No person has a a lot more stacked lineup of fantasy analysts and NFL staff reporters than ESPN. It’s the unusual backfield-by-committee strategy that is actually a good point for fantasy managers. Each individual Tuesday, we will question our NFL Country reporters a collection of burning inquiries to assist inform your waiver-wire pickups and roster selections.
We have arrived at the fantasy football playoffs, which means only a single concern seriously matters anymore: “Can I believe in Player X in my starting off lineup?” That was the essential aim with gamers trending up and down in this week’s tour close to the league:
DO Rely on
Colts reporter Mike Wells admitted he was “absolutely completely wrong” when he proposed a pair of weeks ago that fantasy managers really should keep off on believing that Hilton had turned a corner. But in Wells’ defense, the Colts themselves bought it completely wrong for most of the year much too. It took quarterback Philip Rivers a number of months to get comfy throwing the ball regularly to the 5-foot-10 wide receiver right after Rivers had shown a choice for bigger targets throughout his vocation.
Rivers and Hilton have related 17 instances for 277 yards and 4 touchdowns about the previous 3 games.
“Get, invest in, invest in and invest in some a lot more of the buzz encompassing Hilton’s late-year surge,” reported Wells — specifically considering the fact that Hilton is about to experience a Houston Texans defense he has routinely thrived from in his vocation, which include 8 catches for a hundred and ten yards and a TD two weeks ago.
As for Taylor, it really is very obvious that the rookie operating again has ultimately uncovered a groove right after battling to regularly create previously in the yr. All year lengthy, Wells has explained that the Colts were likely to give Taylor just about every opportunity to carry the hurrying workload every week — but that they wouldn’t wait to lean on veterans these kinds of as Nyheim Hines or Jordan Wilkins in the second 50 % if possibly had the hotter hand.
Taylor has saved the sizzling hand in his previous 3 games performed, which include a year-superior one hundred fifty yards and two TDs on 20 carries Sunday.
“It’s Taylor’s show,” Wells reported. “He is rolling.”
Speaking of rookie operating backs who could not split out of timeshares for most of the year, the Rams instantly reduce Akers free with 29 carries for 171 yards and two catches for 23 yards in Thursday’s rout about the New England Patriots.
Here’s how the postseason bracket appears to be like at the moment and what situations lie in advance.
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Mentor Sean McVay did not make any claims that this type of workload will go on: “We know Cam is able of that. But to say that we would dedicate to that [function] strategy, I do not necessarily feel which is the correct point that we are thinking.”
Even so, Rams reporter Lindsey Thiry reported no a single really should be stunned if they go on to function Akers right after his breakout begun with nine carries for eighty four yards and a TD in Week 12 and 21 carries for 72 yards and a TD in Week thirteen.
“Following his standout Week thirteen general performance, Akers explained to reporters that the a lot more touches he will get, the much better rhythm he finds. McVay have to have been listening,” Thiry reported. “When asked if McVay listened to his postgame feedback from the preceding week, Akers laughed and reported, ‘I feel he did.'”
Immediately after catching a TD move in every of the previous 4 games, Tonyan now ranks fourth amongst all tight ends in ESPN’s PPR scoring this year. And Packers reporter Rob Demovsky reported he is “for serious” mainly because Aaron Rodgers “believes in him and trusts in him as considerably as everyone not named Davante Adams.”
“He is these kinds of an smart player, and I enjoy enjoying with sensible gamers,” Rodgers reported of the former follow squad player. “He will get by a good deal of instances on that intelligence. He is a sensible route runner. He understands the scheme. I feel he is bought a good truly feel out on the area. I feel the jumps that you’ve got noticed from him have been throughout the board. You’ve got noticed him turn into a much better blocker, turn into a much better route runner, be much better right after the catch. He is normally been a terrific arms catcher. And you enjoy that as a quarterback mainly because of the radius you can throw the ball to him.”
Area Yates praises Brandon Aiyuk for his new fantasy output, when Matthew Berry laments that Aiyuk’s general performance in Week 14 price tag him a playoff recreation.
