Tue Nov 16th 2021
2021 Week Ten Review
Week ten in the NFL was filled with mostly blowout games, but at least we had our dynasty teams to root for and make Sunday a fun day. Most of the NFL games may not have been tight ones, but my dynasty games sure were.
I blew out a team in one league, but the games came down to Sunday and Monday night in my other nine leagues, which went well for me. I finished the week a season's best 8-2. Even on good weeks like this one, I remind myself that win or lose; it's a joy to watch football all weekend and cheer on all of my dynasty teams.
After following all of the games this week, here are a few of my thoughts on players and situations and their impact on our dynasty teams.
Ten Observations From Week Ten
AFC North Debacle
- The week kicked off Thursday night with a surprising upset when the Dolphins completely dismantled Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense. The Ravens only scored ten offensive points, and their only touchdown came in the fourth quarter with four minutes left in the game. Mark Andrews was the only fantasy starter who came close to his projected points. Lamar Jackson and Devonta Freeman ended up with modest but disappointing fantasy days, and Marquise Brown's poor play left his managers in a big hole heading into the weekend. It was good to see Bateman continue to increase his role, even with Sammy Watkins back on the field, and Watkins's terrible play helped solidify Rashod Bateman as the WR-2 in Baltimore. The Browns offense and defense laid an egg on Sunday, getting whipped by the Patriots 45-7. The Browns released Odell Beckham from the team, and Nick Chubb got added to the COVID list and could not play in the game. D'Ernest Johnson was the only player to meet fantasy expectations on Sunday, producing more than 75% of the team's total yards. Only startable in superflex leagues, Baker Mayfield, had an awful performance and would have finished the day with two fantasy points if he didn't throw one touchdown in the first quarter. Jarvis Landry, the only other player worth considering in starting lineups, finished the game with less than five fantasy points. Later Saturday afternoon, the Steelers got the bad news that Ben Roethlisberger was added to the COVID list and could not start the game. Mason Rudolph looked as bad as he has every other time he's had a chance to start for the Steelers and drug most of the team down with him in an overtime tie against the winless Lions. Rudolph threw a touchdown on his first drive, but they could not lead the team to a touchdown the rest of the game or a field goal in overtime, even though the Steelers had multiple overtime possessions. Najee Harris and Diontae Johnson didn't kill dynasty teams since they had enough volume to get some fantasy points, but not near the amount their managers expected in a matchup against the winless Lions. The Bengals benefited from a bye week, watching all of the teams in their division get destroyed. They, like dynasty managers near the end of the season, are rooting against the teams they needed to lose this week to advance rise in the standings. This division is up for grabs, just like the entire conference.
- Last week I wrote about three teams that were upset last week, that I had complete confidence would bounce back this week. Two of them bounced back with full authority, and the other (the Rams) play tonight and will likely do the same. The Cowboys bounced back to smash the Falcons, and the Bill destroyed the Jets. Almost all of the start-em-every-week players on these teams rewarded managers with top-level production this week. Dak Prescott and Josh Allen scored 29 and 25 fantasy points, respectively, leading their teams to blowout wins. What's great for their dynasty managers is that their coaching staff let them play into the fourth quarter. CeeDee Lamb and Stefon Diggs bounced back this week to score 25 and 26 points, respectively. It was Lamb's second-best week of the year and Diggs best game of the year. Ezekiel Elliot had a modest day on the ground but saved dynasty managers with two short touchdown runs. Amari Cooper and Dalton Shultz disappointed dynasty managers while Michael Gallup returned to the starting lineup. Unfortunately for Schultz, he's not going to get as many targets with Gallup back. Copper, on the other hand, should have weeks when he scored more than Lamb. As for the Bills, Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley did not contribute much to their team's win or dynasty rosters. I'm not as confident that Dawson Knox's return from injury is why Beasley was less involved in the offense, and I am sure that Sanders will have better games. I think the Bills just knew they could run on the Jets and have their way with them either way. Matt Breida scored two touchdowns, and Isaiah McKenzie had one. Fringe players like these will not vulture touchdowns from the best players on the team.
