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The Best Of Week 9

Matt Waldman scouts our in-season content and shares five must-knows and his takes on each.

You guys have a ton of articles. 

This statement about Footballguys is a blessing but it can feel like a curse. Our staff delivers insights that change seasons for the better yet realistically, no fantasy owner has the time to read everything we publish in a week. 

If this describes you, let me be your scout. Here are five insights from Footballguys articles that I find compelling for the weekend ahead. I'll share what should help you this week, touch on the long-term outlook, and sometimes offer a counterargument.  

This week includes an in-depth examination of Andrew Luck's injury, stretch-run streamers, introductions to Dede Westbrook and Rod Smith, and a discussion about the Jimmy Garappolo trade. 

1. Andrew luck's Injury expectations

Because this column is implicitly devoted to players who will be available for the coming weekend, this may be the first time I've devoted a segment to Bramel's Injury Expectations updates. If you're not reading Bramel's injury coverage, either your fantasy rosters are healthy or you're not correctly using our website. 

Deshaun Watson's ACL tear was jarring news, but the Colts moving Andrew Luck to IR is even more worrisome. Bramel's training, resources, football knowledge, and fantasy expertise provide an incredible service to Footballguys readers. Here's what Bramel has written about Luck this week. I have combined the information from various updates into one segment: 

***The 2017 Andrew Luck Saga finally ended after the Colts put him on injured reserve on Thursday. Unfortunately, the 2018 Andrew Luck Saga is just beginning and may be just as mysterious and nerve-wracking. Chris Ballard told reporters the consensus opinion after Luck visited multiple shoulder specialists was continued rehab. But it's difficult to trust the Colts' information after 11 months of uncertainty. I don't think arthroscopic surgery to better define the current status of Luck's shoulder or further rehab setbacks are entirely off the table. I wrote about some of the possible anatomic concerns earlier this week.

Jay Glazer reported Sunday morning Luck continues to feel soreness in his surgically repaired shoulder and has begun seeking other opinions. It's a concerning development. Here's what I wrote after discussing Luck with RotoViz contributor and upper extremity specialist Dr. Jeff Budoff last week:

Noting that a posterior labrum repair can be a technically difficult surgical procedure, Budoff wondered about lingering cartilage issues, persistent laxity in the shoulder joint, or shoulder tightness that was slow to respond to rehab. All would cause soreness and inflammation in the joint. All would require more deliberate rehab. And all could make a full return to form difficult. There's no way to know for certain if Luck is dealing with one of these anatomic considerations but it seems unlikely Luck would require a joint injection for mild soreness this late in his rehab program.

More specifically, Budoff told me it can be difficult to get the shoulder joint repaired just right. A successful repair of the posterior labrum may later be complicated by looseness in the front of the shoulder that wasn't a significant issue before. That looseness can cause inflammation and soreness in the later stages of a throwing program. It's also possible to repair the labrum slightly tighter than needed with a resulting decrease in shoulder range of motion. That stiffness may be able to be worked out with further rehab but would also cause inflammation as throwing increases. And those are just two possible complications that might warrant further discussion with a specialist.

The worst case scenario is also now in play -- Luck's shoulder may never be what it was pre-injury -- and that's even more painful to contemplate.

That's not to say the worst case scenario is any way likely. Chris Mortensen reported late Sunday night that the Colts do not believe the latest setback is serious. We've heard the same line from the Colts since June. Hopefully, I won't be updating this discussion with more concerning news after Luck's visit with a specialist on Monday.

Hopefully, Luck's shoulder responds to changes in the rehab program and we see Luck ready to participate in offseason workouts and back to his usual strength, stamina, and accuracy by camp next year. This is likely to be the most watched and questioned injury story of the 2018 offseason/preseason.

Sigmund Bloom is optimistically buying low on Luck as a dynasty option. 

