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PFN Table for 6: Alexander Mattison, Lamar Jackson, Javonte Williams, and others

Fantasy 365
Written by PFN Fantasy Director BJ Rudell, the PFN Table for 6 fantasy newsletter comes to you every Sunday and Tuesday at 6 AM ET with exclusive content and advice you won’t find anywhere else. 

Table for 6: Tuesday, December 7
Welcome back to Table for 6: Pro Football Network’s rundown of six players we are closely tracking today. Six players whose values could pop or plummet before the sun goes down. Six players who could make or break your fantasy team if you manage your roster to maximize the probabilities.
With Week 13 in the rearview mirror and the critically important Week 14 approaching, here are six players I’m watching intently.
Guest of Honor
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Last week I initiated trade discussions to sell high on Mattison. Seven minutes before my league’s trade deadline, a trade was approved: I gave away Kyler Murray, Alexander Mattison, Kendrick Bourne, and Jimmy Garoppolo for Justin Herbert, Nick Chubb, Devonta Freeman, and Mike Williams. My opponent needed to win this past week, and I was looking ahead to Week 14 and the playoffs.
What goes into a blockbuster trade like this? A lot. And much of it centered on Mattison’s value – not just his Week 13 value, but also his Week 14 value, because Dalvin Cook is out with a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum and is not expected to return until at least Week 15.
Mattison’s value hinges not only on Cook’s availability. It also hinges on what happens this Thursday night because my opponent believed Mattison would be an RB1 in both Week 13 and Week 14. But my research suggested Mattison could crash Week 14.
Why? 
This year, there have been six 20+ touch Sunday running backs who then played on Thursday. The RB earned fewer touches in each case and scored fewer fantasy points. The average Sunday touches were 24.5; the average on Thursday was 14.2. Same RB. Different usage.
And the drop-off in average fantasy points has been just as significant. These six 20+ touch RBs averaged 22.9 fantasy points on Sunday and then 9.9 on Thursday. Yes, 9.9. These six RBs were Antonio Gibson, Christian McCaffrey, James Robinson, Michael Carter, Myles Gaskin, and Rhamondre Stevenson.
This begs several questions: Are coaches taking it easy on their starting running backs four days after overworking them? Or are these running backs simply not showing well, and therefore getting less usage to make room for fresher legs?
Regardless, I traded Mattison believing I was losing only one RB1 performance in Weeks 13 and 14. My opponent thought he’d get at least two. 
If Mattison does what no other RB has done this season, I’ll be wrong. But I’d rather bet on the continuation of a trend than to bet on the bucking of a trend.
(Table for 6 continues below)
Tune in: Fantasy Podcast
Week 13 Fantasy Recap: Is it time to bench Lamar Jackson?
The In the Mood crew is back for another fantasy football podcast – this time, recapping Week 13 in the NFL. They go over each game from the Sunday slate and discuss which players shined and which players burned out. They discuss some of the hottest players and those you should probably bench. One of these hot players may even surprise you.
Tune in on your favorite podcast platform, including Apple and Spotify
(Table for 6 continued from above)
Other Guests
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
In Sunday’s newsletter, I wrote about Lamar Jackson, warning readers that his seemingly impressive fantasy numbers (22.1 points per game) didn’t tell the whole story. 
In fact, he’s been struggling this season, and it was fair to wonder if we would see ‘elite’ Lamar Jackson again this season.
If you have him, you probably don’t feel that you have much of a choice. There’s an adage in fantasy that you “start your studs.” I adamantly disagree with that sentiment because it suggests “studs” is an objective and unchanging measure of a player’s value.
In Week 13, Jackson scored fewer points than nearly half of all starting QBs, including Tua Tagovailoa, Gardner Minshew, Ben Roethlisberger, Jared Goff, Taysom Hill, and Zach Wilson – all quarterbacks available in most leagues. The week before, he was the QB25. And he lurched to 15.4 points the game before that.
Jackson has multiple touchdowns in only three of 11 games. He’ll close the season against the Browns, Packers, Bengals, Rams, and Steelers.  
Are you excited to start Jackson going forward? The overall numbers still look great. But when you have a QB who’s consistently outperformed by waiver fodder, it’s time to re-evaluate the “start your studs” mantra.
Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos
Many in the fantasy community have been bracing for a breakout from Javonte Williams. But with Melvin Gordon posting RB2 numbers on a healthy 14.3 touches per game, we’ve had to wait longer than expected.
Gordon’s hip and shoulder injuries opened the door for Williams, who broke out with 29.8 fantasy points – by far the most of any Bronco RB this season. That he needed 29 touches is, on the one hand, meaningless. Williams has bell-cow talent, period. The challenge is that we don’t know what role he’ll play when Gordon returns.
If the Broncos continue to employ them equally, can Williams be trusted as a must-start fantasy running back? Given his ceiling, if left alone, this will be a huge question heading into Week 14 and the fantasy playoffs.
DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Is it time to panic about fantasy’s preseason WR6? Well, maybe worry, or perhaps worry a lot. But panic? It’s been a tale of two seasons for DK Metcalf – more than 11 fantasy points in each of his first eight games, and he hasn’t surpassed 11 points in any of his last four.
But before we give up on the 23-year-old, consider that Sunday was his best performance among these last four. He’s also earned 8 targets in three of four contests. If we believe Russell Wilson’s finger injury is the problem and that nothing will change, then it might be time to throw in the towel.
However, I’d encourage managers to take a step back. Three of his next four games are against the Texans (road), Bears (home), and Lions (home). If we believe Sunday’s win is a step in the right direction for a historically near-elite QB returning to 100%, then we can still believe in Metcalf.
K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings
How good is K.J. Osborn? That might be a question some of you are asking after Adam Thielen exited Sunday’s contest with an ankle injury. Fantasy-wise, the more helpful question to answer is, can K.J. Osborn help fantasy managers?
Because we’ve been around long enough to know that even backup QBs, third-string WRs, fourth-string RBs, and long-retired TEs can shine in the right situation, the right game plan, and with the right surrounding talent.
And Osborn has carved out a clear No. 3 WR role on a team where only five wideouts have seen a target, catching more balls (35). Compare that to a team like the Titans, where eight wide receivers have gotten involved. Yes, when it comes to predicting usage, Minnesota makes it pretty easy for fantasy managers.
Kirk Cousins has thrown the fifth-most passes in the NFL. He has to be on a team yielding the eighth-most points to opponents. If Thielen misses time, Osborn will have the opportunity to earn fantasy streaming production.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Longtime readers and listeners to the PFN fantasy podcast know my views on Pat Freiermuth. He entered the season arguably more talented than starting TE Eric Ebron, and he’s been one of the best TE dynasty investments money can buy.
Yet sometimes managers can fall in love with players based on stats rather than projected production. 
I’m certainly one of those people. 
When Freiermuth is scoring, he’s a TE1. But that’s true for most TEs. The difference has been Freiermuth’s frequent use in the red zone.
On Sunday, the rookie crashed back to earth. We can’t call him an elite TE1 because his receptions and yardage don’t allow for TE1 production when he doesn’t score. It’s an important distinction when evaluating tight end fantasy values, and it probably will continue to impact those starting Freiermuth for the rest of the season.
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Here’s a toast to firsts – may you enjoy them with the people you love, from the first sip to the last. 
Get fantasy ready for Week 14
Week 14 Early Waiver Wire: Best pickups and targets for fantasy football include Taysom Hill, Devontae Booker, and K.J. Osborn
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