Sat Sep 21 11:36am ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
The big news, and the advice you’re probably looking for, is what to do at quarterback. With injuries and changes, there are at least six new quarterbacks to choose from. The biggest two are the season ending injuries to Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the six-to-nine week injury to New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. First, I must go on record as stating I’m not a fan of rookie quarterbacks and history tells us not to have big expectations.
If you’re going to claim a quarterback on the waiver wire this week, here is how I rank the candidates.
Mason Rudolph would be my first choice. With Big Ben out for the year, the job is his to keep and he’ll be given a bigger leash than the other candidates. He gets an interesting game to start with, although he played most of last last Sunday’s game. I expect a shootout with San Francisco with the home team prevailing in the end. The 49ers defensive strength is stopping the run, so James Conner, if he plays, will have tough going. Keeping the chains moving will be the passing game and lucky for Rudolph, he has a full complement of receivers ready to go, so I’m predicting 250-plus passing yards with two touchdowns.
I’m not a Teddy Bridgewater fan, but the job for next six-to-nine weeks appears to be his. I think Taysom Hill could be a better quarterback, and if Bridgewater falters, he could get a chance. I also expect to see him more involved in gadget plays. Seattle’s secondary leaves a lot to be desired and Michael Thomas can make a quarterback look good, so he could be fine this week.
Daniel Jones has replaced Eli Manning in New York, but it doesn’t change how bad the Giants are. He will bing some new enthusiasm, but his receivers are hurt and weak. He can’t throw every pass to Evan Engram, and the Tampa Bay defense must have a plan to stop him and Saquon Barkley. My guess is he struggles as you’d expect a rookie would.
Luke Falk. Seriously, I feel sorry for him and his debut could be really ugly. The Jets are hurting and the Patriots defense is playing at a high level. Granted, it was the Dolphins last week. Don’t expect anything from Falk and if you have to play him, I’m sorry for you and your team!
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew showed he could be a respectable addition from his showing Thursday night. He started well with two touchdown passes in the first quarter, and the Jags seemed to coast from there. Otherwise, he could have put up bigger numbers. But in a pinch and with the right matchup, he could be serviceable.
You’ll need to check Sunday morning, but there’s a good chance Kyle Allen will be playing in place of the injured Cam Newton. I don’t think it will be that much of a downgrade if he plays, and he has a solid group of receivers. The Cardinals defense has been vulnerable the first two weeks and Christian McCaffery will keep them off balance, so Allen will have time to succeed. Here’s a good sleeper if he plays.
Speaking of quarterbacks, this is the week Jameis Winston should show coach Bruce Arians he’s his man. After two weak games, he gets a Giants defense that can’t seem to stop anyone. He is my second sleeper. I expect him to have a really big day.
And it appears Josh Rosen will be replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick in Miami. Sorry Josh, I hope you don’t get hurt.
Quarterbacks: The game of the week has to be a Baltimore at Kansas City. Lamar Jackson is going against Patrick Mahomes. If this is the shootout everyone expects, both quarterbacks will put up huge numbers. My other picks to click are Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen against Cincinnati and Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott against the woeful Miami Dolphins. Play all your Cowboys in a blowout. They’ll all get a share of the fun.
Running Backs: Of course it starts with “Zeke” against the Dolphins, I don’t need to tell you that. And the next four are all household names, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook and Austin Ekeler (Who needs that Gordon guy?). All have great matchups against teams who have not been able to stop the run this year.
Here’s a couple sleeper plays if injuries open up a start for them. Jaylen Samuels could be a great pick if James Conner (he did practice in full Thursday) can’t go for Pittsburgh at San Francisco. And Darwin Thompson will get the ball a lot in Kansas City if LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams can’t answer the bell. Although most of Thompson’s production will come by way of the pass as Baltimore is hard to run on.
Keep an eye on Indianapolis because Marlon Mack has come up lame in practice this week. Jordan Wilkins would be the man and should have some success against the Falcons.
Another running back who has something to prove this week is Devonta Freeman. He’s been outplayed by Ito Smith in the first two games, but the Colts defense should give him room to roam.
Wide Receivers: The Eagles passing defense is 31st, so who is Matthew Stafford going to be throwing to? I think Kenny Golladay has a big day, and Danny Amendola will see his share of targets, too.
