This article is part of our NFL Picks series.
New Orleans Saints -6.0 (-110) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Nice home spot for an improving Saints team (winners of 3 straight) taking on an already overmatched Falcons team that will now be missing Calvin Ridley. While the Falcons should have trouble throwing the ball against a Saints pass defense that is tied for the second-fewest touchdowns (9) and has allowed the 7th-fewest passing yards in the league, they also figure to have major problems on the ground, as the Saints formidable run defense has allowed the fewest rushing yards, lowest yards per carry, and third-fewest touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Saints lost starting QB Jameis Winston, but are getting Taysom Hill back this week. Trevor Siemian is expected to start, but Taysom of course figures to be active near the goal line (at least). Meanwhile, the Falcons defense has allowed the second-most fantasy point to RB's, which sets Alvin Kamara up for a nice game. This game appears pretty one-sided, and I think we're getting a break on the price here due to the Winston injury.
Los Angeles Rams -7.5 (-110) vs. Tennessee Titans
Another nice home spot here for a clearly superior ballclub, with the Rams picking up All-Pro linebacker Von Miller this week while the visiting Titans will be playing without their All-World RB Derrick Henry (with the newly-signed Adrian Peterson expected to move into the bellcow role). Obviously this puts the Titans at a large disadvantage right off the bat, but the Rams also match up extremely well on offense vs. Tennessee, who rank dead-last in fantasy points allowed to WR's. The Rams figure to blow this game open through the air, while the decimated Titans offense should face tough sledding vs. a powerful Rams defense that has been newly upgraded. Regarding the -7.5 pointspread, it might pay to wait and see if it drops to -7, as that has already happened at several other sportsbooks. Of course, lines generally move towards the favorite on gameday, so there may be a small timeframe in which to do that. For what it's worth, the Rams are my favorite teaser leg this week, and fit nicely into teasers with any of the Cowboys, Saints, or Steelers. Obviously you can't get the Cowboys down under a field goal (at least not with 6-pointers), but I still feel pretty confident in Dallas covering -3.5 or -4.0 at home vs. a Von Miller-less Broncos team.
Pittsburgh Steelers -6.0 (-110) vs. Chicago Bears
I've been largely avoiding the Steelers this year because I don't trust Roethlisberger anymore, but this is such a good spot for them, it's hard to pass up. While the QB play figures to remain suspect (and Big Ben is reportedly dealing with a shoulder issue now), the Steelers fine receiving corps helps to bolster their passing game, as does their new bellcow RB Najee Harris. Speaking of Harris, he's carried the ball 23+ times in his last three consecutive starts (all Steelers wins), and has scored a touchdown in four straight games. That sets him up for a strong game vs. the Bears, who have allowed the 6th-most rushing yards this year. The Bears also rank next-to-last in fantasy points allowed to WR's, so Diontae/Claypool should find success as well. Meanwhile, the Bears passing game is virtually non-existent, and they don't figure to find much room on the ground vs. a Steelers run defense that has allowed the 7th-fewest rushing yards and second-fewest touchdowns. Throw in the Monday Night home crowd, and the Steelers appear to have Chicago over a barrel.
Jerry Jeudy over 4.0 receptions (-130)
Jeudy returned last week after missing most of the first half of the season, catching all 4 targets as the Broncos eased their No.1 receiver back into the lineup. With that return game under his belt and another week of practice, Jeudy should be the Broncos' top option here in a game that they almost certainly will be losing. It also helps that TE Noah Fant will miss the game after going on the Covid list (more on that in a second). With the Broncos expected to work Jeudy in more this week, a likely positive game script, and the possibility of some garbage time catches, it's hard to see him staying under this number.
Albert Okwuegbunam anytime touchdown (+525)
As mentioned above, the Broncos starting TE Noah Fant will miss this game, meaning Albert O is set to start. I should mention that he's been limited in practice with a knee injury (he's listed as questionable), but if he plays he figures to be pretty active, and it's worth noting Okwuegbunam had four red-zone targets in the last game he started for Fant. There are also many in the fantasy community (myself included) who have been waiting for Albert O to overtake Fant for the starting job, and this appears to be his prime opportunity to do so. I wouldn't go crazy with this one, as Albert O is a clear underdog to score, but he'll be a prime end zone option when the Broncos get down there. Too much value to pass up.
Hunter Renfrow over 5.5 receptions (-115)
Obviously, everyone has heard about the unfortunate car crash that Raiders WR Henry Ruggs was involved in this week, and his absence will open up more targets for Renfrow, who has already gone over this total in three of his last four games. Really not much more to it than that. His yardage total is also a fine play, although a bit more expensive at -125.
Jarvis Landry over 5.5 receptions (-105)
Similar situation here (although nothing to do with a car crash, thank goodness), as Landry will be moving into the uncontested No.1 receiver job with Odell Beckham being released by the Browns this week. Landry has been injured much of the year, but made his return in the Thursday Night game against the Broncos, and worked his way up into getting 10 targets last week. He should get all the work he can handle in this one, especially with the Browns/Baker Mayfield looking to prove that they don't need OBJ. There's also the possibility of some late garbage time here in this tough road matchup vs. the Bengals.
Myles Gaskin over 58.5 rushing yards (-125)
Gaskin has received double-digit carries in his last two starts (15, 12), and appears set for a ton of work this week vs. the lowly Texans, who have arguably the worst run defense in the league. In addition to the Dolphins rushing attempts likely expanding this week based on the matchup, Gaskin also figures to benefit from the absence of Malcolm Brown (leaving just Salvon Ahmed behind Gaskin). With the Dolphins seemingly likely to be playing with a lead here, and facing a run defense that allows 4.8 yards per carry (and over 30 carries per game), it sets up for a nice Gaskin day.
Brandin Cooks over 5.5 receptions (-105)
In addition to the Texans likely falling behind and having to throw, this game also marks the return of QB Tyrod Taylor, which is huge for Cooks, who caught 9 passes on 14 targets the last time Taylor was on the field. It's also a very nice matchup for Cooks, with the Dolphins allowing the third-most fantasy points to WR's.
Boston Scott over 45.5 rushing yards (-115)
I mentioned a moment ago that the Texans have arguably the worst run defense in the league. I say "arguably" because it's also possible the Chargers have the worst run defense, allowing a whopping 5.1 yards per carry. They've also given up the second-most rushing yards overall (behind the Texans). We also have to keep in mind that the Eagles ran for about a million yards in their 44-6 win over Detroit last week. There's zero doubt that the Eagles will be looking to run the ball down the Chargers throats, and while they do tend to spread the carries around, it should be noted that Scott dominated 1st Half snaps/carries last week. Obviously that trended downward in the second half when they had the giant lead, but this game should be much more competitive, which could lead to more Boston Scott carries (particularly given the matchup). There's also the chance of a few long gainers, given the Chargers league-worst yards per carry allowed.
Austin Ekeler over 42.5 receiving yards (-120)
We already know that Ekeler is a great receiving back, and this represents a plum matchup for him, as the Eagles have allowed 7.25 receptions (and 49 receiving yards) per game to opposing RB's. Largely as a result of that, they've also allowed the third-most fantasy points to RB's. You can bet the Chargers are aware of that, and they figure to be getting the ball out to Ekeler on a regular basis here.
AJ Dillon over 40.5 rushing yards (-115)
Dillon has been trending upward recently (actually surpassing Aaron Jones in rushing yards last week), and he should find himself getting even more work this week with QB Aaron Rodgers on the Covid list. Meanwhile, the Chiefs run defense has been soft all year, currently allowing 4.6 yards per carry. Given the situation, it seems likely Dillon can go for 50+ yards on the ground this week.
Cooper Kupp over 98.5 receiving yards (-115)
Kupp has gone for 115+ yards in each of his last three starts, and now faces a Titans secondary that ranks dead-last in fantasy points allowed to WR's. Interesting to note, last week was the first game all year where Kupp didn't have double-digit targets (and he still had 9). Expecting another huge game here from the overall WR1.
Najee Harris over 83.5 rushing yards (-115)
As mentioned in the game write-up, the Bears have allowed the 6th-most rushing yards in the league. That bodes well for Najee Harris (the clear engine of this year's Steeler offense), who has gotten no fewer than 23 carries in each of his last three games (and figures for even more work this week, with Roethlisberger nursing the shoulder injury). With the Steelers perhaps playing with a large lead this week, it's definitely Najee-time.