Tue Sep 25 8:04 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Boyd getting more chances
A couple of rookie quarterbacks were named starters for this week. It is always exciting to see what a rookie quarterback can do, but please don't overvalue these guys when it comes to fantasy. There will be some rookie quarterbacks that hit every once in a while, but for the most part, it takes a season or two and the right situation for a quarterback to be really fantasy relevant. Remember, most teams that go to a rookie quarterback are doing so for a reason, mainly the team isn't very good. So just keep that in mind when figuring out your waiver acquisitions for the week.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins. Tannehill is off to a great start to his season. He has multiple touchdowns every game and topped 225 yards two of three. He has seven touchdowns to just two interceptions in three games. He isn't an every-week play but certainly a solid spot starter in a pass-first offense. Tannehill is still available in 80 percent of leagues.
Andy Dalton, Bengals. Dalton is another quarterback off to a fast start. He has thrown for at least 243 yards all three games and has multiple touchdowns in every game. Dalton was intercepted four times his last time out but all the scores and yards help make up for those miscues. Dalton is a solid backup for fantasy teams and still available in 35 percent of leagues.
Baker Mayfield, Browns. Mayfield got his chance because of injury last week and led his team to victory for the first time in a long time. The Baker Mayfield era has officially began in Cleveland. He will start going forward. He didn't score a touchdown in his first action last week but was 17-of-23 for 201 yards. He has some potential for the big game and could be worth some spot plays in the right matchup.
Wendell Smallwood, Eagles. Most thought Corey Clement would lead the way at rushing last week with the Eagles banged up at running back. That didn't happen, though, as Smallwood was the best back for the Eagles. He ran 10 times for 56 yards and a score. He also caught three passes for 35 yards, giving him 91 total yards and a touchdown. Smallwood won't have much of a role when the Eagles get healthy at running back but as long as they are banged up, Smallwood will get some chances to make plays in this offense.
Aaron Jones, Packers. Jones returned from suspension last week and was the leading rusher for the Packers. He rushed six times for 42 yards and caught a pass for five yards. He has a shot to overtake Jamaal Williams as the starter, so he is worth grabbing for fantasy teams if available. He is available on just 11 percent of leagues, though.
Jordy Nelson, Raiders. Nelson turned back the clock last week, having a huge performance after doing little the first two weeks. He had six receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown after having five receptions for 53 yards the first two games. Nelson is available in 31 percent of leagues and is worth grabbing if you need the receiver help.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals. Boyd is quickly gaining fantasy value. He had a 100-yard game last week and has touchdowns two straight. He also has six receptions and at least 90 yard each of the last two games. He has become the season best option in the Bengals passing attack and is making plays with his chances. Boyd is available in 41 percent of leagues.
John Brown, Ravens. Brown keeps making plays and is getting owned in more and more leagues every week. This might be the last week you can grab him as he is available in just 14 percent of leagues. Brown had a season-high five receptions last week and has 85-plus yards two straight.
Calvin Ridley, Falcons. Ridley probable will be the hottest item on waivers last week after his breakout game in Week 3. He caught seven passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns. He has scores two straight and is quickly becoming the second best option in the Falcons pass attack. He is available in 22 percent of leagues but likely not for long in those leagues..
Christian Kirk, Cardinals. Kirk led the Cardinals in receiving last week with Larry Fitzgerald at less than 100 percent. Kirk had seven receptions for 90 yards and has 11 receptions his last two games. He is gaining steam in the offense and becoming fantasy relevant. Kirk is available in 82 percent of leagues.
Jakeem Grant, Dolphins. Grant found the end zone for the first time of the season last week, scoring twice. He made the most of both his catches, finishing with two receptions for 70 yards and two scores. He has multiple catches every game and is a big-play threat in the Dolphins passing attack. He'll be hit or miss for fantasy teams but could be worth using in the right matchup.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles. The return of Carson Wentz was just the thing to get Goedert going. He had just a catch before the Week 3 game but had seven receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown last week. He was a big part of the passing game with Wentz at the helm. This could be a trend for the talented, rookie tight end. He could be a boom or bust play as the No. 2 tight end for the Eagles, but he certainly has the potential for the big game.
Mark Andrews, Ravens. The Ravens use a trio of tight ends but Andrews looks to have the most fantasy value of the bunch. He caught a touchdown pass in Week 2 and had a season-high 59 yards last week. He has multiple receptions every game this season. If you are in a deeper league and need the tight end, give Andrews a look.
