Wed Sep 11 8:33am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Brown looking good for Week 2
Before I get to my random thoughts for the week, I just wanted to mention something. Don’t overreact to the first week of the season. That means dropping players that had a bad game or spending all your FAAB money on player that had a big game. You need to remember that the season is a long one. Things even out over time. I’m not saying you should ignore what happened this first week, but don’t go crazy one way or the other. It is a loooooooooooong season.
With that said, here are my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
I was really impressed with the Bengals offense. This was a big surprise for me. I think their new coach, Zac Taylor, has that unit headed in the right direction. Andy Dalton was getting the ball out quicker than I have seen him in past seasons and utilizing a lot of weapons. I’m bumping all these players up in my weekly rankings. I think their arrow is pointing up.
My big dud of the week was Jameis Winston. I was really high on for the coming year and he laid an egg in Week 1. I know it was just a week but he looked terrible against a below average defense. He just hasn’t made much progress since entering the league and I’m not holding out hope the light goes on anytime soon. I do think he still has some big games this year but more inconsistency is going to come for Winston. Not good.
I can’t fathom the Giants not giving Saquon Barkley more weekly touches. He had just 15 touches in the opener but still managed 139 total yards. This guy needs 20-plus touches every game. If he doesn’t get that work, the offensive coordinator should be fired. He is one of the best players in all of football. Craziness.
Tyrell Williams could end up being a steal for all the fantasy owners that were able to get him. He is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver in this offense and has a chance to rack up the weekly targets. He is setup for a career year and could be a No. 2 fantasy receiver much of the year.
And speaking of the Raiders, Darren Waller lived up to the preseason hype. He was on the field almost the entire game and was targeted eight times, catching seven passes for 70 yards. Just look at what Jared Cook did last year and expect Waller to match or exceed that in this offense. He is going to have a huge fantasy season.
Lamar Jackson looked amazing, missing on just three passes while topping 300 yards and throwing five touchdown passes. And he ran the ball just three times. I’m still not convinced he is going to be an elite fantasy quarterback based on one game against a terrible Dolphins team. I don’t expect him to have this much success throwing the ball on a weekly basis, especially against better defenses. And remember, he attempted just 20 passes last week, which is a very low number. I still consider him a low-end No. 1 or No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson did nothing to help Melvin Gordon’s cause. Both backs looked great with their chances and proved the Chargers offense can function just fine with Gordon not in the mix. This does not bode well for the Chargers caving to Gordon’s contract demands. As for Ekeler and Jackson, I like both backs for fantasy purposes. Ekeler is a legit No. 2 back in my view because of his reception potential. And I think Jackson can be a decent streaming flex play. He’ll get near double-digit touches on a weekly basis.
Lastly, I’m not sure when all the Antonio Brown drama will end. This is unreal. You have to hold onto him if you drafted him but at this point, I would be preparing for the worst. This guy has been a train wreck most of the offseason. I really didn’t think playing time would be an issue for him based on his track record. He was a bit crazy and a diva the last several years but that never cost him games. Well, that isn’t the case anymore. This is spiraling out of control. Not good.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 2 rankings.
News and Notes: The Jets are releasing kicker Kaare Vedvik and are expected to sign Sam Ficken. The Jets traded for Vedvik but he struggled in the preseason and the first game of the year. Ficken will get his chance to earn the job going forward. . . . .The Patriots traded receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Jets in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round draft pick on Tuesday. Thomas adds some veteran depth to the Jets passing game. . . . .New Patriots receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of raping his former trainer, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in South Florida. Stay tuned. The drama continues on for Brown.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots. Brady had 29 fantasy points and threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in the opener. He looked tremendous, showing no signs of slowing down. And now he gets Antonio Brown to work with starting this week. Brown is suddenly looking very good for fantasy teams after seeing his stock drop this offseason. Brady gets the Dolphins this week, a team that allowed 378-passing yards to a Ravens team that is not known for throwing the ball.
