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Tired or Wired: Believe in JuJu's fantasy mojo


There's nothing wrong with conventional wisdom. But being predictable is usually a pretty good way to get beat. Sometimes it's best to zig when people zag. Yin when people yang. Be unpredictable like an M. Night Shyamalan film (one of the good ones). That's where this column comes in. The tips below aren't for everyone and not all of them may be appropriate for your draft. But keep these handy when you want to throw your league-mates a curveball each week.

It was either Bob Dorough or De La Soul who taught me that three is a magic number. so as we enter Week 3 of the fantasy football season, we can start to divine all the murky things we weren't sure about. Either way, after Week 3 is over, you can stop prefacing your statements with "but it's a small sample size." That probably won't make you feel better when you rage drop half of your roster on Tuesday morning. But at least you'll be making an informed decision.

Who's running in D.C.?

Tired -- Avoid Washington's running backs. Washington throws the ball a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Like 73 percent of the time. Part of that has to do with a defense that leaks points like a water balloon that had a run-in with a pin. Part of it has to do with an offensive line that hasn't gotten much push up front. Sure, Adrian Peterson was pretty efficient last season but last week he was much less so. That was owed partly to a game script that changed after the Cowboys ran out to a 21-7 lead. This week, there's not quite the threat of the Bears opening a big gap on the scoreboard but it's very likely that their defense could smother Washington's passing game.

Wired -- Maybe flex Chris Thompson. For as tough as Chicago's defense can be, it did allow a little room for Denver's running backs to operate last week. However, this feels like a job for Chris Thompson. Did I mention that Washington throws the ball a lot? Because they do. Through two games, Thompson leads the team in targets as well as backfield snaps. That's a convoluted way of saying that he's a big part of the offense. With all respect to Shirley Bassey, it's all just a little bit of history repeating. Thompson seems to always have a big role in the offense but has never been able to stay healthy. That doesn't matter at the moment. He's healthy now and should see plenty of work against the Bears.

JuJu got his mojo?

Tired -- You've gotta downgrade JuJu. When we all projected JuJu Smith-Schuster to be a solid WR1, it was with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. Things We Didn't Expect in 2019: Ben's elbow to fall apart. Now Mason Rudolph has entered our lives and we're wondering what it means for the Steelers offense. While he's not a rookie, he hadn't thrown a regular season pass until last week. That doesn't inspire confidence in him being able to consistently get the ball to his top pass catcher and could lead to the Steelers leaning on the run a little more.

Wired -- Take a deep breath. It'll be fine. It was a small sample size, but Pittsburgh's offense looked more lively once Rudolph took over for the injured Roethlisberger last week. The biggest reason is that the backup was willing (or maybe able) to take shots down the field. It's a trend that goes back to his days at Oklahoma State. The hope is that those shots are a little more accurate than what we saw last week but the important part is that the air yards are there. The Steelers might not throw it as much as they did last season, but they will certainly air it out and the opportunity will certainly exist for Smith-Schuster.

Jason Witten? In this economy?

Tired -- You can't start Jason Witten. After retiring and spending a year in the broadcast booth, most of us giggled when Witten said he was returning to the Dallas Cowboys. In is final year before (temporarily) hanging them up, he wasn't much of a fantasy option with just two games over 60 receiving yards. There wasn't much reason to think things would get better inan offense that had moved on without him. Sure, he might have had a touchdowns in the first two games but considering his low target share, it's hard to trust him.

Wired -- Give him one more chance. All of those above points are valid but there are a few reasons that -- at least for this week -- Witten deserves a look. First ... Dolphins. Second, if you're being forced to stream tight ends, you've probably looked at the waiver wire. It's not pretty. The upside for Witten is that he's rarely off the field (94% snap share) and that half of his targets this season have come in the red zone. He might not be seeing the ball a lot, but it's coming in high-value situations. You can't count on this all year but if you're playing the waiver wire, this might be your chance.

You can try Trubisky

Tired -- Trubisky is unstartable. If you've watched any bit of the Bears offense in the first two weeks of the season, it's been undeniable that the passing game has been lacking and much of it traces back to the quarterback. That -- and the Broncos defense -- is part of the reason Matt Nagy leaned on David Montgomery last week. It's hard to think that Chicago is suddenly going to put the game plan back in Trubisky's hands this week. Even with the quarterback position thinning out over the past week, you really can't count on Mitchell.

Wired -- You could do worse. I'm not saying this play is for everyone (in fact, it mith only work for two-QB leagues) but this is a week that you can feel a little better about throwing Trubisky in your lineup this week. The main reason is that the Washington defense is bad. Specifically, the pass defense. Through two games, this unit has given up 562 passing yards and six touchdowns. That's ungood. The hope is that Trubisky can make up in efficiency what he'll lack in volume but if you're using him to play matchups, well, this is one of your matchups.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for and a man who can't fight the magnetic pull of coconut shrimp. Send him your seafood temptations or fantasy football questions on Twitter @MarcasG or Instagram at MarcasG.