Wed Oct 9 9:35am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Chark has become must start
This week starts the week with more than two teams on a bye. It gets even harder to set lineups with these byes and injuries. So my big advice is to plan ahead. If you know you are going to be needing a receiver or defense the next week or the week after that, start looking at options that could help. It is better to plan ahead in advance than wait until the week of to fill that lineup out. Be a proactive owner. Don’t sit back.
With that said, here are my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
I’m not ready to release Baker Mayfield just yet but he is not going in my starting lineup until he starts to do something on the field. He is a mess right now. Mayfield is not progressing like most expected, taking a step back from his play late last year. He just isn’t making quick decisions and retreating in the pocket way too much. The fantasy industry, including myself, really missed on this guy this year. He has been a huge bust.
Christian McCaffrey is just unbelievable. I know. Great analysis, right? Well, he is as fun to watch as any player in the game. And he is about 26 fantasy points from the next rated back, sitting firmly in first place in fantasy running back scoring. He has been getting a lot of work, which is a concern, but he held up last year. Here is to hoping he can hold up once again. He is on his way to one of the best fantasy seasons of all time for a running back.
For at least one week, it seems the Chargers are going to go with a pretty even timeshare at running back with Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon. Gordon will get more work running the ball while Ekeler will be used more in passing situations. This probably is a bigger blow to Gordon’s fantasy value, getting fewer chances to catch the ball. Ekeler might not keep his current pace as a fantasy back, but he can still be at least a top No. 2 back in his current role. He is going to catch a lot of passes.
Aaron Rodgers failed to score a touchdown last week and now ranks below Marcus Mariota in the fantasy quarterback rankings (19th overall). He is not having the season many expected but this could be the norm for him in this offense. The Packers are putting much more emphasis on the run and playing good defense. Plus, Rodgers is without his top receiver right now (Davante Adams) and the rest of the options have been very ho hum. Rodgers is still going to have a few big games this year but he might be mediocre more often than not, especially compared to past years for Rodgers.
Rookie Josh Jacobs is really starting to hit his stride. He had his first 100-yard rushing game of his career last week against a very good Bears defense. He has two straight games with 100-plus yards and topped that mark three of five games. Jacobs is getting a ton of weekly work and has five receptions the last two games compared to just one catch his first three. This all adds up to Jacobs being a low-end No. 1 fantasy back with big-time future at the position.
His fantasy numbers aren’t off the charts just yet but I’m super impressed by Colts running back Marlon Mack. He is a very impressive back. He runs with power but also has the patience to wait for the hole to open. He looks like an elite back and is starting to perform like one. Mack ran for 132 yards last week and has two games with 100-plus rushing yards. He also runs behind a very good offensive line, which is another huge plus for Mack. I think he is setup for great things going forward.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 6 rankings.
News and Notes: The Bills traded receiver Zay Jones to Raiders for a fifth-round draft pick in the 2021 draft. Jones could quickly move his way up the depth chart with his new team. . . . .The Broncos signed cornerback Coty Sensabaugh on Tuesday, adding some more depth to their secondary. . . . .The Patriots released tight end Benjamin Watson. He was just taken off the suspended list, so he will be free to sign with a new team. . . . .The Titans are making a switch at kicker. The team released kicker Cairo Santos and signed Cody Parkey to take over the kicking duties. . . . .The Chiefs signed defensive tackle Terrell McClain on Tuesday.
Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals. Murray hasn’t posted eye popping weekly numbers his rookie year but has been very consistent. He is eighth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring, having at least 20 points every game this season. If he had a few more scores, he could be a top-five option. But right now, Murray has six total touchdowns, which is holding back his numbers. Murray is a great play this week against the Falcons, though. Atlanta allows the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and allow 30 points per game. Murray is a solid No. 1 for Week 6.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. His huge game last week has moved him all the way up to fourth overall in fantasy running back scoring. Jones was producing pretty well even before that monster game, though. He has touchdowns four straight games and two 100-yard games this year. Jones also is becoming a bigger factor in the passing game, having 13 receptions his last two games. This really improves his fantasy value. Jones won’t repeat last week but he can have a good showing against the Lions. Detroit struggles against the run, allowing the fourth most fantasy points to running backs.
