Tag Archives: Teddy Bridgewater

NFL Week 7 Waiver Wire: Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

Another week of exciting NFL action has gone by and, for those of us who play fantasy football, the attention turns to the waiver wire for Week 7. In a shift of recent trends, there was more news on players returning to action than would be missing time going forward. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean we were injury-free. All in all, it should be another busy waiver period. So let’s see who should be on your radar ahead of Wednesday.

There’s a good chance you’re going to bristle at first blush upon reading several of these names. But with the number of injuries we have seen already, beggers can’t be choosers. Hopefully, if you’re looking for a quarterback or tight end, it is just for streaming or a short-term injury replacement. If it’s a wide receiver or running back then you’re in luck. There are a couple of options at either position that will get you through.

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers in Week 7 Waiver Wire

Quarterbacks

Teddy Bridgewater – Carolina Panthers

Teddy Bridgewater was certainly a letdown in Week 6. That can happen when playing a stout Chicago Bears defense that ranks fifth in DVOA, per Football Outsiders. Teddy Two-Gloves is your QB16 on the season though and was the QB4 back in Week 4 and QB12 in Week 5. He has a favorable Week 7 matchup on deck against the New Orleans Saints. Bridgewater has thrown three of his six touchdowns on the road. He’s also thrown for more yards and completed a higher rate of his passes away from Bank of America Stadium.

New Orleans is eighth in defensive DVOA but that is thanks in large part to their superb run defense. While the Saints rank third against the run and fourth in run defense DVOA, they are a middling pass defense. They rank 19th in passing yards allowed and 15th in pass defense DVOA. They’ve allowed top-10 performances to quarterbacks in their three home games, including a QB4 performance by Justin Herbert in Week 5.

Kyle Allen – Washington Football Team

Let’s be honest, you’re only doing this if you’re a Lamar Jackson owner and your league is competitive or is a two-quarterback or superflex league. Kyle Allen got his second start of the season in Week 6 and ended up as the QB16 for the week. He did so against the New York Giants 21st-ranked pass defense (23rd in DVOA) but will face a Dallas Cowboys defense that ranks 23rd against the pass and just got lit up by the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Dallas has allowed three QB6 or better performances already. Again, if you’re desperate.

Running Backs

Boston Scott – Philadelphia Eagles

For the second time this season, Boston Scott will be called upon to handle the majority of the backfield touches for the next few weeks while Miles Sanders recovers from yet another injury. Sanders is the RB19 so far but missed Week 1. Scott struggled in that game against the Washington Football Team’s stout front to the tune of 3.9 yards per carry. This time, he steps into the role with the Philadelphia Eagles needing all the playmakers they can get.

He’ll face the Giants who, if you’ve read to this point, you already know have a suspect defense. They allow a respectable 3.7 yards per tote but have faced the ninth-most carries and rank 15th in run defense DVOA. They’re also tied in facing the fifth-most passes to running backs, are eighth in receptions, and sixth in receiving yards allowed to backs. Scott could be very busy with the Eagles so depleted.

J.D. McKissic – Washington Football Team

You may not have felt the sting of bye weeks at quarterback, but running back might be different. No solid-if-unspectacular Jonathan Taylor, or the suddenly reliable Myles Gaskin, or Alexander Mattison who was already filling in for the injured Dalvin Cook. That’s the RB15 and RB16 in Taylor and Gaskin, respectively. And Cook is still the RB4 on the year. Enter J.D McKissic, the forgotten back for the Washington Football Team. With Antonio Gibson garnering all the pub, you may not have noticed that McKissic was the RB12 in Week 6 and that he has out-snapped Gibson, 50 percent to 43.7 percent.

Gibson has the touch advantage (83-58) but, as we saw against the Giants, McKissic is still a vital part of this team. He’s just RB37 on the season but did come in as RB27 in Week 5 and has seen multiple carries in five of six games while catching multiple passes in his last four. He’ll see a Dallas defense that is most vulnerable on the ground. But in a game that will have serious implications for the NFC East, McKissic is worth a shot this week.

Frank Gore – New York Jets

Death. Taxes. Frank Gore getting the bulk of the carries over an intriguing rookie. This time Gore has relegated LaMical Perine to speculative bench duty while he plods his way to 3.3 yards per rush. He did up that to 4.2 in a losing effort against the Miami Dolphins and, as long as Adam Gase in running the show, appears locked into double-digit touches. If you aren’t hurting for running back help, maybe stash Perine in case the winless New York Jets boot Gase and they start evaluating players. It won’t be pretty and there isn’t much upside. But as it stands, Father Time has nothing on the 37-year-old.

