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Winning Fantasy Calls for Week 9

Senior Fantasy Writer

Vikings at Cowboys, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

I don't see how Minnesota survives this game without a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson. If they've been ramping him up for a big workload then this is the game to roll him out there. Peterson has topped out at 13 carries each of the last two weeks with no more than three catches in each of his last three. The Cowboys allowed three rushing touchdowns last week, two by running backs.

No-brainers: Adrian Peterson; Tony Romo, Dez Bryant

Greg Jennings, WR, Vikings: My Projection: 5 FPTS
Jennings had one catch last week and hasn't scored other than in his improbable two-touchdown game against the Steelers in Week 4. Jennings has four catches or less in five of seven games; all but one receiver with four or fewer catches against Dallas has finished with eight Fantasy points or less.
I'd rather start: David Nelson, Marquise Goodwin

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings: My Projection: 4 FPTS
Rudolph went from hot waiver wire pickup to lukewarm bye-week replacement pretty quickly. He had nine catches in Week 6, seven in Weeks 7 and 8. Gross. After a rough start the Cowboys have held tight ends out of the end zone for three straight weeks -- none of the tight ends they've faced have done any better than 58 yards.
Bye-week TE Flow chart: Dallas Clark > Scott Chandler > Kyle Rudolph > Delanie Walker > Andrew Quarless

DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: My Projection: 13 FPTS
This is a delightful matchup for Murray to come back to -- the Vikings have allowed at least one running back to get a minimum of 13 Fantasy points in each of their last four. And all but one running back (Giants rookie Michael Cox) with at least 10 carries has posted 10-plus Fantasy points. Murray is a cinch for at least 15 carries, much less 10.
I'd start him over: Chris Johnson, Matt Forte

Terrance Williams, WR, Cowboys: My Projection: 12 FPTS
Another week, another touchdown for Williams, who had a career-high 10 targets last week but only brought in two passes. Non-No. 1 receivers have hit 10-plus Fantasy points against the Vikings in three of their last four. The Vikings secondary is a mess.
I'd start him over: Keenan Allen, DeSean Jackson

Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Witten is in another one of these funks where he barely participates in the Cowboys' offense. He has five catches or less and no touchdowns in six of eight games; the Vikings haven't allowed more than eight Fantasy points or 27 yards to any tight end with five catches or less this season. It really feels like Witten doesn't get involved unless it's a tight game and even then he can be invisible. This one won't be tight.
I'd rather start: Charles Clay, Timothy Wright

Chiefs at Bills, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

I want to say the Bills knock off the Chiefs in a low scoring game but I'm just not sure how they'll put points up on this defense. Mediocre quarterbacks have played moderately well against the Chiefs in their last two but the Bills' identity is with their ground game, which the Chiefs should extinguish rather quickly. Thad Lewis has shown flashes through his three starts and will have to bring his 'A' game, along with the deep ball, to try and upset Kansas City.

No-brainers: Jamaal Charles

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs: My Projection: 18 FPTS
If there ever was a game to let Smith off the chain, this would be it. Buffalo has allowed three straight quarterbacks to toss at least three touchdowns and seven of eight passers it has faced have tossed at least two scores. We saw Smith pass effectively last week so it's not like it's impossible. The matchup should give Smith a chance to finish as a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback this week.
Flow chart: Jake Locker > Terrelle Pryor > Alex Smith > Tom Brady > Nick Foles > Matt Ryan

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs: My Projection: 7 FPTS
Dexter McCluster, WR, Chiefs: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Donnie Avery, WR, Chiefs: My Projection: 5 FPTS
The Bills have allowed at least two touchdowns per game to receivers in their last three games, 15 total to the position this year. However, 11 of those 15 touchdowns have gone to non-No. 1 receivers. Buffalo has also given up 203.3 yards per game to receivers over their last three. I'd cautiously consider Bowe as a No. 3 receiver and McCluster and Avery as one-week fliers.
I'd start Bowe over: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jeremy Kerley
Bye-week WR Flow chart: David Nelson > Dexter McCluster > Lance Moore > Donnie Avery > Doug Baldwin

Fred Jackson, RB, Bills: My Projection: 9 FPTS
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: My Projection: 5 FPTS
Jackson has averaged 3.2 yards per carry over his last four games, but has four rushing scores and some receiving numbers to buoy his stats. Expect him to be involved in the offense but also expect the run game to be the focal point of the Chiefs defense given the Bills' quarterback troubles. Kansas City hasn't given up a rushing touchdown and have yielded 3.5 yards per carry to running backs over their last five. Between the QB problems and Spiller's return, Jackson's a risky play -- something Spiller has been for a number of weeks now, hence why expectations remain low for him.
I'd rather start: Zac Stacy, Ryan Mathews

Steve Johnson, WR, Bills: My Projection: 7 FPTS
The Chiefs secondary has given up a touchdown to a receiver in three straight. They've all been long touchdowns (over 25 yards) and the last two were given up by cornerback Sean Smith, not top corner Brandon Flowers. The Bills might try to find matchups for Johnson against Smith and nickelback Dunta Robinson but the quarterback issues make him risky.
I'd rather start: Vincent Jackson, T.Y. Hilton

Chargers at Redskins, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

This is an interesting matchup for Robert Griffin III. San Diego's defense was very giving to quarterbacks until they pinned down Andrew Luck three weeks ago and tormented Chad Henne two weeks ago. But they're far from a perfect unit even though they held those quarterbacks to 17 combined Fantasy points. RG3 has had more than 17 Fantasy points just once in his last five games but it came in a favorable matchup where he threw efficiently and ran well. He threw equally well last week on the Redskins' first touchdown drive, not forcing deep passes and getting the time to throw to open receivers in the short area. If the Redskins employ that strategy against a Chargers pass rush that is short on name talent but has 11 sacks in its last three, then they'll have a chance to win.

