Le’Veon Bell will finally become a free agent! After watching their star RB sit out last season because of his contract, the Pittsburgh Steelers are moving on. Reports are that Bell will become a free agent after the Steelers say they won’t use any tags on him. Le’Veon Bell will soon be able to choose where he’d like to next play football.
As an RB who’s obviously demanding a lot of money, Bell’s options are somewhat limited on where he can go. Because of his high salary demand, many have cited the following list in reference to Bell’s name. Why? This list holds the names of the top 10 teams with the most cap space this offseason. Chances are, Le’Veon Bell’s next destination is somewhere on this list.
Just because these 10 teams have the most cap space, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell. Not only is Bell wanting a high salary, he’s likely looking for a place where he can dominate carries, and more importantly, win football games. That limits the options on the above list. We’re going to break down this top 10 list, ultimately coming up with the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.
Round 1: Winning (Potential)
Of the list of top 10 teams with the most cap space, how many teams can really offer Le’Veon Bell a winning situation? The Colts, Texans, Seahawks and Cowboys were all in the playoffs this past season, so they automatically make it on to the next round.
Just because a team wasn’t in the playoffs last season, it doesn’t mean they can’t offer a winning situation. The Cleveland Browns were much improved this past season, and will likely continue their upward trend after a string a great moves last offseason. They’re an intriguing option, so we’ll move them on to round 2. The Jets only won four games a season ago, but Sam Darnold showed why he’s the next franchise QB for the Jets. They should be much improved next season, and Bell could help them get there, so we’ll include them too.
If I’m including the Jets, I have to include the 49ers. They were also 4-12 last season, but that was without their starting QB for most of the year. With Garoppolo back and some good moves this offseason, they should be much more competitive next season.
That leaves us with the Bills, Raiders and Bengals. Does anyone want to play for the Bills? No. Raiders? Definitely no. Bengals? I don’t think so. These three get eliminated, while seven teams move on in their quest to be the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.
Round 2: Bulk of the carries
We’ve got the Colts, Texans, Seahawks, Cowboys, Browns, Jets and 49ers left. Let’s get rid of some easy eliminations in this round. Which teams already have a featured RB?
Cowboys: Dallas has Ezekiel Elliott. I think Le’Veon Bell could fit in with this offense if used correctly, but he’s not going to want to share time with Zeke.
Browns: They’ve got a young RB in Nick Chubb. They also just signed RB Kareem Hunt. Not enough room for Bell in this backfield.
Texans: Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue make a pretty good combination. I don’t see room for Bell here.
Seahawks: Seattle has a 1,000 yard rusher in Chris Carson. They also have Mike Davis and Rashad Penny, who both ran for over 400 yards last season. Russell Wilson with Le’Veon Bell would be dangerous, but I don’t see it happening.
One could argue the Colts could be eliminated, but I’m not sure Marlon Mack is a true starting RB. I think he’s more of a really good backup. Four more teams have been eliminated, leaving us with the Colts, Jets and 49ers as the potential teams to be named the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.
Round 3: Best QB
The third and final round is too easy. The Colts have Andrew Luck, the Jets have Sam Darnold and the 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo. Going back to round 1, I gave the Jets and 49ers a pass because of their potential to win, but that heavily depends on how well Darnold processes and how well Garoppolo comes back from his injury.
If Le’Veon Bell wants to play with the best QB available, picking the Colts is the easy choice. An Andrew Luck and Le’Veon Bell combination would be lethal. Throw in T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron. Don’t forget about Marlon Mack being the backup RB. That’s quite the combination.
The Indianapolis Colts are the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell. They can give him everything he wants. They’ve got the most money to spend, a place where he can dominate carries, one of the best QBs in the league, and a place where he can win football games and have a real chance at competing for a Super Bowl title.
It’s not my decision to make, but if I’m Le’Veon Bell, the Indianapolis Colts are the team I’m pushing to play for.
Note:Article originally published in The Talon in November of 2018: Dacula High School’s newspaper and is published with permission.
Since the early 2000s, the New England Patriots have dominated the NFL, appearing in the Super Bowl eight times and winning five. Along with that, as a Chicago native, my beloved Bears were not doing so well, so it felt like every season was the same. But on Sep. 9, 2018, I witnessed two results which made me question my lack of interest in football. That was the Houston Texans losing to the New England Patriots 20-27 and the Green Bay Packers beating the Chicago Bears 23-24. Just like before, the Patriots won and the Bears lost, but this time, the wins for the Patriots and the Packers were much harder to achieve.
I was still questioning if football can really become this entertaining again, and if the Bears were really capable of challenging the top teams this season. But that weekend, two other surprising results posed new questions. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beating the New Orleans Saints 48-40 and the Pittsburgh Steelers tying the Cleveland Browns? After drafting running back Alvin Kamara from the University of Tennessee, the New Orleans Saints were not just massive favorites to top their division, but also to perhaps make a run to the Super Bowl. However, Tampa Bay’s signing of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick produced results with their offense, managing to score eight more than the Saints. The second result really put Pittsburgh to shame. The Cleveland Browns. The Browns. The team that had won only once in two years? Seriously Pittsburgh? They could not beat the Browns?
This result is promising, a promise of more competition, more fun, more unpredictability. As I started to renew my interest in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns played the New Orleans Saints, and nearly won. The Browns had reassured their seriousness this season, and despite not being able to win against the Steelers, they took on a far harder challenge and almost handed the Saints what would have been their second embarrassing defeat of the season. However, later that week, an even crazier result happened. Yet another tie took place, this time between rivals Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. After scoring 22 points in the final quarter, the Vikings fought the Packers to a draw in overtime, not only making the competition between these two teams fiercer, but also creating a new pathway for the other teams in the NFC North, the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions to move to the top.
That was exactly what happened. The Chicago Bears won their next three games, including a game-changing 17-24 victory against the Seattle Seahawks and a 10-48 thumping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and moved to number one in the NFC North. Today, Chicago’s arch-rival Green Bay is on the verge of not making the playoffs, a team who has made the NFL playoffs 13 times since 2001! However, it is not just the Bears who are having an incredible season. The Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans are all having really excellent seasons, with the Dolphins holding a 5-5 record and the Bengals and Titans boasting a 5-4 record (including a Titans’ massive 34-10 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 10).
Normally, by now, well over half-way into the season, it should have been easy to predict who will make the playoffs, if that has not been decided by now already. But right now, no team has clinched the playoffs. Even the Cleveland Browns, with their three wins, are still in contention for the playoffs. It is nearly impossible to predict exactly which team will compose the playoff bracket, as the competition is so tight. For example, in the AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins are all on five wins, but it is unlikely all three teams can make the playoffs, thus building a very interesting and tough concentration. In the NFC, the usually more competitive conference, five teams are all currently tied on four wins, with Super Bowl winners Philadelphia Eagles on the same level as the Dallas Cowboys right now. Because the “weaker” teams have been playing really well this season, giving trouble to the usual dominators of the NFL, even a team like the Oakland Raiders, with only one win, has not been eliminated from playoff contention yet (although it is highly unlikely they make it).
With only six weeks left, the playoff picture is still really blurry. Not only is it unclear as to which teams will make the playoffs, predicting the winners of the next few matches are going to be really difficult. For the first time in years, strong teams like the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks could be forced to give up their spots for teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears. All of this together makes for one of the best NFL seasons in the modern era, one of the most entertaining seasons, and most definitely one of the most heart-stopping.
If you’re a fan of the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns or Green Bay Packers, may God have mercy on your souls.
If you’re a fan of the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins or Cincinnati Bengals, I’m praying for you.
You might be a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If you are……well, something’s gotta give, right?
Days before the NFL’s Divisional Round kicks off, five of the eight teams searching for a new head coach have filled those vacancies. Only one of those hires comes within the range of “inspiring.” Three teams have yet to make a move, but two out of three of those teams appear to be headed toward the same realm of an uninspired hire.
The Cardinals have certainly taken the boldest route in the NFL coaching carousel, hiring Kingsbury away from USC, where he was hired as the offensive coordinator last month. Before that, he spent six seasons as the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, accumulating a career record of 35-40, including going 19-35 in Big XII play. In his first three seasons in Lubbock, he had two winning seasons. In his last three, he had zero.
So, why was he hired? Last year the Cardinals took quarterback Josh Rosen out of UCLA with the No. 10 pick in the first-round. Kingsbury is being viewed as a “quarterback whisperer,” akin to Bruce Arians (to whom we’ll get in a minute) and Rams head coach Sean McVay. Kinsbury first coached Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield at Tech, before then coaching Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. The Cardinals are banking on him getting the same type of production out of Rosen he did with Mayfield and Mahomes.
But being a head coach is so much more than that. Kingsbury has his work cut out for him with not only unlocking Rosen, but also fixing an offensive line that resembles Swiss cheese and re-tooling skill players that faltered in 2018.
Another point of praise for Kingsbury is that he only lost at Tech because he had bad defenses in the most pass-happy Power 5 conference. Well, guess what? The NFL is becoming more pass-happy by the second, and the Cardinals ranked 26th in points allowed and 20th in yards allowed defensively in 2018 under a defensive-minded head coach.
This NFL coaching carousel hire screams three things: lack of inspiration, lack of imagination and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, circa 2015.
Recall, after the 2015 season, the Bucs fired head coach Lovie Smith in order to promote offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who had been getting some looks for head coaching vacancies elsewhere. Bucs management/ownership went with Koetter, who had spent 2015 improving quarterback Jameis Winston’s play, because they felt that partnership would only grow.
Skip to now, and the Bucs just replaced Koetter with Arians after going 19-29 over the past three seasons with zero playoff appearances.
And that’s why Kitchens was hired. He spent half of 2018 as Baker Mayfield’s offensive coordinator and seemed to get the most out of the rookie signal-caller. Sure, Cleveland interviewed others, but an in-house promotion of a guy with only eight games under his belt as a coordinator is uninspiring. Though no other team looked at Kitchens as a head coach candidate, he would have been sought for offensive coordinator openings. That struck fear into the Browns ownership, so they kept him around the only way possible: with a promotion.
Coach Fired: Vance Joseph, two seasons, 11-21
Coach Hired: Vic Fangio, Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator
Let’s start with this: Fangio is an upgrade on Joseph. Joseph, who was the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator before coming to Denver, flat-out failed as a head coach. Fangio may very well succeed, but he’s got some rebuilding to do in Denver and the AFC West, a division that holds two of the four remaining AFC playoff teams in the Chargers and Chiefs.
Fangio will need to hire an excellent offensive coordinator, but he may not even get that chance. Word is that John Elway, Football Czar, may insert into that role former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, taking away from his new hire a chance to implement his own favored scheme in Denver.
But the problem bigger than the defense is the lack of identity on the opposite side of the ball. Undrafted running back Philip Lindsay was a great find, but the Broncos need a quarterback. Case Keenum is not the answer.
Will Fangio, a defense-first guy, choose to spend the No. 10 pick in the draft on a QB? Or will he force Elway to go defense?
After whiffing on a defensive hire last time around, it was surprising to see Elway go that route again. Now the pressure’s on him to give Fangio the tools he needs to succeed.
Green Bay Packers
Coaches Fired: Mike McCarthy, (mostly) 13 seasons, 125-77-2; Joe Philbin, four games, 2-2
Coach Hired: Matt LaFleur, Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator
Not to be confused with Peter LaFleur, Matt LaFleur just wrapped his second season as an offensive coordinator. His first came with the Rams in 2017 when he didn’t even call the plays. The 38-year-old then left for the Titans, where he called the plays for Mike Vrabel, leading the offense to rank 27th in points scored and 25th in yards.
But, hey, every team is looking for The Next Sean McVay. The Packers are betting the last years of Aaron Rodgers’ Canton-worthy career that LaFleur is it.
Good luck with that, Cheese Heads.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coach Fired: Dirk Koetter, three seasons, 19-29
Coach Hired: Bruce Arians, former Arizona Cardinals Head Coach
Surprisingly, of the five teams to have made their NFL coaching carousel hires, the Bucs are the only team who went with a retread, poaching Arians out of retirement to take over for Koetter as the next Jameis Winston Whisperer.
This isn’t a thrilling hire, especially when considering the team was linked, at times, to Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and outgoing Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, but it’s a solid one. In five seasons with the moribund Cardinals, Arians had three seasons of at least 10 wins, two playoff appearances, and even won a playoff game there. But in his last two seasons there, the Cardinals went 15-16-1. Yet, without him (and Carson Palmer), the team cratered to a 3-13 record.
Will he get the most out of Jameis Winston? Will anyone get the most out of Jameis Winston? Winston is entering his walk-year, so he’ll be playing for keeps. Sometimes, though, that hurts a team. Arians needs to find a solid running back (sorry, Peyton Barber) to fit in with Winston, tight end O.J. Howard and a solid receiving group led by Mike Evans.
The defense needs a lot of work, too, but Arians has already started the revamping by hiring former Jets head coach Todd Bowles as his new defensive coordinator.
Of the five hires thus far, this is the best.
In this NFL coaching carousel, the CincinnatiBengals are linked to Hue Jackson, because of course they are. But recently it’s been reported the team is intent on hiring one of these three coaches: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken or Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor. Any of those three would be a better call than Jackson.
