It's coming down to it; we're about three weeks from the start of most fantasy football playoffs. How are you doing? Are you in need of a win the next couple of weeks? This week, hopefully, you'll find that much needed win to get you into the playoffs. Let's take a look at how we did in week 10, before checking out the bold predictions for week 11.
Week 10 Fantasy Results - Hot Sauce
Blake Bortles - 202 yards passing, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 3 rush yards. BURNED
LeGarrette Blount - 19 touches, 124 total yards, 0 TDs. ON FIRE
Jonathan Stewart - 19 touches, 39 yards, 1 TD. BURNED
Michael Thomas - 5 catches, 68 yards, 0 TDs. BURNED
Cameron Meredith - 4 catches, 49 yards, 0 TDs. BURNED
Week 10 Fantasy Results - Weak Sauce
Derek Carr - 295 yards passing, 3 TDs, 1 INT. BURNED
Jay Ajayi - 19 touches, 84 total yards, 0 TDs. Mild Sauce
Mark Ingram - 10 touches, 75 total yards, 0 TDs. Mild Sauce
Jordy Nelson - 3 catches, 29 yards, 1 TD. ON FIRE
Jordan Matthews - 5 catches, 59 yards, 0 TDs. ON FIRE
How We Stand
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Josh McCown, QB, Cleveland Browns vs New York Giants
Josh McCown isn't great by any stretch of the imagination, but the Cleveland Browns are a better team with him in the game. Sure, the Browns are still winless, but McCown did lead them to two 20-point games in weeks two and eight.
In week two they lost by five to the stout Baltimore Ravens defense, and in week eight, they lost by three to the New York Jets. Those were his only two starts of the season, and in those games he managed quarterback ratings above 70.
McCown has the ability to make some plays in the passing game, and if he is able to get any time this week against a New York Giants pass defense that allows 262 yards passing per game, then he has a chance to lead the Cleveland Browns to their first win of 2016.
With Andrew Luck in the concussion protocol and Jay Cutler likely out for the season, McCown is a solid stream option in 12-team or deeper leagues.
Flavorful Forecast: 270 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints
Boy has it been a tough season for a running back who was drafted in the top five overall in most fantasy football leagues. Todd Gurley just hasn't been able to get going in 2016 after a tremendous rookie season.
Only twice during the 2016 season has Gurley carried the ball for more than four yards per carry. This week in New Orleans, he will have a good opportunity to break out, and if it is ever going to happen, this is going to be the week.
Los Angeles has the defense to be able to keep the game close enough for Gurley to get some carries and New Orleans is tied for second with the most rushing touchdowns allowed (13) in the NFL.
Flavorful Forecast: 22 touches for 96 yards and 1 touchdown.
Wendell Smallwood, RB, Philadelphia Eagles vs Green Bay Packers
The Philadelphia Eagles have been decimated by injuries to their running back situation, but even before that, Wendell Smallwood was carving out a nice role for himself in the Philadelphia backfield. Over the last couple of games, Smallwood saw 13 carries per game and last saw as many as 17 touches.
Philadelphia's offense has been struggling to get anything consistent going for the last several months, but Smallwood has some big-play ability. Against Green Bay's poor defense that just saw Rob Kelley run for 137 yards and three touchdowns, Smallwood is a must-start for me in week 12.
Flavorful Forecast: 20 touches, 100 total yards, 1 touchdown.
Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins
Cole Beasley continues to keep his career-setting pace. In all but two games this year Beasley has seen at least six targets and is averaging 5.3 catches a game and 59 yards. He's been good for five touchdowns in 10 games and continues to show strong chemistry with Dak Prescott.
This week against Washington, it's likely that Dez Bryant gets the Josh Norman (pass interference) treatment leaving the secondary options like Cole Beasley.
I'd expect Beasley to turn in another solid performance and will have a chance to find the end zone as well.
