1) Kareem Hunt is no longer a lock for your lineup.
It’s painful to say because I too am a Kareem Hunt owner, but the honeymoon phase is officially over. Hunt was a fantasy and real-life superstar for the first half of the season, but these last couple weeks have made it hard to stay on the hype train.
After this week’s dud game, he is averaging only 2.9 YPC over his last 4 games; he also has less than 50 yards before contact in each of his last 7. This game against the Bills looked like it was going to be the juicy matchup that Hunt needed to get out of his slump; the Bills have allowed the most fantasy points in the league to running backs since trading DT Marcell Dareus.
Now, Hunt certainly hasn’t been great, but it’s not just him to blame; Andy Reid’s play-calling has been debatable, which is leading to relatively low usage for Kareem Hunt and Alex Smith coming back down to Earth. These aspects have greatly hindered that offense that won 5 straight to start the season. A combination of all these things mean that we may not see high productive performances from Kareem Hunt this season.
2) Deandre Hopkins is officially matchup proof.
When Deshaun Watson went down for the season, fantasy owners panicked. Many thought that, with Tom Savage taking over at quarterback, Deandre Hopkins’ production would suffer and revert back to last year’s disappointing output.
Now, Savage has been about as bad as many predicted, but Hopkins has continued his hot streak and continues to build fantasy owners trust going into the playoffs. A bottom of the barrel quarterback, who goes up against some of the best secondaries in the league, would usually mean a receiver might see a production hit.
But Hopkins is just that good and, when you’re that good, you’re going to get the ball a lot. Hopkins is seeing double digit targets on almost a weekly basis and volume is the #1 thing you should be looking for as a fantasy player.
Hopkins has only failed to score double digits once and that was when he had Watson throwing him the ball. He still has some rough matchups going forward, but he should be in your lineup every week.
3) Big Ben can still play football!
Despite Ben Roethlisberger being one of the more high-profile quarterbacks in the NFL for the last decade or so, he hasn’t always been the best fantasy quarterback. He has only finished as a top-10 fantasy QB once out of the past 7 seasons; this is due largely in part to his drastic home/road splits. At Heinz Field, he usually plays like one of the best and is almost the complete opposite when he hits the road.
Big Ben contemplated retirement this past offseason and, for a majority of the season, it looked like he probably should have; however, he’s now thrown 4 touchdown passes in each of the past two weeks and he’s the number one QB in fantasy during that span. Now, both of these games were at home and he goes back on the road to Cincinnati this week, but his following two games will be at home.
If he can continue to produce now that the Steelers appear to have really hit their stride, he may be a solid starting option in the fantasy playoffs. It doesn’t hurt that he has two superhumans in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell at his disposal.