Leveling The Playing Field
- Last week Tampa Bay sat home on a bye week and watched teams near them at the top of the conference get upset and fall in the conference standings. Dallas, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Los Angeles fell back behind the Buccaneers in the standings. Instead of keeping their lead over these teams, the Buccaneers were the team upset this week by the Football Team in Washington. The Cardinals were also upset this week by the Panthers, who smashed them from the opening whistle. Antonio Gibson has his best game of the year, even against the Buccaneers' stiff run defense, though his fantasy production came mainly on the back of two touchdown runs. Because the Football Team was ahead for most of the game, he played more while J.D. McKissic played less. This development was a surprise to McKissic managers, like me, who expected a negative game script. The rest of the Football Team players had mediocre fantasy days, mainly because Terry McLaurin and Rick Seals-Jones came in and out with injuries. All of the Buccaneers players underperformed this week, which is expected when Tom Brady had his second-worst game of the year. As for the Cardinals, backup quarterback Colt McCoy, who led them to a win last week, could not get the offense moving this week. The Panthers jumped up early, and the Cardinals could never recover, and the Cardinals only managed 189 yards of total offense. Like the Cowboys and Bills proved this week, the Buccaneers and Cardinals will bounce back fine. The Cardinals just need Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins back. Unlike the muddy AFC race to the top seed, the NFC race will be a great fight to the finish.
Most Disappointing Game
- The game I was most eager to watch and had the most DFS stake in ended up being the most disappointing game of the day. I was eager to watch the return of Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson and thought this would be one of the highest-scoring games of the week. Both quarterbacks are very prideful, so I thought they would come out of the gate blazing with Wilson proving something to his team and Rodgers sticking it to the team and the league. I was terribly wrong, and the Packers won a boring game 17-0. It was the first time the Seahawks have been shut out with Wilson as a starter. Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf combined for 49 yards receiving, and Gerald Everett was the most productive pass-catcher on the team with 63 yards. For the rest of this season, I would expect a few dud games like this. Seattle will be an up and down team, and it will be difficult to predict which weeks Wilson, Lockett, and Metcalf will help or hurt dynasty teams. The Packers, I believe, will be much more consistent and have better weeks ahead. Aaron Jones' injury paved the way for the much-awaited full release of A.J. Dillon, who, alongside Devante Adams and Aaron Rodgers, are every-week starters for the rest of the season. Adams' poor year and lack of touchdowns are concerning, but his receptions and targets are consistent. His touchdowns will come in the back half of the season. I am a little concerned that if the defense plays as well as it did Sunday and Dillon runs like a bowling ball through defenses, the Packers may be content to win games with their defense and running game. That said, Aaron Rodgers is not the type of guy to let that happen. The war between him and coach LaFleur may heat up if that happens.
A Big Win And A Big Mess
- Tennessee maintained their lead in the AFC with another big win against the Saints. It was another excellent win for the team, but it was not helpful for any Titan not named Ryan Tannehill. The workload at running back is a mess from a fantasy perspective, though it's working for the Titans. Adrian Peterson appears to be the goal-line back, D'Onta Foreman is used mainly between the twenties, and Jeremy McNichols is the passing downs back. It's good for them, but it's terrible for us. The Titans don't have a reliable tight end target except for MyCole Pruit, who is only used on the goal line and caught another red-zone touchdown on Sunday. A.J. Brown is a fantasy beast, but this week, unfortunately, lost his battle to Marshon Lattimore, who has silenced many WR-1s over the years. Tannehill carried the team to victory this Sunday, doing just enough to help his team and his dynasty managers, but the rest of the team is a mess. A.J. Brown will win dynasty teams games this season and in the playoffs, but he was a dud this week.
- The Saints made another valiant comeback this week but fell short just as they did last week. Unfortunately for Saints fans, the refs made some pretty terrible calls that extended Titans' drives when the game mattered most. From a dynasty perspective, I've been shocked by how well Trevor Siemian has played. After Jameis Winston was injured, I picked up Taysom Hill of the waiver wire, not Siemian. I was wrong to do so. Siemian has proven capable of helping dynasty teams in superflex leagues. He's scored 18 and 22 points in his first two starts of the season. This week he made Tre'Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, and Marquez Callaway look great. He distributed the well and even got Adam Trautman more involved in the game. I mention this to say that I would not be surprised to see the Saints stick with Siemian over Winston next year if he finishes the year well. The Saints are the type of team to be aggressive in the trade market, free agency, and the draft to get a quarterback upgrade, but there's a chance they won't find someone in the offseason and have to choose between Siemian and Winston. Taysom Hill is stuck in his role, so he's not in the mix.
