Fantasy Sleepers, General

Patriots Sign Veteran TE Benjamin Watson

Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints

Image courtesy of Chris Graythen, Getty Images.

 

After going from team to team, Watson’s career has come full-circle.

The veteran tight end has signed with the New England Patriots, the team he was drafted by in 2004 (32nd overall). The deal is for one-year, worth $3M.

Watson joins a tight end room that includes Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo, Stephen Anderson and undrafted rookie Andrew Beck. With the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, there will be a multitude of passes going the way of a few of the aforementioned guys in the 2019 NFL season.

Watson’s retirement was clearly a short-lived one. Heading into the 2019 season, Watson has 5,885 receiving yards and 44 TD receptions; 20 of them were with the Patriots from 2005-2009.

We’ll find out in short order which of these TEs makes the final roster. My prediction? ASJ, Watson, and LaCosse with a possible fourth being Beck.

General

2018 NFL Playoff Predictions

I love the playoffs because they’re the most exciting time of the year for avid NFL fans. Even if your team isn’t chasing a Super Bowl title, watching some of the other games can be just as fun.. plus the chance to win some money on playoff bets is always intriguing!

One thing I don’t like though about the playoffs – they’re a reminder that the season’s nearing an end. Then we have to wait until next September for more meaningful NFL action.

Here’s how I think the 2018 NFL playoffs play out:

Wild Card

(6) Colts @ (3) Texans
34-27 HOUSTON
QB DeShaun Watson: 4 total TDs

(5) Chargers @ (4) Ravens
24-20 LOS ANGELES
WR Keenan Allen: 10 rec., 84 yds., 2 TD

(6) Eagles @ (3) Bears
31-20 CHICAGO
TE Trey Burton: 8 rec., 136 yds., TD

(5) Seahawks @ (4) Cowboys
24-17 DALLAS
RB Ezekiel Elliott: 115 total yds., TD

Divisional

(3) Texans @ (2) Patriots
38-31 NEW ENGLAND
TE Rob Gronkowski: 9 rec., 149 yds., 2 TD

(5) Chargers @ (1) Chiefs
31-27 KANSAS CITY
WR Tyreek Hill: 6 rec., 173 yds., TD

(3) Bears @ (2) Rams
27-24 CHICAGO
RB Tarik Cohen: 188 total yds., 2 TD

(4) Cowboys @ (1) Saints
34-28 NEW ORLEANS
WR Michael Thomas: 12 rec., 145 yds., TD

Conference

(2) Patriots @ (1) Chiefs
42-41 KANSAS CITY
RB Damien Williams: 3 total TDs
QB Tom Brady: 521 passing yds., 3 TDs

(3) Bears @ (1) Saints
30-22 NEW ORLEANS
RB Mark Ingram: 3 rushes of 20+ yds.
RB Alvin Kamara: 2 total TDs

Super Bowl LIII

Chiefs @ Saints
48-44 KANSAS CITY
QB Patrick Mahomes: 472 passing yds., 5 TD
QB Drew Brees: 390 passing yds., 4 TDs
Super Bowl MVP: QB Patrick Mahomes

DFS Lineups, DFS Value Plays

Triple F Podcast Week 11

Check out our newest edition of the Triple F Podcast (link below)!

Triple F Podcast Week 11

Patrick Caldwell talks about some of his preferred options for Week 11 on FanDuel (Sunday, 1 P.M. Main).

Check out his Facebook page at Patrick Caldwell, NFL Analyst!

Fantasy Sleepers, Waiver Wire

Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups

The newest episode of the Triple F Podcast covers waiver wire options for Week 10, courtesy of yours truly (you can thank me later).

Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups

Below are the mentioned players, for your convenience:

McCown

(I do not own this image, nor do I intend to use this photo maliciously. Courtesy of 247Sports.com)

QB Josh McCown, NYJ vs Buf

RB Duke Johnson Jr., Cle vs. Atl

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB vs. Mia

WR Dez Bryant, NO @ Cin

TE Benjamin Watson, NO @ Cin

49ers D/ST vs. NYG

Fantasy Sleepers

Fantasy Sleepers for Week 9

Just uploaded a bonus episode for you all: the Triple F Podcast this time covers some Week 9 sleeper options at each position!

