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 Waiver Wire Adds: Week 12
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) has been limited in practice ahead of a Thanksgiving rivalry game in Dallas but does not appear to be in danger of missing the game. McLaurin has been one of the safest receivers to start in fantasy as the second-year wideout has at least seven targets in every game this season. McLaurin torched this Cowboys secondary for 90 yards and a touchdown in Week seven and should see similar success Thursday. McLaurin is a must-start WR1 in all formats versus a Cowboys Defense that allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars Defense will be without three defensive coaches in Week 12 against the Browns, including defensive coordinator Todd Wash. Head coach Doug Marrone said that Wash was among those unavailable this week due to COVID-19 protocols. The entire defensive staff was not at the team facility on Tuesday as the team underwent contact tracing after positive COVID-19 tests. Secondary coach Joe Danna will call defensive plays against Cleveland. Special teams assistant Mike Mallory will run the defense during practices this week. An already bad Jacksonville defense just got worse, and on top of it they placed defensive end Josh Allen and cornerback D.J. Hayden on Injured Reserve on Tuesday. Stay far away from this defensive unit in fantasy against the Browns.
The Chicago Bears are unsure if quarterback Nick Foles (hip), who is still in some pain, will be able to practice this week and play in Week 12 against the division-rival Packers. If Foles is healthy enough to suit up, he would presumably remain the starter under center. Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) has missed several games but is in fact healthy enough to play if he is needed. So it sounds as though it'll be either Foles or Trubisky going against Green Bay this weekend. Neither QB has been very good in real life or for fantasy managers in 2020, so those in leagues that start one quarterback can obviously avoid this situation. The Packers Defense is a solid streaming option for Week 12 against a Bears offense that has struggled mightily to move the football consistently all season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars plan to start quarterback Mike Glennon in Week 12 against the Browns, according to head coach Doug Marrone. Gardner Minshew II (thumb) is nearing full health, but it will be Glennon over both Minshew and rookie Jake Luton on Sunday against Cleveland. The biggest takeaway here is that the Browns Defense, which won't have star pass-rusher Myles Garrett or standout defensive back Denzel Ward this weekend, will remain a strong play against a Jacksonville team with one win and on their third QB of the season. Glennon, 30, hasn't started a game in the NFL since 2017 with the Bears and is nothing more than a desperation low-end QB2 in superflex leagues. Make sure to downgrade all of Jacksonville's receivers as well.
Cincinnati Bengals QB Brandon Allen will start in Week 12 over QB Ryan Finley.
Fantasy Spin: Avoid this situation altogether, and the Bengals' wide receivers like Tee Higgins and A.J. Green also take a hit.
The Cincinnati Bengals are planning to start quarterback Brandon Allen in Week 12 against the Giants with rookie Joe Burrow (knee) out for the rest of the season, according to sources. Allen was on the practice squad until the other day when he replaced Burrow on the roster. Ryan Finley, who entered the game last week against Washington, will back up Allen. The 28-year-old from Arkansas started three games for the Broncos in 2019 and threw for 515 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He'll primarily be a game manager, so he'll be a desperation low-end QB2 in superflex leagues. Receivers Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and A.J. Green need to be downgraded in the weekly and rest-of-season rankings. The Giants Defense will be an excellent fantasy play on Sunday.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson put up a career-high 128 rushing yards and a touchdown in his first taste of the Washington/Dallas rivalry and will look to spoil Thanksgiving for the Cowboys in a Week 12 showdown. Gibson has been on fire lately with five touchdowns in his last four games. Normally that would signal regression may be coming, but head coach Ron Rivera went out of his way this week to praise Gibson's tough running style and nose for the goal line implying Washington's first-year coach will keep feeding the rookie in the red zone. Gibson missed Monday's practice (ankle) but logged a full session on Tuesday so he should be all set to suit up Thursday. Start Gibson with confidence in all formats.
Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic let fantasy managers down last week but has a chance to bounce back on Thanksgiving in Dallas. McKissic saw an obscene 29 targets in his first two games with Alex Smith at quarterback but was not nearly as involved last week with just four targets and six carries. With fellow running back Antonio Gibson seeing twice as many touches last week, expect McKissic to be more involved with Washington playing on a short week. Double-digit touches should be the floor for McKissic making him a solid RB2 in seasonal leagues while being a strong value in DFS formats, especially those that use full-PPR scoring.
