Tue Sep 18 8:00 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Bernard gets chance to start
The waiver wire should be a hot place this week, especially after a few starters were injured last week. Plus, some other options are out there that could help fantasy teams going forward. Now is the time to act on players that weren't drafted in your league. Here are some options to consider for your team. . . . .
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bucs. His track record doesn't suggest he'll keep his current pace but you can't ignore his huge performances these first two weeks of the season. And his second big game came against the defending Super Bowl champs. Fitzpatrick has two straight 400-yard games and four touchdown passes each of those games. As long as he is starting, Fitzpatrick is about a must play for fantasy teams, especially this week against the Steelers.
Joe Flacco, Ravens. Flacco is producing with his new weapons offensively. He had a 300-yard game last week and multiple scores each of the first two games. He is looking like a player that can be used in the right matchup. The potential is there for Flacco produce, especially since the team is struggling to run the ball.
Sam Darnold, Jets. Darnold had his first 300-yard game as a pro last week, throwing for 334 yards and a score against the Dolphins. He is quickly making progress as a starter in the NFL. He isn't a guy you can play every week but a spot play in the right matchup. He can make big plays in the passing game.
Gio Bernard, Bengals. Joe Mixon hurt his knee and needed minor surgery. He is going to miss a few weeks of action, making Bernard the starter for the Bengals. He has good total yardage potential in a starting role. He can do decent between the tackles and is a very good pass catcher. He can be a good No. 2 fantasy back while in a starting role. Bernard is available in 42 percent of leagues.
Phillip Lindsay, Broncos. Lindsay is available in just 11 percent of leagues but if you are in one of those leagues, go grab him. He has been the best back for the Broncos to date and hit the 100-yard mark rushing last week, running 14 times for 107 yards. He is making plays and will continue to get chances in this offense.
Javorius Allen, Ravens. Allen has just 76 total yards in two games but touchdowns in each of those games. He also has five receptions in each game. Allen has value in PPR formats. He is the pass-catching back in this offense and also stealing goal-line work from Alex Collins. Allen's stock is rising. He is available in 43 percent of leagues.
Jordan Wilkins, Colts. Marlon Mack returned to the lineup last week but Wilkins was still the top rusher in the game. He ran 10 times for 61 yards, averaging an impressive 6.1 yards per carry. Wilkins is going to have a role in this offense even with Mack back healthy. Wilkins could even be the starter if he keeps running well. Wilkins is available in 34 percent of leagues.
Malcolm Brown, Rams. Toddy Gurley had some cramping issues last week and left the game. The Rams don't believe this is anything to worry about long term, but fantasy owners might want to grab Brown to be safe. You never know if this is anything worse. Brown is the top backup for the Rams and can produce with his chances in this offense. He ran 12 times for 46 yards in an expanded role last week.
Bilal Powell, Jets. Powell caught just a pass Week 1 but had five receptions for 74 yards and a score last week, playing his usual pass-catching back role for the Jets. He has at least 65 total yards each of the first two games. He is getting double-digit touches per week and should get plenty of work in the passing game, giving him solid value in PPR formats.
Keelan Cole, Jaguars. Cole hit the 100-yard mark last week, catching seven passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. He made a spectacular one-handed catch in the game, showing his big-time ability. He is the top receiver to own in this offense, an offense that is making big strides throwing the ball. Cole remains available in 22 percent of leagues.
John Brown, Ravens. Brown found the end zone for a second straight game in Week 2. He had four receptions for 92 yards and a score. He was targeting a whooping 10 times in the game. He is quickly becoming a top target in this passing game. The former 1,000-yard receiver is available in 30 percent of leagues.
Quincy Enunwa, Jets. This will be the last week you can grab Enunwa most likely. He is available in just 16 percent of leagues. He caught seven passes for 92 yards last week and has at least six catches each of the first two games. He also has been targeted double-digit times each game. He is the top receiver in this offense.
Calvin Ridley, Falcons. Ridley didn't catch a pass in the first week of the season and had just two targets. He was more involved last week, having four receptions for 64 yards and a score. Mohamed Sanu seems to be fading in the offense, giving Ridley more work. This is likely a trend going forward. Ridley is worth a look in a reserve role for fantasy teams.
Antonio Callaway, Browns. Callaway moves into the starting lineup for the Browns with Josh Gordon gone. Callaway made his presence known last week, catching three passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. He made some big plays and should continue to get weekly chances to stretch the field. He might not be consistent for fantasy teams but certainly can produce the big game any given week.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals. Kirk was a little more involved in the offense last week, catching four passes for 27 yards. An injury to Larry Fitzgerald could open the door to even more targets for Kirk going forward, though. Fitzgerald is supposed to have a minor hamstring injury, but nothing is certain with his status right now. Kirk could lead this team in targets if Fitzgerald is out of the lineup.
Jesse James, Steelers. Vance McDonald returned to the lineup last week for the Steelers but James was still the top target at tight end for the Steelers. James had a monster game, catching five passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. He has at least 60 yards each of his first two games. James has a track record of disappearing from time to time but he is hot right now and worth a look for fantasy teams.
Austin Hooper, Falcons. Hooper had a good showing last week, catching five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. He has eight receptions in two games and been getting pretty consistent work as the starting tight end for the Falcons. If you need a tight end, give Hooper a look. He is available in 65 percent of leagues.
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.
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.