Luck may never be the same, but he can reinvent himself as a very good quarterback, and he won’t have lost any of his athleticism as a runner or negotiating the pocket. He won’t be elite again if his shoulder is forever limited, but he can still be very useful in fantasy leagues. The despair of Luck being in a very uncertain spot could make a dynasty owner do something rash and trade him for less than a package including first-round picks and/or top-end producers/prospects.

My Take: Like anyone else who understands that football is at its best when its top talents are healthy and playing to their potential, I'm hoping we see a fully healthy Luck next year. Team construction is difficult in the free agency era and it's not like the Colts didn't try to build an offensive line for Luck.At the same time, Luck, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton are the three quarterbacks who have taken the most punishment since 2011.

I've publicly stated that I've been most worried about Luck and Newton for the past 2-3 years because of the way they engage contact. Although Jacoby Brissett hasn't been a fantasy starter in most formats, the fact that he's completing 60 percent of his passes with a positive touchdown-to-turnover ratio despite learning the offense without training camp is impressive. 

If you can acquire Brissett at the value of a QB2, I'd consider it. He's mobile, strong-armed, poised, and clearly a quick learner under challenging circumstances. As Bramel mentioned, Luck still has a shot of returning to his pre-injury form but unless I already have his rights on one of my dynasty squads, I'm not investing. It's one thing for a quarterback to reinvent himself as a pocket passer when he once relied on his legs. However, as much as I appreciate Luck's mind for the game, a bad throwing shoulder will be much more difficult to overcome. 

If you like risk, Bloom's route could pay a handsome reward. If you're a skeptic about Luck's injury, don't go near him.

2. Jimmy Garappolo Discussion

Whether it's in New England or elsewhere, Patriots backup quarterbacks always earn massive attention from the fantasy community whenever there is an opportunity for them to start. After a couple of years of rumors, New England finally unloaded Garappolo for a draft pick. 

Now that he's a 49er, fantasy owners are wondering how soon he'll play, whether he'll perform well, and will he be the long-term answer in San Francisco. Our Footballguys Roundtable covered the topic of Garappolo this week. 

Matt Waldman: What are the short-term and long-term implications of this trade?

  • How long will it take for Garoppolo to earn the starting job?
  • What will be the immediate fantasy impact? 
  • How valuable is Garoppolo in dynasty formats given his age, time behind Brady, and success in limited relief of Brady? 

Darin, you're up.  

Darin Tietgen:  C.J. Beathard has had his moments but I can't see the Niners making this move to have Garappolo just sit and watch a rookie. He'll start by Week 10 the latest. It's hard to say if he'll have an immediate impact. Other than Pierre Garcon, whose value may see a little bump, he'll be throwing to inferior wide receivers. Garappolo could be a low-end starter.

His time behind Brady is a factor, but I think his upcoming work with Kyle Shanahan will be the big push to make him an instant dynasty darling at QB. I would put him as a top-12 dynasty QB right now with potential to reach the top-5 in the next few years.

Andy Hicks: It would be easy to say Garoppolo starts as soon as possible, but the coaching staff needs to put him in a position to succeed long-term. They also need to find out what he can do before they pay him the big dollars. The 49ers are likely to build their team the right way and are prepared for their young QB to grow with them. Garoppolo does not need mentoring any longer, whereas C.J. Beathard does. 

Even so, I would be very wary of looking for immediate fantasy impact as the 49ers are not playing for 2017. 

In Dynasty leagues, he is someone to make a solid offer for, but not break the bank. The Patriots either think Brady can play for a few more years or can't get Garoppolo to commit beyond this year while he will be cheap. If the 49ers don't like what they see from Garoppolo, then they lose a 2nd round pick but can use their first pick on a franchise QB. No matter what, Garoppolo has to impress them quickly before he hits free agency. His value could easily take a slide if he plays poorly. 

John Mamula: Currently, Garoppolo is not expected to start until after the 49ers Week 11 bye and he'll be a week-to-week match-up play the rest of the season.  The schedule does not set up favorably for the 49ers passing game. He has difficult matchups against the Seahawks (the league's ninth-rated pass defense), the Jaguars (the top-rated pass defense) and then mediocre matchups against the Bears, Texans, and Titans while trying to learn a new offense.

