Purdy is finally facing the kind of adversity that most cornerbacks
encounter early in their rookie year. It is what can happen when
a team as talented as the 49ers loses three straight games. Yet,
I have come away highly impressed with the number of high-level
throws and decisions Purdy is making this season. While it may
be true that he has already thrown more interceptions this year
than he had last year, his interception rate has actually dipped
a bit (2.2 in 2023, down slightly from 2.4 last year). He has
also completed at least 70 percent of his attempts and topped
250 yards passing in four of the last five games. He is more aggressive
than last year (9.1 yards per attempt compared to 8.1 in 2022).
In short, he is being asked to do more and has delivered more
- at least to this point.
Not only is this week a good time to pester the current Purdy
manager in your league because San Francisco is on a bye, but
it is also a great time due to the narrative floating around that
teams may be starting to figure him out. Football is a small sample
sport in which conclusions drawn from three down games can affect
how a player is perceived. Purdy was affected by the weather in
Week 6 at Cleveland and has not had Deebo Samuel available over
the last two games. Samuel's presence was undoubtedly missed against
the blitz-happy Vikings in Week 7.
One more very good reason to acquire Purdy is the remaining schedule.
The 49ers face the Cardinals and Commanders in Weeks 15 and 17
- two defenses that rank inside the top seven friendliest matchups
for quarterbacks. Before that, however, three of Purdy's next
four games are against three of the best eight matchups for quarterbacks
(Jaguars, Buccaneers and Eagles).
Potential deals: Although it was
a dynasty trade, I was able to get Purdy in exchange for Jaylen
Warren a couple of weeks ago. Unless he is the QB1 for his fantasy
team, the odds you can acquire Purdy for a backup running back
with perceived upside like Warren are relatively strong. A WR3/4
type such as Michael Thomas or Rashee Rice should be able to get
a deal done as well.
All we know about Murray's readiness is what HC Jonathan Gannon
is telling us. He was a full participant in practice all of last
week and appears to be trending in that direction again this week.
My best guess is that the Cardinals will hold him out one more
week to avoid the Browns' defense and bring him back against the
Texans (when James Conner is also due to return).
No one should expect vintage Murray when he returns, but he should
still be an effective scrambler. His floor should be what Joshua
Dobbs was doing for Arizona before his trade to the Vikings (overall
QB12 in total points, QB16 in points per game among currently
healthy full-time starters). The good thing for fantasy managers
is the Cardinals have a vested interest in him looking good over
the remainder of the season because they could speed up the rebuild
by at least a year if they determine he is their offensive centerpiece.
Dobbs proved to be a quick study in OC Drew Petzing's offense
despite arriving in Arizona less than a week before the opener.
Murray has had the luxury of multiple months to absorb the system
and has more than enough talent around him (Marquise Brown, Michael
Wilson, Trey McBride and eventually Conner) to hit the ground
running. While it would be a stretch to say I am relying on him
in a few leagues, I believe he has QB1 upside by the end of the
season in what has been something of a rough year for the position.
Potential deals: A recent deal
in one of my leagues saw Murray traded for Jerry Jeudy. Murray's
name value probably will not allow him to come as cheaply as I
think Purdy will in most leagues, but a WR3/4 in the Jeudy mold
sounds about right.
Let me be clear about something right away: fantasy managers
typically do not profit by trading away parts of the best offense
in the league. This recommendation has little to do with any worry
about Tagovailoa's injury history or Miami's ability to keep rolling
on offense and everything to do with what is ahead.
There is a chance Miami-Kansas City ends up being a shootout
in Germany this weekend. There is also a distinct possibility
it will not be. Week 8 (against Denver) marked the first time
all season that the Chiefs surrendered three touchdowns to a quarterback.
Despite that, they have yet to give up 20 fantasy points to a
After Miami's Week 10 bye, the Dolphins face three teams over
a four-week stretch that Tagovailoa should be able to post QB1
numbers against: Raiders, Commanders and Titans. The problem is
the fantasy playoffs may not be his finest hour, especially the
last two weeks of the fantasy season. Dallas has surrendered a
mere five touchdown passes to non-Purdy quarterbacks and is tied
with the Chiefs as the third-stingiest defense for quarterbacks.