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans. Henry got off to a fast start, looking like the back that ended last season on such a high note. He had 159 total yards and two touchdowns against a pretty good Browns defense. Things are looking even better for him this week against the Colts. The Colts allowed the second most fantasy points to running backs in Week 1 and 125-rushing yards. Henry is a must play in this matchup.
John Brown, WR, Bills. Brown was targeted 10 times in Week 1 and caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. He is the top target in this Bills offense and should get plenty of weekly chances. He can do more damage this week against the other New York team, the Giants. New York was a mess defensively last week, allowing the most fantasy points to receivers. The Giants could not stop any of the Cowboys receivers, seeing Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup run wild in the secondary. This bodes well for Brown to repeat his big Week 1 performance.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars. Fournette didn’t have a huge Week 1 but was solid. He had 13 carries for 66 yards and caught four passes for 28 yards, giving him 94 total yards. He also was targeted six times in the game, which is encouraging. Fournette could be the focal point of the offense the next several weeks with a rookie quarterback now at the helm. He gets the Texans this week, a team that couldn’t stop the Saints rushing attack last week. Houston allowed the third most fantasy points to running backs Week 1.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys. Gallup made big play after big play in Week 1, catching seven passes for 158 yards. He really looks to have taken a step forward from last year and the new offense is a plus for his abilities, taking more chances down the field. Expect Gallup to get plenty of chances to push the ball downfield this week against the Redskins. Washington could not contain DeSean Jackson last week. The Redskins allowed the fourth most fantasy points to receivers.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. Jones lands on the cold list for the second straight week. Jones struggled against a good Bears defense last week, rushing 13 times for 39 yards. And he caught just a pass in the game, getting fewer than five fantasy points. It was a dud of an opener for Jones. It could be more of the same this week against the Vikings, a team that allowed the third fewest fantasy points to running backs in Week 1. Minnesota allowed just 73-rushing yards last week.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos. Sanders looked great in his first game back from a torn Achilles. He caught five passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. The entire Broncos offense did not look good against a mediocre Raiders defense. This is not a good sign for Denver and Sanders. He’ll have a much tougher game this week against the Bears, a team that allowed the second fewest fantasy points to receivers last week. Sanders is a player to leave on your bench despite his good showing last week.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings. The Vikings attempted just 10 passes last week, leaning heavily on the run. Cousins looked just fine with his work but the few amount of pass attempts is a concern. This could be a trend in the Vikings new offense, being a run-first team. Cousins is a player to avoid this week, playing the Packers. Green Bay looked great defensively last week against the Bears, shutting down Mitchell Trubisky and the passing game.
James Conner, RB, Steelers. Conner was a huge bust in the opener, rushing 10 times for just 21 yards. The entire Steelers offense was a mess, which is a concern right now. Conner isn’t a player to give up on by any means, but another below average game could be in the works for Week 2. Conner plays the Seahawks, a team that allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to running backs last week.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets. Crowder was a monster to open the season, catching 14 passes for 99 yards on 17 targets. It was quite the showing in his first game with the Jets. He is going to get a lot of targets throughout the season. But even with that said, he isn’t a sure thing for fantasy teams based on his track record. He could be pretty mediocre some weeks, especially in tough matchups for the Jets. And a game against the Browns isn’t a great one for Crowder this week. Cleveland was a huge bust last week and should come out with a lot more urgency this week. The Browns also allowed the fewest fantasy points to receivers in Week 1.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals. The Bengals lost the opener but played a good game on the road against a tough defense. It was a very encouraging game for Dalton in the new Bengals offense, going 35-of-51 for 418 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. And he did this without A.J. Green, who remains out because of injury. Dalton has an easier matchup this week against the 49ers. San Francisco looked better defensively last week, but Jameis Winston really struggled for the Bucs. Dalton and the Bengals offense can exploit this defense, making Dalton a sneaky play for fantasy teams.
