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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is coming off a fantastic real-life game which saw him complete 18 of his 22 pass attempts against the Carolina Panthers. That being said, his production in the fantasy realm was lacking as he threw just one touchdown in the game. Since the team fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, the Browns have been playing slow on offense, which has limited Mayfield's ceiling somewhat. This week, the Browns travel to Denver to take on the Broncos on Saturday night. The Broncos have been great against the pass this season, ranking No. 2 in pass defense DVOA. That being said, the Broncos have suffered several injuries in their secondary over the past few weeks which keeps Mayfield in the conversation as a deep-league streamer. Treat Mayfield as a mid-QB2 for Week 15.
Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle) could be limited in practice Wednesday, Dec. 12, as the team will closely monitor his ankle injury heading into Week 15.
Fantasy Spin: Tannehill has binged with a couple of three-score games, but history has shown you can't count on that this week against the Minnesota Vikings. He's a QB2 in two-QB leagues.
Seattle Seahawks LB Mychal Kendricks (knee) injured his knee during the team's Week 14 win over the Minnesota Vikings, and his availability for the team's game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Dec. 16, is in question, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
The Tennessee Titans signed TE Cole Wick off the San Francisco 49ers practice squad on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Tennessee also signed free-agent OL Austin Pasztor (Falcons).
San Francisco 49ers WR Pierre Garcon (knee) was officially placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas will head into Week 15 with 102 receptions for 1,218 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Thomas will face a Panthers secondary that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to receivers, including four 100-yard receiving games since Week 11. Carolina has surrendered 10 touchdowns to receivers over their last six games and now must try and shut down one of the game's elite receivers. Thomas should be able to exploit this matchup in Week 15 and will be a WR1 option across all fantasy formats.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will go up against a Titans defense in Week 15 that is allowing the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. But at this point in the season, tough matchups no longer scare fantasy owners of the fantastic rookie. Barkley has least 100-plus yards from scrimmage in 12 of the 13 games played this season to go along with 13 total touchdowns. Barkley is about as bankable a fantasy option as any player in the league right now and heads into Week 15 with 1,753 all-purpose yards. Start Barkley with confidence.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram's fantasy arrow has been pointing up over the last two games, posting 143 yards over that span. But he could struggle to out-score his fantasy projections against a Titans defense that is allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. The Titans defense has not allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown against them this season and only two tight ends have scored more than six fantasy points in a single game. Engram will be a dicey TE2 play in Week 15.
Arizona Cardinals WR Chad Williams (ankle, hamstring) was listed with the first-team offense on the team's depth chart Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: This is somewhat notable since Williams has missed the last five games and doesn't exactly have the kind of resume that one usually has to keep a job when he is sidelined that long. Larry Fitzgerald remains the only playable Cardinal receiver, but DFS players who may have been hoping to strike gold with J.J. Nelson and Trent Sherfield versus the Atlanta Falcons may have to look elsewhere.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Kelvin Benjamin is reportedly picking up the offense quickly, but it remains unlikely he will play an extended amount of time in Week 15 versus the Los Angeles Chargers.
Fantasy Spin: It's understandable considering he hasn't been with the team two weeks yet. Still, Tyreek Hill will almost certainly be limited in some way, shape or form and the Chiefs may be down to Damien Williams as their starting running back. Despite the presence of Patrick Mahomes, owners should be able to do better than Benjamin in their starting lineups during the fantasy playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who had his first practice with the team last Friday, is unlikely to play extended snaps if he makes his team debut on Thursday against the Chargers. However, they may need Benjamin active with Sammy Watkins (foot) not expected to be available until the playoffs and Tyreek Hill (heel, wrist) being dinged up in Week 14. Its just concepts and really learning the language of a new playbook, Benjamin told The Star on Tuesday. Its coming real good to me. I feel like Im grasping it real well. Benjamin was terrible in his time with Buffalo and lacked hustle and motivation, so hopefully he'll be more motivated to make an impact with his first team, who currently have the top seed in the AFC. Even if Benjamin plays this Thursday and in the final two games of the season, he's unlikely to make much of a fantasy impact unless either Hill or Chris Conley get hurt.
Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring) was limited in practice on Tuesday. Coutee has missed the last two games but is trending toward being active in Week 15 on Saturday against the Jets. Hamstring issues have limited the rookie to just six games in 2018, and he can't be trusted in starting lineups behind DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas if he returns. Quarterback Deshaun Watson hasn't been throwing the ball all that much either, making Coutee unlikely to see heavy targets if he's back this Saturday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR DeSean Jackson (thumb) had his injured thumb immobilized Tuesday, Dec. 11. He cannot squeeze a football with his injured hand yet but hopes to play again this season.
Fantasy Spin: In the meantime, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries will continue to see increased targets. They have a tough matchup this week, though, against the Baltimore Ravens, so lower your expectations.
New York Jets LB Jerry Attaochu (concussion), RB Trenton Cannon (toe) and LB Jordan Jenkins (shoulder, ankle) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 11. LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) was limited. OT Kelvin Beachum (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder, neck), TE Jordan Leggett (knee), C Spencer Long (knee, finger), WR Andre Roberts (foot) and CB Buster Skrine (shoulder) participated fully.
New York Jets WR Robby Anderson (ankle) participated fully in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: Last week Anderson found the end zone for the first time in six games and saw seven targets for the third time in four games, but he's an inconsistent player who can't be trusted in postseason lineups.
New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) was not at practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: Enunwa has done next to nothing since the beginning of the season. Now is not the time to take a chance on starting him and hoping he rebounds.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (foot) participated fully in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: If you made your league's playoffs, you probably didn't get there by starting Darnold. Don't start now.
Houston Texans WR DeAndre Carter (concussion), WR Keke Coutee (hamstring), C Zach Fulton (hand), S Andre Hal (ankle), CB Kareem Jackson (knee), OG Senio Kelemete (elbow) and DE J.J. Watt (knee) were limited in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11. LB Dylan Cole (wrist, knee), CB Aaron Colvin (ankle), C Greg Mancz (knee), LB Brian Peters (ankle), S Justin Reid (shoulder, wrist) and CB Shareece Wright (neck) participated fully.
Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (foot) practiced on a limited basis Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins has been limited in practice practically the entire season. He has produced consistently despite the nagging issue, so there's no reason to remove him from starting lineups, especially in the fantasy playoffs.
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder) was a full practice participant Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: Watson has been bruised and battered for the entirety of his sophomore campaign but he'll be good to go in a favorable matchup with the New York Jets. He's a QB1 for those still in the fantasy postseason.