Wed Oct 13 10:22am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Pittman is quickly gaining value
The big fantasy reminder this week is the byes start. They are never fun to deal with but part of the game. Hopefully, you somewhat planned for this day and can roll out some good lineups despite some key players being off. Just reminder that every team has to deal with this. It isn’t just your team. With that said, here are my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
If you haven’t figured it out, Justin Herbert is really, really, really good. I was confused by the many preseason fantasy takes for a regression of Herbert this year. I thought maybe I was watching different tape when looking at Herbert. But the start to this season proved to me that I wasn’t. This guy is special. Herbert has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. He just sees the field so well and makes so many special throws. He is going to be a fantasy great for years to come.
I hear a lot of people say I just don’t know the Bucs receiver that is going to have a big game on a weekly basis. But here is a not so hot take, just start all of them. This passing game is unreal. Sure, one guy might be a little down a few times throughout the year, but for the most part, these guys are going to all produce. The numbers don’t like. Chris Godwin is 13th overall in fantasy receiver scoring. Mike Evans comes in at 11 and Antonio Brown is 26th despite missing a game because of injury. Just start them and be happy with this offense. Don’t overthink things.
I can’t remember a week with so many high scoring fantasy games. The Week 5 scores were just off the charts. There were more 200-plus point games than I have ever seen. Hopefully, you had some of those teams racking up the points. I think this might be a bit of a trend going forward, too. Teams just don’t seem to have an answer for many of these top offenses in the league. We’ll see.
Matt Ryan had a bad first game but has been his usual good self after that. He has done well in the Falcons new offense and is quickly forming a rapport with rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. Ryan has 20-plus fantasy points four straight games. He might not be the flashy fantasy quarterback starter, but it is hard to ignore his production. He gets the weekly chances, too, having at least 35 pass attempts every game. It amazes me that he is unowned in 30 percent of leagues on our site.
So apparently the league has the book on how to slow Patrick Mahomes. It is to stop blitzing and put more in coverage. That is what the Bills did last week, blitzing just once. I’m not convinced this game plan is going to work. The Chiefs will adjust as will Mahomes. Kansas City will find ways to get this offense humming again if teams refuse to blitz him. And fantasy owners shouldn’t worry too much about this talk. In his “down” game last week against the Bills, Mahomes scored 25.7 fantasy points. Mahomes will be just fine.
I don’t think the start of the season for Knox is a fluke. I think he is a legit No. 1 fantasy tight end. He plays in one of the best offenses in football and is maybe the top red-zone passing target on the team. He has touchdowns four straight games and 20-plus points two straight. Knox is a guy that wasn’t even drafted in fantasy leagues. If you were fortunate enough to get him, good work. I’m not sure he is remains a top-five tight end, but I think he can be top 10 for sure.
I kept telling owners to be patient with Robert Woods. I know his start was frustrating but it seemed just a matter of time before he got on the same page with Matthew Stafford and was a bigger part of the offense. Well, he broke out in a huge way in Week 5, catching 12 passes for 150 yards on 14 targets. Even with his slow start, Woods has double-digit fantasy points four of five games. It was probably overblown just a little about his start to the year. Woods will be just fine for fantasy owners. This guy has been an elite fantasy receiver the last several seasons for a reason.
Saquon Barkley just can’t catch a break. Just when you thought he was ready to take off, he gets hit with another injury. He hurt his ankle and is going to miss a few weeks of action. Barkley had 20-plus fantasy points two straight games before suffering the injury in Week 5. For me, I think trying to get Barkley for a cheap price from a disgruntled owner isn’t a bad move. This injury isn’t season ending and we all saw his potential those couple weeks this year when he started to get rolling. Just something to think about.
