Tue Apr 24 12:34 pm
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Newton has favorable schedule
The NFL has officially released the schedule for the 2017 season. It is always a good idea to take a look at all the schedules to see how it impacts the coming fantasy season. We will release all the fantasy strength of schedule rankings in our upcoming Draft Guide. But for now, here is a quick overview of each position for the coming year. We will start with quarterbacks. . . . .
Quarterback SOS RANK FANTASY PTS ALLOWED 1. Browns 291.02 2. Packers 292.78 3. Bengals 294.22 4. Texans 296.44 5. 49ers 298.48 28. Seahawks 314.31 29. Chargers 316.08 30. Patriots 316.56 31. Panthers 316.66 32. Bills 321.23
We still aren't sure who is going to start for the Browns to open the season, but whoever gets the job is going to be a fantasy concern. The Browns have the toughest fantasy schedule for quarterbacks. Not good. Aaron Rodgers had an injury plagued season last year and the second toughest fantasy schedule for this season. This is a bit of a concern for the coming year. You also might have some concerns about Deshaun Watson. He is trying to return from a major injury and has the fourth toughest schedule for fantasy quarterbacks. Can he repeat his huge start to his career?
Meanwhile, three of the top quarterbacks in the game get very favorable fantasy schedules. Cam Newton, Tom Brady and Russell Willson all have very good schedules for success this year. These guys could all make a run at being the top fantasy quarterback in the game this season. And don't count out Philip Rivers for one more big season. He is another player with a schedule setup for success.
Running back SOS RANK FANTASY PTS ALLOWED 1. Redskins 363.08 2. Rams 365.30 3. Lions 372.03 4. 49ers 372.71 5. Packers 372.86 28. Jets 388.91 29. Cardinals 389.04 30. Saints 390.30 31. Broncos 392.05 32. Vikings 398.87
Todd Gurley was the top fantasy back in the game last season, but gets the second toughest schedule for fantasy backs this season. He could have a hard time repeating last year's monster season. And the Redskins and Lions have unsettled running back situations that look even worse after seeing this ranking. Both could be situations to avoid going forward. Stay tuned.
Don't forget about Dalvin Cook this year. He got hurt his rookie season but will be back and starting in a good Vikings offense that gets the easiest fantasy schedule for running backs. The Saints were explosive running the ball last year and should do well once again, getting the third easiest schedule for fantasy running backs. The Jets, Cardinals and Broncos also have easy schedules for running backs, but don't have their running backs set just yet. So keep an eye on those jobs this training camp.
Wide receiver SOS RANK FANTASY PTS ALLOWED 1. Browns 474.49 2. Colts 476.60 3. Titans 479.34 4. Bengals 480.01 5. Ravens 481.33 28. Panthers 521.79 29. Buccaneers 521.92 30. Dolphins 522.87 31. Saints 526.23 32. Falcons 534.21
The Browns added some talent at receiver, getting a legit No. 1 in Jarvis Landry. But Landry has some fantasy concerns for the coming season. He moves to an offense with quarterback questions and gets the toughest fantasy schedule for tight ends. Not good. The Titans and Ravens didn't get much out of their receivers last year and might be in a similar situation this year, having a very challenging fantasy schedule for receivers. Lastly, TY Hilton looks like a better option this year with Andrew Luck likely back in the mix, but his schedule is a concern, having the second hardest fantasy schedule for receivers.
Julio Jones, Michael Thomas and Mike Evans are three of the elite fantasy receivers in the game. Things look great for them this year once again, having very favorable fantasy schedules for receivers. Any of these guys could be the No. 1 overall fantasy receiver this season. DeVante Parker and Devin Funchess are two players that could finally have those breakout years, having favorable schedules for success.
