Wed Oct 21 9:02am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Jones is a must start Week 7
The only good thing about the pandemic we are in right now and how it is impacting the NFL season is there are games being played at times we aren’t accustomed. I love getting double headers on Monday. There was a game on a Tuesday last week. I mean more football is great. I wish there were games every day of the week. How awesome would that be? That is really the only positive I get out of all the craziness in the world right now. Hopefully, you are getting by alright and staying safe. Now for my random thoughts. . . . .
It is time for the Lions to end the Adrian Peterson era as starter. This team isn’t going anywhere and D’Andre Swift is starting to show his huge potential as a lead back in the NFL. Why keep running Peterson out there at this stage of the game? Swift is the future and a valuable piece of this franchise for years to come. The Lions need to see what they have with him. It doesn’t make sense to keep giving Peterson most of the carries at running back. Let’s see what Swift can do.
Kyler Murray is scoring big for fantasy teams, but his numbers could be even better if he were throwing the ball a little better. He missed on a good number of throws that could have gone for big plays last week and still scored more than 30 fantasy points. Remember, Murray is just in year two and still has plenty to learn. His fantasy future is super bright. He is second overall in fantasy quarterback scoring and struggling some throwing the ball in recent weeks.
I’m anxious to see how the Chiefs use their backfield this week. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is coming off arguably his best game of the season, getting a ton of work last week and producing with his chances. Le’Veon Bell will be here this week, though, and will get carries. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with both backs in the mix. I think Edwards-Helaire still gets more work at this point with Bell getting around double-digit touches and most of the goal-line work. We’ll see. . . . .
The Dolphins are making a switch at quarterback, going Tua Tagovailoa when they come out of their bye this week. The rookie will take over as the starting quarterback going forward. This is a bit of a surprise, considering Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well as the starter and the Dolphins are in the hunt for a playoff spot. Fitzpatrick is ninth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. Tagovailoa has fantasy potential as the starter for the Dolphins. He is a bit of a dual threat and gets a chance to start in an offense that likes to throw the ball. He might have some growing pains but could be worth some spot starts the rest of the way. Miami must really like what they are seeing with Tagovailoa in practice to make the change right now.
The tight end position is shaping up to be super top heavy this year. There is a big drop off after the first three or four tight ends right now, meaning if you have one of those guys you have an advantage over the rest of your league. The expected breakout seasons of guys like Tyler Higbee, Noah Fant and Hunter Henry are causing some weekly headaches for fantasy owners. It has been a tough start to the year for the tight end position.
Normally, if you want a good kicker, you get a player from a good team. Kickers on bad teams usually don’t post big fantasy numbers. This year has been a little different when it comes to that. There are some kickers near the top of the rankings after six games that are on bad teams. In fact, three of the first five kickers in scoring are on losing teams (Brandon McManus, Randy Bullock and Younghoe Koo). It will be interesting to see if this trend continues for the rest of the year.
It was good to see Lamar Jackson look more like the Lamar Jackson of last year. He hit the 100-yard rushing mark and scoring his second rushing touchdown of the season. It was his second game with 30-plus fantasy points. This was a welcome sight for fantasy owners after seeing him have three games with fewer than 20 fantasy points. Hopefully, this is a trend going forward for Jackson. We knew it was going to be tough for him to repeat last year, but his start to this season has caused headaches for all the fantasy owners that used a draft pick on him this year. He still has time to get it going, though, and can make those fantasy owners look good if he has a great run the rest of the year. Last week was certainly a step in the right direction for Jackson.
News and Notes: The Dolphins have named Tua Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback going forward, taking over for Ryan Fitzpatrick. It is a little bit of a surprise, considering Fitzpatrick is playing well and the Dolphins are winning games. . . . .The Rams signed kicker Kai Forbath on Tuesday. Forbath gives current starter Sam Sloman some competition going forward. Forbath could take over the kicking duties before long. . . . .The Jets traded defensive tackle Steve McLendon and a 2023 seventh-round draft pick to Tampa Bay for a 2022 sixth-round draft pick. McLendon will try to replace the injured Vita Vea for the Bucs along the defensive line.
