Wed Jan 26 10:40am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Samuel should get plenty of work
Wow, wow, wow. That is about all you can say about last week’s game. That might have been the greatest playoff weekend ever. Needless to say, this week has a lot to live up to. Hopefully, we can at least near those games. We’ll see. Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
Josh Allen is so special. He had a game for the ages last week and lost. He had nine touchdowns without a turnover in the Bills two playoff games, showing he can come up big in the big game. Allen is a special, special player. At this point, I’m raking him first overall in my quarterback rankings for 2022. One thing that gets overlooked with Allen is his ability to make plays with his legs, rushing for 763 yard this season. This guy is as consistent it gets at the quarterback spot and is going to be a superstar for lots of years to come.
One player that is going to be intriguing next year is Gabriel Davis. He had one of the best games ever for a receiver in the playoffs, catching eight passes for 201 yards and four touchdowns. His stock is rising in a hurry, especially with Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley possibly gone next year. Davis should start opposite Stefon Diggs in the Bills explosive passing game. I’m not sure he is going to be a consistent play but expect plenty of big games. Plus, he is a great red-zone target because of his size and strength.
I think Tom Brady returns for one more season. He had a fantastic year once again and showed few signs of slowing down - if any. The Bucs were depleted at receiver by season’s end, so I think they reload there and give Brady one more shot to win it all. A healthy Chris Godwin and a new No. 3 to replace Antonio Brown would give Brady a big-time boost.
How do the Bucs let Cooper Kupp get behind him in the waning seconds of a tie game? I could not believe that one. I know Kupp is one of the best, so you can’t ignore that. But if I’m the Bucs, I do everything in my power to keep him in front of me to prevent a big play. I could not believe the end to that game. As for Kupp, he has 100-yard games six of his last eight games. He had one of the all-time great seasons for a receiver, so it was kind of a fitting end to this game for him.
And speaking of crazy finishes. You could second guess a lot with the end to that Bills/Chiefs, seeing a ton of points scored in a short time to send that game to overtime. The big one for me is seeing the Bills kick the ball into the end zone after they gook the lead with just 13 seconds left. I make the Chiefs run it back to run some time off the clock. I think they did them a favor by kicking it deep, giving Patrick Mahomes more time to do his thing. That was my big beef with how that played out. But even with that said, it was sure exciting to watch. Wow. That was probably the best football game I ever watched.
I had a hard time picking the games last week and am feeling the same way this week. These aren’t easy decisions. I have a hard time picking against the Chiefs right now, though. I never thought they would make three straight Super Bowls, but just can’t see the Bengals going on the road and winning that one. The Chiefs are playing their best football at the right time. And over in the NFC, I am going with the 49ers. They beat the Rams twice during the regular season and think they will make it a third time. San Francisco just seems a team of destiny. Their defense is playing great and I expect the offense, mainly the running game, to play much better this week. The Rams impressed last week, but I still don’t have total faith in Matthew Stafford. Maybe he showed me last week, but I don’t think the Rams run the ball well this week and Stafford will be forced to carry the offense against a very good 49ers defense.
Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs. Kelce is red hot right now, having touchdowns five straight games. He also has 100-yard games two of those weeks. Kelce has 23-plus fantasy points two straight and three of five. He is setup to find the end zone again this week against the Bengals. Cincinnati struggles to stop the tight end, allowing the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends during the regular season.
Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers. Samuel just keeps getting it done on a weekly basis. He has touchdowns three of four games. He has 20-plus fantasy points nine times this season. His rushing numbers make him a force at the receiver spot, producing as a dual threat for all his fantasy owners. Samuel had huge success in two games against the Rams this season. Samuel had 300 total yards and three touchdowns, catching nine passes. He should be heavily involved in the 49ers game plan.
Cam Akers, RB, Rams. Akers is back and looks to be the clear lead back for the Rams. He ran the ball 24 times last week and has 41 carries in the Rams two playoff games. Unfortunately, the Rams running game isn’t opening many holes for him right now. Akers has 41 carries for just 103 yards in those two games. And things won’t get much easier for him this week against the 49ers. The 49ers held the Rams to 116-rushing yards in two games this year. Ie might be more of the same for Akers.
Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers. Mitchell had a breakout season, emerging as the lead back for the 49ers and having much success in that role. His lack of work in the passing game holds him back little, though, especially in games against a team that does well in holding down the run. He faces one of those teams this week, the Rams. Los Angeles held Mitchell to fewer than double-digit fantasy points in each of their games this year. Mitchell got 20-plus carries in each game but couldn’t crack double-digit points despite the work. He might be tough sledding for him again this week.
