Welcome to On To The Next One, the weekly column where I select four players you should consider benching/starting this week. 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.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
8.2 points (PPR) / 4.2 points (Non-PPR) per ESPN
I hate to rag on the same defense week after week, but it’s hard not to for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their rushing defense is absolutely elite, that’s not in question. However, their passing defense is atrocious. They allow an NFL-high 327.5 passing yards per game and give up the most fantasy points per game to receivers (53.83). To make it worse, last week against the New England Patriots, they lost starting cornerback Carlton Davis. Even with Tua Tagovailoa sidelined, Parker should still produce extremely well against this week. Jacoby Brissett is a capable enough quarterback, the Dolphins just have to hope he can evade the pass rush from the Buccaneers.
Also of note is how the injury bug is digging its way into this situation. Parker himself is (as of writing this) officially labeled as questionable for the week with a shoulder injury. Obviously, monitor this. The “positive” in this case is that Parker isn’t the only Miami receiver hurt. Will Fuller V was recently put on IR due to breaking a finger last week against the Indianapolis Colts. That means more targets for Parker.
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
3.1 points (PPR) / 1.1 points (Non-PPR)
The Patriots played a surprisingly close game against the Buccaneers, losing 19-17 on a last second field goal miss by Nick Folk. That close game came without the Patriots having a run game; I mean that literally, as the fantastic Buccaneers front seven held the Patriots to a single negative yard the whole game. That’s not entirely off-putting, as the Buccaneers allow the least amount of rushing yards per game (47.5). Harris was a must-sit last week and that was never up for debate.
This week however, the Patriots will be heading to Houston to face the Texans who allow fifth most rushing yards per game (137) and just gave up 199 rushing yards and two scores just last week. Harris should bounce back against a poor rushing defense, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a multiple score game.
How about the other Pats running back that could also do well, even if to a lesser degree than Harris? Read about that RB here.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
29.5 points (PPR) / 26.5 points (Non-PPR)
Ekeler had himself a night against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, exploding for 117 rushing yards and a score while hauling in another score in the air. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as the Raiders defense allows the seventh most fantasy points per game to backs (26.95) and the 10th most rushing yards per game (132.2).
The Chargers will be hosting the 3-1 Cleveland Browns who boast one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL. They allow the third least amount of rushing yards per game (66.5) and give up the second least amount of fantasy points per game to backs (12.28). Ekeler is a stupendous player and Joe Lombardi is an amazing offensive coordinator, but I think it would be in their interest to not go on the ground as much this upcoming week against Cleveland.
C.J. Uzomah, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
26.5 points (PPR) / 21.5 points (Non-PPR)
I’ll keep this one short. There’s no point in rostering Uzomah in fantasy unless you’re in a hilarious deep league, as prior to last week he was only targeted five times the whole season. Until he’s targeted consistently in the passing game, Uzomah isn’t worth much in fantasy. If you’re extremely desperate for tight ends, perhaps he would be worth a pickup, but there’s so many other options that have a guaranteed role in their offense.