No-brainers: Antonio Gates

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: My Projection: 21 FPTS
Rivers' last two games has seen him attempt 33 passes or less and not throw multiple touchdowns. In both games the Chargers' run game was effective and Rivers didn't have to throw. That's a possible outcome here, just as it's been for two of the Redskins' last three opposing quarterbacks. Tony Romo and the Bears' quarterbacks didn't throw a lot and their numbers suffered (one touchdown each) while their respective run games thrived. One legitimate difference is the involvement of tight end Antonio Gates in the Chargers' offense and his chances of scoring given the matchup. If Gates and teammate Keenan Allen are counted on for touchdowns then Rivers should come through with a good game, but maybe not a great one. This is not a slam-dunk.
I'd start him over: Russell Wilson, Tom Brady

Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers: My Projection: 12 FPTS
Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Part of the reason why there's trepidation in starting Rivers is because of the seeming certainty of success for both Woodhead and Mathews. Washington has allowed 136.8 total yards per game and seven touchdowns to running backs over its last four games. That bodes very well for both backs. Mathews has averaged 106.0 rush yards per game over his last two and Woodhead has 78.3 total yards per game over his last six with four touchdowns.
I'd start them over: Panthers RBs, Jets RBs, Dolphins RBs, Saints RBs

Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: My Projection: 11 FPTS
With 33 targets in the Chargers' last four games, Allen has emerged as their new No. 1 receiver. Four of the seven No. 1 receivers to play the Redskins have posted 10-plus Fantasy points so far, so it's not as if the Redskins are a guaranteed matchup for Allen. But as the main receiver for the Chargers you have to like Allen's chances. He has five-plus catches in three of his last four; all but two of the receivers to catch five or more passes on the Redskins have posted 10-plus Fantasy points.
I'd start him over: DeSean Jackson, Steve Smith

Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins: My Projection: 18 FPTS
Sometimes it feels like we're so blinded by RG3's potential that we fail to see the quarterback he really is. He's had 16 or fewer Fantasy points in four of his last five games, including some very favorable matchups. The Chargers' pass defense has improved in the last two weeks, not allowing a passing touchdown but giving up over 300 yards to the Jaguars, the most since Week 2. Griffin hinted to the media that the team's passing problems extend past him -- which is true -- but he needs to be on target with his deeper throws. I want to call this a slam-dunk matchup but the reality is that San Diego has been improving and nothing is promised when it comes to Griffin's statistics.
Flow chart: Andrew Luck > Terrelle Pryor > Robert Griffin III > Alex Smith > Tom Brady

Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins: My Projection: 10 FPTS
Roy Helu, RB, Redskins: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Helu had more playing time last week but it was Morris who finished with much better Fantasy numbers. The Chargers still haven't allowed a touchdown to a running back this year and only one, LeSean McCoy, has 10-plus Fantasy points. There's a sense Morris will have a shot to still play well despite the matchup if only because of his regular workload (16-plus carries each of last four weeks) with the Redskins.
I'd start Morris over: Ryan Mathews, Saints RBs
Bye-week RB Flow chart: Donald Brown > Brandon Bolden > Darren Sproles > Roy Helu > Mike James

Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins: My Projection: 10 FPTS
Like RG3, Garcon has struggled plenty of late. Four of his last five games have finished with under 10 Fantasy points in standard leagues, including 15 total points in his last three games. Predictably, the Chargers have been solid against No. 1 receivers in their last two wins but awful in their previous five. There's just too much uncertainty to call Garcon a no-brainer here given his track record and the Bolts' recent play.
I'd start him over: Vincent Jackson, Jarrett Boykin

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Reed's last two weeks have seen him catch 17 of 23 targets for 224 yards and a touchdown. If that doesn't tell you he's arrived then you're not paying attention. The Chargers haven't allowed a touchdown to a tight end since Week 1 but haven't really had to take on any serious tight end threats in that span. Reed's use in the Redskins offense should promise some decent yardage at the very least.
I'd start him over: Tony Gonzalez, Martellus Bennett, Jason Witten

Titans at Rams, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

The Titans' big key is to get their run game going and base the rest of the offense off of that. It's something the Seahawks chose not to do last week and it nearly cost them a win. Chris Johnson hasn't seen a matchup this good in over a month so expect him to kick off the second half of his season with some success. This could be a big letdown game for the Rams

Jake Locker, QB, Titans: My Projection: 21 FPTS
You can't debate Locker's improvement over the course of the season, nor can you point to his performance vs. the 49ers two weeks ago and call him a flop. But you can debate just how much work he'll have to do in this matchup. Four of the last six quarterbacks to play St. Louis have attempted less than 30 passes. Three of those four still threw two touchdowns but finished shy of 20 Fantasy points. Locker's averaging 6.9 yards per pass attempt this season -- if he attempts 30 passes then it should put him just over 200 yards in the game, a number he's hit in two of his last three overall. Throw in two touchdowns and some rushing numbers and he should deliver a good stat line for Fantasy owners.
I'd start him over: Terrelle Pryor, Tom Brady

Chris Johnson, RB, Titans: My Projection: 13 FPTS
The Rams run defense has improved statistically but it's really because the Seahawks' running backs ran the ball 12 times for 28 yards last week, helping the team's overall average. Entering Week 8 the Rams yielded 4.4 yards per carry and 120.0 rush yards per game to running backs with eight touchdowns allowed. Don't expect the Titans to fear the Rams' run defense and chip away with a big dose of Johnson.
I'd start him over: Le'Veon Bell, Danny Woodhead, Giovani Bernard

Kendall Wright, WR, Titans: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Nate Washington, WR, Titans: My Projection: 8 FPTS
The Rams have allowed every opposing No. 1 receiver to get at least eight Fantasy points this season, with seven of eight getting 12-plus Fantasy points. But who is the Titans' top guy? With Jake Locker under center Kendall Wright has 39 targets while Nate Washington has 36. It helps to know the Rams have allowed multiple touchdowns to receivers in half of their games with 165.3 yards per game to wideouts on the year. Both are sneaky Fantasy plays.
I'd start them over: Marques Colston, Jeremy Kerley

Zac Stacy, RB, Rams: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Stacy's hobbled but expected to play after practicing in some capacity this week. That's a great thing since he's coming off a huge game vs. Seattle and has at least 80 total yards in each of his last three. The Titans have allowed five touchdowns and 159.7 total yards per game to running backs over their last three but they took on great running teams in Kansas City, Seattle and San Francisco. Stacy isn't a bad back and the Rams are sort of forced to run the ball given their quarterback woes. I'd consider him a lock for a No. 2 RB spot.
I'd start him over: Ryan Mathews, Fred Jackson

Falcons at Panthers, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

We got a glimpse at what the Falcons offense was like without much of a running game last week. It wasn't pretty. The offensive line seems to be the biggest problem as they were under siege by the Cardinals' pass rush and couldn't get much push to help the backs. The problems will continue this week against the Panthers and their beefy defensive line, meaning a tough week ahead for Steven Jackson.

