Tue Sep 10 8:17am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Dalton looked great in opener
There were a lot of players that produced big things Week 1 that weren’t drafted by many teams. The big thing is to try not to overreact to the first week of the season. You can’t ignore the production of some of these guys but for most, you likely will need to temper your expectations. Many of these players will be inconsistent throughout the season. Don’t get me wrong. Some guys will be good pickups and produce good numbers consistently. But for the most part, many of these players are streaming plays and bench players. Just don’t get too high or low on players after a week of play.
Jacoby Brissett, Colts. Brissett went on the road agains a very good defense and finished 21-of-27 for 190 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. It was a very good showing for Brissett in the first game since Andrew Luck retired. Brissett proved he is worth some spot starts for fantasy teams. He can be a more than capable No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Andy Dalton, Bengals. Dalton had one of his best games in recent seasons in the opener, throwing for 418 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against a good Seahawks defense on the road. And he did this without his best receiver, A.J. Green, on the field. Dalton really seemed comfortable in the Bengals new offense and looked like a guy that can be a streamer for fantasy teams.
Case Keenum, Redskins. Keenum got the start for the Redskins and looked great, going 30-of-44 for 380 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. The Redskins aren’t going to be able to run the ball, so don’t be surprised if Keenum gets 40-plus pass attempts often. He is going to have some big games along the way. He struggled last year but don’t forget about his huge season in Minnesota just a few years back.
Ronald Jones, Bucs. Jones emerged as the top back in Week 1, finishing with 13 carries for 75 yards. He was really impressive in the opener, looking much better than any game last season. He could run away with this starter’s job, especially if he keeps playing this week. Jones remains available in 31 percent of leagues.
Justin Jackson, Chargers. Jackson was the backup to Austin Ekeler but got his chances in the offense. He ran six times for 57 yards and caught a pass for four yards, giving him 61 total yards. Jackson is going to get around double-digit touches per week in this offense, giving him some fantasy potential. He is still out there in 27 percent of leagues.
Malcolm Brown, Rams. Brown will be scooped up in a lot of leagues after getting about half the work at running back for Los Angeles. He had 11 carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He scored the only two rushing touchdowns of the game for the Rams, making Todd Gurley owners very frustrated. It is looking more and more like Brown will get his playing time in this offense as the top backup for the Rams.
Raheem Mostert, 49ers. Tevin Coleman was injured in the opener for the 49ers and could be out a few weeks, giving Mostert a bigger role in the 49ers offense. He looked pretty good with his expanded chances this past week, rushing nine times for 40 yards. He’ll be worth grabbing if you are looking for some running back depth in the coming weeks. Mostert could be worth a spot play.
Gio Bernard, Bengals. Starter Joe Mixon injured his ankle during the Week 1 game and could miss some time because of this injury. This leaves Bernard the starter for the Bengals. He has obvious potential in this role, starting in an offense that looked very good in Week 1 on the road against a good defense. You have to like the total yardage potential for Bernard in a starting role.
John Ross, Bengals. Ross was a big surprise in the opener, catching seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns in 12 targets. He was the top target for the Bengals and finally lived up to his first-round draft status from a few years back. Ross is a speed burner with big-play ability. Maybe a new coaching staff was just the thing to get his career going in the right direction. He is worth a look for fantasy teams, especially with A.J. Green is out of the lineup.
A.J. Brown, Titans. Brown got just four targets in his first NFL game but made several big plays with those targets. He had three receptions for 100 yards, leading the way at receiver for the Titans. And Brown missed most of training camp, so this game is a good indication on how high the Titans are on their rookie receiver. He is going to play big role offensively.
Marquise Brown, Ravens. Brown had a great first NFL game, catching four passes for 147 yards. He displayed his game-changing speed throughout the game. Brown has similar ability to Tyreek Hill, making him an intriguing fantasy player going forward. He is going to have some big games this year. The only concern is the Ravens being a run-first offense. Brown is likely to be hit or miss most week. Brown remains available in 65 percent of leagues.
Terry McLaurin, Redskins. McLaurin is another rookie that enjoyed a great first game. He caught five passes for 125 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. The Redskins don't have a clear No. 1 receiver, so don’t discount McLaurin to take that role for the team. And Washington is going to be a team that throws the ball often, having little success running the ball. McLaurin is definitely worth a look for fantasy teams needing receiver help.
Danny Amendola, Lions. Amendola was heavily targeted in Week 1 for the Lions, catching seven passes for 104 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets. He did a great job out of the slot and Matthew Stafford looked his way often. He has a chance to rack up some catches in this offense. Don’t overvalue him because his track record doesn’t suggest this game will be the norm, but he can still help fantasy teams because of his reception potential in this offense.
John Brown, Bills. Brown was the top option in the Bills passing game Week 1 and should continue to lead the way in targets going forward. He had seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He has a real chance to have his best season to date, making him a player that can help fantasy teams as a streaming play. Brown is available in 28 percent of leagues.
