Minnesota Vikings

Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 6 and beyond

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AP

Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 6 and beyond

Another week. Another rash of injuries in the NFL.

Odell Beckham Jr. was one of three New York Giants wide receivers to go down with season-ending injuries. Bilal Powell, DeVante Parker and Travis Kelce all exited their team's victories after getting struck by the injury bug. 

While the majority of these injury cases won't really do much in terms of elevating another player from obscurity to fantasy relevance, we've done our best to gather a list of reinforcements who could be worth a roster spot on a thin waiver wire week.

Here's a list of 10 players who should provide some help in Week 6 and beyond. 

1. Adrian Peterson, RB, ARI

Just when you thought you could forget about the artist formerly known as AP, the Arizona Cardinals go out and make him fantasy relevant once again. The Cardinals pulled off a rare in season trade by dealing a 2018 conditional draft selection to the New Orleans Saints for Peterson on Tuesday morning. While Peterson looked pedestrian at best (81 yards on 27 carries) during his four games with the Saints in 2017, the trade gives him an opportunity to join a backfield in which he'll likely be in line for early-down work and an offense which better suits his running style. In a week where there aren't many upgrades on the waiver wire, Peterson has the chance to provide flex value in Arizona. 

2. Jerick McKinnon, RB, MIN

If you watched Monday's Bears-Vikings game, you'd know that McKinnon is hands down the best running back on the Vkings roster. Murray plodded his way to a meager 31 yards on 12 carries while McKinnon took control of the backfield with 16 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown, while also adding six receptions for 51 yards. McKinnon has teased us before, flashing high upside and off the charts athleticism early on in Minnesota, so it's easy to be pessimistic, but he's currently the only quality back in Minnesota and he'll certainly get the touches moving forward.

3. Aaron Jones, RB, GB

If you missed out on Jones last week, shame on you. He's currently owned in 66 percent of leagues, meaning there's still a chance he could be available for you. If so, he should be your No. 1 priority. Jones looked explosive in his first career start against the Cowboys, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown with an eye-popping 6.6 yards per carry. Even if starting running back Ty Montgomery returns this week, there's a good chance the Packers ride the hot hand until Montgomery is 100 percent. 

4. Elijah McGuire, RB, NYJ

As the first-place Jets (try saying that with a straight face) get set for a showdown with the New England Patriots, they'll likely be without Bilal Powell (calf) and Matt Forte (knee), meaning the rookie McGuire will be in line for a heavy workload against a Patriots defense that's allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. McGuire doesn't possess the highest ROS upside, and he'll likely be relegated to third-string duties once the Jets are fully healthy at running back, but he's a player that should be targeted for the FLEX position in a juicy Week 6 matchup. 

5. Marlon Mack, RB, IND

The rookie out of South Florida had the best game of his young NFL career on Sunday, rushing for 91 yards on nine carries and flashed his explosiveness with a 35-yard touchdown run. Mack won't be stealing Frank Gore's starting job anytime soon, but his big-play ability and change-of-pace style could force the hand of head coach Chuck Pagano. As of now, Mack is stash and watch candidate who could provide major value later in the season.

6. Matt Breida, RB, SF

Following the 49ers loss to the Colts, head coach Kyle Shanahan uttered the words no fantasy owner likes to hear, "the team will use a hot hand approach" at running back. This news, coupled with Carlos Hyde's lingering hip injury, means Breida needs to be scooped up in all formats. Breida has seen an uptick in touches in every game this season, and had a career-high 10 carries for 49 yards in Week 5. Look to see those touches continue to climb moving forward. 

7. Ricardo Louis, WR, CLE

The wide receiver position has been like a game of musical chairs for the Browns this season. One week it was Corey Coleman, then it was Rashard Higgins, after that it was Kenny Britt, and as of late it's been Louis. A fourth-round draft choice in 2016, Louis has shown promise in Year 2 as he's seen 17 targets the last two weeks and hauled in 10 receptions for 135 yards. For a team that's going to be playing from behind in a majority of games this season, Louis is a must-add as the current de facto No. 1 in Cleveland.

8. Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, PIT

The Steelers have been searching for a viable No. 2 option in the passing game behind All Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, and while we all thought this would be the year that Martavis Bryant breaks out, his struggles have forced the Steelers to get Smith-Schuster more involved in the offense. The rookie wideout has seen more snaps than Bryant over the last three games and has seven receptions on targets for 105 yards and a touchdown in his last two contests. Smith-Schuster may not be a WR2/FLEX option just yet, but he's worth stashing.

9. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, NYJ

We've been waiting for ASJ to become fantasy relevant for years now, and it appears his time has finally come. Seferian-Jenkins caught his first touchdown in a Jets uniform in Sunday's victory over the Browns. Since returning from suspension, he's hauled in 15 receptions for 106 yards and a score. On a team that's thin at weapons in the passing game, ASJ is a must-own in all league formats.

10. Jacoby Brissett, QB, IND

With injuries piling up (Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr) and players on bye weeks (Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson and Tyrod Taylor), now may be the time you need to hit the wire in search for a streaming option at the quarterback position. Despite not throwing a touchdown pass, Brissett had his best day as a passer, tossing for 314 yards in a win over the 49ers. Brissett's steady play should continue against one of the league's most charitable defenses (TEN) for opposing signal callers. If you're looking for a one week option, Brissett should be your guy. 

Moon: Bears fans can love 'Da Coach' and not agree with Mike Ditka's political views

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AP

Moon: Bears fans can love 'Da Coach' and not agree with Mike Ditka's political views

"So, what do you think of Mike Ditka’s comments?"

The question cropped up in more than one conversation the morning after the Bears’ 20-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. It was in reference to remarks from Ditka to Jim Gray on Westwood One’s pregame show Monday night, in which Mike declared, among other things, that he hasn’t seen the social injustice that some athletes have protested, and that "there has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people."

The problem here is where to start. Because the fact is that there are too many angles in what Mike voiced (social injustice, protest venues, disrespect) to have just one reaction, and because, perhaps surprisingly even to myself, I honestly don’t have a violent reaction one way or the other.

If that’s what Mike believes, so be it. He’s got as much right to think that as anyone who thinks the last 100 years were replete with oppression and social injustice. Mike did offer the example of Muhammad Ali rising to the top; he didn’t mention, though, that a younger Ali/Cassius Clay was denied service in one of his hometown restaurants even while wearing his Olympic light-heavyweight gold medal. But that’s digressing. Louis Armstrong or Yogi Berra (the original source is debated) famously remarked, “what some folks don’t know, you can't tell 'em."

As far as the protests, which Mike doesn’t think should be taken onto the sidelines, it’s probably not what I would do if I were standing on a sideline before a game. I might link arms with teammates (expressing unity doesn’t qualify as "protest" to me), but regardless of what I feel, I’m not going to disrespect something of immense value and pride to you. That’s just me. My choice.

(One thought/question: If every American throughout Soldier Field and in every other NFL stadium had linked arms after the events of 9/11, would that be derided as disrespectful? I doubt it. But that’s also digressing. "Disrespect" is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. Donald Trump saying to Bill O’Reilly, in a conversation about Vladimir Putin being a killer, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent?" – I suppose that's showing respect for our nation, flag and soldiers; I'm just not seeing it.)

In fairness to Mike, he explicitly said that you've got every right to protest, and he wasn’t condemning or criticizing anybody. Also in the eye of the beholder.

I tend to second some sentiments expressed by Jack Nicklaus, who told Golfweek, “[Thoughts on the protests] is a very difficult question to answer when you ask me. Everyone who answers that question cannot properly answer it. They don’t want to disrespect the rights of the kids. And you don’t want to disrespect our country. So how do you answer it?”
 
