Fantasy Football Today: #AskFFT Mailbag, the Tua Tagovailoa conundrum, Rachaad White’s value and more


In today’s newsletter, we focused on start/sit options and of course Fantasy injury news. If you’d like to receive these updates directly to your mailbox, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Without further ado, let’s get to some of your most intriguing #AskFFT questions. 

I couldn’t get to everyone who wrote in, but I’ll try to before Saturday, and we’ll be live on our YouTube Channel Sunday morning at 11 a.m. ET to answer any other questions you might have heading into your playoff matchups.

#AskFFT Mailbag

Alright, we’ll start with a question we got in some variation from Chris, Matt, Terry, Rob, Tim, and Dan this week in some form or another: 

What the heck do I do with Tua Tagovailoa? 

I get the concerns, and I certainly share them, but we should not that there’s an important aspect to the question that is, as of Thursday evening, unanswerable: Is Tyreek Hill playing?

If Hill doesn’t play, I think sitting Tagovailoa is a relatively easy call in a 12-team, one-QB league. With Hill missing Wednesday and Thursday’s practices due to his ankle injury, it looks like there’s a real chance Hill won’t play this week. I don’t want to make it sound like Tagovailoa is entirely a product of Hill, or that Jaylen Waddle can’t step up if needed, but there’s no doubt about it, losing Hill would be a massive blow. The Dolphins are an incredibly concentrated passing attack, with Hill and Waddle earning 132 and 91 targets so far this season and Raheem Mostert ranking third on the team with 29.

And, of course, there’s the matchup. The Jets enter Week 15 allowing the third-fewest Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, and Tagovailoa didn’t have his best game the last time he faced the Jets, passing for 243 yards on 30 attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions. However, there was a dropped touchdown in the end zone by Hill in that one, along with an uncharacteristic three turnovers from Tua in a game that ended with the Dolphins running it for most of the second half. I’m not trying to argue Tagovailoa played great there, but I don’t know if it was as much of a disaster as has been portrayed.

Still, it’s a very tough matchup, and it’s entirely possible the Dolphins will be able to sit on the ball late again just like they did last time; Zach Wilson has gotten a lot of credit for leading the Jets to 30 points in the second half last week, but Wilson had two passing touchdowns in his previous 22 quarters of action. Maybe he’s turned a corner, but … probably not. 

Ultimately, here’s where I come down: If Hill plays, I’m probably starting Tagovailoa. I would go with Matthew Stafford and Brock Purdy ahead of him, among players who have been available on waivers at some point this season, but that’s probably it. If Hill plays. 

If Hill doesn’t play, or if we get reports indicating that Hill is likely to be limited by his injury, it becomes a lot tougher to justify. Tagovailoa would still be a QB2, but I would move him behind the likes of Kyler Murray, Jordan Love, and Sam Howell, at least. Where it gets tougher is with guys like Jake Browning, Joe Flacco, or Gardner Minshew. They’re all in decent situations this week – better than Tua against the Jets with no Tyreek – but they’re also all backup quarterbacks for a reason. They could have big games, but let’s keep things in perspective: Flacco’s been a fun story, coming off the streets to become the Browns starter in a playoff push, but he’s also averaged 5.8 yards per attempt with a 3.6% touchdown rate on 280 attempts over the past two seasons. 

There isn’t an easy answer, and if you want to trust one of those guys ahead of Tagovailoa, I couldn’t necessarily blame you. But none of them have shown anywhere near Tagovailoa’s upside this season, and they’re all equally capable of having complete flameout efforts, even in better matchups. I’d probably still lean toward Tagovailoa ahead of that class of No. 2 QBs. 

Bob, Kevin: Been riding Patrick Mahomes all season long with Purdy on bench. With Mahomes’ lack of points for the last few weeks in PPR, should I start Purdy in a critical game instead?

And here’s our other, “Am I really going to sit this guy?” question that many of you sent in. Less so specifically about Mahomes vs. Purdy, though I did receive several versions of that one, and I would start Purdy over Mahomes. He’s got a terrific matchup against the Cardinals, and the 49ers have a bunch of injuries on defense that could actually help keep the Cardinals in the game better than they might otherwise manage. 

But Purdy is a top-six QB for me this week, so starting him ahead of Mahomes is hardly an indictment of Mahomes. And, I’ll be honest, I have a harder time going away from Mahomes than Tagovailoa this week. The Patriots are a tough matchup, but probably not quite as tough as the Jets. Mahomes has not been great lately, but it’s worth keeping things in perspective: His 4.7% touchdown rate and 7.0 yards per attempt this season are still roughly average, if not a little bit better. It’s been a difficult season, but Mahomes’ difficult season is still a solid one by most other measures. 

In projecting Mahomes, I’ve got his Y/A and TD% down to his season average for this week with 37 pass attempts, right around his average for the season and his past four games. Plugging those in, and he comes out to QB4 for me in my projections. I’ve moved him down to QB7 in my rankings, but I point out the projected numbers to say that even if you don’t expect Mahomes to be the guy he has been for most of his career, there’s still a lot to like in his profile – he is still QB7 in points per game this season, after all. Perspective. 

