The 2017 NFL season has seen key players all around the league go down with season-ending injuries. Like many other years, fantasy owners just have to adapt to injuries and move on with hopes of the backups play just as well. However, the hardest injuries to handle are the ones that linger with your players and cause them to be inactive some weeks and active but not one hundred percent other weeks. Here are three injuries to watch for week 12.
Jameis Winston (tampa bay buccaneers)
The shoulder injury has been nagging Winston since a week six loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Obviously a shoulder injury is something to watch for a quarterback and when Winston missed the second half of the game against the New Orleans Saints. After that game, head coach of the Buccaneers Dirk Koetter, told the media that he would be shutting down his sat quarterback for several weeks to let his shoulder heal.
Now the Buccaneers travel to Atlanta to face off against division rival Falcons. Winston has officially been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Falcons which means Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center for the Buccaneers. Last week without Jameis Winston we saw the Buccaneers beat the Dolphins 30-20 with “Fitzmagic” throwing for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Fitzpatrick is merely a desperation start if need be, but otherwise he should stay out of your lineup.
Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons)
In the first quarter of a 27-7 win against the Dallas Cowboys, Devonta Freeman took a helmet-to-helmet hit and endured his second concussion of his career. Freeman sat out last week’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks as Tevin Coleman took over lead back duties and struggled. Coleman rushed for 43 yards and one touchdown on 20 rushes against the very solid Seahawks defense.
Freeman didn’t practice Wednesday and was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice which is a good step but it seems like he won’t be suiting up in Sunday’s contest against Tampa Bay.
If he does in fact sit out Sunday’s game, it will be Tevin Coleman taking over lead back duties once again as he looks to bounce back against the weaker Buccaneers defense. Plug in Coleman as a steady RB2 and if you’re desperate, pick up Terron Ward to fill a void in your lineup.
Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers)
Cam Newton’s favorite target looks like he’s about to make a return to the field in week 12 against the New York Jets. This is a necessity as the Panthers traded away Kelvin Benjamin and lost Curtis Samuel for the year due to injury. Olsen has participated in practice Monday and Wednesday this week and Ron Rivera has said that Olsen is looking good for Sunday’s matchup against the New York Jets.
The Panthers receivers have struggled with drops, other than Christian McCaffrey and Devin Funchess, so the addition of Greg Olsen to their lineup should give Cam Newton more consistency in the passing game.
Olsen is going to have to fight for targets from Funchess and McCaffrey but he will definitely see his fair share as outside of those three guys, there isn’t many more reliable receivers fighting for targets on the Panthers. Greg Olsen is a TE1 this week and should be started in all formats.
Feature Image courtesy of Don Juan Moore/Getty Images
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Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman suffered a concussion on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. He did not return to the game after the injury.
That led to the speedster Tevin Coleman taking over for Freeman. Coleman could be in line for some production and become a fantasy asset should Freeman miss time.
Tevin Colman Outlook
Coleman set season highs with 20 rushing attempts and 83 rushing yards. He also found the end zone on a one-yard plunge in the last moments of the second quarter and caught a pass for five yards. In his first eight games this season, Coleman had just 63 carries with 316 yards, giving him an average of five yards per carry. He also had one rushing touchdown on the year, and has been a threat in the receiving game with two touchdowns.
Tevin Coleman (Photo from thefalcoholic.com)
The former Indiana Hoosier star has an explosive presence out of the backfield to make himself a high-end RB2 with RB1 potential. It doesn’t matter how he does it whether it’s running, catching etc. He will make things happen. He proved that last season with 941 yards and 11 touchdowns from scrimmage on 149 touches.
One thing with Coleman, along with the Falcons offense, is consistency. In Week 8 against the New York Jets, he had an impressive 104 total yards. The following week against the Carolina Panthers he had just 24 total yards. It happened earlier in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills when he had 142 total yards and in Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins he had only 36 total yards. Some of that is due to the Falcons’ struggles in the past few weeks closing out games.
But Coleman will have tremendous value. As reported on Monday, it looks as if Freeman will miss the game next week on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks following his second concussion.
Fantasy impact on The Falcons offense
To the concern of whether Coleman’s impact as the starter affects the Falcons’ surrounding offensive players, fantasy owners shouldn’t be too worried. However, don’t think this could impact the Falcons receivers.
Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu (Photo from cbssports.com)
Coleman is a great receiving back that can catch the ball out of the backfield. There could be days where he has better receiving numbers then other Falcons players.
