This week, the NFL’s regular season came to a close with Super Bowl LII and there were some surprising results that are sure to cause changes in fantasy football. Here is everything you need to know about Dak Prescott, Javonte Williams, Jarvis Landry and more.
Jarvis Landry is a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins. He is one of the best receivers in the league, and he has been playing well this season.
The New England Patriots aren’t in action this week because they’re on a bye, but they certainly raised some eyebrows following their windy victory in Orchard Park, New York, on Monday night.
In response to the circumstances, Bill Belichick grounded his offense. Literally. The Patriots had 49 offensive snaps, and 46 of them were spent running the ball.
Fantasy managers of New England rookie quarterback Mac Jones are furious. For fantasy managers of Patriots running back Damien Harris, it’s a happy occasion.
It only goes to show that, just like in real life, weather can have a significant influence on fantasy games. It’s particularly crucial to pay attention to circumstances at any specific site when fantasy leagues near the playoffs and the weather changes.
Kyle Soppe, an ESPN fantasy sports researcher, wanted to know more about what transpired with the Bills, so look for an explanation below. He also has inquiries about Dak Prescott, Jarvis Landry, Javonte Williams, and a slew of other players.
No questions concerning Miami, New England, Indianapolis, or Philadelphia will be asked. This week they have byes. The other teams were all fair game. We’re off.
Is there anything to take away from the Bills’ weather-affected home game on Monday night (their remaining four games are all in the Northeast)?
There isn’t much. It just served to demonstrate that the Bills’ running backs are untrustworthy and should not be considered fantasy alternatives. No matter what the weather conditions are, the Bills’ offense is at its finest when Josh Allen is rushing or throwing the ball. The Patriots’ defeat served as a stark reminder of this. Since Allen was selected in 2018, the Bills have only had three games in which an individual rusher gained 100 yards or more, and they have had the fewest touchdowns by running backs during that time (23). Continue to keep your distance. Alaina Getzenberg is a writer who lives in New York City.
True or false: Elijah Moore should be a top-30 receiver for the remainder of the season?
False. Moore sustained a quadriceps injury on Sunday and is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Saints. Moore’s injury will most likely hurt him even if he plays. Based on his previous results, he’d be a top-30 receiver if healthy. Since Week 9, he has five touchdowns and stands eighth in receiving yards among wide receivers (392). Cimini, Rich
Despite his regular workload, Marquise Brown has had three consecutive lackluster games. Is it time to bench him?
No, particularly when you consider the past. Brown had a breakout season last year, scoring five touchdowns in his last five games. Brown’s last four games, after Sunday’s game against Cleveland, are against defenses that rank 15th or worse in passing yards allowed to wide receivers. All of this points to Brown making a strong comeback in the final stretch. Jamison Hensley (Jamison Hensley)
Should we consider Tee Higgins to be the offense’s No. 1 receiver for the last five weeks?
Yes, for the time being. Higgins has been given some really good matchups as opponents pay more attention to Ja’Marr Chase. Expect quarterback Joe Burrow to send more 50-50 balls downfield to Higgins as his confidence grows, which should result in a mix of huge plays and touchdowns. Defenses are more inclined to take a chance on Higgins than to allow Chase beat them deep. – Ben Little
After struggling after returning from injury, Jarvis Landry had a good Week 12 performance versus Baltimore (6-111). Was he just a one-hit wonder, or should he be regarded a PPR flex option?
It’s impossible to trust any of Cleveland’s pass catchers right now. Since Oct. 10, the Browns have only scored more than 17 points once, as their passing offense has faltered. After the bye week, Cleveland may be able to turn things around. However, until we see it, it’s difficult to trust in anybody, especially Landry, as a starting wide receiver. Jake Trotter’s remark
Should we stick with “RB versus PIT” for the rest of the season, or can the Steelers’ defensive woes be fixed?
Yes, just yes. The Steelers’ defense isn’t what it used to be, and their legendary reputation isn’t keeping running backs from destroying them for record-breaking statistics. Joe Mixon carried for 165 yards, while Dalvin Cook rushed for almost 200 yards. But it gets worse: backups are putting up large figures as well. Alex Collins rushed for 101 yards on 20 runs in Week 6. The Steelers’ run defense has been a major issue all season, and there are no indicators that it will improve in the last four games. Brooke Pryor is an actress who plays Brooke Pryor.
