Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire
After a lovely day of doing nothing but watching football and baseball, the Cowboys and Texans made me want to claw my eyes out. It was an absolutely atrocious game that had no business subjecting the country to an extra 10 minutes; if you went to sleep early, I envy you. Prior to that game, the rest of day was enjoyable with 6 one possession games, but sadly no ties. Unfortunately for this article, almost every game had superstars carry their teams: Odell Beckham Jr., Adam Thielen, Todd Gurley II, and James Conner were just a few of the players that are expected to consistently put up the numbers they did today. This being said, I could only put together a list of 6 players that shockingly stood out (and some were a stretch), as opposed to the usual 8-10. So, without further ado, I present the least competitive “Is It Legit” group.
Eric Ebron (TE, Indianapolis Colts)
In his most productive week of the year, Eric Ebron was a nightmare for the Patriots defense all Thursday night. After his 9 catch, 105 yard performance, Ebron is now 2nd on his team in yards behind the injured T.Y. Hilton. Additionally, he now has 3 more touchdowns than anyone else on the Colts’ roster. Prior to his week 5 explosion, Ebron was essentially a touchdown-or-bust tight end in fantasy. However, the last 2 weeks he has seen 25 targets, which indicates that this type of stat line may be sustainable. Given the weak nature of the tight end position this year, Ebron can be played consistently; if Hilton were to miss any more time, Ebron should be an easy top tier tight end.
Isaiah Crowell (RB, New York Jets)
Yesterday might have been the best we will ever see of Isaiah Crowell. He set the Jets’ single game rushing record with 219 yards on just 15 carries, with a long 77 yard touchdown run mixed in. Despite this record-breaking success, Crowell was still out carried by fellow running back Bilal Powell. In fact, Powell has three more carries than Crowell this season. Crowell has been better than Powell in every rushing category and has 5 touchdowns this season to Powell’s zero. Moving forward, Crowell should take the lead in this rushing attack, but until that point he can not be played more reliably than a low end, touchdown-dependent RB 2.
Marquez Valdez-Scantling (WR, Green Bay Packers)
I had never heard of him before the 2nd half of yesterday’s game when he had 6 of his 7 receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. Evidently he has been playing since Week 2 and has at least one target in every game since then. With no Randall Cobb or Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdez-Scantling stepped up and became a reliable target for the one-legged Aaron Rodgers; he was 3rd on the team in targets behind Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham. As long as Cobb and Allison are non-factors, I would expect Valdez-Scantling’s output to be very similar to that of Geronimo Allison, a potential flex in deep leagues.
Robby Anderson (WR, New York Jets)
Robby Anderson is someone I did not want to include in today’s list because of the exact reasons I described after Week 3, however, his performance stood out above the rest (I told you about the weak competition). There is something to be said about Anderson, who is an incredibly fast receiver that his rookie quarterback does not completely trust yet (he has not finished a game with more than 3 receptions). After his 123 yard, 2 touchdown performance, hopefully Sam Darnold can consistently look to receivers other than Quincy Enunwa (over twice as many targets as any other player). Anderson does have the team lead in touchdowns, and if you need receiver help, could be worth a stash at this point; if he could be a consistent target, with his speed, he could end up a WR 2.
Trent Taylor (WR, San Francisco 49ers)
Similar to Valdez-Scantling, Trent Taylor, was allowed to shine yesterday due to a flurry of injuries to anyone and everyone on the 49er offense. They entered yesterday’s game without 2 of their top 3 wide receivers, and saw their top running back, top two tight ends, and the 3rd wide receiver deal with injuries throughout the game. Taylor jumped right in and finished the game with 7 receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. Prior to the game, Taylor had only 9 receptions on 15 targets. If the injuries to Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis continue to last, Taylor will be the next man up. If the injury to the versatile running back, Matt Breida, forces him to miss time, Taylor will need to be more heavily included in the passing game. At this point, I do not believe Taylor is worth a roster spot unless you are in an deep 12-14 team league. If any of those injuries seem to be long term then he could find his way in to a deep league flex role.