Wed Sep 16 9:24am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Crowder setup for more success
We have one week in the books. It was an interesting first week of the season, having a little bit of everything. There were some big games. Some fantasy stars disappointed. And we had some unfortunate injuries to key players. So it was just a normal week in the NFL for the most part. The best news was there was football, though. That is my big takeaway. Let’s hope we can keep it going. I know I’m looking forward to Week 2.
Now for my random thoughts. . . . ..
If you are a Michael Thomas owner, that is a huge loss to overcome. But don’t fret. You can get through this. Just try to tread water until he is back in the lineup. The receiver position is deep this year, so hopefully you have options available to help. It is not all doom and gloom for Thomas owners. It is very early and he might not miss much time. Throwing in the towel because of the injury won’t help matters.
Saquon Barkley might be the most talented back in the game, but if he doesn’t get any help for him offensive line, it could be another long season for him. The Giants were a mess blocking for him last week. I know it was an unfavorable matchup for him but the showing wast still a concern for me. That line looked awful. Hopefully, they can get it going for all those Barkley owners out there. We’ll see. . . . .
There are lots of waiver wire running back options this week but my favorite is Nyheim Hines. I just think he has a ton of upside as the top pass-catching back on this roster. Just think of Austin Ekeler the last few years with the Chargers. This is what Hines is capable of with Philip Rivers as his starting quarterback. I expect him to get five-plus receptions every game this year. He is not going to be a touchdown dependent player. He is going to get his weekly targets. Running backs for the Colts last week caught 17 passes!
So if the Jaguars were tanking their season to get Trevor Lawrence, they might want to think again about that first pick. Gardner Minshew continues to impress me. He has the “it” factor and just makes plays. I think he is an above-average NFL starter. I also think he is worth some spot starts for fantasy teams. The Jaguars are going to have some trouble running the ball this year, so don’t be surprised if Minshew posts some big passing numbers along the way.
I don’t think Tom Brady is done after one week of action. Sure, it was a disappointing first game. He was on the road against one of the best teams in all of football, though. And he hasn’t had the normal offseason, getting acquainted with his offense and teammates. I think he will get going. This stuff can take some time. It was just a game. I still have faith in Brady with all the offensive weapons that surround him.
I would not be surprised as all if Davante Adams leads all fantasy receivers in scoring. He was targeted 17 times in the opener and Aaron Rodgers seems on a mission to prove all his doubters wrong. This bodes well for Adams to have a career-best season. He is going to get a weekly workout as the clear top receiver in this offense
I know JuJu Smith-Schuster scored two touchdowns and was the most productive fantasy receiver for the Steelers, but I was more impressed with Diontae Johnson. Johnson led the team in targets with 10, having four more than Smith-Schuster. It is clear that Ben Roethlisberger likes to look for Johnson. He is going to have a breakout year in an offense that looks to be pretty potent.
I could not be more excited about the prospects of the Cardinals offense. Arizona put up some points and yards against a top 49ers defense in the opener. Kyler Murray was on point and looked like a player that has taken a step forward in year two. And DeAndre Hopkins didn’t seem to miss a beat with his new team. This offense has a ton of weapons with one of the top young quarterbacks in the game at the helm. The Cardinals offense has the makings of being pretty special this year.
I’m really intrigued by Cam Newton after his Week 1 performance. Sure, the Patriots don’t have much at the receiver spot, but that hasn’t stopped Newton in the past from producing big for fantasy teams. If he can run the ball like he did the first week of the year and sprinkle in a few passing touchdowns, he really has a chance to be a top-10 fantasy quarterback. Remember, he has two seasons with double-digit rushing touchdowns. Newton can be a difference maker when he is making consistent plays on the ground, which is likely how the Patriots will utilize him this year. Let’s just hope he can stay healthy.
Don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 2 rankings.
News and Notes: The Jets signed running back Kalen Ballage on Tuesday. New York is looking to add depth at running back because of the injury to LeVeon Bell. . . . .The Patriots signed kicker Nick Folk to the 53-man roster Tuesday. He should take over the starting kicking duties for the team. . . . .San Francisco signed receiver Mohamed Sanu on Tuesday. He gives the team some much needed depth at the position and could play a role in a hurry with his new team.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Robinson had a decent first game of the season, catching five passes for 74 yards on nine targets. He got a lot of looks once again, which should be a trend all season. Robinson gets a great matchup in Week 2 against a Giants defense that seems to have a lot of holes once again. New York allowed the third most fantasy points to receivers in Week 1. Robinson can hit the 100-yard mark in this one.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints. Brees might be without Michael Thomas this week and his opener was just alright, but don’t bet against him to post big numbers in Week 2. He plays the Raiders, a team that allowed Teddy Bridgewater to throw for 260 yards against them last week. Brees can have a much better showing this week even if Thomas doesn’t play. The Saints have enough weapons in the passing game to do some damage to the Raiders secondary.
