Tue Oct 15 8:43am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Sam Darnold is making strides
This seems to be a theme with this column, but as the season progresses, it really does get harder to find quality options on waivers. Teams have byes and injuries, so the pickups become a lot more frequent. And the players breaking out are harder to find as well because a lot of roles are established with less uncertainty in the game. These factors make it tougher on a weekly basis as the season progresses. So don’t get too frustrated with the waivers going forward. Just remember that all the owners are facing the same issues as you.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings. It is time to believe in Cousins again. He has two straight huge games, throwing for 300-plus yards in each of his last two games while totaling six touchdowns to just one interception. He is playing with much more confidence and finally taking advantage of his great receiver duo. Cousins was dropped in many leagues after his slow start but his recent play should cause him to be grabbed in all those leagues once again. He is available in 30 percent of leagues.
Sam Darnold, Jets. Darnold returned from his bout with mono and had his best game of the season, beating a pretty good Cowboys teams. Darnold was 23-of-32 for 338 yards and two touchdowns with an interception las week. He has the tools to produce in this league and could be a good spot starter the rest of the way. He was impressive last week.
Case Keenum, Redskins. Keenum might not be the best NFL quarterback but he has produced for fantasy teams this year when in the starting lineup. He has multiple touchdown passes every game he has started and finished this year. He has at least 17 fantasy points all those games, too. He is another player worth consideration as a spot play for fantasy teams in the right matchup. He is producing.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals. David Johnson was able to play last week, but Edmonds got his chances once again. He scored a touchdown for the second straight game. He also has at least 14 fantasy point two straight games. The Cardinals might need to manage Johnson’s workload a little better gong forward, giving more weekly touches to Edmonds. And Edmonds is making plays with his work, which is encouraging.
Mark Walton, Dolphins. With the Dolphins struggling to run the ball, Walton got his most chances of the season last week. He played pretty well, rushing six times for 32 yards while catching five passes for 43 yards. He had 11 touches for 75 total yards. He might be playing his way into a bigger role going forward, making him worth a speculative look if you are desperate for running back help.
Benny Snell, Steelers. Snell had a season high 17 carries last week for 75 yards. It was the first time al year he had more than three carries in a game, so this performance was unexpected. The Steelers were run heavy with a third-string quarterback starting, though. Snell was impressive with his work and could be getting a few more weekly chances the rest of the way. James Conner hasn’t exactly excelled with his chances this year, so the Steelers could start given their rookie back more looks.
Darrell Henderson, Rams. Henderson got his most work of the season with Todd Gurley out. Henderson played pretty well, rushing six times for 39 yards. He outplayed starter Malcolm Brown in the game, which is encouraging. Gurley is an injury waiting to happen, so Henderson is worth adding if you have the roster space. His role could continue to increase in this offense.
Jaron Brown, Seahawks. Brown found the end zone twice last week, scoring for the first time all year. He has multiple receptions four straight games and is getting some consistent work in the Seahawks passing game. He isn’t a sure thing but has some red-zone potential and is getting weekly catches, making him a player to consider streaming if you need receiver help because of injury or bye weeks.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins. Parker had just three catches for 28 yards last week but one of those catches was a touchdown reception. This gives him scores two straight games and at least three receptions all but a game. The Dolphins are a mess, but Parker has the highest ceiling of any of their receivers, making him another player to consider if you need someone for a spot play.
Jamison Crowder, Jets. The return of Sam Darnold was a huge positive for Crowder. He had a great game in Week 6, catching six passes for 98 yards. Remember, he had 14 receptions for 99 yards in Week 1 when Darnold was playing. He might not score many touchdowns but he has big reception potential as long as Darnold is in the lineup. Crowder is available in 41 percent of fantasy leagues.
Darren Fells, Texans. The Texans are incorporating the tight end into the offense a lot more these days. And Fells is the top target at tight end for them right now. He had a season high in receptions (six) and yards (69) last week. And he had a two-touchdown game the previous week. His value is going up in this very good Texans offense.
Hunter Henry, Chargers. Henry was dropped in many leagues after his early-season knee injury. But for all the owners that held onto him, he paid off in a big way in Week 6. Henry had eight receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns. In two games this year, Henry has 12 receptions for 160 yards. He is a huge part of this offense and a legit No. 1 fantasy tight end. He is available in 25 percent of leagues. This will be the last week you can grab him if you are in one of those leagues.
