The trade deadline has come and gone without many of the key names we were watching get moved. Kate Magdziuk detailed a bunch of the "Trades that could have been" in yesterday’s Dose but one potential trade didn’t get leaked until Wednesday.
Devonta Freeman was nearly a Detroit Lion
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Lions and Falcons talked "at length" about a Devonta Freeman trade ahead of Tuesday's deadline. The Falcons ultimately decided they weren’t interested in trading Freeman despite their current situation at 1-7. They should have been a prime candidate to start selling players – especially the 27-year-old running back – if the price was right.
The majority of Freeman’s fantasy value this season has come through the air with just 333 yards and no touchdowns while rushing and 35 receptions for 272 yards and three touchdowns as a pass-catcher. The offensive line has really struggled and the Falcons have frequently rotated in other backs. Atlanta has a Week 9 bye and will match up against the Saints in Week 10. Even with suspect production on the ground so far, Freeman could be a good buy-low candidate heading into the fantasy playoffs as he draws the run-deficient Panthers and Jaguars in Weeks 14 and 16 with a tough Week 15 draw against the 49ers.
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Thursday Night Football
This week’s Thursday night contest pits the Arizona Cardinals against the undefeated San Francisco 49ers in Arizona. The 49ers are 10-point favorites with a total of 42.5 or 43 depending on which sportsbook you are looking at. This puts the projected score based on implied team totals at 26.5-16, 49ers. The Cardinals have scored 17-or-more points in 6-of-8 games this season while the 49ers have allowed 17-or-more in just 3-of-7 games this year.
The 49ers offense draws a stellar matchup against an Arizona defense that has been rinsed for 21-or-more points in every game and allowed 27-or-more in 5-of-8 contests. They have been getting roughhoused on both the air and ground, ranking 28th in both passing and rushing success rate allowed. The 49ers offense has shined in every game outside of the weather-affected game against the Redskins. If we remove that from the sample, the 49ers have averaged 33 points per game. Tevin Coleman is in a really good spot here and has been utilized as the lead back since returning from injury. Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert are also considered questionable which could give a boost to Coleman’s workload. George Kittle also has a fantastic matchup against a Cardinals Defense which has been routinely rinsed by good tight ends this season.
The Cardinals Offense has predictably been all over the place this season with a rookie quarterback, a new head coach, a subpar offensive line, and a mosh posh of pass-catchers. This is a tough matchup for Kyler Murray and company against the 49ers who rank No. 1 in Football Outsiders DVOA and No. 1 in QB pressure rate. They are a bit more susceptible against the run but with Chase Edmonds already declared out and David Johnson nursing an ankle injury, it might be tough for the Cardinals to get going. They recently traded for RB Kenyan Drake who will reportedly “play in some capacity” but it’s tough to trust a player in his first game with a new team just days after getting traded there. Beyond Drake, Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris both could be in play if David Johnson is to sit. Christian Kirk returned last week and slid right back into that No. 1 wide receiver role but in this matchup, I would proceed with caution before starting him or anyone else on this side.
TNF Prediction: 27-17 49ers
6-2 on TNF predictions
Cameron Brate (ribs) and OJ Howard did not participate in practice on Wednesday. The Bucs called up TE Jordan Leggett from the practice squad in a corresponding move. Brate is a dart-throw streamer if he’s able to find his way back onto the field and OJ Howard is out for this week’s game against the Seahawks. Neither player has much value in this Bucs offense.
Sterling Shepard (concussion) shed his non-contact jersey at Wednesday's practice. This is a great sign for his potential availability, especially since their game isn’t until Monday Night. Shephard would provide a significant boost for rookie QB Daniel Jones and the Giants Offense. They match up against Dallas this week and will need all the offensive firepower they have to pull a win.
Miles Sanders (shoulder) is not practicing Wednesday. This is a bad start to the week for Sanders who got banged up in the second half of last week’s game against the Bills. Most reports are optimistic on his injury which is thought to be “minor” but until he gets in a limited practice it’s fair to remain skeptical of his availability. If he’s unable to go, Jordan Howard will be locked into a massive workload in a revenge game against the Bears.
Marquise Brown (ankle) returned to practice Wednesday. After sitting out the two games before the bye, Brown has had plenty of time to heal up. Barring a setback, Brown looks to be on track to play. Unfortunately, he draws an extremely tough matchup against Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore who has been playing lights-out this season.
Coach Matt LaFleur said Davante Adams (toe) is day to day. Adams is apparently ramping up his sideline work and is running faster during practice but is still “limited.” This is a good sign for his potential availability but it’s no guarantee he suits up against the Chargers in Week 9. If he’s unable to go, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard will continue to soak up snaps as the Packers wideouts.
Dede Westbrook (shoulder) was limited for Wednesday's practice. Westbrook was injured during Sunday’s game against the Jets and didn’t return. A limited practice is a good sign for his potential availability but if he’s unable to go, look for D.J. Chark to be the undisputed No. 1 option in that offense against a banged-up Houston Texans secondary.
Patrick Mahomes (knee) was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice. Even though there were rumors of Mahomes playing last week, it’s still really early for him to return after a semi-serious injury that should hold him out multiple weeks. It’s tough to know for sure what the Chiefs will do but a limited participation in practice is certainly a good sign. If he’s able to play against the Vikings on Sunday it will likely end up as one of the highest-scoring games of the week.
Sam Darnold (thumb) is practicing in full for Week 9 against the Dolphins. This is a good sign for his potential availability in a prime bounce-back spot against Miami. …. DeSean Jackson (abdomen) is participating in individual drills at Wednesday's practice. Slowly but surely he’s getting there. He would provide a much-needed lid-lifting option for this Eagles Offense if he does end up playing. … Washington coach Bill Callahan said LT Trent Williams (scalp) failed his physical. This is a disaster of a situation that was only amplified by the Redskins’ careless handling of it all. It’s very unlikely Williams takes another snap in a Redskins uniform this season. … James Conner (shoulder) was sidelined for Wednesday's practice. This isn’t a surprise as he is expected to miss a bit of time after suffering a shoulder injury in last week’s win over the Dolphins. His participation in practice is something to monitor in the coming days. … Raiders backup C Andre James (ankle) was sidelined for Wednesday's practice. In addition to James, Rodney Hudson’s expected to miss some time with a high-ankle sprain. This means the Raiders could be without both of their centers and leaving them in a tough situation. It’s something to monitor going forward. … Adam Thielen (hamstring) was limited in Wednesday's practice. Thielen looks to be on track to suit up in Week 9 against the Chiefs. This game has blow-up potential if Patrick Mahomes suits up and both offenses are forced to go toe-to-toe.