Sat Nov 16 5:23pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Week 11 has four teams on the bye: Tennessee, Seattle, Green Bay and the New York Giants
I’m not sure Miami can be considered the gimme still, having won two games while Cincinnati hasn’t won. And Washington has only won a game. The battle for the first pick in next year’s draft is slipping away from the Dolphins.
But let’s be clear, they still have the weakest talent in the league. So yes, I like some Bills players this week and expect their defense to be a top play. You can play Josh Allen, Devin Singletary, John Brown and Cole Beasley, and expect plus fantasy points from all. And if you’re seeking a tight end, Dawson Knox could outpoint a lot of other tight ends this Sunday.
Another gimme team this week should be the Raiders at home against the winless Bengals. Cincy is bad on both sides of the ball, so the Raiders defense against the rookie quarterback could put up some points. Josh Jacobs is a top running back play. Derek Carr is a quarterback streamer. And Darren Waller will be a top tight end play.
The battle of good versus bad this week is San Francisco against Arizona. The 49ers will rebound from last week’s first loss. The Cardinals have played better the last few weeks, but they’ll be running into a buzz saw when they visit San Francisco. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be at his best with or without Emmanuel Sanders. Deebo Samuel has become a reliable receiver and elusive runner after the catch, and a good play for fantasy managers this week. It would be a bonus if George Kittle could return because Arizona’s defense makes most tight ends look like All Pros.
The other almost good versus bad is Carolina (almost good) against Atlanta (really bad). I’m not sure how that game against New Orleans happened, but it wasn’t the real Atlanta team we’ve seen this year. I expect that team to be back against the Panthers. Christian McCaffery is licking his chops. But in what is looking like a very one sided game, a smart approach might be not to overwork your best player. Kyle Allen could have a big game throwing the ball, and both D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel can pass the century mark in receiving yards. Plus, Greg Olsen will get his share and red-zone looks. Not much to like on the Falcons side, but Brian Hill will see the ball a lot with Devonta Freeman out. The Panthers have allowed running backs 12 touchdowns the last four games, making Hill a great sleeper play.
There’s an interesting bad versus bad game this week with the Jets at Washington. I wouldn’t play anyone from either team. Tt could be ugly!
Quarterbacks: Other than those mentioned above, both Drew Brees and Jameis Winston could have big days in their shootout. The experts predict a lot points being scored in this one, so both quarterbacks are great plays. And usually the losing team’s quarterback puts up the most points because they’re playing catch up, making Winston the better play. A sleeper play could be Nick Foles returning to action for the Jaguars at Indianapolis. Foles' schedule the next four weeks is favorable, so if he’s available on your waivers, go get him.
Running Backs: Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Jacobs are going against two rushing defenses that can’t stop a cold. Both will have 100-plus rushing days and should visit the end zone. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon gets a Chiefs rushing defense that made Derek Henry look all world last week. The only thing that could slow him down is playing from behind. A sleeper pick could be the Eagles back Miles Sanders going against New England. With Jordan Howard banged up a bit, Sanders has the type game that could exploit the Patriots defense.
Wide Receivers: Mike Thomas, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin should reap the benefit of the shootout, making all good plays. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are a similar situation for the Panthers. Julian Edelman returns from the bye and will be unstoppable against the porous Eagles secondary. A sleeper pick is Courtland Sutton, who could do well against the Vikings if they can find a quarterback to get him the ball. Ravens receiver Marquise Brown will have a big day against the Houston secondary because they don’t have anyone who can keep up with him. Look for Lamar Jackson to drop a couple bombs to him.
Tight Ends: This could be one of Eric Ebron’s two touchdown weeks, especially if Jack Doyle is limited against the Jags. My sleeper pick is Houston’s Darren Fells at Baltimore.
Defense: Buffalo stays at top my list at Miami. And the Raiders will be good against the hapless Bengals. But the top play is the Patriots, who have a history of extra good play after a bye and a loss. I almost feel sorry for the Eagles.
