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Fantasy Question Marks

Fri Aug 23 11:10am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Not sure about you, but I feel like this year is filled with a lot more draft day question marks compared to the last few seasons. There are plenty of players with injury concerns and holdout issues, making for some tough decisions come draft day. I thought it would be a good idea to let you know how I am handling these players on draft day, letting you know my strategy when it comes to players with question marks. 

Rams running back Todd Gurley is the first draft-day headache. He missed time down the stretch because of a sore knee. Gurley has endured numerous knee surgeries as well, which is cause for concern. You just aren’t sure how much he has left in the tank, but when on the field and right, he is as good as any fantasy back in the game. For me, I will take a chance on Gurley in the second round if I have a top-four pick and am able to grab an elite, sure-thing running back. I also will take a look at Gurley if he falls to the third round, depending on how I already have on my roster. 

There are a couple running backs holding out, including Ezekiel Elliott. I have fewer concerns about Elliott because I can’t see the Cowboys going into the season without their star back. They need Elliott if the team hopes to make the playoffs and a run towards the Super Bowl. He is a huge part of the offense. So for now, I am still taking Elliott if he is there with the fourth pick in the draft. And if he falls later, I will be more than happy to get him any spot in the first round after pick three. But if I take Elliott, I am more than likely getting a back with my second pick to make sure I have a backup plan if Elliott misses any time because of his holdout. I will go back-to-back running backs with Elliott on my roster. 

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is the other back that is holding out. Gordon has me a lot more scared then Elliott. The Chargers don't have a good track record of caving when it comes contract demands. I could see this situation dragging out into the season, which is a concern for anyone that drafts Gordon. But with that said, if Gordon falls into like the fourth round, I would grab him. I’m not sure I would take him in the third, though. I just think he carries too much risk at this point and his backups could end up splitting work, which is another concern as well if you want a handcuff. 

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is battling injury once again. He has an ankle injury this time and might not be ready for the start of the year. But if he misses any time, he is likely out just a game or two. Luck won’t miss much time. With the quarterback position so deep this year, I have no problem still taking Luck as my No. 1 quarterback. You can still get a solid backup if you draft Luck and he ends up missing a game or two. I still think the upside is great enough with Luck that he is worth grabbing after the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. This Colts offense could be really special when Luck is starting at quarterback. 

The league just re-instated Patriots receiver Josh Gordon. He is back and ready to play a big role in an offense that lacks playmakers at receiver. Gordon carries huge risk, though. He is another strike away from a long suspension and played just one full season his entire NFL career. Plus, he has just one 1,000-yard season. He played much of last year with the Patriots and if he makes it the whole season, Gordon has 58 receptions for 1,047 yards and four touchdowns. I’m not taking Gordon as anything more than a No. 3 fantasy receiver. I will not reach for him sooner than that, making him like a seventh or eighth round pick for me.

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 jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Tajae Sharpe Sep 20 4:00am ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe made two catches against Jacksonville on Thursday night but still managed to accrue 70 yards in the process. It was the best showing of the season for the 24-year-old despite the lackluster play of the Titans offense against a dominant Jaguars Defense that recorded nine sacks. Nonetheless, Sharpe hasn't done enough to earn a place on anything outside of 14-man rosters, with that even being a stretch at the moment.

From RotoBaller

Adam Humphries Sep 20 3:50am ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries caught six of his nine targets during the loss to Jacksonville on Thursday, finishing with a game-high 93 yards. After an uneventful two weeks before this one, the fifth-year man finally came to life against a tough Jaguars Defense that bombarded quarterback Marcus Mariota by recording nine sacks on the night. Though the 26-year-old hasn't done enough to earn his way on to fantasy rosters in most formats, fantasy owners will want to keep an eye on his progress in the weeks ahead.

From RotoBaller

Derrick Henry Sep 20 3:30am ET

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries during the loss to Jacksonville on Thursday. As the Jaguars Defense recorded nine sacks while limiting the Tennessee offense to just seven points on the night, Henry provided the only source of hope for a comeback early in the fourth quarter. Nonetheless, the 25-year-old has been a consistent producer by scoring in each of the team's first three games. Look for him to keep it going against the Falcons in Week 4. He should continue to keep his must-start designation, at least for now.

From RotoBaller

Marcus Mariota Sep 20 3:20am ET

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota couldn't get things going in the loss to Jacksonville on Thursday. Though Mariota managed to throw for 304 yards, things were miserable for the 25-year-old as the Jaguars Defense recorded nine sacks on the night while limiting the Titans' offense to just seven points. After starting off the year with three touchdown tosses against the Browns in Week 1, Mariota hasn't really done much to appease fantasy owners. He will look to get back on track in Week 4 in Atlanta against the Falcons.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Sep 20 1:50am ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay has been reduced to nearly equal snap count share with colleague Royce Freeman. That being said, it truly is a toss-up between which running back will see more production in Week 3 as they will likely receive the same volume once again. The Broncos face off with the Green Bay Packers, who have not had an overly intimidating run defense to start the year in 2019. If you absolutely need to play Lindsay in a deep league flex role, especially in PPR setting, he most likely will suffice with decent production, but don't expect anything crazy.

From RotoBaller

Royce Freeman Sep 20 1:50am ET

Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman has seen significant time in the start of the 2019 season compared to where he ended last year. Freeman and teammate Phillip Lindsay have been sharing time out of the backfield and neither of them has been able to have a standout game yet this year. Therefore, it can be expected they will share duties once again in Week 3. If you need a player to throw in due to injuries in a deep league, Freeman poses an option with the potential of a breakout game or a few touchdowns looks to get some points on the board.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Sep 20 1:10am ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant has shown signs of promise to start the year, but he still needs to prove himself before he can be trusted to put up consistent numbers week-to-week. That being said, we have yet to see signs that Fant can have a breakout game and he should stay on waivers and benches in most leagues for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

DaeSean Hamilton Sep 20 1:10am ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Daesean Hamilton has been a disappointment to start the 2019 season. He has struggled the last two weeks, and there is no reason that owners should give him the benefit of the doubt to flip the script against a stout Green Bay Packers Defense. If Hamilton is still on your bench in hopes he can figure things out, keep him there this week and out of your starting lineup.

