Deep Fantasy Football Stashes for Week 7

Under the radar pickups for Week 7!

By: Malcolm McMillan

The Byepocalypse is upon us and fantasy football managers are currently scrambling to roster anyone with a pulse. Luckily, there are still some names out there that even in the deepest of leagues, are still widely available. None of these players are lock-it-in studs. They do not even necessarily have the most promising long-term futures. However, each one does have at least one major reason for consideration to be included on the rosters of fantasy football managers.

DeeJay Dallas: RB, Seattle Seahawks

DeeJay Dallas has had a fairly quiet season so far. However, the past two weeks have seen a noticeable uptick in work since Chris Carson has been absent with a neck injury. Carson is still guaranteed to be out for two more weeks due to his stint on the injured reserve list, and that means there is a definite window for Dallas to shine. Fantasy football experts have expected him to solidify a role as Seattle’s third-down back, and with Carson out and running back Alex Collins banged up, there is no time like the present. Especially, since Dallas is under contract until the end of the 2023 season. If he is performing well, Seattle will use him, which is exactly what they have done. Plus, in point-per-reception (PPR) fantasy football leagues, Dallas’s noticeable increase in the receiving game is incredibly promising. There may not be another running back with this much potential still available to fantasy football managers. Full stop.

Dante Pettis: WR, New York Giants

There is a saying in fantasy football, “The best ability is availability.” Well, given that most of the New York Giants wide receivers are injured, Dante Pettis’s availability could be a serious ability. Last week against the Los Angeles Rams, Pettis capitalized on that ability—plus the absences of wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Darius Slayton—and saw 11 targets. Did those targets only turn into five receptions and just shy of 10 fantasy football points in PPR leagues? Yes, but that is still 11 targets, which cannot be overlooked. Especially since the injury situation for the Giants wide receivers may not be improving.

Pettis is a former second-round NFL draft pick and already the team has leaned on him when players have gone down. Fantasy football managers in desperate need of a wide receiver could do worse. There are not many widely available wide receivers who have seen 11 targets in a game this season.

Chris Moore: WR, Houston Texans

Look, the article is deep fantasy football stashes, right? Is it likely that Moore, at age 28, is suddenly breaking out into an NFL deep threat? Probably not, but there is something there. Moore was largely an afterthought on the Baltimore Ravens for the first five seasons of his career. Since arriving in Houston though, he has developed a surprising connection with Texans quarterback Davis Mills. Over the past two weeks, Moore has seen an average of five targets and 64% of the offensive snaps, which have turned into a total of 27.3 fantasy football points in PPR leagues. In Week 5 in particular, Moore scored 21.9 PPR fantasy points with 21.8 yards per reception on his five targets. While that number is astronomically high and probably not sustainable, it is not wholly unexplainable. Moore did produce fairly elite yards per reception at the University of Cincinnati and has good athletic measurables that support the ability to catch the ball deep.

Is he still 28? Yes. Is he tied to the skills of Mills, who might not be good as a quarterback? Also yes, unless Tyrod Taylor resumes his duties as the starting quarterback for the Texans. Taylor has no connection with Moore, so that does not necessarily help Moore’s case as a stash either. However, if you need a deep fantasy football stash, there are some reasons to consider Moore, at least for the 2021 season.

Fantasy Football: Week 7 Start/Sit

Sit Geno Smith this week

By: Matt Gruber

Week seven is upon us and it is time for the weekly starts and sits. This is the seventh installment of the 17-piece series aimed to help you make the roster decisions to give you an edge over your opponent. Let’s jump into it and win some championships.

Quarterbacks

Start: Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans

I know Ryan Tannehill has not given us much confidence to start him this year, however, I believe this week is different. At home, going up against the Kansas City Chiefs, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Chiefs are bottom three in the league against the pass and I expect the Titans will need to throw it a lot to keep up in this game. I’m starting Tannehill without hesitation.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Ryan @ MIA, Jameis Winston @ SEA, Sam Darnold @ NYG

Sit: Geno Smith – Seattle Seahawks

In what was a promising quarter and a half in week five, Geno Smith came back down to earth in week six. Scoring just 10 fantasy points, it won’t get much easier for Smith in week seven. Going up against the number two ranked pass defense in the New Orleans Saints, I am looking elsewhere for a streaming option this week.

Honorable Mentions: Jared Goff @ LAR, Joe Burrow @ BAL, Daniel Jones vs. CAR

Running Backs

Start: Chuba Hubbard – Carolina Panthers

Chuba Hubbard has strung together back-to-back productive weeks. Rushing the ball 16 times for 61 yards and a score in week six, I expect Hubbard to handle the bulk of the running back touches again this week. He has been a nice fill-in for the injured Christian McCaffrey and he has a juicy matchup against the New York Giants in week seven. Plug him into your lineup and don’t think twice.

Honorable Mentions: Cordarrelle Patterson @ MIA, James Conner vs. HOU, Damien Harris vs. NYJ

Sit: Khalil Herbert – Chicago Bears

Khalil Herbert got the job done last week when he was called upon to be the bell cow in absence of David Montgomery and Damien Williams. Rushing for 97 yards and a touchdown on 19 touches, many fantasy managers were left smiling. This week, however, he will remain on my bench. Playing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that have only allowed one rushing touchdown to opposing running backs all season, Herbert makes me nervous this week.

