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Welcome to Week 4 of the 2022 Footballguys Roundtable. Our intrepid panel of fantasy pundits discusses and debates four topics every week. From this point forward, we're splitting the topics into separate features.
This week's roundtable features these four topics:
- The True Reveal (See below)
- Tackling the Subscriber Contest
- Running Back Game Script Dependency
The True Reveal
Matt Waldman: Which players from the list below showed their true 2022 selves in Week 3 and which player's Week 3 were aberrations?
- Mack Hollins
- Rhamondre Stevenson
- Kyle Pitts
- James Robinson
- Trevor Lawrence
- Breece Hall
- Russell Gage
- Chris Olave
- Amari Cooper
- DeVante Parker
Where do you stand?
Jason Wood: This is an interesting list of players, as it features young, ascending talents and proven veterans. And it also has a handful of aberrant Week 3 performances and a bunch of truer outcomes. Let's start with the Jaguars as you've listed two players -- Trevor Lawrence and James Robinson --. What more do we need to see from Robinson? He's been explosive all season, is in the lead role, and doing the same kinds of workhorse things we saw him do as the only guy in town a year ago before tearing his Achilles. Lawrence, meanwhile, has shaken off a historically bad rookie year to look far more comfortable. While he's not yet playing like an elite quarterback, he has almost completely removed fears that he will be a bust.
I also think Amari Cooper looks exactly as he always had; the surprising thing is Jacoby Brissett is managing to keep the Browns' passing attack alive when most thought it would be a slog until Deshaun Watson is eligible.
Gary Davenport: It isn't like this was the first big game we have seen from Cooper in 2022—Week 3 was the second straight game in which he caught at least seven passes, topped 100 receiving yards, and scored a touchdown. It was also Cooper's second straight game with double-digit targets. He's clicking with Jacoby Brissett, he's getting open—I can't promise the fun will continue once Deshaun Watson returns, but for the next two-plus months, Cooper has legit WR1 upside.
Jeff Bell: The Cowboys' return of just a fifth-round pick for Amari Cooper stands out negatively in an offseason that saw teams lose their minds about obtaining wide receiver talent. Amari Cooper looked like his true self in week three after being dismissed by many entering this season. Cooper has topped 1,000 receiving yards in five of his seven-season and comes off a career-high eight touchdowns in 2021. The Browns' offense has looked efficient behind Nick Chubb, and Cooper is the team's clear top receiving option. Jacoby Brissett looks comfortable feeding him targets, and he has the hammer of Deshaun Watson's pending return waiting for the fantasy playoffs. He is a target as a player who can deliver a top 12 finish at a diminished price tag.
Ryan Weisse: Cooper's value isn't going anywhere. There was a drumbeat coming out of Browns' training camp that Cooper could average 10-12 targets per game. At the time, it sounded far too optimistic, bordering on laughable for an expected low passing-volume offense. Now, he sits at nine targets per game, with 21 over his last two outings. Cooper has caught 19 balls for 219 yards and two touchdowns through three weeks. He is currently the No.10 wide receiver in fantasy with what some thought might be the worst starting quarterback.
Jacoby Brissett has played well, not great, but he is hyper-targeting his best weapon. As long as defenses have to respect Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the running game, Cooper can expect a 25%-30% target share with a good chance to find the endzone. We can't ignore his Week 1 dud, but now that Brissett has locked into Cooper, his floor is likely safer than what we saw against Carolina.
Wood: I'll also throw Chris Olave into the positive category, but we should keep in mind that both Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry didn't finish the game. Olave will be a star, but I don't think he'll be consistent enough this year to be more than a WR3 on playoff-contending rosters.
In terms of pretenders, Mack Hollins sits atop the list. Sure, Hollins is getting a lot of run in Las Vegas this season. But his big game came while Hunter Renfrow was inactive. The Raiders' offense looks far less explosive than we'd hoped, and when the dust settles, I don't believe there will be enough volume and scoring chances to support four fantasy starters.
Kevin Coleman: The biggest pretender on this list is Mack Hollins. While he had an impressive showing catching eight receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown, the real reason for the uptick is the absence of Hunter Renfrow. There is also a problem with just how much volume will come out of this offense, as Jason pointed out. With Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow healthy, Hollins remains just an injury or bye week filler.