Long-term,  I am mildly interested in Garoppolo in dynasty. While Kyle Shanahan's offensive system puts him in a position to succeed, the 49ers do not have the pieces yet. If Garoppolo does not impress the coaching staff the remainder of this season, the team may go another direction in the NFL draft.

Mark Wimer:  Garappolo will be starting within two weeks, if not this week. He might come in at halftime this week—but he may get one week to learn the new nomenclature in San Francisco.  I expect there will be a modest improvement for the wide receivers, and I like the chances of a big bump in value for George Kittle as Garoppolo gets acclimated—a good tight end is a new starting quarterback's best friend.

Long-term, Garappolo is more valuable than any given rookie quarterback you might draft next season, so he's worth a valuable draft pick if you can swing a trade for him. He is worth less than an established starter or a high-profile 2017 rookie like Deshaun Watson—we have to see how well he responds to leading a less-talented offense in San Francisco.

Danny Tuccitto: I don't think San Francisco holds introductory press conferences for players that will be on the bench for a significant amount of time. And as bad as C.J. Beathard has played—not just in rain-soaked Philadelphia—the timeline shrinks even further. In short, I think there's a 95% chance he starts by Week 12.

Insofar as a) Garoppolo starts sooner rather than later and b) his promotion returns San Francisco's passing attack to some level of reasonable functionality, then it will no doubt have a positive fantasy impact for all of their fantasy-viable offensive players. If "immediate" means Week 9, the only impact it will have is to force a rookie quarterback to be looking over his shoulder for the hook, which isn't positive at all.

In New England, Garoppolo's limited live-game action showed well according to my "true" stats, which by definition adjusts for small sample sizes: 7.25 True Yards per Attempt, 4.62% True Touchdowns per Attempt, and 2.44% True Interceptions per Attempt. Whether or not those stats translate to San Francisco depends on a whole host of factors impacting the 49ers' ability to cultivate his talent and skill set in the future, not the Patriots' ability to do so in the past.

So how valuable is he in dynasty? It's too early to tell. But if he starts and puts up a big game early in his tenure, he won't just be rising up my rankings; he'll be skyrocketing.

Waldman: The greatest short-term concern about Garoppolo as a fantasy quarterback is the transition from the Patriots' Erhardt-Perkins system to the 49ers' version of the West Coast Offense. The differences between the two are significant.

While both offenses can be complex, its challenges occur in different ways. For New England's style of offense, the initial learning curve is not as difficult for quarterbacks because the verbiage is reasonably simple, the alignments and routes are mostly the same on each side of the line, and we've seen Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson produce at a high level in these offenses as rookies transitioning from college spread systems. 

The difficulty with learning the Patriots' style of offense happens once a quarterback has spent enough time there to develop layers and layers of subtle route adjustments. Just ask many of the veteran receivers New England brought to the team only to ship them off soon after because they had difficulties learning the system. Their difficulties were about getting on the same page with Tom Brady.

Remember, what makes Tom Brady great is his work from the pocket, which means reading the line of scrimmage before the snap and turning potentially difficult-looking defensive looks into simple solutions. Brady makes the easy plays better than any quarterback in the league and part of that is finding the easy solution. For this to happen, his receivers have to be skilled and understanding Brady's adjustments in a short period of time. 

In contrast, the West Coast Offense's learning curve is the most difficult of all offensive systems. The verbiage is long, there's a lot of pre-snap movement and shifts, and the routes aren't often mirrored on each side like the Erhardt-Perkins scheme. It means the quarterback has a lot more to learn early on and trying to remember all of these details can slow down a passer's thought process and reaction time. 

Jared Goff and DeShone Kizer are among several rookie quarterbacks who struggled mightily learning and playing in the West Coast Offense. Matt Ryan said his first year in Kyle Shanahan's offense was slow and difficult, and the Falcons earned a lot of criticism from its fans during that first year because Ryan's difficulties were evident. 