D.J. Chark, Jaguars. Word out of Jaguars camp was Chark was turning heads and making plays. Well, that carried over to the regular season. He had four receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. He displayed his big-play ability and looked like a different player from his rookie year. He is another receiver that likely will be erratic but has some weekly potential in the right matchup.
T.J. Hockenson, Lions. The rookie made his presence felt in Week 1, catching six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Hockenson had a great debut and showed why the team took him in the first round of the draft this year. He can be a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end and is still available in 26 percent of leagues. This might be the last week you can get him in your league.
Vernon Davis, Redskins. The oft-injured Jordan Reed was out again, making Davis the starter for the Redskins. Davis looked good in that role, catching four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. Davis has fantasy value as long as he is starting in this pass-first offense.
Mark Andrews, Ravens. There was a lot of hype surrounding Andrews this offseason and he lived up to that hype in Week 1, catching eight passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens did rotate tight ends, which is a concern for Andrews, but he can make the most of his chances as evident in this game. Andrews remains available in 22 percent of 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.
Five Hot Starts: Week 4
The Cleveland Browns Defense draws a tough road matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4. Despite the unit coming off an excellent outing against Washington in Week 3, the Browns are not a recommended fantasy option vs. Dallas this weekend. The Cowboys sport an explosive offense and are installed as 4.5-point favorites for Week 4. This game has a high over/under set at 55.5 points and many expect it to develop into a shootout. Fantasy managers who have been counting on the Browns defense will want to look elsewhere for production this week.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a sleeper in Week 4 despite a tough matchup against the Cardinals. Arizona has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing signal-callers, though they've surrendered two passing touchdowns in two of three contests this season. Bridgewater quietly ranks in the top-10 in passing yards, completion percentage and yards per attempt. He's had to throw the ball at least 34 times in two games this year because his defense has struggled- and he could be forced to sling it against a Cardinals' team scoring 25.7 points per game. Bridgewater is a good play this week in 2-QB or DFS formats and could also be a nice pivot for those who have Ben Roethlisberger or Ryan Tannehill as their starting quarterbacks in redraft leagues.
The Atlanta Falcons signed kicker Elliott Fry to their practice squad on Thursday with Younghoe Koo (groin) expected to miss time with a groin strain. There's a chance that Fry is elevated to the active roster in time to make his NFL debut on Monday night against the Packers. The Falcons have no other place kicker on their roster, so we'd expect Fry to get the nod this week unless they bring in another kicker between now and Monday. The Falcons have scored plenty of points through three weeks, making Koo fantasy relevant in the majority of leagues, but Fry should be avoided if he gets a shot because of his lack of experience.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday, and it's unclear when the issue arose for Hopkins. Nuk leads the league in catches (32) and yards (356) through the first three weeks, so his status should be monitored closely as we approach their Week 4 game against the Panthers. The All-Pro receiver is obviously a must-start if he's active, but his fantasy managers need to keep a close eye on his status heading into the weekend. If Hopkins needs to sit out, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella could be quarterback Kyler Murray's top three wideouts.
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said that running back Kareem Hunt (groin) will not practice on Thursday. This is one to watch, as Hunt also missed practice on Wednesday. Even though Nick Chubb is the team's lead running back, Hunt has been involved enough in this offense to warrant weekly RB2 consideration. That would continue in Week 4 against the Cowboys if Hunt is healthy enough to play, but his fantasy managers need to monitor his status heading into the weekend. If Hunt cannot play, Chubb will be a no-doubt RB1, while receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry could see more aerial targets. D'Ernest Johnson would be next up as Chubb's direct backup.
Tennessee Titans star wide receiver A.J. Brown (knee) had a chance to play in Week 4, but he's instead expected to return in Week 5 after the team had their Week 4 contest against the Steelers pushed back due to COVID-19 concerns. Brown has been dealing with a bone bruise and has missed the last two games. He should be at or close to full strength next week against the Bills. The 23-year-old had a quiet Week 1 against the Broncos, but it could've been due to the fact that he injured his knee in that contest. If Brown is back against Buffalo next weekend, he'll have a tough matchup on his hands in All-Pro cornerback Tre'Davious White, so fantasy managers may want to temper expectations a bit.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (toe) is now considered unlikely to play on Thursday night against the Jets, according to a source. Lindsay practiced this week and is on the trip and is feeling better, but the Broncos could play it safe and hold him out for another week. A final decision will likely come closer to game time, so check back then if you were considering starting him as an RB4/flex in much deeper leagues. It'd be wise to avoid him altogether if he's active, since he'd be unlikely to see a big enough workload behind Melvin Gordon III. Royce Freeman is on track to serve as Gordon's backup yet again, but he's unlikely to see more than a handful of touches.
