Well, it’s the first Tuesday in November and the fantasy football
season is now hitting that critical stretch where teams either rise
to make the playoffs or crash and burn between now and Thanksgiving.
Seventy-five percent of NFL teams have their bye weeks behind them,
so teams should return to full strength soon. In the meantime, Week
9 was a week to remember - let’s review it, shall we?
Sensational Sophomore Signal-Callers
Is there anything more shocking than the transformation of Jared Goff? On Sunday, Goff and fellow sophomore Carson Wentz threw
4 touchdowns apiece and led their teams to identical 51-point
performances. The two QBs will always be lumped together much
like Eli Manning and Philip Rivers are, but coming into this season,
no one viewed Goff as a legitimate NFL QB and no one thought of
Wentz as the favorite to win the NFL’s MVP award. Yet, here
they are making history together and providing teams with fantasy
production not foreseen. For Wentz, the fantasy future looks better
than ever heading into his bye with Jay Ajayi’s solid debut
on Sunday (49 yard TD run) and Alshon Jeffery’s continued
emergence (3 TDs in his past two games). Goff, meanwhile, is making
Robert Woods (2 TDs on Sunday) fantasy relevant as he continues
to complement the running of Todd Gurley with timely shots down
the field. Next up for Goff? How about the Texans pass defense
which has been shredded the past two weeks. Oh, and Week 14 (fantasy
playoffs for most) features Wentz vs. Goff head-to-head. Circle
your calendars for that one. Sunday’s symmetry between these
two rising stars was uncanny to say the least.
Trying Times In Tampa
It doesn’t matter which Buccaneer you started on Sunday
as every scenario left you with the same lament. Jameis Winston,
Doug Martin, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard…they
all suffered the same fate. Rarely are the ripple effects of an
entire team’s woes so readily felt throughout the realm
of fantasy football as they were this weekend. Part of the disappointment
comes from past stereotypes. NFC South games vs. the Saints are
supposed to be yardage-fests. Not quite Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma
State, but in the same ball park. When you consider that the combined
yards from scrimmage from Martin, Evans, Jackson, Brate, and Howard
was 60 TOTAL yards, you really get a feel for what a misfire it
was to count on any of them. So, what lies ahead for this offense?
Much of that will depend on how long Winston ends up being out
(shoulder injury, 2 weeks) and whether or not Mike Evans can successfully
appeal a one-week suspension. Weeks 11-13 are home games for the
Bucs, so hopefully they’ll right the pirate ship by then
no matter who is under center.
The Sainst RB to own in Wk 9: Alvin Kamara
led all fantasy running backs in points on only 16 touches.
Alvin Attacking From All Angles
This isn’t the first time we’ve spotlighted Alvin Kamara this season here at the Buzz and from the looks of things,
it won’t be the last. While Mark Ingram continues to get
his share of the workload in New Orleans, Kamara is fast becoming
a star in fantasy football and in PPR leagues in particular. Kamara
is on pace to catch 74 passes as a RB this season, gain 1500 total
yards, and score 10 TDs. His 152 total yards on Sunday was a season-best
as was his pair of touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
Granted, the Tampa Bay defense is easily one of the league’s
worst, but in PPR leagues, Kamara was Sunday’s brightest
star at his position. With Kareem Hunt continuing to slow down
(no TDs since Week 3) and Leonard Fournette struggling to get
back on the field (see below), Kamara is looking like the rookie
RB to own at the moment. In dynasty or keeper leagues, he’s
a guy you need to obtain while you still can. His price may be
steep after this latest outburst, but move forward with that plan
just the same.
Feast Or Famine: The Story of T.Y.
In the dictionary, under the heading of Feast or Famine, you
will find a picture of T.Y. Hilton. The moniker has been true
of Hilton for years, but has never fit as prominently as it does
in 2017. Consider this: Hilton has 505 yards receiving this season
in just three combined games - Weeks 3, 5, and 9. As for the other
six games, he’s averaging less than 33 yards receiving with
no trips to the end zone. Four of his next six games, Hilton will
go up against a top-5 pass defense including the Jaguars and Titans
who shut him down already this season. His three big games have
come against the 49ers, Browns, and Texans, so perspective is
needed here. Will T.Y. have another big game this season? Most
likely, yes. Can you count on it happening when you need it most?
Most likely, no. Riding with Hilton each and every week in your
lineup is quite a ride indeed. Our advice is to start him as a
WR3 so as to not base your week’s fate in what he does or
doesn’t do. Then, if the feast happens, it’s gravy.