Geoff Swaim, Cowboys. Swaim is quickly turning into the top option at tight end for the Cowboys. He had five receptions for 47 yards last week and was targeted seven times in the game. He has eight receptions in three games and his role could increase going forward. He is a bit of a stretch for fantasy teams, but should garner some consideration in deeper leagues. There is some potential there for Swaim in an offense desperate for playmakers.
Vance McDonald, Steelers. McDonald showed his big time playmaking ability last week, hitting the 100-yard mark. Many had him pegged for a sleeper heading into the season, but early season injury and doing nothing his first game soured him for many. Well, he showed what he can do when involved last week. He can be a solid spot starter and platoon player.
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.
Arizona Cardinals LB Thurston Armbrister was waived Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst (foot), who was the 25th overall pick in last year's draft, said an X-ray showed he is now 100 percent after he had a screw removed from his foot. Hurst went down with a stress fracture in August and played in 12 games in his rookie season, catching only 13 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams will be free agents, so Hurst and 2018 third-round pick Mark Andrews could compete for playing time in 2019. Hurst is only 25 and has pass-catching upside, but he's still probably only an asset in dynasty/keeper leagues to begin next season. He could become a waiver wire pickup if he sees considerable playing time and proves he's healthy.
There is word on the street that Pittsburgh Steelers impending free-agent running back Le'Veon Bell is up to around 260 pounds after holding out for all of 2018. His playing weight is listed as 225 pounds. Bell may have lost a lot of that extra baggage now, but the Jets and other teams may be concerned about what kind of shape he's in. There's also concern about how much the 27-year-old has left in the tank after his 1,635 touches in five seasons. Bell is believed to be looking for a deal that nets him $48 million in the first three years of his next deal. He is arguably the best dual-threat running back in the last decade and should still be an RB1 in his new home.
Free-agent RB Le'Veon Bell (Steelers) reportedly weighed around 260 pounds during his year off from football. The Jets are fairly concerned about the shape Bell is in after he played at 225 pounds in 2017. New York is considered to be one of the front-runners to sign Bell this offseason. Despite the weight issue, the Jets will add him for the right price. The Jets currently boast the second largest salary cap heading into the offseason behind the Indianapolis Colts.
Fantasy Spin: Running back will be even more of a need if Isaiah Crowell is not retained. Bell would make a nice fit in green and white but is an RB1 candidate wherever he lands, assuming the weight won't be a big issue.
Carolina Panthers LB David Mayo (hernia) recently underwent surgery for a sports hernia, according to The Athletic's Joe Person. Mayo is rehabilitating and is expected to make a full recovery.
New York Giants impending free-agent SS Landon Collins is expected to be pursued by the Indianapolis Colts in free agency, according to The Herald Bulletin's George Bremer.
The Chicago Bears are expected to release tight end Dion Sims, according to a source. He was due $6 million in 2019, so he'll become a salary cap casualty. The 28-year-old played in just 22 games in his two years in Chicago and caught only 17 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown over that span. Sims is mainly a blocking tight end and won't have a huge market for his services this offseason.
Chicago Bears impending free-agent TE Dion Sims is expected to be released, according to a source. Cutting Sims saves the Bears $6 million in salary cap space.
New York Giants impending free-agent SS Landon Collins cleared out his locker and said goodbye to teammates Wednesday, Feb. 20, indicating he does not expect to return to the Giants this year.
Free-agent WR Jaelen Strong (Jaguars) was signed to an undisclosed deal by the Cleveland Browns Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Updating an ongoing saga, Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell will not be the recipient of the transition tag, according to general manager Kevin Colbert, Wednesday, Feb. 20. Bell will hit the open market in March.
Fantasy Spin: This isn't a big surprise. Gamers will have to wait to see where he ends up to get a true valuation, but Bell will remain in the RB1 ranks, albeit with risk, for 2019.
Los Angeles Rams running back C.J. Anderson said Todd Gurley's knee injury was worse than the team originally thought when they signed Anderson to take over for Gurley for the final two regular season games. "Yeah, he'd never really tell me. It was tough. I would say sprained knee," Anderson said. "Obviously, it's the same knee injury he's had before in his career." Head coach Sean McVay and the Rams were calling it knee inflammation. Gurley has taken a pounding and no player in the league has had more touches than him since the start of 2017. He had just 14 carries in the conference championship and Super Bowl combined, so something was clearly not right with the star back. Gurley has gone over 1,000 yards on the ground in three of his four seasons and had 21 total touchdowns in 2018, making him the league's premiere running back. Despite ending the year hobbled in the playoffs, Gurley is a no-brainer first overall fantasy selection in 2019.
