Wed Oct 28 10:00am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Wentz just keeps producing
It is getting to make or break time for many fantasy teams. Your season isn’t over yet if you are struggling, but you are getting close to the point of no return. Make your move now. If you need to make a trade or bench a struggling starter to provide a spark to your team, go for it. Sitting back and doing nothing is likely not going to work. Get after it!
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
Lamar Jackson had a record-breaking season last year, averaging 28.6 fantasy points per game. He had a season for the ages, leading many fantasy teams to championships. But if you can believe this, there are two quarterbacks right now averaging more than 30 fantasy points per game. I think this is getting overlooked a little. Both Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray are on pace for monster seasons. Wilson is first overall in scoring right now, averaging 33.7 points per game. And Murray isn’t too far behind, averaging 31.9 points per game. These guys are off to tremendous starts to their season. Don’t take them for granted.
Josh Allen has cooled since his awesome start to the season. He has fewer than 22 fantasy points three straight games. He had 35-plus fantasy points each of his first three games. Remember, those games came against the Jets, Dolphins and Rams. He has struggled a little in tougher matchups against the Titans and Chiefs. He is still having a great year but it was going to be hard for Allen to keep his pace from the start of the year. He is coming back down to earth a little. I still think he is a top-10 fantasy quarterback but isn’t in the same category as guys like Mahomes, Watson and Wilson.
While I’m worried about all options in the Cowboys passing game going forward, I am not too worried about Ezekiel Elliott. I’m good with him going forward despite all the issues in Dallas right now. I still think he’ll produce big despite his recent ball security issues. He can rack up the rushing yards and receptions in this offense. Elite backs are hard to come by this year, so I would hold tight if you own Elliott. Don’t give up on him after a bad showing in Week 7.
Cole Beasley might be the most underrated player in fantasy. He is 21st in fantasy receiver scoring and the model of consistency. Beasley had a huge game last week, catching 11 passes for 112 yards. But even before that, he had at least four receptions all but a game. He has at least 11 fantasy points all but the first game of the season. He gets his weekly looks and has some big-game ability because of his reception potential. He isn’t flashy but gets it done. I’m not sure how he is still available in 25 percent of leagues. Crazy.
The Texans offense is starting to get it going and Brandin Cooks is a big reason way. He is getting on the same page as Deshaun Watson and producing big. Cooks is fourth overall in fantasy receiver scoring his last three games. He has at least seven receptions three straight games and scores two of those games. His slow start is becoming a distant memory for fantasy teams. Cooks is a must start right now in this offense.
I thought he would have a drop off this year with Tom Brady gone, but I didn’t see this coming from Julian Edelman. At this point, I think he can be dropped in leagues. He has fewer than seven fantasy points four straight games. He has fewer than 40 yards all four of those games. Edelman has been a nonfactor since Week 2 and I don’t see a sudden turnaround, especially with Cam Newton struggling. Edelman also finally looks to be slowing down. He has a lot of wear and tear on those tires, so slowing down isn’t a big surprise.
News and Notes: The Ravens signed receiver Dez Bryant to the practice squad on Tuesday. Bryant will try to work his way back on the active roster but nothing is a given at this stage of his career. . . . .The Rams released kicker Samuel Sloman on Tuesday. Sloman was erratic in a starting role for the Rams, causing them to make the switch. Kai Forbath should take over the kicking duties for the Rams going forward. . . . .Carolina released cornerback Eli Apple on Tuesday. Apple was battling injury, so this isn’t a surprise move, especially with the team looking for better options in the secondary. . . . .The Cowboys traded defensive end Everson Griffen to the Lions for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Griffen provides a pass rusher off the edge for the Lions.
Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers. Herbert is 11th overall in fantasy quarterback scoring and second overall his last three games. He is playing at a super high level for fantasy teams and about a must weekly start. He has two straight games with four touchdowns and three-touchdown games three straight. Herbert has at least 21 fantasy points all five games he has played this year. Expect more of the same this week against a middle of the road Broncos pass defense.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers. Deebo Samuel is hurt again, leaving Aiyuk has the top receiver left on the roster. Aiyuk had his first 100-yard game as a pro last week and scored a touchdown the previous game. The entire 49ers offense is looking better in recent weeks, making their players better fantasy plays. Aiyuk can have more success this week against the Seahawks, a team that allows the most fantasy points to receivers and are dead last against the pass, giving up 369-passing yards per game.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Browns. Hunt hasn’t been spectacular but solid as the starter for the Browns with Nick Chubb out. He had 102 total yards and a touchdown his last time out. He has scores all but two games this year. Hunt has fewer than 12 fantasy points all but a game. Hunt is a solid No. 1 for fantasy teams and should keep his hot ways going this week against the Raiders. Las Vegas has allowed the second most fantasy points to running backs and a league-high 12-rushing touchdowns.
Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles. Wentz is flying under the radar a little because his team is a mess, but he is 10th overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. And he is fifth overall his last three games. Wentz has been producing despite multiple injuries at receiver and tight end for the Eagles. Wentz has two straight with 32-plus fantasy points. He has five straight multiple touchdown games. Wentz should continue his hot ways against a terrible Cowboys defense. Dallas has allowed 16 passing touchdowns compared to just one interception.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals. Boyd had his best fantasy game of the season last week, catching 11 passes for 101 yards. This was his third game of the year with more than 20 fantasy points. He has clearly emerged as the top target in the Bengals passing game, having at least four receptions every single game this year. Another good game is expected this week against the Titans, a team that allows the fourth most fantasy points to receivers.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Lions. Swift is gaining value and getting more chances in recent weeks but Adrian Peterson still had more carries than him last week for some reason. Swift failed to reach double-digit carries in the game after having 14 carries for 116 yards in Week 6. You have to wonder what the Lions are thinking, giving Peterson more work than Swift at this point of the season. It is hard to trust Swift just yet, especially in a tough matchup. And he has a tough matchup this week anginas the Colts, a team that is third overall against the run. If you have better options, you might want to go with them in Week 8.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins. I’m excited to see Tagovailoa get the start this week, making his first NFL start. He has a lot of potential in a starting role because he is a bit of a dual threat and will start in an offense that likes to throw the ball. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been producing well for fantasy teams in a starting role this year. You might want to temper your expectations for Tagovailoa in his first game, though. He has a tough matchup against the Rams, a team playing much better defense in recent weeks. Los Angeles has a top pass rush and maybe the best cover corner in the game in Jalen Ramsey. The Rams allow the sixth fewest fantasy points to receivers.
Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens. Brown isn’t having quite the breakout season most expected this year. He has just one touchdown and fewer than 10 fantasy points three of six games. He has been hit or miss in an offense that has struggled at times to throw the ball. It might be more of the same for Brown this week against Pittsburgh. Brown had five receptions for 37 yards in two games against the Steelers last year. Pittsburgh is sixth overall against the pass this season.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys. Lamb had his first down game of his career last week, going without a catch. He was targeted five times in the game but couldn’t connect with Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci. This is a concern going forward, especially if DiNucci has to start this week for the Cowboys. The matchup isn’t bad on paper, playing the Eagles, but it is hard to trust any pass catcher in the Cowboys offense with DiNucci as the starter. We would downgrade all options, including Lamb. You really might want to consider other options in Week 8.
Marquez Callaway, WR, Saints. Callaway was the surprise leader for the Saints at receiver last week, catching eight passes for 75 yards on 10 targets. He has been getting more looks in recent weeks because of all the injuries at receiver for the Saints, having 16 targets his last two games. Callaway is no sure thing in this offense, though, especially with Michael Thomas having a chance to return this week. Callaway also has a really tough matchup against a good Bears pass defense. Chicago allows the third fewest fantasy points to receivers. Callaway is probably someone to stay away from this week despite his good showing last week.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Panthers. Bridgewater topped 20 fantasy points once again last week, making that four of seven games hitting that mark. He was 23-of-28 for 254 yards and two touchdowns on the road against the Saints. He also didn’t turn the ball over. Bridgewater has 235-plus passing yard all but a game this year. He has multiple touchdowns three of four games. He gets a Falcons team he played in Week 5, throwing for 313 yards and two touchdowns against. Atlanta allows the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year.
La’Mical Perine, RB, Jets. Perine got the most work of his career last week, rushing 11 times for 39 yards and a touchdown. He also had two receptions, giving him 13 total touches. He is getting more chances in an offense looking towards the future. It makes sense for the Jets to phase out Frank Gore and see what they have in Perine. The Jets have a good matchup for the running game this week, playing the Chiefs. Kansas City is 30th against the run, allowing 150-rushing yards per game.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Raiders. Agholor had his first 100-yard game of the season last week and has scores three straight games. He has at least 14 fantasy points three straight games. He is getting his weekly chances for the Raiders and making plays. Agholor is a player to consider using for fantasy teams, especially if you need help this week because of a bye or injury. He plays the Browns, a team that allows the second most fantasy points to receivers.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Bears. Graham continues to get his weekly chances for the Bears. He had five receptions last week and has five catches each of his last two games. He has at least three receptions all but a game for the Bears. He isn’t explosive but consistent and a top red-zone target. It wouldn’t surprise to see his yardage numbers increase this week, though, playing the Saints. New Orleans really struggles to stop the tight end, allowing the second most fantasy points to tight ends.
