By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Thomas dials up big game
The huge fantasy performances weren't quite as prevalent this week but the players that had big games had really big games. There were two four-touchdown games from quarterbacks and one receiver hit the 200-yard mark. The bigger story of the fantasy week was fantasy defenses scoring some big-time points. There were two defenses that absolutely dominated their games and were huge factors for fantasy teams. This is rare and should be enjoyed by fantasy owners. It is good to get points from unexpected sources.
49ers 34, Raiders 3
Fantasy Stud: Nick Mullens. The undrafted free agent was forced into action and showed great in his first NFL start. He was near flawless most of the game, going 16-of-22 for 262 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Mullens proved he can start and might be a help to fantasy teams in the right matchup.
Fantasy Dud: Derek Carr. Carr wasn't terrible in his game but the entire team really struggled, leading to a terrible fantasy game for Carr. He was 16-of-21 for 171 yards without a touchdown or an interception. The Raiders are a mess as a team, so Carr is a shaky play going forward for fantasy teams.
Game Notes: Raheem Mostert had a great showing but broke his arm in the game and likely will miss the rest of the year. He suffered a nasty break. Mostert had seven carries for 86 yards and a touchdowns before the injury.
George Kittle had his second 100-yard game of the season, catching four passes for 108 yards and a score. He is having a breakout year, having 41 catches for 692 yards.
Vikings 24, Lions 9
Fantasy Stud: Dalvin Cook. Cook didn't play a full workload but still produced great numbers in his limited role. He led the team in rushing, running 10 times for 89 yards. He also had four receptions for 20 yard, giving him 109 total yards. Cook should just get better going forward as his workload increases. This was a very encouraging game for his fantasy owners.
Fantasy Dud: Matthew Stafford. Stafford was a disaster in this one as the offensive line gave him next to no time to throw. Stafford didn't even throw for 200 yards and failed to score a touchdown. He was 25-of-36 for 199 yards. This offensive line needs to get better in a hurry if the Lions want to get much done in the passing game.
Game Notes: Adam Thielen failed to hit the 100-yard mark for the first time this year. He did score a touchdown, though. Thielen had four receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown.
Marvin Jones led the Lions in receiving yard, catchings six passes for 66 yards. Jones has 13 receptions his last two games.
Dolphins 13, Jets 6
Fantasy Stud: Dolphins defense. The Dolphins defense put up some points in this one, picking off four passes. The defense also scored the only touchdown in the game, returning one of their interceptions 25 yards for a score. Miami also had four sacks. It was quite an impressive performance for a defense that has really played well much of the year.
Fantasy Dud: Sam Darnold. Darnold had his worst game as a pro, going 21-of-39 for 229 yards with four interceptions. This was just the second time all year Darnold failed to score a touchdown in a game. He is having a decent year but needs some help around him to be a fantasy factor.
Game Notes: Elijah McGuire returned from Injured Reserve this week and got a lot of work in his first game back. He ran eight times for 31 yards and caught three passes for 37 yards.
DeVante Parker fell on his face once again after his huge showing last week. Parker had just a catch for eight yards, getting targeted just twice in the game.
Steelers 23, Ravens 17
Fantasy Stud: James Conner. Conner had his usual huge total yardage game. He ran 24 times for 107 yards, and caught seven passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. So he had 163 total yards and a score. Conner has four straight 100-yard games and is now over 1,000 total yards for the year. He is having a spectacular, breakout year.
Fantasy Dud: John Brown. Brown was a disappointment for his fantasy owners, especially if you consider his big game against this same team earlier this year. Brown had just three catches for 17 yards. Brown has cooled some in recent weeks, having fewer than 30 yards three of four games. He is a little hard to trust right now for fantasy owners.
Game Notes: Alex Collins scored a touchdown for the third time in four games. He ran nine times for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Ben Roethlisberger had a strong game against a good defense. He was 28-of-47 for 270 yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). He has four three-touchdown games.
Bears 41, Bills 9
Fantasy Stud: Bears defense. Chicago had a dominating performance for fantasy teams, carrying many to victory all by themselves. This unit scored two return touchdowns, recorded for sacks, had three interceptions, and recovered a fumble. It was one of the best fantasy defensive performances of recent seasons.
Fantasy Dud: LeSean McCoy. McCoy had another poor showing for his fantasy teams. He had 11 carries but managed just 13 yards. He also caught four passes for 19 yards. So in his last two games, McCoy has run 13 times for 26 yards his last two games. McCoy belongs on fantasy benches right now.
Game Notes: Nathan Peterman had another game to forget as the starter for the Bills. He was 31-of-49 for 189 yards with three interceptions.
