Good morning and welcome to the Halloween edition of the Buzz! This
week’s feature will take on a little holiday flavor given
the occasion, but mostly, it’s all about the football. We’ve
haunted down all the news and now we’re ghouling to bring
it to you, Buzz-style!
Step 1: DeAndre Hopkins finished as the
WR1 in Week 8 with 224 yards, 1 TD on 8 receptions.
The Texas Three-Step…
It’s officially time to call a spade a spade. The Houston
Texans have one of the most dynamic aerial attacks in the game
of professional football. Deshaun Watson has now thrown 16 TD
passes in his last four games - and 13 of those have gone to his
pair of star wideouts, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. How many
QBs in the league throw more to wide receivers than Watson? Short
answer: Nobody. Of Watson’s 402 passing yards on Sunday
afternoon, 349 of them were passes to Hopkins and Fuller. Together,
this trio is becoming what Kurt Warner, Torry Holt, and Isaac
Bruce were back in the day - a QB and 2 WRs capable of carrying
fantasy teams on their back. Lamar Miller scored 2 touchdowns
on Sunday and continues to garner a high number of touches each
and every game. And, did I mention that Watson also ran for 67
yards for the second time this year? Nobody could have seen this
coming, but now that we’ve seen in raging for four straight
games, everybody can see where it’s headed.
…And The Seattle Swing
You can’t talk about what Houston did on Sunday and leave
out Seattle’s part in one of the biggest offensive shootouts
in recent memory. Anything Watson did, Russell Wilson did as well
and as such, he also topped the 400-yard mark to go along with
4 TD passes and 30 yards rushing. It was a day to remember for
Wilson, WR Paul Richardson and TE Jimmy Graham as those two targets
accounted for all the scores. Part of the reason Wilson’s
numbers continue to be so stellar is that Seattle is an absolute
dead-end street with respect to running the ball. Consider this:
Wilson ran for 6 times the number of yards on the ground as Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and J.D. McKissic combined on a fourth of
the carries. That’s right. The trio of Seahawk RBs gained
5 total yards on 16 totes. If that doesn’t get fixed somehow
(we’re not holding our breath), it’s going to be the
Russell Wilson show in Seattle for the foreseeable future. For
the record, is anyone more frustrated this week than Doug Baldwin
owners? Who would have dreamed that 400 of Wilson’s passing
yards would go to guys not named Baldwin. Still, no matter who
you had or didn’t have starting in the Houston-Seattle game
on Sunday, it was easily the game of the year in fantasy football.
I went up against Wilson and Hopkins in my oldest league and got
JuJu and Jack: Scary Good
OK, so I went a little over the top with the Halloween descriptor,
but there’s no denying that both JuJu Smith-Schuster and
Jack Doyle were two of Sunday’s unexpected stars. With six
teams on bye, there’s also a likelihood that both made it
into quite a few starting lineups and saved the day for some.
Smith-Schuster’s recent rise (400+ yards, 4 TDs this season)
has allowed Pittsburgh to play hardball with disgruntled WR Martavis Bryant and if Bryant were to be traded before this week’s
trade deadline (not likely), JuJu would become a borderline WR2/3
the rest of the way. As for Jack Doyle, it has become obvious
based on his targets (39 in the last four weeks) that Jacoby Brissett
is checking down to him on a consistent basis. While wide receivers
T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief rot in the land of the Luckless,
Doyle will continue to be a TE1 in PPR circles.
Eight Weeks and Still No Touchdowns
It’s always interesting at this point in the season to
see who has piled up plenty of yards, but has yet to find paydirt.
In Week 8, several guys finally broke out of the No-Touchdown
club, so hat’s off to those guys first. They include: Isaiah Crowell, Jonathan Stewart and Adam Thielen. Now, the club has
shrunk to Miami RB Jay Ajayi, Baltimore RB Alex Collins, 49ers
WR Pierre Garcon, and Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas. Who will end
their drought first you ask? I would put my money on Collins as
Javorius Allen fumbled at the goal line this past week and Collins’s
stock in trending up. Ajayi and Thomas are the two biggest names
without a score, but both are playing in putrid offenses right
now and as such, their slumps may continue a bit longer. As for
Garcon, he came out of the game early on Sunday, so his status
will need to monitored this week assuming there are still owners
out there desperate enough to be starting him week in and week
out (there are).