Adam Theilen should torch the Oakland defense, especially if the Vikings open things up a little bit. This is a great opportunity for Kirk Cousins to prove he can get the job dob done. The Giants pass defense can be exposed, and Jameis Winston is the guy who will do it. Both Mike Evans, who needs to show he’s a No. 1, and Chris Godwin should break the century mark in this game.
And of course, all Dallas receivers against Miami. This could be a Randall Cobb breakout game, and Devin Smith with Michael Gallup out.
Tight End: As mentioned above, Jason Witten could have a field day as the Dolphins are averaging 100 yards allowed and eight receptions to tight ends so far this year. This also is the week that Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson plays like he did in Week 1 and makes you forget his Week 2. He is a rookie, so inconsistency should be expected.
Streaming Defense: Dallas at home against Miami and the Patriots at home against the Jets are the two best bets. But the move you might want to make is picking up the Chargers defense now, so you have them for the Dolphins next week.
Have a great week 3!
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher made three field goals and an extra point in a Week 6 loss to the New York Jets. Maher made field goals from 50, 62, and 32 yards out, but missed a 40-yard kick. Players in long field goal bonus leagues were likely thrilled with Maher's performance in this one. He'll continue to be one of the stronger fantasy kickers going forward.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman handled 18 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams, adding two grabs for 16 yards. Coming off his second game from an ankle ailment, Coleman took the reins and out-touched backfield mate Matt Breida 18 to 13. Despite averaging just 2.5 YPC on Sunday, Colemans usage is encouraging for all fantasy investors. He could flirt with RB1 status in a cake matchup against a weak Washington Redskins rush defense in Week 7.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense didn't play very well despite matching up with the New York Jets in Week 6. They allowed 24 points in a losing effort, recording one interception and two sacks. It was considered a cake matchup, with many lists counting the Cowboys as the top defense of the week, but they disappointed as most of the Cowboys did. They'll take on the Eagles next week in a Sunday night divisional matchup.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had another fantastic day on Sunday as he not only led Seattle to their third road win, but he also upped his total to 14 passing touchdowns while still remaining free of interceptions. Wilson completed 69.7% of his passes against the Browns, and he also ran in a touchdown. Wilson has always been a model of efficiency, but he's taken his game to the next level this season. After six games, Wilson has a 14/0 TD/INT rate, three rushing touchdowns, a completion rate of 72.5%, 1,704 passing yards, and a passer rating of 124.7. He's having a phenomenal season, and if he can keep this type of performance up, he could be hoisting his first MVP trophy at the end of the year.
The New York Jets Defense had a good game against the Cowboys on Sunday, but didn't put up many fantasy points for their effort. The Jets didn't force a turnover in the game and only had one sack, even with the Cowboys starting two backups on the offensive line. The Jets defense should be getting healthier with the return of middle linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin) and Jamal Adams is a star at safety, but they are still not a recommended start in Week 7 against the Patriots.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida toted the rock 13 times for 36 yards and caught four passes for 27 yards in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams. Breida was mostly stuffed on Sunday and yielded the lions share of work to Tevin Coleman, but he still posted a serviceable line with his opportunities. With Coleman looking fully healthy from his ankle injury, Breida has become a clear first mate. But with the Niners deploying a structural rushing committee, Breidas still a recommended RB3 and has major upside in Week 7 against a terrible Washington Redskins Defense.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold completed 23 of 32 passes for 338 yards in his return to the lineup Sunday. Darnold threw two touchdowns and one interception in his first game since Week 1. Darnold missed three games with mono, but provided a huge boost to a Jets offense that had averaged the fewest yards per game in the league coming into today. The big play from Darnold was a 92-yard touchdown to Robby Anderson after the Jets stopped the Cowboys on fourth-and-short. Darnold faces a tough matchup next week vs the Patriots, but looked good enough today to warrant consideration as a bye week replacement starter in deeper leagues or two-quarterback leagues.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup came down with four catches in Week 6, gaining 48 yards. Gallup tied for the team lead with seven targets and could be in for some big games going forward if Amari Cooper (quad) is forced to miss time. The Dallas passing game just wasn't clicking in this one, but Gallup will have WR1 upside if he's leading the passing game next week against the Eagles.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten caught five passes in Week 6, gaining 57 yards. Witten was targeted seven times, tying for the team lead. The most important play involving Witten was one he didn't make though, as he was unable to come up with a last-minute two-point conversion which would have tied the game. Witten continues to be himself, making short catches fairly consistently. He'll be a low-end TE1 with a concerning floor in most games going forward.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle reeled in all eight of his targets for 103 yards in Week 6s victory against the Los Angeles Rams. Kittle didnt find the end zone but dominated target share in the passing attack once again. His long went for 45 yards. After a so-so start to the season, Kittles now posted two premium TE1 performances. Hell draw an excellent matchup against the Washington Redskins in Week 7.
