Welcome, all you fantasy football junkies, flunkies and rookies! This week is a special edition for “Mark’s Fantasy Goldmine” featuring a trade-deadline special. I will also still give insight on who you need in that oh-so-tricky flex spot and my predictions for who will boom and bust this week.
To keep myself responsible to my fellow peers and prove why you should pick up these golden nuggets of wisdom, I will post my personal fantasy team each week, “The Funky Bunch.” This week I struggled back and forth on whether to start Lamar Jackson against the daunting Patriots defense over Gardner Minshew on the waiver wire. Jackson ended up handing the Pats their first loss with an MVP-caliber performance while Minshew toiled in mediocrity. Like I have said before, trust your heavy lifters to get the job done instead of blindly relying on someone who’s talent is far inferior. Alright, now let’s get digging!
Deal Makers and Breakers
D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
D.J Chark exploded onto the scene in his rookie season for the Jaguars and has seen a bit of a down period right now. This is the perfect time to scoop up Chark for good value while fantasy owners wonder if it will trend back upwards. Chark is the clear number one receiver on the team and should benefit from veteran Nick Foles returning from injury this week. If you’re looking for WR help target Chark.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons
With Mohamed Sanu being shipped to New England, the path for more production has presented itself for Ridley. Ridley is a dynamic route-runner with blazing speed and now is the time to steal him away while quarterback Matt Ryan is dealing with ankle problems. Matt Schaub showed the ability to keep the Falcons offense afloat, but managers may be worried about his ceiling, leading to a good deal for owners targeting Ridley.
Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
This play is looking towards the future as Ezekiel Elliot has the starting role undoubtedly. Pollard showed flashes of game-breaking athleticism last Monday against the Giants. While the Cowboys progress throughout the season, Zeke may end up seeing rest time leading to Pollard finally receiving the touches he deserves while stuck behind one of the league’s best running backs. If Pollard is owned in your league, try to add him in as a filler for another deal because he may end up being a diamond in the rough by seasons end.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
With running-mate Adam Thielen on the sideline due to a hamstring injury, Stefon Diggs is receiving almost all of the attention through the air. Now is the time to deal Diggs in return for a big package as he has had an inconsistent season so far. Thielen has shown to be the favorite target for quarterback Kirk Cousins, so once he returns Diggs’ production will come back down to Earth. Sell high on Diggs now to receive players who will produce points consistently in the final few weeks of the season.
Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp has locked up the role of go-to possession receiver for the Rams, but as far as who lines up opposite of Kupp is still in the air. With Cooks out due to a concussion, Woods will see his production balloon, leading to WR needy teams offering more than they should for the USC product. Once Cooks returns, Woods’ role in the offense will return to normal. Offer up Woods while he still has value to get back a player in another position of need.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have made it clear they want to feature both of their star running backs. The difference between the two is versatility, where Ekeler takes the cake. Gordon is mostly used in short-yard, goalline and power-running situations, while Ekeler is a threat to run between the tackles, receive a swing pass or take an outside pitch to the house. If you’re depending on Gordon to keep your team in the playoff run, think otherwise. The Chargers consistently find themselves in close games, leading to the do-it-all Ekeler to pick up the slack when it matters. Auction off Gordon to a team in need in hopes of upgrading elsewhere.
Flex On ‘Em
Every year, a new crop of players stand out throughout the season due to new opportunities arising, good matchups presenting themselves, or just flat out catching fire on the field. Here are the best risk/reward options you should unearth and plug into your x-factor slot this week.
Zach Pascal, WR, Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are dealing with plenty of injuries, most notably WR T.Y. Hilton and QB Jacoby Brissett. Enter Zach Pascal, one of the few offensive threats left on the team. While the Colts often depend on Marlon Mack to run the ball, every team needs offensive balance. Pascal has the speed and route-running ability to pick up the slack as evidenced last week against a stout Steelers secondary to the tune of five catches on six targets for 83 yards and a touchdown. Insert Pascal into your lineup this week when six teams are on a bye.
Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Rams
As Brandin Cooks works his way through the concussion protocol, the Rams will need another pass-catcher to step up and stretch the field. Everett has the ability to burn defenses on deep seam routes and has good repore with signal-caller Jared Goff in the middle of the field. With the Steelers defense keying in on Kupp and Woods, expect Everett to make his mark this Sunday while the opportunity presents itself.
Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
The New York Jets have been awful, to put it lightly. Either way, the Mean Green still suit up every week and expect someone to carry the load on offense. The Darnold-to-Crowder connection is real, and this might be the best week for it going up against their neighbor and equally bad New York Giants. After trading for Leonard Williams to shore up the run-defense, the secondary is now the clear weakness for the Giants, so look for Crowder to rack up lots of catches for one of his best games of the season.
Dope or Nope?
Here is a list of the players/defenses that will make you rich in fantasy scoring at their respective positions, as well as the ones who will prove to just be fool’s gold.
- Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns
- Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers
- Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Arizona Cardinals
- Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders
- Baltimore Ravens D/ST vs. Cincinnati Bengals
- Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets vs. New York Giants
- Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
- Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears
- Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys D/ST vs. Minnesota Vikings