Wed Oct 16 9:51am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Fournette ready for big Week 7
Well, the season just keeps chugging along. We are about at the halfway point, so it could be now or never for some fantasy teams. Just remember, you have time to get it going. All you need to do is get hot and make the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if you win first overall in your league. You can still win by getting that last spot in the playoffs. The best team all year doesn’t always win their league. So now is the time to start heating up. Make your trades and waiver wire pickups to put your team in the best position for a strong second half. Get it going now!
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . .
For me, I think the Rams are the most disappointing team in the NFL to date, especially from a fantasy perspective. This offense is really struggling. Just look at last week. The lack of a running game has really impacted the entire offense. Todd Gurley was really the cog in the offense that made things click. He just isn’t healthy and showing like he did the past few years. Plus, you have to figure the rest of the league is figuring things out with the Rams. Defensive coordinators had a whole offseason to adjust to what the Rams have been doing offensively. And Jared Goff seems to have regressed. He just doesn't look very good right now. Not good.
Patrick Mahomes is human. He is fourth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring, which is a bit of a surprise. His receivers are dropping some passes, though, and his running game isn’t doing much. This isn’t great news for Mahomes. Fear not, though. Mahomes can still finish first overall in scoring. He has just hit a little bump in the road. We wouldn’t set off the alarm bells just yet. He still has just one interception all year and thrown for 300-plus yards all but a game.
If you can, I would sell high on Carlos Hyde. He is coming off a season best game and has scores three of four games. I’m just not convinced he keeps up this good play. He has just six receptions all season, which really holds back his fantasy value. And he has 60 or fewer rushing yards three of his last four games. This is still a pass-first team that has issues running the ball. Hyde is not going to keep playing at his current level, especially if you consider his play the last few seasons.
One guy I’m not selling high on is Chris Godwin. I have him in like 80 percent of my leagues and feeling great about that. He had double-digit receptions last week for the second time all year. He is the leading fantasy receiver right now. It is a little bit of a concern seeing Jameis Winston playing poorly but that doesn’t bother me too much. This team can’t run the ball, so I expect them to keep airing it out often despite Winston’s turnover issues. This means Godwin will continue to rack up the catches and yards. It is a lot of fun to watch Godwin have his breakout season. He is the real deal.
The Vikings are becoming a really scary team. Minnesota is playing at a high level right now both offensively and defensively. This is a pretty complete team. The rise of Kirk Cousins takes this offense to a different level and I don’t think it is a fluke. He has two of the best receivers in the game to work with, and Cousins has produced at a high level in recent years. I’m buying his recent play as well as the entire Vikings offense. And we cant forget about Dalvin Cook, having a breakout season at running back. He makes the entire offense go.
So Austin Hooper is first overall in fantasy tight end scoring. I don’t think that is a fluke. He is getting a ton of work and making some big plays along the way. He has 100-yard games two of his last three. He has at least six receptions all but a game in the Falcons pass-happy offense. I really think he can make a run at finishing first overall in tight end scoring. There are a lot of options in this passing game, which is a little bit of a concern, but the Falcons are throwing the ball so much that I’m not sure that matters. Kudos to you if you grabbed Hooper in this year’s draft. He is sure paying off for all those owners that waited on a tight end.
Last week was the first time all year Austin Ekeler was a dud for his fantasy owners. And I’m sorry to say this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens a few more times the rest of the way. The return of Melvin Gordon is really a concern. Gordon started last week and had 11 touches compared to eight for Ekeler. I don’t think I would dump Ekeler unless I get some value in return, but be ready for a few more up and down performances. He is going to be more of a flex play going forward. He’ll still get his weekly touches and receptions, but probably not the volume of past weeks. And I’m not sure Gordon reaches his full fantasy potential with Ekeler around and getting so much work in the passing game. Both these players are hurting the fantasy value of each other.
This didn’t used to be the case, but the trade deadline in the NFL is a lot more active these days. We already have seen several trades happen this week and the deadline isn’t until next week (Tuesday, Oct. 29). This is something to watch for fantasy owners. Trades can really impact fantasy value - good and bad - so keep up with all the trades from around the league when they happen. It could be an interesting week around the league.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 7 rankings.
