Sat Oct 24 11:01am ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
An interesting way to look at Week 7 in most leagues is that you are halfway finished with your regular season. Most leagues playoffs start Week 13 or 14, so this is a good time to take a serious look at your roster and ask yourself, can this team make the playoffs? If not, it’s time to start making trade offers. And be proactive with the waiver wire. With a lot of bye weeks coming, look ahead a week for someone you’ll need to cover, rather than wait and hope you get the player you want that someone else in your league could also be targeting. An example this week is Indianapolis tight end Trey Burton, who is on a bye. Not many team owners go after players on a bye, but next week he could draw a lot of interest as he’s become one of Phillip Rivers favorite targets. And if your in a FAAB league, you can get him with a low bid this week, but it will take a higher bid next week.
The four teams on the bye this week are Minnesota, Miami, Indianapolis and Baltimore. The COVID watch is on in Las Vegas, where their offensive line has lost one starter already and they await tests from the other four. Their game with Tampa has been moved from Sunday night to Sunday afternoon because the NFL did not want to risk not having a prime time game on Sunday night. So obviously the NFL has serious concerns about the game happening. A possibility of the game getting moved to Monday or Tuesday also exists. If the game is played and the Raiders are without some of their starting offensive line, I wouldn’t want to be David Carr. Tampa already will challenge them and without some key players, I’m not sure Jon Gruden will have enough tricks up his sleeve to keep the Raiders in the game.
This is good time to look at the defenses allowing the most fantasy points at each position again and some players who might be good plays this week.
Quarterback: Atlanta, Buffalo, Minnesota, Seattle and Dallas. Matt Stafford against the Falcons, who have given up over 300 passing yards every game, should be good.
I can’t really recommend Joe Flacco against the Bills (or anybody else for that matter), and the Vikings are on a bye. Red hot Kyler Murray has a key matchup with division rival Seattle. And Kyle Allen gets to exploit the Dallas defense.
Running Back: Houston, Carolina, Jacksonville, New York Jets and Green Bay. Houston and Green are playing each other, so you’d expect two of the five teams giving up the most points to have a lot of rushing, right? Aaron Jones should have a huge game. As a side note, Houston shutdown corner Bradley Roby will be shadowing Devante Adams, so Aaron Rodgers will be happy to let Jones be a workhorse in this one. On the other side, David Johnson will try to keep the Packers off the field as he runs the ball for the Texans.
I’m more of a believer in Justin Jackson than Joshua Kelley, but both Chargers running backs could approach triple digits against the Jaguars. And since the Jaguars pass defense leaves a lot to be desired, Jackson should have the better day. Buffalo gets the Jets weak rushing defense, making Devin Singletary a strong play. And Josh Allen could get more rushing yards than passing yards in this one. Plus, it’s a great spot to give rookie Zack Moss a chance to show breakaway skills.
Wide Receiver: Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina and Kansas City. I always find it interesting that the teams giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks are not also giving up the most fantasy points to wide receivers. One has to assume a lot of the points to quarterbacks are coming from passing to running backs and tight ends, or running the ball.
So the Red Rifle will hope to get Dallas going by passing the ball to CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, and perhaps a long ball to Michael Gallup. All are better choices than having Ezekiel Elliott fumble the ball away.
The Bears and Rams matchup features two of the top three teams giving up points to wide outs. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods should be busy for the Rams, and Allen Robinson will be Nick Foles favorite target.
New Orleans gets to feast on Carolina’s weak passing defense, so this would be a great spot for the return of Michael Thomas. But a bulky hamstring has him out, giving Emmanuel Sanders another week to be the main man. But Sanders just tested positive for the bat virus, putting him on the bench. So if you’re looking for a sleeper, Tre’Quan Smith becomes one starter and either Deonte Harris or Marquez Callaway the other. Not what Drew Brees was hoping for.
Tim Patrick should be busy for the Broncos as they play catch up with the Chiefs, making him a good play.
Tight End: Buffalo, Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Washington. It’s really hard to recommend a Jets player, but if they do find some success against the Bills, Chris Herndon could be the one to do it.
T.J. Hockenson should exploit the Falcons. Other than Kelce and Kittle, I think Hockenson could lead tight ends in fantasy points this week and is a great value in DFS.
I can’t recommend Panthers Ian Thomas against New Orleans after he was catchless last week against the Falcons (and makes me wonder if the Falcons might also stop Hockenson).
Logan Thomas practiced in full Friday, so the Washington tight end is good to go against a Dallas defense that struggles against tight ends (well, against everyone).
NFL football always reminds me how unpredictable it can be sometimes. Last week, the Minnesota Vikings should have had their best offensive production of the year against a porous Falcon team that just fired their coach and GM. If it wasn’t for some easy yards in mop-up time after the game was decided, it could have been one of their worst. And Big Ben should have had a huge game against the Browns, but the Browns rolled over early so there was no need for him to be passing. That’s what keep it’s it interesting for us, I guess!
Have a good Week 7!
