Wed Oct 20 10:14am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Henderson is an elite fantasy back
This should be a really interesting fantasy week. There are several top fantasy players off this week, causing for some holes in lineups. But for the teams playing, several are huge favorites to win their games this week. So that means we could still get some high-scoring fantasy games despite all the players off. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
Najee Harris has a chance to be really, really good. He has an awful offensive line right now and his quarterback play hasn’t been good at all. Despite that, Harris is fourth overall in fantasy running back scoring. His volume has been through the roof this year. If the Steelers just make a few improvements the next few seasons, watch out for Harris. He is super talented with a really bright future.
I don’t think the return of Calvin Ridley will be a big issue for Kyle Pitts going forward. Pitts dominated work in Week 5 with Ridley out, getting 10 targets. But he has 19 targets his last two games and at least eight targets three of five. He is just getting on the same page with Matt Ryan and a matchup nightmare for the opposition. I really think Pitts is going to have a big finish to his rookie season, coming out of this bye week.
Owners are freaking out over the bye weeks this week. I totally understand it. I have seen some experts posting on Twitter or writing that owners should have drafted better to not let this happen. I don’t agree with that line of thinking. I think getting the best team possible, regardless of bye weeks is the way to go. If you have to bite the bullet one week, so be it. I rarely look at bye weeks during the draft these days. I just try to draft the best team possible. There is so much that can happen during a fantasy season to impact lineups. I just think you can adjust as the season progresses. Now once the season starts and the bye weeks get near, I start to prepare. But as for before the season, forget about it.
I hate to say this but Jalen Hurts has a long way to go as an NFL quarterback. For fantasy purposes, he is just fine. He is sixth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring and has at least 23 fantasy points every game. His consistency is amazing. But he misses a lot of throws during a game and needs a ton of work at the position. I worry about him keeping a starting job past this season if he doesn’t start making some big strides in a hurry.
You have to wonder what the heck the Jaguars were thinking when they took running back Travis Etienne in the first round of this year’s draft. James Robinson is a really good back and one of the top starters in the league in my opinion. The Jaguars have so many needs that wasting a pick on another running back made little sense. And I think Robinson is driving this point home even more with his great play lately.
I know the season isn’t over but I will be the first to admit a mistake when I make one. And I was off on Derrick Henry this year. I was just worried about his huge workload in recent seasons and thought a regression could be coming either in performance or because of injury. I did a huge research article on workloads for running backs and the numbers weren’t favorable for Henry at all. Well, Henry proved me wrong and is the top fantasy back in the game right now. He is off to a monster start, having three games with 30-plus fantasy points. Henry has about 40 more fantasy points than the second rated fantasy back. That is a huge disparity. He has been the difference maker for fantasy owners to start the year. Swing and a miss for me on that one.
News and Notes: The Jaguars released kicker Josh Lambo on Tuesday. He has been a healthy scratch the last two weeks. Matthew Wright has emerged as the starting kicker for the Jaguars and will keep that job moving forward. . . . .The Saints signed running back Lamar Miller to their practice squad on Tuesday. Miller gives the team a little more depth at the position, which is banged up at the moment. . . . .Chicago signed running back Chris Thompson to their practice squad on Tuesday. The Bears are another team looking for depth at running back because of injury.
A.J. Green, WR, Cardinals. Green has been consistent as the starting receiver opposite DeAndre Hopkins. He has five receptions three of four games and at least 13 fantasy points four of five. He is getting it done on a weekly basis. And Green led the Cardinals receivers in playing time last week, playing 91 percent of the snaps. He has been on the field for at least 79 percent of the snaps every game this season. Green should keep it going this week against a Texans team allowing 249.8-passing yards per game.
Damien Harris, RB, Patriots. Harris had his second 100-yard game of the season last week and has touchdowns two straight games. He also has at least 14 carries four of six games. He isn’t catching many passes but his rushing yards and scores make him a viable No. 2 running back for fantasy teams. He has a chance to find the end zone for a third straight game this week, playing the Jets. New York has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans. Derrick Henry continues to carry the Titans offense right now, but Tannehill seems close to that big game. He hasn’t really had one yet this year. But a game against the Chiefs seems a prime time to use Tannehill. This game should be a shootout with a ton of fantasy points on both sides. Tannehill does have two games this season with 40 or more pass attempts. If that happens this week, look for a big game from Tannehill against the Chiefs. Kansas City allows the second most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams. Henderson scored multiple touchdowns for the first time all season lsat week. He had 107 total yards and two scores. Henderson has been as consistent as any fantasy back all season. He has at least 15.7 fantasy points every game. His floor has been very high. Expect more good things from him this week, playing the Lions. Detroit is 26th against the run and allow the second most fantasy points to running backs.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons. Ridley is back from his time off for personal reasons. He should be just fine going forward as the No. 1 target in the Falcons passing attack. Ridley’s high in yards just year is 80 but he is getting the looks having at least seven receptions three straight games. He is ready for one of his huge games. That huge game might come this week against the Dolphins, a team with all sorts of injuries to key players in their secondary. Miami allows the third most fantasy points to receivers and rank 29th overall against the pass.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns. Mayfield scored multiple touchdowns last week but still failed to top 20 fantasy points. He has fewer than 20 fantasy points four of six games. He also is battling a shoulder injury, which is another concern. Mayfield just isn’t getting it done right now for his fantasy owners. And despite the team being without their top two running backs this week, Mayfield remains a risky play. His production just hasn’t been there this season. Plus, he plays a Broncos team that allows the second fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Jakobi Meyers, WR, Patriots. Meyers has been a dependable option this year, having double-digit fantasy points four of six games. He has been consistent, racking up the catches on a weekly basis. He has at least four receptions every games. Unfortunately, he has yet to score a touchdown and has fewer than 50 yards three games. He has been pretty mediocre many weeks. Meyers might have another one of those down games this week against the Jets. New York has allowed just four passing touchdowns all year and give up the fewest fantasy points to receivers.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Broncos. Gordon has been really mediocre since Week 3. He had 15-plus points two of his first three games but hasn’t topped that mark since. He has fewer than double-digit fantasy points two of his last three games. It just seems a matter of time before rookie Javonte Williams starts cutting into his playing time even more. We would steer clear of Gordon this week against the Browns. Cleveland is sixth overall against the run and allow the fourth fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Henry Ruggs, WR, Raiders. Ruggs is having a much better second season, nearing 450-receiving yards after six games. He has been a little hit or miss, though. He has fewer than double-digit fantasy points three of six games. He doesn’t get a ton of weekly targets. Ruggs has just three receptions three straight games and his season high in receptions is five. We think this week might be one of his down weeks once again, likely facing Darius Slay in coverage. The Eagles also allow the sixth fewest fantasy points to receivers.
Devontae Booker, RB, Giants. Booker got the start last week and plenty of work in that role. He ran 12 times for just 41 yards, though, and caught four passes for 28 yards. He didn’t do much with his workload against a good Rams defense. We would not surprise to see him have a similar game in Week 7 against the Panthers. Carolina is another team good against the run. The Panthers allow the fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Allen Lazard, WR, Packers. Lazard has not topped 50 yards all season but scored his first touchdown of the season last week. He also has multiple receptions three straight games. Lazard has played at least 79 percent of the snaps each of his last three games. He is on the field and getting some weekly looks. It just seems a matter of time before he has a breakout game. And we think that game might be this week against Washington, a team that can’t stop anyone through the air right now and allow the second most fantasy points to receivers.
Jameis Winston, QB, Saints. Winston has been wildly inconsistent this year but had maybe his best game of the season his last time out. He threw four touchdown passes. The big takeaway in the game was his 30 pass attempts, which was a season high. This could be a trend going forward, having Winston air the ball out a little more. The offense has been stagnant at times, so maybe taking the reigns off Winston is the way to go for the Saints. And if they do that this week against the Seahawks, Winston is capable of another big performance. Seattle is 28th against the pass, allowing 292.3-passing yards per game.
Mike Davis, RB, Falcons. Cordarrelle Patterson has been the best Falcons fantasy back this year, but Davis has shown flashes. He still gets most of the carries and has a role in the passing game. Davis has double-digit fantasy points every game. And he had a season-high 14.1 fantasy points his last time out. Look for Davis to build on that this week against the Dolphins. Miami allows the third most fantasy points to running backs.
Justin Fields, QB, Bears. Fields is yet to do much for fantasy teams just yet. His season high in fantasy points is just 16, which he reached last week. We all know the potential is there, though, especially because Fields is capable of making big plays with his legs. If he can keep progressing, he is going to help fantasy teams. And that help might come this week against Tampa. The Bucs allow the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 27th overall against the pass.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs. The Chiefs brought in Josh Gordon to help at receiver, but Hardman remains a big part of the passing game. His playing time hasn’t been impacted much at all. His production has actually improved since Gordon has played. Hardman has 13 receptions for 138 yards on 17 targets his last two games. He has double-digit fantasy points four of six games. Hardman might have season best numbers this week against the Titans in what should be a shootout of a game. Tennessee allows the most fantasy points to receivers.
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: Washington/Packers, Chiefs/Titans, Bengals/Ravens, Lions/Rams, Texans/Cardinals.
Low Scoring Games: Broncos/Browns, Panthers/Giants, Colts/49ers.
Bye Weeks: Bills, Cowboys, Jaguars, Chargers, Vikings, Steelers.
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.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton signed a four-year contract extension worth $60.8 million during the bye week. The 26-year-old has proven to be an excellent deep threat on the outside and has bounced back from his ACL tear in 2020, but he has taken a back seat in the offense ever since Jerry Jeudy returned from his high ankle sprain in Week 8. In three games with Jeudy back in the picture, Sutton has only five receptions for 78 yards on nine targets. Nine targets over a three-game span just isn't going to cut it. Sutton can still win with physicality down the field, but he'll have a tough matchup against a Los Angeles Chargers defense that is allowing the fifth-fewest receiving yards this season. Perhaps the Broncos will manufacture more ways to get Sutton the ball coming off their bye, but he'll be a touchdown-dependent WR3/flex, at best, in Week 12.
Carolina Panthers kicker Zane Gonzalez is a streaming option against the Dolphins in Week 12. Gonzalez has been generally reliable this season, going 19-for-21 in field goals and 18-for-19 in extra points. Miami allows the fourth-most points to fantasy kickers, so the 26-year-old is a good streaming option.
Denver Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams has 103 carries and 127 total touches in 296 offensive snaps through 10 games this year, while Melvin Gordon has 118 carries and 139 total touches in 344 snaps. Denver is the only team to have two tailbacks with at least 500 rushing yards (Gordon 522, Williams 514) and one of only two teams with two 100-carry RBs. Williams has been more explosive and has shown more big-play ability -- 5.0 yards per carry and a team-high six runs of 20-plus yards -- but Gordon is expected to remain the starter in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Gordon has been more valuable in fantasy because he's found the end zone more, but Williams will have nice RB2 upside this Sunday against a Bolts defense that has allowed the most rushing yards per game (145.1) this year.
New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor is coming off one of his best performances of the season. He hauled in all five of his targets for 40 yards and one touchdown last week. Although, it's worth noting that Agholor has finished with less than five receptions in every game, but two this season. There is normally a handful of targets for Agholor, but he doesn't always make them count. In Week 12, he'll face a Tennessee Titans defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to wideouts this season. This certainly seems like a favorable spot for Agholor to do some damage. Despite that, he shouldn't be viewed as anything more than a desperation deep league option.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has hauled in 19 of his last 23 targets, which is quite outstanding. The speedy wideout seems to make the play when targeted, but there isn't always yardage after the catch. In fact, has surpassed 45 yards only once over his last four games. In Week 12, he'll get a Tennessee Titans defense that ranks ninth in pass DVOA this season. At this point, Bourne appears to be primarily a PPR option due to the lack of yardage. He might be able to produce WR4 value for this Week 12 matchup.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is still looking for the first touchdown of his sophomore season, but he's also only played in four games in 2021 after suffering a high ankle sprain in the season opener. Since returning from that injury, he has 16 catches on 21 targets for 156 yards (9.75 yards per catch). Although fantasy managers would like to see more, the good news is that the coaching staff is finding creative ways to get the ball in Jeudy's hands, and he's been quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's preferred target over Courtland Sutton in the last three games. Capping his upside is the fact that the Broncos have been spreading the ball around to all of their offensive weapons, and Jeudy will be a WR3/flex against a Chargers defense that is allowing the fifth-fewest receiving yards per game (224.6) in 2021.
Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas should be far away from starting lineups in Week 12. The 25-year-old has posted three receptions for 26 yards total in the last three games and that goes to show how little of a role he has in this offense. There are much better TE options to start in fantasy this week.
The Denver Broncos still have plenty of confidence in running back Melvin Gordon III despite the fact that he's fumbled twice in the last three games, and his last one in Week 10 was returned for a touchdown. "Melvin's one of the top backs in this league," head coach Vic Fangio said. Despite the fumbling issues, Gordon leads the team with 522 rushing yards on 118 carries (4.4 yards per carry) and has found the end zone seven times (five rushing, two receiving) while sharing snaps with rookie Javonte Williams almost evenly. There's no reason to think the Broncos will change their backfield game plan in Week 12 against a Los Angeles Chargers defense that is surrendering the most rushing yards per game (145.1). Gordon will be an RB2 in fantasy in this revenge game.
The Carolina Panthers defense is a top-five option for Week 12 against the Dolphins. This unit has gotten 30 sacks, eight picks, and 14 forced fumbles on the season thus far. While they do allow more points in some games, this unit has generally done a good job against weaker offenses. The Dolphins don't have an explosive offense and Tua Tagovailoa is still a young QB who is prone to mistakes, so there is reason to stream the Panthers defense this week with confidence.
New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers has failed to surpass 50 receiving yards in each of his last six games. Although, it's worth noting that Meyers has seen four or more targets in every game this season. His production has been inconsistent, which makes him a difficult fantasy option on a weekly basis. Fantasy managers should consider Meyers a low-end flex option in PPR formats for Week 12. He'll face off against a Tennessee Titans defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to wideouts this season. The Patriots aren't exactly a pass-heavy team, but this is a favorable matchup for Meyers. The targets should be there, which makes him a solid candidate for PPR formats in Week 12.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore is a WR2 option in Week 12 against the Dolphins. Moore's production has dipped a bit recently after a hot start to the season. In the last three games, he's posted 50 yards only once. Still, the WR is the top pass-catching option on this team and the target share will be there each week. Miami allows the second-most fantasy points to wideouts, so this could be the week Moore gets back on track.
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is coming off the bye week looking to put the team's disappointing Week 11 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the rearview mirror. A week after a huge upset over the Dallas Cowboys, Bridgewater went 22-for-36 for 226 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Bridgewater hasn't turned the ball over since Week 7, but he has only thrown for 300-plus yards twice this year and not since Week 6. The Los Angeles Chargers defense won't exactly make it easy on Bridgewater to put up big numbers, either -- they've allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards per game (209.9), although they've been more generous to QBs in recent weeks in fantasy. In Denver's run-first, ball-control offense, Bridgewater will come out of the bye as a low-end QB2 once again.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson should remain on benches for the Week 12 clash against the Dolphins. The WR has a been a super disappointing fantasy option all season, not having posted more than 40 yards in a game since early October. Despite having a good target share in most games, Anderson cannot seem to take advantage of that. Because of his low production, he shouldn't be trusted even in a matchup with a Dolphins squad that allows the second-most fantasy points to WRs.
New England Patriots running back J.J. Taylor was a healthy scratch last week. In fact, Taylor has only played in five games this season. Although, he could be asked to step up for the Week 12 matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Both Damien Harris (neck) and Rhamondre Stevenson (knee) are listed as questionable for this contest. That leaves Taylor and Brandon Bolden as the primary options. However, fantasy managers shouldn't get too excited. The only time Taylor was productive was in Week 7 when he posted a two-touchdown performance. It's uncertain if Harris or Stevenson will actually be inactive yet. Taylor would be a desperation deep league option even with an expanded role.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has thrown for over 230 yards just once over his last six games. Despite that, his team has won every game, but one of those contests. The rookie quarterback isn't putting together superstar numbers, but is helping his team win. That being said, Jones is unlikely to be worth streaming against the Tennessee Titans in Week 12. A defense that ranks ninth in pass DVOA this season. There isn't a ton of upside here with the Pats being a run-heavy offense. Jones will be towards the bottom in terms of streaming options at QB this week. It's not because he's bad, but because he normally doesn't produce reliable fantasy numbers.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is in the QB1 conversation against Miami in Week 12. The QB has been fantastic since returning to his old squad. He has now posted five touchdowns in the last two games, three passing and two rushing. The 32-year-old has proved he still has it in terms of his dual-threat abilities. The Dolphins allow the seventh-most points to fantasy QBs, so Newton is a solid start.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is a solid RB1 against Miami. The RB has accumulated at least 52 rushing yards and 54 receiving yards in the last three games and always has a high chance to get over 100 yards of scrimmage in any contest given his large role. Miami is somewhat stingy to fantasy backs, but McCaffrey's rich volume still makes him an elite play.
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden is coming off one of his worst games of the season. He finished with one rushing yard and two receptions for 15 yards last week. Now, he could see a significant role in the offense versus the Tennessee Titans in Week 12. Both Damien Harris (neck) and Rhamondre Stevenson (knee) are listed as questionable heading into this contest. That means, Bolden and J.J. Taylor could be asked to pick up the slack, assuming both players are out. A majority of Bolden's value does come in the receiving game. However, two inactive backs would mean more chances for Bolden. A could have some sneaky PPR value, but it would be dependent on the status of Harris and Stevenson.
The Cleveland Browns officially activated running back Kareem Hunt (calf) and offensive tackle Jack Conklin (elbow) from Injured Reserve on Saturday, and both players are on track to play on Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12. It's great news for a Browns offense that has been slowed of late due to all the injuries to quarterback Baker Mayfield. Hunt has been out since Week 6, so it's fair to wonder if his snaps will be limited in his first game back. The 26-year-old had carved out standalone value in PPR leagues before his injury despite splitting backfield work with Nick Chubb. At the very worst, Hunt will probably be in play as an RB3/flex this week, even though the Ravens have been more vulnerable deep down the field than against RBs this season.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mack Hollins is coming off his best performance of the season. Last week, he hauled in two receptions for 72 yards and one touchdown in the win. That is not exactly an outstanding performance, but Hollins hasn't been involved much this season. There is a good chance he is quiet again versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 12. A defense that ranks second in pass DVOA heading into this contest. There might be a few targets for Hollins, but it won't be enough to warrant starting him in any formats. There are too many options ahead of him in the pecking order in Miami.