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Five Hot Starts: Week 4
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (hamstring) returned to practice in a limited fashion on Thursday after sitting out of the team's Week 3 win over the Saints. Adams did very little (three catches, 36 yards) when he was hurt in Week 2, but he went off for 14 receptions, 156 yards and two scores in the season-opener on 17 targets against the Vikings. It looks like Adams is on track to return for the Monday night matchup with the Falcons and their shaky secondary, so Green Bay's All-Pro wideout will once again be a must-start high-end WR1 for his fantasy managers. Allen Lazard, who had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown last week in Adams' absence, will be a boom/bust WR3/flex with Adams on track to return this week.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (core), who stepped up with 146 receiving yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Saints, has a new core muscle injury and did not practice on Thursday. It helped that Davante Adams (hamstring) was inactive last Sunday night, but Lazard has gained a lot of chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and seems to be the preferred target behind Adams. His status will be one to watch for Monday Night Football against the Falcons this week, but if he's questionable for that one, fantasy managers should look for better options. If Lazard were to sit out this week, Marquez Valdes-Scantling could step up as a flex option in deeper leagues.
Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith (back) returned to practice on a limited basis on Thursday for the first time in a few weeks. Smith played in the season-opener but hasn't been on the field since, but it looks like he has a chance to return to the starting unit this Sunday against the Browns. Dallas really needs the 29-year-old in the fold, as they're already short-handed on the offensive line. Smith's return would be great news for quarterback Dak Prescott, who has performed admirably the last two weeks without his starting blind-side protector. Cleveland has a pretty nasty pass rush, so Smith would help a depleted offensive line as the Cowboys seek their second win of the season.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (back) was added to the injury report on Thursday with a back injury that he's working through. Beckham was officially limited in Thursday's practice, so it looks like he still has a good shot at suiting up in Week 4 against the Cowboys. Through three games in 2020, OBJ has 11 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown and is seeing consistent enough targets to make him a solid WR2 each and every week. This Sunday against a Dallas offense that hasn't had trouble putting points on the board, the Browns figure to throw the ball frequently. The Cowboys secondary is also allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to the receiver position.
New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (neck) is active for the Thursday night game against the Broncos as Sam Darnold's backup. With Flacco active, the team released quarterback Mike White. The 35-year-old Flacco is purely a clipboard holder for Darnold as long as he's healthy, which makes him useless in fantasy football. Never much of a fantasy asset even during his prime with Baltimore, the Jets would be in even more trouble if they were forced to use him as their starter in the event of a Darnold injury. New York also has rookie signal-caller James Morgan on their roster behind Flacco.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Jones was not able to play last week because of the injury but appears to be on track to play this week. He has been one of the top receivers in the NFL for several season and should be a weekly starting option when healthy.
New Orleans Saints OG Andrus Peat (ankle), TE Jared Cook (groin), DE Marcus Davenport (elbow) and CB Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1. CB Janoris Jenkins (illness), WR Michael Thomas (ankle) and LB Chase Hansen (hip) were limited. DT David Onyemata (calf) was not given a practice designation.
Atlanta Falcons WR Russell Gage Jr. (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Gage still needs to pass his concussion tests before he is cleared to play, so fantasy players should know more about his status in a few days. He will receive a handful of targets if he plays and could be a flex option in deeper leagues.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore faces a tough matchup in Week 4 against Arizona. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to the wide receiver position than the Cardinals, though fellow number-one wideouts Terry McLaurin and Kenny Golladay were able to post good numbers against this defense. Moore is of a similar talent level to those two and commands a whopping 49.4% of his team's targeted air yards, which ranks second in the league. The second-year pro also ranks 11th in the league in targets, so he's seeing ample opportunity. In a game where Carolina may be forced to throw more, fantasy managers can plug Moore in as a solid WR2 with upside.