It’s fine to discount Mahomes for his play of late, but I’m certainly not sitting him for the likes of Joe Flacco or Jake Browning, either. Matthew Stafford … well, now that’s an interesting question. I lean Mahomes, but I get it. 

Tim: I wasn’t impressed with De’Von Achane’s usage versus the Titans. Yes, he was targeted, but Mostert still seems to be lead back. Is Achane now just an upside play? With Jacobs likely out, maybe my rolling with David Montgomery and Javonte Williams would be more reliable choices. What are your thoughts about Achane over the playoff schedule?

Okay, so the seven carries for Achane weren’t great, but nine targets is pretty impressive! A handful of them were just desperation dumpoffs, but there was one legitimate downfield shot with Achane lined up out wide where Tagovailoa just barely overthrew him; if he hits Achane in stride on that pass mid-way through the third quarter and it might have been an 89-yard touchdown, and was at least a 50-yard gain. 

The Dolphins know what they have in Achane, and it’s a home-run hitter. He’s unlikely to line up in the backfield and get 20 carries in any given week, but they’re going to use him in interesting ways, and he’s had 16 opportunities or more in each of his past two games since coming back from injury. If he’s healthy, I think Achane is a must-start player.

But that’s an “if,” unfortunately, as Achane hasn’t practiced yet this week as of Thursday due to a toe injury. He’s struggled to stay healthy since the preseason, and you have to wonder if he can actually hold up to a significant workload in the NFL. But that is probably more like a long-term concern, and if he’s healthy this week, I’d have to be pretty stacked at running back. Williams and Montgomery probably have higher floors than Achane, but I’d start him over both for the upside. 

Jeff: In half-PPR, starting Rachaad White. Which RB2: Raheem Mostert or Breece Hall? And for my flex: The remaining RB from above or DeAndre Hopkins?

I think Hall is a pretty fascinating player right now, because there may not be a more format-dependent running back in the league. He’s been pretty awful as a runner for nearly the entire season, with his 4.3 Y/A overstating how good he’s actually been – 24.8% of his yards came on two long runs in the season’s first six weeks. He hasn’t had more than 40 yards on the ground in a game since Week 9, and hasn’t had more than 50 since Week 5, when he had the last of those two long runs.

But he’s been a huge part of the Jets passing offense, especially late. After being targeted 34 times in the first nine games, he has 32 in the past three. He’s one of the rare running backs with more receiving touchdowns than rushing touchdowns, too. He’s just been a much more effective player as a pass-catcher than a runner, which leads to an obvious conclusion: He’s better in PPR than non-PPR.

And here you are, in a half-PPR league, just to complicate matters! Hall’s passing game role still matters in non-PPR, and especially in half-PPR. That’s obvious, but in a way that I think sometimes gets overlooked in these discussions. Hall doesn’t have more than 40 rushing yards in a game over the past five weeks, but he’s still averaging a solid 73.6 yards from scrimmage in that span. And he still has that home-run hitting ability in both facets of the game, He should be very involved in the passing game for the Jets, which makes him a solid starter; if he hits on a big play or finds the end zone, he’s a great one. 

In non-PPR, I might give Mostert the edge, because of his touchdown equity in the Dolphins offense. But if catches count for anything on top of their yardage, I’ll give Hall the edge. 

Mike: I started Zack Moss as my RB2 the past two weeks with Jonathan Taylor injured (Christian McCaffrey is my RB1). I’m in a non-PPR league, so Moss got me 5 points in Week 13 and just 4 points in Week 14. It didn’t impact me in Week 13, but I lost in Week 14 because of him (I left James Cook and his 19 points on my bench). Can I trust Moss this week? Besides Cook, my other two running backs are Walker and Charbonnet. Who should I play besides CMC to give me the best chance to advance to the next round in the playoffs! Thanks!

Relative to basically everyone else playing Fantasy Football, you’re dealing with an embarrassment of riches, and should feel a little ashamed for how bad you’re making us all look. I mean, I started Ameer Abdullah in two leagues this week! I’ll still try to help you out, though. 

I love what we’ve seen from Cook since the Bills offensive coordinator change, first of all. An underrated factor I like to look for with running backs in the passing game is first and second down usage, because it tells me when a team views a back as not just a dump-off option but an actual weapon, and every single one of Cook’s 16 targets over the past three games has come on either first or second down. He’s being used more in the passing game, and they’re designing more plays for him, including multiple downfield shots. Even with a split in the running game and almost no goal-line role, Cook’s looking very valuable these days.

But so is Moss. He has 32 carries and 11 targets in two games since Jonathan Taylor went on IR, and he had two carries inside the 5 that didn’t result in a touchdown. The Colts offense isn’t great, but Moss’ role remains as valuable as it was in the early season. If he starts running as hot as he did early on, Moss still has the kind of upside that made him a top-10 back, and that’s how I’m ranking him for Week 15. 


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