Wrapping Up Week 12 & the Longest Week of Fantasy Football Ever
Week 12 felt like it lasted… almost two weeks! With all of the changes in the schedule (hello Wednesday afternoon football), it can be hard to remember everything that went on. This exercise is simply a stream of consciousness and opportunity to share some of the insights that I had as we move closer to the fantasy playoffs.
Game Breaker Breaks Game: Tyreek Hill
Tyreek is one of the best athletes we have in the NFL today and he’s paired with likely the best QB the league has ever seen. It’s as simple as that, making a ceiling game like this possible. Cheetah abused the Buccaneers’ secondary, catching 13 of 15 targets for 269 yards and three TDs. Hill and Travis Kelce are the obvious alphas in this passing attack with role players Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and Mecole Hardman falling inline way down the pecking order. Tyreek has seen an insane 47 targets (15.7 per game!!) over the past three contests, making his combination of volume and talent in this offense borderline erotic.
League Winner: Austin Ekeler
Ekeler is an incredible dual-threat RB talent who is now paired with a super exciting young QB in Justin Herbert. Herbert has been lighting the league on fire and Week 12 gave us a glimpse of what these two can do together. In Ekeler’s first game back from injury, he played on a season-high 60 (72%) offensive snaps. That usage translated into an insane 30 total opportunities (14 carries and 16!! targets). Ekeler totaled 129 yards but didn’t find the end zone. Ekeler’s receptions and yards are soon to start equating to TDs, and when that happens, Ekeler will lead many to FootClan Titles.
The New Odell Beckham: Justin Jefferson
Due to a slow start as well as the balanced offense he plays in, Jefferson only ranks tied for 24th in the league in receptions (52). However, these factors haven’t stopped him from ranking eighth in the league in receiving yards (918). Jefferson has seen 17 fewer targets than anyone else in the top-ten receiving yards list which helps explain why he ranks fourth in yards per reception (17.7). For added context, the freak of nature that is D.K. Metcalf is averaging 17.9 yards per reception. Jefferson (2.91) also ranks second in Pro Football Focus’ Yards per Route Run metric behind only Davante Adams (2.96).
His rookie season has been absolutely incredible and he kept it going on Sunday even without Adam Thielen in the lineup, proving he’s no Robin to another WR’s Batman. Jefferson caught seven of 13 targets for 70 yards and two TDs. All of this has come after Jefferson posted 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 TDs last year as a Junior at LSU. He then ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Jefferson has it all and he’s the league’s new Odell Beckham.
A Huge Victory for Athleticism: Antonio Gibson
Gibson has literally changed how many will scout the RB position moving forward. College production is absolutely part of the evaluation equation, but it’s not everything. Gibson didn’t produce until his Senior season when he turned only 71 total touches into 1,104 yards and 12 TDs. His limited collegiate touches provided more guesswork than we’d like but eliminating some of the grey areas were two elite strengths: athleticism and pass-catching ability. At 6’0″, 228 pounds, Gibson ran a 4.39 40-yard dash (98th-percentile according to Player Profiler) and posted a 99th-percentile Speed Score. He also turned only 38 catches as a Senior into 735 yards (19.3 yards per reception).
Clearly, all Gibson needed was to be given an opportunity, and Washington, having done just that, reaped the benefits. Gibson ranks tied for 12th in the league in rushing yards (645), 21st in total yards (878), and tied for fifth in total TDs (11). Gibson has surprised almost everyone with his flawless transition to playing the pure RB position at the NFL level and the best part: Gibson’s pass-catching upside hasn’t even been truly unlocked yet despite the fact he’s already caught 32 passes. Gibson’s dynasty stock is soaring to the moon.
Stock Down: Alvin Kamara
Kamara’s talent is elite and paired with Sean Payton and Drew Brees, his fantasy ceiling couldn’t be any higher. Kamara has been a dual-threat stud atop the fantasy football standings going on for four years now thanks, in large part, to catching 81 passes on the dot in his first three seasons. It was business as usual this year as Kamara had caught 67 passes in nine games (7.4 per game) with Brees. However, in two games with Taysom Hill, Kamara has only seen three total targets and caught one pass for negative two yards. Kamara’s stock is way down until Brees returns, which projects to be Week 15 at the earliest.
