By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Carson keeps getting it done
Well, the playoffs are finally here. This means less of you are reading this column because not everyone made the playoffs. That is fantasy. If you are reading this, you likely made the playoffs, so good for you. Hopefully, your lineup is setup for success this week. It is never a sure thing in the playoffs, so expect plenty of wildness this weekend. Good luck in all your games.
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
I hate to keep pointing this out but the quarterback position played out perfect for all of you that waited on the position this year. Look at the top rated guys at the position. Patrick Mahomes is first overall. Ben Roethilsberger is second followed by Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck. You also have Philip Rivers and Jared Goff in the top 10. Again, this position was super deep heading into the season and I'm guessing all of you that waited on a quarterback did a good job of forming your roster this year. Keep this in mind for next year. It is shaping up to be another season with a ton of depth at the position.
This might come as a surprise to some, but Josh Allen is second overall in quarterback scoring his last three games. He is racking up the rushing yards, which is leading to plenty of fantasy points. Allen has at least 99-rushing yards three straight games. He also is making some plays through the air, having 205-plus passing yards two straight. Allen is showing is overall ability and could continue to play well the rest of the way, having the Lions and Patriots the next two games.
Many Packers have disappointed this year but Davante Adams isn't one of those. He has been so good all year. He has 20-plus fantasy points seven games. He also has touchdowns all but three games. Adams is third overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He has been a consistent, elite producer all season. It is scary to think what his numbers could be if the Packers were having more success offensively.
If you don't think there is some luck to fantasy, you are mistaken. I might be the only team in fantasy football that had Patrick Mahomes and Todd Gurley on a roster, and missed the playoffs. Yes, this happened. I finished with a record of 6-8 in the Champs League that I host on our site (league consists of the top rated fantasy owners on our site). I was fourth overall in scoring with 1848.50 points, but also allowed 1820.70 points. My defense just didn't get it done! It happens, though. You can have a good team and still miss out on the playoffs. That is fantasy. Hopefully, my luck is better next year in this league.
Rookie running back Saquon Barkley is making a late-season run for top fantasy back in the game. He is just over six points behind Todd Gurley for the top spot at running back. Barkely is having the best fantasy season ever for a rookie running back. This guy is special. As I have stated in the past, imagine if the Giants were having a better offensive season. The sky is the limit for Barkely. He is making a case to be the top rated fantasy player for 2019.
George Kittle continues to take big steps forward in year two. He is third overall at tight end in receiver scoring despite being on his third quarterback. Kittle just keeps getting it done no matter who is throwing him passes. He has at least six receptions four straight and all but one game this year. His consistency has been off the charts. I really think he can improve on his big season with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo throwing him passes next year.
So I'm not buying Derrick Henry producing like an elite fantasy back the rest of the year despite his career game last week. I still don't have faith in the guy based on his production this year. He did not have more than 60-rushing yards in a game all year before last week's 238-yard rushing performance. I think it was an outlier of a game and not the norm for Henry. Maybe he will prove me wrong this week, but I'm not buying Henry right now.
News and Notes: The Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo on Tuesday. Quarterback coach Kevin Stefanski will take over as offensive coordinator for the Vikings for the rest of the season. DeFilippo was once considered a hot coaching prospect but this season has been a rough one for him. . . . . .Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said the team will hold kicking tryouts this week. Current kicker Chris Boswell has struggled in recent weeks and missed a game-tying field goal as time expired last week. . . . . .The Falcons fired general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Tuesday. Atlanta has underachieved in recent years, leading to the dismissal of Dimitroff. . . . . .The Colts released tight end Erik Swoope on Tuesday. Swoope has played some this season but fallen down the depth chart. . . . .The Raiders released running back C.J. Anderson on Tuesday. Anderson was just signed a few weeks back but didn't last long.
Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks. Carson has really been a bright spot for the Seahawks offense all season. He has touchdowns three of four games and 80-plus total yards three of those games. He has three 100-yard games for the season and double-digit fantasy points seven games. He has been very consistent in a starting role and should do well once again this week against the 49ers. San Francisco is middle of the pack against the rush and allowed more than 100-rushing yards three straight games.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers. Newton failed to score a touchdown last week for the first time since Week 1. He still threw for 265 yards, though, and ran for 23 more yards. He has multiple touchdowns all but two games this year. He has been very consistent all season. Newton should rebound from last week in a big way in Week 15, playing the Saints. New Orleans allows the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 28th overall against the pass.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals. Mixon had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season last week and has more than 90 total yards three straight games. He also has touchdowns three of six games. He has been one of the few bright spots in the Bengals offense right now. He is setup for another big showing this week against the Raiders. Oakland allows the 13th most fantasy points to running backs and rank 31st overall against the run, allowing 144.5-rushing yards per game.
Robert Woods, WR, Rams. Woods topped the 1,000-yard mark last week for the first time in his career. He caught seven passes for 61 yards in Week 14. He has touchdowns two of three games and at least four receptions all but the first game of the year. He has double-digit fantasy points all but Week 1. He can have another big game this week against the Eagles. Philadelphia allows the second most fantasy points to receivers and rank 30th overall against the pass.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Robinson has shown flashes of big things this year but hasn't been quite as consistent as fantasy owners had hoped. But even with that said, he has five receptions each of the last two games and at least five catches three of five games. He is getting his targets despite his yardage numbers being down a little. Robinson has a chance to improve those yardage totals this week against the Packers. Green Bay allows the fourth most fantasy points to receivers and have allowed 22-passing touchdowns.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins. Peterson continued his late-season slide last week, rushing 10 times for 16 yards. He has fewer than 40-rushing yards two of three games. Teams are daring the Redskins to throw the ball because of their quarterback situation. Expect more of the same going forward, especially this week against the Jaguars. We know the Jaguars were a disaster defensively last week, but that unit is better than they showed. Jacksonville still allows the eighth fewest fantasy points to running backs. Peterson is a scary play in this one.
Corey Davis, WR, Titans. Davis has been all over the map this year, posting huge numbers one week than disappearing the next. He is a hard guy to trust, especially in the playoffs. It is going to have to be a great matchup to play Davis, who has fewer than 50 yards three of four games. And this week against the Giants is a scary matchup for Davis. New York allows the eighth fewest fantasy points to receivers. Davis should draw shutdown corner Jarnoris Jenkins in coverage, which is another concern.
Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs. Godwin was targeted 10 times last week but finished with just a catch for 10 yards, which is pretty amazing. Needless to say, he was not connecting with Jameis Winston throughout the game. Godwin has been a little off in recent weeks, having 50 or fewer yards three of four games. He is always capable of the huge game because of his big-play potential but is a hard guy to trust right now with his recent play and matchup in Week 15. Godwin plays the Ravens, a team that allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to receivers and rank third overall against the pass.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts. Mack did find the end zone last week but ran 14 times for just 33 yards. He has fewer than 35-rushing yards each of his last two games. Mack has cooled some in these tougher matchups late in the season. He has another tough matchup this week against the Cowboys, a team that has really played some great defense lately. Dallas allows the seventh fewest fantasy points to running backs and are third overall against the rush, allowing 86.8-rushing yards per game.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers. It might be a little surprising to see Rodgers on this list, but the numbers don't lie. He has really struggled for his standards in recent weeks. He has fewer than 200-passing yards two of three games and just four passing touchdowns in those three games. He has not had a three-touchdown game since Week 5. We don't see a sudden turnaround this week against a Bears defense that completely shutdown the Rams last week. Chicago allows the third fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 10th against the pass.
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders. Carr has picked up his game late in the year, producing big numbers despite being without a true No. 1 receiver. He threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns last week and has multiple touchdowns three of four games. Carr seems setup for another multiple touchdown game this week against the Bengals. Cincinnati is 29th against the pass and allow the most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars. Westbrook found the end zone last week and has touchdowns two of three games. He had seven receptions for 88 yards last week. Westbrook has been the best receiver in this offense all year, having at least four receptions six games. He is a good streaming play for fantasy teams and this week is a good one to stream him. Westbrook plays the Redskins, a team that allows the fifth most fantasy points to receivers.