Wide Receivers

Christian Kirk – Arizona Cardinals

It can be hard not to get wrapped up in big performances during primetime games. There’s always a random, fringe player that makes a huge impact on the night. Sometimes, like with the Pittsburgh Steelers Chase Claypool, it can be a springboard. But the road to fantast football glory is paved with unrealized potential. Some guys just use the national stage to announce themselves to the rest of us. Christian Kirk was the WR4 in Week 6 and is WR14 over the last three weeks.

This is undoubtedly DeAndre Hopkins’ show, but with Arizona among the league leaders in plays per game, there are points to go around. That should be particularly true this week with the Seattle Seahawks and their sieve-like passing defense (29th DVOA) coming to town. Shaq Griffin will likely be tasked with covering Hopkins which should leave plenty of opportunity for Kirk, who has three touchdowns the last three weeks, to make plays.

Tim Patrick – Denver Broncos

Would you believe the Denver Broncos Tim Patrick is the WR36 on the season? It’s true. When Courtland Sutton went down we all anticipated Jerry Jeudy to dominate the looks there. But Patrick has more catches, yards, and touchdowns than the rookie from Week2 on with just one fewer target. Most of that, by the way, came without starting quarterback Drew Lock, who struggled in his return.

Patrick, the WR24 in Week 6, was WR7 in Week 4, and WR34 in Week 3. That makes him the WR19 on average since Week 3 with a matchup against the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7. You shouldn’t expect him to out-produce Jeudy all the time. And Melvin Gordon missing last week helped some. But Patrick is looking like a solid WR3/Flex player available for a bargain.

Breshad Perriman – New York Jets

I know, I know. There’s no way two Jets made it on the list, right? Well, here’s the thing, sure you could go after James Washington and Demarcus Robinson, two guys getting extra burn due to injuries. Or you can take a chance on Keelan Cole or Corey Davis and hope you get one of their boom performances. Or you can go after the guy set to fill the Robby Anderson role for the Jets. Breshad Perriman is no stranger to fantasy relevance. He was the WR5 from Weeks 13-17 last season, catching 25 passes for over 500 yards and five touchdowns.

He isn’t likely to put up those kinds of numbers in New York but the Anderson role is a valuable one nonetheless. Anderson was the WR40 in 2019 and had three 100-yards games, two additional 80-yard games, and five touchdowns. The Jets face the Bills, Chiefs, and Patriots the next three weeks before their bye. Jamison Crowder is still the top option but the Jets are bad and figure to be trailing the rest of the season. Perriman will get his opportunities.

Alshon Jeffery – Philadelphia Eagles

Sterling Shepard – New York Giants

A twofer! Both of these guys are coming back from injury but have arguably the highest ceiling of any players listed. Sterling Shepard has been out since Week 2 with a turf toe injury but has a shot to come of the injured reserve in time for the Giants Thursday Night Football game against the likewise beaten-up Eagles. He’ll return to an offense that has only cracked the 20-point threshold once (they hit it one other time) and will compete with Golden Tate and Darius Slayton for targets. But neither of them are world-beaters that command a certain number of looks.

Alshon Jeffery’s Eagles need him in the worst way. He has yet to suit up this year as his team has lost weapons left and right. DeSean Jackson is still working his way back from a hamstring injury, rookie Jalen Reagor hasn’t played since Week 2, and they just lost Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders. Travis Fulgham has been their go-to guy the past two weeks for goodness sakes. Jeffery could bring WR2 upside if he gets (and stays) healthy.

Tight Ends

Greg Olsen – Seattle Seahawks

The “Frank Gore” of tight ends, Greg Olsen just keeps coming back and producing for his team. His tenure with the Seattle Seahawks has been more of the same. The volume hasn’t been heavy, but he’s had four-plus targets and receptions in three of five games this season. Week 5 against the Vikings, before the Seahawks bye, Olsen put up a dud. That just served to further remove him from your league-mates memories.

Olsen is the TE27 in 2020 but was TE15 from Weeks 3-4, grabbing 10 of 13 passes for 96 yards. The downside is that MVP-hopeful Russell Wilson spreads the ball around and there are even other tight ends on the roster that pose a threat to Olsen’s (who only has one touchdown) production. But losing Mark Andrews (TE3).  Mike Geisicki (TE11), and Indy’s bunch of productive tight ends at an already thin position makes people desperate. You could do much worse than Olsen.

