Sat Oct 12 9:29am ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Four teams won’t be playing this week: Buffalo, Chicago, Indianapolis and Oakland.
Miami returns to play. Well, at least they have a game! And it is at home against the winless Redskins. As bad as these two teams are, a 0-0 tie would not surprise me. But if you’re streaming defenses, you could take the Redskins, mainly because they fired head coach Jay Gruden. There might be a sense of urgency from their players who might be playing to keep their jobs.
The big scoring game this week could come as Houston visits Kansas City. This game promises to be a track meet as both teams dash up and down the field. Houston has been given up 365 yards per game while putting up 380. And Kansas City has been given up 393 while getting 444. Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson both should top 300 passing yards, and all receivers are in play except injured Sammy Watkins.
As a rule, using your offensive players against the worst defenses makes common sense. And we have a couple of them going against each other this week in Atlanta at Arizona. Both defenses are at the NFL bottom in passing yards, touchdowns and rushing yards allowed. So both Kyler Murray and Matt Ryan should have big days as well as their top and secondary receivers. And the running backs should put up nice numbers, too, so load up.
Quarterbacks: Besides the above and the obvious, I have a sneaky pick this week. Miami quarterback Josh Rosen going against a Redskins team that just changed coaches. With an extra week to prepare because of a bye, Rosen should show why he was given a vote of confidence as their starting quarterback for the rest of the year.
Running Back: Staying with the two worst teams idea, I like Adrian Peterson to show up this week for the Redskins against the Dolphins. New coach Bill Callahan wants to establish a running game and what better team to do it against than Miami. Devonta Freeman gets the NFL’s 24th worst defense and the more he runs, the more the Falcons pitiful defense can stay off the field. Same goes for Houston. They’d like Carlos Hyde to exploit the Kansas City running defense that’s banged up right now at linebacker. I also like Seattle running back Chris Carson to have a huge day against a Browns rushing defense that hasn’t stopped anyone the last two weeks.
Wide Receivers: The Eagles passing defense is giving up 300 yards and two touchdowns a game. Hopefully, both touchdowns will go to Adam Theilen just like last week. He’s the top choice for a big day if Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins plays like last week again. As mentioned above, the Miami D is bad, so in addition to Peterson having a big day, look for Redskins wideout Terry McLaurin to torch the 31st worst NFL defense. Baltimore and Lamar Jackson should have their way with the Bengals defense. If healthy and playing, Marquise Brown should be huge as he burns their secondary at least a couple times for big plays. If he’s inactive, Willie Snead could be a nice sleeper.
Tight End: Staying with the above theme, Ravens tight end Mark Andrews should be a big red-zone target. Back to exploiting the Cardinals defense that can’t find a way to cover tight ends. Expect a big week from Falcons tight end Austin Hooper. He’s been averaging six catches a game and will be in double digits in this one. Plus, he’ll get in the end zone. Have you noticed what the Rams tight end Gerald Everett has been doing lately? He has 12 catches on 19 targets for 180 yards and a touchdown his last two games. Look for him to be a big part of the game plan against the 49er’s with Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks banged up.
Defense: If you’re not taking the Redskins against the Dolphins, the next best is the Cowboys at the New York Jets. The sixth best defense is going against the league’s worst offense.
Have a great Week 6. And if the Buffalo defense is available in your league, grab them now for the matchup with a Miami next week!
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.
Free-agent LB Vontaze Burfict (Raiders) was reinstated by the league in January and has reportedly been working out at his alma mater (Arizona State) in an effort to returning to the NFL in 2020. Burfict was suspended for the final 12 games of the 2019 season after delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit to Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle.
Jacksonville Jaguars impending free-agent DE Yannick Ngakoue is seeking a long-term deal that pays $22 million annually. The franchise tag would be worth around $19.3 million if used on him.
Fantasy Spin: Ngakoue was tied for fifth in fantasy points at the position last season in 15 games. It was a down year that he only had eight sacks, and there is certainly is more in the tank.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler needs to see 15 to 20 touches per game, according to head coach Anthony Lynn.
Fantasy Spin: Ekeler is one of the more versatile backs in the NFL, and he finished 2019 with 92 catches and eight receiving touchdowns. There's a good chance he will be he unquestioned top back and a potential RB1 in 2020 if Melvin Gordon doesn't return, but even if Gordon is back, Ekeler can be a RB2 in PPR formats.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said on Sunday that the team isn't pursuing a long-term contract extension with running back Marlon Mack currently. It doesn't mean that it's not on the table or that the Colts don't want to keep Mack around for the long-term, but it's not a pressing issue. The 23-year-old (24 next month) is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2020 season. He's been the starter the last two years and had 247 carries for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. However, he's also missed eight games the last two seasons, so Indy might be hesitant in thinking he'll continue to be a lead back for years to come. Mack does have a strong offensive line in front of him, but he'll be more of a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 going into the final year of his contract in 2020.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. credits his success in 2019 to an improved commitment to preparation, and Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com believes Chark should deliver 1,000 receiving yards and eight to 10 touchdowns in 2020.
Fantasy Spin: Chark emerged as the top receiver for the Jaguars in 2019, and while Jacksonville is unlikely to have a high-powered passing attack, Chark should be able to deliver WR3 production as the No. 1 option.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had eight catches on 11 targets in the six quarters he played with QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) in 2019, and Brooke Pryor of ESPN believes Smith-Schuster needs another 'reliable offensive weapon' to be at his best.
Fantasy Spin: While Smith-Schuster's numbers would have been better with a healthy Roethlisberger under center, we still don't know if he can replicate his monster 2018 numbers as the go-to option of the passing attack.
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki will likely be used as a slot receiver in sets featuring three or more receivers in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey's system, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: After a quiet rookie year, Gesicki showed signs of life in 2019, finishing with 51 catches for 570 yards and five touchdowns. He could be worth a flier as a high-upside TE2.
The Baltimore Ravens are hopeful of re-signing DE/LB Jihad Ward, a pending unrestricted free agent. The team thinks he fits well with them and they like his motor, versatility. The two sides have had discussions over the past week.
New England Patriots FS Devin McCourty might be a candidate for the franchise tag, and he could cost $11.5 million against the cap if that's the route head coach Bill Belichick and company elect.
New England Patriots PK Stephen Gostkowski (hip) has one year remaining on his contract, but he is 36 years old and coming off hip surgery. Releasing him would free up nearly $3.5 million in salary cap space.
Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack is not in line for a contract extension at this time. '(Marlon), we love him, but we love the other two guys. We want him back and he wants to be back, really. There were some mis-reports that we were pursuing an extension there. That's not the case. I don't know where those came from,' team owner Jim Irsay said Sunday, Feb. 23.
Indianapolis Colts PK Adam Vinatieri (knee), set to be an unrestricted free agent March 18, is undergoing rehab after surgery in December to repair a damaged meniscus and patellar tendon in his left knee. 'Adam knows how much I think of him. He's unbelievable. We'll see. He's in rehab mode now and we're in the middle of trying to put the team together,' owner Robert Irsay said Sunday, Feb. 23.
San Francisco 49ers restricted free-agent LB Elijah Lee probably will not receive a tender offer this season but the team may look to sign him to a minimum level contract, in the opinion of NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett is a player on the rise, but the Colts will consider all options at quarterback this offseason, according to owner Jim Irsay.
Fantasy Spin: The Colts have been linked to Philip Rivers this offseason, but the team can consider several options if they do not want Brissett to be the starter in 2020. The Colts have a solid group of pass catchers, so their starter could be a low-end No. 1 or a No. 2 quarterback in fantasy leagues depending on the player.
Tennessee Titans impending free-agent QB Marcus Mariota likely will not re-sign with the Titans this offseason, in the opinion of TitansOnline.com's Jim Wyatt.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) had a doctor visit on Friday and said, "It was a good report. I got to bypass the tennis ball throwing for a month and go right to the football. Still going to be about 2.5-3 months until I get total clearance from doc but we are doing good!" The Steelers posted a video on Twitter of Roethlisberger lightly tossing a football in a gym on Saturday. The veteran gunslinger played in just two games in 2019 before needing season-ending right elbow surgery. He seems to be coming along well and should be ready for the season opener in 2020, barring any setbacks. Big Ben is injury prone at his age, but he put up career highs in passing yards and touchdowns in 2018 and will be a QB2 with QB1 upside if he can stay healthy.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) said he has been cleared to start throwing a football but is still about two and a half to three months away from receiving full clearance.
Fantasy Spin: Roethlisberger probably will not do much during offseason workouts but appears to have a good chance to be ready for training camp. He has posted very good numbers over the last several seasons and could be a low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback if he is healthy.
Minnesota Vikings impending free-agent DE Everson Griffen and S Anthony Harris likely will receive interest from the Cleveland Browns if they hit the free-agent market, in the opinion of The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot.
Buffalo Bills impending free-agent DT Jordan Phillips plans to test the free-agent market this offseason.
Updating a previous report, the agent for Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery refuted a claim that his client would welcome a trade to another team. In a Twitter post Friday, Feb. 21, agent Tory Dandy wrote that Jeffery 'loves being in the city of Philly and playing for the Eagles.'
Fantasy Spin: The 30-year-old Jeffery is coming off a disappointing 2019 campaign where he only had 43 receptions for 490 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games, marking his worst statistical performance since his rookie season in 2012. He is also in the middle of a nine-month recovery period from Lisfranc surgery last December, so his trade value couldn't be much lower. At best, Jeffery should be viewed as a WR4 for next season's fantasy drafts.