My analogies today suggest that Thanksgiving is on my brain more
that I realized…
Sunday Morning Surprises
Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes Sunday morning surprises in
fantasy football. And yet, they happen. Some leagues allow for
you to declare “backup” players so that if an assigned
starter does not play, another person can be inserted into the
lineup. For those who don’t exercise that practice, however,
Zach Ertz and Leonard Fournette’s last-minute omissions
from active duty on Sunday came as a shock and gave owners little
time to scramble and find replacements. It’s another reminder
that you have to prepare for the unexpected and make sure you
have enough quality depth on your team to adequately respond to
such challenges. Hopefully, you had Chris Ivory waiting in tow
or maybe Jared Cook as your backup tight end. And, hopefully,
next Sunday will feature no such scrambles.
While the first Tuesday in November is Election Day all over
our country, Sunday was ejection day for a couple of very prominent
fantasy stand-outs. The most damaging of the two ejections was
to A.J. Green, who some feared might also miss Week 10 for his
involvement in a fight just before halftime. Green’s performance
in the game (1 catch, 6 yards, 2 targets) probably cost a lot
of fantasy owners wins this past weekend and while we never begrudge
players who get hurt for obvious/sane reasons, a player getting
themselves removed from a game for mischief is super frustrating.
Carlos Hyde was the other ejectee, but at least he gained 100+
yards before calling it a day. If I was the lone bright spot in
an offense, I might be a little testy, too, though, so maybe Green
and Hyde’s actions carry with them some degree of understanding.
Thirty is Just a Number…
We're not going to get overly excited about Adrian Peterson's
numbers on Sunday as they did come against the lowly 49ers. Still,
37 carries in a game suggests that the coaching staff has a lot
of faith in you and with Drew Stanton now at quarterback, the
Cardinals' primary means of securing victories now lies with ball
control offense and opportunistic defense. Relying on a 30+ year
old running back in fantasy football is a risky proposition, but
Peterson and fellow 30-something RB Matt Forte (2 TDs) both turned
out to be very solid plays in Week 9. The Jets also want to run
the ball and/or keep the offense close to the vest, which means
more usage for Forte moving forward. If you're looking for a solid
RB2 to carry into the playoffs, Peterson is a great bet. If it's
a reliable flex play you prefer, Forte has a chance to fill that
role nicely also.
Sometimes, One Play Can Define a Season…
There comes a point in every season when you stop looking for
that break-out game from a player and realize that he's probably
not going to meet the lofty preseason expectations you and others
had for him. Sometimes, that realization in one single play. Cue
Julio Jones vs. Carolina on Sunday as he dropped an easy touchdown
that would have given him at least 10 additional fantasy points
for the week and maybe more than that in leagues with various
yardage bonuses. It's becoming apparent that while Jones will
likely indeed have at least one game this season that he “blows
up”, he's not likely going to finish as a top-5 WR for the
first time in a number of years. If you were actually watching
the Falcons-Panthers game, there aren't words for how you feel
as a Jones owner. Brutal.
It’s Raining Touchdowns!
Last week, we took time to acknowledge the guys who had failed
to reach the end zone all year. This week, the two most prominent
guys noted in that write-up are scoreless no more. We referenced
Jay Ajayi's touchdown run earlier, but Denver's Demaryius Thomas
also scored in a blowout loss. Ajayi projects to score several
more this season as does Thomas, but there are a lot more touchdowns
in Philly's offense overall than in Denver's, so Ajayi is the
higher upside play. Next overdue guy to break through and score
his first TD this week? Look no further than Tennessee's Delanie Walker. Thank us later.
The Curious Case of Corey Clement (And
Other Bye Week Heroes)
When teams like Pittsburgh and New England take a week off, you're
going to see some guys in starting lineups that never would be
otherwise. I have a friend who I ridiculed in my head for marching
out just such a player on Sunday - Philadelphia's Corey
Clement. Turns out my friend had the last laugh as Clement
netted 65 total yards and THREE scores. No one could have predicted
that and probably few benefited from it, but my friend most certainly
did. Here's to you, Tim. Other bye week heroes on Sunday included
Cowboy wideouts Terrance
Williams and Cole
Beasley as well as Dolphin runners Damien
Williams and Kenyan
Drake. Who were your most unexpected contributors this weekend?
Let us know…
Catch your breath. Week 10 is coming. And, we'll be back next
Tuesday to turn it on its ear. Enjoy the rest of your week!