Fri Oct 23 9:52am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Murray is setup for big numbers
Offense might not be hard to come by in Week 7 with seven games having an over/under of at least 50 points. That leaves us with a lot of options to wade through in DFS, so let’s get right to it and discuss some players to consider at various price points, as well as a few to possibly avoid.
Kyler Murray, ARI vs. SEA ($6,700): Murray has turned into a touchdown machine. His 10-passing touchdowns through six games might not seem great, but he also has six rushing touchdowns, which brings him to another level. He had 544 rushing yards during his rookie season and he’s set to blow past that mark with 370 rushing yards already this year. In a great matchup against a Seahawks team that has allowed the most passing yards per game in the league, Murray could thrive.
Justin Herbert, LAC vs. JAC ($5,900): If you don’t want to spend a ton at quarterback, Herbert is a great option. He’s fresh coming off of a bye and he’s thrown seven touchdown passes over his last two games. He’s faced some tough opponents in his rookie campaign with two of his four starts coming against the Bucs and Chiefs, who rank eighth and ninth in the league, respectively, in terms of fewest points allowed per game. This matchup is at the other end of the spectrum with the Jaguars allowing the eighth-most points per game and the seventh-most passing yards per contest.
Player to Avoid
Jared Goff, LAR vs CHI ($6,000): The Bears are off to a surprising 5-1 start, in large part, because of their defense. They have only allowed 19.3 points per game with the Falcons being the only team to score at least 30 points against them. They have been particularly adept at stopping the pass, allowing just four passing touchdowns all season. That’s not good news for Goff, who has also thrown an interception in three of his last four games. Considering Herbert’s salary is $100 cheaper, taking a chance on Goff seems unnecessary.
Aaron Jones, GB at HOU ($7,600): It doesn’t get much better than this for Jones. He’s already been racking up touchdowns in bunches, totaling seven of them through five games. The Texans have not only allowed eight rushing touchdowns, but they’ve also allowed the most rushing yards per game in the league. In what could be a high-scoring game between two struggling defenses, Jones could be left with a couple of opportunities to find his way into the end zone while also generating plenty of yards on the ground.
Justin Jackson, LAC vs. JAC ($5,900): The Chargers aren’t likely to get Austin Ekeler (hamstring) back anytime soon. With him sidelined, Jackson and Joshua Kelley will split the duties out of the backfield. Jackson looked like the far superior option in their last game against the Saints, finishing with 94 total yards on 15 carries and six targets. Meanwhile, Kelley only had 38 total yards on 11 carries and one target. Jackson’s ability to be a dual threat makes him an extremely appealing option at such a reduced salary.
Player to Avoid
Josh Jacobs, LV vs. TB ($7,300): This was already slated to be a tough matchup for Jacobs with the Bucs allowing fewest rushing yards per game. To further complicate matters, it’s unclear how many of the Raiders’ starting offensive lineman will be available for this game after Trent Brown was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Even if Brown is the only one that can’t play, his absence alone would still be huge. Given that their salaries are so similar, it doesn’t make much sense to roll with Jacobs over Jones.
Kenny Golladay, DET at ATL ($7,500): Targeting the Falcons’ defense is usually a sound strategy. They have allowed 30.7 points per game and the second-most passing yards per contest. On top of that, they have allowed 18 touchdown passes. That could all add up to a huge afternoon from Golladay, who has 224 yards and two touchdowns in only three games. It should also help his cause that the Lions’ defense has also played poorly, which could make this game a shootout.
Mike Williams, LAC vs. JAC ($5,500): As far as players who are available at a cheap salary, few are as appealing as Williams, regardless of their position. He’s coming off of his best performance of the season, torching the Saints for 109 yards and two touchdowns Week 5. Talent has never been a question with him, but his inability to stay healthy has been a problem. Now fresh coming off of a bye, Williams could feast here.
Player to Avoid
JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT at TEN ($7,100): For those who play in season-long fantasy leagues, Smith-Schuster has been one of the biggest disappointments at wide receiver. After posting 69 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, he has 125 yards and one touchdown over his last four games combined. Just as concerning is that he’s received five or fewer targets three straight contests. With Diontae Johnson (back) expected to make his return and Chase Claypool playing extremely well, targets may continue to be hard to come by for Smith-Schuster.
Hunter Henry, LAC vs. JAC ($5,200): A Charger at every position? It’s not all that crazy given the matchup and their salaries. Much like Williams, the only question surrounding Henry has been his ability, or lack thereof, to stay healthy. That hasn’t been a problem for him so far this year, which has enabled him to receive 35 targets across five games. He is also second on the team in red zone targets behind only Keenan Allen.
Logan Thomas, WAS vs. DAL ($4,600): As much as I like Henry, going with Thomas at an even cheaper salary might be a good way to load up at other spots while still receiving intriguing upside from the tight end spot. The Cowboys have allowed 36.3 points per game, so Washington might be more productive than we are used to seeing. Like Henry, Thomas is also a popular red-zone target considering he leads Washington with six of them this season.
Player to Avoid
Tyler Higbee, LAR vs. CHI ($5,100): This is an easy pass. As previously discussed, the Bears have thrived at keeping opposing pass catchers out of the end zone. Higbee scored three touchdowns against the Eagles in Week 2, but he hasn’t scored in any of his other five games. He’s also seen his opportunities to catch passes dwindle, in general, leaving him with four or fewer targets in each of his last four contests.
Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.
Five Hot Plays: Week 13
The New York Giants Defense has been a solid unit in fantasy in recent weeks, but that ends in Week 13 with a daunting matchup in Seattle. Russell Wilson and company have been one of the best offenses in football this season and New York hasn't been good enough to trust when they have a bad matchup. To make matters worse, the Giants will likely be starting backup QB Colt McCoy which puts the defense at risk to be playing with bad field position most of the afternoon. The Giants defense is not a recommended start in fantasy for this matchup.
New York Jets LB Blake Cashman (hamstrings), OL Alex Lewis (non-injury), DL John Franklin-Myers (non-injury) and RB Frank Gore (non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. OL George Fant (knee, ankle), OL Pat Elflein (shoulder) and WR Breshad Perriman (shoulder) were limited. OL Connor McGovern (elbow), QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) and OL Chuma Edoga (ankle) practiced in full.
Chicago Bears TE Jimmy Graham (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 3.
Fantasy Spin: Graham has been held to under 40 yards in seven of his last eight games and can be avoided in most fantasy leagues.
San Francisco 49ers tight end Jordan Reed has seen exactly six targets in each of his past two games. He caught five of his six targets for 62 yards in Week 10, but only managed two catches for 18 yards in Week 12. This week, the 49ers have a favorable matchup against the Buffalo Bills, who are allowing 373.1 yards from scrimmage per game on the year. Reed should see around six targets once again, which gives him a chance to deliver a decent PPR game, but his upside is limited. He shouldn't be started in any non-PPR leagues.
New York Giants running backs Alfred Morris and Dion Lewis have split time as the backup to Wayne Gallman and neither has seen enough work to trust in fantasy. Morris has been the change-of-pace runner, but is yet to see double-digit carries in a game and has just one target on the season. Lewis, on the other hand, has been a passing-downs back and has just one game with more than three carries and that was back in Week 2 when Saquon Barkley (knee) left mid-game. Both can be left on waivers in fantasy.
The 49ers Defense had a fantastic outing in Week 13, forcing four turnovers against the Los Angeles Rams. This week, however, they are in a tough spot as they face a Buffalo Bills team that is averaging 27.2 points per game on the year. While they may end up forcing a few Josh Allen turnovers, the 49ers could surrender around 30 or more points this week, which would make for a rough fantasy week. They can remain on the waiver wire this week as you look for other options.
Las Vegas Raiders S Johnathan Abram (knee), WR Nelson Agholor (ankle), DT Maliek Collins (hamstring, ankle) and RB Josh Jacobs (ankle) did not participate in practice for a second consecutive day Thursday, Dec. 3. CB Damon Arnette (concussion, neck), OG Denzelle Good (ankle), DT Maurice Hurst (ankle, calf), LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle), OT Sam Young (knee) and CB Isaiah Johnson (groin) were limited. RB Devontae Booker (back), S Erik Harris (cafl), C Rodney Hudson (knee), FB Alec Ingold (ribs), OG Gabe Jackson (knee), OT Kolton Miller (ankle), DE Carl Nassib (knee) and RB Jalen Richard (chest) practiced in full.
Detroit Lions WR Quintez Cephus (non-injury), WR Kenny Golladay (hip), DL Da'Shawn Hand (groin), CB Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and RB D'Andre Swift (illness) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. DE Austin Bryant (thigh), LB Christian Jones (knee) and QB Matthew Stafford (thumb) were limited. WR Danny Amendola (hip), TE Hunter Bryant (concussion) and CB Mike Ford (concussion) practiced in full.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is set to make his return from the COVID-19/Reserve List in Week 13 against the Buffalo Bills. Aiyuk has tallied at least 75 receiving yards in each of his past three active games. Fellow receiver Deebo Samuel broke out in a big way in Week 12 with 11 catches on 13 targets. This week, Aiyuk and Samuel should split the bulk of the targets from quarterback Nick Mullens. The Bills are extremely vulnerable against the pass, allowing 243.5 passing yards per game, so both Aiyuk and Samuel should produce. Start Aiyuk with confidence as a WR3 this week.
New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman has seen his touches increase in five-straight weeks and has burst into must-start status in fantasy as the lead-back for the G-Men. It's unlikely Gallman will handle more touches than the 27 he had last week, but with starting QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) unlikely to play this week Gallman will still see plenty of work against a middle-of-the-pack run defense in Seattle. Gallman has six touchdowns in his last five games and is the most likely Giant to find pay-dirt this week. Start Gallman as a volume-based RB2 in all formats.
Chicago Bears LB Khalil Mack (back) did not participate in practice for a second consecutive day Thursday, Dec. 3. DT Akiem Hicks (hamstring), OT Charles Leno Jr. (toe) and OL Germain Ifedi (leg) were limited. TE Jimmy Graham (rest), CB Buster Skrine (rest), LB Danny Trevathan (rest), QB Nick Foles (hip), OL Rashaad Coward (knee), S Sherrick McManis (hand), LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), DT Brent Urban (ankle, hand), LB James Vaughters (knee) and LB Josh Woods (foot) practiced in full.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jack Cichy was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots Thursday, Dec. 3, according to a source.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 3.
Fantasy Spin: Ertz likely will be able to play in the Week 13 game, but it is not known if he will be eased into the offense or have his normal workload. He could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in some leagues but is not a must-start option.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel had his 2020 breakout performance in Week 12, when he caught 11 of his 13 targets for 133 yards. Samuel will likely see his targets go down this week as the team will get Brandon Aiyuk back from a stint on the COVID-19/Reserve List. However, the 49ers have a much better matchup this week against the Buffalo Bills than they did last week against the Los Angeles Rams. The Bills are allowing 243.5 passing yards per game this year. Both Samuel and Aiyuk should be able to do some damage. Start Samuel as a WR3 in all formats this week.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. carried the ball 12 times for 40 yards in his return to action in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. He was the team's second rusher behind Raheem Mostert, who earned 16 carries in the game. Mostert figures to be the primary back once again in Week 13 as the 49ers face the Buffalo Bills, a team surrendering 129.6 yards per game on the ground. Wilson should see double-digit touches once again this week as long as Tevin Coleman (knee) remains out. He should also see some red zone touches as he's shown a knack for punching the ball into the end zone. Wilson doesn't have tremendous upside, but he's a flex option in deep leagues as the second back on a strong rushing offense against a weak rushing defense.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (ankle, foot) was limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 3.
Fantasy Spin: Ridley appears to be on track to play this week and may see a lot of targets with Julio Jones and Hayden Hurst uncertain for the game. He should be a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in all fantasy leagues.
Indianapolis Colts OT Anthony Castonzo (knee), OT Chaz Green (back), LB Bobby Okereke (ankle), P Rigoberto Sanchez (illness), S Khari Willis (back, quad) and TE Jack Doyle (rest) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. QB Philip Rivers (toe), DE Kemoko Turay (ankle) and DL Denico Autry (illness) were limited. TE Trey Burton (rest), DE Justin Houston (rest), WR Zach Pascal (knee), C Ryan Kelly (knee), CB Isaiah Rodgers (knee) and RB Jordan Wilkins (ribs) practiced in full.
Houston Texans DT Ross Blacklock (illness), FB Cullen Gillaspia (back) and RB C.J. Prosise (illness) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. P Bryan Anger (quad) and S Lonnie Johnson (knee) were limited.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert received 16 carries and two targets in his return to action in Week 12. His output was a bit underwhelming as he averaged just 2.7 yards per carry and lost a fumble, but it was a tough matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. He at least managed to save his day by scoring a touchdown. This week, Mostert has a better matchup against a Buffalo Bills Defense that is allowing 129.6 rushing yards per game. Mostert should see somewhere between 15 and 20 touches in the game, giving him a good chance to compile around 100 total yards or more with a score. Start him as a high-end RB2 in Week 13.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 3.
Fantasy Spin: Green was held without a catch last week with Brandon Allen as the starter but should have more success this week. Fantasy players can consider benching Green this week if they have better options available.