- Two Patriot rookies had the best gams of their young career and carried their team to victories. Mac Jones and Rhamondre Stevenson may not have been in all dynasty starting lineups, but they will be in the future. Jones was very likely in superflex lineups, and Stevenson was likely a last-minute add on Sunday when Damian Harris was ruled out. If they were in active rosters, they carried dynasty teams to wins too. Jones had a modest day in passing yards with 189, but he had three touchdowns and looked even better than his stat line suggests. He was on the money with his targets and spread the ball around pretty evenly to six different targets. Hunter Henry has Jones's eye in the red zone, scoring two more red-zone touchdowns on Sunday. It's only their rookie year, but so far, Jones has been the best of the five quarterbacks drafted in the first round last year. He's everything the Patriots wanted to see when they drafted him. He's Tom Brady like in his command of the offense and makes no-name wide receivers effective. Kendrick Bourne had his best fantasy game of the season with 22 points and has scored over 14 points four times this season. Jakobi Meyers is averaging 8.5 fantasy points per game too. Best of all, for dynasty managers, he has room to grow and will hopefully be surrounded by more talented weapons in the years to come. The other rookie to break out on Sunday was Rhamondre Stevenson. I have to admit that I was far lower on Stevenson than other dynasty analysts in last year's rookie rankings and draft. I did not think his running style fits the NFL, and as a Damian Harris truther, I thought he'd get buried in the depth chart. It took just one Harris injury to call that to question, and now the Patriot backfield has will be divided even more than it usually is. Stevenson had 114 total yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against a pretty good Browns defense. His performance demands that he get more touches, and since he's better in the passing game than Harris, this could be the start of a change in New England. The Patriots have always spilt carries and roles in their backfield, which frustrates dynasty managers and limits the ceiling of their dynasty value. That's still the case, but Stevenson's value is now much closer to Harris's, and dynasty managers can only hope that they will have clarity between them by the end of the season.
Running Back Cream Of The Crop
- Jonathan Taylor (J.T.) has ascended up my running back rankings to number two, just behind Christian McCaffrey (CMC). It was a blast to watch them both this Sunday. I still have CMC ranked ahead of J.T. even though he's three years older because of his involvement in the passing game. On Sunday, CMC returned to his old ways, getting 13 carries and ten receptions for 161 total yards. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry in the game after ripping multiple 10 to 15-yard runs. His day would have been better had he not had three touchdowns vultured after carrying the team to the one-yard line himself. Cam Newton may be a problem for CMC on the goal line, but if he improves the whole offense, it will help CMC. After all, his best career fantasy season was with Cam as his quarterback. It's fun to have him back from I.R. and in starting lineups just in time for a playoff run. J.T. has scored a touchdown in seven consecutive games and is a big play waiting to happen. He's everything I thought he would be after ranking him number one in my rookie rankings two years ago. He's more than I thought because he has proven that he can be involved in the passing game. He's averaging three catches per game, which is just enough to give him a bump to number two in my dynasty rankings ahead of Dalvin Cook, Najee Harris, and Alvin Kamara. JT was a league winner for me last year. I believe he and CMC will be league winners this year.
Wide Receiver Cream Of The Crop
- Justin Jefferson has had a disappointing year so far, as has Stefon Diggs. Last season Diggs finished as the third-highest scoring wide receiver, and Jefferson finished 6th. Headed into this week, Jefferson was ranked 16th, while Diggs was ranked 23rd. The rankings will change this week after Diggs had his best game of the season and Jefferson his second best. Minnesota said this week that they planned to give Jefferson the ball more and that they did. By doing so, they won a road game against a formidable opponent and broke their two-game losing streak. Jefferson was targeted 4 and 5 times in the previous two games they lost. This week, he was targeted 11 times. While he did not get into the end zone, his nine receptions and 143 carried his team and dynasty managers to wins. Diggs had even more targets, 13, and yards, 162, than Jefferson and added an incredible touchdown catch to help the Bills and dynasty managers to victory. Dynasty managers have been waiting for a game-winning performance from Diggs and Jefferson, and they finally got it this week. Jefferson and Diggs are some of the best route-running receivers in the league and can carry their teams and dynasty teams if their offenses make them the focus of the offense. Hopefully, the Vikings and Bills realized that this week and would make plans to keep them the focus of their offenses going forward. If they do, Jefferson and Diggs will lead dynasty teams deep into the playoffs. Jefferson and Diggs are my third and fourth-ranked dynasty receivers, just behind Ja'Maar Chase and Tyreek Hill.
Back On Top
- After a rough couple of weeks, the Chiefs' offense was back to itself Sunday night, and the Chiefs are back on top of the AFC West as usual. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill finally went nuts in the same week, and Mahomes threw five touchdown passes. They still could not get huge plays downfield, but the Hill and Kelce were consistently making 10 to 20 yard plays down the field. On Sunday, the real surprise was how well Darrel Williams played even when Clyde Edwards-Hellaire was expected to return this week. He did not return, leaving the load to Williams, who had his best game of the year, scoring 25 fantasy points. What surprised me was his activity in the passing game. He caught nine passes on nine targets for 101 yards, including an incredible 38-yard touchdown grab where he made the play of an athletic wide receiver. This game by Williams should cause Andy Reid to reconsider who the best running back on his team is, even if Edwards-Hellaire was their first-round draft pick a year ago. The Chiefs have owned the Raiders in recent years, so I want to see them dominate another team before I disregard how poorly they have played this season thus far, but at least for one week, all of the Chiefs' stars exceeded expectations.
