(Table for 6 continued from above)
Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
One of the greatest running backs of his era in the midst of his most disappointing season during the Saints’ worst season in perhaps 16 years.
I’ve written a great deal about Alvin Kamara this year, including why I traded him after Week 1. Thi`s was not the elite RB1 we had come to know. New Orleans’ passing game had been one of the league’s worst. As the offensive centerpiece, Kamara would get bottled up by defenses.
And that’s essentially what we saw before Kamara went down with a knee injury in Week 9 after averaging only 3.6 yards per carry.
Receptions (32) and touchdowns (7) have kept him afloat in fantasy. Now he’ll play alongside the run-friendly Taysom Hill. Last year, three of Kamara’s four lowest reception totals were in games where Hill started. It will be fascinating to see which Kamara we see today.
Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans
What do we make of Julio Jones’ rapid fall from elite WR to seemingly unstartable WR?
From 2014 to 2019 he was, in order, the WR6 (despite missing a game), WR2, WR6 (despite missing two games), WR7, WR4, and WR3. Few receivers have dominated the fantasy landscape for six consecutive seasons.
And last year – his final season in Atlanta – wasn’t as bad as the stats suggest: a 51-771-3 receiving line in nine games. Expanded to a 16-game season, he was on pace for an impressive 91-1,371-5 line. His alleged “regression” resulted from teammate Calvin Ridley’s ascension than Jones’s supposedly diminished talent.
Now, I’m not naïve to his situation.
The Titans’ passing attack was a wreck even before Jones and A.J. Brown got hurt. But with Jones finally on track to return from a hamstring injury, I’m focused on whether Jones is a far better fantasy asset than most managers realize.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns
It’s getting harder to remember Jarvis Landry former fantasy greatness. He was a WR1 or WR2 for five straight seasons from 2015 to 2019. Last year, he took a step back yet easily led all Cleveland receivers with 72 receptions on 101 targets for 840 yards and 3 touchdowns.
He turned 29 years old barely two weeks ago. This is not an aging star. Landry is capable of returning to fantasy greatness, particularly with Odell Beckham, Jr. gone.
The biggest question marks are how much the team will commit to the passing game and how effectively the deeply injured Baker Mayfield will get him the ball.
Landry can still be a fantasy asset if last week’s 6-111 receiving line is any indication. Today, I’m watching to see if the Browns remain committed to their clear-cut No. 1 wideout.
Austin Hooper, TE, Cleveland Browns
If I’m writing about Landry, I’m writing about Austin Hooper. Their careers have followed similar paths, as Hooper earned back-to-back seasons as the TE6 for the Falcons in 2018 and 2019. Then, Cleveland made him the high-paid NFL tight end, and he’s wallowed in fantasy obscurity ever since.
Last year, he parlayed the team’s second-most receptions (46) and targets (70) into a disappointing TE21 campaign. This year, he’s regressed further (TE26) despite once again being No. 2 in receptions (28) and targets (45).
Such fantasy futility is almost unheard of for a team’s top-2 receiving option, and it reflects how poor this team’s passing attack has been. Hooper should be getting more than 2.3 catches per game.
If the Browns figure this out and correct it, their high-priced TE should return to fantasy relevance.