Saquon Barkley : Despite playing a not too scary Jets team in the battle for New Jersey (yes, I am one of those who think the Bills are the only New York football team), Saquon Barkley did nothing at all Sunday. Indeed, when you look at the box score, you have to look twice to believe what you are reading: 13 carries for one yard. Yep, ONE YARD rushing. With a bye, then the Bears, Packers, and Eagles on the schedule after that, Barkley owners need to come to the realization that they cannot count on Saquon to take them to the fantasy football promised land this year. If there is an owner out there that will give you 50 or 60 cents on the dollar now, seriously consider taking it. Barkley is a great talent but it seems pretty clear that he is not physically right. [I wonder whether Barkley’s one rushing yard or Cooper Kupp ’s zero catches is the biggest disappointment but I digress.]
Jared Cook : Lost in the Saints debacle against the Falcons was Jared Cook ’s solid six receptions for 74 yards on ten targets. Yes, I know that 13.4 PPR points hardly lights up the scoreboard. However, it is a solid tight end performance, and one that should improve now that Cook and Brees are both on the field together (Sunday was the first time in a long time). Add in the fact that other than Michael Thomas, Cook was far and away the target leader on the Saints, and you have reason for optimism. With the Bucs and Falcons on the schedule in two of the next three weeks, Cook is a major target for those suffering at the tight end position.
Kareem Hunt : The former Chief/current Brown returned from suspension and got involved in the offense right away. No, Hunt did not light up the fantasy scoreboard, but he did dominate the targets for running backs in Cleveland reeling in seven catches for 44 yards. Put that together with his 30 yards rushing and you have a 13.4 point PPR performance. That is hardly electric, but evidence of “flex-worthiness” going forward. With Miami, Cincy and Arizona as three of the next five opponents, Hunt could have sneaky value. Moreover, with a stout Steeler defense next up, I could easily see Hunt catching dump off after dump off. Hunt makes a worthy fantasy speculation.
Kalen Ballage : Yes, 20 rushes for 43 yards (even with four catches for two yards) is hardly anything to write home about. However, if Ballage continues to be the RB1 in Miami, he is a guy you will want to have stashed. Check out this fantasy playoff schedule: Jets, Giants, Bengals. I want any team’s RB1 against that set of opponents as I try to get on a playoff run. Think about it.
Melvin Gordon : Last week we wrote: “Melvin Gordon returned to being, well Melvin Gordon . The Chargers running back carried 20 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns. He also chipped in three grabs for 29 yards. All total, that is almost 26 PPR points. Nice. I think people have been too hasty to write Gordon off after the hold out. Now in his fifth week, he is in rhythm and in the flow. With Oakland and Kansas City on the schedule next, Gordon is back to being plug and play. Remember, this is a 26 year old running back who has 28 touchdowns over the last three years. There is no reason to think he is anything but at the height of his career. Buy.” Well, I hope you listened because even though the Chargers laid an egg Thursday night, Gordon did not. The Chargers running back rushed 22 times for 108 yards and a touchdown (and added a 25 yard reception). I will take 20+ from my running back any time. Buy!
Final Note: Whatever you are doing today, no matter how busy you are, take a moment to give thanks for those who serve and have served to keep America safe and to preserve our way of life. If you have any friends, relatives, or colleagues that served, let them know how much you appreciate their service and sacrifice. Since this is a fantasy sports column, I will take this opportunity to give a special thanks and shout out to my friends and colleagues in the fantasy sports business for their service including Doug Dennis, Justin Mason and William Del Pilar. I am sure there are others so please do not be offended and please do know you have my sincere thanks for your service on this Veteran’s Day.