The Denver Broncos Defense had one of their best performances of the season in the 18-12 upset win over the Patriots in Week 6. But even after turning the ball over three times last weekend and holding New England to only 12 points, Denver's D still ranks only 20th in the league with 4.8 fantasy points per game. They have only five total turnovers in five games (two fumble recoveries, three interceptions) but have been a bit above average with 14 sacks despite missing All-Pro pass-rusher Von Miller (ankle), who is out for the year. Against one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NFL in Kansas City, you should be looking to avoid the Broncos defense this week. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown 15 touchdowns to just one interception in six games this year, adding two touchdowns on the ground.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus was the hero for both the Broncos and for fantasy managers that started him in the Week 6 win over the Patriots. He accounted for all of the team's 18 points on his six made kicks, including two from 50-plus yards out and two from 40-plus yards. McManus has one of the strongest legs in the NFL, but his Week 6 performance was his only real fantasy relevant one of the year because of the inconsistent nature of the offense in which he resides. The 29-year-old certainly won't be able to win the game himself in Week 7 against the high-flying Chiefs offensive attack, which makes McManus one to avoid for lineups this weekend. KC has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to the kicking position as well.
Denver Broncos rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam was second on the team with six targets in his NFL debut in the Week 6 win over the Patriots, catching two passes for 45 yards. It was a nice showing for the large-bodied and speedy tight end in his first-ever NFL game. But with Noah Fant (ankle) trending up to return in Week 7 against the Chiefs, the 22-year-old Missouri product could go back to being a healthy inactive this Sunday. When Fant is healthy, he's been one of quarterback Drew Lock's favorite targets, and that is especially true with receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) out for the year. Even if Fant misses another game, Okwuegbunam would be a desperation low-end TE2 in the deepest of leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (leg) had to be helped off the field late in the fourth quarter of the Thursday night game against the Giants after suffering an apparent leg injury on a punt return. Jackson just has not been able to stay healthy the last two years with Philadelphia. He was finally active on Thursday after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury, and it looks like he'll be missing more time moving forward. D-Jax ran the ball once for 12 yards and caught three of his five targets for 34 yards before leaving with his injury. He's been a disappointment when active, considering how many offensive pieces the Eagles have been missing due to injury. Fantasy managers should prepare for Jackson to miss Week 8 against the Cowboys.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver K.J. Hamler (hamstring) was limited in practice for the second straight day on Thursday, giving him a chance to return to action in Week 7 against the Chiefs. Hamler was injured in the Week 4 win over the Jets and hasn't played since. There's a good chance he'll be listed as questionable on the final injury report. But even if the 21-year-old first-year player is active against Kansas City, he cannot be trusted in starting lineups after catching half of his 12 targets for 78 yards in his three games played in 2020. The 5-foot-9, 176-pound slot guy is explosive and will become a nice deep threat for Denver eventually, but he hasn't been a big enough part of the offense yet in his first year. Hamler remains strictly a dynasty/keeper league stash.
San Diego Padres left-handed pitcher Matt Strahm (knee) will undergo a patellar tendon repair in his right knee. He underwent a similar surgery on his left knee in 2017 when he was with the Royals. Strahm went 0-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 19 outings in his third season with the Friars this year. The 28-year-old southpaw made 46 appearances in 2019 and started 16 of those, sporting a 4.71 ERA and 1.25 WHIP while striking out 9.3 hitters per nine innings. In his five MLB seasons, Strahm has made 151 appearances, with only 24 coming in the form of a start. He can be ignored in the vast majority of fantasy leagues heading into the 2021 season.
New York Giants running back Devonta Freeman (ankle) is questionable to return to the Monday night game against the Eagles with an ankle injury. Freeman rushed the ball just three times for eight yards in the contest before leaving the game with his injury. He was targeted once in the passing game but came up empty. Coming into the Thursday night game, Freeman had seen double-digit carries in each of the last three games. He had a season-high 18 totes for 61 yards in the Week 6 win over Washington. The veteran running back is averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per carry, though, and is also losing some touches to both Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman. He's been a touchdown-dependent RB2, but if his injury is serious enough, Lewis and Gallman could see more playing time in Week 8 on Monday night against the Buccaneers.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) is in doubt for Week 7 against the Panthers after missing practice on Thursday due to a new hamstring injury suffered in practice. Thomas suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 1 and could now miss his fifth straight game. He was benched in Week 5 for disciplinary reasons after punching a teammate in practice. New Orleans' offense has been up and down without their All-Pro receiver in the lineup, but quarterback Drew Brees did find Emmanuel Sanders for a career-high 12 catches in Week 5. Sanders will be a WR3 with upside if Thomas is forced to miss another game. But if Thomas is active, he's a must-start WR1.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he thinks that free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown deserves another chance in the NFL and is hoping that the Seahawks sign him. "From the conversations I've had with him, he's really been remorseful and he's been humbled along the way. Like I said, I pray that he can continue to grow, just like anybody," Wilson said. Brown and Wilson worked out together this summer and Brown is also close with backup Geno Smith. The 32-year-old Brown is serving an eight-game suspension for multiple violations of the NFL's personal-conduct policy. There is potential for further discipline from the league, though, so it isn't a guarantee that Brown will return after Week 8. Wilson has been an MVP candidate through six weeks and the Seahawks offense is the highest-scoring in the league, but Wilson is campaigning for another weapon. Brown is certainly worth a stash if you have the room, but there's no guarantee he'll play for Seattle or anyone else this year.
