Tony Pollard Has Arrived

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Ezekiel Elliott Has A Tony Pollard Problem

Sunday’s matchup between the Cowboys and the Chargers turning out to be a low-scoring affair wasn’t the biggest surprise from the game. What was more surprising was the workload split between Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Elliott was a consensus first-round draft pick and fantasy gamers were under the assumption that his workload was secure. Despite a poor final stat line, Eliott out-touched Pollard 13-7. Elliott’s poor stat-line against Tampa Bay made perfect sense considering the tough matchup.

Elliott fared better in the Week 2 matchup against the Chargers. He posted a 16-71-1 rushing line and caught both of his targets for 26 yards. In a vacuum, this is quite a respectable score. However, Pollard ate into Elliott’s workload, posting a 13-109-1 rushing line and catching 3 balls for 31 yards. Pollard has looked more explosive than Elliott over the first two weeks, and it looks like the Cowboys are comfortable with the split workload. Elliott should continue to be ranked as a low-end RB1, but Pollard has worked himself into the FLEX conversation.

Cordarrelle Patterson Is Finally Playing His Proper Position

The Cowboys’ backfield isn’t the only one currently where the incumbent starter must hold off a more explosive-looking player. In Week 1 Mike Davis turned 15 carries into 49 yards and added 23 yards on three receptions. He had a 15-7 workload split with Cordarelle Patterson. Patterson turned his seven carries into 54 yards and turned two receptions into 13 yards, but he must’ve earned some additional work.

In Week 2 against the Buccaneers, Davis looked incredibly poor as a runner and receiver. He rushed nine times for 38 yards and caught seven targets for 25 yards. Davis ceded a lot of the high leverage work to Patterson. Patterson didn’t look much better as a runner, rushing seven times for 11 yards and a score. He however did look like a far more explosive receiver, catching five of his six targets for 58 yards and a score. Davis needs to turn in a huge game against the Giants to start earning some of the higher value work back, but Patterson should be rostered in deeper leagues as a viable fill-in running back option.

Is Henry Ruggs Going To Break Out?

The siren song that was the upside case for Henry Ruggs was far too difficult for head coach John Gruden to ignore, and the Raiders drafted him twelfth overall in 2020. Ruggs had a disappointing rookie season, playing in 13 games and posting a 26-452-2 receiving line. However, it appears that Ruggs is slowly starting to find his footing in the NFL.

Ruggs caught two of his five targets for 46 yards in Week 1, but he turned in an incredible performance against the Steelers on Sunday. He turned a career-high seven targets into 113 yards and a touchdown and led the team in air yards. Ruggs’ incredible speed was on full display on his 61-yard touchdown as he torched two Steelers defenders for the score. Ruggs appears to be a viable FLEX candidate going forward.

Will Matt Nagy Just Name Justin Fields The Starter Already

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Bears QB Andy Dalton appears to have avoided serious structural damage to his knee. Initial testing revealed that Dalton appears to have suffered a bone bruise. Bears head coach Matt Nagy continues to play coy with the media, declaring that Dalton remains the Bears’ starting quarterback when healthy. In Dalton’s defense, he looked much better on Sunday, completing nine of his passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Rookie phenom Justin Fields turned in a mixed performance in Dalton’s absence. He completed six of his 13 passes for 60 yards and an interception and added 31 yards on 10 carries with his legs.

Fields could’ve had a much bigger day had WR Allen Robinson converted a beautifully thrown pass, and it’s quite likely that the narrative today would’ve been quite different. If Fields gets the nod this Sunday, I hope he’s able to win the job.

Quick Hits – Injury Edition

There were several injuries that fantasy gamers need to monitor over the course of the week.

1. Rams RB Darrell Henderson has been diagnosed with a rib cartilage injury and the team is optimistic that he will be ready for Week 3 against the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are a very difficult matchup for running backs, so it’s possible Henderson receives a reduced workload this coming Sunday.

2. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs is “very questionable” for the team’s Week 3 game against the Dolphins. Jacobs missed the Raiders’ second game against the Steelers with toe and ankle injuries he sustained in Week 1. In his absence, both Peyton Barber and Kenyan Drake provided minimal support in the running game. Drake saw plenty of run as a receiver and has low-end RB2 appeal in PPR formats.

3. Laviska Shenault suffered a shoulder injury against the Broncos, but it sounds like he thankfully avoided a serious injury. Shenault struggled to get much going in Week 2, turning his seven targets into two receptions and -3 yards. It’s a shame to see the second-year breakout candidate take a step back after his 7-50-0 performance in Week 1 against the Texans. The Jaguars’ offense has a chance to get back on track this Sunday against the Cardinals.

4. Diontae Johnson appeared to suffer a serious knee injury on the final play of the Steelers’ loss to the Raiders. Johnson was unable to walk off under his own power, but early testing indicates that he avoided serious structural damage. If Johnson is able to practice on a limited basis, he should be good to go this Sunday against the Bengals. If he misses time, I expect that Chase Claypool would be the biggest beneficiary.

5. Jarvis Landry suffered an MCL injury against Houston and head coach Kevin Stefanski said that he’s “week to week”. It’s quite likely that Landry misses extended time, so fantasy managers should make alternative arrangements. Odell Beckham who has been a surprise inactive these first two weeks might be active on Sunday and it’s likely he sees a much larger target share with Landry sidelined.