Baltimore Ravens All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey is signing a five-year, $98.75 million contract extension on Thursday, according to a source. The deal comes with $66 million in guarantees. Humphrey is one of the best corners in the league and had the best year of his career in 2019, racking up 65 tackles, three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. The 24-year-old former first-rounder has 14 combined tackles, two QB hits, one interception, four passes defensed and one forced fumble in three games so far in 2020. Humphrey is exceptional for the Ravens Defense, but he's not really in play for fantasy managers in IDP leagues.
Baltimore Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey agreed to a five-year, $98.75 million extension Thursday, Oct. 1.
Free-agent S T.J. Ward (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed deal with the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Oct. 1.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry heads to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 4. Landry is off to a quiet start, averaging just 4.0 catches per game through the first three weeks of the season. While he has descended to WR3 status in fantasy, Landry does have the potential for a big game in Week 4. The Cowboys have an explosive offense and a shaky pass defense that ranks just 24th in DVOA. Those two factors could combine to turn this game into a shootout, which would benefit Landry greatly. Fantasy managers can treat Landry as an upside WR3 in Week 4.
Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper is off to a slow start with his new team. Through three games, Hooper has just seven receptions for 62 scoreless yards and hasn't drawn more than four targets in a game. He does have the potential to break out in Week 4 as the Browns travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys. Dallas has a high-scoring offense and a shaky defense, which could turn this game into a blowout. That would benefit Hooper as he could see an uptick in usage in the passing game. That being said, it will be hard to trust him as anything more than a TE2 until he proves it on the field.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is off to a modest start in 2020. Through three games has hauled in 11 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown on 22 targets. He has the potential for a big game in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys as Dallas has an explosive offense and a shaky pass defense. Those two factors could combine to force Cleveland to throw more passes than they have attempted over the past two games. Fantasy gamers can start Beckham as a solid WR2 for Week 4's matchup with Dallas.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring) will play in Week 4 Thursday, Oct. 1, against the Denver Broncos.
Fantasy Spin: The tweet ended with "he's not 100 percent, but he'll give it a go." That doesn't exude confidence in your WR3 on a Thursday night. Keep that in mind.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb travels to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 4. Chubb could see an increased workload as Kareem Hunt's status for Week 4 is in question after he missed Wednesday's practice with a groin injury. If Hunt is unable to suit up, Chubb can be treated as a solid RB1 in Week 4 and a lock-button building block in DFS contests. Even if Hunt does play, fantasy gamers can still lean on Chubb as a quality RB2 in fantasy. The Cowboys run defense ranks 15th in DVOA through three games. Their pass defense has been even worse, which sets this contest up as a potential shootout. The Browns should make plenty of trips to the red zone, so Chubb has a good shot at finding the end zone this weekend.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield heads to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 4. The Browns have leaned heavily on the run through the first three games of the season, which has capped Mayfield's weekly upside. The third-year quarterback is averaging just 28.3 pass attempts per game and only topped 23 attempts once, in a Week 1 blowout against the Baltimore Ravens. Sunday's game against an explosive Dallas offense could force the Browns to throw with more frequency as there is potential for a shootout considering the Cowboys' shaky defense. Mayfield remains a QB2 in fantasy but he does have high upside, especially in DFS tournaments, for Week 4.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) returned to practice on Wednesday. Thomas has been out the past two weeks while nursing an ankle sprain. In Wednesday's practice, Thomas was reportedly moving well and showing good signs of progress. He's currently questionable for Week 4 against the Detroit Lions. If he's able to go, Drew Brees will see a boost in his value, while Tre'Quan Smith and Emmanuel Sanders become more risky plays. Make sure to monitor the situation closely over the next few days if you're a Thomas owner.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring) is expected to play in the team's Week 4 game on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos. Crowder missed the team's previous two games while dealing with a hamstring injury. It doesn't sound as if Crowder will be 100% for the Thursday's game, but he is still worth starting as a WR3 in all fantasy formats, especially in PPR. In his only game this year, Crowder caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. The Jets have been sorely missing him in their passing game the previous two weeks.
The Los Angeles Rams Defense has played well to start the year, and they finally have fantasy value in Week 4. The New York Giants look like one of the worst teams in football, and they're dealing with injuries to just about every offensive weapon they have. Lineman Aaron Donald remains one of the most dominant weapons in football, and he's going to have a field day against the interior of New York. This Rams' team can take advantage of the mistakes that quarterback Daniel Jones is going to make, and they could keep the points total extremely low.
Los Angeles Rams kicker Samuel Sloman is a top-10 option in Week 4 behind this offense. This Rams' group looks closer to the one we saw in 2018 when they could move the ball at will against most defenses, and that's going to continue against the New York Giants. The Giants just look brutal right now, and that's great for kickers. Additionally, this is a home game for the Rams, which means that weather will not be an issue inside SoFi Stadium. Behind this high-octane offense, you can safely put Sloman into your lineups this week.