Now for Julio Jones owners, of course this means very little, even if Coleman has a better game. Others like Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper could have less targets because of Coleman playing more snaps. The Falcons should continue to use their weapons as frequent as they have all season though. For Matt Ryan, this gives him another weapon and possibly more fantasy points.
Overall, Coleman will be used in any way they need him on offense, but the Falcons will use everyone to move the ball downfield.
In the end, Coleman should have value even when Freeman comes back from injury. If he is not owned, now is the time to get him as he isn’t available in a lot of leagues.
Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman (Photo from si.com)
As for Freeman, he is expected to miss at least next week as mentioned before. When he comes back, he will be back to the role he had all season as the main back and split time with Coleman as long he doesn’t have any setbacks.
Expect the Falcons to ease Freeman back in form and use Coleman a little more.
Featured image from atlantafalcons.com.
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This is my favorite position when creating my DFS lineups. Once I’ve established my tight end, kicker and defense, I go straight to the running back position. There are some great plays at the position this weekend, but there are plenty of players we should avoid at each price tier. Let’s examine who should be left off our lineups in the running back edition of week 9 DFS don’ts.
Devonta Freeman: Fanduel Price $7,100
It pains me to do this, but Devonta Freeman is at the top of this list for the second week in a row. Steve Sarkisian proved to us that we cannot play Freeman until further notice. In an absolute monsoon against the Jets, he only had 12 carries for 41 yards and one catch for 20 yards. Conversely, Tevin Coleman was given 14 carries and turned those opportunities into 82 yards. Yes, the bulk of his production came on one play, but the startling fact is that he carried the ball two more times than Freeman. In DFS we want to target players who will great a large amount of opportunities, or players with an unusually favorable matchup. Now, we can no longer say Freeman will have a workload worthy of his price tag.
On top of his decreasing workload, Freeman has a brutal matchup against the Carolina Panthers this weekend. They have consistently graded out as one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. According to Football Outsiders, the Panthers are ranked as the 7th best defense against the run. The only running back to have success against this defense was Jordan Howard, who has one of the heaviest workloads in terms of carries in the NFL. Until Freeman can reestablish himself as a 20 carry per game player, he’s untouchable at his current price.
C.J. Anderson: FanDuel Price $6,500
What started off as a promising season for C.J. Anderson has quickly turned south with the emergence of Charles and Booker. (Courtesy of; Unsportsmanlike Conduct)
Things have spiraled out of control in Denver. Trevor Siemian has proved he isn’t the long-term answer at quarterback. He’s been so bad that Vance Joseph is turning to freaking Brock Osweiler to help remedy their offensive woes. To top it all off, they have reduced C.J. Anderson to just another running back in a committee.
I talked about this stat earlier in the week. The Broncos have not lost a football game in 2017 when Anderson carries the ball 20 or more times. Conversely, they have lost every single game in which Anderson fails to hit that 20 carry mark. Now that Devontae Booker has carved out a role alongside Jamaal Charles, Anderson is absolutely unplayable even at his reduced price.
There is no consistency or predictability in this backfield, so there’s no guarantee he gets goal line carries. Also, this backfield will face on of the best front sevens in the NFL. The Eagles are one of the stingiest defenses against the run and I don’t see that changing this weekend. There are plenty of better options above and below Anderson’s price tag like Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffrey. After Monday night, Anderson was a shoe-in for the week 9 DFS don’ts list.
Alex Collins: FanDuel Price $5,900
First off, I’d like to say that Alex Collins is incredibly fun to watch. His running style is so physical and violent that I don’t think he can sustain this kind of workload. The only player who has been able to do that is Marshawn Lynch. So, unless you think Collins is the next Marshawn Lynch, I’d fade him. Also, he only received one more carry than Javorious “Buck” Allen last Thursday against the Dolphins.
I don’t see the Ravens leading by multiple scores in the second half this weekend, so Collins will not see anywhere near the same kind of workload against the Titans. Collins joins Anderson and Freeman on my week 9 DFS don’ts at the running back position.
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Football is right around the corner and The Game Haus is going to get you ready for the 2017-18 NFL season. The Super Bowl series is going to explain how every team in the NFL can win Super Bowl LII. The Super Bowl series will be divided into eight editions, one for each division. This is the fifth edition, Super Bowl series: NFC South.
(Photo credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Atlanta Falcons are going to have to bounce back from one of the worst Super Bowl collapses of all time. After finishing the season 11-5, the Falcons marched through the playoffs with ease. They beat the Seahawks by 16 and the Packers by 23 to earn the crown of NFC Champions.
