Wed Nov 20 10:06am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Mixon is trending up right now
It is hard to believe, but the regular fantasy season is about over. There are just three weeks left in most formats. Some teams are already eliminated from playoff contention. Hopefully, you aren’t one of those teams. For those of you still in contention, a strong finish is what you are all hoping to happen. You don’t want to limp into the playoffs. So here is to wishing all of you a great finish to your regular season. We are going to do all we can to help you finish on a high note.
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
I would be worried if I had any Rams right now. This offense is trending the wrong way, mainly because of the poor play from Jared Goff. He just looks indecisive and unsure of himself these days, losing confidence. I think the league is catching up with the Rams offense, which is causing issues for Goff. He is having a hard time adjusting. I would expect continued struggles from him going forward, which is bad news for Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Todd Gurley.
Kyler Murray is the real deal. He is going to a star and fantasy star for years to come. He is a rookie but still seventh overall in fantasy quarterback scoring despite playing in an offense that lacks some top playmakers. This guy just makes plays. He is only going to get better as the Cardinals surround him with better talent. Murray has multiple touchdowns six of 11 games.
Jets receiver Jamison Crowder has been a pleasant surprise for me. His career has seen a resurgence with his new team. He has at least five receptions three straight games and is up to 23rd overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He also is finding the end zone, having scores three straight games. This guy could be a big fantasy factor down the stretch, giving many teams that took him late or picked him up on the waiver wire a big advantage over the rest of their league mates.
Melvin Gordon’s numbers are better the last few weeks, but I think the missed camp and some regular season games has really impacted his play. He just doesn’t look like the same player from the past few years. He is dropping passes and lacks a little burst. Maybe he can get it going after his bye this week, but I’m not sure he reaches his big numbers of the past few years. You might have to wait until next season for Gordon to look like the Melvin Gordon of old.
I would not count on David Johnson being much of a help to fantasy teams the rest of the way. Johnson played just nine snaps last week and didn’t get an offensive touch. He just doesn’t look healthy while Kenyan Drake is playing well with his chances. I would expect the Cardinals to keep relying on Drake the rest of the way. Drake has six receptions each of his last two games and is eighth overall in fantasy running back scoring his last three games. He could be a big fantasy factor the rest of this season.
Who would have thought Jarvis Landry would be the leading fantasy receiver for the Browns? Well, that is the case right now. Landry has been the better fantasy player, outplaying Odell Beckham. Landry has touchdowns three straight and at least four receptions seven of 10 games. He is 20th overall in fantasy receiver scoring and should continue to be a big part of this offense going forward.
The Ravens continue to impress me on a weekly basis. They are now my favorite to win the Super Bowl. I still think the defense needs to pick it up a little, but for now, I think this is the best overall team in the NFL. Lamar Jackson is doing special things at quarterback, making that offense extremely tough to defend on a weekly basis. I know the Patriots are the Patriots, but I have questions about that offense this year. Tom Brady finally seems to be slowing down some, which is a concern for me. I think the Ravens are the better team. We’ll see.
You have to give the Falcons some credit. This team has started to play much better in recent weeks, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Atlanta could have packed it in after a terrible start to the season, but this team looks like a tough opponent going forward. The defense was a disaster earlier in the season but is showing signs of life. Atlanta has allowed just 12 points the last two games, playing the Saints and Panthers - two pretty good offensive teams. So kudos to the Falcons for not giving up and trying to turn their season around.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 12 rankings.
News and Notes: The Dolphins released running back Mark Walton on Tuesday. Walton was already suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy, but had another off the field incident, leading to his release from the team.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals. The insertion of Ryan Finley into the lineup has been a big positive for Mixon. He has produced his best fantasy numbers with Finley as the Bengals starting quarterback. Mixon is sixth overall in fantasy running back scoring his last three games. He has more than 100 total yards two straight games and found the end zone three of four games. He should get another workout this week against the Steelers. Pittsburgh has allowed more than 100-rushing yards two of their last three games.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns. If Mayfield is ever going to have the huge week, this is the week. He gets the Dolphins, a team that allows the seventh most fantasy points to quarterbacks and 31 points per game. Mayfield also has been showing some signs of life in recent weeks, which is also encouraging. He had his first three-touchdown game of the season last week and has multiple scores two straight games.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Some might be really down on Robinson because of his poor showings two of the past three games. He has fewer than 20 yards two of three games. But you can’t ignore his production from throughout the season, having at least four receptions nine of 10 games. He gets his catches and targets on a weekly basis despite poor quarterback play from Mitchell Trubisky. We don’t think the play of Trubisky will impact Robinson this week against the Giants. New York has been a disaster all year against the pass, ranking 25th overall against the pass. The Giants allows the third most fantasy points to receivers this season. Robinson can turn it around this week.
Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers. Coleman had his struggles last week, rushing 12 times for just 14 yards. But the Cardinals have a pretty stout defensive front. It wasn’t a huge surprise to see him get shut down, especially after he had his struggles against this same defense a few weeks back. Coleman has enjoyed plenty of big games this year, though, so he can turn it around this week. He gets the Packers, a team that has consistently struggled against the run all season. Green Bay allows the third most fantasy points to running backs and rank 25th overall against the run.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks. Metcalf continues to grow in the Seahawks offense. He has six receptions each of his last two games and double-digit fantasy points five of six games. Metcalf had a season high 10 targets last week. He also has touchdowns two of three games. He has a good chance to find the end zone again this week against the Eagles. Philadelphia has allowed 17-passing touchdowns this season and allows the seventh most fantasy points to receivers. Metcalf should be considered a solid No. 2 fantasy receiver in Week 12.
David Montgomery, RB, Bears. Montgomery is getting most of the carries at running back these days but that isn’t helping his fantasy numbers. He has just six fantasy points each of his last two games. And one of those games was against the Lions, a team that really struggles to stop fantasy backs. This is not a good sign for Montgomery. If he got more work in the passing game, he would be a lot easier to trust for fantasy teams. He has one or no receptions five of 10 games. It might look like a good matchup on paper for Montgomery this week, getting the Giants, but New York has allowed fewer than 80-rushing yards two of three games. It could be more of the same for Montgomery in Week 12.
Gerald Everett, TE, Rams. Everett was a huge bust last week, getting a catch for 20 yards. He had a favorable matchup and was coming off a big performance, so he got plenty of starts from fantasy teams. Everett had just a target the entire game. This followed a pattern of erratic play from Everett, though. He has 20 or fewer yards three of five games. He is a hard player to depend on for fantasy teams, especially this week against the Ravens. Baltimore allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. Jones has been great this year, finding the end zone on a regular basis while also getting his yards. He had a three-touchdown game his last time out while rushing for 93 yards. Jones didn’t have a catch his last game, though, and has just one catch his last two games. That is a little concerning for his fantasy value. Jamaal Williams is getting more chances in the passing game, which is limiting Jones a little in recent weeks. Jones also has seen his rushing number dip a little, having fewer than 70-rushing yards four of five games. He could have a tough game this week against the 49ers. San Francisco allows the second fewest fantasy points to running backs and just five rushing touchdowns all year.
John Brown, WR, Bills. Brown is having his best season to date as the No. 1 receiver for the Bills. He has been really consistent, having at least four receptions every game. He has double-digit fantasy points all but a game. So it is tough to bench Brown. He is producing on a weekly basis. We would just temper your expectations for Brown this week. He has a tough matchup against Broncos cornerback Chris Harris. He has done a great job of shutting down opposing No. 1 receivers. Denver allows the third fewest fantasy points to receivers.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots. His team might be winning but Brady isn’t helping many fantasy teams win right now. He didn’t find the end zone last week and has one or no scores three of four games. His fantasy numbers have been very mediocre much of the season. Brady could produce more of the same this week against the Cowboys. Dallas allows the eighth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and have looked much better against the pass in recent weeks.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets. Darnold had his best game of the season last week, throwing four touchdowns passes. He also threw for 293 yards, giving him 230 or more passing yards three straight games. Darnold is never a sure thing but you have to be encouraged by his play the last few weeks. He is starting to produce more consistently, having 16-plus fantasy points four straight games. He gets a matchup for more success this week against the Raiders, a team that allows the sixth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Raiders are 27th overall against the pass and allow 25 points per game.