The Miami Dolphins could be biding their time to make a play for one of the Harbaugh brothers, and hiring either of them would re-start a carousel, either in college or the pros. The Ravens are said to be working on an extension for John, and Jim’s said he’s staying at Michigan. But Miami’s owner, Stephen Ross, has big money to throw around. Surely, he could convince one of Jack Harbaugh’s sons to take over an essentially quarterback-less squad.
Mike McCarthy is rumored to be looking only at the New York Jets, but who else are they talking to? McCarthy won a Super Bowl with the Packers, but his final years in Green Bay left much to be desired. However, I don’t know that former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is a better alternative. The Jets need to get this right. The progression of last year’s first-round pick, quarterback Sam Darnold, depends on it. A dark-horse candidate would be Baylor’s Matt Rhule.
As the NFL coaching carousel continues, here’s to hoping Bengals, Dolphins and Jets fans come out happy. And football fans in general, too. Because so far, this round of the Coaching Carousel has been completely dull.
I’m ready for a surprise.
I’m ready for a coaching hire that rocks the NFL’s landscape. Make the NFL coaching carousel exciting!
A new year has come, and with it the many resolutions we swear to. Each year we promise we are going to go to the gym more, or see the world more. Some short lived, some we actually see through.
NFL teams have New Year’s resolutions just like us. Below I’ve provided you with the resolutions for every AFC team who did missed the playoffs. I decided to keep the playoff teams out, because it is pretty obvious what their resolution should be. Win a Super Bowl.
Just like ours, some are probably not going to be seen through, while others I think have a chance of happening up to the kickoff of 2019. Along with the teams, I also provided resolutions for each division and what they hope to accomplish for 2019.
Part two, the NFC resolutions will come out early next week.
Resolution: For any team but the Patriots to win the division next season
New England has had a stranglehold on the crown for ten years straight. I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s getting pretty old. No one has seemed to come close to the top. It really has made the division a laughing stock in the league. One has to assume the Patriots’ success has to be tied to the fact that New England plays the Bills, Jets and Dolphins twice a year. This year the Patriots’ road to clinching the division was through Buffalo and the Jets at home. The NFL will be a better place if just one team decides to be consistently competitive in the AFC East.
New York Jets
Resolution: Get Jim Harbaugh/No sophomore slump for Darnold
The Jets’ resolution is two parts. The first, the Jets have to do whatever it takes to ensure Sam Darnold does not go through a sophomore slump in 2019. They cannot afford to have Darnold regress in 2019 with a new coach. Darnold did not have an overly impressive rookie season. Though he had a bunch of bright spots, the Jets need Darnold to have a coming out party in 2019 to show 2018 was not a waste. Something good has to come out of this miserable season.
The second part of this resolution is in regards to the recent reports the Jets are pursuing Michigan’s Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Though the reports have been refuted by Ian Rappaport, Jets ownership has been supposedly going to make the Michigan man an offer he can’t refuse. One that is well north of his already lucrative seven million a year contract. If that part can happen, you can almost guarantee Darnold is going to take steps in the right direction in 2019. They just may be able to take over as the Kings of New York, at least for one year.
Resolution: Spoil Josh Allen
The Bills’ resolution revolves around taking care of their prized possession, Josh Allen. I am fairly confident Allen has proven to most he has all the tools and intangibles to be a productive quarterback. The issue is, he did not have the ability to display those skills on a consistent basis. He is not good enough to make bad receivers look good. Throwing the ball to the likes of Robert Woods or Zay Jones did not help out Allen at all. No offense to them, but they are not clear cut number ones who can change the course of a game. The Bills have struck out as of late trying to get viable weapons at the Wide Receiver positions. Drafting Sammy Watkins, who ended up being a bust. Making a trade for Kelvin Benjamin, which showed the front offices incompetency. They need to do better for Allen. If they can’t get someone to throw to, then write a big check on the insurance policy and revamp the offensive line. Do something that will help Josh Allen carry this franchise to success, not make it harder.
Resolution: Hire a coach with the intention of keeping them for more than three years
The Dolphins magically were on the cusp of a possible playoff birth with a few weeks remaining in 2018. The most inconsistent team in the NFL this year, the Dolphins looked like a dangerous playoff team one week, only to look like a team with no identity the next. The quick flashes of great play though were not enough to keep Adam Gase’s job, as he was fired a few days after their embarrassing 42-17 loss to the Bills.
The Dolphins are starting another off-season in the all to familiar position of finding a new head coach. They yet again let go of another coach after three seasons and mediocre numbers. Gase was 23-25 with one playoff appearance in three years. Wins matter, and owners have zero patience when it comes to waiting for them, so I get the move. 2019 has to be different for the Dolphins though. Thus their new year resolution has to be the either finding the right man for the job, who brings them back to the winning culture of the past, or they grow enough patience to at least give their new coach the time to get it right. I am not talking Marvin Lewis kind of time, but maybe four years, especially if they show some kind of promise. No Dolphins coach has lasted more than four seasons since Don Shula left in 1995. 2019 needs to be the year that changes.
Resolution: The Browns win the division next year
This resolution is pretty easy for me. The North has long been dominated by the Steelers and Ravens. There needs to be a change, since the Steelers are looking more like a circus than a football team and the Ravens are too boring for the NFL’s liking to be the face of the North. Enter Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. The North needs the Browns and Baker Mayfield to win the division in 2019 in a big way.
Resolution: DO NOT HIRE HUE JACKSON
So the Bengals already accomplished my resolution for 2019, which was to fire Marvin Lewis and just start over. I honestly didn’t think that it would actually happen, so I am kind of surprised. I figured the only way he was to leave was if he just resigned. But the Bengals finally decided they are better than being mediocre every year.
I naturally felt good for the city of Cincinnati and all of their fans. That was until I remembered they hired Hue Jackson earlier in the season. There is a big possibility of him being their next Head Coach. Jackson saw great success while he was their offensive coordinator, enough success that landed him the job in Cleveland. Judging by the fact Bengals ownership allowed Lewis to stay their head coach for 16 years, they just may pull the trigger on a familiar face and name.
So now my resolution for the Bengals has transformed into them NOT HIRING HUE JACKSON. If they were to do that, you can bet they would be winless against the Browns and probably every team during the duration of his tenure there. Based off of the Bengals’ track record, that may be a long time!
Resolution: Keep Gregg Williams as their Head Coach
The Browns are in unfamiliar territory. They are coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent memory and for once are going into an off-season with a lot of expectations. None of that will matter though if they decide to go in a different direction and get them a new head coach not named Gregg Williams.