No-brainers: Cam Newton

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: My Projection: 13 FPTS
I don't see how Ryan will post a big game against a Panthers defense that has allowed six passing touchdowns this season. The expectation is that the Panthers will put Ryan under a lot of pressure to force some turnovers. This is a good week to get away from Ryan knowing the Panthers haven't allowed a single quarterback to post any better than 17 Fantasy points on the season.
I'd rather start: Joe Flacco, Josh McCown

Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Falcons: My Projection: 5 FPTS
Neither running back produced much last week but don't blame them. The offensive line couldn't block well and the playcalling got away from the run (13 total carries in the game, three in the second half). Problem is, don't expect much of a change in philosophy here. The Panthers' run defense has allowed 72.6 rush yards per game and three total touchdowns to running backs all year.
I'd rather start: Trent Richardson, Donald Brown

Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons: My Projection: 9 FPTS
In the two games he's played without Julio Jones and Roddy White, Douglas has 19 catches on 25 targets. That's a ton, and the expectation is that he'll continue to get force-fed the ball. The Panthers haven't allowed a touchdown or 100 yards to a receiver since Week 2 and did a fine job containing Vincent Jackson last week (13 targets, five catches, 79 yards). I wouldn't expect Douglas to have another monster game.
No. 2 WR Flow chart: Alshon Jeffery > Jarrett Boykin > Harry Douglas > Torrey Smith > Titans WRs

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Gonzalez has been frustrating for Fantasy owners. Since Julio Jones went down he's totaled five catches for 56 yards. Defenses are taking him away, especially in the red zone. If there's an area the Panthers are susceptible it's in their defense against tight ends, where they've allowed three touchdowns to the position over the last four games, including a garbage-time job last week against the Bucs. You'll start Gonzalez based on his pedigree but it's becoming increasingly clear that the Falcons will struggle to keep his numbers high so long as his teammates don't draw away a lot of attention from him.
I'd rather start: Jordan Reed, Martellus Bennett

Mike Tolbert, RB, Panthers: My Projection: 9 FPTS
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: My Projection: 2 FPTS
An already unpredictable run game gets further muddled with the addition of Stewart, who appears ready to play. He's run full speed at practice and seems prepared to take at least a handful of snaps away from Williams and Tolbert. The whole thing makes the Panthers running backs tough to handicap save for Tolbert, who has consistently seen a lot of work near the goal line and has scored five times in the Panthers' last five games (10 times in their last 10 overall too). FYI, the matchup isn't a cake walk: Until last week the Falcons were stout against the run but got ripped for 192 yards on 29 carries, including an uncharacteristic 80-yard touchdown run by the Cardinals last week.
I'd start Tolbert over: Trent Richardson, Lamar Miller
I'd rather start over Williams and Stewart: Pierre Thomas, Brandon Bolden

Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: My Projection: 10 FPTS
The matchup is sensational for Smith. Atlanta has allowed at least one touchdown per week to a wideout as well as 10 receivers with 10-plus Fantasy points on the year, so at least one per week. That's music to Smith's ears -- he hasn't scored on the Falcons since 2009 but does have over 100 yards on them in consecutive home games against them.
I'd start him over: Antonio Brown, Steve Johnson

Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers: My Projection: 7 FPTS
The Falcons pass defense is bad all over, including against tight ends. Five have scored this season, including three in Atlanta's last four games. We could easily see Olsen contribute deep in the red zone again like he did last week.
I'd start him over: Heath Miller, Timothy Wright

Saints at Jets, Sun., 1 p.m. ET

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Rex Ryan runs the Jets defense, Rob Ryan runs the Saints defense. The twin brothers have faced off five times as defensive playcallers with Rex owning Rob, 5-0. For that to continue Rex must find a way to slow down a Saints offense averaging 28.0 points per game with a secondary thin on healthy and quality talent. If that average is any indication then the Jets' scoring average -- 17.9 -- will need some major assistance in order to keep up.

No-brainers: Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham (assuming he plays)

Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints: My Projection: 7 FPTS
Darren Sproles, RB, Saints: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Once the Saints go into clock-killing mode Sproles is off the field, period. Combine that with a matchup that suggests trouble for the run game and Sproles shouldn't be considered a reliable Fantasy option. The Jets have held running backs to 4.6 yards per catch on the year with one touchdown allowed. Thomas should continue to see the bulk of the work but the Jets' run defense remains strong, yielding just 3.2 yards per carry to running backs over their last three. If there's a glimmer of hope for Thomas it's that the Jets have allowed four rushing scores to running backs over their last four games, though Thomas has zero touchdowns on the ground all year (the Saints' rushers have two total touchdowns).
Flow chart: Trent Richardson > Pierre Thomas > Steven Jackson > Darren Sproles > C.J. Spiller

Kenny Stills, WR, Saints: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Marques Colston, WR, Saints: My Projection: 7 FPTS
Colston had six targets in the first half last week but alligator-armed a deep ball from Drew Brees late in the second quarter and didn't have a pass go his way the rest of the game. It's clear the Saints tried to get him involved but it's also clear he's not running at full speed and has a hard time getting open. Stills isn't having as much trouble getting open and has basically assumed the deep-ball role for the Saints. If the weather is clear and the Jets aren't in Brees' face play after play then you can count on Sean Payton to dial up some deep passes to Stills. We've seen Jets corners get burned this year by fast receivers, even Antonio Cromartie, so there's a little bit of a risk-reward factor with Stills, certainly more than with Colston.
Flow chart: Nate Washington > Kenny Stills > Emmanuel Sanders > Marques Colston > Marlon Brown

