Welcome to Week 10 of Lessons Learned! In this article, we break down ten important takeaways from the prior week in fantasy football, and what they could mean for your lineups moving forward.
If you learned anything from Week 10 that you think we should know, send us a comment or shoot me a tweet @FantasySensei! Without further ado, let’s dive into the fantasy classroom.
1. Yet Again, Ben is Bigger at Home
It’s been an eye-opening trend for years, and it’s continued in 2018. Big Ben is a whole lot bigger when the games are played on Pittsburgh soil. He’s now played five games at home and four on the road this year, but has thrown twice as many touchdowns and posted a passer rating that’s 15 points higher at Heinz Field.
Thursday night’s 328-yard, 5 TD, 0 INT performance against the Panthers was obviously his best of the season, and it came at home (in primetime, no less). It was also only his second game of the year with 3+ TDs and no interceptions — the other also came at home, against the Chiefs in Week 2. Ben is a borderline QB1 regardless, but given this trend, he’ll likely be a must-start in Week 13 vs. the Chargers and Week 15 vs. the Patriots.
2. Browns Rookies are Heating Up
Browns players are making the Lessons Learned for the second straight week, and all the news is positive! I guess that’s what happens when you fire the 2nd-worst coach in NFL history (see Fisher, Jeff) and promote an offensive mastermind like Freddie Kitchens.
Both Nick Chubb and Baker Mayfield are thriving after a surprise 28-16 stomping of the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Chubb went absolutely bonkers, with 209 scrimmage yards and 2 touchdowns, and Baker had the cleanest game of his career by far, completing 17 of 20 passes for 216 yards, 3 TDs, zero picks, and a 151.2 passer rating (2 points from perfect). Cleveland is on bye this week, but they’ll likely keep the magic alive in their Week 12 matchup with the awful Bengals defense (where they’ll run into now-assistant-to-the-head-coach-for-the-Bengals, Hue Jackson).
3. Leonard Fournette Hit the Ground Running
I mean, this should be pretty obvious, consider he’s a running back … it’s kind of his job … to hit the ground running. You chuckled. Seriously though, the Jaguars wasted no time ramping their bell-cow back up to a full workload after his return (finally) from a nagging hamstring injury.
Despite missing part or all of every game this season preceding Sunday’s tilt with the Colts, Fournette was handed a whopping 29 touches (24 carries, 5 receptions), and turned the opportunity into 109 scrimmage yards and 2 touchdowns. He wasn’t too efficient on the ground — okay, that’s an understatement, he averaged a putrid 2.2 yards per carry — but it doesn’t matter much with that kind of workload and his red zone usage to boot. Fournette should be right back in the RB1 conversation, if relatively low end, now that he’s fully healthy.
4. Allen Robinson Was Actually Signed for a Reason
You wouldn’t know it looking at his numbers from Weeks 1-9, but apparently, the Bears signed Allen Robinson to a 3-year, $42 million contract this offseason with the intent to use him in a football game! Seriously, while ARob did miss a couple weeks with a groin injury recently, his season totals of 43 receptions, 285 yards, and 2 touchdowns coming into Sunday were baffling for a No. 1 wideout.
Fortunately, the Bears and Robinson finally justified the paycheck this week, as Robinson went off to the tune of 6 catches on 8 targets for 133 yards and a pair of scores. It was his second-highest target total of the season (14 in Week 2), and clearly paid dividends, so hopefully the Bears will continue to feed their Pro Bowl wideout moving forward. If they do, Robinson could make a playoff run as a WR1 for fantasy, considering a slate of juicy matchups that includes the Lions, Rams, Packers, and 49ers to end the season.
5. The David Johnson Caterpillar is Finally a Butterfly
It took 10 weeks and an offensive coordinator change (all hail Byron Leftwich!), but David Johnson finally posted the elite RB1 performance we’ve been waiting for. DJ turned 28 touches into 183 scrimmage yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a cherry on top for PPR owners to the tune of 7 catches.