Latavius Murray, RB, Saints. Murray didn’t have a huge opener but was solid, playing the Mark Ingram in the Saints offense this year. He had six carries for 43 yards and a touchdown, and caught two passes on three targets. He is going to get around double-digit touches per game. He can improve on last week against the Rams in Week 2. Los Angeles allowed the most fantasy points to running backs in Week 1.
KeeSean Johnson, WR, Cardinals. Johnson was heavily involved in the passing game Week 1, catching five passes for 46 yards on 10 targets. The amount of targets is a great sign as well as Johnson starting the game as the No. 3 receiver. We know the Cardinals are going to throw the ball a lot, so as long as Johnson remains the No. 3 receiver, he has value to fantasy teams. The Ravens are a tough matchup for the Cardinals but if the offense is going to have any success, it is likely through the air, giving Johnson some chances once again.
Vernon Davis, TE, Redskins. Davis got the start last week because Jordan Reed was injured once again. Davis took advantage, catching four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. Reed could return this week but nothing is certain with him. If Davis starts, he could post good numbers against the Cowboys. Dallas could not stop Evan Engram last week, so look for Davis to get a workout in this one.
Duke Johnson, RB, Texans. Johnson had a solid opener for the Texans, getting 90 total yards on 13 touches. Johnson made plays as both a runner and receiver. He should continue to get 15 or so touches per week in a great Texans offense. Johnson has a favorable matchup this week against the Jaguars, a team that struggled to stop the Chiefs running backs in Week 1. Jacksonville allowed the fifth most fantasy points to running backs last week.
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: Bucs/Panthers, Chiefs/Raiders, Saints/Rams, Eagles/Falcons.
Low Scoring Games: Bears/Broncos.
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.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen) missed another practice on Thursday. The Eagles were optimistic about Jackson playing this weekend for the first time since Week 2, but that's looking like more of a long shot if he can't get on the practice field. A notoriously slow healer, D-Jax might be more likely to come back in Week 8 against the Bills on the road. The Eagles desperately need Jackson's deep-threat abilities to open up their offense. If he sits out again, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins will continue to operate in three-wide sets on Sunday night against the Cowboys.
New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) practiced in full on Thursday. After missing last Thursday's contest, Gallman looks to be on track to return in Week 7 against the Cardinals. However, Saquon Barkley (ankle) is also practicing in full and should be able to return after a two-game absence. Gallman will be a little-used backup for the Giants if Barkley is starting and playing his normal allotment of snaps. Gallman would only be on the RB2/3 borderline if the Giants play it cautious and hold Barkley out for another week. With Barkley healthy, Gallman is strictly a handcuff for Barkley owners.
Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (toe) remained sidelined at practice for the second straight day Thursday. It's looking unlikely that Thompson plays in Week 7 against the 49ers while dealing with a minor case of turf toe. Adrian Peterson should see another heavy workload this Sunday, but it might not matter against San Fran's strong defensive front. If Thompson is inactive this weekend, expect Wendell Smallwood to handle most of the pass-catching duties out of the backfield. He'd strictly be a desperation RB3/flex in deep PPR leagues.
New England Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (hamstring), who missed last Thursday's game, was moving around well at practice on Thursday. Dorsett is on track to play on Monday night against the Jets. It's welcomed news, too, as Josh Gordon (knee) is questionable to play after getting injured last Thursday. It's looking like Julian Edelman and Dorsett will be New England's top two receivers for this week. Dorsett will have sneaky flex appeal for fantasy owners in a good matchup if Gordon doesn't play.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) will not practice again on Thursday. The Bengals aren't rushing their No. 1 receiver back, and he's highly unlikely to play in Week 7 against the Jaguars. With Cincy's bye coming in Week 9, it's possible that Green doesn't make his season debut until Week 10 against the Ravens. The Bengals (0-6) have no reason to rush the veteran at this point in a lost season. With Green still sidelined, Tyler Boyd will have WR1 upside this weekend against a Jaguars Defense that just traded their top cornerback in Jalen Ramsey. It's a great week for Boyd to bounce back from his clunker in Week 6. Auden Tate also has flex appeal at home in this matchup.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that quarterback Mitch Trubisky (shoulder), who practiced in full on Wednesday, is "feeling good." All signs point to Trubisky returning in Week 7 to face the Saints after missing the London game in Week 5. If that happens, backup Chase Daniel will go back to holding the clipboard. The Saints allow the 11th most fantasy points per game (24.1) to signal-callers, but Trubisky and Chicago's passing game has been wildly mediocre through five games in 2019. It's best to treat Trubisky as a low-upside, midrange QB2 if he returns to action in Week 7.
