Workin’ the Wire for Week 7

16 Oct 2018 - 4:47pm | Roto Coach | Updated: 16 Oct 2018 - 4:55pm | Likes: 56 Like 
Workin’ the Wire for Week 7

Quarterback

Case Keenum-Denver Broncos: If you listen to the podcast then you know I’ve been pounding the table for Chad Kelly for weeks now. But in the meantime, as I tweeted on Sunday night, 2018 Case Keenum is basically Blake Bortles circa 2015. First and foremost, the Denver defense can’t seem to stop anyone these days, and that’s even more true if you happen to be an opposing running back. So even if Keenum isn’t stinking the joint up from the outset, the Broncos are quickly finding themselves behind in ballgames. Second, Denver can’t seem to run the ball at all themselves, which means Keenum is being forced to carry the offense. And finally, he’s surrounded by enough talent in the passing game that when he actually does find guys they can make plays, padding his fantasy stats. Look, I think eventually Keenum gets benched for Kelly, but in the meantime he’s thrown for 300+ yards and multiple scores in back to back losses, racking up garbage time stats. For now there’s probably a case to be made that he’s a better play in games you expect Denver to lose.

Running Back

Ito Smith-Atlanta Falcons: When Devonta Freeman returned as the starter last week, Ito Smith hit the wire in the vast majority of fantasy leagues, and especially in shallower ones. But with the news today that Freeman will undergo groin surgery and head to IR, his fantasy season is effectively over since he can’t return until after Week 14. That puts Smith in a timeshare with Tevin Coleman, with whom he’s been sharing carries the last few weeks with Freeman out. While Coleman has always been very good in the passing game, he’s not the between the tackles runner that Smith can be, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the touches tip in Smith’s favor at times. He’s moved into must own territory.

Frank Gore-Miami Dolphins: Kenyan Drake continues to struggle to get going in the running game, while old man Frank Gore rolled the Bears defense for 101 yards on Sunday on just 15 carries. We shouldn’t expect that kind of success every week, but this backfield is looking more and more like a timeshare, and over the last few weeks has actually titled heavily in Gore’s direction. While Drake is soaking up the bulk of the running back targets in the passing game, Gore has out-carried Drake 38-22 over the past three weeks, and is averaging nearly 5.5 yards per carry over that stretch. With the Dolphins sitting at 4-2, Adam Gase may be less likely to stick with Drake if he’s getting better play out of Gore.

Nick Chubb-Cleveland Browns: Hammered at home by the Chargers on Sunday, Cleveland falls to 2-3-1 on the season, which means it shouldn’t be more than a handful of weeks until the Browns are playing for next season. That’s when the hope is that the door will open a bit for Chubb to get more involved in the offense. We’ve heard plenty of lip service from hue Jackson up upping Chubb’s touches since he went off for 105 yards and a couple scores on 3 carries at Oakland, but he’s logged exactly 3 carries in each of the Browns last two games as well so the tide isn’t exactly turning quickly here. He’s more grab and stash than anything else.  

Wide Receivers

Taylor Gabriel-Chicago Bears: There was a lot of offseason chatter that Matt Nagy intended to utilize Taylor Gabriel in Chicago, in much the same we he utilized early Tyreek Hill in Kansas City. That speculation was met with a heavy degree of skepticism, as after all Hill flashed as a rookie and then continued to develop last season, while the Bears are the 27 year old Gabriel’s third stop since coming into the league. But after the past couple weeks it’s getting harder and harder to doubt Nagy’s ability to plug the right guys into the right spots in his offensive concepts, as Gabriel has now logged 100 receiving yards in back to back weeks. Teaming with fellow diminutive speedster and teammate Tarik Cohen, the two have eased some of the burden on Mitchell Trubisky and are at the core of the Bears offensive production right now

Damion Ratley-Cleveland Browns: With the Browns receiving corps all kinds of banged up these days, Ratley led Cleveland in receiving in Week 6, catching 6 balls for 82 yards in the loss to the Chargers. While the biggest beneficiary of the injury to Higgins and the struggles of Antonio Callaway seems to be David Njoku, don’t underestimate the role we could see Ratley fill in the near term. The Browns face bad secondaries in the Bucs and Steelers over the next two weeks, and both teams have the kind of high powered offenses that are going to force Cleveland to keep pace by throwing the football. Like Callaway, Ratley is a raw prospect that will take time to develop, but he arguably has better ball skills and should offer Baker Mayfield a more consistent option in the passing game.

Chester Rogers-Indianapolis Colts: There’s nothing particularly exciting about Rogers from a talent perspective, but it’s hard to overlook a receiver that’s now seen 32 targets over the past three weeks. More importantly, he’s hauled in 20 of those for 206 yards and a score. While not the most dynamic weapon, Rogers does seem to have drawn the trust of quarterback Andrew Luck. And on a Colts team that is sans T.Y. Hilton for now and simply can’t run the football, that counts for quite a bit. Add in the fact that both Ryan Grant and Marcus Johnson left Sunday’s game with what looked like significant injuries, and there’s potentially no end in sight to the double digit targets per week for Rogers.

Mentioned last week: Christian Kirk-Arizona Cardinals

Tight End

Vernon Davis-Washington Redskins: There was a Vernon Davis sighting in Washington this week, and it didn’t even take an injury to Jordan Reed to make it happen. Davis only saw 3 targets, but he led the Redskins with 48 receiving yards and a touchdown. With Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson lost for the moment to injury, and both Paul RIchardson and Josh Doctson playing banged up, Washington is desperate for receiving help. Davis and Alex Smith have a connection from back in their days with San Francisco, where Davis enjoyed some of his best seasons as a pro with Smith under center so it wasn’t surprising that with an increased number of routes came a jump in production for Davis. For as long as the injuries persist, Davis should be relevant at a very thin position.  

As always, this list is made up of players that are 30% owned or less in Yahoo leagues, and if you happen to be looking at a guy that falls above that threshold or can’t figure out why I left a player off the list, feel free to ping me on Twitter @rotocoach with any questions.

 
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