News and Notes: Raiders head coach Jon Gruden officially resigned from his position Monday. Gruden resigned after emails came to light of offensive language on several subjects. Rich Bisaccia takes over as the interim head coach for the Raiders. Bisaccia has been the special teams coordinator for the team. . . . .The Steelers signed veteran receiver Anthony Miller to their practice squad on Tuesday. He gives the team some depth after a season-ending injury to JuJu Smith-Schuster. . . . .The Broncos signed receiver John Brown to their practice squad on Tuesday. Brown adds some more depth at receiver after the Broncos lost another receiver to injury (KJ Hamler). . . . .New Orleans signed kicker Brian Johnson off the Bears practice squad on Tuesday. He takes over the kicking duties for the Saints because of Cody Parkey getting injured last week.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles. Hurts didn’t throw for 200 yards last week or have a passing touchdown but still managed to score 25.9 fantasy points. He ran for two scores and rushed for 30 yards. His ability to make plays with his feet gives him a very high weekly floor. Hurts is getting it done on a weekly basis for fantasy teams, having at least 23 fantasy points every game. He should keep it rolling this week against the Bucs. The Eagles could be playing from behind, giving Hurts more chances to air it out. And if that happens, look for plenty of success against the worst pass defense in football. Plus, Tampa allows the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Najee Harris, RB, Steelers. Harris had his first 100-yard rushing game of his career last week. He has been great for his fantasy owners, especially in recent weeks. Harris has three straight games with 21-plus fantasy points. He is getting a ton of weekly touches and producing. He should be a big factor again this week against the Seahawks. Seattle allows the third most fantasy points to running backs and are 31st against the run.
Michael Pittman, WR, Colts. Pittman has emerged as the top target for the Colts and has produced very consistent numbers. He has at least six receptions four straight games. He also scored his first touchdown of the season last week, having a season high 20.9 fantasy points. He can keep it rolling this week against the Texans, a team allowing 257-passing yards per game. Pittman is a top No. 2 fantasy receiver.
Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams. Henderson has missed a game because of injury this year but is still 16th overall in fantasy running back scoring. He has been very good of late, having 80-plus rushing yards two straight games. He also has touchdowns three of four games in the Rams explosive offense. Henderson is becoming a must start for his fantasy owners. He might have his best game of the season this week against the Giants, a team that allows the fifth most fantasy points to running backs.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Bills. Sanders might not be the same player as he was earlier in his career but is still getting it done for the Bills. He has been doing his job on a weekly basis and making plays in the red zone. He has multiple touchdowns two of three games. He also has been targeted at least five times every game, giving him a pretty high weekly floor. Sanders seems to have a good chance to find the end zone again this week against the Titans. Tennessee has allowed nine passing touchdowns and give up the most fantasy points to receivers.
Alex Collins, RB, Seahawks. Collins started last week for an injured Chris Carson and 15 times for 47 yards. He has 25 carries for just 91 yards his last two games. Collins is getting the work but doing little with it. Look for more of the same this week against the Steelers. Pittsburgh allows the fourth fewest fantasy points to running backs and rank ninth overall against the run. So even if Carson is out again, leave Collins on your bench unless you are desperate for options.
David Njoku, TE, Browns. Njoku was a big surprise last week, catching seven passes for 149 yards. He had fewer than 20 yards three straight games before last week. He has been erratic throughout the season. Remember, he is the backup tight end to Austin Hooper. Njoku is more of a matchup play - even after last week. And a matchup this week against the Cardinals is not a good one for Njoku. The Cardinals have not allowed a tight end to score double-digit fantasy points all season and allow the second fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
A.J. Brown, WR, Titans. Brown has been a real disappointment this season. He has not had more than 50 yards in a game and found the end zone just once in four games. He has yet to have double-digit targets in a game. Brown also has been slowed by a hamstring injury, which doesn’t help matters for him. We think it will be more of the same this week against the Bills. He likely gets shutdown corner Tre'Davious White in coverage. And the Bills allows the second fewest fantasy points to receivers this season.
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders. Carr has cooled since his hot start. He has fewer than 20 fantasy points two straight games. He also has fewer than 210-passing yards each of his last two games. He had 380-plus passing yards each of his first three games, so his production has really slipped. Carr might do more of the same this week against the Broncos, especially with all the turmoil going on in Las Vegas. Denver allows the second fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks for the season. Go with other options in Week 6.
Both Eagles running backs (Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell). Many thought Gainwell might emerge and get more playing time after a good showing in Week 4, but that wasn’t the case. Sanders played 75 percent of the snaps in Week 5 while Gainwell was on the field just 24 percent of the time. Sanders had 16 touches for just 51 yards in the game. His season high in fantasy points is just 17.3 and he has fewer than double-digit fantasy points three of five games. Gainwell has the exact same line, having two games with doubled-digit points and three with fewer. We just wouldn’t bother with either of these backs right now, especially this week against the Bucs. Tampa clamps down on the run, allowing just 45.8-rushing yards per game.
