Tue Sep 10 8:17am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Dalton looked great in opener
There were a lot of players that produced big things Week 1 that weren’t drafted by many teams. The big thing is to try not to overreact to the first week of the season. You can’t ignore the production of some of these guys but for most, you likely will need to temper your expectations. Many of these players will be inconsistent throughout the season. Don’t get me wrong. Some guys will be good pickups and produce good numbers consistently. But for the most part, many of these players are streaming plays and bench players. Just don’t get too high or low on players after a week of play.
Jacoby Brissett, Colts. Brissett went on the road agains a very good defense and finished 21-of-27 for 190 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. It was a very good showing for Brissett in the first game since Andrew Luck retired. Brissett proved he is worth some spot starts for fantasy teams. He can be a more than capable No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Andy Dalton, Bengals. Dalton had one of his best games in recent seasons in the opener, throwing for 418 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against a good Seahawks defense on the road. And he did this without his best receiver, A.J. Green, on the field. Dalton really seemed comfortable in the Bengals new offense and looked like a guy that can be a streamer for fantasy teams.
Case Keenum, Redskins. Keenum got the start for the Redskins and looked great, going 30-of-44 for 380 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. The Redskins aren’t going to be able to run the ball, so don’t be surprised if Keenum gets 40-plus pass attempts often. He is going to have some big games along the way. He struggled last year but don’t forget about his huge season in Minnesota just a few years back.
Ronald Jones, Bucs. Jones emerged as the top back in Week 1, finishing with 13 carries for 75 yards. He was really impressive in the opener, looking much better than any game last season. He could run away with this starter’s job, especially if he keeps playing this week. Jones remains available in 31 percent of leagues.
Justin Jackson, Chargers. Jackson was the backup to Austin Ekeler but got his chances in the offense. He ran six times for 57 yards and caught a pass for four yards, giving him 61 total yards. Jackson is going to get around double-digit touches per week in this offense, giving him some fantasy potential. He is still out there in 27 percent of leagues.
Malcolm Brown, Rams. Brown will be scooped up in a lot of leagues after getting about half the work at running back for Los Angeles. He had 11 carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He scored the only two rushing touchdowns of the game for the Rams, making Todd Gurley owners very frustrated. It is looking more and more like Brown will get his playing time in this offense as the top backup for the Rams.
Raheem Mostert, 49ers. Tevin Coleman was injured in the opener for the 49ers and could be out a few weeks, giving Mostert a bigger role in the 49ers offense. He looked pretty good with his expanded chances this past week, rushing nine times for 40 yards. He’ll be worth grabbing if you are looking for some running back depth in the coming weeks. Mostert could be worth a spot play.
Gio Bernard, Bengals. Starter Joe Mixon injured his ankle during the Week 1 game and could miss some time because of this injury. This leaves Bernard the starter for the Bengals. He has obvious potential in this role, starting in an offense that looked very good in Week 1 on the road against a good defense. You have to like the total yardage potential for Bernard in a starting role.
John Ross, Bengals. Ross was a big surprise in the opener, catching seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns in 12 targets. He was the top target for the Bengals and finally lived up to his first-round draft status from a few years back. Ross is a speed burner with big-play ability. Maybe a new coaching staff was just the thing to get his career going in the right direction. He is worth a look for fantasy teams, especially with A.J. Green is out of the lineup.
A.J. Brown, Titans. Brown got just four targets in his first NFL game but made several big plays with those targets. He had three receptions for 100 yards, leading the way at receiver for the Titans. And Brown missed most of training camp, so this game is a good indication on how high the Titans are on their rookie receiver. He is going to play big role offensively.
Marquise Brown, Ravens. Brown had a great first NFL game, catching four passes for 147 yards. He displayed his game-changing speed throughout the game. Brown has similar ability to Tyreek Hill, making him an intriguing fantasy player going forward. He is going to have some big games this year. The only concern is the Ravens being a run-first offense. Brown is likely to be hit or miss most week. Brown remains available in 65 percent of leagues.
Terry McLaurin, Redskins. McLaurin is another rookie that enjoyed a great first game. He caught five passes for 125 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. The Redskins don't have a clear No. 1 receiver, so don’t discount McLaurin to take that role for the team. And Washington is going to be a team that throws the ball often, having little success running the ball. McLaurin is definitely worth a look for fantasy teams needing receiver help.
Danny Amendola, Lions. Amendola was heavily targeted in Week 1 for the Lions, catching seven passes for 104 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets. He did a great job out of the slot and Matthew Stafford looked his way often. He has a chance to rack up some catches in this offense. Don’t overvalue him because his track record doesn’t suggest this game will be the norm, but he can still help fantasy teams because of his reception potential in this offense.
John Brown, Bills. Brown was the top option in the Bills passing game Week 1 and should continue to lead the way in targets going forward. He had seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He has a real chance to have his best season to date, making him a player that can help fantasy teams as a streaming play. Brown is available in 28 percent of leagues.