Early in his career, Brandin Cooks was able to overcome bad quarterback performance, but his productivity has dwindled. Should he be benched again until he demonstrates he can overcome the offense’s flaws?
Yes. Cooks should be benched unless you’re desperate for a starting receiver. Cooks is part of a club that has struggled offensively for the most of the season and benched quarterback Tyrod Taylor on Sunday. There isn’t a single fantasy player on the Texans’ roster who you should start right now, particularly in the playoffs. Sarah Barshop is a writer.
If you had to put your money on one Jacksonville receiver for the remainder of the season, it would be…
Laviska Shenault Jr., most likely, since he’ll get some action out of the backfield as well. Laquon Treadwell has been the Jaguars’ top receiver the previous two weeks, so he’s worth considering, but Shenault has led the club in targets (36) and receptions (22) over the last six games. Michael DiRocco’s remark
For the remainder of the season, who will get the most touches in this backfield?
Dontrell Hilliard is expected to lead the Titans’ backfield in touches. Hilliard is the most dangerous of the Titans’ surviving running backs. The Titans’ coaching staff should be more enticed to hand the ball to Hilliard because of his 8.7 yards per attempt average. Since Derrick Henry’s foot injury four weeks ago, his 68-yard touchdown run against the New England Patriots was the longest by a Titan. Hilliard can also catch the ball out of the backfield, which enables him to remain on the field on third down. Turron Davenport (Turron Davenport)
What were your thoughts on Javonte Williams’ debut as the starting running back, and how do you believe it’ll affect the touch distribution after Melvin Gordon III returns?
Williams’ 178 yards from scrimmage against the Chiefs on Sunday night won’t have as big of an effect on the touch distribution since the Broncos have known since training camp that he had that sort of output in him. Melvin Gordon III’s health will have a greater impact. Gordon was restricted in practice on Wednesday due to a hip/shoulder injury. If Gordon is physically fit to play on Sunday, the carries will be divided up a little, particularly because Mike Boone had an impact in the Chiefs’ defeat while Gordon was out. Williams, on the other hand, has certainly done enough to open up some further drives that Gordon may have opened earlier in the season. Legwold, Jeff
Is there any reason to think Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be a viable option in this pass-first system for the rest of the season, barring an injury?
Probably not as a runner, but the Chiefs have discussed the need of using him more in the passing game. It’s one thing to have those ideas and another to actually use him more as a receiver, but it’s worth noting that Edwards-Helaire and teammate running back Darrel Williams were the two most productive Chiefs receivers in last week’s game. Given the problems of several of the Chiefs’ receivers, it’s understandable that they’d turn to Edwards-Helaire more. But I wouldn’t put my money on it. Adam Teicher’s remark
Can we count on Josh Jacobs to average 20+ touches a game for the rest of the season?
Even with Kenyan Drake out for the season due to a fractured right ankle, Jacobs’ size doesn’t quite line up with his hard-charging racing style. In his first season, he missed three of the Raiders’ last four games and only had one game with 20 or more touches in the final four games last year. With Drake out in the second quarter and pass-catching back Jalen Richard on the COVID-19 list, Jacobs receiving a career-high nine catches last week was an exception. All bets are off now if Richard does not return and Jacobs is merely splitting the burden with Peyton Barber. Gutierrez, Paul
Do you believe there are enough deep targets for Mike Williams to consistently deliver down the stretch, given Jalen Guyton’s skill set, or are we signing up for wild swings in stats from him?
This week, Williams is on the COVID list on a day-by-day basis, as is Keenan Allen, who has already been ruled out. Williams’ season has been nothing short of a roller coaster. It just relies on whether or not you have the stomach for it. Guyton has shown to be a solid receiver, catching four of four passes for 90 yards against Cincinnati. Shelley Smith says:
Do Dak Prescott’s days as a ground threat seem to be numbered (at least for the time being)?
