Tue Oct 20 10:27am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Patrick is emerging for Broncos
The season sure is flying by. It seemed like it might never happen, but now we are in Week 7, which is the halfway point in many fantasy leagues. Hopefully, you are in good standing in all your leagues. But if not, the waiver wire might be a good spot to help turn your fortunes around. There aren’a lot of top options out here but you never know. One of the guys on this list could end up being a huge factor down the stretch. It has happened in past years.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins. Tagovailoa was named the starter for the Dolphins going forward. The team has a bye this week, making his first start in Week 8 against the Rams. Tagovailoa must be ready for the job because Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing pretty well in a staring role. Either way, Tagovailoa will have some fantasy value because he is a bit of a dual threat and gets a chance to air it out in an offense that likes to throw the ball. He is worth a speculative add for fantasy teams.
Philip Rivers, Colts. Rivers might not be playing the best for the Colts, but he produced big last week. He had his best fantasy game of the season last week, scoring nearly 30 fantasy points. He can still get it done in the right matchup, including one his next game against the Lions in Week 8.
Boston Scott, Eagles. Scott has done about nothing all season but could be setup for more work going forward with Miles Sanders hurt. Scott might the starter for the Eagles, a role he showed some potential in late last year. Scott is no sure thing by any means but any starter at this stage of the game has value to fantasy teams. He could get it done with more touches.
J.D. McKissic, Washington. McKissic reached double-digit fantasy points for the third straight game last week. He also tied a season high in rush attempts, running eight times for 41 yards. McKissic has been a big part of the passing game in recent weeks, catching at least six passes three straight games. He has value as a flex play and is available in 56 percent of leagues.
Travis Fulgham, Eagles. Fulgham got nabbed in most leagues last week but not all. He is still available in 32 percent of leagues. He now has touchdowns three straight games, having at least 13 fantasy points all three games. Fulgham has double-digit targets two consecutive games, getting tons of looks. This seems to be a trend rather than a fluke. Fulgham should be owned in all formats.
Keelan Cole, Jaguars. Cole enjoyed his best game of the season last week, catching six passes for 143 yards. He has at least four receptions all but one game this year. He has been a consistent factor in an offense that likes to throw a lot. Cole has value as a No. 3 fantasy receiver. He is available in 45 percent of leagues.
Marcus Johnson, Colts. Johnson is gaining value in the Colts offense. He had the best game of his season in Week 6, hitting the 100-yard mark. He had five receptions for 108 yards. Johnson has 50-plus yards two straight. He has some fantasy value as long as Michael Pittman is out of the lineup.
Tim Patrick, Broncos. Patrick ha his second straight 100-yard game. He had four receptions for 101 yards on eight targets. He has at least 14 fantasy points three straight games. He is producing consistent numbers in a starting role for the Broncos. Patrick has a knack for making the big play. He is available in 42 percent of leagues.
Breshad Perriman, Jets. Perriman returned from his ankle injury last week and led the Jets in receiving yards. He had four receptions for 62 yards on eight targets. Perriman has a shot to lead the Jets in receiving going forward. He was dropped in many formats after his injury, making him available in 90 percent of leagues.
Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs. Robinson had his best showing of the season last week, getting a chance for a bigger role in the offense with Sammy Watkins out. Robinson had five receptions for 69 yards in a rainy game Monday afternoon. He should continue to get more weekly chances while Watkins is out, giving him some value as a spot play for fantasy teams.
Anthony Firkser, Titans. Firkser had a game that came out of nowhere last week, catching eight passes for 113 yards. He has been getting a few more looks the last couple games, though, having 14 targets his last two. He is going to be a boom or bust play but this game showed his potential for the big game. He might be worth adding in deeper formats if you need the tight end help.