Byron Pringle, WR, Chiefs. Pringle has really emerged as a consistent threat in the Chiefs passing game. He has five receptions three straight games. And he has at least five catches four of five games. He also has three touchdowns in two playoff games this year. Patrick Mahomes has more trust in him and is looking his way a lot more often. He could be a good play again this week in a game that could be very high scoring once again.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals. Boyd can disappear at times in this offense with two top weapons to compete with for targets this year. But he has still produced some big games this year. He is more than capable. He has touchdowns four of five games. He also has three games with 20-plus fantasy points. The Chiefs allowed Cole Beasley to have six receptions for 60 yards last week. Beasley plays a similar position to Boyd, so that bodes well for Boyd to have some success in this matchup.
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: Bengals/Chiefs, 49ers/Rams.
Low Scoring Games: None.
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.
Seattle Seahawks veteran kicker Jason Myers went 1-for-2 on field-goal attempts during Thursday's preseason loss to the Chicago Bears. He missed from 47 yards out and was successful from 27 yards. Myers faces no competition in training camp and will be the Seahawks' kicker in Week 1 versus Denver, barring an injury. He made 17 of 23 field goals and 44 of 47 extra points en route to finishing as the 25th-best kicker in fantasy football last season. In the three years prior, he ranked as the K10, K14, and K4.
Seattle Seahawks rookie wide receiver Bo Melton consistently popped up in the passing game, commanding 11 targets during Thursday's preseason game against the Chicago Bears. However, with shaky quarterback play partly to blame, the seventh-round pick hauled in just four passes for 18 yards. After catching three passes for 47 yards last week, Melton has at least shown that he deserves a role in the offense. He continues to compete for a roster spot and is certainly trending in the right direction.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Aaron Fuller turned 10 targets into just three catches for 34 yards during Thursday's preseason game. Shaky quarterback play was partly to blame for Fuller's low catch rate, though he did see much more action this week compared to last week (one catch, nine yards). The 24-year-old spent all of 2021 on the practice squad and faces an uphill battle as he looks to latch onto the roster this year.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Penny Hart hauled in two of three targets for 46 yards during Thursday's preseason loss to the Chicago Bears. This performance is an improvement on his two catches for three yards in Week 1 of the preseason. The 26-year-old is competing for a depth role after catching seven passes for 59 yards in 2021. Notably, he was active for every game last year, something not many players on the depth chart can say. At this point, it would be a surprise if Hart doesn't make the 53-man roster.
Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas did a little bit of everything against the Chicago Bears on Thursday evening, getting involved as a runner, receiver, and special teamer. He totaled five carries for just 15 yards on the ground but played a huge role in the passing game, hauling in four of five targets for an additional 52 yards on the ground. He also returned two punts, taking the first for a fair catch and the second for a loss of two yards. Finally, he served as a gunner for Seattle, downing one of Michael Dickson's 10 punts. This versatility could benefit Dallas in an enormous way as he competes for a roster spot.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith completed 10 of 18 passes for 112 yards during Thursday's preseason game against the Chicago Bears. He did not throw an interception, nor did he find the end zone. He was sacked twice in the contest. Smith played the entire first half with Drew Lock (COVID-19) sidelined but handed over the reins to Jacob Eason in the second half. Smith and Lock are currently competing for the No. 1 quarterback role, barring a late signing or trade. Both quarterbacks would be on a short leash if they won the starting job and neither is worth scrambling for in fantasy leagues.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Jacob Eason went 17-for-35 with 141 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and zero interceptions during Thursday's preseason loss to the Chicago Bears. He was sacked once and added just one rushing yard in the contest. Eason played all of the second half but remains penciled into the No. 3 role in the Seattle offense. He is a longshot to make the Week 1 roster and has no fantasy relevance, other than as a low-end DFS play during the final preseason game.
Seattle Seahawks running back Travis Homer rushed five times for 44 yards during Thursday's loss to the Chicago Bears. Homer broke off a big run early in the game and finished the day with 8.8 yards per carry. He remains in competition with DeeJay Dallas for the No. 3 role behind Kenneth Walker and Rashaad Penny, but it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Homer doesn't win a roster spot. If injuries take their toll on Seattle's backfield once again this coming season, Homer could find himself thrust into action from time to time.