Ronald Jones, RB, Bucs. Jones got most of the work for the Bucs in Week 1, rushing 17 times for 66 yards. He also caught two passes for 16 yards, giving him 82 total yards. This came against a very good Saints defense, though. Jones actually ran well, considering how much room to run was out there for him. He is the lead back right now for the Bucs, getting 19 touches compared to six for Leonard Fournette. If he gets that much work again this week against the Panthers, look for big things from Jones. Carolina was torched by Josh Jacobs last week.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets. Crowder was the top target for the Jets last week and that should be the case much of the year. He had seven receptions for 115 yards on 13 targets. The 49ers have a good defense but don’t let that scare you off from using Crowder. The Jets could get down in this game, being forced to throw more. Plus, DeAndre Hopkins had double-digit receptions against the 49ers last week, so it is possible for Crowder to produce big even in a close game.
Nick Chubb, RB, Browns. Chubb had a ho hum first week, rushing 10 times for 60 yards. He also caught a pass for six yards. It was a decent showing against a very good Ravens defense. Things get much easier for him this week against the Bengals. Chubb had a 100-yard showing against the Bengals last year. Cincinnati allowed 155-rushing yards in their opener.
Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles. It is hard to trust the Eagles offense right now, mainly because of all their injuries along the offensive line. Wentz was running for his life last week and that should be the case again this week against the Rams, a team that has Aaron Donald along their defensive line. The Rams also did a good job of holding an explosive Cowboys offense in check, allowing the 12th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Until the Eagles get healthier, you might want to leave Wentz on your bench.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Broncos. Gordon had a pretty good start to his Broncos career, rushing 15 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for eight yards, giving him 86 total yards on 18 touches. Those numbers aren’t eye popping, though. He was held in check much of the night until late in the game. That could be the case again this week for Gordon against the Steelers. Pittsburgh absolutely dominated the Giants rushing attack, holding Saquon Barkley to just six yards on 15 carries. Gordon might have a hard time repeating his production from last week.
Robby Anderson, WR, Panthers. Anderson had a fantastic first game with the Panthers, catching six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. He got most of his production on his 75-yard touchdown reception, being held 40 yards on his other five catches. Anderson is going to be worth starting along the way this year because he is a big-play threat. But he is likely going to disappear some weeks, especially in an offense that probably won’t force many big plays down the field. Anderson has a tough matchup this week against the Bucs, a team with a solid secondary. Tampa allowed the second fewest fantasy points to receivers last week.
Frank Gore, RB, Jets. Gore might be starting but that doesn’t mean he belongs in fantasy lineups. He ran six times for just 24 yards last week and didn’t catch a pass. He might get some carries and the goal-line work for the Jets, but he is going to be a touchdown dependent player at this stage of his career. And we don’t see him finding the end zone against the 49ers. There are better options out there than Gore.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Chargers. Taylor had a disappointing first start for the Chargers. He had a great matchup against the Bengals but was only able to manage just more than 11 fantasy points. He failed to score a touchdown and ran for just seven yards. This game was a prime matchup for Taylor and he did next to nothing. He is not a player to put in fantasy lineups until he starts showing something on the field. He gets the defending Super Bowl champs this week, so go with other options.
Philip Rivers, QB, Colts. Rivers had a 300-yard showing his first game with the Colts, throwing for 363 yard and a touchdown against the Jaguars. This was a favorable matchup and Rivers took advantage with a 20-plus fantasy point showing. Rivers will be worth using on a spot start basis for fantasy teams. And this week is another good matchup for Rivers, playing the Vikings. Minnesota had a lot of turnover at cornerback this offseason and it showed last week, getting torched by the Packers. The Vikings allowed the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks in Week 1.
Antonio Gibson, RB, Redskins. Peyton Barber might have gotten more carries last week, but he didn’t do much with those chances. His fantasy day was aided by two scores. Gibson was the better back of the two and should continue to get double-digit touches in this offense. He has a chance to really build on last week, playing the Cardinals this week. Arizona allowed the second most fantasy points to running backs in the opener. Look for Gibson to break off a few big plays in this one.
Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals. Burrow had a pretty good debut against a good Chargers defense. He completed 23-of-36 passes for 193 yards and ran for 46 yards and a touchdown. He produced just fewer than 20 fantasy points without throwing a touchdown pass. Things will get better for the rookie, especially in better matchups. And this week against the Browns is a good matchup for Burrow. The Browns look to have some defensive issues once again this season. Cleveland allowed the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks last week, making Burrow a good spot play in this one.
Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers. Johnson led the Steelers in targets in Week 1, getting targeted 10 times in the game. He caught six passes for 57 yards, producing solid numbers. It was a good start to the season for Johnson, who seems setup for a breakout year with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback. Denver was middle of the road against the pass last week against the Titans, so look for the Steelers to have some success throwing the ball. It would not surprise to see Johnson build on his opener.
Zack Moss, RB, Bills. The good news for Moss in the opener was he found the end zone and had 12 touches in the game. The bad news is he managed just 27 total yards with all his work. But either way, Moss is going to be a big part of this offense, especially with Devin Singletary giving Moss every opportunity to take the starting job away from him. The Bills should have a lot more success running the ball this week against the Dolphins, a team that allowed 217-rushing yards in Week 1. Moss is worth using as a flex play in Week 2.
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: Bengals/Browns, Falcons/Cowboys, Panthers/Bucs, Chiefs/Chargers, Ravens/Texans, Saints/Raiders.
Low Scoring Games: Vikings/Colts, Broncos/Steelers.
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 Fantasy Takeaways from Week 6
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown returned after a one game absence, but it looks like he took this game off as well. Brown failed to haul in all of his four targets during the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Josh Allen had a tough time connecting with his receivers in this one. However, both Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley found the end zone. Brown should have WR4 upside against the New York Jets next week.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis was not able to do much damage against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He finished with one reception on his lone target of the game for seven yards in the loss. Quarterback Josh Allen did not have a good game throwing the ball, so that was part of the problem as well. Davis is likely going to get lost in the shuffle with the Bills receivers healthy at the moment. He might have desperation deep league appeal against the awful New York Jets Defense in Week 7.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been reliable all season long and that continued against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in four of his seven targets for 45 yards and one touchdown. The Bills weren't able to get the air attack going well in this game. However, that should change next week against the horrendous New York Jets Defense. Beasley continues to be a reliable PPR option and that should be the case next week as well.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a fairly quiet game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in six of his eight targets for 46 yards and one touchdown in the loss. He led the Bills in all receiving categories, but quarterback Josh Allen finished with a total of 122 passing yards in this game. Diggs salvaged his fantasy value with the touchdown, but he should rebound nicely next week. He'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on him as a WR1 for that game.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman only received one target on Monday and recorded zero yards against the Buffalo Bills. Hardman is a weekly boom or bust candidate and he had some potential in Week 6 with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) sidelined, but it was Demarcus Robinson who took advantage on Monday. Due to inconsistent performances, Hardman is only WR4/WR5 with upside most weeks. Hardman will look to pick up some stats against the Denver Broncos in a Week 7 matchup.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was the lead back once again, but failed to do much damage on the ground. He rushed 10 times for 32 yards on the ground in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Singletary also hauled in one of two targets for 13 yards through the air. Rookie Zack Moss did return in this game, but Singletary still managed to get double digit carries. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on Singletary as a low-end RB2 against the New York Jets next week.
Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (toe) was able to suit up for the Week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He missed each of the last three games due to a toe issue, but honestly he could've missed this one too and it wouldn't have changed anything. Moss finished with 10 yards on five carries in the loss to the Chiefs. Devin Singletary remained the lead back and that will probably be the case going forward. Moss should have increased value against the New York Jets next week. He could be worth a stash for that matchup.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had arguably his worst game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He completed 14 of 27 passing attempts for 122 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss. He also added 42 yards on the ground with eight rushing attempts. Allen started off red-hot to begin the season, but hasn't looked the same over the last two weeks. He should be a top tier QB1 for the Week 7 matchup against the New York Jets.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams rushed six times for 26 yards and a touchdown on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Williams also snagged one reception for 15 yards. The Chiefs ran the ball 46 times and part of that could be because of the bad forecast throughout the game. Despite the nice night, Williams is likely to be demoted to the third running back on the roster with the recent addition of LeVeon Bell. Williams should be avoided in all formats and should only have value if Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Bell were to get hurt.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes went 20-for-25 for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills. He also rushed eight times for 38 yards. It wasnt the most impressive game for the former MVP, but with rainy weather, the Chiefs elected to favor the run in this matchup versus the pass. The former MVP still put together a solid performance overall and will look to keep it going against an underrated Denver Broncos Defense in Week 7. Mahomes remains a QB1 every week.