Fantasy football Week 3 recap and top waiver wire picks

Sunday was wild.

So much history made, so many upsets and quite a few break out performances highlighted Week 3.

Drew Brees broke the record for career completions on the way to 396 yards and three touchdown passes in an overtime win over the Falcons. He also rushed for a couple touchdowns with the help of a pretty sweet spin move and a game-winning QB sneak over the top.

Opposite Brees, Matt Ryan threw for 374 yards and five touchdowns. And despite leading many fantasy teams to wins, he was a loser Sunday.

On the bright side, Ryan looks to be building a nice rapport with Calvin Ridley. The rookie has been better week after week and should be a high priority waiver wire addition.

That overtime clash would have been the main story of the week if there weren’t so many big upsets.

The upsets were some serious head-scratchers, but the Vikings, who were favored by more than two touchdowns, falling to the Bills was unbelievable. The Bills took a 27-0 lead into the fourth quarter before winning 27-6. Josh Allen rushed for two scores and threw another, but I don’t think you should rush out and add him to your team.

Outside of Adam Thielen, who had 14 receptions for 105 yards, this game was somewhat of a fantasy points wasteland. Kirk Cousins turned the ball over three times while Stefon Diggs caught four passes for just 17 yards. The Vikings rushed just six times in the game. That’s astounding and was a big reason Latavius Murray didn’t cash in on a start in place of injured Dalvin Cook.

The Sunday night game also offered up a surprise. The Lions, with the help of a break out performance from rookie running back Kerryon Johnson, topped the Patriots 26-10.

The Patriots offense struggled mightily. Tom Brady threw for fewer than 150 yards and was intercepted while Rob Gronkowski had just four receptions for 51 yards.

Johnson helped salt away the win with some tough gains and became the first Lion to rush for at least 100 yards since 2013. He tops my list of waiver wire picks.

Top waiver wire picks:

Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions: Johnson ended the streak of rushers failing to gain 100 yards for the Lions in Sunday night’s win over the Patriots. It’s a good sign that his 16-carry, 101-yard effort came in a win. Hopefully that means he has earned the Lion’s share of touches. (Sorry.)

Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons: Targeted eight times through the first two games, Ridley had a coming out party on Sunday as he caught seven passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns. The first-round pick is progressing toward becoming the No. 2 receiving option in Atlanta.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: I guess people aren’t trusting him yet because he’s still widely available in a lot of leagues. He just had his second straight game of making six receptions and scoring a touchdown. Boyd did that on the way to gaining 132 yards.

Mike Williams, WR, Chargers: Williams scored twice this week on the way to gaining 81 yards. That brings his totals to 189 yards and three touchdowns.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Raiders: It’s a little weird to have him as a suggested waiver wire addition, but some owners probably had enough after two dud weeks. He caught six passes for 173 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Miami Sunday and looks like he’s getting comfortable with Derek Carr.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns: Don’t get crazy, but you can pick him up to stash until he makes it clear that he can string a few good games together.

Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks: Teams tend to stick with what works. The Seahawks were favored at home against the Cowboys, but they were 0-2 with previous gameplans. This week they handed the ball to Carson 32 times for 102 yards and a win.

Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants: He caught six passes for 80 yards and scored a touchdown in the Giants’ first win.

Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers: If the Bucs stay with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Godwin should be a decent play for WR2 status. He’s scored in each week so far, including a five-catch, 74-yard performance Monday night.

Vance McDonald, TE, Steelers: He’s been targeted at least five times in each of the first two games he’s played in. Jesse James was barely visible Monday night, getting targeted just once. McDonald has the skills to be a TE1, evidenced by his 75-yard score.

Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens: His fantasy scoring has been consistent, but it’s hard to imagine him scoring a touchdown in every game. That’s the only way he’s been valuable through the first three games. He has 29 touches for just 102 yards but has scored four times. Add him, but be aware.

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: Don’t look now but Flacco is starting to put up decent fantasy numbers. He hasn’t thrown for fewer than 236 yards in a game this season and has six TDs versus just two picks.

Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals: He’s starting to warm up, finishing with seven catches for 90 yards in Week 3. Strike now before he has a serious break out.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins: With bye weeks coming up, you’ll want a decent fill-in and Tannehill has been better than decent. He’s thrown seven touchdowns against just two interceptions in three weeks. Not to mention he’s rushed for 74 yards in that span as well.

Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles: Add him if you’ve got room on your bench because he could end up paying off. Carson Wentz returned to the lineup and utilized the rookie effectively. Goedert caught seven passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Philly is hurting at the WR spot, so they’ll look to get both Zach Ertz and Goedert involved.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 2 recap and top waiver wire picks

Some of the overreactions after Week 1 turned out not to be overreactions at all.

Pat Mahomes became the youngest quarterback to throw six touchdown passes in a game a week after throwing four touchdowns in Week 1. His ten touchdown passes is the most through two games in NFL history.

The Chiefs, and Alex Smith, started out great last season as well, but the situations are different. Smith was letting it all hang out as he had Mahomes over his shoulder last year. That start was an anomaly for Smith and he came back to earth after a while. This start by Mahomes could just be the norm for the second-year quarterback. He’s certainly used to putting up ridiculous numbers from his college days. The way he carved up the Steelers, utilizing Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce was masterful.

The Chiefs are set up to be productive all year. They are clicking on all cylinders and their defense is so bad that they’ll have to keep pushing for more points in most games.

