Fast Connections, Week 11: Adams' return fuels Packers

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This week's edition of Fast Connections focuses on receivers that have come on strong after missing games earlier in the season.

Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers


The Packers offense didn't fall apart during the month Davante Adams missed while recovering from turf toe. The team found success running the offense through Aaron Jones, turning the dual-threat running back loose during big wins over the Cowboys and Raiders. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers finally settled into head coach Matt LaFleur's new system, producing the best statistical game of his career in Week 7 (25 completions on 31 attempts for 429 yards and five touchdowns, plus another score on the ground).

Still, the Packers cannot reach their ceiling on offense without their No. 1 receiver, especially against the elite defenses the NFC will throw their way during the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs. The success or failure of reintegrating Adams after a long layoff could well determine how deep into the postseason Green Bay goes.

Adams didn't dominate in his first game back, a 26-11 loss in which virtually no one on the Packers offense performed well. However, the Pro Bowl wideout delivered last week against the Panthers. Adams showcased both his ability to beat defenders vertically and create yards after the catch, both skills directly affected by his toe injury. Rodgers looked to him early and often, resulting in Adams finishing with more than twice as many targets as any other Packers receiver. With the bye coming to Green Bay this week, Adams now has the opportunity to heal further and finish the season strong.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Though Adams missed the entire month of October, he leads the team with 648 air yards through Week 10. That figure accounts for 25.9 percent of all the Packers' entire air-yard output this season despite Adams' target share coming in at just 19.7 percent.

Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs


The Chiefs' cavalcade of speedy receivers helped the offense overcome the absence of Tyreek Hill, who missed four games during the first half of the season. The group, composed of veterans like Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins as well as young wideouts Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson, performed so well that quarterback Patrick Mahomes played as well over the first three weeks (82 completions on 114 passes for 1,195 yards, 10 touchdowns and no picks) as he did during any three-game stretch during his MVP season.

However, when Mahomes severely dislocated his kneecap in Week 7, the Chiefs offense turned to Hill. In the game Mahomes went down, Hill's 57-yard touchdown during the third quarter put to bed any notion of the Broncos making a comeback. He followed up that performance with a team-leading six catches for 76 yards in a near-upset of the Packers, a game in which Kansas City started former NFL retiree and scout Matt Moore under center. Moore and Hill combined for six catches for 140 yards and a score in a victory over the Vikings the following Sunday.

Now, Mahomes and Hill have reunited, and the early results look promising. Mahomes targeted Hill 19 times last week in Nashville for 11 receptions and 157 yards, all season highs. The two also combined for a touchdown, an 11-yard go-ahead score in the third quarter. Though the Chiefs ultimately fell to the Titans, 35-32, the two appear primed for a productive stretch run.

Next Gen Stats says ...

The Chiefs will need Hill's ability to create yards after the catch as they fight for playoff seeding. According to Next Gen Stats, Hill's YAC-success rate comes in at 54.8 percent, the highest mark on the team among those with at least 40 targets.

Daniel Jones to Golden Tate, New York Giants


The Giants expected Golden Tate to take on a significant role in the passing game when they signed him to a four-year contract this offseason. Those plans went on the back burner when the NFL suspended Tate for the first four games of the season. Tate's absence put additional strain on wideout Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram, each of whom missed games themselves due to injury.

Tate didn't immediately establish himself as a go-to receiver upon his return in Week 5, catching just three passes for 13 yards. But since then, he has become the Giants' most productive pass catcher.

In the six weeks since coming off suspension, Tate has amassed 33 catches on 50 targets for 417 yards, each the top mark on the Giants over that span. He has also hauled in three touchdowns, second on the team behind only Darius Slayton. Two of Tate's scores came last week against the Jets, a game in which he also caught four passes for 95 yards. With a young quarterback like Daniel Jones at the helm, having a security blanket like Tate makes a tremendous difference.

Next Gen Stats says ...

A receiver like Tate can cover up for some of the mistakes made by a rookie signal-caller such as Jones. According to Next Gen Stats, Tate's catch rate comes in 2.0 percent above expected, the second-highest mark on the Giants among receivers with at least 35 targets.

-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter:

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