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Thu Nov 7th 2019

Week Nine Review

Quarterback Carousel

Week nine is in the books.  It was a really surprising week because many things did not happen as expected.  Reliable players let us down and surprise players stepped up to help fantasy teams.  The ups and downs this week may be in part to the carousel we have at the quarterback position among other things.

Top Five Observations

The quarterback carousel is turning fast.

  • Gardner Minshew missed his last chance to keep the quarterback job in Jacksonville by having his worst game of the year in London against Houston.  Nick Foles has been named the starter for week #11 after Jacksonville's bye week.  Andy Dalton was also demoted as the starter in Cincinnati as the winless Bengals decided to see what they have in rookie Ryan Finley who looked great in the preseason.  Cam Newton was finally placed on IR and lost for the season, meaning Kyle Allen will continue as the starter and not have Cam leaning over his shoulder anymore.  Dwyane Haskins started last week and did not look as awful as he did in all of his spot-starts this year, but he was given a very safe and conservative gameplan that did not require him to do much.  He's been named the starter going forward so Washington can see what they have in him before having to decide on drafting another quarterback early next year, much like Cincinnati with Finley.  Brandon Allen got his first NFL start in Denver, after the Flacco "injury," and won the game while only completing 12 passes.  The quarterback carousel has been and/or will be hindering the production of all fantasy-relevant players on these teams with a few exceptions in Christian McCaffrey who cannot be stopped and the chance that Foles may still be better than Minshew.  Pass catchers in Washington, including McLaurin, will die but their running game could improve as they protect Haskins from himself.  The entire Cincinnati offense should be downgraded even though it is hard to believe Mixon could play any worse.  Denver players should expect downgrades all around as well.

Two presumed run-heavy teams are winning through the air.

  • Seattle and Detroit were presumed to be among the most run-heavy teams headed into the 2019 season.  Early in the season, this proved to be true, but last week things seemed to change.  It could be for one week, but I believe this is a sign of things to come.  Seattle passed 54% of the time on average this season, but last week passed 68% of the time.  Similarly, Detroit passed 60% of the time on average this season, but last week passed 68% of the time.  Seattle's rookie wide receiver, D.K. Metcalf, is developing well and more involved in the offense and Russell Wilson is simply too good to keep passing percentages so low.  They did play Tampa Bay who is much stronger in their run defense so this could have been gameplan dependent, but I think the addition of Josh Gordon off waivers indicates that they are planning to pass the ball more as we near the end of the regular season.  As for Detroit, their change of plans is largely due to the injury to Kerryon Johnson and the far less talented back-ups in Detroit.  That said, Kenny Golladay is playing incredibly well as is the much older Marvin Jones.  Plus, Matt Stafford is looking better than ever.  Detroit can't ignore the impact of their passing game and the imbalance of talent of the passing side on the ball.  They should see their passing percentage increase significantly as they push for a wildcard spot.

There is a changing of the guard in some backfields.

  • The great play and percentage of involvement seem to indicate that Devin Singletary, Damien Williams, and Ronald Jones may have a firmer grip on their backfields.    Singletary had two-thirds of the snaps for the second week in a row and scored 12 points compared to Gore's 2 points.  Williams had 72% of the snaps last week and scored 23 points compared to McCoy's 1 point.  Jones had 53% of the snaps and scored 15 points compared to Barber's 2 points.  It appears that Buffalo is giving their rookie, Singletary, the lead work, that Ried has moved back to his offseason pronouncement that Williams is an every-down back, and coach Arians has already stated this week that Jones has earned the lead role in Tampa Bay.  Upon this news, I'd be trying to buy Singletary, who I believe in while trying to sell Williams who I no longer believe in and Jones who I never believed in.

Were we too quick to move Chris Godwin ahead of Mike Evans?

  • Godwin still remains the #3 wide receiver in fantasy points (1/2 PPR) while Evans has moved up to the #1 spot.  It's so hard to know who to rank higher in dynasty because they both excel at such different things.  Godwin is the reliable slot and underneath guy with an incredible catch-rate and run-after-catch ability.  Evans is the ridiculous air-yards king that can outjump defenders and rack up yards through the air.  The Tampa Bay offense under Arians and the erratic play of Jameis Winston are supporting two of the top three fantasy wide receivers.  Incredible!  Dynasty owners are happy to have either Godwin or Evans, but which one would you trade for the other?

