As we enter a much-needed thanksgiving break, it’s time for a special thanksgiving edition of Forecasting Fantasy. Since food is such an iconic part of this holiday, I’ll go through a few iconic thanksgiving foods and identify a fantasy player from this season who corresponds to each food.
Let’s start with humble pie, a player I was wrong about in 2021. My humble pie player is Laviska Shenault, wide receiver (WR) for the Jacksonville Jaguars. I loved Shenault’s college profile, as he physically dominated cornerbacks his entire college career. I loved his size and athleticism. As I wrote last week, I like to buy low on talent in bad circumstances, so I drafted Shenault everywhere despite my concerns about Urban Meyer and the terrible Jaguars team.
Well, I’ve gotta eat some humble pie here because I was clearly wrong on Shenault. He has made my AJ Brown pre-season comparison look laughable, as he has consistently been unable to receive targets. This is not even the fault of being on a terrible Jaguars team, but simply due to underwhelming play from Shenault. Shenault’s disappointing year has taught me that having all the right physical traits does not automatically make you a superstar. Going forward, I will be a little more hesitant to buy someone for their athleticism alone unless they are likely to use their athleticism efficiently.
Next up is stuffing, which is underrated. An underrated player who has been far better than expected in 2021 is Deebo Samuel, WR for the San Francisco 49ers. Samuel is someone I didn’t get in many drafts due to his injury history, but he has proven this year to me that buying low on “injury-prone” players, while risky, can pay off. When “injury-prone” players drop several rounds in ADP just because of their injury history, this is usually an over-reaction that we can take advantage of.
Samuel has rewarded those who took a chance on him, as he currently is the No. 3 WR in PPR and went in the seventh or eighth round in most leagues. He will be carrying many teams to the fantasy championship.
I love lemon cake because it provides a delicious end to your Thanksgiving feast. A player I expect to finish the year better than he started is Elijah Moore, WR for the New York Jets. Moore had 9 points (half-PPR) in his first five games combined and seemed to be completely out of the Jets game plan. However, everything changed after the week six bye, as the Jets made a significant effort to include him in their game script. Since week seven, Moore is averaging 16.6 half-PPR points a game, which puts him in WR1 territory. While the return of Zach Wilson is probably slightly negative for Moore, he is talented and the Jets know it. I expect a huge second-half breakout to continue for Elijah Moore.
Lastly, a player I’m thankful for this season is D’Andre Swift, running back (RB) for the Detroit Lions. Swift has been amazing week-in and week-out, and he went in the third or fourth round in all my leagues, providing an amazing RB1 to drafters who went WR or tight end in the first two rounds. Swift is currently the No. 5 overall RB in PPR and has been yet another example that talent leads to fantasy dominance, even on terrible teams that don’t score many points.
I am thankful for fantasy football and thankful to you for reading this column! Have an amazing break and enjoy Thanksgiving day football.
Daniel Scrugham is a junior at UT this year studying business analytics. Shoot him your fantasy questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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