Wed Oct 9 9:35am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Chark has become must start
This week starts the week with more than two teams on a bye. It gets even harder to set lineups with these byes and injuries. So my big advice is to plan ahead. If you know you are going to be needing a receiver or defense the next week or the week after that, start looking at options that could help. It is better to plan ahead in advance than wait until the week of to fill that lineup out. Be a proactive owner. Don’t sit back.
With that said, here are my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
I’m not ready to release Baker Mayfield just yet but he is not going in my starting lineup until he starts to do something on the field. He is a mess right now. Mayfield is not progressing like most expected, taking a step back from his play late last year. He just isn’t making quick decisions and retreating in the pocket way too much. The fantasy industry, including myself, really missed on this guy this year. He has been a huge bust.
Christian McCaffrey is just unbelievable. I know. Great analysis, right? Well, he is as fun to watch as any player in the game. And he is about 26 fantasy points from the next rated back, sitting firmly in first place in fantasy running back scoring. He has been getting a lot of work, which is a concern, but he held up last year. Here is to hoping he can hold up once again. He is on his way to one of the best fantasy seasons of all time for a running back.
For at least one week, it seems the Chargers are going to go with a pretty even timeshare at running back with Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon. Gordon will get more work running the ball while Ekeler will be used more in passing situations. This probably is a bigger blow to Gordon’s fantasy value, getting fewer chances to catch the ball. Ekeler might not keep his current pace as a fantasy back, but he can still be at least a top No. 2 back in his current role. He is going to catch a lot of passes.
Aaron Rodgers failed to score a touchdown last week and now ranks below Marcus Mariota in the fantasy quarterback rankings (19th overall). He is not having the season many expected but this could be the norm for him in this offense. The Packers are putting much more emphasis on the run and playing good defense. Plus, Rodgers is without his top receiver right now (Davante Adams) and the rest of the options have been very ho hum. Rodgers is still going to have a few big games this year but he might be mediocre more often than not, especially compared to past years for Rodgers.
Rookie Josh Jacobs is really starting to hit his stride. He had his first 100-yard rushing game of his career last week against a very good Bears defense. He has two straight games with 100-plus yards and topped that mark three of five games. Jacobs is getting a ton of weekly work and has five receptions the last two games compared to just one catch his first three. This all adds up to Jacobs being a low-end No. 1 fantasy back with big-time future at the position.
His fantasy numbers aren’t off the charts just yet but I’m super impressed by Colts running back Marlon Mack. He is a very impressive back. He runs with power but also has the patience to wait for the hole to open. He looks like an elite back and is starting to perform like one. Mack ran for 132 yards last week and has two games with 100-plus rushing yards. He also runs behind a very good offensive line, which is another huge plus for Mack. I think he is setup for great things going forward.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 6 rankings.
News and Notes: The Bills traded receiver Zay Jones to Raiders for a fifth-round draft pick in the 2021 draft. Jones could quickly move his way up the depth chart with his new team. . . . .The Broncos signed cornerback Coty Sensabaugh on Tuesday, adding some more depth to their secondary. . . . .The Patriots released tight end Benjamin Watson. He was just taken off the suspended list, so he will be free to sign with a new team. . . . .The Titans are making a switch at kicker. The team released kicker Cairo Santos and signed Cody Parkey to take over the kicking duties. . . . .The Chiefs signed defensive tackle Terrell McClain on Tuesday.
Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals. Murray hasn’t posted eye popping weekly numbers his rookie year but has been very consistent. He is eighth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring, having at least 20 points every game this season. If he had a few more scores, he could be a top-five option. But right now, Murray has six total touchdowns, which is holding back his numbers. Murray is a great play this week against the Falcons, though. Atlanta allows the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and allow 30 points per game. Murray is a solid No. 1 for Week 6.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. His huge game last week has moved him all the way up to fourth overall in fantasy running back scoring. Jones was producing pretty well even before that monster game, though. He has touchdowns four straight games and two 100-yard games this year. Jones also is becoming a bigger factor in the passing game, having 13 receptions his last two games. This really improves his fantasy value. Jones won’t repeat last week but he can have a good showing against the Lions. Detroit struggles against the run, allowing the fourth most fantasy points to running backs.
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys. Prescott had his second 400-yard game of the season last week, getting a chance to air it out often because his team got down big. Prescott was picked off three times but threw for 463 yards and two scores. Prescott has multiple touchdowns four of five games and is fifth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He is setup for another big game this week against the Jets. The Jets are just 21st against the pass and allow 25 points per game.
Chris Carson. RB, Seahawks. Carson had his second straight 100-yard game of the season last week. He has at least 15 carries every game this year, getting consistent work in the offense. He is 14th overall in fantasy running back scoring but can inch up even farther with a few more scores. You have to like his chances to find he end zone this week against a Browns team that was run over by the 49ers rushing game last week. The Browns are 29th against the rush, allowing 151-rushing yards per game.
D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars. Alright, it is time to move Chark into must-start territory for all fantasy teams. This guy just keeps posting big weekly numbers, ranking fifth overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He had a career best game last week, catching eight passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He has scores four of five games. Chark is setup for more good things this week against the Saints, a team that allows the seventh most fantasy points to receivers.
Jordan Howard, RB, Eagles. Howard is showing some signs of life after a slow start. He has touchdowns three straight games and topped 100 total yards in Week 4. He has fewer than 65-rushing yards all but a game, though, and six total receptions. He is a touchdown dependent player, making him a risky weekly fantasy play. And we aren’t sure he finds the end zone this week against the Vikings, a team that allows the fourth fewest fantasy points to receivers. Minnesota has allowed just one rushing touchdown all year.
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Chiefs. Robinson has been very quiet since his huge Week 2 performance against the Raiders. Robinson has fewer than 45 yards three straight games. He is capable of a huge game in this offense but his recent production is a concern for any fantasy team looking to use him right now. It is hard to justify a spot in your lineup for Robinson. The numbers don’t lie. Robinson also plays the Texans this week. The Texans don’t have a great pass defense but haven't been too bad defensively, allowing 22 points per game. It is probably wise to just leave Robinson on your bench.
Daniel Jones, QB, Giants. Jones has played well since entering the starting lineup for the Giants. He has led his team to wins and made the offense much better. His fantasy numbers haven’t been off the charts, though. He has just one touchdown each of the last two games and failed to hit 200-passing yards last week. Jones has his toughest test of the season this week, facing the Patriots. New England allows the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and have yet to allow a passing touchdown. Plus, Jones will be without his top receiver, Sterling Shepard, which is another strike against using him.
Corey Davis, WR, Titans. Davis has all sorts of talent but continues to be wildly inconsistent for his fantasy owners. He has fewer than 50 yards in all but a game. He does have a 20 point fantasy performance, though, showing his big-time potential when getting the ball. The issue is Davis doesn’t get the ball enough. He does not have more than six targets in any game. Until he starts getting more work, don’t bother with Davis, especially this week. Davis plays the Broncos, which is a tough matchup for him. Denver allows the second fewest fantasy points to receivers and are fifth overall against the pass.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams. You can’t bench Gurley because of his huge weekly potential in this offense but you might want to temper your expectations for him. The only thing saving him right now are his touchdown totals. He has multiple scores two straight games. His other numbers are not good, though. He has more than 100 total yards just once all year, which came in Week 1. He has fewer than 65-rushing yards four straight games and more than 10 receiving yards in just one game. He has been a disappointment in an offense that has struggled to run the ball. It could be more of the same for the Rams this week against the 49ers. San Francisco has been great against the run, allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars. Minshew has been super consistent for fantasy teams since entering the starting lineup. He has multiple scores four of five games and at least 18 fantasy points every game. He had a career-high 374-passing yards last week. Minshew has a lot of confidence and seems to be getting better each week. He has legit fantasy value as a spot starter. He is worth a look this week against the Saints, a team that allows the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins. Parker is one of the few Dolphins worth considering for fantasy teams. Parker scored his first touchdown of the season his last time out and has 70 or more yards two of four games. Parker is always capable of the huge game because of his big-time ability. A matchup this week against the Redskins gives Parker a chance for one of his big games. Washington allows the third most fantasy points to receivers and are 23rd overall against the pass.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins. Peterson has not been good this year, especially compared to last year in this same offense. He has yet to top 40-rushing yards in a game and has just one touchdown. He also has just three receptions. The only good news is he is getting most of the carries, having three games with double-digit carries. If he is ever going to have a big game, it will be this week against the lowly Dolphins. Miami is dead last against the run, allowing 176-rushing yards per game. This is the week to take a chance on Peterson.
Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals. Edmonds had his best game of the season last week, totaling 86 yards on 11 touches. It was the first time all season he had double-digit touches in a game. David Johnson had his back lock up on him during the game, though, and had to miss some time. This could be an issue moving forward, so his workload could be scaled back. This means more touches for Edmonds, a big-play back. This makes Edmonds worth a look for fantasy teams in Week 6 against the Falcons. Atlanta is 19th against the rush and allow 30 points per game.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Falcons. Sanu scored his first touchdown of the season last week. He has at least five receptions every game this year. His numbers aren’t flashy but consistent in the Falcons pass-heavy offense. You can’t ignore the numbers. He is a good bye-week or injury replacement for fantasy teams. If you need a receiver this week, give Sanu a look. He plays the Cardinals, a team 24th against the pass and allowing 28 points per game.
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: Texans/Chiefs, 49ers/Rams, Falcons/Cardinals.
Low Scoring Games: Eagles/Vikings, Titans/Broncos.
Bye Weeks: Bills, Bears, Colts, Raiders.
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.
Atlanta Falcons RB Brian Hill played 51 percent of the offensive snaps Sunday, Nov. 10, in the win over the New Orleans Saints. The bulk of Hill's work came with RB Devonta Freeman (foot) out of the game.
Fantasy Spin: With Freeman expected to miss multiple games and backup Ito Smith (neck) already out for the year, Hill will have a big role in a nice matchup against the soft Carolina Panthers run defense. He should be a top waiver priority this week.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams played 72 percent of the offensive snaps in the Week 10 loss against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Nov. 10. RB Darrel Williams played just 21 percent with RB Darwin Thompson getting a total of five offensive snaps. RB LeSean McCoy was a healthy scratch.
Fantasy Spin: Williams' 109 yards from scrimmage were the second-most he's racked up in a game and came on the heels of a season-high 125 rushing yards last week. He didn't find the end zone for the first time in three weeks, but it was a heavy workload and he lived up to the task. Fantasy managers who took a chance on him this year seem like they'll be rewarded down the stretch run.
Miami Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage played 82 percent of the offensive snaps Sunday, Nov. 10, against the Indianapolis Colts. RB Patrick Laird played just eight offensive snaps with RB Myles Gaskin playing five total snaps (all on offense).
Fantasy Spin: Ballage ran the ball 20 times but for a very disappointing 43 yards. He caught all four of his targets but for just two yards. It was the Dolphins' second straight win but it remains highly doubtful there'll be many more of these. If he wasn't successful in Week 10, it's unlikely he will be.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt played 54 percent of the offensive snaps against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Nov. 10, but starter Nick Chubb played a three-week high of 81 percent in the 19-16 victory. RB Dontrell Hilliard played just eight offensive snaps for his lowest total since Week 5.
Fantasy Spin: Chubb ran 20 times for 116 yards while catching two of four targets for just five yards. Hunt totaled 74 yards from scrimmage on 11 touches with seven receptions and four carries. It's quite possible both could be effective fantasy options in the same games, but Chubb remains the definitive No. 1 option.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson has put together a solid rookie campaign with 30 receptions, over 360 yards, and three touchdowns. In Thursday night's game against the Cleveland Browns, Johnson will work to stay in the sights of quarterback Mason Rudolph. However, Rudolph has been favoring shorter routes recently, which puts Johnson at a bit of a disadvantage. Although Johnson's big-play ability gives him value as a touchdown-dependent WR4 in Week 11.
Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry drew criticism from head coach Freddie Kitchens Tuesday, Nov. 12, for the 15-yard taunting penalty he took Sunday, Nov. 10 against the Buffalo Bills. 'I don't like penalties,' said Kitchens. 'I don't like penalties. I want him playing with passion, though, not emotion, but passion.'
Fantasy Spin: Landry had one of his best games of the season by catching nine of 10 targets for 97 yards and finding the end zone for the second straight week, but the penalty set up the missed 48-yard extra point by PK Austin Seibert.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has just 12 receptions for 170 yards and one touchdown in his last four games. With a Thursday Night football matchup against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11, Smith-Schuster shouldn't be considered the reliable option many drafted him as. Quarterback Mason Rudolph has been favoring shorter to intermediate routes, which should favor the USC product, but the numbers haven't followed. Look at Smith-Schuster as a touchdown-dependent WR2 against Cleveland.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington is coming off the best consecutive performances of his young career. He's hauled in 10 of 11 targets for 159 yards and a touchdown in the last two games, and he seems to be redeveloping a connection with his college quarterback Mason Rudolph. He'll face off against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night and has a chance to build himself more opportunities in the offense. View Washington as nothing but a WR4 in deeper leagues, as he still has some room to prove his fantasy worth.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (shoulder) was a full participant in Tuesday's practice, all but confirming he's good to go for Thursday night's road game against the Cleveland Browns. After missing the last two contests, Conner has been missed on offense, as the Steelers have combined for just 132 rushing yards in that span. Against the Browns, Conner should help open up the offensive gameplan by reassuming the lead-back role. Look at the 24-year-old as an RB2 against a defense that allows 19 fantasy points per game to running backs.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels steps away from the lead-back role with the expected return of James Conner (shoulder) in Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns. Over the last two games, Samuels turned 38 touches into just 123 yards and no touchdowns, so it's clear he's not suited for four-down work in this offense. Against the Browns on Thursday, the NC State product isn't very fantasy appealing as Cleveland has allowed just 40 receptions to running backs this season, the ninth-fewest in the NFL. Since Conner is likely returning, Samuels is best left on fantasy benches in Week 11.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph gets a favorable matchup for Thursday Night Football when the Steelers travel to take on the Cleveland Browns. Rudolph has been gaining more confidence with each start, and his 242 yards passing last week were the second highest of his short career. Against the Browns, the second-year signal caller faces a defense that allows an average of 23 fantasy points per game. Rudolph can be considered a low-end QB2, especially in the early game of the week. You could do worse, but you could certainly do better for a streaming option.
Free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick (49ers) shared a message on Twitter Tuesday, Nov. 12, addressing the previous reports of the league-arranged free-agent workout Saturday, Nov. 16. 'I'm just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I've been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can't wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday,' Kaepernick wrote.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (ankle) will seek a second opinion on his reaggravated sprained ankle. Breida only accrued 25 yards on 12 touches in Week 10 before exiting in the second half. Breida is no stranger to playing injured but NFL Networks Tom Pelissero believes he could miss some time to let it heal. Breidas absence would benefit third-string back Raheem Mostert who flashed promise earlier this season when Tevin Coleman was hurt. Mostert would be a risky but upside flex play in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals if Breida is inactive.
San Francisco 49ers WR Dante Pettis is running out of time to prove his worth in head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. 'The more he doesn't take advantage of his opportunities, the less opportunities he gets,' Shanahan said Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Fantasy Spin: Pettis, a second-year pro, has caught just 11 of 24 targets this season for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He shouldn't be on rosters in anything shallower than 14- or 16-team leagues.
Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (hamstring) has a 'legit' hamstring injury, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Seattle Seahawks TE Ed Dickson (knee) was close to being activated off of injured reserve this past week and will return for Week 12 following the team's bye, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Nov. 12.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (knee, ankle) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) are considered day-to-day and shaping up as game-time decisions in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. Kittle and Sanders figure to practice minimally this week, if any. Kittle missed Week 10 and his injury appears serious but head coach Kyle Shanahan refrained from ruling out the warrior. Sanders suffered a rib cartilage injury on Monday night and the severity is unknown. Without their top aerial playmakers, the biggest gainer could be wideout Deebo Samuel. The rookie amassed 112 yards on eight catches in Week 10 and was clearly the most electric player amongst Kendrick Bourne, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis. Samuel will be a hot waiver commodity and slots as a WR3 if both Kittle and Sanders cant go.
Updating a previous story, San Francisco 49ers DL Ronald Blair (knee) will undergo season-ending surgery for his torn ACL, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock (thumb) returned to practice Tuesday, Nov. 12. A decision will need to be made by Dec. 3 to activate him from injured reserve. CB Bryce Callahan (foot) also returned to practice Tuesday. He has remained on the 53-man roster.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle (knee) is day-to-day, although head coach Kyle Shanahan is 'hopeful' Kittle will be able to play in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Fantasy Spin: Expect the third-year tight end to be held out of practice early in the week, although it sounds like Kittle's fantasy owners need to be prepared for the possibility of another missed game. If he can make it through a limited practice by Friday, he'll have a chance to suit up and be worth a start in fantasy. If he can't go, Ross Dwelley and Garrett Celek figure to see the bulk of work on passing downs in his absence.