Fantasy Football: Eagles’ Foles not a long-term solution, but he helps Cooper - The Buffalo News
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Fantasy Football: Eagles’ Foles not a long-term solution, but he helps Cooper

Throwing seven touchdown passes in an NFL game is the type of thing that tends to get you noticed.

That’s the case this week with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who has seen his ownership in ESPN fantasy football leagues shoot up by nearly 20 percent following his 406-yard, seven-touchdown performance in Week Nine against Oakland. That tied an NFL record and was good for 45 fantasy points.

With Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffering a collarbone injury that will keep him out for at least a few weeks, there are several fantasy teams with a need at the position. So can Foles hold down the fort?

He has had a pair of terrific fantasy games this season – also putting up 29 points with a 296-yard, three-touchdown game against Tampa Bay in Week Six. But the Eagles’ offense is not one to be trusted.

Consider: In their six games prior to facing Oakland, Eagles quarterbacks had combined for six touchdown passes. Philadelphia had not scored an offensive touchdown in its two previous games before exploding against the Raiders.

Complicating matters is Foles’ long-term outlook. Coach Chip Kelly has not committed to him as the starter once Michael Vick is healthy.

So should you trust Foles in your lineup? His opponent Sunday, the Green Bay Packers, gave up 272 yards and two touchdowns to Josh McCown in Week Nine. Foles is worth a spot start if you need a replacement for Rodgers or your quarterback is on bye, but he needs to prove he can be more consistent before becoming an every-week starter.

Foles’ presence in the Eagles’ lineup does give added fantasy value to receiver Riley Cooper. Foles’ two best games of the season have also been Cooper’s, who has had 259 yards in receptions and four touchdowns against Tampa Bay and Oakland. Rookie tight end Zach Ertz is also beginning to overtake Brent Celek as the No. 1 option at his position with the Eagles. Ertz, who scored his first career touchdown last week, has 21 targets over the past four games, compared to just 12 for Celek.

Mike & Mike good adds

Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin (shoulder) remains out of the lineup, opening up a spot for Mike James. He took advantage last week by rushing for an out-of-nowhere 158 yards on 28 carries and also throwing a touchdown pass against Seattle. James has a favorable matchup on Monday Night Football against Miami.

In Jacksonville, Justin Blackmon has been suspended for the rest of the season, opening a spot in the starting lineup for receiver Mike Brown. He’s had eight catches for 163 yards and a touchdown in the past two weeks. His matchup Sunday against Tennessee is a tough one, but Brown is worth stashing on your bench for depth.

Harvin, Crabtree close

A pair of potential No. 1 receivers in Seattle’s Percy Harvin and San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree are nearing a return to their respective lineups.

Harvin has been practicing with the Seahawks and is considered “day to day” by coach Pete Carroll as he nears his season debut after hip surgery.

Crabtree, meanwhile, practiced for the first time this week after offseason surgery to repair a torn Achilles. He’s not as close as Harvin to a return, but could help during the fantasy postseason. He’s worth stashing on your bench, just in case.

Analyze the Bills

Quarterback EJ Manuel is expected to return for the Bills and will face a defense that gave up a franchise-record 55 points last week to New England. Manuel has not done enough in his young career to warrant being used in a fantasy lineup.

Running back C.J. Spiller had a 100-yard game last week, finally providing some production for fantasy owners. The Steelers are not their usual stout selves against the run, allowing an average of 19.9 points per game to opposing running backs. That makes Spiller and Fred Jackson good options as No. 2 running backs, even though they appear headed for the dreaded “time share.”

Manuel’s return – and a soft Steelers secondary – should be a boost for receiver Stevie Johnson, who had a pair of touchdown catches with the rookie under center, but only one since then. Johnson is a No. 2 receiver this week.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for multiple touchdowns in a game just twice this season, but is coming off a 400-yard, four-touchdown effort against New England. The Bills have surrendered multiple passing touchdowns in all but two games, so Roethlisberger appears to be a good replacement quarterback this week. His favorite target is deep threat Antonio Brown, who has only three touchdowns but is on pace for 122 catches.

Pittsburgh rookie running back Le’Veon Bell averages about 20 touches per game, making him a safe play in a flex position.


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