Knowing this is the challenge for Garappolo, I have a difficult time believing that he'll thrive immediately. When I studied Garappolo for the Rookie Scouting Portfolio, he had some clear issues maintaining poise in the pocket. He often overreacted to pressure. 

Although he hasn't shown those issues in New England, his playing time has been limited and often in advantageous situations. I'm anxious to see if he's past those behaviors, or if the Patriots' offense wasn't the environment that would elicit the troubling behavior of his college career. 

I think Mark's thoughts on Garappolo-to-Kittle are logical. Kittle has dropped too many footballs for my taste, but this coaching staff appears to be a player's team in terms of giving rookies a chance to play through their mistakes. Garcon and Carlos Hyde will be my other suggestions. I expect a lot of dump off's to running backs early on. 

It appears the Patriots believe in Brady's ability to play at a high level beyond the term of Garappolo's current deal, so it made no sense to let Garappolo test the free agent market. And knowing that he's been the subject of past negotiations, there's no way Garappolo would re-sign with New England to be a backup until Brady calls it quits. 

Long-term, it means that we should regard Garappolo as a promising option for dynasty teams. However, I also agree that I'm not breaking the bank on Garappolo. I'd much prefer to draft Lamar Jackson than forfeit a first- or second-round rookie pick for Garappolo. 

Depending on where he lands, I'd also consider Josh Rosen. There are also quarterbacks from the 2017 class who aren't playing right that I'd rather acquire ahead of Garappolo. Even so, if I had depth at wide receiver or running back and could part with a veteran who I could reasonably expect had no more than 2-3 years left in his career, I'd consider a deal for Garappolo.  

Closing Thoughts: Although Garappolo didn't show difficulties with pressure when playing with the Patriots, he had some notable issues at Eastern Illinois. It's possible that he worked out those problems, but it's equally possible that New England's surrounding talent kept Garappolo in favorable situations that won't happen in San Francisco. 

We don't like to discuss it, but quarterbacks can often enter the league with a track record of courageous and poised play from the pocket and have it beaten out of them. Poise and confidence are not unassailable traits in a punishing game. Although unlikely, I hope the 49ers sit him until next yer. It would be best for his long-term development. 

3. STreaming The stretch-run

Jeff Hasley's Week 9 Fantasy Overview features streaming options for this week and the rest of the season. He supplies multiple options per position. Here are a handful of compelling takes: 

Over the last four weeks, Houston has allowed an average of 2.7 passing touchdowns per game with approximately 300 ayrds passing per game.  

Quarterbacks

Upcoming schedule:
Houston: vs IND, at LAR, ARI, at BAL
Who stands to benefit: Jacoby Brissett Week 9, Jared Goff Week 10, Arizona's QB Week 11 (Stanton/Gabbert), Joe FlaccoWeek 12.

Running Back

Green Bay - next four games DET, at CHI, BAL, at PIT
The Packers have allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing running backs over the last four weeks, including 128 rushing yards per game and 0.7 rushing touchdowns per game. 

Who stands to benefit?
Week 9 Detroit (Ameer Abdullah)
Week 10 at Chicago (Jordan HowardTarik Cohen)
Week 11 Baltimore (Alex CollinsDanny Woodhead)
Week 12 at Pittsburgh (Le'Veon Bell)

Wide Receiver

Exploit

  • Tampa Bay - League leading 15 receptions allowed per game to wide receivers this season. 
  • New York Giants - 15 receptions allowed per game to wide receivers - last four weeks including 191 yards to wide receivers
  • Houston - 200 yards receiving allowed to wide receivers in the last four weeks (163 yards on season)
  • Kansas City - 2.3 touchdowns allowed to wide receivers over the last four weeks

Next four games

Tampa Bay: at NO, NYJ, Bye, at ATL
New York Giants: LAR, at SF, KC, at WAS
Houston: IND, at LAR, ARI, at BAL
Kansas City: at DAL, Bye, at NYG, BUF 

Ryan Hester's Trendspotting also like the Houston defense as a "funnel" for strong fantasy production in the passing game.

