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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Fantasy Football

James Starks a fantasy must-add after Eddie Lacy injury

James StarksThere were a number of significant injuries on Sunday that could change the outlook for several NFL teams, and they will have a tremendous impact on the fantasy football world as well. One of the players who went down is Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy.

Smart fantasy owners who drafted Lacy have James Starks sitting on their bench. If you fall into that category, good for you — just plug Starks in for as long as Lacy is out and expect RB2 numbers with an RB1 ceiling in Green Bay’s high-powered offense. If you didn’t handcuff Lacy with Starks, you probably won’t be getting the latter back unless you have the No. 1 waiver priority this week.

Starks is a 29-year-old veteran who has been with the Packers his entire career. He is very comfortable with Mike McCarthy’s offense, and there’s a reason Green Bay has kept him around so long. Starks played in all 16 games last season and racked up 333 yards on the ground and scored two touchdowns.

For the most part, Starks has been used to spell Lacy and keep the former Alabama star fresh. If Lacy misses one or more games, the Packers will lean on Starks to carry the load and become more of a receiving threat out of the backfield. He won’t produce like Lacy, but he is still more than capable of being a fantasy difference maker as long as Aaron Rodgers is out there.

Matt Jones fantasy: Redskins may have a new lead RB

Matt Jones RB

Matt Jones put together a monster game on Sunday in the Washington Redskins’ win over the St. Louis Rams and appears to be the team’s new lead back, which is good news for those working the waiver wire in fantasy. And if he isn’t the new top rusher, then he at least has earned a much larger split of the carries, which is a good thing for everyone except Alfred Morris owners.

Jones, a rookie from Florida, looked good while posting his first career 100-yard game. He scored two touchdowns including a 39-yarder for the first score of the game, and a nice, powerful run from three yards out. Jones showed excellent speed and good vision on both TD runs. He was decisive and hit the holes very hard as soon as he spotted them.

Jones rushed six times for 28 yards in his NFL debut in Week 1. He had an extremely strong preseason as he rushed for 139 yards on 20 carries, good for nearly an average of seven yards per attempt. He impressed his coaches with the preseason performance and probably has them even more impressed after this game.

If Matt Jones is available in your fantasy league, we highly suggest you pick him up.

David Johnson fantasy stock increases with Andre Ellington injury

David-Johnson

Arizona Cardinals rookie running back David Johnson will be a popular name on fantasy football waiver wires this week.

Johnson, a former Northern Iowa star who was drafted in the third round back in May, sealed a win for the Cardinals over the New Orleans Saints with a 55-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The catch was Johnson’s only touch of the game, but it came after Andre Ellington was carted off with a non-contact knee injury.

Ellington had 12 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown, but the injury did not look good. Veteran Chris Johnson also had 10 carries for 37 yards in the game, but the other Johnson has more upside.

If Ellington misses a significant amount of time, the Cardinals will likely split carries between Chris Johnson and David Johnson. The latter is a more intriguing add in fantasy lineups if available.

Photo: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Todd Gurley fantasy outlook improving, cleared for contact

Todd-Gurley

The St. Louis Rams have announced that running back Todd Gurley will not play against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, and that could help make the former Georgia star more of a bargain buy in fantasy drafts.

On Sunday, Gurley noted that he is no longer wearing a yellow cap in practice, which means he has been cleared for contact.

“I can do everything,” Gurley told reporters, via the Rams official website. “The beanie’s off, so I’m good. I definitely would want to be playing (against Seattle), but I know it’s going to be a long journey. You have to be patient and when the time comes it comes. I’ll be ready for it.”

The Rams are being extremely cautious with Gurley as he continues to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last season, but the fact that he has been cleared for contact already is a great sign.

While Tre Mason had a stretch of good games in November and December last year, you don’t draft a player with the 10th overall pick unless you expect to feature him heavily. Gurley is a freak athlete who just turned 21 about a month ago. There’s no reason to believe he won’t come back as strong as he was before.

Gurley is being drafted somewhere in the range of 60-70 in most fantasy drafts. At the moment, that looks like a bargain for those who are patient enough to wait for their investment to pay off.

Photo: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Maurice Jones-Drew cracks joke after someone drafts him in fantasy

Maurice Jones-Drew Jags

Maurice Jones-Drew officially tied a bow on his NFL career back in March, but at least one fantasy football team owner believes the 30-year-old still has a lot to offer.

On Sunday, Jones-Drew had a great response to a Twitter follower who said he drafted the former Jacksonville Jaguars back in all of his leagues.

Perfect.

Jones-Drew’s best season was in 2011, when he rushed for 1,606 yards and scored a total of 11 touchdowns. That was also his last season over 1,000 or more yards, as he carried the ball just 43 times for 96 yards — an average of 2.2 yards per carry — in a one-year stint with the Oakland Raiders last season. The most notable thing he did was make this political gesture on the field.

If that guy really did draft MJD in his leagues, he must like wasting bench space.

Duke Johnson fantasy stock gets boost with Terrance West trade

Duke-Johnson

The Cleveland Browns traded running back Terrance West to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday for a conditional draft pick, and that could be a positive sign for the future of Duke Johnson Jr.

Johnson has been recovering from a concussion and remained in the NFL’s concussion protocol as of Friday, but the Browns must be confident he is making progress. The former Miami star rushed for 1,652 yards last season and averaged a whopping 6.8 yards per carry for the Hurricanes. Many believe he was a value pick in the third round.

It is unclear if Johnson will be ready to play in Week 1 against the New York Jets, but Cleveland’s decision to trade West has to be seen as a positive. The Browns still have Isaiah Crowell, but he was incredibly frustrating last season and had issues with ball security.

Assuming Johnson can get healthy, he is the clear-cut favorite to earn the feature back role in Cleveland. That has become even clearer now with West out of the way.

Photo: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Davante Adams gets fantasy football boost with Jordy Nelson injury

Davante-Adams

Jordy Nelson suffered what appears to be a season-ending injury in a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. If Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target is sidelined for all of 2015, second-year wide receiver Davante Adams could become a much bigger part of the offense.

The Green Bay Packers drafted Adams with the 53rd overall pick in the 2014 draft. The former Fresno State star caught 38 passes for 446 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie season. He has struggled with drops, but he has great athleticism and a lot of upside.

While Nelson is a phenomenal player, the Packers are still going to score plenty of points in his absence. Rodgers always finds a way to spread the ball around, and there will now be plenty of opportunities for Adams to shine.

You can see the video of Nelson’s injury here.

Photo: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports