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.
New England Patriots rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry (ankle) is expected to make his NFL debut in Week 11 against the Eagles. The first-round pick has been practicing since Oct. 15 and was placed on the active roster before the Week 9 game against the Ravens, but he didn't dress for that game. Harry has some obvious upside in New England, but he's missed a lot of development time and will be behind wideouts Mohamed Sanu, Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett. There's a chance that Harry pushes Dorsett for playing time in three-receiver sets, but that may not happen right away, and he remains a long shot for meaningful production in redraft leagues down the stretch. Harry should be owned in all dynasty/keeper leagues, however.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in discussions for a long-term contract extension with tight end Zach Ertz, offensive tackle Lane Johnson and safety Malcolm Jenkins, according to league sources. Ertz signed his last extension in January of 2015 and has become one of the best tight ends in the league since then. Johnson is considered by some as the best right tackle in all of football, while Jenkins has emerged as a leader for Philly's defense. Despite somewhat of a down year in 2019, Ertz leads the Eagles in receptions (46) and yards (527) while finding the end zone just two times. With Alshon Jeffery (ankle) out in Week 11 against the Patriots, Ertz could be set up for another big game.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz has talked with the Eagles about a possible contract extension, according to sources.
Fantasy Spin: Ertz is not posting the numbers he did last season but still has been a consistent starting option for fantasy players. He should be a weekly starting option in all leagues and likely will have a big role in the passing game this week with Alshon Jeffery sidelined.
The Denver Broncos are expected to ride running back Phillip Lindsay more in the backfield over Royce Freeman in Week 11 against the Vikings on the road. Lindsay and Freeman have been in a near-even timeshare for most of the season, which has really given Lindsay owners headaches after his breakout rookie season in 2018. But Freeman had just 15 yards on five carries in the Week 9 win over the Browns, and it sounds as though Denver wants to get Lindsay more involved this week against a tough Minnesota run defense. Lindsay is the back to own, and he'll have more RB2 upside this week, although Denver's offense could struggle with Brandon Allen making his second start at quarterback.
Detroit Lions DT Damon Harrison (groin) is active for Week 11's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (back) may be sidelined for as many as six weeks because tiny, non-displaced fractures in the upper thoracic spine.
Fantasy Spin: It is not known if Stafford will be able to play again this season, so fantasy players will need to monitor the situation. Jeff Driskel will continue to be the starting quarterback but should be avoided in fantasy leagues.
Carolina Panthers CB Donte Jackson (hip) is active for Week 11's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (knee, illness, ribs) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) are both active for Week 11 against the Redskins. Bell continues to fight through injuries in a disappointing first season with Gang Green, but he has another opportunity to break out against a weak Redskins front. He'll have low-end RB1/high-end RB2 appeal. If Bell can't get it done today for fantasy owners, there's not much hope that he'll be an RB1 the rest of the way. Thomas had a decent day in Week 10 but remains third on the receiver depth chart behind Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson. Despite the good matchup, Thomas is a low-upside WR4/5 in deeper fantasy leagues.
The Buffalo Bills have declared TE Tommy Sweeney, WR Duke Williams, OL Ike Boettger, OT Ryan Bates, DT Vincent Taylor, S Dean Marlowe and RB T.J. Yeldon inactive for Week 11.
The Carolina Panthers have declared LB Christian Miller, LB Jordan Kunaszyk, CB Ross Cockrell, DL Kyle Love, WR Brandon Zylstra, OT Dennis Daley and RB Mike Davis inactive for Week 11.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) is active for Week 11's game against the Washington Redskins.
Minnesota Vikings S Andrew Sendejo will start Week 11's game against the Denver Broncos in place of injured S Anthony Harris (groin).
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell (illness, knee, ribs) is officially active for the team's Week 11 game.
Fantasy Spin: Bell has been a big part of the offense for the Jets and should continue to receive a significant amount of touches. He will have a favorable matchup this week and is a must-start option in all leagues.
Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) is expected to play in Week 11 against the Ravens, according to a source. Tunsil missed the Week 9 game but was able to heal up during the Week 10 bye. His presence is great news for the protection of quarterback Deshaun Watson in what is expected to be a high-scoring affair between two potent offenses. As usual, Watson will be a top-five fantasy quarterback on Sunday despite not having wide receiver Will Fuller in the fold.
The Atlanta Falcons have declared FS Kemal Ishmael, DT Deadrin Senat, TE Austin Hooper, DL John Cominsky, WR Brandon Powell, RB Devonta Freeman and OL Matt Gono inactive for Week 11.
The Dallas Cowboys have declared OT Connor Williams, DT Trysten Hill, LB Luke Gifford, FS Jeff Heath, WR Cedrick Wilson, DE Joe Jackson and WR Devin Smith inactive for Week 11.
The Indianapolis Colts have declared CB Pierre Desir, CB Quincy Wilson, OT Le'Raven Clark, WR T.Y. Hilton, RB Jordan Wilkins, QB Chad Kelly and WR Parris Campbell inactive for Week 11.
The Washington Redskins have declared DT Tim Settle, CB Deshazor Everett, WR Paul Richardson, OG Ross Pierschbacher, RB Chris Thompson, TE Vernon Davis and QB Colt McCoy inactive for Week 11.
The New Orleans Saints have declared WR Deonte Harris, OT Andrus Peat, WR Austin Carr, DE Carl Granderson, OT Ethan Greenidge, TE Dan Arnold and CB Marshon Lattimore inactive for Week 11.
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson is expected to remain the starter in Week 11 against the Jets despite Derrius Guice (knee) returning for the first time since the season opener, according to a source. It's likely that Guice receives his carries and catches on third down to start. His role could grow as the season wears on, but he won't make Peterson a healthy scratch like he was in Week 1 when Jay Gruden was still the head coach. Peterson has seen at least 18 touches in three of the last four games and has gone over 100 yards in two of them. He remains the starter, but he'll inevitably lose valuable touches to Guice, making him a low-upside RB3 in a low-scoring offense led by a rookie quarterback. Guice has even less appeal as a desperation RB3/flex in PPR formats after a long layoff.