Wed Oct 23 10:22am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Cousins setup for more success
Well, the NFL trade deadline is fast approaching and is actually bringing us some action. There has already been some trades and more are likely to come. This can shake things up in fantasy land, so keep an eye on all the latest trades to make sure you are up to date. Player movement opens jobs for new players and players getting traded can see their fantasy value improve or go south. So either way, pay attention. Things happen fast and the fantasy player that is up to date on all of this can help their chances to win it all.
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
And speaking of trades, two fairly big-name receivers were traded this week. Mohamed Sanu heads to the Patriots, and Emmanuel Sanders was dealt to the 49ers. For me, I think Sanders has much better fantasy value with the move. He has a good chance to be the No. 1 receiver for the 49ers as soon as he gets up to speed in the offense. I don’t think his numbers will be off the charts in this run-first offense, but he can produce decent numbers for a good team in a big role in the offense. Sanu scares me a little with his move. It is never easy for a player to pick up the Patriots offense, and Sanu has a lot to compete with for targets. I do think Sanu provides more stability at the position, though, and could get a decent amount of looks before the season is out. I do think it could take a bit for him to get up to speed. I wouldn’t count on immediate fantasy production from Sanu.
The Chiefs might not be without Patrick Mahomes long, but I would be wary of using most of their players while Mahomes is out. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce remains must starts and shouldn’t see a huge drop in production, but expect their numbers to suffer some. I would be worried about using any of those running backs and the group of receivers after Hill. It probably is just best to stay away from that secondary group of options in this offense. Matt Moore can move the offense but he is not going to produce the prolific numbers that Mahomes did when starting.
I’m not quite as worried about the state of the Falcons offense if Matt Ryan has to miss time. Matt Schaub is a drop off at the position for the Falcons, but he has a better track record and plays a similar game to Ryan. The Falcons might have a few more struggles with Schaub starting, but I don’t see quite the drop off that I do with the Chiefs. Schaub can produce in this offense.
I get more encouraged by Aaron Jones on a weekly basis. I know Jamaal Williams really worried fantasy owners a few weeks back, but Jones is clearly the better of the backs. He can produce elite numbers. The most encouraging thing for me with Jones is his added work in the passion game. He has at least four receptions five of seven games. This production in the passing game makes him a much more consistent back. And if he can get his rushing numbers up once again, he will be quite the help to fantasy teams. He is fifth overall in fantasy running back scoring right now, and I don’t think that is a fluke.
I know the matchups have been great for Kirk Cousins in recent weeks, but I still have more faith in him than maybe ever before. He just looks like a different quarterback. He is playing with more confidence and taking more chances to move the ball down the field. Plus, he has two of the best receivers in the game to work with, which really helps his chances to continue his hot play. And you can’t discount Dalvin Cook, who has emerged as an elite back. Cook takes a lot of pressure of Cousins, which is another added plus for Cousins.
The Bears might be a little bit of a mess offensively, but Allen Robinson has moved into must-start territory. He had his first double-digit reception game of the season last week and has at least six receptions all but a game. He is sixth overall in fantasy receiver scoring. Robinson also has 75-plus yards four of six games. He just keeps getting it done and is finally living up to his No. 1 receiver status with the Bears. I would not bench Robinson right now.
I have really been impressed with Jacoby Brissett this season. He has really played well, leading the Colts to a winning record and a shot at the playoffs. He has done a great job of taking care of he ball and producing in the red zone. Brissett has multiple touchdown games all but one and just three interceptions for the season. He is a legit help to fantasy teams because of his consistent numbers, producing like a low-end No. 1 quarterback.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 8 rankings.
News and Notes: The Falcons traded receiver Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots for a second-round pick on Tuesday. Sanu adds some veteran depth to the receiver corps. . . . .The Broncos traded receiver Emmanuel Sanders and a fifth-round draft pick to the 49ers for third- and fourth-round draft picks. Sanders could immediately be the No. 1 receiver for the 49ers. . . . .The Giants signed linebacker Deone Bucannon on Tuesday. . . . .The Cardinals signed running back Alfred Morris on Tuesday. He gives the team some much needed depth because of the injury to David Johnson. . . . . .The Lions traded safety Quandre Diggs and a 2021 seventh-round draft pick to the Seahawks in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick on Tuesday. . . . .The Patriots signed defensive back Justin Bethel on Tuesday.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders. Jacobs has two straight 100-yard games and topped 100 total yards four of six games. He is having a very good rookie season. He has become the clear workhorse back for the Raiders, getting almost all work at the position. Jacobs isn’t getting quite the work in the passing game you would like but that can change, especially since he has three receptions each of the last two games. Jacobs could get his third straight 100-yard rushing game this week, playing the Texans. Houston is middle of the pack against the run and struggled at times defensively throughout the season.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings. Cousins is red hot. He is second overall in fantasy quarterback scoring his last three games. He has 10 touchdowns to just one interception his last three games and hit the 300-yard mark in all of those games. He is making plays and taking the entire Vikings offense to a new level. He might be without Adam Thielen this week, but that doesn’t mean Cousins won’t produce big. He gets a prime matchup with the Redskins, a team that allows 25 points per game. Cousins is a solid No. 1 quarterback for Week 8.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks. Lockett found the end zone once again last week, giving him touchdowns four of seven games. He has 50-plus receiving yards all but the first game of the season. Lockett also has at leas four receptions all but that first game. He has been a consistent force as the No. 1 receiver in this offense. He should get a workout again this week against the struggling Falcons. Atlanta allows the fourth most fantasy points to receivers and rank 28th overall against the pass, allowing 274-passing yards per game.