Speaking of which, the Steelers put up a lot of fantasy points in that contest. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 452 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for another score.

JuJu Smith-Schuster led Pittsburgh with 13 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. Though Antonio Brown had nine receptions, he gained just 67 yards in a mild disappointment. James Conner had a terrible day rushing but managed to get into the end zone. He also caught five passes for 48 yards to make for a solid outing.

Ryan Fitzpatrick also lit it up once again, tossing for more than 400 yards and four scores for the second week in a row. That’s the first time that’s ever happened in franchise history.

The veteran could end up keeping the starting spot, even when Jameis Winston returns, if he continues to play with the confidence and swagger he displayed in his post-game press conference. The guy looked like Conor McGregor with an assist from DeSean Jackson’s wardrobe.

Speaking of Jackson, he started the day off right, catching a 75-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage to give the Bucs an early lead. He finished with four catches for 129 yards and his second straight 100-yard game. Jackson was in danger of missing this week after suffering a concussion in Week 1.

Both Jackson and Fitzpatrick, alongside Mike Evans, should have success next week against the Steelers as well.

Another strong passing attack in Week 2 was that of the Vikings. Kirk Cousins is earning his money, connecting on 35 of 48 passes for 425 yards and four touchdowns. He distributed the ball well, targeting Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen 13 times each. Diggs finished with nine catches for 128 yards and two scores. Thielen led the team with 12 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. The TD he scored to tie the game late was unbelievably improbable, but Cousins dropped the ball perfectly inbetween two defenders on the play.

The most successful running backs were the usual suspects with a few exceptions. Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley all had good days. Gurley and Gordon each scored three times while McCaffrey and Barkley each had 14 receptions.

The more surprising performers were Matt Breida and Corey Clement. Breida didn’t get as many touches as Alfred Morris in the 49ers backfield, but he was more productive as he rushed for 138 yards and a score. Clement filled in for Jay Ajayi who was briefly injured. Clement had 85 total yards and a touchdown.

The biggest disappointments of the day had to be Rob Gronkowski, David Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. Gronk was held to just two catches for 15 yards in a tough loss to the Jaguars. Johnson has some serious issues in Arizona. The offense can hardly move the ball at all. It might be Josh Rosen time soon. Thomas was the odd man out in the Broncos’ attack, catching five passes for just 18 yards.

Top waiver wire picks:

Matt Breida, RB, 49ers: He has three straight good matchups coming up.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: Tampa Bay’s passing attack is on fire and Jackson is still available in a fair amount of leagues.

Antonio Callaway, WR, Browns: Callaway caught three passes for 81 yards and a touchdown and Josh Gordon is gone.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons: The rookie caught four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Bears defense/special teams: They have 10 sacks through two games, which leads the league. They’re on pace to top the NFL record set by the ’84 Bears.

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars: He can surprise you every now and then. This week he did it to the tune of 377 yards and four touchdowns.

Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens: He’s scored in two straight games and has five catches in each of those contests.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: So far he’s outplaying John Ross as the Bengals’ No. 2.

Gio Bernard, RB, Bengals: Joe Mixon is set to miss at least two weeks after a procedure on his knee.

Cowboys defense/special teams: The pass rush looks to be for real. They’ve notched at least three sacks and a turnover in each of the first two weeks.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks: Lockett caught a touchdown pass for the second game in a row and could remain a useful player as long as Doug Baldwin is out.

Dan Bailey, K, Vikings: He’s the new kicker for the Vikings and they score lots of points and set up for lots of field goals.

Eric Ebron, TE, Colts: Two weeks, two touchdowns.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars: He’s the guy to own if Bortles starts stringing good games together.

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars: He displayed big-play ability and was targeted five times.

Will Dissly, TE, Seahawks: He’s still available in a lot of leagues and he scored in his second straight game.

Jesse James, TE, Steelers: Five catches for 138 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 makes him another option at the position.

Bilal Powell, RB, Jets: He’s had at least 65 yards from scrimmage in each of first two weeks and could be added for depth.

Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers: If Fitzpatrick stays hot, the top three wideouts for the Bucs are worth owning.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 1 recap and top waiver wire picks

The first Sunday of the football season ended with an improbable comeback by one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL.

On one leg, even.

How many times do you see an injured player taken to the locker room on a cart and return to the game to lead his team to a win from down 20-0?

Aaron Rodgers did just that, shifting the balance of thousands of fantasy football matchups in the process.

Rodgers had just 13 yards passing when he left the game in the first half, leaving fantasy football owners believing they had just lost (or won) their season-opening contest. But Rodgers returned and finished with 286 yards and three touchdowns in the 24-23 win.

He spread the fantasy points around, connecting on touchdowns with Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb. Cobb, nearly left for dead in fantasy leagues before the season, scored the 75-yard winner.

No wide receiver had a bigger day than Tyreek Hill, however. He caught seven passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Hill also had a 91-yard punt return for a score on his first touch of the day. His performance helped Patrick Mahomes turn in an awesome debut as the Chiefs new starting QB.

Another quarterback that had a huge day was Ryan Fitzpatrick. He had an unpredictable, outstanding performance against a Saints defense which was very good last season. “Fitzmagic” finished with 417 passing yards, a touchdown pass, 36 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the beneficiaries of Fitzpatrick’s huge day. Even Chris Godwin caught a touchdown pass.

On the other side of the ball in that game, the trio of Alvin Kamara, Drew Brees and Michael Thomas came up big for fantasy owners. The 48-40 final made for a huge fantasy day.