Tight End SOS RANK FANTASY PTS ALLOWED 1. Packers 173.80 2. Falcons 173.94 3. Bears 174.96 4. Panthers 175.19 5. Lions 176.16 28. Colts 196.11 29. Raiders 198.01 30. Titans 198.81 31. Chiefs 201.20 32. Chargers 205.32
The Packers made a big splash in free agency, signing Jimmy Graham. He should be a big boost to the offense, but might have a hard time reaching past success. Graham moves to an offense that doesn't have a history of using the tight end and also has the toughest overall fantasy schedule for tight ends. Greg Olsen is another past top fantasy tight end with some concerns for this year. Olsen is coming off an injury-plagued season and gets the fourth hardest fantasy schedule for tight ends.
On a positive note, Hunter Henry seems primed for a breakout season. He has the easiest fantasy schedule for tight ends and should garner all the work at the position for the Chargers with Antonio Gates no longer around. Travis Kelce was huge last year and should be once again this year, having a very easy schedule for tight ends. You also have to like the prospects of Delanie Walker and Jack Doyle, two more players that were good last year with favorable schedules for success.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell will not join the team for their Week 8 game against the Cleveland Browns. There had been a report a few weeks earlier that Bell would be back after the Week 7 bye. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hinted on Monday that Bell may not join the team until after the October 30 trade deadline. Bell has missed all six of the Steelers' games this season to show his displeasure over the lack of a long-term contract. James Conner will remain the team's lead back in Week 8.
Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch is headed to Injured Reserve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Lynch was ruled out for about a month last week after their game against the Seahawks and now officially on IR. He is able to return in 8 weeks, but until then the backfield work will be split by Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and potentially Deandre Washington, but their roles are unclear as of now.
The Jacksonville Jaguars released running back Jamaal Charles on Monday after he had only six carries in two games. With the team acquiring Carlos Hyde last Friday, there's no need for Charles on the roster with Leonard Fournette (hamstring) likely sidelined through the team's Week 9 bye.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said kicker Adam Vinatieri (groin) has been dealing with a groin injury, and the team will work out kickers in the next few days. However, no decision on whether Vinatieri will play in Week 8 against the Raiders will be made until later in the week. The ageless wonder made a 36-yard kick in the 37-5 blowout win over the Bills but missed two of his four extra-points attempts and aggravated his injury. The 45-year-old will remain a strong fantasy kicker against Oakland's porous defense if he's active, but it's looking like he might be held out.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler has already been confirmed as the starter for the Dolphins Week 8 matchup against the Houston Texans. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) has been ruled out for the third-consecutive game. Osweiler has played well as a starter having thrown for over 600 yards and five touchdowns in the past two weeks. Osweiler is an option at QB2 but isn't an excellent option as the Dolphins receiving core continues to be littered with injuries.
While Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will start in Week 8 in London against the Eagles after being benched in Week 7, backup Cody Kessler will receive practice repetitions with the first-team offense, according to a source. If Bortles struggles early again in London, the team could turn to Kessler again. Bortles has earned the short leash with his poor play this year. He's gone over 300 yards in a game three times but also has under 200 yards passing in three other contests, not counting Week 7. Bortles has nine touchdowns and eight interceptions and a 60.6 completion percentage. It hasn't helped that running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) hasn't played in a full game this year. Bortles will be a low-end QB2 for Week 8 across the pond.
Free-agent QB Tom Savage (49ers) was re-signed to an undisclosed deal by the San Francisco 49ers Monday, Oct. 22.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Daesean Hamilton (knee) is dealing with an MCL sprain after being injured in the Week 7 game against the Cardinals last Thursday. Hamilton has been serving as a punt returner and No. 4 wideout behind Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and rookie Courtland Sutton, so he doesn't have any immediate fantasy value to speak of. Expect Hamilton to be sidelined for a few weeks.