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the team will attempt to trade wide receiver Antonio Brown this offseason, but they will not give him away. If the trade doesn't benefit the Steelers, they will not trade him. Both sides are ready to move on, but the Steelers are unlikely to get a ton for the star wideout. Brown has rubbed many in the organization the wrong way despite putting up six straight seasons of 1,000 yards and 100-plus catches. While he's still the cream of the receiving crop, Brown is heading into his age-31 season and will likely do so in a whole new offense. He'll remain a high-end WR1, but Brown will come with more risk than ever before.
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the team will not place the franchise or transition tag on running back Le'Veon Bell. "LeVeon is still a great player. We cant afford to use any other type of tags. LeVeon will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year," Colbert said. Bell held out for the entire 2018 season after the Steelers placed the franchise tag on him. He'll be free to sign any other club next month and is not expected back in Pittsburgh. The versatile back has 1,000-yard seasons in three of his five years in the NFL and is also one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league. He's likely to remain a strong RB1 wherever he goes next, but his upside will depend on the offense that he's in.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen's agent, Blake Baratz, thinks his client and two-time Pro Bowler could reach an extension with the team this offseason. Thielen signed a four-year deal worth $19.246 million in 2017 that will pay him around $8 million in 2019. He has outplayed his contract after setting career highs in catches (113), yards (1,373) and touchdowns (nine). Thielen just keeps improving season after season and has become a strong WR2 in point-per-reception leagues. It helps that he'll be working with quarterback Kirk Cousins again in 2019.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker is believed to already be gone and wideout Danny Amendola is iffy to be re-signed as well. Even Kenny Stills could be at risk with a $4 million salary cap savings if he's cut. The Dolphins have been wanting to move on from Parker for a while, so that is no secret. The former first-round pick in 2015 has been a flop and had just 24 catches (47 targets) for 309 yards and one touchdown in 11 games in 2018. He has just two scores the last two years and has never played a full season in the NFL. Amendola was much more reliable for a stagnant Miami offense and had 59 receptions for 575 yards and a touchdown in 15 games in his first season in Miami. He's getting long in the tooth, though, and isn't a lock to find a prominent role on the open market.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen's agent recently expressed optimism that his client and the team are committed to hammering out an adjusted contract that will make Thielen one of the more highly paid receivers in the league. Thielen is about to enter the third season of a four-year, $19.246 million base deal.
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) was 'more hurt than we thought' and could have been dealing with a sprained knee as opposed to knee inflammation, as head coach Sean McVay and the team indicated during the season, according to comments made by C.J. Anderson on Fox Sports 1's 'Undisputed' on Tuesday, Feb. 19. 'The injury was a little bit more than what everybody in the building thought, including himself. ... Yeah, he'd never really tell me. ... I would say sprained knee. Obviously, it's the same knee injury he's had before in his career. Obviously, I had surgery on my meniscus and once you have a knee, you always have a knee. So it aggravates and if he was getting a lot of touches earlier in the year -- obviously him being one of the best backs, that probably was the case,' Anderson said.
Fantasy Spin: Gurley's lack of usage down the stretch suggests either he or McVay did not feel the back was not anywhere close to fully healthy. While Anderson admits he has no way to know for sure, a sprained knee can be a serious enough injury to keep Gurley from being able to or wanting to handle a full load. The 24-year-old should be able to enjoy a normal offseason - even if did suffer a knee sprain - and figures to be a fantasy stalwart again in 2019.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) said that he wouldn't restructure his current deal. "It aint happening. No way Jose," Sanders tweeted. The 31-year-old tore his Achilles in practice on Dec. 5 and is schedule to count $12.94 million against the salary cap in 2019. If Denver exercises his 2019 salary before March 12, he'd be guaranteed $1.5 million. The Broncos would save $10.25 million by cutting Sanders, leaving only $2.687 million in dead money. Before the injury, Sanders was the team's best receiver, catching 71 passes for 868 yards and four touchdowns while also throwing a TD and running one in. It remains to be seen if Sanders will even be ready for the start of next season, although his production has been fine when healthy. If the Broncos move on, Courtland Sutton would be the unquestioned No. 1 receiver going into his second year.
Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achillies') is sheduled to count $12.94 million against the salary cap in 2019, but he appears to have no interest in restructuring his contract entering the final year of his deal. Denver has until March 12 to exercise his 2019 option, which would trigger a $1.5 million guarantee of his salary. In the event they choose to release him, the Broncos will save $10.25 million against the cap.