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PFN Table for 6: Tony Pollard, Lamar Jackson, Ronald Jones, 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. 

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.
Two days ago, this newsletter featured warnings about the seemingly unstoppable Najee Harris and TE1 Noah Fant. I also urged readers to pay close attention to Kenny Golladay’s, Laviska Shenault’s, and Alex Collins’ usage as indicators of rest-of-season production. Finally, I zoomed in on one of the least appreciated fantasy QBs in recent memory, Taylor Heinicke.
With Week 13 approaching, here are six players I’m watching intently.
Guest of Honor
Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
I’ve shared this before in this newsletter, on the PFN website, on the PFN fantasy podcast, on PFN Facebook, and PFN Twitter. Yes, when research suggests a high probability of contrarian results, I’ll shout it from the hilltops because hedging on predictions serves nobody. Either we believe what we foresee, or we shouldn’t bother talking about it.
I’ve pushed three handcuff RBs as undervalued, must-draft fantasy assets all summer and into the season: A.J. Dillon, Alexander Mattison, and Tony Pollard. 
Today, Pollard is our guest of honor – a potential fantasy playoff difference-maker whose rise in 2021 should have been factored into more preseason rankings.
The fact is, at this stage of their careers, Elliott is not significantly better than Pollard. Some of that might be due to injuries; Elliott hasn’t been the same since suffering a knee contusion in Week 9. In these next games, he’s racked up only 98 yards on 32 rushing attempts (3.1 yards per carry). He has fewer than 13 fantasy points in three of his past five contests. Pollard has looked more explosive. Yet, Dallas has been more invested in Elliott as their starter.
Now that might be changing … gradually. Earlier this week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Dallas might “alter” Elliott’s usage. His knee is still ailing. This team is targeting a deep run in the playoffs. Pollard can handle bell cow duties. Better to have Zeke healthy rather than limping into the postseason.
Pollard has averaged more yards per carry than Elliott in each of his three NFL seasons. He’s currently the RB28. While we still don’t know whether he’ll be a must-start down the stretch, his current value reinforces the preseason rationale for investing in him and other highly talented handcuffs in highly productive offenses.
(Table for 6 continues below)
PFN Fantasy Podcast
Week 12 Fantasy Recap: Is Joe Mixon an elite running back?
(Table for 6 continued from above)
Other Guests
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Last season, Jackson and Justin Herbert scored exactly 332.8 fantasy points, averaging 22.2 points per game. This year, Herbert is averaging 22.3, while Jackson is averaging 22.1. In other words, it would be hard to find two quarterbacks who have produced such identical numbers across two seasons. 
Yet from a distance, it appears Jackson is struggling a bit. Maybe because two of his three worst performances have come in his last two games. Maybe because his backfield is less talented than last year’s, or perhaps because Baltimore’s defense is yielding 3+ more points per game than in 2020. 
Whatever the reason, despite impressive fantasy production, his yards per carry are down, and his interceptions are up. He’s throwing more passes per game than ever before, but it’s not resulting in better numbers. With some tough intra-divisional matchups remaining, it will be interesting to see whether we see “elite” Lamar Jackson again this season.
Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As a kid, I liked rooting for underdogs, and in some ways, that probably helped inform my contrarian thinking – just because someone is great, it doesn’t mean they’ll always be great. 
And the more interesting angle often lies with the “next player up.” For every Lou Gehrig, there’s a Wally Pipp. 
Ronald Jones hasn’t been the player Tampa Bay thought they were drafting in the second round in 2018. But these days, Leonard Fournette is a big reason why. The fact is, Jones’s yards per carry is a healthy 4.5 this year. Last year it was 5.1. Losing six fumbles since 2019 hasn’t helped. 
But let’s not be quick to dismiss Jones as a fantasy asset these final six weeks. If given the opportunity, he could be a top-20 RB and possibly top-14. Jones is one of my favorite must-add guys – a less versatile Tony Pollard in a similarly scoring-friendly offense.
Matt Breida, RB, Buffalo Bills
Breida appeared in last week’s Table for 6. He’s back again. 
As I wrote this past Tuesday, Buffalo began the season with Devin Singletary as the starter, and then Zack Moss quickly joined the fray. They both became TD-dependent RB3/4s, with Moss enjoying the touchdown edge. But with Breida, the talent has always been there. 
Buffalo drafted Singletary and Moss. They were invested in developing these guys. Breida was an offseason signing – a depth move – to back up two young talents. Yet if you watched Breida’s late catch-and-score on Thanksgiving, you understand why I wrote about him last week and why Buffalo seems to have found its new 1A RB. 
Sure, Singletary out-touched him. But the momentum belongs with Breida, who has earned weekly streaming consideration, with a chance at more if the Bills decide to commit to him as their starter.
Josh Reynolds, WR, Detroit Lions
I was kicking myself last Thursday for overlooking Reynolds.
“Of course,” I thought. “Chemistry.”
Yes, chemistry. 
He caught more than 100 passes thrown by Jared Goff in his first four NFL seasons in a Rams uniform before both shipped off to new terrains – Goff to Detroit and Reynolds to Tennessee. 
Now Reynolds is back with Goff in Detroit. He was a healthy scratch in Week 10, caught zero balls on three targets thrown by Tim Boyle in Week 11, and entered Week 12 as a near-universal afterthought. 
But in an offense where the only semi-reliable receiver is T.J. Hockenson, the Lions have been searching for a true No. 1 wideout. Perhaps they’ve found it in Reynolds. We’ll know more in the next one or two games.
Kendrick Bourne, WR, New England Patriots
Needing a win and a boom-bust flex player this past week, I picked up and started Kendrick Bourne on Sunday. My team has been ravaged by injuries (Kyler Murray, Michael Carter, CeeDee Lamb, and A.J. Brown most recently). 
So Bourne presented the most upside I could find on waivers. He came through, and now the question is, “Is Bourne for real?” 
He’s racked up 20+ fantasy points in two of his last three games. Despite that, he’s averaging only 3.5 receptions on 4.2 targets per contest. And his next three games are against the Bills, Colts, and then Bills again. Bourne was the WR4 in Week 12.
He’s a great story. He’s also an example of an ideal fantasy rental – someone we pick up and start when the opportunity is right and then drop without hesitation when the opportunity has passed.
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Looking ahead to Week 13
Early Week 13 Waiver Wire: Best pickups and targets for fantasy include Alexander Mattison, Tevin Coleman, and Jamaal Williams
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