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys. Prescott had his second 400-yard game of the season last week, getting a chance to air it out often because his team got down big. Prescott was picked off three times but threw for 463 yards and two scores. Prescott has multiple touchdowns four of five games and is fifth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He is setup for another big game this week against the Jets. The Jets are just 21st against the pass and allow 25 points per game.
Chris Carson. RB, Seahawks. Carson had his second straight 100-yard game of the season last week. He has at least 15 carries every game this year, getting consistent work in the offense. He is 14th overall in fantasy running back scoring but can inch up even farther with a few more scores. You have to like his chances to find he end zone this week against a Browns team that was run over by the 49ers rushing game last week. The Browns are 29th against the rush, allowing 151-rushing yards per game.
D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars. Alright, it is time to move Chark into must-start territory for all fantasy teams. This guy just keeps posting big weekly numbers, ranking fifth overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He had a career best game last week, catching eight passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He has scores four of five games. Chark is setup for more good things this week against the Saints, a team that allows the seventh most fantasy points to receivers.
Jordan Howard, RB, Eagles. Howard is showing some signs of life after a slow start. He has touchdowns three straight games and topped 100 total yards in Week 4. He has fewer than 65-rushing yards all but a game, though, and six total receptions. He is a touchdown dependent player, making him a risky weekly fantasy play. And we aren’t sure he finds the end zone this week against the Vikings, a team that allows the fourth fewest fantasy points to receivers. Minnesota has allowed just one rushing touchdown all year.
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Chiefs. Robinson has been very quiet since his huge Week 2 performance against the Raiders. Robinson has fewer than 45 yards three straight games. He is capable of a huge game in this offense but his recent production is a concern for any fantasy team looking to use him right now. It is hard to justify a spot in your lineup for Robinson. The numbers don’t lie. Robinson also plays the Texans this week. The Texans don’t have a great pass defense but haven't been too bad defensively, allowing 22 points per game. It is probably wise to just leave Robinson on your bench.
Daniel Jones, QB, Giants. Jones has played well since entering the starting lineup for the Giants. He has led his team to wins and made the offense much better. His fantasy numbers haven’t been off the charts, though. He has just one touchdown each of the last two games and failed to hit 200-passing yards last week. Jones has his toughest test of the season this week, facing the Patriots. New England allows the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and have yet to allow a passing touchdown. Plus, Jones will be without his top receiver, Sterling Shepard, which is another strike against using him.
Corey Davis, WR, Titans. Davis has all sorts of talent but continues to be wildly inconsistent for his fantasy owners. He has fewer than 50 yards in all but a game. He does have a 20 point fantasy performance, though, showing his big-time potential when getting the ball. The issue is Davis doesn’t get the ball enough. He does not have more than six targets in any game. Until he starts getting more work, don’t bother with Davis, especially this week. Davis plays the Broncos, which is a tough matchup for him. Denver allows the second fewest fantasy points to receivers and are fifth overall against the pass.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams. You can’t bench Gurley because of his huge weekly potential in this offense but you might want to temper your expectations for him. The only thing saving him right now are his touchdown totals. He has multiple scores two straight games. His other numbers are not good, though. He has more than 100 total yards just once all year, which came in Week 1. He has fewer than 65-rushing yards four straight games and more than 10 receiving yards in just one game. He has been a disappointment in an offense that has struggled to run the ball. It could be more of the same for the Rams this week against the 49ers. San Francisco has been great against the run, allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars. Minshew has been super consistent for fantasy teams since entering the starting lineup. He has multiple scores four of five games and at least 18 fantasy points every game. He had a career-high 374-passing yards last week. Minshew has a lot of confidence and seems to be getting better each week. He has legit fantasy value as a spot starter. He is worth a look this week against the Saints, a team that allows the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins. Parker is one of the few Dolphins worth considering for fantasy teams. Parker scored his first touchdown of the season his last time out and has 70 or more yards two of four games. Parker is always capable of the huge game because of his big-time ability. A matchup this week against the Redskins gives Parker a chance for one of his big games. Washington allows the third most fantasy points to receivers and are 23rd overall against the pass.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins. Peterson has not been good this year, especially compared to last year in this same offense. He has yet to top 40-rushing yards in a game and has just one touchdown. He also has just three receptions. The only good news is he is getting most of the carries, having three games with double-digit carries. If he is ever going to have a big game, it will be this week against the lowly Dolphins. Miami is dead last against the run, allowing 176-rushing yards per game. This is the week to take a chance on Peterson.
Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals. Edmonds had his best game of the season last week, totaling 86 yards on 11 touches. It was the first time all season he had double-digit touches in a game. David Johnson had his back lock up on him during the game, though, and had to miss some time. This could be an issue moving forward, so his workload could be scaled back. This means more touches for Edmonds, a big-play back. This makes Edmonds worth a look for fantasy teams in Week 6 against the Falcons. Atlanta is 19th against the rush and allow 30 points per game.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Falcons. Sanu scored his first touchdown of the season last week. He has at least five receptions every game this year. His numbers aren’t flashy but consistent in the Falcons pass-heavy offense. You can’t ignore the numbers. He is a good bye-week or injury replacement for fantasy teams. If you need a receiver this week, give Sanu a look. He plays the Cardinals, a team 24th against the pass and allowing 28 points per game.
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: Texans/Chiefs, 49ers/Rams, Falcons/Cardinals.
Low Scoring Games: Eagles/Vikings, Titans/Broncos.
Bye Weeks: Bills, Bears, Colts, Raiders.
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.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (shoulder) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) were forced to leave Thursday Night's game against the Cleveland Browns. Conner who missed the last two games with the shoulder injury, reaggravated it early in the game, while Smith-Schuster got sandwiched on a tackle in between multiple Browns defenders in the second quarter and immediately fell to the ground. If both players are forced to miss extended time, this Steelers offense becomes completely devoid of playmaking talent. Look for Vance McDonald, James Washington, Jaylen Samuels, and Trey Edmunds to receive immediate opportunities in their absence.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker is the most talented man left standing in the Dolphins receiving corps but will face an uphill battle with the Buffalo Bills coming to town in Week 11. Led by shutdown corner TreDavious White, the Bills secondary has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, trailing only the New England Patriots. With teammate Preston Williams out for the season following knee surgery, Parker is clearly quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's favorite place to look, with his 10 targets leading the Dolphins last week in their 16-12 win over the Indianapolis Colts. While the speedy wideout has a touchdown in four of his last six games and should get close to double-digit targets every week, Parker might also be shadowed by the aforementioned White on Sunday, limiting his ceiling and dropping his floor down to zero. Avoid starting him this week but don't sleep on Parker in the future, as three of his next four opponents are in the bottom-six in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers in 2019.
With all of his competition for touches being either traded or suspended, Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage did little to impress in last week's 16-12 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Rushing for only 43 yards on 20 carries, and having rushed for only 113 yards on the season, Ballage has been a complete disappointment this year but will get an easier matchup in Week 11, as the Buffalo Bills have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs in 2019. Ballage should continue to get a high volume of touches - with his only competition coming from Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin - but he is still struggling to gain yards after first contact and is running behind one of the league's worst offensive lines. Even facing a Buffalo defense that struggles to stop the run, Ballage is no better than an RB3 this week, carrying a floor of zero and little upside. Leave him on your bench if at all possible, until Ballage proves he can contribute in a meaningful way.
Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller has strung together three underwhelming outings, but he will look to right the ship in Week 11 versus the Bengals. The 26-year-old has caught just seven passes over the last three weeks after averaging over seven receptions a game through the team's first six games. Teams have begun to shadow the 6'6" pass-catcher in recent weeks, but that hasn't stopped Derek Carr from peppering him with 15 targets in this span. Waller has an excellent chance to redeem himself versus a Cincinnati team who has been vulnerable on defense and are coming off a game where they allowed two touchdowns to Ravens tight end Mark Andrews in Week 10. Waller is a firm TE1 this week as he looks to get back in his high-volume groove from the season's first half.
