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Thu Nov 14th 2019

Week Ten Review

Not Dead Yet

Week ten is in the books and dynasty trade deadlines are approaching.  It was a week full of trades in my leagues as some teams are committing to rebuild while others are stalking up for a playoff push.  Week 10, however, made it a bit more difficult to know who to buy and who to sell as some players who we thought were dead proved otherwise this week.

Top Four Observations

Two descending players show they're not dead yet.

  • O.J. Howard finally scored a touchdown this week.  Granted, it was against the Arizona Cardinals who have let tight ends destroy them all year.  Still, he looked good and had a season-high in targets (7).  His touchdown was a total defensive breakdown, but several of his other targets and receptions were tough contested catches down the seam.  Winston was trusting him a lot.  No one can question Howard's ability, but everyone can question how he will be used in this offense.  This week he showed what he can do, but I don't want to trust him going forward. 
  • Joe Mixon had his best fantasy game of the year too after getting 30 carries against Baltimore even while they were trailing Baltimore the whole game.  Mixon is a top 12 talented running back that is stuck on a team with an awful offensive line, a rookie head coach, and an inept front office. Those are the three factors that are keeping his dynasty value suppressed.  As for the offensive line, they will get better in years to come.  They have several starters lost for the year with injuries, including last year's first-round draft pick, Jonah Williams.  They know their offensive line is a liability which is why they drafted a lineman in the first round last year.  This year they will likely draft a quarterback with their first pick.  Then they should make protecting him their next priority.  We'll see if the young coaches and inept management can do that or not.

Two smart coaches outsmarted themselves.

  • Two good teams lost to far worse teams in their building on Sunday largely because they did not commit to their strong running games.  Indianapolis lost to Miami.  For some reason coach Reich relied on back up quarterback, Brian Hoyer, allowing him to throw 39 times.  He completed a measly  42.6% of those passes.  Coach Reich also let Eric Ebron talk him into being more involved in the game.  The result: 12 targets, several drops including one in the endzone, and 5 catches for 56 yards.  Marlon Mack did get 19 carries, but it was not enough on a day when your back up quarterback was clearly off target.  Reich let the game get away from him, which crushed the fantasy impact of all the Colts players.
  • New Orleans lost to Atlanta in one of the biggest upsets of the year.  Alvin Kamara came back from his injury to play this week, but it seemed like coach Payton was trying to protect him.  Latavius Murray started the game and had 5 carries while Kamara only had 4 carries for the entire game. Meanwhile, Drew Brees threw the ball 45 times.  Coach Payton blew it this week for New Orleans by not running the ball enough.  Michael Thomas and Kamara did enough to help fantasy teams in PPR leagues, but their offensive imbalance allowed Atlanta to dampen the fantasy impact of all other Saints players.

Cleveland's four stars contribute but eat into each other's work.

  • It was the first week back for Kareem Hunt in Cleveland and Nick Chubb owners wanted to see how his involvement would impact him.  It turned out, in this first week playing together at least, that both running backs had good but not great fantasy games much like the Cleveland wide receivers, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, have all year.  Chubb played 81% of the snaps while Hunt played 54%, and they were on the field together at the same time for 28% of the snaps.  Hunt outscored Chubb in PPR leagues since he had 7 catches.  He was used as a slot receiver even.  Chubb had 20 carries for the fourth week in a row, so not much changed for him in that department.  He had more than 100 yards rushing, just like he has 2 of the last 3 weeks.  Landry is the #22 wide receiver in half-PPR leagues, while Beckham is #28, but only 6 points separate them.  They each get about the same amount of targets week to week.  Neither appears able to be a top-12 wide receiver week to week, but they are safe top 24 players every week.

Two defenses are on the rise due to savvy trades they made.

  • I know scoring varies drastically from league to league when it comes to defenses and special teams, if you even play with them at all, but there are two defenses that have great schedules to end the season and are going to make an impact in the fantasy playoffs this year and on our dynasty rosters for years to come.  Pittsburg and Baltimore were the #1 and #2 defenses last week in fantasy points and it's largely due to the play of the defensive backs each team traded for.  Pittsburg traded for Minkah Fitzpatrick who already leads the team in interceptions and has changed the way the team can play defense.  They trust their defensive backs and thus been blitzing quarterbacks like crazy.  It's resulted in sacks, fumbles, and interceptions.  Baltimore traded for Marcus Peters who has had two pick-sixes already and helped the Baltimore defense hand the Patriots their first loss.  Justin Smith, their other cornerback, is back from his injury and the two of them are shutting down opposing wide receivers.  These two defenses are going to help teams when fantasy titles this year.

