This week marks the midway point in the fantasy football season. Some team owners are still busy making claims for last week’s top performers. Others are racking their brains on how to trade for that one missing piece that their team is missing to get them over the hump. Injuries continue to decimate the running back position, and options on waivers are looking grim. Still, Last Word on Sports sorts through the haystack of irrelevant fantasy players to find that needle that will point teams in the right direction.
Week Seven Fantasy Football Watch List Featuring Frank Gore
Frank Gore should be renamed to The Immortal. He just won’t die, and he just keeps pounding out yards. After spending the last three years with the Indianapolis Colts, Gore was expected to sit behind the much younger Kenyan Drake. Initially, the Miami Dolphins began by giving Gore the start just in name in order to keep his ridiculous streak of over 100 consecutive games started alive. Now, however, it looks like the coaching staff favors him over Drake, and his role has been growing every week.
Admittedly, last week was probably about Gore’s ceiling. At 35 years old, he became the first rusher to go for over 100 yards against the Chicago Bears vaunted defense. Still, he has now gone three straight games with more than 10 carries and has only had one game this season with less than nine. After Drake fumbled at the goal line and almost cost the Dolphins the game, Gore might see more goal-line work moving forward, giving him a shot to score.
While it is unlikely that Gore puts up any crazy numbers during the season, the team looks to be establishing a safe floor for him. Especially with more running backs like Devonta Freeman going down this week, team owners might just have to lower their standards on who they start. If Gore can go another few games with over ten carries, he will be worth an add in most leagues.
Another player who will not let his NFL career die is New York Jets wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor. After beginning his career as a quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, Pryor changed courses after being cut and transformed himself into a wide receiver. He showed promise as a bright spot on a bad Cleveland Browns team in 2016, gaining 1,007 yards and scoring four touchdowns. Pryor signed a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins to take the place of DeSean Jackson last year. That never worked out.
This season, he gave it another shot with much less pressure with the Jets. He’s still in a logjam of receivers that include Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, and Quincy Enunwa. He gets an opportunity to establish himself with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold with Enunwa out. Kearse is a pedestrian wideout who is solid but does nothing too well. Anderson is an explosive deep threat, but a bit undersized. Pryor is a big bodied guy who is faster than he looks but is still learning the nuances of the position. The time is now to establish himself amongst the group and become a favorite target of Darnold.
It is unclear when Enunwa will be back, but Pryor showed some promise in the first game without him last week. He saw six targets, turning them into five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. Pryor gets a tough matchup this week against the Minnesota Vikings. He is also tagged as questionable and has a chance to miss the game completely. If he does play and play well, he could be a player to target on waivers in coming weeks.
Sticking to wide receivers, Marquise Goodwin is a player that needs to be monitored closely for the next few weeks. Goodwin has dealt with various injuries through the early parts of the season but finally looked healthy last week against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. Though many expected the San Francisco 49ers offense to implode after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down, C.J. Beathard has proven to be more than capable in running the offense.
Goodwin exploded under the prime time lights, turning four catches into 126 yards and two touchdowns. He was key in helping the 49ers go toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers and company with his two long touchdowns. Overall, Goodwin is a speedster who is more of a boom-or-bust guy, but he has a cakewalk in matchups for the middle part of the season. This week he goes against the Aqib Talib-less Los Angeles Rams, whose games have been full of offensive fireworks. Later they have the Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To help his case, the 49ers really don’t have many reliable receiving options outside of him and tight end George Kittle. If he can continue to see at least five targets a game, he should be a top add on waivers in as little as a week’s time. Don’t sleep on this guy.
Week Six Redux: C.J. Beathard
Last week’s watch list highlighted the guy throwing Goodwin the football: Beathard. It was noted how Beathard had greatly exceeded expectations since he took over as starting quarterback. In his first two weeks, he had over 19 points but was facing a Packers defense that was ranked second in the league against the pass.
Again, Beathard did better than many expected. Though it wasn’t quite as good as his first two outings, his 18.9 points in standard leagues are more than serviceable for a starter. Now his schedule lightens up with borderline cupcake matchups all the way up until December. Players who need a streamer should look to him as a great option if he’s available, and he could even be worth holding on to up until the team’s bye in week 11.
Those who have roster space would even be tempted to keep him at least until after week 12 when he faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers swiss-cheese secondary.