Fantasy football: How to handle position battles rest of the way

Some words are harder to say than others. There are people who have trouble saying “I love you,” and some who struggle with “I’m sorry,” and sometimes you have to break bad news, like, telling a Seahawks fan who went to bed after the apparent DK Metcalf game-winning overtime touchdown late Sunday night what happened after.

There is another phrase that can give pause, that can be a challenge for many to say: “I don’t know.”

As we hit the midway point in many fantasy seasons, the Madman thought it would be a good time to explore what we know and don’t know about this season, and what our best guesses are for the future.

Like: Ronald Jones or Leonard Fournette? We’ve said all along we expect Fournette to emerge as the main workhorse here, but injuries have delayed his ascent. They virtually split carries Sunday, Fournette got two fewer carries but had five more receptions and thoroughly outplayed RoJo. Our call: Three weeks from now, Fournette will be getting 60-plus percent of backfield touches.

Diontae Johnson or Chase Claypool? Claypool had amassed five TDs in the previous two games. Then here comes Johnson, back from a back injury. Johnson got a team-high 15 targets — which he turned into nine catches for 80 yards and two TDs. Claypool got one catch on one target for minus-2 yards. Bear in mind, Claypool has just two games with more than three touches and only one with more than four targets. Sunday was the third game Johnson received double-digit targets. Treat Claypool as a bye-week filler, but Johnson can be a weekly Flex option.

JaMychal Hasty or Jerick McKinnon? With Raheem Mostert out for multiple weeks and Sunday fantasy hero Jeff Wilson Jr. likely now sidelined with an ankle injury, Hasty got most of the work late — nine carries (57 yards) to McKinnon’s three (minus-1). Before you invest heavy in Hasty, note coach Kyle Shanahan’s comments that they planned to rest McKinnon this past week. So he could have a larger role in Week 8. Complicating factor: Tevin Coleman could return this week or next. We’ll throw together some DFS lineups including various 49ers RBs, but we don’t want to have to use them on our seasonal teams until Mostert returns.

Rashard Higgins or Donovan Peoples-Jones? With Odell Beckham Jr. lost for the season, who will QB Baker Mayfield turn to as a crutch target? Jarvis Landry stands to benefit the most, but Peoples-Jones got the big catch Sunday — though some important notes: Higgins got the targets and yards, and Peoples-Jones has just four targets the entire season. We like the top tight end better than Peoples-Jones in the long run — which likely will be Harrison Bryant this week, before Austin Hooper returns from appendicitis.

Joshua Kelley or Justin Jackson? As soon as one seems to gain an edge, the other gets more work the following week. But neither one is very good. Best course of action: Avoid both.

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