The offensive explosions that we saw in Weeks 4 and 5 slowed down a bit, but there was still plenty of excitement to go around. David Johnson and Nick Chubb continue to reward the owners that drafted them in the first round, while Devante Adams and DeAndre Hopkins are sinking their fantasy owners further and further down into the depths of their leagues. Stefon Diggs returned to glory, and The Cowboys confused us again. Let’s take a look at the ten things we learned this week and what they mean for our fantasy teams going forward:
Jameis Gonna Jameis
A lot of us already knew this, but Jameis has done enough in the last few weeks to warrant more trust than he had in the first few weeks. Since the week one disaster, he’s thrown ten touchdowns and only two interceptions and has actually looked great in Bruce Arians’ scheme. Unfortunately, it seems like he’s only able to accomplish decent fantasy performances on domestic soil. If you woke up early for the London game then you witnessed a classic Jameis collapse to the tune of five interceptions and a lost fumble in a loss to Carolina. Since the Buc’s were down most of the game he was able to accumulate a respectable yardage total and not completely sink your lineups, but he definitely didn’t help. If I’m allowed to play Devil’s advocate here, it’s at least encouraging to know that the guy can turn the ball over SIX times and still have double-digit fantasy points. This game was a reminder that Jameis’ ceiling is equally as insane as his floor, and he has a long way to go before we should trust him on a weekly basis.
Minnesota Should Keep Gettin’ Diggy With It
We knew this was going to happen eventually, right? All the drama in Minnesota, the big game from Thielen last week, and the talent Stefon Diggs’ possesses were a recipe for an explosion; it was just a matter of when. Turns out the answer to that question was….. this week. Diggs put up over 30 PPR points in the first half including two monster touchdowns and finished the game with over 40 in every format. Any casual fan can see how easily Diggs burned the subpar Philadelphia secondary, but those of us that have followed his career closely know that he’s capable of plays like that every single snap. It remains to be seen if this was a product of the matchup, or a concentrated effort by the coaching staff to get Diggs the ball. Minnesota has been a much more complete team in the last two weeks, and it’s not a coincidence that their two-star receivers had huge games in the process. I’m not ready to start Diggs every week with confidence, but it was a promising game from an extremely talented player.
Andy Reid wants a committee
Back in August the Chiefs head coach let all of us know that we should expect a committee approach with his running backs this year, but a lot of people didn’t listen. This week he made good on that promise by rotating between the three running backs like clockwork. After a week five outing that saw LeSean McCoy completely removed from the gameplan, naturally, he lead the team in rushing the following week. It’s a risky proposition to start anyone in that backfield right now, especially with the lack of clarity on how they want to move through the rotation. If it was as simple as McCoy being the lead back and Williams as the change of pace guy, we could at least get a grip on which matchups favor which back. Since it’s been all over the place, proceed with caution and pivot to more reliable options until we’re shown otherwise.
Deandre Hopkins Has Already Let Us Down
Most players of Hopkins’ caliber find a way to come through for fantasy purposes eventually, but at this point, it’s reasonable to say that Hopkins’ has let fantasy owners down based on his draft price. He was a consensus top-8 pick and going into this week he was the WR18 overall and has stayed outside the top-30 since Week two. In the last two weeks, he’s had positive matchups, and the results were underwhelming at best. Even though he led the team in receiving this week against the Chiefs, I don’t think any Hopkins drafters are excited about a 55-yard output. He dropped an easy touchdown early in the second quarter, and the routes the Texans had him running made me wonder if Keke Coutee and Hopkins switched places. Nuk’ is way too good to remain quiet all season, but at this point, I have no issue labeling him a disappointment after six questionable outings. His track record tells us he should be fine at some point this year, so I wouldn’t call you crazy if you want to go trade for him. I’m sure a lot of Hopkins owners are hitting the panic button, and for good reason.
Travis Kelce is a Ghost
The Chiefs played five straight weeks without Tyreek Hill, and it was supposed to be Travis Kelce’s time. In a similar fashion to DeAndre Hopkins, we’re still waiting for the clock to strike midnight on the lack of production. He was going off the board in the top-20 picks in most drafts, and at this point, it’s safe to say that he’s a disappointment compared to his ADP. The Chiefs had a shootout with Houston this weekend and Kelce was nowhere to be found. What’s even more concerning is that his on-field play appears to be a bit sloppy compared to his last couple of seasons. Kelce has been a primary target for Pat Mahomes’ for two straight years, so I’m sure things will regress in a positive way, but as of now Kelce isn’t what we had hoped he would be. Even though he leads all tight ends in receiving yards, his lack of touchdowns has been killing his fantasy ceiling. If you own Kelce you likely aren’t trading him, but if you’re weak at tight end it’s a good time to try and buy low since his floor is still higher than almost anyone at the position.
