New Orleans at Cincinnati – Andy Dalton
What are we to expect out of the Cincinnati quarterback the rest of the way in 2018? He’s without his all world talent at tight end being Tyler Eifert, but that’s business as usual for Cincinnati. Losing one of the best wide receivers in the world, however, is something that Andy Dalton isn’t all that used to. A.J. Green is now set to miss multiple games and sounds to be on the fence of requiring surgery. The team is going to take the rest approach but surgery is going to remain on the table regarding the All-Pro receiver’s big toe. As stated previously, being without Green isn’t a brand new idea but it’s something much more infrequent than absences by Eifert. Green missed one game in 2011, three games in 2014, and a startling six in 2016. Other than that, he’s played in every other game over the past seven plus years. Can Dalton get by in the short-term without Green, while also risking being without him for the rest of the season? Dalton gets a layup game against New Orleans so this is going to be very telling as to what is on the horizon. Not to scare Andy Dalton owners or anything but a quick reference check sees him throwing for 19 touchdowns in 2014 and 18 in 2016 where Green missed his longest stretches.
Arizona at Kansas City – David Johnson
OK OK, we know. David Johnson has been featured on the “Risers And Fallers” weekly value impact on a pretty regular basis in 2018. The Christmas Gift-esque touchdowns inside the 1-yard line have been his saving grace for fantasy but his yards per carry average tells the real story. At 3.2 yards per carry, Johnson’s fantasy value in the desert is starting to remind us of Edgerrin James’ first season with Arizona. James did enough to stay fantasy relevant but was a bust in every way, shape and form. In 2006, James managed to play all 16 games while posting a miserable 3.4 yards per carry average. Yes, he broke 1,000 yards rushing but it took 337 touches to get there; Johnson is falling into the same narrative. One thousand yards is good, but we drafted Johnson to be great. Coming off the bye, there is nothing else we can look forward to as a positive for the Arizona running back. Sam Bradford is gone, there is a new offensive coordinator, and the week of rest is behind him. What we get out of him this week will be what we should expect moving ahead.
New England at Tennessee – Tom Brady
Could we really sit here and knock against the greatest quarterback to every play the game? Yes, we could, and here we go. Brady has one touchdown over the last two weeks. This dry spell is popping up at the same time where guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Jared Goff are going ballistic on opposing defenses. It’s a bad look for the New England quarterback no matter how you cut it and working against us is the fact that New England keeps on winning as there is no need to change the formula if you’re getting wins out of the product. Could we see New England move in a direction offensively where the team is successful at the expense of Brady’s once vibrant fantasy life? Playing against old friends like Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and coach Mike Vrabel Brady, should be able to thrive with the wealth of knowledge he possesses but another letdown from Brady would make three in a row. Another win would mean the old adage of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” will ring true.
New York Giants at San Francisco – Matt Breida
What kind of deal did Breida make with some kind of Lord of the Rings style of wizard? Someone is granting this kid wish after wish as the odds continue to stack-up against him and yet he comes out ahead time and again. First he had to wait to see Jerick McKinnon go down to season-ending injury. Then he had to wait out San Francisco as the team grew sick and tired of Alfred Morris’ antics. THEN, he needed Raheem Mostert to hit Injured Reserve. All of these things have happened while Breida sees three different quarterbacks running the show while he himself limps all over the field with ankle issues. No matter what, Breida has had all the fortunes play out in his favor as he continues to build a solid fantasy season with about 620 yards on the year. That’s all rainbows and lollipops, but it’s time for Breida to take full advantage of his good fortune. Breida could put up weekly RB2 numbers but right now, we’re settling for sporadic flex numbers. The San Francisco running back could turn himself into a must start if he can beat up on the lowly Giants. There’s a ton of value on the line for the 23-year-old back.
Seattle at Los Angeles Rams – Chris Carson
In the NFL, if you put yourself in a position to be replaced, it’s simply a matter of time until it unfolds that way. With Chris Carson missing time, he’s suddenly placed himself on the threshold of a massive value drop. Just a few weeks removed from his best game of the season against Detroit where he broke 100 yards with a touchdown, Carson suffered an injury and missed virtually all of last week. In his absence, a complete unknown named Mike Davis looked to be the part against the Los Angeles Chargers. Carson went down super early and BOOM, Mike Davis looks like a beast the rest of the game to the tune of 100 total yards. If Carson misses more time, he’s simply holding the door wide open for Davis to take over. If Carson does play and can’t match Mike Davis’ output, he could find himself in an even tougher spot. The future of the Seattle running game is very much in flux and someone could walk away with a RB2 forecast for the rest of the year and carry it into our 2019 drafts.