Mon Jan 24 10:44am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Davis scores four touchdowns
Well, that might have been the greatest playoff weekend ever. Wow. Those were some games and more than made up for the duds of the previous weekend. There were plenty of high scoring fantasy players as well, which was another plus of the weekend. Hopefully, you were able to enjoy the games and win your fantasy contests.
Bengals 19, Titans 16
Fantasy Stud: Joe Mixon. Mixon didn’t run for a ton of yards but got plenty of work and lots of targets in the passing game, leading to big fantasy numbers. Mixon ran 14 times for 54 yards and a touchdown, and caught six passes for 51 yards. He had 105 total yards, scoring 22.5 fantasy points. Mixon has gotten more work in the passing game late in the season, having at least six receptions three of four games. His added work in the passing game really gives his fantasy value a boost.
Fantasy Dud: Joe Burrow. His team won but Burrow wasn’t much help to his fantasy owners. He did top 300-passing yards but didn’t score a touchdown. Burrow was 28-of-37 for 348 yards with an interception. He really played well despite his lack of scores because he was under siege throughout the game, getting sacked nine times. Burrow had just 16.9 fantasy points, though, which was disappointing.
Game Notes: Derrick Henry returned from his foot injury and got about as much work as normal. He had 20 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown. Henry looked healthy and ran pretty well, especially if you consider this was his first game in a long time.
A.J. Brown was heavily targeted once again, getting five receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown. Brown had 140-plus yards two of his last four games.
49ers 13, Packers 10
Fantasy Stud: Aaron Jones. There was not much offense in this game, but Jones was huge for all his fantasy owners. He led the Packers in receiving, catching nine passes for 129 yards. He also ran 12 times for 41 yards, finishing with170 total yards. Jones had another good season for the Packers but it will be interesting to see what the Packers do with him this offseason with A.J. Dillon emerging as legit starter.
Fantasy Dud: Aaron Rodgers. There were a lot of duds in this poor offensive game, but we’ll give the honors to what many consider the MVP of the league. Rodgers failed to score a touchdown in the Packers stunning defeat, going 20-of-29 for 225 yard without a touchdown or interception. Rodgers is going to be the talk of the offseason, seeing where he lands for 2022. He’ll have plenty of suitors, including the Packers.
Game Notes: A.J. Dillon injured his chest in this game and was unable to return to action. He did find the end zone before getting hurt. He ran seven times for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Jimmy Garoppolo had a rough game despite the 49ers winning. He had a lot of struggles, especially making plays down the field. He was 11-of-19 for 131 yards with an interception. The good thing for Garoppolo is the 49ers won the game.
Rams 30, Bucs 27
Fantasy Stud: Leonard Fournette. Fournette had a big performance in his first game back from a hamstring injury. He got most of the work at running back for Tampa and played well. He ran 13 times for 51 yards and two touchdowns. Fournette also had nine receptions for 56 yards. He topped 30 fantasy points in the game. Fournette had a big season as the Bucs starter and looks to have the job again next year.
Fantasy Dud: Cam Akers. Akers dominated the work at running back for the Rams, but didn’t do much with a lot of touches. He ran 24 times for just 48 yards. He caught three passes for 20 yards. He also lost to fumbles in the game, including one late that led to the Bucs tying the game. Akers had a rough game but should be the lead back for the Rams for years to come. He has a lot of talent and can play at a high level in that role.
Game Notes: Cooper Kupp had one of his usual big games. He caught nine passes fro 183 yards and a touchdown. Kupp has 12 100-yard games this year.
Mike Evans had his second straight 100-yard game. He had eight receptions for 119 yards and touchdown. He had 17 receptions in his two playoff games this year.
Chiefs 42, Bills 36
Fantasy Stud: Gabriel Davis. Davis had the best game of his career. He had one of the best all-time playoff games for a receiver. Davis had eight receptions for 201 yards and four touchdowns. It was the type of game that can change the career path for Davis. He could be a huge part of this passing game going forward, playing alongside Stefon Diggs.
Fantasy Dud: Stefon Diggs. The Chiefs did a really good job of containing Diggs. He had three catches for seven yards. This was his first game all season with fewer than 10 yards. You just expect better from the Bills top target in the passing game. He remains one of the best in the game, though, despite this down showing.
Game Notes: Both starting quarterback had four touchdowns in this game. Josh Allen was 27-of-37 for 329 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover. Allen also led the team in rushing, running 11 times for 68 yards. Patrick Mahomes was 33-of-44 for 378 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. Like Allen, Mahomes also led his team in rushing, running seven times for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire returned from his shoulder injury and played well. He ran seven times for 60 yards and caught a pass for nine yards. He didn’t get a huge workload, but about split the work with Jerick McKinnon.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Free-agent QB Robert Griffin III (Ravens) said he trains every day and remains ready if a team were interested in him.
