Last week was more relevant for Jaguars fantasy players than I expected it to be. Blake Bortles put up 388 yards for two touchdowns and one interception, which was a very serviceable fantasy performance. T.J. Yeldon went for 100 total yards and two touchdowns. Dede Westbrook popped off for 130 yards on nine receptions! Even Donte Moncrief had a good game with five receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown.
The good news is, this week may be much of the same. If not better. The over/under for the game this Sunday is 49 points, with the Chiefs favored by three points in Arrowhead. I think that’s a really fair spread considering how potent the Chiefs offense has been. This will be the biggest test of the year so far for both the Chiefs offense and the Jaguars defense.
Blake Bortles is the top streaming quarterback this week for me. He gets a juicy matchup against the tissue-soft Chiefs defense, and has been playing really well as of late. Only 6.7 percent of Bortles’ passes have been thrown from inside the red zone, which is the lowest rate for all full-season starters this season, so he’s due for some progression in that area.
Bortles’ has also been rushing and scrambling quite a bit this season, so that gives him a nice floor if you’re playing him as a bye week fill-in or even by choice.
Pat Mahomes will face his toughest team of the season so far, going against the Jaguars defense. He played the Broncos defense and they seemed to rattle him with pressure and flushing him out of the pocket. That’s something he can definitely expect to see from the Jags too. The Jaguars defense has only allowed a fantasy QB1 performance twice since the start of last season but Mahomes could very well make that a three QB1 performances. He is flush with offensive weapons and immensely talented. You’re not sitting him this week, but you should temper your expectations.
T.J. Yeldon is very much in play this week as a low end RB1 or high end RB2. The Chiefs run defense is quite awful and that was on full display in primetime football against the Broncos. He should have no problem finding running lanes and has been fairly involved in the passing game as well. The Chiefs are allowing 201.5 scrimmage yards to team’s backfields this year, which is good for 2nd-worst in the league. Slot Yeldon into your lineups and don’t look back.
After a somewhat slow start to the year, that was largely buoyed by touchdown production, Kareem Hunt finally got it going on Monday night. Hunt posted 175 yards from scrimmage and two rushing touchdowns but what may have been the most encouraging is that he saw four targets, which resulted in three catches. That’s 3/4 of his season total receiving production and we can only hope that this involvement will continue. The Jags have been known to surrender receiving production to running backs so Kareem Hunt could definitely have a solid week again.
At wide receiver, we’re still playing guessing games with the Jaguars. Dede Westbrook had a great game last week and even Donte Moncrief had a solid week. Keelan Cole however, put up a dud. For all we know, that could be the complete opposite this week. I do think you can play all three of them this week, but I would rank them Westbrook, Cole, and Moncrief. Westbrook and Cole are very close for me and Moncrief is a ways down still.
With Sammy Watkins questionable, Tyreek Hill is likely the only Chiefs wide receiver that you’re starting. You’re approaching him similar to Mahomes, in my opinion. There’s no way you’re benching him but temper your expectations. He has game breaking speed and Jalen Ramsey has been known to bite on double moves or get caught cheating so Hill could easily break a big one for a touchdown.
Travis Kelce is the only tight end you’re starting from either team. Not to sound like a broken record, but you should temper your expectations with Kelce as well. The Jaguars have played very well against tight ends this season, shutting down both Rob Gronkowski and Evan Engram. Kelce still has double digit targets in three straight games though so he may see enough volume to keep him viable for fantasy. Like I’ve been saying about a lot of Chiefs this week, there’s no way you’re benching him but don’t be expecting a huge game.
Fantasy Fallout: Jaguars Trade for Carlos Hyde
The Jaguars have made another trade mid-season. This time, for former Browns and 49ers running back, Carlos Hyde. The Jaguars dealt a 2019 5th round pick to the Browns for the back. This marks the second time that the Jaguars have traded with the Browns this year, as they also traded for QB Cody Kessler earlier this offseason. Here, we’ll evaluate what this trade means from a fantasy football perspective and how it affects everyone involved.