Honorable Mentions: Elijah Mitchell vs. IND, Devontae Booker vs. CAR, Alex Collins vs. NO

Wide Receivers

Start: Brandin Cooks – Houston Texans

After back-to-back disappointing weeks, Brandin Cooks turned things around in week six. Putting up 89 yards and nine catches on a massive 13 targets, I expect him to remain hot in week seven. Going up against the Arizona Cardinals that just allowed 36 fantasy points to wide receivers last week, Cooks is in line for another big game. Start him confidently this week.

Honorable Mentions: Chris Godwin vs. CHI, Jaylen Waddle vs. ATL, Darnell Mooney @ TB

Sit: Tee Higgins – Cincinnati Bengals

In his two weeks back from injury, Tee Higgins has let fantasy managers down. Recording eight catches for just 76 yards in his last two games combined, I have no choice but to leave him on the bench this week. He faces a Baltimore Ravens defense that has been solid against the pass. For Higgins to be of any use, we are hoping for a touchdown. I prefer a player with a higher floor in my lineup.

Honorable Mentions: Robert Woods vs. DET, Hunter Renfrow vs. PHI, Julio Jones vs. KC

Tight Ends

Start: Kyle Pitts – Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts finally had his breakout game in week five. Going off for nine catches, 119 yards, and a touchdown, I expect the Atlanta Falcons to shift their game plan to revolve around this young star in the making. Fresh off the bye, Pitts will face the Miami Dolphins who have been susceptible against the pass. I am starting him this week and not thinking twice.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Gesicki vs. ATL, Dallas Goedert @ LV, Tyler Higbee vs. DET

Sit: Jonnu Smith – New England Patriots

In what continues to be a disappointing season from Jonnu Smith, I am looking at other players to throw into the tight end slot this week. Smith has given us no reason to believe that things will turn around. Recording just one catch for nine yards in week six, Smith is just not start-worthy.

Honorable Mentions: Gerald Everett vs. NO, Mo Alie-Cox @ SF, Robert Tonyan vs. WSH

If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to find more of my content on Twitter @FF_Worm. I am always available to talk fantasy football and answer any questions.

A new era in Baton Rouge: Who should replace Ed Orgeron at LSU?

Who is after Ed Orgeron at LSU?

By: Tim Rodriguez

The LSU Tigers and head coach Ed Orgeron have mutually agreed to part ways. Just 21 months ago, Orgeron and the Tigers capped off a magical 15-0 season with a national championship. Since then, the Tigers are just 9-8, with the 2019 title year looking like more of an anomaly. There are countless rumors being thrown around as to why the two parties are choosing to end this marriage. For right now, LSU gets a head start on a coaching search that will be happening at the same time as the USC coaching search.

LSU or USC?

There’s one thing that both of these programs have in common: Sky high expectations. The Trojans are trying desperately to return to prominence. With Clay Helton out of the picture, they are also looking to hire their next head coach. Which job is more desirable? In Baton Rouge, the new head coach will be replacing the third straight coach to win a national championship. In Southern California, the next leading man will look to be one to restore the once vaunted program to its glory days. The recruiting edge likely goes to USC historically, but their inability to secure one of the top tier local quarterbacks has proved fatal (Bryce Young, Matt Corral, D.J. Uiagalelei). LSU has a long recent history of stellar recruiting. 

The “big” names

The biggest name out there is Urban Meyer, but many believe that if he were to return to the college ranks, it would be for USC. However, many oddsmakers would suggest that Penn State’s James Franklin is the favorite to replace Orgeron (Franklin has also been linked to USC). With the Nittany Lions college football playoff hopes still breathing, it would be hard to imagine Franklin leaving what he is building, but jobs like LSU are not open every year. 

The return?

Three names that have been linked to this job have already worked for the Tigers. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, a former Tigers’ offensive coordinator in the early 2000’s, is a name that has been brought up in recent days. Fisher was obviously asked questions about the opening earlier this week where he denied any interest in leaving college station. 

Mel Tucker has quickly resurrected the Michigan State Spartans program in just his second season in Lansing. A former LSU defensive backs coach (albeit for just one season), Tucker’s name has come up for the job as well. Tucker left Colorado after just one season, meaning it would not be completely out of the question for Tucker to seize the opportunity. 

Joe Brady, now the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, had a massive part in that undefeated championship season in 2019. Brady’s offense lifted LSU to new heights and helped transfer quarterback Joe Burrow become the runaway Heisman winner and number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The biggest question about Brady will remain his age and experience. Brady just turned 32 years old a month ago. Being a head coach in the SEC is a daunting task, and Brady has no head coaching experience. Another question about Brady would be whether or not he would even take the job. He’s rumored to be a very popular head coaching candidate.

Vikings vs Panthers: 3 Key Matchups

Can the Vikings uphend the Panthers?

by: Grant Schwieger

In the NFL, and really across all sports, the term “moral victory” is often thrown around. Teams with low expectations who surpass those expectations while still suffering defeat frequently call those performances moral victories. The Minnesota Vikings managed to do the complete opposite in Week 5 against Detroit. In no capacity was a loss against the Lions going to be acceptable, and yet, after leading almost the entire game, it took a 54-yard Greg Joseph field goal as time expired to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against the Motor City Kitties. In a world of moral victories, this was about as close to a moral loss as you can get.

Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer had quite possibly the most awkward post-victory celebration of all time, and while they were both fired up, neither were too happy about how the game went. Fans have rightfully felt the same way this week. Now the 2-3 Vikings head to the 3-2 Carolina Panthers before they head into their bye. Do not let the Panthers winning record or 3-0 start fool you, this is not a good football team. That is reflected by Minnesota, who has had a very unimpressive past 2 weeks, being 2.5 point road favorites. 

After giving up a very generous package in a trade for Sam Darnold this offseason, the Panthers started hot, but Darnold has shown he is still the QB he was in New York. As anyone in Minnesota knows, though, being expected to win and taking care of business is a very big difference. With the Vikings’ post-bye schedule featuring some of the best teams in football, a win in Carolina is essential to not only keep their season alive but for some people in Minnesota to keep their jobs. There are three big matchups in this game that will be key in how this game plays out, for better or for worse.

Minnesota D-line vs Carolina O-line

While the 2021 Minnesota Vikings season has felt eerily similar to the 2020 season thus far, one big difference between the two has been Minnesota’s revitalized pass-rush. This was to be expected with the return of Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen on the outside and the trio of Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Sheldon Richardson on the inside. Hunter and Griffen both rank in the top-12 among edge defenders in Pro Football Focus’s Pass Rushing Productivity metric, and Pierce is 7th in the same metric for interior defenders. While Pierce will not play against Carolina, Tomlinson has the 10th highest pass-rushing grade among DTs in the NFL thus far. 

Brandon Thorn, well-known for his fantastic work focused mostly on offensive and defensive line play, created a “High-Quality sack” metric, which Griffen leads the NFL in thus far with Hunter not far behind in 4th. All of these stats showing the Vikings’ improved pass-rush is a very welcome sight to what Minnesota fans witnessed in 2020.

Expect this trend of stellar pass-rushing to continue in Week 6, as Carolina’s pass-blocking ranks at the bottom of the league in PFF’s pass-blocking grade and ESPN’s pass-block win rate. In a way, the Panthers’ offensive line mimics the Vikings’ situation. Their right tackle Taylor Moton is a very good player similar to Brian O’Neill, and he is the only player on their line who has a pass-blocking grade above 51.9. That is… not good. 

To make that better for Vikings fans, Sam Darnold struggles under pressure as well. This all adds up to a hopeful recipe for success for Mike Zimmer’s defense. With the Minnesota offense struggling lately, leaning on the defense to make big plays will be important. Six of Darnold’s eight Turnover Worthy Plays this season have come while under pressure, per PFF. Former Viking Pat Elflein is eligible to return off of the IR but likely will not. If he is indeed activated, that would make for a fun storyline within this matchup as well. 

Minnesota passing game vs Carolina coverage

After looking quite potent through three games, Minnesota’s offense, specifically the passing game, has not looked the same lately. A team with Kirk Cousins playing well throwing the ball to Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen should score more than 26 points over a two-game span. Full stop, no excuses. That does not get any easier when they visit a resilient defense in Carolina.

The Panthers defense has allowed the second-lowest EPA per play on passing plays so far this year. They own the fifth-best team coverage grade in the NFL, the only PFF team metric where they rank in the top ten. While Carolina does not boast any elite players in their secondary, they are a good example of how important it is to have a defense where no one is a big liability. They are a young and talented defense and got younger with the acquisition of CJ Henderson, who is questionable for Sunday’s game. The Panthers also got a bit older trading for Stephon Gilmore, but he is on the Physically Unable to Perform list and will not be active vs Minnesota.

The football “nerds” will often say defensive success is a product of the offenses you face, and this could be the case with Carolina so far this year. Through five weeks, they have gotten the benefit of playing against the Jets, Saints, Texans, and Eagles, none of which are impressive passing teams. The one talented passing team they did play, Dallas, lit them up to the tune of 36 points in Week 4. Minnesota’s play over the last few weeks does not give them the benefit of the doubt in this regard, though. Will Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ offense regain their mojo, or will they join the list of unimpressive offenses Carolina has faced?

There are going to be a lot of factors that play into that question. The first being whether or not the Vikings continue to beat themselves before the opposing defense even does anything. 

This self-scouting for Minnesota’s offensive coaches should start with their play-calling on second and long. According to Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin on Matthew Coller’s Purple Insider podcast, Minnesota has run the ball 29 times this year on second and long. They have converted 4 of those plays into first downs. While a play can be successful without resulting in a first down, a rate shy of 14% on converting such plays into first downs is abysmal no matter how you dress it up. If the Vikings want to set themselves up for success, putting themselves in desirable down and distances would be a good place to start. 

Offensive Coordinator Klint Kubiak says Kirk Cousins’ freedom to change the offense at the line of scrimmage has “evolved.” Cousins taking the reins at the line and changing plays could result in calling his own number on more pass plays. At least many Vikings fans will hope that to be the case. Kirk also needs to trust his elite playmakers more often. Against a solid coverage team like Carolina, Jefferson and Thielen might not have a lot of separation at times. Cousins needs to remember he has two receivers who are fantastic at contested catches.

