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 Waiver Wire Adds: Week 12
Cleveland Browns defensive end Joe Jackson (COVID-19 list) landed on the COVID-19/reserve list Tuesday, thereby putting his status for Sunday's game against Jacksonville in question. (Players do not have to test positive for the virus to be placed on the list.) Jackson has been a lightly utilized defensive end for the Browns Defense this season, not having taken the field since Week 4. (Which, theoretically, clears the Eagles as well heading into Week 12.) Even without Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garrett last week, Cleveland turned in one of its best defensive outings of 2020, which bodes well for the group's upside against a Jaguars offense that failed to score a touchdown last week. Jackson's inclusion on the COVID-19 list does not appear to be affecting the status of Sunday's game at this stage.
Arizona Cardinals safety Deionte Thompson (COVID-19 list) was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list Tuesday, putting his status up in the air for Sunday's contest against New England. (Players do not have to test positive for the virus to be placed on the list.) Thompson has started four games for Arizona this year but has been limited lately due to injury. Having racked up 24 tackles and two passes defended across eight games, the Cardinals Defense could be looking at having an extremely thin secondary when facing the Patriots in Week 12. At this stage, there's little indication that Thompson's status on the COVID-19 list is putting the game in jeopardy of taking place at its designated time. Check back throughout the week to see if he is cleared in time to take the field.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback K'Waun Williams has been levied a two-game suspension due to a violation of the league's performance-enhancing substance policy, meaning that he'll be out of the mix Sunday against the Rams and in Week 13 versus Buffalo. Jamar Taylor is expected to step in for Williams in the secondary, although the continued pilfering of key cogs on the 49ers Defense makes the unit a tenuous fantasy asset at this stage. Williams has collected 14 combined tackles, two passes defended, and one sack across six games this season. His next chance to return comes Week 14 against Washington, which likely coincides with the next occasion in which San Francisco's defense will merit solid season-long consideration.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. will go up against a Texans Defense on Thanksgiving that is giving up the 10th most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. As of now, the Lions offensive weapons are banged up and the veteran Jones Jr. may be tasked will picking up the slack. The Texans have allowed five 100+-yard receiving games this season and the Lions have health questions currently with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Hall, D'Andre Swift, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson. Jones Jr. is not having an elite season but could surprise, especially in PPR-leagues, to kick off the Thursday slate of games in Week 12.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) was a limited participant in practice, an improvement heading into the team's matchup against the Texans on Thanksgiving to kick off Week 12. Golladay missed last week's game and has been banged up most of the season. But when he is on the field, the Lions offense ascends to another level. If Golladay suits up, he will face a Texans Defense that is allowing the 10th most fantasy points to opposing receivers. The Texans have allowed seven different receivers to post 79 or more receiving yards against them this season and have been burned for 100+-yard performances by the Jaguars D.J. Chark Jr. and the Patriots Damien Byrd in the past two games. If Golladay plays he can easily be slotted as a WR2 with excellent red zone potential for Week 12. But fantasy teams may need to monitor his status all the way up to game time this week.
Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson (shoulder) was limited in practice as the team prepares to take on the Texans to kick off Thanksgiving Thursday. This is a new injury and it very well could be precautionary heading into a short week. But fantasy teams will have to keep an eye on this situation heading into the game as Hockenson has emerged as a solid red zone threat with five touchdowns this season. The Lions will face a Texans Defense that is allowing the 14th fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season and have not allowed 10 or more fantasy points to an opposing tight end since Week 3. Fantasy teams will need to check Hockenson's status heading into the game but, if he is healthy, will be a touchdown-dependent option in Week 12.
Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift is still in the concussion protocol as the team prepares to play early Thursday morning against the Texans on Thanksgiving. His availability could be a huge blow to a Lions team that is seeing its playoff hopes slip away. Swift has been fantastic over the past few weeks, displaying the type of versatile threat in the passing and running game that earned him praise in training camp. But as of now, the rookie is trending towards not playing, and it would be a shame with a favorable matchup in Week 12. The Texans have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Veteran Adrian Peterson will step up once again if Swift misses the game, but Peterson cannot be trusted to post RB2-type numbers despite the favorable tilt. Kerryon Johnson would also continue to mix in.
Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson will prepare to take on a vulnerable Texans Defense on Thanksgiving. With starter D'Andre Swift (concussion) still in league protocol's, Peterson will be the next man up to lead the team's running attack. The veteran and teammate Kerryon Johnson will take on a Texans defense that is allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing backs. Houston have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns and have allowed seven different running backs to post 10 or more fantasy points against them over their last five games. The matchup is fantastic but Peterson simply does not have the speed anymore to make opposing defenses pay. If Swift does not suit up, however, Peterson will see enough volume to justify a fringe fantasy play in Week 12.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will try and step up his game to kick off Week 12 when the team hosts their annual Thanksgiving game against the Texans on Thursday. The veteran passer has been dealing with torn ligaments in his throwing thumb but told reporters, "Obviously, I can play better, I'm the guy that touches the ball on offense every play, so the better I play, the better we'll play as a team," Stafford said. "Just got to be better myself." The Lions season is slipping away but Stafford will face a Texans Defense that is allowing the 14th most fantasy points to opposing passers. Houston has allowed 300+ passing yards to four of the last six quarterbacks they have faced and 12 passing touchdowns in that span. Stafford's fantasy value may be tied to the health and availability of receiver Kenny Golladay, who is trending up towards playing on Thursday. Stafford is a lukewarm fantasy option in DFS for Thursday and not a top-12 option for Week 12.
