Graham Barfield

Football Daily Dose

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Dose: McCoy Still Out

Thursday, January 4, 2018


It’s playoff time!

If you're in a playoff league or are just wading in the DFS waters for a little extra fantasy jellybeans, there is a four-game Wild Card slate this weekend with four intriguing matchups. Let's break down the news to watch for during Wild Card week along with notes from around the league in Thursday's Dose.



Wild Card Headlines

LeSean McCoy (ankle) was carted off of the field in Week 17 and did not practice on Wednesday. A seasoned veteran and the Bills’ workhorse back, McCoy doesn't need to practice to play in Jacksonville in the opening round of the playoffs. The Jags' only weakness on defense is via the ground, as they allowed the sixth-most YPC to RBs over the fantasy regular season (4.47). McCoy had at least 20 opportunities (attempts plus targets) in five-straight games before going down early in Week 17 and will be the Bills’ centerpiece on offense against the Jaguars, provided he doesn't suffer any major mid-week setbacks.

On the other side of the ball, Marqise Lee (ankle) still isn't practicing and is in danger of missing the Jags' first home playoff game since 1999. Lee did not play in Week 16 or 17, and Jacksonville effectively split Lee's vacated target share between Keelan Cole (25%) and Dede Westbrook (19%). Allen Hurns returned in Week 17, too, and saw 15% of targets while playing on 78% of snaps. Still, Kentucky Wesleyan's (DII) Keelan Cole has target counts of 9 > 13 > 8 over his last three games and has essentially become the Jags' de facto No. 1 receiver. Allen Robinson (ACL), Marqise Lee (ankle) and Allen Hurns (ankle) have either missed significant time or been banged up during the regular season.

Devonta Freeman did not practice on Tuesday, but he did return to a limited session on Wednesday as he rehabs a knee injury sustained in Week 17 versus Carolina. Freeman had to come off of the field in pain multiple times against the Panthers, but this limited session is a positive sign for his availability in L.A. against the Rams in the Wild Card round. Freeman should be a focal point for the Falcons’ attack, too, considering the Rams’ front-seven coughed up the fourth-most YPC and 11th-most yards from scrimmage to RBs during the regular season.

For the Titans, DeMarco Murray (knee) still isn't practicing. It wouldn't be surprising if Murray didn't suit up for Tennessee's Wild Card round date in Kansas City. Last week, without Murray, Derrick Henry handled a gigantic workload which included 30 opportunities (28 carries, two targets) and 97% of Titans' offensive snaps. Kansas City's run defense has improved recently with just 3.79 YPC allowed over their past five games (12th-fewest), but Murray's absence would make Derrick Henry one of the best volume-based DFS bets for the opening round of the playoffs.

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Two Top QBs Officially Enter the Draft

Josh Rosen (Junior - UCLA) and Sam Darnold (RS Sophomore - USC) made it official on Wednesday: They’re entering the NFL Draft. The process is always long and arduous -- especially for QBs -- but Rosen and Darnold are widely considered to be two of the top prospects in 2018. One thing is clear, though -- there is no consensus among the football community on these incoming rookie signal-callers.

While Rosen and Darnold are candidates to go in the top-five of the 2018 NFL Draft, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson and perhaps even Wyoming's Josh Allen are going to push their first-round legitimacy as well. Per PFF, Mayfield (82.6%), Rosen (74.4%) and Jackson (73.1%) all owned higher adjusted completion percentages than Darnold (70.6%) in 2017. For what it's worth, Allen brought up the rear of the group per PFF's charting (65.7%).

Still, no matter which way NFL teams slice it, this is going to be one of the most debated and highly scrutinized QB classes in recent history.


Quick Hits

The Dolphins hired Dowell Loggains, previously of the Bears, as offensive coordinator. … Saints LT Terron Armstead (thigh) is "working" to try and come back for the Wild Card Round. … Jonathan Stewart (back) was limited in Wednesday's practice. He’s fully expected to play. … Chiefs placed CB Phillip Gaines on injured reserve with an elbow injury, ending his season. … The Bengals retained OC Bill Lazor. … Rex Burkhead (knee) returned to practice Wednesday. … Bucs S T.J. Ward was arrested for marijuana possession Wednesday morning. Apparently, The Bengals haven't ruled out re-signing free agent TE Tyler Eifert.






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