Fantasy Football Mailbag: Wednesday 9/21/16

Has Randall Cobb fallen out of must-start territory? And should we hang onto Ameer Abdullah?

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Now, let's answer some questions.

Yeah, it's time to stop thinking of Mark Ingram and Randall Cobb as must-start plays, which is unfortunate on many levels, as I'm sure Jeremy knows. In Week 1, Ingram played on just 42% of the New Orleans Saints' offensive snaps, although that jumped to 58% in Week 2. However, he was targeted (given a target or carry) on 48% of his snaps in Week 1 but just 36% in Week 2. Ingram was the most consistent fantasy running back last year, but this isn't the same situation in 2016. However, in a Week 3 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, who rank 20th against the run, per our metrics, he's hard to bench.

Cobb, on the other hand, has played 94.3% of the Green Bay Packers' snaps, and that's a top-10 rate for receivers, but he's drawn just 15 targets, tying him for 35th. Making matters worse, he's been very inefficient with a Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target of 0.39, well below last year's league average of 0.67 for receivers. He's got WR3 upside against the Detroit Lions but is certainly benchable if you have better options.

Our projections rank them Jeremy Langford (11th), LeGarrette Blount (26th), Jerick McKinnon (34th), Tevin Coleman (37th). That's how I'd have to rank them, too, given McKinnon's uncertain role -- and the matchup against the Carolina Panthers -- and Coleman's timeshare with Devonta Freeman.

Speaking of McKinnon, he and Matt Asiata are thrust into the limelight because of Adrian Peterson's torn meniscus, which will cause him to miss a few months. In terms of long-term chances, this is a particularly tricky situation.

Entering the 2016 season, Asiata owned a career Rushing NEP per carry of -0.02, which is about the league average during his career. McKinnon's mark of 0.05 is significantly more promising, though Asiata owns a much better Success Rate of 42.92%. McKinnon's 40.00% Success Rate is about the NFL average.

But McKinnon has been announced the starter, and while he doesn't offer massive upside given Asiata's presence near the goal line, he's the long-term target in this duo.

Ameer Abdullah will miss at least the next eight games, and while that's not a super deep list of free agents, they have value at least. We already touched on Asiata's likely role as a touchdown stealer from McKinnon, but Kenyan Drake is an interesting name to monitor in the Miami Dolphins' backfield.

With Arian Foster dinged up with a hamstring issue, Drake will be playing behind Jay Ajayi, who mustered a Rushing NEP of -0.01 on a Success Rate of just 34.69% last year. The line wasn't amazing by any means, but Lamar Miller managed the same per-carry rate on a Success Rate of 39.69%.

Either way, Abdullah was already losing touches to Theo Riddick, and he might be out longer than eight games. If Riddick and Dwayne Washington fare well in Abdullah's absence, he might not be rushed back. Simply put, cut ties with Abdullah and roster players who can make a difference for the majority of the year instead.

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