The Browns clearly transformed once Jackson was let go and Williams took over. They adopted his demeanor and played with a relentless drive to win. Besides that, Williams, along with his offensive coordinator Eddie Kitchens, were able to harness Mayfield’s talent and bravado and turned it into a style that led men on and off the field. Williams is the perfect fit at head coach because his attitude matches his starting quarterback. No nonsense, “not here to make friends” mentality, that done right can result in many wins for a team and fanbase that has not seen many.
Resolution: Hope Ben Roethlisberger retires
It is time. The Steelers need an obvious shot of life right now. One of the most historic, iconic NFL franchises is being viewed as a joke right now. To many Steeler faithful, that is unacceptable.
Julius in Remember the Titans said it best when he told captain Gary Bertier that “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” The Steelers have a mixed bag of personalities, egos and talent that have brought them a long way, but the name that leads them all is their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The team goes as far as he does. Recently, though putting up gaudy numbers, his attitude and questionable leadership skills have been dragging down a proud organization and fanbase. From him putting everyone on retirement watch to him blowing his injuries out of proportion, to calling people out on radio shows, Big Ben’s attitude is rubbing off on the rest of the team finally and the Steelers need him out.
They need 2019 to be the year he exits the league on his own, because the Steelers will never let him go, so in turn they will continue to get worse.
Resolution: Prove they are a strong division
The South once again has two teams in the playoffs. An underrated division going into the season, the South has once again proven that in a dogfight, they will win. They need this momentum to carry forward into 2019 and make sure what we saw in 2017 and 2018 was not a fluke. Their division as a whole needs to be more competitive outside their own and prove the only reason why two teams represent the south for the second year in a row is not that of the fact that they have a weak division.
Resolution: Make people forget how bad the 2018 season was
I do not care what the Jaguars have to do, but they need to do something that makes their fans forget just how disappointing the 2018 season was for them. Very similar to when the Raiders went 6-10 in 2017 after going 12-4 with a playoff appearance the year before, the Jaguars came into 2018 with a tremendous amount of hype and expectations. Not only did they fall short to the lofty expectations, but they also managed to make 2018 into a train wreck, where there are more questions than answers.
Bortles was their answer, but now he is not. Fournette was poised to be the next great NFL running back to start 2018, but it ended with his future as a Jaguar in question. Jalen Ramsey was more worried about other teams’ quarterbacks other than his own. Their elite defense crumbled under the pressure of carrying their team once again to the playoffs.
The Jaguars need something to happen. Anything to happen to make everyone talk about something else and not how bad 2018 was in Jacksonville. From either firing their coach to making a big signing or trade, Jacksonville needs some kind of reprieve from the madness and aggravation.
Resolution: Make Marcus Mariota the main man
The Titans are a well-disciplined football team. They play smart fundamental football and take away a gutsy failed two-point conversion call late in the fourth because they did not want to tie against the Chargers, then I may be writing about the Colts right now instead.
Just like the Dolphins, the Titans played inspired football, only to follow it up with dismal performances which make you question which team is the real Titans. Part of their success is that they finally got Derrick Henry moving. He provided a jolt to the team and put an identity to them. The issue is though, Henry is not the answer. Mariota is. Until they provide him the weapons he needs, Tennessee will find themselves in this situation more often than not. They need to make sure that going into the 2019 season, Delanie Walker is not their number one weapon in the passing game. They need to make a big but smart splash in either free agency or the draft that builds Mariota’s confidence to see if he is the franchise quarterback they all thought he would be a couple of years ago.
Resolution: Their two playoff teams right now need to make it to the Super Bowl
This resolution is more for the teams who are in the playoffs right now, the Chiefs and Chargers. The West needs to have one of their two teams in Super Bowl, and at the very least make the AFC Championship. The Chiefs for the past couple of season have been on top of the division, only to be bounced out in their first playoff game. That cannot happen this year as the top dog in the AFC. The Chargers are riding the coattails of Philip Rivers in what could be his last chance of a Super Bowl. The Chargers have disappointed the West way too much in the past and could use a run from the second-best team record-wise in the AFC, but the fifth-ranked team in the playoffs.
Resolution: Build around Phillip Lindsey
When the Broncos have been successful, there has always been a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback behind it. When the Broncos made the Super Bowl, it was with either Elway or Manning under center.
Denver will not find that with Case Keenum. He is a game manager, not a game changer. There is nothing wrong with that though, as long as you have a good running back who can carry the load. The Broncos have struck out in recent memory with drafting running backs, so it is pretty ironic that the one they found success with is one they did not draft. Phillip Lindsey is a dynamic multi-faceted running back who played more of a role in Broncos’ victories than Keenum did.
Elway needs to realize this and bring in a coach who will build a system around him who will run first to set up the pass, which I think is the exact system Keenum will excel in. The question is, will Elway do this or try to sign a big-name quarterback?
Resolution: Settle on any place to play their home games this year that is not in San Francisco
It is well known the Raiders most likely played their last game in Oakland Coliseum. Yes, it is sad, but long overdue. The Raiders are the only NFL team who was still playing their home games on a converted baseball field. Though it helped win two of their games this year, they deserve a lot better. One of the solutions that was suggested was to have their home games played in Levi Stadium, which is the home field for the 49ers.
That is like recommending Michigan play its home games in Ohio State’s stadium. It is just a bad idea. The Raiders hate the 49ers and the Niners hate the Raiders. It is just how it is, and I do not see good things happening if the Raiders and Niners shared a field for 2019. Though it is not ideal, I would rather see them play at UNLV or even Bishop Gorman High School in Vegas (before you question my decisions just Google them and you will see their facilities rival those of top Division 1 football programs.)
Yes, I get the Raiders have a lot more problems than where to play, but if they want their loyal fans continuing to come, then they need to provide them with a better solution than playing at their rivals home.
There have been rumors recently of current Bengals head coach, Marvin Lewis, not being the head coach of the team much longer. These reports make sense, considering the Cincinnati Bengals started the season 4-1 and are now 5-6.
This isn’t the first time Lewis has been thought to be on his way out. Lewis has been the coach of the Cincinnati Bengals since 2003. Since taking over as head coach, Lewis has a record of 130-117 (52.6%). While he does have a winning record overall, Lewis has eight seasons in which he hasn’t led the team to the playoffs. Two of those seasons came in the last two years. This will likely be the third season in a row the Cincinnati Bengals don’t make the postseason.
Marvin Lewis did have a five year stretch where the Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs. He also led the team to the playoffs in two other years. Although Lewis has led the team to the playoffs seven times since 2003, he has yet to win a playoff game.
It makes sense for Lewis to soon be out as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. If he does leave that position, who will the Cincinnati Bengals replace him with?
