Originally posted: October 12, 2017
5th Circuit vacates injunction, Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension is back on
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 5:25pm
A federal appeals court overturned a district court’s decision in the Ezekiel Elliott case Thursday, meaning the Dallas Cowboys running back’s six-game suspension has been reinstated. The Cowboys have a bye this week.
The 5th Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of the NFL that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction in Elliott case after hearing oral arguments from the league and NFL Players Association lawyers earlier this month. It vacates the preliminary injunction and directs an order to the lower court to dismiss the case.
However, the NFLPA is expected to re-file the case with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in order to keep Elliott playing, according to Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program.
Adam Schefter: As a practical matter, Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension goes back into effect but…his lawyers still can refile in Dallas or fight it in NY.
Jason La Canfora: Big win in court for NFL with Elliott suspension being vacated. Would expect NFLPA to appeal but timetable for that filing to be heard murky.
At this point, it’s not clear if Elliott will be able to play Week 7 (after his camp files another temporary restraining order) or if he’ll return in Week 13 after his suspension. Elliott owners should not cut him-he’s too valuable for the fantasy playoffs-but it’s not completely clear who the RB2 is in Dallas. Darren McFadden seemed to be slated that role for most of the summer, but he’s been a healthy scratch for the last few weeks. Alfred Morris has been active on game days, has the second most carries on the team, and is the most likely to see lead back duties if/when Elliott misses time. McFadden could serve as a change-of-pace/third down back since he’s much better than Morris in the passing game. In short, this is shaping up to be a Morris/McFadden committee, but it’s possible that the Cowboys have a different plan in mind, involving McFadden as the lead back, or Rod Smith or Kevin Smith serving as the passing down back instead of McFadden. Regardless, it’s worthwhile to consider adding Morris or McFadden if they are available. Morris is the priority in all scoring formats, but the gap is narrower in PPR leagues.
RB Derrick Henry to be ‘more involved’
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 5:11pm
Titans offensive coordinator wants to get RB Derrick Henry more involved.
It’s safe to say Henry owners would like the same thing. In his last two games, Henry has seen a combined 10 attempts and done absolutely nothing with them—16 yards and 0 TDs. We do have him ranked as a top-36 RB in both standard and PPR leagues this week, and if you’re in a bye week pinch you can start him out of desperation and hope for the best, but until we see Henry actually get more touches, it’s safe to keep him on your bench.
Vikings WR Stefon Diggs still sidelined
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 3:10pm
Diggs was held out of practice on Thursday, but he did mention to reporters he expects to play this week versus the Packers. His practice involvement tomorrow will go a long way in determining his status this week.
We currently have Diggs ranked as our No. 22 WR in PPR leagues and he comes in ranked as our No. 17 WR standard leagues. Adam Thielen is ranked higher than him in both formats and is an easy start in a great matchup if Diggs is out.
Colts RB Marlon Mack a ‘work in progress’
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 1:24pm
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said that since RB Marlon Mack missed “some time” that he’s not “ready to be an every-down or third-down back” yet and considers him a “work in progress.”
Well, that is certainly not music to fantasy owners’ ears hoping to start Mack this week. Mack is averaging 4.48 yards per carry (YPC), which is considerably better than Frank Gore’s YPC of 3.2. Coming off a Week 5 performance that saw him record a season-high of 91 yards on 9 carries, we have Mack ranked as our No. 38 RB in standard leagues this week.
Colts QB Andrew Luck ruled OUT for Week 6
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 1:17pm
We knew this was coming, but Colts head coach Chuck Pagano made the news official today, announcing that QB Andrew Luck will miss another game.
We have Jacoby Brissett ranked as our No. 14 QB for the week in what is an outstanding matching against a Titans defense allowing 20.4 fantasy points to the quarterback position—third-most in the league. Brissett is a fantastic streaming option in 1QB leagues and is a safe QB2 in 2QB and Superflex leagues this week.
Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson won’t play on third downs
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 12:04pm
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said newly acquired RB Adrian Peterson won’t play on third downs.
This is good news for Andre Ellington, who is used more in the passing game. This season, Ellington has caught 35+ yards in 4-of-5 games and has averaged 7.6 receptions and 70 yards receiving his last three games. In a somewhat difficult matchup versus the Bucs this week, we have Ellington ranked as our No. 21 PPR back. Feel confident starting him as your RB2/Flex option in PPR leagues.
Chargers WR Mike Williams to make debut in Week 6
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:59am
2017 first-round pick WR Mike Williams is likely to make his NFL debut this week.
“I’m expecting to play,” Williams said. “I’m gonna practice hard, go through all the plays. Whatever decision the coaches make, I’m going to be ready for it.”
The NFL and fantasy owners have been waiting for Williams to suit up and this looks like the week it will finally happen. Of course, it’s still early in the week so you will have to monitor the injury reports leading up to the Chargers’ Sunday afternoon kickoff versus the Raiders. We advise you take a cautious approach with Williams this week and take a wait-and-see approach before starting him.
Pats QB Tom Brady will ‘definitely’ play vs. Jets in Week 6
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:55am
While Brady missed practice on both Tuesday and Wednesday as he deals with a sprained AC joint (non-throwing shoulder), it looks very unlikely he’ll miss this week’s game.
Brady is our No. 1 ranked QB in a fantastic matchup against division rivals the New York Jets this week. He’s going to play and you’re going to start him in your fantasy lineup.
