If you’re one of the many fantasy managers who has held onto J.K. Dobbins all season, it’s time to celebrate. The rookie running back saw 17 touches a couple of weeks ago, and while he didn’t play this past week against the Steelers, it’s time for him to take over as the Ravens phase-out Mark Ingram. Gus Edwards will likely continue to be involved, but Dobbins is rushing for 5.3 YPC this season and is an adept pass-catcher. This week, Baltimore faces the Cowboys, who are allowing 21.6 fantasy points per game to running backs, the fifth-most in the NFL. I’m expecting a run-heavy game script for the Ravens, and Dobbins could push for 20+ touches. He’s a must-start player this week, and I’m calling for a full-scale eruption into an every-week top-15 running back for Dobbins.
I was very much fading Deebo Samuel last week against a tough Rams defense that features one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL in Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams. Instead, Samuel caught 11 passes for 133 yards and finished with 24.4 PPR points. Kyle Shanahan is a masterful offensive mind, and Samuel is a perfect fit for the touch passes and end-arounds that are featured in his offense. Brandon Aiyuk is expected to return this week, but I think both guys are startable flex options this week. The Bills’ defense does feature a lockdown corner in Tre’Davious White, and they’ve been stout against opposing pass-catchers, but the Niners use Samuel all over the field. Deebo is a must-start this week as his touches should remain high, and he has loads of talent.
Very quietly, Corey Davis is having a career year for the Titans as he’s on pace for 74 catches for 1,100 yards and 5 touchdowns. Aside from a goose egg in a tough matchup against the Bears, he has scored double-digit PPR points in every game this season and has scored 13.5 PPR points per game. He should be owned in most fantasy leagues, and this is a week where he provides some greater upside against the Browns, who are allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Cleveland is also likely to be missing its top two cornerbacks in Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, which provides a significant bump up for both Davis and A.J. Brown. Ryan Tannehill is one of my favorite quarterbacks for this week, and Davis provides a strong floor with a high ceiling.
It wasn’t a tremendous return for Mostert as he ran for just 2.7 YPC, but he did pick up 18 touches and scored a touchdown in his return. Mostert is obviously the most talented ball-carrier for the 49ers, and it was good to see him get back in the fold. In many leagues, managers with Mostert on their team likely don’t have better options this week that they are considering. However, I see many start-sit questions with him, and I felt it necessary to include him in this list. Kyle Shanahan’s rushing offense has been very productive regardless of who has been the lead back, and the team faces the Bills this week, who allow the 8th-most fantasy points per game to RBs. Fire up Mostert without hesitation.
Last week, the Browns finally played in their first warm-weather game in about a month, and their offense performed better than they have in a while. In particular, Jarvis Landry caught 8 balls for 143 yards and a touchdown and finished with 28.3 PPR points, his highest mark of the season. Landry’s 11 targets matched his season-high, and he topped 100 yards for the first time and scored his first touchdown of the season. With Odell Beckham Jr. out for the rest of the year, expect Landry to continue to be very involved and productive. This Titans-Browns game is expected to be one of the highest-scoring of the week, and Landry’s talent should win out against a mediocre group of Tennessee defensive backs.
Michael Pittman Jr.
The Colts’ rookie receiver is coming off a disappointing 2-28 outing against a beatable Titans defense, but the fact that he saw 9 targets is encouraging moving forward. He had scored 14.8 PPR points on average over the prior three weeks, and his talent has shined as of late as he’s become Philip Rivers’ favorite target. He has a tremendous opportunity to bounce back against the Texans, who allow the 6th-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers as I expect this game to be higher-scoring. Pittman is a talented player and will take advantage of a soft Texans’ secondary that will be without cornerback Bradley Roby for the remainder of the season. There’s always some downside with rookie wide receivers, but Pittman should produce this week.
Melvin Gordon III
Most fantasy managers will be looking to avoid all Broncos this week after a dreadful performance against the Saints with Kendall Hinton making his first career start at quarterback. However, Melvin Gordon III should be startable against a Chiefs defense that has been beatable on the ground and has given up the 12th-most fantasy points per game to RBs. Philip Lindsay is not expected to play this week after suffering a knee injury, and the offense should be more efficient with Drew Lock returning to the field. Denver will look to establish the ground game to keep the ball away from Patrick Mahomes, and Gordon is going to be a huge part of the gameplan. He’s worth playing this week.