By Jacob Johnson
Fave (Calvin Ridley):
Picking Ridley for a fave is the equivalent of playing Russian Roulette. One of the biggest boom or bust players in the league, Ridley was booming all over the field against the Panthers last Sunday in a dominating win that saw him match targets with Julio Jones (caught all eight targets) and rack up 143 yards with a touchdown. The Falcons have torched their NFC South rivals over the last two weeks, and the worst of the division in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is up next. While it may be too little too late for the Falcons playoff hopes, I’m all in on Ridley this week against a passing defense that is not only one of the worst in the league, but has also given up a combined 14 passing touchdowns over the last four games. At the minimum, Ridley is worth a flex spot but could potentially put up big numbers once again.
Fade (Ezekiel Elliot):
Don’t let Elliot’s two touchdowns last week against the Lions fool you; Elliot is not the same back this year as we have seen in the first three years of his career. Against a mediocre Lions front seven that ranks 23rd in rushing YPG and 17 total touchdowns to running backs this year, Elliot managed 45 yards on 16 carries. The Cowboys will be in New England this week and to me, this has the potential to be a disastrous game for Elliot as well as the Cowboys offense. With the recent surge of Dak Prescott’s performance, I fully expect Bill Belichick and the No. 1 overall Patriots defense to do everything in his power to make him uncomfortable in a hostile environment, and put the ball back into the struggling Elliot’s hands, and even if Elliot gets an increase in touches this game don’t expect anything huge.
Fantasy Game of the Week (Panthers @ Saints):
I really wanted to go with the potential game of the year in Niners vs. Packers, but that’s too easy to pick. The Panthers-Saints game however is loaded with talent and big playoff implications on the line. With either the Packers or Niners set to take the No. 1 seed in the NFC after this week, it’s critical that the Saints perform against the second place team in their conference. On the Saints end, playmakers like Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara round out one of the most talented offenses in football that should show up on Sunday and put up big numbers. But the Panthers are no walk in the park either as they look to keep their playoff hopes alive. McCaffrey is still the No. 1 player in fantasy, and Kyle Allen and DJ Moore have proven to be reliable starters with big numbers potential. Greg Olsen has also been reliable this year as he’s managed to stay healthy and make some huge plays for Carolina. I expect this rivalry game to put up some huge fantasy numbers.