The Dolphins play at home on fantasy championship week, but they
will square off against the Ravens - the stingiest defense for
Yes, things can change dramatically over two months in the NFL,
but fantasy managers need to be aware of what lies ahead. Tagovailoa
is highly unlikely to put up a dud so long as his playmakers are
healthy, but his fantasy playoff matchups suggest he probably
will not be the reason why managers win the league title.
Potential deals: Take it from a
Tagovailoa manager: trading him is not as easy as one would think.
In one league I have him and Joe Burrow, I have aggressively been
trying to trade him for a RB2 to no avail. Tagovailoa for Jerome
Ford was rejected. The best offer I have received to this point
has been Najee Harris and Kyle Pitts. I may have no choice but
to accept it considering the lack of able bodies I have after
David Montgomery and Tyjae Spears AND with Darren Waller (hamstring)
likely to miss a few weeks. I proposed a trade for James Conner
and remain hopeful that the manager is still active. Given the
almost complete lack of quality running backs available, fantasy
managers may need to settle for an injury-discount running back
like Conner or Kyren Williams if they hope to alleviate a quarterback
logjam similar to the one I have in this league.
It has been widely accepted that HC Arthur Smith is Public Enemy
No. 1 when it comes to fantasy managers, seemingly doing whatever
he can to keep playmakers such as Robinson, Kyle Pitts and Drake
London from reaching their ceiling. I will not try to say the
perception of Smith is wrong or that he will change his usage
for Robinson over the final two months of the season. However,
here are some things I am sure about:
1) Tyler Allgeier has not topped four yards per carry in any
game since Week 1; Robinson has done so three times. Allgeier
has broken three tackles since doing so six times in Week 1; Robinson
has broken six of his seven tackles since Week 1.
2) The loss of stud DT Grady Jarrett (ACL) should end any discussion
about the Falcons being a defensive team. That is not to say Atlanta
cannot still be good on defense, but Jarrett's absence will force
the Falcons to come out of their conservative shell on offense
at least a little bit.
3) Robinson has not caught a pass in the last two games. Week
7 was understandable due to how little the rookie played (illness),
but it is hard to fathom how a player like Robinson who was drafted
for his all-purpose skill set (and is still on pace for 50-plus
catches) has not been more active in that area.
4) There is a decent chance that Taylor Heinicke will remain
the starting quarterback after Week 9, although that is far from
a sure thing. Heinicke will almost certainly get rid of the ball
quicker than Desmond Ridder and lean more heavily on his running
backs than Ridder did as a result.
The beauty of it all is that even if none of the points I made
lead Smith (or the offense) down a different path than they have
chosen through eight weeks, the Falcons have perhaps the most
favorable fantasy playoff schedule at running back (Panthers,
Colts and Bears). We may not get the 350-touch explosion from
Robinson that many of us were expecting in 2023, but it seems
reasonable to believe he will be a top 5-10 back during the most
important time of the season for fantasy enthusiasts.
Potential deals: Based on name
value alone, Robinson probably will not be easy to acquire. However,
there are probably not a lot of fantasy teams that are sitting
on a 6-2 (or better) record on the strength of his contributions.
Fantasy managers may be able to acquire him straight up for Tony
Pollard or maybe even Joe Mixon.
The line between great and average fantasy teams seems to be
getting slimmer by the year. This is a lesson I have learned so
far in 2023, as my countless Montgomery teams thrived through
five weeks and have fallen on hard times since. There was a time
not so long ago when the majority of fantasy managers could go
at least .500 despite the loss of a back like Montgomery for a
couple of games by plugging in his handcuff or adding the latest
hot name off the waiver wire.
