Sat Sep 21 11:36am ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
The big news, and the advice you’re probably looking for, is what to do at quarterback. With injuries and changes, there are at least six new quarterbacks to choose from. The biggest two are the season ending injuries to Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the six-to-nine week injury to New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. First, I must go on record as stating I’m not a fan of rookie quarterbacks and history tells us not to have big expectations.
If you’re going to claim a quarterback on the waiver wire this week, here is how I rank the candidates.
Mason Rudolph would be my first choice. With Big Ben out for the year, the job is his to keep and he’ll be given a bigger leash than the other candidates. He gets an interesting game to start with, although he played most of last last Sunday’s game. I expect a shootout with San Francisco with the home team prevailing in the end. The 49ers defensive strength is stopping the run, so James Conner, if he plays, will have tough going. Keeping the chains moving will be the passing game and lucky for Rudolph, he has a full complement of receivers ready to go, so I’m predicting 250-plus passing yards with two touchdowns.
I’m not a Teddy Bridgewater fan, but the job for next six-to-nine weeks appears to be his. I think Taysom Hill could be a better quarterback, and if Bridgewater falters, he could get a chance. I also expect to see him more involved in gadget plays. Seattle’s secondary leaves a lot to be desired and Michael Thomas can make a quarterback look good, so he could be fine this week.
Daniel Jones has replaced Eli Manning in New York, but it doesn’t change how bad the Giants are. He will bing some new enthusiasm, but his receivers are hurt and weak. He can’t throw every pass to Evan Engram, and the Tampa Bay defense must have a plan to stop him and Saquon Barkley. My guess is he struggles as you’d expect a rookie would.
Luke Falk. Seriously, I feel sorry for him and his debut could be really ugly. The Jets are hurting and the Patriots defense is playing at a high level. Granted, it was the Dolphins last week. Don’t expect anything from Falk and if you have to play him, I’m sorry for you and your team!
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew showed he could be a respectable addition from his showing Thursday night. He started well with two touchdown passes in the first quarter, and the Jags seemed to coast from there. Otherwise, he could have put up bigger numbers. But in a pinch and with the right matchup, he could be serviceable.
You’ll need to check Sunday morning, but there’s a good chance Kyle Allen will be playing in place of the injured Cam Newton. I don’t think it will be that much of a downgrade if he plays, and he has a solid group of receivers. The Cardinals defense has been vulnerable the first two weeks and Christian McCaffery will keep them off balance, so Allen will have time to succeed. Here’s a good sleeper if he plays.
Speaking of quarterbacks, this is the week Jameis Winston should show coach Bruce Arians he’s his man. After two weak games, he gets a Giants defense that can’t seem to stop anyone. He is my second sleeper. I expect him to have a really big day.
And it appears Josh Rosen will be replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick in Miami. Sorry Josh, I hope you don’t get hurt.
Quarterbacks: The game of the week has to be a Baltimore at Kansas City. Lamar Jackson is going against Patrick Mahomes. If this is the shootout everyone expects, both quarterbacks will put up huge numbers. My other picks to click are Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen against Cincinnati and Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott against the woeful Miami Dolphins. Play all your Cowboys in a blowout. They’ll all get a share of the fun.
Running Backs: Of course it starts with “Zeke” against the Dolphins, I don’t need to tell you that. And the next four are all household names, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook and Austin Ekeler (Who needs that Gordon guy?). All have great matchups against teams who have not been able to stop the run this year.
Here’s a couple sleeper plays if injuries open up a start for them. Jaylen Samuels could be a great pick if James Conner (he did practice in full Thursday) can’t go for Pittsburgh at San Francisco. And Darwin Thompson will get the ball a lot in Kansas City if LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams can’t answer the bell. Although most of Thompson’s production will come by way of the pass as Baltimore is hard to run on.
Keep an eye on Indianapolis because Marlon Mack has come up lame in practice this week. Jordan Wilkins would be the man and should have some success against the Falcons.
Another running back who has something to prove this week is Devonta Freeman. He’s been outplayed by Ito Smith in the first two games, but the Colts defense should give him room to roam.
Wide Receivers: The Eagles passing defense is 31st, so who is Matthew Stafford going to be throwing to? I think Kenny Golladay has a big day, and Danny Amendola will see his share of targets, too.
Adam Theilen should torch the Oakland defense, especially if the Vikings open things up a little bit. This is a great opportunity for Kirk Cousins to prove he can get the job dob done. The Giants pass defense can be exposed, and Jameis Winston is the guy who will do it. Both Mike Evans, who needs to show he’s a No. 1, and Chris Godwin should break the century mark in this game.
And of course, all Dallas receivers against Miami. This could be a Randall Cobb breakout game, and Devin Smith with Michael Gallup out.
Tight End: As mentioned above, Jason Witten could have a field day as the Dolphins are averaging 100 yards allowed and eight receptions to tight ends so far this year. This also is the week that Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson plays like he did in Week 1 and makes you forget his Week 2. He is a rookie, so inconsistency should be expected.
Streaming Defense: Dallas at home against Miami and the Patriots at home against the Jets are the two best bets. But the move you might want to make is picking up the Chargers defense now, so you have them for the Dolphins next week.
