Saturday - Jan 23, 2021

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What do I know? Beware the Rookie Wall

Steve Slaton

Mr. Slaton was a nice story a few weeks back when the Texans were struggling not only to run the ball but find a healthy body on their roster that could. Coach Gary Kubiak limited his touches last week because he said that Slaton was “worn down.” “I would hope that him not playing as many reps this week gets him back to full speed, but the kid needed a break,” Kubiak said. “He’s played a lot of football in a short period of time. I expect him to bounce right back.” Slaton’s fantasy playoff schedule sets up nicely with games at

Green Bay, home against

Tennessee and at

Oakland. The Packers and Raiders rank 28th and 29th, respectively, in run defense but the mighty Titans rank eighth. Of the three guys listed here, Slaton has the least touches (17.3) and rushes (13.8) per game. Based on his coach’s comments above, I fully expect Slaton to begin sharing more of the workload with Ahman Green and Ryan Moats. What that does to his fantasy production remains to be seen.

Matt Forte

This guy has been a flat out stud for the Bears and those owners lucky enough to draft him on their fantasy squad this season. Of the three guys listed here though, he comes with the biggest red flag as far as continuing to produce fantasy points on a consistent basis. Consider that he leads all rookies in touches (22.6) and rushes (21) per game and he’s one of only four running backs in the league averaging more than 20 carries per contest. His fantasy playoff schedule sets up rather nicely when he takes on the Jaguars (20th), Saints (19th) and Packers (28th) in successive weeks, all at Soldier field. The main reason I am advising caution is that combined with the number of carries, it won’t be pretty to run the ball in

Chicago in the depths of December. The hits he will absorb will seem a little more painful when the temperatures are hovering at or below freezing. Unless he continues to make plays in the passing game, I expect his fantasy production to decline to merely average levels once the mercury falls.

Chris Johnson

Johnson is the least likely of these three backs to experience a drop off simply because he shares carries with LenDale White. He has another running back to take carries and keep him fresh. Johnson’s fantasy playoff schedule has him playing home against

Cleveland, at

Houston and home against

Pittsburgh. The only one of those three teams to worry about is the Steelers who feature the league’s second ranked rush defense. Of course, that tough matchup happens to come Week 16, when many fantasy Super Bowls will be played. If that isn’t enough to sway you from counting on Mr. Johnson for your fantasy fortunes, consider that the Titans most likely will be resting their players for the NFL playoffs. They certainly don’t want to risk an injury to their rookie sensation and they will likely have the No. 1 overall seed locked up before week 16.

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