D.J. Moore, David Moore and other top fantasy NFL pickups heading into Week 9

Jay Asser 01:16 30/10/2018
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Here are five players worth targeting on the waiver wire this week who could be useful in your starting lineup going forward.

D.J. MOORE

When talent and opportunity meet, that’s the intersection where you can find fantasy value.

After a slow start to the season, Moore appears to be getting his opportunity, with the Carolina Panthers wide receiver racking up 129 total yards in his first start this past weekend.

He was a first-round draft pick for a reason and isn’t someone who needs a heavy serving of targets to make plays.

DAVID MOORE

Okay, you don’t have to convince us anymore David Moore. It’s reached the point where end-zone visits for the Seattle Seahawks wideout are no longer a fluke, but a trend.

He’s scored in three straight games now and is doing it efficiently without many targets. It’s unlikely he keeps up his touchdown rate to this degree, but he’s widely available as a home-run play.

RYAN FITZPATRICK

Fitzmagic is back, baby!

With Jameis Winston playing himself out of the starting job thanks to his love of interceptions, Fitzpatrick could take the reins of the Buccaneers offence once again.

If he is named the starter, don’t expect Fitzpatrick to put up the kind of numbers he did in the beginning of the season, but he’s obviously capable of capturing lighting in a bottle once in a while.

JOSH ADAMS

The Philadelphia Eagles backfield is unpredictable right now, so use that unpredictability to your advantage by taking a stab on Adams, who may end up emerging as the lead back.

It was Adams and not Wendell Smallwood or Corey Clement who received the most carries on Sunday, and it’s possible that continues to be the case considering his efficiency this season (5.4 yards per carry).

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JOSH REYNOLDS

Having as many shares of the Los Angeles Rams offence as possible this season has been a winning strategy, so why not target Reynolds?

It’s true his value is largely dependent on how much more time Cooper Kupp misses, but with how well the Rams are playing, they can afford to play it safe with their starting wideout as he recovers from an MCL sprain. In the meantime, Reynolds can thrive.

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Cleveland Browns finally see sense with Hue Jackson, New Orleans Saints find balance

Jay Asser 22:39 29/10/2018
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Thirty six losses later, Hue Jackson’s rope has finally run out.

The Cleveland Browns fired the head coach on Monday, as well as offensive coordinator Todd Haley, following a 2-5-1 start to the season.

There were reports that the relationship between Jackson and Haley had turned into a power struggle, but the Browns decided to let go of both coaches in an attempt to get a fresh start for a team that was going nowhere under their leadership.

While Haley’s stint in Cleveland was a short one after he joined the franchise this past offseason following five years in Pittsburgh, Jackson had umpteen chances to right the ship in Cleveland.

Even after the Browns went 1-15 in Jackson’s first season at the helm, he was retained. Cleveland showed even more unfounded faith in Jackson following a winless 0-16 campaign last year.

But after drafting quarterback Baker Mayfield first overall and adding veterans like wide receiver Jarvis Landry through free agency, the Browns were done being so patient this season – especially with newly-hired general manager John Dorsey not having handpicked Jackson.

There are almost no positives to take away from Jackson’s time with the franchise – his 3-36-1 record is the worst head-coaching mark for one team in NFL history, while his .205 winning percentage is second-worst among all coaches with at least 40 games, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Senior offensive assistant Al Saunders, former head coach of the Chargers, will reportedly take over as interim coach, but the appointment will likely only be until Dorsey can select a candidate he likes.

This is the hard reset the Browns desperately needed, but unfortunately they’ve lost valuable time in waiting until now to finally pull the trigger.

Here are more takeaways from this weekend.

DREW WHO?

Look out, the New Orleans Saints are now winning games in which Drew Brees is a non-factor.

Normally the head of the snake, Brees was nothing more than a game manager on Sunday, and yet the Saints still earned their sixth straight win – and that too by double digits (30-20) over fellow NFC contenders Minnesota.

At the beginning of the season, the thought of New Orleans beating anyone with Brees throwing for only 120 yards would have been unfathomable. But after being a major weakness in the early going, the Saints defence has rounded into shape and given the team the kind of balance that was expected coming into the year.

