(Table for 6 continued from above)
Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders
I almost tried to trade for Carr in my league this past Saturday.
With Kyler Murray on the wrong side of questionable, my only available backup plan was Trevor Lawrence. I opted not to rent Carr for one game against a lower-tier Bengals defense because I didn’t trust him as an impact fantasy performer.
As most of you know, he then turned in his second-worst fantasy performance of the year: 8.6 points. It was his third QB3 outing in his past six games. After racking up 21+ fantasy points in each of his first three contests, after the tragedy involving Henry Ruggs and the high-profile firing of his head coach, Carr hasn’t looked the same, and his noticeable dip in passing attempts hasn’t helped.
Which Carr will show up Thursday with the 5-5 Raiders’ season pretty much on the line? The calls for his benching – and his removal as a fantasy streamer – could grow louder if he stumbles again.
Matt Breida, RB, Buffalo Bills
Buffalo began the season with Devin Singletary as the starter and (starting in Week 2) Zack Moss sliding just above Singletary as a TD-dependent RB3.
Matt Breida never entered the conversation in serious fantasy circles. Despite averaging an incredible 5.0 yards-per-carry for his career across 452 attempts (not a small sample size), Breida was the third wheel of a two-wheeled bicycle. He was on standby in case of injury.
But he has shined in limited work these past two games while Singletary, and especially Moss, have struggled to gain traction. Facing a Saints defense that led the league in opposing yards per carry before Sunday’s meltdown against the Eagles, each Buffalo RB could struggle.
But I’m watching to see who leads the team in touches and production.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
One of the most fascinating fantasy running backs these past two seasons, Jacobs can be classified as undervalued based on some metrics and overvalued based on others.
I’ve tended to be in the latter group, viewing his higher-than-normal TD rate as a yellow flag when lined up against objectively inefficient rushing (3.9 yards per carry last season and 3.7 this season).
Does he “have a knack for finding the end zone,” as some prognosticators like to profess? Or is he a lower-tier bell-cow better suited for a split-time role (with Kenyan Drake, for example)?
In the Raiders’ last four games, he’s averaged just under 9 carries a contest. 4.3 receptions per game during this stretch are keeping him afloat. But mediocre usage and mediocre production don’t often continue for very long. His value likely will break one way or the other.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions
Remember when Detroit had two RB1s in the season’s opening weeks? We all know what D’Andre Swift means to this team. But the recently signed Jamaal Williams was the No. 3 overall fantasy RB in Week 1 and posted back-end RB2 numbers in Week 3.
Then his receptions waned, he got hurt, and this past weekend her returned to a brutal matchup in Cleveland.
But Williams remains a fascinating figure on a morbidly fascinating Lions squad. For context, he’s earning only 1.1 fewer carries per game than Josh Jacobs. (Wow, right?)
But Detroit’s offense is in shambles.
The question is whether he’ll continue to earn those complementary looks and if he’ll get even remotely close to being the pass catcher we saw in Week 1 (8 receptions on 9 targets). His upside is higher than it appears, though his floor remains near the bottom.
Marquez Callaway, WR, New Orleans Saints
This summer, I shared with readers why Callaway (WR49 average draft position) was one of my favorite undervalued fantasy wideouts. With Michael Thomas out for the start of the season (and as we’d later learn, the entire season), there was no apparent No. 1 receiver.
He flashed during the preseason and appeared poised to do what teammate Tre’Quan Smith and others were unable to do in recent years: be a fantasy streamer.
Despite relatively poor quarterback play, he’s currently the WR43. His season realistically could go either way, as his targets have dropped in recent weeks, but his touchdowns have climbed.
With the ascending Adam Trautman (27 targets in his last four games) out 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL, Callaway has an opportunity to earn more looks beginning Thursday against a vaunted Bills defense.
His usage will help us reassess his value heading into December.