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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

From the Godfather: Week 11

Sat Nov 16 5:23pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Contributing Writer

Week 11 has four teams on the bye: Tennessee, Seattle, Green Bay and the New York Giants

I’m not sure Miami can be considered the gimme still, having won two games while Cincinnati hasn’t won.  And Washington has only won a game.  The battle for the first pick in next year’s draft is slipping away from the Dolphins.

But let’s be clear, they still have the weakest talent in the league.  So yes, I like some Bills players this week and expect their defense to be a top play.  You can play Josh Allen, Devin Singletary, John Brown and Cole Beasley, and expect plus fantasy points from all.  And if you’re seeking a tight end, Dawson Knox could outpoint a lot of other tight ends this Sunday.  

Another gimme team this week should be the Raiders at home against the winless Bengals.  Cincy is bad on both sides of the ball, so the Raiders defense against the rookie quarterback could put up some points.  Josh Jacobs is a top running back play. Derek Carr is a quarterback streamer. And Darren Waller will be a top tight end play.  

The battle of good versus bad this week is San Francisco against Arizona.  The 49ers will rebound from last week’s first loss.  The Cardinals have played better the last few weeks, but they’ll be running into a buzz saw when they visit San Francisco.  Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be at his best with or without Emmanuel Sanders.  Deebo Samuel has become a reliable receiver and elusive runner after the catch, and a good play for fantasy managers this week.  It would be a bonus if George Kittle could return because Arizona’s defense makes most tight ends look like All Pros.

The other almost good versus bad is Carolina (almost good) against Atlanta (really bad).  I’m not sure how that game against New Orleans happened, but it wasn’t the real Atlanta team we’ve seen this year. I expect that team to be back against the Panthers.  Christian McCaffery is licking his chops. But in what is looking like a very one sided game, a smart approach might be not to overwork your best player.  Kyle Allen could have a big game throwing the ball, and both D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel can pass the century mark in receiving yards.  Plus, Greg Olsen will get his share and red-zone looks.  Not much to like on the Falcons side, but Brian Hill will see the ball a lot with Devonta Freeman out. The Panthers have allowed running backs 12 touchdowns the last four games, making Hill a great sleeper play.

There’s an interesting bad versus bad game this week with the Jets at Washington. I wouldn’t play anyone from either team. Tt could be ugly!

Quarterbacks: Other than those mentioned above, both Drew Brees and Jameis Winston could have big days in their shootout.  The experts predict a lot points being scored in this one, so both quarterbacks  are great plays.  And usually the losing team’s quarterback puts up the most points because they’re playing catch up, making Winston the better play.  A sleeper play could be Nick Foles returning to action for the Jaguars at Indianapolis. Foles' schedule the next four weeks is favorable, so if he’s available on your waivers, go get him.

Running Backs: Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Jacobs are going against two rushing defenses that can’t stop a cold.  Both will have 100-plus rushing days and should visit the end zone. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon gets a Chiefs rushing defense that made Derek Henry look all world last week.  The only thing that could slow him down is playing from behind.  A sleeper pick could be the Eagles back Miles Sanders going against New England.  With Jordan Howard banged up a bit, Sanders has the type game that could exploit the Patriots defense.

Wide Receivers:  Mike Thomas, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin should reap the benefit of the shootout, making all good plays.  D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are a similar situation for the Panthers. Julian Edelman returns from the bye and will be unstoppable against the porous Eagles secondary.  A sleeper pick is Courtland Sutton, who could do well against the Vikings if they can find a quarterback to get him the ball. Ravens receiver Marquise Brown will have a big day against the Houston secondary because they don’t have anyone who can keep up with him. Look for Lamar Jackson to drop a couple bombs to him.

Tight Ends: This could be one of Eric Ebron’s two touchdown weeks, especially if Jack Doyle is limited against the Jags.  My sleeper pick is Houston’s Darren Fells at Baltimore.

Defense: Buffalo stays at top my list at Miami. And the Raiders will be good against the hapless Bengals.  But the top play is the Patriots, who have a history of extra good play after a bye and a loss.  I almost feel sorry for the Eagles.

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 cwiegert@cdmsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.

Player Notes
Aldon Smith Apr 1 10:00pm ET

The Dallas Cowboys signed former Pro Bowl linebacker/defensive end Aldon Smith to a one-year, $4 million deal on Wednesday. He'll receive $2 million in base value and can earn an extra $2 million from sack incentives. Smith's contract with the team will officially begin when he's reinstated by the NFL. The former seventh overall pick by the 49ers in the 2011 draft, Smith last played in 2015 with the Raiders and has been out of the league since because of multiple off-the-field incidents. He was a first-team All-Pro with San Fran in his second season in the league and recorded 19.5 sacks and 29 QB hits that year. The Cowboys are taking a flier and hoping that he can get back at least some of that form to help Dallas' defensive line in 2020. All bets are off when it comes to Smith's play, but it's a nice comeback story nonetheless.