NFL teams get humbled just like our fantasy teams do.

  • Don't you hate when your dynasty team loses a week to a team that it had no business losing to?  It happens in fantasy and it happens in the NFL.  Sometimes it's these NFL upsets that result in our fantasy upsets. This week great teams like the Patriots and Packers got humiliated in defeat.  Except for a few Patriots like Tom Brady and James White, the Packers and Patriot players killed our fantasy teams.  While the Jets and Bears are not great teams, their players were expected to exploit bad match-ups against the Dolphins and Eagles.  They didn't, and our fantasy teams felt the brunt of it.  Sometimes the NFL upsets lead to dynasty upsets and very upset owners.  I've been there.  We all have.

Week Nine Injury Impact

There were a few key injuries this year that could impact the redraft and dynasty value of some players. 

Jacoby Brissett

  • Brissett strained his MCL early in the game on Sunday, but reports are that it's a minor injury and he may even play this week.  This has very little dynasty ramifications for Brissett or his teammates but could impact all Colts players in the short-term if he misses a few weeks.  Hoyer is a capable back-up and led Colts players to fantasy points last week.  He could do it again in the coming weeks, but just not as well as Brissett.

Adam Thielen

  • Thielen tried to return from his hamstring injury in week 8 but immediately reinjured it in week 9.  He really needs to take a few weeks off before trying to return.  Thielen is 29 years old so soft tissue injuries should begin to cause his dynasty value to drop a bit.  His absence is giving rookie Olabisi Johnson a chance to prove something and so far he has.  Thielen has not impacted the dynasty or short-term value of Kirk Cousin, Dalvin Cook, or Stefon Diggs (even though he had an awful week last week). 

DeSean Jackson

  • Like Thielen, Jackson reinjured his abdomen early in the game.  Unlike Thielen, he has now been put on IR and is lost for the year.  This has to plummet his dynasty value.  He scored 34 points in his first game back in Philadelphia and seemed he was poised for a complete resurgence into fantasy stardom but he's scored one point since then on the one catch he had on Sunday.  He's 32 years old and has lost almost all of his dynasty value.  This injury negatively affects Carson Wentz the most this year, but not long-term.

Preston Williams

  • Williams had his breakout game and then gets hurt at the very end.  I love Williams so this made me extremely sad.  I hope it creates some opportunities to buy him from other teams.  He should recover well and be prepared to start next year.  The new coaching staff in Miami believes in him and gave him every opportunity to succeed.  Next year he should have a new franchise quarterback too.  This injury will cause his dynasty value to dip.  I would not try to buy him now but wait until the end of the season or offseason to make some offers for Williams.  You won't regret it if you can get him cheap.  I'd offer as much as a 2020 second-round pick for him, but I bet you can get him much cheaper.

Week Nine Waiver Moves

As a reminder, I play in dynasty leagues that roster 27-30 players so the player-pool is very thin.  I only made offers on the first three players listed here, but considered offers on the others and did see them picked up in most of my leagues.

1. Chester Rogers

  • Rogers is not a great addition for dynasty purposes but could help this week while T.Y. Hilton is injured and six teams have bye weeks.  I picked him up in a few leagues and have to start him in one.  Two of the three leagues where I picked him up I also have Hilton, so that's why he was a priority for me.  He had the second-highest snap count last week (65% to Zach Pascal's 94%) and he caught a touchdown from the second-string quarterback, Brian Hoyer.  Jacoby Brissett may be able to play this week so I like Roger's chance this week against the hapless Miami Dolphins.  It's a short-term move but can help some of my teams and your teams for a few weeks.

2. Olabisi Johnson

  • This is a bit more of a dynasty move.  Johnson is a rookie so he could have time to grow into a more permanent role given the age of Adam Thielen, especially if his current injuries become a continual problem in the next season or two.  "Bisi," as he's called, has not had a lot of targets (12) over the last three weeks that Thielen has been injured but he has two touchdowns on his 7 catches.  He's earned a role on the team, playing 71%-83% of the snaps over the last three weeks.  I picked him up in a few leagues this week.  I will drop Chester Rogers once T.Y. Hilton comes back from injury, but I will keep Olabisis on my rosters to see how he develops.

3. Allen Hurns

  • Hurns appears to be the #2 starting wide receiver in Miami since Preston Williams tore his ACL last week in his best game of the year.  Ryan Fitzpatrick has managed to keep DeVante Parker and Preston Williams relevant as fantasy receivers this year.  I would not be surprised if he could do the same with Hurns.  I put some bid in on Hurns to help during these last few weeks with teams on bye but was unable to pick him up.  Williams, Parker, and rookies will be the future in Miami after they draft their new franchise quarterback so Hurns is only a temporary help for dynasty teams.

4. Jacob Hollister

  • Russell Wilson can make anyone look like a star.  Hollister scored two touchdowns last Sunday in the shootout with Tampa Bay.  I did not make any offers on him this week just because I believe in the long-term value of Will Dissly in Seattle and believe he will easily be the starter in Seattle next year no matter how well Hollister finishes this year.  He only had 37 of Wilson's 378 yards passing last week.  Touchdowns are the least predictable part of tight end play.  I don't think he will score two touchdowns in a game again this year.

5. Myles Gaskin

  • Gaskin has not played a down this year, but he may be forced into action after Kenyan Drake was traded and Mark Walton was suspended.  Kalen Ballage will get the first crack in Miami, but they have already seen enough of him to start Mark Walton ahead of him.  Miami would be wise to see what they have in their rookie, Gaskin.  I did not make any claims for him though I was higher on him than most analysts in last year's rookie drafts.  He's smaller framed by had 1200+ yards on the ground all four years that he played at the University of Washington.  That's impressive.  I am surprised he's not had a chance to play this year so far.

Week Nine Trades

There were only two trades in my leagues this week, but one was a blockbuster deal.  The other was a small deal to help a contender in week ten.

Alvin Kamara and KeeSean Johnson <======> Deebo Samuel and two 2020 1st round picks

  • This was a trade I made in a league where I am a top contender but need a little more punch to compete with 2 to 3 of the other top contenders and hopefully hold on to my first-round bye week the while some of my players are nursing injuries (T.Y. Hilton and Adam Theilen).  I picked up Kamara to pair him with Chubb in my backfield for years to come.  I did give up a lot to get Kamara.  I love the 2020 draft class and will be sad not to have these two first-round picks, but Kamara was worth it to me.  He's young and playing behind a top 5 offensive line with a proven innovative coach in Sean Peyton.  He's already proven himself to be a top 4-5 dynasty running back.  I was willing to take the player I have seen do it in the NFL over the two first-round picks who have only done it in college.  The team that made the trade with me is in rebuild mode and wanted young assets in the picks, especially since he had already traded his 2020 first-round pick.  Deebo Samuel was my first-round pick last year in this league, so in essence, I gave up three first-round picks.  I was able to talk him into throwing KeeSean Johnson in the deal.  I like the chances of KeeSean being the #2 wide receiver in Arizona next year after (hopefully) Larry Fitzgerald retires.  I really like the trade now and hope it carries me to a championship this year and sets me up for years to come with Chubb and Kamara.  That said, I will be sad while I sit and watch players go off the board next year during the rookie draft.

 Jason Witten <======> Mitch Trubisky

  • The new Witten owner overpaid on this trade, but he was hurting at tight end this week with no one to play but Hayden Hurst due to injuries to Delanie Walker and T.J. Hockenson.  It is a one-quarterback league.  He has Baker Mayfield and Tom Brady at quarterback and likely buys into the rumors that Trubisky may soon be benched in favor of Chase Daniel after playing so poorly the last few weeks.  He's a contender and needed to buy a productive tight end for this week.  The new Trubisky owner is a struggling team that has an awful quarterback situation with Andy Dalton as his starter after the Cam Newton injury this year.  Dalton just got benched so he had to scramble.  Both teams are scrambling, but one got the much younger prospect whose draft-capital is so high that he's going to be given more chances to prove himself even if that's not in Chicago.  I like the Trubisky side of this trade.

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