Thank you all for tuning in. Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

Fantasy Sleepers

Week 8 Sleepers

QB Mitch Trubisky – Chicago Bears

Averaging 34.1 fantasy points per game (NFL.com) every week since Week 4, Mitch Trubisky is a solid option at the QB position going forward. If you drafted someone like Russell Wilson and are looking for another option at QB, look no further than Trubisky, who is already on pace to set all sorts of passing records for the Bears.

RB Jalen Richard – Oakland Raiders

With “Beast-Mode” placed on IR and out for the foreseeable future, Richard is set to split the rushing duties with Doug Martin. However, Richard’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield gives him a slight advantage from a fantasy standpoint. The Raiders square off with the Colts on Sunday, who are notorious for allowing running backs to catch the football. Richard has heightened fantasy value while Lynch is recovering, especially in PPR formats.

RB Kenjon Barner – New England Patriots

After an injury to Sony Michel last week against the Bears, the Pats are left with James White, and Kenjon Barner. New England has already lost both Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill to season-ending injuries, and with the absence of Michel, Barner should see an increased role in the Patriots offense. James White will still assume the role of lead back, but with all the moving around White does within the Patriots offense (in addition to his receiving production), it would make sense for Barner to control a good share of the rushing attempts. He’ll possibly even take the lead as a redzone back. I like Barner this week in a big win for the Pats over a struggling Buffalo Bills defense.

WR Tre’Quan Smith – New Orleans Saints

The Vikings secondary is banged up, and Ted Ginn is out with an injury, leaving the door open for Tre’Quan Smith to step up for New Orleans. The number one priority for the Vikings will be to stop Michael Thomas in the passing game, which in turn, should leave the door wide open for Smith to put up big numbers. I expect production this week from Smith in an offensive shootout in Minnesota.

WR Jordy Nelson – Oakland Raiders

With Amari Cooper out the door, Nelson all of a sudden finds himself as the number one receiver on the Raiders roster. Without Cooper, and after the offseason departures of Michael Crabtree and Cordarrelle Patterson, Derek Carr has limited options to throw the football to, and Nelson ranks at the top of list. Expect Jordy to have a break out week against a weak Indianapolis secondary.

TE Ben Watson – New Orleans Saints

This might be a little bit of point chasing. Watson is coming off his best game of the season where he had 6 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. But similar to Tre’Quan Smith, Watson is likely to have an increase in targets in the absence of Ted Ginn. This is a high-powered offense with Drew Brees at the helm, who will never be afraid to throw the football regardless of who he is throwing to. Watson is a definite sleeper this week, and is primed for a solid Week 8 performance.

D/ST Arizona Cardinals vs. 49ers

Taking the bait on this one. Just a few weeks ago, the Cards forced five turnovers against this same 49ers team. And just one week ago, the Rams dominated the Niners with seven sacks and four takeaways. This play is just as much about how bad the Niners have been offensively as it is about Arizona’s success defensively. Give me the Cardinals defense on their home field.

Start/Sit

Week 8 Start/Sits

With Week 8 upon us, teams like the Packers and Seahawks are coming off a bye and should be welcome additions to the starting lineups of fantasy owners.

Here’s the upcoming schedule for Week 8:

Teams on BYE: Cowboys, Chargers, Falcons, Titans

Thursday, 8:20 P.M.

Dolphins (4-3) vs. Texans (4-3)

Sunday, 9:30 A.M.

Eagles (3-4) vs. Jaguars (3-4) [@ Wembley Stadium in London]

Sunday, 1:00 P.M.

Ravens (4-3) @ Panthers (4-2) —— Broncos (3-4) @ Chiefs (6-1)

Browns (2-4-1) @ Steelers (3-2-1) —— Seahawks (3-3) @ Lions (3-3)

Buccaneers (3-3) @ Bengals (4-3) —— Jets (3-4) @ Bears (3-3)

Redskins (4-2) @ Giants (1-6)

Sunday, 4:05 P.M.