New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (elbow) and cornerback Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) didn't take part in the portion of practice open to the media on Thursday. As key members of the team's defense, their statuses are something to watch heading into Week 4 against the Lions. Lattimore tweaked his hamstring in practice on Wednesday, but the injury isn't considered serious. The 24-year-old has 15 tackles through three games for the Saints, and his absence this Sunday would be good news for Lions star receiver Kenny Golladay, who scored a touchdown in his season debut in Week 3. If one or both of Davenport or Lattimore are inactive, it makes New Orleans' defense a less-appealing fantasy streamer.
New York Jets WR Jeff Smith was activated from the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, Oct. 1. Free-agent CB Javelin Guidry was also elevated from the practice squad. QB Mike White and CB Nate Hairston were released to make room on the roster.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation to see if Ridley is in any danger of missing the Week 4 game. He has been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL this season and is a must-start option in all leagues if he plays.
Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills WR John Brown (calf) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Brown appears to have a good chance to play, but fantasy players will know more about the situation in the next few days. He was been playing well this season and can be a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues if he plays.
Cleveland Browns DE Adrian Clayborn (hip), LB Tae Davis (elbow), RB Kareem Hunt (groin) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1. S Ronnie Harrison (illness) also did not practice after being added to the injury report Thursday. OG Joel Bitonio (back), LB Jacob Phillips (knee), C JC Tretter (knee, elbow), DE Olivier Vernon (abdomen), CB Denzel Ward (groin) and Greedy Williams (shoulder) were limited. WR Odell Beckham Jr. (back) was limited after getting added to the injury report. Stephen Carlson (shoulder), OT Jack Conklin (elbow), WR Jarvis Landry (hip) and LB Sione Takitaki (shoulder) practiced in full.
Atlanta Falcons S Ricardo Allen (elbow), PK Younghoe Koo (groin), WR Calvin Ridley (ankle), DE Dante Fowler (ankle), S Keanu Neal (hamstring), DT Grady Jarrett (hip) and DE Takkarist McKinley (groin) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1. WR Russell Gage Jr. (concussion), DE Jacob Tuioti-Mariner (elbow), LB Foyesade Oluokun (hamstring), WR Julio Jones (hamstring) and OT Kaleb McGary (knee) were limited. DT Marlon Davidson (knee), OT Matt Gono (shoulder) and S Kendall Sheffield (foot) practiced in full.
Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis will take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. Carolina had no qualms about Davis as their lead back, considering he handled 21 touches in his first game as the starter. While it's foolish to count on McCaffrey-like production from Davis, he can certainly deliver strong fantasy numbers with this kind of volume. The Cardinals' defense ranks 20th in fantasy points allowed to halfbacks, so it's a matchup where the 27-year-old can do some damage. Davis may have slightly more value in PPR formats, as the Panthers may be playing catch-up against the Cardinals, lending him more work in the passing game. Still, he can be played as a high-end RB2/low-end RB1 in Week 4 across all formats.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (knee) remained absent from practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) tweaked his hamstring in practice Wednesday, Sept. 30, although the injury is not considered major, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
Buffalo Bills DT Ed Oliver (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1. WR John Brown (calf), OT Dion Dawkins (shoulder), QB Jake Fromm (non-injury), S Micah Hyde (ankle), RB Zack Moss (toe) and LB Del'Shawn Phillips (quad) were limited. LB Tremaine Edmunds (shoulder), DT Quinton Jefferson (foot) and TE Dawson Knox (concussion) practiced in full.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) and wide receiver Scotty Miller (groin, hip) are both missing practice on Thursday for the second straight day. Fournette suffered a minor ankle injury in the Week 3 win over the Broncos, but he'll need to get in at least a limited practice on Friday to have a shot at facing the Chargers in Week 4, where he's be an RB3/flex for fantasy managers. If he can't go, Ronald Jones II would become more intriguing as a flex play in deeper leagues. If healthy, Miller will be Tampa's No. 2 wideout with Chris Godwin (hamstring) out again. But even if Miller suits up, it's worth noting that he played just 43 percent of the snaps last weekend, making him a WR4/5, even if he plays. Justin Watson or rookie Tyler Johnson would be the Bucs No. 2 wideout against the Bolts if Miller is inactive.