Week Ten Injury Impact

There were just a few injuries that impact the short-term value and dynasty value of players this week.

Sequon Barkley

  • Barkley had just 1 yard rushing on 13 carries on Sunday.  If not for a long pass play against Dallas two weeks ago this would have been his second dud game in a row.  His ankle injury is possibly going to cause him to miss some weeks or at the very least become a nagging injury that becomes a problem for the rest of the year.  There is not much that can significantly impact Barkely's dynasty value other than perhaps getting passed in the rankings by a few other players who are moving up the ranking this year like Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook.  In the short-term, this should not affect the value of other players on the Giants.  It may mean more passing for Daniel Jones but that's just for the rest of this season.

Devanta Freeman

  • Freeman is going to miss at least two weeks but likely more after his foot injury.  This, I believe, does have some dynasty impact.  I was already much lower on Freeman than most analysts.  I sold him two years ago in both leagues where I owned him.  I just felt like he had hit his peak value a few years ago and was too injury-prone to continue as a top 10-15 running back like he was being ranked 2-3 years ago.  It's not the right time to sell him now after this news, but if he does play again this season and has one good game, try to flip him quick.  It's the beginning of the end for Freeman (or it was a few years ago).  Brian Hill will get the chance to prove something in the short term (more on him below).  This rookie draft season I was a lot higher on Qadree Ollison than most analysts so I drafted him in several leagues.  I've been frustrated and surprised that he has not been allowed to play.  I assume he finally will in the coming weeks.  I have not dropped him so I look forward to seeing what he can do.  Atlanta would be wise to look at him because if he does not have what it takes, they may need to think about drafting a running back in the NFL draft next year.  There will be plenty of great ones to choose from.

Austin Hooper

  • This one is sad since he was on pace to be the surprise #1 overall tight end this year.  Hooper hurt his knee and is expected to miss 4 weeks, but if Atlanta has nothing to play for at that time, they may just sit him for the rest of the year.  Hooper's absence from our dynasty line-ups is going to hurt in the playoffs.  Teams with Hooper are most likely in the playoff hunt because he's been so good this year.  This injury does not impact his dynasty value but some owners in your league may think so.  If you could offer another tight end to the Hooper owner in your league to help them on their playoff run and get Hooper back in return, I'd do that.  In the short-term, this certainly means more targets for Julio, Ridley, Gage, and Hill.  The Freeman injury likely means more passing in Atlanta so everyone should get more targets, everyone except Atlanta's back-up tight ends.

Ty Johnson

  • Ty Johnson had every opportunity to increase his dynasty value after the Kerryon Johnson injury, but he's been injured twice already himself and outplayed by J.D. Mikissic.  His dynasty value has to drop as a result of this.  McKissic has looked decent but not great.  In the short-term, he is valuable as a flex play the rest of the year (more so in PPR leagues), but I won't raise his dynasty value because of Johnson's injury.

Week Ten Waiver Moves

As a reminder, I play in dynasty leagues that roster 27-30 players so the player-pool is very thin, especially this week.

1. Brian Hill

  • Hill was only available in a few of my leagues.  Savvy owners picked him up last weekend.  Last weekend when the news came out that Ito Smith was being put on IR, I went to the waiver wire and picked him up in one league and decided not to in the other league.  Now I regret that I did not do it in both leagues.  He could be the best waiver pick up the year for this year at least.  I don't believe Hill has the frame and the skills to win the Atlanta position outright for years to come so this is less of a dynasty move and more of a win-now move for this year.  It's always good to carry back-ups even in dynasty leagues, but Atlanta seemed to favor Ito Smith as Freeman's back up all year.  Maybe Hill can play good enough to become the #2 behind the oft-injured Freeman next year.

2. Tyler Eifert

  • C.J. Uzomah is getting more playing time than Eifert but he has been more involved in the passing game.  He had a nice red-zone touchdown catch last week from their rookie quarterback, Ryan Finley.  He's been a red-zone monster before so I believe he could do it again.  The Bengal's offense, however, may not be in the red zone as much as we'd like.  I made two waiver bids for him but someone else with a higher priority beat me to it and someone with a larger FAAB offer beat me to it.

3. Kendrick Bourne

  • Bourne had almost twice as many snaps as Donte Pettis on Monday night after Emmanuel Sanders left the game. He had four catches and a touchdown after one catch for a touchdown last week.  As much as I love Donte Pettis, he is being passed by this undrafted free agent from Eastern Washington.  I picked him up in one deep league to see how this competition with Pettis plays out.  Either way, both of these guys are the 4th target on their team behind Kittle, Sanders, and Samuel.