Cincinnati Bengals considering Hue Jackson a big mistake
While the Bengals haven’t actually come out and said Hue Jackson is a candidate to be the head coach, their is a feeling around the league he will be. That means someone had to say it at some point. My first question is, what on earth are the Cincinnati Bengals thinking?
What qualifies Hue Jackson to be a head coach in the NFL? Is it his 3-36-1 record with the Cleveland Browns? Is it his 11-44-1 record as a head coach in the NFL? Maybe it’s the fact that the Browns just beat his new team (Cincinnati Bengals) 35-20 only weeks after his firing?
None of that qualifies Hue Jackson to be a head coach in the NFL. However, it does qualify Hue Jackson to never be considered as an NFL head coach again. Someone fresh off a 3-36-1 record in three years should never even cross someone’s mind for an NFL head coaching position. I honestly believe I could lead a team to a better record than that over a period of three years, and I have zero experience coaching football at any level.
Do the Cincinnati Bengals want to turn into the next version of the 0-16 Browns we saw last season? That’s the path they’re on right now by considering Hue Jackson as their next head coach.
Do the Bengals honestly believe Hue Jackson could take the team to heights Marvin Lewis never could? That’s a joke.
Hue Jackson’s place in the NFL
Hue Jackson has no qualifications whatsoever to make him the right choice for the next head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. However, he does have qualifications to be part of an NFL team.
When Hue Jackson hasn’t been a terribly unsuccessful head coach, he’s been an offensive coordinator or some type of position group coach. Before being the Browns’ head coach, Jackson was most recently with the Cincinnati Bengals as their offensive coordinator. That was back in 2014 and 2015. In those two seasons, the Bengals went 10-5-1 and 12-4, making the playoffs both years.
Hue Jackson has proven he can help a team win, but it hasn’t been as a head coach. If the Cincinnati Bengals hire Hue Jackson as their next head coach, it may be the biggest mistake they’ve ever made.
The fact that Jackson is even being rumored to be considered for this job blows my mind. The guy is a historically bad head coach in the NFL, yet he still has a chance to get a position many others are far more worthy of. Talk about a tank job.
Not too sure what the Cincinnati Bengals are thinking. If they know what’s good for them, they’ll stay far away from hiring Hue Jackson as their next head coach.
How did your week 9 fantasy football matchup go? I hope I was some kind of help in getting you on the winning side of things. I realized I did last week’s article before the trade deadline and that might have made a difference in some of the waiver wire additions.
Some of the additions may have played big roles in your lineup last week, or maybe in future weeks. How will Golden Tate impact the production of Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor in Philadelphia? They are coming off a bye week, so we’ll be able to see how this works out.
This week we have other teams on a bye and we’ll have to find a replacement for them. So let’s jump right in the huddle and make the big plays for the win this week.
Amongst the players on bye are QBs DeShaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum and Joe Flacco. This eliminates two of my regular waiver picks at QB, but let’s see who else is available.
Alex Smith, Washington Redskins, 50.9 percent availability
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, 46.2 percent availability
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, 85.3 percent availability
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 30.1 percent availability
Nick Mullens/C.J. Beathard, San Francisco 49ers, 99.2/95.1 percent
Okay, Smith didn’t have as great of a game as we expected against an Atlanta defense that showed up. But against a Tampa Bay defense that is one of the worst in the league, Smith and the Redskins could get back on track. Hopefully, the receivers will actually do something more for him.
Dalton is coming off a bye and will be taking on the 7-1 New Orleans Saints. But they aren’t that good because of their defense, so Dalton should still be able to have a productive day. Regardless of WR A.J. Green possibly missing some time, Dalton will find a way to connect with other players on the team and give himself about 15 to 18 fantasy points.
Mariota has found a way to still make himself relevant. He is coming off a tough defensive game against the Dallas Cowboys, where he still managed to play his game. What is that game, you ask? Mariota has been one of the best QBs in the league when it comes to managing games. That is of course when his team is in the game and the defense holds up. With the New England Patriots the next team on Mariota’s radar, we should all pay close attention to how things went down in their AFC divisional round game. Hopefully he will connect with Corey Davis on big plays again.
“Fitzmagic” is back and was one of the top added players in last week’s waivers. We could expect to see him start weekly as long as the offense is productive. He should be added to your roster before he’s no longer available. He also has a fairly decent schedule ahead of him. Fitzpatrick could lead most of us to the playoffs.
Okay, so I totally missed on Beathard because I didn’t think he was going to miss the game. Instead, Mullens lit up the Gruden-led Raiders. That’s why I have both of them as pickups. We will need to see who is going to start before adding one over the other. I personally want to see more out of Mullens. He could very well have another great game Monday night against the New York Giants.
But like the QBs, there are important running backs who are also on a bye. It’s a tough one for me because one of those players is Phillip Lindsay.
Remember how I told you I have a team full of PAC-12 players? Well, my only running backs are Christian Mccaffery and Lindsay. I had Marshawn Lynch until his injury and it has not caught up to me yet. I also kept adding Javarious Allen and Ty Montemgy from the waivers, but they are also on a bye this week. Along with teammate Alex Collins, Houston’s Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue, and Minnesota’s Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook.
So let’s see who is available to add this week at RB.
Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns, 50.5 percent availability
Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons, 68.3 percent availability
Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals, 66.9 percent availability
Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks, 81.5 percent availability
Okay, so I had Johnson in my ACC and then dropped him for WR Mike Williams. Hopefully I’ll be able to get him back. With the Browns making coaching changes, the offensive scheme might be changing in the favor of both RBs Nick Chubb and Johnson. It is also good for QB Baker Mayfield. So let’s add Duke back to our rosters and hope he can continue another great performance on a banged-up Atlanta defense.
For Richard and Martin, there is no clear-cut primary back. The Raiders’ offense doesn’t even look that great, but we expect them to use both running games to try to control the game on offense since their defense can’t stop nobody anyways. I personally like Richard over Martin as a pickup, especially in PPR leagues.
The Falcons have gotten themselves back to an even 4-4 record after their big win over the Redskins. Smith has been involved in a big way. He should continue to be involved with Devontae Freeman still on the injured reserved list. Adding Smith only means adding touchdowns, but isn’t that what we all need on our roster? A RB who can get us touchdowns when it matters the most is the biggest part of what we all want to do.
Bernard practiced for the first time on Monday and he could be ready to make a return to the field for the Bengals. This is coming at a good time, with Green likely to miss those two games. If Bernard does return and could play, I expect the Bengals to use him a lot on passing downs. Let’s keep an eye on him to make sure he does come back to the team, because we already know he will have a huge role in the team’s offense.