Flavorful Forecast: 7 catches for 77 yards, 1 touchdown.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins vs San Francisco 49ers
I may be a little late to the party on DeVante Parker, but he has started to break out the last couple of weeks. In the last two games, Parker has led the Miami Dolphins with 8+ targets and had either 100 yards or a touchdown.
The San Francisco 49ers are the second worst team in the NFL having allowed 23 touchdown passes over their 10 games. Miami should be able to do whatever they want to against a poor 49ers defense that is giving up 250 yards passing per game.
Look for Parker to continue his strong second half of the season.
Flavorful Forecast: 6 catches, 90 yards, 1 touchdown.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
Kirk Cousins is certainly on a roll at this point in the season. He has been playing good football, posting a passer rating of 97 or better in his last four games and 106 or better in three of his last four. Washington has won six of their last eight (one loss and one tie mixed in there) after losing their first two games of the season.
On a short week against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has done a pretty good job in coverage this season, I'm expecting Cousins to have a flop of a game.
Dallas is in the middle of the pack in passing yards allowed and net yards/attempt, but they're in the top-five in scoring defense, having only allowed 18.7 points per game. Washington may be able to move the ball, but they aren't going to score against the Dallas Cowboys this week like they did Green Bay in week 11.
Flavorless Forecast: 240 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions.
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans vs San Diego Chargers
Lamar Miller isn't having a bad season. He's actually been pretty good for the Houston Texans. Unfortunately, for someone who was drafted in the late-first or second round, his production has been a bit lacking, especially in the touchdown department.
With only three touchdowns in nine games, he isn't having the season that many predicted after going to a run-heavy offense where he would be the featured back.
This week he faces the San Diego Chargers, who have been pretty good at keeping running backs from getting a lot of yards as they rank fifth in total rushing. Oddly, though, they've allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL with 14.
So what are we to make of a team that only allows 3.9 yards per carry but the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL? That San Diego is good against the run between the 20's, but when it gets down to the red zone, they don't hold.
With Brock Osweiler having his struggles at quarterback, I'm not sure the Houston Texans are going to get the ball into the red zone often enough to give Miller a chance to score touchdowns.
Flavorless Forecast: 20 touches for 70 yards.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans @ Chicago Bears
DeMarco Murray has resurrected his career since being traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Tennessee Titans. The former Dallas Cowboys running back has been absolutely dynamic after being placed in a power running scheme again.
This week though, he's looking at a Chicago Bears defense that has become a brick wall.
Since the Dallas Cowboys rushed for 199 yards against the Bears in week three, Chicago has only allowed three teams to rush for more than 80 yards in the last seven games. That's pretty solid, if you ask me.
With Murray facing a team that allows only 3.7 yards per carry, I'd be concerned about his production this week.
Flavorless Forecast: 18 touches, 68 total yards.
Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings
The Detroit Lions are in first place in the NFC North, which has a lot to do with their offense finding a rhythm over the last several weeks of the season.
One reason for that has been Golden Tate, who had been mostly absent over the first five weeks and then erupted in weeks 6-9.
Over that four week stretch, Tate saw 43 targets and caught 31 passes for 379 yards, and two touchdowns. He fell back down to earth against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 11 only posting three catches for 27 yards on four targets.
The Minnesota Vikings are much better against the pass than the Jacksonville Jaguars and have a better pass rush as well. Look for Tate to come up empty in the box score this week against a Vikings team that is desperate for a win.
Flavorless Forecast: 4 catches for 35 yards.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Seattle Seahawks
Aside from Mike Evans, there isn't a whole lot to like about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense.
They've struggled to keep running backs healthy, and their wide out core doesn't have much to scare a defense like the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle will very likely look to take Evans away and make the rest of the Buccaneers offense, led by Jameis Winston, beat them.
Seattle has only allowed eight passing touchdowns this season and have intercepted opposing quarterbacks nine times in their ten games, while only allowing on average about 230 yards passing.