News and Notes: The Patriots signed tight end Eric Tomlinson on Tuesday. He gives the team some more depth at the tight end position. . . . .The Browns traded offensive lineman Austin Corbett to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Tuesday. . . . .The Rams traded cornerback Marcus Peters to the Ravens in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed 2020 draft pick on Tuesday. . . .The Jaguars traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, and a fourth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. . . . .The Titans announced Ryan Tannehill will start the Week 7 game. This sends Marcus Mariota to the bench.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars. Fournette isn’t having a banner season but a solid one, especially compared to last year. He is ninth overall in fantasy running back scoring and sixth overall in his last three games. Fournette has three straight games with more than 100 total yards. A big plus for him this year is added work in the passing game, having at least four receptions all but a game. He should get a huge workload this week against the Bengals. Cincinnati allows the most fantasy points to running backs. The Bengals have been a disaster against the run, ranking dead last. They allow 185-rushing yards per game.
Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals. Murray is playing at a high level right now, taking advantage of some poor defenses in recent weeks. He has 27-plus fantasy points two straight games. He had his first three-touchdown game of his career last week. Murray is up to seventh overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He is getting it done on a weekly basis. Murray has his third straight poor opponent this week, facing the Giants. New York allows the sixth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 31st against the pass, allowing 285-passing yards per game.
Robert Woods, WR, Rams. Woods scored his first touchdown of the season last week, which was a rushing score. But even despite a lack of scores, Woods is 26th overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He is capable of the big game in this offense as evident by his huge game in Week 4 against the Bucs. Some fantasy owners might be shying away from the Rams this week after their awful game last week, but a Week 7 matchup against the Falcons should get this offense healthy. The Falcons are 27th against the pass and have allowed 15-passing touchdowns this season.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons. Freeman is starting to show some signs of life rushing the ball. He scored two touchdowns last week and has scores two straight games. He tied a season high in rushing yards last week with 88 yards. The biggest plus for Freeman this year has been his work in the passing game, having at least three receptions every game. This can save his fantasy numbers if he is shutdown rushing the ball. He should find more success this week against the Rams. Los Angeles is reeling right now and are 16th against the run. Freeman could find the end zone, facing a team that has allowed seven rushing touchdowns.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys. Gallup wasn’t great last week, having four receptions for 48 yards on seven targets, but his numbers weren’t terrible. He has 100-yard games two of four and at least six receptions in all but a game. Amari Cooper is hurting, which could make Gallup the No. 1 receiver this week against the Eagles. This is a great matchup for Gallup, getting a team that has allowed the most fantasy points to receivers this year. Gallup can produce elite numbers in Week 7.
LeVeon Bell, RB, Jets. Bell has been pretty mediocre in recent weeks. He scored a touchdown last week, which saved his otherwise poor fantasy games. He had 15 touches for just 53 yards. He has 50 or fewer rushing yards three straight games and his season high in rushing is just 68 yards. Bell had 20-plus fantasy points each of his first two games but done little since. He gets a Patriots team this week that should focus their game plan on shutting down Bell. New England allows the second fewest fantasy points to running backs and just eight points per game.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions. Stafford has been a big surprise this year, ranking 11th overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He has multiple touchdowns three of five games and at least 245-passing yards all but a game. He is healthy and producing once again. He did fail to score a touchdown last week, though, and has fewer than 15 fantasy points two of his past three games. He has another tough one this week against the Vikings. Minnesota allows the 10th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank seventh overall against the pass.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos. Some might look at the matchup this week and think Sanders is a must start for fantasy teams, getting a Chiefs team that can struggled defensively. But it is sure hard to recommend playing Sanders despite the great matchup. He has two catches for nine yards his last two games. He has 10 or fewer yards three of his last four games. Sure, he could go off in this one, but it is hard to be confident playing him because of his recent play and production. We would just avoid him right now.
Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs. Williams returned to the lineup Week 5, but has done little since his return. He did score a touchdown last week but had just two touches in the game. He has 14 touches for 58 yards his last two games. He is yet to top 30-rushing yards in a game all year. Williams is another player that is hard to trust based on his production all season. He also has a tough matchup this week against the Broncos, a team that has allowed just 18 points per game. It is probably best to just avoid Williams right now.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins. McLaurin has been the best rookie receiver in football this year. He has been great almost every game. He has two 100-yard games and scores four of the five games he has played. He is almost moving into must-start territory. But a game this week against the 49ers is a little worrisome for McClaurin. The 49ers defense has been dominating in recent weeks, especially last week against the Rams. San Francisco totally shutdown the Rams passing attack. The 49ers are first overall against the pass and allow just 13 points per game. It could be a long day for the Redskins offense in this one, making McLaurin a bit of a risky play despite his big numbers this year.
Josh Allen, QB, Bills. Allen hasn’t been off the charts this year but consistent. He has multiple touchdowns three of five games and topped 240-passing yards three games. He has more than 20 fantasy points all but a game. And he is always capable of the big game, giving him added fantasy value. He is setup for one of those big games this week against the lowly Dolphins. Miami allows the second most fantasy points to quarterbacks and are 26th overall against the pass.
Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos. Freeman has not been outstanding all year but pretty consistent, splitting work with starter Phillip Lindsay. He has double-digit carries all but a game. He also has at least four receptions four of six games, which helps his fantasy numbers. He has double-digit fantasy points three of six games. Freeman has value as a flex play, especially this week against the Chiefs. Kansas City was run over by a Texans rushing attack that hadn’t done much all year. The Chiefs are 30th overall against the run, allowing 162-rushing yards per game.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Colts. Brissett has multiple touchdowns all but a game this year. And he has scores every game this season. He has 20-plus fantasy points three of five games. He has done very well as the starter for the Colts and is producing for fantasy teams. He is a spot play, worth using in the right matchup. And this week against the Texans is a good time to use Brissett. The Texans are just 24th overall against the pass and allow the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Brissett is a good bye week or injury replacement for Week 7.
Cole Beasley, WR, Bills. Beasley is yet to score this year but is getting his catches as the slot receiver in this offense. He has three games with double-digit fantasy points and at least three catches every game this season. He also has 75 or more yards two of five games. He can be a help to fantasy teams, especially in a favorable matchup. And a game this week against the Dolphins is a good one for Beasley. The Dolphins are 26th against the pass and give up an whooping 36 points per game.
Darren Fells, TE, Texans. Fells had season highs in catches (six) and yards (69) last week. He has 12 or more fantasy points three of his last four games. The Texans are looking at the tight end more often in recent weeks and Fells is benefitting from the added looks. He is moving up the tight end rankings and worth using for fantasy teams. Fells has a matchup for more good things this week, playing the Colts. Indianapolis has struggled to stop the tight end this year, allowing the third most fantasy points to tight ends.
High/Low Scoring Games
Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.
High Scoring Games: Rams/Falcons, Texans/Colts, Cardinals/Giants, Eagles/Cowboys.
Low Scoring Games: Chargers/Titans.
Bye Weeks: Panthers, Browns, Steelers, Bucs.
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.
The New Orleans Saints Defense was a bit of a disappointment last week. They only registered one sack and one interception and gave up 26 points. Week 11 brings a strong bounce-back chance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quarterback Jameis Winston has a league-high 24 turnovers. The Bucs offensive line ranks 29th in sacks allowed. Get the Saints defense in lineups for Week 11-they're bound to put up good numbers.
New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz is set up for a good day against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Lutz was the muscle of the Saints' offense last week, as he made all three field-goal attempts and was responsible for all their points scored. The 25-year-old has made 19 of 23 field-goal attempts and 19 of 20 extra-point attempts. Lutz will take on the Bucs, who have allowed 25 extra-points and 20 made field-goals in nine games this year. He's a great kicking option for fantasy this week.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook gets an excellent matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 11. He's coming off a great game, in which he caught a season-high six of 10 targets for 74 yards. It was the first time the 32-year-old has eclipsed 50 receiving yards this season. He'll have a chance to build on this effort against a Bucs defense that has given up the second-most fantasy points to tight ends. Cook is a bit risky, but the matchup is too juicy to pass up. Get him in lineups as a low-end TE1.
