Tue Sep 11 8:05 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Dorsett setup for bigger role
You never want to overreact to just a week of football, but you also don't want to ignore what happened. Just keep everything in perspective and make educated moves based on what you witnessed. Here are some options for you to consider grabbing this week. There are lots of options out there this early in the season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bucs. Fitzpatrick was the biggest surprise of Week 1. He had a game that might not be matched all season. He was 21-of-28 for 417 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. He also ran in a score, giving him five total touchdowns. He starts two more weeks with Jameis Winston suspended. You can't expect Fitzpatrick to repeat this game but he might be worth using in the right matchup. The potential is there in a pass-first offense.
Case Keenum, Bronocs. Keenum had a strong debut with the Broncos, proving he can help fantasy teams as a spot starer. He had good rapport with the receivers and moved the offense up and down the field. He did make some mistakes but his overall numbers were good in the end, going 25-of-39 for 329 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions.
James Conner, Steelers. Conner is likely owned in most leagues but if your league didn't run a waiver before the Week 1 games, he might still be out there to grab for fantasy teams. Conner had a huge game in his first start, rushing 31 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns. He is about a must play as long as LeVeon Bell remains away. Conner can produce big total numbers in this offense.
Phillip Lindsay, Broncos. Lindsay was a big surprise the first week of the season, emerging as the top backup for the Broncos and third-down back. He had 15 carries for 71 yards, matching the rushing numbers of starter Royce Freeman. Lindsay also caught two passes for 31 yards and a touchdown. He showed well with his chances and likely will get weekly work going forward. He is a shifty back with big-play ability. He might be worth a flex play for fantasy teams in the right matchup.
Frank Gore, Dolphins. Gore didn't quite split carries with Kenyan Drake in Week 1 but he produced better numbers than him, which was encouraging. Gore ran nine times for 61 yards. He should get a similar workload going forward, so he isn't a sure thing by any means. But if he is getting around double-digit touches per week, he has fantasy value.
Austin Ekeler, Chargers. Ekeler had 10 touches last week - five carries and five receptions. He finished with 126 total yards and a touchdown. Ekeler should get a similar workload in a reserve role much of the season. He will get a few carries and some chances in the passing game. He has some weekly potential in his current role, making him a spot play in the right matchup.
T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars. Leonard Fournette is hurting and could miss some time, leaving Yeldon as the starter for the Jaguars. Yeldon has big value in a starting role for a run-first team. He had a touchdown and 69 total yards last week. He is a much improved runner between the tackles and could produce very well in a starting role. He is a top add for fantasy teams this week, especially for all those Fournette owners.
Cole Beasley, Cowboys. Beasley was the leading receiver for the Cowboys last week, catching seven passes for 73 yards. The Cowboys are a mess at receiver and Beasley might be the most dependable option of this group. We wouldn't expect big weekly numbers but he should get his catches in this offense. He might lead the Cowboys in targets this year.
Geronimo Allison, Packers. Allison had a strong showing in Week 1, catching five passes fro 69 yards and a touchdown. He did well in an expanded role for the Packers and should continue to be in the top three rotation for the team. Allison is still available in 62 percent of leagues. Go grab him if you need the receiver help.
Phillip Dorsett, Patriots. Dorsett could finally live up to his potential with the Patriots. He was a big part of the offense in Week 1, finishing with seven receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. Dorsett might be a little up and down in an offense with a lot of weapons but he should get his weekly chances in a pass-first offense. Dorsett has a chance to be a factor for fantasy teams.
John Brown, Ravens. Brown carried over his strong preseason to a good performance in Week 1. He caught three passes for 44 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens look to have a much improved passing game, which could mean a strong rebound season for Brown. Remember, he is a former 1,000-yard receiver with a lot of talent.
