has filled in nicely, and I think it would be a shame for the Chiefs to try and start a committee between Williams and Spencer Ware. Williams is more than capable of handling the lion’s share of the work.

WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce round of the most explosive offense of 2018, both taking advantage of the strong-armed Mahomes to maximize their potential.

What this team lacks sorely is a consistent defense. The trade of CB Marcus Peters to the Rams this past offseason severely crippled their secondary. The Chiefs rely on winning shootouts against good offenses because their secondary has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese.

This strategy didn’t work against the Patriots or the Rams earlier this season, however. The way to beat Kansas City is to force Mahomes into turnovers. He fumbled multiple times against the Rams and threw 3 INTs, so losing by 3 (54-51) is actually an incredible feat. The Patriots forced 2 turnovers of their own, although miraculously the Chiefs lost that game by 3 as well (43-40).

If Mahomes can make smarter decisions with the football when rolling out to either side, this team would be virtually unstoppable. They fall by shooting themselves in the foot.

General

2018 NFL Playoff Predictions

I love the playoffs because they’re the most exciting time of the year for avid NFL fans. Even if your team isn’t chasing a Super Bowl title, watching some of the other games can be just as fun.. plus the chance to win some money on playoff bets is always intriguing!

One thing I don’t like though about the playoffs – they’re a reminder that the season’s nearing an end. Then we have to wait until next September for more meaningful NFL action.

Here’s how I think the 2018 NFL playoffs play out:

Wild Card

(6) Colts @ (3) Texans
34-27 HOUSTON
QB DeShaun Watson: 4 total TDs

(5) Chargers @ (4) Ravens
24-20 LOS ANGELES
WR Keenan Allen: 10 rec., 84 yds., 2 TD

(6) Eagles @ (3) Bears
31-20 CHICAGO
TE Trey Burton: 8 rec., 136 yds., TD

(5) Seahawks @ (4) Cowboys
24-17 DALLAS
RB Ezekiel Elliott: 115 total yds., TD

Divisional

(3) Texans @ (2) Patriots
38-31 NEW ENGLAND
TE Rob Gronkowski: 9 rec., 149 yds., 2 TD

(5) Chargers @ (1) Chiefs
31-27 KANSAS CITY
WR Tyreek Hill: 6 rec., 173 yds., TD

(3) Bears @ (2) Rams
27-24 CHICAGO
RB Tarik Cohen: 188 total yds., 2 TD

(4) Cowboys @ (1) Saints
34-28 NEW ORLEANS
WR Michael Thomas: 12 rec., 145 yds., TD

Conference

(2) Patriots @ (1) Chiefs
42-41 KANSAS CITY
RB Damien Williams: 3 total TDs
QB Tom Brady: 521 passing yds., 3 TDs

(3) Bears @ (1) Saints
30-22 NEW ORLEANS
RB Mark Ingram: 3 rushes of 20+ yds.
RB Alvin Kamara: 2 total TDs

Super Bowl LIII

Chiefs @ Saints
48-44 KANSAS CITY
QB Patrick Mahomes: 472 passing yds., 5 TD
QB Drew Brees: 390 passing yds., 4 TDs
Super Bowl MVP: QB Patrick Mahomes

Fantasy Sleepers, Waiver Wire

Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups

The newest episode of the Triple F Podcast covers waiver wire options for Week 10, courtesy of yours truly (you can thank me later).

Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups

Below are the mentioned players, for your convenience:

McCown

(I do not own this image, nor do I intend to use this photo maliciously. Courtesy of 247Sports.com)

QB Josh McCown, NYJ vs Buf

RB Duke Johnson Jr., Cle vs. Atl

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB vs. Mia

WR Dez Bryant, NO @ Cin

TE Benjamin Watson, NO @ Cin

49ers D/ST vs. NYG

Fantasy Sleepers

Week 8 Sleepers

QB Mitch Trubisky – Chicago Bears

Averaging 34.1 fantasy points per game (NFL.com) every week since Week 4, Mitch Trubisky is a solid option at the QB position going forward. If you drafted someone like Russell Wilson and are looking for another option at QB, look no further than Trubisky, who is already on pace to set all sorts of passing records for the Bears.

