October 20, 2018

NFL FANTASY: Freeman’s IR trip frees up Coleman, Smith

by Dan Bilicki In: Fantasy, Football

Devonta Freeman might as well be known as Mr. Glass.

After missing time with a knee injury earlier this season and being sidelined with a foot ailment last week, the Falcons running back has been put on the IR after undergoing groin surgery.

While Freeman is a candidate to return this season, the earliest he can be activated is Week 15. While there’s no doubt that he’s talented, we’re not sure that we’d trust him in a fantasy semifinal or final matchup. But, if you have IR slots in your league, there’s not harm in stashing him, just in case.

This is good news for Tevin Coleman owners, as he’ll retain the starting job as long as Freeman is out. But a name to look out for – and he should already have been on your radar – is Ito Smith, who has scored a TD in three straight weeks and took 11 carries from Coleman last week.

If Coleman goes down, Smith could become a fantasy stud and is a rare handcuff that has some starting potential.

COOKED HAMMYS

Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook have already been ruled out for Week 7 with hamstring injuries.

The Jags’ and Vikings’ top running backs, respectively, both haven’t played since Week 4 and we’re not sure they’ll be back next week, either.

Cook practised on Wednesday before getting a DNP on Thursday, having aggravated the injury. That he was able to get in a full session this week was promising, but the setback puts everything up in the air.

Fournette doesn’t seem close to returning and we’d wonder if he even makes the flight to London next week. Our optimistic guess would be that he returns after the bye, in Week 10.

Latavius Murray and T.J. Yeldon (who was taken off the injury report on Friday) should continue in their featured roles.

CLEVELAND ROCKS

Quick: Can you name the five defences that have allowed the most passing yards this season?

Now, can you name the Cleveland Browns’ next five opponents?

To save you the time, the answers are the same: Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

So when you consider that Baker Mayfield has thrown at least 41 passes in each of his three starts, this could be a recipe for fantasy success in the coming weeks.

Now is the time to ring up the owners of Jarvis Landry and David Njoku in your league and see what the asking price is. A few of the cheaper and more widely available options are Antonio Callaway (although we’re not thrilled with his 40% catch rate), Damion Ratley (six catches on eight targets last week with Rashard Higgins out) and Duke Johnson Jr., who has a potential to be huge as a FLEX option in PPR leagues after a slow start to the season.

DEFENCE DOESN’T REST

In case you were wondering just how good that 32-point performance by Denver’s defence was on Thursday night, the answer is pretty good, but not an all-time great.

It was the first time that a DEF had put up at least 32 points since New Orleans did it in Week 6 last year against Detroit and just the 11th time a DEF has scored 30 or more points in a week since 2012.

The all-time record is actually held by the Cleveland Browns, who in 1989 collected a cool 52 points against the Steelers in a 51-0 shutout in which they forced eight turnovers, had six sacks and scored three TDs. The highest total since 2000 is 46 points, which the Seahawks scored against the Eagles in 2005.

DJ SAVED?

We hate to celebrate people losing their jobs, but David Johnson owners must be thrilled with the announcement that the Cards have canned offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Drafted as a top-five pick in most pools this year, Johnson has largely been a bust, in most part due to a schematical failure. Repeatedly, Arizona would run Johnson between the tackles to little effect as his 3.2 YPA would show. Johnson is most dangerous out in space and in the passing game, yet this season he has just 30 targets (tied for 12th in the league at RB) after leading the position with 120 and 80 receptions in 2016.

Byron Leftwich takes over as OC of the Cards and you should bet that his first task should be to get DJ going.

SIT/START

Start Andy Dalton (QB, CIN at KC)

The Red Rifle is on track for a career season and the Chiefs pass defence is lacking.

Sit Andrew Luck (QB, IND vs. BUF)

Since Vontae Davis retired at halftime in Week 2, the Bills defence has allowed just four TDs.

Start Marlon Mack (RB, IND vs. BUF)

Returned from injury to take the lion’s share of touches in the Colts backfield last week. Buffalo is much better against the pass than the run.

Sit Jordan Howard (RB, CHI vs. NE)

This game is shaping up to feature shifty Tarik Cohen more than the bruising Howard.

Start Michael Crabtree (WR, BAL vs. NO)

Has the 12th most targets in the league and the Saints have allowed the most points to opposing WRs.

Sit Allen Robinson (WR, CHI vs. NE)

He’s likely to see Stephon Gilmore in coverage, who has allowed fewer than 20 receiving yards in each of the past three games.

Start C.J. Uzomah (TE, CIN at KC)

He’s the last TE standing for the Bengals and has a solid matchup against the Chiefs.

Sit Evan Engram (TE, NYG vs. NO)

Looks set to return from injury, but the Saints are allowing the fewest fantasy points per touch to TEs in the league (1.38).

STAT CORNER

Julio Jones’ 707 receiving yards are the most for a player without a TD in a team’s first six games in NFL history, per Elias Sports.

ADD OF THE WEEK

Greg Zuerlein, K, LAR

If there’s such thing as an elite fantasy kicker, it’s Legatron. After missing five weeks with a groin injury, Young GZ returns to action and should be in your fantasy lineups ASAP.

DROP OF THE WEEK

Alfred Morris, RB, SF

With Matt Breida healthy enough to play, Morris quickly went from presumed starter to a one-snap night – a carry which was nullified by penalty – and is also behind Raheem Mostert for now.

WAIVER WIRE DEFENCE

Indianapolis Colts DEF

Unfortunately, the Colts won’t get to face one of the worst QB to ever play, Nathan Peterman, but it should put up a healthy score against a team led by Derek Anderson, who signed with the team just last week.

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