Atlanta then blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. In order to win Super Bowl LII, the Falcons must avoid one of the worst hangovers ever.
The key to the Falcons’ success last season was their offense. Getting back to the Super Bowl will require their offense to repeat last year’s performance. The Falcons ranked first in all of the following categories: points per game (34.1), points per play (0.55), points per second quarter (11.1), points per third quarter (8.5) and points per first half (18.9).
The reason their offense was so great was due to balance in yardage. Atlanta ranked second in yards per game with 416.4. The Falcons were second in passing yards per game (298.9) and fifth in rushing yards per game (117.5). Atlanta only ran the ball 42 percent of the time and in order to return to the big game, the Falcons should get their play selection closer to 50-50.
Their two-headed monster in the backfield, Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman, will continue to take pressure off of Matt Ryan. Julio Jones will also continue to dominate defensive backs. Offensively, the Falcons shouldn’t be too concerned and their defense is where this team will really need to pick it up to make a return to the Super Bowl.
Atlanta’s defense got off to a slow start last season and finished 27th in points allowed per game with 25.3. That improved to just 20.3 points allowed per game in their final three games which ranked 10th during that time. If the Falcons can duplicate that final stretch over the course of the entire season, then the Falcons could easily become the best team in the NFL.
Bringing down that 25.3 points per game total begins with being better in the fourth quarter. In the final period of games, the Falcons gave up an average of 9.9 points, which was 31st in the NFL.
It isn’t difficult to see why the Falcons were so bad defensively in the fourth quarter. They played an average of 66.8 snaps per game. That was fourth-most in the league. The biggest reason they were on the field for so many plays was that the Falcons struggled to get off the field on third down as they allowed teams to convert 42.2 percent of the time.
The Falcons defense must improve against the pass in order to fix all of these problems. Giving up 272.9 yards passing per game is not a formula for success.
In order to make it back to the Super Bowl, the Falcons defense must improve and become a middle of the pack defense. Signing Dontari Poe should provide some help up front. Their offense is so good that the defense doesn’t have to be anything more than average.
If the Falcons are able to duplicate last season’s offensive numbers and become an average defense, they will easily get back to the Super Bowl.
Getting back is one story, winning it is another. If the Falcons do make it back, they need better play calling. Being up 28-3 in a Super Bowl should guarantee a victory. Atlanta must learn from their previous mistakes and run the ball more. If they avoid the hangover and do this, the Falcons will redeem one of the worst choke jobs ever and win the franchise’s first-ever Lombardi Trophy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(Photo Credit: http://www.tampabay.com)
Tampa Bay was very close to making the playoffs last season, finishing 9-7. The Bucs were a middle of the pack team both offensively and defensively and if they want to take the next step to make the playoffs, they must improve on both sides.
Defensively, Tampa Bay struggled in both pass and run defense. They ranked 22nd in both categories giving up 117.2 rushing yards per game and 250.8 yards per game through the air. Tampa Bay acquired defensive tackle Chris Baker to help them up front alongside Gerald McCoy. Defensive end Noah Spence tallied 5.5 sacks as a rookie and with an expanded role, should provide more pressure off the edge this season.
To help the struggling secondary, the Bucs acquired safety, J.J. Wilcox. Vernon Hargraves will need to have a big second season in order for the Buccaneers to improve defensively as well.
The defense has made changes but they won’t likely make a huge improvement. They gave up 25.3 points per game last season with 12 points per game coming in the first half. The offense is going to need to be on the field often to help this defense bring down a number of points they gave up.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Bucs have lots of room for growth. Tampa Bay averaged 22.1 points per game last season.
The strength of their offense was in the passing game. Tampa averaged 245.4 yards per game and Winston improved in a lot of areas. He improved his completion percentage by 2.5 percent, had 48 more yards and six more passing touchdowns. The addition of DeSean Jackson and drafting tight end O.J. Howard could allow Winston to make a bigger leap in his third season.
The running game must also improve on its 101 yards per game. In five seasons, Doug Martin has only played a full 16 game season twice. In both years, he ran for over 1,400 yards. With the growth of Winston and Martin staying healthy, the Buccaneers could become a top 10 offense in the NFL.
In order to make the playoffs and win Super Bowl LII, the offense needs to carry this team. They also need to start defending their home field. Since 2009, the Buccaneers are 21-42 at home and went 4-4 last season. Tampa has to win at least six games at home this season. If the Bucs defense can be average and the offense moves into the top 10, then the Buccaneers can win Super Bowl LII.