RB Jalen Richard – Oakland Raiders

With “Beast-Mode” placed on IR and out for the foreseeable future, Richard is set to split the rushing duties with Doug Martin. However, Richard’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield gives him a slight advantage from a fantasy standpoint. The Raiders square off with the Colts on Sunday, who are notorious for allowing running backs to catch the football. Richard has heightened fantasy value while Lynch is recovering, especially in PPR formats.

RB Kenjon Barner – New England Patriots

After an injury to Sony Michel last week against the Bears, the Pats are left with James White, and Kenjon Barner. New England has already lost both Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill to season-ending injuries, and with the absence of Michel, Barner should see an increased role in the Patriots offense. James White will still assume the role of lead back, but with all the moving around White does within the Patriots offense (in addition to his receiving production), it would make sense for Barner to control a good share of the rushing attempts. He’ll possibly even take the lead as a redzone back. I like Barner this week in a big win for the Pats over a struggling Buffalo Bills defense.

WR Tre’Quan Smith – New Orleans Saints

The Vikings secondary is banged up, and Ted Ginn is out with an injury, leaving the door open for Tre’Quan Smith to step up for New Orleans. The number one priority for the Vikings will be to stop Michael Thomas in the passing game, which in turn, should leave the door wide open for Smith to put up big numbers. I expect production this week from Smith in an offensive shootout in Minnesota.

WR Jordy Nelson – Oakland Raiders

With Amari Cooper out the door, Nelson all of a sudden finds himself as the number one receiver on the Raiders roster. Without Cooper, and after the offseason departures of Michael Crabtree and Cordarrelle Patterson, Derek Carr has limited options to throw the football to, and Nelson ranks at the top of list. Expect Jordy to have a break out week against a weak Indianapolis secondary.

TE Ben Watson – New Orleans Saints

This might be a little bit of point chasing. Watson is coming off his best game of the season where he had 6 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. But similar to Tre’Quan Smith, Watson is likely to have an increase in targets in the absence of Ted Ginn. This is a high-powered offense with Drew Brees at the helm, who will never be afraid to throw the football regardless of who he is throwing to. Watson is a definite sleeper this week, and is primed for a solid Week 8 performance.

D/ST Arizona Cardinals vs. 49ers

Taking the bait on this one. Just a few weeks ago, the Cards forced five turnovers against this same 49ers team. And just one week ago, the Rams dominated the Niners with seven sacks and four takeaways. This play is just as much about how bad the Niners have been offensively as it is about Arizona’s success defensively. Give me the Cardinals defense on their home field.

Start/Sit

Week 7 Fantasy Start/Sits

LeSean McCoy

(Image courtesy of CBS Sports)

It’s already Week 7; the one thing I hate about the NFL season is how it flies by so fast.

Here are the games being played this week:

Teams on BYE: Raiders, Seahawks, Packers, Steelers

Thursday, 8:20 P.M.

Broncos (2-4) @ Cardinals (1-5)

Sunday, 9:30 A.M.

Titans (3-3) @ Chargers (4-2) [@ Wembley Stadium in London]

Sunday, 1:00 P.M.

Panthers (3-2) @ Eagles (3-3)

Vikings (3-2-1) @ Jets (3-3)

Bills (2-4) @ Colts (1-5) (Who’d have thought the Bills would have a better record than Indy at this point…?)

Patriots (4-2) @ Bears (3-2)

Browns (2-3-1) @ Buccaneers (2-3)

Texans (3-3) @ Jaguars (3-3)

Lions (2-3) @ Dolphins (4-2)

Sunday, 4:05 P.M.

Saints (4-1) @ Ravens (4-2)

Sunday, 4:25 P.M.

Cowboys (3-3) @ Redskins (3-2)

Rams (6-0) @ 49ers (1-5)

Sunday, 8:20 P.M.

Bengals (4-2) @ Chiefs (5-1)

Monday, 8:15 P.M.

Giants (1-5) @ Falcons (2-4)


The most interesting games of the week (to me) are NE-CHI, HOU-JAC, NO-BAL, DAL-WAS and CIN-KC… although I will say that Monday night’s Giants-Falcons game could be entertaining in a sense. Will Eli Manning be able to take advantage of the banged-up Atlanta defense, or will his offensive line falter once again?

With the match-ups above in mind, let’s get right to it.

