Welcome to Week 9 of the 2020 Footballguys' Roundtable. Our intrepid and oddball panel of fantasy pundits discuss and debate the stretch-run value of several old faces in new places, rules that fantasy leagues should incorporate, players who are better in fantasy than reality, the best backup running backs, players with a shot to start short-term and whether they have long-term value, and finally, rookies who started strong but are candidates to hit the wall.
Old Faces-New Places
Matt Waldman: Use the player pool below to answer the questions listed after them.
A) Which player's production is the most surprising?
B) Which player is most likely to fade down the stretch?
C) Which player is most likely to gain or sustain production down the stretch?
Tell us about your choices
Jeff Pasquino: I'm honestly only surprised that Todd Gurley hasn't fallen apart at the seams yet - so he answers both A and B for me. I was a big proponent of Robby Anderson in the preseason, and Gronk has really rounded out the lineup in Tampa Bay. Neither surprised me this year, although they may have surprised others.
As for C, I like David Johnson to get back into form and help a Texans team that should not be 1-6 get back to respectability. Houston has not got him going well enough and they have fallen behind a lot this season, but even there Johnson has just 16 catches on the year. The Texans need to ride a player that they traded DeAndre Hopkins for and use him. Hopefully, Houston used the bye week to correct a lot of errors in play calling and will get him going the rest of the year.
Jason Wood: Jimmy Graham is easily the most surprising. I'm basing that on my own pre-season rankings and projections. While Robby Anderson is exceeding even the most optimistic rankings, a lot of us understood the narrative of Anderson reuniting with Matt Rhule and being the Panthers' key downfield threat.
Gurley is having exactly the season we expected. He's touchdown-dependent, but is still patient and strong enough to score anytime the Falcons are down near the goal-line. David Johnson hasn't been that good, but he's been good enough and we know from his time in Arizona that health is the only factor keeping Johnson from steady RB2+ value.
Finally, Rob Gronkowski stands at TE10 halfway through the season, but it's a terrible year for the position and Gronk is basically a boom-or-bust option like most tight ends. That leaves Graham. He's bounced around so much it seemed unlikely he would be the Bears go-to red-zone threat, particularly with the team having so many other tight ends on the roster. But, he's healthy and has shown enough fight in tight coverage to stymie promising rookie Cole Kmet's emergence.
With the addition of Antonio Brown, the Buccaneers don't need Gronkowski to catch a lot of passes. They do—however—need him to keep Tom Brady upright and open holes for the running game. As Tampa's playoff push intensifies, so too will Gronkowski's willingness to do the dirty work to secure a high seed. So his play won't fade, but his fantasy value likely will.
What has Anderson done to think he'll tail off? Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore have battled inconsistency, but Anderson has been a big part of the game script nearly every week. And when Christian McCaffrey returns, it'll mean longer drives and more scoring opportunities.