The Dallas Cowboys defense has been anything but reliable this season, finishing in the top-20 of fantasy defenses just four times so far this season. However, Week 12 against the Washington Football Team makes for about as good a matchup as there can be. The Washington offense ranks 28th in total offense while giving up the fourth-most sacks as well as the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses. Last week, the Cowboys recorded two sacks and two takeaways against Minnesota. The Cowboys defense is somewhere around the 15th-ranked defense in fantasy formats this week.
The New York Jets placed rookie running back La'Mical Perine (ankle) and kicker Sam Ficken (undisclosed) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday. Perine and Ficken will miss at least the next three games. Perine was starting to see a bigger role on offense, so this injury is a tough break as he continues to develop in his rookie season. The youngster is only worth hanging onto in dynasty/keeper leagues. Veteran Frank Gore will go back to being the workhorse back in the Jets backfield, but he's nothing more than a low-upside, low-floor RB3/flex in much deeper leagues in this mediocre Jets offense. Ficken missed two extra points in Week 11 and wasn't on the fantasy radar to begin with. Sergio Castillo is next in line for kicking duties but should also be avoided in fantasy.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein is a fringe kicking option in a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Washington Football Team on Thursday. Partly due to the strength of the Washington defense, opposing kickers have actually fared well against them. Zuerlein has been a somewhat low-volume kicker ever since quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) was lost for the season, though, finishing as a top-15 fantasy kicker just five times so far this season. Zuerlein is a bit more attractive now that quarterback Andy Dalton is back under center, but his ceiling remains low for fantasy managers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars placed defensive end Josh Allen (knee), cornerback D.J. Hayden (hamstring) and safety Daniel Thomas (arm) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday. Allen suffered a knee injury in the Week 11 loss to the Steelers, and while he'll miss at least three games, the injury wasn't considered too serious and he should have a chance to return before the end of the year. The 23-year-old seventh overall pick in 2019 was a Pro Bowler in his rookie season when he recorded 10.5 sacks. However, he's struggled this year as the team's primary pass-rushing threat, recording just 2.5 sacks and 13 combined tackles in eight games. An already weak Jacksonville defense just got a lot weaker with the losses of Allen and Hayden. You should avoid their defense at all costs in Week 12 against the Browns.
The Baltimore Ravens placed outside linebacker Pernell McPhee on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. It's unclear if McPhee actually tested positive for COVID-19, but either way, he will not be available for the Thanksgiving night matchup against the undefeated Steelers on Thursday. The 31-year-old has 25 tackles (20 solo), 11 QB hits and two sacks in 2020 in 10 games. Defensive lineman Brandon Williams will also be unavailable for the Ravens Defense this week against a strong Pittsburgh offense. Baltimore's D has been one of the better fantasy units for the majority of the season, but this would be a week to fade them.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz makes for a touchdown-dependent TE2 option on Thanksgiving Day against the Washington Football Team. Schultz did not end up with a huge yardage total last week, but he made four catches on six targets for 25 yards and a touchdown. Schultz is a weekly touchdown threat and maintains a solid floor in the Cowboys offense. He's finished as a TE1 or TE2 in seven of the nine games he has started.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cedrick Wilson is not much of a fantasy option on Thanksgiving Day against the Washington Football Team. Wilson hasn't seen more than four targets since Week 4 and hasn't put up more than one fantasy point in standard scoring since Week 5. Wilson may still pop up with a long touchdown at some point, but he's far too inconsistent to be relied upon in anything but best-ball formats.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup has proven to be exceptionally talented, but his role in the offense has become one of a very low-volume pass-catcher. Last week, he caught just two passes for 29 yards in what has seemingly become a standard week for the third-year receiver. Gallup has finished as a WR3 or better only once this season, leaving him off the fantasy radar in shallow leagues, regardless of his talent. With Amari Cooper and rookie CeeDee Lamb also requiring looks from quarterback Andy Dalton, Gallup has become the third option and a WR3/4 in deeper leagues.
Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb scored one of the season's best touchdowns last week as the Cowboys offense shot back into fantasy relevance thanks to the return of Andy Dalton from a concussion and from struggles with COVID-19. Lamb ended up with four catches for 34 yards and the score. He should see something like the six targets he saw last week, except this time he'll have a tougher Washington Football Team defense to deal with. Lamb comes into Week 12 as a WR3 with some upside.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper bounced back into the fantasy conversation last week when quarterback Andy Dalton finally made the Cowboys look like they had a real NFL offense. This week, however, Cooper will have a much tougher matchup against the Washington Football Team. He caught six passes for 81 yards last week and was close to a touchdown more than once, but he'll check in as a low WR2 for this tough matchup.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ran his way back into fantasy relevance in Week 11, running for his first 100-yard game of the season (going for 103) and scoring a touchdown through the air. He'll have a tougher matchup against a surging Washington defensive line on Thanksgiving Day, but he's undoubtedly back on the RB1 border at least. Andy Dalton was able to make the Cowboys look like a real NFL offense last week, and he should be able to do the same again this time around. Elliott's average of nearly five yards per carry last week bodes well for his future value for the remainder of the season.