JaMycal Hasty, RB, 49ers. Hasty is kind of the last man standing for the 49ers with Jeff Wilson getting hurt last week. Hasty and Jerick McKinnon are the top two backs left for the team for Week 8. Hasty has been getting more work in recent weeks, having nine carries each of his last two games. He had 73 total yards on 10 touches last week. He should get double-digit touches again this week, giving him some fantasy potential in a game that should be high scoring.
High/Low Scoring Games
Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.
High Scoring Games: Falcons/Panthers, Titans/Bengals, Vikings/Packers, Steelers/Ravens.
Low Scoring Games: Colts/Lions.
Bye Weeks: Cardinals, Washington, Jaguars, Texans.
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.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 12
Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst compiled four receptions for 48 yards on eight targets in Week 12. After getting nothing last week, the TE redeemed himself. Though he has had a few bad games this season, Hurst has had a stable role in this Atlanta offense and has usually put up decent numbers each week. The former Raven has seen at least five targets in eight of 11 games and has posted at least 48 yards in seven of 11 games. That type of consistency keeps Hurst as a low-end TE1 going forward.
New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman had a big day for fantasy managers in a win over the Bengals on Sunday. Gallman turned a season-high 24 carries into 94 yards and added a touchdown as the Giants finally treated Gallman like the undisputed lead-back in the offense. No other running back had more than four carries and Gallman led the backfield with five targets as well. Gallman is a must-start fantasy option given the amount of work he is getting. He'll be in the RB2 conversation next week in a matchup with Seattle.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (knee) won't return to Sunday's game against the Saints. Lindsay ends the day with nine carries for 20 yards on a weird day where the Broncos were without a starting quarterback and used Lindsay in the wildcat some. Hopefully he's good to go next week, but if Lindsay's knee issue is serious, Melvin Gordon III will see the bulk of the team's work going forward. Gordon would become a low-end RB2 option.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had his best performance of the season in a Sunday loss against the Titans. He caught four passes on five targets for 81 yards, and he hauled in his first touchdown catch of the season. Hilton netted the majority of his yards on a 50-yard catch in the first half, and his touchdown came in garbage time when the outcome was decided. Regardless of the reason, it was good to see Hilton have a solid fantasy performance. Hilton has a divisional matchup against the Texans next week, and he has found success against them in the past. In 16 career games against Houston, Hilton averages about five catches for 96 yards.
Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo went a perfect 5-for-5 in field goals in the Week 12 win over Las Vegas. He also made four extra points. Koo's longest field goal was 54 yards in the win and he has now gone 29-for-30 in field goals this season. He is also 22-for-25 in extra points. Koo remains a strong starting option going forward given his reliability.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead IV has tested positive for COVID-19. This makes seven offensive starters for Baltimore on the COVID list and marks eight consecutive days with a positive test. Getting through Sunday with no positives would have been huge in guaranteeing that Tuesday's Ravens/Steelers game happens as scheduled. This positive introduces even more doubt about the viability of that football game.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram had a big day Sunday turning six catches into 129 yards, his first 100-plus yard game this season. Engram almost had a bigger day, but he was tackled at the three-yard line after a 54-yard reception in the first quarter. Engram has been one of the most reliable options in fantasy over the last month with at least nine targets in four of the last five games. His fantasy value could take a hit if QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) misses time, but even with Colt McCoy under center Engram is a must-start tight end with a good matchup with Seattle on tap.
New Orleans Saints cornerback Janoris Jenkins (knee) is questionable to return to Sunday's game against the Broncos. The veteran defender has two interceptions and nine passes defender this year so far, as well as 37 tackles. If he misses time, the Saints Defense would take a slight hit in value, though aside from a Week 15 meeting with the Saints, they're past playing most of the top quarterbacks on their schedule.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage finished with three receptions for 34 yards on five targets in the Week 12 blowout win over the Raiders. Even with Julio Jones not playing, Gage did not see a boost in value throughout the game. He has been rather streaky this season and has only posted over 50 yards in four of 11 games. Even if Jones cannot play next week, Gage is simply too streaky and unproven to trust for fantasy on a weekly basis. He should only be considered a low-end flex, but there are certainly better options to start.
