32 reporters give advice on whether or not you should bet on Ezekiel Elliott, what they think of Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s NFL future, and more.
It was announced that Ezekiel Elliott would be suspended for six games after violating the NFL’s domestic violence policy. The clyde edwards-helaire is one of 32 reporters who give advice on what to expect in the coming weeks.
The quarterback with the most touchdown passes in the NFL is 44 years old. 32 touchdown receptions are the most in the league.
No, we’re not talking about a recreational league in your neighborhood. This is the NFL, where the combination of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski seems to have changed the time-space continuum. Gronk, right? If anybody could produce 1.21 gigawatts and make a flux capacitor function, it would be him.
Brady (nine touchdown passes), Gronk (four touchdown catches), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) will have their toughest test of the season on Sunday when they travel to SoFi Stadium to play the Los Angeles Rams (2-0).
Will Gronk be able to keep it up? In their backfield, how will the Rams distribute carries? These are just a few of the questions that ESPN fantasy sports researcher Kyle Soppe has sent to our 32 NFL Nation writers this week.
There are a few important division games on the schedule as well, including the Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs. The victors will most likely be regarded as division favorites.
The moment has arrived for Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season’s questions and answers. Let’s get started!
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | LV | MIA | MIN NE | NO | PHI | PIT | SF SEA | TB | TEN | WSH
Zack Moss and Devin Singletary have combined for three running touchdowns. Is Josh Allen’s current running score drought going to last?
After two games, I’m not sure it qualifies as a slump. Allen scored eight running touchdowns last season and has a chance to do it again this year. Despite the fact that he earned a large deal this summer and the Bills have good incentive to restrict his hits, Allen is averaging seven rushing attempts per game, which is up from last year (6.4). Although Singletary and Moss will be important components of the team’s rushing offense, Allen remains a danger to score on the ground. Alaina Getzenberg is a writer who lives in New York City.
This week’s essentials include: • Check out the full schedule » | Check out the standings » • Every team’s depth chart » • Injuries » | Transactions » • Rankings of the Football Power Index » Additional NFL coverage »
When everything is said and done, who will lead this squad in terms of goals?
The Dolphins’ quarterbacks have the eighth-fastest average throw time in the league at 2.6 seconds, and they’ve been pressed on a league-high 41.8 percent of dropbacks. The idea is that whomever throws the ball for Miami, whether it’s Jacoby Brissett or Tua Tagovailoa, will have to make fast passes, which makes Jaylen Waddle the leading option. Through two games, he’s tied for second in targets with DeVante Parker, but he’s been much more effective with his chances (10-of-13 vs 9-of-16). — Louis-Jacques Marcel
Could James White end the season with the most catches on the team?
Yes! It’s just a matter of looking back to the 2018 season to see that it’s feasible, as White led the Patriots with 87 receptions (Julian Edelman was next with 74). According to ESPN Route Metrics/NFL Next Gen Stats, Mac Jones has already thrown seven checkdowns to running backs, second most in the NFL behind Ryan Tannehill of the Titans. — Reiss, Mike
This season, Braxton Berrios had 18 targets: Is the volume going to remain the same?
It all hinges on Jamison Crowder (groin), who is expected to miss his third game in a row. Berrios takes the majority of the snaps in the slot while Crowder is out. Berrios is developing as a backup option for Zach Wilson, but it’s too early to declare him a long-term fantasy possibility. He’s now on a week-to-week basis. Cimini, Rich
Can we rely on Marquise Brown to keep averaging eight targets each game after two weeks?
It all hinges on whether opponents continue to target tight end Mark Andrews, leaving Brown wide open on slants and allowing him to sneak behind the defense. Brown’s outburst isn’t limited to two games. Since the conclusion of last season, his performance has risen, and he now seems to be a genuine No. 1 receiver. When first-round pick Rashod Bateman returns from injured reserve, it will be fascinating to see how much his targets are impacted. Jamison Hensley (Jamison Hensley)
Is there any reason to be concerned about Ja’Marr Chase’s four targets last week (10 for Tee Higgins and nine for Tyler Boyd)?
No. Chase, more than any other Bengals wide receiver, has the most potential. Chase has established himself as a big-play threat by outpacing the rest of the squad in air yards per target. – Ben Little
In this scheme, who is your favorite pass-catcher who isn’t Jarvis Landry or Odell Beckham?
Oh, my goodness. This is a difficult question to answer because of the way Baker Mayfield distributes the ball around in a run-first system. But I’m going to go with one of the tight ends, either Austin Hooper or David Njoku, who are tied for the team lead in targets with eight each. While they partly balance each other out in terms of fantasy value, they are both reliable alternatives for Mayfield. However, if I had to choose between the two, I’d go with Njoku. Hooper has been more of a short-yardage option, while he has been more of a downfield threat. — Jake Trotter is a character in the film Jake Trotter
Apart from Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Field Yates and Daniel Dopp believe Austin Hooper is the only Browns player who might crack a fantasy starting lineup.
What have been your impressions on Najee Harris after two games?
Through two games, it’s difficult to get a solid feel on Harris’ running abilities due to the offensive line’s struggles. He’s showed glimpses of the skill set that drew the Steelers to him in the first round in short spurts when he’s received the ball in space, like as the powerful stiff-arm to shake Johnathan Abram against the Raiders. Harris seems to be more successful in the passing game right now. He couldn’t find much space to run behind the line, but he can make things happen as a pass-catcher. Until the offensive line can gel sufficiently for an effective run game, his five receptions on five targets for 43 yards — including a 25-yard score — is a reasonable template for his use. Brooke Pryor is an actress who plays Brooke Pryor.
With Nico Collins on injured reserve, might Anthony Miller carve himself a regular role?
Miller had a strong start for Houston on Thursday, catching four receptions for 20 yards and a score in his first appearance of the season. With Collins on injured reserve, he may have a greater role, but the main reason he was active in Week 3 was because Danny Amendola was out after hurting his thigh against the Browns. Amendola now has ten days to prepare for Buffalo, and if he’s active, I don’t anticipate Miller to play any more often. Sarah Barshop is a writer.
Week 1 (4 of 35 targets) or Week 2 (12 of 34) of Michael Pittman Jr.’s usage is more representative of what we may anticipate the remainder of the way?
Pittman was the present and future version of that player for the Colts in game two (8 receptions, 123 yards). Whether or not TY Hilton is on the field, Pittman is without a doubt the Colts’ top receiver. If they don’t have quarterback Carson Wentz against the Titans, the Colts will rely even more on Pittman. Mike Wells’ remark
Should Marvin Jones Jr. be considered the clear-cut WR1 in this offense?
Absolutely. During OTAs and training camp, he was Lawrence’s favorite target, and that trend has continued in the first two games. He has 20 targets and 11 receptions to lead the Jaguars. He’ll continue to receive the most targets as long as he remains healthy. Michael DiRocco’s remark
Are you making sense of A.J. Brown’s sluggish and ineffective start to the season?
No, Brown is still a favorite target of Ryan Tannehill’s. Last week against the Seahawks, he had several drops, which he blamed on allowing the first one snowball into others. Brown will have more chances to make plays like he has in the past as the play-action passing game develops. Mike Vrabel has high expectations for all of his players, but Brown in particular. Turron Davenport (Turron Davenport)
Do you think Courtland Sutton’s target dominance will continue now that Jerry Jeudy is out?
Yes, as long as Sutton feels well enough to maintain a high snap count. He leads the team’s receivers in playing time after two games, accounting for 78.5 percent of the offense’s snaps. He and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater have rapidly established on-field chemistry, and the Broncos have been successful in moving him about the formation to give him more space to work. Legwold, Jeff
Edwards, Clyde- This season, Helaire hasn’t had a 10-yard run. Do you believe the Chiefs will give up on the run entirely, or will they try to restart it in the following weeks?
It’s never absurd to believe the Chiefs could throw on every down when Andy Reid is calling the plays. The Chiefs, on the other hand, don’t seem ready to abandon their ground game, which they think will improve as their reconstructed offensive line continues to gel. This is especially true against the Chargers, who have allowed 5.6 yards per run on the ground so far. In two games, Edwards-Helaire had just 27 carries for 3.3 yards per carry. Adam Teicher’s remark
Is this the start of a new Derek Carr/offense, or is it simply a two-game fad?
This is the genuine article. Or, at the very least, it should be now that Carr is in his fourth season under Jon Gruden’s tutelage, right? Carr has never looked more at ease in an offense, despite the fact that he’s only played in the same playcaller’s system once before, and it’s paying off, as his 817 passing yards lead the league. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but he’s looking more like Rich Gannon under Gruden in 2001 than Carr with then-OC Bill Musgrave in 2016. Gutierrez, Paul
Derek Carr’s strong start to the season has Field Yates and Matthew Berry debating if fantasy owners should start him.
Do you think Mike Williams’ improved flexibility (in terms of target depth) is sustainable?
On Sunday against the Cowboys, he was targeted ten times and had a 31-yard catch wiped away by (what else) a penalty. Justin Herbert believes in him after seven catches for 91 yards. Coach Brandon Staley stated, “He really stepped up and understands what he’s doing.” “On game day, this man comes up. We were able to include him in the strategy.” Shelley Smith says:
Is this a backfield committee now, or do you still see Ezekiel Elliott as the main back?
