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Jonesing for a fantasy running back

Posted Nov 14, 2017

The Packers lost Aaron Jones to an MCL injury, and may be without TY Montgomery now too


The Rams are clearly not the same team we saw last year, with Jered Goff, Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins, and Cooper Kupp leading the way on offense, while Aaron Donald, Alec Ogletree, and Michael Brockers lock things down on defense. The Rams are leading their division with a 7-2 record, and are tied with Patriots, Steelers, Vikings, and Saints for the 2nd-best record in the NFL.

The Packers lost Aaron Jones for 3-6 weeks with an MCL injury this weekend, effectively ending his fantasy season at the same time. As if that wasn’t enough for a team already without Aaron Rodgers, Ty Montgomery aggravated his rib injury, forcing him out of the game. With Jones out, and Montgomery questionable at best for Week 11, Jamaal Williams is the #1 waiver wire target this week.

The Jaguars pulled out an overtime victory against the Los Angeles Chargers at home this weekend. The play of the game for me has to be the 56-yard fake punt touchdown run by Corey Grant, but I have to give Josh Lambo the game ball for sealing the victory. The great thing about teams is they know amazing things can happen when you don’t care who gets the credit, and this was a team victory for sure!

 

Winners

Case Keenum – Vikings: Keenum did everything in his power this week to make his case to remain the starting QB for the Vikings, completing 21 of 29 passes for 304 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. It was his best game since Week 2, when he put together a 369/3/0 line.

With Teddy Bridgewater waiting in the wings, Keenum has to play at peak performance to keep the starting job. The early expectations is he will remain the starter for Week 11 against the Rams, but watch to see if he is yanked at some point in the game.

The Rams give up 204.1 YPG passing (9th-fewest in the NFL), and their 12 INTs rank 2nd behind the Ravens. He goes from stud in Week 10 to a QB to avoid in Week 11.

Cam Newton – Panthers: Cam Newton finally had the game his fantasy owners had been waiting for, piling up 254 passing yards, 95 rushing yards, and scoring 4 touchdowns against the Dolphins’ porous defense.

Newton was almost intercepted early in the game, but the call was overturned on replay. Other than that small hiccup, it was an otherwise impressive night. Newton still has to work on his accuracy, but it was nice to see MVP-caliber play from him after weeks of sub-par play. With the Jets up after a Week 11 bye, Newton will be an elite QB1 for Week 12.

C.J. Beathard – 49ers: The 49ers now have their longest win streak of the season (1), thanks to facing an absolutely terrible team in the Giants. Beathard looked adequate at QB, completing 19 of 25 passes for 288 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, and adding 15 yards on the ground and another touchdown.

Beathard finished as the 5th-best fantasy QB for Week 10, a spot he is highly unlikely to repeat again in his career. The 49ers are on a bye in Week 11, but Beathard might find himself fired on his day off!

The team traded for Jimmy Garappolo at the deadline, and Week 12 has been rumored as the target for his first start of the season. We should know more as things develop this week, but if I were a betting man, I’d bet on Garappolo under center when they take on the Seahawks.

Mark Ingram – Saints: Ingram is another player doing all he can to remind his team that he is the starter, and he won’t give up the role without a fight. This weekend Ingram carried the ball 21 times, racking up 131 yards and 3 TDs.

Alvin Makara is the passing-down back, but 131 yards and 3 TDs is a win no matter what the scoring format. With the Redskins up next for the Saints, Ingram will remain a must-start RB1 for Week 11.

Austin Ekeler – Chargers: Ekeler, the Chargers No. 3 RB, managed to come away from Week 10 with 15 touches, 119 total yards, and 2 touchdowns. Ekeler’s 15 touches were an eye-opener when you consider Melvin Gordon saw just 21 touches, 42 total yards, and no touchdowns.

Even with Ekeler coming out on top statistically this week, I wouldn’t read into this at all. Ekeler may push Branden Oliver for No. 2 duties, but he is nowhere near Gordon on the depth chart. Chalk this up to a good week from an unknown, and unowned, RB.