Geno Smith, QB, Jets: My Projection: 13 FPTS
Smith has played better at home and typically follows up a bad week with a good week, but this matchup could be too much. Only two quarterbacks have posted beyond 15 Fantasy points against the Saints this season, both completing more than one touchdown pass and more than 300 yards through the air. Seems tough to expect that from Smith, who has pulled off that feat once all year.
I'd rather start: Joe Flacco, Nick Foles

Bilal Powell, RB, Jets: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Chris Ivory, RB, Jets: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Expect the Jets to take a page out of their division rivals' playbooks and try to gash the Saints with the run. The Dolphins, Patriots and Bills all ran a bunch and totaled 274 rush yards (but just 38 receiving yards) and four rushing touchdowns against the Saints, who have allowed five total to backs. Three issues: One, the Jets can't expect to run for four quarters knowing the Saints have a penchant for scoring, because eventually they'll be behind. Two, the Jets use two backs (Ivory for run downs, Powell for pass downs) and can't expect either one to get over, say, 15 carries as only three backs have racked up at least that many against New Orleans all year. Three, neither one of the Jets' backs are reliable for Fantasy.
I'd rather start: Lamar Miller, Colts RBs, Steven Jackson

Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets: My Projection: 7 FPTS
David Nelson, WR, Jets: My Projection: 7 FPTS
Assuming both receivers play, these are the best bets to make some waves against New Orleans. The boys from the bayou have allowed at least one receiver to score in three straight games (four total in their last three). They've also allowed 164.7 receiving yards per game to wideouts on the year. It'll take a leap of faith to trust them this week though Nelson (19 targets last two weeks) should be considered a PPR sleeper much like Kerley.
I'd rather start: Emmanuel Sanders, Dwayne Bowe

Eagles at Raiders, Sun., 4:05 p.m. ET

Would you believe the Eagles are 3-1 on the road and winless at home? Maybe it's more believable when you see their wins are against bad defenses in the Redskins, Giants and Buccaneers. The Raiders defense isn't anything to write home about but they've held opponents to 330.9 yards of offense (10th best) and 21.4 points per game (12th best). A lot has been made about the Eagles' offense being sniffed out -- the Raiders are adept enough to do some things other defenses have done to at least limit some big plays.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: My Projection: 15 FPTS
The last time we saw Foles play he was a train wreck. He had time to throw but was off target, then got banged up and had to exit. Only three quarterbacks -- Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers -- have posted 20-plus Fantasy points against the Raiders. Everyone else, a list that includes Robert Griffin III and Ben Roethlisberger, has been 16 Fantasy points or less. Foles' game against the Bucs sure looks like a mirage more than ever.
I'd rather start: Ben Roethlisberger, Josh McCown

LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: My Projection: 13 FPTS
McCoy is effectively a no-brainer but you'd have to be silly to ignore his recent numbers. In his last four, a stretch mostly without Michael Vick under center, McCoy has averaged 3.4 yards per carry, 102.3 total yards per game and just one touchdown. McCoy's blocking hasn't been as sharp and he hasn't been finding holes to speed through as easily as before. He deserves the benefit of the doubt in a matchup against a Raiders team that has allowed one running back to get at least 10 Fantasy points in five straight games, but if he struggles this week then the red flag goes up.
I'd start him over: Stevan Ridley, Le'Veon Bell

DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles: My Projection: 10 FPTS
Jackson took some veiled jabs from coach Chip Kelly who suggested after last week's game that he needs to fight harder for yardage and run more North-South. Expect most of Jackson's work to come on screens but he also has the ability to haul in a deep pass or two per game. D-Jax has seven-plus targets in six of eight games -- the Raiders have allowed 9 of 13 receivers with seven or more targets to get nine-plus Fantasy points this year. For the season, Oakland has allowed just six touchdowns and three 100-yard games to receivers (three more between 90 and 99 yards).
I'd start him over: Steve Smith, Antonio Brown

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Raiders: My Projection: 19 FPTS
Only one quarterback over the Eagles' last four games has posted 20-plus Fantasy points. They have more interceptions (six) in that span than touchdowns allowed to quarterbacks (five). The effort from the Philadelphia defense specifically over its last two weeks has been really good, but it's been sort of lucky. Though they've allowed just one passing touchdown over the past two weeks, they were close to allowing three more against the Cowboys and Giants. Pryor doesn't rack up the passing touchdowns anyway -- he has one game with more than one -- but his potential gives him a chance to be a good bye-week replacement.
I'd start him over: Robert Griffin III, Tom Brady

Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: My Projection: 14 FPTS
This should be a big game for McFadden. The Eagles have allowed 109.7 total yards per game to running backs over their last three but the toughest back they've had to deal with is Doug Martin. The likes of Joseph Randle and Peyton Hillis have contributed to the Eagles' impressive run stats (or poor stats depending on what you think of their competition). McFadden's rushing average has gone south since coming back from an injury but he's had at least 19 touches in each of two games and has averaged 80.5 total yards with two touchdowns against the Chiefs and Steelers. The Eagles shouldn't be as tough.
I'd start him over: Chris Johnson, Stevan Ridley

Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders: My Projection: 12 FPTS
Moore was a disappointment last week in part because of a lack of opportunities. The Raiders got off to a big lead on the Steelers and Moore had to settle for four targets against tough cornerback Ike Taylor. The Eagles have sported some capable corners in Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams but they're not perfect. Eleven receivers have posted 10-plus Fantasy points on Philadelphia this season, many of whom doing so thanks to a lot of targets. Moore has had six-plus targets in five of seven games and has seen double-digit targets twice in his last five. He has a shot.
I'd start him over: Keenan Allen, Pierre Garcon

Buccaneers at Seahawks, Sun., 4:05 p.m. ET

There isn't much to talk about here. Tampa Bay's offense is sputtering, save for some nice throws from Mike Glennon. But with a depleted offense around him it's going to be hard for him to find a lot of points against a Seattle defense that plays its best ball at home. It's easy to imagine an 0-7 Bucs team uninspired by their current head coach mailing it in.

