I’m gonna go a bit off-topic and just say what we’re all thinking:  They have to do better with the officiating in the NFL!  As a former zebra, I fully understand and appreciate how difficult the job is.  I’m easier on them than most that have never worn the whistle, but they have been atrocious at times this year.  This is a multi-multi-billion dollar operation, and every week we’re seeing at least one game be decided by people other than the players and coaches on the field.  In a 16 game season, where every game counts for so much, it just can’t happen week in and week out like that.  Is it due to a lot of veterans retiring in recent years?  Is the answer even MORE reviewable plays?  I hope not, I hate the way new PI reviews slow down the flow of the game.  One of the things turned down in meetings this offseason was a booth official:  A guy who sits above the game and has all of the video and replay equipment at his disposal, and a direct line to the ear of the head official on the field.  Someone who can spot these obviously incorrect calls and fix them on the spot without an “official review” wasting so much time.  I like that idea personally.  It still wouldn’t eliminate things like the premature whistle on the Cameron Jordan TD that would’ve had the Saints sitting at 6-0 (people forget that), but it would fix things like we saw on Monday night.  Whatever the solution is, they’ve gotta get these game changing calls right.  I mean, come on… Gambling is legal in America now.  There’s too much at stake 😅…

As always, all players listed are less than 50% owned in Yahoo! leagues.

The Running Backs:

Jamaal Williams, Packers (18%) – Williams was averaging about 10 touches per game before going down early in Week 4 due to a vicious hit against the Eagles.  He returned this week, and thanks to an Aaron Jones fumble and dropped TD pass, he returned in a big way.  18 touches (4 receptions) resulted in 136 yards plus a TD, and outside of the ref who kept imagining Trey Flowers’s hands in David Bahktiari’s face, he was the biggest reason Green Bay won the game.

Aaron Jones is far too talented to go fully into the doghouse over a few bad plays, but Williams gained his share of the timeshare back after Jones huge 4TD game against the Cowboys had threatened to take it away.  It’ll be hard to gauge who the hot hand is going to be, but in the right matchups, both are playable at the same time.

Mark Walton, Dolphins (5%) – Oh boy, more Dolphins players on the list.  What can you do though?  The running back pipeline is so dried up right now that this is where we end up.  In a game where many expected Kenyon Drake to have somewhat of breakout game (by Miami standards), Mark Walton (not perennial sleeper favorite Kalen Ballage) ended up stealing half his touches.

While Drake was ok by PPR standards thanks to his 9 targets, Walton came away the more efficient player and received a lot of praise from his coaching staff after.  75 yards on 11 touches, he saw 6 targets of his own and caught 5 of them.  I understand nobody really wants a piece of this offense, but if bye weeks have you in a bind, I expect Walton to get the chance to expand on his good work in the coming weeks.

Notable:  The always hard to predict Patriots backfield has recently seen Brandon Bolden getting the goal line touches and scores (and nothing else outside of that).  While that could keep up, I expect Rex Burkhead to get that role back when he returns.  He’s dropped to 20% ownership, and Sony Michel has not looked great this year at all.  Buy in on Burkhead.

The Wide Receivers:

Jameson Crowder, Jets (43%) – Sam Darnold returned this week, and with his return came the first sign of life from his favorite target since Week 1 when he went off in PPR leagues for 14 catches (17 targets) and 99 yards.  It’s no coincidence that was the only game Darnold played in this season and that Crowder disappeared without him.

With his QB finally back in the saddle, Crowder picked up where he left off as an outstanding possession receiver: 9 targets, 6 catches, 98 yards.  You’ll take that all day.  Jets aren’t going to be great, but they should see a nice upswing here with Sam healthy and TE Chris Herndon returning soon.  I don’t expect more 17 target games like in Week 1, with Demaryus Thomas popping up and Herndon coming back, but I think 7-9 per week is a reasonable expectation.

