So another week is in the books as the NFL 2019 season rolls relentlessly on, with more upsets, injuries, and thrills pouring in on Sunday. All of this of course just means more fantasy for you! Fear not Fantasy fans, we’re here once more to revel in your fresh successes, and also to share in your weekly disappointment – you are not alone! Without further ado, let’s have a look at both sides of the coin with this week’s Heroes and Villains!
Hunter Henry – TE – LA Chargers
The Chargers play in a small stadium. Their fans were outnumbered by Steelers fans on Sunday Night Football, as they always are at home. They’re missing their center so their offensive line is struggling, their running backs are suffering too, and their QB Phillip Rivers is having a tough time finding anybody reliable to catch his passes.
At least the last one of those could be helped with the return this week of Hunter Henry from injury. The tight end certainly demonstrated his value on Sunday night, catching 8 passes for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in a desperate bid to chase down the Steelers during the 4th quarter. A welcome return for the Chargers and hopefully for your fantasy team too!
Matt Ryan – QB – Atlanta Falcons
On the subject of seemingly irredeemable messes, the Falcons really are a disaster. Head coach Dan Quinn came from Seattle and was hired to fix the defensive ruin left by Mike Smith, it didn’t work, they fired their defensive coordinator from last season, and the defence has somehow gotten worse. If Quinn sees out the season it can only be down to southern politeness or the lack of available candidates during the season.
One thing that is working is Matt Ryan. We tipped him for a big game as, despite the struggles of those around him, Ryan is playing at an All-Pro level this season and turned that level of performances into stats this week against the hapless Cardinals with 356 yards, 4 TD passes and zero picks. This made him the top-scoring QB in Fantasy this week and helped win fantasy matchups over more fashionable options.
Stefon Diggs – WR – Minnesota Vikings
Clearly Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and QB Kirk Cousins still read this column. Last week Adam Thielen featured as the Vikings passing game rebounded against weak opposition. This week the air-based renaissance continued against a struggling Eagles secondary, and Kirk Cousins is starting to look like the guy the Vikings guaranteed $90m to.
On Sunday the aerial assault went through Stefon Diggs instead. The wideout caught 7 passes for 167 yards and Cousins connected with him 3 times in the end zone. Diggs outscored the next highest-wide receiver by nearly 20pts in Fantasy this week, so if you picked him up and ran with him on Sunday, you were well-rewarded.
Jared Goff, who fumbled in 10 straight games prior to not fumbling last week, fumbled again today. That's 13 fumbles and 13 INTs in his last 12 games for him.
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) October 13, 2019
Jared Goff – QB – LA Rams
The Sean McVay sheen is starting to wear off in Los Angeles. With a weakened defence, an underperforming offence and a rough list of divisional opponents, last season’s golden boy is finding it tough to find bright spots – and points.
There was plenty of blame to go around against an excellent 49ers defence this week, but a fair chunk of it lands on the shoulders of QB Jared Goff. He had his worst game as a professional on Sunday, only throwing for 78 yards and chipping in with a pick and no touchdowns for good measure. With so many good options at QB, Goff is a risky choice week-to-week while the Rams and McVay figure themselves out.
Austin Ekeler – RB – LA Chargers
He was an early-season darling and helped you win plenty of matchups, averaging over 20 fantasy points per game through the first five weeks of the year. Week 6 was a different matter, as Ekeler came back down to earth with a bang.
We’ve discussed the Chargers’ struggles already and they went down to an early deficit against the Steelers, so the game script called for a pass-heavy approach which left little room for the running game. The return of Melvin Gordon from his holdout also doesn’t help, but you were entitled to expect more than 14 rushing yards and another 14 passing yards from Ekeler this week.
JuJu Smith-Schuster – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers
As injuries continue to befall their quarterback position and the Steelers scroll further and further down their depth chart, their passing game is going to continue to struggle. The main victim of this trend has been the man they envisaged replacing Antonio Brown’s production, JuJu Smith-Schuster.
He couldn’t get started on the road against the Chargers defence that has been up-and-down this season, but that’s hardly surprising given that rookie Devlin Hodges could only find him once in four attempts and for a paltry 7 yards. The Steelers had to rely on their D and their rushing game for the win, and given the outlay required to bring in Smith-Schuster he likely cost you a matchup on Sunday.