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A Familiar Face Emerging for Big Blue
Remember back in the summer when Darius Slayton nearly did not make the New York Giants 53-man roster? If that feels like an eternity ago, that’s understandable given the uptick in usage Slayton has seen recently for the G-men. The Week 12 Thanksgiving game in Dallas saw Slayton run a route on 87% of the snaps he was on the field for which was a season high. Wan’Dale Robinson is now out for the year for the Giants with a knee injury and Saquon Barkley can’t touch the ball on every play. A lot of our angles recently in this column have centered around an “if not him, then who?” approach and that’s kind of what Slayton is with the Giants pass catchers at the moment. In shallower fantasy leagues, Slayton is likely still available and he’s certainly worth a pickup. A pair of upcoming matchups with the Commanders as well as a Week 16 date with the Vikings could see Slayton produce solid yardage totals.
An NFC East Backfield Discussion That's Never Going Away
Ok, it will if Tony Pollard leaves the Cowboys in free agency, but for now, Pollard’s touch volume compared to Ezekiel Elliott’s continues to be a talking point in fantasy circles. It’s particularly noteworthy right now due to the fact that Pollard seems to be the more reliable play of the two on a weekly basis. The fourth-year back out of Memphis out-snapped Elliott for the second week in a row in Week 12 and the game script was far more neutral against the Giants on Thanksgiving for the Cowboys than it was in Week 11’s blowout win at Minnesota. Pollard also played eight third-down snaps to just three for Elliott last week. Let’s not dismiss Elliott just yet though as his 16/92/1 line against the Giants is still very respectable on the ground. However, with Pollard essentially pulling even in number of carries on a weekly basis and playing more on passing downs, Elliott seems to be the more touchdown dependent of the two at the moment. That gives Pollard a higher floor in the short term.
A Tight End on the Rise
Tight end gets pretty barren pretty fast in fantasy so we want to suggest a name that’s cheaper than the elite ones in DFS and someone that might be worth trading for if your trade deadline has not passed yet. Better yet, on the odd chance David Njoku is still available in your league, go get him. Amari Cooper has been a worthwhile investment for the Browns, but Njoku showed in the games he was healthy in, that he’s a viable second pass catcher in their offense. In seven out of nine games played this season, Njoku has at least five targets. He had an outstanding touchdown catch on a huge 4th down play last week that eventually sent the game against Tampa Bay to overtime. There’s a quarterback change for Cleveland with Deshaun Watson returning from his 11-game suspension, but you would think an upgrade at QB would only help Njoku. Additionally, Watson’s implementation into the offense should result in the Browns throwing the ball more. They didn’t give him all that guaranteed money to be a game manager and at 4-7, Kevin Stefanski will have to get going quickly with Watson to feel safe about his status as Cleveland head coach heading into 2023. All of these factors should bode well for Njoku.
A Worthwhile Stash with the Fantasy Playoffs Approaching
Seven months ago, the Detroit Lions paid a lucrative price to move up from 32 to 12 in the first round to draft Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams. The Lions have shown progress in 2022, but it’s going to be at least one more year before the motor city kitties are in the playoffs again. They’re clearly hoping that Williams is a part of their next contending team, as evidenced by the pretty penny they paid to go up and get him. Williams practiced for the first time this season this week and Jared Goff and others were raving about his explosiveness. The rookie is returning from an ACL tear he suffered during the National Championship game in January. Much has been made lately about Odell Beckham Jr’s status and a possible marriage with the Cowboys. Don’t forget Beckham’s ACL tear occurred in mid-February during the Super Bowl. Williams is a month ahead in the recovery process and figures to be an integral part of the Lions’ offense for years to come whereas Beckham is likely just a rental for a contender if he even signs somewhere in December. Williams’ status is worth continued monitoring and if he proves to be healthy and explosive on a regular basis in practice, he could have a big game or two before the season ends.
By Greg Frank
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