START

QB Jameis Winston, Buccaneers vs. Browns

While the Browns’ pass defense has only allowed two 300+ yard passers on the year (Ben Roethlisberger in the 21-all tie Week 1; Derek Carr Week 4), I believe Winston’s primed for a strong performance here. The Florida State product threw for 395 yards and 4 TDs as well as 2 INTs in the 34-29 loss against the Falcons last week, hitting tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard for two of the scores while surprisingly, slot man Adam Humphries paced the team in receiving yards (82 on 3 receptions).

Look, the Buccaneers have too many good skill-position players for Winston not to be successful. 300 yards should be his floor! But in order for Winston to succeed, he’s got to do what he did last week and spread the ball around to these different players. Star WR Mike Evans was targeted only 5 times in the contest – spreading the ball around is one thing, but if your best receiver is being targeted only 5 times and he’s on the field the whole game, something’s wrong.

WR Chris Godwin led the team in receptions last week, catching 6 of his 9 targets for 56 yards and a TD. I don’t know who will be the Buccaneers’ top pass-catcher against Cleveland, but I know Winston come out with a strong fantasy day.

Prediction: 28/37, 318 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT; 2 rushes, 14 yards

QB Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Saints

Flacco’s been on a cold streak of late, throwing only 1 TD but 2 INTs in his last two games (@Browns, @Titans) while throwing for under 300 yards in both as well. But that cold streak gets hot come Sunday.

The Saints have gotten better against the pass these last two weeks, allowing under 300 yards per contest – but that was to the struggling Eli Manning and the conservative Alex Smith. New Orleans’ has given up a whopping 11 TD passes this season in 5 games (they were on bye last week)!

With a receiving corps of Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead IV as well as a platoon of dependable tight ends (Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, etc.), Flacco should have a solid day even if Saints’ CB Marshon Lattimore (concussion) is active.

Prediction: 30/40, 307 yards, 3 TD; 4 rushes, 6 yards

RB Tarik Cohen, Bears vs. Patriots 

This hurts me to say as a Patriots’ fan, but their defense isn’t that great when it comes to covering speedy skill-position players. Now Tyreek Hill’s 3-TD game last week is about the highest production you’ll ever see out of one, Cohen is very capable of making big plays too. Despite being on the field for 34 snaps and touching the ball just 12 times in Chicago’s 31-28 loss to the Dolphins in overtime last week, Cohen made the most of his opportunities. He rushed 5 times for 31 yards and a TD while snatching 7 receptions for 90 yards while losing a fumble.

Cohen has a lot of upside against a Patriots’ defense that doesn’t have any fast linebackers that can cover him in the flat or on wheel/angle routes. QB Mitchell Trubisky has been reading defenses well of late, throwing for a 9:1 TD:INT ratio in his last two games while also reaching the 300-yard mark in both games (vs. TB, @ Mia).

Bottom line – even though Cohen splits snaps with Jordan Howard, Cohen has a much higher floor and his ceiling could be big depending on game flow.

Prediction: 6 rushes, 39 yards; 8 receptions, 94 yards, 2 TD

RB LeSean McCoy, Bills @ Colts

While Colts have been decent against the run this year, allowing 100+ yards only once this season (to the Eagles Week 3), they’ll be facing a slightly reinvigorated McCoy that’s seen 40 carries in his last two games. McCoy hasn’t rushed for 100+ yet, but this could be the game where he does.

McCoy’s increased usage has resulted in two straight games of 70+ rushing yards, making him a little more respectable for fantasy purposes. The Colts are actually giving up the 12th-most fantasy points to running backs this season despite having a decent track record against them. If Derek Anderson decides to check down to McCoy more than Peterman or Allen have this season, his value will jump in PPR leagues (only 8 receptions in his last 3 games).

Prediction: 18 carries, 101 yards, TD; 4 receptions, 27 yards, TD

WR Sammy Watkins, Chiefs vs. Bengals

I know Watkins isn’t exactly on the top of the Chiefs’ pecking order, with guys like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt to feed – but Watkins is up against a suspect Bengals’ secondary allowing 6 TDs in as many games to the position.

With the Chiefs’ high-flying aerial attack putting up 40 points against New England last week, momentum is high for the unit as a whole with Watkins primed to rebound from a 2 catch, 18 yard outing on 4 targets. Watkins had 8 targets the week prior against Jacksonville, and he’ll land around there in what will likely be a shootout.

