Welcome back to 5 Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, we try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. I haven’t been able to get up an article the last couple of weeks due to a lot of different circumstances so I’m glad to be back writing this. Hope you enjoy!
Baker Mayfield, QB Cleveland Browns (FantasyPros Week 14 Rank: 18)
If you’ve read any of my articles this year, you know that Baker Mayfield basically has a home here in the Thrives section. This has to be at least the 4th or 5th time the rookie from Oklahoma has found his way on this list. And this week, there’s good reason for it. The Browns will welcome the Panthers to Cleveland this weekend and this will prove to be very beneficial for Mayfield. Carolina has been absolutely terrible this season against QBs. They’ve given up the 6th most fantasy points to the position on the season and the 2nd most in the last 4 weeks. Yeah, that’s no bueno. And it’s going to be no bueno again for them when they have to take on someone with Mayfield’s talent. The Browns’ QB has thrown it a metric shit-ton this year for a rookie and even when he hasn’t had 30+ attempts in a game, he’s been very efficient. Mayfield finishes in the Top 12 this week against a Panthers defense that just isn’t showing up.
Gus Edwards, RB Baltimore Ravens (FantasyPros Week 14 Rank: 15)
I won’t lie, this one could totally go the other way. If the Ravens fall behind the Chiefs early, you can kiss any chance of the Gus Bus finishing as a high-end RB2 bye-bye. But, I think the Ravens defense can at least slow down the attack of the Chiefs. And if that’s the case, Edwards should get plenty of work. Baltimore has ran for over 200 yards each game since Lamar Right Handed Vick Jackson has taken over as the starter and will look to control the ground game again against a Kansas City defense that surrenders 122 rushing yards/game. The Chiefs have also surrendered the 3rd most fantasy points a game to RBs this season and given up over 5 yards a carry. It might be risky, but I’m getting back on the Gus Bus this week.
Justin Jackson, RB Los Angeles Chargers (FantasyPros Week 14 Rank: 25)
Justin Jackson had quite the debut on Sunday Night Football when the Chargers finally turned to him in the second half against the Steelers going for 82 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. The Steelers couldn’t figure anything out defensively against Los Angeles, consistently getting ripped for big gains on the ground by Jackson and deciding they’d cover Keenan Allen with a Linebacker. But I’m not mad or anything. Only a loss that’ll probably keep my team out of a bye and maybe a division title. Not mad at all. Nope. But, speaking of teams who don’t have a clue on defense, hello Cincinnati! The Chargers will welcome the Bengals, a team who thought it was a good idea to hire Hue Jackson after he got fired from Cleveland to Los Angeles. Cincy is absolutely atrocious on defense. They’ve given up the most fantasy points to RBs and have allowed the most rushing yards per game. Yikes. If the Chargers give Jackson the work that they should with Melvin Gordon sitting out, he could find his way into the Top 20.
Amari Cooper, WR Dallas Cowboys (FantasyPros Week 14 Rank: 15)
As a card carrying member of the Cooper Troopers Fan Club, I was a little bit concerned when he was traded to Dallas. But my worry was all for naught. Amari has been an absolute target hog since arriving in the Big D with games with 8, 5, 10, 9 and 8 targets from Dak Prescott. He’s changed their offense and to everyone’s surprise has made Jerry Jones look smart. This week he gets the Eagles secondary who has been atrocious against the pass and basically has a couple of dudes off the street playing in their secondary. Philly has allowed the 6th most fantasy points against WRs and that number will only get higher after Amari is done ripping them up this week. In a big NFC East game, I expect Cooper to perform in a big way. Cooper Troopers unite!
