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 email@example.com. 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.