Dak Goes Frighteningly Quiet
As the rain poured down and the wind howled in Washington, D.C.
on Sunday, Ezekiel Elliott was staying red-hot in terms of production
on the field with 150 yards rushing and a pair of TDs. It’s
not surprising given how good he looked the week before and how
much Dallas likes to lean on him in close games. What was surprising
was how little Dak Prescott produced in terms of offensive numbers.
Granted, the weather was an issue, but Kirk Cousins was able to
throw for over 260 yards and a TD. Prescott’s disappearing
act was exactly what his owners feared would happen at times this
year with Dallas being a run-first team. Obviously, if Elliott's
suspension holds (at the moment, it's back on), the Week 8 version
of Prescott will likely be an aberration rather than the rule.
He remains one of the most difficult players in fantasy football
Three Treats and Two Tricks
And, now, with the fantasy season having reached its halfway point,
we're going to take a moment to look at the three biggest positive
headlines from the first half and two of the biggest negatives.
It's bigger picture stuff and certainly may not hold but, for
now, the biggest headlines of the 2017 season are as follows:
Treat One: Rookie Sensations. Deshaun
Watson deserves all the praise he's getting, both in terms of
real-world play and fantasy production, but he's hardly the only
NFL rookie shaking up the world of fantasy football. Running backs
Fournette and Kareem
Hunt are well on their way to being first-round redraft draft
picks for the next half dozen years. Throw in Evan
Engram for the Giants and you've got four players who are
almost certainly going to finish top-5 at their respective positions.
There's not a bigger positive story to be had through eight weeks.
And we didn't even mention the Packers' Aaron
Jones or the Saints' Alvin
Kamara. We'll see if anyone hits the proverbial “wall” come
fantasy playoff time.
Treat Two: Comeback Kids. There
were several disappointing performances in 2016 from players drafted
early, but none more so than RB Todd
Gurley and WR DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins averaged 54 yards receiving
in 2016 and scored only 4 touchdowns the whole season. Through
seven games this year, he's averaging 87 receiving yards and has
already scored 7 times. Gurley, meanwhile, had 1,212 total yards
last year and netted 6 TDs. This season, he's on pace for over
2,100 yards from scrimmage and 19 total scores. What a rebound.
Both guys have been sensational.
Treat Three: Rising Quarterbacks
and the Tight Ends that Make Them Great. Alex
Smith and Carson
Wentz are clear No.1 QBs on the fantasy landscape. Sounds
logical to us all now, but who would have said that two months
ago? Neither is blessed with an elite WR corps by any means, but
with the top two tight ends in terms of fantasy points (Zach
Kelce) on the receiving end of 94 passes and accounting for
11 combined TDs, who needs wideouts? The only thing better than
having a top-5 QB or a top-2 TE is to have one of each.
Disclaimer: Injuries happen every
season and are thus too easy a target for “negative” headlines.
So, we'll stick with what has happened on the field.
Trick One: Bad backfields. Running
back by committee is en vogue and has been for several years now,
but there are scores of backfields that you would avoid even if
one guy was doing most of the lifting. Fourteen teams average
less than 100 yards rushing a game. Two of those teams are at
that point despite their quarterbacks being the second leading
rushers on their teams (Cam
Wilson). Finding a quality RB2 is not something to take for
granted in this day and age. If you've got a consistent RB3, you're
ahead of the game.
Trick Two: Old Faces in New Places.
Whether it's the two primary wide receivers in the August swap
Matthews) or that guy apologizing to fans in the local newspaper
Pryor), players on new teams this season by and large haven't
worked out so well. And, the list goes on. Eric
Decker in Tennessee, Eddie
Lacy in Seattle, Torrey
Smith in Philly, and Kenny
Britt in Cleveland add to the tally, But, at least there's
Cooks to offset the carnage. Having Tom
Brady as a QB tends to lead to better results you might say.
So, there you go. If you're trick-or-treating with little ones
tonight, best wishes to you from all of us here at FFToday. Mine
have gotten too old for all that, so I'll just be passing out
candy and thinking about next week's article. Until then!