Fri Sep 13 11:56pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Well, there weren’t too many surprises the first week. Nor too many injuries! And the Antonio Brown saga continues. If you’re a disgusted Brown owner as I am, no matter how you feel, if he’s playing for the Patriots Sunday, he should be in your lineup. Nothing like a couple touchdowns to help everyone feel better, right?
One of the take-aways from Week 1 was Lamar Jackson’s five passing touchdowns. I think it had more to do with Miami’s pitiful defense and offense. The expectation of continued performances like that should be tempered. But Jackson’s matchup this week against a Cardinals defense (minus Patrick Peterson) makes him a great play again, and a top-five quarterback play. If you have Jackson, continue to ride him.
New England gets the laugher with Miami, which means load up on Patriot players. For some reason, I do not trust Pats Coach Bill Belichick. So trying to figure out his game plan for this game is impossible. Common sense would say load up on the passing game with Tom Brady and Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Brown, Phillip Dorsett, etc. But tricky Bill seems to do the opposite of what everyone thinks will happen, so he could employ a major running game plan. And I expect someone we don’t expect to star, like Rex Burkhead to come away with the best fantasy stats from the game. It does seem like a great place to get Antonio Brown some easy targets.
The biggest injury was the other bad boy, Tyreek Hill, who looks to miss six to eight weeks. If Mercole Hardman is available, pick him up as he’ll fill Hill’s shoes. Pat Mahomes should have an easy time with the Raiders banged up defense, and if they try to shut down Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce, Hardman should have a big day. He’s my sleeper pick to click this week.
Quarterback: Besides Jackson and Mahomes, Josh Allen and Buffalo should have a heyday with the New York Giants secondary that was torched by the Cowboys last week.
And Dak Prescott and the Cowboys should do what Carson Wentz and the Eagles did to the Redskins in Week 1. I look for the Cowboys to feature the passing game again as they ease their star running back, and biggest investment, into full playing time.
Running back: Sony Michel. At least for a half, he should run wild against the Miami defense. This is going to be a common theme for a while, playin the best running back on a team against the leagues worst rushing defense.
Giovani Bernard has a history of putting up good games when Joe Mixon is out. It looks like Mixon will be a no show for Sunday’s game against San Francisco, which puts Bernard in a great spot to put up big numbers.
Devin Singletary was very productive with his limited chances last week. He might not have more carries than Frank Gore, but he’ll do more with what he gets than Gore will against a soft Giants run defense.
Wide receiver: I expect to see Chargers receiver Keenan Allen at the top of the list for receiving yards this week. His matchup against a weak Detroit Lions secondary makes him a favorite this week.
Cowboy receiver Amari Cooper had a good first game, and I expect a bigger game versus the Washington Redskins this week. As mentioned above, Prescott should have a big game and Cooper should be the No. 1 guy he targets.
Back to the Chargers/Lions matchup, I’m expecting a big day from Marvin Jones Jr. The Chargers defense is banged up, and shut down corner Darius Slay will be shadowing Kenny Golladay, leaving Jones free to roam. Matt Stafford will find him early and often.
Tight end: Darren Waller burst on the scene catching seven of eight targets for 70 yards in Week 1, and now faces a Chiefs defense that’s soft on tight ends. I think the game script has the Raiders playing catch up all afternoon, and Derek Carr looking for Waller to keep the chains moving.
Streaming defenses: I could probably say this every week. What defense is going against Miami? This week it’s the New England Patriots. But I see them being a little soft in this one, playing some second team guys in a rout.
The top defense could be Cleveland, trying to show their embarrassing performance against the Titans last week was a fluke. Helping them along the way is a Jets offense missing their starting quarterback, running back Le’Veon Bell having shoulder issues, and wide receiver Robby Anderson having leg problems, so he won’t be a deep threat. With an offensive line that’s still trying to get in a rhythm, it looks like the Cleveland defense should be able to capitalize.
Have a great Week 2!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is unlikely to suit up for Thursday Night Football against the Washington Redskins in Week 8. The 29-year-old seems to think he is capable of playing, but the Vikings will likely rest their ailing star against a mediocre opponent on a short week. In his absence, rookie Olabisi Johnson will likely serve as the WR2. Johnson, who had 40 yards and a touchdown in Week 7, is a viable streaming option for fantasy managers that are desperate for a receiver in Week 8.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller is expected to miss several weeks with a significant hamstring strain, per Ian Rapoport. Fuller suffered the injury against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7. With Fuller sidelined, Kenny Stills becomes a must-add asset in almost all formats. The 27-year-old produced 105 yards on four catches against the Colts after Fuller exited the game. Stills can be considered a mid-tier WR3 against the Oakland Raiders in Week 8.
Seattle Seahawks S Bradley McDougald (back) sat out of practice all week after suffering from back spasms and was unable to play in Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens, but head coach Pete Carroll told reporters during his postgame press conference that he believes McDougald will be able to make it back for Week 8 versus the Atlanta Falcons.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen only hauled in 4-of-11 targets for 61 yards during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Despite having a positive pass-catching game script, Allen and Philip Rivers failed to connect on several deep balls. Luckily, due to the Chargers' uninspiring defensive unit, the game script is almost always positive for the passing attack. Allen remains a mid-tier WR1 against the Chicago Bears in Week 8.
Updating a previous report, New Orleans Saints CB Eli Apple (knee) likely suffered a hyperextended knee late in the team's Week 7 game versus the Chicago Bears, although more tests are scheduled to determine the extent of his injury Monday, Oct. 21.
Updating previous reports, Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss 'several weeks' after suffering 'a rather significant hamstring pull,' according to a source via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Fantasy Spin: Fuller hasn't come close to playing a full season in four years in the NFL, so fantasy owners can't exactly be shocked by this development. While the Texans will miss his ability to stretch the field, Fuller's lack of durability was probably one of the biggest reasons Houston made sure to land Kenny Stills in the Laremy Tunsil trade this summer. Stills should be able to fill in nicely and serve as a high-upside WR3 for however long Fuller is sidelined.
Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins S Montae Nicholson (ankle) was seen walking around in a boot Monday, Oct. 21, after injuring his right ankle in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Free-agent CB Kayvon Webster (Saints) worked out for the New Orleans Saints on Monday, Oct. 21.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry caught six passes for 97 yards during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. The 24-year-old has seen 17 targets over his past two games. Now fully healthy, Henry is unquestionably a top-tier tight end for the remainder of the season. He has a tougher matchup against the Chicago Bears in Week 8, but he is still an undisputed TE1 for the contest.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert pulled in just two receptions for 10 yards against Jacksonville in Week 7. The veteran has been a huge fantasy disappointment this season, and with rumblings of a trade before the deadline, Eifert's days in Cincy may be over soon. He has the potential to produce, and if you're able, he is worth a stash in deeper formats, at least for now.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt (abdomen) has been cleared by the NFL to rejoin the team and begin practicing with them Monday, Oct. 21.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt has been sidelined all season recovering from sports hernia surgery and serving an eight-game suspension for domestic abuse for an incident that occurred during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. The former rushing champion is not eligible to return to game action until Week 10, so Nick Chubb will serve as a team's featured back for at least two more weeks. It's expected Hunt will serve as the change-of-pace back when he returns.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler only produced seven rushing yards on five carries in Week 7, but he salvaged the day by catching seven passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. Melvin Gordon had 16 carries in the contest despite being outplayed by Ekeler, but the Chargers continue to let Gordon dominate the ground game. Nevertheless, Ekeler's ability as a receiver continues to give him value as a fantasy asset. He is an above-average flex option against the dominant Chicago Bears' defense in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate finished with three catches (six targets) for 65 yards against Jacksonville in Week 7. After getting 11 looks from quarterback Andy Dalton against the Ravens in Week 6, Tate's production was yielded by Alex Erickson, who hauled in eight receptions for 137 yards on the day. With A.J. Green (ankle) expected to return soon, Tate will likely be relegated to backing up Green and Tyler Boyd moving forward. Keep an eye on Green's status for Week 8 and plan accordingly.
Updating previous reports, Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, Oct. 21, but he faces the 'real possibility' of not playing in Week 8 against the Washington Redskins.
Fantasy Spin: While everyone around the team believes the injury is not serious, the Vikings play on Thursday, making it an almost impossible turnaround for Thielen. In theory, Minnesota should not need him against the Redskins, but the Vikings' passing attack is not so deep and talented that it can just assume it will thrive without Kirk Cousins' favorite receiver. If Thielen sits, it will be the first game he's missed in his NFL career. Fantasy owners should feel free to bump up Stefon Diggs in their weekly rankings as well.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon produced 32 yards on 16 carries during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. While he caught a one-yard touchdown pass, he also lost a fumble at the goal line in the final seconds of the game to drop the Chargers to 2-4 on the season. The 26-year-old continues to be outplayed by Austin Ekeler, but Gordon continues to get the majority of the touches. As long as he remains the workhorse in the offense, he is a worthy RB2 in fantasy formats. Unfortunately, he has a tough matchup in Week 8 against the daunting Chicago Bears Defense, which likely makes him a flex play at best.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd finished with five receptions for 55 yards against Jacksonville on Sunday. With 14 targets on the day, which was tied with Alex Erickson, who hauled in eight catches for 137 yards, Boyd wasn't able to get anything going against a Jaguars Defense that was all over quarterback Andy Dalton. A.J. Green (ankle) is expected to return within the next week or so, and while it may decrease Boyd's looks, Green's presence back in the lineup may open things up for 24-year-old moving forward.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 24 of his 38 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns during a 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Rivers has now thrown for over 300 yards in a game five times this season and has also had five games with multiple passing touchdowns. Despite the notable production, Rivers is a tough fantasy asset to trust in Week 8 against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. He is only an option in two-quarterback leagues for that contest.
Free-agent RB Spencer Ware (Colts) is working out for the Arizona Cardinals Monday, Oct. 21.
Free-agent WR Eli Rogers (Steelers) is working out for the Houston Texans Monday, Oct. 21.
Free-agent RB Jay Ajayi (Eagles) is working out for the Arizona Cardinals Monday, Oct. 21.
Fantasy Spin: Ajayi has been training and preparing to sign with a team for a few weeks. He's definitely worth stashing in deeper leagues and would be a flex option in the right situation.