In plays such as the one above against Detroit, Jefferson may have tight coverage on him but that does not mean Cousins can’t throw it. On that play he does, and Jefferson rewards him with one of the biggest plays the offense had all game. Cousins will always let it rip accurately when he has time, and his receiver has separation. It is those times where there is not much separation and Cousins panics and either checks it down or pulls the ball down for a sack where he needs to flip the switch. This matchup between Cousins, Jefferson, Thielen, and company against Donte Jackson, AJ Bouye, Jeremy Chinn, and company will likely decide whether the Vikings season still has hope or not. Also, after having a sizeable impact in the first two games, KJ Osborn has been quiet lately. If he once again balls out in Carolina, when do we discuss the narrative of Osborn performing much better on the road than at home? People are asking.

Vikings tackles vs Brian Burns and Haason Reddick

The Carolina Panthers boast what might be the most under-the-radar pair of pass-rushers in the NFL in Brian Burns and Haason Reddick. Burns is in his third season as a former first-round pick and was a popular choice as a dark horse Defensive Player of the Year candidate coming into the season after putting up 57 pressures and an 86.7 pass-rushing grade last season. Reddick posted similar numbers, 56 pressures and an 82.6 pass-rushing grade, last year for Arizona. Reddick is tied for the league lead in sacks so far with eight.

Neither finds themselves in the top-30 in terms of pressures thus far in 2021, but when they do get to the QB, they get there fast. Burns has pressured the QB 17 times to Reddick’s 15. Getting 8 sacks on 15 pressures means Reddick’s current sack rate is unbelievably unsustainable, but that does not mean he will not keep it up against Minnesota. Carolina flips what side Burns and Reddick line up on at will, with both of them splitting almost half of their snaps on the left and ride side of the defensive line. That means that the Vikings’ combination of Brian O’Neill on the right side and Rashod Hill/Christian Darrisaw on the left will all have to be ready to face both pass-rushers.

Brian O’Neill received his lucrative contract extension in September and has continued being worth every penny, posting the lowest pressure percentage allowed among all offensive tackles on plays without RPOs, screens, and play-action. The Minnesota left side, however, is a much larger question mark. First-round rookie Christian Darrisaw made his debut against Detroit, rotating in for a few drives for Rashod Hill. Darrisaw is clearly the better option moving forward, but all signs point to them both seeing time against the Panthers. Mike Zimmer and the Vikings have long been stubborn when it comes to replacing struggling offensive linemen, so the fact that Darrisaw saw the field is a big first step. 

Rashod Hill has spent a lot of time getting comfortable with how it feels to lay on the turf at US Bank Stadium the last two weeks, with the above clip being a prime example of that. While Darrisaw will surely have his “welcome to the NFL” moments, Hill has simply gotten ran over far too many times for him to fend off the rookie for much longer. 

Darrisaw got beat a few times against Detroit as well, but none of his mistakes were of the “wreck the play before it even has a chance” variety that Hill’s have been. His performance against Haason Reddick and Brian Burns could catapult him to the full-time starter if he fends them off well enough. O’Neill will hold up on the right side, it will be up to the combination of Hill and Darrisaw to keep Cousins’ blindside clean on Sunday. While Carolina moves both their rushers from side to side, will they move their strongest pass-rusher to the right side of the defense to face Minnesota’s weaker tackle? And if so, that leads to the question, who does Carolina consider to be their premier pass-rusher? While Reddick leads in sacks, I would say Burns is still the more talented of the two. These little games within the game play a vital role in the final outcome, and this specific one will be of utmost importance as it pertains to keeping Kirk Cousins upright and able to whip the ball around to his playmakers. If they are unable to do that, prepare for another dreadful performance out of the Minnesota offense.

Deep Fantasy Football Stashes For Week 6

Get these deep stashes now!

By: Malcolm McMillan

With the news that Cleveland Browns star running back Nick Chubb is out for Week 6, fantasy football managers are presented with a problem. Kareem Hunt is the next man up in Cleveland’s backfield. Given Hunt’s near-universal rostership in redraft fantasy football leagues, trading is the only way managers will acquire him. If they do, it will be at a premium.

So what is the contingency plan if fantasy football managers still want a piece of the Browns backfield? After all, the combination of Chubb and Hunt was averaging 35.3 fantasy football points per game in point-per-reception (PPR) scoring. Getting a piece of that could be incredibly valuable if Hunt does not simply earn all the work. Well, there are two options out there. So this week, Football Machina will examine both options, and then also give fantasy football managers a wide receiver that merits a deep stash this week.

Demetric Felton & D’Ernest Johnson: RBs, Cleveland Browns

First thing first, the rostership percentages for these two players are not the same. Demetric Felton is rostered in about half of Sleeper dynasty fantasy football leagues. D’Ernest Johnson is only rostered in a bit over 10% of those same fantasy football leagues, and most of that figure has come since the news of Nick Chubb’s injury. Given that neither of these players has seen even 10% of the Cleveland Browns offensive snaps so far this season, fantasy football managers would be right to question why there is such a significant difference in rostership percentage.

Well, there are a couple of reasons. First, Felton has dual position eligibility in some leagues. This makes him a more coveted fantasy football asset because he can be played in more lineup slots. A more notable example of this would be Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who can similarly be played as either a running back or a wide receiver. Second, Felton has been relevant in fantasy football already this season. In Week 2, Felton finished RB19 in PPR fantasy football leagues. When a player has a performance like that, people take notice. The reason that Felton is still so widely available is probably that in the following three weeks he only scored 6.5 PPR fantasy football points. Combined. Not exactly electric stuff. Finally, Felton is the younger of the two running backs and therefore is more likely to have long-term value. Felton is under contract for the next three seasons (though cutting him would not exactly be a financial hit for the Browns). Johnson, meanwhile, could be looking for a new team as soon as this offseason.