The problem with the former is that the supposed handcuff in
Detroit (Jahmyr Gibbs) was going off the draft board well before
Montgomery this summer, so that was never a real option for most
folks. While some managers may have been able to draft a player
like Raheem Mostert after Montgomery, the majority of us have
been stuck with part-timers such as Tyjae Spears or Jaleel McLaughlin
(and that may be on the high end of who Montgomery's managers
have used to replace him). The main issue for fantasy managers
who were counting on big things from Montgomery is that we have
not had him available to us almost as often as he has been available
to us. Of Detroit's eight games, Monty has started and finished
four. Now, the Lions are on a bye in Week 9.
Further complicating matters for desperate Montgomery managers
is that Gibbs is coming off consecutive great fantasy performances,
which will undoubtedly create even more panic that we have already
seen the best of Montgomery's fantasy efforts. That last part
may be true, but it is extremely unlikely that a back that perfectly
fits the profile of what HC Dan Campbell wants his offense (and
team, for that matter) to look like will turn into a 15-carry,
early-down banger after the bye just because Gibbs performed well
for a couple of games. The last two games did not show Campbell
(or OC Ben Johnson) anything he/they did not already know about
Detroit wants Montgomery and Gibbs to have defined roles, so
I fully expect a return to how things were in September and early
October. There will be enough meat on the bone for both backs
to feast so long as the offense limits turnovers and the defense
plays as well as it has for most of the year. Thankfully, the
Lions could win out with a schedule that was blessed by the fantasy
gods. While anything can happen from week to week, a Week 17 matchup
in Dallas against the Cowboys stands out as the only game that
Detroit might not be able to stick with its offensive plan from
start to finish. Until then, Montgomery's managers can only pray
that the durability that made him so attractive to the Lions in
free agency holds in matchups against the Chargers, Bears (twice),
Packers, Saints, Broncos and Vikings.
Potential deals: As a manager of
Montgomery in nearly half of my leagues, I have held firm and
will continue to do so. Not every manager has the luxury of waiting
one more week and seeing if his role changes after the bye, however.
A straight-up trade for Jonathan Taylor is possible, albeit unlikely.
If I was a manager of Josh Jacobs (I am not), I would kick the
tires on Montgomery as well.
There is nothing wrong with how Cook is performing in his first
chance as Buffalo's top back. The problem is the role most fantasy
managers expected him to play is not the role he is playing -
certainly not recently anyway. After establishing a 120-99 edge
on passing down snaps and a 101-76 advantage in routes run over
all other Bills' running backs through five weeks, Cook has played
fewer snaps on passing downs (42-40) than Latavius Murray and
has barely run more routes (35-30) than him over the last three
If that was not troubling enough, Leonard Fournette joined the
practice squad this week and is expected to join the active roster
later in the week. At the very least, Fournette brings Murray's
physicality to the table. However, we know he has a particular
skill that should scare Cook's managers: he was good enough in
the passing game to earn Tom Brady's trust. The passing game was
supposed to be the one part of Cook's game we could count on the
most entering the season. After beginning 2023 with at least four
targets in three of his first five outings (and at least three
in four contests), Cook has been thrown to only four times since.
We knew entering the season Cook was unlikely to see much work
near the goal line. Following the loss of Damien Harris to a neck
injury in Week 6, it was no surprise that Murray saw his involvement
increase. What was not supposed to happen was Murray operating
as the preferred option in long down-and-distance and two-minute
snaps. It is hard to imagine a scenario in which Fournette's arrival
changes the math in Cook's favor.
Potential deals: The majority of
Cook's supporters have already started to panic about Fournette
showing up in Buffalo, but there is still time to take advantage
of the unknown. In other words, we have not seen what Buffalo
intends to do with Fournette - we can only assume at this point
- and we know the Bills have little reason to alter Cook's current
role drastically when he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and
10.7 yards per catch. Managers with Cook should do their best
to sell league-mates on the fact he has typically handled an average
of 15 touches over the first half of the season - even when Harris
was healthy. It is worth reaching out and seeing if the De'Von
Achane manager in your league is struggling to stay in the playoff
chase, although it seems unlikely that deal could get done. A
more likely straight-up deal might be for James Conner or Rhamondre
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.