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Bears. Gabriel led the way at receiver for the Bears last week, catching seven passes for 57 yards. His reception total was a season high for Gabriel. He has been getting more looks in recent weeks, though. Gabriel has at least three receptions four straight games and nine or more fantasy points all of those games. His workload has been steadily increasing, giving him some value as a spot starter or injury replacement. We would consider using him this week in either of those capacities. Gabriel gets the Giants, a team that allows the third most fantasy points to receivers.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles. Goedert has been a top red-zone target for the Eagles in recent weeks. He has scores three of four games and at least three receptions five straight games. The Eagles have all sorts of injuries at receiver, giving Goedert more playing time despite Zach Ertz continuing to serve as the starter for the Eagles. Goedert can help fantasy teams as a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end. He has a matchup for success this week against the Seahawks, a team that allows the eighth most fantasy points to tight ends.
Derrius Guice, RB, Redskins. Guice returned to action last week and split the work at running back with Adrian Peterson. Guice was the more productive back, though, finishing with 69 total yards and a touchdown on eight touches. His role should continue to increase going forward, taking over as the lead back for the Redskins. He could be a help to fantasy teams down the stretch, especially this week against the Lions. Detroit allows the most fantasy points to running backs and are 24th overall against the run.
Ted Ginn, WR, Saints. Ginn has not been much of a fantasy help most of the season. He has double-digit fantasy points just two times all year. He has more than two receptions just two games. The good news is he has at least two receptions all but two games. He gets some weekly work. He also found the end zone last week, which was another positive for Ginn. He is alway capable of that big game in this offense because of his big-play ability. It would not be a surprise to see him have his best game to date this week against the Panthers. Carolina allows the fifth most fantasy points to receivers. Ginn could be a sneaky No. 3 receiver play in Week 12.
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: Colts/Texans, Bucs/Falcons, Panthers/Saints, Seahawks/Eagles, Ravens/Rams.
Low Scoring Games: Steelers/Bengals, Broncos/Bills.
Bye Weeks: Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers, Vikings.
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.
Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard (ankle) has been ruled out for Thursday night against the Bears. Pollard missed two days of practice this week, so he was on the wrong side of questionable to begin with. Ezekiel Elliott has been the bell-cow back all season, so Pollard, 22, has just 58 carries for 264 yards and one touchdown on the season in 11 games. He has no standalone fantasy value unless Zeke gets hurt. Elliott's fantasy outlook as an RB1 against Chicago will not change with Pollard inactive. Fullback Jamize Olawale will serve as Elliott's backup for this one.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook gets a tough Week 14 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. The 32-year-old is on a roll, having surpassed 70 receiving yards in three of his last four games. Now he'll get to face the 49ers' league-best pass defense. It will be a very tough matchup for Cook, as the 49ers allow the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Still, his involvement in the offense lately, 6.5 targets per game in his last four, makes him start-worthy even against this defense. It's risky, but so are a lot of other streaming options at the tight end position.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) missed his second straight practice this week on Thursday. Smith-Schuster is unlikely to play again this weekend against the Cardinals and could be sidelined again in Week 15 if his knee injury does not improve. In an offense now run by quarterback Devlin Hodges, Smith-Schuster won't be anything more than a low-upside WR3 if he's active during the fantasy playoffs. James Washington has become a WR3 in Smith-Schuster's absence, but a projected low target share doesn't bode well for his chances of helping fantasy owners. Diontae Johnson (illness), who returned to a full practice on Thursday, will be the No. 2 behind Washington.
Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams (knee) and tight end Jimmy Graham (calf, wrist) were both limited in practice on Thursday. Williams is a new addition to the injury report for Week 14 against the Redskins, so we'll have to keep an eye on his status on Friday. Williams has maintained RB3 value for fantasy owners alongside Aaron Jones, but his status may be in doubt this weekend. Jones would have RB1 upside if he has this backfield all to himself in a great matchup. Graham should be able to play, but he's become an unattractive touchdown-dependent TE2 with a low target floor. He hasn't scored since Oct. 20 and has a combined four catches the last three games.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (ankle) and wide receivers Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) are practicing in full on Thursday. Breida is the big one, as he hasn't played since Nov. 11 against the Seahawks. His return will make it hard to trust anyone in San Fran's backfield, which includes Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert. Jeffery Wilson could be a healthy scratch with Breida back in Week 14 to face the Bills in a tough matchup. Samuel and Sanders are good to go as well. Samuel has become the better fantasy wideout over Sanders, but the rookie is still a boom/bust WR3 for fantasy owners in this run-first offense.
Updating a previous report, Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown (calf) was limited in practice on Thursday. Brown is a new addition to the injury report for Week 14 against the Raiders, so his status on Friday will be worth watching. The 22-year-old rookie has been solid in his first season, catching 34 passes for 626 yards and four touchdowns, but he just doesn't see consistent targets in this run-first offense. He'll be on the WR3/4 borderline as a boom-or-bust play if he's active. If he sits out, Corey Davis will be more attractive as a WR4/flex in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith gets a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. Smith has posted nine catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns for the whole season and hasn't seen more than three targets in a game yet. He's not even close to fantasy relevance at this point and will now face the league's best pass defense. Leave Smith on the waiver wire.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) and kicker Adam Vinatieri (knee) did not practice on Thursday. Hilton is holding out hope to play again this year, but at this point there's probably a greater chance that he's put on Injured Reserve. Zach Pascal is the team's top wideout with Hilton sidelined, and he has streaming appeal this weekend against a weak Tampa secondary. Marcus Johnson and Parris Campbell (hand) could fill out three-receiver sets. Don't count on Hilton the rest of the way. Vinatieri might find a similar fate as Hilton after the team claimed Chase McLaughlin on Wednesday. He's unlikely to play this weekend and has been a disaster in 2019 with 14 missed kicks. McLaughlin might be worth a flier the rest of the way in deeper leagues.
Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown (ankle) was added to the Week 14 injury report against the Bills. He got in a limited practice on Thursday. It's not the first time Brown has been added the injury report midweek as the Ravens try to play it safe with their speedy deep threat. The 22-year-old rookie has the skills to get behind any defense for a long touchdown play, but his snaps have been heavily limited in his first year and he doesn't draw enough targets to be a realistic weekly fantasy commodity. Brown hasn't gone over 100 yards since the season opener and had only two targets last week. He'll be a boom/bust WR4 if he plays. Willie Snead, Miles Boykin and Mark Andrews would see more targets if Brown is forced to sit out.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said that the team isn't ruling out wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) for Week 14 against the Lions. "Hes frustrated. I think hes got a good opportunity this week (to play), so well see. Hes working really hard. He obviously wants to get out there with his guys. Hes a great competitor. ... When he's ready, he's ready," Zimmer said. Thielen has yet to practice this week, however, so fantasy owners shouldn't be banking on him playing against Detroit. If he does suit up, though, he'll have WR2 upside in the first round of the fantasy playoffs. Stefon Diggs also has high-end WR2 upside regardless of whether Thielen plays. Kyle Rudolph and Olabisi Johnson won't have as much appeal if Thielen returns.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said that he expects running back Dalvin Cook (chest) to play in Week 14 against the Lions and be close to 100 percent. Cook left the Monday night game against the Seahawks and didn't return, but he said shortly after that he planned on playing this Sunday, and he's been limited in practices so far this week. Barring a late setback, Cook will be active and will be a high-end RB1 in a great matchup against Detroit. Cook ranks fifth in the NFL with 1.046 yards on the ground. Backup Alexander Mattison could see more change-of-pace work behind Cook this week, but he's still tough to trust for standalone value.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (hand) returned to a full practice on Thursday. Mack has been sidelined since Nov. 17, but he's well on his way to returning to action in Week 14 against the Buccaneers. In a tough matchup against Tampa's defensive front and possibly at risk of sharing touches with Jonathan Williams, Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, Mack will be more of a low-end RB2 this weekend if he makes his way back. Rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell (hand) has practiced in full the last two days as well, making it likely he makes his return this weekend. He should be in three-wide sets with Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson, but Campbell is a fantasy dart throw the rest of the way in this run-first offense.
Carolina Panthers interim head coach Perry Fewell said the tight end position will be a committee approach this week with Greg Olsen (concussion) unlikely to play. The committee will include Chris Manhertz, Ian Thomas and Alex Armah. Thomas is the best bet of the bunch after he posted 36 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games as a rookie last year with Olsen missing time due to injury. He has only five receptions (nine targets) for 28 yards in 2019, though, with Olsen staying healthy up until now. Thomas is the best bet of this group as a TE2 streamer, but he won't be a strong fantasy option if he sees limited snaps. If you own Olsen, you need to look for other options.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn will face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. Ginn has been a feast-or-famine deep-threat this year. He owns the highest yards per reception mark on the Saints but will play a 49ers Defense that allows the fewest pass plays of 20 yards or more. The 34-year-old is coming off a catch-less game and hasn't caught more than three passes since Week 1. Ginn should be benched, or left on the waiver wire, for the fantasy playoffs.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (hamstring) returned to practice on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. The Titans are just resting Henry early in the week. He's been the best running back in the NFL in the last three games, running for well over 100 yards in each contest and totaling five touchdowns in that span on the ground. He'll get another great matchup in the Raiders in Week 14. Henry is a must-start fantasy commodity in the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown (undisclosed) left practice early after stretching with an undisclosed ailment. Wideout Adam Humphries (ankle) also missed practice for the second straight day. Brown's situation is worth monitoring the rest of the week. He would be a likely candidate to sit out in Week 14 against the Raiders if he can't get back to practice on Friday. With Humphries also on the wrong side of questionable for this weekend, it could be Tajae Sharpe, Cody Hollister and Kalif Raymond behind Corey Davis in the receiving game. Only Davis would be worth fantasy consideration as a WR4/flex against Oakland.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (shoulder) and tight end Austin Hooper (knee) are both practicing again on Thursday, which is a good sign for their availability in Week 14 against the Panthers. Jones missed the Thanksgiving game and Hooper has missed the last three contests, so getting them both back would be excellent news for quarterback Matt Ryan. Despite not scoring since Sept. 22, Jones will return to being a high-end WR1 if he's active. He had six catches for 91 yards against Carolina in the first meeting on Nov. 17. Hooper has been a breakout star this year with 56 receptions for 608 yards and six touchdowns, so he'll be a must-start TE1 if he's back this Sunday.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas will face the stingy San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. The 49ers have allowed only 134.2 passing yards per game this year, best in the NFL. Despite this, one receiver has posted at least 50 yards or scored a touchdown in eight games against the 49ers this year. Considering how involved Thomas is, he should be able to eclipse 50 yards. He has the lowest upside of virtually any WR1 this week and has some risk, given that Drew Brees may struggle to put up good numbers. Still, Thomas has been the best fantasy asset at wide receiver this year. It's realistic to expect him to at least reach 15 fantasy points, even against this defense.
Oakland Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) wasn't seen at the start of practice on Thursday. Jacobs revealed on Tuesday that he's been playing through a fractured shoulder since Week 7, so back-to-back missed practices are now more concerning for anyone that owns Jacobs. Despite his injured shoulder, Jacobs has remained productive in his first season and is fourth in the NFL with 1,061 rushing yards in 2019. He'll be a bit more of a risky RB1 this weekend if he suits up, but his fantasy owners will have their minds more at ease if Jacobs returns to practice on Friday. If he cannot play this weekend, Deandre Washington would be the obvious plug and play, with Jalen Richard mixing in on passing downs.
Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (knee), who revealed he's dealing with an MCL injury, is in doubt for Week 14 against the Texans. "I'm already undersized. When you take away exotic movements that make me who I am it changes the type of player I am. I have to get that back to go out and play. If I don't have that back then I need to take time to get that right," Miller said. He was limited in practice on Wednesday, but that doesn't mean he'll play this weekend. Another Miller absence would be great news for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and the whole offense. Even if Miller suits up, the Broncos Defense should be avoided in fantasy.