Dallas Cowboys wide receivers Amari Cooper (ankle, quadriceps) and Randall Cobb (back) both missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Both players are on the wrong side of questionable right now for Sunday night against the Eagles. Until further notice, plan on being without both of them. That would put Michael Gallup as the No. 1 receiver with Tavon Austin in the slot and Cedrick Wilson out wide in three-receiver sets. Gallup is the only viable option for starting lineups outside of much deeper leagues. The good news is that offensive tackles Tyron Smith (ankle) and La'el Collins (knee) both returned to practice, so Dallas' offensive line might be near full strength to face Philly's strong defensive front. Tight end Jason Witten should see more targets as well if Cooper and Cobb sit out.
New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (knee) and tight end Matt LaCosse (knee) were not at practice on Thursday. Gordon was injured last Thursday night and didn't return to the game. He's in serious danger of sitting out on Monday night against the Jets, and he's even more difficult to trust with the game being on Monday. With Phillip Dorsett also banged up, it could be Julian Edelman, rookie Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski in three-receiver sets for the Pats. Edelman would obviously be a must-start, while Meyers would simply be a dart throw as a flex in deeper formats. LaCosse will miss at least a few weeks. Ryan Izzo should perform as the team's primary tight end, but he should be faded in fantasy.
Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon has served as the Bills' No. 2 running back behind Frank Gore since Week 3, after the team lost Devin Singletary (hamstring) to an injury. Singletary is looking likely to make his return in Week 7, which is bad news for Yeldon. Yeldon had a season-high 10 touches in Week 3, then had a total of 10 touches the next two games. If Singletary is active, Yeldon may not see the field more than a few times this week. Even if Singletary is inactive, Yeldon still won't get enough opportunities to warrant starting him. He should be on waivers in all leagues.
Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore has received at least 16 touches in four straight games. This week, he faces a Dolphins Defense that just allowed Adrian Peterson and the Redskins to run all over it. Gore has a fantastic opportunity to rack up around 100 rushing yards with a good chance to score, making him a high-end RB2 this week. The team's No. 2 running back Devin Singletary (hamstring) is looking likely to make his return this week, which could cost Gore a few touches, but nothing significant enough to warrant benching Gore.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has 27 catches through five games this year, a sturdy total for PPR leagues. This week, Beasley and the Bills have a favorable home matchup against the Dolphins. Beasley should be able to get open at will, making him a solid candidate for around six or seven catches. The team's No. 1 receiver John Brown (ankle) is currently questionable for the game. If Brown sits, Beasley could be a low-end WR3 or flex option in non-PPR leagues, but if Brown is in, Beasley should be considered for PPR only.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has had a bumpy start to the year with seven interceptions and a lost fumble over five games. This week, however, he has an ideal matchup at home against the Dolphins. He has a good chance to put his turnover woes to rest and deliver some solid yardage through the air and on the ground. He should be able to contribute at least two touchdowns on the day as well. He's a fantastic, low-risk QB2 in two-quarterback leagues and a low-end QB1 option in one-quarterback leagues.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown (groin) was a limited practice participant on Wednesday and is currently questionable for Week 7. Assuming he's able to practice in full before Sunday and take the field, he is a solid high-end WR3 or flex play in a favorable home matchup against the lowly Dolphins. Brown has caught at least five passes in all but one game this year and leads the Bills with 390 receiving yards. As long as he is active in Week 7, he should be able to catch about five or six passes for around 70 yards with a chance to score.
