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 13
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase admitted that he's failing in his attempt to groom quarterback Sam Darnold. "I came here to help him, help him develop his career, and we haven't been able to do that," said Gase. Darnold is 0-7 this year -- he missed four games with a shoulder injury -- and has just six touchdown drives. He's the lowest-rated passer in the league with a career-low 64.0 rating and has gone four straight games without throwing a touchdown. The third overall pick in 2018 threw two interceptions in the Week 12 loss to the Dolphins and his future with the team is in question, especially if New York has the top pick in the draft next year. Darnold has a decent matchup against the Raiders this Sunday, but even then, he's an unattractive low-end QB2 that cannot be trusted in this terrible offense.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper has been able to develop a strong fantasy floor despite the rest of the Cowboys offense collapsing around him. Cooper has at least five catches and 67 yards in nine of his 11 games. With only three touchdowns and three 100-yard games all year though, he hasn't had much of a ceiling to go with that floor. Week 13 presents a tough Tuesday night matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, leaving Cooper as a solid WR2 but without the upside of others ranked similarly.
The Indianapolis Colts activated defensive lineman Denico Autry from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. Autry, who leads the team with six sacks this year, has missed the last two games. Without him against the Titans in Week 12, Indy's defense allowed 449 yards, including 229 rushing yards. Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is the only Colts player still on the COVID-19 list, but he could be activated on Saturday if he has no symptoms and continues to test negative. Along with his six sacks, Autry has 24 tackles (15 solo), seven tackles for loss and seven QB hits in nine games (eight starts). His return will be a boost for a Colts Defense looking to bounce back against the Texans, who just lost top wideout Will Fuller to a six-game PED suspension. Consider Indy's defense a fringe starting unit in 12- and 14-team leagues.
Detroit Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell said that rookie running back D'Andre Swift (concussion), who missed the Week 12 loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving, is still working through the league's concussion protocol. The Lions keep saying that Swift is close to returning, but until he's out of the concussion protocol, his fantasy managers should view him as highly questionable to play in Week 13 against the Bears. Chicago's defense isn't the greatest matchup, but if Swift can get cleared and return, he'll be an upside RB2 as fantasy managers look to get into the playoffs. If he misses yet another game, veteran Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson will continue to split the backfield workload, keeping both of their ceilings lower as RB3/flex types.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott finds himself in new territory in Week 13: on the lower end of RB2 rankings. Elliott's nightmare season began when Dak Prescott was lost for the year, but it's only gotten worse from there, and not all the blame can be placed on the quarterback play. Elliott is essentially running behind an offensive line made up of backups at this point, and he has totaled fewer than 55 rushing yards in six of his last nine games. The good news with Elliott is that he does lead the league with 19 carries inside the five-yard line. The bad news is, despite that, he's only scored one touchdown since Week 5. If he's on your fantasy team, you're probably not going to bench Elliott, but don't expect the RB1 version of Elliott to show up any time soon.
Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow (knee) underwent successful surgery on his knee on Wednesday and is expected to make a complete recovery. Burrow was having a really impressive rookie season after being the No. 1 overall pick in the draft until he tore both his ACL and MCL in his left knee in Week 11 against Washington. The former LSU star has a chance to be ready for the start of the 2021 season if everything goes according to plan with his rehab. There will be obvious risk around him being a QB1 for those in single-season leagues next year, but you're sitting pretty if you roster him in dynasty/keeper leagues for the long haul. Brandon Allen got the start under center in Week 12, but Ryan Finley could get his shot before the end of the season.
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard remains a backup bench stash heading into Week 13. Pollard has seen inconsistent work since Ezekiel Elliott has returned to full health. While Pollard has shown an ability to do some damage on the field, he's just not on the field enough to be a consistent, reliable fantasy asset. He's an immediate starter if Elliott misses time, even in the disastrous Cowboys offense, but he has no real fantasy role unless that happens. Anyone with Elliott on their roster should do their best to have Pollard on their bench. Week 13 against the Ravens is a bad matchup even for a three-down back, so Pollard should be nowhere near a fantasy starting lineup this week.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton is looking at another rough matchup on Week 13's Tuesday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens Defense has allowed just over 6.5 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks this season, the second-fewest in the league. There have been a few bright spots for Dalton but they have been few and far between. He's ranked at the low end of QB2 lists, only relevant in deeper Superflex and 2QB formats.
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said that he expects standout defensive end Myles Garrett to play in Week 13 against the Titans, barring any setbacks. Garrett was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday after missing the previous two games. The 24-year-old was the first overall pick of the 2017 draft and is one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL when he's healthy. The Pro Bowler has 31 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 14 QB hits, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 9.5 sacks in nine games this season. He's a must-start defensive lineman in IDP leagues when he makes his return this Sunday. Cleveland's defense can't be trusted in fantasy formats, but Garrett's return gives them a much better chance at slowing down the NFL's leading rusher in Derrick Henry.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) was seen at practice on Thursday, but he needs to improve a lot before he can play in Week 13 against the Seahawks. Jones was expected to be very limited at practice. It's a good sign that he was on the practice field, but backup Colt McCoy is still likely to be the starter this Sunday against Seattle, although Jones has an outside chance of suiting up. If Jones misses this weekend's game, he's likely to just miss one week of action with the minor hamstring injury. Fantasy managers should be looking in another direction for Week 13, with McCoy being only a desperation low-end QB2 pivot in superflex leagues. All of New York's receivers should be downgraded slightly if McCoy is under center, too.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott is not a starting option in Week 13 fantasy lineups. Elliott has played in 10 games and made exactly 10 field goals (on 14 attempts). The Eagles go for it on fourth down very often and leave Elliott on the sidelines kicking into a practice net. Elliott's missed extra point last week was his first miss of the season, but even on those, he's only made 14 extra points total. Elliott continues to be a decent enough "real life" kicker, but he's not seeing anywhere close to the volume required to be a good fantasy option.
