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Tue Oct 27th 2020

2020 Week Seven Review

Fantastic Finishes

Week seven in the NFL was a blast, filled with last-second wins and shootouts. As an NFL fan, it was a fantastic Sunday to watch football. As a dynasty manager, it was a roller coaster of positive or negative emotions.

I had a mediocre week, personally. My teams finished 5-3 this week with some heartbreaking losses and satisfying wins. Like I say every week, win or lose; it's a joy to watch football all weekend and cheer on all of my teams.

After following all of the games this week, here are my thoughts on what we learned after week seven and its impact on our dynasty teams.

Week Seven Observations

Fantastic Finishes

  • Almost all of the early games on Sunday were close, and the last 15 minutes on the Red Zone channel were riveting. Teddy Bridgewater took a horrible sack on his final play, leaving Joey Slye to attempt an NFL record-long 65 yard field goal that fell one yard short, costing them the chance to tie the game. After getting pushed around most of the game, the Titans furiously came back against the Steelers thanks to three Ben Roethlisberger interceptions, but Stephen Gostkowski missed the game-tying field goal. Todd Gurley hilariously tried not to score a touchdown so Atlanta could run out the clock, but after a booth review, he proved to cross the goal line, giving Matt Stafford and Lions a chance to drive the ball down the field for a game-winning touchdown on the last play of the game. Joe Burrow and Baker Mayfield threw a combined record-high five touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including a 24-yard strike by Mayfield to win with 11 seconds left in the game. All of this action took place in what felt like a fifteen-minute period of time that was ridiculously entertaining to watch all at once. The afternoon games were not near as competitive, but we were gifted with an overtime classic Sunday night between Arizona and Seattle. Sunday was a blast!

Rookie Quarterbacks On Fire

  • Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert both look like franchise quarterbacks through the air and on the ground. Herbert threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns while also leading his team in rushing with 66 yards and a touchdown. He displayed his mobility and his rocket arm, throwing the ball downfield more than most any quarterback I've watched this offseason. He targeted running backs eleven times, but only on screen passes when they were the primary target. Other than that, he's looking downfield and always trying to make a play. Burrow threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns and added another touchdown on the ground. Burrow does not have Herbert's rocket arm, but he's accurate and firmly in control of the offense. He completed 74.5% of his passes on Sunday, smartly dinking and dunking his way down the field and taking what the defense was giving him. Herbert earned his first win while Burrow fell short of getting his second win. These rookies will add up plenty of wins in the decade to come and lift their teams from the ranks of mediocre teams.

Second Guessing

  • Phillip Lindsay played far better than Melvin Gordon in the snow on Sunday before exiting the game with a concussion. Lindsay had more than 100 yards rushing last week while Gordon missed the game with an illness, and Lindsay was very involved in the game plan to start the game on Sunday. He was averaging 8.8 yards per carry compared to Gordon's 4.0. He looked far more explosive and quick than Gordon, who looked more like a plodder. Gordon saved his fantasy day with a late touchdown, but I am convinced that Lindsay would have outplayed Gordon if he did not get injured. I'm beginning to question how highly I valued Gordon to start this season. I drafted him in my most recent start-up draft, and I traded a 2021 first-round pick for him on a team that is currently in first place. I started him in one league but benched him in favor of Giovani Bernard in the other league. If Lindsay returns healthy this Sunday, I think I would rather play Lindsay in my line-ups.

Up From The Ashes

  • Don't look now, but Nelson Agholor has scored four touchdowns in six games this season and one in each of the last three consecutive weeks. He had 107 yards receiving against the Chiefs and was the leading wide receiver with nine targets. Darren Waller is the absolute number one target in Las Vegas with 56 total targets, but Agholor had nine targets on Sunday and has played between 40 and 67 since week three. He's making the most of his time starting while Bryan Edwards' injury lingers and could hold off the rookie if he continues to play well and score touchdowns. He's not proven enough to be inserted into starting dynasty line-ups yet, but that could change if he gets more targets and scores again for the fourth consecutive week. At roster cut time before the season started, I dropped him from one of my leagues and kept him in another. He's no longer an on-the-bubble player, in my opinion. Now I wish I kept him in the league that I cut him.

Target Hogs

  • Tyler Lockett and Devante Adams were target hogs on Sunday and turned those targets into fantasy game-winning performances. Only 19 players have ever had more than 20 targets in a game, including Devante Adams, who had 21 in 2015. Lockett had 20 targets on Sunday night, turning them into 15 catches, three touchdowns, and 200 yards. Adams has 16 targets, turning them into 13 catches, two touchdowns, and 196 yards. Both of them benefit from having two of the most efficient passers in NFL history. A Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers target is not like a target from other NFL quarterbacks because they are amazingly accurate. Watching these duos on Sunday is like watching a passing game clinic. Congrats to you if you had one of them in your starting line-up, and apologies to those of you who played against them.