Steelers WR Martavis Bryant might get a ‘break’
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:52am
In order to get Eli Rogers playing time in the slot and JuJu Smith-Schuster on the outside, Steelers WR Martavis Bryant might get a bit of break this week, according to QB Ben Roethlisberger on his recent 93.7 The Fan radio spot.
Bryant has been a disappointment for fantasy owners this season, recording only one game of double-digit fantasy points—Week 2, when he caught 3-of-4 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. In his other four games, he has totaled 12 catches, 113 yards, and 0 TDs. Bryant is currently ranked as our No. 40 WR in standard leagues and our No. 50 WR in PPR leagues in a great matchup versus the Chiefs, according to our aFPA metrics. It’s a risk starting him with confidence this week, but with four teams on a bye, you might be forced to do so.
Raiders WR Amari Cooper: ‘ball will find me’
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:44am
“I like to play well so, hopefully, in this next game, I’ll have a few catches and kind of get back on [track],” Cooper said to reporters on Wednesday. He later, in a more serious tone, said the “ball will find me” when asked if he needed to remind offensive coordinator Todd Downing and QBs Derek Carr and EJ Manuel of his presence on the field.
Cooper fantasy owners sure do hope the ball will find the hands of the Raiders WR more often than it has the past the past three weeks. After combing to catch 9 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first two weeks, Cooper has totaled 4 catches for 23 yards and 0 scores the past three weeks. He has not recorded more than 9 yards receiving in any of his past three games. In what our aFPA metrics consider a good matchup versus the Chargers this week, we have Cooper ranked as a top-30 WR in both standard and PPR leagues. A returning Derek Carr would improve his outlook.
Rams WR Sammy Watkins frustrated with role
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:36am
When asked by reporters if he sees his role in the Rams’ offense increasing, a frustrated Sammy Watkins honestly said, “I don’t know.”
“As a player, of course you’re going to be frustrated,” Watkins went on to say. “I don’t know a player, a wide receiver, that’s not frustrated throughout the game if you’re not getting the ball. Each week, it could change. They had certain coverage that kind of took me out of the game, and that’s part of the game.”
Watkins and his fantasy owners are both frustrated. It’s been more bust than boom for Watkins this year in his first season as a Ram. He has had one extraordinary performance—catching 6-of-7 targets for 106 yards and 2 TDs in Week 3 vs. the 49ers—but he’s combined to catch 8-of-13 targets for a measly 105 yards and 0 TDs in his other four games. It was an especially demoralizing performance last week that saw him catch 0 of his 4 targets against the Seahawks. In another extremely tough matchup this week against the Jaguars, we have Watkins ranked outside the top-40 of WRs in both standard and PPR leagues. You might want to look elsewhere for WR help in your starting lineup.
Titans QB Marcus Mariota ‘feeling good’
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:29am
Following the team’s Wednesday practice, Titans QB Marcus Mariota said he hopes to return to the field this week against the Colts.
“I feel a lot better,” Mariota relayed to reporters. “I have to give a lot of credit to the athletic staff, the training staff here. They’ve done a great job, and I am feeling good.”
Mariota responded with “absolutely” when asked by reporters if he feels good about playing this week. While he doesn’t have the final say in the matter, it’s a good sign how optimistic Mariota feels about playing this week. The Titans and fantasy players sure could use him. If Mariota does play he’ll return in time to play in one of the best matchups of the week versus a Colts team allowing the second-most fantasy points to the quarterback position at a clip of 20.8 points per game.
Packers RB Aaron Jones could still lead backfield even if Ty Montgomery returns
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:23am
While Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said he’s unsure of Ty Montgomery’s status for the team’s Week 6 showdown versus the Vikings, Rob Demovsky of ESPN believes Aaron Jones might be the team’s starting running back even if Montgomery is cleared to play.
Jones played splendidly in relief of Montgomery last week, carrying the ball 19 times for 125 yards and a touchdown, finishing as the No. 4 RB in both standard and PPR leagues. Until we have definitive word on Montgomery’s status, it’s best to treat Jones as the No. 1 back in Green Bay. We currently have him ranked as our No. 13 RB in standard leagues and he’s our No. 22 back in PPR leagues in what our aFPA metrics consider a difficult matchup on the road in Minnesota.
Washington RB Samaje Perine to lead backfield
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:12am
With Rob Kelley likely out this week against the 49ers, Samaje Perine is next in line and “expected to receive a larger role. Head coach Jay Gruden said Perine will likely “get the majority of the carries.”
Chris Thompson will still serve as the team’s third-down back/passing game specialist out of the backfield, but Perine is in line for first- and second-down work. That would make him an appealing RB2/Flex play, which is where we have him ranked in standard leagues, as our No. 25 RB on the week. In PPR leagues, Perine is our No. 31 RB, while Thompson is ranked as our No. 15 PPR back.
Washington WR Jamison Crowder to be more involved
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:07am
“I think you’ll see more of Jamison Crowder, hopefully,” said Washington head coach Jay Gruden said. “He is one of our best skill players. We have got to get him more involved in the offense. That is partly my fault, to get more balls targeted for him. Whether it’s quick game, whether it’s getting the ball out in space somehow, bubble screen, whatever it might be. I have got to get the ball to him in space more often and get him the flow early.”
Heading into Week 6, Crowder has caught only 14 passes for 106 yards and zero touchdowns. After being tabbed as a potential breakout WR, Crowder has not been a fantasy factor at all. While it’s nice to hear his coach say he wants to get him more involved, we’ll believe it when we see it. We currently have Crowder ranked as our No. 50 WR in standard leagues and our No. 42 WR in PPR.
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