Tampa Bay isn't able to do much unless they throw the ball, and they are going to have a difficult time doing that this week.
Flavorless Forecast: 4 catches, 60 yards, no touchdowns.
Waiver Wire Adds For Week 12
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams - Yep, I'm gonna go there. The bye weeks are over, so you don't need him as a fill in, but if your QB1 has a bad matchup and you need a boom or bust play, you could do worse than Goff facing the New Orleans Saints who have not been great on defense this year.
Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks - In the off chance that Rawls is available on your waiver wire, he is the top priority this week. He'll get volume in the Seattle Seahawks offense. Add him at all costs.
Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles - The Philadelphia Eagles backfield just took a turn with potential long-term injuries to Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews. Smallwood is going to get a huge opportunity against a Green Bay Packers team that is not very good against the run.
Mike Gillislee, Buffalo Bills - We did this dance a few weeks ago, but Gillislee becomes another important add as feature back LeSean McCoy had surgery on a broken thumb Sunday night. With no time table in place for McCoy's return at the moment, Gillislee looks to have a decent opportunity for run-heavy Buffalo.
Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears - Langford still sits behind Jordan Howard on the Chicago Bears depth chart, but Langford saw 11 touches and was able to score a touchdown through the air.
Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati Bengals - LaFell is the most experienced receiver on a Cincinnati Bengals team that is now decimated by injury with the loss of AJ Green and Giovani Bernard. Saw nine targets in week 11.
Malcolm Mitchell, New England Patriots - With Chris Hogan ailing, Mitchell turned five targets into 98 yards and a score against the San Francisco 49ers in week 11. As he gains the trust of Tom Brady, Mitchell will see an expanded role.
Tight Ends of Note - If you lost Zach Miller for the season like I did yesterday, you might be looking for some options off of the waiver wire. At this point in the season you aren't going to find much, but you want to look for players with opportunity. To me those players are Vance McDonald (SF), Lance Kendricks (LA), and Charles Clay (BUF), in that order. They aren't great options by any means, but they are the best available in my opinion.
Is Dak Prescott a Player to Avoid in Fantasy Football in 2018?
For the Dallas Cowboys, the plan is to stick with Dak Prescott to hopefully turn him into a successful long-term franchise quarterback. Going into his third year in the league, this could be a season that defines his future on America's Team.
However, after the entire team struggled in 2017 while trying to overcome several key absences (including Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith), Prescott's level of play has been questioned by plenty around the league. Fans, analysts and writers everywhere aren't as sure as they were in 2016 about the quarterback's future.
And now, according to NFL.com, Fantasy Football players should beware of drafting Dak Prescott once their "friendly" (we all know they're anything but friendly) seasons begin.
Earlier this week, NFL.com Fantasy Editor Marcas Grant published an article telling us ten players to avoid for the 2018 Fantasy Football season. Perhaps it may come as a surprise to some that Dak Prescott is in there among names like Ty Montgomery and Jack Doyle. You can read his full article here.
To be honest, I see his point here.
It's more than fair to say that it's not going to be an easy year for Dak. He's got to prove a lot in a year that could have a juicy extension at the end of it. After going through a sort of an expected sophomore slump, Prescott's third year in the NFL should be his best one yet.
There's a big but, though. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are long gone, leaving Dak Prescott with a promising yet unproven set of pass catchers.
Will a dominant running game led by five great offensive linemen and Ezekiel Elliott be enough to help Dak and the rest of the offense? Probably. but how much will Prescott be able to accomplish?
Through a painful 9-7 season in which the Cowboys never seemed to be able to find a steady pace, #4's stats took a hit. Here are his numbers from his two years in the pros:
- 2016: 311 completions, 67.8% completion percentage, 3,667 yards, 23 TDs and 4 INTs.
- 2017: 308 completions, 62.9% completion percentage, 3,324 yards, 22 TDs and 13 INTs.
- He also ran for six touchdowns in each of his two seasons.