Free-agent quarterback Robert Griffin III has quickly embraced his new role as a broadcaster after playing eight seasons in the NFL, but he hasn't shut the door on a potential return to football. "I am ready to go right now. I train every day. I throw and work out. I know what it takes to get my body ready and I am doing those things. Yes, it is a little bit tougher when you are flying around everywhere doing stuff for TV, but when you really want something, you make it work. So, if I get that call this year, next year, or five years from now I will be ready to play," Griffin said. The 32-year-old last played in the NFL in 2020 with the Baltimore Ravens, and it's probably a long shot that he'll return to an NFL roster since his commentating gig is going so well.
New England Patriots sixth-round rookie running back Kevin Harris has a good shot at making the team's final roster, in the opinion of Patriots.com's Paul Perillo. Harris has a solid build and a reputation for being a physical power back who can run between the tackles. Perillo said he can see Harris earning some carries in the Patriots committee approach alongside Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris. Rookie offensive linemen Chasen Hines and Andrew Stueber also have a good chance to stick around as depth up front in their rookie seasons. The 21-year-old Harris won't be worth selecting in single-year fantasy drafts, but he could end up being a steal for the Pats down the road.
Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Siran Neal, Dane Jackson and Kaiir Elam will all be competing throughout training camp to win the No. 2 cornerback job opposite Tre'Davious White. Neal, who is the oldest of the three, has embraced more of a leadership role heading into his fifth season with the team. He's been a key special teams contributor, but he's also seen time at safety, outside corner and nickel corner. Since 2019, Neal has played at least 10% of the snaps on defense and more than 60% of the snaps on special teams. Neal and Jackson have more experience, but Elam is coming in as a first-round rookie. Neal has the most tenure of the three, but he might be best suited moving around the secondary because of his versatility.
New York Jets safety Ashtyn Davis was viewed as a developmental player when he was taken in the third round in 2020. He was robbed of valuable repetitions when organized team activities and minicamp were canceled in his rookie year, and then he suffered a foot injury midway through his first NFL season that put him on Injured Reserve and kept him out throughout the 2021 offseason program and training camp. But this year, Davis has been able to prepare and looks significantly improved while working with the second-team defense. The 25-year-old is flying around, but the Jets also haven't used pads yet, so it'll be interesting to see if Davis has improved while defending the run, which is what he struggled the most with last year.
The New York Jets kicking competition between Greg Zuerlein and Eddy Pineiro this offseason has been "neck and neck," according to special teams coordinator Brant Boyer, but it's mainly because neither kicker has impressed all that much. The Jets brought in Greg the Leg this offseason after Pineiro made all 17 of his kicks in five games. Zuerlein made 29 of his 35 field-goal attempts for the Dallas Cowboys last year, but he was released in March. The kicking competition will continue in training camp and into the preseason, and it remains to be seen who will come out on top, but fantasy managers can probably avoid the situation in drafts.
The New York Jets drafted Jason Pinnock as a cornerback in the fifth round last year but converted him to safety toward the end of 2021 out of necessity. Pinnock impressed in the role and finished with six tackles, two forced fumbles and a pass breakup in 175 defensive snaps. The Jets have made his position switch permanent, and it's paying off already. The 23-year-old received the majority of the first-team repetitions next to Jordan Whitehead in offseason workouts with Lamarcus Joyner working his way back from injury. Pinnock looks like he belongs, but he's unlikely to be in contention to retain a starting job once Joyner is healthy. If Pinnock continues to improve, he could wind up being a steal for Gang Green.
It's still early in the offseason, but The Athletic's Connor Hughes writes that New York Jets second-year quarterback Zach Wilson wasn't overly impressive through four media-open organized team activity practices. Wilson struggled with his accuracy, and his decision-making was questionable, at best. It wasn't all bad for the 22-year-old, but Hughes was hoping to see more conviction and decisiveness. For what it's worth, the Jets aren't concerned and see signs of improvement as he trusts his reads much more. If Wilson's struggles continue into training camp, then there might be a little panic from the Jets, but for now, it's just something to watch. Wilson has some new toys in the passing game and he should take a step forward in 2022, but he'll still only be a low-end QB2 in fantasy.
New York Jets tight end Tyler Conklin seized the majority of the repetitions at tight end during offseason practices because of the absences of C.J. Uzomah and Jeremy Ruckert. Conklin made the most of his extra work in the spring, and quarterback Zach Wilson is looking Conklin's way more often, especially in the red zone. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur will use all of his tight ends this year, but Conklin might be separating himself as the top option heading into training camp. The 26-year-old had a career-high 61 catches for 593 yards and three touchdowns in 17 games with the Minnesota Vikings last year and he can be a valuable red-zone weapon, but he'll likely have a low fantasy ceiling while sharing snaps with Uzomah and others.