Bell: Russell Gage stands out as an aberration. Gage struggled in camp to the point the team added Julio Jones late in the summer, and just this week, the team just brought in Cole Beasley. Mike Evans is back this week, and the team should be conservative bringing Chris Godwin back, but he will return. Gage delivered in a loss on Sunday but had to dig himself out of a poor position from the summer. It is an open question if he has any meaningful role if the Buccaneers receiving corps ever reaches total health.
Wood: l agree that Gage is also an easy fade. The Buccaneers were missing too many pieces to trust Gage is a reliable producer when they return.
Drew Davenport: Agree. As the Tampa Bay wide receiver corps gets healthier, Gage will take a backseat. Jones was reportedly close to playing, Evans is back in Week 4, and Godwin will be a few weeks behind. Don't go overboard with Gage's big game.
Sam Wagman: Even Cole Beasley was recruited in spite of Gage's presence in this offense. I'm not sure that Gage has a true role when the other three are healthy, and we should learn quickly next week.
Weisse: Everyone is absolutely correct on Mack Hollins and Russell Gage, but they made all the good points already. If you only look at the Week 3 fantasy points for Rhamondre Stevenson, you would get the idea that he could be a top-10 running back capable of dropping 20 fantasy points on a whim. That is not the case. He and Damien Harris both scored a touchdown this week, and that will not be the norm in a very dysfunctional Patriots offense.
While his production jumped in Week 3, his snap share and usage were pretty similar to what we saw in Week 2, when he managed just six fantasy points. The one thing that increased was his targets, and that was with Jakobi Meyers sidelined. If we can expect five targets per game for Stevenson, he has a safer floor than what we saw in the first two weeks. However, we cannot count on touchdowns from this offense as a whole, so do not expect many repeats of his Week 3 performance.
Waldman: I'll add that after watching Hollins this month, there's a pretty strong indication that he's only an option when the Raiders face a defense that can get home to Derek Carr. This is beneficial knowledge for fantasy GMs if Hollins is added as a bye-week option, or you can add him on the rebound after the team that paid a lot of money for him has fits when knowing when to use him.
I also think Parker needed a lot of targets and even more scheming to earn his production last week against some young and unrefined cornerbacks. I'm not sold.
Gary Davenport: A lot of FAAB was probably spent this week by fantasy managers who saw Parker's name, Week 3 stat line, and had flashbacks to 2019. In Weeks 1 and 2 combined, Parker was targeted four times and caught one pass for nine yards. The Patriots passing game was hard enough to trust with Mac Jones under center. With Jones now sidelined indefinitely with a high-ankle sprain and Brian Hoyer set to take over, I want no part of starting any Patriots receiver.
Coleman: This season, James Robinson defied all odds in his comeback from an Achilles injury. He currently sits as RB3 in PPR leagues averaging 18.8 fantasy points per game and is a must-start in all formats. This last weekend he rushed for 100 yards for the first time this season and scored for the third consecutive week. He has assumed control over that backfield and has made Travis Etienne almost irrelevant in fantasy. It would seem this is who Robinson will be moving forward, and based on his pre-season ADP and the lack of production from the top running backs at the position so far, he could easily go down as the best value in fantasy this off-season.
Drew Davenport: There are several candidates on this list that I think showed their true selves this week, but the one I want to highlight is Breece Hall. He started the season behind Michael Carter and posted a troubling 27% snap share in Week 2, but then in Week 3, he saw the field more than Carter for the first time (albeit just 51%). The most encouraging thing was his 48% route participation on Joe Flacco dropbacks. That led to 11 targets and 6 receptions in his best fantasy performance to date. The Jets didn't trade up to draft Hall as the first running back off the board to have him sit behind Carter. The usage in Week 3 was encouraging and should continue to tilt towards Hall even more as the season goes on.
Wagman: I think it's fair to say that Pitts has not had a great start to the 2022 campaign. Arthur Smith basically said that he didn't care about throwing the ball more to Pitts a week ago but then targeted him more times in the first half than he's had catches all season. And guess what, it worked!
Pitts' numbers dwindled in the second half of the game, but those are Marcus Mariota's shortcomings, not Smith's or Pitts', who showed he is every bit as talented as he proved last season. Pitts is the rare breed of size and speed at the tight end position, and he skied over defenders multiple times last Sunday for catches that most players wouldn't have been able to make. He's the real deal and should continue to show improvement as the season moves along.
Waldman: If you'd like to see the rest of the topics, once again, you can find them here:
Thanks, and good luck this week!
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