Per FantasyData.com, his fantasy points dropped from 286.88 in 2016 to 260.66 in 2017.
Despite his numbers dropping, Dak certainly took huge strides as a passer. From taking command of the offense as a captain to making throws he wouldn't make as a rookie, Prescott was able to demonstrate improvements during a rough sophomore slump.
Even with Dez gone, the receivers the front office brought in throughout the offseason are expected to be Dak-friendly. If the receiving corps actually make his strengths shine, the Cowboys' offense will take a huge step in 2018.
Maybe, as Jason Witten mentioned on Adam Schefter's Podcast, Dez is as good as anyone going up for the football. But that's not what will make Dak shine. This revamped WR room might be just what he needs, though.
At the end of the day, even though I truly believe he'll have a good career in the NFL and that he's the future of the Dallas Cowboys, I doubt he should be marked as an early target in the Fantasy Football world.
As of right now, from a Fantasy Football perspective, I would barely rank him as a Top 15 quarterback for many reasons.
First of all, the Cowboys' game will revolve around Ezekiel Elliott. Secondly, it doesn't matter how much faith we put into these pass catchers, they haven't proved anything yet.
Dak is not a bad player at all. But taking Prescott in the middle or even late rounds of a Fantasy Draft might be the safest way to go right now.
Lastly, I leave you with some "Fantasy Nuggets" from fellow Inside The Star writer and Fantasy Football Guru John Williams:
- Dak failed to score 10 standard format fantasy points only four times last season. He scored 15+ points nine times and 20+ six times in 2017.
- In 2017 - even with a down second half - he finished as the 13th best QB in points per game and as the tenth best in total QB scoring.
- In 2016, he was in the top 10 in both categories mentioned in the previous bullet point.
- His ability to run and score touchdowns on the ground easily make him one of the best 12 QB options for fantasy football.
Fantasy Football Implications of Ezekiel Elliott’s Suspension
Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended by the NFL for 6 games for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy. This will leave a void in the backfield for the Dallas Cowboys and on many fantasy football rosters around the world. As it is with the real league, it's a next man up philosophy in the world of fantasy football as well.
At the moment, that next man up is Darren McFadden.
Just two years ago, with Dallas still clinging to playoff hopes in the wake of Tony Romo's injury, McFadden rushed for more than 1,000 yards. He finished fifth in the NFL that season despite not seeing more than 10 carries a game until week six. From week 6 until the end of the season, McFadden had 7 games with more than 90 yards rushing.
McFadden's touchdown total from that season leaves a lot to be desired, but let's not forget the quarterbacking chaos that went on that season. Between Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore, defenses weren't worried about being beat in the passing game.
Frankly, it's a miracle that McFadden rushed for 1,000 yards.
Over 11 games from weeks 6-17, McFadden averaged 21.45 touches per game and 108.27 total yards per game. At that pace, stretched over a 16 game season, McFadden would have totaled 1,732 yards, which would have led all running backs in total yards that season.
If you still have to draft, I would take a chance on McFadden around the 7th or 8th round in 10 or 12 team drafts.
As for Alfred Morris, he will get some touches as much as the Dallas Cowboys will look to run the ball. That being said the second half of 2016 showed who the coaches preferred as the backup.
The last time Morris ran for more than 1,000 yards was in 2014. In 2015, if you'll remember, he lost his job to Matt Jones who has since lost his job to UDFA Rob Kelley, who is starting but is being threatened by 2017 draft pick Samaje Perine.
When Morris played last year he was pretty ineffective averaging a career-low 3.5 yards per carry.
With McFadden's injury history, you can take a shot on Alfred Morris late in your fantasy drafts around the second to last or the last round.
How Should You Value Ezekiel Elliott in Upcoming Fantasy Drafts?
That's a difficult question to answer, because a lot will depend on your league settings. My simple answer is, if you can get any discount on Ezekiel Elliott from his average draft position of 3.0, then you're getting a good value for at least the second half of the season.