Rob Gronkowski, Bucs. It took some time but Gronkowski is making a bigger impact in the Bucs offense. He had his best game last week, catching five passes for 78 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Gronkowski has at least three receptions three of four games. He is available in 30 percent of leagues.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles. Goedert has not played since Week 3 but is due back soon from his ankle injury. And when he returns, he will return to the starting lineup with Zach Ertz out the next several weeks. Goedert has huge upside when on the field and starting. Remember, he had a 100-yard showing in Week 1, scoring 24 fantasy points. He was dropped in many formats because of the injury, so he is available in 48 percent of leagues.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Five Hot Plays: Week 12
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus ranks ninth in the NFL with a 95.2 percent field-goal percentage in 10 games this year, missing just one of his 21 field-goal attempts. He's also missed just one of his 19 extra-point attempts. McManus hasn't missed a kick since missing an extra point in Week 7 against the Chiefs. The only field goal he missed was from 50-plus yards. But the 29-year-old with a big leg has been just a fringe fantasy starter because of Denver's inconsistent offense. It helps that he'll be kicking in the high altitude of Denver again in Week 12 against the Saints, but New Orleans' defense has allowed 19 field-goal tries this year, which is tied for 16th in the NFL. The Broncos most likely won't be able to settle for field goals against the Saints offense.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver K.J. Hamler has 26 targets in the last three games, which he has turned into 14 catches for 160 yards. Hamler has seen his role increase in the last three weeks, but he has only one touchdown in his rookie season and 25 receptions for 275 yards in eight total games. The 21-year-old from Penn State has seen more production out of the slot and has big-play upside, but Denver is using him as more of a chain-mover than a deep threat. In this inconsistent offense as the third wideout behind rookie Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick, it's hard to put much faith in Hamler in single-year fantasy leagues. He'll be a WR4/flex in deeper leagues against New Orleans this Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Week 12 against the Patriots, according to sources. It's a bad time for this to happen, since Fitzgerald had at least 54 yards in three of his last four games and led the Cardinals with 10 targets in Week 11's loss to the Seahawks. DeAndre Hopkins will still have a tough test against All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore on Sunday, but Fitz's absence should open up more targets for Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella and others. Kirk should see the biggest boost from Fitzgerald's absence against a Patriots Defense that hasn't been nearly as strong as in years past. Kirk will have WR2 upside this weekend.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick had his third 100-yard game of the season in last week's win over the Dolphins, and he's been incredibly efficient considering quarterback Drew Lock's struggles in his first full season as the starter. The Saints Defense, Denver's Week 12 opponent, has been more vulnerable through the air than on the ground this year, but their overall defense ranks third in the league. The Broncos should be forced to pass more than they'd like in this one, which is good news for Patrick and the Denver wideouts. The 27-year-old has impressed in 2020, but he's still more of a WR4/flex in this inconsistent offense while going up against strong cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay and the team's running game showed some much-needed life in the surprising Week 11 win over the Dolphins. Lindsay saw 16 carries (one more than teammate Melvin Gordon) and ran for 82 yards. In Week 10, he had just four rushing attempts for a measly two yards against the Raiders. The 26-year-old is still averaging a healthy 5.4 yards per carry on 73 attempts this year, but he's splitting the offensive snaps nearly evenly with Gordon, limiting his opportunities. And on top of it, he's facing a Saints Defense on Sunday that has been the stingiest against RBs in fantasy all year. Considering that the Broncos will likely be trailing in this one and that Lindsay has just eight targets (two catches) all year, he's an uninspiring RB4 that should be left on benches in 12-team leagues.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III got back into the good graces of his fantasy managers in Week 11 by rushing 15 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Dolphins. But those expecting back-to-back solid performances in fantasy might be disappointed. He'll be facing a Saints Defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs in 2020. On top of that, Gordon saw just 50 percent of the offensive snaps last week, meaning that he'll have to continue to capitalize on his opportunities against a much stouter run defense in New Orleans. Gordon does contribute more through the air, but the Saints have allowed a league-low five total TDs to RBs this year. Gordon's ceiling should be lowered this week as more of an RB3/flex.
The Detroit Lions have declared WR Kenny Golladay, DE Austin Bryant, CB Jeff Okudah, RB D'Andre Swift, DE Da'Shawn Hand, CB Mike Ford and WR Danny Amendola inactive for Week 12.
Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift (concussion) has officially been ruled out for Thursday's Thanksgiving game against the Texans. It'll be the rookie's second straight missed game and will leave Detroit's backfield to veteran Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson. Peterson started last week against the Panthers and then split touches with Johnson. They weren't effective at all in the shutout loss, though, with Detroit rushing for 40 yards total in the game. Houston's defense has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to running backs, so the duo should be more effective, but they are both low-ceiling RB4/flex plays in deeper leagues while they share the workload minus Swift.