New Orleans Saints wide receivers Ted Ginn and Tre'Quan Smith will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 11. Ginn is coming off a catch-less game and hasn't gone over 50 receiving yards since Week 1. Meanwhile, Smith missed five games with an injury and has yet to eclipse 50 receiving yards in three games played. Both will get a good matchup against the Bucs, who allow 48.04 fantasy points to opposing wideouts, the most in the NFL. Still, Smith and Ginn are firmly behind Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook in the pecking order, so expectations must be lowered. Both are risky flex plays in Week 11.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas has been excellent this year. The All-Pro receiver leads the NFL in catches and receiving yards with 86 and 1027, respectively. He'll face a Buccaneers team that allows the most fantasy points to wide receivers in the league. In his first game against Tampa Bay in Week 5, without Drew Brees, Thomas caught 11 of 13 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Not only will Thomas have Brees throwing to him, he'll face off with a Bucs secondary that will be without two starters from that game. Thomas is a must-start WR1.
The Chicago Bears placed tight end Trey Burton (calf) on Injured Reserve on Saturday and promoted linebacker James Vaughters from the practice squad in a corresponding move. Burton will miss the rest of the season, so he can be safely dropped anywhere he was still owned. The 28-year-old was a non-factor in both real life and fantasy this year, catching just 14 passes (24 targets) for 84 yards and no scores in eight games. Ben Braunecker will serve as the starting tight end on Sunday night against the Rams with Adam Shaheen out, but Braunecker should be avoided in this low-upside offense. Shaheen should be the primary pass-catching tight end when he's healthy, but he's off the radar until further notice.
The Arizona Cardinals signed tight end Maxx Williams to a two-year contract extension on Saturday that will keep him under contract through the 2021 season. The 25-year-old was a second-round pick of the Ravens in 2015, and although he's been used more by Arizona in the second half of the season, he still has just 11 catches on 13 targets for 139 yards and a touchdown on the season. Williams has more than one catch in a game on just one occasion in 2019 when he caught all three of his targets for 34 yards and his only TD on Oct. 13 against the Falcons. He's not on the fantasy radar as a TE2, even at the weakest fantasy position.
New England Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse (knee) is making the trip to Philadelphia and has a chance to play in Week 11 against the Eagles after getting injured on Oct. 10. The Patriots have ruled out running back Damien Harris (hamstring) and safety Patrick Chung (chest, heel). On the season, LaCosse has only three receptions for 55 yards, so he shouldn't be owned in any fantasy leagues. Benjamin Watson has become the team's pass-catching tight end, but even he doesn't move the needle very much as a streaming TE2.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray gets a tough matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 11. The 28-year-old has tallied 371 rushing yards on 85 attempts and 160 receiving yards on 25 receptions with five total touchdowns. In starter Alvin Kamara's return to the lineup, he out-touched Murray 12-seven, though game script probably limited both of their touches. Game script may not matter this week, as the Buccaneers are the number-one rushing defense in the NFL. With Kamara seeing the majority of the receiving work, Murray might have trouble making his touches count against Tampa Bay. He's a low-end flex at best in Week 11.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said that running back Damien Williams, who is away from the team due to personal reasons, should travel with the team to Mexico City on Sunday. The Chiefs have an important divisional matchup against the Chargers on Monday night. If he's with the team, Williams will be a low-end RB1 in a great matchup on Monday night as the team's lead back in an explosive offense. LeSean McCoy has fallen out of the rotation due to ball-security issues, but he'd have RB2 appeal if Williams didn't wind up making the trip.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) and cornerback Bradley Roby (hamstring) have been ruled out for Week 11 against the Ravens. Both were expected to be game-time decisions on Sunday, but the Texans are taking the cautious approach with a Week 12 game coming early next Thursday. Without Fuller for another week, DeAndre Hopkins should be a high-end WR1 yet again, although he could be followed by Marlon Humphrey on Sunday. Kenny Stills will have WR4/flex value as a boom-or-bust deep threat for another week. Roby's absence is more bad news for a Houston secondary that has been beat many times deep this year.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley was perfect in Oakland last Thursday, and he'll look to keep it up in Mexico on Monday. On top of that, he'll get the opportunity to kick in the thinnest air possible in an NFL game as he'll be kicking at approximately 7,000 feet above sea level. It's the type of setting that allows kicking records to be set, and though Badgley isn't known for having the strongest leg in the league, even he should be more comfortable hitting from a few yards further out than normal. With a high-scoring affair expected, Badgley should get plenty of opportunities to test his mettle against the all-time greats this week.
Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson (concussion) has been cleared from the league's concussion protocol and was removed from the final Week 11 injury report against the Cowboys. He is good to go for Sunday. It's bad news for those that were looking to start J.D. McKissic as a deep league PPR flex, but he'll still be involved on passing downs this weekend. Johnson should see most of the early down carries, but he hasn't been efficient at all since Kerryon Johnson was lost for the season. Johnson is merely a last-gasp flex in deeper leagues, especially with quarterback Matthew Stafford (back) out for the second straight game.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry has been the man since he returned to the team in mid-October, and it doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon. Henry has either chalked up 80+ yards or a touchdown in four of his five games back, and with a likely shootout coming against the high-powered Kansas City offense, expect Henry to do one or both once again. Philip Rivers threw to Antonio Gates as one of his most dependable targets for years, and it looks like he trusts Henry to fill those shoes moving forward. Henry should be started in all leagues at this point, as he is one of the very best tight ends in the league when he's healthy.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams went into last week on a cloud. Coming off his first 100-yard game of his career and facing one of the softest secondaries in the land, Williams instead only caught two passes for 55 yards. Hopefully, that was a one-time blip, and he can get back to being a strong contender for touches this week. Mexico City is over 7,000 feet above sea level, considerably higher than any stadium in the NFL, and Williams should have plenty of opportunity to go deep. Hopefully, he can haul in a couple of those bombs and put up another triple-digit performance.
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram was able to knock down two more sacks on Thursday night last week, and he'll look to add to that tally in Mexico on Monday. Unfortunately, he'll be facing a Kansas City offense that has the ability to be the best in the league on any given night. Ingram and the rest of the Chargers Defense shouldn't be started in nearly any fantasy league as they could easily end up staring at 40+ points on the scoreboard, even if they were to rack up a couple turnovers or sacks. Tack on that the game is being played at more than 7,000 feet of elevation, and expect the defense to be winded throughout the night.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will be looking for greatness on Monday night when he takes the field in Mexico City. Gordon has proven over the last two weeks that he is fully back and ready to roll, and now he gets to face the most generous run defense in the league. Kansas City has allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the NFL, and LA happens to be in the middle of dealing with a quarterback who appears to have gotten very old very quickly. Expect the Chargers to lean heavily on Gordon's legs, and expect Gordon to capitalize on this wonderful opportunity. A multi-touchdown game seems like a good bet.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler is pretty much on the backburner now that Melvin Gordon is back to full speed, but he's still lurking in the wings, waiting to take a touch to the house. Ekeler has seen his carries drop precipitously, but as in past years, he's continued to get a few opportunities in the passing game as he rolls out of the backfield. Expect Monday night to be no different, and just like in Oakland, it wouldn't be a shock if he's able to deliver one of those catches to the end zone. He's also facing the most porous run defense in the game, so even if he does only get a few carries, one of those could be huge.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen was able to snag eight passes last week, which is a great sign, but he still only tallied 68 yards on the day and hasn't scored a touchdown in seven weeks. In the thin air of Mexico City, Allen should have plenty of opportunity to go deep, but whether he can make something happen with that speed remains to be seen. If the game becomes a shootout, Allen could see plenty of chances, but KC's susceptibility to the ground game may negatively impact his targets. He's still dangerous, but there's considerable danger that he puts up another stinker this week.
Denver Broncos recorded his second touchdown of the season against the Browns before the Week 10 bye and will look to keep things moving against the Vikings in Week 11. The Vikings are allowing a middle-of-the-pack 12.07 fantasy points per game this season to opposing tight ends, and though that number isn't the worst, it will still be an uphill battle for production for the rookie on Sunday against Minnesota.