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Dave Richard chat transcript (9/18)

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Player News
Patriots RB duo too tough to rely on
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) If the question before the season was, "Which Patriots running back do I want to rely on?" the answer through four games has been an emphatic, "Neither." The team's moribund offense has affect everyone involved, and Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley have been hit as hard as anyone.

Last season, the Patriots had one of the best running games in the league, and they augmented it with Vereen's pass-catching skills to create a tandem that was consistently useful for Fantasy owners. So far, however, Vereen and Ridley have just two double-digit Fantasy games between them, one each. And things aren't much better for Vereen in PPR leagues, where he has just one additional 10-plus-point effort.

The Patriots have one of the league's five-least productive offenses, as they are averaged just 298.5 yards per game, while scoring just 20.0 points per game. At this point, Fantasy owners probably cannot rely on either member of the Patriots backfield on a weekly basis, especially as long as they continue splitting time and work. 


Vikings to keep using committee at running back
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:57 am ET) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he'll keep using running backs Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon as a committee, with McKinnon as the "change-of-pace back," reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"I hope we can continue to grow his role, but I don't think he's going to be an every-down player right now," Zimmer said of McKinnon, who exploded for 135 rushing yards on 18 carries Sunday.

Asiata will continue to start after running for 78 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.


Jamaal Charles' return a last hurrah for Knile Davis?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:46 am ET) The good news is Knile Davis delivered his second straight 100-yard game even with star running back Jamaal Charles back on the field Week 4 against New England. The bad news is Charles looked so good himself that Davis may not have a shot at another.

Only two weeks removed from a high ankle sprain that seemed certain to sideline him for weeks to come, Charles scored three touchdowns -- one on the ground and two through the air -- and was consistent with his 18 carries, the longest going for 17 yards. He acknowledged some soreness afterward but gave no reason to believe he won't be back out there Week 5 at San Francisco.

In fact, if not for a big lead in the second half, he might have been out there longer in Week 4. Of Davis' 16 carries, 11 came in the second half. He played 43 percent of the Chiefs' snaps to Charles' 54 percent.

If Week 5 ends up being a closer game -- and it most likely will be -- the Chiefs may not ask Davis to spell Charles as much. While you're no doubt pleased with your decision to stick with the backup despite Charles' return, you may have simply lucked out. Davis remains as good as a of a handcuff option as you'll find in Fantasy, but you should plan to bench him for the foreseeable future.


Brandon LaFell taking advantage of his shot
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:42 am ET) On a team that is utterly bereft of receiving options, Brandon LaFell has emerged as Tom Brady's favorite target over the last two games. Should Fantasy owners be buying into his new role?

LaFell has been targeted 18 times over the last two games, including 10 times during his six-catch, 119-yard performance in Week 4. He also hauled in his first touchdown of the season Monday, a 44-yard catch and run during which he showed the kind of playmaking the Patriots' offense has sorely missed this season.

LaFell has been targeted at least six times in three of four games this season, and was one of just two offensive players to log all 50 snaps in Week 4. He has clearly earned a significant role on the team, but there are enough questions about just how effective the Patriots' passing game is at this point that it will be hard to rely on him for Fantasy purposes. 

In a perfect world, LaFell would be the team's third option in the passing game, but things have been decidedly not perfect for the Patriots so far. LaFell is owned in just 7 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, so he is worth adding at this point in many leagues, even if he might not be a dependable starter. 


Eric Decker ahead of where he was last week
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:41 am ET) Jets receiver Eric Decker emerged from Sunday's game without aggravating his hamstring injury. "He felt better [Monday] than he did this time last week," coach Rex Ryan told ESPN.com.

Decker caught four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Detroit. He'll visit the Chargers in Week 5.


Rob Gronkowski a boom-or-bust option
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:34 am ET) Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski found the end zone for the third time in four games, and he salvaged a subpar showing for the third time in four games as a result. Still, there are real questions about how much more he is capable of at this point.

Gronkowski has played a limited role in his return from knee surgery. Even Monday, when he played his largest role of the season, he was on the field for just 62 percent of the team's snaps. He still had just three passes thrown his way, a troubling sign -- especially since his touchdown came after backup Jimmy Garoppolo entered the game.

Gronkowski is still the best weapon in the Patriots' passing game, which is a concern if you are a Tom Brady owner as well. At this point, he clearly is not the same guy we have seen in the past, and it is hard to say when, or if, he might be that guy. The Patriots are going to keep looking for Gronkowski in the red zone, which might help him salvage a few more games and possibly even his season.

However, Gronkowski ranks just 14th among tight ends in yards right now, making him very much a boom-or-bust option until he gets back to full strength. 


Andy Reid wants to keep Knile Davis involved
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Despite Jamaal Charles' return from an ankle injury, Chiefs coach Andy Reid indicated running back Knile Davis will continue to get substantial work. Davis has run for 239 yards the past two weeks.

"They're both explosive players," Reid told ESPN.com. "They're completely different players, but they're both explosive players. That makes my job easy. Just give them the ball."


Still some questions for Travis Kelce
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:17 am ET) Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who caught the attention of Fantasy owners with his big-play ability in the preseason and showed flashes of it through the first three weeks, finally turned in the performance everyone was hoping to see Week 4 against New England, emerging as quarterback Alex Smith's favorite target after playing just a peripheral role in the passing game earlier in the year.

Is it validation that Kelce is a starting-caliber tight end in Fantasy? I'd say so. He now has two games with 80-plus receiving yards and two touchdowns in a span of four weeks, making him the eighth-best tight end in standard CBSSports.com scoring. That says a lot right there.

But is he so good that you should feel comfortable shopping Jimmy Graham if you happen to own both? I'm not ready to make that leap. For one thing, the Chiefs passing game isn't the most stable in the league. A different player has led the team in targets each week. For another, Kelce doesn't see the field all that much -- at least not like we're used to seeing from the league's top tight ends. He played only 52 percent of the team's snaps Monday, down from 65 percent in Week 3. He played less than 40 percent of their snaps each of the first two weeks.

Because the Chiefs are lacking a standout wide receiver, I believe that number is more likely to rise than fall going forward. But until we see that it is rising consistently, Kelce remains a solid but not especially high-end starter at tight end.


Redskins add Gabe Miller in roster tweaks
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:14 am ET) The Redskins signed linebacker Gabe Miller and nose tackle Robert Thomas to their practice squad and released defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo from the squad.

Carson Palmer's shoulder issues not solved
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:09 am ET) Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said the bruised nerve in his throwing shoulder hasn't progressed as much as he had hoped, but still thinks he can show coaches he's capable of starting Week 5 at Denver, reports ESPN's Ed Werder. Drew Stanton has started the past two games and could face the Broncos if Palmer can't practice fully this week.

 
 
 
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