Mon Jan 31 10:14am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Kupp produces huge once again
Surprisingly, the games were almost as good this week as the previous week. That is pretty hard to believe, considering how epic the games were for the divisional round. They all came down to the wire once again. Plus, we had some big fantasy performances, providing plenty of points for fantasy owners. It was another fascinating week in the NFL.
Bengals 27, Chiefs 24
Fantasy Stud: Travis Kelce. His team lost but Kelce was huge in defeat. He led the way in the passing game for the Chiefs. He had 10 receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. Kelce was great the entire playoffs, having at least 95 yards all three games and touchdowns in all those game. He finishes the year with six straight games.
Fantasy Dud: Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire was active but took a backseat to Jerick McKinnon most of the game. He had just six carries for 36 yards compared to 12 carries for McKinnon. Edwards-Helaire also caught just a pass for four yards, giving him 40 total yards in the game. It was almost a fitting end to his season, which also was a little disappointing because of injuries and inconsistency on the field. Next season might be a make or break year for Edwards-Helaire.
Game Notes: Tee Higgins hit the 100-yard mark. He had six receptions for 103 yards on 10 targets. He has 13 reception for 199 yards his last two games.
Mecole Hardman had five touches for 70 total yards and a touchdown. He had scores two straight and at least 12 fantasy points in each of those games.
Rams 20, 49ers 17
Fantasy Stud: Cooper Kupp. Kupp had another one of his monster game. He caught 11 passes fro 142 yards and two touchdowns. Kupp scored 37.2 fantasy points, giving him 30-plus points two straight games. He has eight games this season with 30-plus fantasy points. Kupp is having one of the all-time best fantasy seasons. He just keeps getting it done on a weekly basis.
Fantasy Dud: Cam Akers. Akers got a lot of touches once again but didn’t do much with that work. He ran 13 times for just 48 yards and caught a pass for two yards. Akers has fewer than 60-rushing yards all three playoff games for the Rams. He does not have more than 11 fantasy points any game this year. The positive is he has at least 14 touches three straight games and looks healthy, recovered from his torn Achilles’ tendon.
Game Notes: Deebo Samuel was highly productive once again, leading the 49ers in rushing and receiving. He ran seven times for 26 yards and had four receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. Samuel had 98 total yards and a score.
Odell Beckham had his first 100-yard game of the season. He had nine receptions for 113 yards on 11 targets. He has 15 receptions for 182 yards on 19 targets his last two games.
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.
The Dallas Cowboys have reached an agreement with kicker Brett Maher. The organization brought in Maher along with a few other kickers for a tryout. Clearly, Maher has won that battle and has been signed by the organization. He made 16-of-18 field goals for the New Orleans Saints in 2021. Before that, Maher spent two seasons as a member of the Cowboys. The expectation is that Maher and Lirim Hajrullahu will compete for the kicking job in training camp. Fantasy managers can wait and see who wins this competition before adding one of them in fantasy formats.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris could see a lighter workload heading into next season. The second-year back saw 307 carries for 1,200 yards, and seven touchdowns during his first season in Pittsburgh. He also hauled in 74 receptions for 467 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Clearly, Harris was heavily used in the offense and the team doesn't want to go overboard with Harris. That being said, Benny Snell could be seeing more chances on short-yardage situations. Also, Anthony McFarland Jr. should get carries as well. Fantasy managers shouldn't be too worried as he should remain the workhorse back. However, it's unlikely he gets near 300 carries again this upcoming season.
Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin has been impressive during training camp, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The 23-year-old is reportedly one of the hardest workers on the team. Despite that, Benjamin will have competition for the RB2 job in Arizona. The team has added Darrel Williams and drafted Keontay Ingram as well. James Conner will be the starter, but there will be plenty of backup reps available with the departure of Chase Edmonds. It sounds like Benjamin has a legitimate shot at the backup role heading into the season. Fantasy managers should keep their eye on Benjamin as the season gets closer.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith will make the start under center for the first preseason game, according to head coach Pete Carroll. The former second round pick looks to have the edge over Drew Lock. Although, Lock has looked better over the last week, but it sounds like this is Smith's job to lose. Smith has played briefly with the Seahawks over the last two seasons. No one expects him to be comparable to Russell Wilson. It's hard to imagine Smith have weekly fantasy value, but it looks like he'll be the starter over Lock to begin the season.
Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith has been an integral part of the team's defense since he was drafted eighth overall in 2018. The Bears have traded away some big names from their once fierce defense, including Khalil Mack, and it appears Smith could be next. Smith released a statement officially requesting a trade, reporting the new management regime "won't negotiate in good faith" and "doesn't value me here." Smith is one of the few remaining superstars on this team, so losing him would big a big blow.
Dynasty | The Ravens activated running back J.K. Dobbins from the PUP list Dynasty Analysis: Dobbins was pushing to return and was granted the green light on Monday and it's said he's on track to be ready for week one. It's been a year since Dobbins tore his ACL and his timeline for return was expected to allow for full-health by week one. It's great news for Dobbins, the Ravens and his dynasty coaches who badly missed his presence in 2021. The bruising runner rushed for 805 yards and nine touchdowns in his rookie year on only 134 carries, good for an amazing 6.0 ypc. average. The question for Dobbins will surround his role within the teams committee rotation, including the impact of Lamar Jackson's rushing prowess. But as seen with his rookie year production, a healthy allotment of touches should provide for an even greater runway for increased 2022 production. Touchdown totals will be a concern inside the five yard line as fantasy coaches wait to see how the team will utilize Jackson's capable legs, perhaps at the expense of Dobbins. He's listed as DLF's RB14, showing that there's more than a little concern about Dobbins' injury when paired with Jackson under-center.
Dynasty | Titans rookie receiver Treylon Burks has been running with the second and third teams at camp Dynasty Analysis: Burks got off to a poor start in OTAs and was diagnosed with asthma earlier this off-season. As such, the rookie is still getting his legs under him and will have to work his way back with the starters. Rookies tend to hit the "rookie wall" near week 10 of the regular season and this could be an issue to watch with Burks here in his first season. The full expectation is that he'll eventually take the spot vacated by the traded A.J. Brown, but it won't be handed to him. Burks is listed as DLF's WR21 and possesses a fair amount of premium as a rookie.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Tuesday that the league is seeking a tougher penalty for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson because his actions were "egregious" and "predatory behavior." The league formally appealed Watson's six-game suspension last week, which was given by disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson earlier this month. The NFL is seeking a suspension of at least a year for Watson. It's unknown when former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey will make a ruling on the appeal. Watson was accused of sexual assault and other inappropriate conduct during massage sessions in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women. There's a chance this ends up playing out in federal court, but Watson will miss at least the first six games of the 2022 season, making him an extremely risky fantasy QB this year.
Miami Dolphins TE Adam Shaheen was traded to the Houston Texans Tuesday, Aug. 9, in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round draft choice. The Texans will also receive a 2023 seventh-round draft choice in the trade.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (elbow) resumed throwing in individual drills at training camp practice on Tuesday. The Rams are managing Stafford's elbow pain this offseason in order to attempt to keep him healthy all years as the Rams try to defend their Super Bowl championship. The 34-year-old will likely continue to take it easy on his right arm throughout the rest of camp, and it's definitely something to watch as we get into the regular season. For now, fantasy managers should expect Stafford to be fine for Week 1. He has an amazing connection with All-Pro wideout Cooper Kupp and also has Allen Robinson II at his disposal, but Stafford should be targeted as a low-end QB1 in fantasy.
The Houston Texans acquired tight end Adam Shaheen and a seventh-round pick in 2023 from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday in exchange for a sixth-round pick in next year's draft. The Dolphins already have Mike Gesicki locked in as their starting tight end, with Durham Smythe, Hunter Long and Cethan Carter providing depth behind him, so Shaheen was expendable after catching 12 of 16 targets for only 110 scoreless yards in 12 games (seven starts) in 2021. Shaheen will now join a tight end group in Houston that already has Pharaoh Brown and Brevin Jordan. Jordan is expected to be the primary pass-catching option at the position, so Shaheen should remain well off the fantasy radar entering the 2022 campaign.
Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey (shoulder) participated in team drills during practice Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Houston Texans running backs Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead are listed as co-starters at running back on the team's first unofficial depth chart of training camp. They are followed by rookie Dameon Pierce, Royce Freeman, Dare Ogunbowale and Darius Anderson. Coming off a serious Achilles injury that limited him to seven games the last two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, the 26-year-old Mack figures to lead Houston's backfield to begin the 2022 season. However, this could be a frustrating backfield to predict early on, and Pierce has the goods to become the starter by season's end in an offense run by quarterback Davis Mills. If you're betting on anyone as a last-round RB for depth, Pierce is probably the best low-cost investment with the most upside.
The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to an undisclosed one-year deal with veteran free-agent defensive tackle Danny Shelton on Tuesday, according to his agents, Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha. Shelton played in 13 games (zero starts) for the New York Giants last year, recording 31 tackles (12 solo) and half a sack. He was originally a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2015 out of the University of Washington, and he spent his first three seasons in the NFL in Cleveland. The 28-year-old pass-rusher has also spent time with the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions. Shelton will be looking to compete for a starting spot on the interior of KC's defensive line. He has 278 tackles (138 solo), 17 tackles for loss, 19 QB hits, six sacks and a forced fumble in seven NFL seasons.
Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford (elbow) participated in team drills during practice Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Fantasy Spin: Stafford has been dealing with the elbow injury for a while and will continue to be a story moving forward. Fantasy players can monitor the situation because Stafford can be a low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback if he is healthy.
New Orleans Saints DE Marcus Davenport (finger) passed his physical Tuesday, Aug. 9, and has been activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor continues to stack good days at training camp in what has definitely been his most consistent camp as a professional. At the moment, he looks too good to consider releasing, in the opinion of The Athletic's Bo Wulf, although a trade remains on the table. The former first-round pick has been a disappointment through his two NFL seasons, compiling 64 catches (111 targets) for 695 yards and three touchdowns in 28 games (24 starts). The 23-year-old will probably only be fantasy relevant if he's traded to a team that gives him a realistic chance to start. As things stand now in Philly, he's behind the likes of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal.
Cleveland Browns All-Pro returner and wide receiver Jakeem Grant Sr. (Achilles) is feared to have torn his Achilles in training camp practice on Tuesday. He will undergo tests to confirm after he was carted off the field on Tuesday. This will be a big blow to Cleveland's special teams unit this year as well as their receiver depth. The 29-year-old speedy wideout was looking for a role on both special teams and as a pass-catcher in his first year with the Browns after catching 11 of his 17 targets for 132 yards and two touchdowns in 2021 with the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. He was a Pro Bowler last year for his work as a returner, handling 23 kickoff returns for 539 yards and 26 punt returns for 309 yards and one touchdown.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Zach Pascal missed the first week-plus of training camp with food poisoning and has been slowly acclimating since, but Monday was his best day by a wide margin. He showcased nice route-running and dominated a portion of seven-on-seven drills with a one-handed catch. Pascal has yet to make much of an impact in team drills, though, and he's still trying to get on the same page as quarterback Jalen Hurts. Unfortunately for Pascal, he's currently fourth on the Eagles depth chart behind A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins, who had a productive day in team drills on Monday with a couple of nice catches. Pascal can be passed over on draft day in most leagues to begin the 2022 season.
Free-agent RB Kalen Ballage (Steelers), RB Jaylen Samuels (Cardinals) and Stevie Scott (Broncos) recently worked out for the Green Bay Packers. The team also worked out undrafted free-agent RB Calvin Turner (Hawaii).