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Five Hot Plays: Week 12
Houston Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee caught two of three targets for 17 yards in a 41-25 win over Detroit. Coutee nearly hauled in a deep pass from Deshaun Watson early in the game, but it was just out of his reach. Other than that, the 23-year-old took a backseat to Will Fuller V and Brandin Cooks. With Randall Cobb (toe) on the injured reserve, Coutee could again be looking at increased playing time. However, the matchup with the Colts next week is a tough one.
Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins saw two targets and failed to record a catch in a Week 12 win over Detroit. Unfortunately for his fantasy managers, both targets grazed off his hands in the end zone- so the day could have been a fruitful one. The good news is, Akins seems to have a pretty decent hold on the tight end room. Houston will probably continue to rotate players in and out, but Deshaun Watson clearly trusts the veteran tight end. A Week 13 matchup with Indianapolis will make it hard to feel comfortable starting Akins, though.
Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught all five targets for 85 receiving yards in a 41-25 win over the Lions. That makes back-to-back 85-yard games for Cooks, who is thriving with Deshaun Watson throwing him passes. The two connected over the middle of the field on several occasions, as the porous Lions' secondary had no answers for the passing game. The 27-year-old has exceeded 50 yards in seven of 11 contests this year and has three touchdowns to go along with those numbers. He's become a weekly starter and one who will be hard to take out of the lineup in Week 13, even against a tough Colts' defense.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V had a monster game in a Thanksgiving day win over the Lions. Fuller caught six of seven targets for a season-high 171 yards and two touchdowns. A strong game from the 26-year old turned into a beastly one in the fourth quarter, as he torched the Lions' defense on two deep balls for scores, showcasing his great connection with quarterback Deshaun Watson. Fuller has at least 80 yards in three of his last four games and has found the end zone three times in that span. The Colts' 4th-ranked pass defense awaits in Week 13, though Fuller is too good to have on the bench.
Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson enjoyed a bounce-back game in a win over Detroit. Johnson carried the ball eight times for 37 rushing yards and caught three of four targets for 43 receiving yards and a touchdown. He couldn't get much going on the ground against a beatable run defense, which was a bit disappointing, though it was nice to see him find the end zone. He did have a touchdown stolen by backup C.J. Prosise, though that shouldn't take away from Johnson's good effort. There's a chance that starter David Johnson (head) returns next week, which would put Duke Johnson back in a complementary role. Either way, a Week 13 matchup with Indianapolis is not one to target for running backs.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 17 of 25 passes for 318 passing yards with four scores and added 24 rushing yards in a 41-25 win over the Lions on Thanksgiving. Watson had it all working today, though his deep-ball connection with Will Fuller V stole the show, as the two hooked up for two touchdowns of 30 yards or more. The 25-year-old is playing on another level right now, with 16 total touchdowns and no interceptions in his last six games. No one is benching Watson next week, though expectations should be tempered a bit when he faces off with the Colts' 4th-ranked pass defense.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. caught six passes for 48 yards in the Lions 41-25 loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving. The veteran led the Lions with 12 targets but the Lions passing offense really struggled after a promising start. Jones Jr. also left the game in the final minutes with an apparent leg injury and the extent is unknown at this time. Jones Jr. deserves a fantasy roster spot in deeper leagues but the return of Kenny Golladay next week and a possible injury could hamper an already middling value moving forward.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Mohamed Sanu caught four passes for 32 yards with one touchdown and a two-point conversion reception in the Lions 41-25 loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving. The veteran got an opportunity with the injury to Kenny Golladay and was able to secure a pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford for a 14-yard touchdown late in the game. Sanu possesses very little fantasy appeal but could siphon touchdowns away from Golladay and tight end T.J. Hockenson in the coming weeks if he continues to see the field.
Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson carried the ball 15 times for 55 yards with two touchdowns in the Lions 41-25 loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving. Peterson punched in two short-yardage scores before the Texans ran away with the game and led the team in carries. With starting running back D'Andre Swift out with a concussion, the veteran back ran hard but was unable to break off any big gains. Swift's status heading into Week 13 will determine Peterson's fantasy value moving forward.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 28-of-42 passes for 295 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the Lions 41-25 loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving. The Lions offense simply is not the same without star receiver Kenny Golladay and a strong first half was wasted by stagnant offensive play in the second half. The veteran also was the victim of a fantastic interception by the Texans J.J. Watt, who took it to the house for 19-yard touchdown. Stafford was able to rack up some passing yards with the game out of reach but consistently struggled in the red zone. Stafford will continue to lack QB1 appeal heading into Week 13.
Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson caught five passes for a team-high 89 receiving yards in the Lions 41-25 loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving. Hockenson got off to a promising start, coming down with a 51-yard reception. The talented tight end saw eight targets in the game but his production dissipated in the second half with the Lions down multiple scores. The Lions season is going off the rails but Hockenson continues to be a bright spot. He didn't find the end zone but should continue to be one of the main focal points in the passing offense moving forward.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) practiced in full on Thursday, which is a sign he's heading toward a return in Week 12 against the Dolphins. Darnold was limited on Wednesday and appears to be on track to play on Sunday after missing the team's last two games in Weeks 9 and 11. The 23-year-old could be a bit more intriguing as a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues now that wide receivers Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder and rookie Denzel Mims are all healthy, and Miami's defense also allows the 10th-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Veteran Joe Flacco gave the winless Jets a chance in the last two games as the starter, but he'll go back to holding the clipboard for Darnold if he plays. Crowder will have more upside if Darnold returns, too.