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Courtland Sutton Sep 20 1:00am ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton has put up a solid start to his 2019 campaign, most likely to the satisfaction of many owners. However, his Week 3 matchup makes him a tough play, as the Green Bay Packers Defense has locked down most receivers outside of their opposing team's number one target. With Emmanuel Sanders most likely getting the highest target share in Week 3 for the Broncos, Courtland Sutton and company are likely to struggle, much like Anthony Miller and Stefon Diggs have when their teams faced the Packers in previous weeks. If able to avoid putting Sutton in your lineup this week, it is probably a safe choice.

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Emmanuel Sanders Sep 20 12:50am ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders looks to follow-up a strong Week 2 performance as the team heads to Green Bay for a matchup with the Packers. While the Packers Defense has been a strong collective unit in 2019, they don't necessarily have a lockdown corner that Sanders will be matching up with all game. With that being said, it may be hard to see Sanders having a league-leading game, but he should have no problem getting solid receptions and yardage, making him a solid flex play in most 10 and 12 team leagues.

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Joe Flacco Sep 20 12:40am ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco has kicked off his campaign in the mile-high city with a slow start, currently producing low-end QB2 numbers. The narrative will stay the same for Week 3, as he lines up against a strong Green Bay Packers Defense who have held the likes of Mitch Trubisky and Kirk Cousins in check the previous two weeks. Avoid Flacco this week in all leagues.

From RotoBaller

Dede Westbrook Sep 20 12:10am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook caught five of his nine targets in Week 3, finishing with 46 yards while also adding four rushing yards. This was Westbrook's highest yardage total of the year, and while he found the end zone in Week 1, it's still been a tough start to the season for the promising wideout. His value in standard scoring leagues is virtually nonexistent right now, though his target share does give him upside still in PPR. It's not quite time to panic and drop Westbrook, but fantasy owners should be concerned by his usage.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Sep 20 12:00am ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has been solid throughout the first two weeks of the season, but he hasn't done anything spectacular. In Week 3, he'll likely continue to be quarterback Jacoby Brissett's favorite target, but he still has a limited ceiling. It only takes one play for him to have a big week. As a result, he's a must-start. After a very grim outlook following the retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck, Hilton has proved that it doesn't matter what QB is throwing him the ball.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Chark Sep 20 12:00am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark found the end zone for the third week in a row, hauling in four catches for 76 yards in Thursday's win over Tennessee. Chark is becoming the favored end zone target for rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, and that mixed with his speed has made him a valuable fantasy option who is able to produce even with a fairly low target total. If he's still on waivers in your league, it's time to add the second-year wideout.

From RotoBaller

Nyheim Hines Sep 19 11:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines has been held mostly in check for the first couple weeks of the season. In Week 3, he has more upside than we've seen thus far. Starting running back Marlon Mack has been battling an injury all week, and the Colts will likely have to put up points to keep up with the Atlanta Falcons. If Mack is unable to go or is limited in any way, Hines earns strong flex consideration as a result. In PPR formats, he's a strong possibility.

From RotoBaller

Gardner Minshew II Sep 19 11:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew threw a pair of first quarter touchdowns in Thursday's win over the Tennessee Titans. He ended up with 204 passing yards on 20-for-30 passing and also added 18 rushing yards on four carries. It was a solid game for Minshew, though one of those touchdowns was made easy by the Jaguars starting a drive at the Titans' seven-yard line. Minshew is making crisp throws and avoiding mistakes so far in his Jaguars tenure and looks like a solid QB2 at this point.

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Leonard Fournette Sep 19 11:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette had 11 carries for negative-eight yards at one point in Thursday's win over the Tennessee Titans, but a 69-yard run late helped him finish with the game with 15 carries and 66 yards. He also added six receptions for 26 yards. Fournette was having a nightmarish game before that long run, and fantasy owners should feel discouraged despite the final stat line. Fournette and the Jaguars' offensive line just couldn't create room for him to run.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Sep 19 11:30pm ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack is his team's lead back. He's far and away the best player at his position on his team. In Week 2, he was stifled by the Tennessee Titans. In Week 3, he has a matchup that is advantageous for him to have a good outcome. The Atlanta Falcons got ran over by the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, and the Colts have an even better offensive line. With the speed to hit a big play at any time, Mack belongs in lineups this week with a good amount of confidence.

From RotoBaller

Jacoby Brissett Sep 19 11:20pm ET

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett has been quietly steady through the first two weeks. In the team's Week 3 matchup, he has another positive matchup. The Atlanta Falcons Defense has a lot of speed, but they haven't been shutting opponents out through the air. Unless Brissett gets an amazing matchup, he'll consistently be a QB2, but he has a lot of upside this week. This game has some shootout potential, and Brissett could benefit as a result.

From RotoBaller

Tavon Austin Sep 19 11:20pm ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin (concussion) remains in the concussion protocol, but head coach Jason Garrett said he is improving. Austin doesn't have a very good chance of being cleared for Sunday against the Dolphins at this rate. He's not much of a fantasy consideration as mainly a kick returner and gadget player on offense, although the Cowboys could use him a little more when he returns with Michael Gallup out two to four weeks.

From RotoBaller