Happy Week 8!!!
Each week I'll be giving you five stats to think about as you make your fantasy roster selections. I am also going to give you three high ceiling picks at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) and a kicker and defense that might be available to stream. I am trying to go outside the top few at each position and find some picks that could deliver exceptional value based on their matchup and opportunity (volume, game plan, projected final score). I'm going to try to avoid listing the players who are too obvious.
My goal is to help you think about edging out your opponents with a strong floor and exceptional upside picks. So the "rules" for this article:
- Not super obvious 2. As exclusive as possible to this article 3. You give me feedback and we evolve it together. On Twitter @cfrelund is the best for this, unless you are creepy then just stick to rules 1 and 2.
Got all that? Let's go!!!
That's how many different receivers Carson Wentz has connected with to earn his league-leading 17 touchdown passes. The 49ers games average the most plays in the NFL (with their opponents averaging over 70 snaps on offense per game) and their past four games have all reached 49 or more total points scored. With six teams on a bye, and the league's best 3rd down QB (133 passer rating, 10 yards per attempt, eight TDs -- all No. 1), I will be looking for upside plays here, even though I project Philadelphia to win big. Also, with nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters lost to injury, I will be tracking pressures closely -- not so much for this game, but for upcoming games. My model goes: Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, LeGarrette Blount, Nelson Agholor, Wendell Smallwood, Torrey Smith
That's the total number of drives on offense per game the Falcons have had, which is the fewest in the NFL. No other team averages fewer than 10. The Falcons also have the most drives that start behind their own 20. So ... the fewest drives on offense and the worst starting field position. However, this isn't dissimilar from last year. In fact in many ways the offense is similar to last year's. The run/pass split was 42/58 in 2016 versus 41/59 this year, both approximately 42 percent. But the big difference is touchdowns. Last year Atlanta's red zone touchdown percentage was 62 percent and this year it's down to 53 percent. They averaged 2.9 points per drive and this year that's down to 2.1 points per drive. When the opportunity volume is lower and the points per drive are lower, it becomes a lot harder to overcome scoring deficits. The Jets average 1.6 points per drive on 12.3 drives per game (19.6 PPG). All this is to hopefully show you why my model projects this to have a high probability of being a lower scoring game with the Jets keeping it closer than you might expect. My Jets order: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Jermaine Kearse, Matt Forte
Stop me if you've heard this one before, but this was the number of passes Bears' quarterback Mitchell Trubisky attempted. Only four were completed. The Saints defense we've seen over the past three games is simplified to be this: Cam Jordan (and Alex Okafor) have had excellent pressure percentages, corners Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley have shut down receivers and Tyeler Davison has excelled as an interior defender. To me this makes Zach Miller and Tarik Cohen opportunity options. I'm not downgrading Jordan Howard from a volume standpoint, I am just putting the others on your radar as it is unlikely that we see so few attempts. Other note: if you are looking for a risky pick for just one week, the Bears defense has scored three touchdowns in two games.
4. Things that prolly won't last ...
- Under pressure, Andy Dalton's passer rating drops 64 points (league average is 20). This doesn't matter as much this week, but is worth noting as a potential reason to switch off Dalton.
- Seven teams with zero touchdowns (first time this has happened since 2001), three teams shut out (fifth time since tracking), 54 touchdowns for the week total (a low this season).
- 35 percent -- DeAndre Hopkins league leading target share. This projects to change this week against the Seahawks with Richard Sherman shadowing (he's allowed a sub-50 passer rating) and given Bill O'Brien has had the bye to scheme for this ... ahem, Will Fuller and Ryan Griffin.
IMO, adapting post injury-report is one of the biggest keys to fantasy wins -- especially formats where you have access to all the players each week. Here are three for now. I'll tweet out more as they come in:
- If CJ Fiedorowicz plays, this could be a smart moonshot.
- If no John Ross, give Brandon LaFell (who is already a good play) a bump up, as well as Tyler Kroft.
- If Luke Kuechly plays, Carolina's defense is a solid choice (if you are looking to fill for a bye team)
QB: Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett
RB: Alvin Kamara, James White, Ameer Abdullah, DeAndre Washington
WR: Pierre Garcon, Devin Funchess, Josh Doctson, Juju Smith-Schuster
TE: Jason Witten, Tyler Kroft, Jesse James
DEF: Cincinnati, Tampa Bay (risky)