From RotoBaller

Jadeveon Clowney Apr 1 10:00pm ET

The Seattle Seahawks signed former Raiders defensive end Benson Mayowa to an undisclosed deal on Wednesday, according to his agent, David Canter. Mayowa had a career-high seven sacks in his one and only season in Oakland last season in a rotational role. The 28-year-old will likely be a rotational player again in Seattle, which limits his ceiling in IDP leagues. Should Jadeveon Clowney go elsewhere on the open market, Mayowa will look to pick up the slack in rushing the passer. In seven seasons in the NFL, Mayowa has 20 sacks and 41 QB hits in 87 games played (15 starts).

From RotoBaller

Jadeveon Clowney Apr 1 7:20pm ET

Free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has dropped his asking price at least $2 million off the more than $20 million per season that he had been looking for, according to sources. Clowney is now seeking around $17-18 million per year, and the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans remain "interested" in signing the three-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher. He was traded from the Texans to the Seahawks before last season and had three sacks in 13 regular season games. Despite the lack of sacks, the 27-year-old was constantly disrupting the opponent's backfield and had two defensive touchdowns. He also dealt with a core muscle injury that required surgery, causing him to miss two games. Clowney is an injury risk but is effective when on the field. He'll be a boom/bust IDP commodity.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Apr 1 7:10pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said he doesn't think that center Mike Pouncey (neck) has "been medically cleared to play football." Pouncey, a four-time Pro Bowler, suffered a serious neck injury in 2019 and needed season-ending surgery. He started just five games in his second season with the Bolts as a result. There's no guarantee that he can stay healthy for an entire season entering his age-31 campaign, but LA's offensive line would receive a huge boost with a healthy Pouncey joining new acquisitions Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner. Often a weak spot, the Chargers offensive line will be counted on even more with Philip Rivers now in Indy.

From RotoBaller

Joe Burrow Apr 1 5:20pm ET

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (hip) said on Wednesday that his surgically repaired hip is fully healed and that he could play in a game at full strength right now. "I feel 100 percent," Tagovailoa said in an exclusive interview with NFL Network. "I feel like if there was a game today, I'd be able to go out and perform the same way I was able to perform in previous years. I feel as mobile as possible. I feel 100 percent." His agent, Chris Cabott, said that Tagovailoa's doctors have cleared him without restrictions. Tagovailoa is expected to be one of the top picks in this year's draft and the second QB selected after LSU's Joe Burrow, who is expected to go first overall. Tua hasn't said which teams he's met with virtually. The left-handed thrower has some injury risks, but he's extremely accurate and athletic and could be starting games in 2020 for whichever team selects him.

From RotoBaller

Tyrod Taylor Apr 1 5:20pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said that quarterback Tyrod Taylor is "in the driver's seat" for the starting QB gig in 2020, "but nothing is finalized." The Chargers apparently aren't interested in signing Cam Newton, so Taylor should get the nod over Easton Stick, even if the Bolts take a quarterback with the sixth overall pick in this month's draft. Taylor made the Pro Bowl with the Bills in 2015 and has experience with Lynn coaching the offense in Buffalo. LA should be expected to become more of a run-first team if Taylor is running the show, but he could surprise given all the talent around him on offense. He'll have some low-end QB2 appeal in deeper leagues if he's starting the season under center in the post-Philip Rivers era.

From RotoBaller

Cody Kessler Apr 1 5:10pm ET

The New England Patriots are releasing quarterback Cody Kessler on Wednesday, according to a source. The move leaves just Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer on the team's quarterback depth chart. Kessler didn't see any game action last season with the Pats, and he has played in only 17 games (12 starts) since being taken in the third round in 2016 by the Browns. The 26-year-old (27 in May) made eight starts in his rookie season with Cleveland and went 0-8 with six touchdowns and two interceptions. In New England, it will be Stidham's job to lose over the veteran Hoyer in training camp now that Tom Brady is in Tampa Bay. It remains to be seen if the Patriots look at either Cam Newton or Andy Dalton or take a QB in this month's draft.

From RotoBaller

Sean Payton Apr 1 4:50pm ET

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said that the uniqueness of quarterback Taysom Hill's role requires the team to have a third quarterback active on game days, and that won't change in 2020 with Teddy Bridgewater now in Carolina. The Saints are likely to look for the best quarterback (rookie or a veteran) that is available to be the No. 3 behind Drew Brees and Hill. New Orleans thinks highly of Hill as the heir apparent to Brees, but he's attempted just 13 passes the last two seasons, including just six attempts despite Brees missing extended time in 2019 with a finger injury. The 29-year-old gadget player won't have any lasting fantasy significance in redraft leagues unless Brees gets injured again or retires.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Love Apr 1 3:00pm ET

The New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts have been in contact with Utah State quarterback Jordan Love via FaceTime and other virtual methods, according to a source informed of the meetings. Love is projected to go anywhere from the top 10 picks to the back half of the first round in this month's draft. He has a big arm and plenty of athletic ability, but he was inconsistent in his final year in college in 2019. The Saints and Packers pick near the end of the first round and could select Love as the heir apparent to Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, respectively, if he falls that far. Some scouts think Love would benefit from sitting a year and learning behind a veteran QB.