Elliott will continue to be the No. 1 running back, but the difference in carries will be less than it was in Tony Pollard’s first two seasons, when Elliott had 545 and Pollard had 187. This may be more like the Mark Ingram II-Alvin Kamara pairing from early in Kamara’s career in New Orleans. Given Elliott’s contract, it may not be the most cost-effective strategy, but Pollard has shown he can make plays. Because Pollard can line up as a receiver with Elliott on the field, it will be fascinating to watch how things alter when Michael Gallup recovers from a calf injury. Todd Archer is a writer.
Tony Pollard doesn’t quite get the volume to start, which is why Ezekiel Elliott’s fantasy rating has dropped, according to Daniel Dopp.
Are Daniel Jones’ planned runs from last week now part of the playbook, or are they just a means to augment the run game until Saquon Barkley returns to full health?
They’re in the game plan. They should be, too. The Giants intend to utilize Jones’ legs as a weapon. In his career, he has averaged 6.6 yards per carry. It’s a plus that they’ve taken some of the heat off of Barkley. The Giants will continue to utilize the planned runs to Jones as long as they are effective. However, they may not always be as successful as they were versus Washington. Jordan Raanan is a writer.
Two games, two very distinct game strategies. Do you think the cautious Jalen Hurts of Week 1 or the risk-taking Jalen Hurts of Week 2 will continue to be the standard in the future?
With Hurts in the passing game, I’m anticipating a roller-coaster ride with lots of highs and lows. The strategy may shift somewhat depending on the matchups each week, but I believe we’ll see Hurts in Week 1 more frequently. Hurts’ offense is most effective when he throws fast, short-to-intermediate passes that enable the playmakers to generate space. With a lot of planned shot plays against the 49ers on Sunday, Coach Nick Sirianni went too far from that. Hurts has a decent deep ball, and these receivers can burn, but Hurts will most likely be more selective going forward. Tim McManus, Ph.D.
Do you believe this team will ever consider utilizing Antonio Gibson on third down and in hurry-up situations, or will J.D. McKissic continue to play that role?
Perhaps, but given how much they adore McKissic in this character, it makes sense to retain him. Scott Turner, the offensive coordinator, believes McKissic to be one of the brightest players he has ever taught, therefore he has complete faith in him in these circumstances. McKissic’s importance was shown against the Giants; he’s a great route runner out of the backfield with excellent hands and speed. The objective, I believe, would be to utilize Gibson more often, but more so in early-down scenarios to extend the playbook, rather than in two-minute circumstances or on third downs. ‘John Keim’
With Justin Fields taking over for the injured Andy Dalton, could Darnell Mooney’s breakthrough become more likely?
Possibly. Fields throws the best long ball on the team, while Mooney is a deep danger. Over the first two games, the Bears haven’t spread the field much, but Fields changes that. Mooney has been effective, but the Bears want him to make more explosive plays. Fields, in my opinion, contributes to that department. Dickerson, Jeff
What do you think the touch distribution between D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams will look like in the future: even, or does Swift still have the upper hand?
There has been no change. Despite the club continuing to restrict his effort in workouts while managing his groin issue, Swift will continue to gain the advantage on touches going ahead. Despite the fact that Williams has 79 total running yards to Swift’s 76 after two weeks, Williams had the superior overall game in Week 2 against Green Bay, combining eight runs for 37 yards with four catches for 41 yards. There’s a reason he’s RB1 in the Lions’ backfield. Eric Woodyard’s remark
Will the Packers increase Robert Tonyan’s position in the passing game, or will his job description of “low volume, red zone” remain the same?
More targets will come his way, but the Packers must first increase their play count. They only ran 52 plays against the Saints and 61 against the Lions in the opener. Coach Matt LaFleur wants that number to be in the 70s. That means more third-down conversions. The Packers have a 31.6 percent conversion percentage through two games, which ranks them 29th in the NFL. Demovsky, Rob
Matthew Berry and Field Yates wonder whether Robert Tonyan can be relied on week to week in fantasy football.
Is the three-WR set here to stay, keeping K.J. Osborn relevant in terms of volume?
Yes. The Vikings are often depending on their tight ends for pass protection and run blocking, but Chris Herndon should certainly receive more than 12 plays given that he was acquired for a fourth-round selection. This has opened the door for more three-receiver formations, with Osborn firmly entrenched as the WR3. His steady performance has pushed him ahead of Dede Westbrook on the depth chart, and if he keeps playing like he did against Cincinnati and Arizona, he’ll keep getting targets. Courtney Cronin (Courtney Cronin)
Do you believe Cordarrelle Patterson will have more than 10 touches in the future?
