Fantasy Focus: Hot & Not
Ah, week 7. Now starts the portion of the year where Bye weeks start to ravage your roster. Many top picks are out either this week or in the next couple of weeks, so it’s time to start looking for waiver wire saviors. This week’s lists focus on a few players who you might have leaned on more heavily in place of your usual stars. Quite a few waiver wire heroes cropped up, but there was also a fair share of busts as well. See more as we look at this week's "Hot and Not."
Hot Fantasy Updates
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami- Lamar Miller has made a run for one of the all-time best fantasy days with a monster first half against the Texans. Sure, the offense subsided in the last thirty minutes, but Miller finished the day with 175 yards and a rushing touchdown on 14 carries while also adding 3 catches, 61 receiving yards, and a receiving TD. Miller benefitted from the generally monstrous first half the Dolphins put up, and is making up for his slow start now that Dan Campbell has implemented his run-heavy scheme. Miller should be at least a solid RB2 next week against New England.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington- Who would’ve thought? Washington’s football team trailed 24-0 at one point, but “Captain Kirk” led the path to victory against the Buccaneers. Cousins completed 33 of 40 passes for 317 yards and four total touchdowns (three over the air, one on the ground.) It was exactly the kind of performance that will give fuel to the Kirk Cousins fan club, as Cousins became the third QB to throw for four or more TD’s against the Bucs’ D. Don’t expect this performance from him when Washington returns from its Bye to face the Patriots.
Nate Washington, WR, Houston- The veteran receiver had missed the previous three games with a hamstring injury, but made a triumphant return with an unexpectedly exceptional performance in Houston’s loss to Miami. Washington is your “garbage time” performer of the week, as he hauled in two second half touchdowns to boost his fantasy totals. On the whole, Washington had nine catches on 16 targets and 127 yards as part of an impressive day. Washington unexpectedly received more targets than usual #1 wideout DeAndre Hopkins and also made the most of them. Look for him to be a speculative PPR play in the weeks ahead, with more upside if usual #2 receiver Cecil Shorts III’s injury lingers.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota- Diggs, a 5th-round pick, has only played in three games through Sunday, but had arguably his best one yet this week vs. the Lions. Diggs hauled in six of nine targets for 108 receiving yards and his first career touchdown in an impressive performance. The Vikings offense has given Diggs either 9 or 10 targets in all three of his games and he has also hauled in 6 or 7 catches in all three games. Sunday was also Diggs’ second consecutive game with over 100 receiving yards. Owners who took a flyer on Diggs must be happy, and if he’s still available in your league, pick him up as he should remain a starter for the time being.
Not Fantasy Updates
Landry Jones, QB, Pittsburgh- Maybe you thought that Jones would make for a good streaming option against a porous Chiefs pass defense. If you did, the logic made sense, but the execution was less than perfect. After making fantasy news with last week's performance, Jones completed 16 of 29 passes and had a passing TD but threw for just 209 yards and also had two interceptions. Between Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and PPR threat LeVeon Bell, you’d expect more from any Steelers’ QB, but it was not to be this week. Expect Jones to go back to the bench next week with Ben Roethlisberger likely to return.
Matt Jones, RB, Washington- Another likely Bye week add, Jones seems to have taken the starting running back job from Alfred Morris, but still had only nine carries as Washington relied on Kirk Cousins to lead their comeback. Jones only gained 29 rushing yards and also had 23 receiving yards while catching three of four targets. PPR owners may be able to find a slight silver lining thanks to that, but all in all, the performance was still underwhelming. Fortunately, Alfred Morris had an even worse day, gaining just five yards on his six carries. Don’t expect much from Jones, but keep him on your roster as long as he’s getting the bulk of the carries.
Brandon LaFell, WR, New England- Now, we can try to give LaFell a break here since he was in his first game back from a foot injury, but LaFell caught only two of eight targets for 25 yards, including five drops. By the end of the game, Aaron Dobson was taking LaFell’s snaps, as it increasingly looked like the recovering receiver was not ready to return. Many owners likely added LaFell as a Bye week speculative pickup, but he did not come through for them. Expect his numbers to slowly improve as he returns to full strength. While he may have big games in his future in the Patriots offense, expect a high floor and low ceiling from LaFell given QB Tom Brady’s propensity to spread the ball around.
Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville- Gone are the days of Orange Julius, but Thomas had been coming off a strong outing in advance of this week’s game vs. the Bills in London. This week, however, Thomas caught only one of five targets for just four yards in the Jaguars’ win. Thomas missed out on yardage from a big gain that was called back on a penalty and also missed a few snaps after not putting enough effort into running out a deep ball. Thomas missed a few games to start the year and may still be getting back into shape. Tight end is a fickle and shallow position this year, but still tread with caution if you’re starting Thomas after next week’s Bye.
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