Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta – In case you were wondering, Matt Ryan has thrown for at least 350 passing yards in five of his last six games and has tossed at least three touchdowns in four of those six games. He’s totaled at least 22 fantasy points in six of eight games, and at least 32 fantasy points in five of eight games. Ryan enters Week 10 averaging 26.1 fantasy points per game, which, believe it or not, is second in the NFL among quarterbacks. Despite Atlanta sporting a disappointing 4-4 record, Ryan has been a fantasy stud in 2018 – period. Having an all-world wide receiver (Julio Jones) and a few reliable complementary players (Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper, Tevin Coleman) is highly beneficial for Ryan, who will continue to produce high-end fantasy numbers at the quarterback position for the duration of the season. As far as upcoming matchups go, Atlanta will square off against Cleveland defense in Week 10 that has surrendered 2,694 passing yards (an average of 299 passing yards per game) this season, which ranks 31st in the NFL. Cleveland is allowing an average of 16.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, which ranks 15th in the NFL through nine weeks.
Looking a little further ahead, Atlanta has favorable matchups against Dallas (Week 11), New Orleans (Week 12), Green Bay (Week 14) and Arizona (Week 15). If you’re a contender for a fantasy championship and have depth at the running back and wide receiver positions, it may not be the worst idea to try and pry Ryan away from his current owner. I’m not saying it will be easy, but if the Ryan owner has another reliable quarterback and can afford to trade Ryan, it’s worth a shot. View him as a Top-5 fantasy quarterback for the remainder of the season and always remember that real-life football and fantasy football don’t always go hand-in-hand.
Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers – It’s trivia time!
EVAN: “Alex, I’ll take 2018 NFL Statistics for $1,000.”
ALEX TREBEK: “Which quarterback has thrown for at least 200 passing yards and two touchdowns in all eight games he’s played in this season?”
ALEX TREBEK: “Evan?”
EVAN: “Yikes, that’s tough. Umm, who is, Patrick Mahomes?”
ALEX TREBEK: “Oh, I’m sorry, that is incorrect. The correct answer is Rivers, Philip Rivers.”
Yeah, that is how steady, reliable, and consistent Philip Rivers has been this season. Four quarterbacks have totaled at least 14 fantasy points in every game this season. They are Patrick Mahomes (obviously), Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers … and Philip Rivers. His best fantasy performance of the season came way back in Week 1 when he totaled 31.8 fantasy points against Kansas City. Since then, he hasn’t exceeded 23 points, but as I said, he’s been consistent on a week-to-week basis and hasn’t laid an egg in any game this season. Maybe I’m biased because he is my starting quarterback in one of my leagues, but his consistency and reliability are hard to come by in this day and age when so many quarterbacks have a bad week from time-to-time. It hasn’t happened with Rivers, who going forward has some of the most favorable fantasy matchups of any quarterback out there. Rivers totaled 23.2 fantasy points (his second-highest fantasy point total of the year) in Week 5 against Oakland and now gets to face them once again this coming week. Starting in Week 11, the Chargers will face Denver, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Kansas City, all of which are considered to be favorable matchups for the 15th-year player out of North Carolina State. Keep rolling him out as your starting quarterback and appreciate the steady supply of fantasy points he gives you on a week-to-week basis.
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh – Another week, another elite fantasy performance out of James Conner. Conner shredded an above-average defensive unit (Baltimore) in Week 9 en route to a 23-16 victory over their division rival. He scurried for 107 rushing yards on 24 carries and chipped in with seven receptions (on nine targets) for 56 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown, good for a total of 31.3 points per reception (PPR) league fantasy points. He’s now totaled at least 30 PPR fantasy points in each of his last four games and five times in total this season, which is astonishing when you think about it. Only one other running back has totaled at least 30 PPR points in five games this season: his name is Todd Gurley.
Furthermore, Conner has recorded at least 100 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards one touchdown in four games this season. Want to know how many other running backs have accomplished that feat four times in a single season? The answer is zero. Conner became the first running back in NFL history to accomplish that feat, which, again, is remarkable when you think about it. Conner has been flawless this season and will continue to be an elite fantasy option for as long as LeVeon Bell is missing in action. A Week 10 Thursday Night matchup against a stout Carolina defense that has allowed an average of 18.8 PPR fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (fifth in the NFL) is tough on paper, but at this point, Conner is completely matchup-proof and a must-start high-end RB1 going forward. Keep him locked into your RB1 spot for the duration of the season and don’t even consider trading him in Keeper or Dynasty formats.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta – Typically, when something of immense significance happens in the sports world, whether it be in the NBA, MLB, or NFL, Twitter immediately erupts into a frenzy of excitement and sheer joy. That is precisely what happened on Sunday when Julio Jones took a short screen pass 38 yards to the house for his first touchdown of the season. I’ve never seen a player of Jones’ caliber and skill level get ridiculed (maybe that’s too strong of a word?) more than him. I mean, it’s not like he’s Keenan Allen, who hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1 and has been vastly under-performing (for the most part) for most of the year.
Jones has been producing elite fantasy numbers in terms of receptions and receiving yards all year. Entering Week 9, he had tallied at least 14 PPR fantasy points in five of seven games and at least 26 PPR points in three of seven games. After his incredible performance in Week 9 that saw him catch seven passes (on 10 targets) for 121 receiving yards and a touchdown, Jones now enters Week 10 averaging 7.5 receptions, 116.6 receiving yards, and 21.1 PPR fantasy points per game. If that doesn’t scream “elite fantasy wide receiver,” I don’t know what does.
A Week 10 matchup against an atrocious Cleveland defense that is allowing an average of 39.4 PPR fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (23rd in the NFL) is a highly favorable matchup for the eighth-year player out of Alabama. Don’t worry about Jones’ inability to produce an inordinate number of touchdowns. Instead, appreciate what he gives you in the reception and receiving yards departments because those two statistics still equate to a bevy of fantasy points on a weekly basis.