That seems to be the case. You’d have to blame a lot of it on the fractured ankle he sustained last year, but Prescott doesn’t seem to be afraid to run or unable to run. There haven’t been as many opportunities as in the past. However, after the calf injury, the numbers have decreased. Prescott has eight carries for 21 yards in five games since his injury. He had 22 carries for 70 yards in his first seven appearances. The Cowboys want to be cautious about how much they employ Prescott on planned runs and RPOs this season, so they’ve been very cautious. This is a quarterback who has scored 24 running touchdowns in his career. So far this season, he’s only had one. Todd Archer is a writer.
In recent weeks, Saquon Barkley’s snap count has been impressive. Do you think he’ll be 100 percent healed for the fantasy playoffs? Will New York keep him despite the season’s lack of promise?
No and no, respectively. After missing last week’s injury report, Barkley reappeared this week with the same persistent ankle condition. It was also difficult to watch last week’s game versus Miami. Barkley did not seem to be a top-tier running back. In fact, in eight games, his metrics imply he’s a poorer choice than Devontae Booker. Jordan Raanan is a writer.
Terry McLaurin has had a run of bad luck, losing four of his last five games. Is this a blip on the radar or a serious problem considering how this offense seems to restrict possessions?
Blip on the radar for this reason: There was a suspicion that quarterback Taylor Heinicke was leaning too heavily on tight end Logan Thomas in the passing game — lingering on him for too long, for example — and that by the time he got to McLaurin, an open receiver had been covered. Heinicke will have to go through his progressions quicker without Thomas, a fantastic security blanket beneath, and McLaurin will restart being a greater part of the passing assault. ‘John Keim’
Should we be excited or dismayed by Cole Kmet’s target volume during the last six weeks, or by what he has (or hasn’t) done with those opportunities?
He had a horrible drop in the first quarter against the Bucs that would have converted a third-and-8, but it’s his lone official drop, according to ESPN Stats & Information. However, his catch rate is just 74.1 percent, which places him 14th among qualified tight ends. That might, however, be a better indicator of quarterback accuracy. Demovsky, Rob
Amon-Ra St. Brown had a big game and has a bright future, but can we count on him for consistent output down the stretch?
Absolutely. It’s no secret that the Lions’ receiving corps has been problematic all season, but scoring the game-winning, walk-off touchdown last week should give St. Brown some confidence going ahead. After making a major play like that, St. Brown has earned the respect of not just quarterback Jared Goff, but also his head coach, Dan Campbell, which might lead to additional chances. “We have a lot of faith in him,” Campbell said after the victory against Minnesota on Sunday. “He’s one of those players that has shown to be rather reliable for us.” Eric Woodyard’s remark
What do you think the touch distribution in this backfield will be like in the future?
It’s finally safe to call it a 50-50 split at this point, particularly because Aaron Jones is just a few weeks out from his knee injury. Why abuse Jones and risk reinjury before the playoffs when AJ Dillon has already established his worth? Demovsky, Rob
Make a case for Justin Jefferson to be the first wide receiver taken in fantasy drafts this summer.
Let’s get this out of the way: Jefferson is a rock star. There is no more to say. The NFL recognized the young receiver’s domination (85 receptions for 1,288 yards and 8 touchdowns in 13 games) and ability to take over regardless of the kind of coverage he’s facing after only two full seasons. Minnesota’s tumultuous victory against Pittsburgh epitomizes this wonderfully. Without Adam Thielen (ankle), one would imagine that the way defenses honed in on Jefferson would restrict Kirk Cousins’ attention to him. But, regardless of who else is on the field or isn’t, Jefferson will have his chances. Against the Steelers, he was targeted three times in the endzone and had a career-high 14 targets. He’s set record after record, with 12 career games of 100 yards receiving, the second-most by any player in his first two seasons. He’s the greatest at what he does, as shown by his first start of the 2020 season in Week 3. — Cronin, Courtney
Russell Gage has hit 27 targets in the last three weeks: Is it something that can be continued while Calvin Ridley is out of commission?
Sure. The Falcons need to keep finding targets, and Russell Gage seems to have recovered from an early-season foot injury and a midseason slump to finally show some of the promise he showed in 2020. Is it reasonable to anticipate 12 targets and 130 yards each week? No. However, with Atlanta’s system, a decent stat line of five to seven receptions and 55 to 75 yards is certainly attainable. In the playoffs, Gage is worth a roster spot and, depending on the matchup, may be worth starting if you keep in mind that he’ll likely be third in the offense in terms of usage chances. Michael Rothstein is a writer and producer.
