Fri Oct 18 10:05am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Engram poised for big Week 7
With the Browns, Panthers, Steelers and Buccaneers all on a bye for Week 7, we are missing some of the most impactful players in the world of DFS. However, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t a lot of great options to consider. Let’s break down each position and discuss both some players to target and some to keep out of your lineup-making process.
Top-tier option: Jared Goff, LAR at ATL ($6,100): Goff might not be the most expensive quarterback on the slate, but he’s certainly one of the most appealing ones. Despite compiling just 78 passing yards last week against the 49ers, he can be productive in the right matchup. Case in point, he had 517 passing yards and two touchdowns in Week 4 against a bad Bucs’ secondary. The Falcons have been almost as dreadful, allowing the sixth-most passing yards per game in the league and 15 touchdown passes.
Cheap target: Gardner Minshew II, JAC at CIN ($5,800): I had Minshew here last week, as well, but he flopped with 163 yards and a pick against the Saints. Don’t let one bad performance get you down on Minshew Mania. This is a prime spot for him to bounce back with a great stat line considering the Bengals will likely be without two of their top cornerbacks in Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and William Jackson (shoulder).
Player to avoid: Teddy Bridgewater, NO at CHI ($5,800): Minshew wasn’t the only quarterback to have a quiet performance in that Saints-Jaguars game. Bridgewater wasn’t as bad, but he finished with only 240 passing yards and one touchdown. He’s thrown for 240 yards or fewer in three of his four starts and has two games with one or no touchdown passes. Facing a Bears’ defense that is one of the stingiest in the league is not the time to deploy Bridgewater in DFS.
Top-tier option: Leonard Fournette, JAC at CIN ($7,200): The secondary won’t be the only area of concern for the Bengals. They have been chewed up by opposing running backs, allowing the most rushing yards per game and the most rushing touchdowns. Fournette has been a workhorse with 115 carries and 36 targets, leaving him with a tremendously high floor in this matchup.
Cheap target: Devin Singletary, BUF vs. MIA ($5,700): Singletary hasn’t been on the field since going down with a hamstring injury in Week 2. The good news is the bye week seems to have helped him since he’s been listed as a full participant in practice. While he’ll still have to share the workload with Frank Gore, being priced this low makes him a viable target against a Dolphins defense that has allowed the second-most rushing yards per game.
Player to avoid: Melvin Gordon, LAC at TEN ($6,700): It hasn’t been pretty in two games since Gordon returned from his contract holdout. The Chargers have given him 20 carries, but he’s only turned that into 49 yards while failing to find his way into the end zone. Austin Ekeler will continue to steal some snaps from him and the Titans have only allowed three rushing touchdowns this season, so I’m not taking a chance on Gordon at this price. Pay the extra $500 and roll with Fournette.
Top-tier option: Cooper Kupp, LAR at ATL ($7,100): With Goff tanking last week, Kupp had only four catches for 17 yards on six targets. Considering he had at least 101 receiving yards in each of his previous four contests, I’m largely ignoring last week’s dud. With the Falcons’ struggles to defend the pass already detailed, a Rams stack with Goff and Kupp has a great chance to be profitable.
Cheap target: John Brown, BUF vs. MIA ($5,600): The addition of Brown to the Bills’ offense has been seamless so far, catching 28 of 39 targets for 390 yards and a touchdown through five games. He hasn’t received fewer than five targets in any game, reaching at least 10 targets two times. The Dolphins have allowed 14 touchdown passes and the seventh-most passing yards per game, leaving Brown with plenty of upside at this reasonable price.
Player to avoid: Terry McLaurin, WAS vs. SF ($5,600): If there is someone to be excited about on the Redskins, it’s McLaurin. The rookie looks like one of the building blocks for the franchise, posting 23 catches, 408 yards and five touchdowns through five games. However, the 49ers defense has been excellent, resulting in them allowing the fewest passing yards per game. There will be plenty of weeks down the road in which you’ll want to target McLaurin, but this isn’t one of them.
Top-tier option: Evan Engram, NYG vs. ARI ($5,900): The Giants sorely missed Engram last week against the Patriots. He’s been one of the staples of their offense, posting 33 receptions, 373 receiving yards and two touchdowns across five games. He hasn’t received fewer than seven targets in any contest and should be back this week for a prime matchup against a Cardinals’ defense that has been destroyed by opposing tight ends. No need to overthink this one.
Cheap target: Hunter Henry, LAC at TEN ($5,000): In need of some help in the passing game, the Chargers finally got some relief last week with the return of Henry. He immediately made his presence felt, catching eight of nine targets for 100 yards and two touchdowns. While the two touchdowns will likely be hard to replicate this week, the target share shouldn’t. With that kind of volume, he can provide value at this price.
