Mon Dec 10 8:42 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Amari Cooper comes up huge
This was a strange week of fantasy. We had some of our usual big performances but also some real duds from top fantasy players. So scores were down across the board in most leagues. The down games from elite players did in a lot of fantasy teams in a crucial week of games. Hopefully, you weren't impacted adversely from those down games.
Titans 30, Jaguars 9
Fantasy Stud: Derrick Henry. Henry had a career game and arguably the best fantasy game of any running back this season. He had 17 carries for 238 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged an impressive 14.0 yards per carry. This game really came out of nowhere for Henry. He had fewer than 60-rushing yards every game this season before this huge showing. We aren't sure this is going to be a trend for Henry the rest of the way, but this game certainly puts him back on fantasy radars.
Fantasy Dud: Leonard Fournette. Fournette returned from suspension and did next to nothing. He ran 14 times for just 36 yards and caught two passes for five yards. It was a really disappointing showing, something many of his fantasy owners have come to expect this year from Fournette. He has really been a bust because of missed games and some poor outings when playing.
Game Notes: Dede Westbrook was a bright spot for the Jaguars offense, having seven receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. Westbrook has touchdowns two of three games.
Jonnu Smith injured his knee in the game and was unable to return. He has some sort of MCL injury and will miss the remainder of the season. Anthony Firkser should start for the Titans going forward.
Jets 27, Bills 23
Fantasy Stud: Elijah McGuire. McGuire ended up getting most of the work at running back because of an injury to Isaiah Crowell. He did well in an expanded role, rushing 17 times for 60 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 23 yards, giving him 83 total yards. McGuire could be the starter going forward and has some value in that role because of his total yardage potential.
Fantasy Dud: Zay Jones. Jones had a disappointing performance after torching this team just a few weeks back. He had just three receptions for 22 yards. Jones had scores two of three before this showing and at least four receptions four of five. He was just starting to gain traction but was a dud in this one.
Game Notes: Isaiah Crowell was injured early in the game with some sort of foot ailment. He was heading into the game already banged up, so this injury is a concern going forward. He could miss some time.
Josh Allen had another big rushing performance, hitting the 100-yard mark for the second straight game. He ran nine times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Allen has at least 99-rushing yards three straight games.
Browns 26, Panthers 20
Fantasy Stud: Jarvis Landry. Landry had another good performance, catching three passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. He also ran twice for 54 yards and another touchdown. He had 111 total yards and two scores. Landry has topped 100 total yards two straight games.
Fantasy Dud: Cam Newton. Newton had a rare down game for his standards, failing to score a touchdown. He was 26-of-42 for 265 yards with an interception. He also ran five times for 23 yards. This was the first time all season he failed to score a touchdown in a game. His rare poor showing came at a bad time for many fantasy teams.
Game Notes: Christian McCaffrey continued his red hot play, scoring two more touchdowns. He has multiple touchdowns two of three games and 13 total scores for the season.
Ian Thomas had a big game as the starting tight end for the Panthers. He caught nine passes for 77 yards. This was his first time all year with more than 50 yards. He has 14 receptions his last two games.
Packers 34, Falcons 20
Fantasy Stud: Julio Jones. Jones went from failing to scholarly in the year to scoring on a weekly basis late in the season. He had eight receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Jones has touchdowns four of six games. He also has 100-yard games seven of his last eight. He is having another monster season.
Fantasy Dud: Tevin Coleman. Coleman continued his mediocre play. He ran 10 times for 45 yards and caught just a pass for negative four yards. Coleman has fewer than 50 total yards three straight games. He is becoming almost a nonfactor for fantasy teams despite starting in a high-powered offense.
Game Notes: Aaron Jones scored a touchdown for the fifth straight game. He ran 17 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 28 yards, giving him 106 total yards.
Matt Ryan had his fifth three-touchdown game. He was 28-of-42 for 262 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. He has 30 total touchdowns this season.
Chiefs 27, Ravens 24
Fantasy Stud: Travis Kelce. Kelce had his usual big game, catching seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Kelce has touchdowns three straight and five of six games. He has double-digit touchdowns and is over 1,100-receiving yards for the season. Kelce is having his best season to date and still has some games to pad his stats even more.
