Our NFL Nation reporters answer fantasy football questions every Tuesday during the NFL season. Here’s what they had to say following Week 7.
DeAndre Hopkins saw nearly half the targets in his season debut … that probably isn’t sustainable, so what usage rate do you think is reasonable to expect moving forward?
Being targeted on 48% of the Cardinals’ throws on Thursday night isn’t sustainable for a couple of primary reasons: Defenses won’t let it happen and Arizona will have Robbie Anderson ready for a full slate this weekend. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think Hopkins can have a usage rate around 30-40%, that is until defenses start using more coverages to take him away. Arizona saw what kind of impact he can have on this roster, and the Cardinals won’t shy away from utilizing that until they can’t anymore. — Josh Weinfuss
The Falcons trailed for 100% of their offensive snaps and still threw just 13 passes (29 runs). Any words of optimism you can give those rostering Drake London and/or Kyle Pitts, or should we stop holding out hope for this season?
Words of optimism, you say? Coach Arthur Smith is going to continue to do what he believes is necessary to win games, and so far, the Falcons remain in the NFC South conversation. Atlanta is taking deep shots — and in Pitts’ case, he was targeted seven times Sunday (two were not counted due to penalty), so the Falcons are still looking for guys, but it feels like it could be an either/or situation depending on the week for Pitts and London. Until Cordarrelle Patterson returns, it might be start at your own risk, because Patterson has the chance to unlock the entire offense. — Michael Rothstein
Gus Edwards looked the part in his season debut: Do you think he runs away with the lead role in this backfield with JK Dobbins on injured reserve?
Edwards is the unquestioned go-to back for the Ravens, and his workload will only increase as the season progresses. Based on how he ran over Browns linebackers, Edwards should get around 15 carries per game and receive a majority of the red zone touches for Ravens running backs. It’s not a given that Dobbins will regain his full range of motion after this week’s arthroscopic surgery. So, Edwards is a safe bet to remain the top back for the remainder of the season. The only uncertainty in the backfield is the No. 2 back. Justice Hill appears to be the front-runner, but Kenyan Drake is the only Baltimore running back to crack 100 yards rushing in a game this season. — Jamison Hensley
From Week 8 on, the leading fantasy scorer on this roster will be …
Quarterback PJ Walker. He hasn’t officially been named the starter against Atlanta, but interim coach Steve Wilks likes going with the hot hand. He also said after Sunday’s win it would be tough to replace Walker after his two-touchdown performance against Tampa Bay even if Baker Mayfield (ankle) and Sam Darnold (ankle) are healthy. That Atlanta’s pass defense ranks near the bottom of the NFL should offer plenty of opportunities. — David Newton
Noah Brown led the Cowboys in targets in Dak Prescott‘s return. He’s available in 94% of leagues … think he can see consistent volume moving forward?
It would be a risky bet. He has never had this much action on offense in his career, so there has to be worry about him holding up for a full season as a full-time player. However, there should be more action for Michael Gallup, Dalton Schultz and CeeDee Lamb as Prescott gets more comfortable in his return from thumb surgery. With 25 catches for 239 yards, Brown already has passed his season highs in both categories and should pass his totals in his four seasons soon, but can he maintain that level of workload, plus continue on special teams? For a down-the-line play it might be worth it, but it’s not something to count on weekly. — Todd Archer
Parris Campbell saw strong volume for a second straight week. Michael Pittman is the WR1 in this offense, but would you rank Campbell ahead of Alec Pierce the rest of the way?
It’s a tough call. Campbell has been playing significantly more snaps than Pierce (though Pierce’s snap counts are increasing). On the other hand, Pierce is more likely to be targeted on deep shots and, accordingly, could have more big-play potential. But given Monday’s decision to move to quarterback Sam Ehlinger, a quick-throw offense seems more likely. If that holds true, my educated guess is that Campbell will be more involved going forward. — Stephen Holder
Consecutive productive weeks for Tre’Quan Smith. He’s free in most leagues … should we consider him a reasonable dart throw to take in any game where Michael Thomas is inactive?
Between the Saints’ up-in-the-air quarterback situation and the large number of targets that go to Chris Olave, I wouldn’t consider Tre’Quan Smith a reliable option at this point. One name to consider for those looking for tight ends, however, is Juwan Johnson, who has become a big part of the offense this year, especially with Adam Trautman currently hurt. — Katherine Terrell
What did you learn about this offense in the first game of the Christian McCaffrey era?
That it still has a lot to fix if it wants to maximize McCaffrey’s many skills. Look, McCaffrey’s role is going to expand well beyond the 21 snaps he played Sunday, possibly as soon as next week. But the Niners still make too many silly mistakes — pre-snap penalties, bad turnovers — for this group to fire on all cylinders. The talent is there, but until the Niners stop making the errors that they’ve made in all of their four losses, it’s asking too much to think McCaffrey is going to be a panacea for this unit. — Nick Wagoner
Should Tom Brady managers be encouraged by the sheer volume of recent passes or worried that this team can’t score touchdowns?
No. The Bucs can’t score, period. Their production has gone from averaging 31.43 points a game last year to 16.71. Brady’s only reliable target right now has been Mike Evans, he’s completing only 66% of his passes to Chris Godwin (down from 77.2% last year), and Julio Jones and Russell Gage have had multiple injuries. — Jenna Laine