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Welcome to Week 18 of the 2023 Footballguys Roundtable. Our intrepid panel of fantasy pundits discusses and debates four topics every week. We split the conversation into separate features.
This week's roundtable features these four topics:
- Perception or Reality? (see below)
- Role-Player Playoff Saviors Moving Forward
- 2024 Bold Predictions
- 2024 Offseason Points of Intrigue
Perception or Reality?
Matt Waldman: Answer one of the following topics.
- True or False: Bill Belichick's past few seasons prove that Tom Brady was a more impactful player than Belichick was an impactful coach.
- Which fanbase was D'Andre Swift's RB17 season an "I told you so?" Eagles fans or Lions fans?
- Biggest fantasy rebound in 2024: Jonathan Taylor, Aaron Jones, or Austin Ekeler?
Christian Williams: Aaron Jones made my ears perk up last week, showing off an incredible burst, speed, and ability that made him such a great fantasy performer in his prime. He looked healthier than he has in the last two seasons. The perception around older running backs is always negative, and with the inconsistent availability in 2023, it's easy to understand why Jones's average draft position will be depressed next year. But if that rejuvenation is real, and Jordan Love continues his success, Aaron Jones could return to top-5 status in 2024.
Dave Kluge: Jonathan Taylor, being just 24 years old, will likely bounce back in 2024. His 2023 season is probably an outlier. Contract disputes and injuries plagued his preseason. A slow ramp-up from his IR return left a bad taste in fantasy managers’ mouths. A Week 12 injury caused him to him almost a month of football. But if those injuries cause concern among drafters in 2024, I will take full advantage of any discount on Taylor.
He’s built to be a three-down back who can do it all. Whether between the tackles, out wide, in the passing game, or near the goal line, Taylor can get it done. Not only is he an elite talent in his own right, but he benefits from running behind a great offensive line in a run-first scheme. Sure, his ceiling might be limited, with Anthony Richardson siphoning some goal-line touches next year. But Taylor is primed to bounce back in 2024 as an elite fantasy running back.
Zareh Kantzabedian: Swift's season was an "I told you so for Eagles fans." Philadelphia became a very predictable run offense in 2023. They largely ran out of the shotgun, and when they did, they ran a bunch of inside zone. That became the preferred play because it complements the angles for a running back in a shotgun formation. Contrary to outside zone where the running back has to get more flat or parallel to the offensive line when running out of shotgun. This results in an awkward approach for the running back when running outside zone.
Additionally, inside zone isn't beneficial to creating explosive run plays because it attacks the interior of the offensive line. It's a conservative play call designed to gain modest yardage. The Eagles became predictable, and their run game was not designed to be explosive in 2023. Swift under center, in a diverse run scheme, would be devastating.
Sam Wagman: D'Andre Swift's season was an "I told you so" for Lions fans because, while we did see flashes of Swift's immense talent, it just wasn't used correctly by the Eagles. As Zareh noted, the inside zone scheme that the Eagles utilized does not stress Swift's strength, which is lateral explosiveness getting to the outside. He's not big enough to go up the middle consistently and hammer defensive lines, but he did see plenty of spots where he bounced around and got tough yardage. I love Swift as a player, and he demonstrated top-10 fantasy RB talent this season.
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