After a couple of down weeks, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams will look to rebound in a great matchup versus the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals Defense is susceptible to the passing game, and it's looking likely that their top cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick will be sidelined once again. This is terrific news for Williams, who began the year collecting a TD pass in each of his first five games, although he's yet to find paydirt in his last two outings. The 27-year-old has still seen plenty of opportunities in these games as he's sitting second on the team in targets with nine as the team's WR1. His high-volume role should continue this Sunday, although the offense could lean more on the run game if they get out to an early lead. Williams should be treated as a WR3 in Week 11 with a decent shot at finding the end zone.
With all of his competition for touches being either traded or suspended, Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage did little to impress in last week's 16-12 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Rushing for only 43 yards on 20 carries, and having rushed for only 113 yards on the season, Ballage has been a complete disappointment this year but will get an easier matchup in Week 10, as their opponent, the Buffalo Bills, have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs in 2019. Ballage should continue to get a high volume of touches - with his only competition coming from Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin - but he is still struggling to gain yards after first contact and is running behind one of the league's worst offensive lines. Even facing a Buffalo defense that struggles to stop the run, Ballage is no better than an RB3 this week, carrying a floor of zero and little upside. Leave him on your bench if at all possible, until Ballage proves he can contribute in a meaningful way.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker is the most talented man left standing in the receiving corps but will face an uphill battle in Week 10, with the Buffalo Bills coming into town. Led by shutdown corner TreDavious White, the Bills secondary has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, trailing only the New England Patriots. With teammate Preston Williams out for the season following knee surgery, Parker is clearly quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's favorite target, with his 10 targets leading the Dolphins last week in their 16-12 win over the Indianapolis Colts. While the speedy wideout has a touchdown in four of his last six games and should get close to double-digit targets every week, Parker might also be shadowed by the aforementioned White in Week 10, limiting his ceiling and dropping his floor down to zero. Avoid starting him this week but don't sleep on Parker in the future, as three of his next four opponents are in the bottom-six in points allowed to receivers.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (knee) and wide receiver Dante Pettis (back) were both limited in practice on Thursday. Mostert has been limited all week but should play and serve as Tevin Coleman's backup in Week 11 against the Cardinals with Matt Breida expected to miss one to two weeks. Mostert will have some flex appeal in deeper leagues in a good matchup with Arizona. Pettis was added to the injury report on Thursday. The 24-year-old has been an utter disaster this year in San Fran's run-first offense, and he could continue to see his role shrink after going catchless on three targets last week. Even if Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) is inactive on Sunday, there are way better options in fantasy than Pettis.
Chicago Bears rookie running back David Montgomery (ankle) and tight ends Trey Burton (calf) and Adam Shaheen (foot) missed practice on Thursday. Montgomery rolled his ankle in practice on Wednesday and could wind up as questionable for Sunday night against the Rams. That will obviously pose a big headache for fantasy owners, but Montgomery is a shaky low-end RB2 even if he does play against an LA defensive front that has been stingy against the run. If he can't get the green light, Tarik Cohen would have RB2 upside. The tight end position has been a fantasy wasteland in Chicago, so Ben Braunecker wouldn't even be appealing if both Burton and Shaheen were inactive Sunday night.
Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway is reportedly appealing a 10-game suspension that the NFL handed down earlier in the season. He tested positive for a banned substance after using a CBD edible product in the summer to deal with an ankle injury. Callaway has had several drug-related incidents since declaring for the NFL draft, including a positive test at the combine and a four-game suspension to begin the 2019 season. Cleveland finally gave up on Callaway on Thursday, waiving the former fourth-round draft pick while citing that the receiver had "too many issues." Callaway's appeal with the NFL was heard on Friday and he is still awaiting the NFL's final decision.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) remains out of practice on Thursday. Green suffered a setback due to swelling in his ankle last week and remains without a timetable to return. He was getting close to making his season debut, but he now appears unlikely to play in Week 11 against the Raiders. At this point, Green could be put on season-ending Injured Reserve. He's not a lock to help your fantasy team before or during the playoffs, and even if he does return, his upside will be limited on a winless Bengals squad with rookie Ryan Finley at quarterback. Cincy will continue to roll with Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate and Alex Erickson in three-wide sets.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Alex Erickson (back) returned to a limited practice on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. Even with A.J. Green (ankle) unlikely to return this weekend, Erickson isn't a recommended fantasy starter in any league as the No. 3 receiver on a winless Bengals team with rookie quarterback Ryan Finley under center. Erickson missed both of his two targets in Week 10 with Finley throwing him the ball. He had a blowup on Oct. 20 against the Jaguars when he went for 137 yards on eight catches, but that was clearly an outlier. You can avoid Erickson unless you're truly desperate.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said he expects tight ends Gerald Everett (wrist) and Tyler Higbee (knee) to play on Sunday night against the Bears in Week 11. Everett has had a breakout season in 2019 and has become the preferred pass-catching tight end over Higbee. With Brandin Cooks (concussion) out at least another week, Everett has TE1 appeal this weekend, even in a tough matchup with the Bears Defense looming. Unless Everett gets hurt and misses time, Higbee can be left on the waiver wire in redraft leagues.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (ankle, knee) returned to a limited practice on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. He should do more in practice on Friday and remains on track to play in Week 11 against the Lions. Cooper has battled through several injuries this year but has remained one of the most consistently productive receivers in the NFL. He'll be a high-end WR1 against a Lions secondary that has been one of the most generous units in the league against opposing wide receivers. Cooper is a must-start.
In a surprise move, the Cleveland Browns announced that they waived wide receiver Antonio Callaway on Thursday. Callaway was suspended ahead of the team's Week 10 matchup against the Buffalo Bills for arriving late but he was expected to return for Thursday night's showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead, Callaway didn't respond well to the benching, prompting Cleveland to release the 2018 fourth-round draft pick. The Browns will move forward with Rashard Higgins as their No. 3 receiver. Callaway should catch on somewhere as he is regarded as a talented player but he might have to settle for a practice squad spot. Offensive lineman Drew Forbes was activated off of injured reserve to take Callaway's roster spot.
The Pittsburgh Steelers placed wide receiver Ryan Switzer (back) and fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee) on Injured Reserve on Thursday. Switzer injured his back in the Week 10 win over the Rams. In corresponding moves, receiver Tevin Jones and linebacker Jayrone Elliott were added to the active roster. Switzer was more of a special teams guy and had only eight receptions on 11 targets for 27 yards in three games for the Steelers this year. He wasn't even on the fantasy map to begin with.
Washington Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan said that moving rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin around more could help get him out of his slump. The impressive rookie is versatile and capable of moving to different spots in the formation. The 24-year-old hasn't found the end zone since Oct. 13 against the Dolphins (twice that day), but it's mainly the team's offense and the quarterback situation holding him back. It hasn't helped matters that rookie Dwayne Haskins is now in charge. The matchup against the Jets couldn't be any better, but McLaurin is still more of a boom-or-bust WR3 for fantasy owners. He has nine catches in the last three games.
Washington Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan said that running back Adrian Peterson was rested in practice on Thursday, and he'll be fine for Week 11 against the Jets. The 34-year-old has been the bell-cow back since Callahan took over, and he's seen at least 18 carries in three of the last four games, so rest is certainly in order coming out of the bye week. Peterson's floor has been higher in recent weeks, but that will change with Derrius Guice (knee) returning this Sunday to an expected big workload. AD will still have a role, but he's back to being a low-upside RB3/flex in deeper leagues.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (hand) is expected to be activated from the Injured Reserve this week to play in Week 11 against the Vikings. Cornerback Bryce Callahan (foot) is expected to go on IR in a corresponding move. Patrick came on strong at the end of last year after the Broncos traded Demaryius Thomas, but that's unlikely to happen again to close the 2019 season with either inexperienced quarterback Brandon Allen or rookie Drew Lock at the helm. Denver's low-upside offense just can't really support another fantasy relevant receiver behind Courtland Sutton right now. Patrick is only a stash candidate in dynasty leagues.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (ankle, knee), wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and kicker Robbie Gould (quadriceps) all missed practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday. It's looking like Kittle and Gould will miss their second straight game, while Sanders is doubtful after injuring his ribs on Monday night. Even in a great matchup, it'll make quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo one to fade if he's missing his top receiving targets. Rookie Deebo Samuel will have WR2 upside if both Kittle and Sanders sit out. We wouldn't recommend backup tight end Ross Dwelley or kicker Chase McLaughlin as deep league streamers.