Chris Godwin Bucs. Godwin scored a touchdown last week. He played 48 snaps to DeSean Jackson's 20 snaps. This is an encouraging sign for Godwin in this offense. Plus, Jackson suffered a concussion last week and could miss some time, giving Godwin even more playing time. Godwin is really setup for a breakout season in this offense.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks. With Doug Baldwin injured, this leaves Lockett as the No. 1 receiver for the Seahawks. He had three receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown last week, showing his potential in an expanded role. Lockett is a big-play threat with the ball in his hands and is going to be capable of the huge game any given week.
Will Dissly, Seahawks. Dissly was a big surprise for many in the opener. He was supposed to be more of a blocking tight end for the Seahawks, but showed some promise in the passing game. Dissly had three receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. We wouldn't expect this type of game many weeks but this game does warrant Dissly to be put on your radar going forward.
Jonnu Smith, Titans. Smith is the next man up at tight end for the Titans. Delanie Walker is likely done for the season, leaving Smith as the starter. Smith is a big-time athlete that could produce some top games, especially if you consider how often the Titans utilize the tight end in their offense. Smith has some real fantasy potential going forward. He could be a low-end No. 1 for fantasy teams.
Jared Cook, Raiders. Cook had a huge Week 1, catching nine passes for 180 yards. He had a big preseason as well, so this performance shouldn't come as a huge surprise. Cook has a chance for a career season in this offense. He is going to be heavily targeted, making him a candidate to be a low-end No. 1 for fantasy teams.
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.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is coming off a fantastic real-life game which saw him complete 18 of his 22 pass attempts against the Carolina Panthers. That being said, his production in the fantasy realm was lacking as he threw just one touchdown in the game. Since the team fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, the Browns have been playing slow on offense, which has limited Mayfield's ceiling somewhat. This week, the Browns travel to Denver to take on the Broncos on Saturday night. The Broncos have been great against the pass this season, ranking No. 2 in pass defense DVOA. That being said, the Broncos have suffered several injuries in their secondary over the past few weeks which keeps Mayfield in the conversation as a deep-league streamer. Treat Mayfield as a mid-QB2 for Week 15.
Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle) could be limited in practice Wednesday, Dec. 12, as the team will closely monitor his ankle injury heading into Week 15.
Fantasy Spin: Tannehill has binged with a couple of three-score games, but history has shown you can't count on that this week against the Minnesota Vikings. He's a QB2 in two-QB leagues.
Seattle Seahawks LB Mychal Kendricks (knee) injured his knee during the team's Week 14 win over the Minnesota Vikings, and his availability for the team's game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Dec. 16, is in question, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
The Tennessee Titans signed TE Cole Wick off the San Francisco 49ers practice squad on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Tennessee also signed free-agent OL Austin Pasztor (Falcons).
San Francisco 49ers WR Pierre Garcon (knee) was officially placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas will head into Week 15 with 102 receptions for 1,218 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Thomas will face a Panthers secondary that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to receivers, including four 100-yard receiving games since Week 11. Carolina has surrendered 10 touchdowns to receivers over their last six games and now must try and shut down one of the game's elite receivers. Thomas should be able to exploit this matchup in Week 15 and will be a WR1 option across all fantasy formats.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will go up against a Titans defense in Week 15 that is allowing the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. But at this point in the season, tough matchups no longer scare fantasy owners of the fantastic rookie. Barkley has least 100-plus yards from scrimmage in 12 of the 13 games played this season to go along with 13 total touchdowns. Barkley is about as bankable a fantasy option as any player in the league right now and heads into Week 15 with 1,753 all-purpose yards. Start Barkley with confidence.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram's fantasy arrow has been pointing up over the last two games, posting 143 yards over that span. But he could struggle to out-score his fantasy projections against a Titans defense that is allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. The Titans defense has not allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown against them this season and only two tight ends have scored more than six fantasy points in a single game. Engram will be a dicey TE2 play in Week 15.