From RotoBaller

Jadeveon Clowney Apr 1 3:00pm ET

Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson said that the team has been in contact with free-agent cornerback Logan Ryan and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Ryan spent the last three seasons with the Titans, but they are interested in bringing him back after he totaled a career-high 113 tackles (73) solo, eight QB hits, four interceptions, 18 passes defensed and four forced fumbles in 2019. He's one of the top IDP cornerbacks in the league. Clowney is holding out for around $20 million per season, but the Titans still have plenty of salary cap space left and are looking for another pass-rusher. He has never had a double-digit sack season and remains a big injury risk, but Clowney is disruptive against the run and the pass when he's on the field.

From RotoBaller

Jarrett Stidham Apr 1 11:20am ET

New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham appears to have the inside track on the starting job despite the signing of veteran Brian Hoyer. This all comes after Tom Brady chose to leave New England in free agency for Tampa Bay. The Patriots like Stidham, but they know he's an unknown commodity until he sees live action under center. The 23-year-old should compete with Hoyer in training camp, but it'll be Stidham's job to lose this summer. A fourth-round pick last year out of Auburn, he attempted only four passes in parts of three games in his rookie season. The Patriots don't seem interested in Andy Dalton or Cam Newton, so they may choose to sink or swim with Stidham in 2020. He won't be worth drafting except for in dynasty/keeper formats.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Apr 1 12:03am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones averaged a broken tackle once every 7.5 rushing attempts in 2019 - good for the fourth-best mark among qualified rushers in the league. His 23 total broken tackles ranked 11th among all players.

From TheHuddle

Nick Chubb Mar 31 11:53pm ET

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb was credited with 32 broken tackles in 2019 - tied with Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones for the most in the league.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Jones Mar 31 11:53pm ET

Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones was credited with 32 broken tackles in 2019 - tied with Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb for the most in the league.

From TheHuddle

Damien Williams Mar 31 11:33pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams tied Peyton Barber for the third-lowest average in rushing yards before contact (1.3), but he also finished in a tie for first with Derrick Henry (3.2) for the most rushing yards after contact.

From TheHuddle

Ezekiel Elliott Mar 31 11:23pm ET

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has led the NFL in rushing first downs in each of the previous two seasons, picking up 84 in 2018 before adding 78 more in 2019.

From TheHuddle

Lamar Jackson Mar 31 11:03pm ET

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson kept the ball and ran 92 times on 173 run-pass option (RPO) plays last season - nearly three times as often as the next closest quarterback (Kyler Murray; 33).

From TheHuddle

Drew Brees Mar 31 10:53pm ET

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees threw an on-target pass - defined as a pass that did or would have hit the receiver - on a league-high 84.1 percent of his throws in 2019.

From TheHuddle

Anthony Harris Mar 31 10:00pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings have been actively discussing a possible long-term contract extension with safety Anthony Harris, according to sources. There has been speculation that the Vikings were looking to trade Harris after putting the franchise tag on him, but they may wind up keeping him after all. There is an increasing belief that the 28-year-old, the NFL's top safety in 2019 per Pro Football Focus, will play for the Vikings in 2020, whether it's on the franchise tag of $11.441 million or on a new long-term deal. Harris' preference is to stay in Minnesota. He wants a deal that would put him among the highest paid safeties in the league, which could be an average of around $14 million per year. The combination of Harris and Harrison Smith give Minnesota one of the best safety combinations in the game. That is, if Harris remains with the Vikes. They'll need a strong safety duo after losing four cornerbacks during free agency.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Mar 31 9:50pm ET

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway was non-committal on whether the Broncos would entertain signing running back Phillip Lindsay to a long-term contract extension. Lindsay has been playing for a bargain rate the last two seasons after going undrafted, but not the Broncos had Melvin Gordon III in the backfield as well after they landed him in free agency. In comparison, Gordon is the sixth-highest paid running back in the league. Lindsay, 26 in July, came out of nowhere in his rookie season and made the Pro Bowl, and he's rushed for over 1,000 yards in both of his two seasons. But with Gordon now in tow, Lindsay won't see as many touches, especially in the passing game. It's clear the Broncos don't see him as a three-down back in this league, but they could still keep him around long-term if they can agree on something that compensates him fairly. Fantasy-wise, Lindsay will likely become a low-ceiling RB3/flex in standard-scoring formats while sharing touches with Gordon and Royce Freeman.

From RotoBaller