The Jets Have Two Different Teams
The one lead by Sam Darnold, and the….. other one. It was obvious from the first snap that the Jets had a different kind of energy with their Franchise quarterback back behind center. They managed to pull off a potentially season-defining win against the struggling Cowboys, and Darnold looked very solid in his first game back. The entire offense looked different on Sunday afternoon and it seems like any player in the offense is due for an increased fantasy stock. Chris Herndon, Le’Veon Bell, and Robby Anderson should all be trade targets this week, and the offense as a whole might not be the joke of the NFL like it was the past two weeks. I would be aggressive about getting Herndon onto your roster, as he showed flashes at the end of 2018 and the TE landscape is incredibly thin. The Cowboys will have to bounce back in big fashion to avoid the “same old Cowboys” discussion, and Jason Garrett has to be feeling his seat heat up a little bit.
OBJ is a WR2
It pains me to say this as a longtime OBJ fan, but he’s not the same type of fantasy asset in Cleveland. He recorded his second 100+ yard game of the season, but it was a struggle to even get there. The Browns offense as a whole is sloppy and lacks identity, which means that every player on the field suffers because of it. He hasn’t found the endzone since week two, and there’s really not much that tells us his situation will improve anytime soon outside of his schedule. He’s way too good to be benched and his upside on a weekly basis is still elite, but his WR1 tag should be removed for the time being and he’s not someone I’d expect to finish the year in the top-five.
The Niners are Legit
Plain and simple: The Niners are good. Their defensive line is elite, and their head coach is one of the most dynamic play-callers in the league. We need to start taking their defense very seriously when projecting matchups because they’ve shut down talent-rich NFL two weeks in a row. Brandin Cooks continues to be a low floor liability, and Malcolm Brown flopped in his opportunity to fill in for Todd Gurley. Both of those outcomes were a product of the suffocating pressure the Niners put on Jared Goff. If Jimmy G can improve his on-field play and the backfield can stay healthy, the Niners are a legitimate super bowl threat out of the NFC. George Kittle continues to ascend back into the elite TE territory from a scoring standpoint, and the backfield is getting enough work to warrant RB3 conversation every single week. Don’t sleep on the Niners, and don’t start your players against them if you have an option that’s in a similar tier.
The Falcons are Broken
To be fair, their schedule has been pretty tough. That’s the only excuse I can give them. Since their win against the broken-winged Eagles in Week two, they’ve dropped four straight games to the Colts, Titans, Texans, and Cardinals. This was a team that was supposed to exceed expectations, or at the very least meet them. Dirk Koetter came back from Tampa Bay and was supposed to reignite the passing offense we saw in their run to the super bowl, but it just hasn’t come to fruition. Dan Quinn has refused to give up defensive play-calling duties, and that’s not a role I’d be proud to own up to. The Falcons have been doing their best Good Luck Chuck impression since every team they play seems to get back on track afterward. Quinn might be out of a job by November if things continue, and it’s hard to argue with the Falcons front office if they decide to do so. I never like to speculate about another man (or woman’s) job, so I truly hope they right the ship and Quinn sticks around.
OL and Scheme > Running Back Talent
I’m not going to say those dangerous words that cause an uproar, but I am going to hint at them here. Players like Mark Ingram, Tevin Coleman, Carlos Hyde, and Marlon Mack are excelling in fantasy leagues while guys like Joe Mixon and Le’Veon Bell are struggling to even move the needle for your team. I don’t mean to disrespect any of the guys listed, but it’s widely accepted that both Mixon and Bell are two of the best talents at the position in the league. The primary reason some ball carriers are doing so well for your fantasy teams is scheme and offensive line play, not just talent. Mark Ingram and Tevin Coleman are both very talented players, but their fantasy outputs are a result of their offensive gameplans and team identities first. I tweeted out that Tevin Coleman is my favorite fantasy trade target this week, simply because he’s the goal-line back in a high-powered rushing attack. He was on the field for almost every play inside the ten-yard line and he dropped a wide-open touchdown pass that kept him from having a HUGE day. Go buy Tevin Coleman, and stop chasing talented backs if their scheme and offensive line are questionable. The sooner you can remove a big name from the situation, the better your fantasy teams will be.