The Las Vegas Raiders placed four starting offensive lineman on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. Center Rodney Hudson, guards Gabe Jackson and Denzelle Good and tackle Kolton Miller were deemed high-risk contacts, according to sources. Tackle Trent Brown is already on the COVID-19 list, so the Raiders could be without all five starting offensive linemen in Week 7 against the Buccaneers. Las Vegas has just five remaining offensive linemen on their 53-man active roster, along with two practice-squad linemen. The offensive linemen must quarantine for five days plus their last day of contact (Monday), so they could be cleared Sunday morning. If the Raiders are without their entire starting offensive line this Sunday, that would spell bad news for both quarterback Derek Carr and running back Josh Jacobs against a stout Tampa defense.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has impressed in his first season with his quick feet and polished route-running skills, but he's seen his stock drop in the last few weeks in Denver's inconsistent offense. The 21-year-old Alabama product has just four catches on nine targets for 93 yards in the last two weeks against the Jets and the Patriots, although he did find the end zone for the first time in his career in Week 4. Out of the slot, Jeudy figures to match up with Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu this Sunday. KC's defense has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to receivers, making this a difficult matchup for the rookie. He'll need more aerial targets and for quarterback Drew Lock to play better to be anything more than a WR4 this weekend.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick has come out of nowhere this year to post back-to-back 100-yard games with Courtland Sutton (knee) done for the year. But in Week 7 he'll be facing off against a Chiefs Defense that has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to the receiver position in 2020. KC was second-best at stopping wideouts last year on their way to a Super Bowl championship. And it's not as though quarterback Drew Lock has lit up the scoreboard in passing yards in his two-plus games this season. Denver may be forced to throw the ball more than they'd like against the Chiefs high-scoring offense, but that won't guarantee another big day from Patrick. He's a WR4/5 for this week's matchup.
In Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay's return from a turf-toe injury in Week 6 against the Patriots, he put up a dominant performance with 23 carries for 101 yards in the upset win. Lindsay operated as the workhorse back with Melvin Gordon III out with strep throat, but Gordon is on track to return in Week 7 against the Chiefs. Expect the two backs to split up the workload this Sunday. While Lindsay's ceiling obviously won't be as high with Gordon back in the picture, he showed enough last week in his return to at least warrant RB3/flex consideration in PPR leagues. Lindsay could see more work in the passing game if the Broncos are forced to throw often, but KC's defense has yet to allow a receiving touchdown to a running back in 2020.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III (illness) missed last week's game with a non-COVID-19-related illness, but he's not on the injury report heading into Week 7 against the division-rival Chiefs. Gordon still faces the possibility of a suspension from the league after his DUI last week, but fantasy managers should expect Gordon to play as of right now. Phillip Lindsay led the backfield in Gordon's absence in Week 6 and ran for over 100 yards against the Patriots. Gordon will still see his fair share of touches against KC, but the presence of Lindsay will lower his ceiling and make him more of a high-end RB3/flex for fantasy managers. The Chiefs Defense has allowed only three rushing TDs to backs in 2020, and the Broncos may be forced to abandon the run if they fall behind big early.
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock returned from a shoulder sprain in Week 6 to lead the team to an upset win over the Patriots, but he didn't look very sharp and tossed no touchdowns and two interceptions. In the two full games Lock has played in 2020, he hasn't gone over 216 passing yards and has just one touchdown and two picks. He could once again be without his top target in tight end Noah Fant (ankle), too, which won't make life any easier on him against the juggernaut that is the Chiefs. Kansas City shut down Bills quarterback Josh Allen last week, albeit in rainy conditions. They've allowed nine passing TDs this year but have also picked QBs off seven times. Lock could rack up yards if the Broncos are forced to pass often, but he just can't be trusted as anything more than a low-end QB2 in fantasy until he shows us more.