Week Ten Trades

The trade deadline was this week in several of my leagues so a lot of very interesting trades were made this week.

Josh Gordon <======> Curtis Samuel

  • This trade was in my FFPC league between two middle of the pack teams.  It's a fair player for player trade, though I like the Curtis Samuel side bit more.  Samuel is my #48 ranked wide receiver while Gordon is ranked #54, so they're close.  Samuel's age makes a difference, 23 compared to 28.  Gordon's history of off-field problems also makes a difference.  Beauty is the eye of the beholder though, so I could see why someone might like Gordon more than Samuel.

Kenny Stills and a 2020 7th round pick <======> 2020 3rd round pick

  • This was another trade in my FFPC league made by the same team that acquired Curtis Samuel in the previous trade.  Apparently, he thought Stills was no longer needed after Samuel joined his team so he traded Kenny Stills away for 3rd round pick.  FFPC leagues are much thinner rosters.  You have to cut down to 16 players including a kicker and defense before the 7-round rookie draft.  If I had Stills on my roster, I do not believe he'd make the final cut of 14 positional players.  I think it was a great move to sell him for a 3rd round pick when he only had to throw in a 7th round pick in return.  In an FFPC league, I like the 2020 3rd round pick side of this trade.

Phillip Lindsay and Darren Waller <======> Lamar Jackson and O.J. Howard

  • This one requires a little context.  This is a one-quarterback league and the Lamar Jackson owner also has Patrick Mahomes.  I know other owners have been making offers for Lamar Jackson all year, including myself.  His team is very thin at running back and he only had O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate at tight end.  He's still in contention for the playoffs so he wanted to give it one last push, I suppose.  Lindsay and Waller will be every week starters on his team going forward.  The team that acquired Jackson and Howard is out of contention so this was a move on his part just to get Jackson for the future and it could be a very long and successful future if he manages to stay healthy.  He bought Jackson at his high-point and Howard at his low-point.  All in all, I like the Lindsay and Waller side of this trade, but only because the team that lost Jackson has Mahomes.  Otherwise, I would have needed a lot more than Waller and Lindsay to move Jackson.  He's been getting trade offers all year, so I guess this was the best one he received.

Josh Jacobs and a 2020 1st round pick <======> Ezekiel Elliot and Adrian Peterson

  • The team that acquired Jacobs and the 2020 1st round pick is near the bottom of the league and was looking to get a little younger by getting the rookie, Jacobs, and a future rookie in the 1st round.  The team that traded for Zeke and Peterson in 5-5 but currently has the last seed in the playoffs so they wanted two starters who are playing well this year compared to one.  Jacobs has been rising up my running back rankings.  He's moved up to #7 while Zeke is holding onto the #3 position.  So that part of the trade is close enough, but I would much rather have a 2020 1st round pick than Adrian Peterson so that tilts the scales in favor of the new Jacobs owner in my opinion.  I see why they each made the trade given the state of their teams this year, but Darrius Guice may begin to eat into Peterson's playtime before the season ends and then the whole idea of getting two producing players for one might not work out at all. 

D.J. Moore and a 2020 2nd round pick <======> David Johnson and a 2020 3rd round pick

  • We have a D.J. for D.J. trade here.  This one is very close.  David Johnson had perhaps the worst showing of his career last week so this was the time to buy him low.  D.J had the best game of his season so this was the time to sell him high.  The 2nd-round pick and the 3rd-round pick are currently just 3 picks from each other, so the picks are about even too.  Given that fact, I favor the David Johnson side of this trade.  I wish I could have three more weeks to decide though.  It's still just too hard for me to believe that David Johnson just fell off a cliff and guys like Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmunds can outplay him in Arizona, but if he is healthy and outplayed by Drake again in the next three weeks I will change my tune on this one.  I like D.J. Moore a lot, but there is enough sample size now to question whether he can ever score a lot of touchdowns.  That said, he is the 19th ranked wide receiver in this league so far while only scoring one touchdown this season.

Mark Andrews <======> Antonio Brown

  • This was the craziest trade of the week.  I sold all of my Antonio Brown shares last offseason when he started acting crazy.  I won all of those trades.  The same owner who bought Brown from me in two leagues made this trade.  He sees something that I don't.  I would much rather have Mark Andrews.  He does have Austin Hooper on his team so perhaps he was more willing to trade away Andrews, but he should have received a lot more than Antonio Brown in return.

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