New Orleans Saints
(Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org
The Saints went marching into free agency and got the best running back of this generation. New Orleans’ offense was one of the best in the NFL last season and they added Adrian Peterson. The Saints needed a lot of help on defense and did well to address that in free agency and the draft as well. They’ve set themselves up nicely for a run to the Super Bowl.
New Orleans has been held back by its defense over the past couple of seasons. Last year they were awful, giving up the second-most points at 28.4 per game. They struggled closing out halves giving up 11.3 points in the second quarter and 7.2 points in the fourth quarter per game.
What makes the Saints defense even worse is that despite only playing the 11th least amount of plays per game (63) they ranked 14th in rushing yards (101.6) and 31st in passing yards (273.8). New Orleans didn’t spend much time on the field defensively but got torched during that time.
Their biggest area of concern was getting off the field on third down. Opposing offenses converted 43 percent of their third downs against the Saints.
In order to get back to the Super Bowl, the Saints must improve in all areas defensively. New Orleans added linebackers A.J. Klein and Manti Te’o to provide this help. They also drafted cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Marcus Williams to deepen the secondary. These additions should go a long way in restoring the defense in New Orleans and get them back to the playoffs.
As mentioned earlier, the Saints had an unbelievable offense last season. They scored the second-most points in the NFL with 29.3 per game. The bulk of that scoring came in the second half. New Orleans averaged 15.2 points in the second half last season, ranking first in the NFL. The Saints were first in yards per game (426), first downs per game (24.7) and passing yards per game (317.1).
Trading Brandin Cooks was OK because of the stellar rookie season Michael Thomas had. The rookie had 92 receptions, 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns emerging as Drew Brees’ favorite weapon. The addition of Ted Ginn will help replace Cooks but Brees has made a career of turning receivers into stars. The passing game will not suffer from the loss of Cooks.
The offense just needs to continue doing what they have been doing. They already help keep the defense off the field by holding the ball for an average of 31 minutes per game. The Saints offense also averaged 108.9 yards rushing last season. They can’t do much more to help the team win.
All of New Orleans’ hopes and dreams rest on the defense. Drew Brees and the rest of this offense have carried the team on their shoulders for far too long. If the defense can improve just a little bit, then the Saints can become Super Bowl contenders.
(Photo Credit: http://www.espn.com)
Cam Newton and the Panthers had a major Super Bowl hangover last season. They went from 15-1 to 6-10 and looked like a completely different team. With Cam Newton on your team, you always have a shot to make it to the Super Bowl again. It won’t take much for the Panthers to capture the magic they had in 2015.
The Panthers averaged 343.7 yards per game which were a 24-yard dropoff from 2015. They also went from rushing for 141.9 yards per game to 113.4 yards per game. In order for the Panthers to get to the Super Bowl, they must get back to the numbers they put up in 2015.
Carolina averaged 23.1 points per game and they were pretty consistent putting up points throughout the course of the game. The Panthers scored an average of 12 points in the first half and 11.1 points in the second half. They could improve on their scoring if they improve their third down conversion rate of 37 percent.
The Panthers must begin to run more like they did in 2015 in order to get back to the big game. They called a running play only 43 percent of the time. Along with this, the Panthers must cash out in the red zone. Carolina only scored on 59 percent of their red zone trips. Improving in these areas can turn the Panthers back into an elite team.
On the defensive side of the ball, it starts with the secondary. The Panthers ranked 28th in passing, giving up 268.2 yards per game. The defense also went from giving up 19.5 points per game in 2015 to 25.1 points per game last season. Part of the problem was the amount of time the Panthers spent of the field. Carolina ranked 22nd in plays with 64.7 per game. This caused them to give up the most fourth quarter points in the NFL last season at 10.7.
Stopping the pass and giving up fewer points will go a long way in making the Panthers Super Bowl contenders again. Offensively, the addition of Matt Kalil, Christian McCaffery and Curtis Samuel will help Cam Newton become an MVP candidate once again. If the Panthers mirror the team they were in 2015, then not only will they get back to the Super Bowl, but this time they will win it.
Thank you for checking out the Super Bowl Series: NFC South. Stay tuned the remaining editions of Super Bowl series and check out the previous editions of the Super Bowl series here.
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Here’s a continuation of my fantasy football rankings, this list consists of running back rankings for the 2017 fantasy football season: 30-21.