James Conner, RB, Steelers. Conner is trending up after a really slow start to his season. He has touchdowns three straight games and topped 120 total yards two of three. Conner is sixth overall in fantasy running back scoring his last three games. He is a top-10 fantasy back, mainly because of his consistent work in the passing game. He has at least four receptions four of six games. Conner plays the Dolphins this week, a team that allows the third most fantasy points to running backs. He is setup to keep up his great play.
John Brown, WR, Bills. Brown is having a solid season as the No. 1 receiver for the Bills. He has at least five receptions all but a game. He has more than 50 yards in every game, getting very consistent work in the offense. Brown has double-digit fantasy points all but a game. He also found the end zone for the second time this season last week. Expect more consistent production from Brown in Week 8. He plays the Eagles, a team that allows the most fantasy points to receivers.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos. Lindsay had his worst game of the season last week. He had 11 carries for just 36 yards and caught a pass for a negative gain. Lindsay has been pretty consistent all year before this dud of a showing, though. He has double-digit fantasy points five of seven games. His numbers have been pretty mediocre at times, though. He has fewer than 11 fantasy points four of seven games. He could have another one of those mediocre games this week against the Colts. Indy has done well against the rush, allowing the sixth fewest fantasy points to running backs.
D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers. Moore has been a productive fantasy receiver much of the season, posting some consistent numbers. He has at least six receptions four of six games. His numbers have been more consistent than off the charts, though. He is yet to have a 100-yard game and two games with fewer than 55-receiving yards. Moore is bench material in the right matchup and this week against the 49ers is probably a good time to bench him. San Francisco has been dominant against the pass. The 49ers are first overall against the pass and allow the second fewest fantasy points to receivers.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts. Mack has struggled some in recent weeks. He has fewer than double-digit fantasy points two of his last three games. He has fewer than 50-rushing yards two of those three games and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 3. Mack hasn’t been quite as consistent as fantasy owners hoped. He could have another disappointing game this week against the Broncos. Denver allows just 19 points per game and fewer than 100-rushing yards all but two games.
Odell Beckham, WR, Browns. Beckham was finally much more involved in the offense his last time out, having six receptions for 101 yards. It was his best showing since Week 2. He was held out of the end zone once again, though, and has just one touchdown all season. Beckham also has fewer than 60 yards three of his last four games. He has not been near as consistent as you hoped from an elite fantasy receiver. Beckham has a matchup to forget this week, playing the Patriots. You can expect the Patriots to game plan stopping Beckham in this game. New England allows the second fewest fantasy points to receivers and are second overall against the pass. It is tough to bench Beckham, but temper your expectations for him in Week 8. He is setup to disappoint again.
Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles. Wentz has been a big disappointment this season. He has fewer than 200-passing yards three of his last four games. He also has just one touchdown pass two of his last three games. He just isn’t producing the numbers you expected. Wentz is not a weekly starter at this point, but a streamer play. And this week isn’t a time to stream Wentz. He has a matchup on the road against the Bills, a team that allows the fourth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Buffalo is fourth overall against the pass and allow just 15 points per game.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans. Tannehill had a solid first start of the season last week, hitting the 300-yard mark while scoring two touchdowns. He missed on just six passes in the game and moved the offense well. Tannehill has produced some big games in past seasons, so he is capable. He will be worth some spot starts as long as he is starting for the Titans. And this week against the Bucs might be a good time to stream Tannehill. Tampa allows the sixth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank dead last against the pass, allowing 305-passing yards per game.
Kenny Stills, WR, Texans. The injury to Will Fuller opens the door for Stills to start opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Stills had his first 100-yard game of the season last week and has 85-plus yards two of the five games he has played this season. Stills is going to be capable of the big game any given week in this top passing attack. He should find success this week against the Raiders, a team that allows the fifth most fantasy points to receivers. Fire Stills up as a low-end No. 2 or 3 fantasy receiver in Week 8.