Kendrick Bourne, WR, Patriots. Bourne has double-digit fantasy points two fo three games. He has 14 receptions those three games. He has been much more involved in the offense after a slow start to the year. He might get more looks again this week in a game the Patriots might need to put up some points. New England plays a great Cowboys offense. Dallas also allows the sixth most fantasy points to receivers and rank 31st against the pass. Bourne has a high ceiling in this one.
Taylor Heinicke, QB, Washington. Heinicke is 12th overall in fantasy quarterback scoring his last three games. He has 24-plus fantasy points three of four games. He has done a very good job as the starter for Washington and might keep the job even when Ryan Fitzpatrick is healthy and ready to play again. Heinicke has become a legit streaming option for fantasy teams. He has a lot of weapons to work with offensively and can also make some plays with his legs. Heinicke is setup for another good showing in Week 6 against the Chiefs. Washington might need to score a lot of points to keep up with the Chiefs’ offense, giving Heinicke a lot of chances. Plus, the Chiefs allow the second most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 28th overall against the pass.
Quez Watkins, WR, Eagles. Watkins is getting some weekly chances in the Eagles offense as the No. 3 receiver. He has multiple receptions every game and at least 33 yards four straight. He has been targeted 10 times his last two games and played a season high 82 percent of the snaps last week, playing more than No. 2 receiver Jalen Reagor (70 percent). If Watkins is on the field a lot again this week, he could do some damage against a bad Bucs secondary. Tampa allows the second most fantasy points to receivers. Watkins could be a sneaky play for teams looking for bye week or injury fill-ins for Week 6.
Tyler Higbee, TE, Rams. Higbeen does not have more than 40 yards since Week 1 but does have touchdowns two of three games. He has become a top target in the red zone, giving him some weekly value for fantasy teams. It would be nice to see his yardage and catch totals increase, but the touchdowns sure help. And he might find the end zone again this week against the Giants. New York has done alright against the pass but have struggled with tight ends. The Giants allow the seventh most fantasy points to tight ends. It might be a good time to get Higbee in your lineup this week.
Latavius Murray, RB, Ravens. Murray played the most snaps at running back last week (49 percent) and was on the field even more the previous game, playing 62 percent of the snaps. At this point, Murray is the back to use in this offense. He is not a sure thing, having more than 50-rushing yards and double-digit fantasy points just one game, but the potential is certainly there in this offense. And he has a favorable matchup to do his most damage of the season this week anginas the Chargers. Los Angeles is seventh against the pass compared to 32nd against the run.
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: Bucs/Eagles, Chiefs/Washington, Vikings/Panthers, Chargers/Ravens, Cardinals/Browns, Bills/Titans.
Low Scoring Games: Raiders/Broncos.
Bye Weeks: Falcons, Saints, Jets, 49ers.
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 protected] Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus made his only field-goal attempt from 42 yards out in the 22-9 loss to the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. The Broncos offense finally got into the end zone late in the game when they were down by multiple scores and elected to go for a two-point conversion (which failed) instead of kicking the extra point. McManus has only missed three of his 22 field-goal tries on the season and has missed one of his 23 extra-point attempts, so accuracy hasn't been the issue. Denver's low-upside offense is what is keeping McManus from being a top-12 fantasy kicker each and every week. This was the first game in 2021 in which he didn't attempt an extra point, but he's also had three games with no field-goal tries. McManus should be much more active in Week 14 against the Detroit Lions at home.
Even though the Denver Broncos defense only scored four points in most fantasy formats in the 22-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, they played pretty well overall against an explosive Chiefs offense. They were able to hold Patrick Mahomes and Company under 300 yards of total offense, including just 178 yards through the air and 89 yards on the ground. The Broncos defense sacked Mahomes twice, and rookie first-round cornerback Patrick Surtain II recorded his third interception in the last two games on a tipped pass off the hands of receiver Tyreek Hill. The Denver D is the strength of this team, and they'll be a popular streaming option in Week 14 against a Detroit Lions team coming off their first win of the season.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick will want to move on quickly from his performance in the Sunday night loss to the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs. In the 22-9 loss, he had season-lows in catches (one) and receiving yards (nine) on five total targets in Week 13. Since scoring his fourth touchdown of the year in Week 9, Patrick has only six catches on 14 targets for 49 yards in three games. The 28-year-old usually catches most passes thrown his way, but he couldn't get on the same page as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in prime time. In Denver's low-volume passing attack as the No. 3 receiver behind Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, Patrick's floor is scary as a WR4/5 in deeper leagues.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant finished the 22-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13 on Sunday night with four grabs for 33 yards on four targets. The bad news is that backup tight end Albert Okwuegbunam had the same number of targets as Fant and caught three passes for 21 yards. The Broncos just have two many receiving weapons and Fant isn't really being used as a viable receiving threat down the field. As long as the Denver offense continues to be a run-first unit and Okwuegbunam remains involved to steal targets away from Fant, he'll likely be a frustrating low-end TE1 play unless he gets into the end zone. Fant hasn't scored since Week 6 and has gone over 40 receiving yards just once since then.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton was barely heard from yet again in the 22-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night in Week 13. Sutton finished the game with two receptions on six targets for a measly 15 yards. Really the only good news in this one was the fact that his six targets were tied for second-most on the team with Jerry Jeudy. Since Jeudy returned from a high ankle sprain in Week 8, Sutton has nine catches for 110 yards and no touchdowns on 18 targets in five games. That says it all right there. The Broncos prefer not to throw the ball too much if they don't have to, and when they do, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater usually spreads it around to a bunch of different weapons. The 26-year-old has found his way to the bench is most fantasy leagues.
Facing the toughest defense against tight ends in Week 13, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce posted a rare dud. Targeted eight times on the evening, Kelce was only able to haul in three balls for 27 yards. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has struggled this season and that has trickled down to Kelce having some rare duds this season. Despite that, managers should continue to treat Kelce as one of the best tight ends in the game. The good news is that Kelce will face the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14. When the teams previously met in Week 10, Kelce went for eight receptions and 119 yards. Managers should have no reservations about sitting Kelce next Sunday or any week moving forward.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy caught four of his six targets for a team-leading 77 receiving yards in the 22-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Jeudy's four receptions were tied for second-most on the team, and his six targets were also tied for second-most. The 22-year-old second-year wideout continues to be quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's favorite receiver. However, Bridgewater has mostly been mediocre this season, and the Broncos are a run-first offense when they get into positive game script. Most of Jeudy's damage was done late in the game with the Chiefs up by multiple scores. Jeudy will be looking for his first touchdown of the season in Week 14 against the Detroit Lions, where he'll be a WR3/flex.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill had a quiet outing in a Week 13 victory versus the Denver Broncos. The Cheetah was targeted five times during the contest and caught two balls for 22 yards. He also had a ball hit off his hands and into the hands of rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II that would be the only interception for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes struggled on the evening and with windy playing conditions, those could both be attributed to Hill's final game line. Regardless, Hill posted a dud, but managers shouldn't be too concerned with his ability to put up WR1 numbers in most weeks. Hill will face the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14 and previously recorded 7 receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 10 victory.
Denver Broncos running back Mike Boone stepped into the RB2 role behind rookie Javonte Williams in the Sunday night loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with Melvin Gordon (hip, shoulder) inactive. Boone only had five touches on the night (four carries, one catch) compared to Williams' 29, but he looked explosive and fresh when he was called upon. On his four carries, Boone totaled 35 yards (8.8 yards per carry), and he caught his lone target for a 19-yard gain. The 26-year-old was basically used to spell the impressive Williams in this one, and that would likely continue to be the case if Gordon misses time, which won't give Boone any standalone fantasy value. If Gordon returns in Week 14, Boone will have an even smaller role as the RB3.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire played the lead role in his second game back from a knee injury during a Week 13 victory versus the Denver Broncos. CEH recorded 54 yards on 14 rushing attempts with three receptions for 28 yards. It wasn't the best performance for the sophomore runner, but it was a solid performance nonetheless. Backup running back Darrel Williams saw his fair share of action on Sunday evening and was on the field for all third-down plays. Edwards-Helaire should see his role grow down the stretch run, but managers would be wise to insure him with Williams. Next up will be a matchup versus the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14 and CEH should be considered a RB2 with RB1 upside in that contest.
Denver Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams was finally unleashed on Sunday night against the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs with Melvin Gordon (hip, shoulder) inactive, and he didn't disappoint. Williams was the Broncos offense, carrying 23 times for 102 yards while adding a team-high six receptions on a team-high nine targets for 76 yards and a receiving score for Denver's lone touchdown in the 22-9 loss. He averaged 4.4 yards on the ground and looked like the real deal. Williams is one of the toughest backs in the league to bring down, and he's an extremely powerful runner with tackle-breaking ability. His fantasy managers will be crossing their fingers that Gordon won't return in Week 14 for a dream matchup against the Detroit Lions. If Gordon is out again, Williams will have RB1 upside.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams recorded 20 yards on five carries in a Week 13 victory versus the Denver Broncos. The veteran was in for all third-down plays and recorded three receptions for 60 yards. With running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire healthy and back in the picture, Williams has fallen back into a backup role over the past two contests. Moving forward, Williams should be rostered by all Edwards-Helaire managers for the stretch run, but will be hard to trust without a full time role. Next up for Williams will be a Week 14 date against a Las Vegas Raiders defense that he had his best game of the season against earlier in the year.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (ankle) stated he "absolutely" expects to play in Week 15 against the Washington Football Team. During Sunday's meeting against the Jets, the 24-year-old aggravated the same ankle the landed him on the injured reserve list back in October. However, with the team having a Week 14 bye, Sanders has a good chance at being back. However, if he doesn't, Jordan Howard (knee), Boston Scott (illness), and rookie Kenneth Gainwell, who arguably had the best game of his career against Washington, could be in store for more work. Still, fantasy managers should keep Sanders on the roster as there is a small upside there, although he has been far from a reliable option throughout the 2021-22 campaign.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes put together another underwhelming performance in a Week 13 victory versus the Denver Broncos. The former MVP has been having an off year by his standards and completed just 15 of his 29 pass attempts for 184 yards and an interception. His interception came when wide receiver Tyreek Hill failed to haul in a pass that hit off his hands and into the hands of rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II. It wasn't all bad for managers of Mahomes with him rushing four times for 12 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Mahomes has been a shell of himself this season, but his enormous upside makes him a must-start on a weekly basis. Mahomes will look to put up improved numbers versus a Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14, a defense that he torched for five touchdowns earlier this season.
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had more interceptions than touchdown passes in the 22-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night in Week 13. He finished the night 22-for-40 for 257 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a game-sealing touchdown for KC's defense. Bridgewater ran the ball four times for 17 yards. The yardage total was nice, but Bridgewater and the Broncos passing game never really got in sync all night, with a lot of his yards and his lone touchdown to rookie running back Javonte Williams coming in garbage time with the Chiefs ahead by multiple scores. The Broncos offense is usually in trouble when they have to rely on Bridgewater's arm. He'll have a nice matchup against the Detroit Lions next week, but Bridgewater lacks upside on a weekly basis as a low-end QB2.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin finished with only three catches for 22 yards during the win over Las Vegas on Sunday. The 26-year-old disappeared in Week 13, and it came after he had at least seven targets in each game since Week 1. However, Logan Thomas (knee) likely is done for the year, so McLaurin could get more looks from Taylor Heinicke moving ahead, starting in Week 14 during the NFC North battle with the Cowboys.
Baltimore Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey (shoulder) is expected to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury suffered in Week 13, according to sources. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Humphrey could be out 'a while.'
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr completed 28 of his 38 pass attempts for 249 yards and gained 24 yards on two carries in a 17-15 loss to the Washington Football Team in Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Carr has now finished with one touchdown or less in four of his last five games, and his hot start to the season seems like a distant memory. At this point, Carr is a reach as QB2.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson had another solid performance on Sunday during the win over the Raiders, compiling 88 yards off 23 attempts. He also secured five of his six targets for 23 yards while also finding the end zone off one of those catches. The 23-year-old has turned up the volume, as he now has at least 19 carries in each of his last four games. He's also been an essential contributor on the receiving end, and he could have an even more prominent role moving ahead with Logan Thomas (knee) likely done for the year. Nonetheless, Gibson has been the real deal and should be considered a priority option for fantasy managers in all formats.
Updating previous reports, Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (ankle) has a high-ankle sprain, according to a source, and will undergo further testing Monday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: Not good. Regardless of the test results, it's improbable we'll see him in Week 14, and don't be surprised if he is out multiple weeks. WR K.J. Osborn will be a hot fantasy pickup this week.