Thomas caught a league-high 16 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.

Kamara rushed just eight times for 29 yards and two rushing TDs. He added nine receptions for 112 yards and another score, picking up where he left off last season.

Another running back who eclipsed the century mark in receiving was Melvin Gordon, the workhorse for the Chargers. He gained 166 yards on 24 touches, though he didn’t score.

Kamara and Gordon were expected to do well, but one back who outperformed expectations was James Conner. I suggested him as a start in my start-sit preview and he was outstanding, rushing for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Conner also caught five passes for 57 yards, doing his best impersonation of Le’Veon Bell.

Conner proved he can replace Bell, admittedly based on a short sample size, but the Steelers didn’t win.

The Giants didn’t win either, but Saquon Barkley saved his week with a 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against the Jaguars, a tough defense.

Tight end owners had a tough outing, unless you had Rob Gronkowski or Jared Cook, of course.

Jordan Reed owners were happy as well, alongside owners of George Kittle, Eric Ebron and Kyle Rudolph. But Trey Burton and Jimmy Graham had big expectations entering the season, and had bad openers. Meanwhile David Njoku and Evan Engram are on track for sophomore slumps. Greg Olsen reinjured his foot as well.

Leonard Fournette and Doug Baldwin each suffered injuries that disappointed fantasy owners looking to cash in on their upper-echelon talent. Baldwin apparently has a partially torn MCL, according to ESPN’s Adam Shefter, so it’s uncertain how long he’ll be out.

Kenyan Drake, Alex Collins and Derrick Henry each were set up for feature roles but didn’t pay off.

Kareem Hunt, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce were left out of the fun for the Chiefs.

LeSean McCoy is stuck in a bad situation in Buffalo.

On Monday night, Jared Goff and Sam Darnold had solid outings, but Derek Carr and Matt Stafford were duds.

Todd Gurley had a nice performance. No surprise there, but Isaiah Crowell also put up nice numbers for the Jets.

Despite Stafford throwing four interceptions, his three top receivers had good games. Marvin Jones was the worst of the bunch, but he caught four passes for 54 yards. Kenny Golladay led the team with seven catches for 114 yards.

Quincy Enunwa outperformed Robby Anderson and could end up leading the Jets receiving corps.

Cook put up a surprise performance for the Raiders, catching nine passes for 180 yards. His involvement is an encouraging sign. Another bright spot for Oakland was Jalen Richard’s involvement in the passing game. He could prove valuable in ppr leagues.

Top waiver wire picks:

Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins: He’s as efficient as ever, gaining over 120 yards from scrimmage and scoring. Scoop him up if he’s still available.

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos: He actually had more touches than fellow rookie Royce Freeman. Lindsay matched Freeman in the rushing attack, gaining 71 yards on 15 carries, but he added two receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions: He could break out in his sophomore season and has already led his team in receptions and yards Monday night.

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins: He caught four passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Quincy Enunwa, WR, Jets: His return to the field was a successful one as he caught six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buccaneers: Fitzmagic is back. Pick him up now and you could be rewarded if the Bucs think they’re better off with him at the helm even when Jameis Winston returns from suspension.

Jared Cook, TE, Raiders: The Raiders receivers had a terrible game, but if that continues maybe Cook becomes a must-own option.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Browns: In a game that Taylor should have struggled, he came out with a very solid fantasy score. Of course, rushing for 77 yards helps. It’s why mobile QBs are so valuable.

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars: Monitor the news about Leonard Fournette, who left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. If he misses time, Yeldon should be picked up by anyone needing running back help.

Phillip Dorsett, WR, Patriots: He caught all seven of the passes Tom Brady threw to him, gaining 66 yards while Chris Hogan had just one catch as the Patriots No. 1 wideout.

Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers: Adams and Cobb had big games, but Allison was targeted eight times and scored. He’s not owned in many leagues, unlike his teammates.

Will Dissly, TE, Seahawks: Surprisingly he was the most targeted tight end for the Seahawks, hauling in three of the five passes Russell Wilson sent his way for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: Nobody wanted to touch Dalton in fantasy drafts, but he looked decent on Sunday.

Bears defense: Though they fell in gut-wrenching fashion Sunday night, adding Khalil Mack has them scoring points with forced turnovers and sacks.

Case Keenum, QB, Broncos: Though he turned the ball over three times, he threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Keenum has three favorable matchups in the next four weeks.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers: If you add him off the waiver wire, keep him on the bench until you see how he’s used in Week 2. Ekeler had 10 touches for L.A. and was involved in the passing game.

Jalen Richard, RB, Raiders: Carr was dumping off to Richard late in the game, but that could be a usual scenario for this Raiders team. He finished Monday’s game with nine receptions, a nice game in ppr leagues.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

The 2017 fantasy football awards

Week 17 ended with some fireworks as the NFL playoff picture wasn’t totally clear until late. Now that the regular season is over, we can take a look back on the fantasy football year. Here are my 2017 fantasy football awards, complete with MVP, the All-Fantasy team and much more.

The MVP: Todd Gurley, RB, Rams

He was my most disappointing player of 2016, given the spot in which he was drafted. This season he turned it all around, thanks in large part to rookie head coach Sean McVay. Gurley rushed for 1,305 yards, good for second in the league, and caught 64 passes for 788 yards. He totaled 19 touchdowns on the season, including 13 on the ground to lead the NFL. With the Rams looking like the NFL’s team of the future, if not present, I expect Gurley to keep it going next year.