Right off the bat, this torpedos T.J. Yeldon’s value. Carlos Hyde coming in will push Yeldon to a backup role again, although it’ll likely be more of a timeshare than it was with Fournette. In terms of touches, I’d expect Hyde to get around 60-70% of the backfield touches and that’ll leave Yeldon around 30-40%. I do think Yeldon becomes a “buy” in dynasty though. This guarantees that he’s playing for a different team next year and he’s likely the consolation prize for the team that misses out on Lev Bell. Yeldon could have a bell cow role next year and the trade for Hyde should knock his value down enough that he’s worth poking the Yeldon owner to see if he wants to get out from under him now. In redraft though, Yeldon is playable in Week 7 as Hyde will be inactive but I think he’s droppable after Week 7.
For Carlos Hyde, he becomes a weekly low end RB1 or high end RB2 in Jacksonville now. He was touchdown dependent in Cleveland and was not efficient with his touches but he should continue to see volume on a team that will likely run him more than the Browns were. Ever since Baker Mayfield took over the starting job, the Browns have ranked 5th in pass attempts which curbed Hyde’s touch count. This trade says to me that the Jaguars want to be a run heavy offense again and that will stand to benefit Hyde. Unfortunately for Hyde’s fantasy owners, we won’t know his true value until we know what is happening with Fournette. My gut tells me that Fournette will get thrown onto the IR and maybe return later in the season but we have no way to be sure. If Fournette does come back in Week 10, then Hyde’s value should plummet as he takes a backseat to Fournette. However, there are two or three other possibilities, in my eyes. Scenario one, Fournette is put on IR and sits out for the rest of the season and Hyde becomes the lead running back on an offense that wants to lean on the run. That would make him a RB1 ROS. Scenario two, Fournette is put on IR but comes back later in the season. This would make Hyde an RB1 while Fournette is out and he may be plug and play for a few weeks. Scenario three, which I think is interesting, is that Fournette comes back in Week 10 but Hyde and Fournette split the backfield touches. This would essentially make both players unstartable. The Jaguars are not a particularly strong offense and would not be able to sustain to startable fantasy RBs. There’s an argument to be made for this strategy from a real football perspective though. Both Fournette and Hyde are injury prone and limiting their touches could benefit both players.
I do think this affects the peripheral pieces in Jacksonville, a little bit. Like I said, this trade signifies to me that the Jaguars want to be run heavy again. They’ve been one of the most pass heavy teams this year, largely by necessity, but this team doesn’t want to play like that. So this move likely lowers Blake Bortles weekly ceiling but may help his efficiency, although I doubt anybody was starting Bortles. I don’t think this trickles to the receivers a ton though. They may see less volume but they weren’t doing much anyways, outside of Dede Westbrook.
FIRE UP YOUR NICK CHUBB FOLKS! The Browns have moved on from Carlos Hyde and now we will unleash Nick Chubb. This makes Nick Chubb an every week RB2 for me, and honestly a high end one for me. Chubb was a highly touted prospect coming out of college who showed he was an amazing runner and a capable receiver. He has been extremely impressive and efficient on limited touches this year and he’s shown how elusive but also powerful he can be. I still believe in Baker and this offense has some nice pieces in it. The Browns also have an extremely nice schedule coming up, with the Texans being the next good run defense they face. They don’t play the Texans till December 2nd. Nick Chubb could be a league winner this year and you need to go get him. Add him off waivers, trade for him, just go get him. Starting him this week is risky, as we don’t know his workload yet but the Tampa Bay defense is tissue soft and I’d still slot him in as an RB2.
This also benefits Duke Johnson. Hopefully. Johnson has seen hardly any usage this year but I think we can assume that will change with the departure of Carlos Hyde. Johnson is a talented receiving back that can be electric when given touches. If he starts getting a substantial amount of touches though, he could also hurt Nick Chubb’s ceiling. There’s a world though where Johnson and Chubb share touches enough to make Johnson more valuable than Chubb in PPR formats. Johnson is still a must add in PPR formats until we see how the backfield touches shake out. I wouldn’t feel too confident in starting him this but that could obviously change in the coming weeks.
Fantasy Football: Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups
I’m back after missing last week and it’s just in time. We’re getting to the heart of the fantasy football season and you’ve got to make your waiver wire count if you want to win your league. That being said, let’s get to it.
