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Commanders Finding Themselves in More Positive Game Scripts
Are the Washington Commanders…good?! They’re certainly not bad as they played another game last week in which they found themselves ahead most of the way in a 23-10 road win at Houston last week. Washington now sits at 6-5 and figures to factor into the NFC wild card mix down to the season’s bitter end. From a fantasy perspective, this certainly gives us some running back splits to digest. Brian Robinson has been the feel-good story for Washington this season returning to the field after taking a gunshot in August. But, Antonio Gibson is still just a 24-year-old in his third year with the team and should not be forgotten. The RB duties tilted heavily in Gibson’s favor last week as he played 68% of the snaps, appeared in every obvious passing down situation and handled 18 carries to Robinson’s 14. The passing down usage is also important for Gibson moving forward with J.D. McKissic out for the season. If Gibson is outcarrying Robinson and getting all the passing down work, he’s a viable fantasy option regardless of his efficiency as the regular season becomes the playoffs in most leagues shortly.
Another Running Back’s Usage Spikes For the Better
The Chicago Bears have become surprisingly functional on offense in the last 4-6 weeks of the regular season. It will be interesting to see how the shoulder injury to Justin Fields impacts the playcalling from the Bears this week and for the rest of the season. It could hinder their passing game that already had problems when Fields was healthy. The good news is, if you’re a David Montgomery fantasy manager, he’ll see plenty of work against the Jets in Week 12 and likely beyond. With Khalil Herbert sidelined, Montgomery outsnapped Trestan Ebner 32-9 and ran a route on 24 of the 32 Fields dropbacks. Much like Gibson, Montgomery’s skill isn’t necessarily the reason he’s dominating the touches in this backfield, but almost any situation that has a running back seeing this large of a role is going to be worth tapping into in fantasy given the attrition at the position seemingly every year.
Kyren Williams and Nobody Else for the Rams
Just about everything has gone wrong for the defending Super Bowl Champs this season. Their offensive line problems that many forecasted at the beginning of the year have proved to be costly. Matthew Stafford has showed signs of his age and dealt with multiple injuries. With the departures of both Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr, the Rams were always going to have some questions about their WR2 and now their WR1, Cooper Kupp, is on the shelf. McVay and his staff have spoken glowingly about rookie Kyren Williams and Williams was recently activated off injured reserve and last week played 35 snaps in the LA backfield to 25 for Cam Akers. There have been all sorts of awkward vibes between Akers and the Rams this season so our guess is this gap will only grow as Williams gets healthier. With 2022 becoming a lost season for the Rams, it would make sense that they want to take an extended look at Williams. There’s simply not many healthy skill players of value for the Rams’ future right now so Williams can be plugged into lineups in all formats as he’s been used on passing downs as well since getting back on the field. The Rams also parted ways with Darrell Henderson this week which clears the way for a pretty consistent role for Williams down the stretch.
A Wide Receiver in a Similar Injury-Plagued Offense
We’ll finish up going from an NFC West disappointment to an AFC West disappointment and focus on the Las Vegas Raiders passing game. Like the Rams, the Raiders have been hit with the injury bug to some offensive skill players and the end of the season has turned into more of a figuring things out situation than solidifying a playoff spot for the silver and black. Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow remain on injured reserve and the Raiders have been in lots of negative game scripts this season. Davante Adams has been one of the lone bright spots for Vegas this year, but he can’t catch every pass Derek Carr throws. Mack Hollins caught six balls in the overtime victory in Denver last week for the Raiders for 52 yards. It was the third time in the last five games Hollins has either hauled in 6+ catches or scored a touchdown. Hollins is 29 and in his sixth season in the NFL so unlike Kyren Williams, there’s a lot more known than unknown about Hollins and what he can do in the league. He’s been a special teamer and depth wide receiver for every team he’s played for. However, special teams is a good way for players to earn brownie points with coaching staffs and get more time on offense or defense. In Hollins case, those snaps come at wide receiver and as we mentioned, there aren’t many other people for Carr to throw to at the moment after Adams. Hollins is far from a weekly lineup lock, but can still be used to fill any remaining wide receiver bye weeks you have on your roster or get you through an injury situation to one of your other wide receivers on a week in which he has a good matchup. Week 12’s matchup with the Seahawks isn’t ideal for Raider wide receivers, but Hollins might still get enough targets to merit flex consideration and upcoming matchups against the Rams and Steelers are more appealing. The North Carolina product profiles as a good desperation option.
By Greg Frank
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