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Can Gardner Minshew keep the Eagles WRs rolling?

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jalen hurts not being able to play this week, and perhaps beyond that, is a huge blow to the Eagles and fantasy football playoff participants. Hurts has been one of the best difference makers in this year’s real and fake games. He is the central gravitational force in the Eagles offense. The unit revolves around your skill set.

Thankfully, when it comes to projecting the stars of the pass in Philadelphia, we have the movie on Hurts backup. Gardner Minshew started two games last year and averaged 8.0 adjusted yards per attempt. I’m not a true “Minshew should be a starter” but he is without a doubt a capable NFL reserve.

Minshew is slightly different stylistically from the Eagles’ main man.

Hurts has been on fire as a passer this year, especially on go-routes, where he’s been one of the most productive pitchers in the league. as I discussed with AJ Brown on Ekeler’s Edge a few weeks ago, it helped to reveal a hidden strength in the main receiver’s game:

That scream you’re hearing right now is the final gasp of a thousand hilarious offseason takes on Hurts’ passing ability.

Minshew is a little more midfield focused than Hurts. Less than 45% of Minshew’s career passes were beyond the numbers.

Dallas Goedert had his best game of the 2021 season in Minshew’s start against the Jets last year, going for 100 yards and a pair of scores. That midfield pass slant lines up perfectly with the tight end position. Goedert returns this week just in time.

Just because Goedert is back, however, doesn’t mean anything negative for the top two receivers. This is the most concentrated passing game in the league. Last week, both Brown and DeVonta Smith passed well over 100 yards; no other pass catcher has cleared 10. There’s plenty of room to reinstate Goedert and get those two wideouts where they need to go.

Even if Minshew doesn’t take as many sideline shots for Brown as Hurts does, we have some reason to believe he’ll be effective when does get them. Minshew completed 69.6% of his career throws outside the numbers for 24 touchdowns to just four picks.

That’s a worthwhile stat for Smith as well, particularly against Dallas.

the cowboys has a big weakness in the corner across from Trevon Diggs. It’s been an issue all season that has become extremely problematic since Anthony Brown left with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The Jaguars went after Kelvin Joseph over and over again like he was a game of “Where’s Waldo” last week. Zay Jones really put on display what has been a problem for Dallas all year: a production imbalance between opposing teams’ top receivers.

Smith is an underrated talent. He’s a 1B receiver to Brown, not second fiddle. We’ve seen him make big plays for this team over and over again this season. I could see him leading the team in receiving yards in this pivotal NFC East matchup.

It all leads back to the replacement quarterback. Minshew is a different quarterback than Hurts, but he’s more than good enough to keep the ship going. And this ship is so well built that skill position, offensive line, and play call players could be the waves that propel Minshew to a top 10 fantasy quarterback this weekend.

Baker Mayfield had 4.1 adjusted yards per attempt in Week 15

He ranked ahead of just Desmond Ridder, Mac Jones, Tyler Huntley and both Cardinals quarterbacks. Thankfully, we no longer have to act like he’s a revelation.

Mayfield leading the Rams down the field to a 98-yard victory against the Raiders’ miserable defense right after he joined the team was incredible. But that doesn’t erase the reality of who he is as a player, nor should it change the narrative about him as a centre-back.

Outside of his 2020 stretch in a perfectly crafted ecosystem, he just hasn’t been a positive player at the position. Mayfield was a poor quarterback at Carolina this year. He will likely be a poor quarterback for the rest of the season in Los Angeles.

If you want your in-laws to know how little you value their presence at your holiday gatherings this weekend, keep them glued to the TV during Broncos v Rams in the middle of Christmas Day.

It’s not hard to get excited about Alvin Kamara this week. He’s off his best performance since Week 6 and few defenses have been as generous as his Week 16 opponent, the Cleveland Browns.

And yet, the fact that the Saints seem so eager to play as a substitute left me at least raising an eyebrow.

I can get a trusted veteran Mark Ingram getting his replays, to an extent, but for the Saints to use David Johnson fresh off the practice squad over Kamara in the passing game is another matter.

That’s right; on chamber at the ticket games. Few quarterbacks have been more prolific than him as a receiver over the last five years. Something is wrong there.

Alvin Kamara’s fantasy ceiling would be badly damaged if the Saints reduced his role as a passing game. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

You can still project Kamara for a solid start against the Browns in a bad weather game, because he should moonwalk in 18 to 20 runs, minimum. However, there is something else going on between the Saints and their returning star. At least, that’s what using the player all season suggests.

Drake London has led all pass receivers since Week 13 with a 46% share of team goals

Yes, he has the advantage of only playing two games this stretch, but we’ll take what we can with positive volume stats.

I think Arthur Smith got a lot of heat from fantasy managers this year. He designed a very good passing game with good and efficient plays; it was only marred by poor quarterback play. Still, I’ll admit I wanted to see London featured more consistently throughout the season after a strong start, but we’re back to that point here in recent weeks.

London looks set to thrive this week as well if the volume holds. The Ravens discarded seniors like Marcus Peters and Calais Campbell and already allowed the fifth-highest yards per attempt on pitches to receivers lined up alongside.

Desmond Ridder remains a big question mark, but this game should remain close with Baltimore’s offense unable to score many goals. This should keep Ridder on neutral or positive game scripts and allow the Falcons offense to operate on schedule. When they get the ball in the air it will be going to number 5.

Geno Smith ranks 15th in EPA by drop from Week 10

Looks like things have been a little undone for the Seahawks over the past month. Geno Smith earned his Pro Bowl nod and his regression from one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL to just about average is hardly a big shot.

However, we’ve seen recently that when the Seahawks’ passing game isn’t up, the rest of the roster isn’t ready to elevate the operation. The racing game has really stopped since then Kenneth Walker hit a wall and then got hurt. The defense never found its footing. It’s hard to imagine the passing game returning to its most efficient state if Tyler Lockett not on the field.

The Seahawks now have a 31% chance of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. That feels right. This was a successful breakthrough season for Seattle’s first year without Russell Wilson but it doesn’t look like it will end in a magical playoff.

Jahan Dotson leads Washington with a 28% turnout target over the past two weeks

He ranks second in target attendance at 22.4%, trailing only the Pro Bowler. Terry McLaurin🇧🇷 It’s going to be tough to face Dotson – or almost any Commander – this week in a tough game against the 49ers, but he’s been playing fantastic lately.

Personally, I love that Dotson is just putting this on everyone who has size-based prejudices about receiver position.

If I said a receiver was a field trader who dominated contested targets, especially in the red zone, you might think some big 6-foot-3, 220-pound. Do not. It’s just the good old Dotson of under 6 feet and 180 pounds. What an incredible player.

JK Dobbins leads NFL with 245 passing yards in past two weeks

The Ravens running back said he lacks his explosiveness early on, but he’s still filling up the stat sheet. Dobbins is still sharing loads with Gus Edwards and is flanked by a poor passing game that has not stopped him. It won’t slow you down this week either.

Dobbins had a beautiful matchup in Week 15 against Cleveland, but this week’s run against Atlanta is just as smooth. The Falcons are 31st in success rate this year. The passing game might even find some open lanes against this defense. It will also help Dobbins’ efforts as he looks to punch in his third score of the year.

Saquon Barkley’s 50% race success rate last week was his best mark of the season

The Giants offense is much more functional when Barkley can operate as the engine. When he’s firing on all cylinders, the whole unit becomes that much more dangerous.

The Giants’ passing game is in a great spot this week. The Vikings secondary has been one of the most exploitable units all year. We know the Giants’ pass-catching corps isn’t bursting with talent. They will find their job a lot easier if Barkley can repeat his week 15 performance.

Jerick McKinnon averages 6.4 yards per touch

Only Breece Hall Highest check-in among running backs, and he played just seven games before being injured. McKinnon has been legitimately good all year.

Now, the veteran defender has been put in an excellent role. It is not labeled as a two-minute late exercise. He starts early running and getting work. It’s hard to imagine him not continuing to produce excellent numbers this week against a Seattle defense.

Dawson Knox has fourth most targets among TEs since Week 14

I’ve been begging the Bills to get something out of a non-Stefan Diggs passing attack all season long. Don’t expect it to come from the reception room – these guys are what they are – but I will at least be cautiously optimistic that Knox’s recent play is sustainable.

Knox is a guy that this team expanded in the offseason. He has all the talent to be a great tight end and we’ve seen flashes in the past year. Admittedly, I’ve been burned by him in fantasy all season; I can never get the weeks right to start it. But I think I’m buying a strong finish for the Bills tight end.

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