By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
This week has been rough.
I find myself resting on the COVID/IR list, so there won’t be a whole lot of explanations with my picks this week. Which is probably a good thing because the last couple of weeks, the picks have sucked so let’s just throw darts at the wall this week and see what sticks, shall we?
There is so much information on the Internet about COVID and what it does to people. After talking with some people who have had it (and now experiencing it myself), this is the one conclusion I have come up with:
It affects each and every person differently.
My symptoms have been mild — mostly just a head cold and stuffy nose. My girlfriend had a fever and body aches, similar to the flu when she caught it last week. A friend of mine from high school spent 70+ days in the ICU and is now doing rehab every week to work himself back to normalcy. But the underlying symptom that many people seem to say is the worst is the fatigue.
I have no energy. At. All.
And it positively SUCKS.
So this week, you get my picks because I love you and appreciate your support in reading this every week, with a splash of charm and a funny dad joke to lighten the mood.
Sound good? Awesome.
Onto my Week 7 picks.
If you read this column last week or in the preseason, you have a good idea as to what my Confidence Plays represent. It’s essentially a start/sit column featuring players I think will boom (play) versus those I think will bust (fade). I try to focus on some middle-of-the-road and streaming options, as you’re likely playing your top guys regardless of the matchup, but some of those top guys may land on the Fade side. (Some matchups suck — what do you want me to do?) Don’t interpret this as “I have to sit Patrick Mahomes to play Derek Carr because Carr is a Play this week.” Don’t be that fantasy player. But maybe put some of them in your DFS lineups to maximize upside or play them as your RB2 or WR2 or in your FLEX. Or, you know, stream them.
QB Matthew Stafford (DET) – “Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use a honeycomb.”
Kinda like how fantasy points stick to QBs facing Atlanta, amirite? Atlanta allows, on average, three touchdown passes a game. Kirk Cousins was outside the top 20 at QB before playing Atlanta last week. He’s now QB17. Stafford comes into this game as QB23. Maybe have some confidence in Stafford this week.
QB Ryan Tannehill (TEN) – “What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta.”
We can all stop thinking Tannehill is an imposter. He’s good. Tannehill is currently QB6 in FPPG and is bordering on matchup proof. Losing LT Taylor Lewan won’t help his cause, especially this week, as the Steelers lead the NFL in sacks (24), but Tannehill has the 2nd highest passer rating when under pressure, and is tied for the league lead in passing touchdowns (7). Needless to say, I’m not worried about Tannehill this week.
RB David Johnson (HOU) – “What’s an astronaut’s favorite part of a computer? The space bar.”
Since Bill O’Brien was fired, David Johnson is RB16 while facing the Jaguars (5th most fantasy points/game to RBs) and Titans (16th most). Over the last five games, the Packers have been gashed by Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Todd Gurley, and Ronald Jones — en route to allowing the most fantasy points per game to RBs. Another fun stat — all four of those players had two touchdowns apiece on the Packers. Johnson is clearly an RB2, but he has RB1 upside this week.
RB Justin Jackson (LAC) – “I wouldn’t buy anything with velcro. It’s a total rip-off.”
Remember when we all rushed to grab Joshua Kelley thinking his role would change when Austin Ekeler went down with an injury? Turns out, Justin Jackson is the guy we should’ve targeted. Whoops. It shouldn’t be much of a secret that the Jaguars are pretty bad at stopping the run — over the last three weeks, they’re tied with Houston for the most fantasy points allowed — so dialing up Jackson should be a no brainer. He had 20 touches against the Saints in place of Ekeler and should be around the same this week. Easy RB2 floor for Jackson this week.
RB D’Andre Swift (DET) – “It takes guts to be an organ donor.”
Welcome to the Show, D’Andre Swift. After scorching Jacksonville last week — and doing so with little to no passing game usage — I have no doubt Swift is on his way to doing the same this week against the Falcons. How they stopped Alexander Mattison last week is beyond me — though it does make us realize why he’s a backup in this league — but hey, a broken clock is right twice a day, right?
WR Tyler Boyd (CIN) – “What do you get from a pampered cow? Spoiled milk.”
Remember when the Bengals faced the Browns in Week 2? Garbage time was fun. Here’s what I know — Joe Burrow leads the league in passing attempts and the Browns allow the 4th most fantasy points to receivers. The Browns just spoil us fantasy managers.
WR Chase Claypool (PIT) – “I used to hate facial hair…but then it grew on me.”
I almost put Diontae Johnson here, but if you don’t know how much I love me some Diontae, you’re clearly new to the show. The fact of the matter is, Mapletron is beasting out right now and nothing is stopping him. It also helps that Tennessee has allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to receivers so what the hell, dial them both up this week in a matchup of unbeatens.
WR Christian Kirk (ARI) – “I’ve got a great joke about construction, but I’m still working on it.”
One of the few calls I got right last week, I’m double-dipping in what should be a smash matchup. If you’re not starting your WRs against the Seahawks, do you even Fantasy, bro? Christian Kirk should be an easy start this week.
