Breakdowns

Week 14 Fantasy Overreactions: Is it time to pick up Rashaad Penny?

Welcome to Week 14 Fantasy Overreactions! The day or two after the dust settles during the NFL season, meaning that we can take any occurrence from Sunday or Monday and make a completely wild narrative with it. We also want to make bold claims to remain ahead of the curve!

Every week, we’re going to identify five of these potential overreactions from the week’s NFL action. While these are just our opinions, feel free to use your own thoughts on each narrative. The storylines have been played out, now it’s our job to decide if we feel the story is fact or fiction.

The stories were aplenty this week: The Buccaneers outlasted the Bills in a clash of two Super Bowl hopefuls. The Kansas City Chiefs dropped the hammer on their division rival Las Vegas Raiders and won by nearly 40 points. The Cowboys beat the Washington Football team to further cushion their NFC East division lead. All that and more in an exciting Week 14!

All of this has led to some great overreactions. So as we will do each week, it’s now time to react to the potential overreactions! 

1) You Should Pick Up Rashaad Penny

Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION

Rashaad Penny has only played in 33 games since he was drafted as a first-round pick in 2018. There was no doubting the talent of the former player from San Diego State, but he showed on Sunday what made him a first-round pick. Penny lit up the Texan’s defense to the tune of 16 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Penny showed off his elusiveness, physicality, and decisiveness as he vaulted to what seems to be the answer to the Seattle running back woes since Chris Carson went on IR.

Penny’s 35 snaps not only outpaced Alex Collins (14) and Deejay Dallas (11), but Penny’s 79.7 pass-blocking grade according to PFF also led all Seattle running backs. Penny being able to block in those situations is going to allow him to stay on the field. The starting running back for Seattle needs to be rostered and for now, as long as he’s healthy, that’s Penny.

2) Taysom Hill is a Top 10 Fantasy Quarterback 

Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION

In the two weeks since Taysom Hill has started for the Saints, he was QB4 in both Weeks 13 & 14 and is the overall QB3 over those two weeks combined. Over that time period, Hill is averaging 25.48 fantasy points per game. Hill is currently doing that despite only throwing two touchdowns while adding four interceptions. The reason Hill remains so fantasy-relevant is his rushing upside.

Hill has 22 carries for 174 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. If you take out his passing stats and use just those rushing numbers, Hill would rank as RB13 in PPR formats. Having those types of rushing numbers from your quarterback will always give them a fantasy floor and for Hill, that’s top 10.

3) Starting 49ers Running Backs Outside Elijah Mitchell is a BAD Idea

Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION

The proof is in the pudding as the expression goes. In Week 14, Jeff Wilson Jr. recorded 13 carries for 56 yards, while JaMycal Hasty recorded three receptions for 10 yards. Those 16 touches for 66 yards is not getting the job done. This is not an outlier either. In Week 11, 49ers running backs combined for 29 carries for 82 yards and two catches for 31 yards.

In these two games without Mitchell, Deebo Samuel has recorded running backs snaps and has combined to record 16 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns. The team clearly trusts Samuel as much as they don’t seem to like to rely solely on Wilson Jr., Hasty, or Sermon. Samuel will continue to vulture carries and touchdowns out of the backfield when Mitchell doesn’t play and moving forward a 49er running back outside Mitchell is not a great play outside a low-end flex play.

4) Austin Hooper is a MUST-START Tight End

Verdict: OVERREACTION

Austin Hooper was on the field for all 65 snaps of the Browns matchup against the division rival Ravens. While Hooper’s five receptions on six targets for 30 yards and a touchdown look nice, remember this was against the same team that held him to zero receptions on three targets in Week 12. If you look back to Week 12, Hooper ran 30 routes, Njoku ran 22, and Bryant ran 7. In this game, all the TE routes were run by Hooper.

Going forward as we get into the last month of the regular season, filled with cold-weather games, I’d expect the Browns to operate to their strength, which is a run-heavy approach. That combined with normally three healthy tight ends in this offense that’ll receive targets, and Hooper was most likely a one-week fill-in.

5) You Can’t Trust Melvin Gordon or Javonte Williams in Your Lineup For Your Fantasy Football Playoffs

Verdict: OVERREACTION

I think I speak for the entire fantasy football community in wishing that this 1A/1B backfield would be had by one of these two awesome players. The potential of 20+ touches every week from one of these two backs would most likely lead to RB1 performances on a consistent basis and in the case of someone like Williams, possibly be a league winner.

The problem is that this backfield is split nearly evenly down the middle. Williams (RB15) is averaging 13.1 fantasy points per game, while Gordon (RB17) is averaging 13.4 fantasy points per game. They are separated by less than 10 PPR points this season and just last week in Week 14, by finishing as top-eight running backs. Both these running backs are low-end RB2’s or high-end flex plays going forward, especially with their rest of season schedule. While neither is expected to be an RB1 while playing together, both are assets you should have in your lineup during the fantasy football playoffs.

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