Player to avoid: Eric Ebron, IND vs. HOU ($4,400): Since we’re talking about volume, now’s a good time to bring up Ebron. He hasn’t been overly involved in the Colts’ offense with only 20 targets through five games. That has resulted in three games in which he caught only one pass. While he’s always a threat in the red zone, having a healthy Jack Doyle will continue to limit his opportunities. Henry has significantly more upside, and while the $600 price difference is nothing to sneeze at, it isn’t large enough to warrant rolling with Ebron.
Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 11 against the Patriots. Remove Jeffery from your starting lineups. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) out the rest of the year, the Eagles will now have to get by with some combination of Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Jordan Matthews at receiver. Agholor might be worth a deep league or DFS flex, but the matchup against New England's strong secondary isn't ideal. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert should also be more involved, although New England could look to double team Ertz now. Quarterback Carson Wentz will likely struggle in this one.
Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson (concussion) returned to a full practice on Friday but is listed as questionable for Week 11 against the Cowboys. It's still unclear if Johnson has actually cleared the concussion protocol, but it's a good sign that he practiced in full on Friday. This could come down to a game-time decision. Detroit's backfield has been one to avoid in fantasy ever since Kerryon Johnson was lost for the year, especially since the Lions have been going to the air more as a result. Even if Johnson plays, he'll be a low-end RB3/flex in deeper leagues. J.D. McKissic would have flex appeal in PPR leagues, but only if Johnson is deemed inactive on Sunday morning.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (knee, illness, ribs) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) were both limited in practice the last two days and are questionable for Week 11 against the Redskins. Barring a late setback, both players are fully expected to suit up. Bell has been a disappointment to fantasy owners in his first year with Gang Green, but he has another great chance to put up numbers this Sunday against a bad Redskins Defense. Thomas has been better than Robby Anderson of late, but he's still more of a low-upside WR4/5 in a shaky Jets offense.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (hamstring) will not play in Week 11 against the 49ers, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Edmonds was fantasy relevant weeks ago when David Johnson was hurt and before the team traded for Kenyan Drake. The Cardinals will go on their bye in Week 12, and Edmonds will return to find himself third on the running back depth chart. Unless one of Drake or Johnson get hurt, Edmonds should find himself on the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues.
New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) didn't practice all week and has been ruled out for Week 11 against the Buccaneers. Lattimore, the team's best cover corner, held Mike Evans to no catches on three targets in their first meeting this year, so this is really good news for Evans' chances of putting up numbers in the second meeting. Evans is a must-start WR1 on a weekly basis, but his ceiling just got higher. Quarterback Jameis Winston's outlook also improves significantly with this news.
The Houston Texans Defense is not a recommended option in Week 11 on the road against arguably the most electrifying offense in football. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have been on fire lately hanging 49 points on the Bengals last week and should do more of the same this week. The Texans defense has been hit hard with injuries and should not be started in this brutal matchup vs the team that allows the sixth-fewest points to opposing defenses this season.
New York Jets LB C.J. Mosley (groin), DB Matthias Farley (quad), OL Ryan Kalil (knee) and LB Paul Worrilow (quad) were unable to practice Friday, Nov. 15, and have been ruled out for Week 11 against the New York Jets. CB Darryl Roberts (calf) did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful. RB Le'Veon Bell (ribs, knee, illness), LB Brandon Copeland (hip, thumb), LB Neville Hewitt (neck, knee), OL Alex Lewis (elbow), DL Steve McLendon (neck), OL Kelvin Beachum (ankle) and WR Demaryius Thomas (knee, hamstring) were limited in practice Friday and are listed as questionable. DL Henry Anderson (shoulder) was upgraded to full practice Friday and is also listed as questionable. WR Robby Anderson was a limited participant in practice all week but no longer appears on the injury report. RB Josh Adams (illness), QB Sam Darnold (thumb), WR Jamison Crowder (knee, quad), WR Braxton Berrios (hamstring, hip), TE Ryan Griffin (ankle), OL Tom Compton (back), LB Jordan Jenkins (calf), DB Blessuan Austin (knee) and DB Nate Hairston (thumb, knee) fully participated in practice Friday and have also been removed from the injury report.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Nov. 15, and has been ruled out for Week 11.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation to see when Hilton will be able to return. Zach Pascal will continue to be the main receiver in the passing game and could be a flex option despite the matchup.
The Minnesota Vikings activated wide receiver Josh Doctson (hamstring) off of Injured Reserve on Friday. He'll be available to play in Week 11 against the Broncos. Doctson has some history with quarterback Kirk Cousins from their time in Washington, but it's a long shot that Doctson will be very involved in the offense this weekend, even with Adam Thielen (hamstring) out another week. Olabisi Johnson and Laquon Treadwell should still see most of the work in three-receiver sets alongside Stefon Diggs.
Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills should run more routes out of the slot this week, assuming Will Fuller is back in action Sunday at Baltimore. Fuller returned to practice on a limited basis, and while he's not been cleared to play yet, he seems on the right track. Stills has no more than six targets in a game this season, and if Fuller returns, there will be even fewer targets to go around. The saving grace for Stills is that this game has a very high projected point total, and Stills is always capable of making one big play to put up fantasy production. Start Stills as a WR3 with more upside if Fuller is ruled out.
The New York Jets Defense will be a good streaming option this Sunday when they face rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the inept Redskins offense. The Jets defense has been hit hard with injuries, but led by Week 10 defensive player of the week Jamal Adams, they've found ways to create turnovers despite also giving up points. In addition to a couple of Haskins turnovers being likely, the Jets got to the quarterback for six sacks last week and could feast again against a banged-up Washington offensive line. Start the Jets as a top-10 option in Week 11.
Washington Redskins DL Tim Settle (hamstring), WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) and RB Chris Thompson (toe) were held out of practice all week and have been ruled out for Week 11 against the New York Jets. TE Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited in practice all week and has also been ruled out. S Deshazor Everett (ankle) and S Montae Nicholson (ankle) were limited in practice Friday, Nov. 15, and are listed as questionable. CB Josh Norman (hamstring) and RB Adrian Peterson (toe) fully participated in practice Friday and no longer appear on the injury report. RB Wendell Smallwood (non-injury) was not given a practice designation for a second straight day but has also been removed from the injury report.
Updating a previous report, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury isn't naming a starting running back for Week 11 against the 49ers, and he said it'll be "by committee" between running backs Kenyan Drake and David Johnson. The vagueness and uncertainty of the situation isn't doing fantasy owners any favors, and the Niners defense presents an incredibly tough matchup. Drake actually performed well against San Fran two weeks ago, but DJ also wasn't active. Based on how Johnson looked last week, we'd expect Drake to see more of the chances, but this is a situation to avoid if you can this weekend. Drake is more of an RB2/3, while Johnson will be a risky RB3/flex.
The Philadelphia Eagles intend to sign free-agent running back Jay Ajayi after working him out on Friday, according to a source. Ajayi is healthy after tearing his ACL and will be returning to the team that traded for him in 2017. The Eagles want to add some depth behind Jordan Howard, who is dealing with a stinger, and rookie Miles Sanders after Darren Sproles was announced as out for the season on Friday. Ajayi has experience with Philly, but he's unlikely to come into any fantasy value unless either Howard or Sanders miss time with injury.
Houston Texans tight end Darren Fells will be a touchdown-dependent streamer in a tough matchup at Baltimore. Fells has three touchdowns in his past two games, but in his last game, a 1-yard touchdown was his only catch. Fells has less than four targets in six of nine games played this season and is yet to top 70 yards. He's fine when he catches a touchdown, but with the Texans other receiving options getting healthy, it'll be tough to rely on Fells finding pay dirt every week.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring) and tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) have been ruled out for Week 11 against the Jets. Davis has no timetable for a return. Jeremy Sprinkle hasn't taken advantage of his starting role with both Davis and Jordan Reed (concussion) out for most of the year, and that probably won't change anytime soon with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins at the helm. Richardson should've already been on waiver wires before his injury. Rookie Terry McLaurin is the only receiver you can trust in D.C., and even then he's just a boom/bust WR4 in this sad offense. Trey Quinn and rookies Steven Sims Jr. and Kelvin Harmon should see more run in three-receiver sets with Richardson out.
Carolina Panthers CB Ross Cockrell (quadriceps) did not participate in practice Friday, Nov. 15, and has been ruled out for Week 11. OT Dennis Daley (groin) missed practice and is listed as doubtful. CB Donte Jackson (hip) was limited during practice and is listed as questionable. LB Shaq Thompson (ankle), DE Mario Addison (non-injury) and LB Bruce Irvin (non-injury) did not practice but are not on the injury report. DT Kyle Love (shoulder), DT Gerald McCoy (knee), OT Greg Little (concussion), CB James Bradberry (groin) and LB Brian Burns (wrist) fully participated in practice and are not on the injury report.
Arizona Cardinals RBs Kenyan Drake and David Johnson will be used in a committee in Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who noted to reporters Friday, Nov. 15, that being named a starter at running back in his offense doesn't matter because of sub-packages.
Fantasy Spin: The Cardinals have seemingly been playing games with fantasy owners at running back ever since David Johnson first hurt his ankle last month. Just about anyone who watched Johnson run in Week 10 could see he is nowhere close to 100 percent, so fantasy owners should be able to plug Drake into their lineups and feel relatively good about his ability to deliver RB2 production.
Minnesota Vikings WR Josh Doctson (hamstring) was activated from the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Nov. 15.
It looks as though Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake has jumped David Johnson on the depth chart. Drake was running receiving drills with first-team wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella at practice. We'll have no idea if this is actually true until game day on Sunday against the 49ers, but Drake has looked better in his two games with the Cardinals and Johnson just can't seem to power through his injuries. The Cardinals have a game plan in mind involving both Drake and Johnson in their backfield this Sunday, but the mystery surrounding the two isn't making it easy on fantasy owners. Based on how DJ looked last week, it's hard to trust him in fantasy lineups as anything more than an RB3/flex, and the matchup this weekend is as tough as it gets.