“Okay. I get why you would roster Felton,” you say. “But why would you roster Johnson? Does it not seem like he has become useless for fantasy football?” To be fair, that is not an unreasonable conclusion. However, there is a reason to suggest that Johnson is the Browns running back that fantasy football managers will want—usage. While Felton has the higher snap count, he has seen a total of zero rushing attempts. Johnson, despite not seeing the field outside of special teams usage, actually has been used as a running back this season. Much how like he was used as a running back last year, totaling 33 rushing attempts and just four targets. 27 of those 33 targets came while Chubb was out last season from partway through Week 4 until Week 10 when he resumed his starting role. Therefore, it makes sense that the logical fill-in for Chubb is Johnson and not Felton.

In reality, the real fill-in for Chubb is going to be Kareem Hunt. While Johnson did see usage with Chubb out last season, that usage decreased greatly after two weeks. So if fantasy football managers pick up either player, they should do so knowing neither may ultimately breakout with Chubb out. Still, both merit rostership, especially in deeper redraft leagues or dynasty fantasy football leagues. Especially since Chubb going on the injured reserve list and missing significant time is not off the table.

DeAndre Carter: WR, Washington Football Team

If DeAndre Carter was not on your radar this season, nobody would blame you. After all, the fourth-year veteran wide receiver saw two targets last season. However, in Week 5 against the New Orleans Saints, Carter was third in targets for the Washington Football Team. He even quietly finished as top-36 fantasy football wide receiver in PPR scoring.

Is Carter a long-term investment for any fantasy football manager? Probably not. He has never been a long-term investment for an NFL team, and his relevancy beyond next week is still suspect, let alone beyond this year. Still, as long as the second wide receiver position is up for grabs in Washington—and it is— Carter has a chance to produce. The Kansas City Chiefs defense is an excellent matchup in Week 6. Fellow wide receiver Curtis Samuel is still out, and Terry McLaurin may also miss this prime matchup. If Carter can capitalize on this opportunity, he could maintain his borderline top-36 wide receiver value beyond just Week 6. Fantasy football managers in need of bench depth at wide receiver should look at the Washington Football Team wideout.

Full Blown Quarterback Controversy: What’s next for Oklahoma Sooners at the quarterback position?

What will happen to the Oklahoma Sooners at the quarterback position?

By: Tom Rodriguez

The Oklahoma Sooners are riding high after a thrilling 55-48 win over their bitter rivals, the Texas Longhorns. Almost halfway through that game, Lincoln Riley made the bold decision to bench his starting quarterback, Spencer Rattler, for freshman backup Caleb Williams. The youngster chipped in over 300 total yards in a comeback effort. However, once the high of game wears off, Riley and Sooners face a rather uncomfortable situation. Rattler was not your “run of the mill” starting quarterback. He was a highly touted recruit who was supposed to be the next in a long line of recent Sooner quarterbacks to be drafted rather highly. Now, he may not even be the starter. Rattler has no one to blame but himself right now. Oklahoma is a powerhouse program for offense. Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts all achieved new heights under Riley at Oklahoma. Rattler has struggled as of late and his lackluster first half in the Red River game was the final straw. 

Who’s the starter?

Riley has been keeping his quarterback decision rather close to the vest, which is wise given how different these two young men are. With Willaims, opposing defenses need to worry about the ground game much more, as he’s a considerably better athlete. Riley has refused to answer who will be the starter, but we may have an idea based on recent reports. He canceled media access for the remainder of the week after a university student newspaper had reported that Williams is getting first team reps in practice, after watching from a public building. Both that report and simple common sense would have you believe that Williams is starting going forward. Williams might struggle in his first start, as he faces a Gary Patterson led TCU defense, that while is not playing as well as they normally do, is still never a defense you want to face in your first game. 

Will Rattler see the field again?

Lincoln Riley has a dilemma going forward. If Williams is the starter, keeping Rattler ready will be paramount. The rest of the quarterbacks on the roster have thrown a combined 18 passes in college football, and none since 2017. Riley’s goal is to make the College Football Playoff once again, and he will likely have no problem benching a freshman for Rattler, who was a sure-fire first round pick just a few days ago. However, if Rattle reacts to a benching similar to when Kelly Bryant was benched at Clemson for Trevor Lawrence, Oklahoma will be without a suitable backup, and Williams propensity to run will open him to injuries. If Rattler believes he can win his job back, he may stick around. 

What’s next for Rattler?

Spencer Rattler was supposed to be the man this year. A preseason Heisman candidate and first round pick, the stage was set for a stellar Rattler campaign. Consistency and decision making have held him back in 2021, thus possibly clouding what was such a bright future for the former five star recruit. Arm talent is something you can never question with Rattler. He is simply a gifted passer. Whether it is another university or an NFL team, he will most likely be throwing those passes in another uniform in 2022.

It feels unlikely that he would enter the 2022 NFL draft after losing his starting job. However, if he were to declare, he would most likely be a day two pick for a team that is either not sold on their current quarterback (New Orleans Saints) or looking to soon move on from an aging veteran (Atlanta Falcons). The transfer portal feels like a much more likely option. He may have a difficult personality, but teams like Iowa, Penn State, and Oklahoma State should be strongly considering bringing him in. The first two are national title contenders who appear to be being held back by middling to bad quarterback play.