Danny Amendola, WR, Lions. Amendola had his second 100-yard games of the season last week. He also was targeted double-digit times for the second time this year. He has been up and down in this offense, but produced some big games along the way. He is worth a look in the right matchup. And this week against the Giants is a good matchup for Amendola. New York allows the eighth most fantasy points to receivers and 27 points per game.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings. Mattison is having a solid rookie season as the top backup for the Vikings. He has three games with 50-plus rushing yards and at least seven carries five of seven games. He is getting some consistent work in a backup role. And a matchup against the Redskins could mean even more work for Mattison. You could envision the Vikings getting up big in this one, giving Mattison some more chances late in the game. He could have his biggest workload to date in Week 8.
Josh Hill, TE, Saints. Hill is getting a chance to start because Jared Cook is injured. Hill did well in a starting role last week, having season highs in yards (43) while scoring a touchdown for the first time of the season. Hill has at least three receptions three of four games. Hill plays the Cardinals this week, a team that can’t stop the tight end. Arizona allows the most fantasy points to tight ends. Hill is worth a look as a streamer in Week 8.
High/Low Scoring Games
Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.
High Scoring Games: Bengals/Rams, Cardinals/Saints, Raiders/Texans, Packers/Chiefs.
Low Scoring Games: Chargers/Bears.
Bye Weeks: Ravens, Cowboys.
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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The Arizona Cardinals agreed with left tackle D.J. Humphries on a three-year, $45 million deal on Monday, according to sources. Humphries will make $30 million over the first two years, and the deal includes $29 million guaranteed. The 26-year-old played in a full season in 2019 for the first time since going 24th overall in the first round in 2015. Humphries isn't the most talented left tackle in the league, but he'll bring stability at the position and help protect quarterback Kyler Murray's blind side moving forward.
Multiple teams expect New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to have a strong free-agent market as a starting or bridge quarterback for a team in transition this offseason. Bridgewater is expected to sign with another team unless Drew Brees retires. The 27-year-old Louisville alumni played in nine games in 2019 and held his own with Brees missing time due to an injury, but he wasn't asked to be much more than a game manager. He hasn't been a starter in the NFL since 2015 with the Vikings, but Bridgewater could certainly become fantasy relevant at least as a high-end QB2 if he's starting elsewhere in 2020. How much upside he'll have will depend on where he lands.
The Carolina Panthers think that quarterback Cam Newton (foot) is likely to pass a physical and be cleared for some football activities in March, according to a source. However, they will still likely use caution with him in spring workouts if he remains on the team. Newton continues to rehab a surgically repaired Lisfranc injury to his left foot, one that kept him out for most of the 2019 season. But if Newton proves he's not past his injury, the Panthers could decide to move on from the 30-year-old. The former first overall pick in 2011 is a high-end QB1 for his ability to use his legs, but he may not run as much as he ages and is now an injury risk as more of a high-end QB2 leading up to the 2020 season. He might be even more unattractive to fantasy owners if he's playing somewhere other than Carolina next season, too.
The Detroit Lions have talked with multiple teams about a potential trade for Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, according to sources. However, any team that trades for Slay must compensate the Lions and Slay with a new deal, and Detroit is determined to get fair value for Slay. The 29-year-old former second-round pick in 2013 has been to three straight Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro in 2017 when he had a career-high eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed. He had 46 total tackles in 2019 (36 solo), two interceptions and one fumble recovery in his 14 games played. If the Lions trade Slay, they will certainly need to address the position in free agency or the draft.
The Miami Dolphins don't view Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as a slam-dunk pick with the fifth overall selection in this year's draft. On the flip side, the team has an increasingly positive view of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert after he impressed at the Senior Bowl, according to sources familiar with the team's thinking. One source said the Dolphins are concerned about Tagovailoa's return from a fractured and dislocated hip he suffered last November, and his durability in the long-term. Ive been down there to see him. Tua is a great player. I just worry about his health, owner Stephen Ross said. The Dolphins like Herbert's size (6-foot-6, 237 pounds), his arm talent and his mobility. Miami could change their mind on Tagovailoa once they meet with him at the Combine, but he certainly shouldn't be considered a lock to be taken by the Dolphins at fifth overall.
The Cleveland Browns released tight end Demetrius Harris, cornerback T.J. Carrie, offensive guard Eric Kush and linebacker Adarius Taylor on Monday. Harris played in 15 games (six starts) in 2019 and caught 15 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Mostly known for his blocking prowess, Harris couldn't even take advantage when David Njoku was lost for most of the year due to an injury. The 28-year-old should land on his feet, but we wouldn't expect him to enter the 2020 season with much fantasy appeal, even as a backup tight end.
Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis could be a salary cap casualty this year. Lewis carries a $5.1 million salary for 2020, and the Titans can save $4 million if they cut him, with $1.1 million in dead money. He basically served in a change-of-pace role behind bell-cow Derrick Henry in 2019, carrying the ball only 54 times for 209 yards while adding 25 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown. The 29-year-old was important on third downs and can help pass protect, but the Titans may decide to move to a younger and less expensive option in the draft. Other potential cap casualties include kicker Ryan Succop, veteran tight end Delanie Walker and outside linebacker/defensive end Cameron Wake.
Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) remains in the concussion protocol six months after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit in the preseason. It was the seventh documented concussion of his career, and it caused him to miss all of the 2019 season. His future in the league and with Washington is up in the air. At this point, it seems likely that the Redskins will cut him to save $8.5 million in 2020. The 29-year-old has never played an entire season in the NFL because of injuries and has played in 19 games combined from 2017 to 2018. Even if Reed is playing somewhere this season, he'll be a high-risk, low-reward TE2.
The New York Jets won't cut running back Le'Veon Bell because of the $19 million in dead salary cap money if they do so, and because of his massive salary, a trade is remote as well. If they really wanted to trade Bell, they'd have to be willing to pay a portion of his 2020 salary, which is $13.5 million in total guarantees. And the Jets would probably only be able to get a Day 3 draft pick in return. After taking a year off in 2018, The 27-year-old (28 on Tuesday) looked slow and heavy in his first year in New York. Bell ran 245 times for only 789 yards (a career-low 3.2 yards per carry) and only three touchdowns. His receiving contributions help, but Bell's fantasy stock will obviously be down entering 2020 fall drafts. Consider him more of an RB2 with some upside if he comes into camp motivated to bounce back.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he has "no hesitation" that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) will be ready for Week 1. "This guy is the ultimate competitor. He dropped the gauntlet down. He made the statement he's coming back," Tomlin said. Roethlisberger played in just two games last year before needing season-ending right elbow surgery. He should be ready to go this summer, barring any setbacks, but he'll be entering his age-38 season and will be an injury risk as a low-end QB1/high-end QB2. But don't sleep on Big Ben, as he threw for a career-high 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2018.
Tennessee Titans PK Ryan Succop is likely to be released in the offseason, in the opinion of ESPN's Turron Davenport. The move would save the team $2 million against the salary cap.
Tennessee Titans RB Dion Lewis is expected to be released in the offseason, in the opinion of ESPN's Turron Davenport. The move would save the team $4 million against the salary cap.
Fantasy Spin: Lewis can still be worthwhile in PPR, but he's not going to receive the touches in Tennessee to do it. He's someone to watch this offseason to see if he can land a bigger split to be an RB4 or RB5.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton needs more depth behind him at the receiver position, according to general manager Chris Ballard. 'Do we need to add more explosive elements to our offense? Yeah, we do,' Ballard said. 'Just want somebody who can catch the ball and go score.'
Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent WR Tavon Austin is unlikely to be re-signed, according to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com.
Chicago Bears TE Adam Shaheen will be on the roster for the start of training camp, according to general manager Ryan Pace, but expectations for Shaheen are 'low' for 2020, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
Atlanta Falcons impending free-agent TE Austin Hooper could be a target for the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to John Reid of The Florida Times-Union.
Fantasy Spin: The Jaguars tight ends combined for just three touchdowns in 2019. Meanwhile, Hooper has emerged as one of the steadier options at the position, topping 70 catches in each of the past two seasons and recording a career-high 787 receiving yards last year. Moving from Atlanta's offense to Jacksonville's offense would be a downgrade, but Hooper will likely be a low-end TE1 regardless of where he plays in 2020.
San Francisco 49ers DT Solomon Thomas may join the starting lineup next season if the team is not able to bring back impending free-agent DE Arik Armstead, in the opinion of NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco.
Cleveland Browns impending free-agent LB Joe Schobert said he has talked with general manager Andrew Berry and has been told that the Browns will talk to his agent about his contract situation in the near future. Schobert is more optimistic about his chances to re-sign since he has a better relationship with Berry than he did with former general manager John Dorsey.
Carolina Panthers impending free-agent CB James Bradberry and Kansas City Chiefs impending free-agent CB Bashaud Breeland are expected to be targets for the Washington Redskins during free agency.
New York Giants impending free-agent DT Leonard Williams recently met with former NFL DT Richard Seymour in order to improve his play. They watched game film and also worked out together. Seymour said he believes Williams has all the tools to be a great player.