Daily Notes: Uncertainty in Seahawks' backfield, Cardinals' receiving corps; new QB in ATL
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The news: Seahawks RB Travis Homer was a full participant in practice Thursday.
What it means in fantasy: With both Kenneth Walker III (ankle) and DeeJay Dallas (ankle) still not practicing because of their respective injuries, this is an important development for Homer. The current uncertainty surrounding the Seahawks backfield makes Homer an attractive fantasy pickup, as he will be in line for a huge workload against the Panthers in Week 14. Carolina’s defense has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. Homer is rostered in only 2.8% of ESPN leagues.
The news: Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence did not practice Thursday.
What it means in fantasy: While Lawrence has publicly stated that he intends to play against the Titans on Sunday, two consecutive missed practices is not ideal. Tennessee’s defense gives up the second-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, making this a very favorable matchup for Lawrence. Fantasy managers could pivot to Jared Goff or Mike White if Lawrence is ruled out.
The news: Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (illness) and WR Rondale Moore (groin) did not practice Thursday.
What it means in fantasy: There is a strong chance Hopkins is dealing with the flu. Moore is dealing with a groin injury suffered back in Week 11 against the 49ers. Since the Cardinals play the Patriots on Monday night, fantasy managers should be more optimistic about Hopkins’ availability. He can be viewed as a WR2 if active. Since the Cardinals had a bye in Week 13, Moore had additional time to rest, but it’s concerning that he hasn’t returned to practice. It would be wise for fantasy managers to pick up Greg Dortch as a contingency plan. Despite missing Week 12 due to a thumb injury, he has been a full participant in practice so far this week. Dortch is rostered in only 3.0% of ESPN leagues. The Cardinals rank third with 39.5 pass attempts per game. Dortch could be considered a flex option in deeper formats if he is active.
Matthew Bowen breaks down what he likes about Desmond Ridder from a fantasy perspective.
The news: Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Falcons will bench QB Marcus Mariota in favor of QB Desmond Ridder.
What it means in fantasy: The bye week will give Ridder additional time to prepare for his first career start against the Saints in Week 15. In the past five games, the Falcons have lost four and scored more than 20 points only once, while Mariota has surpassed 17 fantasy points only three times this season, averaging 15.1 fantasy points per game. Ridder holds the University of Cincinnati record for touchdown passes with 87. During his career, he passed for 10,239 yards and ran for 2,179 yards, including 28 rushing touchdowns, the most for a Bearcats quarterback. The presence of Ridder under center should benefit Drake London.
Going deeper: Per ESPN Stats & Information, Mariota has completed 184 of 300 passes for 2,219 yards, 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions this season. Mariota has been off-target on 20.5% of his throws this season, tied with Zach Wilson for third-worst. In comparison, the league average is 15.2%. The receivers have dropped only 2% of his passes.
The news: Rams QB Baker Mayfield completed 22 of 35 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown against the Raiders on Thursday night.
What it means in fantasy: Mayfield entered the game after the Rams’ first series for starter John Wolford, who handed off the ball three times and did not attempt a pass. Mayfield had ups and downs throughout the game, but what made his performance so impressive was that he was claimed off waivers by the Rams on Tuesday afternoon and had only one practice with the team prior to this game. In spite of Mayfield’s 14.2 fantasy points, he is difficult to trust in anything but deeper fantasy formats after averaging only 11 with the Panthers this season. The Rams offense ranks 31st with 283.0 yards per game and 29th with 16.8 points per game and we’ll need to see improvement across the board before we can reinvest.
The news: Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle was a full participant Thursday in practice.
What it means in fantasy: Following a limited practice Wednesday, this news is very encouraging for Waddle as he is on track to play Sunday night against the Chargers. Last week against the 49ers, he played through the injury and finished with just 1.9 fantasy points. Waddle had double-digit PPR fantasy points in six consecutive games before that, including two games with more than 19 points. He can be viewed as a WR1 against the Chargers.
The news: Bengals WR Tee Higgins was limited Thursday in practice because of a hamstring injury.
Need a boom-or-bust candidate for your critical fantasy football matchup? Here are some suggestions:
Monday night flop? Kyler Murray has yet to have a boom performance this season and carries a 25% bust chance (under 12 fantasy points) with the Patriots coming to town.
Timing is everything. D’Andre Swift‘s playing time is on the rise and that is fueling his 28% boom chance (over 16.5 fantasy points) in this matchup.
Amari Cooper is searching for a sixth boom week of the season and his chances of doing so (27%) are more than double his chances of letting you down with a bust week (13%).
Michael Gallup boomed last week, but be careful in banking on a repeat: he enters the weekend with only an 8% chance to boom and score at least 14 fantasy points.
Greg Dulcich is available in plenty of leagues and has a 28% chance to boom and score over 10 fantasy points on Sunday against the Chiefs.
What it means in fantasy: Fantasy managers should be concerned about Higgins’ new injury designation. Higgins’ participation Friday will reveal whether the downgrade in activity was precautionary or if there is real concern about his availability Sunday against the Browns. Higgins can be viewed as a low-end WR1 if he is active. Managers should be proactive and check out the free agent pool and Matt Bowen’s streaming pickups for contingencies.
The news: Chargers WR Mike Williams was a full participant Thursday in practice.
What it means in fantasy: Williams did not practice for two weeks and did not play in the past two games due to a high ankle sprain. On Wednesday, Williams returned to limited activity, and Thursday he was able to participate fully, so he should be able to play Sunday. The fact that six teams are on bye for the final week of the fantasy season allows Williams to be viewed as a WR2 despite his high reinjury risk.
The news: Broncos WR Courtland Sutton did not practice Thursday because of a hamstring injury.
What it means in fantasy: Head coach Nathaniel Hackett said Wednesday that the Broncos were going to be cautious with Sutton. The signs continue to point to Sutton not playing against the Chiefs. Jerry Jeudy and Greg Dulcich should see additional targets if Sutton is ruled out. They are the only two Broncos receivers fantasy managers should feel comfortable using against the Chiefs on Sunday.
The news: Titans WR Treylon Burks did not practice Thursday.
What it means in fantasy: Burks is in the league’s concussion protocol and is trending toward not playing in the Sunday game against the Jaguars. Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine will see additional targets if Burks is ruled out. The Jaguars’ defense gives up the ninth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
The news: Steelers WR Diontae Johnson did not practice Thursday due to a hip injury.
What it means in fantasy: Fantasy managers should monitor Johnson’s status closely Friday. He’s likely to be questionable for the Sunday game against the Ravens. George Pickens would greatly benefit if Johnson is ruled out. Pickens had three consecutive games with double-digit fantasy points before posting 1.2 against the Falcons in Week 13. The Ravens’ defense gives up the eighth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
The news: Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reported that Texans WR Brandin Cooks and WR Nico Collins are expected to miss Houston’s game against the Cowboys on Sunday.
What it means in fantasy: Cooks is dealing with a calf injury while Collins is dealing with a foot injury. This a dire situation for a Texans offense that already ranks last at 279.3 total yards per game and 31st at 15.7 points per game. Phillip Dorsett and Chris Moore might be worth adding in deeper formats, but it’s hard to trust the Texans’ offense. It’s probably best to avoid this situation.
The news: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson did not practice Thursday because of a sprained PCL.
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What it means in fantasy: Jackson is week-to-week with this injury. Tyler Huntley is expected to be under center for the Ravens on Sunday against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s defense has allowed quarterbacks to average 19.1 fantasy points per game. This is the second consecutive season Jackson has missed a game due to injury. Jackson has taken a league-leading 877 hits since entering the league in 2018. That translates to 12.5 hits per game. Huntley can be viewed as a midrange QB2.
Today on ESPN.com/Fantasy and in the ESPN Fantasy App
Mike Clay’s Playbook: projections and analysis for every Week 14 game
Eric Karabell: Deshaun Watson, Mike Evans on the Week 14 hot seat
• Daniel Dopp and Liz Loza’s Fantasy Improv: popular players on top fantasy teams and believing in the surging Detroit Lions
• “Fantasy Focus” podcast (10 a.m. ET)
• The Fantasy Football cheat sheet: the week’s best advice in one place
• Inactives Watch: Who’s in, who’s out and what does it mean?
• After the games: Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft’s fantasy highs and lows
• Fantasy Football Now: Sunday at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN2
In Case You Missed It:
Field Yates’ Fantasy Field Pass for Week 14: Replacing Lamar Jackson, key backfield notes and six players to watch in 2023
Mike Clay’s TNF Playbook: Rams vs Raiders fantasy projections
Tristan H. Cockcroft’s positional Matchup Map
Matt Bowen’s fantasy film room: Geno Smith, Leonard Fournette among Week 14 upgrades, downgrades
Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS Best Buys for Week 14
• “Fantasy Focus” podcast “Fantasy Focus” podcast: Field Yates, Mike Clay, Stephania Bell and Daniel Dopp preview TNF before talking WRs who need to be in your lineup and what players stock is rising and falling. Then, Adam Schefter joins to talk the storylines to watch in Week 14 including a confidence check on two QBs starting in big spots Listen | Watch