Week Seven Injuries

Devonta Freeman

  • Freeman hurt his ankle early in Thursday night's game and was unable to return to play. Just when he was starting to look like the bell cow back for the Giants, he gets injured. Wayne Gallman stepped into Freeman's role and played pretty well on Thursday. I'll write more on Gallman in the waiver wire section below. As for the rest of the Giants' players, Freeman's injury does not make the offense far less effective. It's a bad offense with or without Freeman. Sterling Shepard looked great in his first game back, so the Giants may try to lean on the passing game a little more than they would without Freeman, but I'd expect much of the same with or without him.

Kenyan Drake

  • It's inappropriate to say, but Chase Edmonds owners have been waiting for this opportunity. Drake seemed to have hurt his ankle pretty bad, and Edmonds stepped right in to help Arizona in their comeback win against Seattle. This injury is the chance Edmonds needs to surpass Drake in the depth chart for good. I believe he can do it. He's been far more effective in the passing game already this season, and now he can add more rushes to his game. I already had Drake and Edmonds close in my dynasty rankings - Drake at 27 and Edmonds at 34. They could switch places during the weeks that Drake is missing playtime.

Odell Beckham Jr.

  • Beckham tore his ACL attempting to make a tackle after an interception and will miss the rest of the season as a result. His dynasty value was already dropping based on his erratic play, Baker Mayfield's struggles, and the new run-first system installed by Stefanski. This injury will cause other younger receivers to continue to jump ahead of him in my dynasty rankings. As for the players that stand to benefit this year, Jarvis Landry will become Mayfield's primary target and maintain his dynasty value as a startable WR-3 on fantasy teams. Rishard Higgins benefited the most this Sunday and seemed likely to be the next most-targeted wide receiver after his six-catch and 110-yard day. Donovan People-Jones will also now have an opportunity to prove himself after making the game-winning catch on Sunday. Jones has more dynasty value based on his age and pedigree, but Higgins will hold greater fantasy value for the rest of this season.

Chris Carson

  • Carson hurt his foot in the game Sunday night, and Carlos Hyde had a solid performance in his place, scoring a touchdown on his 15 carries and 68 yards rushing. Before the season started, I believed Hyde would significantly cut into Carson's workload because I've always valued Hyde's talent more than most analysts. However, Hyde was hampered by his own injuries to start the season and was unable to prove himself until this game. Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas will get a handful of touches while Carson is missing, but Hyde will be the lead running back on a highly productive offense. Hyde is a startable flex play while Carson is out and could prove worthy of splitting time with Carson when he comes back from this injury. The dynasty value of all Seattle running backs remains about the same, but Hyde could help fantasy teams this year.

Andy Dalton

  • Dalton was concussed on a cheap hit while attempting to slide. Recovery time for concussions varies greatly, so he could be back as soon as Sunday, or he could miss several weeks. Every fantasy player on Dallas was downgraded for the season after Dak Prescott was injured. If Dalton is unable to play, Dallas's pass catchers are unstartable, and Ezekiel Elliot may be too. The dynasty value of all Dallas players remains the same, however, while they wait for the 2021 season and the return of Dak under a long-term contract.

Week Seven Waiver Wire

As a reminder, I play in 27 to 30-man roster leagues (true dynasty leagues), so the players I list here are for deep leagues only. If you play in shallower leagues, there are certainly better players than these to pick up off the waiver wire. That said, for those of you in true dynasty leagues, here is who I would be looking to pick up this week. I list them in the order that I would prioritize them.

Marquez Callaway

  • Callaway had his first breakout game on Sunday, catching eight balls for 75 yards. He was the most targeted player for Drew Brees too. He was not very active in the gameplans the first four weeks of the season while Michael Thomas was injured, but he played 52 and 51 snaps in the last two weeks. Emmanuel Sanders did not play Sunday, so the Saints missed their top two receivers, so Callaway could find himself back on the bench when they return to play. That said, Callaway, an undrafted rookie, is a great dynasty stash regardless of if he plays this much again this year. He proved that he could make plays in the NFL this week and is a top waiver wire priority for this week, especially if there is any truth to the rumors that the Saints are looking to trade Michael Thomas.

Wayne Gallman

  • If Freeman's injury keeps him out for a few weeks, Gallman is worth a waiver wire add to see how he performs with the lead role. He did well on Thursday night, gaining 54 total yards on eight touches, including five receptions. I'm not going to try to pick him up in every league that he is available, but if I were weak at running back due to injuries or had a player I was willing to drop, I'd try to pick up Gallman this week.

Rishard Higgins

  • As mentioned above, Higgins played well after Beckham left the game on Sunday. He stands to take over OBJ's role for the rest of the season. Mayfield had the best game of his career on Sunday (best PFF ranking), but I do not expect Cleveland to pass the ball the rest of the season as often as they did in Sunday's shootout with Cincinnati. I would not be willing to drop a rookie or you wide receiver to add Higgins since he'd only help my team this year, but if I had a roster with many injured wide receivers, I would consider adding him.