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.
Houston Texans RB Duke Johnson played 59 percent of the offensive snaps against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Nov. 17. RB Carlos Hyde played just 34 percent of the snaps.
Fantasy Spin: It was the first time since Week 7 that Johnson led the timeshare. Week 7 was also the last time the Texans lost. Johnson is used more in the passing game and should be expected to see more work in the Texans' tougher matchups, while Hyde will continue to be used to run out the clock in victories.
New Orleans Saints RB Latavius Murray played 41 percent of the offensive snaps Sunday, Nov. 17, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. RB Alvin Karmara played 61 percent.
Fantasy Spin: Murray also carried the ball 10 times but for just 27 yards in the victory. This was expected to be the case for the entire season with Murray getting a heavy workload in favorable game scripts for the Saints before QB Drew Brees and Kamara each missed time. Expect him to finish the season with a significant role behind Kamara, and he'll warrant flex consideration in the most appealing matchups.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Dare Ogunbowale played 43 percent of the offensive snaps in the Week 11 loss to the New Orleans Saints Sunday, Nov. 17. Ronald Jones played 31 percent and Peyton Barber made up just 18 percent.
Fantasy Spin: Ogunbowale rushed just twice for no yards and caught three of four targets for only 10 yards. The poor performance from QB Jameis Winston threw things in a blender for the Bucs' offensive plans, but Jones should be expected to be the most productive of an inconsistent trio.
Arizona Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake played 88 percent of the offensive snaps against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Nov. 17. RB David Johnson played just nine total snaps, with all coming on offense.
Fantasy Spin: Drake has totaled 283 yards from scrimmage with a rushing touchdown in three games with the Cardinals. Arizona is on a bye this week which may allow David Johnson to get fully back up to speed and could even see Chase Edmonds return to the mix, but Drake heads into the break as the most appealing option all of a sudden.
Cleveland Browns S Morgan Burnett (Achilles) underwent surgery Tuesday, Nov. 19, and is expected to make a full recovery.
Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore has received at least nine targets in each of his last five games.
Fantasy Spin: He has totaled 55 targets in that time and caught 36 of them for 427 yards but has failed to reach the end zone. Moore and the Panthers will have another nice passing matchup against the New Orleans Saints in Week 12 before facing the Washington Redskins and a rematch against the Atlanta Falcons. He's a quality buy-low option at the fantasy trade deadline with some positive touchdown regression ahead.
Indianapolis Colts RB Jordan Wilkins was upgraded to a limited participant on the team's estimated injury report for Tuesday, Nov. 19. The Colts didn't hold a practice.
Fantasy Spin: Wilkins missed Week 11 and he hasn't had a noteworthy day since Week 2 when gaining a total of 82 yards on five carries. That said, he's expected to split time with Nyheim Hines if able to suit up for Week 12 with starter Marlon Mack sidelined. Wilkins could be used as a desperation flex option if cleared, but he'll have a very low floor.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) was listed as a non-participant on the team's estimated injury report for Tuesday, Nov. 19.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton remains a longshot to return for Week 12 with the Colts playing Thursday, Nov. 21, against the Houston Texans. He'll need to be started if active, but fantasy managers shouldn't be expecting him to be at 100 percent.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette needs to be more involved later in games, according to head coach Doug Marrone Tuesday, Nov. 19, after Fournette didn't receive a carry once the Jaguars fell down 24-7 against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11. 'That was my mistake. That was a big mistake by me,' said Marrone. '... I thought we needed to score points in a quicker fashion. That's what led to the increased pass attempts. That's on me as a head coach. We need to be more balanced moving forward.'
Fantasy Spin: It's common for running backs to see the ball less often when their teams are trailing, especially by multiple scores, but Fournette is one of the Jaguars' best pieces on offense. Fantasy managers would sure love to see him remain involved later in games rather than having his production capped at around three quarters of work.
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (ankle) stayed on the practice report Tuesday, Nov. 19, as a full participant. The report was an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: There shouldn't be any concern over Watson's status heading into an important Week 12 game against the rival Indianapolis Colts. He's coming off his worst performance of the season but remains a high-tier QB1.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring) remained listed as limited on the team's practice report for Tuesday, Nov. 19. The report is an estimation as the team didn't practice Tuesday but will hold a walkthrough at night.