Amen.

View from the Moon: Bears feeling something different even in MNF loss to Vikings

View from the Moon: Bears feeling something different even in MNF loss to Vikings

The tectonic plates of the Chicago Bears offense shifted Monday night in Soldier Field. They didn’t move far enough – the Bears fell to 1-4 with a 20-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings – but they moved. And everyone in the building felt it.

“I felt it,” said wide receiver Kendall Wright. “I think everybody felt it.”

The “it” was largely the energy/buzz/whatever that accompanied the NFL debut of Mitch Trubisky, the quarterback for whom GM Ryan Pace traded up to No. 2 in the 2017 draft to be sure he didn’t lose Trubisky to someone else.

But there was more than Trubisky happening, even as he threw an interception late in the fourth quarter that turned into Minnesota’s three winning points instead of the rookie leading his new team to a game-winning score of its own. Best guess is that storybook endings will be coming in the Trubisky Era, just not quite yet while he’s learning to read defenses and playbooks, not storybooks.

“He gives us a chance to win,” said one member of the offense, leaving unsaid the unfortunate reality that Mike Glennon had reached the point where he didn’t.

Maybe that was the big point, the main takeaway even from a defeat – a 1-4 team genuinely believing it can be a winner. That belief was nowhere to be found after the Tampa Bay and Green Bay games and was in danger of being extinguished.

The game-killing late interception Monday may have been vintage Jay Cutler. And the production was very Glennon-esque, even sub-Glennon-esque: 12-for-25 passing (48 percent), 128 yards, a TD pass, the interception and a passer rating (60.1) lower than any of Glennon’s four.

But this was different.

“I think our guys feel it,” said coach John Fox. “They feel his presence… . He’s got what it takes. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

What is different that the Bears do believe they have a quarterback with whom they can win, even win with because of. It has been quite some time since he Bears truly believed in their quarterback. Believed in much of anything, really.

Coaches clearly believed, and that in itself seemed to be something different. Special teams scored a touchdown of a fake punt when punter Pat O’Donnell threw the first pass of his football life. Not to be outdone for panache’, the offense used a double-reverse followed by a pitchout from tight end Zach Miller to Trubisky, who’d started the play handing off to running back Jordan Howard.

Desperate teams try gimmicky things. Monday night didn’t have any “desperate” to it. Even Trubisky’s interception was a correct read, to a single-covered receiver with a step on safety Harrison Smith, just not thrown quite far enough. “He was trying to make a play,” said Miller, the intended target on the play. “You gotta love everything about it.”

A critical point: Trubisky established himself as a quarterback who can run, but isn’t a running quarterback. He was drafted for his arm more than his legs, and when Trubisky broke contain evading the rush – he appeared to bail out too early on several occasions – he was looking to throw and for the big play, not to demonstrate his rushing prowess.

Coordinator Dowell Loggains called 29 pass plays and 26 running plays, trusting in his offensive line to do enough against a good Vikings front to establish the play action the Bears want as a linchpin of their offensive structure. It didn’t happen sufficiently – Bears running backs averaged a paltry 3.6 yards per carry, the third time in five games the offense has fallen short of 4 yards per carry.

The offense had six possessions in the first half and managed at least one penalty or a fumble on five of them. The fumble was Trubisky’s on a strip-sack when Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen beat left tackle Charles Leno to the outside. The Vikings netted all of 55 first-half yards; the Bears gave them 45 in penalty walkoffs.

Meaning: Much more (or less) was happening on offense than the Mitch Trubisky Experience.

But “I believe in this team,” said linebacker Leonard Floyd, who himself contributed two sacks, four tackles for loss and an additional quarterback hit. “Once we get that first win, we’ll start stacking them.”

Maybe Floyd was forgetting that the Bears already do have a first win this season. Or maybe Monday was the “start” of the season. He would not be alone in that point of view.