As anyone who has played fantasy football knows, it’s good to know which way the wind blows. The ocean of fantasy assets stretches out before us and expands from horizon to horizon, making any thought of mapping it all out a daunting task. The AFC (or AF-Sea?) holds plenty of dark corners and treacherous pitfalls. It takes a true fantasy explorer to know how to navigate.

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here! Only the strong can survive, and dead men tell no tales.

Each week, we brave souls enter the depths of the North, the East, the South, and the West, and send word as to what we find there. Is it treasure? Is it traps? Could it be glory and victory?

We break it all down for you right now.

AFC North Preview

Andrew Mendoza (@DFF_LeGrand)

What to Watch For:

With the AFC North heating up, it is still anyone’s race

Through the first 6 weeks of the 2018 NFL season, the AFC North has proven to be as competitive and as tightly contested as ever, with the Bengals and Ravens in a tie for first at 4-2, and the Steelers hot on their heels at 3-2-1. Even the once lowly Browns are fighting for contention at 2-3-1. With all four teams displaying decent offensive production, WRs and RBs should continue to churn out serviceable fantasy production, particularly the Steelers and Bengals as defensive issues continue to create opportunities for shootouts. The one outlier here are Browns skill players, who despite having a strong defense and decent offensive production at times, may be match up dependant moving forward after a disappointing loss at home to the Chargers.

Fantasy Impact Players:

David Njoku, TE, CLE

In a time where inconsistent play and injuries have left fantasy players world wide hurting for production at the tight end position, Njoku may be finally developing the needed chemistry with Baker Mayfield to sustain serviceable fantasy numbers. Now a weekly must start, Njoku had his best game to date this season with 55 yards and TD, hauling in 7 of 12 targets. Over the last three weeks, Njoku is tied with Jarvis Landry for the lead in team targets, so while it may have been a rough start, we can finally feel confident with Njoku as a TE 1.

Proj. 8/65/1

John Brown, WR, BAL

After several weeks of quality fantasy production from the Ravens wideout, John Brown came crashing back down to earth last sunday with a disappointing 2 catches on 3 targets for 28 yards. Despite declining production over the last two weeks, Brown will continue to serve as a top threat for Baltimore, with a juicy matchup next week against a Saints defense that is giving up 297.6 passing yards a game, near the bottom of the league. This week is an excellent opportunity for Brown to bounce back in a big way against a struggling pass defense.

Proj. 5/84/1

Sleeper Alert:

C.J. Uzomah[/profilier], TE, CIN

As stated in the aforementioned analysis of David Njoku, the tight end position has been a whirlwind of fickle production with little consistency outside of the top 2-3 players at the position. Following a gruesome ankle injury to Tyler Eifert and a broken bone in the foot of Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati has embraced the cliche “next man up” mentality with C.J. Uzomah filling in for the injured duo of “Tylers”. Against the Steelers last week, Uzomah caught 6 of 7 targets for 54 yards in the Bengals loss to divisional foes. I agree there might not be much to be excited about when discussing a third string TE, but assuredly there is promise for the 6’6”, 265 lb Uzomah in light of recent injuries.

Proj. 5/52/1 TD

Game Predictions:

Cleveland Browns – 28 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 35

New Orleans Saints – 24 @ Baltimore Ravens – 28

Cincinnati Bengals – 27 @ Kansas City Chiefs – 34

Pittsburgh Steelers – BYE WEEK

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AFC South Preview

Mitch Lawson (@DFF_MitchLawson)

What to Watch For:

Is [profiler]Chester Rogers Emerging as a Fantasy Asset?

In T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle’s absence, Chester Rogers has put up three straight games of over 10 targets and has put up double-digit PPR fantasy points in all three of those games. But with Hilton and Doyle set to return any week, does he actually hold value?

Luck has not consistently produced two fantasy-relevant WRs even when he was playing 16-game seasons. As soon as Reggie Wayne started to slow down, Hilton seemed to replace him. So it will be interesting to see if the talented young Rogers can secure a fantasy-relevant role in the coming weeks.

Fantasy Impact Players:

DeShaun Watson, QB, HOU

Watson faces a tough test this week against the Jacksonville Defense. Jacksonville was just obliterated by Dak Prescott, so Watson does have a decent shot to perform well with his receivers firing on all cylinders. He’ll be startable despite the matchup

Proj. 365 yards and 2 TDs , 1 INT

Corey Davis, WR, TEN

Davis has seen only 10 targets in the last two games, and has hauled in just 5 catches for 73 yards in that same timeframe. The Titans need to get the passing game going, and I think Davis could be a focal point this week as the Titans look to best the Chargers.

Proj. 10/145/2 TDs

Marlon Mack, RB, IND

The entire Colts offense was a ragtag group, and it’s tough to highlight anyone who can provide consistency going forward. I think with Mack back in the picture, the Colts have a back they can depend on. He’ll be at the top of the pecking order for goal-line work and I think he has a usable FLEX day against the Bills.

Proj. 2 receptions, 75 total yards / 1 TD

 

Sleeper Alert:

Keelan Cole, WR, JAX

There was a time earlier this season where naming Cole as a sleeper would have been seen as a ridiculous understatement. But after 4 straight low-to-mid type fantasy weeks, he’s fading from the fantasy spotlight. I think he and the Jags bounce back as the game against the Texans turns into an unexpected high-scoring affair.

Proj. 9/125/1 TD

 

Game Predictions:

Jacksonville – 27  @ Houston – 30

Indianapolis – 17 @ Buffalo – 16

Tennessee – 23 @ LA Chargers – 17

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AFC East Preview

Chris Smith (@Chrisheatcanes)

What to Watch For:

So we are at the halfway point in fantasy football and it’s time to reflect. I am in ten leagues with an overall record of 50-10. Not one losing team, not one five hundred team, and two undefeated teams. Why is that the case? Because you need to draft players in the best situation to perform for your team.

Why am I talking about this now? Well, because this division has an example of both sides of the coin I just mentioned. On the bad side, those who draftedLeSean McCoy didn’t look at the fact that the Bills lost three offensive linemen in the offseason (two pro bowlers) and they were starting a rookie at quarterback, which means a lot of eight-man fronts. And the good side I’ll get into below. Just remember fantasy football starts in February, not August. That being said, let’s dive into the AFC East.

Fantasy Impact Players:

Tom Brady/QB:

Tom has the Bears this week, but the offense is in full swing. With the talent the Patriots have put around Tom, expect him to surge to the top 5 for fantasy quarterbacks this season.

Predictions: 25/32 389/4

 

James White/RB

The Bears’ weakness is at the back end and with the linebackers. So expect the Patriots to give you a big dose of James this week in both passing and running.

Predictions: Rushing 8/40 | Passing 8/89/1

 

Rob Gronkowski/TE:

Since the Bears can’t double-cover Gronk with all the other weapons New England has, expect a good game from the tight end.

Prediction: 6/78/1

 

Julian Edelman/WR:

The Bears’ corners aren’t good at all. Albert Wilson had a monster game against them last week, so expect Julian to pick them apart as well.

Prediction: 9/110/1

 

Kenyan Drake/RB:

I know he hasn’t done much this season to even consider starting him. But this might actually be his week. Drake had over 200 yards from scrimmage against the Patriots last year. I don’t expect him to play that well, but close, just because it was Patricia defense he had so much success against.

Predictions : Rushing 15/89/1 | Passing 5/60

Albert Wilson/WR:

Pick him only if Brock Osweiler starts. They seem to have a connection, and being that the Patricia defense doesn’t do well in Miami, I think it might be a big game for him.

Prediction: 6/89/2

Jermaine Kearse/WR:

Ok, if I had a choice, I would pick no one from this team because the Vikings seem to have their defense back. That being said Kearse could have a nice game if Robby Anderson draws the Vikings’ number one corner.

Prediction: 7/78/1

 

Colts Defense

Nathan Peterman is starting this week and I don’t like anyone on this team if he is the starter. Peterman has thrown three touchdowns and nine interceptions. I think that is enough said, so start the Colts’ defense.

 

Sleeper Alert:

Terrelle Pryor/WR:

Take a good look at him. He might have a sneaky good game, being that most of the attention will be on the other wide receivers

Prediction: 5/60/1

 

Jakeem Grant/WR:

I do think he will affect the game more on special teams but he will also produce in the passing game as well. He’s a sneaky good start.

Prediction: 3/75/1 one return touchdown

 

Game Predictions:

Patriots 35 Bears 27

Bills 10 Colts 21

Lions 24 Miami 2

 

AFC West Preview

Anthony Zaragoza (@ZaragozaAnthony)

What to Watch For:

How do the Chargers handle the “home” game trip?

Similar to the Oakland Raiders last weekend, the Los Angeles Chargers lose a home game for their trip to London in week 7. The Chargers “host” the Tenseness Titans across the pond, with both teams heading in opposite directions. The Titans, losers of their last two, are giving up the seventh most rushing yards so far this season. That bodes well for MVP candidate Melvin Gordon, who’s averaging 5.1 yards per carry in 2018. This is the perfect si00tuation for the Chargers to lose their way, after making the nearly 5,500 mile trip from Los Angeles to London. But I expect Head Coach Anthony Lynn will have his team is ready on Sunday. If the team neededany additional motivation, a Chiefs los, and a Chargers win on Sunday evens the two team’s records at 5-2.

Fantasy Impact Players:

Melvin Gordon/RB/Los Angeles Chargers

This seems like an obvious choice for any fantasy owner but the great Chargers running back has a great matchup Sunday morning. The Titans rush defense gave up 128 rushing yards to Lesean McCoy and Chris Ivory in week 5 and just gave up two touchdowns to Alex Collins last weekend. Gordon is going to feast on Dean Pees defense in London.

Projections: Rushing – 18/95/1 Receiving – 5/50/1

Kareem Hunt/RB/Kansas City Chiefs

There is another running back in the AFC West that has the chance to blow it up in week 7. Kareem Hunt, who totaled 185 yards of total offense last weekend, goes against the Cincinnati Bengals in Arrowhead. Both teams are in the bottom four in yards given up so far this season. The Bengals rush defense has already allowed two RB’s to go over 100 yards in the first six weeks of the season (James Connor, Christian McCaffrey), so there is no reason to believe Hunt won’t be the third.

Projections: Rushing – 18/95/1 Receiving – 5/50/1

Sleeper Alert:

Royce Freeman/RB/Denver Broncos

Keeping with the running back theme, Royce Freeman has a juicy matchup Thursday night against the Cardinals. Arizona have been arguably the worst team against the run this season. There are dead last in touchdowns given up and attempts against through six weeks. Freeman, who leads the Broncos in rushing TD’s, has the chance to finally take a hold on Denver’s backfield. Teammate Philip Lindsey only had four carries last week, setting up the staff for Freeman to have a big day on Thursday Night Football.

Projection: Rushing – 18/85/1 Receiving – 2/15

Game Predictions:

Denver Broncos – 24 @ Arizona Cardinals – 17

Tennessee Titans – 20 @ Los Angeles Chargers – 31

Cincinnati Bengals – 38 @ Kansas City Chiefs – 34

Oakland Raiders – BYE WEEK

 

mlawson

@DFF_MitchLawson / Writer, Editor & Analyst for @DFF_Redraft & @DFF_Dynasty. #DFFArmy #FantasyFootball. Canadian. Occasionally witty, stay tuned

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