Fantasy football mailbag: Sell high on Raheem Mostert? Bench Kyle Pitts? Cut Quentin Johnston?

Sep 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) runs the ball for a touchdown during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
By Dane Martinez
Sep. 19, 2023

Here’s hoping the overreactions weren’t too severe, the panic button wasn’t pressed too soon, and you’re still in good shape heading into Week 3. Now that we’ve had more home openers and a sample size that’s not hijacked by emotion, the jerking of knees, or a single game script, let’s look at some of the more interesting and actionable questions for the week, noting that the sky has not completely fallen. Sometimes you do need to cut bait, but other times the right answer is just to be patient and resist the urge to tinker. Good Luck!


Sell high on Raheem Mostert? — Cody C.

I know I just finished framing the column so as to not overreact, but Mostert is a good “sell high” example in my opinion. We love the 18 carries for 121 yards and a TD Sunday night, but there’s a few reasons why this performance is less diamond, and more fugazi to fuggedaboudit! First, there’s a big difference in how the Chargers and Patriots played against this Dolphins offense. Los Angeles played man-to-man and challenged the receivers on the outside. That challenge was answered in Week 1 to the tune of 466 yards for Tua Tagovailoa.

New England played high safeties, daring Tua to take what is given, which meant lighter boxes and more opportunities in the run game overall. I do think more teams will pick that poison and force the Dolphins to earn their drives, but what we saw over the past two weeks represents the extremes, and thus an extreme for Mostert’s carries and production.

Outside of the offensive approach, there are other reasons to sell high on Mostert, mainly the fact that it’s a crowded backfield. De’Von Achane made his debut after missing Week 1 with a shoulder injury, and his touches will continue to grow throughout the season. Jeff Wilson Jr. is slated to come off IR after two more games, turning the Miami backfield into even more of a committee. And they like sprinkling in Salvon Ahmed as well. All in all, I think we may have just seen the best effort from Mostert all year, so I would sell if you can.

DO I BENCH KYLE PITTS? Sorry about the caps, but he has me frustrated! — Noah S. 

YES! Sorry about the caps, but I’m frustrated too. Here’s the thing, it’s not about the player or his skill — Pitts is a physical freak and was deserving of a high draft pick. The issue is that this team is coached by Arthur Smith and his entire resume and background is driven by the run game. He did it in Tennessee with Derek Henry and is recreating that style in Atlanta. It’s why they were OK rolling with Desmond Ridder (they won’t ask him to do much) and took Bijan Robinson early in this year’s draft. It’s why Tyler Allgeier still has a role even with Bijan in the fold.


Unfortunately, the bad side of the coin, fantasy-wise, goes to Pitts and Drake London, and I don’t see it changing much. Atlanta had 42 runs compared to 32 passes on Sunday, and there were only 18 pass attempts in Week 1. The Falcons’ 71 rushing attempts and 341 rushing yards are both third-most in the NFL behind Dallas, Philadelphia and San Francisco, respectively, and those teams have been up big, running clock to secure wins. This is, and will continue to be, the Falcons’ identity, so Pitts will continue to be a nice sports car largely kept in the garage.

I’d check to see if either Hunter Henry or Zach Ertz is available in your league. Henry is out there in roughly 40-50% of leagues and his 13 targets over two weeks is third among TEs. Ertz, rostered in 10% of Yahoo leagues, is another option. He leads TEs with 18 targets after two weeks and is getting 30% of the targets in the Cardinals pass game, which should usually enjoy some garbage time stats. After the top players at TE, you need to secure a decent floor for targets and then get lucky when your guy finds the end zone. Pitts’ targets just won’t return weekly starter value. SORRY.

Brief intermission

Check out my weekly show with high stakes legend Matt Modica, “Fantasy Freestyle” embedded below or on Spotify, iTunes — wherever you get your pods.

Is Gus Edwards a RB2 for the rest of the year? — Andrew J.

I’d describe Edwards as more of a flex play and valid RB2 fill-in during the bye weeks. The reason he outscored Justice Hill this week was because he scored the TD, and the good news is that he does profile to be the goal-line back moving forward. However, Hill had one more carry and looks to be the RB who will handle the work in the passing game. You also have to acknowledge that Lamar Jackson will have a piece of this rushing pie as well. When J.K. Dobbins was going to have most of these roles to himself, I saw him as a weekly RB2 with upside. With the responsibilities split in a committee, I think both Edwards and Hill wind up more in flex territory, and I’d rather have Hill, as the passing game work is more stable than finding the end zone. That said, this week against the Colts lends itself to usage and a game script favoring Edwards.


Is there any hope for the Bears RB room or is the whole thing a radioactive wasteland? — Paul T.

You probably need a hazmat suit to deal with this backfield. It’s likely to become a fantasy herd, and not the good kind like we see with the Eagles. I think Khalil Herbert will ultimately be the leading RB early in the season, with a good chance that Roschon Johnson gets more opportunity as the season marches into the fantasy playoffs. The problem is that, like many teams, it’ll be a committee with Justin Fields playing a role as well, and the targets are also evenly split between Herbert and Johnson (8 to 9), providing less clues as to distinct roles. I’d have my eye towards roles and targets this week against Kansas City as they should be playing from behind, and that could give us some insight as to who is the preferred passing game option. If there was a hope (IF), it would be to hold on to Johnson and reap the benefits if he ascends over time and leapfrogs Herbert after Halloween.

Do I drop Quentin Johnston? — William C.

I would not as long as you have the roster space to hold him. Rookie WRs very rarely smash out of the gate — even Justin Jefferson had only 5 receptions on 6 targets after his first two games as a rookie in 2020 (he ultimately finished with a line of 88/1,400/7). The reasons you drafted Johnston are still in play — the Chargers’ passing game, the injury history of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen and the opportunity for helping you win weeks down the road. Many expected Johnston to have an impact right away, and working behind Josh Palmer isn’t great, but I’m still of the belief that the Chargers will work Johnston into a bigger role as the season rolls on, or that an injury makes him next man up. I’m holding Johnston on my bench for now.

(Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

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