Ito Smith, RB, Falcons. Smith led the Falcons in rushing last week, having his best game in several weeks. He ran 11 times for 60 yards and caught three passes for 14 yards. It was a solid overall game. Smith has shown some upside this year, having four touchdowns and receptions all but the first week of the year. He is never a sure thing but seems setup for good things this week against the Cardinals. Arizona has really struggled to stop the run this year, ranking 29th overall against the run. Smith could get a few more chances in this one, especially with Tevin Coleman doing next to nothing with his work.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens. Jackson had a career high two passing touchdowns last week, making a few more plays in the passing game. He continues to get it done on the ground, though, having 70-plus rushing yards four straight games. He also has two rushing touchdowns during that stretch. His big rushing totals make him a solid weekly fantasy play. He can have another successful game this week against the Bucs. Tampa allows the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Ian Thomas, TE, Panthers. Thomas has done well since taking over as the starter for the Panthers. He led the Panthers in receiving last week, catching nine passes for 77 yards on 11 targets. He has 14 receptions his last two games. Thomas has produced in a tight end friendly offense and has good potential down the stretch. Thomas plays a Bucs team that is just 27th overall against the pass.
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: Chargers/Chiefs, Patriots/Steelers, Eagles/Rams, Saints/Panthers.
Low Scoring Games: Lions/Bills, Titans/Giants, Redskins/Jaguars.
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.
The San Francisco 49ers agreed to terms on a three-year, $8.7 million deal with running back Raheem Mostert on Saturday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The deal will include $3 million guaranteed. Mostert spent the last two years with San Fran, compiling 40 rushing attempts, 291 yards and a touchdown in 20 games. He'll be buried on the depth chart behind Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and newly-signed Tevin Coleman, so Mostert is unlikely to have any fantasy value.
The Tennessee Titans released quarterback Blaine Gabbert after they traded for Ryan Tannehill on Friday. Gabbert's only season in Tennessee in 2018 saw him make three starts while filling in for an injured Marcus Mariota. Gabbert spent 2017 with the Cardinals, three in San Francisco before that and three years in Jacksonville after being drafted 10th overall in 2010. He'll only attract backup work on the open market.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed free-agent wide receiver Chris Conley to an undisclosed deal on Saturday, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The team also signed offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and linebacker Jake Ryan. Conley spent the first four years of his career with the Chiefs and started 34 of 53 games while catching 104 passes for 1,238 yards and six touchdowns. The 26-year-old will likely compete for a role with the Jags and won't be fantasy relevant.
The Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms on an undisclosed one-year deal with free-agent tight end Logan Paulsen on Saturday. Paulsen returns to Atlanta, where he had only nine catches for 91 yards and one touchdown in 15 games in his first season with the Falcons last year. He should not be on anyone's fantasy radar as mostly a blocking tight end behind pass-catcher Austin Hooper and Luke Stocker.
The Cincinnati Bengals re-signed tight end Tyler Eifert to an undisclosed one-year deal on Saturday, a source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The 28-year-old former first-rounder has been hurt by injuries over the course of his six-year career in the NFL and has played in more than eight games in just two seasons. He missed the final 12 games in 2018 with a broken ankle, although he's expected to be ready for organized team activities this spring. Eifert played in only 14 games since his Pro Bowl season in 2015, and fantasy owners are now staying away from him altogether most likely. With C.J. Uzomah also re-signing, Eifert will have to prove to both the Bengals and fantasy owners that he can stay on the field.
The Washington Redskins are expected to sign free-agent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to an undisclosed deal, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. DRC announced his retirement just five months ago but has decided to give it another go. He'll be reunited with former Giants teammate Landon Collins, so signed a six-year deal this week. Rodgers-Cromartie will turn 33 on April 7, and it's fair to wonder how much he has left physically. He has plenty of experience and is expected to offer cornerback depth on a team that also has Josh Norman.
The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent wide receiver J.J. Nelson to an undisclosed deal on Friday. Nelson spent the last four seasons with the Cardinals and caught 81 passes for 1,439 yards in 56 career games. The former fifth-rounder had his worst season in 2018, though, catching just seven passes for 64 yards and no scores in 14 games in Arizona's inept offense. The speedster does boast 17.8 yards per catch in his career and will provide another deep threat in Oakland alongside Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams after the team released veteran Jordy Nelson.
The Tennessee Titans acquired quarterback Ryan Tannehill from the Miami Dolphins on Friday and signed him to a one-year deal worth $7 million guaranteed and worth up to $12 million with incentives. The Dolphins will receive a seventh-round pick in this year's draft and a 2020 fourth-round pick in exchange. Tennessee will also get a 2019 sixth-rounder. Tannehill, a former eighth overall pick in 2012, never lived up to his draft status while going 42-46 over six seasons in Miami. He has a career 62.8 completion percentage and an 87 passer rating and will have zero fantasy appeal as Marcus Mariota's backup in his new digs. The rebuilding Dolphins are likely to look to the draft for their next signal-caller, especially after Teddy Bridgewater elected to re-sign with the Saints this week.
The Denver Broncos re-signed tight end Jeff Heuerman to a two-year deal worth up to $9 million on Friday, a source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The former third-round pick in 2015 played in just 11 games due to injury last year and caught a career-high 31 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns in his third NFL season. Unless the Broncos add to the position in the draft or free agency, Heuerman will likely be the starter at the position. New quarterback Joe Flacco has targeted tight ends often in his career, so Heuerman could be a TE2 deep sleeper this year.
The Cincinnati Bengals signed free-agent offensive guard John Miller to a three-year, $16.5 million deal on Friday, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Miller started 47 games the last four years at right guard with the Bills and will likely be viewed as an upgrade over Alex Redmond at the spot in 2019. Cincy also re-signed right tackle Brian Hart to a three-year deal earlier in the week to shore up their offensive line. Quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Jeff Driskel were sacked a combined 37 times last year.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed free-agent tight end Geoff Swaim to an undisclosed deal on Friday. Ben Koyack and Pharoah McKever are the only other tight ends on roster as of now, so Swaim could become a big part of the offense in 2019. A seventh-round pick by the Cowboys in 2015, Swaim has 35 career catches for 336 yards and one touchdown in four seasons. He caught a career-high 26 passes for 242 yards and a score last year. Quarterback Nick Foles and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo have leaned on the tight end in the past, but Swaim is still likely to be more of a fantasy afterthought.
The New York Jets signed free-agent kicker Chandler Catanzaro to an undisclosed deal on Friday. Catanzaro spent the 2017 season with Gang Green before spending time with the Panthers and Buccaneers last year. He made a career-low 73 percent of his field-goal tries in 13 games in 2018, including going 2-for-2 from 50-plus yards. He represents a downgrade from Pro Bowler Jason Myers a year ago and can be avoided for fantasy purposes.
Updating an immediate report, Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt will not appeal his eight-game suspension.
The NFL has suspended Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt for eight games for violating its personal conduct policy. Hunt violated the personal conduct policy while he was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, which led to his release in November. The Browns took a chance on the running back, signing him to a one-year contract in February. While Hunt is suspended, running backs Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson will be asked to lead the backfield, although there have been persistent rumors that the team would like to trade Johnson. When he does return from suspension, Hunt's role in the team's backfield is unclear.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt was suspended eight games Friday, March 15, for violating the personal conduct policy, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt can still appeal the ruling, but he's gone for 75 percent of the fantasy season in a lot of leagues. You're really going to have to be lucky avoiding the injury bug if you're going to carry him as an RB5 all season. There is obvious risk of rust and obvious reward for the latter part of the season and playoffs. Nick Chubb will be an RB2 or RB3 in Hunt's stead.
Free-agent PK Chandler Catanzaro (Panthers) signed an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 15.
Free-agent DT Steve McLendon re-signed with the New York Jets on Thursday, March 14, agreeing to an undisclosed contract.
Free-agent WR Chris Hogan (Patriots) and his representatives have been in contact with the New York Giants, according to a source.
Free-agent S Eric Berry has reportedly been told he should be able to play through the ankle problems that plagued him in 2018, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Free-agent LB Shaquil Barrett (Broncos) visited with the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, March 14.