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons. It is amazing what healthy Julio Jones can do for the passing game. Ryan was terrible his last three games but rebounded in a huge way last week with Jones looking near full strength. Ryan had his best game of the season, topping 35 fantasy points. He had his second four-touchdown game of the season and threw for 371 yards. He has a chance to keep up his good ways this week against the Lions. Detroit allows the ninth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and 10-passing touchdowns.
Ronald Jones, RB, Bucs. Jones is the top back in the Bucs offense and should continue to keep that job going forward. He has been red hot, having three straight 100-yard games. He has double-digit fantasy points all but a game this year. There was a lot of concern with Leonard Fournette added to the mix, but Jones has emerged as the back in Tampa. He can make it four straight 100-yard games this week against the Raiders. Las Vegas allows the second most fantasy points to running backs and 127-rushing yards per game.
Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals. Higgins has really played well in recent weeks. He had his first 100-yard game of the season last week and has double-digit fantasy points four straight games. He has at least four receptions all four of those games as well. He is getting consistent work and making big plays. Higgins can keep up his great play this week against the Browns, a team that allows the sixth most fantasy points to receivers. He should be considered a low-end No. 2 fantasy receiver in this tasty matchup.
David Johnson, RB, Texans. Johnson had a season high 19 carries last week, rushing for 57 yards and a score. His numbers weren’t great but he got the work and produced for fantasy teams. Johnson has double-digit fantasy points all but a game this year. He gets the weekly work and posts consistent numbers. He isn’t off the charts but solid. Johnson might have that big game this week against the Packers, though. Green Bay has been dreadful against the run, allowing the most fantasy points to running backs. The Packers allowed 158-rushing yards last week and 120-plus rushing yards three of five games.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington. McLaurin had his first down game of the season in Week 5 but quickly put that to rest, cashing seven passes for 74 yards on 12 targets last week. McLaurin has been super consistent all season as the clear top targets in Washington’s passing game. He has double-digit fantasy points all but a game and double-digit targets three of six. He gets a ton of weekly looks and should once again this week against the Cowboys. Dallas has been awful defensively this year. The Cowboys allow the fifth most fantasy points to receivers and given up 14-passing touchdowns.
Jared Goff, QB, Rams. Goff did not have a great showing last week, struggling on the road against the 49ers. He finished with fewer than 18 fantasy points, failing to hit the 200-yard mark throwing for the first time this year. His passing numbers have been hit or miss this year, having fewer than 20 fantasy points three of six games. It could be another down game for him this week against the Bears. Chicago allows the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 10th overall against the pass.
David Montgomery, RB, Bears. Montgomery gets his weekly work but isn’t doing a whole lot with those chances. He has fewer than 65-rushing yards all but a game despite having double-digit carries every game this season. He is producing a little for fantasy teams but his numbers haven’t been off the charts by any means. He has been really mediocre much of the year. Look for another ho hum game for him against the Rams this week. Los Angeles is 11th overall against the run, allowing 109-rushing yards per game.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys. Gallup had two receptions for 23 yards on six targets last week, his first game with Andy Dalton as his starting quarterback. Gallup has fewer than 30 yards two of three games. He is becoming a clear boom or bust play for fantasy teams. He isn’t getting the consistent targets to be a plug and play fantasy receiver. He is probably best to avoid this week against Washington, a team that allows the fewest fantasy points to receivers. Washington is second overall against the pass, allowing 207-passing yards per game.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers. McKinnon heads back to the starting lineup this week, starting for an injured Raheem Mostert. McKinnon has produced pretty well in a starting role this season but isn’t a sure thing by any means, especially with the way the 49ers rotate backs. He is a bit of a scary play this week against a very good Patriots rush defense. New England has allowed just one rushing touchdown this season and give up the fifth fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Broncos. Jeudy hasn’t exactly lit it up this year. He his yet to top 65 yards in a game. He also has fewer than 15 fantasy points every game. HIs game last week was his worst of the year, catching two passes for 32 yards on five targets. Jeudy is a really talented player but until he starts producing on the field, leave him on your bench. Plus, he plays the Chiefs this week, a team that is third overall against the pass and the fifth fewest fantasy points to receivers.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Panthers. Bridgewater had his first really down fantasy game of the season last week, scoring just over 13 fantasy points. He was 16-of-29 for 216 yards without a touchdown. He had two straight multiple touchdowns games before last week, though, and has 22-plus fantasy points three of six games. He has produced well this season in an offense with a lot of weapons to work with offensively. Look for Bridgewater to rebound this week against his old team, the Saints. New Orleans allows the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Latavius Murray, RB, Saints. Murray is getting his weekly work in the Saints offense as the top backup to Alvin Kamara. Murray has double-digit touches all but a game. He has more than 50 total yards three straight games and had a season high in fantasy points Week 4. He could do some damage this week against the Panthers if he gets his usual workload. The Panthers allow the fourth most fantasy points to running backs and 122-rushing yards per game.
