This article was all set to open gushing about Jameis Winston this week against the Falcons and then Sean Payton went and put us all on tilt: The Saints are expected to start Taysom Hill at QB this week instead. Poor Jameis. But Hill is still a sleeper in his own right, especially in DFS where he is cheap. But if you are someone like me who was planning on replacing Josh Allen with Winston, you may just want to pivot and pickup Hill. What to expect out of Hill in his first career QB start is kind of a wild card. He has attempted just 18 passes in his NFL career, so we do not really have a lot to draw from. Additionally, if we go back to his college days, his numbers do not show those of a polished passer. He finished with a 58.2 career college completion rate, well below the high number the Saints are accustomed to with Drew Brees. He was more of a dual threat in college, rushing for nearly 3,000 yards at BYU. That is what I am expecting this week: a lot of designed runs and read options. When they do ask him to pass I think it will be quick, easy throws, hopefully to Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. I do not think they will ask him to play like Brees or even Winston, because he is not the same level of passer as those two options. I am not expecting him to throw the ball 30+ times this week, but could he finish with something like 150-200 pass yards with some big rushing numbers? That is on the table for sure. Due to the unknown of Hill, I have him ranked just outside the top 12 QBs this week, but there is upside here.
Andy Dalton, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Things haven't been pretty for the Cowboys since they lost Dak Prescott. Since Week 6, the Cowboys are averaging a league-low 10.3 PPG and have scored just two touchdowns, both passing. But Dalton is expected to return this week, which could be a shot in the arm for this offense. It's also a favorable matchup against the Vikings, who have allowed four QBs to finish a week as a top-seven fantasy QB. They also have allowed the sixth-most passing yards per game to QBs (278.6). Given the matchup and the weapons the Cowboys have, Dalton is a sleeper for those in need of a QB this week. Where I needed a QB, he was typically my backup claim to Winston.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
This is not the Dolphins' or Jets' Ballage. He looks like a new running back playing for Chargers HC Anthony Lynn, who has done nothing but rave about Ballage since signing him. In fact, Lynn said this week that Ballage will serve as the primary back against the Jets. Ballage has scored over 15 fantasy points in both games with the Chargers so far, but he could have his biggest week yet if the Chargers are playing with a lead against the Jets. On the season, the Jets have given up the seventh-most fantasy PPG to RBs (26.89) and allow 101 rushing yards per game. Part of that is because teams have run the ball 45% of the time against the Jets, the ninth-highest mark in the NFL. Ballage has earned more work and has a strong matchup this week.
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
Harris' snaps have increased in two straight weeks, including playing a season-high 55% last week. He also had a season-high 22 carries in his last game, so the opportunity is going his way. That is important for any running back, but especially for any Patriots back. Harris has earned those opportunities due to rushing for over 100 yards in half of his games this season and has a great opportunity to reach that number again this week against the Texans. Houston has allowed the most rushing yards per game to RBs this season at 154. No other team even allows 130 rushing yards per game.
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins will once again be without Myles Gaskin this week and they just cut Jordan Howard. The one potential thing to worry about is that it looks like Matt Breida will be back Sunday. But do not expect Ahmed to go away after Ahmed turned his 22 touches into 90 yards and a score last week (16 fantasy points). Ahmed will likely lead this backfield again against the Broncos. Denver started off tough against the run, but it has allowed six top-15 fantasy RBs in its last five games combined, including five top-12 RBs. Will Ahmed finish as a top-12 RB? He is no lock, but he certainly has the upside given the matchup and the opportunity going his way. He is a strong flex option this week.
Jalen Reagor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Reagor appeared in this article last week and despite seeing a season-high seven targets, he finished with just 8.7 fantasy points. Here's to hoping he can do more with that volume this week because I am going back to the well for some more! The increased targets, as well as the 96 air yards, his most since Week 1, are both reasons to feel optimistic about the speedy rookie. This week that volume could lead to fantasy production against the Browns, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy PPG to WRs (42.65). That includes giving up 181 receiving yards per game to receivers, the eighth-most in the league. Reagor can create downfield separation, here's to hoping Carson Wentz can connect with him!
Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots
Say hello to the new No. 1 wide receiver in New England. Over the last month, he leads this team with a 39% target share; no one else is over 16%. He also leads with 59% of the air yards and 29% of the teams red zone targets. That is big time volume going his way and he has been able to turn it into fantasy production, scoring over 13 fantasy points in three straight. He showed his ceiling two weeks ago scoring 29 fantasy points against the Jets. Houston is a solid matchup for WRs as they allow the 10th-most fantasy PPG to WRs (39.5). Meyers does have a chance to turn those red zone targets into scores as the Texans have issued 13 touchdowns to wideouts, tied for the third-most in the NFL.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Things have been rough for Lamb ever since Dak Prescott went down for the season. But the good news is he is expected to get Andy Dalton back this week. In the one full game he played with Dalton this year, he put up nearly 15 fantasy points. But that is not the only reason to be excited for his return. Dalton on the year has thrown 40% of his throws to the slot, the highest amount in the NFL. Lamb happens to run 93% of his routes from the slot. These two could make for a really nice pairing the rest of the way, starting this week against the Vikings, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy PPG to WRs (43.2), including a league-high 16 touchdowns to the position. That bodes well for Lamb, who leads the Cowboys with six end zone targets and 21% of the team's red zone targets. He is a WR3 or flex option this week.
Josh Reynolds, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Since Week 6, Reynolds has seen more targets than Robert Woods (32-29). He has scored more fantasy points than Cooper Kupp (53.5 to 48). He has seen more air yards per week than any, at 107 per game. His targets have climbed in the last five games and he has seen eight or more in three straight, topping out last week with 10. He has scored over 12 fantasy points in three of his last four and over 15 in two of the last three. Woods and Kupp are still started in a good number of leagues where Reynolds can be had off the waiver wire. He is a sleeper this week, especially if the Bucs jump out to a lead and Jared Goff must throw.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team
Thomas failed to take advantage of a favorable schedule early on, but he has made up for it as of late, scoring double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four. That may not sound like much, but given the state of tight end, each of those double-digit performances were enough to finish as a top-10 tight end that week. I like his chances of doing so again this week against the Bengals, who have allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to TEs (16.27). They have also given up the second-most receiving yards per game at just under 65 per game. You can do a lot worse at tight end than Thomas this week, trust me.
You may have noticed a trend here, but I have been streaming defenses against the Eagles recently. The Jets and Giants are the top teams to stream against, sure. But if you miss out on the defenses playing those teams you can always pivot to whoever is playing Philly, which this week is the Browns. On the season, the Eagles have allowed the most sacks per game (3.9) and the third most giveaways per game (1.9). They have also allowed a top 10 fantasy defense in seven of the nine games they played. Myles Garrett and the Browns defense is licking their chops thinking about the sack opportunities they will get. Start them.