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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Atlanta Falcons two-time Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper will become a free agent on March 16, and he could reset the tight end market with his next deal. Hooper was fifth in the league in catches among all players with 52 through the first eight games of last season. He missed three games with a knee injury but still managed to finish with a career-high 75 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns. Hooper is expected to top Jimmy Graham's $10 million per-year-average from his 2014 contract with the Saints, even if the Falcons re-sign him. With the Falcons having little room with the salary cap, they'll have to do reshuffling to keep Hooper. Staying with Atlanta would probably be best for his fantasy stock, but Hooper could easily remain a high-end TE1 if he goes elsewhere.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (abdomen), who had surgery on Jan. 21 on a core muscle, posted a video on his Instagram of him running on a treadmill on Thursday. A league sources estimates that Beckham will be healthy in a month. There's no guarantee that OBJ will take part in the offseason program, which begins on April 6 for teams with new head coaches. Cleveland's new offensive system will challenge quarterback Baker Mayfield, who won't be able to work with his top receivers until training camp. If Beckham and Mayfield can get on the same page, they should have a good shot to improve on their numbers last season. However, Beckham will be seen as more of a low-end WR1 with upside until the Browns prove us wrong.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have considered signing quarterback Jameis Winston to a two-year deal this offseason, with the first year guaranteed and the second year a team option, according to sources. The first year of the deal would be roughly the same as the franchise tag of $27 million. Tampa could also just use the franchise or transition tag, with the transition tag around $2.5 million cheaper than the franchise tag. The 26-year-old led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards and 33 touchdowns last year, but he also led the NFL with 30 interceptions. Winston's fantasy value will be the highest as a QB1 if he stays in Tampa with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as his top two receivers.
The Chicago Bears are releasing wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and cornerback Prince Amukamara on Friday, according to a source. Gabriel played in just nine games in his second and final season in Chicago in 2019 because of injuries, catching only 29 passes (48 targets) for 353 yards and four touchdowns. He's still on the right side of 30 years old but offers a limited upside in fantasy and limited size (5-foot-7, 168 pounds). Gabriel did manage a career-high 67 catches, 688 yards and two scores in 2018. Depending on where he lands in free agency, he's likely to be a complementary piece of a passing offense. Amukamara, 31 this June, had 53 tackles (44 solo), a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 15 games for the Bears last season.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) is making good progress from the plantar fasciitis issues he dealt with last season. In his first year with the Raiders, Williams caught 42 passes for 651 yards and six touchdowns. He only missed two games but was slowed by his foot issues, mostly in the second half. Williams started off with five touchdowns in his first five games, but he predictably fell off from there with just one more touchdown on the season. He gives the Raiders a downfield threat, but the problem is that quarterback Derek Carr doesn't often challenge defenses deep. If Las Vegas addresses the receiver position in free agency or the draft, Williams could have even more trouble being a consistent performer. As of now, he's a touchdown-dependent flex option.
The Jacksonville Jaguars exercised their team options for fifth-year wide receiver Chris Conley and fourth-year safety Jarrod Wilson on Friday. Conley will be under contract for 2020, while Wilson is now under contract through 2021. Conley set a career high in catches (47), receiving yards (775) and yards per catch (16.5) in his first season with the Jaguars in 2019. He managed five touchdowns in all 16 games (14 starts). The 27-year-old has 10 touchdowns in the last two seasons, but his fantasy ceiling is limited in a run-first offense while also competing for targets with D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook. Think of Conley as more of a WR5/flex play in deeper leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery could be open to a trade if the team explores one this offseason. However, he could be tough to trade coming off a Lisfranc foot injury while having high salary cap numbers the next two seasons. Jeffery has a history of injuries during his playing career and managed to play in just 10 games for the Eagles in 2019, catching 43 passes for 490 yards and four touchdowns. It was his lowest yardage total since his rookie year in 2012 with Chicago. The 30-year-old posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Bears in 2013-14, but he's become an inconsistent, injury prone wideout the last two seasons in Philly. A change of scenery wouldn't necessarily make him any more attractive to fantasy owners.
The Washington Redskins are growing increasingly hopeful that left tackle Trent Williams will return to the team, as head coach Ron Rivera has made him one of his offseason priorities in trying to get him to return. Williams held out last season because of beef with the team's previous front-office regime and training staff, but those parties are all gone. Rivera and Williams have had positive phone conversations, and it sounds like they have a good shot to retain him. It's all good news for second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who looked a little overmatched in limited playing time in his rookie season. The 'Skins are slowly rebuilding, and having Williams anchor down Haskins' blind side would be huge.
The Indianapolis Colts are expected to be in the market for wide receivers this offseason, and they've already been linked to Philadelphia Eagles impending free-agent wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Agholor had his best season in 2017 when Frank Reich and Mike Groh were offensive assistants -- they are both with the Colts now. In just 11 games in 2019, Agholor disappointed with 39 receptions for 363 yards and three touchdowns. An injury ended his season early, but he couldn't take advantage of DeSean Jackson's injury that kept him out for the majority of the year. A change of scenery would probably serve him well, but he wouldn't be guaranteed a large role in Indy's run-first offense with questions at quarterback.