Week Ten Waiver Wire
As a reminder, I play in 27 to 30-man roster 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, but if you're in deep dynasty leagues, these are the players I would make bids on this week. I list them in the order that I would prioritize them.
There are a few interesting players on the waiver wire this week, especially the top two.
- If Newton was on the waiver wire in superflex leagues, he was added to rosters the second news broke about his signing with Carolina. It's too late to add him in superflex leagues, but it's not too late in several of my one-quarterback leagues. In leagues where I don't roster a top-tier quarterback and stream my starters from week to week, I'd love to add Netwon to my quarterback room. His rushing touchdowns alone can make him a startable player down the stretch this season. He could sign a new contract with the Panthers and help from a dynasty perspective if he plays well enough.
- Gallman was far more involved in the offense than Mike Davis this week, and Cordarrelle Patterson injured his ankle on Sunday. Gallman may have played more than Davis because the Falcons were getting blown out by the Cowboys, but I think it was more than that. Gallman looked better than Mike Davis has all year and has earned the right to get more touches. He's not a great addition from a dynasty perspective, but I would not be surprised if he's a startable player in deep leagues at the end of the fantasy regular season.
- Carter has scored 12.6 and 13.5 fantasy points the last two games and is becoming a more active part of the offense. He was second in wide receiver snaps and targets the previous two games behind Terry McLaurin. He's found the end zone in each of the last two games, too. I am not sure that will be the case when Logan Thomas and Dyami Brown return from their injuries, but he's a guy worth taking a chance on to wait and see.
- Brieda came out of nowhere and got his first touches since week one, and he made the most of them. He scored twice on a pass and a run. Touchdowns boosted his fantasy day. He only had fifty total yards in the game. I doubt he'll be a reliable fantasy player while Zach Moss and Devin Singletary are healthy, but he's a player I'd consider in super deep leagues. A few years ago, he was one of my favorite players with the 49ers, but he's been pretty irrelevant ever since he left the Shanahan system.
- It's been hit and miss who becomes the WR-2 in Tennessee when Julio Jones is injured, but the possibilities narrowed this week after Josh Reynolds was released. This Sunday, Johnson was the most targeted and most productive wide receiver ahead of A.J. Brown, who Marshon Lattimore blanketed. I don't think he'll be involved in the offense once Jones comes off of I.R., and he doesn't have much dynasty value, but I'd consider picking him up in a deep league if I could free up a spot by moving another player on I.R.
Week Ten 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.
Here are my thoughts on trades that took place in my leagues this week. I hope these trades give you an idea of how other active owners value these players and future picks.
Only two trades were made in my leagues this week.
Mark Ingram <=====> 2022 3rd round pick
- The team that received Ingram in this trade is tied for first place and has Alvin Kamara on his team. He does not have a competent running back to start when Kamara is injured like he was this week, so he approached a team at the bottom of the league to acquire Kamara's handcuff. Last week, I made a similar trade in another league, giving Boston Scott to acquire Ingram as my handcuff to Kamara. Ingram played great in his first game as a starter and led this team and my team to victory. I consider this a pretty even trade, but if I were the rebuilding team, I would have tried to hold Ingram hostage for a little more. I am sure he tried to get a second instead of a third-round pick but had to take what he could get to get an aging player off his roster. The win-now team helped his team next year since Ingram signed a two-year deal with the Saints after being traded. Having that security is well worth a third-round pick.
Darrel Williams <=====> Laviska Shenault
- This trade was an interesting one made between a first place and fifth-place team. The fifth-place team is trying to stay in the playoff hunt and desperately needed a running back, especially for week 10. Injuries and bye weeks forced him to put Adrian Peterson and Jerrick McKinnon in his starting lineup, so he gave up a younger unproductive player to add Williams, even if just for week 10. It paid off for this week as he eeked out a victory by 2 points after Williams's fantastic play Sunday night. This week, the first-place team lost because he did not have Williams in his starting lineup but Javonte Williams instead. Now both of their teams have 6-4 records. That's how this trade played out for this week. From a dynasty perspective, Shenault has far more future upside, but he's yet to break out even in his second season. After Williams' performance Sunday night, I think he's going to cut into the playtime of Clyde Edwards-Hellaire even more than he was before Edwards-Hellaire's injury. Coach Reid may realize that Williams is a better player than their first-round draft pick. Williams's contract expires at the end of the season, so that will be when we can better judge the dynasty impact of this trade. If Williams resigns with Kansas City, I think I like the Williams side of the trade. If he signs with another team to have a backup role, I would prefer to have Shenault and hope for a year-three breakout.
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