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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Fantasy Football

Bruce Arians, John Brown have messages for fantasy football owners

Bruce-Arians

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown was active against the Cleveland Browns Sunday, but the speedy playmaker did not end up playing a snap. As you can imagine, that frustrated fantasy football players who had Brown in their lineup.

Do you think Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians cares? Go ahead and ask him about it.

Bruce-Arians-fantasy

Brown, who has been battling hamstring injuries, wasn’t about to apologize, either. The former Pittsburg State star took things a step further when someone who is unfamiliar with Arizona’s schedule asked him if he plans on playing in Week 9.

Arians and Brown join a long list of current and former NFL coaches and players who have ripped fantasy football owners (here’s another popular example), though their comments were far more entertaining than some before them. The Cardinals want to get Brown healthy because they are 6-2 and he is another weapon in a great offense. As Arians put it, they don’t give a s— about anything else.

Jeremy Langford, DeAngelo Williams, Kendall Gaskins are fantasy options

Jeremy Langford

Jeremy Langford, DeAngelo Williams and Kendall Gaskins are among the players who received opportunities to produce on Sunday because of a rash of injuries to hit the league, and they are players worth looking at for fantasy football owners.

Jeremy Langford received his opportunities as Matt Forte’s backup for the Chicago Bears. Forte left Sunday’s game against Minnesota in the third quarter with a knee injury. Langford, a rookie from Michigan State, came in and rushed for 46 yards on 12 carries. Entering the game he hadn’t done much for his career, as he had recorded just 34 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. But if Forte is to miss any time, Langford is a player you will want to pick up.

Sadly, Le’Veon Bell got hurt for the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Cincinnati Bengals. DeAngelo Williams is the backup there and broke out a big run of 55 yards. As anyone who watched the first two games of the season could tell you, Williams is a more than capable backup for Bell. If Williams is available in your league, pick him up immediately.

The San Francisco 49ers were hit hard by injuries. The week they released Jarryd Hayne, they saw a bunch of running backs get hurt. Carlos Hyde was already out for them with an injury, then Mike Davis left with a hand injury against the Rams, and Reggie Bush suffered an injury after getting hurt on the concrete sidelines. Enter Kendall Gaskins. He stepped in and took lead back duties for the 49ers. The problem is Gaskins has never done anything in his NFL career. Worse yet, he plays on a crappy team that has no offense. We don’t like him too much as an option and we expect the 49ers to add some depth during the week.

Khiry Robinson is another running back who suffered an injury in Week 8 of the NFL season. The New Orleans Saints already have a crowded backfield, so there isn’t exactly a chance to pick up a running back there. Mark Ingram is probably already owned in your league and he’ll be the one seeing more action. C.J. Spiller may also see more action depending on how bad the injury is to Robinson, so he is an option if he’s available in your league.

To recap: I’d rank running back fantasy pickups in the following order – Williams, Langford, Spiller and Gaskins. If it looks like Bell’s injury is not as serious while Forte’s is, I’d reverse the order on Williams and Langford.

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Christine Michael a fantasy must-add, expected to start

Christine-Michael

There are a handful of instances throughout the NFL season where a player who has done absolutely nothing needs to be added in all fantasy football leagues, and Christine Michael is one of those players.

The Dallas Cowboys traded a late-round draft pick to Seattle for Michael back in September. The third-year running back has carried the ball just two times for five yards this season, but the Cowboys have reportedly used the bye week to prepare him to be the starter.

Dallas running backs coach Gary Brown said last week that the team is ready to “take the reins” off Michael and “let him rock.”

Joseph Randle has been starting at tailback for the Cowboys, but he has not generated big plays behind a dominant offensive line. He’s averaging just 3.9 yards per carry after averaging a whopping 6.7 in a change-of-pace role behind DeMarco Murray last season. The Cowboys likely want him to return to that role, with Darren McFadden working in on third downs.

The Seahawks used a second-round pick on Michael back in 2013, so you know there is some talent there. If he gets the majority of the reps in what can be a phenomenal rushing offense, he could wind up being a fantasy football league-winner.

Photo: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Charcandrick West fantasy – Pick him up with Charles out

Charcandrick West Chiefs

Charcandrick West is a good player to add to your fantasy football team with Jamaal Charles potentially out for the season.