New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken made a 38-yard field goal, and was 3-for-3 on extra points in a win over the Cowboys Sunday. It was a drama-free afternoon in the kicking department for the Jets with Ficken looking good on all of his kicks today. Ficken had a good day, but shouldn't be a kicker owned in fantasy. Kicking opportunities for Ficken will likely be sparse in a tough matchup against an elite Patriots Defense next Monday night.
A Dallas Cowboys wide receiver named Cedrick Wilson caught five passes in Week 6, gaining 46 yards. With Randall Cobb and Devin Smith both inactive then Amari Cooper being forced to leave with a quad injury, Wilson came out of nowhere to show up on the box score for the first time this season. Even if Cooper is forced to miss time, Wilson won't be a fantasy option in any format next week.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin made two catches in Week 6, picking up just six yards. Jason Witten tied for the team lead with seven targets, leaving Jarwin to just pick up the scraps behind him. With the Dallas passing game not really clicking, Jarwin won't be much of a fantasy option next week, even in two-tight end leagues.
New York Jets running back Ty Montgomery made three catches on three targets for 17 yards in a win over the Cowboys Sunday. Montgomery didn't get a carry in the game as head coach Adam Gase continues to feature Le'Veon Bell. Montgomery's three targets were more than Bell today, but Bell had 14 of the 15 running back carries. Montgomery will see sparse work in the passing game, but overall he won't see enough carries or targets to be worth starting in fantasy.
Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard ran the ball just three times in Week 6, gaining 13 yards. Like usual, Pollard looked good with the ball in his hands, but he played only when starter Ezekiel Elliott needed a breather. He's still one of the highest upside handcuffs in fantasy, but Pollard won't be a starting option in most weeks that Ezekiel Elliott plays.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott played well in a Week 6 loss to the New York Jets. On the ground, he ran the ball 28 times for 105 yards and a touchdown. Through the air, he came up with five catches, gaining 47 yards. Elliott's score was a five-yard run in the fourth quarter. He's back to his pre-holdout usage, as expected, and should be a no-doubt top-three fantasy running back regardless of matchups going forward.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin led the Cowboys in receiving in Week 6. With Amari Cooper forced to leave the game early with a quad injury, Austin was left to make five catches and gain 64 yards on six targets. The Dallas passing game wasn't working well in general, but Austin was able to use his speed to do the most with his opportunities. He's way too inconsistent to be relied on in any fantasy formats, but if Cooper is forced to miss time, Austin may be worth an end-of-bench stash just in case his role grows.
The Philadelphia Eagles Defense struggled against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6, allowing 38 points. They recorded just one interception, one sack, and one fumble recovery. Stefon Diggs ran wild all over the Eagles secondary and the Vikings had no trouble moving the ball and getting it into the end zone all afternoon. The Eagles defense will face another tough matchup on Sunday Night Football next week against the Cowboys.
New York Jets tight end Ryan Griffin caught three passes, including a five-yard touchdown, for a season-high 28 yards in a win over the Cowboys Sunday. Griffin only had six catches for 17 yards on the season coming into today so this game won't make him fantasy relevant. Griffin was starting in place of Chris Herndon (hamstring) so Griffin may not start moving forward. Even if he does start, Griffin is among the lowest-ranked tight end options to stream as a bye week replacement.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott struggled in Week 6, throwing for just 277 scoreless yards. Dak completed 28 passes on 40 tries, but was able to add 11 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The New York Jets Defense somehow managed to keep the Cowboys passing game out of the end zone, partly because Amari Cooper (quad) was forced to leave the game after only making one catch. Prescott will hope for better results next week against the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles.