Everyone needs a break, eventually. Constantly grinding through life without the occasional physical or mental reprieve can lead to lackluster production, burnout, or injury. In football, bye weeks are the "break" that the players earn, and deservedly so. That said, it would have been nice had the NFL not sent so many stellar teams on vacation all in one week. Most Dynasty rosters were left desolate with the Bills, Cowboys, Jaguars, Chargers, Vikings, and Steelers all on bye. While uncomfortable, this week should go a long way to helping owners determine whether their team has what it takes to make a legitimate run for the championship.
Antonio Gibson Continues to Struggle
It's not all Antonio Gibson's fault; it's his team and his body that's letting Gibson down. A Dynasty darling in the offseason, Gibson's start to the year has been less than stellar. While saving a few fantasy weeks with the odd touchdown, his performances are not what managers hoped for coming into the season. Only rest will allow his shin injury to heal and return Gibson to 100% from the injury perspective. From the team perspective, it'll require an infusion of talent at quarterback or offensive line for Gibson to see any improvement. Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming back soon, but at 2-5, Washington doesn't have much time left to turn around their season. There's a possibility that Ron Rivera soon realizes that the season is lost and decides to shelve his injured running back, rather than risk making things worse for his bell-cow back that'll be there for the next two years at least. This isn't to suggest that managers should trade away Gibson at a discount. Instead, competitive managers should identify rebuilding teams needing a running back and put together a package to pivot to a different position. Gibson is a phenomenal running back and should be a future star, but it's not in the cards for 2021.
Tanking for Tua or Tanking with Tua?
The Miami Dolphins are a dumpster fire right now, but with the talent on the team, they shouldn't be. Nobody expected Miami to make the Super Bowl in 2021, but a winning season was theoretically within reach. Sitting at 1-6, that dream has officially turned into a nightmare. Tua Tagovailoa, thought to be the quarterback of the future, has been an enigma. In moments, he has looked above average and exactly what the struggling Dolphins need. Then, for only a moment, that competence disappears and is replaced by a player with no qualms about turning the ball over. While these moments often only cause a minor decrease in fantasy points, enough of them can lead to the quarterback being benched; just ask Jameis Winston. Quarterbacks like that aren't often members of a championship Dynasty roster. While the stat sheet this week shows an impressive 291 yards and four touchdowns, Tua unlikely to have a repeat performance in the future. Managers should attempt to move Tua off this top-tier performance for a more stable option if fair-value can be had.
Ja'Marr Chase is the Truth
The drops that plagued Ja'Marr Chase through the preseason are no more. He can see the ball just fine. Through seven weeks, Chase has 754 yards receiving and six touchdowns. While the byes can occasionally skew total yardage rankings, his total is currently good enough for second in the league behind Cooper Kupp. This week against Baltimore, Chase proved that he can stack yards against the best defenses, securing eight catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. In Dynasty, Chase has firmly cemented himself as a top-5 player at the receiver position. There's little to no chance a manager is willing to trade him away at fair value, but if the opportunity does arise, do not hesitate. Chase is going to be racking up 1,000-yard seasons for a long time.
Khalil Herbert Looks the Part
Every year there are rookies or young players that are thrust into unexpected roles and succeed. Some explode on the scene, only to fade away after a game or two, while others tend to continue along the path of success. Opportunity is a significant factor in determining which category a given player will fall into, but it's not the only factor. The player's skill matters quite a bit as well; go figure. Khalil Herbert has showcased his talents these past two weeks with other backs David Montgomery and Damien Williams, on the mend and recovering from COVID, respectively. Herbert has looked shifty, exhibited substantial burst, and has proven difficult to bring down. Against the Tampa Bay defense, a unit that has consistently dominated opposing run games, Herbert managed 100 yards on 18 carries. He honestly looks like a starting NFL running back. The opportunity may dry up once Montgomery returns to the field, but there's a chance that Herbert has supplanted Williams as the backup. Additionally, with Montgomery out of contract after 2022, there's a chance for Herbert to take over as the main guy. Dynasty managers should try to acquire Herbert once Montgomery returns and his value decreases back to its baseline.
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