Arizona Cardinals WR Chad Williams (ankle, hamstring) was listed with the first-team offense on the team's depth chart Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: This is somewhat notable since Williams has missed the last five games and doesn't exactly have the kind of resume that one usually has to keep a job when he is sidelined that long. Larry Fitzgerald remains the only playable Cardinal receiver, but DFS players who may have been hoping to strike gold with J.J. Nelson and Trent Sherfield versus the Atlanta Falcons may have to look elsewhere.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Kelvin Benjamin is reportedly picking up the offense quickly, but it remains unlikely he will play an extended amount of time in Week 15 versus the Los Angeles Chargers.
Fantasy Spin: It's understandable considering he hasn't been with the team two weeks yet. Still, Tyreek Hill will almost certainly be limited in some way, shape or form and the Chiefs may be down to Damien Williams as their starting running back. Despite the presence of Patrick Mahomes, owners should be able to do better than Benjamin in their starting lineups during the fantasy playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who had his first practice with the team last Friday, is unlikely to play extended snaps if he makes his team debut on Thursday against the Chargers. However, they may need Benjamin active with Sammy Watkins (foot) not expected to be available until the playoffs and Tyreek Hill (heel, wrist) being dinged up in Week 14. Its just concepts and really learning the language of a new playbook, Benjamin told The Star on Tuesday. Its coming real good to me. I feel like Im grasping it real well. Benjamin was terrible in his time with Buffalo and lacked hustle and motivation, so hopefully he'll be more motivated to make an impact with his first team, who currently have the top seed in the AFC. Even if Benjamin plays this Thursday and in the final two games of the season, he's unlikely to make much of a fantasy impact unless either Hill or Chris Conley get hurt.
Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring) was limited in practice on Tuesday. Coutee has missed the last two games but is trending toward being active in Week 15 on Saturday against the Jets. Hamstring issues have limited the rookie to just six games in 2018, and he can't be trusted in starting lineups behind DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas if he returns. Quarterback Deshaun Watson hasn't been throwing the ball all that much either, making Coutee unlikely to see heavy targets if he's back this Saturday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR DeSean Jackson (thumb) had his injured thumb immobilized Tuesday, Dec. 11. He cannot squeeze a football with his injured hand yet but hopes to play again this season.
Fantasy Spin: In the meantime, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries will continue to see increased targets. They have a tough matchup this week, though, against the Baltimore Ravens, so lower your expectations.
New York Jets LB Jerry Attaochu (concussion), RB Trenton Cannon (toe) and LB Jordan Jenkins (shoulder, ankle) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 11. LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) was limited. OT Kelvin Beachum (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder, neck), TE Jordan Leggett (knee), C Spencer Long (knee, finger), WR Andre Roberts (foot) and CB Buster Skrine (shoulder) participated fully.
New York Jets WR Robby Anderson (ankle) participated fully in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: Last week Anderson found the end zone for the first time in six games and saw seven targets for the third time in four games, but he's an inconsistent player who can't be trusted in postseason lineups.
New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) was not at practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: Enunwa has done next to nothing since the beginning of the season. Now is not the time to take a chance on starting him and hoping he rebounds.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (foot) participated fully in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: If you made your league's playoffs, you probably didn't get there by starting Darnold. Don't start now.
Houston Texans WR DeAndre Carter (concussion), WR Keke Coutee (hamstring), C Zach Fulton (hand), S Andre Hal (ankle), CB Kareem Jackson (knee), OG Senio Kelemete (elbow) and DE J.J. Watt (knee) were limited in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11. LB Dylan Cole (wrist, knee), CB Aaron Colvin (ankle), C Greg Mancz (knee), LB Brian Peters (ankle), S Justin Reid (shoulder, wrist) and CB Shareece Wright (neck) participated fully.
Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (foot) practiced on a limited basis Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins has been limited in practice practically the entire season. He has produced consistently despite the nagging issue, so there's no reason to remove him from starting lineups, especially in the fantasy playoffs.
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder) was a full practice participant Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Fantasy Spin: Watson has been bruised and battered for the entirety of his sophomore campaign but he'll be good to go in a favorable matchup with the New York Jets. He's a QB1 for those still in the fantasy postseason.