Wed Oct 9 9:35am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Chark has become must start
This week starts the week with more than two teams on a bye. It gets even harder to set lineups with these byes and injuries. So my big advice is to plan ahead. If you know you are going to be needing a receiver or defense the next week or the week after that, start looking at options that could help. It is better to plan ahead in advance than wait until the week of to fill that lineup out. Be a proactive owner. Don’t sit back.
With that said, here are my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
I’m not ready to release Baker Mayfield just yet but he is not going in my starting lineup until he starts to do something on the field. He is a mess right now. Mayfield is not progressing like most expected, taking a step back from his play late last year. He just isn’t making quick decisions and retreating in the pocket way too much. The fantasy industry, including myself, really missed on this guy this year. He has been a huge bust.
Christian McCaffrey is just unbelievable. I know. Great analysis, right? Well, he is as fun to watch as any player in the game. And he is about 26 fantasy points from the next rated back, sitting firmly in first place in fantasy running back scoring. He has been getting a lot of work, which is a concern, but he held up last year. Here is to hoping he can hold up once again. He is on his way to one of the best fantasy seasons of all time for a running back.
For at least one week, it seems the Chargers are going to go with a pretty even timeshare at running back with Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon. Gordon will get more work running the ball while Ekeler will be used more in passing situations. This probably is a bigger blow to Gordon’s fantasy value, getting fewer chances to catch the ball. Ekeler might not keep his current pace as a fantasy back, but he can still be at least a top No. 2 back in his current role. He is going to catch a lot of passes.
Aaron Rodgers failed to score a touchdown last week and now ranks below Marcus Mariota in the fantasy quarterback rankings (19th overall). He is not having the season many expected but this could be the norm for him in this offense. The Packers are putting much more emphasis on the run and playing good defense. Plus, Rodgers is without his top receiver right now (Davante Adams) and the rest of the options have been very ho hum. Rodgers is still going to have a few big games this year but he might be mediocre more often than not, especially compared to past years for Rodgers.
Rookie Josh Jacobs is really starting to hit his stride. He had his first 100-yard rushing game of his career last week against a very good Bears defense. He has two straight games with 100-plus yards and topped that mark three of five games. Jacobs is getting a ton of weekly work and has five receptions the last two games compared to just one catch his first three. This all adds up to Jacobs being a low-end No. 1 fantasy back with big-time future at the position.
His fantasy numbers aren’t off the charts just yet but I’m super impressed by Colts running back Marlon Mack. He is a very impressive back. He runs with power but also has the patience to wait for the hole to open. He looks like an elite back and is starting to perform like one. Mack ran for 132 yards last week and has two games with 100-plus rushing yards. He also runs behind a very good offensive line, which is another huge plus for Mack. I think he is setup for great things going forward.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 6 rankings.
News and Notes: The Bills traded receiver Zay Jones to Raiders for a fifth-round draft pick in the 2021 draft. Jones could quickly move his way up the depth chart with his new team. . . . .The Broncos signed cornerback Coty Sensabaugh on Tuesday, adding some more depth to their secondary. . . . .The Patriots released tight end Benjamin Watson. He was just taken off the suspended list, so he will be free to sign with a new team. . . . .The Titans are making a switch at kicker. The team released kicker Cairo Santos and signed Cody Parkey to take over the kicking duties. . . . .The Chiefs signed defensive tackle Terrell McClain on Tuesday.
Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals. Murray hasn’t posted eye popping weekly numbers his rookie year but has been very consistent. He is eighth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring, having at least 20 points every game this season. If he had a few more scores, he could be a top-five option. But right now, Murray has six total touchdowns, which is holding back his numbers. Murray is a great play this week against the Falcons, though. Atlanta allows the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and allow 30 points per game. Murray is a solid No. 1 for Week 6.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. His huge game last week has moved him all the way up to fourth overall in fantasy running back scoring. Jones was producing pretty well even before that monster game, though. He has touchdowns four straight games and two 100-yard games this year. Jones also is becoming a bigger factor in the passing game, having 13 receptions his last two games. This really improves his fantasy value. Jones won’t repeat last week but he can have a good showing against the Lions. Detroit struggles against the run, allowing the fourth most fantasy points to running backs.