New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur was impressed with rookie second-round running back Breece Hall during offseason workouts. "He's 220 pounds, and he's covering a lot of yardage when he doesn't look like he's covering a lot of yardage," LaFleur said. "He's fast, so he gets up on people pretty quick. And then he's such a fluid, big-body target that when he makes his move it's not like a smaller running back when you feel like you have to put it on them. He's got a big catch radius and I know the quarterback is going to feel that." Hall and Michael Carter are expected to share RB duties in 2022, but Hall is expected to take over the lion's share of duties sooner than later, making him an RB2 target in fantasy in his rookie season.
New York Jets safety Lamarcus Joyner (triceps) is still the starter despite missing organized team activities and minicamp, but there's a chance that Ashtyn Davis and Jason Pinnock could push him for playing time this year if their strong OTAs turn into strong training camps. Joyner is 31 years old and his future with the team is unlikely to extend beyond the 2022 season. Joyner is reportedly healthy heading into training camp at the end of July after he played in just one game in 2021 due to a season-ending triceps injury. He projects to open the season as a starter next to Jordan Whitehead, but Joyner will have to play well and stay healthy to hold off both Davis and Pinnock in the Jets secondary.
The real star of the New York Jets organized team activities was tight end Lawrence Cager, who was converted from a receiver. He worked mostly with the third-team offense, but he was making two or three catches every day. Cager is clearly the most athletic player the Jets have at the tight end position, and it has led to mismatches when the defense tries to cover him with a linebacker or safety. The 24-year-old's chances of making the final roster will come down to his blocking ability, which he didn't do much of throughout OTAs. Cager isn't on the fantasy radar at all, but he'll be one to watch this summer and might be a dark horse to make the team heading into the regular season.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings is reportedly having the best offseason of his career, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. The second-year receiver is likely to become the No. 3 option in this offense. Last season, Jennings finished with 24 receptions, 282 receiving yards, and five touchdowns in 16 games. It was a decent rookie season for Jennings considering he was a seventh round pick. Despite that, it's unlikely that Jennings has standard league value heading into next season. There probably won't be enough targets for him to have success on a regular basis. Although, he could be an interesting stash in dynasty formats.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard is expected to see a heavier workload heading into next season. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers mentioned that he's excited about Lazard getting a chance to be the No. 1 receiver. Last season, Lazard set career highs in receptions (40), receiving yards (513), and touchdowns (8) in 15 games last season. The departure of Davante Adams has opened up a door for Lazard to make an even bigger impact on the roster. Fantasy managers shouldn't expect Lazard to produce like a No. 1 receiver, but his value should be on the rise.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (knee) is expected to be limited early in training camp. The superstar receiver underwent MCL surgery in December. That being said, the Cardinals are going to be cautious with Hopkins. It's worth noting that Hopkins is going to be suspended for the first six weeks of the regular season. The Cardinals have no reason to rush Hopkins during his recovery process. Fantasy managers should expect Hopkins to be a major factor on offense once he does get back on the field.
Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner forced 26 broken or missed tackles on his 202 carries in 2021, according to Sports Info Solutions. That number ranked fourth in the league, while his broken/missed tackles forced percentage of 12.9 ranked second among running backs with at least 150 carries.
Fantasy Spin: Conner enjoyed a resurgent 2021 in many areas, but there is reason for concern with him in 2022 that goes beyond his injury history. He averaged a mere 3.7 yards per carry and over 40 percent of his fantasy point total from last season came via his 18 total touchdowns. The offensive line doesn't figure to be any better this year either. Last but not least, Eno Benjamin reportedly has enjoyed a fantastic offseason and could carve out a bigger role than Chase Edmonds ever did if he can carry it over to training camp.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny averaged 3.7 yards after contact per carry - the most among running back with at least 100 carries in 2021 - according to Sports Info Solutions.
Fantasy Spin: The biggest caveat of Penny's fantastic finish was that at least three of the final five teams he faced over that stretch struggled to stop the run in a big way at the end of last season. It also coincided with Russell Wilson looking like his usual self following his injury. Penny will not have the benefit of Wilson taking the attention away from him this season and will be challenged by explosive rookie Kenneth Walker III, making Penny a likely hit-or-miss RB2 for fantasy purposes in 2022.
Cincinnati Bengals DE Trey Hendrickson hurried the quarterback 43 times in 2021, according to Sports Info Solutions. The number ranked fourth in the league.
Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett recorded a league-high 85 pressures in 2021, according to Sports Info Solutions.