Let’s Relax About QB Mac Jones

Don’t sleep on QB Mac Jones

By: Jason Willis

On the Week 5 edition of ESPN’s NFL Primetime Booger McFarland said “Mac Jones is playing the position as well as you can ask a rookie too.” Ask many around the NFL and you will likely hear similar comments. If you discuss the matter with Patriots fans you will quickly forget if you’re talking about Mac Jones or Joe Montana in his prime. At one point he was even the betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year. However, let’s take a step back.

When Mac Jones was selected out of Alabama in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft, he was the fifth quarterback selected. Going to the New England Patriots with the fifteenth overall pick, this looked to be a great landing spot for a passer with much to prove. Simply, he was almost never tested at Alabama. His team was the most talented in the country by a long shot and as such things came easy for them. 6/11 offensive starters are playing in the NFL right now and more will follow come next year’s draft. So while he threw 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and just four interceptions, he very rarely faced adversity.

Of course, this is not the end all be all. Mac Jones has always has uncanny accuracy and ball placement. Even if the guys he was throwing to at Alabama were wide open most times, Jones always threw an easily catchable ball in the perfect spot. My worries with Jones stemmed from his ability to adjust to NFL speed. Could he make NFL throws into tight coverage? How would he respond to pressure? Would he have the confidence to continue throwing down the field? With these worries, I gave Mac Jones a third-round grade. My hope was that he could sit on the bench initially as he adjusted to the game at the NFL level. This looked like it may happen as the Patriots once had Cam Newton on the roster. However, following a strong pre-season from Mac Jones, Newton was released.

With the starting job now Jones’ to lose, the Patriots and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels wasted no time. Early on it was obvious that they would not be limiting the playbook for the youngster. Instead, the playcalling would be very similar to what was ran when Tom Brady was there. Lots of mesh, slant/flat and drive concepts with shots off of play-action. Throwing all of this at him so early in his career is certainly a bold move.

The biggest weaknesses for Mac Jones at this point is his timid play style. He simply does not take the chances needed from a starting NFL quarterback. The causes for this are likely numerous. First off, he is slow to process like most rookie quarterbacks. Despite playing SEC football, the NFL is a much faster, more complicated game and it takes all rookies time to adjust. This slow processor limits his ability to attack defenses however because even when receivers pop open, Jones is too late to see it. The other reason for this is his limited arm talent. He simply does not have high-level arm talent to stretch the field or throw the ball to the opposite sideline. This of course is most worrisome in his development. He can get acclimated to the NFL game sure, but can he ever overcome his physical limitations?

This timidness handicaps the entire offense as defenses are now going to force Jones to beat them over the top and to the sideline. Opposing teams will let him have the three-yard dump-offs if they know he won’t try and take them deep. Against the Houston Texans last week, Mac Jones attempted just two passes over twenty yards. With the exception of the Saints game in week three, he has just eight of these passes. The Saints game stands out as a total anomaly but also offers some hope. In that game alone he threw the ball 20+ yards twelve times but had just one completion. Currently, he is 28th in the NFL in yards per attempt.

Not many took Mac Jones seriously as an NFL prospect. As such the bar was set low so even meeting expectations has created some excitement. Alas, we must still be honest. Sam Monson at PFF put it very well. While a three-year-old tying his own shoes is impressive, at some point it is going to become expected. That is where we are now with Mac Jones. He currently has 1,243 yards, five touchdowns, and five interceptions. Even though he hasn’t had the ugly games similar to Zach Wilson’s four-interception game or the ugly passes like Trevor Lawrence’s flea-flicker, it’s because he’s not even trying to create big plays. Big plays are not the only thing lacking, however, as Jones does not routinely test tight windows. Much of this can likely be attributed to the fact that he never had to do so in college. If Jones would show the willingness to attempt these throws more often like Wilson and Lawrence, it would go a long way towards feeling comfortable about his NFL future.

Thus far, Mac Jones is playing timid, albeit, safe football. Simply, he looks like a rookie quarterback and that is okay. However, as sports media and fans, the anointment of him as seemingly the best rookie quarterback should stop. Is the book closed on Mac Jones’s career after five games? Of course not, but at this point, he has been a below-average/bad quarterback on a below-average/bad team.

3 Young QBs To Target In Redraft

Young QBs to target in redraft

By Jesse Moeller (Twitter: JMoeller05)

As we head into the beginning of bye weeks, roster construction becomes that much more crucial for teams to navigate their way to the playoffs. Therefore, I am pinpointing three different first or second-year quarterbacks who help put your team over the top as it pushes for the playoffs. This article is for teams in need of an upgrade at the quarterback position. Those of you who have a struggling quarterback or are streaming the quarterback position weekly and yet have to find success.

Those of you who have a Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert type at the position, congrats! You chose to prioritize the position and are reaping the benefits of having an advantage over your league mates. I plan to highlight an argument that managers used against drafting each player this offseason and let you determine for yourself if those arguments were valid or made in bad faith.

