With Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida injured and Jordan Howard, a healthy scratch, Salvon Ahmed came through with 21 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown with 1 catch for 5 yards. He finished with 16 PPR points and ranked as a top-15 fantasy running back in his first career. This week, Ahmed could remain the starter depending on the statuses of Gaskin and Breida. If he does, he should absolutely be a starter for your fantasy team. He faces the Broncos, who were a good rushing defense at the beginning of the season, but they allowed each of Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker to rush for 2 touchdowns last week as both guys finished as top-10 PPR RBs. Ahmed would have a strong chance to finish as a top-15 guy again and is a borderline must-start option assuming he remains atop the depth chart.
In a rare turn of events for the New England Patriots, Damien Harris has put a stranglehold on the team’s starting running back duties. He’s carried the ball 14+ times in each of the past three weeks and had 22 carries for 121 yards last week against a tough rushing defense in the Ravens. Sony Michel could return this week, and the presence of Rex Burkhead and James White will make you a bit queasy, but Harris has entrenched himself as the starter for one of the most run-heavy teams in football. This week, the Patriots play the Texans, who have allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points to running backs. I’m projecting Harris to remain the starter for New England, and he should remain in your starting lineup in fantasy in such a plus matchup.
I was nervous about Justin Jefferson’s ability to produce last week against a tough Chicago secondary, but he finished with 8 catches for 135 on Monday Night Football. He did that against a Bears’ pass defense that is one of the best in the NFL in a low-scoring game with low offensive volume. Things get much easier for him this week as he’ll face the Cowboys’ secondary that has been torched all year long. Dallas has allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Jefferson’s 18.1 YPR is tremendous and his combination of high-level route-running, speed, and catching has him on pace for 75 catches for 1,350 yards and 5 touchdowns in his rookie season. He’s been incredibly fun to watch and has cemented himself as a strong weekly flex option for your fantasy lineups.
After a few solid fantasy weeks, Christian Kirk fell off a bit last week with just 4 catches for 27 yards against the Bills. That represented his first down game after three games with 20+ PPR points that included five touchdowns. This week, he gets the distinct pleasure of facing the Seattle defense that kicked off that electric stretch for him and has allowed the most passing yards per game by far this season. The Seahawks have allowed the most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this year by a sizable margin, and Kirk finished with 5 catches for 37 yards and 2 touchdowns against them last time. He does have a significant range of outcomes in this offense, but his upside is massive with Kyler streaking and heading into a matchup that should be one of the highest-scoring of the week.
Alex Smith and J.D. McKissic appear to have a bit of a mind-meld as the Washington running back/wide receiver has 29 targets over the past two weeks. McKissic finished with 7 catches for 43 yards against the Lions and also rushed for a short-yardage touchdown. His involvement in the passing game has allowed him to score 17+ PPR points in each of the past two weeks, and his role in the offense isn’t going away anytime soon. This week, he faces the Bengals’ incredibly beatable defense that allowed Ben Roethlisberger to throw for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns last week. As long as Alex Smith is under center and McKissic is on the field, he should be in strong consideration as a flex play with an added boost in PPR leagues.
Marvin Jones Jr.
After a painfully slow start to the season, Marvin Jones has exploded onto the scene with 4 touchdowns over the past three weeks. He’s scored 13+ PPR points in each of his past four games and has become Matthew Stafford’s top target with Kenny Golladay continuing to deal with a hip injury. It doesn’t sound like Golladay will return this week, which would leave Jones as the top target in the offense again. The Panthers’ pass defense has been pretty solid, but the Buccaneers torched them last week, and they’re certainly beatable. Assuming Matthew Stafford is good to go this week, Jones is a solid option for your flex spot.
The Colts’ offensive line is one of the best in the NFL, and they want to run the ball early and often, but both Jonathan Taylor and Jordan Wilkins have been largely ineffective over the past few weeks. Nyheim Hines has emerged as the team’s top option out of the backfield, and he was tremendous against the Titans last week with 115 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns on 17 total touches. He’s now scored 21+ PPR points in two of his past three games (with a 5.8-point game against the Ravens in between), and he has the clear opportunity to continue his fantasy success this week against the Packers, who have allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points per game to the RB position.