Is It Legit: Even on his bye week, you need to pick up this tight end

Brenden Schaeffer looks back at Week 10 and a group of players fantasy owners have questions about.

Each week in ‘Is It Legit?’, we’ll take a look at noteworthy performances from unexpected sources, and decide whether those performances should inspire fantasy managers to change their future outlook for those players.

While it can be tempting to rush to the waiver wire to take a flier on the previous week’s biggest standouts, it can also be prudent to exercise caution before throwing those players directly into your lineup if their past fantasy-relevant efforts aren’t likely to be repeated. That’s the aim of this column: to sort through the numbers and determine, based on talent and expected opportunity, whether and to what extent certain players should be trusted in lineups for the foreseeable future.

Let’s give it a shot and dive right into our batch of players from Week 10:

 

Jacob Hollister (TE – SEA)

Week 10 line: 8 receptions (10 targets) for 62 yards and 1 touchdown, 20.20 PPR points

(Rostered in 7% of Yahoo leagues)

If you took a leap of faith Monday night that Jacob Hollister would post his second straight big line after emerging from fantasy obscurity, congratulations. That bet paid off. For everyone else, it’s past time to start paying attention to Jacob Hollister, the last man standing at the tight end position for the Seattle Seahawks.

When you consider the opportunity afforded Hollister in this thriving offense now that Will Dissly is on IR and Nick Vannett is in Pittsburgh, it seems like a no-brainer that the third-year man out of Wyoming would be relevant at a position that remains dark and volatile weekly. When you see how often Russell Wilson looks his way when plays break down, it becomes even more clear: this guy has to be rostered in 100% of leagues.

Hollister has three touchdowns in his last two games as the main man at tight end, and Russell Wilson clearly trusts him, as Hollister has seen 16 targets in those two games. What’s more,  Hollister just seems to have that difficult-to-quantify knack for being in the right place at the right time to make a play.

And it doesn’t hurt that he has an MVP candidate throwing him the ball.

VERDICT: LEGIT. I was tempted to pull the trigger on Hollister in several leagues last week but didn’t have the guts to insert him into my lineup for Monday night. Now Hollister and the Seahawks are on the bye in Week 11, but don’t let that keep you from finding room to stash him on your bench. He should be worth your time for the rest of the playoff push.

 

Kendrick Bourne (WR – SF)

Week 10 line: 4 receptions (8 targets) for 42 yards, 1 touchdown, and a 2-pt conversion, 16.20 PPR points

(Rostered in 0% of Yahoo leagues)

Another fantasy standout from that brilliant Monday Night Football game between the Seahawks and 49ers was Kendrick Bourne, but don’t get it confused: in real life, the entire San Francisco receiving corps was kind of a disaster, dropping one pass after another from Jimmy Garoppolo in a bitter overtime loss.

Bourne was probably the chief culprit. He committed a couple of drops that, had he caught them, could have rendered his fantasy night–and the night of his real-life team–all the more productive.

As it was, Bourne struggled with consistency and from a fantasy standpoint, was outshone by teammate Deebo Samuel (who is rostered in just 16% of Yahoo leagues). But Bourne did see eight targets and he caught a touchdown on a nice crossing pattern to buoy a solid fantasy night.

San Francisco surrendered 27 points to Seattle Monday, the most points the 49ers have allowed in any game this season. That meant the 49ers had to rely on the passing game more than usual, with Jimmy G attempting a season-high 46 passes, nine more than his previous high of 37.

If you were wondering where all those targets came from for Bourne, there’s your answer. It’s a game-script in which San Francisco isn’t usually involved, and with the way they prefer to pound the rock, it’s hard to expect Bourne’s high volume to continue.

VERDICT: NOT LEGIT. Though the 49ers still face teams like the Packers and Saints who are capable of engaging them in more passing-friendly game scripts, I’d need to see more out of Bourne before I commit a spot to him on my roster. Deebo Samuel should be more consistently ahead of Bourne in the pecking order, and he’s still widely available if you’re dying to add a San Francisco receiver, for some reason.

 

James Washington (WR – PIT)

Week 10 line: 6 receptions (7 targets) for 90 yards and 1 touchdown, 19.00 PPR points

(Rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues)

Has the Oklahoma State connection finally landed in Pittsburgh? That was the expectation for some immediately following the insertion of Mason Rudolph as the Steelers quarterback; he and James Washington were college teammates, so it would only be natural that Washington takes command of a more prominent fantasy role in the Pittsburgh offense with the familiar gunslinger under center.

It wasn’t necessarily the case for Rudolph and Washington early on, but things have begun to heat up over the past couple weeks, with Washington registering back-to-back games with a double-digit PPR output.

In Week 10, Washington caught an efficient six of seven targets in a win over the Rams, including his first receiving touchdown of the season on a stupendous catch to beat Troy Hill in the corner of the endzone.

As intriguing a prospect as Washington is suddenly becoming, there’s still the matter of the Steelers offense, well, not being very good. Though he emerged the victor in the preseason position battle between himself and Donte Moncrief (remember him? he’s a Panther, now), Washington is battling JuJu Smith-Schuster and rookie Diontae Johnson for targets in an offense that typically prefers to run the ball.

Without James Conner in Week 10, the Steelers run game was pretty stagnant, but Conner is expected to return for Thursday’s game against the Browns. If Conner proves up to the task, you can expect the Steelers to attempt to #EstablishIt behind their workhorse RB, which would mean a leaner opportunity share for Washington could be in store.

VERDICT: LEGIT ENOUGH. Washington (and Diontae Johnson, for that matter) is tantalizing, but Mason Rudolph simply isn’t playing well enough to consistently support three wide receivers in fantasy. It’s hard to trust him in lineups for right now, but I don’t live in fantasyland when it comes to fantasy; I recognize that with bye weeks tormenting your squad on a weekly basis, the pickings are slim out there. Washington is worth an add as a stash at the very least, and if you’re desperate, a dart throw as a WR3 in your lineup this week. Others I consider in the same category as Washington for Week 11 are Taylor GabrielDemarcus Robinson, and Demaryius Thomas.

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

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