The Detroit Lions plan to release defensive tackle Damon Harrison in the coming days, according to a source. The move will free up around $6.7 million in salary cap space but will leave the team with a hole on their defensive line up the middle. Even though Snacks Harrison had a down year in 2019 due to knee and groin injuries, he was their best defensive player in the second half of 2018 after he was acquired from the Giants. Harrison finished with 49 tackles last year, his lowest total since his rookie year in 2012, and he only had two sacks in 15 games. He will consider retirement this offseason while seeing what materializes in free agency. In his prime, Harrison was one of the best run-stuffing nose tackles in the game.
The Tennessee Titans aren't expected to pick up wide receiver Corey Davis' fifth-year team option for the 2021 season. If the Titans were to pick it up, Davis would be owed around $15.8 million in 2021. The 25-year-old former fifth overall pick in 2017 had 65 catches for 891 yards in his sophomore season in 2018, but he regressed in 2019 when he had only 43 receptions for 601 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie A.J. Brown became the Titans go-to No. 1 receiver last year. Tennessee envisioned Davis becoming that guy when they drafted him, but he's failed to live up to expectations in his three seasons. Heading into 2020, he'll be a WR4/5 without much upside in this run-first offense.
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said on Thursday that wide receiver A.J. Green is "a guy we want to be around." Green hasn't played in a game since December of 2018 and hasn't been a Pro Bowler since 2017 in his last full season. He's due to become a free agent next month and has played in just nine games the last two years, but the Bengals could still use him. If Cincinnati can't reach a long-term extension with the veteran, they're likely to use the franchise tag on him. Turning 32 this summer, Green has had 1,000 yards receiving in six of his eight seasons, but his fantasy stock will be way down since he hasn't been able to stay healthy of late. If he remains with the Bengals, as is expected, he'll likely have LSU quarterback Joe Burrow throwing him passes in 2020.
The Washington Redskins released tight end Jordan Reed on Thursday. The move was expected and will save the team $8.5 million in salary cap space. Reed missed all of the 2019 season with a concussion, his seventh documented one in his seven seasons. He was just cleared from the league's concussion protocol on Wednesday and has never played a full season in the NFL due to head and other injuries. Despite the lingering concussion concerns, a source close to Reed said he wants to continue playing. In a career-high 14 games in 2015, Reed had 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. Without Reed in the picture, Washington's top tight end is Jeremy Sprinkle, who had 26 catches in 2019. However, he's considered more of a blocker, so the 'Skins will surely look to bolster the position in free agency or the draft. If Reed continues his career and lands elsewhere, he'll strictly be a low-end injury risk as a TE2.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip) is expected to be sidelined six to eight months after having surgery to shave down some cartilage and remove two pieces of bone embedded in the labrum of his left hip on Feb. 4. The Browns expect Landry to make a full recovery for the 2020 season, but he might be limited in training camp and could be questionable for the Week 1. He will be on crutches for two weeks and then can continue with physical therapy and riding a stationary bike. Despite dealing with the hip injury in 2019, Landry didn't miss a game for the sixth straight year and had career highs in yards (1,174) and yards per catch (14.1). His six touchdowns were the second-best total of his career. With a new coaching staff in place, losing repetitions in training camp could be problematic. Landry will have some added risk as a WR2 in PPR leagues in 2020.
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen met two figures that voided the final three years of his contract by securing six or more sacks and playing 57 percent or more of the defensive snaps in 2019. As such, Griffen has exercised his right to opt out of his deal, according to a source. That will free up roughly $13 million in salary cap space for the Vikings, with $800,000 in dead money. The 32-year-old was already at risk of being cut with a $13.9 million cap hit in 2020. The Vikings might try to keep him around at a reduced price, as Griffen had eight sacks and 24 QB knockdowns last season. He's been a great complement to Danielle Hunter on the other side of the line, so losing Griffen would be a blow to the Vikes pass rush.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (core) should be completely recovered from his core muscle surgery in about a month, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: It appears like Beckham should be ready of offseason workouts as long as he does not suffer a setback. He will be working under a new offensive scheme next season but is still one of the top receivers in the NFL. He will be a weekly starting option in fantasy leagues in 2020.
Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed was released Thursday, Feb. 20, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Reed wants to play next season, so fantasy players can keep an eye on the situation. He probably will receive interest from teams but is a risky option because of his injury history. Reed could be a No. 2 tight end in fantasy leagues if he starts for a team.
Free-agent WR Antonio Brown (Patriots) is scheduled to have his grievance against the Oakland Raiders heard by an arbitrator in May, according to a source.
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr recently posted an photo on Instagram of himself talking with Chicago Bears DL Khalil Mack following a game last season, and the post is part of speculation that Carr could be traded to the Bears this offseason and reunited with Mack.
Fantasy Spin: The Bears have said they expect Mitchell Trubisky to be their 2020 starter, but they also said he could have competition in the QB room, and Carr would certainly provide as much. Stay tuned ...
Washington Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar said that he reached out to the team to discuss a reasonable contract restructure, but the team declined to have conversations, according to sources close to Dunbar. Despite denying that he requested a trade, Dunbar remains adamant in his desire to be traded or released. The 27-year-old was one of the better cover corners in the league last season, but it's looking like the new regime in Washington isn't falling for his contract demands. There's a good chance that they'll look to trade Dunbar this offseason if they can't work something out with him. He had 37 tackles (31 solo) and a career-high four interceptions in 11 games played in 2019.