Deshaun Watson

Fantasy football: Plenty of waiver wire options after an injury-filled Sunday

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Fantasy football: Plenty of waiver wire options after an injury-filled Sunday

This was an awful, awful week for injuries around the NFL.

In fact, in the NBC Sports Philadelphia fantasy football league, my 3-0 team went up against John Boruk's 3-0 team and poor Boruk lost Derek Carr, Julio Jones, Dalvin Cook and Davante Adams in the same week. (That's not how I wanted to win, JB!)

If you had Cook, you're going through the miserable realization now that you lost your most exciting player. He was the NFC version of Kareem Hunt, breaking big play after big play and factoring heavily into the passing game. 

His backup, Latavius Murray, is this week's top waiver-wire pickup, but expectations should be tempered.

RB Latavius Murray (Vikings)
Murray carried the ball seven times after Cook left Sunday's game with a torn ACL. Murray offers none of the total yards or passing-game upside Cook does, but he has proven to be a solid goal-line back.

Last season, Murray had 1,052 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns in 14 games. Solid RB2 numbers. But that was in a much more prolific offense with more weapons and a better offensive line. This is a wholly different situation.

Still, based on volume alone, Murray is the unquestioned top pickup this week. He seems like a safe bet for 15 to 20 touches per game moving forward, but his upside will be similar to LeGarrette Blount's or Mike Gillislee's.

If you're in a league in which you spend free-agent auction bucks on the waiver wire, Murray is worth a sizable sum — I'd say 30 to 35 percent of your season-opening total.

Side note: You're not going to confidently start Jerick McKinnon, ever, so you might as well let him linger in free agency.

RB Eddie Lacy (Seahawks)
Lacy got a bulk of the work for Seattle after standout rookie Chris Carson was carted off with a leg fracture Sunday night.

The thing is, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise were both inactive, so Lacy's workload may not be a sign of things to come. 

This Seattle running situation will be too tough to predict on a weekly basis, so I would not advise breaking the bank for Lacy. 

QB DeShaun Watson (Texans)
Three starting-caliber fantasy QBs are on bye in Week 5: Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins. Add Marcus Mariota (hamstring injury) and that's four top QBs who could be off the board next week.

Enter DeShaun Watson, who has in the span of three weeks become the franchise cornerstone for the Texans.

The last two weeks against the Patriots and Titans, Watson went 47 for 67 (70.2 percent) for 584 yards with six TDs and three interceptions, also adding 65 rushing yards and a rushing TD.

Watson looks like a slightly better fantasy version of Tyrod Taylor and is worth picking up in all leagues. He does have a tough Week 5 matchup against the Chiefs, but it's at home and the Chiefs will be on a short week. 

I'd rather start Watson in Week 5 than Taylor, Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff or Blake Bortles. Maybe over Eli Manning (at Chargers), too.

WR Jaron Brown (Cardinals)
It's always confusing with the Cardinals' receivers because there's John Brown and Jaron Brown, so if you go scanning the waiver wire, make sure you've selected the right J. Brown.

Carson Palmer has targeted Jaron Brown a whopping 29 times the last three weeks and Brown has turned it into 14 catches for 205 yards and a TD. 

This Sunday, he draws the Eagles' average secondary, which was just victimized by Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams in L.A.

Larry Fitzgerald will always get his in Arizona's offense, but Palmer is utilizing Jaron Brown a lot with the running game nonexistent and John Brown and J.J. Nelson playing at less than 100 percent.

TE Cameron Brate (Buccanneers)
Somehow, Brate is available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues despite the thinness of the tight end position. 

Brate on Sunday scored for the second straight week, catching four balls for 80 yards. Over the last two games, he has eight catches for 113 yards and two TDs. 

Rookie tight end O.J. Howard also scored a long TD for the Bucs in Week 4 and that will likely take attention away from Brate. If you need a tight end, Brate is a pretty safe option.

He has a solid matchup Thursday night against the Patriots, who have been horrendous on defense and allowed 300-plus passing yards and multiple TDs to every QB they've faced in 2017.

RB Aaron Jones (Packers)
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy indicated that starting running back Ty Montgomery (ribs) could play in Week 5 with the long layoff. 

Whether or not he plays, I wouldn't advise going hard after Jones. Yes, he scored a touchdown in relief of Montgomery and Jamaal Williams in Week 4, but he's a pretty small back (5-9/208). There's little reason to think he would hold up with a Montgomery-like workload, and this seems more like a situation in which the Packers would add a running back off the street before giving Jones 20-plus touches.

Defenses to stream in Week 5
• The Ravens travel to Oakland to face the Raiders, who are without Carr for 2 to 6 weeks as he recovers from a back injury. That means the Ravens' defense will be facing E.J. Manuel. 

Given the Oakland QB situation, the Michael Crabtree chest injury, Amari Cooper's invisibility and the fact that Marshawn Lynch has rushed 15 times for 30 yards the last two weeks, this is a good bounce-back matchup for the Baltimore D/ST. 

