Wed Dec 19 10:38 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
What two running backs should I play: James White, Marlon Mack, James Conner, LeSean McCoy or Nick Chubb? Which two receivers: Jarvis Landry, Brandin Cooks, Tyrell Williams or T.Y. Hilton? And now the big question, Mitchell Trubisky or Tom Brady?
George: I like Chubb and Mack at running back. I know Conner is expected to return this week but I worry about his workload in his first game back. I go with Mack over him, especially with Mack running so well last week and a decent matchup against the Giants.
I like Hilton and Landry as your receivers. Your second receiver is a tough call with some similar options. Cook worries me with Jared Goff going in the tank in recent weeks. And I'm still not sold on Jeffery despite his big game last week. He has been erratic all year. Landry hasn't been consistent either but shown some signs of life in recent weeks and he has a dream matchup this week against the Bengals (29th against the pass).
And that is a really tough call at quarterback. I think I go with Trubisky, though. Brady gets a Bills team that is first against the pass and held him without a touchdown in Week 8. I think Trubisky has a much better matchup and a higher ceiling this week.
I am tied for the lead in my league. We play to the end, no playoff. I need to win, what do you think? Philip Rivers or Kirk Cousins? Dalvin Cook or Marlon Mack? Adam Theilen, Juju Smith-Schuster or Mike Evans (pick 2)?
Craig: That is a really tough call at quarterback. I think I go with Rivers, though. I know his matchup is much tougher but he has been so consistent this year and I think he has a higher ceiling than Cousins right now. Cousins has been really mediocre in recent weeks, having four touchdowns his last three games. This is a tossup, though.
Cook and Mack are similar plays this week as well. Very close call. I probably lean Mack because I like that offense better right now. He is coming off a big game and has a favorable matchup against the Giants, who are 28th against the rush.
I like Evans and Smith-Schuster at receiver. Tough to sit Thielen, but he hasn't been quite as prolific as earlier this season. I like Evans a little more than him, having 85-plus yards four of five games.
Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan or Dak Prescott?
I like Ryan a lot this week. I have him ranked second overall at quarterback for Week 16. Ryan has two straight three-touchdown games. He has seven games this season with three or more scores. Ryan should continue his hot ways this week against the Panthers, a team he scored four touchdowns against in Week 2. Carolina allows the eighth most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Let me pick your brain. I am in the bowl. Quarterback: Mitchell Trubisky, Aaron Rodgers or Lamar Jackson? Receiver: Odell Beckham, Juju Smith-Schuster, Tyler Lockett, Sammy Watkins? Do I pick up Mike Williams? (play 2)
Rob: That is a tough call at quarterback. I probably lean Rodgers in a favorable matchup against the Jets, a team that is 19th against the pass and allow 25.6 points per game. I think Rodgers has the highest ceiling of your options, so I give him a slight edge despite his down production this year.
I don't see Williams as an upgrade over Lockett, so I would sit tight with your receiver options. I go with Beckham (if he plays) and Smith-Schuster. If Beckham misses, Lockett is a solid No. 2 out of those options.
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.
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.