Browns and Lions- Josh Gordon
Well, well, well…look at what we have here. Gordon has finally worked himself back into the NFL. Not only has he returned to the good graces of Roger Goodell, but more importantly, he’s shared his story. It’s a story of talent, drug abuse, rock bottom, recovery, and hopefully full redemption. Call us a sucker for a feel good story but Gordon has the chance of being a walking example of overcoming odds and addiction. We wish nothing but the best for Gordon as he was an all out freak during his only full season. Gordon isn’t eligible for return until Week 13 but we wanted to mention him here as a riser in the coming weeks. Let’s all hope that in a league struggling to keep their premier players on the field, that Gordon regains the ranks of those like Odell Beckham and A.J. Green and avoid the path of those like Justin Blackmon.
Chargers and Jaguars- Leonard Fournette
Speaking of suspensions, hello Mr. Fournette. We were hoping that Fournette was going to be able to chase down Kareem Hunt for rushing rookie of the year honors but he followed up his missed game with a suspension. Even with Fournette missing games, he could still potentially catch up with Hunt in the points department. But that has to start here and it has to begin with a boom. Fournette needs to make up for lost time as he can’t afford a misstep. He should be able to create room using his physical skill set against the Chargers. He needs 20 plus carries for over 100-yards to earn his way back into our hearts.
Jets and Buccaneers- Mike Evans
Frustration is beginning to set in for the Bucs’ best player. Before the season started, we all had visions of fireworks in Tampa Bay. Their defense was made up of some of the best, young talent in the league and their offense was set to join the ranks of New Orleans, New England, and Green Bay. Instead, injuries have ripped through the defense like water through tissue and the offense had barely been holding on — and that was with Jameis Winston under center. Suddenly Winston joins Andrew Luck in the shoulder rehab club and Mike Evans is spearing people like it’s mid-2000’s WWF. He knows exactly what we know: it’s over in Tampa. The question now becomes can Evans remain productive for what could be 4-6 weeks of Ryan Fitzpatrick? (UPDATE: We now know that Evans will be suspended against the Jets due to his frustration but the fact remains that Evans has the potential to drop from a top five WR to a WR2.)
Vikings and Redskins- Stefon Diggs
The quarterback situation in Minnesota has become the most confusing one in the league. First, it was Sam Bradford. Now it’s Case Keenum. Later, it could be Teddy Bridgewater. Who knows when or how but the position is very much in flux both in the immediate and long term. Stuck in the middle of these ebbs and flows is main receiving threat Stefon Diggs. Rudolph and Adam Thielen have maintained some value but it was Diggs that was drafted as a top flight fantasy option. With 422 yards and four touchdowns on the year, Diggs still has the chance to achieve our expectations. Can Diggs survive yet another impending change as quarterback? Can Diggs prove that he’s completely and totally quarterback-proof? Or will he fail to achieve decent numbers in an appealing matchup and make the transition look that much harder?
Texans and Rams- DeAndre Hopkins
Speaking of wide receivers dealing with changes at the quarterback position, enter DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has to adjust to going from one of the seemingly transcendent players in the league to, well… Tom Savage. Hopkins made that jump look like a simple game of hop scotch but let’s not forget that his 98 yards and a touchdown came against the Colts. Those totals may actually be on the light side considering how awful the Indianapolis club has been this year. This isn’t to say that the Rams are world beaters, but they are certainly an upgrade over the Colts. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson kept the Giants’ main threat to 70 yards and out of the end zone despite seeing 9 targets. Can Hopkins gel with Savage for two games in a row and hang onto his WR1 billing? Or was last week the calm before the storm?