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys. Prescott had his second 400-yard game of the season last week, getting a chance to air it out often because his team got down big. Prescott was picked off three times but threw for 463 yards and two scores. Prescott has multiple touchdowns four of five games and is fifth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He is setup for another big game this week against the Jets. The Jets are just 21st against the pass and allow 25 points per game.
Chris Carson. RB, Seahawks. Carson had his second straight 100-yard game of the season last week. He has at least 15 carries every game this year, getting consistent work in the offense. He is 14th overall in fantasy running back scoring but can inch up even farther with a few more scores. You have to like his chances to find he end zone this week against a Browns team that was run over by the 49ers rushing game last week. The Browns are 29th against the rush, allowing 151-rushing yards per game.
D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars. Alright, it is time to move Chark into must-start territory for all fantasy teams. This guy just keeps posting big weekly numbers, ranking fifth overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He had a career best game last week, catching eight passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He has scores four of five games. Chark is setup for more good things this week against the Saints, a team that allows the seventh most fantasy points to receivers.
Jordan Howard, RB, Eagles. Howard is showing some signs of life after a slow start. He has touchdowns three straight games and topped 100 total yards in Week 4. He has fewer than 65-rushing yards all but a game, though, and six total receptions. He is a touchdown dependent player, making him a risky weekly fantasy play. And we aren’t sure he finds the end zone this week against the Vikings, a team that allows the fourth fewest fantasy points to receivers. Minnesota has allowed just one rushing touchdown all year.
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Chiefs. Robinson has been very quiet since his huge Week 2 performance against the Raiders. Robinson has fewer than 45 yards three straight games. He is capable of a huge game in this offense but his recent production is a concern for any fantasy team looking to use him right now. It is hard to justify a spot in your lineup for Robinson. The numbers don’t lie. Robinson also plays the Texans this week. The Texans don’t have a great pass defense but haven't been too bad defensively, allowing 22 points per game. It is probably wise to just leave Robinson on your bench.
Daniel Jones, QB, Giants. Jones has played well since entering the starting lineup for the Giants. He has led his team to wins and made the offense much better. His fantasy numbers haven’t been off the charts, though. He has just one touchdown each of the last two games and failed to hit 200-passing yards last week. Jones has his toughest test of the season this week, facing the Patriots. New England allows the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and have yet to allow a passing touchdown. Plus, Jones will be without his top receiver, Sterling Shepard, which is another strike against using him.
Corey Davis, WR, Titans. Davis has all sorts of talent but continues to be wildly inconsistent for his fantasy owners. He has fewer than 50 yards in all but a game. He does have a 20 point fantasy performance, though, showing his big-time potential when getting the ball. The issue is Davis doesn’t get the ball enough. He does not have more than six targets in any game. Until he starts getting more work, don’t bother with Davis, especially this week. Davis plays the Broncos, which is a tough matchup for him. Denver allows the second fewest fantasy points to receivers and are fifth overall against the pass.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams. You can’t bench Gurley because of his huge weekly potential in this offense but you might want to temper your expectations for him. The only thing saving him right now are his touchdown totals. He has multiple scores two straight games. His other numbers are not good, though. He has more than 100 total yards just once all year, which came in Week 1. He has fewer than 65-rushing yards four straight games and more than 10 receiving yards in just one game. He has been a disappointment in an offense that has struggled to run the ball. It could be more of the same for the Rams this week against the 49ers. San Francisco has been great against the run, allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars. Minshew has been super consistent for fantasy teams since entering the starting lineup. He has multiple scores four of five games and at least 18 fantasy points every game. He had a career-high 374-passing yards last week. Minshew has a lot of confidence and seems to be getting better each week. He has legit fantasy value as a spot starter. He is worth a look this week against the Saints, a team that allows the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins. Parker is one of the few Dolphins worth considering for fantasy teams. Parker scored his first touchdown of the season his last time out and has 70 or more yards two of four games. Parker is always capable of the huge game because of his big-time ability. A matchup this week against the Redskins gives Parker a chance for one of his big games. Washington allows the third most fantasy points to receivers and are 23rd overall against the pass.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins. Peterson has not been good this year, especially compared to last year in this same offense. He has yet to top 40-rushing yards in a game and has just one touchdown. He also has just three receptions. The only good news is he is getting most of the carries, having three games with double-digit carries. If he is ever going to have a big game, it will be this week against the lowly Dolphins. Miami is dead last against the run, allowing 176-rushing yards per game. This is the week to take a chance on Peterson.
Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals. Edmonds had his best game of the season last week, totaling 86 yards on 11 touches. It was the first time all season he had double-digit touches in a game. David Johnson had his back lock up on him during the game, though, and had to miss some time. This could be an issue moving forward, so his workload could be scaled back. This means more touches for Edmonds, a big-play back. This makes Edmonds worth a look for fantasy teams in Week 6 against the Falcons. Atlanta is 19th against the rush and allow 30 points per game.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Falcons. Sanu scored his first touchdown of the season last week. He has at least five receptions every game this year. His numbers aren’t flashy but consistent in the Falcons pass-heavy offense. You can’t ignore the numbers. He is a good bye-week or injury replacement for fantasy teams. If you need a receiver this week, give Sanu a look. He plays the Cardinals, a team 24th against the pass and allowing 28 points per game.
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: Texans/Chiefs, 49ers/Rams, Falcons/Cardinals.
Low Scoring Games: Eagles/Vikings, Titans/Broncos.
Bye Weeks: Bills, Bears, Colts, Raiders.
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.
May 14th: Draft Values
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said that quarterback Lamar Jackson must make defenses pay if they stack the box against the Ravens offense in 2020. "Those corners are going to be one-on-one and those safeties are going to be one-on-one against receivers, especially on some downfield throws, and we got to make them pay for it. We absolutely have to make them pay," Harbaugh said. Jackson led the league with 36 touchdown passes in the NFL's highest-scoring offense in 2019, also setting an NFL record for rushing yards for a QB with 1,206 on his way to MVP honors. At age 22, he was the youngest QB to win the award. But on throws that traveled at least 15 yards, Jackson ranked 27th in completions (35) and 22nd in completion rate (43.8 percent). He certainly has the arm to make teams pay, and it would be good news for second-year wideouts Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin if Jackson takes the next step as a deep thrower. Even if Jackson runs less than he did a year ago, he should be either the first or second QB selected in fantasy drafts.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones hasn't had much traction with the team on a contract extension, but both sides still have until July 15 to work something out. Jones has yet to sign his franchise tender, but he's kept in touch with the Chiefs during the virtual offseason program, according to sources. The market for high-end defensive tackles like Jones is $20-plus-million per season. The 25-year-old former second-round selection in 2016 has racked up 33 sacks in his four seasons with the Chiefs, including 14.5 the last two years. He was a Pro Bowler in 2019 for the first time in his career and should be considered a top-20 defensive lineman in IDP formats.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matt Judon signed his one-year franchise tender on Thursday, according to a source. The one-year deal will carry a value of $16.27 million in 2020. The Ravens and Judon still have until July 15 to work out a long-term extension, but that's unlikely to happen considering the Ravens initially tagged Judon with the possibility of trading him. The former fifth-round pick in 2016 has 135 solo tackles, 45 tackles for loss, 82 QB hits, 28.5 sacks, eight passes defensed and seven forced fumbles in his four seasons. Judon was a Pro Bowler in 2019 when he had a career-high 9.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 33 QB hits. He'll be entering his age-28 season in 2020.
