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Believe it or not, we’re nearly a quarter of the way through the NFL regular season. Time flies when you’re having fun! Tuesday isn’t necessarily the most fun day of the football week, but that doesn’t mean yesterday was completely uneventful. Let’s touch on the most important news and notes from around the league with an eye on fantasy football.
Montgomery suffered a knee sprain near the end of Chicago’s Week 4 win over the Lions, and it’s expected to cost him 4-5 weeks. It’s a tough blow for Montgomery, who had picked up right where he left off at the end of last season as the Bears’ workhorse runner.
Damien Williams – who also suffered an injury in Week 4, although it’s just a minor thigh bruise that shouldn’t cost him any time – is Montgomery’s direct backup. He stepped in against the Lions before exiting the game himself, which opened things up for sixth-round rookie Khalil Herbert to play seven offensive snaps. Williams has shown three-down potential in spurts before, most notably in 2018 when he operated as the Chiefs’ RB1 during their run to the Super Bowl. Williams was already playing sparingly on passing downs before Montgomery got hurt, and he now will assume a larger early-down role as Chicago’s lead back gets healthy.
The aforementioned Herbert is also worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues. Herbert was a late bloomer who didn’t produce much during four years at Kansas – which, truth be told, is never a good sign – before breaking out at Virginia Tech in 2020. Herbert scored well in speed and agility drills and won the Bears’ RB3 job during the offseason.
Williams is arguably the premier waiver wire pickup of the week now that he has the job to himself for a month. Herbert is relevant in deeper leagues too. Montgomery is a hold and should reassume Bears RB1 duties upon his return.
Big Ben Dealing with Hip Issue
It sounds like a minor injury, but Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said practice will guide Roethlisberger’s Week 5 preparation, so monitor injury reports during the week to ensure the veteran gunslinger is healthy enough to play. Even if he’s not, there’s likely not a huge gap in ability between Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph. Big Ben is averaging just 6.1 yards per attempt so far (after posting a 6.3 yards per attempt mark last season) and has as many interceptions as touchdowns (four each). Pittsburgh’s offense has been dreadful through four weeks, although it has been able to sustain weapons who operate close to the line of scrimmage, such as Diontae Johnson and Najee Harris. All Steelers offensive players are merely volume bets at the moment, as it’s difficult to trust Roethlisberger and the offensive line.
Teddy Bridgewater in Concussion Protocol
Bridgewater still has a shot to play on Sunday, which would render this portion worthless. Drew Lock struggled in Week 4, averaging only 5.4 yards per attempt and throwing one pick late in the game. It’s not like Bridgewater is this awesome quarterback whose absence would torpedo Denver’s skill players, but it’s fair to give them a minor ding for Week 5 if Lock is under center. With that being said, you can pencil in Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, and Tim Patrick for fantasy-viable volume, so all are at least decent options regardless of who’s under center.
The Dysfunctionality of Urban Meyer‘s Jaguars
The NFL’s most interesting reality show continued on Tuesday with the Jaguars releasing the following statement on Urban Meyer‘s latest antics.
Numerous reports throughout the day suggested Meyer has lost control of the locker room – the exact opposite of what you want to hear for the sake of one of the most valuable assets in the league in Trevor Lawrence.
The moral complications are apparent, but it’s concerning from a football standpoint that the head coach ditched an 0-4 team after Thursday Night Football and ended up going out to a bar in Ohio. The Meyer regime has perhaps gone even worse than predicted, and it seems to be legitimately up in the air whether he makes it through the season with his job. There is a bevy of capable candidates to take over next offseason – Brian Daboll, Eric Bieniemy, and Joe Brady likely top the list right now – and that’ll be a much better environment for Lawrence to reach the heights many predicted for him coming out of Clemson.
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Saints RB Tony Jones is out 3-4 weeks. New Orleans worked out a myriad of veteran free agent runners and ended up poaching Devine Ozigbo from Jacksonville’s practice squad on Tuesday to fill the void created by Jones’ injury. Alvin Kamara handled 26 carries without him in Week 4 and could be in line for an increased rushing workload in Week 5.
Lions beat writer Eric Woodyard said Detroit’s running back deployment will be based on the defense they’re playing. That makes sense considering both D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams are competent backs, and that’s mostly what we’ve seen so far. The Lions were in negative game script for most of Week 4, and that resulted in Swift running 33 routes to Williams’ five. Williams did out-carry Swift 14-8. Swift remains the primary pass-catcher with Williams running between the tackles, although both are capable of contributing in both facets.
Josh Gordon is expected to play on Sunday night against the Bills. It remains to be seen how involved he’ll actually be, but it’s a fun story to see Flash get back on the field. He could eventually challenge Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman for snaps, although Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are the only two receivers (meaning WR/TE) who will be dependable every week.
Seahawks reporter Michael-Shawn Duggar said it’s unlikely RB Alex Collins sees a bigger role. Chris Carson remains the league back, but Collins almost equaled him in usage last week. Carson has seen his snap share dwindle below 50% over the past two weeks. Collins has filled the backup role with Penny on IR and should continue to spell Carson.