Charles got hurt against the Chicago Bears on Sunday on a non-contact play, and the Chiefs reportedly fear that he has a torn ACL. An injury like that would take Charles out for the season and leave a big hole at running back for KC.

Enter Charcandrick West.

West carried the load for the Chiefs after Charles exited the game. He rushed for 31 yards on seven carries.

West is a second-year back from Abilene Christian who entered Week 5 with just 17 yards on five career carries.

There are two things going against West as a top fantasy player to add.

1) He plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, whose offense does not look good. KC’s passing game is weak as heck, which doesn’t give them a ton of options that will open things up for West. The counterpoint to that is that Andy Reid tends to like featuring a running back when he has a good one.

2) How good of an actual player is West? If he’s not too talented — and we don’t think he is — then even if he gets 15 carries a game for a few weeks, it won’t do much good if he’s only putting together 50 yards and not too many touchdowns.

We also would expect the Chiefs to bring in a few more running backs as competition.

For now, if you are pretty desperate at running back and just want someone who will be getting significant carries for a few weeks, West is a good pickup. Otherwise his upside is limited, so don’t rush out to get him.

Photo: Charcandrick West/Twitter

Boobie Dixon, Boom Herron fantasy options with Karlos Williams injury

Anthony-Dixon

The Buffalo Bills may find themselves reaching way down the depth chart for a running back this weekend, and Boobie Dixon is expected to be the beneficiary.

LeSean McCoy is still sidelined with a hamstring injury and rookie Karlos Williams has not practiced this week because of a concussion. If Williams is unable to clear the concussion protocol, he will not be able to play against the Tennessee Titans.

That leaves Dixon, who is dealing with a calf injury of his own but is expected to be active, as the next man up. The Bills also brought in former Indianapolis Colts running back Dan “Boom” Herron, and at least one reporter would not be surprised if Herron ends up receiving more touches than Dixon.

The Titans rank 20th in the NFL with 113.7 rushing yards allowed per game, so the Bills are going to try to establish the run no matter who lines up in their backfield. Both Boom and Boobie — easily the best nicknamed backfield in the NFL this week — are going to get their chances if Williams is inactive.

Ethan Haskell: Draft Kings employee won $350,000 on FanDuel

Ethan Haskell DraftKings

Ethan Haskell is a DraftKings employee at the center of a huge scandal involving daily fantasy sports games after he won $350,000 playing an NFL game on rival company FanDuel.

Haskell finished second out of 229,885 entrants on a FanDuel “$5M NFL Sunday Million” NFL competition in Week 3 in order to cash in on his $350,000 prize. A look at his fantasy profiles show that he has been raking it in big on FanDuel all year. It’s enough to make one wonder how he’s been so successful — could it be due to insider information?

Haskell’s undeniable success at daily fantasy sports brings into question what kind of data company employees have access to, and if or how they’re able to use it to their advantage by playing on competitor sites (the companies say they ban employees from playing on their own sites). However, DraftKings does have language allowing for employees to play to use their site.

“DraftKings employees may use the Website, and will from time to time do so for the purpose of testing the site user experience, socializing and competing with customers to build community, and other reasonable and fair uses at the discretion of DraftKings.”

What could all this mean? First let’s start with the basics.

Who is Ethan Haskell?

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Karlos Williams a fantasy option with LeSean McCoy likely out

Karlos-Williams

LeSean McCoy is battling a hamstring injury that could force him to miss Week 4 against the New York Giants. That would thrust rookie running back Karlos Williams into a starting role and make him a great one-week fantasy option.

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday that it “doesn’t look good” for McCoy to play against the G-Men. Given the way Williams has looked so far, it would make no sense to rush McCoy back at less than 100 percent.

Williams, a fifth-round draft pick out of Florida State, has averaged a whopping 7.8 yards per carry through Buffalo’s first three games. He has also scored three touchdowns and been the team’s primary goal line back. Even if McCoy plays, Williams has earned his share of the workload.

For those in need of running back help, Williams should be a good flex option for the rest of the season and could flirt with RB1 status for any games McCoy might miss. Williams is a must-add in all formats.

Photo: Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports