Tue Oct 15 8:43am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Sam Darnold is making strides
This seems to be a theme with this column, but as the season progresses, it really does get harder to find quality options on waivers. Teams have byes and injuries, so the pickups become a lot more frequent. And the players breaking out are harder to find as well because a lot of roles are established with less uncertainty in the game. These factors make it tougher on a weekly basis as the season progresses. So don’t get too frustrated with the waivers going forward. Just remember that all the owners are facing the same issues as you.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings. It is time to believe in Cousins again. He has two straight huge games, throwing for 300-plus yards in each of his last two games while totaling six touchdowns to just one interception. He is playing with much more confidence and finally taking advantage of his great receiver duo. Cousins was dropped in many leagues after his slow start but his recent play should cause him to be grabbed in all those leagues once again. He is available in 30 percent of leagues.
Sam Darnold, Jets. Darnold returned from his bout with mono and had his best game of the season, beating a pretty good Cowboys teams. Darnold was 23-of-32 for 338 yards and two touchdowns with an interception las week. He has the tools to produce in this league and could be a good spot starter the rest of the way. He was impressive last week.
Case Keenum, Redskins. Keenum might not be the best NFL quarterback but he has produced for fantasy teams this year when in the starting lineup. He has multiple touchdown passes every game he has started and finished this year. He has at least 17 fantasy points all those games, too. He is another player worth consideration as a spot play for fantasy teams in the right matchup. He is producing.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals. David Johnson was able to play last week, but Edmonds got his chances once again. He scored a touchdown for the second straight game. He also has at least 14 fantasy point two straight games. The Cardinals might need to manage Johnson’s workload a little better gong forward, giving more weekly touches to Edmonds. And Edmonds is making plays with his work, which is encouraging.
Mark Walton, Dolphins. With the Dolphins struggling to run the ball, Walton got his most chances of the season last week. He played pretty well, rushing six times for 32 yards while catching five passes for 43 yards. He had 11 touches for 75 total yards. He might be playing his way into a bigger role going forward, making him worth a speculative look if you are desperate for running back help.
Benny Snell, Steelers. Snell had a season high 17 carries last week for 75 yards. It was the first time al year he had more than three carries in a game, so this performance was unexpected. The Steelers were run heavy with a third-string quarterback starting, though. Snell was impressive with his work and could be getting a few more weekly chances the rest of the way. James Conner hasn’t exactly excelled with his chances this year, so the Steelers could start given their rookie back more looks.
Darrell Henderson, Rams. Henderson got his most work of the season with Todd Gurley out. Henderson played pretty well, rushing six times for 39 yards. He outplayed starter Malcolm Brown in the game, which is encouraging. Gurley is an injury waiting to happen, so Henderson is worth adding if you have the roster space. His role could continue to increase in this offense.
Jaron Brown, Seahawks. Brown found the end zone twice last week, scoring for the first time all year. He has multiple receptions four straight games and is getting some consistent work in the Seahawks passing game. He isn’t a sure thing but has some red-zone potential and is getting weekly catches, making him a player to consider streaming if you need receiver help because of injury or bye weeks.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins. Parker had just three catches for 28 yards last week but one of those catches was a touchdown reception. This gives him scores two straight games and at least three receptions all but a game. The Dolphins are a mess, but Parker has the highest ceiling of any of their receivers, making him another player to consider if you need someone for a spot play.
Jamison Crowder, Jets. The return of Sam Darnold was a huge positive for Crowder. He had a great game in Week 6, catching six passes for 98 yards. Remember, he had 14 receptions for 99 yards in Week 1 when Darnold was playing. He might not score many touchdowns but he has big reception potential as long as Darnold is in the lineup. Crowder is available in 41 percent of fantasy leagues.
Darren Fells, Texans. The Texans are incorporating the tight end into the offense a lot more these days. And Fells is the top target at tight end for them right now. He had a season high in receptions (six) and yards (69) last week. And he had a two-touchdown game the previous week. His value is going up in this very good Texans offense.
Hunter Henry, Chargers. Henry was dropped in many leagues after his early-season knee injury. But for all the owners that held onto him, he paid off in a big way in Week 6. Henry had eight receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns. In two games this year, Henry has 12 receptions for 160 yards. He is a huge part of this offense and a legit No. 1 fantasy tight end. He is available in 25 percent of leagues. This will be the last week you can grab him if you are in one of those leagues.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 3
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert has been helped to the locker room with an apparent left foot injury in Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. With the Eagles already light on pass catchers and already relying on two-tight-end sets to make their offense work, it'll be important to watch to see how serious this issue is and if Goedert is able to return to the field in Week 3.
San Francisco 49ers tight end Jordan Reed fell awkwardly in the back of the end zone in the first half of Sunday's game against the New York Jets. It appeared that Reed suffered a left ankle injury. The MetLife Stadium turf took a toll on the 49ers last week when they faced the Jets, and it appears the trend is continuing. If Reed ends up missing time, expect Ross Dwelley to work as the primary backup tight end to George Kittle, who isn't playing in this week's game after he was hurt at this stadium last week.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins won't be active in Week 3 against the Washington Football Team. Considering he took just vie offensive snaps in Week 2, this move shouldn't come as a big surprise. Higgins was getting some preseason hype, but it's time to pull the ripcord if you're still rostering him in redraft leagues. KhaDarel Hodge has solidified a role as the No. 3 receiver in Cleveland, and we'll see a little more of JoJo Natson today, though not enough to make any kind of fantasy movement happen.