Allen Lazard, Packers (1%) – This is heavily dependent on the health of the Packers other receivers, Geronimo Allison and mainly Davante Adams, but if those guys were to miss this week Lazard did an excellent job of catching Aaron Rodgers eye on Monday night.  With Allison going down to a hit to the head, and Shepard dropping a pass that turned into an INT on the goalline, the Pack turned to Lazard and he delivered in a big way with 4 catches for 65 yards and the TD (which was a dime from Rodgers) that brought them within 2 points.

At 6’5 he’s a big target.  At 4.55 he’s got decent speed.  Seems like the kind of guy that just needed an opportunity, and he just got it.  Rodgers talked him up after the game, and if those other guys do end up sitting out this week, I expect A-A-Ron to give him even more opportunity to perhaps establish himself as one of his favorite targets and move himself up the depth chart.

Dante Pettis, Niners (16%) – After a nice year last season, Pettis was thought to be one of San Francisco’s top receiving options coming into training camp.  It didn’t work out that way.  He was demoted and received a good amount of criticism from the coaching staff throughout the preseason.  Some thought it was tough love, and he’d eventually start the season as a starter.  He didn’t.  He didn’t see much action in the first few weeks at all, but over the last few weeks his snaps and targets have been moving up.  Now add in a groin injury that could keep Deebo Samuel out this week and a tasty matchup with Washington, and Pettis finds himself in a potential breakout spot.  I think this is a deep play, but it also comes with some season long upside if he can breakout here.  If Samuel sits, the biggest things working against him is a Niners blowout, which is honestly pretty likely.

Notable:  Phillip Dorsett II (38%) is already back at practice removing from a hamstring injury that dropped him below the 50% threshold.  He was seeing 6 targets per game and had scored in 3 of 4 before injury, and Josh Gordon could miss time with an injury of his own occurring last Thursday.  With one of Seattle’s top receiving options going down, Jaron Brown (0%) popped up with a 3/29/2 line.  I don’t know if he can see the volume to produce, but if he’s going to, it’s going to be in the next 3 weeks when the Seahawks face Baltimore, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay’s beatable secondaries.  Cole Beasley (15%), Duke Williams (1%), Auden Tate (23%) coming off a 12 target game, and Demaryius Thomas (4%) have all been talked about before and are still available.

The Tight Ends:

Darren Fells, Texans (4%) – Fells hasn’t made the list, because he’s pretty much in a timeshare with Jordan Akins, but he keeps producing.  6 catches on 7 targets for 69 yards last week gives him an average of 11.75ppr points per game over his last 4, with 3 of those 4 games scoring in the double digits.  That’s for sure playable, especially in a bye week jam.

Ricky Seals-Jones, Browns (3%) – I wrote him up 2 weeks ago as a guy to keep an eye on.  The following week he was a bust, but so was the entire Browns organization as they got steamrolled by the Browns.  A week later and RSJ bounced back with 3/47/1 on a nice 6 targets.  I wrote about how intriguing the formed college wideout is to me as a TE prospect, and with Njoku still down for awhile, Baker could fall in love with this guy in the Redzone.  They’re on a bye this week, but it always pays to be ahead of the game.

Notable:  While Darren Waller has been a breakout sensation in the early part of the season, there’s another Raider TE making a quiet come up behind him.  Foster Moreau (0%) caught 7 of 7 targets for 76 yards and a TD over his last 2 games.  Those aren’t major numbers, but remember who Waller is:  a guy pulled off the practice squad.  Any regression or time missed from him could open the door for Moreau to sneak in.  One last guy, I wrote about him in the first installment of these writeups, but he hasn’t seen much action until this week:  Dallas Goedert (9%).  He saw 8 targets this week and turned it into 5/48 against a tough Vikings defense.  Ertz is healthy, and that makes Goedert hard to ever play, but it’s a reminder of what he could be if Ertz were to miss any time.

One last note:  No real QB section, but Josh Allen (49%) dipped just under 50% this week with Buffalo being on bye.  Allen was already a guy I’d talked about in the first few weeks here, and Buffalo’s offense has a good chance to ramp up a little with Singletary returning, Duke Williams emerging, and a favorable schedule that starts this week with Miami.

Good luck in Week 7.

  • Michael Hogan, PSR/SouthtownUnscripted

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