Prediction: 7 receptions, 131 yards, TD; 1 rush, 3 yards

WR John Brown, Ravens vs. Saints

See “Joe Flacco” for the reasoning behind this one, but if you need any more convincing, Brown is among the league leaders for air yards per target, even averaging close to 15 in his sub-par performance last week in the 21-0 shutout win over the Titans (2 receptions, 28 yards).

Oh, and just to add the icing on the cake, the Saints allow the most fantasy points to wideouts this year. Play Brown with confidence, even if CB Marshon Lattimore plays for New Orleans.

Prediction: 5 receptions, 131 yards, TD

TE C.J. Uzomah, Bengals @ Chiefs

Like I stated when mentioning Watkins earlier, this game is going to be high-scoring. Maybe not 43-40 like the Chiefs-Patriots game last week, but at least 55 points combined high.

Tyler Eifert (ankle) went on IR after his gruesome injury a few weeks ago and Tyler Kroft (foot) is out, which will again make Uzomah a valuable safety valve in the flats and short-to-intermediate passing game for QB Andy Dalton.

Coming off a 6-54-0 line against division rival Pittsburgh last week, Uzomah is a hot commodity at an overall thin position fantasy-wise.

Prediction: 7 receptions, 103 yards

TE Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals vs. Broncos

Denver is in the bottom half of the league when it comes to covering tight ends, allowing 100+ yards to the position on two occasions (Seattle Week 1 to Will Dissly; KC Week 4 to Travis Kelce).

Seals-Jones caught 5 passes for 69 yards against the Vikings last week, and while he didn’t receive any targets at all the week prior, he’s a vital part of the Cardinals’ offense alongside star RB David Johnson and rookie WR Christian Kirk.

With the Broncos’ defense likely keying in on Johnson (their Achilles’ heel this year being the run), I expect Seals-Jones will catch his second TD of the season Thursday night.

Prediction: 6 receptions, 91 yards, TD

Bills D/ST @ Colts

We all Andrew Luck throws the ball a lot, but the Bills’ defense is a solid play this week because of their floor. The unit is coming off a season high 7-sack performance against the Texans and QB Deshaun Watson. They’ve also gotten at least 2 sacks in every game thus far, which makes this a juicy match-up considering the quality of Indy’s offensive front.

Even with WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) practicing in full Wednesday and on track to play in this one, the Bills have collected at least one INT and one fumble recovery in each of their last 4 games. This is a solid streaming option.

Prediction: 24 points allowed, 5 sacks, 2 INT, 1 FR, TD

Colts D/ST vs. Bills

Let’s be real, the Bills’ offense hasn’t been very stellar this season. RB LeSean McCoy is about the only promising aspect on that side of the ball, and while I think he’ll have a solid day Sunday, he’ll likely be the only one (offensively at least).

The Bills have allowed double-digit points to opposing defenses 4 times in the 6 games they’ve played thus far. Only once have they allowed just one sack in a game (Week 5 vs. Tennessee), although they’ve only allowed 3 in their last two.

The Bills will be starting QB Derek Anderson against the Colts. There’s a risk to playing the Colts, but it’s definitely one of the safer streaming options this week.

Prediction: 16 points allowed, 4 sacks, 2 INT, 2 FR

 

SIT

QB Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Titans

Rivers is normally a must-start for me considering his floor (he’s thrown at least 2 TD passes every game thus far). However, the match-up ahead for Rivers is bleak. The Titans’ defense has allowed under 30 points in every game, allowing over 20 three times. One other telling stat – this defensive unit has not allowed a multiple-TD performance by any QB yet.

Rivers only threw the ball 20 times because of how dominant RB Melvin Gordon was. The Chargers will likely win this game given the offensive struggles the Titans have displayed lately, but there are safer options than Rivers this week.

Prediction: 21/31, 241 yards, TD, INT

QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys @ Redskins

Last week’s game against the Jaguars is an outlier – Prescott’s point total jumped from 82 yards rushing and his first TD on the ground this season.

Washington has a pretty stingy pass defense headed by CB Josh Norman, so unless Prescott can squeeze out another 50+ rushing yard performance (last week is the only time he did so this season), I would avoid picking him up on the waiver wire to start in lieu of Roethlisberger, Rodgers, or Wilson due to their byes.