Los Angeles Rams rookie running back Cam Akers (ribs) is out for Sunday's contest against the Buffalo Bills. Without Akers, expect Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. to split carries, with the advantage likely going to Henderson. Brown is a touchdown-dependent fantasy play, while Henderson has the potential to be a solid RB3. Both guys have their upside limited due to a tough matchup with the Buffalo Bills Defense.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Tajae Sharpe is a healthy scratch on Sunday against his former team, the Tennessee Titans. Considering Sharpe had taken just 16 offensive snaps this season, this doesn't move the needle at all. Wide receiver Chad Beebe will play for the first time this year, but like Sharpe would have been, Beebe isn't a fantasy option this week. The Vikings offense doesn't have the upside to support their fringe receivers as fantasy plays.
No surprise here, as all reports indicated both would play, but it's now official: Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (hip) and tight end Darren Waller (knee) are both playing against the Patriots. Both players are must-play options in season-long leagues, with Waller being a TE1 option and Jacobs being a strong RB2 play. Don't be concerned about how the injury issues will impact their performance today. The bigger issue is the Patriots Defense and a game script that might be bad for Jacobs.
Las Vegas Raiders TE Darren Waller (knee) will play in Week 3's game against the New England Patriots.
Fantasy Spin: Waller has 18 receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown through his first two games this season and has developed into QB Derek Carr's favorite target. His steady role in the Las Vegas offense makes him a viable starting option in all fantasy formats.
Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins will be one of the starting receivers in Week 3 because WR John Ross is inactive for the game. WR Auden Tate is also active this week after being inactive last week.
Fantasy Spin: Higgins is off to a slow start this season with only 35 receiving yards but should be more involved in the passing game this week. He has a chance to have success against the Philadelphia Eagles and could be a flex option in deeper leagues. Tate may see a handful of targets but can be avoided in most leagues. Fantasy players should keep an eye on Ross' status to see when he will return to the lineup.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross III is a healthy scratch in Week 3 against the Eagles. After being targeted five times in Week 1 and playing 84 percent of the team's snaps, he saw that snap share fall to 30 percent last week. Now, the Bengals won't have Ross on the field this week. It sounds like this team is already wanting to see how rookie Tee Higgins and other players look. This isn't the first time that the Bengals have made a wide receiver a surprise inactive this year, and Ross could very well suit up next week, but his fantasy outlook moving forward becomes very cloudy. You can probably drop him in most season-long redraft leagues.
New York Giants running back Devonta Freeman was just signed this week, but he'll officially be active for Sunday's meeting with a banged-up 49ers Defense. Freeman's a risky fantasy option for this week as he works his way into being part of a new team, but at some point this season, Freeman's going to be the lead back in the Meadowlands. For this week, he's a deep-league flex option with a fairly low floor.
The San Francisco 49ers have declared CB Ahkello Witherspoon, DL Dee Ford, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, LB Dre Greenlaw, TE George Kittle, OG Tom Compton and RB Raheem Mostert inactive for Week 3.
The Chicago Bears have declared OT Arlington Hambright, DL Daniel McCullers, LB Trevis Gipson, CB Duke Shelley and WR Riley Ridley inactive for Week 3.
The New York Giants have declared S Adrian Colbert, DT R.J. McIntosh, TE Eric Tomlinson, CB Brandon Z. Williams, OT Jackson Barton and LB T.J. Brunson inactive for Week 3.
Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson Jr. (ankle) is inactive for the team's Week 3 contest against the Steelers, which means that David Johnson should function as the workhorse back for the team this week. It's a bad matchup for Johnson, but his projected volume gives him a good shot at being an RB2 on the day. Elsewhere on the team, wide receiver Kenny Stills (illness) is playing but is the No. 4 receiver on the team and isn't a fantasy option. Defensive tackle Ross Blacklock -- who was ejected from last week's game -- is also inactive and could be in head coach Bill O'Brien's doghouse.
New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry (ankle) is officially active for the team's Week 3 meeting with the Las Vegas Raiders. Harry had a bit of a lost season as a rookie, but has become one of the primary targets for quarterback Cam Newton in 2020. His high target share and the lack of viable receiving options in New England makes Harry a solid WR3 with upside, even if there are valid concerns about just how healthy he'll be out there with an injured ankle.
The Minnesota Vikings have declared OL Olisaemeka Udoh, WR K.J. Osborn, CB Cameron Dantzler, WR Tajae Sharpe, CB Mike Hughes, DE Eddie Yarbrough and DE James Lynch inactive for Week 3.
The Washington Football Team have declared OT David Sharpe, QB Alex Smith, OT Saahdiq Charles, RB Bryce Love, LB Cole Holcomb, CB Danny Johnson and DE James Smith-Williams inactive for Week 3.
The Cincinnati Bengals have declared LB Markus Bailey, WR John Ross, RB Trayveon Williams, DE Andrew Brown, PK Austin Seibert and DL Geno Atkins inactive for Week 3.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) is officially inactive for the team's Week 3 meeting with the Chicago Bears. In his stead, expect big performances from both Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage. Ridley becomes a WR1 option, and Gage is now a solid WR3. Tight end Hayden Hurst gets a boost as well. As for Jones, this shouldn't be a huge surprise as he seemed to be trending down all week. Now, the question becomes if Jones will miss more than just this one game.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor (lungs) is already ruled out for Week 3, but it seems his absence due to a punctured lung that happened pre-game in Week 2 will stretch until at least the team's Week 4 meeting with Tampa Bay. Justin Herbert will start this week and should be the starter again in Week 4 if healthy. As for Taylor, the team has said the quarterback job is his when healthy, but things could if Herbert plays well over the next couple of games.