Baker Mayfield, QB (42% ownership) – He hasn’t been producing video game numbers or even great numbers, but if you watch him play, it’s very impressive. He’s making throws all over the field and getting absolutely no help from his wide receivers. Wide receivers Callaway and Ratley both dropped would-be touchdowns on Sunday and that would’ve drastically improved Mayfield’s fantasy day. The main reason to target Mayfield if you need a streaming quarterback, is because over the next three weeks he plays Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City. All those games figure to be shootouts and all three pit Mayfield against some of the worst defenses in the league. Get him now.
Jermaine Kearse, WR (1%) – Kearse saw 10 targets on Sunday that he turned into nine catches for 94 yards. Now, with Quincy Enunwa out for three to four weeks with an ankle sprain, Kearse’s volume should not only continue to be stable, but it may actually increase. The Jets offense has been better than expected and Sam Darnold is doing a good job of propping up his weapons.
Ito Smith, RB (9%) – Smith has filled in well in Devonta Freeman’s absence, scoring a touchdown in three straight games. He has had flex appeal in all the games that Freeman has missed and I’d expect that to continue. Freeman was placed on injured reserve today and the Falcons offense is a high powered one. While Freeman continues to battle injuries, Ito Smith needs to be rostered.
Christian Kirk, WR (14%) – Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen has found a favorite. In Rosen’s first three games as a starter, Kirk has led the Cardinal’s in receptions. Kirk was a dynamic rookie coming out and is finally seeing volume that may make him viable in fantasy leagues. He’s likely still just a flier flex play as he’s paired with an anemic offense but Rosen and Kirk could be the only bright spots that we see.
Fantasy Football: Week 6 Start and Sit Decisions
There are a lot of interesting matchups this week so let’s dive into them and get started on the start/sit for this week!
Jameis Winston – Winston has a gucci matchup facing an Atlanta defense ranking bottom-five in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Both the Atlanta and Tampa defenses are quite terrible so I’d expect this to be a high scoring affair. You may have picked him up off waivers but he’s a top QB play this week.
Tyler Boyd – Boyd has out-targeted A.J. Green by three targets since Week 2, and ranks 11th among all wide receivers in targets over this span. With Green seeing shadow coverage from Joe Haden, Boyd should see good volume again. Pittsburgh ranks fourth-worst in fantasy points per game to opposing slot wide receivers, and that is coincidentally where Boyd runs 67% of his routes.
Austin Hooper – Hooper set a new career high in targets in Week 5 (12) and caught nine of them for 77 yards. He’s seen six or fewer targets in 91% of his career games, so this may have been an outlier. Hooper is still worth a start this week though. Atlanta has the second-highest implied total of the week and this should be a very high scoring affair.
Sony Michel – There’s breathing room for both Patriots running backs to provide RB1 the rest of this season. White and Michel occupied all of the team’s running back snaps last week and over the past two weeks, Michel totals 43 carries, one target, 222 yards, and two touchdowns. Kansas City ranks third-worst in yards per carry allowed and regularly gets gashed by opposing running backs. There’s always a risk Michel gets hurt if Kansas City takes a lead, but he’s a borderline RB1 this week.
Tyler Lockett – Lockett has put up fantasy WR2 numbers, but he hasn’t seen enough volume to support that rank. He ranks 57th in targets per game and is due for big TD regression. With Doug Baldwin back and practicing, Lockett is merely a borderline WR3 this week, in spite of the plus matchup against the Raiders.
Alfred Morris – Morris saw 10 carries and two targets following Matt Breida’s first quarter exit last week, while Kyle Juszczyk and Raheem Mostert combined for six carries and six targets. Your guess is as good as mine as to who Raheem Mostert is. Even with Breida out, Morris is still stuck in a low-upside committee. They’re road underdogs against the Packers and he’s no better than an RB3 this week.
Larry Fitzgerald – Fitzgerald hasn’t hit 6.0 fantasy points since Week 1 and is struggling to even see targets. He’s an easy fade and I don’t know how you can even put him in your lineup.
Mike Williams – Williams hit the ground running but the regression hit over the past two weeks, and he also saw a steady decline in volume. Over the past two weeks he also only totals seven targets and 60 yards. He’s another player I can’t see myself starting.
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