Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Start Taysom Hill, Geno Smith, Kenneth Walker, and sit all Falcons

At the conclusion of Chiefs versus Raiders on Monday Night Football, we’ll be 29.4% of the way through most Fantasy Football leagues. And 35.7% of the way through the Fantasy regular season. At this point, it’s difficult to say “it’s early” with a straight face, even when silly things happen.

Still, if you’re in a 12-team league where six games make the playoffs, it’s pretty early. The odds are very high that a team with seven losses is going to make the playoffs. It’s almost certain that at least one team with six losses will make the playoffs. In other words, no one has been eliminated. And in leagues like that, no one is getting eliminated next week either. Let’s digest what happened in Week 5 and move forward.

Taysom Hill is a must-start TE

The Case: Hill is currently TE3 on the season per game despite the fact that he only has one catch all year. On Sunday he ran nine times for 112 yards and three touchdowns. He threw another touchdown. He even recovered a fumble on special teams.

I’ve dismissed Hill and Alvin Kamara Fantasy managers can’t be thrilled with the way he’s vultured touchdowns. But Hill was not a vulture on Sunday, he was the Saints’ MVP. It’s hard to imagine his role disappearing after this performance.

The Verdict: Believe it

Even if you don’t believe Hill will ever do anything like this again (I don’t), there aren’t that many tight ends I want to start on a weekly basis. Hill should be 100% rostered in leagues where he’s tight end eligible. While I don’t have Week 6 rankings done yet, he’s certain to be top 10 and he could rank as high as top-five in non-PPR. I would expect five-to-six rush attempts per game, with a chance for a pass or catch as well. He fits well in the touchdown-dependent streamer conversation, except his two-touchdown upside is more realistic.

Just know that, like most tight ends, this could be a bumpy ride. Don’t get frustrated if Hill gives you two Fantasy points next week. If I don’t have a tight end I like, I’m riding this out for at least three weeks now.

Geno Smith is a top-12 QB rest of the season

The Case: Smith is averaging 23.2 Fantasy points per game which is better than every quarterback not named Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, or Patrick Mahomes. He has multiple touchdown passes in four of five games and he just threw for 268 yards and three scores on 25 pass attempts in New Orleans. What more proof do you need?

The Verdict: Don’t believe it

I’m always going to be skeptical of elite performances from journeymen quarterbacks who have never done anything like this before. And that perfectly describes Smith. Even if Smith had a good track record, I would bet on regression from his 75% completion percentage and 5.7% touchdown rate. He’s only topped 30 pass attempts once and he’s only run for more than 15 yards in a game once. Smith may be a starter in Week 6 against a bad Cardinals defense but I would be selling if anyone wants to trade for him like he’s a top-12 guy. There is regression on the way.

Travis Etienne is the best Jacksonville RB rest of the season

The Case: For the second consecutive week, Etienne split carries evenly with James Robinson. But unlike Week 4 when they were both awful, Etienne turned his 10 carries into 71 yards, while Robinson plodded along for just 27. Etienne also added another three catches for 43 yards in the passing game.

One of these backs is emerging, and it’s not Robinson.

The Verdict: Believe it

I want to be clear from the start, just because I think Etienne will be the best Jaguars back rest of the season does not necessarily mean I think he’s going to be a good Fantasy back. If this stays a 50-50 committee on rushing downs, these guys are both going to be low-end No. 2 running backs at best. But I will take Etienne for the rest of the season because he looks more explosive right now and he appears to have a bigger role on passing downs.

Robinson has just 56 yards on his last 18 carries and it’s fair to wonder if we were too quick to declare him “back”. I’d be hesitant to start either Jacksonville back in Week 6 against the Colts.

You should sit all Falcons in Week 6 against the 49ers

The Case: The Falcons rank 10th in the league in points scored but only 25th in total yards. The 49ers defense ranks first in both categories. No team has scored even 20 points against them this season and the Panthers were the first team this year to top 300 total yards. They did that in garbage time with their backup QB. You should maybe sit everyone against the 49ers, but definitely the Falcons.

The Verdict: Believe it

The 49ers have given up the fewest Fantasy points this season to quarterbacks, the second-fewest to tight ends, and they are top-eight against running backs and wide receivers as well. The Falcons have a low-volume pass attack and they’re chopping the rush attempts up three different ways. I still have hope Drake London and Kyle Pitts can have success in the second half of the season, but I’m going a different way in Week 6.

Kenneth Walker is a top-20 RB

The Case: Rashaad Penny broke his leg in Week 5, which will transfer a majority of the role in the rushing game to rookie Kenneth Walker. Walker is a very talented young back, who showed off that talent with a 69-yard scamper late against the Saints on Sunday. You should expect 15-to-20 touches per game for the rookie, which will make him at least a No. 2 running back moving forward.

The Verdict: Believe it

At the very least, you can believe it for the next month with the Seahawks facing the Cardinals (twice), Chargers, and Giants over the next month. I would expect Walker to assume all of Penny’s roles in the rushing game, but also to do more in the passing game than Penny. Walker saw three targets in his first two games this season. Penny’s only seen three targets in a game twice since 2019. There’s a potential that we’re viewing Breece Hall, Dameon Pierce, and Walker all as top-12 Fantasy running backs down the stretch.

Walker is available in 32% of leagues and should be the top waiver wire priority wherever you can find him.