James Washington, WR, Steelers. Washington had his best game of the season last week, catching four passes for 68 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. He has been getting some weekly work in the offense, though, having at least three receptions all but a game. But with Diontae Johnson out, Washington’s role increases even more. He can help as a spot starter for fantasy teams, especially this week against the Titans. Tennessee allows the third most fantasy points to receivers.
Justin Jackson, RB, Chargers. Jackson was the better back of the two in Los Angeles after the Austin Ekeler injury. He had 94 total yards on 20 touches in Week 5. He should split work with Joshua Kelley but likely gets a few more touches. Jackson can do well with his work this week against the Jaguars. Jacksonville allows the fifth most fantasy points to running backs and are 28th overall against the run.
Dalton Schultz, TE, Cowboys. Schultz had four receptions for 35 yards on five targets in his first game with Andy Dalton as his starting quarterback. It was an encouraging first game for Schultz, getting a good amount of looks from his new quarterback. Schultz has at least four receptions four of five games. He has a good matchup for success this week against Washington, a team that allows the fifth most fantasy points to tight ends.
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: Lions/Falcons, Steelers/Titans, Panthers/Saints, Packers/Texans, Seahawks/Cardinals.
Low Scoring Games: Bears/Rams.
Bye Weeks: Colts, Dolphins, Vikings, Ravens.
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 13
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tyler Eifert is not a worthy starter this week against Minnesota. In nine games played, the TE has only surpassed 40 yards once, and he has also been very inconsistent in his weekly numbers. Because the Jaguars don't have a strong passing attack, this makes Eifert too risky to start and thus irrelevant for fantasy purposes.
The Jacksonville Jaguars Defense should remain benched or on waivers this week. The Jags play Minnesota, a team that has solid receivers in Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, an elite back in Dalvin Cook, and a QB in Kirk Cousins who can get hot any given week. Meanwhile, Jacksonville ranks among the bottom of the league in most defensive categories, which keeps this unit well off the fantasy radar this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole Sr. is only a low-end flex for this week. Cole has produced at least five targets in three of the past five games but has only gotten over 40 yards in two of the past five games. The Jaguars don't have a strong passing attack due to their multiple changes at QB. Cole should not be trusted this week given his inconsistent stats.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. is a WR3 for Week 13 against the Vikings. As the WR1 on the team, Chark does see targets, but he doesn't always produce. The WR has gotten at least seven targets in four of the past five games but has only gotten at least 45 yards in three of those contests. Nevertheless, his weekly volume should keep him in the starting tier against a Minnesota team allowing the second-most points to fantasy wideouts.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. should be considered nothing more than a lower-end flex against the Vikings this week. In the past four games, the rookie has only eclipsed 40 yards and five targets once. Jacksonville has no stability at QB and its passing attack isn't high-powered. As a result, Shenault doesn't produce consistent and decent numbers each week. There are better options to start this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon will once again get the start this week but should remain benched in fantasy. Glennon posted 235 yards and two touchdowns last week in an impressive performance, but that was only one game and the journeyman has not proved he is worthy of a start each week. The Vikings are middle-tier against fantasy QBs, but there are certainly better, proven options out there.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson is an RB1 this week against the Vikings. The 22-year-old has now rushed for at least 99 yards in four of the last five games and has been stellar this season as the lead back for the Jags even though his value in the passing game has been minimal. The Vikings are middle-tier against fantasy backs, but Robinson's high weekly volume sets him up to produce once again.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow had a good performance last week against the Falcons, and he will look for another solid performance this week against a poor Jets secondary. He is a consistent possession receiver but lacks the explosion to be considered a viable fantasy option. Renfrow is averaging 3.5 catches and 46 yards per game this season, so those numbers make him a fringe flex option. He has not found the end zone in four consecutive games, but the Jets Defense allows a lot of points. He consistently catches passes every game, but his ceiling is low.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller disappointed last week against a bad Falcons Defense but will likely bounce back this week against the Jets. The Jets Defense ranks 29th against opposing tight ends, and Waller is the second-most expensive DFS tight end this week. Waller has had a few bad performances this season but always seems to bounce back. He has followed up his disappointing performances this season with at least five catches in the following game. Look for Waller to rebound in a big way this week. He is definitely a must-start TE1 in Week 13.
