Sat Nov 9 2:48pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Six teams are on a bye this week: New England, Philadelphia, Houston, Denver, Washington and Jacksonville. Some premier fantasy will be missing in lineups, who can you replace them with?
The Colts get the gimme game with the Dolphins coming to town, but T.Y. Hilton is out and Jacoby Brissett looks doubtful. Their defense remains a good play. The other matchup of bad teams meet in the battle of New York with the Giants playing the Jets. There is very little to get excited about there.
There are two matchups where a lot of offense is predicted, so playing the guys on these four teams makes sense: Arizona at Tampa Bay, and Atlanta at New Orleans. Not far behind will be Kansas City at Tennessee, and Minnesota at Dallas.
In one of the better good versus bad team matchups, Baltimore plays Cincinnati. This should be a very one sided game.
Three Bengals have one of the worst defenses in the NFL against both the pass and rush, so Cincinnati has no chance to stop the potent Ravens offense. Lamar Jackson should have a big day both rushing and passing. And the other Ravens players should put up big numbers - Mark Ingram, Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. Play them all!
Quarterbacks: Kyler Murray and the Cardinals travel to Tampa. The prize the Cardinals get is the Bucs defense. Their secondary is in shambles, having allowed 300-passing yards and two touchdowns the last six games. The rookie quarterback has a great chance to have one of his best days as a pro in this one. And on the other side of the ball, Jameis Winston could put the ball up 40 times playing catch up. You can safely play both quarterbacks. Arizona is really bad defending against tight ends. Could this be the day everyone has been waiting for from O.J. Howard? I say no. Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians doesn’t make up plays that go to tight ends, and I doubt he’ll start against his former team.
Drew Brees gets an easy game against a pitiful Falcons defense at home in what should another very one-sided game.
My sleeper quarterback pick is whoever starts for the Colts at home against Miami. I think Brian Hoyer might have better day than banged up Jacoby Brissett, and I don’t think the Colts need him to dispose of the Dolphins. It’d be smarter to give home the week off to heal. If Hoyer starts, he makes a great DFS play.
Running Backs: David Montgomery has averaged 110 yards his last two games, and the way Mitch Trubisky has been playing, the key to victory for the Bears is to run him early and often against the Lions. You can expect the big five - Christian McCaffery, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook - to all have the games you’d expect this week.
Devin Singletary has taken over the lead running back role in Buffalo, and he should have a really good day against a Cleveland rushing defense that is giving up over 120 yards per game.
And the Colts are playing the Dolphins, so the Marlon Mack express should be chugging along.
Wide Receivers: Look at the quarterbacks above. The question is what receivers will they be throwing to? I think Murray’s top receiver will be veteran Larry Fitzgerald, but Christian Kirk will have a good day, also. It wouldn’t surprise me to see both top the century mark. On the other side when James isn’t throwing to Arizona cornerbacks, I look for Chris Godwin to out-catch Mike Evans this week. The main reason is because Winston might want to stay away from Patrick Peterson, who likely shadows Evans.
The most consistent wide receiver this year has been Michael Thomas, and he’ll be Drew Brees’s favorite target this week. To go with my sleeper pick with the Colts at quarterback, Zach Pascal will be on the receiving end for which ever quarterback plays.
Tight Ends: Travis Kelce should have a good day against a questionable middle linebacker group in Tennessee, especially if Patrick Mahomes does indeed play. And if George Kittle is healed enough to play for the 49ers against the Seahawks Monday night, it’s a great matchup for him, but right now he looks really risky. My top pick this week is Atlanta’s Austin Hooper, especially if Matt Ryan is back at quarterback. New Orleans has allowed the sixth most yards per catch to tight ends this year.
Defenses: The obvious three are Indianapolis (vs. Miami), Baltimore (vs. Cincinnati) and New Orleans (vs. Atlanta). The Bears at home against the Lions are a good call, too. Look for them to get a pick six.
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Houston Texans WR Randall Cobb said he feels better than he has in at least five years after focusing on improving his hamstring strength during his time with the Dallas Cowboys.
Fantasy Spin: Cobb's 828 yards last year were his most since 2015, and he averaged a career-high 15.1 yards per reception. Following the surprising trade of DeAndre Hopkins, Cobb could find himself a key part of the Houston passing game.
The Baltimore Ravens agreed to a one-year, $3 million fully guaranteed deal with defensive end Derek Wolfe on Saturday. Wolfe can earn $3 million more in incentives. He chose Baltimore over the Texans. One of the strongest defenses in the league gets even stronger on their defensive line with the Wolfe signing. The 30-year-old was a second-round pick of the Broncos in 2012. Despite playing in just 12 games due to injury in 2019, he racked up a career-high seven sacks while recording 34 tackles (23 solo), eight tackles for loss, 12 QB hits and one forced fumble. Wolfe can be effective in doses for Baltimore, but he isn't all that attractive in IDP leagues, especially at his age.
Free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) was talking with the Baltimore Ravens before the Ravens decided to sign DE Derek Wolfe.
Unrestricted free-agent DE Derek Wolfe (Broncos) reached an agreement with the Baltimore Ravens to sign a one-year deal worth up to $6 million, a source said Saturday, March 28.
The Kansas City Chiefs are re-signing wide receiver Demarcus Robinson to an undisclosed one-year deal on Saturday, according to a source. Robinson had the best season of his career in 2019, catching 32 passes for 449 yards (14 yards per catch) and four touchdowns in 16 games (10 starts). The former fourth-round pick in 2016 plays in one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL with Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball, but he's also behind Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman in the receiving pecking order. Watkins may not be back and Robinson can provide some big games, but those games will continue to be hard to predict as a fantasy owner. He'll be most useful as receiver depth in deeper leagues.
