Each week, TSN.ca Fantasy Editor Scott Cullen and NFL Editor Ben Fisher discuss three hot fantasy football topics.
After a slow start to the season, is Robert Griffin III fully back? Where in QB rankings will he'll finish the year?
Cullen: Last week at Minnesota (281 passing yards, three touchdowns) provided RGIII with a season-high 27 fantasy points in TSN leagues, but it's likely a case of taking advantage of a porous Vikings 29th-ranked pass defence, which he could very well do against Philadelphia's 31st-ranked pass defence this week. In the previous two games, though, Griffin had a total of 13 fantasy points, with only one touchdown pass, so it's too soon for me to say he's as good as ever. He's on the fringe of being a fantasy starter, ranking 12th in QB points this season and close enough that he could easily slide into the Top 10, maybe Top Eight by season's end.
Fisher: RGKnee is finally meeting the lofty preseason expectations of fantasy owners. He's nearly a Top 10 QB in total points this season but just outside the Top 5 in the last four weeks. It took a little longer for Griffin to return to his rookie form but he appears to be there now. Even with Griffin altering his game to a more cautious one, the injury risk remains high with the sophomore playmaker. That said, I'll assume here he finishes the season healthy and ranks somewhere in the 5-10 range at his position at year's end, exactly where a lot of preseason prognostications had him.
As a fantasy owner, do you want Rashad Jennings or (a healthy) Darren McFadden starting at RB for the Raiders?
Cullen: What Jennings has done really well, when given the opportunity is add yardage in the passing game to his overall totals, so in three games that he has had more than 20 touches, he's gained more than 100 yards from scrimmage. While McFadden has been an effective receiver in the past, he's hardly being used that way now, so his production hasn't been as strong. Strange as it is to say, I'd go with Jennings until some team proves they can bottle him up.
Fisher: Fantasy owners have long known that taking Darren McFadden in the draft also means you have to spend a late pick on his backup, this year of course being Jennings. Jennings has already paid for himself for the prudent fantasy owner filling in for the injured McFadden, and could prove even more valuable before the season is out. Jennings has simply been the better back all year in Oakland and head coach Dennis Allen confirmed this week what fantasy owners already knew – he deserves more carries even when McFadden returns from injury. The former Jacksonville Jaguar seemingly blew his chance to be a starter last year filling in for the injured MJD, but he's earned another shot this year with the Raiders. At this point a healthy McFadden would likely steal enough carries from the 28-year-old to render both RBs ineffective fantasy starters, but as we all know a healthy McFadden is rarely the case.
Is Riley Cooper a legit WR1 with Nick Foles at QB, or just enjoying a hot streak?
Cullen: It doesn't appear to be mere coincidence that Cooper's game has taken off since Foles took over at quarterback, but WR1 is a lofty placement, especially considering DeSean Jackson already ranks among the top five wideouts in fantasy points per game (13.0) this season. Cooper's last two weeks have been monstrous (241 YDS, 5 TD, 54 fantasy points), but I'd feel more comfortable with him in a WR2 or even Flex slot.
Fisher: I struggled with this one. On one hand, a look at Riley Cooper's targets suggest he's not a big enough part of the Eagles' offence to rely on from week to week, but on the other hand the speedy 26-year-old is proving to be a playmaker, someone that makes the most of his (somewhat) opportunities. Cooper appears to have developed some nice chemistry with QB Nick Foles, but I like my WR1 to average a few more than five targets a game (just half the targets received by league leaders). For now I'll keep Cooper in the WR2 category.