Jalen Hurts QB7

Fantasy Cheat Code

Jalen Hurts the number one quarterback to acquire in redraft. An elite fantasy asset undervalued by the redraft community. It is time to get in before the rest of fantasy football views Hurts in that light. I do not know what else this player needs to do before we realize we have a bona fide fantasy star on our hands. If the tweet above did not seal the deal, well, then hopefully, I can add some context for you to be a Hurts believer.

Is He Inaccurate?

We saw this argument used countlessly against Hurts in the offseason.
The context behind this is Hurts only played four games last year. The situation was terrible for both Wentz and Hurts the previous year, as injuries decimated the offense. As a result, the players found themselves in a no-win dilemma. Remember Travis Fulgham? He was the top fantasy wide receiver from week 4-8 last season. Unfortunately, he was released by the Eagles this week. When the situation around you is as bad as it was for the offense last year, you end up playing hero ball and open yourself to more potential mistakes. Watching this last year was evident for Hurts.

However, back to the original tweet, did you know Kyler Murray currently has a completion percentage of 75.1% this year? The NFL record is 74.4% held by Drew Brees, so does that mean Kyler is the most accurate Q.B. in the league’s history? No, it certainly does not, as he is likely to regress as the season goes along. Rookie quarterbacks need time to develop, and Hurts was not allowed that time to progress last season. Though given the offseason to produce behind a healthy line and upgraded skill talent, Hurts has looked every part of the problem at Oklahoma and Alabama.

Pay the price to acquire Hurts before the cost becomes too steep, and he becomes unattainable.

Trevor Lawerence QB24

Rushing Upside

The Golden boy fantasy players have dreamed about for years has finally arrived and is starting to deliver on that progress for the Jaguars and your fantasy teams. While his price in dynasty is through the roof, in redraft, he is attainable. While his roster percentage has finally surpassed 50% on yahoo, the cost to acquire him will likely cost you a flex player in 1QB. Check out the teams with Lawerence rostered, and make them an offer of a RB/WR who improves their weakness. You will not miss that player in your lineup. Getting TLaw now locks in potential QB1 fantasy production at a position where elite play is a huge advantage.

Urban Freakin Meyer

Astounding how the tone around Lawrence has changed in 5 weeks of his rookie season. While more an NFL problem than a fantasy problem, as the Jaguars will win very few games this year. Darrell Bevell is a respected play-caller who succeeded with Brett Favre, Russell Wilson, and Matthew Stafford during his NFL tenure. He will put this young quarterback in a position to grow and develop moving forward. No matter the circus that currently surrounds Urban Meyer.

The Jaguars, even with season-ending injuries to D.J. Chark and Travis Etienne, have a core of talented skill players that will allow Lawrence to succeed. Despite the game scripts they face moving forward due to the subpar defense, Lawrence will use his least talked about fantasy ability managers all crave. The Konami Code that Lawrence presents is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Did you know he ran a faster 40-yard dash than Trey Lance and has outrushed Justin Fields 21 to 9 the last three games?

To sum it all up, you are getting an elite quarterback prospect who gives you rushing upside and will be in-game scripts ripe for passing this year? Sign me up all day at a discounted price.

Trey Lance QB31

Konami Code King

Trey Lance does things on a football field that make your jaw drop. The player oozes talent and has already shown how good he can be. He is third on my list because of a knee sprain that may keep him out a few weeks. If the 49ers clear Lance to start, I am all systems go in trying to get this player on your roster. The main reason is what you expect it to be, that Konami code. Among the first or second-year quarterbacks, only Jalen Hurts presents a similar upside. Since taking over for Jimmy G at halftime of the Seahawks game, Lance has rushed the ball 23 times. That is Lamar Jackson’s territory of rushing. You want that caliber of a quarterback on your roster.

The Path Was Blocked

The biggest issue facing Lance heading into the season was the presence of veteran Jimmy Garappolo on a team expected to compete for the playoffs. The thinking being that if Garoppolo performed well that Lance would never get a shot at the starting job in 2021. I disagreed, but I understood the argument as teams with Super Bowl aspirations do not want a rookie quarterback to crater the offense. Given that San Fransisco took Lance with the 3rd overall pick, it should have told us that Lance’s time was coming at some point this year. The upside Lance presents far outweighs the floor Garoppolo offers. It would be best if you always played to win, and while an injury to Garoppolo cleared the way for Lance, you cannot go back to the veteran at this point.

As Long as Lance is healthy, acquire him. Then, please sit back and enjoy the fantasy upside he presents to your team.

Fantasy Football: Week 6 Start/Sit

Sit Adam Thielen this week!

By: Matt Gruber

Week six is upon us and it is time for the weekly starts and sits. This is the sixth installment of the 17-piece series aimed to help you make the roster decisions to give you an edge over your opponent. Let’s jump into it and win some championships.

Quarterbacks

Start: Taylor Heinicke – Washington Football Team

Washington quarterback, Taylor Heinicke has a juicy matchup this week as he faces the Kansas City Chiefs. Ranked last against the pass, the Chiefs have allowed at least 28 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in the last three weeks. In a game where I expect Washington to have to throw in order to keep up, I’m plugging Heinicke into my lineups.

Honorable Mentions: Matthew Stafford @ NYG, Trevor Lawrence vs. MIA, Carson Wentz vs. HOU

Sit: Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans

Titans quarterback, Ryan Tannehill has been underwhelming this year. Things won’t get any easier this week as he goes up against the Buffalo Bills. Ranked first against the pass, the Bills have held opponents to under 13 fantasy points in three of their games so far. In fact, they have held opposing quarterbacks to under 300 yards in every game and have only let up a total of five passing touchdowns. I would look elsewhere for a quarterback this week.

