By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Michel setup for more success
It is hard to believe but this is the last weekend with football for a while. Boo! It had to happen, though. Hopefully, the game lives up to the hype. The Super Bowl is certainly setup to be a good one. We'll see. Now for my random thoughts. . . . .
For my thoughts on the game, I am not happy with the matchup. I am a St. Louis native, so rooting for the Rams is not going to happen. I have a huge disdain for the owner (Stan Kroenke) and how he left our town. I can't root for that man to hold up a Super Bowl trophy. I can't watch it.
And on the other side is the Patriots, a team that is in the Super Bowl almost every season. New England is a team you have to respect because they just keep winning, but I am not a fan. I still have a sour taste in my mouth over their video taping ways early in this great run for them. I don't think the league handled the punishment correctly, letting the Patriots off way to easy for their crimes. So for me, this is going to be a hard one to watch. I'm just hoping for some good, entertaining football. . . . .and great commercials.
As for the game, I think the Patriots will win, winning 31-21. I just think the Patriots will game plan well against this offense, an offense that hasn't been quite as explosive down the stretch. New England has been there before and won plenty, so I think the experience will help. So as much as it pains me to say this, I look for the Patriots to take home the title once again.
I think Cam Newton will be a big question mark next season, having major shoulder surgery recently. This is a major injury to return from, especially for a quarterback. He'll be a tough quarterback to gauge going forward. You will want to watch his progress closely this offseason. I do know that you can never count Newton out, so don't be surprised if he returns to play at a high level next season. You can't rule out that scenario, either.
I'm already starting my research for next year and started looking into David Johnson. He is an intriguing fantasy player for me in 2019. Most considered last year a bust for him and he was ninth in fantasy running back scoring. He had nearly 1,400 total yards, 50 receptions and 10 touchdowns for a brutal offensive team. I'm am truly excited to see what he can do in a new offense. Johnson could be a great buy-low candidate for fantasy teams.
Baker Mayfield is another player I'm really excited about for next season. This guy showed me a ton down the stretch, playing at a very high level as a rookie and with a somewhat suspect receiving corps. If the Browns add the right pieces around him this offseason, I think Mayfield can be a legit fantasy starter and a top-10 option. He really has a high ceiling in my view.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots. The Patriots have made it a point to get Michel heavily involved offensively in the playoffs. He had a season-high 29 carries in their last game. Michel has 100-yard games in each playoff game and multiple scores each of those games. He has 100-yard games three of four. Michel should get a workout again this week as the Patriots try to keep the Rams potent offense off the field. Michel is setup for a strong showing in the Super Bowl.
Robert Woods, WR, Rams. Woods doesn't have the big yardage totals in the playoffs but six receptions in each of the two playoff games. He has at least six receptions five of six games. He is getting consistent work in the Rams offense and should see his chances again this week. The Patriots are just 22nd against the pass, allowing 246.4-passing yards per game during the regular seasons. Woods could have a much better yardage game in this matchup.
C.J. Anderson, RB, Rams. Anderson has been a huge surprise for the Rams, having 100-yard games three of four. He actually had more carries than Todd Gurley in the Rams last game and outproduced the star back. The bad news is Anderson ran 16 times for just 44 yards in that game. Gurley is an elite talent that has an extra week off to get healthy, so expect the Rams to lean on him heavily in the Super Bowl. We would be surprised if Anderson led the team in carries again.
Jared Goff, QB, Rams. Goff has played fine during the playoffs but his fantasy numbers haven't been great. He has just one touchdown in two games and failed to throw for at least 200 yards in one of those games. Goff is playing in his first Super Bowl this weekend. The Patriots have a week to prepare for him, which is usually bad news for a young quarterback. It would not be a surprise to see Goff struggle in this one.
Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots. Hogan is gradually getting more involved in the Patriots offense. He did not top 50 yards his last game but caught five passes. He has at least five receptions two of three games. Hogan had six receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown in last year's Super Bowl. He is no stranger to coming up big in the big game. This could be another week Hogan steps up big for the Patriots.
Josh Reynolds, WR, Rams. The Patriots usually try to take away a player or two in the offense, leaving some secondary options opportunities to make plays. So Reynolds could get his chances this week against a team that was 22nd against the pass. Reynolds had four receptions for 74 yards on seven targets his last game and has at least four receptions three of five games. He is capable of the big game and could be the surprise player in the Super Bowl for the Rams.
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: Rams/Patriots.
Low Scoring Games: None.
Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin announced on Sunday that he is retiring from the NFL after 10 years. Maclin was drafted in the first round in 2009 and spent six seasons with the Eagles alongside DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. He is the 10th leading receiver in Philly franchise history after compiling 343 catches, 4,771 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns. Maclin spent the last three years struggling with the Chiefs and Ravens.
