Thu Oct 17th 2019
Week Six Review
Back to normal scoring this week
After a week five fantasy explosion, we returned to more normal scoring in week six. Here are some of my overall impressions after watching all of the games along with comments on the dynasty and NFL transactions that were made this week.
Top Five Observations
Los Angeles teams are killing player values.
- Last week was an embarrassing week for the Chargers and Rams and I'm afraid it is going to be a trend. Both teams have lost offensive linemen which have left their running game anemic and their quarterbacks under pressure. Rivers has no mobility so he's letting passes rip before players make the break on their routes. He was savvy enough to make it work in garbage time last week when Hunter Henry bailed him out, but this is not likely to continue. Ekeler's has cooled down after his ridiculously hot start now that the line is banged up and Melvin Gordon returned. Keenan Allen, one of my most owned players, has felt the brunt of it. He will still have some good games ahead, but only when they are playing poor defensive lines. This week against a stout Tennesse defense should be a rough one for all Chargers. The same can be said for the Rams who made a trade this week to try to get some offensive line help. The ever-reliable fantasy producers, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, have been anything but reliable. Kupp has been the only consistent producer, ranked #2 overall this year because he gets the slot passes when Goff has to get rid of the ball quick. Gurley's injury has made the backfield an inconsistent mess too. Coach McVay seems to have lost his magic touch in play calling. There is room to improve, but we've not seen it so far. They do play Atlanta's awful defense this week, so if they can't score fantasy points this week it may be time to give up on these guys this year.
There is hope for some disappointing wide receivers.
- Two players that I've had consistently ranked higher than most analysts are Robby Anderson and Donte Pettis. As a result, I have them on many of my teams. Pettis started the year in the doghouse with coach Shanahan but has slowly earned back his trust. He was the most targeted wide receiver this week and played the highest number of snaps. He appears to have regained Shanahan's trust and should begin to play like the Pettis I loved on film. Robby Anderson started the year poorly because Sam Darnold was not playing due to his bout with Mono. Sam comes back last week and Anderson does what he does. He runs by everyone and catches long touchdown passes - 92 yards on this one. Crowder will be targeted more than Anderson and has the higher floor, but Anderson will catch the deep balls and touchdowns and have a higher ceiling week to week. These two are on the rise. Buy them while you can. It could be your last window.
The 2015 quarterback class is trouble.
- Ten quarterbacks were drafted in 2015 and four years later only one has a starting job. Mariota, the #2 pick in the 2015 draft, was finally benched last week and the coaches made it a permanent decision this week. Ryan Tannehill is the new starting quarterback in Tennessee and I believe he will play better than Mariota. I'm excited to see what this does for the value of Corey Davis (who I have lost hope in), A.J. Brown (my #1 ranked rookie wide receiver who I still believe in), and Adam Humphries (who Tannehill had eyes for when he came in last week). It's going to be a run-first offense in Tennessee, but Tannehill should make these wide receivers more relevant. Jameis Winston is the last standing starting quarterback from the 2015 class, likely just because there is not a competent back-up in Tampa Bay. Winston has managed to be a good fantasy quarterback most of the time because of sheer volume and depth of passes, and it helps to have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but he's a pathetic NFL quarterback who causes his real team to lose more often than not. I'd expect much of the same the rest of the year. He'll help our fantasy teams, as will his targets, but he will hurt his NFL team.
Several defenses are solidifying themselves as difference makers.
- Four defenses are becoming complete difference makes for our fantasy teams. The Patriots are singlehandedly winning games for people, scoring an average of 27.8 points per game (depending on league settings). They have the same number of interceptions (14) as the most points allowed this season (14) to go with their 5 TDs and 25 sacks. The surprising San Franciso 49ers are the next best defense scoring 19.8 points per game. No one saw this coming even though they made some offseason moves to better their defense. Third-year defensive coordinator, Robert Selah, has been the talk of the town because of how this defense is playing. They have held the last three teams they played to under 250 total yards of offense, including limiting the LA Rams to 157 yards last week. Carolina and Chicago are holding their own too, scoring 17 and 15.8 points per game, respectively. Teams are very happy to have these difference-making defenses on their rosters. They're making owners who play against them tilt!
We can make sense of shared backfields.
