Over the last five weeks, Teddy Bridgewater saved the Saints’ season by going 5-0 with strength in his completion rate (69.7). His best asset was minimizing mistakes (two interceptions). Over his five starts, he passed for 1,205 yards with nine TDs while only being viable in the Fantasy market in one game (314/4). His success paired with a huge step forward by the Saints’ defense puts New Orleans on a path for a run at a Super Bowl title plus Bridgewater will draw some attraction by another franchise to start in 2020. The Saints signed him to a one-year $7.5 million contract last March.
With Alvin Kamara out for Week 7, Latavius Murray was handed the keys to the RB job for New Orleans. Coming into this week’s game, the Bears held four of their first five opponents to 90 yards rushing or fewer, but they did show some cracks defending the run vs. the Raiders in Week 5 (39/169/3) and weakness defending RBs in the passing game (37/293). The Saints gave Murray 32 touches against Chicago, which led to 150 combined yards with two TDs and five catches. His success will allow the Saints to rest Alvin Kamara again this week due to a bye in Week 9. New Orleans plays five of the next seven games at home with one of their road games coming against the Bucs. Murray should have top-five RB1 status going forward if Kamara is inactive in any game. Also, he’s earned more touches going forward.
This week on our forums at Fulltime Fantasy, many Fantasy owners lost their love for Austin Ekeler after a down game (28 combined yards and three touches) and momentum by Melvin Gordon in snaps. His value on early downs will be minimal going forward (only 13 rushes for 28 yards in his previous three games), but his success this year in the passing game (42/370/3 heading into Sunday’s game) will command the ball on passing downs. Before this week’s game, the Chargers’ RB opportunity in 2019 is worth about 32.0 Fantasy points per game. Even with a 45 percent share in snaps, Ekeler should score between 13 and 15 Fantasy points in most games. A Fantasy owner only has to look at the opportunity of James White in 2018 in the passing (87/751/7 = 211.1 Fantasy points in PPR leagues) to see Ekeler’s playable value. In Week 7, he gained 125 combined yards with a TD and seven catches (25.5 Fantasy points) while Melvin Gordon struggled (29 yards with two catches and one TD on 18 touches). The Chargers’ CB combined for 37.4 Fantasy points. In the end, my point is Ekeler is must start in 12-team PP leagues even with a step back in playing time and chances.
About halfway through last Monday’s nights game against the Lions, I told my friend that Aaron Rodgers lost some luster for me due to him not making the players around him better in the passing game in a way that Tom Brady has done in many seasons in his career. Rodgers must have heard my insight as he responded in a big way on Sunday. He passed for 429 yards and five TDs while adding a score on the ground. Entering last week’s game, Rodgers was the 17th highest scoring QB with only eight TDs in six games with most of his starting receiver core battling injuries. Green Bay plays four of the next five games on the road. Rodgers has pushed his way back into top 12 QB status, but he still needs Davante Adams in the starting lineup to be trusted as an every-week starter in the season-long games.
The Vikings’ passing game is back. Over the past three games, Cousins passed for over 300 yards in each game (306, 333, and 337) with success in back-to-back contests in TDs (four in each game). Last week, game score forced Minnesota to the air early, but Cousins still only attempted 34 passes for the game. After an injury to Adam Thielen, the Vikings finally had to add in their secondary recovering options to their passing game. Three receivers had career highs in production in 2019 – Kyle Rudolph (5/58/1), Bisi Johnson (4/40/1), and Irv Smith (5/60) against the Lions. Cousins has all the tools to be a top-six QB in 2019 if Adam Thielen doesn’t miss too much time. The Vikings should score over 30 points in many games going forward. They’ve scored 11 TDs on their 23 possession while averaging 35 points in their previous three games. Cousins should not be a free agent in any 12-team league.
Daniel Jones gave New York fans hopes and dreams after his excellent first start in the NFL (364 combined yards with four TDs) despite draft day remorse as an early first-round draft pick. With each game played in the NFL, his skill set is getting exposed where he gives Giants’ fans a feeling for another Eli Manning with more mobility. Over his last four starts (three straight losses), Jones passed for 791 yards with four TDs and seven Ints with some value on the ground (14/88). His completion rate slipped to 55.8 percent in his three losses while taking three sacks a game since starting. Jones is no longer a viable backup QB option for me in the season-long games with his only real pulse coming in Week 15 in his home matchup vs. the Dolphins. New York should improve offensively when they have all of their top players back in the starting lineup, but Jones has a lot to prove going forward in 2019.
The Austin Ekeler owners continue to cry for Melvin Gordon to see less time on the field. Over his first three games, Gordon gained only 81 yards rushing on 36 carries (2.3) while struggling as well to find open field in the passing game (9/34/1 – 3.8 yards per catch). His problem on early downs translates into the same issue for Austin Ekeler (13/28 – 2.2 yards per rush) over the same period, so the issue is more of an offensive line problem. The loss of C Mike Pouncey weighs heavy on the value of Los Angeles’s run game. Based on touches (18 in Week 7), Gordon is moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, he’ll struggle to reach even RB2 status with his offensive line issues and the success of Ekeler in the passing game. Gordon only looks like a flex option for now, which will be decided by his matchups and improvement within games.
The Bears came out of the bye week with more questions than they had going in. Their defense couldn’t stop and an undermanned Saints’ offense that only has one real receiver to defend (Michael Thomas). Mitchell Trubisky played poorly, but he did save his day (251/2) late when New Orleans went into prevent defense mode. Over his 54 passes, Trubisky only gained 4.6 yards per pass attempt. His shoulder issue may have been the reason that he didn’t run the ball once in the game. If so, his overall value slides even further in the season-long Fantasy market. Chicago’s offensive line produced only 17 rushing yards on seven carries. The big bad Bears are trending in the wrong direction after two straight loses vs. the Raiders and the Saints. Only one player on this team is worthy of being a Fantasy starter (Allen Robinson – 10/87/1 on Sunday).
The magic of the Eagles’ offense has left the building since their Super Bowl win. Carson Wentz continues to show that he doesn’t belong with the elite names at QB in the NFL. This season Wentz has two games of value (313/3 and 306/2), but he passed for fewer than 200 yards in three of his previous four games. Wentz can’t make big plays (6.8 yards per pass attempt) with regression from 2018 (69.2) in his completion rate (61.2). His safety blanket, Zach Ertz, only has one TD in 2019 with fewer than 60 yards receiving in three straight games. The only positive stat for Wentz is his 12:3 TD-to-Int ratio. Many football experts point to the injury to DeSean Jackson as the shortcomings in the passing game. Wentz has only played one full game in his career with Jackson, so the failure for me falls more in the Eagles’ coaching staff and the right arm of Wentz. Philly will give up plenty of points, which will force the Eagles to throw in many games. Wentz is more of a matchup QB than a week-to-week starter until he raises his floor in passing yards per game.