FUNNEL WATCH

A "funnel" defense is one with a stout run defense but a suspect (or worse) pass defense. These units "funnel" production to the exterior and deep parts of the field (places where passing games focus) and away from the short middle (where the running game typically occurs). The following criteria are used to determine funnel defenses.

  • Top 1/3 in the NFL in Yards per Rush Attempt allowed
  • Bottom 1/3 in the NFL in Net Yards per Pass Attempt allowed
  • Top 1/3 in Percentage of Yards Allowed via Rush (looking for low percentage figures here)
  • Bottom 1/3 in Percentage of Yards Allowed via Pass (looking for high percentage figures here)
TEAMPAYD/GMRUYD/GMNYD/ATTYD/RUSH% PASSYD% RUSHYD
Detroit Lions 254.6 91.6 7.1 3.6 73.5% 26.5%
Houston Texans 238.0 96.6 6.9 3.8 71.1% 28.9%
Philadelphia Eagles* 256.8 70.4 5.9 3.8 78.5% 21.5%
Buffalo Bills* 266.4 80.1 6.3 3.5 76.9% 23.1%
Cleveland Browns** 229.3 84.3 6.6 2.9 73.1% 26.9%

Notes

  • Houston has allowed 100+ rushing yards to two running backs: Leonard Fournette (100) and Kareem Hunt(107).
  • Houston has allowed no more than 58 rushing yards to any other running back.
  • Houston has allowed 4+ receptions to zero running backs and no more than 24 receiving yards to any running back.
  • Houston has allowed one rushing touchdown to running backs.

My Take: I would not be surprised if the Texans are a deflated team after the past two weeks of events that include conflicts with the team owner, a last-minute loss, and Watson's season-ending injury. I would target players against Houston's passing game with impunity. 

Green Bay's run defense could be an interesting play for Ameer Abdullah. The Lions' starter called for more touches. The bigger question is whether Jim Caldwell is the type of coach to react to the squeaky wheel. Abdullah's skill and professional approach thus far may be enough for Caldwell to react positively to the request when it might not be the case with another player. Bloom also has Abdullah listed in this week's Sleepers column for similar reasons that Hasley mentioned above. 

4. dede Westbrook watch

Sigmund Bloom and I both like the Jaguars rookie receiver who returns from IR just as Marqise Lee is dealing with multiple injuries. Here's the Bloom Rent-A-Center advertisement for Westbrook as a buy-low

Westbrook is back and Marqise Lee is banged up again. Blake Bortles can throw a good deep ball, and we know Westbrook can run under them. He was a preseason all-pro in dominating fashion, and Westbrook could seize a big role right away. He shouldn’t be on the waiver wire in dynasty leagues, and redraft league players in deep leagues or in leagues with bonuses for big plays should add him.

My Take: This week's Gut Check features three buy-low receivers for the stretch run. Westbrook was one of them. 

Here is my pre-draft sample profile from the Rookie Scouting Portfolio on Westbrook:

Westbrook reminds me and my colleague Sigmund Bloom of receivers we’ve seen on the Indianapolis Colts. For Bloom, it’s Marvin Harrison, which is a heady comparison. He likes Westbrook’s skill and toughness around the ball. I cite the same reasons, but the player I drew parallels to was T.Y. Hilton.

Regardless of whose comparison is more accurate, if Westbrook comes close to performing like either one, an NFL team will come out a winner. The biggest question will be one of matching him to a coach and quarterback who value a player who performs big even if he isn’t.

Westbrook moves at a fast, fluid pace, and it begins at the line of scrimmage. He uses a variety of one and three-step releases with pacing variations to work into a defender before he releases past with a chop or shoulder reduction. His head fakes, jab steps, and burst set up short routes and double moves. His speed turns are quick and he gets his head aroudn fast to locate the ball.

