In the year of the rookie wide receiver, we’ve yet to see a true breakout from Jalen Reagor, the Eagles’ first-round pick. However, he’s been on the field for 91% of the team’s snaps over the past two weeks and has four catches in each of the past two games. Part of what Philadelphia drafted him for was his ability to stretch the field – he averaged 15.2 yards per catch in his three years at TCU – and that gives him a fantasy ceiling we haven’t seen yet. I’m calling for the breakout this week against the Seahawks, who allow the most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Seattle is still on pace to allow a historic number of passing yards this season, and while Carson Wentz hasn’t been consistent, he’s passing for plenty of yards, and Reagor should have strong upside this week.
In the past four weeks, Gallman has emerged as the Giants’ top running back, and he has 5 rushing touchdowns over that span. With double-digit carries in each of those games, he’s established a strong baseline for fantasy and has 13+ PPR points in each of his past four games. The Giants face the Bengals this week, who will be rolling out Ryan Finley or Brandon Allen at quarterback following a devastating season-ending injury to Joe Burrow. I’m expecting New York‘s defense to dominate in this matchup, which will pave the way for a run-heavy approach from their offense. The Bengals allowed Washington to run for 164 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries last week, so the opportunity is there for Galman to take advantage of his workload with a strong fantasy finish.
After 8 catches for 57 yards on 13 targets against the Rams, Antonio Brown might be becoming Tom Brady’s favorite target on this team. Of course, we all remember his six straight seasons of 1,200+ receiving yards and 10+ touchdowns in four of those seasons. As he’s getting more comfortable with his new team, it’s becoming clear that Bruce Arians finds ways to get him more involved. This week, the Buccaneers face the Chiefs in what I’m expecting to be one of the highest-scoring games of the week. Kansas City has been pretty strong against wide receivers, but Brown’s talent is undeniable, and Tom Brady should have a great bounce-back opportunity. All three Buccaneers’ receivers are strong starts this week.
Duke Johnson Jr.
The Texans’ rushing offense has really struggled ever since David Johnson was placed on Injured Reserve with a concussion. Duke Johnson has underwhelmed with under 7 PPR points in his last two games. He’s surpassed 10 PPR points just once all season. However, his upside is extreme this week as he faces the Lions, who allow the most fantasy points per game to running backs. Duke runs for just 2.8 yards per carry this season, but Detroit has allowed opposing RBs to run for 4.5 YPC. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to succeed against this weak run defense with C.J. Prosise, the only other running back getting involved, and he’s a clear-cut top-20 running back for me this week.
It hasn’t been a consistent season for Darius Slayton, but he came down with 5 catches for 93 yards last week against the Eagles. He has only scored one touchdown since his 2-score effort in Week 1, but he has a great chance to find paydirt against the Bengals, who have allowed 22 passing touchdowns so far, tied for the second-most in football. He’s averaging 15.4 yards per reception this season and has awesome big-play ability. Cincy has allowed the 7th-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers, and their secondary is far from healthy at the moment with Mackensie Alexander, Trae Waynes, and Darius Phillips all on the injury report. Slayton may not be the most reliable fantasy option, but he’s a high-upside shot for your flex spot.
While I expected the Chargers’ secondary to be a major strength this season, injuries to Derwin James, Chris Harris Jr., and Casey Heyward, as well as the departures of Adrian Phillips and Desmond King, have left this pass defense pretty weak. Tevaughn Campbell has been particularly vulnerable as the team’s top slot cornerback and he’ll be matched up with Cole Beasley this week. Beasley ranks as the WR24 in PPR scoring this year as he has caught 55 passes for 642 yards and 3 touchdowns – that’s a 16-game pace of 88 catches for 1,027 yards and 5 touchdowns. Beasley is a top option at wide receiver this year and a must-start flex play in a plus matchup.
It’s been a strong few weeks here for Kalen Ballage in fantasy as he has 15+ carries in three straight weeks. Austin Ekeler is nearing a return, but I don’t expect that to happen this week. Ballage popped up on the injury report this week, but I still expect him to play. He has 5+ catches in each of the last two games and that’s translated to strong fantasy value despite some ineffectiveness on the ground – he’s rushing for just 3.7 YPC. The Bills have ranked middle of the pack against running backs in fantasy and the last time we saw them play, they allowed Arizona to rush for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns on 35 carries. Assuming he plays and Ekeler sits, Ballage is a worthwhile start once again this week.