Tuesday, February 27, 2024

NFL Nation Fantasy: Caution with Goedert? How Bears will divvy up carries

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Want to make the fantasy football playoffs? Week 14 is your last chance to secure a spot or improve your standing, and we want to help.

Each Tuesday and Saturday during the season, ESPN fantasy analyst Eric Moody will ask our NFL Nation reporters the most pressing questions heading into the weekend and what to make of the fallout after games are played. Who is primed for a big performance, who is impacted by injuries, what roles might change? Here’s what our crew had to say about some of the biggest storylines heading into Week 14.


What can we expect from Dallas Roschon Johnson when he returns to the Philadelphia Eagles starting lineup?

Goedert only missed three games following surgery on his fractured forearm. It’s probably unrealistic to think he’ll be 100% healthy for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys and beyond, but he expects to function at a high level and should get right back into the offensive mix. Goedert was averaging six targets, four catches and 46 receiving yards per game before injury. Those seem like attainable numbers the rest of the way. — Tim McManus

Should we expect the workload in the New York Jets‘ backfield to remain divided between Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook?

Yes, it will remain divided. Hall (ankle) is less than 100%, but he’s still expected to get more touches than Cook. But the coaches are trying to get Cook more involved because, quite frankly, he has been more effective than Hall, who has been held under 3.6 yards per carry in six of the past seven games. It’s a smaller sample size, but Cook is averaging 4.8 yards per carry (76 yards on 16 rushes) over the past four games. — Rich Cimini

How do you see the distribution of carries shaping up in the Chicago Bears‘ backfield this week with Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson and D’Onta Foreman?

The Bears trust in Johnson was evident in the 52 snaps (10 rushes, 35 yards; five catches, 40 yards) he played at Minnesota while Herbert logged just 15. The rookie running back excels in pass protection, which was critical against the Minnesota Vikings‘ aggressive blitz, but was also an opportunity for him to prove that he could handle an increased workload and is ready for an increased snap count. All three of Chicago’s running backs are healthy, and the team has often rode the hot hand on a game-by-game basis. Johnson was that guy against the Vikings, but it very well could be Herbert or Foreman in a rematch with the Lions as the team judges early game production. “A guy rips off a run or he’s doing a really good job, you start feeding that guy,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “That’s kind of how it works, but we certainly like having three guys that we can go to.” — Courtney Cronin

With Christian Kirk dealing with a core muscle injury, who will fill the void in the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ passing game?

Rookie Parker Washington stepped in for Kirk and caught six passes for 61 yards and a TD — but he also ran the wrong route on the play that Trevor Lawrence got hurt. He will get more work in the slot but the Jaguars utilize tight end Evan Engram a lot from the slot, too. In fact, he has actually run almost as many routes from the slot (228) than Kirk (241). I wouldn’t expect Washington to get the same volume of targets as Kirk, but he will be a bigger part of the offense. — Michael DiRocco

Does Dawson Knox‘s return affect Dalton Kincaid‘s role in the Buffalo Bills passing game?

It’s still not 100% certain that Knox will play in the game against the Kansas City Chiefs as coach Sean McDermott said on Friday that “if he continues to progress, there’s a good chance he’ll play.” He was a full participant throughout the week and is officially listed as questionable. If he does in fact play, as it is trending, Kincaid should still have a substantial role in the Bills passing game as he has proven how valuable and reliable he can be for this offense, but having Knox available could take away a smaller portion of his targets. — Alaina Getzenberg

With Isiah Pacheco is ruled out due to a shoulder injury what can we expect from the Chiefs’ running game?

Not much. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was benched last season to clear a spot in the starting lineup for Pacheco, has averaged only 3.5 yards per carry, or almost a full yard less than Pacheco. Jerick McKinnon is likely to be available on Sunday after missing two games with a groin injury, but he’s more of a pass catcher than a runner. — Adam Teicher

Should fantasy managers be concerned about Austin Ekeler, or will he get back on track Sunday vs. the Broncos?

The last time Chargers coach Brandon Staley said there would be completion in a position group, three defensive backs were benched. On Wednesday, he said there would be competition for carries. “We’re going to keep exploring, making adjustments, so that we can find that rhythm that I’ve been talking about,” Staley said. So, there should be some concern that Ekeler could see a decreased workload on Sunday, but offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said Thursday he isn’t expecting a “drastic change” with carries. — Kris Rhim

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