The Carolina Panthers Defense had a great day in a 28-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, recovering three fumbles, notching two sacks, and scoring two touchdowns. Perhaps most impressive of all, Carolina held star running back Dalvin Cook to just 83 scoreless scrimmage yards, though he did leave at one point with an injury. The star of the day for the Panthers was rookie safety Jeremy Chinn, who led the team with 13 tackles and two fumble recoveries- he returned both for touchdowns. Carolina will get a Week 13 bye before getting a favorable matchup against the Broncos.
Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill finished with 13 carries for 55 yards in Week 12. Todd Gurley II was ruled out of the game beforehand with a knee injury, meaning Hill and Ito Smith split the work out of the backfield. Hill had 13 carries while Smith had 12. If Gurley returns next week, Hill would have zero fantasy relevance. Even if Gurley cannot go, Hill is still quite a risky choice considering he and Smith split the carries in Week 12 and that cuts into the potential for more production.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired general manager Dave Caldwell, but team owner Doug Marrone was reportedly told that he and his staff's jobs are secure for the rest of the 2020 season. Of course, that doesn't mean Marrone will keep his job going into next year, especially with the Jaguars poised to draft a quarterback early and move into a different era of Jags football. Continuity for the rest of 2020 should at least keep running back James Robinson on pace to be a low-end RB1 play each week.
Carolina Panthers kicker Joey Slye made 2 of 4 field-goal attempts and all three extra points in a disappointing 28-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Slye had a solid day for fantasy purposes, though he left points on the field, including the game-winning kick. The 24-year-old has had a solid season otherwise, as he ranks in the top-ten in points. Slye will get a Week 13 bye before he faces a Broncos' team that has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to kickers.
New York Giants quarterback Colt McCoy went 6-for-10 passing for 31 yards in relief of Daniel Jones (hamstring) in a win over the Bengals. McCoy didn't throw a touchdown nor record a turnover and added seven rushing yards in the win. Jones is scheduled to undergo further tests on Monday, but early reports indicate Jones is unlikely to suit up in Week 13. The 10-year journeyman McCoy doesn't offer much to fantasy managers and hurts the value of other members in the New York passing game.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley had six receptions for 50 yards and a score on nine targets in Week 12. Ridley was the WR1 on Sunday with Julio Jones not playing due to a hamstring injury. The WR has seen at least seven targets in eight of 10 games and has produced at least 60 yards in seven of 10 games. With such a rich role in this offense, it keeps Ridley in the WR1 tier going forward.
Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines had a productive fantasy day in a loss against the Titans. He had just 10 carries for 29 yards on the ground but made up for it through the air, catching eight passes for 66 yards on 10 targets. He saw a lot of time in the offense due to Jonathan Taylor (COVID-19) being out and the Colts being down substantially for a majority of the game. Hines has been a productive fantasy player throughout the year when given ample opportunity, but there is uncertainty about the amount of snaps he will get on a week-to-week basis. He will likely have potential flex value again next week in a divisional matchup against the Texans.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan finished 22-for-39 for 185 yards, two touchdowns, and one pick in the blowout win over the Raiders. Ryan posted a season-low in yards despite the huge win and now has five touchdowns and five interceptions in the past four games. The QB generally hasn't been as explosive in fantasy this season as he has in the past. Therefore, he's a fringe starter going forward.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel caught all five targets for 72 receiving yards, adding one carry for five rushing yards in a 28-27 loss to the Vikings. Samuel picked up much of his receiving production on one play, a 35-yard deep ball from Teddy Bridgewater that he hauled in. Still, that's back-to-back games with at least 70 yards for Samuel, who could see an even bigger opportunity in the offense if D.J. Moore (leg) is out for an extended period of time after the team's Week 13 bye. Samuel should be scooped up if he is somehow on the waiver wire, as he would flirt with weekly WR3 status if Moore is indeed out for some time.
The Cardinals Defense had a decent performance in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. They allowed 20 points in the game. Patriots quarterback Cam Newton had a miserable game, throwing for just 84 yards as well as two interceptions. The Cardinals also managed to sack Newton three times. The Cardinals offense struggled in the game, scoring just 17 points, but nonetheless, it was an encouraging performance from the Cardinals Defense after they'd allowed at least 28 points in four straight games.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers had a decent fantasy performance against the Titans, throwing for 295 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. It was a blowout win for the Titans, so Rivers threw the ball over 40 times. Rivers completed just 57 percent of his passes, which was his lowest of the season. This is the third straight game where Rivers has thrown for over 280 yards, but he does not throw enough touchdowns to have QB1 value. He continues to have low-end QB2 value, but that seems to be his ceiling at this point in the year. He faces off against the Texans in a divisional matchup next week where he should have some solid fantasy value.