(Table for 6 continued from above)
Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
It took an injury to Miles Sanders for Philly to invest in the running game. That’s the fantasy irony for a franchise that put all its marbles on Hurts’ legs and throwing arm, at the expense of a balanced attack led by a truly capable running back.
In his first seven games, Hurts was an elite fantasy QB – the only one who topped 20 fantasy points in every contest. He was also averaging 35 pass attempts per game, translating into a decent 245 passing yards per contest.
But that’s all changed since Sanders hit the IR. Jordan Howard, along with Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell, has dominated touches the past two weeks, during which Hurts has averaged only 15.5 passing attempts for merely 133 passing yards.
His value to fantasy managers going forward hinges on a more active passing attack.
Jordan Howard, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
We can’t invite Hurts to breakfast and not invite Howard. What Howard has done the last two weeks is simply incredible: 29 carries for 128 yards (4.4 YPC) and 3 touchdowns. He’s averaging 15.4 fantasy points, compared to 9.0 for Miles Sanders, the running back he’s (temporarily?) replaced. Remember, this is the same Howard who sputtered for 1.7 YPC on 35 carries last season.
Nothing could have prepared fantasy managers for this kind of output in what is supposed to be a three-headed backfield – and four-headed if you include the run-friendly Hurts.
Is Howard for real? Well, he’s only 27 years old and owns a career 4.2 YPC, thanks in large part to a breakout rookie campaign (5.2 YPC). I can’t envision Howard fading entirely to the background when Sanders gets back.
At the same time, I can’t envision Sanders riding the pine. Most likely, Howard is a short-term fantasy boon, not a long-term play.
Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets
Sometimes the Jets don’t have many talented fantasy players. Other times they do; we just don’t hear about them until way too late.
Moore should have been a featured part of this offense from Day 1. A second-round draft pick this year out of the University of Mississippi, he was supposed to join fellow rookies Zach Wilson and Michael Carter as the future faces of a rebuilding offense.
Wilson’s troubles have been well documented, while Carter certainly has begun finding his groove. But this franchise inexplicably retained Jamison Crowder, thereby crowding out (pun intended) Moore when the Jets had nothing to gain by keeping the veteran.
With Corey Davis expected to return in Week 10, the question is whether the Jets will commit to Moore as the team’s near-future No. 1 receiver. If they do, he could be a weekly fantasy streamer with generous upside.
Tyler Johnson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski still sidelined to start the week, 2020 fifth-round draft pick Tyler Johnson could continue to play the No. 3 wideout role in Week 10 against Washington.
I pushed Johnson two weeks ago as a deep-league streamer on our fantasy football podcast, and he fell flat (2-16 receiving line). The following week, however, he came through with 5 catches for 65 yards, which was good for WR34 production. He can be again if Brown remains out.
As deep and talented as Tampa Bay is, Johnson has proven he’s ready to step up. He should be rostered in all leagues, and his output in his next start could help determine his value late this season if the Bucs decide to rest their core starters.
In other words, we could see a WR1 performance from Johnson at some point if things break right.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team
In and out of the league for six seasons to begin his career with only 35 catches to show for it, Thomas broke out in 2020 with a 72-670-6 receiving line.
On a roster where the No. 2 wideout was Cam Sims and the No. 3 was Steven Sims, Washington was desperate for an aerial playmaker beyond No. 1 Terry McLaurin and pass-catching specialist J.D. McKissic.
They found it in Thomas, who began this year as one of four offensive centerpieces on a team expected to make a run at respectability, if not the playoffs. Instead, the offense and defense have largely collapsed. Losing Thomas to a multi-week hamstring injury in Week 4 didn’t help.
With Thomas on the verge of returning, he could provide a meaningful boost to an offense that has averaged only 11 points in their last three games. He has a good shot at replicating last year’s terrific fantasy numbers going forward.