He’s spent his college career working with see-it, throw-it scramblers like Trevor Knight and Baker Mayfield, and it has contributed to his patience as a zone receiver. He finds openings and makes timely breaks to exploit them. He’ll also work open when the first option closes off. With the amount of improvising Mayfield does, Westbrook could be pleasantly surprised at the success rate of timing routes that he runs in the NFL.

A good pass catcher, Westbrook extends well for the ball, makes plays over his shoulder, in stride with his route breaks, and after contact. He has a good feel for adjusting his body in tight spaces and he’ll win the ball from larger defenders. Despite his size, defenders don’t have a lot of success ripping the ball free from Westbrook’s grip once he gets his hands on the ball. He’ll also rip it away from an unsuspecting defender with better position. Although he has good boundary awareness for the college game, Westbrook has to work on getting both feet inbounds for the pro game.

For the reasons above, he reminds me a lot of Hilton, but it’s also due to his skill after the catch. Westbrook accelerates well from a stop and attacks creases hard. He uses his blocks well to cut back into open spaces, even if the entry to that open area is tight crease. His underrated strength also shows up as a ball carrier. Westbrook has the balance to pull through wraps and tightrope the boundary. He balances touches after contact and he has a stiff-arm that can ward off some linebackers when there’s good placement.

A patient runner, Westbrook varies his stride, sets up angles, and splits defenders when necessary. He’s at his best when he can avoid contact. His dips, cuts, and spin have a sudden quality and when paired with the momentum of his downhill speed, he can run through wraps of defensive backs. Westbrook’s patience can veer past the line into tentative behavior where he tries one too many moves before reaching the defender when he probably avoids the man if he waited longer and used just one move. With few exceptions, he carries the ball under his right arm and must use his left arm more often...

...Westbrook’s greatest hurdles for early playing time could be his draft status and concerns about his size. According to CBS Sports, “Westbrook was accused of throwing the mother of his two children to the ground in 2012, when he was 18, and biting the same woman’s arm and punching her with a closed fist in 2013.” Both times he was arrested; neither incident resulted in a conviction.

In 2011, Westbrook’s small intestine ruptured after a hit during a high school football game. He earned 21 staples from his chest to his navel to repair the injury that cost him the rest of the year. Analysts who use Body Mass Index (BMI) data may try to link Westbrook’s low BMI to a risk of injury, but using this incident as a supporting argument would be hasty. The doctors that repaired the injury described the event as a freak incident that they had never seen before and had to happen under the exact right circumstances.

Westbrook will earn an opportunity to compete for a slot role early on. With the right team, he could move outside. Think Hilton, Travis Benjamin and DeSean Jackson.

RSP Boiler Room: Dede Westbrook

NFL Lens: Tight Coverage (T.Y. Hilton & Dede Westbrook)

Dede Westbrook Highlights

In terms of team fit, we know that the Jaguars are winning by pounding the ball and while they are compelled to limit Blake Bortles as much a possible, they aren't as content with him as a traffic cop directly which side of the line the cement mixer (Leonard Fournette) and dump truck (Chris Ivory) should travel. The ground game presents excellent opportunities for play-action and yards after the catch. Watch the Colts game, and you'll see what I mean. 

Considering that the Jaguars play the Colts again and the likes of the Chargers, Browns, and 49ers between now and Week 16, it's worth stashing a dynamic option who can exploit these below-average units at containing YAC. Westbrook had multiple big plays as a vertical threat and/or YAC option during the preseason and his potential this year really hinges on his comfort level to play consistent football if he returns. 

If he does, his skills are a good combination of Hurns and Marqise Lee in the sense that he doesn't need pinpoint targets to win the ball against tight coverage and he has vertical speed, physicality, and elusiveness to turn short targets into huge plays. Use him in the slot and he can deliver on crossing routes off play-action bootlegs which fit well with Bortles' strengths and the Jaguars ground game. Bunch him with Hurns and Lee tight to the formation, and the Jaguars can send Westbrook deep from a run alignment that earns him a free release. 

