Wed Oct 16 9:51am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Fournette ready for big Week 7
Well, the season just keeps chugging along. We are about at the halfway point, so it could be now or never for some fantasy teams. Just remember, you have time to get it going. All you need to do is get hot and make the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if you win first overall in your league. You can still win by getting that last spot in the playoffs. The best team all year doesn’t always win their league. So now is the time to start heating up. Make your trades and waiver wire pickups to put your team in the best position for a strong second half. Get it going now!
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . .
For me, I think the Rams are the most disappointing team in the NFL to date, especially from a fantasy perspective. This offense is really struggling. Just look at last week. The lack of a running game has really impacted the entire offense. Todd Gurley was really the cog in the offense that made things click. He just isn’t healthy and showing like he did the past few years. Plus, you have to figure the rest of the league is figuring things out with the Rams. Defensive coordinators had a whole offseason to adjust to what the Rams have been doing offensively. And Jared Goff seems to have regressed. He just doesn't look very good right now. Not good.
Patrick Mahomes is human. He is fourth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring, which is a bit of a surprise. His receivers are dropping some passes, though, and his running game isn’t doing much. This isn’t great news for Mahomes. Fear not, though. Mahomes can still finish first overall in scoring. He has just hit a little bump in the road. We wouldn’t set off the alarm bells just yet. He still has just one interception all year and thrown for 300-plus yards all but a game.
If you can, I would sell high on Carlos Hyde. He is coming off a season best game and has scores three of four games. I’m just not convinced he keeps up this good play. He has just six receptions all season, which really holds back his fantasy value. And he has 60 or fewer rushing yards three of his last four games. This is still a pass-first team that has issues running the ball. Hyde is not going to keep playing at his current level, especially if you consider his play the last few seasons.
One guy I’m not selling high on is Chris Godwin. I have him in like 80 percent of my leagues and feeling great about that. He had double-digit receptions last week for the second time all year. He is the leading fantasy receiver right now. It is a little bit of a concern seeing Jameis Winston playing poorly but that doesn’t bother me too much. This team can’t run the ball, so I expect them to keep airing it out often despite Winston’s turnover issues. This means Godwin will continue to rack up the catches and yards. It is a lot of fun to watch Godwin have his breakout season. He is the real deal.
The Vikings are becoming a really scary team. Minnesota is playing at a high level right now both offensively and defensively. This is a pretty complete team. The rise of Kirk Cousins takes this offense to a different level and I don’t think it is a fluke. He has two of the best receivers in the game to work with, and Cousins has produced at a high level in recent years. I’m buying his recent play as well as the entire Vikings offense. And we cant forget about Dalvin Cook, having a breakout season at running back. He makes the entire offense go.
So Austin Hooper is first overall in fantasy tight end scoring. I don’t think that is a fluke. He is getting a ton of work and making some big plays along the way. He has 100-yard games two of his last three. He has at least six receptions all but a game in the Falcons pass-happy offense. I really think he can make a run at finishing first overall in tight end scoring. There are a lot of options in this passing game, which is a little bit of a concern, but the Falcons are throwing the ball so much that I’m not sure that matters. Kudos to you if you grabbed Hooper in this year’s draft. He is sure paying off for all those owners that waited on a tight end.
Last week was the first time all year Austin Ekeler was a dud for his fantasy owners. And I’m sorry to say this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens a few more times the rest of the way. The return of Melvin Gordon is really a concern. Gordon started last week and had 11 touches compared to eight for Ekeler. I don’t think I would dump Ekeler unless I get some value in return, but be ready for a few more up and down performances. He is going to be more of a flex play going forward. He’ll still get his weekly touches and receptions, but probably not the volume of past weeks. And I’m not sure Gordon reaches his full fantasy potential with Ekeler around and getting so much work in the passing game. Both these players are hurting the fantasy value of each other.
This didn’t used to be the case, but the trade deadline in the NFL is a lot more active these days. We already have seen several trades happen this week and the deadline isn’t until next week (Tuesday, Oct. 29). This is something to watch for fantasy owners. Trades can really impact fantasy value - good and bad - so keep up with all the trades from around the league when they happen. It could be an interesting week around the league.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 7 rankings.
News and Notes: The Patriots signed tight end Eric Tomlinson on Tuesday. He gives the team some more depth at the tight end position. . . . .The Browns traded offensive lineman Austin Corbett to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Tuesday. . . . .The Rams traded cornerback Marcus Peters to the Ravens in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed 2020 draft pick on Tuesday. . . .The Jaguars traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, and a fourth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. . . . .The Titans announced Ryan Tannehill will start the Week 7 game. This sends Marcus Mariota to the bench.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars. Fournette isn’t having a banner season but a solid one, especially compared to last year. He is ninth overall in fantasy running back scoring and sixth overall in his last three games. Fournette has three straight games with more than 100 total yards. A big plus for him this year is added work in the passing game, having at least four receptions all but a game. He should get a huge workload this week against the Bengals. Cincinnati allows the most fantasy points to running backs. The Bengals have been a disaster against the run, ranking dead last. They allow 185-rushing yards per game.
Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals. Murray is playing at a high level right now, taking advantage of some poor defenses in recent weeks. He has 27-plus fantasy points two straight games. He had his first three-touchdown game of his career last week. Murray is up to seventh overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He is getting it done on a weekly basis. Murray has his third straight poor opponent this week, facing the Giants. New York allows the sixth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 31st against the pass, allowing 285-passing yards per game.
Robert Woods, WR, Rams. Woods scored his first touchdown of the season last week, which was a rushing score. But even despite a lack of scores, Woods is 26th overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He is capable of the big game in this offense as evident by his huge game in Week 4 against the Bucs. Some fantasy owners might be shying away from the Rams this week after their awful game last week, but a Week 7 matchup against the Falcons should get this offense healthy. The Falcons are 27th against the pass and have allowed 15-passing touchdowns this season.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons. Freeman is starting to show some signs of life rushing the ball. He scored two touchdowns last week and has scores two straight games. He tied a season high in rushing yards last week with 88 yards. The biggest plus for Freeman this year has been his work in the passing game, having at least three receptions every game. This can save his fantasy numbers if he is shutdown rushing the ball. He should find more success this week against the Rams. Los Angeles is reeling right now and are 16th against the run. Freeman could find the end zone, facing a team that has allowed seven rushing touchdowns.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys. Gallup wasn’t great last week, having four receptions for 48 yards on seven targets, but his numbers weren’t terrible. He has 100-yard games two of four and at least six receptions in all but a game. Amari Cooper is hurting, which could make Gallup the No. 1 receiver this week against the Eagles. This is a great matchup for Gallup, getting a team that has allowed the most fantasy points to receivers this year. Gallup can produce elite numbers in Week 7.
LeVeon Bell, RB, Jets. Bell has been pretty mediocre in recent weeks. He scored a touchdown last week, which saved his otherwise poor fantasy games. He had 15 touches for just 53 yards. He has 50 or fewer rushing yards three straight games and his season high in rushing is just 68 yards. Bell had 20-plus fantasy points each of his first two games but done little since. He gets a Patriots team this week that should focus their game plan on shutting down Bell. New England allows the second fewest fantasy points to running backs and just eight points per game.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions. Stafford has been a big surprise this year, ranking 11th overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He has multiple touchdowns three of five games and at least 245-passing yards all but a game. He is healthy and producing once again. He did fail to score a touchdown last week, though, and has fewer than 15 fantasy points two of his past three games. He has another tough one this week against the Vikings. Minnesota allows the 10th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank seventh overall against the pass.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos. Some might look at the matchup this week and think Sanders is a must start for fantasy teams, getting a Chiefs team that can struggled defensively. But it is sure hard to recommend playing Sanders despite the great matchup. He has two catches for nine yards his last two games. He has 10 or fewer yards three of his last four games. Sure, he could go off in this one, but it is hard to be confident playing him because of his recent play and production. We would just avoid him right now.
Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs. Williams returned to the lineup Week 5, but has done little since his return. He did score a touchdown last week but had just two touches in the game. He has 14 touches for 58 yards his last two games. He is yet to top 30-rushing yards in a game all year. Williams is another player that is hard to trust based on his production all season. He also has a tough matchup this week against the Broncos, a team that has allowed just 18 points per game. It is probably best to just avoid Williams right now.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins. McLaurin has been the best rookie receiver in football this year. He has been great almost every game. He has two 100-yard games and scores four of the five games he has played. He is almost moving into must-start territory. But a game this week against the 49ers is a little worrisome for McClaurin. The 49ers defense has been dominating in recent weeks, especially last week against the Rams. San Francisco totally shutdown the Rams passing attack. The 49ers are first overall against the pass and allow just 13 points per game. It could be a long day for the Redskins offense in this one, making McLaurin a bit of a risky play despite his big numbers this year.
Josh Allen, QB, Bills. Allen hasn’t been off the charts this year but consistent. He has multiple touchdowns three of five games and topped 240-passing yards three games. He has more than 20 fantasy points all but a game. And he is always capable of the big game, giving him added fantasy value. He is setup for one of those big games this week against the lowly Dolphins. Miami allows the second most fantasy points to quarterbacks and are 26th overall against the pass.
Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos. Freeman has not been outstanding all year but pretty consistent, splitting work with starter Phillip Lindsay. He has double-digit carries all but a game. He also has at least four receptions four of six games, which helps his fantasy numbers. He has double-digit fantasy points three of six games. Freeman has value as a flex play, especially this week against the Chiefs. Kansas City was run over by a Texans rushing attack that hadn’t done much all year. The Chiefs are 30th overall against the run, allowing 162-rushing yards per game.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Colts. Brissett has multiple touchdowns all but a game this year. And he has scores every game this season. He has 20-plus fantasy points three of five games. He has done very well as the starter for the Colts and is producing for fantasy teams. He is a spot play, worth using in the right matchup. And this week against the Texans is a good time to use Brissett. The Texans are just 24th overall against the pass and allow the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Brissett is a good bye week or injury replacement for Week 7.
Cole Beasley, WR, Bills. Beasley is yet to score this year but is getting his catches as the slot receiver in this offense. He has three games with double-digit fantasy points and at least three catches every game this season. He also has 75 or more yards two of five games. He can be a help to fantasy teams, especially in a favorable matchup. And a game this week against the Dolphins is a good one for Beasley. The Dolphins are 26th against the pass and give up an whooping 36 points per game.
Darren Fells, TE, Texans. Fells had season highs in catches (six) and yards (69) last week. He has 12 or more fantasy points three of his last four games. The Texans are looking at the tight end more often in recent weeks and Fells is benefitting from the added looks. He is moving up the tight end rankings and worth using for fantasy teams. Fells has a matchup for more good things this week, playing the Colts. Indianapolis has struggled to stop the tight end this year, allowing the third most fantasy points to tight ends.
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/Falcons, Texans/Colts, Cardinals/Giants, Eagles/Cowboys.
Low Scoring Games: Chargers/Titans.
Bye Weeks: Panthers, Browns, Steelers, Bucs.
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.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (knee), running back Matt Breida (ankle) and kicker Robbie Gould (quadriceps) are all doubtful for Week 11 against the Cardinals. For Kittle and Gould, they're likely to miss their second straight game. Ross Dwelley and Chase McLaughlin would fill in for the two, respectively, but they're both poor fantasy streamers, even in deep leagues. Breida could miss up to two weeks, leaving Raheem Mostert and Jeffery Wilson to back up Tevin Coleman. Coleman has high-end RB2 upside in this great matchup, while Mostert and Wilson are merely flex considerations in deeper formats.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) is listed as questionable for Week 11 against the Cardinals. This could be a true game-time decision, which makes things tough for fantasy owners with this game starting later Sunday afternoon. It'd be a shame if Sanders couldn't play in this juicy matchup, especially after he put up seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown against the same Cardinals just two weeks ago. Sanders is a very risky WR3 this weekend. If he sits out, rookie Deebo Samuel should benefit the most, especially with tight end George Kittle (knee) expected to miss his second straight game. It's hard to trust anyone outside of Samuel and Sanders in this run-first offense. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo needs to be faded with Kittle doubtful and Sanders questionable.
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.