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Fantasy Football: Injuries galore influence Week 9 Waiver Wire


Fantasy Football: Injuries galore influence Week 9 Waiver Wire

History will remember Week 8 of the 2015 season as the time the Saints and Giants agreed not to play defense against each other, when Aaron Rodgers looked truly mortal and for Colin Kaepernick's last NFL start as any team's "franchise quarterback." Right now, fantasy football owners view the week that was as the time all of their players came down with a serious case of the injury bug.

This week's look at the fantasy football free agents starts off by looking at which players replace all those who suffered various sprains, tears and dings.

LeVeon Bell's season-ending knee injury means DeAngelo Williams

Owners ended up spending a top 5 pick on the Steelers running back for six games. That sentence defines the term "ugh." However, many backed up their investment initially by also drafting Williams, who shined in the opening two weeks with Bell suspended. Those that kept the veteran on their roster even when Bell returned from suspension are breathing easier today knowing they still have Pittsburgh's starting RB. Williams doesn't offer Bell's "carry your team for a week" upside, but there's a strong chance he'll be a top 10-15 fantasy RB the rest of the season. If you've been holding out on making a splash in free agency or simply need an RB like the flower needs the sun, spend aggressively on Williams. $50-70 bids will not be laughed at here.

Matt Forte's MCL injury means Jeremy Langford

The Bears have yet to put a timeframe on Forte's return, but at least he's not expected to miss the season. Initial reports suggest he will be sidelined at least two weeks. That means Langford, who has 27 carries for 80 yards on the season, likely takes over. The rookie from Michigan State has every-down potential and there isn't much else of note on the roster, though ex-Falcon Antone Smith lingers. If he's expected to carry the load, consider Langford an RB2 in Week 9 against a leaky Chargers run defense. Your bid in the $8-25 range depends on level of need.

Steve Smith's (career-ending?) Achilles tear means Kamar Aiken

There is no replacing Smith's tough guy and big catch presence, but Aiken now takes over as the Ravens' No. 1 wide receiver. The 6-foot-2 slot threat caught all six targets thrown his way in Sundays win over San Diego. Baltimore ends up in one shootout after another these days so he offers value in standard and PPR formats when the Ravens return from their bye week. Keep an eye on speedster Chris Givens, who could end with some fantasy value going forward as Joe Flacco's deep threat.

Keenan Allen's kidney injury means Malcom Floyd, Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman

It appears as if San Diego will play without its volume pass-catching receiver for multiple weeks based on initial reports. Tight ends Antonio Gates (knee) and Ladarius Green (ankle) are also on the injury report. Looking at the remaining receivers, Floyd is typically a boom-or-bust option, meaning he offers the most potential, but isn't the consistent. Johnson's PPR value is interesting as he could end up with plenty of targets. Inman is the sneaky unknown in the group. Allen owners can bid on all three in that order while others can take a flyer on Floyd and Johnson in the $5-10 range.

Khiry Robinson broken right tibia means more C.J. Spiller

Mark Ingram dominates the work in the Saints backfield, but coach Sean Payton mixes in other players. Now one of those players is lost for the season. Spiller won't automatically take over Robinson's snaps seeing as they handle different roles, but he's likely to receive more work. Granted, he's done little with his opportunities this season. There is certainly hope in the Saints offense that he can turn into a RB3/Flex option.

Reggie Bush's knee injury means ... Kendall Gaskins or Pierre Thomas?

Bush was replacing the injured Carlos Hyde (foot), who could be out through the 49ers Week 10 bye. Now Bush is out for the remainder of the season and his replacement, Mike Davis, suffered a broken hand. That leaves the unproven Gaskins as the last man standing on the roster -- or at least it did until San Francisco signed veteran free agent Pierre Thomas. Not a single player in this offense looks appealing, but somebody will get the ball. Putting nominal bids on Gaskins and Thomas is fine for those in need.

Vernon Davis traded to Denver means ... Vernon Davis

This isn't about an injury, but rather a trade and one that potentially puts a former fantasy stalwart back on the radar.  Tread lightly on the Peyton Manning enthusiasm following his impressive performance against the Packers. Let's see if his arm holds up going forward. That said, anything Manning offers is better than what Davis dealt with in San Francisco. His 18 catches on the season is more about the 49ers putrid passing attack than the ex-Terp's skills. Owners streaming tight ends should certainly add Davis as one of their options now just in case he pops immediately. Otherwise, he offers low-end TE1 potential. If nothing else with Davis' fantasy value, at least now there's a pulse.

