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Week 6 Fantasy Football Fades: Allen Robinson's volume problem

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Fantasy football advice is never a one-size-fits-all thing, and that’s the theme as we do our weekly fades. You might apply the logic below for start-sit decisions, or perhaps throw the leads into a trade negotiation. Maybe you’ll take the angles and mix them for a prop play.

And, as always, you’re welcome to disagree with anything you read here. It’s always a game of opinions. You know your team and league better than an outsider ever could.

Read and consider every reasonable angle you can, and then make your own rational decisions. That’s how we play.

Allen Robinson vs. Packers

This isn’t going to be a universal Yahoo stance — I have colleagues who will defend Robinson to the moon. I get it. Robinson is a talented player who has found a way to produce in lesser setups before.

But fantasy football is a game about volume, and the Bears passing game doesn’t offer any. Robinson has just 18 targets the last four weeks, and 14 targets in the three Justin Fields starts. The Bears clearly want to play 1975 football — run to set up the run — while Fields gets his feet wet, and coming off back-to-back wins, there’s no incentive to force a change. It’s going to take time.

Robinson isn’t even Chicago’s top receiver right now, and that makes intuitive sense. When Darnell Mooney gets open, it’s an obvious throw for Fields. Throwing to Robinson involves trust and making a throw into what’s often a tight window. I know it’s not satisfying for most fantasy managers, but Robinson belongs on your bench until this Polaroid starts to develop.

Noah Fant vs. Raiders

We look for tight ends to break out in their third year, but Fant is moving in the wrong direction. His yards per catch have fallen from 14.1 to 10.9 to 8.4 this year, and he’s making just 5.7 yards per target. Two touchdowns have given Fant some fantasy deodorant, but I expected a dynamic player here and the tape hasn’t shown it.

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Things might get rougher before they get better, with Jerry Jeudy on the mend and Javonte Williams likely to spread his wings eventually. If Fant is your weekly starter at tight end, consider shooting for a higher-upside player.

Dawson Knox at Titans

While Fant hasn’t found a Year 3 breakout, Knox has turned into one of the surprise stars of 2021. He currently checks in as the No. 2 tight end in fantasy, with touchdowns in four straight games. He exploded for 117 yards in the signature win at Kansas City.

Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox
Dawson Knox has been beasting of late. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Nonetheless, Knox’s success has come on modest volume — he’s been targeted just 24 times in five games. His touchdown rate is obviously unsustainable, and it’s just a matter of time before some of the primary mouths to feed in this offense — Stefon Diggs, for one — get a share of the sugar.

No fantasy manager is going to bench Knox, but it’s a good time to take his stats to market. At least half of your league is probably scuffling at tight end. Maybe the George Kittle or Rob Gronkowski manager is ready to do something drastic. Knox just had the best game he’s likely to post in 2021; this is when you try to lock in profits and get someone to make a mistake. The trading season of fantasy football opens when the bye weeks hit — it’s no longer early, some opponents will start to panic — and perhaps you can use this to your advantage.

CeeDee Lamb at Patriots

We’ve been hitting this theme for a while; we applied it to Amari Cooper last week. The 2021 Cowboys are not a hair-on-fire team. The offense has balance, the defense has playmakers. Dak Prescott has just 107 attempts over the last four weeks — four straight wins, by the way.

When something works, it’s unlikely to change.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Patriots are a vanilla team. Boring offense, top-10 defense. The Patriots found a way to muddy things against Tampa Bay two weeks ago — though the Buccaneers got the victory — and they’ll look to do the same against Dallas. New England’s secondary has been very sharp against No. 1 receivers, too. I’m not burying Lamb in my ranks, but I definitely have him below industry consensus.

A.J. Brown vs. Bills

This fade makes me saddest of all. I fell in love with Brown during his rookie year and I’ve drafted him proactively through the years. He’s one of the most talented wideouts in the NFL, someone who shines as the league becomes more and more pass-happy.

But Brown’s dealing with a balky hamstring (and perhaps a sore knee) and Ryan Tannehill hasn’t been sharp for weeks. And Buffalo has the personnel to mark top receivers; note the job it did against electric Tyreek Hill last week.

The pragmatist in me worries this could be a lost year for Brown. Then again, he played hurt most of last year and the result — WR9 for the second straight season — was perfectly fine. Heck, I'd probably settle for Brown simply getting back into the top 20 at the position. But I need a show-me game, a prove-it game. I can’t rank him proactively until that happens.

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