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced that quarterback Derek Anderson will start in Week 8 against the Patriots on Monday night with rookie Josh Allen (elbow) set to miss another week. In his first start for Buffalo after signing the previous week, Anderson was pitiful, going 20-for-31 for 175 yards, no touchdowns, three interceptions and a lost fumble. Although New England's defense has been giving up a ton of yards and points, Anderson isn't a starting option, even in two-QB leagues. The Patriots defense/special teams will be a popular streaming option this week.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper was pursued by the Philadelphia Eagles before being traded to the Cowboys. Whether or not the Colts made an offer was not disclosed.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will stick with Blake Bortles as the team's starting quarterback for the Week 8 meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles. Though the team benched Bortles during a rough Week 7 performance against the Texans for backup Cody Kessler, they'll keep Bortles in the starting lineup for at least another week. Don't expect much from Bortles in this matchup, and continue to monitor the situation to see if the Jaguars turn to Kessler if Bortles has another bad week.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (groin) has been ruled out for Week 8 on Thursday against the Texans and could possibly be out longer. It's been downhill ever since Stills caught four passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener. He hasn't had more than three catches or 61 yards in any game since then and can now be dropped in most leagues. With Albert Wilson now possibly out for the season as well, Danny Amendola, Jakeem Grant and Devante Parker will be featured in three-wide sets on Thursday. Amendola is the most attractive fantasy option in PPR leagues and will be a popular waiver pickup this week.
In an estimation of the injury report, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola (shoulder) and rookie tight end Mike Gesicki (shoulder) would've both been limited in practice on Monday. Both should be fine to play this Thursday against the Texans. With Albert Wilson (hip) and Kenny Stills (groin) both out, Amendola and Gesicki could see bigger roles in the passing game. Amendola will be a WR3/flex for PPR leagues as a waiver pickup, while Gesicki remains a desperation TE2. Tight end A.J. Derby (foot) missed practice again and seems unlikely to play this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles will return as starting quarterback in Week 8, according to head coach Doug Marrone. Marrone said he believes Bortles gives the Jaguars the best chance to win.
Fantasy Spin: Bortles has played abysmally in his last three contests, throwing two touchdowns and five interceptions. His rushing ability makes him more fantasy relevant, but he simply can't be trusted as a starting fantasy quarterback at this juncture.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith followed up his performance against the Washington Redskins in Week 7 with a decent showing against the Philadelphia Eagles. Smith finished the game with four receptions for 61 yards. Smith has largely been ineffective for fantasy so far this year, however, it cannot be ignored that Smith has had two good performances back to back. Smith isn't yet considered to be a good addition to fantasy rosters as of yet with receiving options Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and Greg Olsen looking to try and compete with the current team leading receiver Devin Funchess
Carolina Panthers rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore had a quiet week against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7. Moore had seen an increase in this opportunity over the previous weeks since his bye week, finishing the Eagles game with 29 yards from three receptions. Moore will continue to struggle for fantasy relevance with quarterback Cam Newton preferring the passing options of Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey regularly.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess was able to take this team-high 11 targets to have a productive game against the Eagles. Funchess finished the game with six receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown. Funchess by far and away had the biggest opportunity in the game, attracting around a third of all of the pass attempts by quarterback Cam Newton.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen finished his game against the Philadelphia Eagles with a touchdown which enabled him to have some fantasy relevance. Olsen had a difficult outing in his second week from injury. Olsen finished the game with just two receptions for five yards and a sole touchdown. Olsen attracted five targets in the game, which was far off the team's target leader Devin Funchess but Olsen will attract enough targets to be fantasy relevant going forwards.
Miami Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler will be under center again this week as QB Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) remains sidelined.
Fantasy Spin: Osweiler has held his own in the two games he has started in place of Tannehill, throwing for 609 yards and five touchdowns in that span. Despite the recent success, he's not a recommended start versus the Houston Texans Thursday night.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (quadriceps) is expected to play in Week 8, according to head coach Adam Gase.
Fantasy Spin: Despite Parker's tenure to forget in Miami, the Dolphins need him with both Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson nursing injuries. However, it is best to wait at least a week before deploying Parker into starting lineups. He has played sparingly in 2018 as he has not been able to stay healthy.