2017 All-Fantasy Team

Quarterback: Russell Wilson, Seahawks (3,983 yards passing, 34 TDs, 586 yards rushing, 3 TDs)
Running back: Todd Gurley, Rams (1,305 yards rushing, 13 TDs, 788 yards receiving, 6 TDs)
Running back: Le’Veon Bell, Steelers (1,291 yards rushing, 9 TDs, 655 yards receiving, 2 TDs)
Flex: Alvin Kamara, Saints (728 yards rushing, 8 TDs, 826 yards receiving, 5 TDs)
Wide receiver: Antonio Brown, Steelers (101 rec., 1,533 yards, 9 TDs)
Wide receiver: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (96 rec., 1,378 yards, 13 TDs)
Wide receiver: Keenan Allen, Chargers (102 rec., 1,393 yards, 6 TDs)
Tight end: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (69 rec., 1,084 yards, 8 TDs)
Defense/Special teams: Jaguars (8 TDs, 21 INTs, 55 sacks, 17 FF, 12 DFR, 2nd in points allowed)
Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (45 XP/47 XPATT, 37 FG/40 FGA, 8 FGs made beyond 40 yards, 4 FGs made beyond 50 yards, Long of 62)

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) catches a pass for a touchdown as Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (21) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Best rookie: Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs

Hunt gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage in the first seven games of his career. When Spencer Ware went down in the preseason, Hunt landed on many radars, but I didn’t expect him to lead the league in rushing. He hit a lull before finishing the season strong. He took his only carry in Week 17 for 35 yards and a score. That sealed the rushing title for the rookie as he finished with 1,327 yards.

Best waiver pickup: Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints

When the season started it was tough to see how the rookie out of Tennessee was going to be a factor in the Saints’ backfield. It looked like Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson would take a large share of the touches. Once Kamara caught 10 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in Week 4, the Saints jettisoned Peterson to Arizona and things opened up for the rookie.

Running back Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints evades cornerback Brent Grimes #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he rushes 7-yards for a touchdown during the first quarter of an NFL football game on December 31, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Best bang for your buck: Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins

The Dolphins lost Ryan Tannehill to start the season and when Jay Cutler was brought in, there wasn’t much hope for big fantasy games from Miami. Landry has proven that he can be a reliable target no matter who starts at QB. He led the league with 112 receptions as he gained 987 yards and scored nine touchdowns. He finished as a WR1 even though he was drafted as a low-end WR2.

Breakout player: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles

His injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, but you can’t ignore how well he performed up until then. Wentz’s rookie season was decent, but the way he ran the offense for Philadelphia this year put him in the MVP conversation. Not one of his games was a dud. He would have been fantasy’s top quarterback had he not missed the final three games of the year. Wentz finished with 3,296 yards passing and 33 touchdowns. He also rushed for 299 yards.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, right, escapes a tackle by Los Angeles Rams nose tackle Michael Brockers during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Best comeback: Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers

Before this season, Allen played in just nine games the previous two years combined. He played in all 16 games this year and lived up to the potential displayed in his rookie year. Allen recorded career highs in receptions and yards with 102 and 1,393. He scored six touchdowns and had an outstanding run from Week 11 through Week 14.

Never say die award: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals

Fitzgerald was last season’s “Never say die” award winner, and he just keeps producing. His future is up in the air right now, as is Carson Palmer’s. Their coach Bruce Arians just announced his retirement. It would be surprising if Fitz called it quits after turning in the year he had this season. He was second in the league with 109 receptions. He gained 1,156 yards and scored six times in his 14th year, one of his best.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals makes a catch against the Seattle Seahawks in the first quarter at CenturyLink Field on December 31, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Worst regression: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

I predicted his regression before the season started. The biggest reason for it is losing Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers. The production Ryan had in 2016 was unsustainable, but his numbers dropped drastically this year. After throwing 38 touchdowns in 2016, he managed just 20 this season. That’s the least amount of TD passes he’s had since his rookie year when he threw 16.

Biggest disappointment: Terrelle Pryor, WR, Redskins

Pryor had a great breakout year last season, catching 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns when he moved to wide receiver. That was with the Browns, so most expected him to keep putting up big numbers as he joined Kirk Cousins and the Redskins. The situation was ripe for a new No. 1 wideout to join Washington as DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon left the team. Instead, Pryor caught just 20 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown in ten games. With him being drafted as high as the second round in most fantasy leagues, he turned out to be a big bust.

All-Injury team

2017 was a tough year for a lot of top fantasy talent. You could make an all-star squad out of all the big names that fell to injury this year. So I did.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Running back: David Johnson, Cardinals
Running back: Dalvin Cook, Vikings
Flex: Ty Montgomery, Packers
Wide receiver: Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
Wide receiver: Pierre Garcon, 49ers
Wide receiver: Brandon Marshall, Giants
Tight end: Jordan Reed, Redskins
Kicker: Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 16 recap and DFS targets

With less than a minute to play, Jake Elliott nailed a 48-yard field goal to put the Eagles ahead of the Raiders on Monday night. That wasn’t the final play of the game, however. The Eagles scored a defensive touchdown on a desperation play by the Raiders to end Week 16’s action and the fantasy football playoffs for most leagues.

It doesn’t take a vivid imagination to realize someone’s fantasy championship contest turned on that final field goal, or that final defensive touchdown.

It’s also probably safe to assume that an extremely high percentage of fantasy champions had Todd Gurley on their rosters.