Fantasy Spin: In what has become an all-too-common theme for his career, Fuller's absence continues to be pushed back. He last played briefly in Week 7, catching his lone target for a six-yard gain. He can be dangled as trade bait.
Free-agent RB Alex Collins (Ravens) had his suspension lifted by commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, Nov. 19, and is eligible to sign with any team. Collins is also recovered from a broken leg and able to work out for teams.
Fantasy Spin: Collins rushed for 411 yards and seven touchdowns over 10 games with the Ravens last season. He has little to offer in the passing game but could serve a goal-line role. He'll be worth keeping an eye on in case he lands in the right situation.
Houston Texans S Mike Adams (concussion), CB Lonnie Johnson (ankle) and S Justin Reid (concussion, shoulder) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Nov. 19. LB Dylan Cole (knee), WR Will Fuller (hamstring), S Tashaun Gipson (back), OL Tytus Howard (knee) and CB Bradley Roby (hamstring) were limited. QB Deshaun Watson (ankle) practiced in full. The Texans will only hold a walkthrough Tuesday night, so the injury report is an estimation.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone thinks the team relied on the pass too much in quarterback Nick Foles' return in Week 11 against the Colts. Jacksonville set a franchise record for the fewest rushing attempts in a game with nine -- six of them coming during the first half. Running back Leonard Fournette had five first-half carries and only rushed the ball three times in the second half. "That was my mistake. That was a big mistake by me. . . . I thought we needed to score points in a quicker fashion," Marrone said, via the teams website. "Thats what led to the increased pass attempts. Thats on me as a head coach. We need to be more balanced moving forward." Thankfully Fournette was heavily involved in the passing game as well, but that's two straight disappointments on the ground for him. He should be able to bounce back as a solid RB1 in Week 12 against the Titans.
The New England Patriots officially activated left tackle Isaiah Wynn (toe) from the Injured Reserve on Tuesday, according to a source. Wide receiver Gunner Olszewski (ankle, hamstring) was placed on Injured Reserve in a corresponding move. Wynn is set to return for Week 12 against the Cowboys, which will be a big boost for New England's struggling offensive line. While Wynn won't be a guaranteed upgrade on Marshall Newhouse, it's a good sign after the Patriots afforded Tom Brady little time to throw in the Week 11 win over the Eagles. Dallas' defensive front will be another tough test, so hopefully Wynn will give Brady better protection on his blind side.
Indianapolis Colts TE Eric Ebron (ankle) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Nov. 19. The Colts did not hold a practice Tuesday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Indianapolis did not practice Monday either and won't be going too hard Wednesday with a game at the Houston Texans on Thursday. Nevertheless, owners probably shouldn't expect much from Ebron in Week 12. Consider him a middling TE2 if he plays. If he doesn't, Jack Doyle could be a low-end streamer.
Washington Redskins DE Noah Spence was released Tuesday, Nov. 19.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jordan Wilkins (ankle) and rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell (hand) were both listed as limited participants in Tuesday's estimation of their walkthrough practice. Wilkins was inactive in Week 11 but looks to be on track to play in Week 12 on Thursday against the Texans. It's notable with Marlon Mack (hand) out up to a month, but Jonathan Williams remains the more likely candidate for early down work on Thursday with Mack sidelined. Nyheim Hines should maintain his role as a third-down pass-catcher. Williams is the running back to target off waivers if you're in need, although both Williams and Wilkins could wind up sharing touches. Campbell is making progress but isn't expected to return until next month. He's a fine dynasty stash, but we wouldn't expect much fantasy production from him in redraft leagues the rest of the way.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) and tight end Eric Ebron (ankle) both remained sidelined for Tuesday's estimation of their practice report. The Colts aren't ruling Hilton out for a return on Thursday night against the Texans, but fantasy owners would like to see him at least get in a limited session on Wednesday. While he's been out since Week 8, Hilton would have high-end WR2 upside against a weak Texans secondary if he were to return this week. He's been notorious for having huge games against Houston in the past. Ebron looks to be in danger of sitting out on the short week. If that were to happen, Jack Doyle would have low-end TE1 appeal after throwing up a donut in Week 11. Zach Pascal has been the team's primary receiver in Hilton's absence, but he's a low-upside flex in this run-first offense.