Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire
Is It Legit? Week 6
What an incredible Sunday night finish to a week that started out as horribly as it could have. After Eli Manning and his Giants’ absolutely atrocious performance started the week, we were treated to a showdown between what looks like the two best teams in the AFC. The Chiefs and Patriots did not disappoint. Excluding this game, there were seven other games that were decided by one possession. Unfortunately, the remaining four games were just about the worst games of football I have ever seen. I rarely turn off games early, especially if there are fantasy implications, but I did not make it to the end of Eagles-Giants, Seahawks-Raiders, Jags-Cowboys, or Ravens-Titans; if you watched any of those games for the whole four quarters you deserve an award. After last week’s boring, non-competitive list, we bounce back with five more stellar performances from people that you may not have expected.
Cole Beasley (Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys)
First of all, I have no idea what happened in this game. Maybe the Cowboys aren’t absolutely horrible? Regardless of what I think, the Cowboys showed up with a balanced offense that shredded the vaunted Jaguars defense. With 206 yards rushing and 183 yards of passing, the Cowboys offense looked identical to the 2016 version. The biggest contributor in the passing game was Cole Beasley; he had 9 receptions for 101 yards and 2 TD. He became just their FIRST receiver with 100 yards in a game this season. To this point, the Cowboys offense has been unimaginative and ineffective. Beasley does lead the team in targets, but I do not see this sort of production to be consistent from any part of this offense. If you have the room, he is worth a stash just in case the Cowboys can keep this up.
Taylor Gabriel (Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears)
In a game in which the Bears handed a victory to Brock Osweiler and the Dolphins, Taylor Gabriel, established himself as a go-to target for second year quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky. He has 22 targets in his last 3 games and has caught 12 passes in 12 attempts in the last 2 games (for 214 yards). Additionally, he has the highest catch percentage of anyone on the team outside of Tarik Cohen. Trubisky has been looking to Gabriel quite frequently and I would expect this pace to continue. He should be a low end WR2 at the moment and could break into the upper echelon of the second tier.
Albert Wilson (Wide Receiver, Miami Dolphins)
Albert Wilson was the beneficiary of an rejuvenated offense behind new quarterback…Brock Osweiler? I’m just as confused as the next person, but the Dolphins offense, down two starting lineman and their starting quarterback, was clicking as well as it has all season. A good way to look at offensive success in a game is the total of rushing attempts and completed passes; the higher the total, the more yardage an offense accrued. Yesterday, the Dolphins had a total of 59 against a defense that has been elite this season. Prior to their game against the Bears, they had totals of 49, 48, 32, 33, and 42. Osweiler joined the offensive attack and clicked immediately with Wilson; they connected on 6 of 9 targets for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wilson’s situation will be an interesting one to watch as he does lead the Dolphins in targets, however the group of receivers has been relatively bleak fantasy-wise. I have negative faith in Osweiler to ever play that well again, but who knows? Similarly to Beasley, leave Wilson alone unless you have space to stash him.
Latavius Murray (Running Back, Minnesota Vikings)
I find it odd to be putting a starting running back in this column, but to this point running backs for the Vikings have been shockingly bad. However, Latavius Murray, finally found success last week against the Cardinals. He scored the team’s first touchdown for a running back this season, and ran for 155 yards on 24 attempts; no running back had carried the ball more than 16 times in a game until yesterday. Even though Murray is likely to be the backup to Dalvin Cook once he returns, he will likely get a decent amount of touches due to his involvement in the passing game and success as a runner. As long as Cook is considered injured, look for Murray to be at the top of the RB2 tier, and fall to the RB3 once Cook is fully healthy.
Peyton Barber (Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
If I’m going to have one starting running back in this list, I might as well throw in a second. It appears the Buccaneers have settled on a single running back to head their rushing attack, and Peyton Barber, was great Sunday against the Falcons. He finished the game with 82 yards on the ground and 24 yards and a touchdown through the air. Going in to their bye week, it looked like rookie Ronald Jones, was going to assume the starting role, however he only logged 4 touches yesterday compared to Barber’s 17. Moving forward, I would expect Barber to be a solid RB2 as long as he maintains the hold on the main role.