No-brainer: Marshawn Lynch

Mike James, RB, Buccaneers: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Coach Greg Schiano says he wants the Bucs offense to be more balanced. Well, he can wish it all he wants but it'll be tough to do against a defense that allows less than 60 rush yards per game at home. James wasn't given many chances last week and could see more this week, but it'll take a garbage time miracle for him to help Fantasy owners out.
I'd rather start: Jets RBs, Saints RBs

Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: My Projection: 9 FPTS
You can bet on the Seahawks planning to take Jackson away from the Bucs. Now that Mike Williams is done for the year, whichever receivers Tampa Bay lines up won't get the same kind of attention Jackson will. Last week we saw Jackson get 13 targets but come up with just five catches against a good Panthers defense. This one is better -- only three touchdowns have been allowed to receivers by the Seahawks this year, none in Seattle.
I'd start him over: Alshon Jeffery, Steve Johnson

Timothy Wright, TE, Buccaneers: My Projection: 6 FPTS
I'd expect Wright to get some serious numbers in the future, but not this week. The Seahawks' safeties can cover him. Only one tight end has scored on Seattle this year (Garrett Graham) and only two have had more than five Fantasy points against them.
I'd rather start: Greg Olsen, Heath Miller

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks: My Projection: 21 FPTS
The good news is that Wilson is developing as a passer; he has two or more touchdowns in three of his last four. The bad news is that Wilson's rushing totals have declined in four consecutive weeks. Defenses with tough secondaries have been especially tough on Wilson, but that's not the case this week. I'd expect the Seahawks to try to dominate the game clock and lean on Wilson to make plays in the red zone against a Bucs defense that's made Nick Foles, Matt Ryan (without his top receivers) and Cam Newton look really good over the last three weeks.
I'd start him over: Jake Locker, Andrew Luck

Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks: My Projection: 9 FPTS
The big debate is whether or not the Buccaneers will stick Darrelle Revis on Tate like they did on Steve Smith last week. Also, there's some debate that it might not matter. Tate was awesome at St. Louis but that was against a bad secondary that broke down on his second touchdown. The Bucs have allowed seven touchdowns to wideouts this year, but that includes five in their last four. I'd give Tate another chance.
I'd start him over: Kendall Wright, Torrey Smith

Ravens at Browns, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET

The Ravens have won 11 straight in the series, all with Joe Flacco under center. Flacco hasn't always done well against the Browns and specifically has struggled to put up numbers in Cleveland. That's in part because the Baltimore run game has thrived. With Ray Rice healthy coming out of the bye expect more of the same from the Ravens.

No-brainers: Josh Gordon

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: My Projection: 17 FPTS
Flacco's road track record makes him very tough to start. It's too bad -- the Browns have allowed nine passing touchdowns over their last three games, including four to tight ends and three to running backs. Maybe the Ravens take note and scheme their way to some red-zone touchdowns, but Flacco just isn't reliable enough to go with as anything more than a bye-week passer.
I'd rather start: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: My Projection: 13 FPTS
I love not seeing Rice's name on the Ravens' injury report. It suggests he's over his hip issue, which was part of the reason for his poor play. A pair of other factors remain: His O-line and his play caller. Maybe it was because of his hip injury that Rice was limited, but I'd like to see 20 touches and some tougher play from the big boys up front. The Browns have allowed 11 or more Fantasy points to each of the last four starting running backs they've faced.
I'd start him over: Danny Woodhead, Matt Forte

Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Smith was contained in the Ravens' Week 2 matchup vs. the Browns and I'd expect something similar here. Of the nine touchdowns the Browns have allowed through the air over the last three weeks, just two went to receivers (three if you count McCluster). I suspect cornerback Joe Haden will be on Smith, making the week fairly tough.
Flow chart: Alshon Jeffery > Jarrett Boykin > Torrey Smith > Danny Amendola > Marques Colston

Marlon Brown, WR, Ravens: My Projection: 7 FPTS
After getting seven-plus Fantasy points in four of his first five, we saw Brown come up empty in the Ravens' last game against the Steelers (5.5 yards per catch). But maybe part of that had to do with the tough matchup on the road. It's always worth considering non-No. 1 receivers against the Browns but there isn't much potential with Brown.
I'd start him over: Jets WRs, Darrius Heyward-Bey

Dallas Clark, TE, Ravens: My Projection: 5 FPTS
If you're desperate it's worth noting the Browns have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends in their last three games. I wouldn't be thrilled with starting Clark but he does have 10 targets (7 catches) in his last two.
Bye-week TE Flow chart: Tyler Eifert > Dallas Clark > Garrett Graham > Kyle Rudolph

Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Cameron's Fantasy totals the last few games haven't all been prolific but in terms of impactful Fantasy tight ends he's been solid. Only one game this year has been below six Fantasy points with his last two being worth 11 and eight points. The Ravens have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in two of their last three games and a minimum of seven Fantasy points to a tight end in each of those last three.
I'd start him over: Jordan Reed, Tony Gonzalez

Steelers at Patriots, Sun., 4:25 p.m. ET

Say what you will about the state of the Patriots these days but they've had the Steelers' number. Under Tom Brady the Pats are 6-2 against Pittsburgh, including a pair of postseason games. In both losses (both in Pittsburgh) the Patriots barely ran the football. That combined with Brady's uneven play could push the Patriots to continue leaning on their ground game.

