We’re turning the page towards Week 10 and there were a number of eye-popping fantasy performances that we need to take notice of especially heading into placing waiver wire bids. Instead of just looking at the box scores, we do the watching for you. We took a look at a couple of Week’s 9 standouts: Adam Humphries, Curtis Samuel, Maurice Harris, Nick Vannett, Jeff Heuerman.
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Adam Humphries– WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s pronounced with an UMPhries… If you were among those sad fantasy fans who started a Buccaneers pass catcher named Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson or Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries likely has become a curse word in your mouth. The slot WR caught all 8 of his targets for 82 yards and 2 TDs for a huge breakout game. He’s annoyingly on the field as the Bucs go 3 or 4-wide often. What do we make of this performance?
Just in the first 15 minutes of the game, Humphries had at least 3 plays designed exclusively for him, which is puzzling considering his lack of overall athleticism. The Bucs gave him a bubble screen and even a pitch out of the backfield in the red zone. He is a technician with his feet and made Panthers’ safety Captain Munnerlyn get off-balanced a couple times. His first touchdown was a simple 5-yard pivot route that showcased how he can be used like a Julian Edelman in short spaces.
His 2nd TD was basically a pick play where he gets open off of Mike Evans and was confirmed a TD as he stretched for the goal-line on replay. Humphries will likely be a popular waiver wire add this week and will continue to get slot work in games where the Buccaneers will be chasing points on the scoreboard. It is advised to not chase last week’s points against the Redskins this week. He’s strictly a full PPR flex play. His floor is something more like 2 for 12 yards in any given week. However, if Ryan Fitzpatrick likes him and trusts him, then Humphries will be a fringe-relevant player but there are 5 other Tampa Bay pass catchers ahead of him in the pecking order.
Curtis Samuel– WR, Carolina Panthers
Many Cam Newton owners were furious seeing some of the TD vulturing that came via the ground game. Curtis Samuel was one of those who got in on the action with an exciting triple-reverse for a TD. Samuel also added 2 catches on 4 targets for 25 yards and a TD. Through the last 4 weeks since returning from injury, Samuel has been used as a gadget player for 148 scrimmage yards and three TDs on only 11 total touches. That is some hyper-efficiency from a player who was drafted in the 2nd round out of Ohio State to be another horizontal weapon for Cam Newton.
Here is that double reverse TD for those that didn’t have a chance to see it.
These types of plays are not exactly repeatable although you can see the elite ability Samuel has to change directions and run horizontally really fast across the field and make people look like they’re playing JV football. According to Pro Football Focus, he ranks first in forced missed tackles per reception. His upcoming schedule (@PIT, @DET, SEA) is interesting as points will be scored but he’s still too volatile as his usage (38.6% of the snaps) doesn’t bode well.
Maurice Harris– WR, Washington Redskins
This is probably a name you know little of and I don’t blame you. Maurice Harris was a UDFA out of California barely making a dent in 2017. He has unexpectedly carved out a role as an almost exclusively big slot WR with Jamison Crowder out with an injury. As the Redskins were in come back mode all game long, Harris piled up 10 catches on 12 targets for 124 yards. What this just a mirage?
Harris’ big frame, especially lined up in the slot, created a number of mismatches that Alex Smith used to his advantage. Here is a simple post route where he beats safety Brian Poole with a tough catch inside the 10-yard line. Smith also found Harris on a couple scramble drill plays which showcased Smith’s athleticism to escape rather than Harris’ innate skills.
Give Harris some credit, according to PlayerProfiler.com he has a 95.5% true catch rate on the year, which accounts for only catchable targets, and ranks 4th among wideouts. However, the passing volume from Alex Smith will cap any “upside” you think he may possess. Let’s be honest, this game likely will be a trophy on the shelf in Harris’ living room for his career. With the recent news that Paul Richardson is out for the year, there is more intrigue with Harris. He’s seen 60+ percent of snaps in 5 straight games. However, when Crowder returns from his injury, Harris will likely move to the outside. and let someone else chase this fluky performance.
Nick Vannett- TE, Seattle Seahawks
Remember when there was a day when Will Dissly was a thing? Oh how far we have come in 2018. Nick Vannett was, in fact, the more hyped Seattle TE but has been slowly brought along after coming back from an injury. In Week 9, he posted 6 catches on 8 targets for 52 yards and a TD. Always a favorite of Mike Wright, Vannett showcased some valuable skills Sunday which further validated why the Seahawks took him in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft.
Watching the film, I haven’t seen a TE “stand up” as much as he did. Vannett was lined up in the slot on 18 different snaps. Instead of a traditional “down stance”, he was standing up to either chip the defensive lineman or go out for a short pass. In other words, he was the clear passing guy ahead of Jason’s by Ed Dickson. In fact, Vannett ran more than double the routes (22) as Dickson (10) did according to Pro Football Focus.
Vannett did receive some empty calories at the end as the Seahawks were down 8 driving to try and tie the game with under 2 minutes to go. The Chargers are allowing anything under 10 yards to be caught as they trust their CBs to tackle. He’s a huge target (6’6, 250 lbs) and the better Ohio State TE prospect than his contemporary (Jeff Heuerman) who will be profiled below. Vannett is worth a look on the wire this week if you need a TE fill-in. His opponent, the Rams, are a “funnel” defense that allows receptions to TEs including a solid week from the ageless Benjamin Watson last week.
Jeff Heuerman- TE, Denver Broncos
With Demaryius Thomas shipped out of town (and in this case just to the opposite sideline), there is some considerable target volume available in the Denver passing game. Enter TE Jeff Heuerman, a 2nd-year TE out of Ohio State, who saw all of 18 targets in 2017. He was forced into considerably more playing time this year as Jake Butt is now out of the season. Heuerman had a career day catching 10-of-11 targets for 83 yards and a TD against the Texans. What showed up on film?
It was clear that Heuerman was the lead TE seeing 71% of the snaps compared to 2nd-stringer Matt LaCosse. However, the 2-TE set was utilized frequently by the Broncos as they needed ample pass protection with the Texans’ monster DEs J.J. Watt and Jadaveon Clowney rushing on the edge. On his 11 targets, Heuerman looks like a big body more than an actual athlete. Case Keenum used him to check-down frequently as a safety valve. To be honest, his TD catch was more of a forced throw from Keenum that somehow landed in Heuerman’s mitts.
He’s never seen this much volume but he’s definitely been utilized in the red zone all season long. He’s seen the 4th most RZ targets (13) among TEs and more than Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and Brandin Cooks. The bad news for fantasy owners is that the Broncos go on bye in Week 10. Heuerman is best left on the waiver wire although his next two games will be the Chargers and Steelers, teams the Broncos could be chasing on the scoreboard.