Las Vegas Raiders safety Johnathan Abram will go on the COVID-19 list on Thursday because he was deemed a high-risk close contact after offensive tackle Trent Brown was placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday. It doesn't mean that Abram won't play in Week 7 against the Buccaneers, but he's certainly in danger of missing this weekend's game. The Raiders game for Sunday is still on against Tampa, but their secondary could be short-handed if Abram isn't cleared by then. The 23-year-old hard-hitting safety has 28 tackles (21 solo), one interception, three passes defensed and one fumble recovery in five games so far this season, but he might not be in play for IDP managers this weekend.
The game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals in Week 7 has been moved to Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. ET, with the previously scheduled Sunday night game between the Buccaneers and Raiders being moved to 4:05 p.m. ET. The Raiders placed offensive tackle Trent Brown on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday and have quarantined several of their offensive linemen, so there's the potential for that game to be moved back to Monday as well. Any injured players that end up questionable for the Seahawks or Cardinals will now be even riskier fantasy plays with their game behind moved back to Sunday night. Stay tuned for more news on the Raiders COVID-19 situation.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) was not present during the period of practice open to the media on Thursday after he was limited on Wednesday. Thomas hasn't appeared in a game since suffering a high-ankle sprain in the season-opener, and he tweaked his hamstring in practice this week, potentially making him questionable for Week 7 against the Panthers. The All-Pro wideout was set to return in Week 5 before the team's bye, but he punched a teammate in practice and was held out for disciplinary reasons. His practice status on Friday will be telling. Even though the Panthers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts this year, Thomas is a must-start in fantasy if he returns on Sunday after being the top-scoring fantasy receiver in 2019.
The New York Giants activated wide receiver Sterling Shepard (toe) from Injured Reserve on Thursday, and he'll be eligible to play on Thursday night against the Eagles. Shepard was expected to be one of the team's leading receivers in 2020, but he missed the last four games due to turf toe. In the first six quarters of the season, Shepard caught eight passes for 76 yards. He's the team's longest-tenured player and has started 54 of the 55 regular season games that he's played in and has 255 career catches for 2,838 yards and 17 touchdowns. The 27-year-old is certainly worth owning in 12-team leagues after leading the Giants in receiving last year, but he's a risky option for your starting lineups this week and could have his snap count limited in his first game back.
Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe hit two home runs -- both to the opposite field after he hit zero opposite-field homers in the regular season -- in the 6-4 World Series victory over the Dodgers in Game 2 on Wednesday. Lowe helped the team snap a major league record of 10 straight games with eight hits or fewer. The left-handed hitter came into Game 2 of the World Series in a 4-for-52 funk before going deep twice. The 26-year-old is still hitting just .131 (8-for-61) during the postseason with three home runs, five RBI and six runs scored in 15 games. But perhaps the big game on Wednesday will get him going for the rest of the series.
The Washington Nationals re-signed utilityman Josh Harrison to a one-year, $1 million deal on Thursday. Harrison was released by the Phillies in July and latched on with the Nats, hitting .278 with two doubles, three home runs, 14 RBI, six walks and 11 runs scored for Washington. The 33-year-old can make an extra $250,000 in performance bonuses tied to plate appearances in 2021. The two-time All-Star doesn't carry much fantasy appeal at this point in his career, but he's useful in NL-only leagues for his positional versatility, as he's started games at second base, third base, shortstop, designated hitter and both corner outfield spots in his 10-year career. He has a .273 career batting average, but he hit just .175 with a home run in 36 games for Detroit in 2019.
The Los Angeles Dodgers did not use left-handed pitcher Julio Urias out of the bullpen in the Game 2 World Series loss to the Rays on Wednesday, lining him up to start Game 4 on Saturday. The Dodgers will roll with Walker Buehler, Urias and Clayton Kershaw in Games 3, 4 and 5, respectively. Urias, 24, has been one of the Dodgers most consistent pitchers in the playoffs this year, going 4-0 with a 0.56 ERA, 16 strikeouts and three walks in 16 innings. Opponents have hit just .125 against him, and the only earned run he's allowed came on a solo home run. Manager Dave Roberts may trust him more than any other pitcher on the team right now. He'll be a solid DFS choice this Saturday if he can keep his pitch count low and go deep into the game.