Davis has been proving himself worthy of a roster spot, not only for the Seahawks, but on our fantasy lineups too. Davis stepped in for teammate Chris Carson, who missed the second half of their loss against the Chargers this past week. Before adding Davis, let’s keep an eye on the status of Carson.
Davis has had two great games earlier this season that came off of injuries to Carson and rookie RB Rashaad Penny. With Penny struggling, Davis will continue to be on the field. I expect him to be a huge part of the Seahawks’ offense, especially when they take on the Los Angeles Rams.
Let’s also remember to find a replacement for our WRs on bye. The big receivers on bye this week are Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton (a missed waiver add from last week), Minnesota’s Stephon Diggs and Adam Thielen, Baltimore’s John Brown and Willie Snead IV, and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas.
So let’s see what receivers are available for us to add this week.
Mike Williams, San Diego Chargers, 72.7 percent availability
Tre’Qaun Smith, New Orleans Saints, 83 percent availability
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers, 79.3 percent availability
Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 97.3 percent availability
Although the Arizona Cardinals’ offense has been pretty bad, there is a lot of room for growth and chemistry between what looks to be the future of the organization. During their bye last week, the Cardinals cut QB Sam Bradford, ensuring the QB job will remain with rookie QB Josh Rosen. With Rosen at QB, that gives Kirk more opportunities as well. Kirk was drafted to be the second option behind lifelong Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald. Kirk has done a great job and he will continue to increase his stats.
Williams is also one of those receivers who has been an on and off again type of receiver. With the Chargers’ next opponent being the Oakland Raiders, we could expect to see a lot more of Williams in the end zone and maybe even getting himself some huge plays. Let’s face it, Rivers loves to throw that ball all around the offense. Everyone on the Chargers should have a good day as they look to advance to 7-2 on the season.
With no second option WR for the Saints yet, Smith is getting a lot of opportunities with this explosive Saints offense that has knocked out the undefeated Rams. As long as Brees continues to put up MVP numbers, all the players on the offense should be very much involved in their plans, so make sure you add him to your roster.
Valdes-Scantling has been a nice piece for the Packers, as they have been struggling to get the important wins. The Packers have also been without Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb for several games. Scantling has been one of the favorite targets for QB Aaron Rodgers, but let’s see what happens when Allison does return.
Humphries might be the risky pick this week. I mean, who on the Buccaneers isn’t a risky pick? Fitzpatrick has brought the magic back to Tampa Bay. With that he has opened up a lot more opportunities in the Buccaneers offense. Humphries was the benefactor of that last week and we expect to see all the WRs get their targets, especially with the run game that has been non existent for most of the season.
How about your tight ends? Who did you have replacing Zach Ertz? I used Ed Dickson from my waiver list last week and got 0 points from him. I still managed to get win though. I wouldn’t take that risk again. In fact, the players on this week’s list should be a good addition to the team. The only major TE on bye this week is Kyle Rudolph. The way he’s been struggling, I’m sure you already have a replacement for him. If not, let’s take a look at the list.
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts, 59 percent availability
Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints, 51.9 percent availability
Nick Vannett, Seattle Seahawks, 97.5 percent availability
Chris Herndon, New York Jets, 89.4 percent availability
Doyle looks healthy coming off the bye and is expected to be a TE1. That makes him a must-add. I don’t think it will effect the performance of teammate Eric Ebron either. QB Andrew Luck will be relying on Doyle and Ebron a lot, like he has been this season. Both players become red zone threats and could easily give you 15 + points this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I do expect the Jaguars to put pressure on Luck, which makes him drop down to the TEs a lot more, so let’s see how this goes.
Watson is benefiting by the Saints not having a true WR2. We all know the Saints love to pass the ball and are one of the most explosive offenses in the league. We expect to see Watson get his targets.
Vannett was the reason why Dickson got me no points. Vannett might have taken over the primary role has TE1 on the Seahawks’ depth chart. That makes him a big target, especially in the red zone. The Seahawks’ offense will look to bounce back against the Rams and keep their chances of the playoffs alive. Vannett could be a big factor in that game.
McDonald and Herndon will probably remain on the waivers list for the rest of the season. Neither one of them had a great week last week, but this week should be different. They have favorable matchups and could be a good roster filler for the playoffs in our leagues.
Good luck to all the fantasy football players this week! Hope you can put together the best lineup to win your matchup in Week 10!
After dealing with another week of disappointment, it’s time to look at the waivers, especially for those who are like me and have more than one player on a bye. We also hope that injures don’t shorten the season for some of our top players.
One of those top players is Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper, who left the game in London against the Seattle Seahawks with an injury. Fortunately, he and the Raiders are heading into the bye, so that should give him time to get healthy. That’s the same of the Green Bay Packers WR’s Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, who have both missed the last two weeks with injuries.
The Seahawks’ WR Doug Baldwin missed the first three games of the season with an injury before returning, but he’s still trying to get reconnected with QB Russell Wilson. Let’s not forget that Pittsburgh Steelers’ RB Le’Veon Bell said he would report to the Steelers in week 7. So the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. All four of those teams are still fighting to keep their season alive.
How about your season? You still alive in hopes of making the playoffs? Do you have any player from the four teams on bye and need a replacement? I’m here to help you figure out what moves to make again this week.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears, 67.2 percent availability
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, 37.7 percent availability
Jamies Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 42.9 percent availability
Alex Smith, Washington Redskins, 41.1 percent availability
Eli Manning, New York Giants, 88.8 percent availability
Trubisky has suddenly found his way and is moving the ball around to his receivers and running backs. He will remain on this list for the next few weeks. This week he faces the New England Patriots, who have allowed big games to every QB they’ve faced who not named Ryan Tannehill, so we should expect one from Trubisky as well.
Dalton is in a similar situation. He has the Bengals offense rolling, and with their next opponent being the Kansas City Chiefs, who are one of the worst defenses in the league, Dalton should have himself another great day.
Winston played a great game against Atlanta until the end. His next opponent is the Cleveland Browns, who have actually been better than they look, but Winston should have some success off the young defense as long as he can find the connection with his receivers.
Smith bounced back nicely against the Carolina Panthers and will look to continue to improve. It won’t be easy, seeing that he has to face the tough defense of the Dallas Cowboys. If Adrian Peterson can continue to run and help Smith control the game, he should have better numbers. The Redskins could find some big plays to their receivers like Paul Richardson, who is emerging as the favorite option for Smith.
Eli, Oh, Eli! Let’s be honest, this is the biggest risk taking add you can do. But it may be a high reward considering the opponent is the Atlanta Falcons, who haven’t been the same defense since week one with all the injuries they have faced.
Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns, 55.3 percent availability
Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles, 37.9 percent availability
Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 57 percent availability
Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons, 86.3 percent availability
For some reason Duke Johnson is available in more than half the leagues. I know he isn’t the primary back, but he is used a lot on passing downs. With the receiving core struggling to move the ball down field, Johnson could be a sleeper. Playing against the Buccaneers should only open up more opportunities for him, but if you don’t trust him yet, still stash him on the bench for later use.
How Clement is still on the waivers in some many leagues beats me. I guess it’s because he played on a short week and his status was unclear. But now we know the status is Clement as the primary back, or at least until he’s not productive. Honestly, if you have the space on your roster, why not just add him and Smallwood? Playing Carolina on Sunday, both backs could be involved heavily.
Has Barber finally gotten himself to where the Buccaneers wanted him? It’s still a big question, but he did scored a touchdown in their last game. If Winston continues to involve Barber in the passing game, then his value would only rise. Expect a heavy dose of Barber against the Browns defense.
Murray has done a nice job filling in for Dalvin Cook while he’s been out with an injury. If Cook remains out, Murray will get the workload again. Despite Cook’s injuries, he hasn’t been producing like the team had hoped. Murray may still get some touches and snaps that could be important to the game. I would still add Murray, but keep an eye on the availability of Cook before starting him.
Now Smith is a different story. With Devontae Freeman likely out again week 7, Smith will continue to play a huge role in the running game of the Falcons. He has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games and could likely get one Monday night against the terrible Giants defense. I would only start him as a low-flex in all leagues unless you absolutely need an RB2 because of bye week and injury.
Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears, 68.2 percent availability
Mohammed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons, 36.8 percent availability
Albert Wilson, Miami Dolphins, 94 percent availability
With all the receivers who have a bye this week, it is important to make sure you have a solid replacement who you may be able to trade away for value. Westbrook is one of those guys. He’s Bortles’ primary target and has the speed to out run the defenders. In the game against Houston, he’ll have a tough challenge trying to get free from Texan’s CB Jonathan Joseph. But we do expect him to get a lot of targets and have himself a nice day, so do consider adding him off the waivers if you haven’t done so already.
Coutee may have been quiet last week, but that will change this week. With the Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey upset about the way he played against the Dallas Cowboys, he’ll be looking to shut down DeAndre Hopkins, which means Coutee should be available more often in this game as long as QB Deshaun Watson can connect with him again.
Like I said about Trubisky, the Chicago Bears offense is turning out to be something, and Gabriel has been a factor in that. Coming off back to back weeks, Gabriel and Trubisky are connecting well. With the Patriots’ defense giving up so many yards, Gabriel could be on the receiving end of a nice game for the Bears. If you have Robinson, I’d still start him over Gabriel, but Gabriel is a nice flex-like player.
Gabriel’s former teammate, Mohammed Sanu has made an appearance on the list. As of right now, we don’t know the status of rookie WR Calvin Ridley after suffering an injury late in their win over Tampa Bay. With that being unknown, Sanu, who was already involved in the Falcons’ offense, could have a bigger role.
Wilson has been one of the main targets for the Dolphins’ QBs this year. With the team struggling on offense, they likely use him in a lot of different ways to try and get something going. We’ve already seen him throw a big touchdown and catch several more. In the game against Detroit, we should expect to see Wilson have a big game again with the attention being placed else where, but since he’s third on the depth chart, I wouldn’t be to jumpy in wanting to add him to my lineup.
Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons, 75.3 percent availability
O. J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 63.5 percent availability
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 83.4 percent availability
C. J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals,89.7 percent availability
Hooper is now considered one of the top TEs in the league heading into week 7. As much as the Falcons’ offense has struggled to score points, Hooper should be considered a must start at TE or even flex if you another TE who is good.
Howard or Brate? Why not both? I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about both tight ends. They both scored touchdowns last week, but Howard got more yards and catches. I don’t see anything wrong with grabbing the both of them either. Winston loves to throw it to his TEs, as we have seen over the years. They could very well have a good game, seeing how that’s one of the weaknesses of the Browns’ defense. So look at both as possible starts this week if you absolutely need them.
Uzomah seems to be taking over the primary TE position since Tyler Eifert has been out. He’s not really one of Dalton’s favorite targets, but he could give you a good amount of yards. If you’re in a PPR, he’ll give you more with the receptions. Uzomah is still a must watch. He shouldn’t be started, but if you happen to have a great team and need a TE to fill a roster spot, I would go with Uzomah if the rest are not available.
Seals-Jones is slowly starting to became one of the top receiving guys for rookie QB Josh Rosen. Since Rosen has been the QB, Seals-Jones’ production has increased. Despite the win over the 49ers two weeks ago, because that was all David Johnson. I do expect to see him continue to have a continuous role in the Cardinals’ offense, who are still trying to figure things out. I wouldn’t be afraid to add and start him on a team that has Jimmy Graham or Jared Cook on a bye.
Good luck to all the fantasy football players. Hope you can put together the best lineup to win your matchup this week!
Another week of some fantastic football is here, and we are all looking forward to adding those players to help us continue our seasons as well. Out of the six leagues I have, four of them went down to the final seconds of the Monday night game. Another one came down to the Houston Texans defense trying to get me 15 points after I benched Andrew Luck for Marcus Mariota. I lost by six. Had Packers kicker Mason Crosby not missed field goals, I could’ve had the much-needed win.
And now I have to deal with the bye week again, after finally getting all my players back. The only player on bye for me is Detriot Lions WR Marvin Jones. All the Lions players like QB Matt Stafford, WR Golden Tate, and RB Kerryon Johnson will be on a bye. But there is another team on bye as well. The New Orleans Saints and their explosive offense will also be relaxing for the week. That means you’ll most probably need a replacement for QB Drew Brees, RB Alvin Kamara and WR Micheal Thomas. So let me try to help you figure it out again this week.
Case Keenum, Denver Broncos, 83.4 percent availability
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears, 73.4 percent availability
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, 43.4 percent availability
Jamies Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 87.5 percent availability
Bortles and Keenum are weekly additions every week. It seems like they are only here for bye weeks, and this might be the week where we need one of them with Brees and Stafford getting some rest. Bortles plays a surprising decent Dallas defense that hasn’t given up many points. But if given the time, he could find a way to have a good game, especially if he continues to move out of the pocket to make plays. Keenum has relied a lot on the run game and his three running backs, but he has still managed to average at least 18 points in Fantasy a game. He still has two of the top receiving weapons and could look to beat the Rams. It might even be possible if Keenum can take advantage of the injuries to the Rams team, and also if you don’t need him now, just keep an eye on how he plays against arguably the best defensive team in the NFL this year.