Colts (2-5) @ Raiders (1-5)

Sunday, 4:25 P.M.

49ers (1-6) @ Cardinals (1-6)

Packers (3-2-1) @ Rams (7-0)

Sunday, 8:20 P.M.

Saints (5-1) @ Vikings (4-2-1)

Monday, 8:15 P.M.

Patriots (5-2) @ Bills (2-5)


For me, standout games include:

Dolphins @ Texans because both teams are 4-3 and this game could have big playoff implications down the road (not to mention it might be the first interesting Thursday night game in a while).

Ravens @ Panthers because it seems like one of those true “any given Sunday” matchups and both teams have 4 wins.

Packers @ Rams because of the shootout potential as well as two great offenses going head-to-head.

Saints @ Vikings because it’s a rematch of the NFC Championship Game last year, with both teams doing well mid-way through 2018.

Alrighty, time for those start/sits!

Dalton

(I do not own this image nor do I intend to take credit for this image in any way.)

START

QB Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Buccaneers

Okay so Dalton threw up a stinker last week against an otherwise generous pass defense. He completed 15/29 passes for 148 yards with a TD and an INT (which ended up being a 33-yard pick-six by Chiefs’ safety Ron Parker). The Bengals had trouble converting on third down, being successful just 4 of 11 attempts. Something to consider; the Buccaneers allow a whopping 53.33% of 3rd-down conversion attempts during away games.

With how bad the Buccaneers’ pass defense has been, this is a prime opportunity for Dalton to rebound.

Prediction: 27/38, 336 yards, 3 TD, INT; 2 rushes, 11 yards

QB C.J. Beathard, 49ers @ Cardinals

Beathard could be a sleeper start at QB this week considering the matchup – the last time San Francisco played Arizona, Beathard completed 34/54 passes for 349 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs while also rushing in a TD.

Things will go Beathard’s way if the running back committee of Matt Breida (ankle), Raheem Mostert and Alfred Morris can establish even a decent rushing attack. Let’s not forget Cardinals’ CB Patrick Peterson requested to be traded before the October 30th trade deadline – if he is indeed traded, the Arizona pass defense weakens tremendously.

Prediction: 33/46, 323 yards, 3 TD, INT; 4 rushes, 17 yards

RB Jalen Richard, Raiders vs. Colts

Marshawn Lynch (groin) is on IR. This leaves Doug Martin and Richard to handle the backfield duties for a struggling Oakland offense. So why Richard over Martin?

Richard has showcased above-average pass-catching ability this season and is more familiar with the offense. He has at least 5 targets in his last 4 games, and 13 receptions over his last 2.

Against the Colts’ run-of-the-mill defense, Richard will likely get his fair share of opportunities. He’s the safer bet between him and Martin for fantasy purposes, especially for PPR leagues.

Prediction: 5 rushes, 19 yards; 6 receptions, 71 yards, TD

RB Raheem Mostert, 49ers @ Cardinals

This start depends on the status of teammate Matt Breida (ankle). I think Mostert is worth a flex-play in deeper leagues regardless of Breida’s status, but if the latter is inactive, Mostert jumps to RB2 territory.

Mostert has rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries in his last two games, adding 4 receptions for 19 yards. With the Cardinals being weak against the run this season (allowing a league-worst 12 TDs on the ground), Mostert has upside this week.

Prediction: 11 rushes, 71 yards, TD; 2 receptions, 9 yards

DEEP SLEEPER – RB Trenton Cannon, Jets @ Bears

This one’s a bit of a long shot, but with Bilal Powell (neck) going on IR, Cannon now sees himself as Isaiah Crowell’s primary backup. In an effort to keep Crowell from getting fatigued, I think Cannon sees more usage down the stretch. This particular matchup might not be that friendly, but the speedy 6th-rounder could make a huge impact if given more opportunity.

Prediction: 7 rushes, 38 yards; 4 receptions, 44 yards, TD

WR Willie Snead, Ravens @ Panthers

Snead has had at least 7 targets in 5 out of 7 games with Baltimore this season, with his last 4 games being among them. With deep threat John Brown a nightmare for defenses and Michael Crabtree a solid possession receiver, Snead could fly under the radar against a middle-of-the-pack Panthers’ defense.

