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Fantasy football: Fuller among 1st-half surprises, but will they last?

Texans wide receiver Will Fuller brings in a touchdown against Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman in the second quarter Sunday in Seattle. | Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

We’re halfway through the fantasy football season, and even Nostradamus couldn’t have predicted some of the stuff we’ve seen.

Take Texans wide receiver Will Fuller, for example. For a couple of weeks now, fantasy analysts have been saying he can’t maintain his remarkable scoring rate. His volume is too low to sustain it.

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At some point, we’ll be right. Probably.

After scoring twice Sunday, Fuller is tied for the league lead with seven touchdown catches – on only 13 receptions, in only four games. He missed the first three games with a broken collarbone.

Fuller is tied with teammate DeAndre Hopkins, who ranks fifth in the league with 45 receptions; Fuller is tied for 155th.

Fantasy owners favor players who have the ball the most and are in position to score the most. It’s that simple. So throw in the fact that three of Fuller’s last four touchdowns have come from 59, 39 and 48 yards, and you can see how he’s defying fantasy logic.

Fuller practically doubled his production Sunday from the previous two games, so perhaps his volume is on the uptick. But even with limited looks, he’s the second receiving option in an explosive offense. This week he’ll face the Colts, who have allowed the second-most yards to wideouts. Get him in your lineup.

Here are some other first-half surprises and their second-half outlook:

Chiefs QB Alex Smith

Smith is the No. 1 fantasy scorer. (It helps to say it out loud.) After ranking 22nd at the position last season, he has been a revelation. He’s on pace to shatter his career highs in passing yards and touchdown passes in his 13th season. And he has zero picks.

Yet, Smith appears to be a matchup play. His three 300-yard games and 10 of his 16 touchdowns have come in three games against pass defenses ranked 21st or lower. Fortunately, after the Chiefs’ Week 10 bye, Smith will face four consecutive teams with pass defenses ranked in the bottom 13. He’ll be part of many fantasy playoff runs.

Eagles RB Jay Ajayi

It’s surprising enough that such a talented workhorse back is so unproductive. He’s sixth in the league in carries but 30th in basic PPR scoring among running backs. It was even a bigger surprise to learn the Dolphins dealt him to the Eagles on Tuesday.

Ajayi moves from the Dolphins’ 32nd-ranked offense to the Eagles’ sixth-ranked unit. Though he doesn’t figure to dominate the ball like he has, there should be enough carries to go around in an offense that leads the league in rushing attempts. Even if LeGarrette Blount takes the goal-line work, Ajayi is no worse than an RB2.

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas

It wasn’t long ago that Thomas was catching 100 passes and scoring double-digit touchdowns. This season, he’s on pace for 80 catches and zero touchdowns. Quarterback Trevor Siemian might be benched, but the Broncos’ other options aren’t any better. Consider Thomas a WR2. The offense’s struggles aren’t a reflection of him.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyA22.

Email: jagrest@suntimes.com

 

WEEK 9 OUTLOOK

Byes: Bears, Browns, Chargers, Vikings, Patriots, Steelers.

STUDS

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: The Chiefs have allowed the fourth-most passing yards and the fifth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks.

Texans RB Lamar Miller: In two games against the Colts last season, he rushed for 256 yards and two touchdowns on 45 carries.

Saints WR Michael Thomas: The Buccaneers have allowed the third-most catches and fourth-most yards to wide receivers.

DUDS

Titans QB Marcus Mariota: The Ravens have allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards to quarterbacks and the second-lowest completion percentage.

Packers RB Aaron Jones: The Lions are allowing only 3.6 yards per rush, and quarterback Brett Hundley might have difficulty opening the field for him.

Bengals WR A.J. Green: The Jaguars have allowed the third-fewest yards and fewest touchdown passes to wide receivers.

 

WEEK 8 PICKS

STUDS

Cam Newton: 154 yards, TD pass, INT

Jay Ajayi: 13 carries, 23 yards

Keenan Allen: 4 catches, 61 yards

DUDS

Deshaun Watson: 402 yards, 4 TD passes, 3 INTs

Carlos Hyde: 12 carries, 25 yards

Tyreek Hill: 2 catches, 38 yards