The secondary is by no means completely fixed, but they’re at least making plays now, as they did on Sunday when they forced two critical turnovers to change the complexion of the game.

With Mark Ingram back, the backfield is also doing more of the heavy-lifting now, which was essential to the Saints’ success last season.

It’s a good thing New Orleans are beginning to play their best football because a potential NFC Championship Game preview is on the way with the Los Angeles Rams coming to town this week.

Speaking of the Rams…

KING GOFFREY

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The NFC leaders have made it a habit of winning pretty this season, but Sunday’s close call against the Green Bay Packers was anything but.

It took a late fumble on a kick-off to keep Aaron Rodgers from attempting a game-winning drive, but the real reason the Rams stayed undefeated was Jared Goff, who was the best quarterback in the game.

It wasn’t Goff’s best performance of the season, but it was arguably the most impressive as he led the team back from a 10-point deficit to out-duel the future Hall of Famer on the other side.

At 24, Goff has already established himself as one of the best players at his position, and someone who won’t just be along for the ride if the Rams win the Super Bowl, but at the front steering the ship.

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Buffalo Bills are in one of the most hopeless situations in the NFL

Jay Asser 22:35 28/10/2018
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Less than a year removed from being a playoff team, the Buffalo Bills have crashed to the bottom of the NFL hierarchy this season.

When the Bills, who sit at 2-5, meet the New England Patriots on Monday night in a familiar AFC East clash, the gulf between the two teams will be as wide as it has ever been.

Buffalo are lacking talent across the board, but their problems start – as they usually do for most struggling teams – at the quarterback position, where they’ve not found their short-term answer, or potentially their future solution.

Josh Allen is supposed to be the latter. The Bills traded up in this year’s draft to select the talented but raw prospect, who was taken seventh overall after Buffalo gave up the 12th overall pick along with two second rounders (53 and 56).

It appeared as if the Bills would take it slow with the 22-year-old and allow him to learn as a back-up in his rookie year, but that plan was quickly thrown out the window after Nathan Peterman’s abysmal performance in the opener.

Allen was thrown into the fire in his second game as a pro, and while he’s shown flashes of promise – mainly in the shock defeat of the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 – he’s also proven to be a bit of a project and someone with plenty of flaws in his game.

His touchdown-to-interception ratio of 2-5 and passer rating of 61.8 don’t scream ‘franchise quarterback’, but considering the draft capital Buffalo spent on him, Allen will be given time to develop.

That time has been cut short this year with Allen currently sidelined by a right elbow sprain, forcing the Bills to turn to veteran Derek Anderson, who has been no better than the rookie or Peterman so far.

In his first game under centre last week, Anderson threw three interceptions for a passer rating of 39.8 in a 37-5 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. His life will get no easier on Monday when he goes up against Tom Brady and the surging Patriots, who can pile on to Buffalo’s misery.

New England have scored at least 38 points in four straight games, but they likely won’t need anything close to that to beat the Bills, who are fielding one of the worst offences in recent memory.

Buffalo rank second-to-last in yards per game (234.0), last in yards per play (3.9), third-to-last in giveaways (16), second-to-last in third-down conversion rate (27.4 per cent), and last in scoring (11.6 points per game).

The ground game continues to be the focal point of their attack, but after three consecutive seasons or ranking in the top six in rushing yards, the Bills have been mediocre at best running the ball this year. Their 3.9 yards per carry places them 28th in the league, while their 104.6 yards per game slots them 19th.

LeSean McCoy finally appears to be fading after years of mileage on his legs, with the 30-yard-old running back managing just 244 yards on 3.9 yards per carry so far. He’s been rumoured to be on the trading block with the Bills going nowhere this year, but he apparently won’t be moved ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, according to reports.

Buffalo’s defence under defensive-minded head coach Sean McDermott has been the team’s best unit, ranking fourth in the league in yards allowed per game (320.9) and 16th in points surrendered (25.0), but it hasn’t been good enough to completely mask the shortcomings on the other side of the ball.

As such, the Bills are on their way to grabbing one of the top picks in next year’s draft, as well as a full rebuild.

There’s little reason for optimism right now, but in the NFL, things always get worse before they get better.

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