By Jacob Johnson
Austin Ekeler: Austin Ekeler has effectively established himself as the No. 1 back in San Diego, after an impressive start to the season in Melvin Gordon’s absence. Since Gordon has returned to the team he’s been less than impressive, averaging 2.5 YPC and 11 catches for 37 yards in four games, compared to Ekeler who has continued to produce points through the air (over 500 receiving yards on the year, averaging 9.9 YPC) rather than the ground game. Last week Ekeler faced a tough Bears front seven that held him in check, but this week plays the Green Bay Packers, who’s achilles heel all year has been stopping the run. While Ekeler makes most of his plays through the short passing game, I expect the Chargers gameplan to get the ball in Ekeler’s hands however possible and let him go to work.
DK Metcalf: Metcalf has surprised many analysts in his rookie season, as he’s put up some solid numbers early in his career, when many scouts listed him as a long term project. The Ole Miss product is a big time deep threat receiver and has racked up 4 touchdowns on the year, two coming last week against the Atlanta Falcons. The Seahawks return home this week to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; they’re giving up the second most passing yards per game in the league (285.9 YPG) and the third most points per game (30.3 PPG). The Seahawks are going to utilize their freakishly athletic WR on Sunday.
Lamar Jackson: Lamar Jackson has enjoyed a stellar sophomore campaign, but this week he faces possibly his toughest defense he’s ever seen in the New England patriots. The Patriots defense has been on another level this year, they gave up 13 points last week against the Browns, the most points allowed on the season for this unit. Lamar Jackson has only thrown for over 300 yards once this year, and hasn’t had a passing touchdown in the last 2 weeks. The patriots game plan going into this game is to let Jackson throw the ball, and a heavy dose of contain plays. Bill Belichick is not going to let Jackson run loose, expect him to be very uncomfortable on Sunday Night Football.
Kyler Murray: Murray makes my fade list for the second straight week. After the Cardinals started getting a groove and were in the midst of a three game win streak led by Murray’s impressive play, they ran into the red hot saints who for the most part shut Murray down for 10.1 fantasy points. It doesn’t get any easier this week for the rookie, as he’s got a Thursday night Matchup with an elite 49ers defense. Rookie Nick Bosa has not only established himself as a clear favorite for defensive rookie of the year, he might even walk away with overall defensive player of the year. I don’t see murray picking apart this defense, especially if David Johnson is not playing.