Robert Woods – Rams: When your QB throws for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns, you at least have a better than normal chance for putting up monster fantasy numbers. That is just what happened this weekend for Woods when he reeled in 8 of 10 targets for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Texans.

I wrote about Woods a few weeks ago, but I will admit that I didn’t expect him to run off an 8/171/2 line at any point this season. Woods may be the No. 2 WR on the Rams official depth chart, but he is clearly No. 1 when it comes time for Goff to make a play! Even with the Vikings coming up next on the schedule, it is impossible to sit Woods after this kind of performance.

Marquise Goodwin – 49ers: It is amazing to me that Goodwin was even able to play in Week 10, considering that he and his wife lost their son (premature delivery) just hours before the game. I’ve been exactly where he is with this, and I have no idea how he had the strength to go out and perform the way he did against the Giants.

Even though he managed just 1 catch on the day, he took that catch 83 yards to the house for a touchdown. Goodwin also chipped in 18 rushing yards on a carry. Goodwin is No. 1 on the 49ers depth chart, but only God knows what will happen with the offense once they come out of their bye in Week 11.

Jimmy Graham – Seahawks: When you think of fantasy TEs, you think of Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and then the rest of the league. Graham was once a name you threw in there with Gronk, but those days are well behind him with the Seahawks. However, he came alive for fantasy owners this weekend as he scored 2 TDs while adding 6 catches and 27 yards to the totals.

The catches were nice in PPR formats, but the yards were pretty much the bare minimum needed to score a single point in that category. Nevertheless, Graham finished Week 10 as the #1-ranked fantasy TE, and his fantasy owners will certainly take it!

The Seahawks TE gets a favorable matchup in Week 11 against the Falcons. Even with an enticing matchup on the slate, he is a touchdown-dependent TE with a low yardage ceiling. Be aware, and beware. 

Atlanta Falcons defense: Almost everything went right for the Falcons this week, both on offense and defense. The offense put up 27 points while the defense held the Zeke-less Cowboys to just 7 points. The defensive performance can be summed up by looking at the stats of one man – Adrian Clayborn.

Clayborn finished the game with 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery, numbers good enough for 25.50 fantasy points for those in IDP leagues. De’Vondre Campbell chipped in with 11 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, and 1 tackle for loss, giving his owners 12.50 points this weekend.   

The Falcons defense as a whole finished #1 this week with 16.00 fantasy points in standard scoring formats, easily their most fantasy points of the season. If you started them this week, then you need to take a bow. If you didn’t, don’t go chasing stats to see if they can stay hot in Week 12 as they head to Seattle to take on the Seahawks.

 

Losers

Tyrod Taylor – Bills: Well, my high hopes for Taylor and the Bills passing game came to a crashing end this weekend as Taylor completed just 9 of 18 passes for a whopping 56 yards, no touchdowns, and 1 interception. Even if I give you the fact that the INT was more on Charles Clay than Taylor, he still finished with 56 passing yards and 27 rushing yards for the game!

Maybe the Saints defense has come alive, but there is simply no excuse for an NFL quarterback to finish a game with 56 passing yards unless he was injured… in the first quarter! Taylor will keep his job as the starter, but the Bills have never truly been behind him as their answer at QB. He’ll need to bounce back against the Chargers in Week 11, or the coaching staff will almost certainly bench him in favor of 5th-round rookie Nathan Peterman.

Dak Prescott – Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliot may be the big-name Cowboy that was missing from their Week 10 lineup, but you can attribute a lot of Prescott’s problems to the offensive line missing one of its major unsung heroes – LT Tyron Smith. With Smith missing, Prescott faced relentless pressure from the Falcons defensive line and managed to finish with just 176 passing yards, 42 rushing yards, and a single touchdown.

The TD came off an 11-yard run in the 1st quarter, but that is all the help his fantasy owners would get from him in this one. While he didn’t throw an interception, there were a few close calls in the game.

With the Eagles heading to Dallas for Week 11, the Cowboys medical staff needs to work overtime on Smith this week, or Prescott will be in real trouble. Even if Smith plays, I want no part of the Cowboys when they take on the #1-ranked team in the NFL.

Devonta Freeman – Falcons: Freeman’s day was cut short with a concussion, and the early word is he might not be available to play in Week 11 because of it. Before he left Week 10, Freeman managed to log just 2 carries for 3 yards.

If Freeman is indeed out, or even limited, against the Seahawks, that would put Tevin Coleman into the leading role for the Falcons running game. The Seahawks run D is no joke, and I would consider him more of a mid-range RB2 than the borderline RB1 some sites are touting him to be with the early rankings.

Aaron Jones – Packers: Jones was looking like the future at running back for the Packers after putting up 125 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 5, then following up that effort with 131 rushing yards and another touchdown in Week 7. Things went downhill in Week 9, with the rookie managing just 12 yards on 5 carries and losing 1 yard on 2 receptions.

This week ended up being more of the same for Jones’ owners, as he managed just 12 yards before exiting with an injury. With him missing the remainder of the fantasy season, Jones can be cut in all formats except keeper leagues. Make sure you grab Jamaal Williams if you need a running back, even with back-to-back tough matchups on the schedule for the Packers.

Ted Ginn Jr. – Saints: Even at the age of 32, Ginn still is one of the fastest players on an NFL field. Because of that speed, Ginn is a big-play threat every week. This week, however, Ginn saw just 1 target, which he turned into 3 empty yards against the Bills.

Buffalo has a tough defense, but I don’t think anyone expected to see a 1/3/0 line from him this week. The Saints take on the Redskins in Week 11, and Ginn should be in line for a solid bounce-back game. But with Branden Coleman playing well, and Willie Snead available, his fantasy production is turning into a long TD or bust.

Will Fuller – Texans: Fuller just can’t seem to stay healthy this year, missing the first 3 games with a broken collarbone and now suffering cracked ribs in Week 10. The good news is he may only miss one game, but that is little consolation for the WR-needy teams still holding on to him.

Fuller managed 2 catches for 15 yards before exiting the game this week, but that is good enough for a high of only 2.50 points in PPR formats. Without Deshaun Watson at QB, Fuller’s value was near rock bottom. With this injury, you can feel free to cut him if you still own him, and grab the best available FA out there.

Jack Doyle – Colts: Doyle entered Week 10 on a hot streak, averaging 8.25 catches and 69.5 yards per game over the past month. However, that streak ended on Sunday when Doyle caught just 2 of 5 targets for 9 empty yards against the Steelers.

Doyle has to rely on Jacoby Brissett to get him the ball, and Brissett is one of the more inconsistent producing QBs in the NFL this season. Brissett has only 2 games this season with 260-plus passing yards, and now he is in the concussion protocol.

The good news for Doyle and his owners is that the Colts are on a bye in Week 11, meaning Brissett has two weeks to heal up and get cleared for a Week 12 home game against the Titans. Doyle’s value is 100 percent tied to whomever he has at QB.

Denver Broncos defense: The Broncos season is over, and if it wasn’t for the Browns trying to run the table in reverse, Denver would have the 2nd-worst record in the AFC this year. That is not something we are accustomed to hearing about the Broncos, especially given their normally fierce defense.

This week was a new low for the Broncos D, not only giving up 41 points to the Patriots but recording just a lone sack for fantasy defensive stats. With the points allowed, combined with the lack of defensive stats, the Broncos finished with -3.00 fantasy points for Week 10. Owners of the Broncos defense would have been better off playing a bye-week defense for Week 10, or running with no defense at all!

The Broncos offense is causing their defense to stay on the field WAY too often, and that is never a good thing. With the Bengals on tap next, I would find a streaming defense to use just to be safe. I’d give the Saints or Cardinals defenses a long look.

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