- There are a few shared backfields that are coming into focus. Denver is about a 50/50 split between Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, but their roles are becoming more clear and not in the way you'd suspect based on their size. Freeman has become the best pass-catcher and pass-protector while Lindsay has become a between the tackles and goal-line back. Royce has yet to score a touchdown and has 21 receptions. Lindsay has 4 touchdowns and 18 more carries than Freeman. In Philadelphia, Jordan Howard is the 1st and 2nd down back (63% of the snaps) and gets all of the goal-line touches (4 TDs) while Miles Sanders has become the passing downs back (29% of the snaps). Sanders even has the most air-yards of any running back in the NFL this year so they are targeting him downfield. He finally scored on a long downfield pass last week. In Houston, Carlos Hyde is the 1st and 2nd downs back (61% of the snaps) and the goal line back (3 TDs). Duke Johnson is the 3rd down back (37% of the snaps) who scored his only touchdown on a reception last week. These backfields are starting to become very predictable, making start/sit questions easier to answer based on their roles and the strengths of the defenses they're facing.
Week Six Injury Impact
It was a light week as far as injuries go, but there were a few significant ones.
- Dissly ruptured his Achilles on Sunday, ending his year early for the second year in a row after starting each of the last two years with a bang. He was starting to establish himself as a top 12 tight end too, so this was devastating to his dynasty value. Achilles injuries are among the most difficult to come back from, but worse yet are patellar tendon tears which he suffered last year and came back just fine. I'd add him to the IR spot on my rosters and likely hold him until next year. He's worth holding onto unless perhaps you already have a top 10 tight end on your team. I doubt Luke Willson will make much of his new opportunity to play in Dissly's place. Russell Wilson's immediate value this year does not take a dip at all since he'll just get more guys involved like he did Sunday with Jaron Brown.
- Cooper bruised his quad very early in the game on Sunday and it appears he will miss several weeks with this injury. I believe this will hurt the Dallas passing game quite a bit in the short term and force them to focus on getting Zeke more touches on the ground and in the air. In the long term, it gives Dak more time to improve his connection with Michael Gallup, which was already stronger than anticipated this year. Gallup's short and long term value will rise in these coming weeks.
- Another tight end goes down in Jacksonville the week after James O'Shaughnessy did. Swaim had a pretty brutal looking concussion in the game. Last week I recommended targeting Josh Oliver off the waiver wire instead of Geoff Swaim. You may have missed your window because everyone will be looking for him this week. Swaim's absence should not affect the value of any of the Jacksonville players.
- Josh Gordon hurt his knee near the end of the game, but he has more than the normal amount of time to recover since the game was played on Thursday and the Patriots don't play until Monday night. As of the time of thisarticle, he has not practiced so he could miss a week or two. If he's out for a few weeks Jakobi Meyers will get another chance to prove himself and earn a future role on the team. That said, N'Keal Harry is back at practice so Meyer's window is closing. Edelman and Brady are unaffected by Gordon's injury.
Week Six Waiver Moves
As a reminder, I play in dynasty leagues that roster 27-30 players. It was an awful week on the waiver wire. That said, here is a list of the 5 players I made claims for this week.
1. Darren Fells
- It appears that, after many years, Houston has found a fantasy-relevant tight end, or perhaps two since Jordan Akins also is playing well. While they have about the same amount of fantasy points (41 to 38), touchdowns (3 to 2), yards (159 to 196), and targets (20 to 18), the are pretty different in two important ways, which is why I have Fells as my #1 waiver wire pick this week and Akins #3. The differences are in size and snap counts. Fells is enormous. He's 6' 7" and 270 pounds and was a professional basketball player before making the switch to football. As for snap counts, with the exception week one Fells has had significantly more snaps than Akins. He was all the way up to 87% of the snaps last week. He's just going to be on the field more. Thus, more opportunities. I picked him up for $15 in one of my leagues (the one that lost Dissly) but missed out on him in my leagues without FAAB. I did not make offers for him in leagues where I was already set at tight end.
2. Ricky Seals Jones (RSJ)
- RSJ has scored in two of the last few weeks and this week he out-snapped Demetrius Harris for the first time and by a lot (68% to 28%). It was his highest targeted game too (6). He seems to be a legitimate part of this offense, playing more of a wide receiver role, playing wideout and in the slot more than inline. It's still not the best dynasty move given that Njoku is still likely the tight end of the future there, but he's worth an add to see what happens this year while Njoku is injured. I picked him up for $9 in one of my tight end premium leagues, but left him alone in my other leagues.