Prediction: 6 receptions, 68 yards, TD

WR Martavis Bryant, Raiders vs. Colts

Amari Cooper’s a Cowboy now, so that opens up targets for Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Bryant.

With Bryant being a reliable deep threat and the Colts being in the bottom half of the league in passing yards allowed, Bryant could be the primary beneficiary of Cooper’s absence during Week 8 play.

Prediction: 5 receptions, 104 yards, TD

TE Chris Herndon, Jets @ Bears

Tough matchup, but Herndon has been a favorite target of QB Sam Darnold’s of late. With WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) still out and WR Robby Anderson inconsistent with the deep ball, Herndon may be the only option to trust as far as Jets’ receivers.

Hard to expect another TD after 2 straight games with a score considering his overall small target share (9 targets in the last 2 weeks), but Herndon could be a lone bright spot for a Jets team that could very well be smothered by the Bears’ defense.

Prediction: 3 receptions, 47 yards, TD

TE C.J. Uzomah, Bengals vs. Buccaneers

Uzomah should be a good stack with QB Andy Dalton on Sunday. After catching the two targets sent his way for 13 yards and the lone TD against the Chiefs, Uzomah is also primed for a rebound performance. What helps him more is that his teammate Tyler Kroft (foot) remains in a boot and is likely going to be out for a while.

Prediction: 5 receptions, 51 yards, TD

Redskins D/ST @ Giants

Even against a generous pass defense in the Falcons on Monday night, Eli Manning and the Giants seemed to struggle immensely. Granted, head coach Pat Shurmur made a questionable decision to go for 2 after a Saquon Barkley TD made the score 20-12 in favor of the Falcons.. but again, offensive line struggles limited the potential of a Giants team that features talent across its skill positions.

The Redskins got by the Cowboys thanks to a fumble return TD by Preston Smith and a strip-sack by Ryan Kerrigan. Expect this unit to pull off a similar performance against the struggling Giants.

Prediction: 20 points allowed, 5 sacks, 2 INT, 1 FR, TD

Steelers D/ST vs. Browns

While the last time Pittsburgh faced division rival Cleveland, the latter had Tyrod Taylor behind center, Pittsburgh accrued seven sacks and kept the Browns to a 21-all tie.

Maybe the Steelers don’t get 7 sacks, but their front seven will be sure to give #1 overall pick Baker Mayfield some fits.

Prediction: 20 points allowed, 4 sacks, 2 INT

Jared Goff

(I do not own this image nor do I intend to take credit for this image in any way.)

SIT

QB Jared Goff, Rams vs. Packers

Depending on your roster, you might not have the ability to sit Goff.. but there are better options this week. The Packers’ pass defense ranks 3rd in the league in yards allowed (behind Seattle and somehow Jacksonville despite their string of bad games).

Yes, the Rams’ offense is high-flying and this game has huge shootout potential – but like I said, there are better options, especially more so than a QB that’s thrown for a combined 403 yards, 2 TDs and an INT in the last two weeks (yes one of them was in a snowy/rainy Denver but still). Keep in mind that this year, Goff’s never attempted more than 36 passes. Even in a shootout, expect somewhere between 32-38 pass attempts.

Temper your expectations with Goff this week.

Prediction: 21/33, 261 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT; 3 rushes, 9 yards

QB Russell Wilson, Seahawks @ Lions

Right behind Green Bay at 4th in the league in passing yards allowed rests the Detroit Lions. Wilson’s thrown over 250 yards once, and that was Week 1 @ Denver. While the Seattle quarterback has thrown 3 TD passes in his past 2 games, I don’t see that trend continuing even as the team comes off a bye.

While the Lions have only picked off quarterbacks twice this season, their 221 passing yards allowed per game have me holding off on Wilson being a solid option this week.

Prediction: 19/27, 239 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 5 rushes, 27 yards

RB Javorius Allen, Ravens @ Panthers

6 targets out of the backfield in the last two weeks make Allen hard to trust coming into play against Carolina. Until I see more volume, Allen isn’t really on my radar honestly.

