Wed Oct 14 9:29am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Taylor setup for big Week 6
It certainly has been an interesting first five weeks of the season and I would expect more of the same going forward. This is going to be a season like none others. Hopefully, things keep playing out the way they have and we can get in a full season. I think the league has done a good job in navigating this to date. I’m not sure if it will be too easy going forward, though, if more teams have to have teams moved. This could make for a very interesting finish to the fantasy season. Hopefully, things break your way the rest of the way.
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
I’m not selling high on Robby Anderson. I think he is the real deal in this offense. He has at least five receptions every game and 99 or more yards all but a game. I really think he can keep up his great play in this offense. His starts isn’t a fluke. The Panthers are finding the right way to use him and utilizing his big-time talents. We always knew he was a talented player but consistency has always been the issue. Maybe some of that had to do with playing for the Jets.
First off, the injury to Dak Prescott was just brutal. You hate to see that happen to anyone, especially a star player like Prescott. As for the Cowboys offense, I do think it takes a bit of a hit with Andy Dalton as the starter. It won’t be a huge drop, though. Dalton can still move the offense. He is more than capable based on his track record and the weapons at his disposal. I also think he can help fantasy teams on a spot start basis. Just expect the passing numbers to suffer some with Dalton at the helm. He is not going to be throwing for 400-plus yards like Prescott was before getting injured. The biggest benefactor of the offense might be Ezekiel Elliott, who could get more touches both as a runner and receiver. His numbers could get even better.
The only real logical fit I see for Le’Veon Bell right now is New England. That would make the most sense because of his three-down ability. He would seem to be a good fit for the offense. But you never know what the Patriots are thinking. And they will do their homework before making any move for a player like Bell, who has some question marks when it comes to attitude. It will be interesting to see if the Patriots make the move to acquire the veteran back.
Justin Herbert just keeps impressing. His Monday night performance was special, throwing four touchdowns on the road against the Saints. He has two straight three-touchdown games and seems to be getting better on a weekly basis. I don’t think his start is a fluke. Herbert has the makings of something special, making him a possible fantasy star for years to come. He is the complete package at quarterback and has adjusted to the pro game much quicker than anticipated.
I’m not too down on Lamar Jackson just yet. His big issue is a lack of rushing touchdowns, having just one. That should change in the coming weeks. He still has multiple scores three of five games and has at least 45-rushing yards all but a game. He’ll still be a top-five fantasy quarterback by the end of the season. If someone wants to get rid of Jackson, I would have no problem taking him. I think he’ll get it going.
The return of Alex Smith was just remarkable last week. Just an unbelievable story. You have to root for the guy to keep it going after almost losing his leg two years ago. He might not be the starter going forward as long as Kyle Allen is healthy, but it was sure great seeing him get a chance on the field last week. This is the type of stuff that is made into movies.
I might have more shares of DK Metcalf than any other player this season and sure feel good about that. He has lived up to the preseason hype. Metcalf has at least 92 yards every game and touchdowns four of five. He is the top receiver in the Seahawks explosive passing game and should continue to play at a high level. Metcalf is a physical freak, making him a very tough cover. He can do it all. Enjoy the breakout.
I do think the Browns are for real. The offense just looks so much better, playing to Baker Mayfield’s strengths. A good offensive line and top rushing attack can do wonders for the play of the quarterback. The Browns seem to have found that formula for the offense. Plus, you can’t overlook the defense. Myles Garrett is one of the best pass rushers in all of football and the secondary can make plays. Cleveland is a pretty complete team on both sides of the ball and should contend for the AFC North title. The game this weekend should be a great one between the Browns/Steelers.
News and Notes: The Jets released running back Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday. He becomes a free agent and free to sign with any team. Meanwhile, the Jets will start Frank Gore at running back going forward. . . . . With the recent outbreaks in the NFL, the league has tightened the close-contact exposure COVID-19 rules, stating any player or staff member with close contact with a positive individual must be isolated for at least five days, even if the person is negative and remains asymptomatic.
Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings. Thielen has been red hot this season. He has 26-plus fantasy points three of five games. He also has touchdowns all but one game and two 100-yard showings. He is having a big rebound season as the clear top target for Kirk Cousins in the passing game. Expect another big showing this week against the Falcons, a team 31st against the pass and allowing the third most points per game.
