Hello, everyone. Dan Schneier (@DanSchneierNFL) here. We're moving onward into Week 10 of what has been an interesting Fantasy Football season to say the least. There will be tough lineup decisions and some of you have already made difficult trades aimed to help your team now at the expense of your team's future. But we always want to be both forward-looking and in the present here with our advice, so we'll focus on helping you get right moving forward. Today will be all about which players are going to break out at every position moving forward over the course of the rest of the 2021 season.
Every week I will get together the Fantasy Football Today crew to provide responses to a panel of questions that could help you win your week and ultimately (hopefully) your league. This week we'll dive into early-season breakouts due to regress, vice versa, bench stashes and more. Without further ado, let's dive right in:
1. Which QB will have the second-half breakout into QB1 range?
Adam: QBs have mostly been what we drafted them to be, so I actually don't expect a big breakout. But here are a few possibilities: Justin Fields (starting to play better and has the rushing ability), Ryan Tannehill (they'll have to throw more without Henry and he's got the track record) and Derek Carr (amazing schedule to finish the season).
Dave: Matt Ryan currently ranks as QB15 on a per-game basis. The Falcons' run game has hit rock bottom. It's so bad that their best running back has become their best wide receiver. Their defense isn't as awful as it used to be, but it's still not so good that the Falcons will participate in a bunch of low-scoring games. Calvin Ridley will hopefully return. The remaining schedule isn't a cake walk and the Week 17 game at Buffalo is one we will hit the ejector seat on, but Ryan will finish the year as a top-12 passer as a result of his high-volume passing.
Jamey: Ryan Tannehill. He gets Houston in Week 11 and then Jacksonville, San Francisco and Miami in three of his final four games in the Fantasy season.
Chris: Justin Fields. The Bears have embraced his rushing abilities over the past month, and that's what has helped unlock his Fantasy value. Coming out of the bye, hopefully things will be even better for him -- maybe they can even get Allen Robinson going. Fields has the potential for a Jalen Hurts-like run to end his rookie season.
Heath: I hope it's Justin Fields, but the right answer (since he's currently QB13) is Joe Burrow. Burrow has looked every bit the No. 1 overall pick this year; he just needs a small uptick in volume to make him a must-start Fantasy quarterback.
2. Which RB will have the second-half breakout into RB1 range?
Adam: David Montgomery will finish strong but he is already considered an RB1, so I'll go with Elijah Mitchell. He'll need TDs to be a top-12 option, but I think he'll get them, and his schedule looks great. Jeff Wilson is the only thing keeping me from being very confident in this breakout pick.
Dave: Am I really going to pound the table one more time for Miles Sanders? Yes. Yes I am. Sanders should return soon and have the chance to re-establish himself as Philadelphia's top back. I mean, he better ... if he can't beat out Jordan Howard and Boston Scott then he's officially toast. But the Eagles have learned they must run the ball and Sanders is their most explosive back -- that was the case before he got hurt, he just didn't get the work we wanted. Now he will, and now he'll take advantage of a pretty good schedule to help Fantasy managers hoist some trophies.
Chris: Does David Montgomery count? I guess I'm all-in on the Bears offense for the rest of the way, because I think Montgomery is going to be a must-start Fantasy RB moving forward. Despite coming back earlier than expected from his knee injury in Week 9, he played 85% of the snaps, so I'm not worried about Khalil Herbert taking much playing time from him. He should have a similar role to last season's stretch run, and that'll make him a top-12 RB.
Heath: For as long as Chase Edmonds is out, the answer is James Conner. I'd expect 20 touches a game from Conner with the expectation of a touchdown a week as well. He's a top-five running back for me in Week 10 and I don't expect that to change any time soon.
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3. Which WR will have the second half breakout into WR1 range?
Adam: I'm confident in the Seahawks passing game, and I expect D.K. Metcalf to be a top five WR and Tyler Lockett has top-12 potential. Lockett probably won't be consistent, but his big weeks will make him a borderline WR1 going forward.
Dave: As Justin Fields begins his ascension into Fantasy relevance, I expect Allen Robinson to make up for lost time. We saw a flash of it on Monday against the Steelers when Robinson had four grabs for 68 yards -- technically his best game of the season! If Fields is going to become a quality passer, he'll need reliable targets, and Robinson is the definition of reliable (but not the definition of fast or elusive). You'll be happy to have Robinson on your team for the stretch run.
Jamey: Stefon Diggs has not been a No. 1 receiver this season (he's No. 22 in PPR). But he gets the Jets this week, the Colts in Week 11 and the Saints in Week 12. Those matchups and the production that will follow will push Diggs back in the range where he belongs.
Chris: Guys like Stefon Diggs, Tyler Lockett, and A.J. Brown are the obvious calls, but I'll go with D.J. Moore. I think Cam Newton is going to be very good for his value moving forward, because all he has to be is pretty good to be an improvement on what the Panthers have gotten from Sam Darnold of late.
Heath: There are a lot of receivers who are not currently top 12 but I expect they will be rest of season. But most of those guys have done it in year's past. If we're looking for a true breakout, I'd go with CeeDee Lamb. It's kind of weird he hasn't been top-12 already.
4. Which TE will have the second half breakout into TE1 range?
Adam: I expect a very good second half from Kyle Pitts, but he is obvious. Logan Thomas, however, is not as obvious and could be available in your leagues. He has what looks like the best TE schedule rest of season and he was solid when healthy. In his place, Ricky Seals-Jones has been decent. Washington uses the TE and Thomas could be a sneaky stud.
Dave: I bet everyone else is going to say Cole Kmet, fresh off of his best game of the year against the Steelers. He's a very good call, especially since Matt Nagy admitted he would start getting more targets. I don't have a better choice, so as tempted as I am to make the case for Adam Trautman, let's roll with Kmet.
Jamey: Logan Thomas. He scored at least nine PPR points in his first three games before hurting his hamstring. He should return in Week 10, and he has a dream schedule coming up against some incredible matchups to close the season.
Chris: Logan Thomas. It's not clear if Thomas is going to play in Week 10, and I'd probably bet against it at this point. But I do still have faith in him as a to-12 tight end, even though he was a disappointment before he even got hurt. Thomas and Ricky Seals-Jones have 40 combined targets in their seven starts, and I have to think that's only going to increase down the stretch.