Darren Fells  – Houston Texans

We’ve seen this movie before. From Weeks 3-13 in 2019, Darren Fells was the quintessential streaming tight end. He wasn’t seeing a ton of targets and averaged just under three catches per game. But he had a better-than-not chance to catch a touchdown from one of the most dynamic passers in the league in Deshaun Watson. Well, Fells might be at it again, having more than 50 yards and catching a touchdown in each of the last two weeks. He gets the Green Bay Packers in Week 7, who just let the ghost of Rob Gronkowski go off for 5/78/1 in Week 6.

Cam Newton to the New England Patriots is Perfect

It almost makes too much sense. Cam Newton, Superman, is a New England Patriot. And in the year 2020, this is exactly the kind of move we should have expected. Many did, and yet it still felt like such a longshot. Clash of cults of personality aside, there was always a strictly football-related reason for this to happen. The fact that the actual deal is good for both sides is just an added bonus.

New England Patriots Signing Cam Newton is Perfectly 2020

How Did We Get Here?

What an offseason it has been! We’ve seen a quarter of the league’s projected starters entering 2019 change teams, including a wild four-team swap with New England and 75% of the NFC South. Tom Brady joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the shockwave of the off-season; if only slightly edging the Houston Texans swindling themselves out of DeAndre Hopkins.

Jameis Winston is now backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans and Teddy Bridgewater (Winston’s predecessor) will start in Carolina. Even Philip Rivers going to the Indianapolis Colts doesn’t compare.

Tampa Tommy is like the prodigal son going to the Darkside (which would have worked so much better had he joined the Las Vegas Raiders). Newton to the Pats is like, well T’Challa taking over for Steve Rogers. Yes, it’s on the nose, but it’s so very accurate. How else do you describe the expressive Newton heading to the most buttoned-up operation in the NFL?

What’s even better is it is two polarizing entities of opposite ends joining into one. The Patriots have been the bully on the block for much of the past 20 years. This, and a generous helping of sketchy deeds, has led to a buildup of resentment from those on the outside.

Newton, for all his charitable deeds, is more known for his scarves and attitude after losing Super Bowl 50.

Neither man is perfect. Brady was directly indicated in his fair share of the scandals during his time in New England. And, if we’re being honest, the worst Newton has done was his interaction with a female reporter a few years back. He laughed at the depth of her question and said it was “funny” a question like that came from a woman.

But on the football field, both of these men have set records.

Why It Will Work

Brady has the edge in accolades, sure. But even he has conceded it is at least equal parts situation as it is his given talent, effort, preparation, etc. Newton, if healthy, offers the total opposite. A supremely gifted athlete, he reached the edge of the mountain top without the level of coach and system he will have around him next year.

That isn’t a knock on what the Ron Rivera Panthers did either, they ran a system they felt gave them the best chance to win. The issue was they operated like Newton was a rookie for too long, not surrounding him with enough talent at receiver and/or a proper offensive line. His development seemed to stall as the Panthers found their formula.

One thing we know about the Patriots, they know the formula changes from year to year. No team has been better at adapting to their personnel.

Josh McDaniels is a very underrated part of why this will work. He was able to get seven wins out of a second-year Tim Tebow back in 2011. That was ten years ago. But Newton, a former MVP, is far and away a better passer than Tebow ever was.

People also forget the year Newton was having before he got injured in 2018. Carolina was 6-2 with Newton completing 67.3% of his passes for 1893 yards, 15 touchdowns, and four interceptions. He added another 342 yards and four scores on the ground. He over 68 percent of his passes in his remaining six games, but only threw nine touchdowns to nine picks and the Panthers went winless.

What’s The Problem?

That depends on what you thought of Brady last season. He started the season completing 64% of his passes for 2251 yards, 13 scores, and four interceptions over the first eight games. But he finished throwing for 1806 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 4 more picks while completing just 56.9% of his passes. The Patriots went 4-4 over those final eight.

Was that all Brady? He is, after all, in his 40s and has played over two and a half regular season’s worth of playoff games. It’s perfectly reasonable his abilities are in decline.

But New England lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement then lost Antonio Brown (one game) and Josh Gordon (six games) to personal issues. Julian Edelman was still around, but there aren’t many quarterbacks who can overcome that kind of talent drain before and during the season.

Newton’s health will be the biggest deterrent to any success. But he’s been out since September last year and has been seen working with Odell Beckham. Keeping him that way is paramount and dependant upon them either finding upgrades or guys like N’Keal Harry and free-agent addition Marquise Lee stepping up. Edelman and Mohamed Sanu will serve as the vets but the big hole is at tight end.