Gurley has to be the sure fire fantasy MVP, not only given his year-long production, but also due to his performances during the fantasy playoffs. He held his best game for last, gaining 118 yards rushing and 158 yards receiving to go with two scores. It was the first time anyone has gained 100-plus yards rushing and 150-plus yards receiving in a game since Herschel Walker did so in 1986.

Gurley’s performance in Week 16 was highlighted by an 80-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass that he took the distance. That’s the kind of play that makes a quarterback look good.

Jared Goff had the best fantasy performance by a quarterback this week, throwing for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Other than connecting with Gurley on two scores, Goff also hit Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins with touchdown passes. He didn’t hook up well with Robert Woods, who looked like he was going to regain his spot as the No. 1 receiver for the Rams. He had just three catches for 33 yards in a disappointing start.

The biggest disappointments at wide receiver had to be Alshon Jeffery and Michael Crabtree. Each was shut out in the Monday night contest. What a time for that to happen with championships on the line. Nick Foles underwhelmed, after a solid outing last week for the Eagles, and failed to get the ball to Jeffery on two targets. I suggested you sit Derek Carr in Week 16, and he proved me right with a poor performance in which he couldn’t get Crabtree involved at all.

This week’s top receivers, outside of Todd Gurley, were Larry Fitzgerald, Jakeem Grant and Julio Jones. It was a real assortment of talent levels and experience.

Fitzgerald, once again topped 100 catches and 1,000 yards this year as he caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. We keep expecting him to fall off after 14 seasons, but he keeps putting up solid numbers.

Jakeem Grant is just in his second year and has now scored twice in the last three weeks after not being a factor all season. He caught four of his six targets from Jay Cutler for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Julio Jones caught seven passes for 149 yards in a bounce back from Week 15’s lackluster performance. If his owners were lucky enough to survive that week, they were rewarded in Week 16.

Outside of Goff, Kirk Cousins and Blake Bortles had he best days for quarterbacks. Both Cousins and Bortles continue to prove that you can get quality fantasy production out of a quarterback who is having a bad game. Cousins hit just 51 percent of his passes but threw for 299 yards and three scores.

I predicted Bortles would help a team win a fantasy championship, and if he was started on Sunday, he probably did. Bortles had three interceptions against the 49ers but also threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns. Add to that his 31 rushing yards and you have great fantasy production.

Also in that game, Jimmy Garoppolo convinced me to never doubt him again. The quarterback, who is now 6-0 as a starter, had 242 yards passing and two touchdowns. He rushed for another touchdown as he didn’t let the league’s top pass defense slow down his momentum.

If you were out of your fantasy playoffs entering the week, these are the kinds of performances you should stow away heading into next season. Fantasy owners tend to forget about the last couple of weeks of action, especially if they’ve been eliminated from contention. It’s a good idea to take notes for next season, though.

Someone you should be paying attention to is Dion Lewis. I had him listed as one of my starts for Week 16 and he delivered by rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown. He added five catches for 24 yards and another score on his way to having the second best day by a running back.

Gio Bernard also had a great day, though his upside beyond next week is extremely limited. He rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown. It was Bernard’s third straight week of scoring in double digits in fantasy points. If Joe Mixon remains sidelined in Week 17, Bernard could start again.

Bilal Powell and C.J. Anderson can also be filed under, “productive running backs on teams with nothing to play for.” Powell rushed 19 times for 145 yards and a touchdown while Anderson gained 133 yards from scrimmage and scored.

Speaking of running backs who no longer have anything to play for, Ezekiel Elliott made his return to the field after his six-game suspension. Things were set up perfectly for the Cowboys, who had a good shot at making the playoffs if they had just won their final two games.

Elliott performed well, even, rushing for 97 yards and catching four passes for 21 more. The Cowboys couldn’t pull off the win, however, and it might make sense to shut down their franchise back in a meaningless Week 17 game with the Eagles.

While Week 17 is meaningless for most of the NFL, it should be meaningless to all season-long fantasy football leagues everywhere. Any fantasy league that has Week 17 as a factor in determining its fantasy champion is doing a tremendous disservice to its owners. Some think a two-week final is appropriate, in which the championship is played across Week 16 and 17. I’m not one of those people, especially given the fact that real NFL teams often have different goals in Week 17.

With that in mind, that’s why I won’t be suggesting waiver wire pick ups for Week 17. Instead I’m providing inexpensive options for those interested in daily fantasy sports and one-week competitions.

DFS targets for Week 17

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers: This should be an easy call by now. If he can do what he did to the Jaguars, he can do it to the Rams.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars: Though the Jaguars have nothing to play for, as their seeding is locked in, Cole may still end up seeing a lot of action. Jacksonville has injury issues at the position and Cole has been on fire.

Gio Bernard, RB, Bengals: There won’t be a rush to bring Joe Mixon back and Bernard has the versatility to put up nice numbers given the opportunity.

Alfred Blue, RB, Texans: He’s getting more carries than Lamar Miller and is doing more with them. He faces the Colts in Week 17.

Jakeem Grant, WR, Dolphins: Grant is impressing, but he does have a tough matchup with the Bills in Week 17.