No-brainers: Rob Gronkowski

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: My Projection: 17 FPTS
The Patriots have allowed four quarterbacks to complete two touchdowns on them this season but still have more interceptions (10) than passing scores allowed (nine). Roethlisberger has only one game with multiple scores and it's his only one with over 20 Fantasy points. He's OK as a low-end, bye-week quarterback, but with the Pats getting cornerback Aqib Talib back and likely to focus in on Antonio Brown, it's asking too much for a big game from Roethlisberger.
Bye-week QB Flow chart: Jake Locker > Terrelle Pryor > Alex Smith > Ben Roethlisberger > Joe Flacco

Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: My Projection: 12 FPTS
It took a late touchdown to save Bell's stat line last week. In the last four weeks the Patriots have allowed 160.5 total yards per game to running backs with four total touchdowns. I was surprised to see Bell get just 13 carries last week but he supplemented it with five catches, a nice perk. I'd expect Bell to get at least the same amount of total touches on Sunday with better results.
I'd start him over: Matt Forte, Chargers RBs

Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: My Projection: 10 FPTS
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Of the five touchdowns receivers have scored on the Pats this year, three have come in the last three weeks (one per game). None of those scores came on cornerback Aqib Talib and two were deep in the red zone caught by shifty short-area receivers like Brown. No word on if Talib will stick on Brown but he'll be a problem for the Steelers' pass attack either way. I don't have a lot of faith in any of these guys; Brown should at least be as productive as he's been but Sanders is a boom-or-bust candidate.
I'd start Brown over: Vincent Jackson, Jarrett Boykin
I'd start Sanders over: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jeremy Kerley, Dexter McCluster

Heath Miller, TE, Steelers: My Projection: 7 FPTS
The Pats have been impeccable against tight ends save for a meltdown against Tony Gonzalez in Week 4. Every other tight end has posted 61 yards or less with no scores. Miller's yardage has dropped over the last two weeks (under 20 yards in each game) but he's still a relevant part of the Steelers offense. If the Pats cornerbacks put enough pressure on the Steelers receivers then Miller could be in line for a lot of targets.
I'd start him over: Timothy Wright, Jason Witten

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: My Projection: 17 FPTS
I wrote extensively on Brady earlier this week so I'll keep it concise here: The matchup is horrible (one quarterback has over 20 Fantasy points), his offensive line is a concern and the Steelers might come after him with some blitz pressure to get him off target because his receivers aren't huge threats to put up big numbers. I'd give Brady the next three weeks off -- he's on bye in Week 10 and plays at Carolina in Week 11.
I'd rather start: Jake Locker, Terrelle Pryor, Alex Smith

Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots: My Projection: 12 FPTS
Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots: My Projection: 6 FPTS
When you think Steelers defense you think about a tough unit against the run. Not this year. I reviewed the game against Oakland last week and saw a defensive line that struggled with Oakland's so-so big men. The Steelers allowed nine rushing touchdowns last year; they've already allowed as many this year. I expect Ridley to keep his touchdown streak alive with Bolden to pitch in and potentially come up with another score to help his final stat line.
I'd start Ridley over: Giovani Bernard, Fred Jackson, Alfred Morris
I'd start Bolden over: DeAngelo Williams, Steven Jackson, Jets RBs

Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Aaron Dobson, WR, Patriots: My Projection: 7 FPTS
These are the only two Pats wideouts I'd feel even sort of comfortable starting, and the truth is that I'm not real excited about either one. Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor played lights out last week and should contain whoever he's lined up against while the rest of the Steelers defense focuses on the rest of the unit. For the season, only three receivers have scored on the Steelers and only two have posted 10-plus Fantasy points against them. Over the last three weeks, no receiver has scored or posted more than 61 yards on Pittsburgh. This is a tall order for both guys.
I'd rather start: Titans WRs, DeAndre Hopkins

Colts at Texans, Sun., 8:30 p.m. ET

There are a slew of intriguing storylines to this game but none is larger than how the Colts will operate without No. 1 receiver Reggie Wayne. Defenses should just about play them the same way -- no one wants to get burned deep by T.Y. Hilton or Darrius Heyward-Bey. That suggests a lot of underneath stuff could open up for the Colts, potentially helping the tight ends and running backs.

Andrew Luck, QB, Colts: My Projection: 20 FPTS
Without a No. 1 receiver it's tough to trust Luck, but there are some ways he can come through. We've seen him unafraid to run the football when a play breaks down and we've seen him lean on all of his weapons, not just one or two guys. Only one of the last five quarterbacks to face Houston have thrown for multiple touchdowns (and post over 20 Fantasy points), though that list includes four quarterbacks that attempted fewer than 25 pass attempts. Luck has thrown at least 26 passes in six straight and over 30 pass attempts in three of his last four.
Flow chart: Russell Wilson > Jake Locker > Andrew Luck > Terrelle Pryor > Tom Brady

Trent Richardson, RB, Colts: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Donald Brown, RB, Colts: My Projection: 6 FPTS
The Texans' run defense hasn't been dangerous and losing linebacker Brian Cushing could hurt them further. They've yielded 130.2 total yards per game and five rushing touchdowns over their last five games to running backs, with four backs tallying at least 12 Fantasy points in that span. Obviously that's great, but the Colts' run game has been a mess since Richardson joined the team. We've seen Brown start to pick up a decent chunk of work over the last few weeks, picking up more Fantasy points than Richardson in the last two. For now I'll tout Richardson still as a touchdown candidate with Brown a potential No. 3 running back.
Flow chart: Ryan Mathews > Trent Richardson > Pierre Thomas > Donald Brown > Steven Jackson

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Colts: My Projection: 7 FPTS
If there's a consistent strength in the Texans defense it's in the secondary as their cornerbacks have played really well. Houston has allowed five touchdowns to receivers, including one in its last five games. No receiver has gone for 100 yards on them this year, none have had more than 70 over their last four games. I'd look for better matchups down the line for these guys, but Hilton's upside is still keeping his Fantasy value afloat.
I'd start Hilton over: Golden Tate, Torrey Smith
I'd start over DHB: Dwayne Bowe, Marlon Brown

Coby Fleener, TE, Colts: My Projection: 8 FPTS
The Texans have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in two of their last three games. That's about the only good stat here as every other tight end except Vernon Davis has had under 50 yards receiving. The sense here is that Fleener should pick up a decent amount of targets in the wake of Wayne's injury. He's a short-range option for Luck to hit and one he's comfortable with at that. There's enough potential to make him a decent starter.
I'd start him over: Greg Olsen, Jason Witten