D.J. Chark, Jaguars. Word out of Jaguars camp was Chark was turning heads and making plays. Well, that carried over to the regular season. He had four receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. He displayed his big-play ability and looked like a different player from his rookie year. He is another receiver that likely will be erratic but has some weekly potential in the right matchup.
T.J. Hockenson, Lions. The rookie made his presence felt in Week 1, catching six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Hockenson had a great debut and showed why the team took him in the first round of the draft this year. He can be a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end and is still available in 26 percent of leagues. This might be the last week you can get him in your league.
Vernon Davis, Redskins. The oft-injured Jordan Reed was out again, making Davis the starter for the Redskins. Davis looked good in that role, catching four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. Davis has fantasy value as long as he is starting in this pass-first offense.
Mark Andrews, Ravens. There was a lot of hype surrounding Andrews this offseason and he lived up to that hype in Week 1, catching eight passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens did rotate tight ends, which is a concern for Andrews, but he can make the most of his chances as evident in this game. Andrews remains available in 22 percent of 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.
Five Cold Plays: Week 2
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) was not present at practice on Friday for the second straight day. There were reports that Thomas "felt fantastic" at practice on Thursday, and there is a "glimmer of hope" that he can play in Week 2 on Monday night against the Raiders, but it's a long shot, at best. The All-Pro receiver is dealing with a high ankle sprain, which can keep players out up to a month or more. The 27-year-old is known as a quick healer and wants to get back out there as soon as possible, but fantasy managers need to keep realistic expectations. You should be planning to be without Thomas this week. Both Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook should have heavy target shares with Thomas likely out.
Chicago Bears linebackers Khalil Mack (knee) and Robert Quinn (ankle) are both questionable to play in Week 2 against the Giants. Mack was also questionable for the season opener against the Lions, but he played and was quiet with just four combined tackles. Quinn missed Week 1 with Chicago after a big season with the Cowboys. The Bears are counting on the combination of Mack and Quinn to be a big pass-rushing force this year, so if they both sit out, it'll be excellent news for Daniel Jones and the Giants passing attack. Chicago's defense/special teams should be considered a midrange starting unit in fantasy, but they'll lose a little luster if one or both of Mack and Quinn are ruled out.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (ankle) practiced in full the last two days and was taken off the Week 2 injury report. Conner will be active this Sunday against the Broncos, but he might play second fiddle to Benny Snell Jr. after Snell replaced the injured Conner in Week 1 against the Giants and ran for over 100 yards on the ground. Conner couldn't stay healthy last year as the team's lead back, so perhaps this will become more of a backfield committee in 2020 to preserve Conner's health. Snell is probably the more attractive RB3/flex this week, but both running backs are hard to trust because of the uncertain playing time split.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Week 2 against the Bears. Tate sat out in Week 1 against the Steelers, but he was much more active in practice on Friday than he was last week. Even if the 32-year-old plays this weekend, there are likely better flex options you can plug into your fantasy lineups. If he doesn't play for the second straight week, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and tight end Evan Engram would all stand to benefit from extra targets in the passing game. Slayton was the biggest beneficiary in Week 1, hauling in two touchdowns.
The Carolina Panthers Defense has ruled out defensive tackle Kawann Short (foot) and rookie defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (concussion) for Week 2 against the Buccaneers. A shaky Panthers defense that allowed over 30 points to the Raiders in Week 1 will be hoping that rookie defensive tackle Derrick Brown can step up against their division rivals on Sunday. Already at the bottom of the pile for fantasy defenses, Carolina should be avoided like the plague this weekend against Tom Brady and the Bucs, who are looking for their first win of the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (hamstring) practiced in full on Friday and was taken off the Week 2 injury report. Evans will be good to go against the division-rival Panthers. The 27-year-old should draw the coverage of cornerback Donte Jackson, but he's good enough to put up points, and he should be targeted even more by cornerback Tom Brady with Chris Godwin (concussion) doubtful to play. Evans had a quiet Week 1 but still managed to find the end zone to salvage his day. With Godwin likely out, Evans will be a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 this Sunday.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Week 2 against the Bills. Parker is in line to be a game-time decision on Sunday morning, but fantasy managers will know well in advance of the early games whether Parker will be able to play. The 27-year-old was able to get in three practices this week, so that bodes well for his availability. However, Parker will be a risky flex option for fantasy managers if he plays, since he'll likely be covered by Bills All-Pro cornerback Tre'Davious White. Preston Williams, Miami's No. 2 wideout, would be more attractive as a flex if Parker suits up. Otherwise, he'll likely draw the coverage of White in this one.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said that tight end Jack Doyle (ankle, knee) is out for Week 2 against the Vikings. Doyle missed practice all week and will give way to Mo Alie-Cox as the team's starting tight end with Trey Burton already on Injured Reserve. Alie-Cox is a low-end TE2 to begin with, but on top of it, the Vikings were the best against opposing tight ends in 2019. When healthy, the 30-year-old Doyle is a low-ceiling TE2 in a Colts offense with plenty of mouths to feed, even after Marlon Mack's (Achilles) season-ending injury. He went for 49 yards in the season-opening loss to the Jaguars.
Veteran running back C.J. Anderson announced his retirement from football on Friday at the age of 29. Anderson went to the Pro Bowl in 2014 and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2015 after being an undrafted free agent. He plans to pursue a career in coaching. Anderson managed 10 total touchdowns in 2014, and he also ran for 1,007 yards and three touchdowns in 2017 in his final full season with the Broncos. He'll finish his career with 776 carries for 3,497 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground while catching 108 passes for 900 yards and five additional scores.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said that wide receiver A.J. Brown (knee) will not play in Week 2 against the Jaguars. Brown is dealing with a bone bruise in his knee and is listed as week-to-week. Make sure you remove the second-year receiver from your starting lineups this weekend. Corey Davis, who surprisingly caught seven of eight targets for 101 yards in the Week 1 win over the Broncos, should see a healthy amount of targets once again with Brown out. Consider him in the picture as a WR3/flex. Adam Humphries and Kalif Raymond should comprise three-wide sets on Sunday, with Humphries being a sleeper in DFS. Tight end Jonnu Smith has TE1 upside with Brown out.
Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith (neck) hasn't practiced all week due to a neck injury, and a decision will be made on his availability for Week 2 against the Falcons on Saturday. Head coach Mike McCarthy said that Smith wants to play. This is something to monitor since the Cowboys already have offensive lineman La'el Collins and Cam Erving on Injured Reserve. Losing Smith against Atlanta would be another big blow to their offensive line and could be bad news for quarterback Dak Prescott's protection this Sunday. Terence Steele would likely step in on Prescott's blind side if Smith doesn't get clearance.
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) has been dealing with a hamstring injury for a couple of weeks, but he added that "my concern level is low" for the injury impacting Jones' play. The 31-year-old veteran All-Pro often deals with nagging injuries but has managed to play through them and remain productive in Atlanta's offense. Jones caught nine of his 12 targets for 157 yards in the Week 1 loss to the Seahawks. He has been limited this week with the hamstring injury, but he should be just fine to suit up this Sunday against Dallas. Jones is an elite WR1 that is a must-start if he's active.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 2 against the Rams after sitting out the season opener. Sanders practiced in full on Thursday and should make his season debut as the team's bell-cow back this weekend. Against a Rams Defense that gave up plenty of yardage on the ground against the Cowboys in Week 1, fantasy managers should consider Sanders a strong RB2 this weekend. In other injury news, defensive end Derek Barnett (hamstring) is also expected to play after practicing in full on Thursday. Undrafted rookie Nate Herbig will start at right guard, according to head coach Doug Pederson.
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia said that wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring) will be "very limited" in practice on Friday. Golladay missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday and is in real danger of missing his second straight game to kick off the 2020 season. Detroit's No. 1 receiver is on the wrong side of questionable for Sunday against the Packers, and you might even say he's doubtful at this point. You should be preparing for him to miss another game. Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola and rookie Quintez Cephus should operate in three-receiver sets, with tight end T.J. Hockenson seeing more targets if Golladay sits again.
Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (concussion) practiced Friday, Sept. 18, but still has not cleared the league's concussion protocol and will be listed as doubtful for the Week 2 game against the Carolina Panthers. Godwin is scheduled to go through more tests tomorrow and if doctors clear him then, he will be upgraded to questionable.
Fantasy Spin: Godwin owners are likely going to need to monitor the situation right up through the release of the pre-game inactive list Sunday.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) said Friday, Sept. 18, that things are 'definitely trending in the right direction' for Week 2 after practicing Wednesday and Thursday.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy GMs will definitely to check his practice status later Friday, but things are surprisingly looking up for Conner following his early-game Week 1 injury. Have him ready for a RB2 role if he proves good to go.
Free agent PK Mike Nugent (Patriots) on Friday, Sept. 18, was signed to the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (ankle) is not expected to miss any time in Week 2. Cooper was a late addition to the injury report this week, which is always concerning, but it seems he is fine and fully expected to play. Cooper is a high-upside WR1 as long as he suits up, as the Falcons Defense was annihilated by the Seahawks passing game last week. Cooper will match up with rookie defensive back A.J. Terrell.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (concussion) remains in the league's concussion protocol and will be listed as doubtful for Week 2 against the Panthers. Godwin will go through more tests on Saturday, and if doctors clear him then, he will be upgraded to questionable. The good news is that Tampa's game is early on Sunday, but even then, you should be making plans to be without Godwin this weekend. Mike Evans will be a strong WR1 play with Godwin likely sidelined, while slot man Scotty Miller is also quickly rising up the PPR ranks as a flex play in deeper leagues. Both tight ends Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard become a bit more attractive as well in a good matchup against Carolina's shaky defense.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (ankle) is expected to play in Week 2, head coach Mike McCarthy said Friday, Sept. 18. '(Cooper) went through the mock game and everything today,' McCarthy said. 'I don't foresee a setback there.'
Fantasy Spin: Cooper caught 10-of-14 targets for 81 yards in the Cowboys' opener, and has an even better matchup Sunday against the visiting Falcons. Barring any reversals of fortune in the next 48 hours, lock him in as a WR1 this week.