Yes, it’s most likely around that figure. Some weeks may be determined by game circumstances — for example, if Atlanta is up late in the game, it may rely more on Mike Davis — but Patterson is a versatile alternative who can line up nearly everywhere. As a result, they’ll look for ways to incorporate him as a rusher and receiver. Because the Falcons only have two running backs on the roster (three if you include fullback Keith Smith), he’ll get plenty of action each week as long as he stays healthy. Michael Rothstein is a writer and producer.
Last season, Mike Davis had almost 15 touches per game. Would you anticipate the same from Chuba Hubbard while Christian McCaffrey is out?
Yes on Hubbard, but don’t forget about Royce Freeman. While Hubbard is expected to start, I could see the responsibilities being shared with Freeman, who, due to his experience, may be a stronger blocker. Regardless, the Panthers, who are 3-0, seem to be more prepared than they were last season to go without McCaffrey. David Newton is an author.
Was Marquez Callaway’s preseason breakthrough just a puff of smoke?
Yes, despite the fact that he has just three receptions for 22 yards. He has, however, been the victim of two rather odd game scripts (a 38-3 win over Green Bay where the Saints barely had to throw and a 26-7 loss at Carolina where the entire offense gained a total of 128 yards while suffering from protection issues). Until Michael Thomas returns from injury, Callaway is New Orleans’ top wide receiver, and he’ll ultimately have more positive games (just maybe not this week against a stingy pass defense at New England). Triplett, Mike
Daniel Dopp explains why he believes Marquez Callaway should be dropped from your fantasy squad.
By the conclusion of the season, who will have the most touchdown receptions for this team?
Through two games, Rob Gronkowski has a league-leading four touchdowns. It’s conceivable that he’ll lead the club this year if he remains healthy, as he did last year, when he played in all 16 regular-season games and four playoff games. But, given his blocking duties and the normal ebb and flow of a season, I believe things will settle down and Mike Evans will emerge as the leader. He had a quiet first week, but the coaching staff believes he is looking his best, and his biggest attribute is his availability. — Jenna Laine is a model and actress.
Is Rondale Moore locked in as the WR2 in terms of targets after his huge Week 2 (7-114-1)?
This is a question I’ve been asked a lot this week. Because of how much Moore can open the field for the Cardinals, defenses will attempt to take him away as a receiving target as soon as possible. As a result, DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green will be more exposed than normal when opponents are forced to resort to protecting those two. For defenses, it’s a vicious cycle that may alter every week. Will Moore be able to get his hands on the ball this week? Yes. Will they primarily serve as receivers? Most likely not. Josh Weinfuss (@JoshWeinfuss)
What percentage of backfield touches do you think Darrell Henderson Jr. and Sony Michel will receive when they’re both healthy?
Sean McVay, the Rams’ coach, has consistently supported Darrell Henderson Jr. as the team’s starting running back. Henderson will still get the bulk of the carries when both are healthy, which is unlikely in Week 3 after Henderson sustained a rib cartilage injury against the Colts. Michel, on the other hand, demonstrated his ability to move the ball in a three-point win against the Colts when he came on in Henderson’s absence. So, when Henderson is well, he’ll receive the bulk of the work, but Michel’s workload will gradually rise. Lindsey Thiry (Lindsey Thiry)
Field Yates and Matthew Berry discuss Darrell Henderson’s injury and if Sony Michel is worth a waiver claim.
Was the lack of success on the ground (38 carries for 117 yards) a result of the mismatch or a genuine worry going forward?
It seemed to be more about matchups than anything else. The Eagles were active up front and combined that with soft coverage, allowing the Niners to attempt a number of short throws, particularly screens. The fact that the Niners had 38 rushing attempts should be encouraging. Moving ahead, they won’t face many fronts as strong as the Eagles’. With Elijah Mitchell (shoulder), JaMycal Hasty (ankle), and Trey Sermon (concussion) all battling with injuries, the real question is who will be available at running back this week. Mitchell and Sermon have a chance to play, but if injuries pile, the Niners may need to bring in a fresh face. Nick Wagoner is a writer.
Will the Seahawks #LetRussCook continue beyond September?
That depends on how you define cooking. Through two weeks, the Seahawks have a dropback rate of slightly under 62 percent, which ranks them 18th in the league. That’s a lot closer to where they were in the second half of last season, when Pete Carroll reined down the offense, than it was in the first ten weeks, when they led the league with approximately 69 percent. They can, however, allow Russell Wilson to cook in different ways. Continuing to go hurry-up outside of end-of-half scenarios, which allows Wilson to call plays, is one of them. Brady Henderson’s quote
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