Fantasy Football Mailbag: Thursday 10/27/16

After a brutal outing in Week 7, should we plug Allen Robinson back into our season-long lineups? And is Matt Ryan still an elite fantasy option?

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Now, let's answer some questions.

Email submission from Keenan Bates:

With Beckham on bye this week, I have Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Crabtree, Allen Robinson (or the imposter formerly known as), and Dez Bryant (coming back from his injury). I'm starting Fitz and Crabtree, but am unsure about the third slot. While part of me says I should bench Robinson and move on, another says this HAS to be Robinson's week to break out of this terrible slump. Plus, I'm not sure about Dez with his injury and lay-off. So I need your advice, who should I roll with between A-Rob and Dez? Thanks again!

We have officially added you to the call list for all future Allen Robinson support group meetings, Keenan. We will be right beside you, sipping a delightful mix of fruit punch and tears.

There is, at least, some reason for hope if you're a fellow Robinson owner. As numberFire's JJ Zachariason wrote on Tuesday, Robinson's target market share this year is similar to what it was last year, and the team is throwing just as often. He's getting the volume, but the results just haven't been there. That could start to normalize this week against the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans started the year off on the right foot, but they've slid to 25th against the pass, according to numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. They've already allowed four different receivers to top the 100-yard mark against them, and Robinson -- despite last week's dud -- should be able to find some success in this contest.

With Dez Bryant, we don't want to avoid him just because of his injury, but that game is also fully devoid of fantasy goodness. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles rank 29th and 30th, respectively, in situation-neutral pace, according to Football Outsiders. There aren't going to be enough plays in that game to support heavy fantasy viability, so we should be trying to avoid exposure to it where we can.

This is a good question to address while we're on the subject of pace. Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons is the antithesis of the Cowboys-Eagles game in that both of these teams straight fly. The Falcons are third in situation-neutral pace, according to Football Outsiders, and the Packers are sixth. That makes Ty Montgomery a great play.

Montgomery is a PPR cheat code at the moment with his role in the offense. He has 25 targets the past two weeks, and because he's running high-percentage routes, he has caught 20 of those. This is a game where the Packers are 2.5-point underdogs, meaning they should have to throw the ball a bit, especially when you consider their backfield injuries. That pushes Montgomery even a bit higher on the totem pole.

This isn't to say that Michael Thomas is a non-factor this week. He has a tough matchup, but Thomas has a 20.5% target market share the past four games, and in a Drew Brees-led offense, there's abundant value in that. He may not surpass Montgomery, but Thomas is still a solid option this week if you need to use him.

Email submission from Eduardo Fernandez:

I have Matt Ryan and Fitz as QB and I´m going against a team with Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. I have Quincy Enunwa on my roster. Thinking of using Fitzgerald to protect me against possible tons of yards and TD´s from Marshall and Forte vs Cleveland... Although Haden is coming back this week.

It's easy to understand this thought process, and using Ryan Fitzpatrick would handicap your opponent's relative upside a bit. But when you've got an asset as good as Matt Ryan, you're firing that puppy at will.

Ryan has been the second-most efficient passer this year, according to numberFire's Net Expected Points data, trailing just scorched-Earth Tom Brady. He's also in a great matchup against the Packers, who have been bleeding passing yardage ever since cornerback Sam Shields went down due to injury. Ryan is at home with the highest implied team total on the slate in his favor, so he's one of the top options on the board this week.

The other aspect of this is that the New York Jets could be without a key part of their offense on Sunday (and, no, this isn't a rant about their superior quarterback, Geno Smith). Center Nick Mangold left Week 7's game with an ankle injury and did not practice on Wednesday. If he's out, it'll be a big blow to the Jets' fantasy assets, furthering the case to use Ryan in this spot.

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