Ten Things We Learned in Week Ten (Fantasy Football)
The playoffs are on the horizon, so keep an eye out for the things that will lead you to a championship. If you’re one of those people who is a perrenial runner up, keep an eye on the small things. This isn’t the purpose of this article, but here’s a few freebies: the Eagles playoff schedule is AWESOME, from a QB, RB, and D/ST standpoint, so keep that in mind. Trade Marlon Mack before someone notices he gets Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Carolina in the fantasy playoffs. Those were two random picks off the top of my head, so forgive me if the well ran dry too quickly. I’m more of a hindsight kind of guy, so let’s get into the ten things we learned in Week 10:
Damien Williams is the top dog
The Chiefs backfield situation has been pretty ugly and useless for fantasy purposes this year, but this past week we finally got to see one guy handle most of the work. LeSean McCoy was listed as a late scratch before the game and all signs pointed to a Damien Williams game which is exactly what we got. He out-touched Darrell Williams 24-3 and did a decent job all around with the exception of a costly lost fumble on a key drive in the second half. Andy Reid said that it was a planned day off for McCoy, but the timing of it was curious and we haven’t seen enough from McCoy to be too enthusiastic about the split if this really was a one-game deal. The tea leaves are pointing to a Williams lead backfield for the foreseeable future, so I’d hold onto him given the production he gave your fantasy team at the end of 2018 and the return of Mahomes to the lineup.
Kareem Hunt hurts Nick Chubb, but don’t panic
I have to ask those of you who held Hunt or were worried about Chubb’s usage once he came back: did you notice the backfield split prior to Hunt’s return? Dontrell Hilliard was seeing 40% of the snaps already, which means that Hunt’s usage was likely to mirror Hilliard’s upon his return. Chubb wasn’t a full-blown workhorse prior to Hunt being in the lineup, so it would have been unrealistic to expect him to be going forward. Even though Hunt ended up with more fantasy points in his first game back, Chubb dominated the backfield touches and received his normal twenty carries. What went overlooked is that he also ran more pass routes than Hunt and still caught two passes on the day. He’s not a dominant pass-catching back, but he’s still a borderline workhorse. Chubb can be trusted, and if you have owners who don’t agree – go get him.
Melvin Gordon is Back
The Chargers have recommitted to their former first-round pick, and whether or not I think that’s a good thing is irrelevant, because it’s a thing. Gordon finally found his footing in the last two weeks and has been a strong fantasy asset as of late, and going forward we should see more of the same. The Chargers are a tough team to explain in terms of when they decide to show up, but one things for certain – they’re going to rely on Melvin Gordon for as long as they can. He’s always been a player who produces at an ugly level from a YPC standpoint, but his touchdown totals allow him to keep a pretty high ceiling.
Golden Tate is Quietly Killing It
Golden Tate has been a low-key week winner as of late, and no one is talking about it. Since Week 6, Tate is the WR11 in half-ppr scoring and has had at least six catches or 80 yards in every game since week 5, which was his first game back. A lot of his production is due to Sterling Shepard remaining out of the lineup and Evan Engram being banged up, but both players could easily miss more time, especially since the Giants are out of the playoff hunt at this point. Tate has been an underrated fantasy asset his whole career, but right now he’s producing at a WR1 level on a team that’s going to be trailing in most of their games. If you have a league owner who doesn’t start him on a regular basis, he may be worth trading for if you can get him at a cheap price. I don’t expect WR1 numbers all year long, but he’s a viable WR3 every week with some under-the-radar upside.
David Johnson Looks Lost
I saw a Twitter picture that showed David Johnson’s face pasted onto a cartoon turtle, and at first, I laughed because he definitely looked sluggish this week, but then I wanted to cry because I own DJ in a lot of leagues. I have to admit Johnson looked like a shell of himself (pun intended), but keep in mind he was facing the same Tampa Bay defensive front that slowed down the freight train that was Christian McCaffery earlier this year. Maybe I’m just holding on to some hope that’s lost, but I don’t think so. Kenyan Drake dominated on Thursday night football a few weeks ago, and his stat line was just as ugly as Johnson’s on Sunday but no one wants to talk about it. The Bucs are shockingly good against running backs and David Johnson has too many great games under his belt to assume he forgot how to play football. Call me crazy, but I still have some faith.
Alvin Kamara is Approaching Bust Territory
Kamara was drafted to be the foundation of your fantasy team, and so far this season he’s been a letdown. He’s the RB22 through ten weeks due to a number of things including injuries to his starting quarterback and a two-week absence himself. The Saints’ loss to Atlanta was inexplicable, and Kamara once again let his fantasy owners down. He’s not sinking your lineups in the way that Cooper Kupp did, but compared to what we expected from him it’s been a major disappointment. At this point, you can’t really trade him away, and it’s reasonable to expect the Saints to pick things up, but Kamara will need to have a CMC level explosion from here on out to make up for his lack of production so far. The good news is that the Saints have a very favorable schedule going forward so his chances for redemption are higher than most.
Ronald Jones‘ Value is Rising
Bruce said it would happen, and it happened. Ronald Jones saw an increased workload this week and finished as the RB6 on the week, but it was mostly due to his work in the passing game. He caught eight balls for 77 yards and added another 11 carries along the way. The Bucs have a few decent matchups coming up and if Arian’s sticks with Jones then he should have a very appealing floor as an RB2. The only concerning development was the touchdown run from Peyton Barber because he was put into the game as the goal line back. At this point in the year, we can’t expect many workhorses to develop out of nowhere, so it’s not reasonable to think Jones will get a massive workload at any point. Barber will remain involved, but it seems to be trending heavily towards Rojo being the guy. He’s a great stash and can be trusted as low ceiling RB2 in most matchups.
The Rams Are an Absolute Mess
All I can say is… WOW. The Rams are a different team this year, and it’s killing our fantasy teams. Jared Goff was completely out of sorts this week, and no one on the roster is a must-start outside of Cooper Kupp, and even he finished with the dreaded goose egg. At this point in the year it’s safe to say that the Rams are not going to make a run at the super bowl, they may not even make the playoffs. The only player on their team that I’m still starting on a weekly basis is Cooper Kupp and maybe Todd Gurley in the right matchup, but their whole offense is a mess.
Aaron Jones Doesn’t Have Time for Regression
Aaron Rodgers has never been someone who would succumb to touchdown regression predictions, and apparently, his running backs share that enthusiasm. Aaron Jones scored another two this past Sunday and he’s been vaulted into the top five territory on a weekly basis. There are very few backs that I would rather have than Jones at this point, and even though Jamaal Williams is still in the mix, Jones has been an essential asset for a lot of teams making a playoff run. The way the Packers run their offense is perfect for Jones, and he should be able to produce at a very high rate, even though he’s been somewhat touchdown-dependent. Lock Jones into your lineups obviously, but also go out and trade for him if someone is ready to sell high.
The NFL is Wild
The Falcons lost to the Saints, the Dolphins beat the Colts, Mitch Trubisky threw three touchdowns, David Johnson scored negative points, and Cooper Kupp looked like he didn’t play. All of these things aren’t predictable at all, but outcomes like this should be expected since the NFL is a lot more competitive than people realize. Whether it’s the Bengals, the Dolphins, the Patriots, or the Saints – every one of these teams is squaring off with another NFL caliber team every single week. If you gamble on sports you know that nothing should be taken for granted, no matter how nice the matchup is. Keep this in mind when you want to get cute with fantasy assets, and always do your best to just enjoy the parity.