New England and Chicago- Julian Edelman
When the Patriots traded for Josh Gordon, the immediate assumption was that, given time, New England would have a WR1 to offer the fantasy world. Tom Brady and OC Josh McDaniels have tried to integrate him into the offense but so far the attempts seem forced. Through these attempts though, the Patriots have helped establish a borderline WR1 but he’s not named Josh Gordon. Since returning from his four game suspension, Julian Edelman has caught 11 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Maybe the addition of Josh Gordon serves as more of a bonus to Edelman instead of a production boost for Josh Gordon? Of course it’s still very early in Gordon’s Patriots’ career to write him off just yet, but it is an important aspect to pay attention to. If Gordon continues to run routes down field only to see Edelman reap the benefits underneath, Edelman will be on the rise and Gordon will settle into more of a WR3 role. Against Chicago, the Bears are going to be dialing up pressure to get to Brady. The underneath routes could be much more involved and Edelman’s value should continue to increase.
Minnesota and New York- Adam Thielen
It’s difficult to remember a time where a player has distanced himself so far away from the rest of the options at the position. Our minds immediately jump to Randy Moss in 2007 where he had 505 yards and 7 touchdowns through the first four games. Even considering how amazing Moss was way back when, his 100 yard receiving streak came to an end in Week 5. Thielen however, has made it six in a row. Thielen is currently leading the league in receiving yards, just edging out Julio Jones by 4 yards. Julio is very much lacking in the touchdown department, losing that scoring competition to Thielen, 0 to 4. If the Vikings receiver can even keep 70% of this pace for the rest of the season he’ll be sitting pretty for a major contract. The question will then start to become if Minnesota has the salary cap to retain Thielen. There is zero reason to expect the script to flip at all here, as Thielen should very well extend his lead at the position while also further strengthening his dynasty outlook.
New York and Atlanta- Odell Beckham
Has Odell Beckham been a disappointment? Yes. Has Odell Beckham been a fantasy bust? Absolutely not. Through six games, Beckham has managed to go over 100 yards three times. He has over 500 yards on the year and is on pace to easily eclipse 1,000 yards. The touchdowns are really the bug-a-boo for Beckham as he only has one to this point. Owners around the fantasy world are panicking and making trades out of frustration and getting pennies on the dollar for a return. ODB would do all the patient owners a big favor by going for another 100-yards and doubling his touchdown season touchdown total against the Falcons. Atlanta can’t stop anyone through the air and the Giants should be able to exploit them over the top. Adding to the chance of a positive outcome is the fact that tight end Evan Engram should be able to return from his MCL injury. Maybe Engram underneath is enough of a threat for defenses to jump up and bit, leaving Beckham on single coverage with a cornerback? This needs to be a game where owners ready their popcorn for a big show or Beckham is going to find himself on next weeks Fallers list.
Cleveland and Tampa Bay- Jarvis Landry
Through the first three games of the season, Landry averaged about 93 yards per game. Over the last three games, the Browns’ primary receiver has averaged 38 yards per game. Woof! It’s clear as day that Baker Mayfield has not been on the same page as his possession receiver. Well, it’s time to establish some chemistry because Landry should be the engine that drives the Cleveland offense. Getting the tight end involved and taking deep shots to Antonio Callaway is all well and good but the Browns need to get Landry far more involved to avoid these low scoring, close contests. Outside of one back-and-forth affair with the Raiders, which Cleveland lost by 3 points, the Browns are averaging 17 points per game. Those outcomes include a tie, a 4 point loss, another 3 point loss, a 3 point victory, and a thumping by the Chargers. Just think, if the offense were able to get Landry more involved, maybe they win that tie and hang enough points to avoid those 4 and 3 point losses. The real life Browns would benefit from getting Landry more involved for us fantasy enthusiasts. Landry more involved means more wins for us and could have meant FOUR additional wins for the Browns themselves. If Landry and Mayfield can’t get together to beat up on the Bucs, then there’s concern going forward.
Detroit and Miami- Matthew Stafford
It’s been interesting to watch rankings over the first six games of the season in regards to Matthew Stafford. We’ve seen him as high as the Top-10 and as low as outside the Top 20. Here, with bye weeks a plenty, Stafford still isn’t ranked as high as he should be. He’s coming off a bye week with one of the best receiving groups in the league playing against a weak Dolphins’ defense and yet Stafford still can’t crack the consensus Top-10 at quarterback. Stafford needs to set the record straight that he is still one of the best options in fantasy at his position. Seeing the likes of Dak Prescott and C.J. Beathard rated as higher options, though deservedly so, is still a shocking revelation. Stafford has to dominate this game. He needs to get all three of his wide receivers working over the top while also getting Kerryon Johnson more involved in the passing game. Stafford has to finish with close to 300-yards and at least two touchdowns in order to retain his fading value. If not, Week 8 could see Stafford falling out of QB2 consideration.