What’s this? Every Tuesday through Friday, Chris Towers will catch you up on the previous day’s biggest news first thing in the morning. Here’s what you missed Monday, starting with a breakdown of last night’s game:
Kenyan Drake is the Dolphins‘ best hope
It’s hard to find much positive to say about the Dolphins at this point. Even their trio of solid receivers totaled between 42 and 67 yards last night, with Jarvis Landry’s touchdown breaking him out from the pack. However, one player did stand out as a bright spot, as Drake rushed for 82 yards on just seven carries in the blowout loss, including this one:
Drake picked up most of those yards on that long run, and he now has rushes of 42 and 66 yards in two games without Jay Ajayi. He has totaled 152 yards on just 16 carries, while adding eight receptions for 45 yards, and should see an increased role moving forward. He may not be a star, but he looks a lot better than Damien Williams (35 yards on 16 carries in two games), and could be a solid starting option down the stretch if the Dolphins can just stop getting blown out.
Christian McCaffrey didn’t see his role increase much
It’s hard to complain too much about a game in which McCaffrey found the end zone twice, and that very well may have won you your week if you were trailing entering Monday night. However, if you’re looking ahead to the stretch run, what you saw from McCaffrey should make you feel at least a bit of worry.
McCaffrey totaled just 50 yards in the game, rushing the ball five times for 23 yards, and adding just 27 on three receptions. This coming off a game in which he had 21 touches, when it looked like he might be finally starting to become a featured player in the rushing attack. However, Jonathan Stewart led the team with 17 rushes, leaving McCaffrey with little to do in a game the Panthers won handily.
McCaffrey does have three touchdowns over the last two games, which is a nice sign, but he remains less productive than hoped for overall. You’re not going to sit him, but it would have been nice to see more from McCaffrey as a rusher in a game they won handily.
Devin Funchess is emerging as a go-to WR
Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin were a bit redundant in Carolina’s offense, as both do many of the same things well — with many of the same deficiencies. That likely played into Carolina’s willingness to move Benjamin, and so far, Funchess has justified the decision.
Funchess hauled in five passes for 92 yards on six targets, and he caught a pair of touchdowns as well Monday, his first since Week 5. He now has 10 catches for 178 yards in two games since Benjamin’s trade to Buffalo. Funchess already has a career-high in receptions and yards, and will continue his breakout in the second half of the season. He’s on a bye in Week 11, but can be relied on as a No. 2 Fantasy WR down the stretch.
- Curtis Samuel left with an ankle injury… The Panthers aren’t overflowing with WR depth, and it looks like they may have lost the rookie for a significant amount of time. According to the Charlotte Observer, the team fears a high-ankle sprain.
What else you need to know from around the NFL
David Johnson had his cast removed
Johnson is still holding out hope for a return this season, and took a big step forward Monday when he had his cast removed. He showed off his range of motion in a video he posted on twitter, and will begin the rehab process to strengthen the wrist. With seven weeks left in the regular season, there would seem to be time for Johnson to get back, but that may not be the only consideration at play here.
With Carson Palmer on injured reserve, the 4-5 Cardinals are already two games out of the playoff picture. Another loss could effectively end their chances of making a run, and Johnson’s chances of playing may hinge on that. He has expressed optimism, but Bruce Arians has continued to suggest Johnson is not expected back. We’ll find out in the next few weeks how his progress is going.
Devonta Freeman (concussion) is expected to miss Week 11
Freeman suffered his second concussion of the season Sunday, and this one looks like it’s going to cost him some time. Freeman suffered his initial concussion in the preseason, and ultimately needed 15 days to get cleared through the concussion protocol for the opener. Adam Schefter reported Monday Freeman is not likely to play in Week 11 against the Seahawks, which will push Tevin Coleman into a starring role. It’s a tough matchup against this Seahawks defense, but Coleman will be tough to even consider benching coming off his 83-yard performance Sunday.
Aaron Jones is out 3-6 weeks with a sprained MCL
It’s been a tough few weeks for Jones, who looked like a star in the making when he rushed for 297 yards over three games from Weeks 5-7. However, he stumbled in Week 9, and now looks like he’s going to be out for up to a month with this injury. Jones is still worth stashing for the upside he showed, but if you’re fighting for a playoff spot and are desperate, you may not be able to justify the roster spot. Jamaal Williams will be one of the most sought-after players on the waiver wire this week, with Ty Montgomery also dealing with a rib injury.
Philip Rivers is in the concussion protocol
Rivers has started 185 straight games, the second-longest streak in the NFL, but that is very much at risk at this point. Rivers entered the concussion protocol Monday after reporting symptoms, and that means he must go through a whole battery of tests to be cleared to play. If he can’t, Kellen Clemens will take over at QB for the Chargers, and the Bills DST would be a strong starting option for Week 11, as everyone in LA’s offense would be downgraded.
Rob Kelley has a high-ankle sprain and sprained MCL
Kelley will miss multiple games as a result of his injury, Jay Gruden confirmed Monday. That’s not much of a surprise, as high-ankle sprains typically require more than just one week to heal. It’s not out of the question that this one ends Kelley’s time as a useful Fantasy option, because he could be out through the start of the Fantasy playoffs, so don’t feel like you need to hold on to him. Samaje Perine will see an increase in his work in the rushing game, but is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry for the season, and should be viewed as just a low-end option if you’re desperate for RB help.
Case Keenum will remain the Vikings‘ starter
Keenum has immaculate timing, as he put together arguably the finest performance of his career in Week 10, coinciding with Teddy Bridgewater‘s return to the active roster. Whether he can keep that up and hang on to the job remains to be seen, but Keenum earned at least one more chance to prove himself. Bridgewater is the higher-upside passer of the two, but Keenum has performed well enough not to lose the job yet. He has a tough matchup against the Rams, and remains more of a No. 2 Fantasy QB as long as he has the job.
- Brock Osweiler will remain the Broncos‘ starting QB… Either Paxton Lynch‘s shoulder is really hurt, or the Broncos’ QB situation is even worse than we thought, because Osweiler sure isn’t keeping this job on merit.
- Allen Hurns (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 11… Marqise Lee has been on a role as the No. 1 WR in Jacksonville, and Hurns’ absence could mean we see talented rookie Dede Westbrook for the first time. He’s not a bad stash candidate.
- Danny Woodhead‘s (hamstring) status for Week 11 is unclear… Woodhead is eligible to return from IR this week, but there’s no guarantee he will be activated. He’s still worth stashing.
- Chris Carson (leg) could return next month… We thought Carson was out for the season, but he apparently still has a chance to return. Likely not in time to make a difference for Fantasy, but it’s still something to monitor.
- Zach Ertz (hamstring) was back at practice Monday… The bye week came at a good time for Ertz, who is likely to be back at full strength for Week 11.
- Sean Lee (hamstring) could miss three weeks… The Cowboys‘ defense will take a big hit without him.
- The Seahawks signed Byron Maxwell… Maxwell will likely step into the starting lineup to replace Richard Sherman.