Somehow, we’re four weeks into the NFL season, and there’s certainly a lot to talk about in fantasy football.
Every Tuesday and Saturday during the season, fantasy analyst Eric Moody will ask our NFL Nation reporters the most pressing questions heading into the weekend and how to deal with the aftermath after the game. Who’s ready for big performances, who’s been affected by injuries, and which roles might change? Here’s what our staff has to say about some of the biggest storylines coming to Week 5 weekend.
Considering Jonathan Taylor’s role, performance expectations and impact on the Indianapolis Colts running game, what can we expect from him in his season debut?
How will Jonathan Taylor’s potential return affect Zach Moss?
Field Yates won’t play against Zack Moss, but Jonathan Taylor will start against the Titans this week.
The Colts won’t feel pressure to overuse him. He hasn’t played since December, and the Colts have had some quick success over the past three weeks under veteran Zack Moss. But the Colts insist Taylor is ready to contribute and can be rotated to cover Moss. Taylor hasn’t participated in offensive meetings until recently, so there may be some concerns. But coach Sean Steichen isn’t worried. “He does a good job running the football (in practice) and seeing holes,” Steichen said. “Boy, he’s an experienced player. He’s played a lot of football and he looks great.” — Stephen Holder
How do you expect 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey to perform against the Cowboys’ strong defense on Sunday night, and what key factors will determine his success in this game?
The Cowboys performed well against McCaffrey in last year’s playoffs, limiting him to 57 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown. But San Francisco seemed to find something in the second half of that game, with McCaffrey rushing five times for 27 yards. Fast forward to now, McCaffrey is moving on and the Cowboys are struggling to stop the upset against a weaker Arizona team. The thing about McCaffrey is that it’s hard to stop him completely because he can beat you in so many ways. It’s hard to imagine him getting outplayed in a similar manner in this game, even if he doesn’t have the big numbers he had in each of the first four weeks. — Nick Wagner
What should we expect from Cooper Kupp’s potential return and his impact on the Los Angeles Rams passing attack?
Rams head coach Sean McVay said he doesn’t expect Kupp to play anytime soon, but the team will “see how it goes” on Sunday. McVay also said Kupp looked like himself on the field and he saw “a lot of nonverbal communication” between receivers and quarterback Matthew Stafford. Kupp’s return may mean fewer targets for rookie Pukana Kua, but don’t expect Stafford and McVay to forget about him with Kupp back. Kupp’s return could also open the door for Tutu Atwell. — Sarah Barshop
What adjustments or strategies should Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals offense use against the Cardinals?
Getting the ball to Joe Mixon in the run or passing game could help the Bengals. Mixon made a couple of explosive plays early against Tennessee. He also saw action as a receiver through the first two weeks of the year, but has only had two catches total over the past two games. Reducing the number of RPOs and running more calculated plays could take the pressure off Burrow, allowing the Bengals to run the offense longer while also making things easier on defense. — Ben Babe
How does De’Von Achane’s recent performance impact the Miami Dolphins’ running back class? What potential changes or challenges will the return of Jeff Wilson bring to the team’s running back rotation?
How De’Von Achane’s influence affected Raheem Mostert
Field Yates broke out of the Dolphins’ backfield along with De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert.
Ultimately, the Dolphins’ backfield is elitist, and as long as Archaon looks to be the team’s best running back, his workload will reflect that. Now, one bad game wasn’t enough to bury Raheem Mostert, but two fumbles against Buffalo paved the way for the rookie to record his second straight 100-yard rushing season. The return of Jeff Wilson Jr. shouldn’t impact Akan’s workload in the twenties, but he could serve well as Miami’s goal linebacker — which means some buzzard touchdowns. — Marcel Louis Jacques
Following last week’s disappointing performance against the Lions, how do the Green Bay Packers plan to address their woes in the running game?
More touches. Aaron Jones needs the football and it sounds like they are planning on giving it to him. He was limited in reps last week as he returned from a Week 1 hamstring injury and was essentially a non-factor. “A little bit of everything,” Jones said when asked what’s missing in the running game. That includes left guard Elgton Jenkins, who has missed the past two games with a knee injury but is expected to return this week. — Rob Demovsky
Isaiah Pacheco currently leads the Kansas City Chiefs in rushing and is their primary target for the passing game out of their backfield. Is this trend likely to continue, or can we expect Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire to gradually become more involved with the third pick?
The roles of the Chiefs’ back three are pretty clear. Pacheco is the primary defender and will get the most playing time and touches in most games. McKinnon made a lot of plays on third down and other passing situations. Edwards-Helaire will occasionally play in the series. Unless the Chiefs are forced into action by one or more back injuries, don’t expect those roles to change much. The Chiefs, at least so far, are pleased with how the rotation has turned out. — Adam Techcher
Breece Hall returns to Empower Field at Miller High after suffering an ACL injury last year with no significant time limit, and what factors will impact his role with the New York Jets going forward? performance, and how will that impact the team’s overall offensive strategy?
With Hall no longer on a playing restriction, his ball-carrying numbers should increase, but it won’t be a full-on workload. Dalvin Cook and Michael Carter (the Jets’ third back) will continue to get a share of the pie. Hall averaged just eight carries per game, but that’s because the Jets couldn’t sustain the rush. If they can do that and get the running game going, Hall should get around 15 attempts. — Richie Cimini