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Playoffs Panic Room? Outlooks for Slumping WRs and RBs


As your fantasy football playoffs open, some of your projected starters have not performed up to expectations in recent weeks. But knowing their track records of production in the past and/or earlier this year, it may be hard to sit them.

You want reassurance on some of these suddenly lackluster players before the postseason begins. Or you may need someone to tell you that some of the guys you thought would be reliable heading into Weeks 14 to 16 cannot be trusted.

Here’s a look at some very notable WRs and RBs who have just not delivered as hoped over the past month. We consider many players who did not crack the Top 25 at WR or the Top 20 at RB in the past four weeks and sometimes beyond. Then we offer our insights on whether these players can turn things around when you need them the most, or whether you're clinging to them based solely on their reputation from long ago.

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Fantasy Football Outlooks - Slumping Wide Receivers

Tyler Lockett (WR101): He is possibly the biggest concern of any player we will mention in this feature. He was shut out in his last outing after suffering a concerning leg injury before the Week 12 bye. Outlook: After he was seemingly recovered enough from the scary leg issue, Lockett battled through a very nasty case of the flu in his last game. He has reportedly moved past both problems and should be re-inserted back into your lineups with confidence.

Tyrell Williams (WR66): He started out the season looking like a must-start, but Williams has not scored a touchdown in the past five games. He has not been the same since returning from an injury in Week 8. Outlook: He is a cut candidate. He does not have the track record of many other players noted here and only has 27 receiving yards in his past two games.

Julio Jones (WR40): He has not scored since Week 3, and missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury. Outlook: We have seen long TD droughts from Jones before, but he's usually good for double-digit PPR points every week. The Falcons are out of the playoff hunt, but they are not shutting him down. Jones has no injury designation for Week 14.

Cooper Kupp (WR41 over the past month): He had a decent outing in Week 13, but the Rams passing game has really been sagging overall. Outlook: Expect Kupp to show up again in a big matchup with the Seahawks this week. At the very least, he should return to respectable numbers.

Mike Evans (WR35 over the past month): He has not scored or topped 85 yards in the past month. Chris Godwin can outshine him in any given week. Outlook: The upside is always there in a high volume passing game. He can rebound at any time.

Stefon Diggs (WR38 over the past month): He has been boom-or-bust recently, and was held to 25 yards in last week’s loss at Seattle, when he exited the game for a brief period but returned. Outlook: The Vikings need him to keep producing, but with Adam Thielen out, he will continue to draw extra defensive attention. There is upside for him every week, though, and Kirk Cousins is playing very well, so keep using him as a fantasy WR2.

 

Fantasy Football Outlooks - Slumping Running Backs

Aaron Jones (RB28): Through Week 10, Jones was looking like he had arrived as a true fantasy RB1. But that version of Jones never returned from the Week 11 bye. He has only 69 yards from scrimmage and no scores in his past two games. He also reportedly dealt with ankle issues last week. Outlook: You have to treat him as a flex option. This looks like a quality rebound spot for Jones this week and he is not on the injury report, so he should at least be considered as a third RB optionn.

Tevin Coleman (RB30): He has one TD in his past five games, has not topped 75 yards from scrimmage during that span, and had 15 total yards last week. Outlook: Raheem Mostert looks like the best RB on the 49ers right now and Matt Breida is trying to come back from yet another injury this week. Coleman may stay in the mix because Breida is very injury-prone, and the Niners will continue to lean on the run game. But Coleman is once again squandering an opportunity to be a lead RB and you can consider cutting him because you are not going to start him with any confidence in your playoffs. Get rid of him and grab the top handcuff to one of your stud RBs.

Saquon Barkley (RB36): Barkley has not scored since Week 8 and he has not rushed for 100 yards since Week 2. Barkley has not topped 15 PPR points in his past three games and has failed to crack the 10-point mark in two of them. Outlook: The first-round upside is not there right now, and neither are the TDs. (He has only three on the season.)  But Barkley did finally notched another 100 yards from scrimmage this past week and simply has to be viewed as an RB2 right now.

Phillip Lindsay (RB43): He's been held below 10 fantasy points in PPR formats in his past three games. Outlook: Lindsay seemed to hit a wall late last season and it may be happening again. He has not been a quality contributor since his bye in Week 10. If he does bounce back this week, though, consider him for flex usage against the Chiefs in Week 15.

Carlos Hyde (RB50): He has one TD run in his past six games and had a season-low 17 rushing yards against New England last week. Outlook: Since his Week 10 bye, Hyde has rushed for 149 yards in three games. He lacks upside and at best will give you 10 to 13 points in a given week. Pin him to the bench, because he can still be useful in an emergency.

Sony Michel (RB52): He has not scored nine fantasy points since Week 7, which was the last time he found the end zone. Outlook: He should not receive starting consideration anymore. Forget the name, he is a cut candidate that you should never start again this season.

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