Bye weeks: Browns, Buccaneers, Panthers, Steelers.
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (initial ranking this week — 3): One ankle injury later, Mahomes suddenly looks mortal, and now he must cope with a trip to Denver (third-fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs) on a short week. Mahomes is no longer a staple in the weekly top-two, at least for the time being, but he does have Tyreek Hill back, which helps.
Jared Goff (7): A date with Atlanta’s horrendous defense could not have come at a better time for Goff, who desperately needs a confidence-booster after submitting a putrid performance against the 49ers’ very rugged defense. After this comes a matchup at home against the Bengals, so Goff has a chance to enter his team’s Week 9 bye with some momentum.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (8): Okay, there was no realistic way that Prescott was going to maintain his torrid start, but the past three weeks have still been disappointing in various ways. Philadelphia has issues in the secondary that were very much exposed recently by Kirk Cousins, though, and Dallas may well follow a similar, pass-heavy game plan.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans (26): Perhaps describing a Ryan Tannehill start for the Titans as being “of interest” is stretching the definition of that phrase a tad, but hey, Tennessee does have some receiving talent (again, some) and the former Dolphins QB has some rushing ability, which plays well in fantasy.
Aaron Jones, Packers (8): From the high of Week 5′s four-TD eruption in Dallas, Jones sank to a relative low back home in Green Bay on Monday, with a fumble, a dropped pass and, most concerning, a major loss of workload to Jamaal Williams. A home matchup with the Raiders should give Jones the chance to reestablish himself as a low-end RB1, but by the same token, Williams might continue to impress and severely dent his teammate’s value.
Joe Mixon, Bengals (14): So much talent wasted on a squad with a lousy offensive line and questionable coaching (seriously, Zac Taylor, anytime you want to scheme Mixon into space, that would be great, thanks). Still, Cincinnati does have some of the other elements of a decent offense, even while waiting for A.J. Green to return, and Jacksonville has been accommodating to RBs.
David Montgomery, Bears (31): It sure would be nice to find out that Chicago used its bye week to figure out how to get just a bit more from its talented rookie.
Mark Walton, Dolphins (51): A season-high 11 touches for 75 total yards last week, as Walton passed Kalen Ballage on the depth chart, has put him on the ol’ radar. Sure, we’re talking about the godawful Fins here, but savvy fantasy players know to leave no stone unturned.
Keenan Allen, Chargers (6): It feels like about time for Allen to have a big game, which is another way of saying that, after he posted just 99 scoreless yards over his past three games combined, his fantasy owners are getting pretty darned impatient.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys (11): With the availability of Amari Cooper (thigh) very much in doubt, this could very much be Gallup’s chance to shine as his team’s WR1. As noted above, the Eagles might be hard-pressed to slow the talented second-year player, who has already gone over 100 yards in two of the four games in which he has played this season.
John Brown, Bills (20): Since dropping a 7-123-1 line on the Jets in Week 1, Brown has been steady but unspectacular. That could change in a dreamy home matchup with the Dolphins, which in turn could kick off a hot stretch (Eagles, Redskins, Browns and Dolphins again in Weeks 8-11) for the veteran WR.
Allen Lazard, Packers (67): The out-of-nowhere star of Green Bay’s controversial comeback win Monday, Lazard could eke out relevance if he continues to earn the trust of Aaron Rodgers, who was visibly irked with his other receivers. Heaven knows the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison haven’t exactly seized the opportunity presented by Davante Adams’s toe injury.
Zach Ertz, Eagles (4): A crucial divisional game against Dallas, allowing the eighth-most points to TEs, would be the perfect occasion for a long-overdue Ertz breakout. After setting a record for his position with 116 catches last season, he’s on pace for just 88 this year — still a lot for a TE, of course, but not what was hoped for by those who spent a high pick on Ertz, and he has just one TD.
Darren Waller, Raiders (8): Coming out of Oakland’s bye, Waller’s owners will want to see him reestablish himself among the elite at his position. Following his monstrous Week 3 (13-134), the previously unheralded player returned to Earth with an 11-92 line over his next two games combined.
Jared Cook, Saints (12): The Bears are tough on QBs and WRs but relatively soft versus TEs, making this a less forbidding matchup for Cook than it might initially appear. In his first season with New Orleans, Cook still isn’t being used heavily, but TDs in his past two weeks offer hope that he’s gained a red-zone role.