Have a great week 3!
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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Seattle Seahawks S Lano Hill (elbow) is expected to be sidelined for several weeks due to an elbow injury, according to head coach Pete Carroll. He was ruled out for Week 7's game against the Baltimore Ravens after being unable to practice during the week.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) will miss three-to-five weeks with a dislocated patellar. He'll either return in Week 11 when the Chiefs play the Chargers on Monday night, or in Week 13 against the Raiders following the bye week. Mahomes is the fantasy QB1 when healthy, so fantasy owners have to hold onto him for now. Matt Moore is expected to start in his place, and while the weapons the Chiefs have make Moore slightly interesting, his track record suggests he's no more than a QB2 at best. Maybe Mahomes owners can grab him to help them get through this stretch, but that's only if better options are already owned.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (quadriceps, ankle) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Cooper was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He makes a somewhat risky starting option in fantasy leagues this week because the Cowboys won't play until Sunday evening and it is unknown if he will see a reduced number of offensive snaps.
Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a source. He was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) isn't expected to be ready until after the October 29th trade deadline. While there have been rumors that the Bengals could deal Green to a contender, the team has said multiple times that they have no plans to do so. Green could still be a top fantasy receiver when he returns on an offense that's been playing from behind a ton, but the team could also play it safe and limit his snaps in what's clearly a lost ear from the 0-6 Bengals.
Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) will play in Week 7's game against the New Orleans Saints, according to multiple sources.
Fantasy Spin: Trubisky had been listed as questionable on the injury report despite fully participating in all three of the team's practice sessions during the week. He should only be used in two-quarterback leagues and as a bye week replacement this afternoon because of the difficult matchup versus the New Orleans defense.
Dallas Cowboys WR Randall Cobb (back) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Cobb was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in just one of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He has posted decent numbers this season and can be viewed as a WR3 or flex option in most fantasy formats.
The Green Bay Packers could have at least one of their injured wide receivers back for Sunday's meeting with the Oakland Raiders. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle/knee) and Geronimo Allison (concussion/chest) will be tested pregame, with the hopes being that at least one can suit up. With Davante Adams (turf toe) out, the Packers need all the help they can get. It'll be tough to trust either guy if they play as they could be limited, but they'd be better fantasy options than the current crop of Packers receivers who've been getting inserted into DFS lineups this week, Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow.
Green Bay Packers WR Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) will be a game-time decision for Week 7's contest against the Oakland Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Allison was upgraded from doubtful to questionable Saturday, Oct. 19, despite not participating in any of the team's three practice sessions during the week and still being under concussion protocol. He should be viewed as a risky WR3 or flex option this afternoon if he is active.
Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) hopes to be able to play in Week 7's game against the Oakland Raiders despite being listed as questionable on the injury report, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Valdes-Scantling did not practice at all during the week and should be viewed as a risky flex option in fantasy leagues based on his health and recent performance, having posted fewer than 50 receiving yards in each of his last three contests.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook (shoulder) will participate in pregame workouts prior to Week 7's contest against the Cincinnati Bengals to determine if he will play. However, early indications are that there is optimism about him being active for the game, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Westbrook was listed as questionable on the injury report after missing one of the team's three practice sessions during the week and being limited in another. If he is active, he merits consideration as a WR3 or flex option in most fantasy leagues because of the favorable matchup.
Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Minnesota Vikings, according to a source. He was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (ankle) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the New York Giants, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in two of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He should be viewed as a starting option in all fantasy formats.
Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 7's game against the New York Giants, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Kirk was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week but it appears as though he needs additional time for rest and recovery. Fantasy owners should have alternative options available since it looks like Kirk will miss his third game in a row.
Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard (knee) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Buffalo Bills, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.
Indianapolis Colts DE Justin Houston (calf) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Houston Texans, according to a source. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report after missing the team's last two practice sessions during the week.
The Dallas Cowboys will have four important pieces of their offense back for Sunday's meeting with the Eagles, with wide receivers Amari Copper (thigh) and Randall Cobb (back) plus tackles Tyron Smith (ankle) and La'el Collins (knee) expected to play. All four players' statuses have been up in the air this week, but if the four of them play, the Cowboys offense sees a huge boost. Cooper will be a solid start, and both quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott will see a boost to their fantasy stock.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (shoulder) will likely play against the Bengals in Week 7, though he'll test the shoulder out in warmups to be safe. The Bengals Defense is an enticing matchup for Westbrook, but he's fallen from his team's top wideout to the number-two guy for quarterback Gardner Minshew, which limits his value. Play him in 12-team PPR leagues, but feel free to avoid him in shallower leagues and in standard scoring.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will play on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. He had been questionable heading into Week 7 with a shoulder injury. New Orleans allows the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, so this isn't a bad spot for Trubisky if you're in a pinch at the quarterback position. With Trubisky back, owners who picked up Chase Daniel in two-quarterback leagues can safely drop him.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (ankle) is expected to play in Week 7 against the New York Giants. New York has struggled to keep opposing running backs in check, so feel comfortable firing up Johnson in all formats on Sunday, even if we see Chase Edmonds worked into the mix a little more than usual.