This is more of a shallow league shoutout, but Gaskin is on the flex borderline in both of my main leagues this week. He racked up 21 carries for 90 yards, and 2 catches for 51 yards against the Bengals with Matt Breida, DeAndre Washington, and Salvon Ahmed all missing. All three guys are questionable again this week, but this is Gaskin’s backfield to lose even if one or all of them play. Kansas City has been beatable on the ground this season as they’ve allowed 4.8 YPC, the third-most in the NFL. Melvin Gordon racked up 131 yards on 15 carries against them last week. With the guaranteed workload in a plus matchup, Gaskin’s talent should allow him to finish as a top-15 running back. He’s a must-start flex play this week.
With La’Mical Perine on Injured Reserve and Frank Gore going out early with a concussion, Ty Johnson took over the Jets’ backfield’s full-time role. He racked up 117 yards from scrimmage on 24 touches and scored a rushing touchdown. Frank Gore has been limited in practice again, and if he misses, Johnson is squarely on the radar as a flex play. He is the clear passing weapon out of the backfield for New York, and Seattle is allowing the most passing yards per game this season. Johnson has burned fantasy managers in the past, and it’s going to be tough to trust him, but if Gore is out this week, then I’m nervously endorsing him as a flex play. He gets an added boost in PPR leagues as the pass-catching back for New York.
Antonio Gibson suffered a gnarly turf toe injury on Monday and is very doubtful for this week. While Peyton Barber took over as the early-down back for Washington, McKissic is the guy you want in their backfield. He finished with 10 catches for 70 yards as Washington worked to erase a 14-3 halftime lead for Pittsburgh. McKissic is Alex Smith’s top target in the passing game, and he should see a heavy target share again this week against the 49ers. While San Francisco has been strong against running backs, McKissic has 10+ PPR points in four of his last five games and provides a solid floor in PPR leagues. He’s still on the radar in standard scoring, but I have McKissic ranked inside the top 15 running backs in PPR leagues this week.
With just 2o catches for 168 yards and no touchdowns through four games with the Buccaneers, Antonio Brown hasn’t made quite the fantasy impact many expected when he signed with the team midseason. However, with Tampa coming off their bye week, I’m expecting Brown to be more involved down the stretch of the season. Tom Brady and the team’s wideouts also come into a brilliant matchup against the Vikings, who allow the third-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Minnesota’s secondary came into the season as a major weakness and has only gotten worse as of late due to key injuries. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin dealing with injuries of their own, Brown will see an uptick in targets this week, and he should be able to take advantage of a great matchup.
Breshad Perriman or Jamison Crowder
The Seahawks have been the best matchup to target for wide receivers as they give up the most fantasy points per game to that position. They have also given up the most passing yards per game this season. Their secondary is finally getting healthy, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still fantasy points to be had against their defense – they’ve allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers over the past three weeks. Denzel Mims is out this week due to personal reasons, and that will leave Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder with more of a target share. Crowder is the safer option and is certainly a worthy flex play, but Perriman is the higher-upside guy. Both guys have been limited in practice this week, and if either one sits, that will make the other one a must-start flex play. Regardless of whether they are active, Perriman and Crowder are worthy of flex consideration in this matchup.
The Niners’ rookie first-round pick has taken off in recent weeks with 17+ PPR points in each of his last four games. He has averaged 10 targets per game over that span and is a clear focal point of Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Aiyuk has flashed big-play ability and has the versatility that Shanahan loves to utilize in his skill position players. He has also scored a touchdown in his past three games. Washington’s defense is on the docket this week, and they have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers, so the matchup isn’t ideal. However, Aiyuk’s talent and role in the offense makes him a must-start flex play.
Welcome back, T.Y. Hilton! The Colts’ wide receiver has 18+ PPR points in each of his past two games with 80+ yards and a touchdown in each of those contests. He’s looked like a refreshed player and the guy who we’ve seen in Indianapolis for the past several years. With two straight elite games, I’m staying in the flames with Hilton against the Raiders, who are allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers over the past three weeks. Las Vegas is also allowing the ninth-most passing yards per game this season. With Philip Rivers playing better football and this game projected as one of the highest-scoring of the week, let’s run it back with Hilton.