Jordan Howard ran 14 times for 47 yards and two touchdowns. Howard has touchdowns three straight games.
Chiefs 37, Browns 21
Fantasy Stud: Kareem Hunt. Hunt had another one of his monster fantasy performances. He ran 17 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a pass for a 50-yards touchdown. He had 141 total yards and three scores. Hunt is up to 13 scores for the year, having touchdowns eight straight games. His only game without a score came in Week 1.
Fantasy Dud: Jarvis Landry. There were very few poor fantasy showings in this one. Landry didn't have a bad game by any means, but his owners probably thought he was going to produce a little better in this great matchup. Landry had six catches for 50 yards, producing pretty mediocre numbers. This is the fourth game of the season Landry had 50 or fewer yards.
Game Notes: Duke Johnson had his best game of the year, catching nine passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns. This was his first game all season with more than four receptions.
Nick Chubb found the end zone for the second time in three games. He ran 22 times for 85 yards and a core. Both his rush attempts and yards were season highs for Chubb.
Falcons 38, Redskins 14
Fantasy Stud: Tevin Coleman. Coleman had his best game of the season. He ran 13 times for 88 yards, and caught five passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with 156 total yards and two scores. Coleman has really picked up his play lately, having touchdowns three straight games.
Fantasy Dud: Adrian Peterson. Peterson had a rare down performance for this year, running nine times for just 17 yards against a bad Falcons rush defense. This was an unexpected fantasy performance, especially if you consider how well Peterson had played in recent weeks. Hopefully, this isn't a sign that Peterson is slowing down some.
Game Notes: Maurice Harris had his best game as a pro, leading the Redskins in receiving. He had 10 receptions for 124 yards. Harris did not have more than 50 yards in a game before this big performance.
Julio Jones finally found the end zone, scoring for the first time this year. He had seven receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. Jones has three straight 100-yards games and five total this year.
Panthers 42, Bucs 28
Fantasy Stud: Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey enjoyed his best fantasy game of the season. He ran 17 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 78 yards and a score. McCaffrey finished with 157 total yards and two scores. McCaffrey is up to 880 total yards for the year.
Fantasy Dud: Mike Evans. Evans was a big bust for fantasy teams, catching just a pass for 16 yards. You didn't see this game coming from Evans, who had two straight 100-yard games before this one. It was his first game all year with fewer than 58 yards. Evans will be just fine going forward but this game likely hurt many of his owners.
Game Notes: Ryan Fitzpatrick started slow but finished well for his owners. He was 24-of-40 for 243 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. This was his third four-touchdown game.
Greg Olsen found the end zone for the third straight game. He caught six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. His catches and yards were season highs.
Texans 19, Broncos 17
Fantasy Stud: DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins had another huge game, hitting double-digit receptions and the 100-yard mark. Hopkins had 10 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. Hopkins has four 100-yard games this year and seven touchdowns. He continues to produce as well as any fantasy receiver in the game.
Fantasy Dud: Lamar Miller. Miller cooled off in a big way in this contest. He ran 12 times for just 21 yards. He also caught two passes for 27 yards, giving him 48 yards on 13 touches. Miller had two straight 100-yard games before this poor showing. This is the fourth game of the season for him with fewer than 50-rushing yards.
Game Notes: Demaryius Thomas had a decent showing in his first game with the Texans. He caught three passes for 61 yards and played much of the game.
Jeff Heuerman was a big surprise for the Broncos, leading the way at receiver for the team. He caught 10 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. This game was just his second all year with more than 25 yards.
Chargers 25, Seahawks 17
Fantasy Stud: Melvin Gordon. Gordon was iffy to play but played and played very well once again. He ran 16 times for 113 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a pass for 10 yards. This was his third 100-yard game of the year. Gordon also has 10 total touchdowns. He has been an elite fantasy back all season.
Fantasy Dud: Tyler Lockett. Lockett had just three catches for 22 yards. Lockett had touchdowns three straight games before this game. He has fewer than 35 yards three straight games, looking more like a touchdown dependent fantasy player. He has high touchdown potential, though, with scores in six of eight games.
Game Notes: Doug Baldwin finally had a decent game. He caught four passes for 77 yards. This was just his second game of the season with more than 50 yards.
Chris Carson was active but didn't get a ton of work. He ran eight times for 40 yards while Mike Davis had 15 carries for 62 yards. Carson should get more work as he gets healthier.
Saints 45, Rams 35
Fantasy Stud: Michael Thomas. Thomas had one of the best games for a fantasy receiver this season. He was unstoppable, having 12 receptions for 211 yards and a touchdown. Thomas has four games with double-digit receptions and three 100-yard games. If his season ended right now, most receivers would be thrilled with his numbers. Thomas is well on his way to a monster season.
Fantasy Dud: Mark Ingram. Ingram was one of the few fantasy players in this game that did nothing. He ran nine times for 30 yards and caught just a pass for three yards. Ingram also lost a fumble, which hurt his fantasy numbers even more. Ingram hasn't been off the charts productive since his return from suspension. Hopefully, he starts producing better in the coming weeks.
Game Notes: Cooper Kupp returned from his knee injury and looked just fine. He caught five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Kupp has six touchdowns in six games and at least four receptions every game.
Drew Brees had a tremendous game, going 25-of-36 for 346 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover. Brees has four three-touchdown games this season.
Patriots 31, Packers 17
Fantasy Stud: James White. White continues his torrid pace for fantasy teams. He ran 12 times for just 31 yards but scored two rushing touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 72 yards, giving him 103 total yards and two scores. White has touchdowns three straight and 10 total scores this year. He is among the elite fantasy backs in the game right now.
Fantasy Dud: Chris Hogan. Hogan went without a catch for the first time all season. He was targeted just once in the game. This was a really disappointing showing because Hogan was making a few more plays in recent games. He had 49 or more yards three straight. Hogan is a hard guy for fantasy teams to play because of his inconsistent play this year. This game might have done him in for the rest of the year for fantasy teams.
Game Notes: Cordarrelle Patterson led the Patriots in rushing, running 11 times for 61 yards. He continues to make the most of his chances as a running back for the Patriots.
Josh Gordon hit the 100-yard mark for the second time in three games. He caught five passes fro 130 yards and a score. He was targeted a season-high 10 times in the game.
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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The Denver Broncos have signed running back David Williams, who the team originally drafted in 2018 before letting go. Williams was a Jaguar last season, but carried the ball just eight times for 36 yards with Jacksonville. It's hard to imagine a situation where Williams has fantasy value in a Broncos backfield that already has Royce Freeman and Phillip, but stranger things have happened. He's not draftable in any format, but a good training camp could put him in the mix for some of Devontae Booker's snaps as the number-three back.
Free-agent DE/LB Connor Barwin (Eagles) told Sirius XM NFL Radio during an interview Friday, July 17, that he has spoken with general manager Howie Roseman about re-signing. Barwin indicated the Eagles want to take a look at their younger players for a few weeks in training camp first but suggested the two sides will reconvene after that.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams is poised for a stellar season in his debut year with the Silver and Black. Lining up across the field from Antonio Brown, Williams will serve as the deep threat for the offense and will undoubtedly get his share of targets with Brown drawing most of the attention from opposing defenses. The 6-foot-4 wideout is a boom or bust player on a weekly basis but has the potential to surpass his value on his current 156 ADP. Williams caught 41 balls for 653 yards and five touchdowns with the Chargers last season despite being nearly non-existent in the second half of the year. He does own a 1,000-yard season under his belt, so he has sneaky potential on a team lacking a depth of weapons. As the bonafide number two receiving option for quarterback Derek Carr, Williams is a good late-round target, but the week-to-week consistency is a question mark.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Justin Watson worked 'extensively' in the slot this spring, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic.
Fantasy Spin: As Auman states, there has been a lot of offseason talk about Chris Godwin working in the slot. Godwin will still get plenty of time inside and probably be the primary slot option in Tampa Bay, but he won't be the only one that spends time there. Owners can continue drafting Godwin high because he is poised to break out regardless of where he lines up, but Watson is a name to remember as a highly athletic player capable of becoming what Godwin turned into last season.
Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett led the league with a perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeted 20 or more yards downfield (minimum 15 targets) in 2018.
Fantasy Spin: Lockett will be counted on to be much more than just a deep threat this season with Doug Baldwin now out of the picture and should be valued as a low-end WR2.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (ACL) is expected to be ready to go for the start of the 2019 season. Fuller's played just 17 games over the past two seasons, but when he's on the field he's one of the NFL's best downfield weapons and has developed great chemistry with quarterback Deshaun Watson. Even with serious injury concerns, the upside is too great with Fuller to pass up on him in the middle rounds of the draft. He has 11 touchdown catches over the past two seasons and with DeAndre Hopkins playing across the field from him, defenses aren't able to double Fuller, allowing him to get open deep on a routine basis.