Stock Up: Deebo Samuel
After posting an exciting 961 total yards and six TDs as a rookie, Samuel had once again shown signs of life in limited action this year prior to Week 12. With Brandon Aiyuk on the COVID-19 list and George Kittle injured, Deebo Samuel was the star of the show on Sunday. He caught 11 of 13 passes for 133 yards, letting us know the Jones’ fracture he suffered in his foot during the offseason should no longer be thought of as an issue. Samuel is an exciting playmaker paired with Kyle Shanahan, one of the brightest offensive minds this league has ever seen. Deebo’s stock has significantly risen in all formats.
Rising Rookie: Gabriel Davis
Davis was a fun late-round rookie pick in dynasty. As a 20-year old Junior, he caught 72 passes for 1,241 yards and 12 TDs at UCF. That kind of production at the WR position is eye-opening, especially when Davis was then drafted in the fourth round. And Davis’ rookie season has only increased my excitement for his pro-prospects. He’s had a role all season in this offense, catching 22 passes for 354 yards and four TDs so far. Even better, in the three games John Brown has missed, Davis has played on 100%, 95%, and 97% of the offensive snaps. Brown will be 31 next year and a free agent in 2022. Davis could be a full-time player in the NFL very soon.
How Does He Keep Doing It?: James Robinson
Robinson went undrafted and is playing for a Jaguars’ team with a 1-10 record that ranks 24th in offensive DVOA, dead last in defensive DVOA, and has a -98 point differential on the season. Despite the rough situation Robinson is in, he just keeps producing, which is exactly what he did in college. Robinson broke out as a 19-year-old Sophomore at Illinois State and over his final three collegiate seasons, accumulated 4,459 total yards (1,486.3 per season) and 43 TDs (14.3 per season).
Nothing has changed in the NFL. Robinson ranks third in rushing yards (890), fourth in total yards (1,170), and tied for 16th in total TDs (8). Of course, Robinson has 194 carries on the season and Chris Thompson‘s seven carries are the only other rush attempts from a Jaguars’ RB all season. Volume has certainly helped and we know opportunities can fluctuate from year to year. But Robinson’s overall environment from a team standpoint can’t get much worse moving forward. Overall, things should balance out, making Robinson a solid asset moving forward in 2020 and beyond.
Dynasty Buy: Cole Kmet
Kmet was a favorite of mine during the draft process. Drafted in the second round, he’s big at 6’4″ and 262 pounds and extremely athletic. Kmet ran a 4.7 40-yard dash (70th-percentile) and also posted an 83rd-percentile Speed Score and an 88th-percentile Burst Score. It’s exciting that as a rookie, Kmet’s playing time is skyrocketing. He’s played on 70% and 79% of the offensive snaps over the Bears past two games. Acquire him at an affordable price before his increased playing starts translating into production. While his outlook in Chicago currently appears bleak, things can change quickly in the NFL. Bet on talent in dynasty.
Dynasty Buy: Cam Akers
Akers was a fun prospect. He posted an 89th-percentile College Dominator Rating after totaling 1,141 yards and eight TDs as a Freshman and finishing his three-year collegiate career with 3,361 total yards and 24 total TDs. He combined production with athleticism after running a 4.47 40-yard dash (87th-percentile) and posting an 89th-percentile Speed Score. Akers hasn’t played much this season, but he’s flashed in recent weeks with his limited opportunities. Akers scored his first TD on a reception in Week 11 and then his first rushing TD last week while adding 84 rushing yards on only nine carries. The time to buy Akers is now. His ceiling in 2021 is tremendous should he become the starting RB for a Sean McVay-coached offense.
Idiotic Usage of the Week: Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor, and Travis Fulgham
Alshon Jeffery played on 49% of the offensive snaps last week. Why? The Eagles are a complete mess right now. Alshon’s playing time reduced the chances for exciting young players Jalen Reagor (61% of the offensive snaps) and Travis Fulgham (52% of the offensive snaps). Reagor and Fulgham need to be full-time players in this offense, especially since Reagor was drafted ahead of the league’s new Odell Beckham…
Questionable Usage of the Week: Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde
Chris Carson returned from an extended absence and looked great, even bullying multiple Eagles defenders all the way into the end zone. But he only played on 37% of the offensive snaps while Carlos Hyde played on 61% of the offensive snaps. This is something to monitor but not something I’m concerned about yet. I would expect those snap percentages to flip next week and throughout the remainder of the year as long as Carson stays healthy. Hyde will remain somewhat involved regardless but I’m not overreacting to this one-week sample.