TE T. J. Hockenson (DET) – “How do you make a Kleenex dance? Put a little boogie in it!”
If there’s an ailment that fixes an offense, it’s the Atlanta defense. They suck against QBs; they suck against RBs; they suck against WRs; and, you guessed it– they suck against TEs. T.J. Hockenson scored last week in what was an underwhelming performance in a good matchup. Let’s not do the same again this week, mmkay?
TE Evan Engram (NYG) – “Did you hear about the guy who invented the knock-knock joke? He won the ‘no-bell’ prize.”
I hate recommending players facing my favorite team. But when said favorite team keeps trotting out Nate Gerry to cover TEs, I’m taking the TE every day and thrice on Sundays. Engram’s usage to date has been baffling, but OC Jason Garrett can use this matchup against the Eagles to turn it all around. Right? Right?!
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) – “I made a pencil with two erasers. It was pointless.”
Kinda like starting Jimmy G in a revenge game, right? Probably not, but when you can’t throw the ball downfield, I can’t imagine you’re going to stack up fantasy points against a Bill Belichick-led defense. But it’s 2020 so who the hell knows anything anymore.
QB Jared Goff (LAR) – “I decided to sell my vacuum cleaner—it was just gathering dust!”
So four games against the NFC East really warped those stats, huh? Things aren’t getting easier for Goff and the Rams against the Bears this week but as long as he doesn’t forget about Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods this week, all’s forgiven.
RB Kenyan Drake (ARI) – “I don’t trust stairs. They’re always up to something.”
Two touchdown runs and suddenly people want to trust Kenyan Drake? I mean, I do, I do want to trust Kenyan Drake, but I’ve been burned before. With little usage in the passing game, I’m fading him this week against Seattle, who can’t stop a nosebleed in coverage, but I’m probably still starting him. I’m a glutton for punishment like that, people.
RB Devonta Freeman (NYG) – “Why can’t a nose be 12 inches long? Because then it would be a foot.”
Philly is strong against running backs. You know what the Giants don’t do well? Run the football. Sometimes math is easy, folks.
RB Darrell Henderson (LAR) – “What concert costs just 45 cents? 50 Cent featuring Nickelback!”
The Rams backfield kind of feels like a Nickleback concert. You know the songs, the lyrics are easy, you can’t help but buy in and sing along– then you realize it’s Nickleback and you instantly want to vomit. Look, I don’t know who floats to the top each week, but what I do know is Malcolm Brown is playing too much and he sucks. When you start throwing the ball to Henderson more, call me, McVay. I’ll DM you my number.
WR Robby Anderson (CAR) – “What do you call cheese that isn’t yours? Nacho cheese.”
This is Marshon Lattimore’s off-season. He’s only good every other year so dial up whoever runs opposite him. I’m guessing that’ll be D.J. Moore which means Anderson will see Janoris Jenkins, the Jack Rabbit. (I always liked that nickname.) This is the Teddy Two Gloves Revenge Game so I’m prepared to be wrong here, but I don’t think we get a top 12 game out of Anderson this week.
WR D.J. Chark (JAX) – “How does a penguin build its house? Igloos it together.”
I love me some D.J. Chark, but the dude’s health, or lack thereof, is annoying me. The Chargers, on paper, should be a tough matchup. The numbers — also on paper, but I digress — show a favorable matchup because people just keep torching them. What the hell am I supposed to do with this information? I’m literally asking! Ugh. I’m going to take a DayQuil and reevaluate my life choices.
WR Deebo Samuel (SF) – “What kind of shoes do ninjas wear? Sneakers!”
I don’t know how often you can sport an aDOT with negative yards and put up 18 PPR points in a game. Like, that can’t happen in back-to-back weeks, can it? I love me some Deebo Samuel, and if someone can do well against Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots secondary, it’s probably him. But I’m not feelin’ it this week. Which probably means start him with confidence, so go do you.
TE George Kittle (SF) – “I’m so good at sleeping, I can do it with my eyes closed!”
Travis Kelce only put up 10 PPR points on the Patriots. Belichick is great about taking away a team’s best offensive weapon, and we know Kittle is that for the 49ers. I’d be shocked if he tops 10 this week, which is what you’ll need for a TE to be top 12 most weeks.
TE Rob Gronkowski (TB) – “If a child refuses to sleep during nap time, are they guilty of resisting a rest?”
Yay, Gronk scored a touchdown last week. Yay, the Raiders defense sucks. Not yay, no need to trot him out on the road this week. The Raiders corners are like an afghan — they’ll cover you but they’re full of holes. This is a Godwin/Evans week, people. Don’t get hyped for what was with Gronk.
I hope you all enjoyed my COVID edition of this week’s Confidence Plays. Be sure to tip your servers, even if you’re only doing take out. They don’t get paid shit and risk contracting this horrible virus so try to make it worth their while. Thank you, and good night.