Fantasy Fall: Will DeVonta Smith’s Brock Purdy still be hot?

Our NFL Nation reporters answer fantasy football questions every Tuesday during the NFL season. Here’s what they said after Week 14.

Should fantasy managers stop chasing Gabe Davis’ big week?

Possible. It is clear that he has not performed at the level expected. Overall, excluding Stefon Diggs, the Bills wide receiver has underperformed this year, leading the league in a 6.3% drop percentage. Davis led the Bills with seven drops. Despite this, he is second in terms of targets (71) and quarterback Josh Allen continues to look for him. This offense has the potential to play at a high level but underperforms. Davis still has potential for a breakout game, but a more consistent fantasy option should come first. As any fantasy manager has learned, big plays are rare. — Alaina Getzenberg

Do you think Carolina wants to go as heavy as Sunday in Seattle, at the expense of DJ Moore’s fantasy potential? Or was this past week more the result of game flow than a desired game plan?

Yes, the Panthers want to be heavy no matter the opponent, which leaves Moore somewhat less impactful. But his lackluster form on Sunday was more down to injury than not being part of the game plan. He has great chemistry with quarterback Sam Darnold and he will continue to capitalize on that. — David Newton

Should we read Donovan Peoples-Jones caught 8 of 12 targets while the unfit Amari Cooper struggled with only two catches on seven targets?

Deshaun Watson has a better relationship with DPJ so far than Cooper. But Cooper is battling a hip injury he sustained last week in practice, and that’s playing his limited production Sunday. At this point, either WR was able to lead the Browns in receiving game to game. And with the difficulty of the running game, the Browns are likely to throw the ball down. It will support the production of all Cleveland WRs during the fantasy playoffs. — Jake Trotter

Back-to-back productive weeks of DJ Chark: has he been a viable option so far?

Yes and no. Yes, Chark is prolific and can make an explosive play at any time, but outside of Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions spread the fortunes offensively, using all their guns. What this means is that D’Andre Swift can be a target, or receivers for Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds, and then when you add rookie Jameson Williams to the mix, it makes the offense scary. So, I don’t need to count on Chark to put in big numbers individually with so many options for Jared Goff, fantasy football terms. — Eric Woodyard

We finally got the big Evan Engram game. He was treated as a receiver in this offense. Is this a great start to more flash in the pot?

This offense is designed so that different people can shine based on the fight. Last week was Engram. Two weeks earlier it was Zay Jones. So expect more of the same. However, Engram is the best tight pass the Jaguars have had in a long time and Doug Pederson likes to use the position. So Engran will likely have another big game. — Michael DiRocco

Three different Rams receivers scored at least 9.5 fantasy points on Thursday night. All of them are risky, but if you choose one of them, who will it be?

Van Jefferson. Jefferson is going to have a successful 2021 season – with 50 catches for 802 yards and 6 touchdowns – and has recovered well from his knee injury. He is also the most likely of the current receiving corps to be a threat in the red zone. Sean McVay says he’s been impressed with what Tutu Atwell has done in recent weeks, but I’d still go for a more established receiver in this case. — Sara’s Bar shop

Dalvin Cook had 15 times for 23 yards and was held to under 10 fantasy points in three of his last four games. Should we be worried as we approach the fantasy playoffs?

There’s definitely room for worry. Sunday’s 23-yard output was exacerbated by injuries 40% from the starting offensive line. But Cook is showing some signs of long-term wear and tear. He has played more snaps over 14 weeks (626) than he has in any other NFL season, by long hitting, and only 33.7% of his strikes have been further than expected, per NFL Next Gen Stats. The most optimistic prospects will note that coach Kevin O’Connell is very unlikely to walk away from the running game from a volume perspective. — Kevin Seifert

Big bouts in a row from DeVonta Smith: Do you think we can count on him for consistency over the years?

Smith’s targets have fluctuated for most of the season but have stabilized more recently, as he received eight or nine targets in each of the last five games. Jalen Hurts continues to grow as a passer (he is the top rated quarterback at 108.4) and has been in a good groove with Smith. I think Smith continues to produce. — Tim McManus

What should a fantasy manager take from Brock Purdy’s memorable game against Tampa Bay?

Two things stood out the most: First, how well Purdy handled pressure. And secondly, Purdy not only managed games but made a lot of big plays. Purdy was 6-of-7 for 108 yards and two touchdowns while under pressure in Sunday’s first half and showed an ability to bust defenders then get the ball down the field. That bodes well for the set of playmakers who rely on Purdy for the ball. — Nick Wagoner

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