Fantasy Football Mailbag: Tuesday 10/4/16

What do we do with Alshon Jeffery and DeAndre Hopkins? And is Thomas Rawls a hold?

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Now, let's answer some questions.

Email submission from Rocky:

Someone in my 12 team .5 ppr league dropped Rawls late Sunday morning and I dropped Gates to pick him up. You think he's worth a stash or should I just drop him for the next time I want to grab someone off the waiver wire? Thanks.

I'm dealing with a similar issue, Rocky. I drafted Thomas Rawls fairly late in a draft because he fell far even though I wasn't too certain on him. But prior to the season, the buzz was that he was mostly fine after his season-ending ankle injury last year. Welp.

Christine Michael is pretty much the real deal, and Rawls is going to miss the rest of the month of October. So, when Rawls gets healthy, he's likely going to be a second-string option to -- as of now -- one of the most reliable backs in the NFL. Put another way, he's likely useless unless Michael gets hurt or starts to stumble big time.

The way I'm treating it is that Rawls easily cuttable if you have shallow benches or have a true need for a given week. You mentioned dropping Antonio Gates, so I'm assuming you had two tight ends. I think a player of Rawls' potential pedigree is more valuable than a second tight end. But if a new running back emerges with a clear path to touches -- like a Jordan Howard -- then drop Rawls and don't feel too bad about it.

Email submission from Matt T.

What do we do going forward with Alshon Jeffrey and DeAndre Hopkins?

Good question, Matt. Let's start with Alshon Jeffery.

Jeffery has played on 93% of the Chicago Bears' offensive snaps, per Fantasy Data, a top-12 mark at the position. But he ranks as the WR33 in half-PPR formats. Not quite as good. Even worse is his target market share. Just 16.3% of Chicago's drop backs have ended in a target for Jeffery, 46th among receivers. Woof.

But I don't think you can bail on him now. Kevin White has drawn looks on 23.5% of the Bears' drop backs, 17th among receivers, but he hurt his ankle in Week 4. The team's Week 5 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts -- who are 28th against the pass, per our metrics -- isn't as great as it looks with Vontae Davis back. Still, Indy will be dealing with the shift from London to America in Week 5, and if White is out, Jeffery should have every chance to produce. I won't worry until we see how this game goes.

DeAndre Hopkins is a similar story. He's played on 98% of the Houston Texans' snaps, third among receivers. However, that's led to a WR28 standing in half-PPR fantasy points. His 21.8% market share (based on all team drop backs) ranks 24th among receivers and is close to Will Fuller's 22.2%.

He got double-teamed by the Tennessee Titans last week, and this week against the Minnesota Vikings (third in pass defense per our metrics), he's tough to trust. You likely can't bench him, but I'd be looking to buy low on him if possible given his still-useful market share and his immense talent. He won't be vying for the league lead in targets, but he's still one of the more involved receivers in the NFL, and we can't ignore that.

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