Copestick’s Picks Week 9


Start em’

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees has had a lot of success against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; in his career, Brees is 15-8 against the Bucs. That narrative probably won’t change this week, as Drew Brees is at home and playing a weak Bucs defense that has key players hurt, trouble creating turnovers, and can’t get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Brees should have a field day on Sunday. He’s completing 70 percent of his passes and has 11 touchdowns to only four interceptions on the year. Brees will have plenty of time to find receivers Michael Thomas and Willie Snead, and he doesn’t have to worry about turning the ball over.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills – The Bills have arguably been the surprise of the NFL this season, largely in part of LeSean “Shady” McCoy. The Bills’ strong running game is their calling card on offense, but even in the passing game, Shady is the centerpiece. Last week against the Raiders, McCoy ran the ball 27 times for 151 yards and a touchdown. There’s a lot to like about McCoy’s production in the passing game. His 38 receptions lead the Bills by a wide margin, and no one else on the team has more than 20 catches thus far. The Bills face the Jets in their second of two division matchups for the year, and although the Jets have a solid defense, McCoy should have plenty of room to run.

Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans – After missing the first three games of the season recovering from a broken collarbone, Will Fuller has returned, and with strong quarterback play from DeShaun Watson, Fuller has become a top fantasy player. In the four games Fuller has played this year, he has 13 catches – seven of them are touchdowns. Fuller has proved he can still produce against quality competition, scoring two touchdowns against the Chiefs and Seahawks respectively. Fuller should add to his league-leading seven touchdown receptions, as his Texans face a Colts defense in shambles, that recently lost star rookie free safety Malik Hooker to a season-ending knee injury.

Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Detroit Lions – A below average running game has forced the Lions to turn to their aerial attack. That theory was evident last Sunday night, when quarterback Matt Stafford threw the ball 45 times and receiver Marvin Jones had 128 yards through the air. Jones has been the Lions leading receiver in their past two games, even against the Saints and the Steelers, two surprisingly talented defenses. Jones and the Lions face their division rival Green Bay Packers this weekend, whose defense is ranked 23rd in the NFL. The Packers shouldn’t pose any problems for Jones, their secondary is young and inexperienced, and the team has completely lost all hope following a season-ending injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Sit em’

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders – It’s getting hard to trust Derek Carr. He was near perfect against the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the AFC’s top teams. However, Carr played very poorly against the Redskins, Chargers, and Bills- all three games the Raiders should have won. The Raiders as a whole are hard to feel confident about. Their defense gives up a lot of points, and a struggling run game has put a lot of pressure on Carr to carry the team. The Raiders’ opponent this week is the Miami Dolphins, fresh off a crushing 40-0 loss to the Ravens. The Dolphins defense has quietly been a top ten unit all season, and with Carr’s inconsistent play, better options are available to put in your lineup.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons – Last season, Devonta Freeman played like a top five running back. This offseason, he was payed like one. Freeman is the 15th ranked running back in fantasy, and  he ranks third in the NFL in touchdowns with five on the year. His numbers are nothing spectacular, at least not compared to last year. The departure of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has hurt the Falcons offense, as Freeman only has one game of over 100 yards on the ground. The Falcons play on a road against their division rivals, the Carolina Panthers, fresh off a game where they allowed only three points to the Buccaneers. Look for the Falcons offense as a whole to underperform.

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos – Demaryius Thomas gets paid like a top-tier receiver, but unfortunately for Thomas, bad quarterback play has hindered his production and ability. The Broncos offense as a whole has struggled this season behind third year player Trevor Siemian who’s turned the ball over nine times in the past five games. On a short week, Thomas and the Broncos travel to Philadelphia, where they’ll be playing the red-hot Eagles. Rumors have been swirling that the Broncos are looking to hand the offense over to second year player Paxton Lynch, who didn’t perform that well in the limited action he saw last season. In the two games that Lynch played start to finish, Thomas only put up 61 yards and 49 yards, respectively. The Eagles are likely to get back their top cornerback in Ronald Darby, who will likely be shadowing Thomas all day.

Desean Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Desean Jackson signed a three year 35 million dollar contract with the Bucs this offseason with the hope that he’d give young quarterback Jameis Winston a deep threat and draw attention away from star receiver Mike Evans. It’s safe to say that Jackson has fallen short of expectations, he’s only logged one 100 yard game and isn’t even catching 50 percent of his targets. Jackson is averaging just over ten fantasy points a game, which ranks him as the 37th best receiver in fantasy this season. The Bucs were held to only three points last week against the Panthers and they’ll need more out of Winston if they want to beat the Saints, who are tough to beat at home. Winston still nursing a shoulder issue doesn’t bode well for Jackson, who faces a Saints secondary that quietly has been very good.

Play of the Week

Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins – Kenny Stills has flown under the radar this season, but quietly he’s had some big games. Stills has been one of the Dolphins as of late, he was their leading receiver a week ago, and had two huge touchdowns two weeks back. Stills has been a favorite target of Jay Cutler, who returns this week after a one week absence because of a rib injury. It also helps that Stills and the Dolphins play the Oakland Raiders at home, the only team that’s failed to record an interception this year. The Raiders are missing two of their top corners in Gareon Conley and David Amerson, leaving T.J. Carrie and Dexter McDonald left to fill starting spots. Stills should be able to catch a few passes from Cutler against a bad secondary, as the Dolphins hope to bounce back after an embarrassing 40-0 shutout against the Ravens last Thursday night.