Prediction: 19/28, 194 yards, TD, INT; 3 rushes, 14 yards

RB Alex Collins, Ravens vs. Saints

Coming off a multi-TD performance against the Titans, it’s understandable why Collins is a popular waiver wire addition. However, the Saints’ front is stingy against running backs, allowing less than 80 rushing yards in each of their first 5 games and only 3 rushing scores in that span.

With Collins not being a large part of the Ravens’ passing attack, he doesn’t normally have any appeal in PPR leagues, but he’s worthy of an add – I’d just stash him though, as this match-up favors the passing game much more.

Prediction: 11 carries, 41 yards; 1 reception, 8 yards

RB Latavius Murray, Vikings @ Jets

I chalk up Murray’s 155-yard day against the Cardinals as an outlier. Before that game, Murray had failed to reach 50 yards on the ground in any game this season despite Dalvin Cook’s limited presence. Speaking of Cook, he practiced fully Wednesday, so it’s looking like he’s on track to play in this match-up, which will severely lower Murray’s ceiling.

The Jets have allowed four scores on the ground, but the last TD they allowed was to Jacksonville Week 4. They’ve only allowed 100+ on the ground twice, including last week to the Colts. Murray will fall back down to Earth this week.

Prediction: 6 rushes, 31 yards; 1 reception, 7 yards

WR Albert Wilson, Dolphins vs. Lions

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the last Miami receiver to catch 6+ passes and accrue 150+ receiving yards was Irving Fryar in 1994. Believe me, Wilson’s performance in the 31-28 OT win over the Bears was a major outlier and is severely unlikely to happen again. Especially against a Lions’ secondary that ranks 4th against the pass.

If there’s anything you should understand about fantasy football, it’s consistency and volume. Wilson possesses neither.

Prediction: 3 receptions, 29 yards; 1 rush, -3 yards

WR Sterling Shepard, Giants @ Falcons

Great match-up for the Giants’ WR2, however, SO many things make him hard to play.

For one, TE Evan Engram (knee) is feeling good about returning this week after being absent for a majority of the season. If he does, that’ll put a damper on the 7+ targets Shepard has been receiving consistently.

Secondly, it’s no secret the Giants’ offense has been struggling (well, the offense OTHER than RB Saquon Barkley). Until I see improvement from QB Eli Manning and the offensive line, it’s hard for me to consider Shepard over other more reliable options.

I could go on – let me just say this; Shepard certainly isn’t the WORST play to make at flex, but it’s definitely risky. Odell Beckham Jr. and Barkley dominate this lackluster offense.

Prediction: 5 receptions, 43 yards

TE Jordan Reed, Redskins vs. Cowboys

Even with WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) and RB Chris Thompson (ribs/knee) out against the Panthers last week, Reed put up a 5-36-0 line. Dallas hasn’t been friendly to tight ends, only allowing one score to the position thus far (ironically to Evan Engram, mentioned above).

Reed is limited by the one throwing him the ball, unfortunately. Alex Smith just doesn’t sling the ball like he should, and it lowers the ceiling of anyone on the team not named Adrian Peterson.

Prediction: 3 receptions, 42 yards

TE Trey Burton, Bears vs. Patriots

I’m gonna keep this simple – Burton is very TD-dependent. Not the worst option, but New England’s stats against tight ends are misleading; outside of the game against the Colts where Eric Ebron caught two TDs and Eric Swoope caught another, the team has allowed under 70 yards to the position per game.

Play Burton with caution – it’s either TD or bust, and he’s only caught a max of 4 passes in any one game thus far.

Prediction: 3 receptions, 39 yards

Panthers D/ST @ Eagles

The Eagles have allowed double-digit fantasy points to opposing defenses only once (the Vikings came out with 12 during their Week 5 game). With the Panthers sacking the QB only 4 times in their last two games and allowing 20+ points in their last four, I’d avoid this unit against a Carson Wentz-led offense.

Prediction: 31 points allowed, 1 sack, 1 INT

Lions D/ST @ Dolphins

The Lions are going up against a Brock Osweiler-led offense that just upset their division rival Bears last week, winning 31-28 in OT over the vaunted Chicago defense.

While Osweiler lighting up the scoreboard a second week in a row is unlikely, the Lions’ D/ST hasn’t been particularly amazing this season. They’ve forced six turnovers all season, with 3 of them (all fumble recoveries) coming against the Packers before their bye last week. This unit has not surpassed 9 fantasy points all season.

Better to seek other options.

Prediction: 23 points allowed, 3 sacks