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NFL Nation fallout: Brandin Cooks steps up

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Another week of the NFL season is in the books, and there is no shortage of fantasy football news to digest.

Each Tuesday during the season, ESPN fantasy analyst Eric Moody will ask NFL Nation reporters what to make of the fallout after games are played and the most pressing questions heading into the next weekend. Who is primed for a big performance, who is impacted by injuries and what roles might change? Here’s what our crew had to say about some of the biggest storylines after Week 10 as we head into Week 11.


atl Is Bijan Robinson going to be the focal point of the Atlanta Falcons’ offense? And does who plays QB factor into that?

In short, he should be — and he really has been throughout the season even if the touchdown/red zone numbers don’t reflect it. Robinson leads the Falcons in touches (154) and scrimmage yards (820). His 224 routes run are the most for a running back in the NFL. It also shouldn’t matter who is playing quarterback for Atlanta because of the unique way the franchise uses him all over every formation it runs. He’s setting up to have an impactful second half of the season on a team desperate to find wins. — Michael Rothstein

dalIs Brandin Cooks’ huge game a sign of things to come?

In a word, yes. Maybe not 173 yards again. Even Dak Prescott said it might not be an every week thing, but the Cowboys know Cooks can produce. Why he hadn’t been more involved is mysterious because he was so good during training camp. With the way CeeDee Lamb is rolling, defenses will have to adjust their coverage plans, and Cooks still has the speed to create separation and make big plays. With difficult games down the stretch, the Cowboys need Cooks to be a big part of their offense. — Todd Archer

Should fantasy managers be worried about Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense?

Yes, because the issues have lingered for nine games — with a league-high four red zone turnovers, 17 total turnovers, inconsistent O-line play and a lack of explosiveness. Getting WR Zay Jones (knee) back would help (he also has legal issues now) , but Lawrence has to take care of the ball better. He has 10 turnovers and nine touchdowns so far this season. — Michael DiRocco

min What will the Minnesota Vikings’ running back rotation look like if Alexander Mattison misses time due to a concussion?

The Vikings would turn to Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu and possibly rookie DeWayne McBride, who has spent the season on the practice squad. The plan would start off with the expectation of Chandler getting the majority of snaps, just as Mattison has received them in nearly every game this season and Dalvin Cook did in 2022. But coach Kevin O’Connell is also open to riding the hot hand if Nwangwu, who has primarily been a kick returner in his NFL career, gets hot. If the situation gets shaky, fullback C.J. Ham would be the most reliable option. — Kevin Seifert

nyj How deep do the New York Jets have to sink offensively to consider benching Zach Wilson?

Wilson has led only eight touchdown drives in nine games, including none in the last 11 quarters. If he were the QB1, he’d probably be on the bench already. But let’s not forget, he’s the backup, having replaced the injured Aaron Rodgers. If the Jets turn to the third string (Tim Boyle or Trevor Siemian), it would be an act of sheer desperation. Has Wilson been good? No, but he threw for 263 yards in each of the last two games, which is to say he’s done just enough to keep his job. However, if the offense continues to flatline, the change could happen in Week 13, coming off a mini-bye. — Rich Cimini

pit As they did Sunday, will the Steelers lean more heavily on RBs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren due to the way QB Kenny Pickett is playing?

Simply put, yes. In a perfect world, the Steelers want to have a balanced offense. But the world isn’t perfect, and neither is Pickett. Far from it. And the best way to get Pickett and the offense back on track is to establish an identity on the ground. With rookie Broderick Jones starting at right tackle, the Steelers have posted back-to-back season highs in rushing yards the last two weeks, and Warren ran for his first 100-yard game against the Packers. With half of the Steelers’ remaining games coming against notoriously trench-heavy AFC North opponents, get ready for a whole lot of ground-and-pound from the Steelers offense. — Brooke Pryor

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