Myles Gaskin, RB, Dolphins. Gaskin scored his first touchdown of the season last week, finishing with 91 total yards and five receptions. It was the first time all season Gaskin topped 20 fantasy points. He has been getting more and more work in Dolphins offense, having double-digit fantasy points three straight games. He should continue his solid production this week. Gaskin plays the Jets, a team that has allowed nine rushing touchdowns and give up 129-rushing yards per game.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers. Roethlisberger is off to a great start this year, having 21-plus fantasy points all four games. He has multiple touchdowns every game and at least 229-passing yards all four games. Roethlisberger also has just one interception on the season, doing a great job of taking care of the ball. He should continue his hot ways this week against the Browns. Cleveland is 30th against the pass and has allowed 12-passing touchdowns this season.
Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens. Andrews has been solid once again for fantasy teams. He has 17-plus fantasy points three of five games. He also has scores three of those games. He is about a must start for fantasy teams in this explosive Ravens offense. Andrews has a great matchup with the Eagles, a team that allows the third most fantasy points to tight ends. Philadelphia is average against the pass, allowing 241-passing yards per game.
Johnathan Taylor, RB, Colts. Taylor hasn’t exactly lit it up his rookie year but has been consistent. He has double-digit fantasy points four of five games. Taylor also has scores three of this games. He has topped 70-rushing yards just once, though. But with the Colts passing game struggling, it might be time for the Colts to use Taylor more often. And that could start this week against the Bengals, a team that struggles to stop the run. Cincinnati is 29th overall against the rush, allowing 159-rushing yards per game.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals. Boyd has been the best receiver for the Bengals this year. He has two games with 20-plus fantasy points and seven or more receptions. He has endured a couple down games, though, having fewer than double-digit points two times. He has fewer than 45 yards each of those two games. It would not surprise to seem him have another down game this week against a very good Colts defense. Indianapolis is first overall against the pass, allowing just 180-passing yards per game.
Travis Fulgham, WR, Eagles. Fulgham had a breakout game last week, catching 10 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. He has scores two straight games and has come out of nowhere to lead the Eagles in receiving. He is no sure thing, though, despite his great recent play. And the likely return of Alshon Jeffery clouds things just a little bit more for Fulgham. It would not surprise to see him come back down to earth this week against the Ravens, a team that allows the fewest amount of points in all of football.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers. Williams had his best game of the season his last time out. He caught eight passes for 95 yards, getting a big workout in the passing game with the Packers missing some options at receiver. This was his first game of the season with double-digit fantasy points, though. And the return of Davante Adams this week should take some targets away from Williams in the passing game. He should see a drop in fantasy production, getting around eight or so fantasy points. Don’t expect a repeat of Week 4. Plus, he plays the Bucs, a team that is first overall against the run.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers. Aiyuk is starting to make waves in the 49ers passing game. He has double-digit fantasy points two of three games. He has more than 50 total yards two of those games and found the end zone in two games (both times on the ground). The 49ers are finding ways to get the ball in his hands and he is producing. Aiyuk has a tough matchup for success this week against the Rams, though. There is a chance Jalen Ramsey shadows him all day, which could be bad news for Aiyuk. Plus, the 49ers are third overall against the pass, allowing just 216-passing yards per game.
Nick Foles, QB, Bears. Foles has been a little all over the map since taking over as the starter for the Bears. He has shown flashes of some really good things but made some poor throws as well. He is a hard player for fantasy teams to trust because of his inconsistency. And he has fewer than 16 fantasy points each of his two starts this season. His only game with more than 20 fantasy points was the game he came in relief of Mitchell Trubisky. Don’t expect Folks to get going this week against the Panthers. Carolina has been stingy against the pass, ranking fourth overall. Plus, the Panthers have allowed just six passing touchdowns all season.
Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals. Edmonds doesn’t get the workload of starter Kenyan Drake but he makes more plays with his touches. It just seems a matter of time before Edmonds starts getting more work. He has 15-plus fantasy points two straight and five receptions in each of those games. Edmonds has touchdowns three of five games. He is yet to have double-digit touches any game but look for that to change this week. Edmonds plays the Cowboys, a team that allows 156-rushing yards per game and seven rushing touchdowns.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs. Hardman gets a chance for more targets with Sammy Watkins out of the lineup. Hardman hasn’t done much this year but hit double-digit fantasy points two games. He has four receptions two of three games and 50 or more yards two of those games. He should be involved in a high-scoring game with the Bills this week, meaning he could get some chances to make some big plays. He is a sneaky play as a No. 3 receiver.
Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars. Minshew has been more bad than good this year. He has been a top play all but a game. Minshew has at least 22 fantasy points four of five games. He has multiple scores four of those games and three 300-yard showings. Minshew keeps getting it done on a weekly basis for fantasy teams. Expect more of the same this week against the Lions, a team that allows 32 points per game.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Giants. Freeman got it going last week, his third with the Giants. He had 87 total yards and a touchdown. Freeman has two straight games with double-digit fantasy points. He seems to be up to speed in the Giants offense and is producing with his chances. Look for another good showing from Freeman this week against Washington, a team 130-rushing yards per game. Plus, Washington has allowed eight rushing touchdowns.
Preston Williams, WR, Dolphins. Williams finally got going last week, having his first game with more than 50 yards. He had four receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown. He has scores two of three games. He is becoming a bigger part of the offense as the season progresses. He has a matchup this week to continue his recent success, playing the Jets. New York allows 266-passing yards 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/Titans, Falcons/Vikings, Lions/Jaguars, Chiefs/Bills, Cardinals/Cowboys.
Low Scoring Games: Bengals/Colts, Broncos/Patriots,
Bye Weeks: Raiders, Saints, Chargers, Seahawks.
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 7
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson was dealing with a knee injury heading into the bye week, but now that he's rested, he's ready to go for Week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals. He's the RB8 on the year despite playing in just five games, and he's firmly entrenched as his team's starter. He has 45 more carries than any other Seahawks running back and he's added on to that with 18 more receptions than either of the other two backs on the team. The Cardinals are allowing a healthy 19.7 fantasy points per game to running backs, and Carson has a safe floor as an RB2 with RB1 upside.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is the WR8 on the year through six weeks, and he's looking to keep that rolling in Week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals. Metcalf is expected to match up with cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, and that's an advantage in favor of Metcalf, who has a decent speed advantage over Kirkpatrick. Metcalf has gone for at least 90 yards in every game thus far, and he's scored a touchdown in four out of five games. With the connection he has with quarterback Russell Wilson right now, he's an easy start in all formats this week as a WR1.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett cooled off in Weeks 4 and 5 after a hot start to the year, but he has a strong chance to bounce back in Week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals. Lockett has seen at least four targets in every game, and he's quarterback Russell Wilson's first or second read on every play. He's catching just under 80 percent of the passes thrown in his direction, and he's been a great threat to all areas of the field over the last three seasons. With players on byes, you can have a good amount of confidence slotting him into your lineups this week as a WR2 in Seattle's high-scoring offense.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods has played well to start the year, as he's the WR10 through six weeks, but his matchup for Week 7 against the Chicago Bears is going to make things very difficult to maintain that pace. The Bears are allowing just 17.4 points per game to fantasy receivers, and Woods primarily lines up outside, where Chicago's two best corners are. The matchup is certainly a difficult one, but Woods has been the Rams most consistent wideout this year as a chain-mover. Because of his consistent target share, he remains in play as a WR2 in PPR leagues, albeit one with a lower floor this week.
The Los Angeles Rams Defense has been one of the better units through the first six games of the season, and they should be able to continue that in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. Outside of their Week 1 win over the Detroit Lions, Chicago has turned the ball over at least once in every game. They've also given up 11 sacks so far this year. With a couple of good defenses on byes this week, the Rams slot in as a solid top-five option this week. They should be able to keep the score low while generating turnovers and sacks while looking to bounce back from their divisional loss to the 49ers in Week 6.
Los Angeles Rams kicker Samuel Sloman has some heat on him after the team signed kicker Kai Forbath this week, but he's still the starter for Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. This matchup has the potential to be a defensive struggle like it was in 2018, and that could give Sloman more scoring chances if the offense moves the ball consistently enough. If they're able to get the ball into field-goal range, he could put up some points, but the Bears are allowing fewer than 20 points per game to opposing teams. Although four teams are on byes this week, you should be able to find a better option than Sloman in standard-sized leagues.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is well-rested following his bye week, and he'll be looking to continue his quest for an MVP in Week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are allowing fewer than 17 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, but they haven't faced an outfit like the one Seattle is trotting out. With two top receivers along with a strong leading running back in Chris Carson in tow, Wilson has too many weapons at his disposal. In addition to that, the Cardinals lost star edge rusher Chandler Jones for the season due to injury. They won't be able to generate a consistent amount of pressure, and you'll feel extremely confident with Wilson in your lineups in all formats.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff has been a low-end QB1 for the majority of the season, but that is not the case in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. The Bears Defense has been playing lights-out football through the first six weeks of the season, and they haven't shown signs of slowing down. They're allowing an average of just under 17 points per game to the quarterback position. Goff has solid weapons all around him, but this is just a brutal matchup from a fantasy perspective. With four quarterbacks on a bye this week, Goff could be in the streaming conversation in deeper leagues, but you should temper expectations. He should be in the middle tier of QB2s this week.
Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson will be looking to bounce back in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears after a decent performance in Week 6, but it won't be that easy. The Bears are tied for 10th in fewest fantasy points allowed to the running back position, and Henderson remains in a crowded backfield that also includes rookie Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown. Week 6 was the first game that Henderson cleared 50 percent of the offensive snaps this season, and he just barely beat out Brown for that honor. Due to his command of the carries as of right now, you have to slot him in as an RB2 option, but temper your expectations against a strong Bears Defense.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp had a down game in Week 6, and it looks like those struggles could continue in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. The Bears are allowing just 17.4 points per game to the wide receiver position, and their cornerbacks are playing lights-out. The one advantage that Kupp may have in this game is that he plays primarily out of the slot. With cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Kyle Fuller primarily operating on the outside, that gives Kupp the easier matchup against Buster Skrine. Against a strong Bears Defense on Monday night, Kupp should be considered more of a low-end RB2 play. He just hasn't found the connection with quarterback Jared Goff this year yet that his fantasy managers expected.
Cincinnati Bengals DLs Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are being phased out of the team's defensive game plan, and they're each frustrated with their lack of playing time, according to multiple sources. Atkins was on the field for 18 snaps in Week 6 against the Indianapolis Colts, mostly on third down, while Dunlap was in for 28 total defensive plays.
The Carolina Panthers Defense, though improving and showing signs of efficiency, is not a viable starting option this week. They face the Saints, who have a potent offense consisting of Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook, and elite WR Michael Thomas, who could potentially return this week. In addition, the Saints have been the third-worst matchup for fantasy defenses. The Panthers' defense should be on the bench this week.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore should best be viewed as a low-end WR2 for this week. Moore hasn't been the most productive receiver for Carolina this season as Robby Anderson has emerged into a top option. Nevertheless, Moore's role is still decent as he has seen at least four targets in each game. There is no reason to discount the WR's value completely as he has still gotten over 90 yards in three games as well. That's enough to give him starting value against a New Orleans defense allowing the 11th-most points to fantasy WRs.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel is currently dealing with a knee injury and his status for Week 7 remains unclear. Samuel also missed Week 6. The WR has offered very modest value in the passing and rushing game this season, getting no more than 51 receiving yards and 28 rushing yards in any contest. Even if he's active, there are certainly better flex options for this week.
The New York Giants Defense has been better in recent weeks and has another good matchup in Week 7 with a Thursday night matchup with a banged-up Eagles offense. Philadelphia is missing starters across the offensive line and skill positions, and will face the challenge of playing on a short week. Led by cornerback James Bradberry, whose shut down play on the outside has taken away opposing number-one receivers, the Giants are a startable unit in fantasy at Philadelphia.
Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas is well off the fantasy radar heading into Week 7. The TE has only gotten three receptions for 14 yards and a score on seven targets in the past three games. His role is simply not large enough for him to merit good fantasy value.
Updating a previous report, New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) saw limited reps in practice, and head coach Adam Gase spoke about it after. 'Right now, we're just saying that all options are available,' Gase said Wednesday, Oct. 21. 'We'll have him on a pitch count.'
Fantasy Spin: Darnold sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder on Oct. 1, and he hasn't played or practice since, with Joe Flacco starting the previous two. Even if Darnold were able to play against a very giving Buffalo Bills pass defense, only fantasy owners in deeper leagues using two starting quarterbacks should even consider him at this point.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram is off to a disappointing start to the season, but draws another favorable matchup in Week 7. Philadelphia allows the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, though it may not matter as Engram has not taken advantage of other favorable matchups. Engram has not found the end zone this season and has just one game with more than 35 yards. New York completed just 12 passes last week so it's hard to trust anyone in this pass offense. Engram is a risky starter, but does possess upside and can be started in deeper formats.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson is a WR2 this week against New Orleans. Anderson has emerged as the top target for Teddy Bridgewater this season and already has three 100-yard games. He has also seen at least four receptions and five targets in all six games. Given the increasing rapport with Bridgewater along with a large role in this offense, Anderson is a solid starter against a Saints team allowing the 11th-most points to fantasy WRs.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a QB2 for this week against the Saints. From a fantasy perspective, the QB has been mostly mediocre aside from Week 5 against the Falcons and overall has six passing touchdowns to five interceptions thus far. Though the Saints allow the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, Bridgewater hasn't proven that he can be an explosive fantasy option. Only consider him in two-QB leagues for this week but there are certainly better options based on matchup.