Fresh off a goose egg against the lowly Rams in a dream Week 12 home spot where the Saints put up 49 points, Brandin Cooks is reportedly upset with his role in New Orleans. Not only did Cooks not catch a ball in the lopsided win, he wasn’t even targeted by Drew Brees.
ESPN Saints reporter Mike Triplett reports “this isn’t a new issue.” On the season, Cooks is averaging 6.5 targets per game. That’s down from a 7.9 mark in 2015. Obviously, the addition of rookie Michael Thomas to the offense has played a big role in Cooks’ dip in targets. Thomas played more snaps than Cooks last week, and has been in on more plays in total for the season. Brees is quickly realizing that Thomas may actually be his best pass catcher.
Just because Thomas may be the Saints’ new No. 1 receiver, that doesn’t mean Cooks should be seeing zero targets. And it doesn’t mean that trend is likely to continue. Week 13 at home against the Lions presents a pristine bounce-back spot for Brees to grease the squeaky wheel that is Cooks. The Lions have been playing better pass defense of late, but it’s important to note that their past four games have been against Sam Bradford (twice), Brock Osweiler, and Blake Bortles. Those are some of the easiest matchups imaginable. Brees is a different animal. Cooks should be fired up with confidence in season-long leagues, and he makes for a great DFS tournament play.
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In Other News…
One of the rising stars at receiver heading into the fantasy playoffs, Tyrell Williams was forced from the Week 12 win over the Texans with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter. Speaking Monday, coach Mike McCoy said Williams was “good.” But on Tuesday, it was revealed Williams is dealing with a labrum issue in his right shoulder. He tore the labrum as a senior in college in 2014 but was able to play through it. A torn labrum is what ended Eric Decker’s season earlier this year. It’s unclear if Williams tore it again, but we should learn more through the week. Williams is seventh among all receivers in targets per game (10.7) over the past month. Keenan Allen (knee) is already out for the season. Dontrelle Inman would get a big boost if Williams has to miss time.
John Brown was again forced from the Cardinals’ Week 12 loss to the Falcons with yet another hamstring injury. It’s been a tumultuous season for the 26-year-old. In a radio interview this week, coach Bruce Arians said the latest issue is again related to Brown’s sickle-cell trait. He’s visiting specialists this week, which obviously puts Brown in doubt for Week 13 against the Redskins. In his absence last week, Michael Floyd took over as the clear No. 2 receiver. Jermaine Gresham also saw a team-high 10 targets and played 94 percent of the snaps. Gresham is on the streaming map.
Falcons top CB Desmond Trufant has officially been diagnosed with a torn pectorals muscle and will miss the remainder of the season. It’s a massive loss for a defense that has already been getting shredded by quarterbacks, giving up the most fantasy points to the position. Jalen Collins and Robert Alford will handle outside corner duties, with rookie Brian Poole continuing to cover the slot.
Speaking Tuesday, coach Mike Zimmer said Adrian Peterson (knee, I.R.) is “probably ahead of schedule” in his recovery. He was seen running sprints on a side field during Tuesday’s practice. Peterson has yet to be designated as the Vikings’ return player from I.R., but Minnesota appears to be saving it for him. He’s not going to play this week and can probably be ruled out for Week 14 as well. The earliest Peterson might return is Week 15 or 16. Fantasy owners with an open bench spot can take a dice-roll on Peterson, but don’t hold your breath for production.
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Quarterback & Running Back Slants
If Robert Griffin III (shoulder) makes the Week 14 start, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo expects him to keep the job remainder of the season. RGIII has been cleared for full contact. The Browns, on their bye, have been cycling quarterbacks all year. … Patriots signed RB/WR D.J. Foster back to their practice squad after waiving him from the 53-man roster on Monday. … Giants placed Orleans Darkwa (leg) on I.R. … Bucs waived RB Mike James. … Sam Bradford (ankle) was limited in Tuesday’s practice. … Ryan Mathews (knee) remains day to day. … Brock Osweiler has completed just 26 percent of his passes 15-plus yards downfield. … The Cowboys have no plans to reduce Ezekiel Elliott’s workload. … Aaron Rodgers (hamstring) said he’ll be fine for Week 13.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Slants
Jordan Cameron (concussion, I.R.) said he’ll make a decision about his playing future after the season. He has a long history of brain injuries. … Eli Manning said he apologized to Sterling Shepard for not targeting him in the Week 12 win over the Browns. … Bucs waived WR Louis Murphy off the reserve/PUP list. … Bills promoted WR Dezmin Lewis from the practice squad. WR Walter Powell (ankle) was sent to I.R. The Bills also signed QB-turned-TE Logan Thomas to their active roster off the Lions’ practice squad. … Stefon Diggs (knee) practiced again on Tuesday. … Coach Mike Tomlin said he expects Ladarius Green to play increased snaps moving forward. … Jordan Matthews has been diagnosed with a sprained ankle but is expected to play Week 13. … Bears promoted WR Daniel Braverman from their practice squad.
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