3. Jordan Akins
- See the comments above regarding Darren Fells. I have Akins as my #3 waiver priority this week, but put my money on Fells. Akins is 6 years younger than Fells. That's about the only thing he has in his advantage.
4. Josh Oliver
- I add Josh Oliver here because Fells, RSJ, and Akin were picked up in a lot of leagues last week. Oliver likely was not, even though I recommended it. He's still on the injury report for this week but Jacksonville really needs him to play. I think he will. It's always a risk picking up a guy that we've never seen play an NFL snap. Just look at it like picking up a rookie which, of course, he is. I did not make any waiver claims on him, but I am going to look through my teams and consider it this weekend before kickoff.
5. Denver and the New York Jets DST
- I noticed that several of my defenses (I usually roster just two) were not scoring as much as Denver and the NY Jets had been, so I did make a few waiver bids on them and picked them up in leagues. Denver has great players and a great defensive head coach in Fangio, but they played awful to start the season. I dropped them in one league, but picked them up again this week as they seem to have turned it around. As for the Jets, Gregg Williams always knows how to dial up the pressure and create sacks and turnovers. Now that Sam Darnold is back playing quarterback, the defense will not be on the field as much. Nor will they be playing from short fields after turnovers like was so common to start the year. I picked up the Jets in one league this week too.
Week Six Trades
There were only two trades in my leagues, though I was offered many trades and I offered many trades. Here are some thoughts on the two trades that did happen this week, and the craziest offer I received this week but ultimately rejected.
Damien Williams <======> Chris Herndon
- I traded Damien Williams for Chris Herndon. It's certainly a bit of a risk, but tight end is my only position of need on this loaded team. I have Nick Chubb and Kerryon Johnson as my lead backs and Keenan Allen, T.Y. Hilton, Adam Theilen, and Robert Woods as my receivers. Will Dissly was my starting tight end, but I lost him to injury this week. Herndon is my 14th ranked tight end, even though it has been a long time since we've seen him play. Williams had fallen to being ranked as my #26 running back. Herndon is the better dynasty asset given he's only in his second year. Whereas Williams is part of a committee and will likely be replaced by the start of next year. The team I traded with has LeSean McCoy, so I thought he may like to own both running backs in Kansas City. He had Mark Andrews at tight end so he had no needs there. I am hoping that Sam Darnold and Chris Herndon will get back to the chemistry they had at the end of last season and into the preseason this year. He's off suspension and was activated this week after his hamstring injury. This is the week we'll see if I'm right about Herndon.
John Brown <======> James Washington
- This was between two teams in my FFPC league. The guy on the James Washington side of the deal is having a bad season and I guess has faith that Washington will become a solid starting wide receiver in years to come because he has not proved it this year. John Brown is 29 years old, but he's been very productive in his first year in Buffalo. It was a win-now move for the team that got Brown. I think it was much more than that though. I think its a better future-win trade too. I have John Brown ranked #39 in my dynasty rankings while James Washington is ranked #68.
Christian McCaffrey and Kelvin Harmon <======> DeAndre Hopkins, Mark Ingram, Emmanuel Sanders, Adrian Peterson, and Duke Williams
- I rejected this trade but wanted to list it to show how high Christian McCaffrey is being valued. This was an offer in my very unique "expert league." It's a super-flex, PPR, tight end premium league without kickers or defenses. You can start two quarterbacks and everyone else is a flex. You have to start at least one running back and two wide receivers, but every other position is a flex. Christian McCaffrey is the leading scorer in this league, even above all of the quarterbacks. Thus, this aggressive trade. From a dynasty standpoint, it feels like the trade is really McCaffrey for Hopkins and Ingram. Hopkins is my #1 ranked wide receiver even though he's having a rough start to this year. McCaffrey is my #2 ranked running back just behind Saquon Barkley. I considered this trade because how I value Hopkins and because my wide receivers are weak in this league, even though I only have to start two of them each week since my running backs are strong. Plus, Ingram and Sanders could help me this year while my team is competitive. Ultimately, I realized McCaffrey has been carrying my team, so I wanted to ride it out with him. It was a very fair offer though.
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