The Philadelphia Eagles Defense is not a recommended fantasy unit in Week 13. Very few fantasy units will be starting options against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Green Bay, but that's even more the case with the Eagles. Last week against the Seahawks, the Eagles allowed 23 points and 301 yards while recording just two sacks. It was the fifth game in which they were unable to record any turnovers, and the entire team only has three interceptions all season, the fewest in the NFL. They've essentially been a boom-or-bust defense, and this week is one of the surest bets for a bust. They're being ranked lower than 25th in most DST lists. Stay far away.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Travis Fulgham made plenty of noise earlier this season, but he's worked his way off of the fantasy radar. In the past three games, Fulgham has combined for four catches for a total of 32 yards. Part of the blame has to fall on Carson Wentz, who looks worse and worse each week, but Fulgham was doing things with that same Carson Wentz earlier this season. It seems like opponents have figured out how to slow Fulgham down, and it seems like it hasn't been too difficult. He's worth holding in deeper formats in case he finds the same luck he found earlier this season, but he can't be trusted in starting lineups, especially in a bad matchup like Week 13 against the Packers.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) is expected to return to the field for a Week 13 game against the Green Bay Packers. The Eagles have consistently made two tight ends relevant, with Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers combining for 34 targets over the past three weeks despite the atrocious play of the Eagles offense in general. At this point, Ertz is probably not as good as Goedert, but almost certainly better than Rodgers, at least at catching passes. The Packers have not had a lot of tight ends targeted against them, but they haven't been great when they have, allowing the seventh-most yards per targets to opposing tight ends. Ertz has a wide range of outcomes this week, but with not much happening at tight end outside of the top tiers this season, Ertz is at least a TE2 with a little bit of upside. This is all assuming he plays, of course, but that is fully expected.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert remains a strong TE1 fantasy option despite the expected return of Zach Ertz (ankle) this week. Goedert may see a slight dip in targets with Ertz back, but the Eagles run their passing game through their tight ends, and if Richard Rodgers was able to carve out a significant role, then Ertz and Goedert both should be able to put up plenty of fantasy points together. The Packers have allowed the seventh-most yards per target to opposing tight ends, so in a game that the Eagles are 10-point underdogs, they may need to exploit that part of the Packers Defense to even have a chance. The bad quarterback play from Carson Wentz has somehow not hurt Goedert as much as it has all of the other Eagles on offense. Goedert is a top-six option at tight end this week.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has a tough matchup against the Green Bay Packers in Week 13. Even with the best possible matchup, Jeffery would not be a recommended fantasy option, but that's even more obvious with a bad one. The Packers are easily exploitable through the ground game, so the Eagles figure to focus on that part of their offense. Jeffery caught his first two passes of the season in Week 12 and played about half of the team's offensive snaps, but he hasn't looked anything close to the former WR1 he was before a slew of injuries kept him off the field for a while. Jeffery should be on most waiver wires at this point and isn't worth being in any starting lineups this week.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward is off the fantasy radar for a Week 13 game against the Green Bay Packers. Ward caught just one pass and saw only three targets in Week 12 despite the Eagles throwing the ball 46 times. Ward has operated mostly as a safety valve, catching very short passes and not doing much with the ball in his hands. While he had some PPR value earlier in the season, the Eagles offense is in such a state that none of their pass catchers seem likely to do anything any week. Ward is not a starting option in Week 13.
Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo (quad) should be good to go for Sunday's game against the Saints. Koo was limited during Wednesday's practice with a quad injury, though special teams' coordinator Bernie Parmalee said that Koo "is going to be ok." That would be good news for fantasy managers, as Koo currently sits atop the list as fantasy football's K1. He's been excellent this year, with at least two field goals made in all but one contest. Koo is obviously a must-start against New Orleans if he suits up, as the over/under of 45.5 suggests a good amount of points will be scored in this game.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor has been quite disappointing so far this year for the Eagles, matching the rest of the Eagles offense. Reagor is seeing plenty of targets, 25 over the past four games, but has just not been able to do anything with them. Some of the blame can be placed on the atrocious quarterback play of Carson Wentz, but there are plenty of other wide receivers who are playing well despite bad quarterbacks throwing them the ball. Reagor's volume keeps him somewhere on the fantasy radar, but a Week 13 matchup against the Packers is tough, as they allow the fifth fewest yards per target to opposing wide receivers and are much more easily attacked through the ground game. Reagor is clinging to WR5 value and is more of a dynasty hold than anything else right now.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders is hoping to put his Week 12 performance behind him. In the loss against the Seattle Seahawks, Sanders only gained 22 yards total, running the ball six times and catching two passes. Sanders was essentially removed from the game plan as Carson Wentz threw the ball 45 ineffective times. That was somewhat expected, as teams don't tend to run the ball often against the Seahawks, but not to that extent. More concerning for Sanders is the fact that he has run only four more pass routes than Boston Scott over the past two games. We could see this become a backfield where Sanders comes off for passing downs, which would of course take a slice out of his fantasy value. Still, the Packers in Week 13 are a great matchup on paper and could get Sanders back on the right track. The main concern here is game script, as the Eagles are 10-point underdogs and could be forced to put the game into Carson Wentz's hands, and we've all seen how that goes. Sanders is a strong RB2 with upside, but a wide range of possible outcomes.