The NFL reported 56 cases of Covid-19 for the week of November 1
- 15 players and 41 tier 1 and 2 personnel. Ben Roethlisberger has
been placed on the COVID-19 list for just sitting next to Vance
McDonald (positive) on the flight home from Dallas. This type of
issue should only increase as teams (and the country) fight the
ever-increasing virus. Fantasy owners must continue to value roster
depth over a thin, but talented starting roster, as the virus, and
byes, force multiple lineup adjustments.
Week 10 byes: Atlanta,
Dallas, Kansas City and New York Jets.
“All great truths begin as blasphemies.” –
George Bernard Shaw
1) Beware of overvaluing Drew Lock.
Yes, Lock has played very well the past two games producing 58.7
fantasy points (29.3 FPts/G), but remember who the Broncos were
playing before going overboard in your evaluation. He faced two
bottom-10 fantasy defenses (QB fantasy points allowed) in the
Chargers (ranked 25th) and the Falcons (31st). He’ll have
two more “playable” games (Las Vegas and Miami) before
the schedule gets tougher. By Week 12 you should have either traded
him or have another plan in place for the fantasy playoffs.
2) Russell Wilson is still the favorite for NFL MVP (+125 at
Parx Casino in suburban Philadelphia), but if I were a betting
man I’d be putting down some coin on Arizona quarterback Kyler
Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron RodgersDalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara are having excellent seasons, but the second-year quarterback
out of Oklahoma is playing at an MVP-caliber level. Murray’s
numbers look similar to, or better than, those Lamar Jackson produced
in 2019 when he took home the award. Through eight games Murray
is on pace to throw for 4,260 yards and 32 touchdowns and run
for 1,086 yards (7.1 ypc) and 16 touchdowns. He’s producing
a league-leading 34.1 FPts/G. In 15 games last season, Jackson
threw for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns while he rushed for 1,206
yards (6.9 ypc) and seven scores. Jackson averaged a league-leading
30.9 FPts/G. If Murray carries the Cardinals to the playoffs,
in what might be the toughest division in football, he should
be a top candidate for both NFL MVP and fantasy MVP.
3) There is Christian McCaffrey (30.1 FPts/G), Cook (28.2) and
Kamara (26.5) … and then there is every other running back in
The trio has easily separated themselves from the rest. There
is more than a five point-per-game gap between No.3 Kamara and
No.4 Aaron Jones (21.3). By the way, in Week 7 I wrote that Mike Davis would get about 17% of the snaps/usage when CMC returned
to the lineup (similar to the 2019 Ezekiel Elliott/Tony Pollard
usage rate). In fact, McCaffrey played just 71% of the snaps and
Davis 31%. McCaffrey’s 28 touches were 82% of the 34 touches
the two backs received. Of course, CMC did a lot more with his
(37.1 FPts – 8.7) than Davis. McCaffrey injured his shoulder
in the game and fantasy owners will have to stay on top of this
injury as it appears Davis won’t be fantasy-worthy unless
4) Richie James is a mirage.
Sure, anyone who simply looks at a box score will see 13 targets,
nine receptions, 184 yards and a touchdown will say “I must
have him.” Look again. San Francisco was without Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. They are
still without Kittle, but Aiyuk and Samuel were just “close
contact” list players not test positive cases and should
be back. Bourne might be back too. Raheem Mostert might be back
as well and that would mean the 49ers go back to being run-first.
It is unlikely Nick Mullens throws the ball 35 times or James
sees 14 targets.
5) New England backfield is a disaster to be avoided.
True, as it is most seasons. First off, there are four options
going in and out of the lineup: Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Sony Michel and James White. Harris and Michel are pure runners, White
is the best receiver and Burkhead the best combination runner/receiver
in the group. Together the four have played a combined 22 games
(due to multiple injuries) and have produced just one game above
16 points (Burkhead in Week 3). And of course the worst of all
worlds plays quarterback – Cam Newton. He’s an inaccurate
passer, who gets his fantasy points by poaching running back touchdowns.
He’s scored eight times with his legs, all from the red
zone and seven from inside the five-yard line. Those should be
RB points and makes starting any Patriots running back an act
“Statistics: The only science that enables different
experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.”
– Evan Esar
1) “I actually thought they should’ve kept Nick
Foles rather than Carson Wentz just based off production and where
they got to,” Brett Favre said on First Take Tuesday morning.
“They won a Super Bowl with Foles.”
Horribly wrong. As we have seen since Foles left Philadelphia,
he couldn’t keep the job he was given in Jacksonville and
he’s been even worse in Chicago. His record since leaving
the Eagles is 2-8. Sorry, Mr. Favre, but Foles played three excellent
games in the 2017 playoffs (and all Philadelphians thank him),
but it was Wentz who got the Eagles in position to make the Super
Bowl run. And it’s Wentz who has a much higher upside both
in real life and for fantasy owners. Additionally, Wentz is four
years younger. Hopefully, Favre’s friendship with Doug Pederson
isn’t influencing (read poisoning) the Eagles’ head
coach in any way. By-the-way, Wentz’s idol growing up was
Favre. Any wonder why he’s a gunslinger who takes foolish
2) The Indianapolis backfield is a fantasy mess.
False. Jonathan Taylor was supposed to the star draft choice
to take over the backfield, but Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins
have both been involved this season. Still, a closer look shows
Taylor is still the first option and the most reliable. He’s
produced double-digit points in six of eight games. The only times
Taylor didn’t lead this backfield were in two games when
Hines scored multiple touchdowns. Taylor hasn’t put up any
really big numbers because he’s still not involved enough
in the passing game and he’s yet top crack the 20-point
mark which frustrates fantasy owners, but he’s the steadiest
back in the RBBC.
3) JuJu Smith-Schuster is now getting the targets and could
return to his 2018 production level.
Never going to happen. Yes, over the past three away games the
wideout has seen 29 targets (and caught 22 for 245 yards and one
score), but he will never return to his 2018 heights (111-1,426-7).
First reason being he doesn’t have Antonio Brown getting
double coverage and allowing him to roam free. He’s the
guy defenses are watching allowing Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool
and even tight end Eric Ebron to make the big plays. That’s
good for the Steelers, but bad for Smith-Schuster’s fantasy
value. Time to face facts, he’s not a fantasy star. At best
he’s a WR2. At worst he’s a decoy for the more elusive
Johnson and Claypool.
4) Eagles executive vice president and general manager Howie
Roseman will straighten out the team’s wide receiver issues.
Sorry no. Howie has no clue how to draft wide receivers. Here
are just four examples of his ineptitude at this position since
2013. This season he chose Jalen Reagor (8-112-1) over Justin Jefferson (34-627-3). In 2019 he selected JJ Arcega-Whiteside
(2-45-0) over D.K. Metcalf (43-788-8). In 2015 Tyler Lockett (53-615-7)
was drafted 49 picks after the Eagles drafted Nelson Agholor (17-347-5
with Las Vegas). In 2014 he chose Jordan Matthews (out of the
league) 11 picks ahead of this year’s No.1 wideout Davante Adams (53-675-8). I could continue, but as a loyal Eagles fan,
it’s just too painful.
5) Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (ranked ninth at 10.7 FPts/G)
is a consistent fantasy option.
Actually, Andrews has put together three great days (20 points
plus) and five ugly games (6.2 points or less). He’s yet
to crack the 60-yard mark. It’s not likely to get better
anytime soon. In his next three games he goes up against two top-three
tight end defenses (No.2 New England, No.21 Tennessee and No.3
Pittsburgh). Considering he was a top-five player at his position,
this season has been a bit disappointing.