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said he's not worried about the injury that rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (hand) suffered in practice on Wednesday. "He got banged up a little bit. He's a tough kid. He's going to do everything he can from a treatment standpoint. We'll see. I don't think this is something we're too worried about. ... He's better today. We'll see how it goes," Flores said. Tagovailoa was benched late in the Week 11 loss to the Broncos and hasn't attempted more than 28 passes in his four starts yet. He also hasn't thrown for 250 yards and hasn't thrown for more than two touchdowns. The rookie from Alabama remains the starter and has an excellent matchup with the winless Jets this Sunday, but he should still be considered a low-end QB2 until we see more.
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera and his staff want quarterback Alex Smith back for the 2021 season, according to sources. Smith made an incredible comeback from a broken fibula and tibia and 17 surgeries due to an infection that left him barely able to walk. The veteran QB hasn't said whether he wants to play next season, but he is under contract through 2022. He's set to make $19 million next year as a bridge to Dwayne Haskins Jr., Kyle Allen or someone else acquired in a trade or through the draft. Smith has gone 55-for-80 for 556 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the last two games. Smith should win Comeback Player of the Year easily, but he remains a low-end QB2 for fantasy purposes, even against Dallas' suspect defense on Thanksgiving Day.
Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift (concussion), who was listed as questionable for the Thanksgiving game on Thursday against the Texans, is unlikely to play, according to sources. Swift is set to miss his second straight game with the head injury. Fantasy managers need to remove Swift from their starting lineups for the early Thursday game. Veteran Adrian Peterson started in the backfield last week with Swift out and then split carries with Kerryon Johnson. Peterson is probably the better back of the two for fantasy purposes against, but the Texans Defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Peterson and Johnson should be considered RB4/flex options with a low ceiling in deeper leagues.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) and kicker Dustin Hopkins (groin) are expected to play on Thursday in the Thanksgiving game against the division-rival Cowboys. McLaurin was listed as questionable but practiced in full on Wednesday. Hopkins didn't practice all week, but the team didn't elevate a kicker from the practice squad, indicating that he'll go. McLaurin is the team's leading receiver with 62 catches for 871 yards and three touchdowns and has become a must-start WR1. He put up seven catches for 90 yards in a score against Dallas back in Week 7. Hopkins is off the fantasy radar, however, especially playing through an injury. The 30-year-old made his first field goal beyond 50 yards this season in Week 11.
Washington Football Team PK Dustin Hopkins (groin) is likely to play Thursday, Nov. 26, after the team didn't elevate another kicker
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins is a low-end option, but he's not the safest one with a groin injury that he could aggravate during the game.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard missed Wednesday's practice with a concussion, according to the team's official injury report. The head injury wasn't reported during last Sunday's game against the Washington Football Team, although Samaje Perine, not Bernard, was on the field for the team's final two drives of the contest. If Bernard can't get cleared from the league's concussion protocol by Sunday, expect Perine to be Cincinnati's lead back with Trayveon Williams mixed in behind him. Perine can be treated as an RB3 in a good matchup against the New York Giants if Bernard sits.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon (back) is dealing with tightness in his back, according to head coach Adam Gase, who indicated the team was being 'cautious' with the injury.
Chicago Bears QB Nick Foles (hip) is 'day to day' with his hip injury, according to head coach Matt Nagy.
Fantasy Spin: Nagy went on to praise Trubisky, who could get the call Sunday night. No matter who starts they shouldn't be in your fantasy lineup.
San Francisco 49ers CB K'Waun Williams had his two-game suspension for violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances rescinded on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The suspension for Williams was originally announced on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (ankle) is still considered day to day, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday, Nov. 25. He remains on the Reserve/Injured list, and the team has 21 days to activate him.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert should be able to step right back into a workhorse role when he is officially activated and able to see game action, as Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Austin Walter, among others, have done little to nothing in Mostert's stead. Fantasy owners will likely want to see him make it through a full game without setbacks before plugging him back into the active lineup.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (illness) remains on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, and head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday, Nov. 25, that the team will 'wait and see' if Thielen is available for the Week 12 game against the Carolina Panthers.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy owners are hopeful Thielen will be available, but obviously should be moving to have alternate plans in place. He has 12 grabs for 156 yards and four touchdowns over the past two games on 18 targets, so he is an obvious must-start fantasy option when he is well.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (elbow) banged up his elbow during the Week 11 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is why he did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25. Head coach Sean McVay said the tight end is considered 'day-to-day'.
Fantasy Spin: Higbee entered the season with high expectations from a fantasy perspective, but he has really only one impressive game while mostly being equaled or outplayed by Gerald Everett. At this point Higbee is only worth retaining in the deepest of fantasy leagues heading into Week 12 and beyond.