RELATED: Smith surgery set for next week, no word on future plans

Running backs 

1. DeAngelo Williams

2. Jeremy Langford

3. Theo Riddick

4. Kendall Gaskins

5. David Cobb

Others: Antonio Andrews, Chris Thompson, Charles Sims, Javorius Allen, Pierre Thomas

Wide receivers

1. Kamar Aiken

2. Malcom Floyd

3. Brandon LaFell

4. Michael Floyd

5.Nate Washington

6. Stevie Johnson

Others: Davante Adams, Tavon Austin, Dorial Green-Beckham, Chris Givens

Tight ends 

1. Ben Watson

2. Charles Clay

3. Heath Miller

4. Vernon Davis

5. Crockett Gillmore

Others: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Richard Rodgers

Quarterbacks (Week 9 streaming)

1. Jay Cutler at Chargers

2. Derek Carr at Steelers

3. Tyrod Taylor vs. Dolphins

4. Jameis Winston at Giants

5. Kirk Cousins at Patriots

Defenses (Week 9 streaming)

1. Bengals vs. Browns

2, Bills vs. Dolphins

3. Eagles at Cowboys

4. Saints vs. Titans

5. Chargers vs. Bears

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Redskins schedule preview: Week 16 vs. Titans

Redskins schedule preview: Week 16 vs. Titans

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Titans. 

Week 16 December 22 or 23, Nissan Stadium (the date of the game will be determined no later than Week 8 in early November)

2017 Titans: 9-7, Second in AFC South, lost in the divisional round 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 8

Early line: Redskins +5.5

Key additions: CB Malcolm Butler, DT Bennie Logan, RB Dion Lewis

Key losses: DT Sylvester Williams, RB DeMarco Murray

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Marcus Mariota improved from his rookie year and had a solid 2016. But he regressed last season. In which direction is his career headed?
  • After head coach Mike Mularkey took the Titans to the second round of the playoffs he was summarily fired. Will they regret making to switch to Mike Vrabel?

Series history

The all-time series between the two teams is tied a 6-6; the teams split six games when the franchise was the Houston Oilers and they have gong 3-3 since the move to Tennessee. 

Series notables

The first time: October 10, 1971, RFK Stadium—The Redskins offense didn’t score a touchdown but that often didn’t matter when George Allen was the head coach as they still won 22-13. Washington’s scoring came on five Curt Knight field goals and on an 18-yard interception return by defensive end Ron McDole. That touchdown came on one of five takeaways by the Redskins defense. 

The last time: October 19, 2014, FedEx Field—Quarterback Kirk Cousins was struggling in the first half, losing a fumble and throwing a head-scratching interception. With the Redskins trailing the 2-4 Titans 10-6, Jay Gruden decided it was time for a change and Colt McCoy came in to play QB in the second half. 

Things clicked immediately as McCoy threw a short pass to Pierre Garçon, who turned upfield and rolled in for a 70-yard touchdown. It was back and forth in the second half and the Redskins were trailing 17-16 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 3:14 to play. McCoy led a 10-play drive that consumed all of the remaining time and culminated in a 22-yard Kai Forbath field goal to win it 19-17. 

The best time: November 3, 1991, RFK Stadium—To win nine straight NFL games to start out a season, you need solid blocking, accurate passing, hard-hitting tackling, inspired play calling, crisp execution and, as was the case today, a little bit of luck. Chip Lohmiller kicked a 41-yard field goal for Washington to give the Redskins a 16-13 overtime win over Houston. Darrell Green’s interception at the Houston 33 set up the kick. All of that, however, would not have happened if not for Oiler placekicker Ian Howfield. 

After Houston tied the game on a one-yard run by Lorenzo White with 1:42 left in the game, Brian Mitchell fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the Oilers prime field position. Howfield came in for a 33-yard field goal attempt with one second left. It appeared that the winning streak would end at eight. “You don’t exactly give up, but you’re not far from it,” said Andre Collins. 

The snap was perfect as was the hold, but Howfield’s kick was wide right. 

On Houston’s second offensive play of overtime, Oiler quarterback Warren Moon got bumped as he threw an out pass and Green picked it off. Three Ernest Byner runs preceded Lohmiller’s game-ending kick. 

The worst time: October 30, 1988, Astrodome—Washington entered the contest riding a three-game winning streak and appeared to be rounding into form to defend their Super Bowl title. Warren Moon threw three touchdown passes to Drew Hill, however, and the Redskins took a 41-17 whipping that wasn’t even as close as the final score would indicate.

Redskins schedule series

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page,  and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS  and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Inside the numbers: Will a 1,000-yard receiver make or break the 2018 Redskins?

Inside the numbers: Will a 1,000-yard receiver make or break the 2018 Redskins?

In 2017, the Redskins missed the playoffs while no receiver went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Jamison Crowder led the team with 789 receiving yards.

In 2016, the Redskins missed the playoffs while two receivers went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Pierre Garçon gained 1,041 yards that year while DeSean Jackson posted 1,005 receiving yards. 