Seattle Seahawks running back Darwin Thompson rushed six times for 34 yards and one touchdown during Thursday's preseason game against the Chicago Bears. He also turned his lone target into a seven-yard reception. Formerly a depth piece in the Kansas City backfield, Thompson hopes to latch onto the Seahawks' roster in 2022. He's currently competing for a role with Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas, both of whom also looked solid on Thursday. Given his lack of experience in the Seattle offense, he could be the odd man out when rosters trim down.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones informed reporters on Thursday he underwent a non-football-related procedure on his neck during the winter. However, per the signal-caller, it wasn't associated with the issue that caused him to miss six games last season. Nevertheless, although the 25-year-old also conveyed his "neck is great," he must now turn his attention to turning things around after posting three subpar seasons since entering the league in 2019. With former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll at the helm, Jones won't have any excuses if he doesn't deliver throughout the 2022-23 campaign, especially if his offensive weapons remain healthy.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (back) has a chance to play on Saturday during the preseason matchup against Washington. The veteran left Wednesday's practice and wasn't on the field for Thursday's session, with head coach Andy Reid referring to the injury as a "back spasm." The 28-year-old has been in the league for six seasons, all with the Chiefs, accumulating 199 total tackles (138 solo), 49.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Jones has been a reliable IDP presence over the years due to his durability, so it would be surprising if the ailment forces him to miss time throughout the 2022-23 campaign.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (groin) has a chance to suit up for Saturday's preseason game versus the Commanders, according to head coach Andy Reid. Fortunately, the groin injury he suffered on Wednesday at practice isn't considered serious. Although he isn't a lock for Week 1, his potential availability for the exhibition against Washington is a good sign that he'll be ready. The 24-year-old has compiled 1,791 yards and 12 touchdowns off 126 catches throughout his three years in the league, all with Kansas City. Hardman has plenty of hype entering the 2022-23 campaign, primarily after Tyreek Hill was traded to Miami during the offseason, so the team is undoubtedly hoping to get him on the field for the regular season.
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) has an "outside chance" to play in Week 1, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The signal-caller had a meniscus trim after tearing it during the preseason matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. While things could have turned out much worse for Wilson, he is also dealing with a bone bruise, complicating his recovery. Nonetheless, the Jets hope to see the 23-year-old improve significantly after his subpar rookie campaign. Yet, the team won't take any chances, so he won't be rushed back early. If that's the case, veteran Joe Flacco will be under center until Wilson can return.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Tristan Wirfs (core) exited Thursday's joint practice with the Tennessee Titans. Although there hasn't been much information released surrounding the issue, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported the All-Pro is dealing "with some sort of left core injury." The team should have an update on his condition relatively soon. However, with the Bucs already bracing to be without Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen (knee) during the regular season, losing Wirfs won't be ideal for the 45-year-old Tom Brady.
Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver Kyle Philips stole the show in joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday. Philips continued to get open all day, and he especially stood out near the goal line. "He goes rabbit hunting with a hammer," head coach Mike Vrabel said when describing Philips' quickness and shiftiness. The 23-year-old didn't catch his only target in the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday. Even though the fifth-rounder has been impressing in camp practices this summer, he's still likely to open the regular season behind Robert Woods, fellow rookie Treylon Burks and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine on the receiver depth chart. But Philips is a name to file away for fantasy managers in dynasty/keeper leagues.
Dynasty | Jaguars running back James Robinson is on track to be ready for the season opener. Dynasty Analysis: This has been trending to happen for the better part of the Summer, but Doug Pederson is now on record saying that's the expectation. It's a quick recovery from a torn achilles last season, but it looks as if Robinson is going to join Cam Akers in the group of quick healers from the ailment. While much of the talk of the Jaguars running back room has been centered around Travis Etienne, Robinson has been likely undervalued by the dynasty community. At RB41, he's looking like a screaming buy at the moment.
It appears that Pittsburgh Steelers undrafted rookie running back Jaylen Warren has supplanted Benny Snell Jr. as the team's No. 2 running back behind Najee Harris. Warren has done nothing but impress at training camp and has benefitted from first-team repetitions with Harris and Snell banged up a bit. The 23-year-old probably isn't worth anything more than a late-round flier as a handcuff for those that take Harris early in deeper leagues, but he could see significant work in Pittsburgh's backfield in his rookie season if anything were to happen to Harris. Warren had six carries for 34 yards and caught four of his five targets for 30 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener last week. He's rising up draft boards in dynasty/keeper leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (appendix), who had an appendectomy on July 26 after his appendix ruptured, took part in team drills at training camp practice for the first time on Wednesday. Burrow is looking to add weight and return his body to its pre-surgery form before Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he doesn't expect to play in the preseason. The third-year signal-caller played just one series in the preseason last year after coming off major knee surgery and went on to lead the team to the Super Bowl in 2021, so fantasy managers shouldn't be too concerned. The 25-year-old could be a little slow out of the gates in the regular season, but he's still worth a selection as a strong QB1 in fantasy drafts.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (knee) was running routes to close out Thursday's training camp practice against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday. It's the first time that Gallup has run routes since he had surgery to fix a torn ACL on Jan. 2, so it marks a significant step in his recovery. He remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list at camp and won't be ready for the Week 1 regular season opener, but Gallup could be ready to go shortly after that. The 26-year-old had 35 receptions for 445 yards and two touchdowns in nine games in 2021 before his injury, and he should be Dallas' No. 2 receiver behind CeeDee Lamb when he's healthy enough to return. Because he won't be ready for Week 1, Gallup may go undrafted in 12-team fantasy leagues, but he's worth stashing as a late-round selection if you have the room.
Pittsburgh Steelers DE Cameron Heyward (ankle) was carted off the field after suffering an ankle injury during practice Thursday, Aug. 18. He was able to return to the field but did not participate in any drills.