With the success we’ve seen from both the Browns and Cardinals offenses after making obviously-necessary coaching changes, it’s a wonder other teams haven’t taken action already (I’m looking at you, Dirk Koetter and Jason Garrett). Regardless, Johnson owners won’t complain, as they’re too busy basking in the glorious shower of fantasy points from Sunday’s contest. DJ’s 37 fantasy points may be a season-high (especially since it came against the porous Chiefs defense), but we can expect several more elite performances, including next week against the Raiders.
6. Shady McCoy’s Fantasy Numbers are a Legitimate Roller Coaster
LeSean McCoy had his best game of the season in a baffling blowout by the Buffalo Bills, totaling 118 yards and a pair of scores (including his first of the year). While I’d like to be more positive about the performance, it’s yet another hill on an almost amusing run of hills and valleys for McCoy.
Here are Shady’s weekly fantasy totals (PPR) since Week 6: 12.4, 0.1, 15.5, 6.9, 24.8. He has strung back-to-back double-digit weeks together only once, in Weeks 5 and 6. Moreover, I don’t expect Barkleysanity to continue for long (that’s QB Matt Barkley, who started on Sunday), and the return of Josh Allen, if it happens, is unlikely to help matters much. Start McCoy at your own risk — ideally not this week, since he’s on bye.
7. Chris Godwin is a Must-Own and a Likely-Start With Fitzmagic
Ryan Fitzpatrick has now finished six games on the field as the Buccaneers quarterback. In those games, WR Chris Godwin is averaging 4 catches for 57.7 receiving yards and has a TD in three of them. That’s a 16-game pace of 64 catches, 923 yards, and 8 TDs, which is legitimate starting production for a fantasy wideout, at the very least as a FLEX.
His 103-yard performance on 7 catches last Sunday was his best of the season from a volume standpoint, despite not scoring. And while we are not guaranteed to get Fitzmagic for the full remainder of the season, and the playoff matchups aren’t great either, Godwin is a solid bye-week fill-in, and could help you get to the final rounds with contests against the 49ers, Panthers, and Saints in Weeks 12-14.
8. The Titans Offense is Coming Together
Now that Marcus Mariota can feel his fingers, Dion Lewis is getting an appropriate workload for his talents, and Derrick Henry is doing the one thing he’s good at (bowling into the end zone), the Titans offense is actually shaping up. Mariota had an efficient day in their victory over the Patriots (16/24, 228 yards, 2 TDs, 125.0 passer rating), Corey Davis had (another) breakout game with 125 yards and a touchdown, and the running back duo combined for 115 rushing yards and 2 TDs as well.
If Mariota can stay healthy, Davis can supply some semblance of consistency, and Tennessee continues using Lewis in the volume role and Henry in the red zone, all four pieces can carry fantasy value heading into the playoffs. I’d be willing to start every one of them this week against the Colts and shore up the game plan based on what we see in Indianapolis.
9. There is a New Aaron in Green Bay
That’s right, move over Rodgers, Aaron Jones is the one true A-Aron now! Okay fine, Rodgers can stay as well, but holy mackerel did Jones break out in Week 10! With Ty Montgomery out of the picture and a proper 15-3 carry split with Jamaal Williams, Jones put up a scorching 145 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns against Miami.
The tape can hardly be ignored at this point, and the 31-12 Packers win kept them in the playoff hunt as well, so you have to figure Mike McCarthy will continue feeding Jones a proper man-sized portion of the workload moving forward. The schedule is a mixed bag, including a Week 15 matchup with the Bears, but Jones should essentially be a must-start at this point for fantasy owners.
10. Somehow, Tyler Lockett is the (Fantasy) WR1 In Seattle
Disclaimer: Lockett is not a proper WR1 for fantasy or in the NFL. That said, he is the No. 1 fantasy receiver on his own team at this point, after out-producing Doug Baldwin for the fourth time in six weeks with both players healthy. Lockett logged 67 yards and another TD on Sunday (for a whopping 7 TDs on the season, tied for 5th in the NFL with Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins), while Baldwin managed only 39 yards and failed to score (again).
Whatever Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett are doing, it’s breaking efficiency barriers, and it’s working for fantasy. Until we see otherwise, I think we have to ride the hot hand. Given Baldwin’s talent and his history with Wilson, we can hope for a late-season surge, but for now, I’d start Lockett if given the choice.