Field Pass: What to expect from Etienne, McCaffrey, Pittman in Week 8

    Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston’s Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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By the time you’re reading this, the NFL trade deadline will be within mere days, as any potential deals must be consummated by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

The NFL doesn’t usually rival the NBA, MLB or NHL in terms of trade deadline activity, but since the last edition of Field Pass was published, two fantasy-relevant deals were swung, as Christian McCaffrey is now a 49er and James Robinson is now a Jet.

Let’s dive into the various tentacles connected to these trades, noting that while McCaffrey’s is the biggest domino to fall, we’ll treat it last given the fact that it happened a week ago and we’ve dug into it pretty substantially elsewhere.

Jets act fast to replace Hall

Sunday was a really tough injury day around the NFL, which included the awful news that Jets rookie sensation Breece Hall is out for the season because of a torn ACL. Hall was smashing in fantasy this season, scoring at least 10 points in every game and at least 15 in the four games prior to Week 7 (despite just four carries, he still managed 13.8 points in Week 7). He looked like a flat-out star.

Within hours of the final diagnosis of Hall’s injury, the team had acquired James Robinson in a deal that sent Jacksonville a late-round draft pick. Robinson is a rock-solid player whose role had quickly — and I mean quickly — diminished in Jacksonville (more on that in a moment). He provides New York with a lead back once fully acclimated to the offense. Robinson joins Michael Carter, who opened the season as the starter, as the new one-two punch.

While Robinson’s upside isn’t nearly that of what Hall was showing (Hall is a special player), volume should be on his side and he has been a fantasy standout before. Robinson’s role might not be to serve as the feature back right away in this offense, but I suspect an opportunity at around 15 carries per game with some passing game utilization, good enough to make him roughly a top-20 option.

Carter is my preferred option for Week 8 given that Robinson’s role will be uncertain. Carter is an excellent pass-catching back and could well lead the team in rushing attempts this week. He is a top-20 RB play for me in Week 8, and while I think for the rest of the season his value grows relative to what it has been since Hall emerged on the scene (essentially a deep-league flex option), the trade for Robinson pushes Carter out of must-start territory. I’d stack Robinson over Carter for the rest of the season, but both are at least flex considerations weekly.

Meanwhile in Jacksonville …

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