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A total loss

Posted Oct 10, 2017

The Giants lost Odell Beckham Jr. for the season, and three other WRs, forcing them to promote players from the practice squad

Injuries are a common occurrence in the NFL this season, and this week we saw Odell Beckham Jr. and J.J. Watt go down with season-ending injuries. Beckham fractured his ankle, and Watt suffered a left tibia plateau fracture. I’ve personally suffered a tibia plateau injury, so I feel Watt’s pain. These injuries are just proof that the waiver wire is just as important as the draft!   

The Giants are now 0-5 this year, and have been outscored 122-82. Eli Manning needs to be dropped in all leagues since he will be throwing to practice squad players and whatever guys the Giants pull off the couch to play. It is time for Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo to embrace a lost season, and see exactly what they have in RB Wayne Gallman. He should be added in all formats this week.

The Texans have played plenty of games without J.J. Watt the last two years due to his history of back problems, so this is nothing new for them. They did thrive last year without Watt, but with them also missing OLB Whitney Mercilus (pec), LB Brian Cushing (suspended) and CB Kevin Johnson (MCL sprain), their defensive ceiling is significantly lowered. It’s sad too because they were a must-start in Week 6 against a terrible Browns offense, but now are a bit of a dart throw.

 

Winners

Deshaun Watson – Texans: Deshaun Watson didn’t have the most passing (261) or rushing (31) yards of any QB this weekend, but his 5 touchdowns and a 2-point conversion were enough to vault him atop the fantasy QB rankings for Week 5.

Watson has really come alive the last three weeks, accounting for 124.3 fantasy points in that time, versus 28.7 fantasy points in the first two games. With the Browns coming into Houston for Week 6, Watson is going to be a must-start in every format out there, and is a real threat to be the #1-ranked QB in the projections. 

Brian Hoyer – 49ers: The 49ers/Colts game was a close one, with the 49ers losing 26-23. Hoyer was surprisingly productive as a fantasy QB with 353 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. The 49ers are traditionally a running team. But with Carlos Hyde dealing with a hip injury, and the team not truly committed to Matt Breida, Hoyer has thrown almost as much in the previous two games (95) than his did in the first three (99).

Given the health of Hyde, I expect to see an uptick in passing attempts by Hoyer until he gets healthy. Coach Kyle Shanahan said the team will use the "hot hand" at running back moving forward, making Hyde the starter, but Breida is a must-add handcuff this week. Hoyer is best suited to be owned only in 2QB leagues. I guess he could be a bye-week replacement, depending on who else is available.

 

Leonard Fournette – Jaguars: Leonard Fournette is making a strong case for himself as the Rookie of the Year with his 466 rushing yards, 128 receiving yards, and 6 touchdowns through the first five weeks of the season. This week he accounted for 181 rushing yards, and helped upset the Steelers on the road.

Fournette is a must-start RB until the Jaguars Week 8 bye, then every week after. The Jaguars are committed to the run, with Fournette registering 24-plus carries in 3 of 5 games. If you drafted or traded for Fournette, then you are a happy camper right now!

Aaron Jones – Packers: Aaron Jones hit the ground running against the Cowboys this weekend when he put up 125 rushing yards and a touchdown in Dallas. Jamaal Williams was on the field for only two plays, making Jones the RB to own in Green Bay right now.

Even when Ty Montgomery returns from his broken ribs, you have to wonder if he will return as the starter, or the passing-down back. Jones will be the #1 option if he is still on the waiver wire this week, so make sure you put in a claim if he is available.

Will Fuller – Texans: Fuller did it again, catching just 2 passes, but turning them into 57 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Fuller is clearly over the drop problems that plagued him last year, but he is also clearly the No. 2 option in the passing game behind DeAndre Hopkins.

Fuller is producing fantasy numbers due to his 6 TDs in 2 games, but that type of production is unrealistic to continue. Fuller should obviously be owned in all formats, but I’d consider selling high on him before he stops finding the endzone.

Nelson Agholor – Eagles: Agholor showed up again in Week 5, racking up 4 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown at home against a struggling Cardinals secondary. Agholor is averaging 3.8 targets per game over the past four weeks, making him a textbook definition of boom-or-bust in fantasy terms.

His upside is obvious, as he has scored in 3 of 5 games this season. The problem is he has managed 9 receiving yards in one of those games, and 20 yards in another game in which he didn’t score. The ceiling for Agholor is around 85 yards and a touchdown. But the floor is as low as 9 yards. If you can deal with the rollercoaster ride, Agholor is worth owning as a WR4 or dart throw in the flex.

Ed Dickson – Panthers: Ed Dickson ran wild against a generous Lions defense on Sunday, accounting for 5 catches and 175 receiving yards. While he didn’t score, he was awfully close. The loss of Greg Olsen has forced Dickson into a receiving role, but the Lions’ unwillingness to stop him is what led to his big day.

You will see a lot of those big-box websites tout Dickson as someone to grab off the waiver wire, but I am on the other side of the fence on this one. Dickson is a blocking TE, who simply had a good game due to poor coverage. You can add him as a dart throw if you want, but I highly doubt we’re seeing an 8th year player break out.

Jacksonville Jaguars defense: Maybe now the Jaguars defense will get the recognition it deserves as an elite defense in the NFL. The Jaguars did give up 312 passing yards to Ben Roethlisberger, and 10 catches for 157 yards to Antonio Brown. But that is where it ended as Big Ben threw 5 interceptions, 2 of which were taken to the house for a pick-six.

Telvin Smith and Barry Church accounted for the defensive touchdowns, while Tashaun Gibson had 2 INTs, and Jalen Ramsey had the other. Dante Fowler racked up another sack, giving him 4.0 on the season. Calais Campbell also got in on the action with a half-sack, putting his total now at 6.0 for the year.   

I’d put the Jaguars in as your starting defense and just leave them there until the bye week at this point. If they can handle Pittsburgh the way they did, and do it on the road, their ability to shut down the Rams and Colts over the next two weeks shouldn’t be in doubt.

 

Losers

Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers: As I said above, Roethlisberger was able to throw for 312 yards on Sunday. But even with 33 completed passes he failed to reach the endzone, while throwing 5 interceptions.

If your league dings QBs for throwing a pick-six, Roethlisberger actually finished in the negative for the week. Roethlisberger is clearly still worth owning, and playing, as he won’t face the Jaguars again this season.

Russell Wilson – Seahawks: My patience with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks fantasy players is running thin, with Wilson managing just 198 passing yards, 16 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. This is the 2nd time Wilson has thrown for 198 yards this season, and the 3rd time he has failed to throw for at least 200 yards.

Without Chris Carson, the Seahawks running game is as bad as any in the league. Add to that the fact that Wilson is running for his life with the offensive line also as bad as any in the league. With no running game, and a terrible offensive line, Wilson is quickly becoming a QB you might want to consider replacing if there is a quality man on the waiver wire.  

Derrick Henry – Titans: Henry owners need to be a little worried as he was out-touched by DeMarco Murray 18 to 4, managing just 4 carries for 9 empty yards. With Matt Cassel in for Marcus Mariota at QB, the Titans weren’t able to gain much traction on offense.

Even when Mariota is in the game, the Titans WRs just aren’t producing like we had hoped. When a defense knows you can’t throw effectively, they stack the box to stop the run. On top of that, this could be an indicator that the Titans are going with Murray over Henry as THE running back. Henry isn’t someone you should cut, but you also can’t play him until we see how the touches shake out in Tennessee.

Bilal Powell – Jets: Powell got only half a game in this week, as he injured his calf right before the end of the 2nd quarter. Even with him playing two quarters of football, he managed just 33 total yards (28 receiving, 5 rushing) and 4 catches for those in PPR formats.

The Jets didn’t seem to want to put the ball in Powell’s hands even before the injury, given his extremely limited touches in a game that was close. Powell had 190 total yards and a touchdown last week, yet he managed just 6 touches in the first half of the game.

Powell is considered day-to-day, and is not a lock to play in Week 6 against the Patriots. Even if he does play, he is sure to be less than 100 percent. On top of that, the game is likely to be a route, with Josh McCown throwing from behind right after the coin toss.

DeVante Parker – Dolphins: DeVante Parker is another victim of the injury bug, with it biting him in the ankle in the first quarter. Parker managed to be targeted 1 time before leaving, turning that target into 6 receiving yards.

Parker left the stadium on crutches, and the injury was diagnosed as a sprained ankle. Thankfully it’s not the dreaded “high ankle sprain,” but it’s still an injury that could cause him to sit out Week 6 against the Falcons. Owners need to keep an eye on the injury report this week, and have a backup play in place in case he does end up missing the game.

Amari Cooper – Raiders: Amari Cooper is certainly testing his owners’ resolve this season, managing just 1 catch for 8 yards against the Ravens on Sunday. Cooper has now caught 4 passes for 23 yards in his last three games, and 13 receptions for 118 yards total this season.

Cooper is the type of receiver that could put up 13 catches and 118 yards in a single game, so having this through five games is devastating. The Raiders may very well get Derek Carr back in Week 6, giving Cooper’s value a bump back up. Carr is obviously not 100 percent healthy, so his ability to throw will be limited. Cooper is a risk/reward WR until Carr gets healthy again.

Delaine Walker – Titans: Walker is the victim of Cassel playing due to Marcus Mariota’s hamstring injury. Because of the downgrade at QB, Walker managed just 3 catches for 25 yards. He did reel in a 59-yard touchdown, but it was called back due to an offensive pass interference away from the play.

Walker could have been the big winner at TE this week if the TD counted, but without it he is just another TE that didn’t produce fantasy numbers. Most fantasy TEs are busts, which is why a lot of leagues have gone to flex positions and deleted the TE-only position. Walker will have his ups, but he (like most other TEs) will have way more downs.   

Houston Texans defense: The Texans were already without Cushing and Johnson on defense, and are now without Watt and Mercilus on top of that. Those are four pretty big blows for any defense to absorb. The Watt injury wasn’t the main factor in them being terrible on defense, but his loss certainly may be the final straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.  

The Texans gave up 42 points, which is negative points by default in most scoring formats. Adding insult to injury, they managed just a single sack for fantasy defensive stats, leaving them at -3.00 points in default scoring formats. If you had left in the Broncos defense this week, who are on a bye, you would have gotten zero points, and STILL been better off than playing the Texans! How do you like them apples?

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