This might also be very obvious fantasy investigation, but think about it a community-provider announcement for the thirty% of ESPN leagues in which the 49ers rookie nevertheless isn’t really rostered. Niners reporter Nick Wagoner named Aiyuk a “crystal clear-reduce fantasy option” right after he caught a vocation-superior 10 passes for 119 yards Sunday — specifically considering the fact that fellow receiver Deebo Samuel was sidelined with a further hamstring damage that places the relaxation of his year in doubt.
Aiyuk now has a complete of 36 catches for 495 yards and 3 TD catches in his previous five games performed.
“With Samuel out and the 49ers run recreation battling, be expecting Aiyuk to go on to be the focal point as the Niners develop towards 2021,” Wagoner reported.
DO NOT Rely on
Jogging again James Conner’s return from the reserve/COVID-19 checklist was a big dud on Sunday evening, as he ran the ball just 10 instances for eighteen yards and did not catch a move. Receiver Diontae Johnson was briefly benched right after dropping two a lot more passes on the 1st two collection of the 26-fifteen loss to the Buffalo Bills. And when WR JuJu Smith-Schuster managed a productive plenty of recreation (6 catches for 55 yards and a TD), Pittsburgh’s revolving output at that placement has been tricky to forecast all year.
Stephen A. Smith seems off on the Steelers’ lack of a operating recreation, which final results in them relying on Ben Roethlisberger to throw much too considerably.
“At this point, I wouldn’t believe in any of them [in a fantasy playoff lineup],” reported Steelers reporter Brooke Pryor, who reported jokingly that she is a minimal relieved she did not make her have fantasy playoffs so she can steer clear of these kinds of selections. “Johnson is nevertheless the very best playmaker out of the group, but he is a superior-danger, superior-reward guy. And ideal now, his drops — and subsequent menace of benching — make the danger outweigh the reward. Receiver James Washington has had touchdowns in again-to-again games, but the offense is so stagnant in typical that it really is tricky to believe in him to place up factors regularly.
“Conner is also not reputable mainly because the Steelers’ run recreation is flat-out undesirable. In the previous two games, the Steelers have combined for 68 hurrying yards on 31 makes an attempt for 2.2 yards per hurry. This similar staff rushed for at the very least 100 yards in the 1st five games of the year. Because Week 7, even though, the Steelers rank previous in the NFL in hurrying yards per recreation and yards per hurry.”
Cowboys reporter Todd Archer now warned in this column two weeks ago that it would be tricky to believe in Elliott down the extend mainly because of the rash of accidents throughout Dallas’ offensive line. Positive plenty of, we have noticed Elliott’s fantasy factors fluctuate from 19.4 to 2.nine to thirteen.5 to 7.nine about the previous 4 games. As Archer pointed out, Elliott had seven objective-to-go carries in all those 4 games — and he has acquired a complete of 1 garden with zero touchdowns.
Elliott is also dealing with a calf bruise. As a consequence, he was not capable to exploit an excellent recreation script in Sunday’s thirty-7 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals. He completed with just 14 touches, when backup Tony Pollard had thirteen touches and a getting TD.
Sunday might have been the previous straw for any fantasy managers hunting for constant output from Bengals operating backs in 2020. Movie by Ben Little one
Bengals reporter Ben Little one was blunt right after Bernard dropped a fumble on his 1st carry of the recreation Sunday and wound up enjoying just 17 offensive snaps — behind Samaje Perine (28) and Trayveon Williams (27).
“It’s formal. The Bengals no lengthier have a operating again fantasy managers can depend on,” reported Little one, who pointed out that Sunday was the 1st time the Bengals had applied a rotation considering the fact that starter Joe Mixon was sidelined by a foot damage in Week 6. “All those hunting for output and factors at the operating again place will have to look someplace outdoors of Cincinnati.”
BE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC
Eagles reporter Tim McManus reported he would start off Sanders “with confidence” right after the operating again busted free for 115 yards and two TDs on 14 carries from the New Orleans Saints’ No. 2-ranked run defense. Even though eighty two of all those yards arrived on a single participate in, McManus reported the switch from Carson Wentz to Hurts at quarterback has done a pair of issues to positively impact Sanders’ value.
Ryan Clark appears to be like into why the Eagles appear to participate in much better when Carson Wentz is not the starting off quarterback.