Courtland Sutton, WR Denver Broncos (FantasyPros Rank: 29)
I actually had Sutton ready to go as a Thrive before the news about Emmanuel Sanders and his season-ending injury was reported. Denver will travel to San Francisco to take on the Niners and their terrible secondary on Sunday. Now that Sanders is down, the rookie from SMU has to become the Broncos’ de-facto number 1 WR and that should benefit him this week. San Francisco’s secondary has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to WRs on the season and besides Richard Sherman, there’s not a whole lot there to be afraid of. Sutton is starting to build trust with Case Keenum and last week we got the breakout game that we’ve been waiting for. Sutton’s aDOT of 15 yards ranks near the top of the league. This is important to note because Denver is willing to take shots to him. If one of those shots lands, we could have ourselves a WR2 this week.
Jameis Winston, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FantasyPros Rank: 7)
I know that Tampa throws the ball more than anyone in the league and I know that Jameis “We Skrong” Winston has been better since taking back over for Ryan Fitzpatrick, but you will not find me trusting Winston in the first round of the fantasy playoffs. There’s just too much that could go wrong in this game for Jameis. For every good throw that he makes, normally he follows that up with one that makes you wonder what the hell he’s doing out there. And this week he takes on the Saints, who over the last 4 weeks have surrendered the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs. They’ve been gradually improving on defense and should be playing with a lead which can be a dangerous thing for Winston. Another thing that I’d like to note is Tampa’s Oline #sucksbutts. And I’m never a fan of QBs playing behind poor Olines against a good front. The Saints could wreak havoc on the Bucs forcing Winston to make quick and potentially poor decisions. I don’t think he finishes as a QB1 this week.
Leonard Fournette, RB Jacksonville Jaguars (FantasyPros Rank: 10)
The Jags might be the most one dimensional team ever. They’re going to give Fournette the ball a million times in this game. Guaranteed touches is normally a good thing, but Jacksonville’s Oline is missing both Brandon Linder and Andrew Norwell, so I’m not loving on Halloween Leonard this week. When he’s played, Fournette has faced an 8 man front on 32% of his snaps which is in the Top 10 in the league. With very little room to run and going against a very good Titans’ front, I don’t think that it’s fair to expect Fournette to finish anywhere near the Top 10 this week. Hard pass.
Spencer Ware, RB Kansas City Chiefs (FantasyPros Rank: 19)
Ware has stepped into the spotlight with piece of shit Kareem Hunt being released by the Chiefs. The new starter for the league’s most explosive offense takes on the Ravens this week who have given up the least fantasy points to RBs and the 3rd fewest rushing yards on the season. Another big question that we have to consider here is this: is Ware really the guy? The Chiefs signed Charcandrick West back this week and Ware played on about 69% (nice) of snaps last week. I think that we need to taper our expectations for Ware until we know for sure what his role will be for this offense.
T.Y. Hilton, WR Indianapolis Colts (FantasyPros Rank: 12)
I understand that T.Y. Hilton is Andrew Luck’s number one target on the outside, but Hilton is far too inconsistent for me to trust on a week to week basis. When the Colts take on the Texans this week, I expect Hilton to continue to be inconsistent. The Texans rank in the top 1/4 of the league against the pass, both in terms of fantasy points and yards allowed. Their pass rush could cause issues for the Colts and Andrew Luck prompting Luck to have to throw the ball quicker than usual. This is significant to note because Hilton is primarily a deep threat. And if Luck doesn’t have time to let plays develop, we’re going to see a lot of quick passes from the Colts. Hilton is a talented player and a tremendous receiver, he’s just too volatile for my liking.
Kenny Golladay, WR Detroit Lions (FantasyPros Rank: 20)
I hate having Kenny G and his smooth routes on the Dives list, but we have to face the facts: since Golden Tate was traded, the Lions have not been the same offensively. Matt Stafford looks lost and Golladay hasn’t created enough separation to produce how some thought he would once the trade went down. Obviously, Marvin Jones Jr. going down to injury hasn’t helped his cause either in that regard. As Detroit’s only real threat on the outside, you can bet that the Cardinals will use All-Pro Patrick Peterson to shadow him on Sunday in Arizona. If you have Golladay, you’re probably not benching him. But, it’s certainly reasonable to temper expectations and be prepared for a low-end WR2 or worse week.
Thanks for reading!