New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL Sunday, March 24.
Fantasy Spin: The Patriots have lost Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen this offseason, so they probably will be looking for a tight end early in the 2019 NFL Draft. None of the other tight ends on the Patriots roster have a lot of fantasy value.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Sunday that he is retiring. The 29-year-old Gronk finished on a high note in the postseason and goes out on top with another Super Bowl ring, but he struggled to gain separation from defenders in the regular season and finished with 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season in 13 games. Gronkowski had four 1,000-yard receiving seasons and amassed a whopping 79 regular season scores in his nine-year career. He'll go down as one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history. With Gronk no longer around, Stephen Anderson will be the top tight end on the depth chart, although he won't be much of a fantasy consideration. Losing Gronk as a safety blanket will surely affect quarterback Tom Brady negatively moving forward.
Free-agent WR Jeremy Maclin (Ravens) announced his retirement Sunday, March 24.
Free-agent DE Michael Johnson (Bengals) is not expected to re-sign with the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason.
The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent safety George Iloka to an undisclosed one-year deal on Saturday, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The seven-year safety played the first six seasons of his career with the Bengals but disappointed with only 16 tackles in 16 games (three starts) for the Vikings in 2018. It's looking like Iloka will have a starting role with his new team in Dallas.
Denver Broncos CB Bryce Callahan (foot) is unlikely to participate in the team's draft-week minicamp as he recovers from a foot injury, head coach Vic Fangio said Sunday, March 24.
Free-agent TE Clay Harbor (Saints) is attempting an NFL comeback and also appears to be open to changing his position to fullback. He has resumed training in the hopes of earning a workout with a team this offseason. Harbor plans to move on if he has not been signed by the time training camps open.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 231 pounds, intends to add muscle during the offseason and wants to play at 250 pounds in 2019. 'I'm getting it. I'm going to play bigger this year. I'm about 250. Yeah. A solid 250. It's just about hydration and being at the peak body, too,'' Winston said.
Fantasy Spin: It's unclear why Winston feels the need to put on weight, although fantasy owners will probably take it if it allows him to stay on the field and improve on his deep passing. The arrival of head coach Bruce Arians figures to be a boon to his career, and there is little question he has a capable supporting cast with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard as his primary targets. If he doesn't thrive this season, he'll likely have no one but himself to blame.
Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson called his 2018 season 'decent' and believes he is capable of more in 2019.
Fantasy Spin: Peterson rushed for 1,042 yards last year, but with Derrius Guice expected to be fully recovered from a knee injury, Peterson looks like more of a handcuff than a fantasy starter.
Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys SS George Iloka has agreed to a one-year deal, according to a source.
Free-agent SS George Iloka (Vikings) has agreed to sign with the Dallas Cowboys Saturday, March 23, according to a source.
Free-agent SS George Iloka (Vikings) talked to the Minnesota Vikings at the NFL Scouting Combine about a possible return, but it appears like he will sign with another team this offseason.
Free-agent CB Neiko Thorpe (Seahawks) re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks Saturday, March 23. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Free-agent WR Malcolm Mitchell (Patriots) said he plans to retire from professional football.
The Detroit Lions signed free-agent cornerback Rashaan Melvin to a one-year, $3.5 million deal on Friday, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Melvin played for the Patriots in 2015 when head coach Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator. The 29-year-old has been mostly a starter the last three seasons with the Colts and Raiders and had a career-high three interceptions with the Colts in 2017. He could be the replacement for Nevin Lawson, who signed with the Raiders earlier this week.
The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent quarterback Mike Glennon to a one-year, $2 million deal on Friday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The 29-year-old will be with his fourth different team in the last four seasons and will serve as Derek Carr's backup in silver and black. Glennon has played in 27 games (22 starts) and is 6-16 as a starter in his five seasons in the NFL. He has 35 touchdown passes, 20 interceptions and an 84.0 quarterback rating. Glennon won't be fantasy relevant.
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson could make as much as $40 million per year on his next contract, according to Bucky Brooks of NFL.com.
Free-agent RB C.J. Anderson (Rams) said on his Twitter feed that his time with the Los Angeles Rams 'was fun' and that he enjoyed the opportunity.
Fantasy Spin: Anderson was speaking like a player who doesn't expect to be back with the Rams in 2019. However, he did show that he has a little gas left in the tank in the right offense, and depending on where he signs, he could have some appeal as a depth option for fantasy owners.
Dallas Cowboys WR Allen Hurns will likely see fewer opportunities next season after the signing of WR Randall Cobb, in the opinion of Kate Hairopoulos of The Dallas Morning News.