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.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida is expected to miss "a week or two" after aggravating a low-ankle sprain in the Week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. It's mostly good news, and there was some concern Breida would have to miss a more significant amount of time. Tevin Coleman will operate as the clear lead back in Breida's absence, but Raheem Mostert suddenly climbs into fantasy consideration while he fills Breida's place on the depth chart.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett (knee) will practice fully Wednesday, Nov. 13, and he'll start this weekend, barring any setbacks.
Fantasy Spin: It'll be a midrange matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have a good pass rush, and coming off a knee injury, Brissett is a midrange QB2.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 13, but there's a chance he could practice later in the week.
Fantasy Spin: It sounds like Hilton could return against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it's still too early to get excited. He'd be a WR2 in a so-so matchup.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense makes for a strong addition to a Week 11 fantasy lineup. The Cowboys defense has been a bit more hype than performance so far this season, but Week 11 lines up as a good one. Taking on the Detroit Lions, who could be without quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Cowboys defense shouldn't have too much of a hard time racking up fantasy points this week.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Randall Cobb has been trending up lately and could have another solid performance in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions. Facing a much stronger Vikings Defense last week, Cobb caught six passes for 106 yards and a touchdown and has now caught six passes in two straight games. He'll continue to work behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, but when the Cowboys offense clicks, there can be plenty of targets to go around. Cobb has the lowest floor and ceiling of all the Cowboys receivers, but he could still end up as a valuable bye week filler.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is not a strong starting option in Week 11. Even with quarterback Dak Prescott throwing 46 passes last week against the Vikings, Witten ended up with just two catches for 17 yards. He was targeted five times, so he could have done more, but his role is still a very low-upside one. The Detroit Lions Defense doesn't do much well, but one thing they are okay at is defending opposing tight ends. Witten is no more than TE2 floor play this week.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (wrist) told reporters that his broken wrist feels "great" on Tuesday. Njoku has been on the injured reserve since fracturing his wrist during Week 2. He also indicated that he is very optimistic about his chances of being activated from IR when he is first eligible next week. Njoku's return would provide a big boost to a Browns offense that has not gotten much production out of the Ricky Seals-Jones/Demetrius Harris duo. Njoku is worth a waiver add if you need a tight end in your league.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin does not make for a strong starting option in Week 11. Jarwin actually caught one more pass (three) than Jason Witten last week in a loss against the Vikings, but he was only able to turn that into 35 scoreless yards. The Detroit Lions don't do much in terms of defense, but one thing they are decent at is limiting opposing tight ends. Jarwin is a dart-throw in case he scores a touchdown, but most leagues will have much safer picks available on the waiver wire.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher is a strong fantasy choice like usual in a Week 11 matchup against the Detroit Lions. Maher gets a boost in value in fantasy leagues that offer bonus points for distance, as he and the Cowboys have shown that they are not afraid to send out the kicker for attempts well over 50 yards at times. Maher is right in the middle of K1 rankings this week, coming in as the overall K6.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper makes for an excellent fantasy starter in Week 11. Cooper and the Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions and their giving defense one week after Cooper caught 11 passes for 147 yards and a score against a much stronger Vikings secondary. Cooper should have an excellent game with an easier matchup and is currently ranked as the overall WR6 for Week 11.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup is set up for a strong game in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions. Gallup caught four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown last week, but he was targeted 10 times so he could have had a much bigger game. Facing a much softer defense this week, Gallup should have no problem at least matching what he did against the Vikings. He's a strong WR2 choice with some legitimate upside.
The Cleveland Browns Defense will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night in Week 11. Cleveland shapes up as a solid fantasy option as they face off against second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph. The Steelers have run a very conservative offense under Rudolph, which limits the team's fantasy upside. The Browns are installed as 2.5-point home favorites in a game with a low 40-point over/under, which is also good sign for their defense's chances. Cleveland's defense has been among the league leaders in sacks this season and their fierce pass rush could be an issue for the inexperienced Rudolph. Treat the Browns as a top-12 fantasy defense in Week 11.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper is expected to miss about a month with a sprained MCL. Hooper was leading the NFL in catches by a tight end, catching 56 passes for 608 yards and six scores. The four week timetable brings him back in Week 15 assuming everything goes well, meaning Hooper can likely be dropped in redraft formats. The Falcons will rely on their wide receivers in Hooper's absence, as the next guy up on the tight end depth chart is block-first Luke Stocker.
Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard remains one of the league's best handcuffs, but he is not a starting option despite that excellent upside. Pollard has received just four carries in the past two games and is firmly behind three-down back Ezekiel Elliott. The Detroit Lions Defense is generous to opposing running backs, but that will benefit starter Elliott much more than Pollard. Pollard needs to be held in all formats, but shouldn't be in a starting lineup at this point.
Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) is expected to miss a month with a sprained medial collateral ligament.
Fantasy Spin: No one on the roster is a serviceable fantasy pickup. You're likely going to have to play the matchups if you have to replace Hooper. Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson has the matchup this week if he's available on waivers.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry heads into his Week 11 game with a two-game touchdown streak. The veteran slot receiver has been Cleveland's most consistent receiver, drawing double-digit targets in three straight games. He does have a tough matchup on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh just held star slot receiver Cooper Kupp without a catch in Week 10, which could be a concern for Landry this week. That being said, Landry's recent volume is tough to ignore when deciding who to start in Week 11. Treat Landry as a low-end WR2 in PPR leagues and a WR3 in standard formats.
Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris settles in as a shaky fantasy option in Week 11. Harris will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home on Thursday night. The Steelers have been solid against the pass this season, although they have been susceptible to enemy tight ends. On the season, Pittsburgh is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the position. That being said, Harris has been mostly an afterthought in the passing attack, as he will operate as the No. 5 option at best on Thursday night. Harris has yet to catch more than three balls in a game this season and should be treated as a touchdown-dependant TE2 for Week 11.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott should have a strong bounce back week in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions. Elliott was shut down by the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10, running for just 47 yards on 20 carries. The Lions Defense does not offer that kind of performance, so Elliott and the Cowboys offense should have much less trouble getting things going on the ground. Elliott is this week's overall RB3 and is as surefire an RB1 as there is in Week 11.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is a great starting option in Week 11 fantasy lineups. Prescott is coming off a strong 397-yard performance last week and gets a Detroit Lions Defense that has been very generous to opposing quarterbacks. Prescott has emerged quite a bit this season and proved it last week when he led the offense extremely well despite Ezekiel Elliott being almost completely shut down. Dak is a top-five quarterback for Week 11.
Miami Dolphins LB Andrew Van Ginkel (foot) was the second player designated to return from the Reserve/Injured list. CB Aqib Talib (ribs) and DE Jonathan Ledbetter (ankle) will not come off IR.