Honorable Mentions: Kirk Cousins @ CAR, Mac Jones vs. DAL, Jared Goff vs. CIN

Running Backs

Start: James Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars

After a slow start to the season, James Robinson has scored at least 20 fantasy points in three consecutive weeks. He looks to keep the ball rolling this week against a Miami Dolphins team that has been suspect to the run all season. Allowing over 100 rushing yards to running backs in every game so far, Robinson should feast on Sunday. Start him with confidence.

Honorable Mentions: Myles Jaskin @ JAX, Antonio Gibson vs. KC, Javonte Williams vs. LV

Sit: Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders

Looking like a touchdown-dependent back, Josh Jacobs is a sit for me this week. He has yet to receive over 15 attempts and this week he faces a stout Denver Broncos defense. Prior to last week, the Broncos have held opposing running backs in check. Not allowing more than 75 yards per game after the first four weeks, I expect Jacobs to struggle in this game. If he doesn’t fall into the endzone, he could leave fantasy managers frustrated. Look for another option with a better matchup.

Honorable Mentions: Chase Edmonds @ CLE, Chris Carson @ PIT, Miles Sanders vs. TB

Wide Receivers

Start: Brandin Cooks – Houston Texans

Recording at least 15 fantasy points in each of the first three games, Brandin Cooks appeared to have cooled off these last two weeks. This week, he plays against the Indianapolis Colts and I am expecting him to bounce back. In three of their five games this season, the Colts have surrendered at least 40 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Cooks is the obvious focal point of the Texans’ offense. I think we see him get targeted early and often.

Honorable Mentions: Diontae Johnson vs. SEA, Emmanuel Sanders @ TEN, Robert Woods @ NYG

Sit: Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings

As the touchdowns have slowed, so has Adam Thielen’s production. Yet to crack 60 yards in the last four weeks, we are banking on him to score for him to produce start-worthy fantasy numbers. I am not too confident in him this week as he faces the Carolina Panthers. Holding opposing wide receivers to under 150 yards each game in their last four weeks, this is a tough matchup for Thielen. I am leaving him on the bench.

Honorable Mentions: Robby Anderson vs. MIN, Cole Beasley @ TEN, Tyler Boyd @ DET

Tight Ends

Start: Tyler Higbee – Los Angeles Rams

Tyler Higbee has a favorable matchup this week as he goes up against the New York Giants. Allowing at least 75 receiving yards or a touchdown in every game this season to opposing tight ends, I think Higbee will put together a nice game. In a position with not many viable options, I am starting Higbee and not looking back.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Gesicki @ JAX, Noah Fant vs. LV, Ricky Seals-Jones vs. KC

Sit: Robert Tonyan – Green Bay Packers

Failing to score more than two fantasy points in every game except one this season, Robert Tonyan is staying on my bench this week. Going up against the Chicago Bears, I think we see Tonyan struggle yet again. Holding opposing tight ends to under 10 fantasy points every week, I am looking at other options this week. Tonyan has given us no reason to trust him.

Honorable Mentions: Jonnu Smith vs. DAL, Austin Hooper vs. ARZ, T.J. Hockenson vs. CIN

If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to find more of my content on Twitter @FF_Worm. I am always available to talk fantasy football and answer any questions.

Get to know Finnish F1 driver Valtteri Bottas

Could Valtteri Bottas actually win the F1 championship?

Valtteri Bottas, who is the dazzling Formula 1 driver from “the land of the thousand lakes”, also known as Finland, just won his first Grand Prix of the year this past weekend. The winner of the “Turkish Grand Prix” grabbed an impressive victory and 26 points to keep his championship hopes alive. Max Verstappen, who is still the championship favorite, came right in at the second-place spot.

After Bottas’s enormous victory, he proudly said “I can still win, but if not me, then Hamilton”. Bottas knows he has a shot, but he nicely exonerates a realistic outlook towards the situation. Bottas sits 110.5 points behind the leader Max Verstappen — while his pal Lewis Hamilton is sitting a mere six points behind Verstappen. 

All in all, Bottas had a nice victory lap this past weekend and he put his “Mercedes” team on the map. Well, he is at least on the map for now. The Finnish racer will end his tenure with Mercedes upon the eclipse of 2021. 

The Mercedes driver has clearly enjoyed a fine tenure with Mercedes and he should ride a wave of optimism with his team to the end. The Finn that felt confident entering F1 by saying “if you can drive on the frozen roads of his homeland then you can drive anywhere” found success in the Silver Arrows in 2017. Per F1, Bottas tied Hamilton with 13 podiums that year.  

His success took a nosedive in 2018, as he registered a whopping 0 wins. Meanwhile, his partner in crime Hamilton made up for the lack of competition and clocked 11 victories. Fast forward to 2021, the Finnish driver just picked up his first victory — so he has quite a lot of road to make up. 

If the Eastern European pulls off an improbable journey to a championship victory, he would become the fourth Finnish F1 driver to claim championship victory. Kimi Raikkonen would of course be the most recent F1 driver to claim the gold — all the way back in 2007. The pressure is clearly on Bottas, but he could get some help from Hamilton.

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