In 2015, the Redskins did make the playoffs. That season the team had no receivers go for 1,000 yards, though Jordan Reed got close with 952 receiving yards. 

Is there a lesson here? Is there a takeaway that can help to predict the 2018 season?

Going into this season, no Redskins wideout has ever accounted for 1,000 yards in a single season. In their career.

Former first-round pick Josh Doctson accounted for just more than 500 receiving yards last season, catching 35 of the 78 balls thrown his way.  Crowder was mostly productive, but there was an expectation, fair or not, he would make more of a jump in 2018 than he did. Jordan Reed hardly played. 

To help the group, the Redskins added Paul Richardson in free agency. Last year playing for the Seahawks, Richardson went for 703 yards on 44 catches. The speedster gives the Redskins a true downfield threat the team lacked in 2017, and that could help the whole offense. In fact, it better help the whole offense. 

Still, looking at a top three of Doctson, Crowder and Richardson, it's hard to confidently predict a 1,000-yard receiver from the bunch. 

Could it happen? Absolutely. Any of the three could pop to a four-digit total.

Would you put your own hard-earned cash on the line? That would take some guts. 

Though the Redskins have a new quarterback in Alex Smith, head coach Jay Gruden has been crystal clear the team is not in a rebuilding mode. Washington must win, now, this season, and a minimum goal should be a Wild Card playoff spot. 

How imperative is a 1,000-yard wide receiver to that goal? Let's look back at the past 12 NFC playoff teams. 

Only three of six NFL playoff teams in 2017 had a 1,000-yard wideout. The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles did not, but the Vikings, Saints and Falcons all did. 

In 2016, however, five of six playoff teams had 1,000-yard receivers. The only team that didn't, the Cowboys, deployed a heavy run offense that resulted in Ezekiel Elliott going for more than 1,600 rush yards. 

Added together, in the past two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver on their squad go at least four digits. 

One more note: the New England Patriots played in the last two Super Bowls, winning one and losing one. Both years they had at least one receiver get to 1,000 yards (Julian Edelman in 2016, Brandin Cooks in 2017). In 2017, tight end Rob Gronkowski broke the 1,000-yard mark too.

Again, what's the takeaway? Having a 1,000-yard receiver is certainly good, but it's not a must for a playoff berth or a deep playoff run. The Eagles proved that. 

On some teams, an elite wideout makes a huge difference. Watch Giants tape and it's clear what Odell Beckham does for the offense. Watch Falcons tape and Julio Jones does the same. 

On other teams, an elite quarterback makes a huge difference. Duh.  

Of the teams examined, the 2016 Packers came the closest to the 2017 Patriots with having two players go for over 1,000 yards.

2017 New England did it with Cooks (1,082) and Gronkowski (1,084), 2016 Green Bay almost got there with Jordy Nelson (1,257) and Davante Adams (997). 

While Gronkowski and Nelson are excellent players, the common denominator is obviously the elite play of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. 

For the 2018 Redskins, what does it mean?

The Redskins don't have an elite wideout like Jones or Beckham. The Redskins don't have an elite quarterback like Brady or Rodgers. 

The best path for Washington's offense might be balance, and trying to emulate the Eagles model from 2017. Carson Wentz played most of the season at an elite level, but he spread the ball around to a number of targets and leaned heavily on his tight ends. It helped that the Eagles ran the ball very well too. 

Could the 'Skins do something similar? Alex Smith is known to spread the ball around, and if Jordan Reed and Derrius Guice can produce this fall, the offenses might be similar. 

The answer can't be force enough balls to one wideout to ensure a 1,000 yard season. That won't work. 

There might be another way to consider. Of the three NFC teams that made the 2017 playoffs without a 1,000-yard wideout, two found a lot of success throwing to a running back.

The Panthers leading WR was Devin Funchess with 840 receiving yards. Their second best receiver? Rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. 

The Rams leading WR was Cooper Kupp with 869 receiving yards. Their second best receiver? Running back Todd Gurley.

See a pattern?

Before breaking his leg in November, Chris Thompson had more than 500 receiving yards. He still finished as the team's fourth-leading receiver despite playing only 10 games. 

The offensive path to playoff success for Washington might not hinge on a true 1,000-yard wideout like it does for many teams. Full, healthy seasons from Jordan Reed or Chris Thompson could make up for deficiencies at other skill positions. It also remains possible Doctson, Crowder or Richardson make the four digit leap. 

Having a 1,000-yard receiver seems like a nice option for a good offense, and that's proven by nearly 70 percent of recent NFC playoff teams. Still, other paths remain to the postseason, and increased production at tight end and running back can go a long way. 


— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap


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