The New York Giants plan on using first-round left tackle Andrew Thomas in the starting lineup on Thursday night against the Eagles, according to an informed source. Thomas was benched in the first half of the Week 6 win over the Washington Football Team for violating a team policy, but he will return this week in good standing with the coaching staff. The tackle from Georgia will return to his role as the blind-side protector of quarterback Daniel Jones for this divisional matchup. The Eagles Defense ranks fourth in the NFL this year with 21 total sacks through six weeks, too, so Thomas will have a tough task in keeping Jones' jersey clean throughout the night.
Minnesota Vikings star defensive end Danielle Hunter (neck) will have season-ending surgery to clean up a herniated disc in his neck. The Vikings will have to decide if they want to make Hunter the highest-paid defender in the league this offseason or trade him away. Minnesota was optimistic in August that Hunter could rehab his injury and return this year, but that didn't turn out to be the case. At 1-5 on the year, the Vikings Defense loses Hunter for the entire season after just trading Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens. The 25-year-old was a Pro Bowler each of the last two years while recording 14.5 sacks in each season as a top IDP pass-rusher. You can now safely drop him in single-year IDP formats.
The Baltimore Ravens are planning to sign veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad if his workout goes well and he passes a physical, according to a source. The Ravens worked Bryant out in August, but he is expected to finally land in Baltimore. The 31-year-old is back in the NFL after last playing in a game in 2017 with the Cowboys when he caught 69 passes (132 targets) for 838 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. Bryant latched on with the Saints several years ago but tore his Achilles before he could even get on the field with them. It remains to be seen what kind of condition he's in at this juncture or if he even has a realistic chance to make the team's active roster, but it's interesting nonetheless. There's no need to run to the waiver wire and pick up Bryant just yet.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor (lung), who has been out around a month with a punctured lung, has been medically cleared, according to a source. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has played exceptionally well in Taylor's absence and remains the starter coming out of the bye week, but Taylor could return as the backup in Week 7 against the Jaguars if all goes well in practice this week. The 31-year-old veteran began the year as the Chargers signal-caller, but we all knew it was a temporary gig until the Bolts felt comfortable giving the keys to the rookie from Oregon. Taylor was always more of a low-ceiling QB2 to begin with, and now he's completely off the fantasy radar unless Herbert gets injured and misses time.
The Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings are finalizing a trade on Thursday that would send defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round selection, according to sources. The Vikings sent a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-rounder to the Jaguars to acquire Ngakoue earlier this year. A Ravens Defense that was already one of the top units in the league gets better and pairs Ngakoue with Calais Campbell on the defensive front. Ngakoue had just two solo tackles in Week 6 against the Falcons, but he's recorded five sacks, two forced fumbles and seven QB hits in six games this year and has been a top-10 IDP defensive lineman. He could become even more productive in Baltimore's defense the rest of the way.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) is expected to miss four to six weeks after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the Week 6 loss to the Ravens. As a result, the Eagles placed him on the short-term Injured Reserve, meaning he'll be eligible to return in Week 10 against the Browns, but he could easily be out longer than that. With Dallas Goedert (ankle) potentially also out until Week 10, Richard Rodgers will become the club's top pass-catching tight end. Rodgers is worth a pickup in deeper leagues or if you're hurting at the tight end position, but he should be considered a low-end TE2 with target upside in this injury depleted Eagles offense. Ertz should be stashed everywhere, as he could return to help fantasy teams that advance to the playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf, foot) was hoping to make his season debut on Thursday night against the Giants, but he was ruled out for Week 7 due to a minor calf strain that he suffered recently. The Eagles are hoping he can ramp himself up and be ready to face the Cowboys in Week 8. The 30-year-old just can't get away from the injury bug, which has caused most fantasy managers to completely forget that he exists at all. But Jeffery should be the team's top receiver when/if he's finally healthy this year. It might not amount to him being much more than a WR3/4 for fantasy purposes, but those in deeper leagues looking for receiver depth should consider stashing him now.
The Detroit Tigers have interviewed Dodgers first base coach George Lombard and Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames, who both previously played for the Tigers, for their managerial opening, according to sources. The two join long-time Tigers coach Lloyd McClendon as candidates who have interviewed for the job. McLendon served as the interim manager following Ron Gardenhire's retirement in September. Pirates bench coach Don Kelly is also expected to interview for the opening. Former Astros manager A.J. Hinch and former Red Sox manager Alex Cora are also on the list of candidates. The Tigers aren't expected to rush their hire, especially since Hinch and Cora must wait until after the World Series to speak with teams due to their suspensions centered around the Astros sign-stealing scandal of 2017.