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.
The New York Jets are unlikely to move on from wide receiver Jermaine Kearse after he posted career highs in catches (65) and receiving yards (810) to go along with five touchdowns, which tied a career high. He filled in nicely with Quincy Enunwa injured all year. But with Enunwa coming back healthy in 2018 and the team adding Terrelle Pryor, the Jets depth at the position is much better. Kearse has no guaranteed money left on his deal, but he's unlikely to be released after posting solid numbers last year, including only dropping three out of 68 catchable passes. Kearse is expected to be on the outside across from Robby Anderson, with Enunwa manning the slot. While Kearse might be the team's most reliable receiver and a chain-mover, it's hard to imagine him topping his 2017 numbers with Enunwa back and Pryor a threat to his position. He's only worth a late-round flier in deeper leagues.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco did extra workouts with his receivers a few times last week for the first time since 2011. Flacco must feel the heat after the team traded up in the first round to take his eventual successor in Lamar Jackson. He posted just 3,141 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last year and has been a weak fantasy option for years. An upgraded receiving group shouldn't make Flacco any more attractive than he's been recently, and he could be benched eventually if he doesn't improve.
The New Orleans Saints are signing free-agent running back Shane Vereen on Wednesday, according to a source. Vereen spent the last three years with the Giants after starting his career with New England and playing there for four seasons. He had 45 carries for just 164 yards (career-low 3.6 yards per carry) with no touchdowns last year. Vereen is merely a depth signing for the Saints with Mark Ingram suspended to begin the year, and he shouldn't be on anyone's fantasy radar.
Former New York Jets start cornerback Darrelle Revis announced his retirement from football after 11 years on Wednesday. His career included four All-Pro selections -- three with the Jets -- and a Super Bowl championship in 2014 with the Patriots. He played in only five games with the Chiefs in 2017. The 33-year-old was one of the best shutdown corners in the game in his prime, earning the nickname Revis Island because opposing quarterbacks would often refuse to throw to their receivers that were covered by him. He finishes his career with 494 tackles, two sacks, 11 fumble recoveries, 29 interceptions and three touchdowns. Revis is a future Hall of Famer.
New England Patriots wide receiver Jordan Matthews, alongside Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson, is considered a lock to make the team's roster out of training camp, especially with Edelman set to serve a four-game suspension to end the year. It's believed the Patriots will come to value Matthews' versatility, smarts and cheap contract. It's also expected that Edelman's four-game suspension will open up a lot of opportunities for Matthews in the offense to begin the year. Matthews can play in the slot and will likely be the No. 2 receiver with Edelman serving his suspension. If he's healthy -- he played in just 10 games with the Bills last year due to injuries -- he could be worth a late-round flier in deeper leagues.
The Dallas Cowboys are unlikely to meet the Seattle Seahawks' asking price for disgruntled safety Earl Thomas, according to a Cowboys team official. "It's a lot of media hype. Seattle not giving him away and we're not overpaying," the official said. Thomas is threatening to hold out of training camp if he doesn't receive an extension, and he's voiced that he'd welcome a trade to his home state if the Seahawks no longer want him. It's turning into a messy situation with Seattle, but he may be forced to stay with the Seahawks for one more year. Thomas has been injured the last few years, but his play on the field hasn't suffered much when he's been healthy. He's still relevant in IDP leagues if he stays healthy.
Free-agent CB Darrelle Revis (Chiefs) announced his retirement from the NFL Wednesday, July 18.
New England Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt and Phillip Dorsett are on the bubble to make the team, according to beat writer Mike Reiss.
New England Patriots WR Jordan Matthews is considered a lock to make the team, according to beat writer Mike Reiss.
Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones will end up as the team's starting running back this season in the opinion of USA Today Network Wisconsin's Stu Courtney.
Arizona Cardinals TE Ricky Seals-Jones was reportedly arrested over the weekend for assault, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. Seals-Jones allegedly sought to use a hotel restroom but was denied entry because he was not a guest. Seals-Jones then reportedly tried to use the restroom inside one of the hotel's restaurants and once he was denied entry again, he is accused of shoving an employee to get by him.
Carolina Panthers TE Chris Manhertz (foot) will begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he continues to recover from summer surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his left foot.
Arizona Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones was arrested in Scottsdale, Ari., last weekend on suspicion of assault, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. He caught 12 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie year and emerged late in the season as the team's best tight end. Seals-Jones could be facing a short suspension from the league, which would hurt his status as a late-round sleeper as a TE2.
Kansas City Chiefs WRs Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill were two of the seven receivers in the league who had at least 500 yards receiving, averaged more than 15 yards per reception and also scored at least seven touchdowns last season.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has told some close to him that he expects a new deal before training camp starts. If he doesn't receive one, he might hold out of training camp and the preseason like he did last year. The 27-year-old has a whopping 39 sacks, 204 tackles and two fumble recoveries in his first four years in the league and will certainly get paid. He'll once again be an anchor up front for a strong Rams defense in 2018.
Carolina Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz (foot) will start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list after being hurt in June minicamp. He had surgery on his foot for a Jones fracture and is hoping to return before the start of the regular season. Manhertz is the backup to Greg Olsen but is mostly a blocking tight end, so he doesn't have much fantasy intrigue, even if Olsen were to be injured.
Free-agent WR Devin Smith (Jets) cleared waivers Tuesday, July 17, and is officially a free agent.
Los Angeles Rams WR Brandin Cooks signed a five-year contract extension Tuesday, July 17. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Los Angeles Rams signed wide receiver Brandin Cooks to a five-year extension on Tuesday. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. The Patriots sent Cooks to Los Angeles via a trade, and it looks like they want the speedy receiver to be a part of their future as they move into a new stadium in a few years. The Rams offense is on the rise under young head coach Sean McVay and young quarterback Jared Goff, but moving from Tom Brady to Goff is a downgrade. Cooks' ceiling will be lower in LA and he'll have more week-to-week volatility, making him a potential WR2 bust coming off three straight 1,000-yard seasons. Cooks is much more attractive as a high-end WR3.
Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory was reinstated from an indefinite suspension Tuesday, July 17, and will join the Cowboys at training camp.