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars: Jacksonville won’t risk injuring Leonard Fournette before the playoffs. Yeldon gets to face a Titans defense that got killed by Gurley.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Week 16 rankings

Week 16, championship week in most fantasy football leagues, doesn’t kick off until Saturday. The Colts take on the Ravens before the Vikings visit the Packers. Fantasy owners won’t have Aaron Rodgers available to them after a one-week sighting. Doesn’t make sense to have your franchise quarterback play in meaningless games, so the Packers sent Rodgers to the injured reserve. These games aren’t meaningless if you made your fantasy football championship, however. With that in mind, here are my Week 16 fantasy football rankings.

Related: Fantasy football Week 15 recap and top waiver wire picks.

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Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

 

Fantasy football Week 15 recap and top waiver wire picks

Even if you were from a galaxy far, far away, and your first experience watching the NFL was Week 15, you would still recognize how dramatic and crazy the week was.

Football is often called “a game of inches,” but a game of folded sheets of paper? One of those quite possibly helped decide the Cowboys’ win over the Raiders on Sunday night. Head official Gene Steratore used a folded sheet of paper to prove that the football was indeed touching the line to gain on a fourth-and-one quarterback sneak by Dak Prescott in the final quarter.

Another play that helped decide that game was Derek Carr’s fumble into the end zone to seal the win for Dallas. Marshawn Lynch can’t seem to find a quarterback that makes the right decision down near the goal line.

Speaking of plays down near the goal line, how about Big Ben’s decision to go for a fake spike and drill a slant to the middle of the field? Of course, the play ended in an interception by the Patriots to seal the win. That was after an unbelievable 69-yard catch and run by JuJu Smith-Schuster that set the Steelers up in great position. As for New England, sometimes it’s better to be lucky and good.

All this and I’ve yet to mention another superstar going down to injury. Antonio Brown partially tore his calf and will miss the rest of the regular season at least. But he’s out of your fantasy playoffs for sure.

Aside from the crazy endings, there were some big-time fantasy playoff performances turned in this week.

No performance was bigger than the one turned in by Todd Gurley, who helped the Rams decimate the Seahawks. With a young nucleus and a rookie head coach you couldn’t help wonder if this were a changing of the guard. The Seahawks are aging, especially on defense, and it’s been a long time since they’ve been treated the way the Rams treated them.

Gurley rushed for 152 yards and scored three rushing touchdowns, including a 57-yarder to all but end the game in the first half. He also caught three passes for 28 yards and another score. Gurley, who was disappointing last season, has thrived now that Jeff Fisher can no longer stunt his production. He’s definitely a fantasy MVP candidate and will very likely be on most fantasy championship teams.

The next best performance by a running back was the one turned in by Kareem Hunt on Saturday. That made it his second straight great start in a row. His resurgence is coming at the perfect time for fantasy owners in the playoffs. Hunt rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown. He also caught seven passes for 51 yards and another score.

It was a nice week for a lot of the best rushers. Mark Ingram, Melvin Gordon, Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy all put up the types of numbers they were expected to get for fantasy owners.

A few unexpected names led the charge for best wide receiver performances through Sunday night. A pair of Jaguars and another pair of Giants had the biggest days.

Sterling Shepard caught 11 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown as Eli Manning played great against the Eagles. Manning also hooked up with Tavarres King twice for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Manning probably didn’t start for a lot of fantasy playoff teams, but he finished with 434 yards and three touchdowns.

Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens helped Blake Bortles stay on a roll. Bortles was on of my starts of the week and did great against the Texans. He connected with Cole on seven passes for 186 yards and a touchdown. Bortles hit Mickens four times for 61 yards and two more scores. Bortles faces the 49ers and I was serious when I said he could possibly help some owners win their leagues in the playoffs. He was a good pick up for Carson Wentz owners last week.

You didn’t have to go far for another solid choice to replace Wentz. Nick Foles looked like he did in 2013, throwing for 237 yards and four touchdowns passes in his first start in relief of Wentz. I suggested you pick him up last week when Wentz went down, but it looks like he’s still available in a lot of leagues.

Cam Newton also threw for four touchdowns and is looking like his old self again as he added 58 yards rushing on 14 attempts.

Outside of Newton, it was quite a mix of unusual suspects scoring well this week from the quarterback position. Brock Osweiler, Tyrod Taylor and Joe Flacco all had big games.

Someone we’re used to having good numbers is Aaron Rodgers. He had a nice return, but he may get shut down since the Packers have nothing to play for anymore. Rodgers’ game benefited Randall Cobb more than Jordy Nelson.

Case Keenum, Ben Roethlisberger and Alex Smith all had solid weeks as well.

Another quarterback that I have to mention is Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s picked up Kyle Shanahan’s offense in mere weeks and looks great moving around the pocket. Garoppolo already has good chemistry with his receivers, especially Marquise Goodwin. It’s early, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns in QB1 numbers next season.

As far as tight ends go, it’s been a tough road for the position this season. This week they scored in droves, but no tight end had a bigger week than Rob Gronkowski. He caught nine passes for 168 yards.

Greg Olsen also had a great week, his first one of the season, catching nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.

On the dark side…

Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Philip Rivers and Andy Dalton probably knocked a lot of owners out of the playoffs.

Dalton, A.J. Green and the Bengals have been huge disappointments. It’s one thing to be untalented and bad, but this team is talented and terrible.

Running backs that probably cost owners wins this week were Jonathan Stewart, Jamaal Williams, Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde.

Of course, Week 16 is championship week so these waiver wire suggestions are obviously if you’re desperate at this point.

Top waiver wire picks

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: 237 yards, 4 TDs.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars: 7 rec., 186 yards, TD. I thought Dede Westbrook was the better add of the two last week, but Cole is still putting up bigger numbers.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers: 4 rec., 59 yards, TD. With Antonio Brown out, Bryant will likely see more targets and he’s available in a decent amount of leagues.

Kapri Bibbs, RB, Redskins: He caught four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown and could be utilized the way Kirk Cousins used Chris Thompson earlier this season.

Wayne Gallman, RB, Giants: He totaled 79 yards from scrimmage and is proving to be a pass option out of the backfield.

Kerwynn Williams or Elijhaa Penny, RB, Cardinals: Williams suffered a quad injury, but whomever starts next week will have a good matchup against the Giants.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Week 15 rankings

Week 14 was rough for Carson Wentz owners. Luckily, he wasn’t injured until he posted a solid fantasy score. If you survived this week there’s still hope. With that in mind, have a look at these early fantasy football rankings for Week 15.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 14 recap and top waiver wire picks.

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Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 14 recap and top waiver wire picks

A bit of a sibling rivalry is developing between the City of Brotherly Love and Sixburgh, Pa. The teams from Pennsylvania won their divisions Sunday but are heading in two different directions. The Eagles are the NFC East champions while the Steelers are kings of the AFC North. The Steelers are firing on all cylinders offensively, but the Eagles just lost their MVP candidate, Carson Wentz, to a torn ACL.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 15 rankings.

Ben Roethlisberger and Wentz had a couple of the best fantasy performances for quarterbacks in Week 14, typically the first round of playoffs for fantasy leagues. Roethlisberger looks to gain a first round bye while Eagles fans are hoping Nick Foles can do enough to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive.

Roethlisberger threw for 506 yards and two touchdowns in a big comeback win over the Ravens on Sunday night. He had a lot of help in the process. Antonio Brown caught 11 passes for 213 yards. Fantasy owners will forgive him for not scoring a touchdown.

Le’Veon Bell also put up big numbers, catching one of Roethlisberger’s touchdown tosses while gaining 77 yards receiving. He also rushed for 48 yards and scored twice on the ground. It was Bell’s fourth time scoring a rushing touchdown and catching a touchdown pass in the same game. That’s tied for most since he entered the league in 2013, according to NFL Research on Twitter.

Not to be completely outdone on Sunday night was Alex Collins. He’s been fantastic for four straight weeks. Collins rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown. He’s currently riding a four-game scoring streak and faces the Browns and Colts in the next two weeks. Collins could end up being a playoff MVP for a lot of owners.

Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (34) plays in an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Bell wasn’t the only player to rush for a touchdown and catch another this week. Two other running backs, Rod Smith of the Cowboys and the Packers’ Jamaal Williams, completed that task.

Smith rushed for 47 yards, at 7.8 per carry, and scored on the ground before he caught a game-breaking 81-yard touchdown reception. He totaled 115 yards receiving on five catches.

Williams totaled 118 yards and scored twice in the Packers’ comeback victory over the Browns.

Jamaal Williams #30 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a first down in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Jonathan Stewart had one of the biggest weeks as well, scoring three touchdowns as he rushed for 103 yards. He’s on a three-game scoring streak as the Panthers seem to be picking up steam.

Week 14 was a resurgent week for a couple of players. Kareem Hunt finally rushed for more than 100 yards again and Dak Prescott finally rid himself of his month-long funk. Hunt gained 116 yards on the ground and scored while adding three receptions for 22 yards. Prescott threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first time he threw for at least 300 yards this season. In fact, he hadn’t thrown for at least 200 yards since Week 9.

This week’s list of quarterback duds is very long. Most of these guys lost playoff games for fantasy owners: Josh McCown, Derek Carr, Alex Smith, Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton and Marcus Mariota.

A surprising performance came from DeShone Kizer. He threw three touchdown passes as the Browns came up just short of their first win against the Packers. I wouldn’t recommend picking him up now, as he has a tough schedule coming up.

Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer (7) scrabbles against the Green Bay Packers in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Another QB1 performance came from Brett Hundley, though you shouldn’t pick him up with Aaron Rodgers likely to return in Week 15.

The injury to Wentz wasn’t the only one with fantasy impact. What happened to Alvin Kamara can’t be overlooked. He suffered a concussion Thursday night. Most owners who had Kamara likely had byes this week, so they could at least adjust or work on a contingency plan for Week 15. If they had to play this week, it’s very likely they didn’t make it out of the first round.

Owners of injured tight end Zach Ertz were worried about not advancing beyond the first round. All they had to do was pick up Ertz’s teammate Trey Burton by Sunday to save the week. Burton caught five passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.

With Wentz out, Foles might be a decent waiver wire pick this week. Here’s who else you should look into picking up off the wire.

Top waiver wire picks

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars: 268 yards passing, 2TDs. He’s still available in some leagues and, with matchups against the Texans and 49ers, he could very well be a fantasy championship quarterback for Wentz owners.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers: 6 rec., 106 yards. Goodwin is still available in a lot of leagues despite his solid play the last few weeks. He’s a decent start in Week 15, but that may be it since he faces Jacksonville in championship week.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: You could do a lot worse in terms of streaming a quarterback to replace Wentz. Foles has been relegated to backup roles in recent years, but in 2013 he threw 27 touchdowns against just two interceptions.

Rod Smith, RB, Cowboys: If you need help at the position, this isn’t a bad addition. He’s on a three-game scoring streak and is effective catching out of the backfield. Plus there’s one more week before Ezekiel Elliott returns.

Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers: 4 rec., 132 yards, TD. With Keenan Allen having a lot of success, things opened up for Williams. He’s not a consistent receiver, but he can have big days. If you’re looking for a glory play in the next couple of weeks, he’s got great matchups.

Theo Riddick, RB, Lions: 29 rushing yards, 2TDs, 6 rec., 64 yards. Ameer Abdullah isn’t in good standing with the Lions so Riddick is benefiting from the extra touches.

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: 269 yards passing. He’s had two good games in a row and faces the Browns next week.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks: 4 rec., 90 yards, TD. If you’re confident about your matchup this week, you may want to stow Lockett away for his matchup in Week 16 when he faces the Cowboys.

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars:  5 rec., 81 yards, TD. He gets to face the Texans and the 49ers in the next two weeks. Adding him would be a luxury and a backup plan if you have injury concerns with your regular starters.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 14

The Atlanta Falcons host the New Orleans Saints to kick off Week 14 and the first week of the fantasy football playoffs. The Saints backfield is in the midst of a historic run as the tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara continue to produce big numbers. They’ve each scored more than five touchdowns and gained 95+ yards from scrimmage per game. If they finish the season that way, they’ll be the first duo to do that since Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen in 1987.

It looks like they’ll both finish with an RB1 designation for the season so they’re obvious starts on Thursday. That is, of course, if Mark Ingram is healthy enough after not practicing Wednesday. Michael Thomas has been solid all year and is a nice safe play, though he may not score very high. Julio Jones, on the other side of the field, is likely to bounce back from a tough matchup with the Vikings last week. Matt Ryan should be a safe play, but picking between Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is a tougher call. Here’s who else you should start and sit in Week 14.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 14 rankings.

START THESE GUYS

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs: He finally started to look like the quarterback that started the season. Smith has a nice matchup this week, facing the Raiders who he torched last time around.

Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers: Winston can make you pull your hair out with the types of decisions he makes. That said, he did well last week as he returned from a shoulder injury. Winston has a decent matchup with the Lions.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: Unless he’s facing a top-tier pass defense, he’s a productive fantasy quarterback. He has 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions in his last six games.

Lamar Miller, RB, Texans: Running against the 49ers has been pretty easy this season. Miller should have a nice performance.

Alfred Morris, RB, Cowboys: When the Cowboys stick to the game plan that they use when Ezekiel Elliott is playing, they have success. They did that last week, giving Morris the ball 27 times as he gained 127 yards and scored. The Giants are in the bottom third in fantasy points allowed to running backs.

Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers: He rushed for over 100 yards last week and Doug Martin is still in the concussion protocol. Even if Martin plays, Barber has done well enough to warrant a flex start in a nice matchup against the Lions. Add to that, the Bucs are out of the playoff hunt and may want to see what they’ve got in Barber as a featured runner.

Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: Don’t worry about a tough matchup with the Redskins pass defense. Allen is playing like he can when fully healthy. Don’t sit him now.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers: Goodwin has put together a few solid games in a row and with Jimmy Garoppolo now starting, his value gets a boost. The Texans have a tough time stopping wide receivers.

Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders: He caught a touchdown the last time he faced the Chiefs, but he had just 24 yards receiving. I expect him to do better than that against a weak pass defense. Amari Cooper might even be out this game, as he is currently in the concussion protocol.

Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys: The Giants are the worst team when it comes to defending tight ends. The last time Witten faced the Giants he caught seven passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.

Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers: Henry has a wide scoring range, in that he can get you zero points or he could get you double digits. This week he should do well against the Redskins who are in bottom five in points allowed to tight ends.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Jets: Seferian-Jenkins should do well against the Broncos who have given up eight touchdowns to tight ends so far this season.

Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers: Winston is back, giving Brate newfound relevance.

SIT THESE GUYS

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: He’s coming off a great game against the Lions and has had success with Mike Wallace, but he faces the Steelers this week. They’re too good for Flacco to have fantasy success.

Jared Goff, QB, Rams: I just haven’t seen him play that well against really good defenses. He’s struggled against the Seahawks, Jaguars and Vikings. Goff faces the Eagles next.

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars: If you streamed him last week against the Colts you were rewarded. Don’t try it this week against the Seahawks.

Eagles running backs: It’s a shame, since they have such a good matchup as they face the Rams. They give up 122.8 yards rushing per game, but divided evenly among three rushers does not make for a good fantasy performance.

Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers: The Texans aren’t that good against the pass, but they try to make up for it with their run defense. They’re in the top-10 in rush defense. The 49ers will possibly let Jimmy Garoppolo loose on a weaker pass defense.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings: He has a tough matchup with the Panthers, who are one of the top teams in points allowed to running backs. Plus, Latavius Murray has at least 15 rushes in seven straight weeks.

Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens: Wallace has been good in spots this season, better than Jeremy Maclin. I don’t expect him to have much success against the Steelers this time around.

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins: Kenny Stills has surpassed Parker as the No. 2 receiver on the team. Even with a decent matchup against the Patriots, there’s no reason to think he’ll break out this week.

Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots: Amendola hasn’t produced when he’s had favorable matchups and Chris Hogan may return this week.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings: He’s been a minor disappointment and he has a tough draw, taking on the Panthers this week.

Tyler Kroft, TE, Bengals: Kroft has been a nice surprise, but he has a tough matchup against the Bears this week. They’ve only allowed three touchdowns to tight ends this season.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.