Jacksonville Jaguars QB Mike Glennon will start in Week 12 for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Fantasy Spin: There's enough tape on Glennon to know that he's not worth starting in fantasy. If Gardner Minshew regains the job, he may have a matchup to use him. Otherwise, avoid this situation altogether.
The Washington Football Team defense has been an up and down unit for fantasy this season, but they are a strong-start on Thanksgiving against a banged-up Cowboys offense. Perennial Pro-Bowler Ryan Kerrigan and defensive rookie of the year candidate Chase Young should feast on an offensive line that will start several backups to protect Andy Dalton. Dallas has the second-worst turnover percentage in the NFL (18.6) percent making Washington a must-start option on Thursday.
Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas has been playing better in recent weeks and is a start-worthy option for a Thanksgiving game in Dallas. Thomas has at least five targets in every game Alex Smith has started and played well in the first meeting with the Cowboys as he went for 60 yards and a touchdown. Thomas put up a dud last week with only six yards but he had 60-plus yards in two of the previous three games and should be more involved this week. Given the barren landscape of the tight end position in fantasy football, Thomas is a start-worthy option in a plus-matchup.
Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith has played well since taking over for Kyle Allen (ankle) and will look to keep rolling in a solid matchup with the Cowboys. Smith has thrown for 300-plus yards in two of his three starts and should be able to take advantage of a good matchup in Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed the second-most passing touchdowns this season and allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks overall. Smith offers almost no rushing upside so he's not a must-start fantasy option by any means, but he's a start-worthy option in two-quarterback leagues and a good low-cost DFS option.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) are both expected to get in some practice work on Wednesday as the team prepares for Week 12 against the Vikings. McCaffrey is expected to miss another game this weekend. However, Bridgewater is on track to play on Sunday if all goes well in practice the rest of the week. Minnesota's D has been a good matchup for quarterbacks all season long, but Bridgewater is a shaky low-end QB2 this week if he plays through his knee injury. McCaffrey still hasn't been ruled out for this weekend, but fantasy managers shouldn't get their hopes up. Mike Davis will be a strong RB2 play if he gets another start as the featured back for Carolina.
Free-agent QB Mike White (Jets) was re-signed to the New York Jets' practice squad Tuesday, Nov. 24.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Defense will take on the Baltimore Ravens at home on Thanksgiving in Week 12. Pittsburgh's defense has been one of the top fantasy defenses in the league this season and will look to limit a Ravens offense that has not been nearly as explosive as it was in 2019. The Steelers are installed as 4.5-point home favorites in a game with a low 44.5-point over/under. Fantasy gamers can start the Steelers as a top-10 option in Week 12.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster turned in a slow performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11, catching just four passes for 19 yards. Smith-Schuster will look to bounce back in Week 12 when he faces the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night. The Ravens have been tough against wide receivers in fantasy this year, allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. That being said, Smith-Schuster had a solid game against them back in Week 8, catching seven passes for 67 yards. Fantasy gamers can treat him as a high-end WR3 for Week 12.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron has now caught a touchdown in three of his past four games. He hasn't been posting very many receiving yards along the way but his performances still put him in the TE1 conversation considering the dearth of options at the position in fantasy. He will take on the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving in Week 12 in a decent matchup for him. The Ravens are allowing the 15th-most fantasy points per game to tight ends and allowed him to post 48 yards and a score against them back in Week 8. Treat Ebron as a low-end TE1 for Week 12.
Jacksonville Jaguars PK Aldrick Rosas was removed from the Practice Squad; Suspended by Commissioner list Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Updating a previous story, Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen tested negative for COVID-19 following a positive test. His status is undetermined.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner has hit a wall over his past three games. Over that span, Conner has rushed for 147 scoreless yards across 35 carries. The veteran running back may continue to struggle in Week 12 as he will take on a Baltimore Ravens Defense that has been tough against the run this season. The Ravens rank fourth in the league in run-defense DVOA while allowing the 12th-fewest fantasy points per game to the running back position. Conner did find the end zone against them back in Week 8 but he managed just 47 rushing yards on 15 carries. Treat him as a low-end RB2 for his Thanksgiving game against the Ravens.