Trubisky is coming off a monster game in week 4 against the Buccaneers before heading into the bye week. He and his offense plan to continue their winning ways and remain on top against the Dolphins. I don’t expect him to get 50 fantasy points against the Dolphins because their defense is much more robust than the one Tampa Bay doesn’t have.
Dalton might have been slowed down a bit against the Carolina Panthers a few weeks ago, but this week he and the Bengals light up the Miami Dolphins after a slow start. They finished strong and now look ahead to a Pittsburgh Steelers team that is still trying to find themselves. The Bengals are 4-1 despite all the injuries they have on offense, and as long as Dalton and A.J. Green are both healthy together, he is a must-add in all leagues.
For Winston, it’s merely taking a chance on him after a bad performance in his return from suspension against the Bears. This week Winston has the beaten, bad Atlanta Falcons defense. We hope to have a good performance from him as he looks to show why he deserves to be the starting QB, not only for the Buccanneers, but for our fantasy teams as well.
Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts, 53.1 percent availability
Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks, 85.5 percent availability
Alfred Blue, Houston Texans, 84.5 percent availability
Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles, 92.5 percent availability
AlfredMorris, San Francisco 49ers, 50.3 percent availability
It seems like the Colts and Seahawks have their guy after a quarter of the season. Both teams have been going with the running back by committee approach, but Hines and Davis have set themselves apart from the rest. Hines is really connecting with QB Andrew Luck in the passing game and also from the line of scrimmage as the solo back. It will be interesting to see what Hines, as a solo back, could do in the passing game against the New York Jets, who gave up 95 yards receiving and 91 yards rushing to the three running backs of the Broncos. Davis still looks to be fighting for the primary role as lead back with Chris Carson and Rashad Penny still in the mix, but Davis has the hot hands over the past two weeks. While your lineup is missing Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Kerryon Johnson are on bye, you may be able to use him, especially with their next opponent being one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. That opponent is the 1-4 Oakland Raiders, who have allowed multiple rushing touchdowns in every week thus far. If that’s not a good enough reason to add him, then I don’t know what is.
Blue and Smallwood are players to keep an eye on, but still look to be crucial pieces to their offenses. Blue has done an excellent job this season filling in for starter Lamar Miller, who has been dealing with injuries. We expect to see him do more for the team, even with Miller likely to return. I mean, if you haven’t been watching, Miller is kind of struggling to get anything done. Adding Blue to your roster that already includes Miller is a smart way to keep you from losing an RB2.
Smallwood’s stock has risen with the recent news about Jay Ajayi being placed on the injured reserve list. Of course, Corey Clement is still there, but he missed last week due to his own injury. Sorry for those who added him thinking he might have played. I think Smallwood is still the safer of the two Eagles running backs to add because he seems to be able to stay healthy and he can help Wentz move the ball downfield.
Morris was signed by the Niners when Jerrick McKinnon got injured and placed on the IR a week before the season started. He has struggled to have things go his way. While he was sharing the workload, he still managed to get some of the work. Fortunately, Morris’ workload is likely to increase with the recent injury to his fellow running back. Although Breida does not have a high sprain ankle injury, he may still miss their next game against the Packers on Monday night. I would add Morris to my lineup as a handcuff to Breida if available, and wait to see what the status may be.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers, 66.6 percent availability
Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers, 65.7 percent availability
Ryan Grant, Indianapolis Colts, 84.5 percent availability
This list didn’t change much! Westbrook is still one of the top passing targets for Blake Bortles. He should be an option on your roster as a flex play since he is the primary target on the Jaguars. But I would still keep an eye out on Keelan Cole and Donte Moncrief as well. Coutee is quickly emerging as the second option on the Texans behind DeAndre Hopkins. He should be a must add to all rosters, especially with their matchup against the Bills, who have done an excellent job shutting out the top WR on the opposing team. That means Coutee’s targets should increase. Also, don’t forget about Will Fuller IV, who is still trying to get himself connected with QB Deshaun Watson again like he did last year.
Mike Williams has been a solid pick up thus far in fantasy, and he had been producing yards and touchdowns until their last game against the Oakland Raiders, but the team got ahead quickly and leaned on the run to maintain that lead. Their next opponent is the 2-2-1 Cleveland Browns, who are looking to continue their winning ways. I could see this as a game where Williams looks to contribute to the offense again, and he is a clear receiving option for QB Phillip Rivers behind Keenan Allen and the pair of running backs (Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler).
Allison did not play the last game because of a concussion, and it hurt the Packers’ offense in a big way. Both he and Randall Cobb missed the Packers loss against to Lions that saw Crosby miss four field goals. We hope Crosby and the Packers could bounce back nicely against the Niners on Monday night. Allison is hopefully going to play on Monday night. He will definitely be a big part of the offense, and he should be a big part of your offense as well.
Whether T.Y. Hilton plays against the Jets or not, Grant is still the next best option. Yes, I have Grant over Ebron. I mean, of course Ebron is the touchdown guy in the red zone, but Grant will make the big plays like he did against the Patriots and Texans.
David Njoku, Cleveland Browns, 31.3 percent availability
Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons, 75.3 percent availability
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 83.4 percent availability
C. J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals,89.7 percent availability
Njoku is already in most leagues, but if you happen to find one league where he’s available, then you should stash him on your bench even if you don’t need him. I mean, this week you shouldn’t be in a big need for a TE, with no one crucial going on bye. Njoku should also be a start in most leagues. If you happen to have had Austin Serefian- Jenkins or Will Dissly on your team, you are missing out.
McDonald did not have a tremendous weak against the Falcons. Instead, it was Big Ben finding Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster in a huge win that was much-needed. I expect the Steelers to use McDonald a bit more in their next matchup against division rival, Bengals. But with all the rest of the pieces on offense clicking, it may be hard to find him some targets.
Hooper is still continuing to put up solid numbers, and we should continue to see those numbers at a constant rate. With Freeman back in the rotation, Hooper and the Falcons can spread the ball around even more than before. But everyone is still waiting for that Julio Jones touchdown.
Cameron Brate hasn’t done too much this season, but with Winston back, his stock has already risen. We got to see a small sample size of what we saw a lot of last year between the two. And the good thing is — you won’t have to worry about the bye week with him because it’s already over. Think about adding Brate and Winston to your lineup this week against the Falcons, especially since it’s going to be a shootout.
Uzomah still isn’t the best tight end on the Bengals’ roster, but I have him ahead of Kroft in the importance of fantasy. Uzomah can easily find the gaps and become explosive in the red zone. He’s not going to be Eifert, but with the weak secondary of the Steelers, he may find himself in the end zone this week.
I hope you have better luck this week than last if you lost, and you start turning your season around if it’s not going well. Good luck to all the fantasy football players. Hope you can put together the best lineup to win your matchup this week!