• Would you have been able to find one person on Earth who'd guess the Jets would be ahead of the Patriots in the AFC East standings four weeks in? The Jets' defense really isn't that bad, and this Sunday they get the hapless, turnover-prone Browns.

Deshaun Watson goes undercover, interviews fans in Rittenhouse Square

Deshaun Watson goes undercover, interviews fans in Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia is pretty much on NFL draft overload this week so DraftKings had the bright idea of sending Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson into Rittenhouse Square to ask people walking by for their thoughts.

Only he didn't tell them he was Deshaun Watson until the end of the interview.

Nothing too groundbreaking in the footage but lets be real, how many of you would know what Watson looked like without his uniform on? I certainly wouldn't.

And I don't think they found a single Eagles fan to question. Need to head deeper into North/South/West Philly for the diehard fans.

Clemson dethrones top-ranked Alabama to win national championship

Clemson dethrones top-ranked Alabama to win national championship

BOX SCORE

TAMPA, Fla. -- College football's first national championship rematch was even better than the original, with an incredible twist at the end.

Deshaun Watson and Clemson dethroned the champs and became the first team to beat Nick Saban's Alabama dynasty in a national title game, taking down the top-ranked Crimson Tide 35-31 Monday night in the College Football Playoff.

Watson found Hunter Renfrow for a 2-yard touchdown pass with a second remaining to give the Tigers their first national championship since 1981. A year after Alabama won its fourth title under Saban with a 45-40 classic in Arizona, Clemson closed the deal and denied the Tide an unprecedented fifth championship in eight seasons.

"That has to be one of the greatest games of all time," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

The lead changed hands three times in the fourth quarter, but Watson got the ball last. Likely playing in his final college game, the junior quarterback threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns. In two games against Alabama and the most ferocious defense in college football, Watson has thrown for 825 yards and accounted for eight touchdowns. He was sacked four times and took some cringe-inducing shots from All-Americans Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster.

"You know, I never got the sense that he was rattled," Allen said about Watson.

Swinney, the native Alabaman and former Crimson Tide walk-on receiver, has built an elite program at Clemson that was missing only one thing. Now the Tigers can check that box, too.

"Eight years ago we set out to put Clemson back on top," said Swinney, who can turn postgame interviews into a rousing sermon. "We came up a little short last year, but today on top of the mountain, the Clemson flag is flying."

After three quarters of vicious hits and tight defense, Tigers-Tide II ended up looking a lot like the first meeting when the teams combined for 40 points in the fourth quarter.

Clemson took its first lead when Watson found Mike Williams for a 4-yard touchdown a minute into the fourth quarter to make it 24-21.

The Tigers took a 28-24 lead with 4:38 left in the fourth quarter when Wayne Gallman surged in from a yard out.

The Tide's offense, which had gone dormant for most of the second half, came to life with the help of a sweet call from newly promoted offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Receiver ArDarius Stewart took a backward pass from Jalen Hurts and fired a strike to O.J. Howard for 24 yards.

On the next play, Hurts broke free from a collapsing pocket and weaved his way through defenders for a 30-yard touchdown run to make it 31-28 with 2:07 left.

More than enough time for Watson.

"I was calm," Watson said. He said he thought about Vince Young's last-second touchdown for Texas that derailed the Southern California's championship run in the 2005 championship game at the Rose Bowl. He told his team: "Let's go be great."

Watson hooked up with Williams and Jordan Leggett, who made great catches for big gains to get to first-and-goal with 14 seconds left.

A pass interference on Alabama made it first-and-goal at the 2 with six seconds left. Time for one more play to avoid a game-tying kick and potential overtime. Renfrow slipped away from the defense at the goal line with the help of some traffic created by his teammates -- or maybe it was an illegal pick? -- and was alone for an easy toss. It was the walk-on receiver's second TD catch of the night, adding to the two he had last season against Alabama.

When it ended, Clemson's 315-pound defensive lineman Christian Wilkins did a cartwheel and Ben Boulware, one of the toughest linebackers in the country, was in tears.

"Don't call it an upset," Swinney said. "We expected to win this game."

The Tigers had snapped Alabama's 26-game winning streak and beaten a No. 1 team for the first time ever.

"It's been 35 long years!" Boulware screamed. "It's coming home baby! It's coming home!"

Alabama was 4-0 in national championship games under Saban. It was 106-6 in games it led at half and 96-0 when entering the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead as the Tide did Monday night. Clemson overcame all those odds.

The Tide jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind two long touchdown runs by Bo Scarbrough in the first half. The 230-pound sophomore back was pretty much Alabama's whole offense for a while, running for 93 yards on 16 carries while Hurts and the passing game struggle. Scarbrough left in the third quarter with a leg injury, but the Tide finally found some other help. Hurts hooked up with O.J. Howard, one of last year's heroes for `Bama, for a 68-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-14 late in the third quarter.

"Look, there's not one play in the game that makes a difference in a game," Saban said. "We could have done a lot of things a lot better. But I have to say that I was proud of the way our guys competed in the game, and just sorry for all of them that we didn't finish it better."

Last season Alabama met its match in Clemson, but prevailed. This time, Clemson made sure the sequel had a different ending