It was going so well.
The Titans became “it” when they had players and personnel test positive for the COVID-19 virus. Their matchup will be scheduled later in the season and this week may become their bye. Hopefully, this will be the only instance that the NFL will have to deal with it (he said, crossing his fingers and then drawing an imaginary cross on his chest).
Six things going into the weekend:
- WR Darrius Shepherd (GB) – Allen Lazard lands on injured reserve after requiring core muscle surgery and will be out an expected six to eight weeks. Davante Adams is expected to return and he’ll soak up most of the targets. Whatever is leftover ends up with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Darius Shepard. Technically, Shepard is the backup for Lazard and he was on the field for one target last week while Valdes-Scantling only managed one catch on his four targets. Shepard is the new addition to the starting wideouts and was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He was the top receiver at North Dakota State for three years where he played with quarterback Easton Stick (Chargers). He’s worth watching on Monday night since the Packers are hosting the Falcons and their receivers should all look great. If Shepard can get a share of the targets, he may develop into something.
- QB Carson Wentz (PHI) – Three games into the season and Carson Wentz is currently the No. 14 fantasy quarterback but only because of two rushing scores. Without those, he’d be more around the No. 24 quarterback. The Eagles offensive line has lost two guards and the left tackle is injured. He’s been sacked 11 times and thrown six interceptions against three touchdowns. He’s become unfathomably bad and worsens every week. Hold on – it is not going to get any better.The Eagles next three matchups are at San Francisco, at Pittsburgh and then hosting the Ravens. Jalen Hurts may start eventually because none of the Eagles are going to look any good for the next three weeks. No line, a brutal schedule and injuries to wideouts are going to drag down the fantasy fortunes of all the Eagles.
- WR Jeff Smith (NYJ) – Grab your game program – who? In the Thursday night loss to the Broncos, Jamison Crowder returned and led the Jets with ten targets for seven catches and 104 yards. But the second-best wideout was Smith with nine targets for seven receptions and 81 yards. Braxton Berrios failed to catch any of his three passes. This is not an offense to invest in but his production was notable for a team that cannot keep healthy players.The 6-1, 195-pound Boston College was as an undrafted free agent last year and he only managed one catch on the season. Smith had been on injured reserve with an shoulder injury but was just activated. He had first-team reps in training camp prior to his injury. Worth tracking in case the Jets ever solve their offensive issues.
- WR Andy Isabella (ARI) – The Cardinals’ diverse passing scheme from HC Kliff Kingsbury suddenly looks like the Texans last year. DeAndre Hopkins absorbs a huge chunk of the passing targets each week but there’s been a little leftover for the other wideouts. The surprising part is that for the last two weeks, Andy Isabella was more productive than either Christian Kirk or Larry Fitzgerald. After logging 67 yards on two catches in Week 2, he caught both of the passing touchdowns on his four receptions for 47 yards. He is the leading scorer for the wide receivers.The Cardinals drafted Isabella with the 2.30 pick out of U. Mass over the next two draftees – D.K. Metcalf and Diontae Johnson. Isabella ran a 4.31/40 at the NFL Combine. He only caught nine passes as a rookie but is starting to flex his ability. Notable too is that the Cardinals schedule will prompt more passing at Carolina, at NY Jets, at Dallas and then hosting Seattle.
- QB Nick Foles (CHI) – The Bears made the switch to Nick Foles and why not? They can always switch back to Mitchell Trubisky but the quarterback has been a weak spot in the offense since Trubisky was drafted. The Bears have a tougher schedule for the next three weeks – Colts, Buccaneers and then at the Panthers. If Foles can still look like the better option by Week 7, the schedule lightens up significantly. The Bears offense should become more productive in the second half of the season.
- RB Damien Harris (NE) – I know, you’re happy to get James White back this week. Maybe you got lucky last week with Rex Burkhead. Or maybe you wince every time you start Sony Michel because the waiver wire is just a barren echo-chamber in your league. Well – welcome back Damien Harris!Recall that he was the running back with the hype in training camp before he broke his hand and went on injured reserve. He just came off of IR and is back to practice. The Pats are also using UDFA J.J. Taylor who ran 11 times for 43 yards last week. Take time to look at the Pats’ boxscore to see what happened for Week 4 with the backfield. It may send you running in the other direction, but you may see Harris join the gang.