NFL Nation: Denver's offense, Taysom Hill's staying power, and more

Our NFL Nation reporters answer fantasy football questions every Tuesday during the NFL season. Here's what they had to say following Week 5.

Is this offense broken beyond repair, or would you buy the dip on all Broncos through five weeks?

It will take them a moment to figure out what they're going to do with running back Javonte Williams out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury -- he leads the team in rushing and is still second on the team in receptions even though he didn't play in Week 5. This offense has moved the ball at times against some quality defenses, but it has also committed far too many penalties and has been abysmal inside the red zone. If coach Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback Russell Wilson will resist the urge to try to make every play something worthy of confetti cannons and simply do what the team has done well, they will score some points. -- Jeff Legwold

The highest-scoring offense in the NFL through four weeks was shut out. Is this a product of a tough matchup or natural regression for an overachieving team?

I would say a little bit of both. No matter what their record says, the New England Patriots are the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick doesn't need me to validate him as one of the greatest coaches of all time. Detroit head coach Dan Campbell was exposed during the 29-0 shutout loss at New England on Sunday as he made poor decisions, mainly going 0-6 on fourth downs -- which was the worst by any team in a game over the past 45 seasons, per Elias Sports Bureau data. With that being said, this Lions offense is no fluke and it still has weapons, starting with quarterback Jared Goff. At this point, the defense and key injuries continue to hold the Lions back, so there's definitely a natural regression for an overachieving team, but the Patriots are tough, too, despite their record. -- Eric Woodyard

Safe to label Travis Etienne Jr. the most valuable fantasy back on this roster? How many touches should we expect weekly?

Not necessarily. Etienne is averaging 6.2 yards per touch but just 11 touches per week, and he has yet to find the end zone. James Robinson is averaging 4.3 yards per touch and 15 touches per week but has scored four times. Robinson is still the Jaguars' RB1 and the Jaguars are going to mix in Etienne, but Robinson is still the guy they'll turn to at the goal line. Etienne might have games in which he gets more work and/or has more production, but Robinson is still the better bet. -- Michael DiRocco

Did Rhamondre Stevenson's big day (161 rush yards) earn him the lead role in this backfield, even if/when Damien Harris is healthy?

Bill Belichick's postgame comments spoke volumes when he said, "He's a really good football player. So glad we have him. Love him. Love him." Yes, he repeated those words at the end for effect. While the Patriots will likely always have some type of RB committee, Stevenson has now put himself in position to be the top option in any pairing. -- Mike Reiss

Will the team keep Taysom Hill this involved when Jameis Winston returns?

Winston's injury seemed to be the catalyst for Hill taking quarterback snaps again at practice, although Saints coach Dennis Allen maintained that they always had a plan to do that, but Hill was injured. Whatever the reason, if Winston returns as a starter, it would make even more sense for Hill to have a bigger role because he would not be an immediate backup at quarterback and thus not as big of an injury concern. -- Katherine Terrell

Darius Slayton led the team in targets (7), catches (6) and receiving yards (79) Sunday in London. He entered that game available in over 99% of leagues. Do you think there's an avenue for him to sustain this usage and be worth a fantasy roster spot?

Slayton had one catch prior to Sunday's matchup with the Packers. So there isn't much of a track record that this new regime wants to feature him long term. But there is a path for Slayton still being a factor in the near future with Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney (hamstring) not near full health. And even if Wan'Dale Robinson (knee) returns this week, he will likely chip into Richie James' snaps in the slot. That makes Slayton a potential fill-in option for another week or two. Otherwise, it's hard to trust he's going to contribute consistently. -- Jordan Raanan

Who do you think the most valuable Steeler is the rest of the way?

WR George Pickens. He was largely ignored in the first two weeks of the season, but in Kenny Pickett's first start, he led Steelers receivers with 83 yards and six receptions on eight targets. But because of Pittsburgh's red zone woes, it's risky to start any Steelers offensive skill player. -- Brooke Pryor

Nico Collins saw six targets and Dameon Pierce saw five looks. Brandin Cooks has been underwhelming and now is losing volume ... any hope for a bounce back from him?

Quarterback Davis Mills and Cooks' connection hasn't been great throughout the year as he's only catching 57% of his targets in 2021, tied for a career low. But always keep faith in Cooks bouncing back. He's totaled 8,152 career receiving yards in nine seasons for a reason. He's still the Texans' best receiver and still leads the team in targets (42) which is 15 more than the next receiver, Collins. Once Cooks and Mills get back on the same page, Cooks' production should increase substantially. -- DJ Bien-Aime

They unleashed George Kittle the pass-catcher from the get-go. Is this a sign of things to come or a product of the matchup?

The 49ers, so long as Kyle Shanahan is the coach, will always be matchup-driven in how they game-plan. It always stood to reason that Kittle would soon be more involved in the passing game, and that happened against the Panthers. But keep in mind that the Niners are playing with their third-string left tackle and still figuring some things out on the interior, which makes Kittle's blocking all the more valuable and, thus, his production in the passing game harder to project. -- Nick Wagoner

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett both score. Five weeks into the season, can we lock in both Seahawks receivers weekly like we did during the Russell Wilson days?

Yes. A week ago, there was still reason to proceed with some caution with Metcalf and Lockett. They had just one touchdown between them over the first four games. That seemed like a function of a passing game that was largely getting by with short and intermediate throws and not the deep shots that were a staple of Seattle's offense under Russell Wilson. But Geno Smith has been finding more success down the field of late, especially Sunday against New Orleans with two deep touchdown passes to Lockett. Both are on pace to top 1,200 receiving yards. -- Brady Henderson

The Washington RB with the most fantasy points from Week 6 to Week 18 will be whom (and what does the touch split look like)?

It's quite hard to answer considering we have barely seen Brian Robinson run the ball. The Commanders would like Robinson to be their primary ball carrier, and you'd think the more he plays, the more comfortable he'll become. It's debatable how effective their run game will be given their offensive line. Ideally for Washington, Antonio Gibson becomes a versatile player with his pass-catching ability and receives 10 to 12 touches per game. And J.D. McKissic remains a good third-down back who catches four to five passes a game. But those two will be dependent on other factors when used in the pass game; Robinson will be the one carrying the ball. However, with this team there are so many variables, including how often it gets down in games, forcing it to rely more on the pass. -- John Keim