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee) said he'll warm up and see how he feels on Sunday, but he's also planning to take it slow with the team's bye coming in Week 8. Smith is unlikely to play in Week 7 against the Seahawks. The 31-year-old has yet to play this year and his absence has been a big reason why Baltimore's defense as a whole hasn't played up to expectations. Marlon Humphrey has played his part, but the rest of the secondary has been extremely vulnerable and also lost Tony Jefferson for the year. It's why the Ravens just traded for cornerback Marcus Peters, and they're hoping he can help shore up their pass defense moving forward. The Ravens Defense/special teams shouldn't be on the streaming radar with Seattle on deck and Russell Wilson playing at an MVP level.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary (hamstring) was a full practice participant on Wednesday. Even though he is still listed as questionable for Week 6, he appears to be on track to take the field and make his first appearance since Week 2. The Bills have an excellent matchup at home against the Dolphins, which makes Singletary enticing as a start option, but it's hard to know just how involved he'll be in a game the Bills should win handily. The team's No. 1 running back Frank Gore will no doubt shoulder the workload while Singletary will likely see around five touches.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his foot, a condition that has kept him off the field since Week 4, according to head coach Jon Gruden. Its not getting much better, Gruden said. Williams didn't practice leading up to the London game and hasn't practiced yet this week. He leads the team's receivers with 17 catches for 216 yards and four touchdowns in four games this year. All other Raiders receivers have combined for 28 catches for 225 yards and one score. Plan to be without Williams again this weekend if you own him. The Raiders will likely roll with rookies Hunter Renfrow and Keelan Doss and recently acquired Zay Jones in three-receiver sets against Green Bay if Williams misses another game. Expect Oakland to lean heavily on running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller.
The Miami Dolphins have had trade talks with teams centered around running back Kenyan Drake, and they would trade him if the right offer presents itself, according to sources. Drake has had no extension talks with Miami since training camp and would welcome a change of scenery. He's been the team's lead back this year, but it hasn't amounted to much for production for a tanking team. Drake has carried the ball 41 times for 153 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and also has 19 receptions for 137 yards. He has yet to find the end zone and has become an unappealing RB3/flex in deeper leagues, especially with the Dolphins looking to get Mark Walton more involved of late. There's no guarantee that a trade would make him more attractive to fantasy owners.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not looking to trade tight end O.J. Howard this year, according to sources. The former first-round pick had high expectations for him in head coach Bruce Arians' offense in 2019, but so far he's looked more like a glorified fullback, but that doesn't mean Tampa will try to trade him as the deadline nears at the end of October. The 24-year-old has been a huge disappointment to fantasy owners, catching just 13 passes (18 targets) for 176 scoreless yards. Receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been dominating the aerial targets, while tight end Cameron Brate has also vultured a few touchdowns. Until something changes, Howard will be a touchdown-dependent TE2 in fantasy. Maybe Tampa will look to get him more involved coming out of their Week 7 bye.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (thumb) said that he's back to working with a regulation-sized football in his rehab. "I have a really kind of disciplined plan for what I need to do for strength and flexibility and then my throwing and all that stuff. So really starting to get back into it, doing football stuff, and just trying to get back as quick as I can," Brees said. When he returns to action, Brees said he'll be wearing a splint on his thumb "because it does take a while for that ligament to actually heal." The team was initially targeting a potential Week 8 return for Brees, but it's unknown if he'll be able to meet that timetable. Continue to stash the future Hall of Famer in all leagues.
The Oakland Raiders signed tight end Darren Waller to a multi-year extension on Thursday that is expected to pay him around $9 million per season in what amounts to a three-year extension, according to the NFL Network. Waller was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season. He served a pair of suspensions while with the Ravens and has gone public in his fight for sobriety, which reached two years this training camp. Waller has caught a team-high 37 passes for 359 yards through five games after entering the year with 18 catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns in 22 career games. As a result, he's turned into a must-start, high-end TE1 for fantasy owners in 2019.