NFL Fantasy Experts High on Ex-Cal Star Richard Rodgers This Week

Eagles tight end coming off big game against Giants and faces Cowboys this week; fantasy experts not optimistic about Jared Goff's prospects against the Dolphins
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Former Cal tight end Richard Rodgers was cut by Washington just before the 2020 regular season started and began the season as the Eagles' third-string tight end after signing with Philadelphia.

Now, all the sudden, he has NFL Fantasy experts drooling about his prospects in this week's game against the Dallas Cowboys -- if he starts again, that is.

The Cowboys' mediocre pass defense is one of the reasons for the optimism about Rodgers, but his performance last week against the Giants is part of it too. Thrust into the starting lineup with the Eagles' top two tight ends out with injuries, Rodgers caught six passes for 85 yards in the comeback win over New York.

Sports Illustrated's Michael Fabiano suggests starting Rodgers this week, with his assessment in the video above and in these thoughts below:

Notice a trend of picking on the Cowboys in this week's column? Well, it's very well warranted. Their defense has allowed the most points and the sixth-most yards per game overall, and tight ends have averaged nearly 15 fantasy points per contest against them. That includes Logan Thomas, who put up 16 points versus the Boys a week ago. Carson Wentz averages more tight end targets than any quarterback in the league, including to Rodgers, who produced eight targets and 14.5 points last week.

NFL.com's Adam Rank also advises Fantasy players to start Rodgers whether he is in the starting lineup or not, with this bit of evidence:

Look, the Eagles run enough 12 personnel so it doesn’t matter if Dallas Goedert returns or not for me. Wentz has thrown close to 12 passes per game to the tight end position. The Cowboys have also allowed a top-10 tight end in four of their last six games.

CBS Sports' Jamey Eisenberg calls Rodgers a sleeper in his Fantasy analysis this week, with this assessment:

Dallas Goedert (ankle) could return to action this week, which would negate Rodgers as a Fantasy asset. But if Rodgers starts for the Eagles again then he has top-10 upside in all leagues. Rodgers had six catches for 85 yards on eight targets in Week 7 against the Giants, which was more yards than Zach Ertz (ankle) had in any game this year. The Cowboys have allowed a tight end to score in four of their past six games.

Yahoo's Liz Loza picks Rodgers as one of her eight bold Fantasy predictions of the week, saying this:

Liz Loza: Richard Rodgers posts a second consecutive top-10 fantasy performance. A bit of a chicken-and-egg situation, it’s clear that Philly wants to keep the tight end position heavily involved and that Carson Wentz thoroughly enjoys throwing to his TE. In Week 6, when Zach Ertz hurt his ankle, Rodgers snap percentage jumped by nearly 30 percent. The following week when Ertz was officially out, Rodgers recorded his highest snap percentage of the season (85%) while also drawing eight looks (second behind Travis Fulgham's 11). The former Packer led the Eagles receiving corps in yards with 85 on six receptions. With Ertz and Dallas Goedert, both expected to miss Sunday’s game, Rodgers figures to be in line for another healthy workload. He’ll face a disaster of a Cowboys defense that let Logan Thomas  into the end zone last week.

And C.D. Carter reports on the Yahoo.com site that Rodgers has a favorable matchup:

Rodgers is coming off a strong Week 7 outing in his first game as the Eagles TE1. He ran 31 routes against the Giants, the seventh most among all tight ends last week. He played 85 percent of Philly’s offensive snaps and had 20 percent of the team's targets. Hakeem Butler was the only other Eagles tight end to run a route in Week 7 — he ran exactly one.

Rodgers ended up with six grabs for 85 yards (and a near touchdown) last Thursday against the G-people. He would be the team’s primary pass-catching tight end once again this week if Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert remain sidelined. Ertz is on IR, but Goedert has been cleared to practice and reportedly has a chance to play on Sunday. Be sure to monitor this situation before setting your lineup.

ESPN's Matthew Berry did not say he "loved" Rodgers but did say this:

Not Zach Ertz, not Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers is the Eagles tight end you want. Toooootally saw that coming. What I do see coming is a nice game for Rodgers this week against Dallas. The Eagles are first in the NFL in TE targets, second in receptions and sixth in yards, while the 2020s allow the seventh-highest catch rate to tight ends.

Meanwhie, two other former Cal players -- Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Lions wide reciver Marvin Jones Jr. -- did not get optimistic Fantasy assessments.

SI's Fabiano gave his opinions about the quarterbacks this week in this video:

Fabiano also backed up his advice to sit Goff this week with this statement:

Jared Goff at Dolphins: Goff’s numbers haven’t been great this season, as he’s scored fewer than 17 fantasy points in three of his last four games. That’s due in part to the fact that the Rams have become a ground and pound offense, as L.A. is fourth in the league in run percentage. The Dolphins have also been tough against quarterbacks, allowing just seven touchdown passes and fewer than 17 fantasy points per game to the position. With a seemingly low ceiling in this game, I’d keep Goff on the sidelines this weekend.

CBS Sports' Eisenberg had similar thoughts abut sitting Goff this week, saying this:

Goff has scored 20 Fantasy points or less in three of his past four games, and I expect him to have another down game this week against the Dolphins. Miami's defense has played well aside from two big outings from Josh Allen and Russell Wilson, and the Dolphins have allowed just seven passing touchdowns compared to five interceptions on the season. Coming off a bye week, I expect Miami's defense to be ready for this matchup, and Goff should be considered a low-end starter in deeper leagues at best.

The Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer put Goff among his "weakers starts," with this advice:

This is a long trip on a short week, and the Dolphins’ pass defense is trickier than you think. L.A. will need to win with the run again.

NFL.com's Rank suggested sitting Marvin Jones this week, and Rank said this:

Man, I had hoped Jones was going to have a huge game last week in a crush spot in Atlanta. It didn’t happen. Dude hasn’t even cracked the top 36 in any week this season. The Colts are one of the toughest defenses in the league, contrary to what you might have seen against the Bengals in Week 6. I know that a Jones three-touchdown game is lurking. Waiting to spring out at you in the worst matchup possible. But you’re better off benching him here.

And Fabiano gave this video appraisal of wide receivers this week:

Cover photo of Richard Rodgers getting unpended is by Joe Lamberti of the Courier Post via Imagn Content Services LLC

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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