“Just one, it really is led to coach Doug Pederson committing to the ground recreation a lot more to get strain off the rookie QB,” McManus reported. “Next, Hurts being a menace with his legs in his have ideal — he also rushed for 106 yards in his starting off debut — forces defenses to account for him, opening up operating lanes in the system.”
Meanwhile, McManus reported that Hurts confirmed he could be a “good” fantasy option himself.
“Clearly you see the formulation below,” McManus reported. “He is likely to use his legs a good deal to place strain on the opposing defense and also has good accuracy, which include on deep balls. You place all those two alongside one another and you could get some chunk performs and hurrying touchdowns, which could be plenty of.”
Tagovailoa isn’t really the most secure of bets future week from a Invoice Belichick-coached Patriots staff that nevertheless knows how to make rookie QBs awkward. But Dolphins reporter Cameron Wolfe reported if you need to have a streaming option, he would truly feel comfy working with Tagovailoa mainly because he has continued to increase — and mainly because he will have to throw a good deal a lot more if RB Myles Gaskin remains on the reserve/COVID-19 checklist.
Tagovailoa threw for a year-superior 316 yards on 48 move makes an attempt in Sunday’s loss to the Kansas Town Chiefs right after his preceding superior of 296 yards on 39 makes an attempt a week previously.
Area Yates and Matthew Berry examine the utility Lynn Bowden Jr. offers mainly because fantasy managers can participate in him at WR and RB.
“The concern gets to be, ‘How will he be impacted without the need of his weapons?'” Wolfe reported of the damage issues encompassing WRs DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Jakeem Grant and TE Mike Gesicki. “But Tua just place up 300-as well as yards with just about no weapons.”
Just one guy who has served fill the void is Bowden, who scarcely performed for most of the year right after arriving via trade with the Las Vegas Raiders. But he has 11 catches for 123 yards about the previous two weeks.
“I am intrigued about Bowden’s offensive part and value in deep fantasy leagues for the relaxation of the yr,” Wolfe reported. “He actually led the Dolphins with seven catches for eighty two yards on nine targets Sunday, and it really is the second straight week that he is dominated the team’s slot receiver reps. He is proving he can be protected in that part for the relaxation of the year and into 2021. Bowden is a single of the Dolphins’ number of offensive gamers who can get yards right after that catch, and Tagovailoa loves all those variety of playmakers. He also has been at times applied as a operating again and gadget QB, which aids his upside.”
Murray nevertheless fell quick of 20 fantasy factors for the 3rd straight week. But the quarterback bought again to what he has done very best all yr — operating the ball (thirteen instances for 47 yards) and throwing to DeAndre Hopkins (nine catches for 136 yards) — which really should make fantasy managers truly feel much better about retaining him as their QB1.
“Sunday was a good instance of why fantasy managers shouldn’t bail on Murray yet. When he operates, the Cardinals — and him — are profitable,” reported Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss, who included it also served that Murray bought Hopkins included early in the 26-7 gain about the New York Giants. “He threw to him 3 instances in the 1st quarter, completing two of them for 32 yards, and that set the tone for the relaxation of the recreation. Receiving Hopkins included early has been a good trend for the Cardinals.”
A a lot more stunning trend: Murray has thrown 3 TD passes to the tight close Arnold in the previous two games and 4 TDs about the previous 4 games. Even though Weinfuss reported Arnold would not get as numerous snaps as most fantasy possibilities at tight close, he could be well worth a flier in deep leagues mainly because he has “essentially turn into Murray’s protection valve” if the quarterback at any time will get in hassle and would like to throw it up and give the big focus on a prospect.
Giants reporter Jordan Raanan states that in spite of his very poor general performance in Week 14, Evan Engram could be a sensible participate in in Week fifteen vs. the Browns.
Engram’s dud (two catches for eighteen yards) was disappointing right after the tight close had shown some flashes in new weeks. But Giants reporter Jordan Raanan stressed that fantasy managers shouldn’t “depend out Engram just yet” mainly because the entire offense was out of sync Sunday with the hobbled Daniel Jones at quarterback. And Raanan pointed out that future week’s opponent, the Cleveland Browns, had authorized the second-most fantasy factors from TEs of any staff in the NFL heading into Week 14.