The offensive line is the bigger concern. Brady took 17 of his 27 sacks over the back half of the year. That line lost center Ted Karras and didn’t add anyone in free agency or the draft until the sixth round. They kept Joe Thuney, though.

The defense underwent a facelift but should be a smoother transition than anything the offense will go through. New England took defensive players with their first three picks and all are expected to contribute early. That’s good with the losses New England suffered at linebacker. Boasting one of the best secondaries in the NFL, though, they should be just fine.

Superman is a Patriot

Cam Newton has had to carry his offenses for much of his career, literally. In New England, he will get a chance to be a part of the machine. They will cater the offense to him week-to-week. His athleticism gives them an added dimension they didn’t have (or need) with Brady. He would also be the first non-Patriots draft pick to start for the team since Scott Secules in 1993.

Doubters will point to Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer and say Newton isn’t a lock to start. But as long as he’s healthy, neither the second-year Stidham nor the journeyman Hoyer is beating him out. The Patriots don’t need the publicity this brought (even with the penalties handed down) but Belichick would love the prestige winning with Newton would bring. We know what’s really on the line here.

Free Agency Best and Worst: NFC South

Our Best and Worst series is in full bore. We’ve already covered the AFC and NFC North, the AFC and NFC East, and we just finished our AFC South entry. We now turn our focus on the NFC South, a division that would be up for the “Most Dramatic Changes” award if such an award existed. Quarterback changes, roster overhauls, and record-setting contracts, this division has it all.

Best and Worst of Free Agency: NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Best Move: Upgrading at RB

Surely there will be some who will look at this and immediately question how is going to a running back rumored to be dealing with a degenerative knee disease an upgrade over the back the Atlanta Falcons made (at the time) the highest paid in 2017? When the new guy is Todd Gurley and the last guy was Devonta Freeman, that’s how.

The Los Angeles Rams parted with the former Offensive Rookie of the Year (2015) and Offensive Player of the Year (2017) largely due to uncertainty around the long-term health of his knee but fiscal motivations were not absent. Freeman (494 total touches, 2339 scrimmage yards over the last three years) has dealt with injuries that caused him to miss all but two games in 2018. If Gurley (912 total touches, 4988 yards since 2017) is close to his old self the Falcons won’t experience any dropoff and may see better production.

Worst Move: Half Addressing Pass Rush

Yet another where readers may be scratching their heads. After all, Atlanta signed free agent Dante Fowler to a three-year deal worth up to $48 million. Unfortunately, that’s about all they have done to address the issue. After they recorded more sacks than the woeful Miami Dolphins, one guy isn’t going to be enough.

Fowler had 11.5 sacks in 2019 and that his presence will help immensely. But Atlanta let Vic Beasley walk. Despite his inconsistency during his time in Atlanta, he had a strong finish to last season and led the team with eight sacks. They lost another six combined sacks between Adrian Clayborn and De’Vondre Campbell. The 16th-overall pick will be very useful.

Next Move: Lockdown the Corner

A theme we have visited elsewhere, Atlanta has a glaring need for some help on the corners. They finished 2019 ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed. Some of that was thanks to a lackluster pass rush. But none of their corners played particularly well. Desmond Trufant (Detroit Lions) was their best corner and he was only available for nine games.

Isaiah Oliver, Kendall Sheffield, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson aren’t an intimidating trio by any stretch. Wreh-Wilson only allowed quarterbacks to complete 45 percent of passes in his direction but was only credited with being targeted 33 times, or five fewer times than Trufant who missed nearly half the season. Atlanta’s first two picks should be EDGE and cornerback, or vice versa.

Carolina Panthers

Best Move: Bridging the Gap

Cam Newton is probably the greatest to ever do it for the Carolina Panthers. No player has the accolades or had the connection to the area he did. But that time is over and the Matt Rhule regime is getting off on the right foot with a  player in Teddy Bridgewater who seems poised to pay off on the promise he had coming into the league.

Touted as an accurate, athletic pocket passer, Bridgewater got derailed by a knee injury that threatened not only his career but also his limb. He regained prominence with the New Orleans Saints filling in for an injured Drew Brees for five games. The Saints went 5-0 and Bridgewater completed 69.7 percent of his passes for 1205 yards, nine touchdowns, and two picks.

Worst Move: Repeating the Past

No, this isn’t about Christian McCaffrey’s (record-setting) contract. So far the Panthers plan is just as well thought out as the last one. They have a (potential) stud at quarterback and some weapons around him. But their fatal flaw will once again prove to be a lack of proper protection. Carolina traded guard Trai Turner and received tackle Russell Okung from the Los Angeles Chargers.

