Welcome to On To The Next One, the weekly column where I usually select four players you should consider benching/starting this week. This week, we have a bonus player to consider. There will be two categories here: “The Rebounders” and “The Fumblers.” The Rebounders are two players that had a disappointing fantasy performance last week, but will rebound this upcoming week to produce better numbers. The Fumblers are two players that had fantastic performances last week, but they will not put up nearly the same amount of points on the board this upcoming week, and will fumble away the fantasy football glory they fleetingly had.
Last year, I ran the same formula and saw a success rate of almost 70 percent; success being defined as a player doing 50 percent better or worse the next week. If you have any of these players – PAY ATTENTION.
Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
12.0 points (PPR) / 7.0 points (Non-PPR) per ESPN
Although 12.0 points in PPR isn’t horrible, Woods can certainly do better. We know this by now; he finished as WR14 last year. However, this season he has a different partner under center, Matthew Stafford. That’s a good thing, in my opinion, as Stafford can provide much more than Jared Goff did. The chemistry between Woods and Stafford has noticeably improved through two weeks. You also have to love Stafford targeting Woods nine times this past week. Five of them were caught for 64 yards — not bad.
However, I expect Woods to improve on that performance this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the Bucs’ front seven is one of the best in football, the secondary is extremely questionable. They’ve given up 342 passing yards per game and rank 31st in fantasy points given up to receivers thus far (55.10). This game is going to be a shootout, so the opportunity should be there for Woods to capitalize.
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
5.7 points (PPR) / 1.7 points (Non-PPR)
No need to panic about Kittle. While he has struggled through two weeks, catching only eight passes for 95 yards, the upcoming matchup against the Green Bay Packers could provide the break Kittle needs to kickstart his year.
At this point, who knows what the 49ers are going to do on offense. Their entire running back room is hurt, and Brandon Aiyuk has seemingly disappeared into thin air. However, the only staple that is unquestioned in this offense is Kittle’s talent. He just really hasn’t gotten a chance to show it off yet. The Philadelphia Eagles focused on tackling him when he got the ball, and he was used more of a blocker against the Detroit Lions.
This week, he has a great chance against a Packers defense that’s 30th in fantasy points given up to tight ends thus far (21.25). Their linebacking core will likely struggle to contain Kittle, and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan should take advantage of this as Green Bay ranks 4th in fantasy points given up to wide receivers (26.95) and 17th against running backs (22.90). The latter should be disregarded though as, like I said before, the entire 49ers running back room is injured.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings*
3.8 points (PPR) / 2.8 points (Non-PPR)
Notice the asterisk on this one. Monitor Dalvin Cook’s availability. As of writing this, he has sat out every practice since playing against the Arizona Cardinals on the 19th. If Cook sits out this upcoming week or is limited, expect Mattison to explode in points. The Vikings are playing the Seattle Seahawks who have been the worst defense against running backs thus far, giving up an average of 42.70 fantasy points per game to them.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team
27.7 points (PPR) / 16.7 points (Non-PPR)
I’m slightly hesitant to put McLaurin on this list, but I’m going with my gut. Throughout his career he’s proven to be quarterback-proof, but I think this week may be an exception. They faced the 20th ranked defense against wide receivers this past week (New York Giants), but will travel to Buffalo to face the Bills’ eighth ranked defense. Also of note, that defense sports cornerback Tre’Davious White; an All-Pro who held McLaurin to four catches and 39 yards in 2019, their only matchup against each other.
Plus, I hate to say it because I love his story, but I don’t trust quarterback Taylor Heinicke just yet. This matchup will be a great opportunity to prove himself, as the Bills are the best team against quarterbacks in fantasy thus far, only giving up 9.05 points per game. Best believe that if Heinicke goes off I will be supporting him even heavier, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he and McLaurin get put on hold this week.
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
22.5 points (PPR) / 17.5 points (Non-PPR)
I’ll keep this one fairly simple since my reasoning is pretty straight forward. The Raiders will host the Miami Dolphins this upcoming week, who rank 12th in passing yards given up per game (219.5). However, more importantly, they have cornerback Xavien Howard who will likely be lined up against Ruggs. Howard is coming off of an All-Pro year and is considered one of the best corners in the league. Ruggs will have to be more than just fast to get anything significant on Howard.
It’s also important to note how Ruggs got his points last week. More notably, let’s talk about his 61 yard touchdown reception. That catch netted him 13 of his 22.5 points (six for the score, six for 60 yards, one for the catch), or 58% of his fantasy points. He finished as the WR9 last week, but if he didn’t catch that bomb, he would’ve finished as WR52… sheesh.