Just a week ago I wrote to not allow this absence to sway you too much. I stand by that.
Fantasy football is about getting as much value as you can with each draft pick. Elliott is a top 5 value in any setting, even if he has to sit out. I think you can comprise a roster good enough to get into the playoffs, then you'll want Elliott for a playoff run.
Just like the Dallas Cowboys, all you need to do is tread water while he's out. If you can make it through the suspension at or around .500, you will still be in good position to win your fantasy football league.
When Elliott comes back, he will be the starter.
Even if they make him earn it, it won't take long. He's just better than McFadden and Morris. If your league lets Elliott somehow slip outside of the first round, snatch him up and make sure you draft McFadden. You'll thank me for it later.
While many will look at this situation as a detriment to Dak Prescott and may feel deterred from drafting him as the 9th quarterback in your league, I actually see it the opposite. While Dak was very efficient in Dallas' run-first offense, he showed throughout the 2016 season that he could be leaned upon in a shootout or to bring the team back from a large deficit.
In fact, Dak might have played his best game of the season during the playoff loss to Green Bay when the team got down 21-3. Forced to pass, Prescott completed 63% of his passes for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in nearly leading the team back to victory.
With a full offseason in the Dallas offense and a really good compliment of receivers led by Dez Bryant, I fully anticipate Dak to have an excellent sophomore campaign.
Dallas may lean more on the pass during Elliott's absence, which will make Dak more valuable to me. Remember fantasy football is about acquiring stats and with Elliott out, Dak will have a great chance at putting up even bigger numbers. Especially if the run game is ineffective.
Fantasy Football: Draft Ezekiel Elliott Early, Don’t Be Swayed
Plenty of fantasy football drafts have come and gone, but many still remain as training camp is in full swing. The question has come up in the fantasy football Twitter community; what do you do with Ezekiel Elliott amidst rumors of a suspension? And the short answer is nothing.
Investigations into whether or not Ezekiel Elliott has violated any of the NFL's policies have persisted. Supposedly, those investigations have come to a close. The personal conduct policy, the domestic violence policy, and the substance abuse policy seem to all be in play as the league decides on the appropriate punishment for the Dallas Cowboys' star running back.
You could go the safe route and drop Ezekiel Elliott down your draft boards or you could take a chance at having one of the top scorers in fantasy football on your roster.
Say a suspension does come down. At worst, a drug suspension would be four games.
The domestic violence issue seems to be circumstantial evidence that even the Columbus Police and District Attorney declined to pursue. The NFL's personal conduct policy could apply, but that seems to be more of a threat than anything. So the question is, if Elliott is out for four games, does he lose his value somehow. I'd say no.
We don't have to go back very far to see a similar star running back with a similar suspension. In 2016, Le'Veon Bell was suspended for the first three games of the season and many people slid him down their draft boards. In some mocks, I saw him going outside of the first round.
Sure he missed the first three games of the season, but he finished as fantasy football's No. 3 running back and was there when you needed him most. Playoff time.
Bell only had three games where he failed to score less than 15 standard fantasy points during his 12 game season (didn't play in the season finale). The point being, anyone who drafted Le'Veon Bell in the first round or the top of the second was quite happy with the results.
If Ezekiel Elliott misses time, it will be at the beginning of the season, but like Bell, he will be around at the end of the season when you're trying to put away a championship win.
If you're drafting at the top of the first round, don't let Ezekiel Elliott's consistency and scoring ability get by you because of a threat of suspension. He'll be available to you when you need him most.
The first few weeks of the season are tough matchups for Elliott anyway.
Dallas will face the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Los Angeles Rams in the first four weeks--all teams with tough defenses. Though Elliott is a guaranteed starter for those four weeks, it's likely you're lowering expectations for him against some of the top run defenses in the NFL.
For me in 2017, the reward of having Ezekiel Elliott on my roster far outweighs the risk of any potential suspension. Draft Zeke and reap the benefits.
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