Fantasy Dud: Gus Edwards. Edwards had a favorable matchup and got his work but wasn't much of a help to fantasy teams. He ran 16 times for 67 yard and failed to catch a pass. It was a really poor showing for all his fantasy owners. Edwards is a hard fantasy player to trust because of his lack of work in the passing game, having just one catch all season.
Game Notes: Tyreek Hill had a 100-yard game for the fifth time this season. He caught eight passes for 139 yards. He has 100-yard games three of four.
Spencer Ware had a much better second start of the season, showing his total yardage potential. He had 15 carries for 75 yards and caught five passes for 54 yards. He finished with 129 total yards.
Dolphins 34, Patriots 33
Fantasy Stud: Tom Brady. Brady finally had a big showing, looking like the Brady of old. He was 27-of-43 for 358 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. This was his first three-touchdown game since Week 7. Maybe this will be the game to get Brady going.
Fantasy Dud: James White. White had a rare game with few passing targets. He had just two catches for 15 yards and four rushes for 13 yards. He had at least five receptions nine games before this dud of a game. You expected much better from White based on his track record throughout the season in this offense.
Game Notes: Rob Gronkowski had his first 100-yard game since Week 1. He caught eight passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. He has touchdowns two of three games.
Ryan Tannehill made the most of his pass attempts. He was 14-of-19 for 265 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. Tannehill has two straight three-touchdown games and multiple scores three straight.
Saints 28, Bucs 14
Fantasy Stud: Michael Thomas. Thomas had a couple down showings but returned to his big ways this week. He caught 11 passes for 98 yards. This was his fifth game with double-digit receptions. He is now over 100 catches for the year. Thomas had fewer than 45 yards two straight games before this one.
Fantasy Dud: Chris Godwin. Godwin was a big surprise dud, getting just a catch for 13 yards despite a favorable matchup and recent good play. Godwin had hit the 100-yard mark two of his previous four games. He also was expected to get more work with DeSean Jackson out of action. Godwin was targeted 10 times in the game, though. He just failed to connect throughout the game.
Game Notes: Drew Brees had some struggles for the second consecutive game. He was 24-of-31 for 201 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He did run in a score to give him two total scores.
Mark Ingram found the end zone, rushing 13 times for 52 yards and a score. he has touchdowns three of five games.
Giants 40, Redskins 16
Fantasy Stud: Saquon Barkley. Barkley just continues to amaze every week. He ran 14 times for 170 yards and a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 27 yard, giving him 197 total yards. Barkley has four straight 100-yard games. Barkley could have done even more damage if the game wasn't such a blowout. He is up to 1,753 total yards for the season and 13 touchdowns.
Fantasy Dud: Adrian Peterson. Peterson continued his late-season slide. He rushed 10 times for 16 yards and caught a pass for three yards. Peterson has fewer than 55-rushing yards three of four and four of six games. The lack of top quarterback play has really impacted Peterson late in the year.
Game Notes: Mark Sanchez was benched in this one, going 6-of-14 or 38 yards and two interceptions. Newly signed Josh Johnson entered and actually played pretty well. He was 11-of-16 for 195 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He also ran seven times for 45 yards and a touchdown. Johnson could get the start next week for the Redskins.
Eli Manning had his second three-touchdown game of the year. He was 14-of-22 for 197 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover.
Colts 24, Texans 21
Fantasy Stud: T.Y. Hilton. Hilton continued his late-season surge. He had nine receptions for 199 yards. Hilton has 100-yard games three of four and at least 77 yards five straight. He has been heavily targeted lately, having double-digit targets three straight. Hilton is 14 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season.
Fantasy Dud: Deshaun Watson. Watson had a pretty quiet game, going 27-of-38 for 267 yards and a touchdown without a turnover. Watson has been just alright late in the year, having one touchdown three of four games. He has cooled a little at a bad time for all his fantasy owners.
Game Notes: Lamar Miller found the end zone for the second time in three games. He has scores four of six games. He wasn't much a factor rushing the ball, though, running 14 times for 33 yards and a score.
DeAndre Hopkins had just four catches for 36 yards but scored a touchdown. He has touchdowns six of eight games.
Chargers 26, Bengals 21
Fantasy Stud: Joe Mixon. Mixon had another strong game, rushing 26 times for 111 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a team-high five receptions for 27 yards. This was his second 100-yard rushing game of the year. Despite missing a few games, Mixon is over 1,100 total yards for the season and has seven touchdowns.
Fantasy Dud: Philip Rivers. Rivers didn't play bad but wasn't a help to fantasy teams. He had his worst game of the year, failing to have multiple touchdowns for the first time all season. He was 19-of-29 for 220 yards and a touchdown without a turnover. You expected better from Rivers in this prime matchup.
Game Notes: Justin Jackson was not a factor after showing pretty well the last two games. He ran seven times for 12 yards and caught two passes for 23 yards.
Keenan Allen scored a touchdown for the fifth straight game. He had five receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown.
49ers 20, Broncos 14
Fantasy Stud: George Kittle. Kittle had a career game, topping the 200-yard mark. He caught seven passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. He has at least six receptions four straight games. Kittle is over 1,000 yards for the season for the first time in his career. He has emerged as an elite fantasy tight end.
Fantasy Dud: Courtland Sutton. Sutton was a bust in his first game as the clear top target in this offense. He caught just two passes for 14 yards. You expected much better in a favorable matchup and as the top target int his passing game. Sutton has been up and down, having fewer than 15 yards two of three games.
Game Notes: Tim Patrick led the Broncos in receiver, catching seven passes for 85 yards. Patrick had not topped 30 yards in a game before this big showing.
Dante Pettis found the end zone for the third straight game. He had three receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown. Pettis has at least three receptions four straight games.
Cowboys 29, Eagles 23
Fantasy Stud: Amari Cooper. Cooper had maybe the best game of his career, continuing his great play with the Cowboys. He had 10 receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Cooper has 180 or more yards two of three games. He also has at least eight receptions three straight. He has become an elite receiver in this offense.
Fantasy Dud: Josh Adams. Adams had his first really poor showing in a starting role for the Eagles. He ran seven times for 36 yards and didn't catch a pass. Adams had 84 or more rushing yards two straight before this dud of a game. He has just four catches all season, making him a bit of a risk for fantasy teams. If he doesn't run the ball well, he can post really poor fantasy numbers.
Game Notes: Dak Prescott had a huge performance, throwing for nearly 500 yards. He was 42-of-54 for 455 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Prescott has multiple touchdowns three straight.
Ezekiel Elliott got his usual huge workload. He rushed 28 times for 114 yards and caught 12 passes for 79 yards. His reception total was a season high, having double-digit catches for the first time all season.
Raiders 24, Steelers 21
Fantasy Stud: JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster led the way for the Steelers at receiver, catching eight passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. This was his first multiple touchdown game of the year for Smith-Schuster. He does have 100-yard games three of four. He is having a breakout season and producing elite receiver numbers despite playing alongside Antonio Brown.
Fantasy Dud: Antonio Brown. Brown picked a bad week to have his worst game of the fantasy season. He failed to hit double-digit fantasy points for the first time all year. Brown had just five receptions for 35 yards. He got his catches but his yardage numbers were way down. This was just the second time all year he had fewer than 50 yards.
Game Notes: Jaylen Samuels struggled to run the ball in his first NFL start but did well in the passing game. He ran 11 time for just 28 yards, but caught seven passes for 64 yards.
Jared Cook had his second consecutive 100-yard game. He had seven receptions for 116 yards. Cook is nearing a 1,000-yard season, being 175 yards shy with three games to play.
Lions 17, Cardinals 3
Fantasy Stud: Zach Zenner. Zenner was the surprise leading rusher for the Lions. He made the most of his work, running 12 times for 54 yards and a touchdown. He had just four carries all season before this big game. His good game went to waste, though, because Zenner was not started in a single league on our site.
Fantasy Dud: Kenny Golladay. Golladay was held in check, catching two passes for five yards. Golladay had his lowest yardage total of the season in this game despite being the top target in the offense. He had at least 50 yards four straight before this one. Golladay has big weekly potential but has been a dud some weeks because of the struggles the Lions are having throwing the ball down the stretch.
Game Notes: Trent Sherfield was the surprise leading receiver for the Cardinals, catching five passes for 77 yards. Sherfield had just a catch all year before this game.
Matthew Stafford was able to play with his back injury, but his numbers weren't nearly as good as usual for him. He was 15-of-23 for 101 yards without a touchdown or an interception. This was his lowest yardage game of the year.
Bears 15, Rams 6
Fantasy Stud: Bears defense. This unit was completely dominating against maybe the best offense in football. The Bears held the Rams to just six points and 214 total yards. Chicago also had four interceptions and three sacks. It was quite the performance on the big stage against a top offense.
Fantasy Dud: Jared Goff. Goff looked more like the Goff from his rookie season, getting picked off four times while failing to score a touchdown. He was just 20-of-44 for 180 yards. This was just the second time all year Goff failed to score a touchdown. He is on a bit of a cold streak, having one touchdown his last two games.
Game Notes: Jordan Howard was one of the few bright offensive spots in this game. He hit the 100-yard mark for the first time all year. He ran 19 times for 101 yards.
Todd Gurley had his worst game of the year. He ran 11 times for 28 yards and caught three passes for 30 yards. His 58 total yards was a season low.
Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper's 71 receptions in 2018 were the fourth most among tight ends, and he also ranked seventh in receiving yards (660) and tied for ninth in touchdowns (4) at the position.
Fantasy Spin: Hooper doesn't have the athleticism to make big plays like the elite fantasy tight ends, but he was still a dependable option at a thin position. He's a safe, low-end TE1 heading into 2019.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard (foot, ankle) was limited to 10 games in 2018, but his 11 receptions of 20-plus yards were the fifth most among tight ends.
Fantasy Spin: Howard was well on his way to a TE1 campaign before an injury cut his season short. His athleticism allows him to make big plays after the catch and down the field, and he should pick up where he left off when when 2019 rolls around.
Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon finished fourth in the NFL with 1,168 rushing yards in 2018, running for at least 50 yards in 13 of his 14 games and topping 80 rushing yards nine times.
Fantasy Spin: Mixon proved he was capable of headlining the Cincinnati backfield, and the promise of a heavy workload should safely keep him in RB1 territory in 2019.
Cincinnati Bengals WR Tyler Boyd's 21 receptions of 20-plus yards in 2018 were the seventh most in the NFL.
Fantasy Spin: Despite missing a couple of games, Boyd topped 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, emerging as a credible No. 2 option across from A.J. Green. Assuming Boyd, Green and Andy Dalton can all stay healthy in 2019, Boyd should at least deliver WR3 production for fantasy owners.
Dallas Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin had at least four catches and 40 yards in three of his final four regular season games, and he had 20 of his 27 catches and 228 of his 307 receiving yards during that stretch.
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees has averaged 307 passing yards and thrown 16 touchdowns and three interceptions in seven career postseason home games.
Fantasy Spin: Time has proven that Brees simply plays better at home. The Saints beat the Los Angeles Rams 45-35 earlier this season in a game that saw Brees throw for 346 yards and four touchdowns. All signs are pointing upward for Brees to succeed tomorrow.
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has averaged 251.7 passing yards and thrown eight touchdowns and eight interceptions in seven career postseason road contests.
Fantasy Spin: Those numbers don't take into account weather, but tomorrow night's game is supposed to be brutally cold. The Patriots could be focused on running the ball in order to limit mistakes and keep Patrick Mahomes and company off the field. Either way, the weather and the road playoff history don't bode well for Brady.
Pittsburgh Steelers FS Morgan Burnett said he hopes to be released before the start of free agency.
Carolina Panthers impending free-agent WR Devin Funchess likely will not re-sign with the Panthers this offseason because of WR D.J. Moore's performance during the second half of the season.
Fantasy Spin: Funchess probably will receive interest from some teams if he hits the free-agent market, but it is not known if he can find a starting job. He can be a No. 3 fantasy receiver depending on his role.
Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco and Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles could receive interest from the Denver Broncos this offseason, in the opinion of 9News.com's Mike Klis.
Fantasy Spin: Flacco and Foles likely will receive interest from multiple teams, so it is not known if the Broncos will be able to add one of them. The Broncos probably will bring in another quarterback to compete with Case Keenum for the starting job next season. Owners should consider the Broncos starting quarterback as a No. 2 fantasy option next season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR DeSean Jackson probably will not return to the Buccaneers next season even though head coach Bruce Arians hopes he stays on the roster, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Fantasy Spin: Jackson asked for a trade during the 2018 season and has not shown great chemistry with Jameis Winston. Owners should monitor the situation during the offseason to see where he will play in 2019. Jackson can still be a solid receiver for a team and can be a No. 3 or No. 4 fantasy receiver.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said running back C.J. Prosise (abdomen) will be ready for the start of the team's offseason program on April 15. Going into next year, Prosise has to be considered outside looking in for a roster spot after playing in just 16 of a possible 48 games to begin his career. C.J., he really needed the surgery that he had, it was a little more extensive than we thought," Carroll said. But he will be back from that, thats about an eight-week recovery or something like that, so he will be fine." Prosise will be entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal, but the Seahawks already have Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, J.D. McKissic and Bo Scarbrough ahead of Prosise on the roster. There remains talent here, but he's well off the fantasy radar until he can prove his health.
New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson (appendix) will not play in the NFC Championship game on Sunday against the Rams after missing several practices this week while dealing with appendicitis, according to a source. He has been able to avoid surgery, but he won't be able to play in the big game. The veteran tight end has just two touchdowns on the year and hasn't been a very big part of the offense in what is expected to be his final season. With him out, Josh Hill should have a bigger role against a Rams team that has been vulnerable to tight ends this year. Hill will have some sleeper DFS appeal.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (hamstring) was taken off the final injury report for the AFC Championship on Sunday against the Patriots after practicing in full on Thursday and Friday. Ware hasn't played since the first week of December and will return to a backup role behind Damien Williams, limiting his DFS upside for fantasy owners.
Oakland Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch, who will be a free agent in two months, said on HBO's 'Real Time with Bill Maher' that he is open to playing in 2019 under the right circumstances.
Fantasy Spin: Lynch continues to recover from a strained groin and will turn 33 years old before the start of next season. In six games during the 2018 season, he rushed for 376 yards and had three touchdowns while averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Assuming he decides to come back for another year, he could be viewed as a low-end RB2 or flex option depending on where he lands.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston threw 11 interceptions in his first five games in 2018 and three interceptions over his final six games.
Fantasy Spin: Winston has QB1 potential, but he has struggled with consistency throughout his career. Fantasy owners can hope that the solid finish to 2018 was a sign of things to come next season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate (hip) had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, according to a source, and Brate is hoping to return for minicamp in June.
Fantasy Spin: The emergence of O.J. Howard has capped Brate's upside, but Jameis Winston has shown a habit of looking Brate's way in the red zone. He will be a touchdown-dependent TE2 in 2019.
Cleveland Browns impending free-agent QB Tyrod Taylor could consider the Baltimore Ravens a potential landing spot in free agency this offseason, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley. Taylor made his only Pro Bowl in 2015 when new Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman called the plays with the Buffalo Bills, and Taylor spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with Baltimore before leaving for Buffalo in 2015.
Fantasy Spin: With Joe Flacco almost guaranteed to be elsewhere in 2019, the Ravens are going to have to decide if Robert Griffin III is the man they want backing up Lamar Jackson. Taylor didn't play particularly well with the Browns last season, but his game is similar to Jackson's and would allow Baltimore to stick with its game plan if Jackson were to miss time. Taylor will certainly seek out potential starting opportunities elsewhere first, but a reunion with the Ravens makes sense if he doesn't like what the market has to offer.
Los Angeles Chargers TE Antonio Gates may only come back as the team's third tight end behind starter Hunter Henry and blocker Virgil Green, but general manager Tom Telesco indicated in the recent interview that he believes he will welcome back Gates for another season.
Fantasy Spin: Gates was barely relevant in fantasy in 2018 even with Henry missing the entire regular season, so it's hard to imagine he will be able to top the 28 catches and 333 receiving yards he posted. Turning 39 in June, Gates no longer needs to be considered by fantasy owners - outside of DFS players occasionally trying to be contrarian with their lineups and/or punting the position.
Updating a previous report, New Orleans Saints TE Benjamin Watson (illness) was limited during practice Friday, Jan. 18, and is listed as questionable for the NFC Championship game.
Fantasy Spin: Watson is not expected to play in the game, but owners should check the inactive list for his official status. He will not be a big factor in the passing game if he plays and can be avoided in all leagues.