Not only is Okung a worse player (irrespective of position) but he is also five years older. The need for a tackle will often outweigh the advantage of a quality guard. But the difference in age (even if linemen can play longer) and the added salary make this look like a losing deal for Carolina and they still need more help protecting their new franchise passer. Also, don’t pay running backs.

Next Move: Replace Heart and Soul

Sounds easy enough, right? The reality of the situation is Luke Kuechly’s retirement is similar to Newton’s departure in that it marks the end of an era. The difference is the Panthers got to make the decision on Newton. Kuechly, who has dealt with numerous concussions in his career, made seven Pro Bowls in eight seasons and was named an All-Pro five times.

But accolades aside, the Panthers will need to find the leadership and dependability elsewhere. Carolina saw eight players leave on defense who started at least nine games. Granted, any time there is a coaching change a roster overhaul is to be expected. But Kuechly would have made the transition easier for new defensive coordinator Phil Snow.

New Orleans Saints

Best Move: Landing WR2

It’s not often that landing a secondary receiver deserves praise. But when that receiver will be with the Saints catching passes from Brees, exceptions are made. Emmanuel Sanders split 2019 between catching passes from Joe Flacco and Jimmy Garoppolo. To say Brees is an upgrade is an understatement.

New Orleans hasn’t had a capable complimentary option since Brandin Cooks left town. Ted Ginn in 2017 was the closest they’ve come. Sanders is a year older than Ginn was then, and is a more versatile receiver. A torn Achilles ended his 2018 early and he returned to put up over 800 yards and play in 17 games last season.

Worst Move: Choosing the Wrong QB2

Somehow Taysom Hill has convinced folks down in the Bayou that he is worthy of being the top backup option. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that he has franchise quarterback potential. Hill is a nice, versatile athlete. But he isn’t a full-time quarterback, let alone a starter. New Orleans gave it away by going with Bridgewater over the more familiar Hill when Brees went down.

Now, this is being stated with a full understanding of how the economics played into this. With Brees returning, retaining Bridgewater became impossible. But selling HIll as anything more than a gadget player (with Brees and Bridgewater still in limbo) was an oversell and if New Orleans stands pat at quarterback, they will regret it if Brees misses time again.

Next Move: Someone to Truzz

The Saints had the fewest rushing yards as a team in the three years since Alvin Kamara arrived. They clearly missed Mark Ingram and the energy he brought to the field and sideline. Latavius Murray gave New Orleans eight fewer yards than Ingram did in his final season. But the latter ran for over a thousand yards the two years prior and did so again with Baltimore last year.

If the Saints want to get the mojo back in their ground game the will try to find another runner with that same type of violent running style. Kamara remaining healthy is probably the bigger boost, but the need for a proper compliment to him cannot be overstated. For all their effort though, finding someone to match Ingram’s infectious energy could be close to impossible.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Best Move: Brady Bunch

Tom Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the biggest move this offseason in the NFL, not just the NFC South. The only thing comparable is Peyton Manning joining the Broncos in 2012. This surpasses that by far but does have similar questions along with it. Among them is questioning how much Brady’s declining numbers are due to waning ability.

Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, (for now) O.J. Howard, and Cameron Brate will make it clear if Brady is up to the task or not. It’s hard to say the six-time Super Bowl champ has ever had a more talented receiving corps. If there is one thing to complain about it’s the protection that wasn’t great for a more mobile Jameis Winston in 2019. Tampa might also want to finally find a running back.

Worst Move: Not Protecting the Franchise

Recurring themes are becoming a recurring theme. Another team (rightfully) making an investment in a franchise quarterback and surrounding him with weapons but failing to address porous blocking. Brady is 42. ‘Sack’ needs to be treated like the four-letter word that it is for this organization and, so far, their moves don’t show that.

Next Move: Fill the Gaps

Let’s not act like the NFL draft won’t provide the perfect opportunity to address the issue laid out in the previous section as well as address the lack of a run game. Tampa also needs some help in the secondary but they have youth there. Whatever they choose to do in the draft, the top needs to be the offensive line and secondary, in whatever order.

A sneaky move could be for the Bucs to take a pass rusher much sooner than anyone expects. Shaquil Barrett is playing on the franchise tag and Jason Pierre-Paul just re-signed for two years but is already 31. Tampa also lost Carl Nassib, their third-leading sack artist with six. Add pass rusher to the early part of the Bucs draft checklist.