Unrestricted free-agent WR Demarcus Robinson (Chiefs) will re-sign with the Kansas City Chiefs on a one-year deal, a source said Saturday, March 28. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Fantasy Spin: It seemed like Robinson, 25, may have had a market elsewhere, but returning to the Chiefs on a one-year deal could position him for a better run at free agency in 2021. Robinson showed capable of being a capable fill-in for the Chiefs early in the year when Tyreek Hill was injured. A Week 2 explosion vs. the Oakland Raiders (6-172-2) accounted for 38 percent of his total receiving yardage on the year and half of Robinson's touchdown production. The chances to flash will be there, but his fantasy football worth is zero without an injury to Hill or Sammy Watkins. It is still possible the latter is released due to carrying a $21 million cap hit, which would make Robinson a draftable option. Monitor how KC handles Watkins' contract situation in the coming weeks.
Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers WR Devin Funchess received a one-year, $2.5 million contract, which includes a $1 million signing bonus, $1.2 base salary, $50,000 workout bonus and $15,625 each game active. The deal also contains another $3.75 million in incentives, bringing the max to $6.25 million.
Free-agent CB Ryan Smith on Saturday, March 28, was re-signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.
San Francisco 49ers RB Matt Breida is a potential candidate to be traded, in the opinion of Spotrac.com.
Fantasy Spin: Breida saw a decline from his career numbers of 2018 (1,075 total yards, five TDs), totaling 743 yards and two scores last season. More alarmingly, he only had nine rushing attempts for 19 yards during the Niners' three-game ground-heavy run to the Super Bowl and with San Fran already rostering Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and possibly getting Jerick McKinnon back after a pair of seasons missed to injury, don't be surprised to see Breida dealt.
Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel is a potential candidate to be traded, according to a list put out by Spotrac.com.
Fantasy Spin: Samuel's receptions, touch count and yards from scrimmage have gone up in each of his three seasons, resulting in a 73-touch, 757-yard-7-TD stat line last season, but now with the Panthers adding another speedy weapon in free-agent WR Robby Anderson, Samuel may indeed be expendable. He's a WR4 currently, but could bump up a level if traded to the right team.
The Denver Broncos re-signed defensive lineman Shelby Harris to a one-year deal that includes $2.5 million in guarantees on Saturday, according to a source. Harris can make up to $3.25 million with incentives. Denver's D-line should be pretty imposing in 2020 with Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, Jurrell Casey and Harris all in the fold. The 28-year-old former seventh-round pick of the Raiders in 2014 had a career-high six sacks in 2019, including 49 tackles (28 solo), eight tackles for loss, six QB hits, nine passes defensed and one forced fumble in all 16 games. He was a nuisance on the interior against opposing signal-callers, mainly deflecting passes at the line of scrimmage.
Free-agent defensive end Michael Bennett said that he wants to play in 2020, according to a source. Bennett played for both the Patriots and Cowboys last season and had 6.5 sacks, 32 tackles (24 solo), 14 tackles for loss and 15 QB hits in 16 games (one start). He's entering his age-35 season, so Bennett doesn't have a whole lot left, but he can still be productive in a rotational role and can provide veteran leadership to a locker room. Bennett spent five years with the Seahawks from 2013 to 2017 and wouldn't mind returning to Seattle to finish up his career. He had his best seasons with the Seahawks, making three straight Pro Bowls from 2015-17.
Along with Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, the Eagles picked up the 2021 options on quarterback Carson Wentz, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, defensive end Brandon Graham and offensive guard Isaac Seumalo on Friday. All the moves were procedural. Wentz is scheduled to make $1.38 million and $15.4 million in base salaries the next two seasons as part of the four-year, $128 million extension he signed last year. He has been injury prone so far in his career, but he completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 4,039 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a barren receiver corps in 2019. Jeffery had surgery for a Lisfranc foot injury and played in only 10 games last year, catching 43 passes for 490 yards and four touchdowns. He's become less dependable for fantasy owners heading into his age-30 season.
Free-agent TE Eric Tomlinson (Raiders) is signing with the New York Giants, the team announced Saturday, March 28.
The Philadelphia Eagles have exercised the contract option of DL Malik Jackson. He had a $2.4 million option that had to be exercised or his 2020 salary would have increased to $10 million; instead, he will earn a base salary of $1.05 million this year.
Free-agent DE Michael Bennett (Cowboys) is interested in playing during the 2020 season, according to a source.
The Denver Broncos re-signed free-agent DL Shelby Harris to a one-year contract Saturday, March 28. The deal includes $2.5 million in guaranteed money and has a maximum value of $3.25 million, according to a source.
Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton could remain with the team for the 2020 season, and 'all options are still on the table' for the quarterback, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Fantasy Spin: Dalton has been the subject of trade rumors, but the Bengals continue to sit on the veteran quarterback. There is still a chance he is moved before the start of the season, but with Cincinnati expected to draft Joe Burrow with the No. 1, it seems unlikely Dalton would be starting if he is a still a Bengal come Week 1.
Free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney isn't close to signing with a team in free agency, according to a few sources. A growing thought around the league is that Clowney could wait a while to find his new team, perhaps into training camp this summer. He hasn't gotten offers anywhere close to what he wants, which is a multi-year deal in the $20 million a season range. Instead, the consensus is that the Seahawks' offer to re-sign him was in the $13-15 million per-year range. The pass-rusher had only three sacks in 2019 and has a long injury history, which makes things more problematic with the current restrictions on physicals due to the coronavirus. Clowney can be a difference-maker when healthy, but he's a wild card because of his injury history and lack of a double-digit sack season.