These players don’t have to be benched. Each individual team is different and league context matters. The matchups are more difficult than usual and if possible, seeking a better start is recommended.
QB Carson Wentz vs. JAX (in London)
Wentz has played well the last few weeks with no interceptions over the last four games. He has passed for at least 310 yards in three of five games and multiple touchdowns in four games. He has thrown three touchdowns once, so he has provided a high floor each week. While the Jaguars are struggling, the defense is still playing well especially against quarterbacks. The Jaguars have allowed the fewest passing yards per game (195.4) and are second in yards per attempt (6.3). Four of seven quarterbacks they have faced were held to 183 passing yards or fewer. They have allowed six passing touchdowns in seven games. Wentz has been sacked 17 times, and the Eagles offensive line is banged up.
RB Carlos Hyde vs. PHI (in London)
Hyde will make his debut with Jacksonville after being traded from the Browns last week and was inactive. The Jaguars will want to run the ball a lot with Blake Bortles struggling. Hyde will get touches along with T.J. Yeldon with Leonard Fournette still sidelined. The Eagles have played staunch run defense. Running backs have totaled 55 yards rushing or fewer in six of seven games and allowed only two rushing touchdowns. Hyde is touchdown dependent, and it’s not clear what his role will be.
RB Aaron Jones @LAR
Do the Packers get smart off the bye week and feature Jones? Maybe, but don’t count on it. Jones is the best back for Green Bay and should get more touches, but the Packers have shown no indications they will change as Jones continues to split with Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery. Jones isn’t involved in the passing game, and the Packers will be chasing points or going pass-heavy. Jones has played four games and has touched the ball 7, 12, 9 and 8 times. Until his role changes, he’s on the bench.
WR Demaryius Thomas @KC
There are rumors the Broncos are trying to deal Thomas, who has disappointed based on his draft value. He has reached 100 yards once and been held to 57 yards receiving or fewer in four of seven games. Against the Chiefs in Week 4, Thomas had four catches for 24 yards on seven targets. The Chiefs defense was picked on early in the season, but they have played better. The Chiefs have allowed one touchdown to wide receivers in the last four games. There’s always a shot Thomas can pile up numbers with the Broncos playing from behind, but the floor is low this week.
WR Marquise Goodwin @SF
Goodwin has struggled to stay healthy this season. He’s battled a few injuries but was fine in Week 6 with four catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Goodwin couldn’t follow it up with a strong performance against the Rams last week, catching two passes for 24 yards on five targets. The Cardinals have allowed only four touchdowns to wide receivers, and Goodwin should see a lot of cornerback Patrick Peterson.
TE Jordan Reed @NYG
I say this every week, but it’s difficult to recommend any tight end to sit since the position is so thin. I have a team with Reed and Jared Cook, and I am benching Reed. The biggest issue with Reed was health, and in Week 8 he’s healthy, the Redskins are thin at wide receiver, and Reed has been quiet. Reed scored in Week 1 and hasn’t found the end zone since. He hasn’t played 70 percent of the snaps in a game and has been outside the Top 15 tight end each week since the first game. Reed has been targeted once in the end zone. Over the last three games, Reed has 3.1, 8.6 and 6.3 in PPR formats. The Giants haven’t faced many good tight ends, but have allowed one touchdown to the position.