2) The demise of the early-season MVP run
of Alvin Kamara, was not due to a reduced rushing workload when
teammate Mark Ingram returned from suspension.
Kamara averaged 24.28 FPts/G over the first four games and
just 15.33 points over the last eight games, but his rushing attempts
averages are 14.0 and 13.1, respectively. The dramatic drop was
more likely due to the passing game. He saw 11.8 targets per game
in the first quarter of the season and only 4.6 targets over the
final eight games.
3) Heading into the first round of the
playoffs, running backs will be a key issue with a number of elite
options not available.
Of the top-eight running backs this season, three are not likely
going to be of any help. No.5 overall, James Conner, was just
declared out for Week 14 with what is being described as a high-ankle
sprain. No.7 Kareem Hunt is obviously not available and Melvin Gordon is a longshot to return for a date with the Bengals. Gordon’s
owners would love him to face the worst rush defense in the NFL
(27.4 FPts/G to RBs), but the Chargers are likely thinking long-term
and figure to try and get by with Justin Jackson running and Austin
Ekeler catching the ball out of the backfield. Jackson, owned
in just 24% of all Yahoo leagues should be a top waiver pickup
along with Pittsburgh’s Jaylen Samuels (13% owned).
4) This is the “Year of the Forward
Through 12 of 16 games (75%), the league has thrown for 94,173
yards and 671 touchdowns. Extrapolated for the entire season means
an expected 125,564 yards and 894 touchdown passes. Both would
be record-setting totals. It is actually a reversal of the trend
of the past two seasons. This was not the season to skimp on wide
receivers or quarterbacks.
thru 12 games
5) The most surprising soon-to-be 1000-yard
receiver is Tyler Boyd.
Given his paltry production last season (22-225-2) and the limitation
of his 2018 quarterbacks corps (Andy Dalton and Jeff Driskel),
Boyd’s 10.8 FPts/G and 69-938-6 is remarkable. For those
thinking the absence of A.J. Green was a big help … he averaged
12.8 with Green and 9.45 without the elite receiver across from
“The most outrageous lies that can be invented will
find believers if a man only tells them with all his might.”
– Mark Twain
1) Being a top fantasy quarterback is always good for his team.
2) The most surprising production from
a tight end in 2018 is Oakland’s Jared Cook.
While Cook has finally used his vast talent to produce a top-five
number (8.9 FPts/G), the correct answer is Indianapolis’
Eric Ebron. Ebron has dealt with a TEBC (tight end by committee)
and still produced 10.8 FPts/G, enough for third-best in the NFL,
behind Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. Ebron, a 2014 first-round selection
of the Detroit Lions averaged just 5.1 FPts/G in his final season
in Detroit and never posted more than 6.4 FPts/G in any of his
four previous seasons. It certainly helps that Andrew Luck’s
strategy has always featured tight ends.
3) It is still worth paying the extra dollars
for the Chicago Bears defense.
Actually the Bears are no better than sixth-best over the past
three weeks, though they are still the best for the season. The
Los Angeles Rams, despite giving up 51 points in a game, are averaging
a league-best 16 FPts/G led by the amazing Aaron Donald. Houston
(12.3), Kansas City (12.0), New York Giants (11.7) and New Orleans
(11.3) are all ranked above the Bears (10.3) over the past three
4) The Eagles playoff hopes are still alive
after a win over Washington Monday night.
Technically, but I’m not a believer. The Eagles face a
“murderer’s row” down the stretch at Dallas,
at the Los Angeles Rams and Houston over the next three weeks.
Since Week 6 they have allowed six backs at least 15 fantasy points,
including 30.7 to Ezekiel Elliott, their next opponent. Then comes
the NFL’s best back in Todd Gurley, who averages 23.2 FPts/G
and a “renewed” Lamar Miller, who is averaging 14.2
FPts/G over his last six starts for the hottest team in the league.
Last season the Eagles were No. 2 against the run, this season
No. 13 and dropping. If you can’t stop the run, you can’t
win football games … even in the “Year of the Pass.”
5) Baker Mayfield, who ranks 19th (21.5
FPts/G) among quarterbacks can’t help you in the fantasy playoffs.
On the contrary, Mayfield has averaged 26.2 FPts/G over the last
three weeks (two games) and faces Carolina, Denver and Cincinnati
in the next three games. Carolina, just like the rest of the NFC
South, can’t stop any QB, Denver lost their best CB, Chris Harris, from a middle-of-the pack defense and Cincinnati is the
most generous team in the league to opposing quarterbacks. Don’t
be afraid to write Mayfield’s name in your lineup.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.