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire put together his most dominant performance of the season on Monday versus the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs fed their rookie all night long and CEH responded by rushing for 161 yards on 26 carries. The rookie had his longest run of the season for 31 yards and also chipped in with four catches for eight yards. The rookie has looked strong all season and has become a big threat in the Chiefs powerful offense, but the Chiefs recent signing of LeVeon Bell is expected to put a dent in his workload. Even with Bell in the picture, Edwards-Helaire should be considered a high-end RB2 the rest of the year. The rookie will look to keep the momentum going against the Denver Broncos in Week 7.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce made fantasy managers proud on Monday by scoring touchdowns on five receptions for 65 yards. Kelce did have a fumble, but that was his only error for the night. Kelce continues to operate as a top option for quarterback Patrick Mahomes as part of a 1a/1b option alongside wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The tight end is the best at his position and managers have to be happy with their early investment in him. Kelce should be started every week and will be a TE1 versus the Denver Broncos heading into Week 7.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson put together his best performance of the season on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Robinson has fallen victim to being on a Chiefs offense with plenty of options, but with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) out, Robinson took advantage by hauling in five catches for 69 yards. Robinson is the model for a boom or bust player and shouldnt be considered more than a WR4/WR5 with upside as long as Watkins is sidelined. Robinson will face the Broncos in Week 7.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (ankle) and wide receiver K.J. Hamler (hamstring) could both potentially return to play in Sundays contest versus Kansas City after missing last Sundays outing due to respective injuries, per head coach Vic Fangio. Fant is the more fantasy relevant of the two, having established a considerable rapport with Drew Lock last season. Fant has hauled in five receptions in three of his four appearances this year, combining for 219 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Hamlers first two contests saw him receive 12 targets, which bodes well for his fantasy upside should he ultimately suit up. Check back throughout the week for updates on both players, whose return would knock Jerry Jeudys appeal down a notch.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku is hoping to have a new home prior to the NFL Trade Deadline on Nov. 3 after once again reportedly asking to be traded. Njoku has been lightly used in the passing game this season by the Browns, hauling in five receptions for 63 yards and one touchdown. Back in 2018, Njoku was a staple of the passing game, amassing 639 receiving yards while starting 14 contests; this season, the presence of Austin Hooper has knocked Njokus fantasy outlook out of consideration. What could spark that intrigue again would be a new situation, with teams such as the Eagles and Patriots presumably having openings heading into the second half of the season.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hills five game touchdown streak ended on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Hill had a rough night overall and was pretty much non-existent in Week 6. The star receiver rushed one time for five yards and caught all three of targets for a season low 20 yards. Hill was outshined by tight end Travis Kelce and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in this matchup, but managers should just chalk this matchup up as a bad game. Hill remains a WR1 and should be treated that way going into a Week 7 matchup versus the Broncos.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) is trending toward a third consecutive absence Sunday when his team takes on the Bills, as head coach Adam Gase was not optimistic Monday that his signal caller would clear the necessary stages to get him back on the field. It seems likely that New York will stick with veteran Joe Flacco for the game in the event that Darnold is unavailable, even as the Jets were shut out Sunday by Miami. So long as Flacco is under center, New Yorks offense can be targeted by fantasy managers attempting to nab opposing defenses. Even upon his activation, Darnold will be in a rough spot from a fantasy perspective due to the Jets offensive line woes and general downturn in production from skill position players.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (foot) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) were both listed as limited practice participants Monday ahead of Thursdays contest versus the Giants. Both receivers were out of the equation Sunday against Baltimore, with Jackson already expected to suit up come Thursday. As for Jeffery, he would be making his season debut after working his way back from a Lisfranc injury. Having either back in the mix would be a boon for Carson Wentz, who will be without Zach Ertz (ankle) for the foreseeable future. Travis Fulgham has become a breakout fantasy sensation over the past three weeks, and while his stock would take a dip with Jeffery or Jackson back, any of the three are season-long options against a shaky Giants secondary.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (foot) was a limited participant in Mondays practice after having sustained a foot injury during Sundays contest versus Washington. Slayton hauled in his first touchdown since Week 1 in the game, but came down awkwardly on his foot after the grab. With little time to recover before Thursdays outing against the Eagles, the fact that he was able to practice in any capacity bodes well for his odds of suiting up. Fantasy managers interested in Slayton will want to keep an eye on Sterling Shepards (toe) status as well, as the latter returning to the mix would zap some of Slaytons intrigue, even if he were fully healthy.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) is not expected to return to the field in time for Sundays game against the Patriots, with a likely return set for Week 8 versus Seattle. Colemans role in the offense took an increased interest Monday with the announcement that Raheem Mostert (ankle) would be headed toward injured reserve, paving the way for Coleman to see an uptick in usage upon his return. Across just 18 carries this season, Coleman is averaging 1.7 yards per rush, which will at least leave the door open for Jerick McKinnon to battle him for a share of starting rusher duties. But Coleman compiled six rushing scores last season for the 49ers and figures to have an opportunity to compete for top back duties at some point. As for the game versus the Patriots, McKinnon should be a RB2/Flex option.