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5 Fantasy Surprises that Could Win You a Championship

5 Fantasy Surprises that Could Win You a Championship

We are almost halfway through the fantasy regular season and there have been lots of surprises. There have been huge games, breakout type performances, and of course injuries. It is never too early to think ahead to playoff time and see where you could end up.

Leonard Fournette

Fournette has had a good start to his year. Coming into this season there was some question about his performance on and off the field. So far this season Fournette appears to have put some of those questions to rest. He has not had any issues on the field yet this year whether from his injuries or his personal conduct. Fournette appears to have himself in good shape and to be letting his play on the field do his talking for him.

Through week 4 Fournette has 72 Rushes for 404 yards and is averaging 5.6 yards per attempt which is pretty impressive. He has also added 16 receptions to this for another 114 yards for an average of 7.1 yards per reception. The only thing that has been disappointing for him this year is that he hasn’t found the endzone yet. With Nick Foles going down in week 1 it was not a surprise that the team wanted to use their back to take some of the pressure off the new guy under center.

Right now, Fournette is averaging 60 snaps a game which is huge volume and accounts for 91% of the teams snaps at RB. This means that the coaches trust Fournette to take care of the ball and move the sticks on offense when needed. Fournette is getting the bulk share of the workload right now, but I expect that as the season goes on the coaching staff will try and give him a bit of a reduced workload to make sure that he is healthy and in top form for the playoffs. Right now even with not scoring a TD Fournette is still currently a top 10 RB and even if he starts to share more of his workload I still expect that he will start to find himself in plenty of scoring situations that will keep him as a starting RB.

Looking ahead the Jags have a few good games on the schedule coming up in the next few weeks that should give Fournette the TDs that he has yet to score. For the fantasy playoffs he will play against the Chargers, Raiders, Falcons, and Colts in the last four games of the season. The Chargers game should be a high scoring game with lots of fantasy points, the Raiders defense has lost a few key players to injury/suspension so should give up a good performance, the Falcons have also had a ton of injuries on defense, and the Colts currently have the 22nd ranked defense against RBs. So, looking at those 4 matchups, Fournette could be a huge factor in deciding the champion in your league this year.

Terry McLaurin

McLaurin came into this year with high expectations that he could have good chemistry with the Redskins new QB. Haskins has not seen the field very much yet, but in the limited time he has had, he didn’t look good. Luckily McLaurin has been performing at a high level. Through the first 4 weeks of the season he ranks as the 24th best WR in PPR scoring and is averaging 19.9 points per game.

Although he sat out week 4 he is still performing at a high enough level that he is still ranked as a #2 WR with 3 weeks of play. One of the biggest reasons that he is going to be so valuable for the rest of the season is the way that the Redskins are using him, because when he has played he has been on the field for 90% of the team’s offensive snaps. This is huge for his value and his ability to break short passes for long gains makes him an explosive target that any of the QBs for this team will look for.

Returning from his strain he may be brought back into the offense slowly, especially facing the Patriots in week 5 if he plays, but as the season goes on and he continues to perform I think he has an opportunity to finish the season as a top 20 WR in PPR.

Looking ahead to the fantasy playoffs the Redskins will be facing the Packers, Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys in the last 4 games. The Packers defense has looked good so far this year so that matchup may not be optimal for his performance, but the Redskins will most likely still need him on the field since they probably won’t have a playoff spot locked down yet. Looking at the other 3 matchups they are not quite as daunting and some of them could be high scoring affairs that could mean that McLaurin should have some huge performances, especially against the Giants. With all of these factors I believe that McLaurin has a good opportunity to finish the season string and help your team in a significant way.

Ronald Jones

The Buccaneers did not have high expectations coming into this year as they are learning a new system and the lack of talent at some positions. Last year Jones flashed some of his ability to break plays but due to injuries and missing vital training camp time he was not able to display what he could do on the field.

This year he was able to stay healthy and has been sharing the backfield, but he has still been able to show off his potential. Jones has had a few spectacular runs for TDs that were called back for penalties already this year. In addition to his talent Jones has also been getting a lot of volume in the new Arians offense.

Besides the week 2 matchup that he was injured for he has had over 10 carries each game. Right now Jones is averaging 4.7 yards per attempt on 50 attempts and he has also been able to catch all 3 of his targets for another 71 yards. This all means that Jones is the much better back than Barber right now and I think that he will soon take control of the backfield. The team is probably going to be behind or in a lot of high scoring shoot out games this year, which is going to be optimal for Jones to be on the field and help his team stay in games with his explosiveness.

For the rest of the season I expect that Jones will see the field often and will solidify his spot as the starting RB. For the fantasy playoffs the Bucs will face the Colts, Lions, Texans, and Falcons in their last 4 games. The Colts(11th), Lions(4th), and Texans(8th) all rank in the bottom third of the league in giving up the most fantasy points to RBs, and the Falcons do rank as the 11th best in this metric, but with the loses that they have had on their defense there are some huge holes that the they will need to try and fix to stay there. Looking at these matchups Jones should have some good matchups during the fantasy playoffs, and with him taking on more of the workload this year this looks good for him. Pairing this with the fact that the Bucs are currently sitting 2nd in their division and could be playing for a playoff spot until the final game of the season I believe that Jones is going to have a strong finish to this year.

Sony Michel

As a rookie Michel came into the Pats system and looked good. Sony is the starting RB for the Pat’s, but he is also sharing his workload with multiple other backs right now. He has been in all four of their games so far this year, which the other backs have not. Michel is the core of the Pats run offense but has not had a huge year thus far. He is only averaging 2.8 yards per attempt so far this year and has only had 62 rushes, although he has found the endzone twice so far which has helped to salvage his fantasy value.

As the season goes on and the weather starts to get colder the Pats are going to run the ball more, and since Michel is going to keep his starting position barring injury I think that his value is going to shoot up in the last half of the season.

The Pats will run the ball more and Sony should get the bulk of the work. Looking at the last 4 games the Pats will face the Chiefs, Bengals, Bills, and Dolphins. Only 1 of these defenses looks to have a top tier run defense in the Bills and Michel was able to rush for 63 yards against them on the road already this year. The KC game could determine the top seed in the AFC and should be a high scoring affair. The other two games should leave a lot of opportunity to run the ball plenty. Even though Michel’s performance to start the year has been surprisingly low I believe that he should be fresh in the last half of the season and could very well be a league winner this year.

A.J. Green

The Bengals have struggled this year to get going. Green missed the first 4 games of the season so far and will probably miss at least 2 more weeks recovering from his ankle surgery. The Bengals have also lost another receiver already this year in John Ross, so they need help at the position.

When Green does come back form his injury the team will be very happy to have him back, to take some of the pressure off of the other receivers and hopefully open up the run game also. Green is a top tier receiver and even in the 9 games he played last year he was still able to score 6 TD with just under 700 yards receiving. This season could be very similar in the amount of games that he will end up playing, but the Pro bowl level receiver should come in and be able to make a huge difference immediately.

At the end of the season the Bengals will face the Browns, Pats, Dolphins, and Browns. During the fantasy playoffs I believe that Green has an opportunity to have some huge games with the Browns defense having some struggles and being depleted in their secondary, and the Dolphins having the worst Defense in the league so far this year. The game against the Patriots may not be the best matchup for the Bengals but Green’s ability to play at a high level should still mean that he can put up some solid fantasy points. I think that Green is going to come back and go out to prove that he is still a high-level talent that can take an offense to the next tier just by being on the field and elevate the play of those around him. He should finish the season strong and if you have held onto him through his injury he could take you to the top of your league.

5 Fantasy Surprises that Could Win You a Championship

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