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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
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.