Houston Texans running back D'Onta Foreman had a disastrous 2018 season, rushing for negative yardage on seven carries while adding two catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. Recovering from an Achilles tear, Foreman appeared in just one regular season game, playing 31 snaps in a loss to the Eagles. Foreman is expected to play a much bigger role this year now that Houston's long time backup, Alfred Blue, is gone, and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle expects 2019 to be an audition of sorts for Foreman in preparation for Lamar Miller's impending free agency, with Foreman seeing a decent amount of work this season. Foreman makes sense as a late round pick for this reason, though questions about how he'll play after the Achilles injury loom large.
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) received a vote of health and confidence Thursday, July 18, from head coach Sean McVay, who was a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. 'I think he's feeling great,' McVay said on the show of Gurley. 'I think, you know, one of the things about Todd is (he's a) great competitor. I think he's earned the right to be able to have the plan that we had this offseason. Can't wait to get him back going. I know he's ready to go and it's going to be fun for the Rams this year.'
Fantasy Spin: Of course, we've been hearing this for months regarding Gurley, and no one is really going to know until the games begin for real on Sept. 8. In the meantime, hedge your bets as best you can and value Gurley as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 with ample risk/reward involved.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill issued his own statement Friday, July 19, after the league announced he will not be subject to a disciplinary suspension or fine at this time. In part, Hill wrote: 'To the Kansas City Chiefs, Clark Hunt, Brett Veach, Coach Reid, the entire organization and the Chiefs Kingdom: you gave me a home when everyone doubted me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all. I can assure you that I will continue to work to be the person, player, and teammate that you envisioned me to be.'
Fantasy Spin: Surprising as it may be, Hill returns to WR1 consideration in fantasy until further notice.
Buffalo Bills SS Rafael Bush announced his retirement Friday, July 19.
Free-agent FS Kurt Coleman (Saints) signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills Friday, July 19. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
The NFL will not suspend Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill for violating the league's player-conduct policy. Hill was under investigation for an incident in which his son's arm was broken. With Hill cleared to be on the field, the Chiefs wideout is once again on track to be one of the league's top receivers thanks to his speed and the prolific passing of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Hill's a second-round fantasy pick at worst now, and will be a huge value for fantasy owners who drafted early and took him at his lower offseason ADP.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill is unlikely to resume contract talks for several weeks or months with the team.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill will not be suspended by the NFL as the league found that he did not violate the personal conduct policy. He will be able to attend training camp and participate in all team activities.
Fantasy Spin: The news has a big impact on the fantasy landscape as Hill immediately returns to WR1 status with the cloud clearing over him. Hill had an 87-1,479-12 breakout last season, and talks on a long-term deal could also rekindle.
Rival teams believe the Buffalo Bills could release someone from the group of RBs LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon, according to MMQB's Albert Breer, who notes that McCoy is set to earn far more money than Gore or Yeldon.
Fantasy Spin: Barring injury, Devin Singletary is going to make the 53-man roster. Beyond that, training camp will sort things out, though Yeldon seems the most like casualty at this stage.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is now the top receiver on his team but still has to prove to some that he belongs among the league's elite. After finishing top six in the NFL last year in both receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,426), the third-year pass catcher is in a position to repeat his breakout season. Without Antonio Brown in town, Smith-Schuster will be Ben Roethlisberger's first look. In half-PPR mocks, he's been going in the early-to-middle of the second round. The talent and opportunity are certainly there for the 22-year-old to be considered a top eight receiver in fantasy drafts.
Denver Broncos TE Troy Fumagalli spent time with the first-team offense during training camp Thursday, July 18.
Oakland Raiders RB Jalen Richard could lose a 'good chunk' of his snaps on receiving downs to RB Josh Jacobs, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic.
Fantasy Spin: Richard's value was already limited to PPR formats, and now that Jacobs is in the mix and potentially headed for an every-down role, Richard is slipping into handcuff territory. Meanwhile, Jacobs looks like a RB2 candidate as a rookie.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones remains unsigned with one week remaining before training camp opens. He is one of five first-round picks yet to agree to terms with his organization. Jones is still scheduled to arrive to training camp on Monday when all rookies and select veterans report. He is expected to sign a four-year, $25.5 million contract, with a $16.6 million guarantee, when he arrives, or even shortly before. That is the financial slot for the No. 6 overall pick in the draft. Last season RB Saquon Barkley signed a day before he arrived at camp, so there isn't cause for alarm with Big Blue.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson will be expected to take over the role that Jacksonville Jaguars WR Chris Conley filled for the offense last season.
Fantasy Spin: Conley finished last season with 32 catches for 334 yards and five scores while Robinson logged 22 grabs for 288 yards and four scores. Combine those numbers on top of a potential suspension for Tyreek Hill, and Robinson could be worth a late-round flier as a WR5.