It is Wednesday, my dudes. Topics covered today include: Is Baker Mayfield better without Odell? Are the Eagles finally getting healthy? Will Fuller to the Packers?
- You should probably pick up Jalen Reagor of the Eagles. He’s been activated off IR and is back at practice. The team hopes he can play this Sunday against Dallas. I’m sure he’s available in your league still. With DeSean Jackson likely out for the year, and with Alshon Jeffrey now apparently having a calf injury that delays his return even further, the opportunities are going to be there for Reagor. While “healthy” is a relative term when it comes to the Eagles, they’re definitely getting healthier at the moment. Plus star offensive lineman Lane Johnson should be back on the field and giving Wentz more time to throw. Reagor is a smart pickup right now.
- On the topic of Philly, Dallas Goedert is back at practice this week for the first time in over a month since breaking his ankle early in the Week 3 game against the Bengals. Zach Ertz is out for at least another few weeks which means once Goedert gets back on the field, he will be a top-quality fantasy option at TE. Could be a long shot for him to play this week but definitely expect him back on the field by week 9.
- Allen Robinson is officially in concussion protocol. He took a hit near the end of the Rams game and the refs made him leave the field. It was pretty obvious it was a concussion if you watched the game, but the team only announced he’s in the protocol today. This is because the Bears played on Monday night and there’s usually no practice or anything the day after gameday. The bad news is that since the concussion was on Monday night he has one less day to rest up than he normally would’ve with a Sunday game, making his chances of playing this Sunday against the Saints much lower. He’s probably going to miss the game, so be prepared to have another option at WR.
- Is Baker Mayfield actually better without Odell Beckham? He was 0-5 with an INT when Beckham went down with an ACL injury, which sadly Beckham sustained trying to tackle the guy who intercepted Mayfield’s pass. After the OBJ injury, though, Baker was 22/23 passing with 297 yards and 5 TDs. And the one incomplete pass was actually a spike before he threw the game winning TD to Donovan Peoples-Jones with 11 seconds left. He was at least better without Odell in that game. And yes, it was against the Bengals and their defense is horrible (Tannehill licking his chops for week 8), but he also had a perfect game, which is exactly what you’d expect good players to do against bad defenses. I think it’s fair to say that perhaps Baker tries forcing it to Odell too much when he’s on the field in order to keep him happy. Baker certainly looked like a better QB during his rookie season before they got Odell. Maybe Baker is better without him. But that still doesn’t mean they won’t be able to make it work eventually, or that they should immediately move off of Odell in the off-season. But I can totally see an argument for the Browns trading him while they can still get decent value in return.
- So does this mean Baker is a relevant fantasy option? I don’t know yet. But he certainly was last week. Again, take that performance with a grain of salt because it was against the Bengals. But if he goes off again this week against the Raiders, I’m sure people will start picking him up. So if you think Baker will go off again this week against Vegas, then why not pick him up now and beat the rush at the waiver wire next week? This is how people should handle fantasy pickups. Pick a side: either Baker will go off against the Raiders and prove himself to be a startable fantasy QB, or he will not do well and remain on the waivers. If you have the bench space, why not pick him up before the game, and if he goes off, you just beat everyone to the punch. If he doesn’t and your theory doesn’t pay off, then you drop him next week, no harm done. Obviously there’s opportunity cost involved in picking up a guy you’re not planning to start this week as opposed to some other position of need on the wire, so only do this if you have the bench space. But this is how you beat other people to the punch. You have to identify potential breakout candidates, establish a hypothesis on them, and then make your move. Sometimes you’ll be wrong. It’s like stock-picking: you’re trying to identify the breakouts before they happen. That requires you to pick a side and act on it.
- Rumor is the Packers are trying to trade for Will Fuller. So Fuller would go from DeShaun Watson’s #1 to Aaron Rodgers’ #2. I’m not actually sure if I love that. Also, teams are apparently inquiring with the Texans about Randall Cobb, who would definitely get an upgrade if he were to be traded given that he’s the #3 in Houston currently.
- Dalvin Cook is back at practice today, which is a good sign for him to play this weekend. Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky indicates Aaron Jones might miss another week, which means Jamaal Williams gets another week as the lead back. The Packers only gave AJ Dillon 5 carries against Houston last week, so Jamaal Williams is a smash play if Jones is out.
- Seattle is trading for Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap. They’re sending a 7th round pick and an offensive lineman to Cincy. This helps both teams: Cincy’s offensive line is utter garbage, and right now it looks like DK Metcalf is better at tackling than anyone on the Seattle defense (when Jamal Adams is out, of course). So maybe a slight bump-up for Joe Burrow as he hopefully won’t be getting sacked every third dropback now.
- There is apparently a 50/50 chance Christian McCaffrey returns to game action this week. They play the Falcons tomorrow night, so you have to figure the odds would be even higher if the game was on Sunday. He’s back either tomorrow or next week. Mike Davis SZN might have one last hurrah tomorrow night, but it’s finished either this week or next.
- Finally, it might be time to grab Allen Lazard if he’s available in your league. He’s already back and practice and doing stuff (vid below). They’re saying he might even make an appearance this week against the Vikings, or week 9’s Thursday night matchup @49ers at the latest. Pull a fast one on your league! However, he definitely suffers if the Packers trade for Will Fuller, so keep that in mind…
“First day back and Allen Lazard is already putting the moves on during individual drills.”