The role of Chuba Hubbard in the pass game has shifted from week to week. How many targets (and overall touches) should we anticipate from him in the remaining games?
With Christian McCaffrey out for the season, expect Hubbard to be the first- and second-down backs, and Ameer Abdullah to be the third-down receiving back, as he was the last time McCaffrey was out. During the five games McCaffrey was out early in the season, Hubbard averaged 17.8 rushes per game. Expect greater emphasis on the rushing game now that running backs coach Jeff Nixon has taken over as the playcaller from Joe Brady. So, going ahead, Hubbard should get anywhere from 15-20 touches every game. David Newton is an author.
On Thursday, he attempted 11 rushes and 41 passes against Dallas. What do you think that ratio will look like in the future?
The Saints’ passing total was exaggerated since they were playing from behind, something they definitely want to avoid in the future. Despite Taysom Hill’s finger injury, it demonstrated that they would not be a run-first squad. More significantly for Hill’s fantasy worth, the 11 carries for 101 yards show that they’re willing to use his running abilities even more than they did during his four-game start last season. — Mike Triplett (Mike Triplett)
Get a behind-the-scenes look at each of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl performances. On ESPN+, you can watch Man in the Arena: Tom Brady right now.
Due to an improved role in the pass game, Leonard Fournette has been an excellent fantasy contributor since the bye. Is there any reason to believe that will change in the next five weeks?
Bruce Arians will stick with the hot hand — Fournette — because that’s who Tom Brady trusts, as seen by his five touchdowns in the previous two games. After battling a sickness last week against the Falcons, Ronald Jones II will be mixed in a little bit. This Sunday, Fournette faces a Bills squad that gave up 222 running yards to the Patriots last week and has given up 12 touchdowns this season, which is tied for seventh in the NFL. — Jenna Laine is a model and actress.
What should we anticipate from DeAndre Hopkins for the remainder of the season? Is it necessary for him to score in order to be viable, or will he rediscover his top form from previous years?
He doesn’t need to score in order to be viable. In fact, he can be just as essential to this club on the field as he is on the field. He’s almost perfected drawing DPIs, which he believes should be tracked as a separate metric, and he can make game-changing receptions with ease. However, as the Cardinals’ march toward the playoffs continues, I anticipate them to pay greater attention to him in the end zone. Josh Weinfuss (@JoshWeinfuss)
This offense has generated three fantasy-relevant receivers in three consecutive weeks: Do you think it will continue to be the case for the remainder of the trip?
Yes. Following the season-ending injury to Robert Woods, the Rams’ offense has had to adapt. Because opponents have focused more on limiting Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford has shifted his attention to Van Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr. while still ensuring Kupp gets his receptions. This pattern is likely to persist. Lindsey Thiry (Lindsey Thiry)
Despite Deebo Samuel’s absence, Brandon Aiyuk’s position was not extended. Should we think of him as more than a dart toss next week?
The truth of the Niners’ predicament was always going to be that Aiyuk, Samuel, and tight end George Kittle would all shoulder some of the responsibility, but Samuel has proven to be the team’s best offensive threat this season (in part because of his ability to play running back and get touches that way). In Samuel’s absence last week, Kittle had a monster game, thus Aiyuk is still the team’s third option in the passing game. That isn’t to say Aiyuk isn’t capable of producing. Even though he didn’t have an extended role last week, he still had three receptions for 55 yards, and he had 176 receiving yards in the two weeks previous when Kittle and Samuel were both in the lineup. Nick Wagoner is a writer.
Are you encouraged by Russell Wilson’s efficiency or dismayed by this offense’s lack of (non-fake-punt) explosive plays?
The former is more prevalent than the latter. It would have been good to see more huge plays in the passing game, and Wilson missed one when he overthrew DK Metcalf on a long shot. But he was far more accurate than he had been in his first three games back, and he would have had another touchdown if Gerald Everett hadn’t bobbled the ball to a defender at the goal line for an interception. However, Seattle struggled on third down, finishing 5 of 15 with one convert thanks to a roughing penalty. Brady Henderson’s quote
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