Arian Foster, RB, Texans: My Projection: 14 FPTS
Though he practiced on Thursday and Friday there's still a little concern about Foster in this game. The Colts have allowed one rushing touchdown in their last four but have allowed a pair of 100-yard rushers over their last three and have yielded 10 Fantasy points to three straight starters. I'd feel pretty good going with Foster.
I'd start him over: Chris Johnson, Stevan Ridley

Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: My Projection: 12 FPTS
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Don't look now but the Colts have allowed five touchdowns in their last three games to wide receivers, including two games with two receivers scoring a touchdown. Keenum proved in his last game that he's not a complete train wreck of a quarterback and the time off probably helped him prepare for this matchup. I'd expect a lot of catches for Johnson and some light coverage on Hopkins, making both appealing at different Fantasy tiers.
I'd start Johnson over: Denarius Moore, DeSean Jackson
I'd start Hopkins over: Danny Amendola, Saints WRs

Bears at Packers, Mon., 8:40 p.m. ET

We're going to find out just how good Marc Trestman's offensive scheme really is. With Jay Cutler the team averaged 7.3 points per quarter. Josh McCown held his own to help the offense tally 24 points in a half back in Week 7, but that was at Washington. The Packers defense has been much tougher. The Packers have habitually been tough on Matt Forte and lured Cutler into mistakes and chances are they'll try to do the same with McCown, though the way Forte's been playing he could end up making them pay.

No-brainers: Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall; Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson

Josh McCown, QB, Bears: My Projection: 16 FPTS
I wouldn't expect McCown to play like Cutler but I wouldn't expect a total collapse either. McCown came in admirably in Week 7, completing 70 pct. of his passes for 10.2 yards per attempt. He's not afraid to go downfield and his receiving corps should help him out quite a bit. One issue: Four of the last five quarterbacks to play Green Bay have fallen under 18 Fantasy points, a list that includes Andy Dalton and a Megatron-less Matthew Stafford. Consider McCown part of the bye-week quarterback group.
Bye-week QB Flow chart: Alex Smith > Ben Roethlisberger > Joe Flacco > Josh McCown > Nick Foles

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears: My Projection: 9 FPTS
With three games over 100 yards in his last four, Jeffery is a tough guy to get away from. The receiver stepped up to help McCown at Washington, collecting four of five passes sent his way for 105 yards in the second half. The Packers allowed seven touchdowns to receivers in their first five games, none since. No receiver has had 100 yards against them since Week 2 and only one receiver (Tandon Doss) has more than 75 yards against them in that same span.
I'd start him over: Jarrett Boykin, Harry Douglas

Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Bennett came to McCown's rescue in Week 7, scoring on his lone catch from 7 yards out. For McCown to have success he'll need to involve Bennett, who hasn't been quite as productive as we had hoped. The Packers have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in two of their last three and at least 50 yards to a tight end in four straight.
I'd start him over: Tony Gonzalez, Heath Miller

James Starks, RB, Packers: My Projection: 4 FPTS
Starks had seven carries for 57 yards including a 25-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Vikings last week. We could see Starks get as many carries this week and potentially sport a successful rushing average, but it's tough to expect him to be valuable otherwise.
I'd rather start: Donald Brown, Jets RBs

Jarrett Boykin, WR, Packers: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Boykin has filled in nicely for the Packers with their receiving corps thin. Through two weeks, he's collected 13 of 16 targets for 192 yards and a touchdown. Not bad. The Bears have allowed six passing touchdowns in their last four games -- three to receivers -- with 131.0 yards per game to the position in that span.
I'd start him over: T.Y. Hilton, Marvin Jones, Golden Tate

Bengals at Dolphins, Thu., 8:25 p.m. ET

Last week the Dolphins were able to compete because of the matchup for their run game. That matchup is completely different here as the Bengals are allowing 3.5 yards per carry to running backs in their last three. Expect Ryan Tannehill to eventually put the Dolphins on his back, something that hasn't worked out for Miami in a month.

No-brainers: A.J. Green

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: My Projection: 21 FPTS
The Dolphins haven't allowed even 10 Fantasy points to three straight quarterbacks, so there's a chance Dalton falls back to earth this week. Miami's cornerbacks and pass rush has been solid -- it's been up the middle of the defense that's been a problem. He'll have to connect with his running backs and tight ends to come through. Dalton has 10 touchdowns and over 1,000 passing yards in his last three games -- no one is hotter, making him tough to bench.
I'd start him over: Andrew Luck, Terrelle Pryor

Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: My Projection: 11 FPTS
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals: My Projection: 8 FPTS
I'd expect both backs to get back on track. The Dolphins have allowed five rushing touchdowns and 143.3 total yards per game to running backs in their last three games. We've been waiting for a matchup for Bernard to put up some good numbers -- he's been awful in four of his last five. This should be the week.
I'd start Bernard over: Fred Jackson, Alfred Morris
I'd start Green-Ellis over: Lamar Miller, Pierre Thomas

Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals: My Projection: 9 FPTS
Expect an uptick in playing time, but Jones will have a tough time collecting a touchdown in his fourth straight game because the Dolphins have been solid against opposing receivers. Aaron Dobson was the first wideout to score on Miami this season last week. The last five non-No. 1 receivers have had 60 yards or less against the Dolphins with only Dobson getting over 10 Fantasy points.
Flow chart: Jarrett Boykin > T.Y. Hilton > Marvin Jones > Kendall Wright > Mike Wallace

Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals: My Projection: 6 FPTS
Eifert was targeted on two end-zone passes last week and had one bounce right off his hands. The stats say Miami hasn't allowed a touchdown to a tight end since Week 4 but Rob Gronkowski had one called back last week by a penalty. I wouldn't count on Eifert expecting for a big game but there is some potential there.
Bye-week TE Flow chart: Timothy Wright > Tyler Eifert > Dallas Clark > Zach Miller