Week Seven Trades

Trades are hard to grade in a vacuum since scoring systems are different in each league, and every team has a diverse roster construction. That's why I write about trades made in my leagues and give context for why the dynasty owners made the trades. I grade the trade, but in the context of what each team was attempting to accomplish with the trade.

That said, here are my thoughts on trades that were made in my leagues this week. I hope these trades give you an idea of how other active owners value these players and future picks.

J.K. Dobbins <-----> Justin Jefferson and Gardner Minshew

  • This trade took place in my 10-team standard league. I traded Dobbins in this league last week as part of a package deal to acquire Stefon Diggs. Now the owner moved Dobbins to get a breakout rookie in Justin Jefferson. The team that traded for Jefferson has more depth at running back than at receiver, and the team that traded for Dobbins had more depth at receiver than running back, so the deal made sense for both teams. Part of the reason I was willing to trade Dobbins last week was my growing frustration with how Baltimore seems committed to rotating their running backs, and I am not sure that is going to change. Though Dobbins was my #2 ranked rookie in this class, I believe I would rather have Jefferson after seeing his few breakout games this year. This year, Minnesota is tanking, as evidence by the trade they made this week selling Yannick Ngakoue to Baltimore. Minnesota may draft a much better quarterback to become the one passing to Jefferson for years to come, making me like Jefferson even more.

Ronald Jones <-----> Tyler Boyd

  • This trade took place in my 10-team standard league. This one was a father-son trade where each team needed a starting quality player at different positions. As I wrote about last week, Jones has finally taken the lead running back role in Tampa Bay and is finally living up to his rookie-draft capital. Boyd has a solid floor, but he's been surpassed by a rookie, Tee Higgins, in targets and yards the last few games of this season, and I believe that's going to be a permanent change. Because of that, I slightly prefer the Jones end of this trade. Jones's dynasty value is rising while Boyd's has plateaued.

Boston Scott <-----> 2021 3rd round pick

  • This trade took place in my 10-team half-PPR league. This one was a desperation trade by a team that did not have an RB-2 to start this week because the rest of his running backs were injured or on bye weeks. In my opinion, he did not have to give up too much to buy a player to start this week. I would trade a 3rd round pick for Scott even if I were not in a pinch like this owner was. Plus, he has Miles Sanders, so now he permanently has Sanders' handcuff. If I were the other owner, I would have tried to get a second-round pick and maybe offer a third-round pick, especially when I knew he was desperate to find a starter. 

Le'Veon Bell <-----> Hunter Renfrow and 2021 4th round pick

  • This trade took place in my 12-team, PPR, tight-end premium FFPC league. The team that traded away Bell is 0-6 and was just looking to get picks in return to Bell. While Bell was not going to help his struggling team this year, I would have thought that he could have held out for more, even a third-round pick and a second, and give a third back. FFPC leagues have shallow rosters, cutting back to 16 players before the rookie/free agent draft. In an FFPC league, Renfrow may not even make my final roster after the cut date. In my mind, this is essentially Bell for a 4th round pick. In that case, I would rather have Bell.

Jimmy Graham <-----> 2021 3rd round pick

  • This trade took place in my 14-team, half-PPR, tight end premium, all flex league. Much to everyone's surprise, Jimmy Graham is the 6th highest scoring tight end in this league. The team that gave away Graham has the worst record in the league, so he was willing to sell the aging Graham for future picks. I thought he could hold out for a second-round pick, but I guess this was the best he could do. It is a 14-team league, which makes 3rd round picks even less relevant. I wish I could have been the one to trade my 3rd round pick for Graham. I would do that in this league since I am in first place and in need of a better tight end. I'm sorry I missed out on it.

Justin Herbert and Deebo Samuel <-----> Kyler Murray and 2021 2nd and 3rd round picks

  • This trade took place in my 14-team, half-PPR, tight end premium, all flex league. The team that traded Herbert and Samuel for Murray and the picks was the same last-place team mentioned in the previous trade. As a rebuilding team, I really like what he did here. It was two for one, but he got the best player in the trade (Murray) and two picks. It would have been too much to ask for 1st round pick, but getting a 2nd and 3rd round pick was fair value. The team that traded away Murray and the picks must really believe in Herbert, who has looked great. In this superflex league, he had Mahomes and Murray as his starters. Though I love Herbert, the prospect of rolling with Murray and Mahomes as starters for the next decade is too desirable. I love Deebo as a talent but have questions about his injury history and involvement in an offense that spreads the ball around so much. Deebo has dominated targets and touches the last few weeks, though, so maybe I'm wrong. That or the Deebo owner sold him at just the right time.

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