For the second straight day, Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) practiced in full on Thursday, while Nick Foles (hip) did not practice. Head coach Matt Nagy hinted on Wednesday that Trubisky was on track to start in Week 12 against the division-rival Packers, and that is even closer to happening with Foles still unable to practice. It's not like Foles has been good since replacing Trubisky in Week 3. While neither QB is more than a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues in this stagnant offense, but at least Trubisky can offer fantasy managers a little something with his legs. The Packers Defense has also allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to signal-callers, so whoever starts under center for Chicago won't be a great fantasy option. Trubisky threw for 562 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in two games against Green Bay in 2019.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers center A.Q. Shipley (neck), who has been filling in as a starter the last two weeks, may be dealing with a career-ending neck injury, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Shipley left the Monday night loss to the Rams in the fourth quarter. It's bad news for a Tampa offensive line that is already without starting left guard Ali Marpet, who has missed three games with a concussion. Starting center Ryan Jensen was moved to left guard because of Marpet's injury after Joe Haeg struggled in the blowout loss to the Saints. Left tackle Donovan Smith (ankle) also missed practice this week. It's something to watch for quarterback Tom Brady's protection heading into Week 12 in their contest against the Chiefs.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. (ribs) did not practice on Thursday for the second straight day. Chark is now in danger of sitting out in Week 12 against a vulnerable Browns Defense unless he gets in at least a limited practice on Friday. As of right now, the 24-year-old should be considered a shaky WR3/flex with quarterback Mike Glennon making his first start under center since 2017 with the Bears. If Chark is unable to suit up on Sunday, it'll boost the values of Keelan Cole, Chris Conley and rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. (if he plays). But the bottom line is it's tough to trust any Jacksonville pass-catcher with the team on their third starting QB in 2020. Running back James Robinson is the team's only real safe fantasy play against Cleveland.
The Los Angeles Rams placed linebacker Micah Kiser (knee) on Injured Reserve on Thursday. Kiser has been really solid on the interior of the Rams Defense this year, recording 77 tackles (44 solo), three passes defensed and one forced fumble in nine games this season. The 25-year-old from Virginia suffered the knee injury in the Monday night win over the Buccaneers. While LA will miss his presence for at least the next three games, their defensive unit as a whole should remain fantasy relevant. The Rams defense should be considered a top-five fantasy unit this weekend against the division-rival 49ers and backup quarterback Nick Mullens.
Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II (knee) and tight end Hayden Hurst (ankle) were held out of practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Fantasy managers definitely don't want to see Gurley and a knee injury mentioned in the same sentence. He played a season-low 36 percent of the snaps in Week 11, too, and has a well-documented history with knee issues. He'll need at least a limited practice on Friday to have a chance at facing the Raiders in Week 12. Whoever is the team's primary back, though, will have some upside against a Raiders defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. Gurley owners might want to run to the waiver wire and add Brian Hill right now. Hurst had no catches last week and is in danger of missing Sunday's game. If he cannot play, Luke Stocker and Jaeden Graham would split repetitions at the tight end position for Atlanta. Hurst is a very shaky low-end TE1 at this point.
Atlanta Falcons wide receivers Julio Jones (hamstring) and Calvin Ridley (foot) were limited in practice on Thursday. The Falcons announced earlier this week that Jones would be a game-time decision in Week 12 against the Raiders, but the good news is that he's been limited in two practices this week. However, he played only 22 snaps in Week 11 as he continues to play through nagging injuries. We'd say he's on the right side of questionable, but the 31-year-old All-Pro receiver should be viewed as a shaky WR2/3 if he continues to be limited. Ridley should be fine to play and has clear WR1 upside if Jones is limited again or out entirely against Las Vegas. The Raiders have allowed five receivers to go over 100 yards receiving this year, setting up Ridley as a must-start this weekend.
The Buffalo Bills did not practice Thursday, Nov. 26, and the following participation reports are estimations. WR John Brown (ankle) did not participate. OG Cody Ford (ankle) and QB Jake Fromm (non-injury) were limited. DE A.J. Epenesa (concussion), DE Jerry Hughes (back), RB Taiwan Jones (hamstring), TE Dawson Knox (hamstring) and CB Josh Norman (illness) were full participants.
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said that backup quarterback Jeff Driskel will be put on the team's Reserve/COVID-19 list. It's unclear if Driskel actually tested positive for the virus, but either way, he's unlikely to be active as a backup in Week 12 against the Saints. Even if Driskel were active on Sunday, he'd likely be the third QB behind starter Drew Lock and Brett Rypien. Driskel made one start for the injured Lock earlier this year in Week 3 against the Buccaneers, going just 17-for-30 for 176 yards with a touchdown and an interception. If Lock were to miss any more time in 2020 with an injury, it would likely be Rypien getting the start over Driskel under center for Denver.