Indianapolis Colts TE Trey Burton (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Burton has been targeted 11 times over the last two games and has two touchdowns during that span. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 tight end in deeper leagues.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Devontae Booker (back) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Booker likely will receive most of the work at running back with Josh Jacobs ruled out. He will have a favorable matchup this week and can be considered a low-end No. 2 running back or flex option.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Jalen Richard (chest) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Richard may have a bigger role in the offense with Josh Jacobs not available to play. He has a chance to be a flex option in deeper point-per-receptions leagues but is not a must-start option.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III had three catches on five targets for 56 yards last week and sees a favorable matchup this week against the Jets. Ruggs had a 36-yard reception last week against the Falcons, and the Jets have allowed 38 passing plays over 20 yards this season. His fantasy value is still limited considering he is not even averaging two receptions per game. He also has just one touchdown and has only helped the team move the chains eight times all year. The big-play potential is there against this Jets secondary, but Ruggs has proved to be unreliable. Fantasy owners can feel comfortable leaving him on the bench this week.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (non-injury) did not participate in practice Friday, Dec. 4, but is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton posted a season-high 81 yards last week and picked up his first touchdown of the season. He will see a handful of targets this week and could be at least a flex option because of the matchup.
Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers (toe) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Rivers has thrown at least two touchdowns in four of the last six games and has posted solid passing numbers over the last several weeks. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 quarterback in some deeper leagues this week.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Devontae Booker is set to start Sunday against the Jets due to Josh Jacobs (ankle) being out. Jacobs is a workhorse back, so Booker's touches have been limited throughout the season. He has just one game where he has seen double-digit carries, and he took advantage of that opportunity. While Booker has seen a limited amount of attempts, he is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. The Jets have actually been decent against the run, allowing 3.8 yards per carry so far this season. Booker will likely share some touches with Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick, but he is worthy of starting consideration.
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins continues to be one of the top receivers in the NFL and is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.
Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo has been cleared to play in Week 13 against the Saints. Koo was dealing with a quad injury, though he is good to go for the divisional rematch with New Orleans. The 26-year-old has been the best kicker in fantasy football this year, which shouldn't change against the Saints. Koo made all three of his field-goal attempts in his previous meeting with New Orleans and is a top-five option this week.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr struggled mightily last week against the Falcons but will have a good chance to bounce back against the 0-11 Jets. The Jets have allowed 21 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 104.8. Carr has played well against the Jets in his career, averaging 210 yards and over two touchdowns. Other than last week's performance, Carr has also played well on the road. He has nine touchdown passes and a passer rating of 103.1 away from Las Vegas. Carr does not put up the volume numbers to be in the QB1 conversation, but he should have QB2 value against a horrendous Jets team.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage has been a streaky fantasy performer this year. Gage has just four games this year with over 50 receiving yards and has been a little too streaky for his fantasy managers. The former LSU receiver has had some of his best games with Julio Jones (hamstring) in the lineup- and there's a chance his teammate returns this week. Still, the matchup with New Orleans is a tough one, given how well their defense is playing. Gage shouldn't be trusted in fantasy lineups for Week 13.