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins: My Projection: 14 FPTS
If we're expecting Tannehill to throw a lot then the stats should follow. Cincinnati's secondary has been hit or miss, containing the likes of Aaron Rodgers but bending to Thad Lewis. I would expect Tannehill to be under a lot of pressure which could limit the number of deep plays he makes. Two of the last three quarterbacks to face the Bengals have posted 25-plus Fantasy points but four of the last seven have posted 14 or less.
I'd rather start: Joe Flacco, Josh McCown

Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins: My Projection: 7 FPTS
Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins: My Projection: 3 FPTS
The Bengals haven't allowed a touchdown to a running back in its last four games and only Reggie Bush has done enough work to total over 90 yards in their last five. But for what it's worth the Dolphins catch the Bengals without starter Rey Maualuga, a key run defender. There could be some opportunities there for both guys to pick up some ground on a defense challenged to turn it around on a short week.
Flow chart: BenJarvus Green-Ellis > Lamar Miller > Pierre Thomas > Jacquizz Rodgers > Daniel Thomas

Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins: My Projection: 6 FPTS
The Bengals have allowed 10-plus Fantasy points to two receivers over their last three games, both doing well on deep passes. That seems to suit Wallace, and the Dolphins will take their shots, but Wallace has 10-plus targets in three straight games and has one 100-yard game, two sub-80 yard games and no touchdowns to show for them.
I'd rather start: Golden Tate, Kendall Wright

Charles Clay, TE, Dolphins: My Projection: 8 FPTS
Clay has begun to emerge as a favorite of Tannehill's, picking up eight targets last week. It's the most he's had this year and it came in the game where security blanket Brandon Gibson got hurt. I could see Clay taking advantage of more opportunities. The Bengals have afforded a tight end touchdown in two of their last three; Clay has scored in three of his last four.
Flow chart: Jordan Reed > Coby Fleener > Charles Clay > Jason Witten > Scott Chandler

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Player News
Cowboys OT R.J. Dill suspended four games for PEDs
by Sean d'Oliveira |
(8/28/2015) The NFL suspended Cowboys backup offensive lineman R.J. Dill for four games after he was found to be in violation of the league's performance enhancing substance abuse policy, the league announced Friday.

Dill was not expected to make the team's roster and was competing for a backup role.

Broncos sign TE Dan Light, waive WR Solomon Patton
by Marty Gitlin |
(8/28/2015) The Broncos have announced that they have signed tight end Dan Light and waived wide receiver Solomon Patton to make room on the roster.

Patton, who was claimed off waivers in May from Tampa Bay, has yet to catch a pass in the NFL.

Light is a rookie free agent out of Fordham who impressed the team during a tryout Friday. He caught 177 passes over four years at the college level.

Buccaneers WR Kenny Bell a no-go for Saturday game
by Marty Gitlin |
(8/28/2015) A hamstring strain will prevent Buccaneers rookie wide receiver Kenny Bell from playing in the preseason game Saturday against Cleveland, per the Tampa Tribune.

Bell also dealt with a hamstring issue in June. It remains to be seen how long this one keeps him sidelined.

Steelers expect Maurkice Pouncey to miss first eight games
by Sean d'Oliveira |
(8/28/2015) The Steelers are expecting to place center Maurkice Pouncey on the injured reserve/designated to return list, which would keep him sidelined for the first eight games of the season, according to the team's official website.

Pouncey is dealing with a broken fibula, which he suffered during a recent preseason game.

Titans RB David Cobb dealing with calf injury
by Sean d'Oliveira |
(8/28/2015) Titans running back David Cobb will not play in Friday's preseason game at Kansas City due to an injured calf, reports The Tennessean.

Cobb suffered the injury during Thursday's practice. He had been receiving some first-team reps.

Jets sign backup QB Josh Johnson
by Marty Gitlin |
(8/27/2015) The Jets have signed Josh Johnson after working him out Thursday. They released fellow backup quarterback Jake Heaps to create roster space.

Johnson has played in 29 career games, but has not thrown a pass since 2011. He has completed 54 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III cleared for Saturday game
by Marty Gitlin |
(8/27/2015) Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is ready to roll for the third preseason game Saturday in Baltimore, per the Washington Post.

Griffin was diagnosed as symptom-free from the concussion he sustained last week against Detroit.

Report: Giants SS Nat Behre done for year with calf injury
by Marty Gitlin |
(8/27/2015) Nat Berhe is apparently the latest Giants safety to have his season ended before it really began. He will have calf surgery Friday, sources have told per

Three other Giants safeties have already been lost for the year.

Behre played in all 16 games, but started none for the Giants as a rookie in 2014 and contributed to 14 tackles.

Timetable pushed back for Colts CB Greg Toler (neck)
by Marty Gitlin |
(8/27/2015) Colts cornerback Greg Toler is no longer considered day-to-day with a neck injury. He's week-to-week, which causes concern that he will not be ready when the team opens its regular season on Sept. 13 in Buffalo, per ESPN.

Toler sustained the injury Saturday in a preseason game against Chicago.

Bucs WR Mike Evans (hamstring) targeting Week 1 return
by Michael Hurcomb |
(8/27/2015) Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, who sustained a hamstring injury in the second preseason game against the Bengals, is targeting a Week 1 return.

Evans said if it were the regular season, he would play this week. However, he said resting is the way to go to make sure he is 100 percent by the Sept. 13 opener against the Titans.

"I think it’s smart," Evans said of sitting the final two preseason games, per "There’s nothing to risk. I’ve already proved myself and I’m just trying to get back for Week 1."

One benefit of playing the last two games would be to get more work with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. However, Evans said building rapport is not an issue.

"I’ve had enough," Evans said. "We’ll be ready for Week 1. We’re both professionals."

Evans had a pretty strong rookie campaign, totaling 68 catches for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, he is expecting better things in 2015 because of Winston's arrival and his new role in coordinator Dirk Koetter's offense.

"I’m just so much more comfortable with this offense," Evans said. "There are a lot of plays to be made in this offense. I’m playing the X this year. I like it more and I’ll get more opportunities."