New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (neck) says that he is embracing his new role as the backup quarterback to Sam Darnold. He says that his job is to help the team get better and to help a young quarterback see things as clearly as possible. Flacco started the first eight games for the Denver Broncos before suffering a season-ending neck injury. He still believes he can be a starting quarterback in the league, but understands his new role with the Jets.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins expects to put up numbers in the team's pass-happy offense under head coach Kliff Kingsbury in his first season in 2020. "So myself, being a receiver, of course I see my stats going up. ... But I definitely see myself having one of my more productive seasons," Hopkins said. He also said he hasn't met up with quarterback Kyler Murray yet, but he plans on getting together with him and the other receivers "soon." Arizona has plenty of aerial weapons in an attack that will feature a lot of four-wide sets, but Nuk will be the No. 1 option for a young QB with a ton of potential. He's consistently one of the most efficient fantasy wideouts on a yearly basis and is a no-doubt top-five fantasy receiver for drafts this fall.
The Carolina Panthers agreed to terms on an undisclosed one-year deal with cornerback Eli Apple on Thursday. Apple agreed with the Raiders earlier in free agency, but the Raiders backed out of the deal and put Apple back on the open market. The 10th overall pick in 2016 by the Giants, Apple failed to live up to his draft billing in two-plus seasons in the Big Apple, and he was underwhelming in 15 games for the Saints last year (53 solo tackles, no interceptions, four passes defensed). But with Donte Jackson and Corn Elder currently set as the two starting corners on the outside, Apple should see plenty of playing time for a Carolina secondary with plenty of questions.
Baltimore Ravens running back Justice Hill played sparingly during his rookie season last year. Hill finished the year with just 66 touches after getting stuck behind Mark Ingram II and Gus Edwards. The Ravens added to their crowded running back room in the 2020 NFL draft when they used a second-round pick on J.K. Dobbins. That leaves an unclear role for Hill in 2020. Head coach John Harbaugh is still high on Hill, however, stating that he expects the sophomore runner to make a big jump. He also went on to tell reporters that there is a role for all four runners in Baltimore. Hill remains a deep dynasty stash but he may not be fantasy relevant until 2021 when Ingram is presumably out of the picture.
The Las Vegas Raiders re-signed tight end Paul Butler to an undisclosed deal on Thursday. In a corresponding move, tight end Nick O'Leary (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list. Butler hasn't appeared in a regular season game in two years in the NFL with the Raiders and Lions. O'Leary was signed as a free agent after catching 13 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in 12 games (five starts) with the Jaguars and Dolphins in 2019. He was buried on the tight end depth chart to begin with, behind Darren Waller, Jason Witten and Foster Moreau. Las Vegas also has Derek Carrier and rookie Nick Bowers at the position.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II has impressed new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden with his work during the virtual offseason program. Gruden likes how Minshew has taken charge and seems to have a good grasp of the offense. "He has shown a skill set where he can sit in a pocket, step up, make things happen outside the pocket. He's accurate, he's tough and obviously he's a great leader, so he's got the intangibles you want in a quarterback," Gruden said. The sixth-round pick went 6-6 as a starter in his rookie season and had the highest passer rating and fewest interceptions among rookie QBs in 2019. The 24-year-old took the league by storm last year out of nowhere and has the ability to make things happen outside the pocket and with his legs, as he rushed for 344 yards in 2019. All things considered, though, Minshew is a low-end QB2 that will likely see more inconsistency in his second season.
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is looking for his offense to find more explosive plays under quarterback Aaron Rodgers in 2020, the coach admitted on ESPN Wisconsin's Wilde & Tausch. The Packers ranked 19th in explosive-play rate in 2019, according to Sharp Football Stats. However, other than free-agent addition Devin Funchess in the passing game, the Packers didn't really give Rodgers any added help outside of receiver Davante Adams and running back Aaron Jones. It will be on LaFleur to scheme up more explosive situations this year, but it definitely helps to have Rodgers throwing the passes, even if he's getting older. What's certain is that the Packers will need someone besides Adams and Jones to step up for Rodgers to hold off the naysayers.
San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams agreed to a restructured deal in the final year of his contract in 2020. Williams is due to make $12.5 million this year, but the 49ers agreed to give him some of that up front after he didn't make any money in 2019. The Redskins traded Williams to San Francisco during the draft in April, where he'll immediately become the blind-side protector for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after not playing at all last season. Even though Williams will turn 32 years old in July, the seven-time Pro Bowler is an immediate upgrade for the team's offensive line and should continue to be one of the better left tackles in the NFL.
Arizona Cardinals All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones has more sacks and forced fumbles than any defender since he entered the league in 2012, and his 96 sacks through eight seasons are four more than Bruce Smith, the all-time sacks leader, at the same point in his career. Jones was one of two players in NFL history in 2019 to have 19-plus sacks and eight-plus forced fumbles in a single season. He's been really good, but he wants to work on improving against the run, his eye placement and his hand work. Jones plans to spend more practice time with the defensive line so that he can get more comfortable playing between the tackles. The two-time All-Pro and member of the league's 2010s All-Decade team can certainly get to the QB, but he'll need to improve his tackling numbers in order to justify his high price in IDP leagues.
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said he hasn't really had any contract talks with the team as he enters the final year of his current deal. "I feel I have a lot to prove," Peterson said. He also said he would love to stay with one team in his career and praised the organization. The 29-year-old was suspended for the first six games of 2019 and was a bit rusty upon his return. He finished with 53 tackles (46 solo), two interceptions, seven passes defensed and one forced fumble in his 10 games. The Cardinals have potential on defense with some playmakers in the middle of the field, but they'll need Peterson to return to his All-Pro form in order to make some noise in a loaded NFC West division.
The Philadelphia Eagles are interested in both running backs Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy, who remain free agents. The Eagles offered a contract to Carlos Hyde before he signed with the Seahawks. Freeman also received an offer, but he's also weighing another offer from the Buccaneers. Philly has yet to make an offer to McCoy. The Eagles would like a veteran presence behind Miles Sanders as he heads into his second NFL season, with Boston Scott as his current backup. Both Freeman and McCoy are past their prime, but they could be effective in spurts while spelling Sanders behind a solid offensive line. Freeman would probably have more fantasy appeal as a handcuff on early downs and in goal-line situations.
Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski started eight games last season for the Bears before signing a three-year, $21 million deal with the Raiders this offseason to become a full-time starter. A fourth-round pick in 2016, Kwiatkoski played a bit role his first three years, but the 27-year-old showed off his abilities when he was granted more playing time in 2019 due to injuries to the position. He had 76 tackles (eight for loss), three sacks, one forced fumble and an interception while impressing as a blitzer, against the run and in coverage. Kwiatkoski will be asked to be the leader of Las Vegas' linebacking corps in 2020, and it's something he's very comfortable with. The middle of the Raiders defense has been a problem spot for a while, so they're hoping Kwiatkoski's addition will change that.
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was accurate on only 60.9 percent of his throws with three receivers running a route in 2019. However, that mark increased to 81.8 percent when he had four pass-catchers available to him and 79.3 percent with five receivers running a route.
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr was 72.3 percent accurate on his throws in the fourth quarter of games in 2019 - the best such mark of any qualified quarterback last season.
Free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is in no rush to sign with a team, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The Browns and Seahawks have made offers to Clowney and the Titans have also been monitoring him, but he's in no hurry to sign with anyone. The former No. 1 overall pick is by far the biggest name still on the free-agent market. His slow market also has to do with teams wanting a physical for the six-year pro after he underwent offseason surgery for a core muscle injury that limited him to 11 starts in 2019 with Seattle. Cleveland apparently has been the most aggressive for Clowney, but it remains to be seen if he'll choose them. Clowney's sack numbers aren't impressive, but he is still plenty disruptive as a pass-rusher when he's healthy.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller finished with 670 receiving yards in 2019 - the second-highest total for a player who played fewer than 12 games last season - although more than half of that total (357 yards) came in two of his 11 contests.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson finished 19-for-25 and threw for 12 touchdowns against Cover-0 coverage - an all-out blitz with man coverage and no deep safety - in 2019.