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Fantasy: Elliott suspension rocks lineups


Late Monday night, United States District Judge Katherine Failla dissolved Ezekiel Elliott's temporary restraining order and denied his motion, putting his six-game suspension back in effect. I'd be surprised if Elliot doesn't appeal the decision on Tuesday. But with two court losses now, someone has to tell him that he is trying to ice skate uphill in this battle.

What that means for fantasy is Elliot (for now) is out until Week 15. Darren McFadden will split touches with Alfred Morris, but McFadden is a closer fit to Elliot than Morris is. McFadden is the guy I would add if I am picking between the two.

In other NFL news, Deshaun Watson is making a strong case for taking home the Rookie of the Year award with his 1,699 passing yards, 269 rushing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 2 rushing touchdowns, and 8 interceptions through 7 games. If you picked him up off the waiver wire, you deserve the waiver wire hawk award.

Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Shuster is going to be the most-added guy off the waiver wire when it opens on Tuesday morning, but should you be one of the people racing to grab him? The simple answer is, yes. His role going forward is likely to be the #2 WR for the Steelers, and fantasy owners have to hope the team works out a deal to trade Martavis Bryant.

If Bryant stays, he muddies the waters slightly because he will get snaps and targets here and there. But if he goes, Smith-Shuster's ceiling is a solid WR3 for fantasy purposes. Either way, make sure Smith-Shuster is owned in all formats.


Russell Wilson – Seahawks: Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson put on a show Sunday, combining for 854 yards passing, 97 rushing yards, 8 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. Of those numbers, Wilson accounted for 452 of the passing yards, 30 rushing yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

With Watson throwing darts of his own on the other side of the field, Wilson stepped up his game and led his team to victory. The Seahawks running game is still missing in action, but it was nice to see Wilson create time for his receivers to get open down field and make plays. With the Redskins on the schedule next, consider Wilson a must-start until/unless he cools off.

Deshaun Watson – Texans: Speaking of Watson, the rookie showed maturity beyond his years, completing 19 of 30 passes for 402 yards and 4 TDs. Watson also led the team in rushing, running the ball 8 times for 67 yards. The only real knock on Watson this weekend was the 3 INTs he threw.

Watson set two NFL records in the game when he became the fastest QB to reach 19 passing touchdowns (7 games), and being the first player in history with at least 400 yards passing, 55 yards rushing, and 4 touchdowns in a game. If Watson doesn't win the ROY awards, I will be shocked.

Alex Collins – Ravens: Collins was the RB to own for the Ravens this week, managing 143 total yards on his 20 touches against the Dolphins. Javorius Allen had 18 touches, but accounted for just 57 total yards in the blowout win.

Collins and Allen are splitting touches at an almost dead-even clip, but Collins is sporting a 6.0 YPC average, whereas Allen's YPC is at 3.6. With Collins nearly doubling Allen in YPC, fantasy owners have to wonder what it will take for the Ravens to just give Collins the starting role and see what he can do with it.

Jerick McKinnon – Vikings: McKinnon was again an all-around fantasy RB, racking up 50 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and hauling in 6 catches for 72 yards. Latavius Murray carried the ball 19 times, but gained just 39 yards.

Like Collins, fantasy owners have to be frustrated that the clearly better back is stuck in a timeshare with a guy he is outperforming. Keep playing McKinnon as a RB2, and just hope the Vikings give him more touches down the stretch.

JuJu Smith-Shuster – Steelers: JuJu Smith-Shuster went absolutely nuts in his first start, reeling in 7 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. With Martavis Bryant inactive due to his comments on social media, Smith-Shuster made the most of his opportunity, and possibly showed the Steelers enough for them to deal Bryant ahead of the NFL trade deadline.

If Bryant is dealt, Smith-Shuster becomes the new WR2 for the Steelers. But if Bryant stays, he will likely move back to the WR3 role and fight for targets. Regardless what happens in Pittsburgh, I'd sell high on Smith-Shuster as he will never outperform Antonio Brown like this again. Sell him as a sleeper WR2, and see what you can get for him before he comes crashing back to Earth next week.

Will Fuller – Texans: Fuller has officially overcome his hands of stone problems that plagued him last season, and has fantasy owners who stashed him loving life. The Texans' 2nd-year WR reeled in 5 of 8 targets for 125 yards and 2 more touchdowns. With 7 TDs in 4 games, Fuller is on pace to eclipse 15 this season if he can keep this up.

Fifteen touchdowns may be a lofty goal for a WR2 with DeAndre Hopkins on the other side of the field. But 7 touchdowns from a guy you likely got off the waiver wire isn't bad! Fuller is a must-start WR until Watson cools off at QB.

Jack Doyle – Colts: Doyle was the lone bright spot for the Colts passing game this weekend, racking up 12 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Jacoby Brissett threw to Doyle on 36 percent of his passes this week, 2nd in the NFL to only Watson and Hopkins in Houston (37 percent).