30. Danny Woodhead (Baltimore Ravens)– Standing at 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, Woodhead has put together a nice career with the Jets, Patriots and Chargers. Woodhead has been a reliable receiving option out of the backfield for quarterbacks such as Philip Rivers and Tom Brady, and now he travels to Baltimore to play with Joe Flacco. The thing it comes down to with Woodhead is health. Two years ago, playing 16 games, Woodhead rushed for 336 yards, caught for 755 yards and had a total of nine touchdowns. The production is there if the health is so it is a risky pick, but it could pay off big time.
29. Paul Perkins (New York Giants)- Paul Perkins enjoyed a nice rookie season rushing for 456 yards on 112 attempts behind Rashad Jennings. Now that Jennings is gone, and the Giants didn’t make a move in the offseason acquiring another running back, Perkins is the lead back for New York.
The Giants, however, ran the ball on 61 percent of their plays last season and added Brandon Marshall to their wide receiver corps this offseason, so they will mainly throw the ball. But because of the situation of the Giants backfield, I expect him to get more touchdowns and enjoy a better sophomore season.
28. Theo Riddick (Detroit Lions)- The other half of the Lions backfield is Theo Riddick. Again, Riddick is primarily a receiving back, but he found success when Ameer Abdullah went down early in the season.
He rushed for 357 and had 371 receiving yards with a combined six touchdowns in only 10 games. Currently being drafted as the 36th running back, Riddick can be a huge steal for your team if he stays healthy,
27. Mike Gillislee (New England Patriots)- Gillislee is an interesting fantasy candidate this year. He is unproven as a starter, (only started one game last season) but found success backing up Lesean McCoy in Buffalo last year.
He rushed for 577 yards and eight touchdowns, gaining 116.7 fantasy points. Now Gillislee has an opportunity to be the lead back for the Patriots who turned 30-year-old LeGarette Blount into a fantasy monster. Draft Gillislee as an RB3 and don’t be surprised if he’s your number one by the end of the season.
26. Tevin Coleman (Atlanta Falcons)- The two-headed monster of Coleman and Devonta Freeman is a big reason for the success of the Atlanta Falcons offense. In 2016, Coleman rushed for 520 yards and eight touchdowns while he had 421 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
He isn’t the main back on the Falcons roster, but he is the best second running back in the NFL today. He is a must own, if you plan on taking Devonta Freeman, but if you don’t own Devonta, take Coleman anyway for trade bait or just enjoy him as a flex play.
25. Eddie Lacy (Seattle Seahawks)- Feastmode has found a new home. When the Seahawks signed Lacy, it just made things more complicated to read in Seattle’s backfield. It is starting to look like Lacy will be the lead back in Seattle, but he’ll probably be on a short leash with C.J. Prosise and Thomas Rawls behind him.
Lacy found success early in his career with back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons, but he hasn’t eclipsed 800 yards since. Lacy is a high-risk, high-reward pick, so take him only if the price is right.
24. C.J. Anderson (Denver Broncos)- C.J. Anderson got bit by the injury bug last season, only playing in seven games. In the games he played in, however he found some success.
He rushed for 437 yards and four touchdowns in 2016. Jamaal Charles is in the mix now in Denver, but expect Anderson to still have lead back duties. If he stays healthy, he’ll have a nice season. He probably won’t be a number one because of the other running backs in the mix, but draft him as a low RB2 to a good RB3.
23. Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals)- Joe Mixon has all the tools to be a complete and successful back in the NFL. That’s if, and only if, he stays out of trouble off the field. Mixon has been caught in a serious domestic violence incident in the past. However, he was once the number one running back recruit and has the opportunity in Cincinnati and the ability to be a great pro runner.
Joe Mixon (Photo by: cincinnati.com)
22. Frank Gore (Indianapolis Colts)- If anyone can beat father time, it’s Frank Gore. After finishing as the 12th-best fantasy running back in 2016, Gore is still looking fresh. He rushed for over 1,000 yards and four touchdowns, and also had four receiving touchdowns. Gore, however, is 34 years old and it could be his time for a down year. Draft Gore with caution.
21. Dalvin Cook (Minnesota Vikings)- The Vikings found their replacement for Adrian Peterson. Arguably the most talented running back coming out of the NFL Draft, Cook found himself in a position to succeed immediately.
After bulking up their offensive line by adding Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff, Dalvin Cook has almost nothing in his way, except for the fact that Minnesota gave Latavius Murray an offseason deal and he’ll be splitting carries. My one word of advice is to not jump too early on Dalvin Cook, but draft him for the right price.
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