Wed Jan 31 8:55 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
White looks for repeat showing
Time sure flies, right? It is hard to believe this is the last week of the season. Hopefully, the season ends on a high note and we get to see a great Super Bowl. On paper, it would seem the game should be a good one but nothing is ever certain when it comes to this stuff. We will find out soon enough. Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
Alright, here is my prediction for the game. I'm going with the Patriots, winning 28-24. I think it will be a close game but the Patriots are just too much for the Eagles, especially with Carson Wentz out of the lineup. If Wentz were in there, I think I pick the Eagles to win it all. He is too big of a difference maker for the offense to overcome. I know Nick Foles looked great his last time out but I have a hard time seeing him match that production in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady just wins big games and I think he will win another one this weekend.
I think my fifth-grade son was the only person on the planet excited about the Pro Bowl last weekend. He was glued to the television, watching the game and the festivities leading up to it. So kudos to the NFL for at least getting one fan interested in the Pro Bowl. I'm not sure if anyone watched it besides him.
I'm really anxious to see how all the quarterback needy teams address the position this offseason. There is going to be a lot of movement on this front in both free agency and through the draft. And I'm not convinced there is a quarterback that can step right in and be an impact player next season - like Deshaun Watson from this past year. All the top quarterbacks have some growing to do at the position.
I like the hire of Matt LaFleur as offensive coordinator in Tennessee. I think this could be a great thing for Marcus Mariota. LaFleur has learned from some of the best the last few seasons and should provide a boost to a pretty stagnant offense from this past season. Don't give up on Mariota just yet to be a fantasy superstar. He can still get it going, especially with LaFleur now calling plays.
It isn't official yet but the Colts are going to hire Josh McDaniels after the Super Bowl to be their head coach. Needless to say, this is great news for Andrew Luck if he comes back healthy. McDaniels should be a great get for this offense from a fantasy perspective, especially if Luck is playing. Luck could be a monster in this offensive scheme.
So Alex Smith heads to the Redskins. We get our first big trade and it isn't even officially the offseason yet. Smith should be a good fit for the Redskins. I doubt he repeats his huge numbers from this past season with the Chiefs, but he is going to get his chances to air it out in this offense. The Redskins are a pass-first offense, which is good news for Smith's fantasy value. Smith could be a low-end No. 1 for the '18 season. He could have some big games - similar to Kirk Cousins. As for Cousins, he is going to land a huge contract with some quarterback-needy team this offseason. It will be interesting to see where he lands.
Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots. Amendola has been the go-to target for the Patriots in the playoffs. He has 18 receptions for 202 yards and two scores in two games. He has been targeted 22 times in two games. We would expect his workload to be heavy once again this week against the Eagles. Amendola is a tough cover out of the slot - even for a good Eagles pass defense.
Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles. Ertz was a little quiet in the Eagles playoff opener but was a force in their last game, catching eight passes for 93 yards. He should be targeted heavily in the Super Bowl. Ertz is the top playmaker in the passing game for the Eagles. The Patriots have improved against the pass throughout the season but still ranked 30th overall against the pass for the year. Ertz can have a lot of success in this matchup.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles. Ajayi is getting the most work in the Eagles backfield but that doesn't mean he is producing huge numbers in that role. He has not scored in the playoffs and had just two scores all season. He is getting some yards but still hasn't topped 75-rushing yards in a game since Week 11. He has been pretty mediocre most weeks. Expect similar production this week from Ajayi.
Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots. Hogan had a great start to his season but injury keep him out of hotel lineup nearly the entire second half of the year. And he has done little since his return. He did score a touchdown in the Patriots playoff opener but has just three receptions for 24 yards in the two playoff games. He is a hard guy to trust right now, producing very little since returning to the lineup.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles. Foles had a game to remember his last time out, playing near flawless football against a very good Vikings pass defense. He was 26-of-33 for 352 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. He has a lot more pressure on him this week, but also a much easier matchup. We wouldn't be surprised if he posts big numbers once again this week. The Patriots allowed the seven most fantasy points to quarterbacks during the regular season.
James White, RB, Patriots. Remember last year's Super Bowl? Well, he is a refresher. White had a career game, finishing with three touchdowns, including the game-winning score. He also had 14 receptions for 110 yards in the game. White has touchdowns in each of the two playoff games this year, so he is coming into the playoffs hot. He could have another big game in the Super Bowl.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said linebacker Mark Barron (Achilles) is unlikely to play in Week 3 against the Chargers. The middle of the Rams defense remains somewhat of a weakness with Barron out, but their defense/special teams remains a strong fantasy unit moving forward, even against the Chargers this weekend.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (knee) is concerned that his left knee could worsen if he continues to play on it. He played with a brace on his knee in Week 2 against the Vikings and made it through the whole game, but he admitted that his knee "obviously won't be 100 percent, so I'll just adjust accordingly to how I'm feeling and try to get through." Green Bay didn't practice on Wednesday, but it was estimated that Rodgers wouldn't have practiced. Rodgers looked to favor his knee at times last Sunday while making throws from the pocket, but he also ran three times for eight yards. The fear here is that Rodgers' knee worsens and he's forced to sit out games. That'd be the worst-case for fantasy owners. Hopefully those that own Rodgers have a decent backup just in case. It's likely that Rodgers doesn't practice much while monitoring his knee on a week-to-week basis. But as long as he's active on Sundays, he's a must-start in fantasy.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (hamstring, foot) missed practice Wednesday while dealing with two different injuries. Health continues to be a problem for Mack who in addition to re-aggravating a hamstring injury that forced him to miss much of training camp must have suffered a foot injury in last week's victory over the Washington Redskins. Fantasy owners didn't exactly get much in the way of production from Mack when he did play this season, with 10 carries going for 34 yards and one reception for two receiving yards. His situation is one to monitor throughout the week when choosing to start Colts running backs.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (hip) was absent from the team's practice on Wednesday with a hip injury. While Doyle didn't appear to suffer any serious injuries in Week 2, the wear and tear of playing on 59 of the Colts' 61 offensive snaps likely contributed to him taking a rest day. Doyle gets a tougher matchup against a hard-hitting Philadelphia Eagles defense next week, so fantasy owners should be careful about setting expectations too high.
The New Orleans Saints placed wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (knee) on Injured Reserve on Wednesday after he injured his knee in Week 2 against the Browns. Lewis didn't have any catches in the two games this season. He wasn't a fantasy factor to begin with.
The New England Patriots re-signed wide receiver Corey Coleman to their practice squad on Wednesday after releasing him. Coleman has been tossed around like a rag doll on the NFL transaction list so far this year after proving to be a first-round bust in Cleveland. He is well off the fantasy radar.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks said the team worked out free-agent wide receiver Kendall Wright, but the team will not sign him. The Cardinals haven't been happy with the production from their receivers behind Larry Fitzgerald, but the whole offense has been dreadful so far and has produced just six points in two weeks. Fitzgerald is the only receiver in this offense worth starting in fantasy, and even then he should be downgraded to more of a WR3 until further notice.
Free-agent WR Corey Coleman (Patriots) was re-signed to the New England Patriots' practice squad Wednesday, Sept. 19, according to sources.
Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday, while defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) was limited. If Slay, the team's best defensive back, can't play in Week 3, it'd be a big upgrade for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Chris Hogan. Ansah sat out last weekend and is the team's best hope for a consistent pass rush, but he continues to be set back by nagging injuries. He's hard to rely on in IDP leagues.
Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones was activated from his two-game suspension Wednesday, Sept. 19. CB Deante Burton was released in a corresponding move.
Fantasy Spin: As stated previously, Jones won't immediately start upon his return. Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery will be playing ahead of him, so Jones will need to earn his way back. Keep him stashed on your bench this week.
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (illness) and linebacker C.J. Mosley (knee) both missed practice on Wednesday. Collins should be fine to play in Week 3 against the Broncos, where he'll be more of an RB3/flex type. He's averaging just 3.0 yards per carry on 16 attempts through two weeks and has lost a lot of passing work to Javorius Allen. Mosley is the team's best linebacker. Without him, Baltimore's defense isn't as attractive in fantasy.
The New York Jets waived wide receiver Ardarius Stewart on Wednesday. Stewart is coming off a two-game suspension. The third-round pick in 2017 had five catches and 41 yards in the preseason and brought down six catches for 82 yards in 15 games last season. He can continue being avoided in fantasy and might struggle to find another job.
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (knee) did not practice on Wednesday. Griffen had a career-high 13 sacks in 2017 and has a full sack through two weeks in 2018. It's unknown if he'll be in danger of missing Week 3 against the Bills, but if he does, it'll be good news for rookie quarterback Josh Allen. Allen and the terrible Bills offense would still likely struggle to move the ball effectively against the strong Vikings defense.
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Fantasy Spin: It's not unexpected, as Freeman missed Week 2 and is listed as day to day. Circle back around later in the week for a better idea if he'll play Week 3 against the Saints or not. Tevin Coleman would again shoulder the bulk of the workload with Ito Smith as the backup if Freeman cannot go.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (calf) was unable to practice Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Fantasy Spin: Jones was likely just getting a veteran's mid-week day off to rest his bumps and bruises. We'll get a better idea if Jones is nursing a real injury or not on the reports Thursday and Friday. He'll likely be ready to go for Week 3 against the Saints.
Houston Texans wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins (ankle, thumb), Will Fuller (hamstring), Keke Coutee (hamstring) and Sammie Coates (hamstring), tight end Ryan Griffin (hip) and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (back) were all limited in practice on Wednesday. Both Hopkins and Fuller should be fine to play in a strong Week 3 matchup against the Giants and should be started in all fantasy leagues. The rookie Coutee has a chance to make his debut but is only a stash in dynasty leagues at this time. Clowney was a surprise inactive in Week 2 but will be a strong IDP play this weekend if he starts against a non-existent Giants offensive line.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Fantasy Spin: It's unfortunate that Jeffery is not healthy yet as he and the Eagles boast one of the better matchups of the week in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He'll be a risky start even if he is active. Nelson Agholor, however, is a recommended play.
Chicago Bears DB DeAndre Houston-Carson (forearm) was listed as a limited participant Wednesday, Sept. 19.
New Orleans Saints DT Tyeler Davison (foot), LB Manti Te'o (knee) and WR Tommylee Lewis (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 19. OG Andrus Peat (ankle), OT Terron Armstead (knee) and WR Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) were listed as limited participants.
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (knee), DE Takkarist McKinley (groin), DE Derrick Shelby (groin) and WR Julio Jones (calf) did not practice Wednesday, Sept. 19. OG Ben Garland (calf), LB Corey Nelson (calf) and WR Russell Gage Jr. (knee) were listed as limited participants. CB Isaiah Oliver (ankle) was able to practice in full.