Tight end is an all-or-nothing position in fantasy football, and Doyle gave all he could to his owners this weekend. If Andrew Luck were healthy enough to play, Doyle would be a solid TE1. But with Brissett, he is a dart-throw if you have nothing better.

Baltimore Ravens defense: The Ravens defense absolutely dismantled the Dolphins offense on Thursday night, piling up 3 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 defensive touchdowns, and allowing 0 points. C.J. Mosley accounted for one of the defensive TDs when he picked off Matt Moore and ran it back 63 yards for a pick-six, while Jimmy Smith accounted for the other TD when he took another INT back 50 yards.

The 40-0 win by the Ravens came at a price. Joe Flacco was knocked out of the game when Dolphins LB Kiko Alonso hit him as he was sliding, instantly putting the QB in the concussion protocol. 

If Flacco isn't cleared in time for Week 9, Ryan Mallett will have to step in at QB. If that happens, the Ravens will need the defense to again step up and hold the Titans to as few points as possible.


Jameis Winston – Buccaneers: Winston had a tough matchup to begin with this week, facing a Panthers defense that gives up the 12th-fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. Add to that a sprained AC joint, and you have the makings of a QB you shouldn't have anywhere near your starting lineup.

Winston finished with just 210 passing yards, no TDs, 2 INTs, and a lost fumble. The Buccaneers are on the road in Week 9 to take on the Saints, and Winston isn't a lock to play. Keep an eye on the injury report this week if you own him. 

Dak Prescott – Cowboys: Prescott had his worst game of the season, managing just 143 passing yards, 16 rushing yards, and no touchdowns. With Ezekiel Elliot rumbling his way to 150 yards and 2 TDs on the ground, and the Cowboys outscoring the Redskins 19-6 in the 2nd half, Prescott was relegated to more of a game manager role in this one.

Fantasy owners are getting top-5 QB production from Prescott this season, with an average of 28.04 fantasy PPG. Hopefully this was just a down week for the Cowboys QB, but things won't be any easier for him in Week 9 when he takes on the Chiefs at home.

Wendell Smallwood – Eagles: Smallwood is a guy many fantasy owners picked up back in Week 3 after the Eagles RB toted the ball 12 times for 71 yards. But since then, he's seen his carries decline in each of the next three games, culminating with just 1 carry for 5 yards this week. He did add 1 catch for 9 yards, which nearly doubled his total yards for the day.

LeGarrette Blount is clearly the RB1 in Philadelphia, for whatever that is worth in fantasy terms. If you still own Smallwood, it's time to cut him loose for the best available FA. 

Mike Gillislee – Patriots: Mike Gillislee is a guy everyone drafted in the hopes that he would take on Blount's old role, but that simply hasn't been the case. Through 8 games this season, Gillislee is averaging 12.25 carries per game, and is managing just 44.4 yards per game.

This week Gillislee accounted for 34 empty yards on 11 carries. He's now failed to put up double-digit fantasy points in his last 3 games, and hasn't scored since Week 2. With Rex Burkhead back in the mix, Gillislee now has to share carries with him and Dion Lewis. Without touchdowns to save his fantasy day, Gillislee is nothing more than bench depth for fantasy rosters.

Devin Funchess – Panthers: Devin Funchess showed us his ceiling back in Week 4 when he hauled in 7 catches for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Patriots. However, it has been all downhill since then with Cam Newton wildly inaccurate the past few games.

Funchess caught just 2 of 6 targets this week, finishing with 11 yards against the Buccaneers' generous secondary. Until Greg Olsen gets back in Week 12, the Panthers passing game will mostly consist of check-downs to Christian McCaffrey.  

T.Y. Hilton – Colts: Hilton is on pace to finish with 58 receptions, 1,054 receiving yards, and 2 TDs this season, his worst numbers since his rookie year. To be honest, I think the yardage total is a bit optimistic given the fact that Brissett has thrown for more than 250 yards just twice this season.

This week Hilton accounted for just 15 yards on 2 catches, his lowest yardage total of the year. If the Colts don't get Luck back this season, none of their WRs will be worth owning, in any format! 

Jordan Reed – Redskins: Reed almost made it through 2 quarters of play on Sunday without an injury… almost. Reed left late in the 2nd quarter with a hamstring injury, and the early word is he is already expected to miss Week 9 because of it.

Reed finished with 1 catch for 5 yards, and is no longer considered a must-start TE.  

Houston Texans defense: The Texans haven't been the dominating fantasy defense owners were hoping they'd be when they drafted them. The Texans have allowed 35-plus points in 3 games this season, and gave up 23 points in another. That means in 7 games this season, they've given up 20-plus points in more than half of them.

This week they gave up 35 points to the Seahawks, while totaling just 2 sacks and 1 interception. Because of the points, the Texans finished Week 8 with 0.00 points. Basically, you would have been no worse off if you had forgotten to swap out the Jaguars defense as you were with playing the Texans defense.

The Texans are on the streaming radar for Week 9, but only because they play the Colts' struggling offense.

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