If Westbrook plays to his Oklahoma tape, you might even see him develop a quick rapport with Bortles on fade routes, which was a strength the quarterback showed with Allen Robinson. At Westbrook's price as a first-come, first-serve preemptive option, it's worth stashing him if you can't get any deals done but you have room to cut bait on under-performers and wait. 

5. Who is Rod Smith?

Ezekiel Elliott's suspension leaves Dallas with a three-headed committee to replace him. At least, that's the party line heading into the game. The conventional targets will be Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. However, there's a compelling argument for Rod Smith. Bloom explains the Buy-Low appeal: 

Rod Smith, RB, DAL - Smith is a redraft and dynasty pickup this week. He’s the most physically talented of the backups with Darren McFadden in late career form, and he should get enough touches to show the Cowboys that he’s their best option with Ezekiel Elliott suspended. He flashed in the preseason and some Cowboys players think he is their most underrated player. Nothing may come of this, but having Smith on your roster while we’re not sure is worthwhile.

The fact that Smith has been earning playing time at McFadden's expense throughout the season, and McFadden is listed as the No. 3 back is a promising sign that Smith will have every opportunity to earn significant playing time as the "hot hand." 

The Chiefs defense may also be a better matchup than the "Neutral" rating that Justin Howe, Devin Knotts, and Keith Roberts assigned it in its Rushing Matchups for Week 9

The Ezekiel Elliott saga appears to be coming to an end as it appears that he has run out of legal options at this point and the Cowboys backfield will be made up of Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. The question amongst all fantasy owners is who is it going to be, and the realistic answer is probably a combination of both of the running backs. Morris should get the first carry, but beyond that trying to predict what the Cowboys will do is difficult at this point. The Cowboys continue to boast the number one overall offensive line according to offensive line expert Matt Bitonti, so both running backs should benefit from running behind this line.

The Chiefs run defense has been one that early on in the season over the first four weeks ranked as a top 10 rushing defense, but that has started to change as, over the last three games, the Chiefs have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing rush defenses. The Chiefs are allowing 142 yards and a touchdown per game over these contests and two of those games have been against Oakland (26th in rushing yards), Pittsburgh (16th in rushing yards), and Denver (10th in rushing yards). The biggest reason for decline is the play of Bennie Logan at defensive tackle who has come back to earth after a phenomenal start to his season.

Ryan Hester breaks down the Chiefs' weaknesses against the run in greater detail in Trendspotting, and it explains why he thinks the Dallas ground game could be a wise buy in DFS this weekend: 

Kansas City is also struggling against running backs, especially when factoring in strength of schedule. Their 4.9 yards per rush allowed is tied for third-worst in the NFL.

KC vs. RBs

Multiple running back-by-committees have kept the individual totals down, while weak strength of schedule is helping to keep the overall "Defense vs. Position" ranking down. Good running teams have performed well (Lamar MillerLe'Veon Bell, and Denver's trio).

Bryant will be highly-used this week, especially given his salary. He'll be an attractive WR2 for teams paying up at the position and a solid fallback WR1 for teams paying up elsewhere. Alfred Morris is a GPP play with the reports that he's the RB1 in Dallas. Both the misleading rankings of Kansas City vs. running backs and the uncertainty should lead to low ownership.

My Take: The committee potential for Dallas could be the reason to shy away from the matchup, but I would ignore that possibility. The Cowboys line is too good to ignore. Morris is the safest play on paper, but I agree with Bloom that Smith could be the best talent. 

If not for repeated disciplinary issues that forced Urban Meyer to kick Smith out of Ohio State, he had the talent to carry the load for the Buckeyes. He's a strong, agile back with the quickness to run every play productively as designed. I'd prefer Morris in DFS this week, but I'd rather buy-low on Smith in season-long formats and see if he can do what fantasy owners are now expecting from Aaron Jones.

Good luck this weekend!