Prediction: 4 rushes, 10 yards; 3 receptions, 22 yards

RB Chris Carson, Seahawks @ Lions

This would have been a good play a few weeks ago when he was on his streak of 100+ yard games, but the Seattle backfield situation is too muddled to tell who will come out on top. Detroit represents a good matchup for the Seahawks on the ground, as they rank 26th in rushing yards allowed at a league-worst 5.3 YPC.. but without a clear picture of who will carry the ball more, Carson may not get you as much production as you may like.

Prediction: 16 carries, 62 yards; 1 reception, 7 yards

WR Brandin Cooks, Rams vs. Packers

Not only do I think to sit Cooks because of Goff’s underproduction these last few weeks, but Cooks has seen under 7 targets for consecutive weeks in a row despite the presence of Cooper Kupp on the field.

With the Rams’ offense consistently funneling through Todd Gurley, it’s hard to rely on Cooks even though he’s such a dynamic player.

Prediction: 4 receptions, 55 yards

WR Devin Funchess, Panthers vs. Ravens

Funchess boasts a more consistent usage with the return of TE Greg Olsen to the offense that helps take away defensive attention from him. With TDs in his last two games as well as 11 receptions, Funchess is on a solid streak – but we all know the defensive capabilities of Baltimore’s secondary.

Panthers’ QB Cam Newton (right shoulder) was limited at practice Wednesday and if his shouder injury is bad enough, it could very well limit his ability to throw the ball down field despite reports that he was able to make most of his typical throws. With the matchup concern combined with Newton’s potential limitation, I’d throw caution to the wind with Funchess.

Prediction: 4 receptions, 47 yards

TE Eric Ebron, Colts @ Raiders

Although the target share of Ebron seemed to be unaffected by the return of WR T.Y. Hilton, it could see limitations if TE Jack Doyle (hip) comes back for this game.

The Raiders represent a juicy matchup for Colts’ receivers, given that QB Andrew Luck’s known for slinging the ball downfield. However, 7 receptions over the last two games represents a slim margin for error that I believe will limit Ebron’s upside. There are better TE options this week.

Prediction: 3 receptions, 43 yards

TE Jordan Reed, Redskins @ Giants

Even with all of the injuries to Washington receivers (Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder), Reed seems to be under-performing with QB Alex Smith throwing him the ball. With inconsistent production at an already slim position, Reed is just not the greatest option against a Giants’ secondary that, while allowing 50+ yards to TEs in 4 of their last 5 games, will likely hone in on him as the most dangerous threat in an already weak passing attack.

Prediction: 3 receptions, 32 yards

Jets D/ST @ Bears

The Jets’ defense, while they have incredibly talented personnel in the likes of S Jamal Adams and DE Leonard Williams, have been suspect of late. Allowing 34 and 37 points to the Colts and Vikings, respectively, it’s hard to trust this unit against a Mitchell Trubisky-led Chicago offense that’s finding more and more creative ways to move the chains. Keep in mind that the Jets haven’t notched a sack since their Week 5 battle with the Broncos. Trubisky has thrown for over 300 passing yards, rushed for over 45 yards and passed for 2+ TDs in his last 3 games, and I believe this will be his fourth consecutive successful venture.

Prediction: 33 points allowed, 1 sack, 1 FR

Seahawks D/ST @ Lions

While Matthew Stafford is coming off two sub-par performances with under 220 passing yards, he also hasn’t turned the ball over since the Week 3 win against New England. A lot of pundits have Stafford struggling again this week and the Seahawks being a decent streaming option this week, but their last game was against the struggling Oakland offense. Seattle was able to tally six sacks, recover two fumbles and limit the Raiders to just 3 points all game.

This contest won’t be so easy for them, and I see Stafford limiting opportunities for Seattle by leaning on Kerryon Johnson’s increased usage in the rushing attack. Maybe I’m on the wrong side of this one, but starting Seattle’s defense on the road against the Lions doesn’t seem like the best bet.

Prediction: 24 points allowed, 2 sacks, 1 FR