Seven Up/Down

Here are seven plays I like more than usual this week and seven I like less.


  1. QB Matthew Stafford DET. The ‘tough Steelers defense’ narrative is a red herring. Look at the QBs they’ve faced. It’s a who’s who of players not likely to be 2018 starters. That’s compounded by the fact that they faced Chicago, Baltimore, and Jacksonville in weeks 3-5, who prioritized running the ball against them to great effect. Stafford is the first competent QB they’ll face aside from Alex Smith. The story here isn’t their tough pass D, it’s that they haven’t truly been tested. Give Stafford his typical 40ish attempts at home and I think they flunk.
  2. RB Devonta Freeman ATL. The Jets have given up double digit points to running backs in every game they haven’t faced Jay Ajayi this year. Freeman is the cornerstone of the Falcons offense. An offense currently struggling and in need of the spark he can provide. He should be featured heavily here.
  3. RB Jordan Howard CHI. Oh man the Saints run defense is bad. Folks had forgotten since they didn’t face a challenge the last few weeks (MIA in London, bye, DET). Aaron Jones tore into them like a hot knife through butter last week though. Howard is more of a can opener. I expect the carnage to be much the same.
  4. WR DeSean Jackson TB. Jackson has seen no fewer than 6 targets this season. The Bucs didn’t sign him to be a decoy. When he’s healthy he’s always a threat to get loose in a secondary.
  5. WR Josh Doctson WAS. The buzz around Doctson coming off his snap count last week is palpable. I’ve long been a fan of his. If he’s truly healthy it won’t be long before his talent shines through. His discounted price doesn’t hurt either.
  6. TE Hunter Henry LAC. Is this just to prove the criticism from last week that I harbor Hunter Henry hate false? Sure, a little bit. I questioned his targets last week, not his talent. The Chargers target him the most against defenses with bad TE coverage. The Patriots certainly fit that. Production should come on 6-8 targets.
  7. DEF Philadelphia Eagles. A top pass rush getting a rookie QB? Yes please. The Eagles stout run defense also handicaps the Niners chances to move the ball and score points.


  1. QB Matt Ryan ATL. Not that this one’s a surprise, but the Falcons are in a funk. Ryan outside of the dome is not at his best. The way to attack the Jets is also on the ground, meaning he won’t get the attempts he needs for a big day.
  2. RB Carlos Hyde SF. As mentioned, the Eagles are damn hard to run on. Hyde catches enough balls to offer some floor, but don’t think because Chris Thompson did it to them that Hyde will as well. Thompson is a cut above when it comes to receiving. Hyde’s in for a rough day.
  3. RB Duke Johnson CLE. People have been living on the edge rolling the Duke out every week. It’s tough for pass catching backs to produce consistently. The Vikings are stingy against RB receiving. I think he under-delivers here.
  4. WR T.Y. Hilton IND. Hilton’s not the same guy on grass. Expect single digits.
  5. WR Robby Anderson NYJ. They only get to play the Dolphins twice. Anderson has done little outside of those games.
  6. TE Jordan Reed WAS. Don’t chase last weeks points. Dallas is much better vs TEs when Sean Lee is active, per Pat Thorman. It makes sense, he’s the QB of their defense and excellent in space.
  7. DEF New Orleans Saints. They’ve improved from the standpoint of forcing turnovers, but the yardage and point totals against them will remain terrifying.

Follow Mike Alexander on Twitter @Roto_Wan. 

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