6 Interesting Tidbits for Week 10
Heading into Week 10, we are now in the home stretch of the fantasy regular season with only four more weeks remaining. Some seasonal fantasy teams are in the process of trying to lock up first-round byes, while others are just trying to stay in the playoff hunt. In Week 10, fantasy owners are impacted by more injuries, particularly injuries to Andrew Luck, Dion Lewis and Malcom Floyd and potentially Latavius Murray, among others. They also have to deal with the absence of fantasy starters on the strong offensive teams of the Falcons, Colts, Chargers and 49ers (well, maybe not the 49ers) and will need to look to the waiver wire, a thin bench or trades for immediate help.
Below are some interesting statistical tidbits which can better help you target players in trades or unowned players possibly available on the waiver wire for streaming purposes. Additionally, they may be of some use for teams already out of the playoff hunt in dynasty leagues looking for keepers to target in trades. These tidbits can also hopefully help you optimize daily fantasy lineups.
So far in 2015, opposing QBs have posted a 112.0 QB rating against the Saints
If you don’t know much about QB ratings, this is a pretty impressive number (or horrific from a Saints defensive viewpoint). By comparison, Tom Brady, who is having a stellar season and consistently ranking as a top-three QB each week, has a QB rating on the season of 113.5. In Week 10, the lucky QB to face the Saints’ putrid defense will be the very under-owned Kirk Cousins at home in Washington. Cousins makes for a great DFS play and/or seasonal league streaming option in deeper leagues based on this matchup. Additionally, those owners who very patiently held on to DeSean Jackson up to this point would be wise to get him into their starting lineups as a WR3/Flex play in Week 10. Pierre Garcon also makes for a strong, cheap DFS/seasonal streaming option in Week 10, particularly coming off a 4-70-0 performance against a much tougher Patriots’ defense in Week 9. Finally, Jordan Reed, a TE1 most weeks when healthy irrespective of the matchup, projects as a top 3 TE in both PPR and standard formats in Week 10 and is a must-start. A Redskins’ stack may be a cheap, effective DFS strategy this week.
Sam Bradford leads the NFL in 2015 in throwing 39+ yard touchdowns with four on the season
Unfortunately for Bradford owners, however, despite this high volume of “home run” plays, he doesn’t throw touchdowns (in general) with very much frequency. In Week 9, Bradford’s game-winning 41-yard touchdown to Jordan Matthews in overtime against Dallas was his first TD pass in 12 quarters. Yikes. Those owners who are invested in Eagles’ offensive players involved in the passing game (Bradford, Matthews, Zach Ertz, and Darren Sproles), may wish to move these players via trade (to the extent they can) for more consistent options at their respective positions, particularly coming off of the Sunday night win against Dallas when values may possibly be higher. While Bradford clearly has big-play potential, this lack of consistency getting into the end zone makes him and his receivers too risky to start as we come down the stretch in seasonal leagues when other options, who have a higher chance of passing/receiving TDs, are available. Conversely, Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews remain strong plays in both PPR and standard formats primarily due to the inability of Bradford to consistently throw the ball into the end zone. Those RBs should be targeted in deals to the extent available.
In Week 9 against the Packers, Cam Newton recorded his 29th career game with a passing TD and a rushing TD
Newton is now second all-time in NFL history in career games by a QB with both a passing and rushing TD. Steve Young is first with 31 such games and will most likely be passed by Newton before the end of the 2015 season. Much was made about the Panthers losing Kelvin Benjamin to a season-ending injury before the year started. Newton’s fantasy value, along with the value of most of the Panthers’ offensive players except Greg Olsen, declined in drafts due to the Benjamin injury. Fantasy owners simply questioned who Newton would throw to. Those owners who took a chance on Newton in the middle rounds of drafts have been rewarded with an incredible value pick. Newton has posted fantasy weeks where he serves not only as a starting QB, but also as a RB2/Flex player rolled into one. In Week 9 for example, Newton not only threw for three touchdowns on 297 yards against a tough Packers’ defense, but he also added a rushing touchdown on 57 yards. Either set of numbers by themselves in a QB or RB2/Flex spot, respectively, would be considered very strong weekly production. Newton remains an elite QB for the remainder of this season and an excellent keeper in dynasty leagues, relative to where he was either drafted or what he cost owners in auction leagues. On the flip side, of course, Newton has frustrated Jonathan Stewart owners who have lost a number of TDs vultured by Newton. For that reason, Stewart remains locked in as an RB2 with a limited ceiling despite being the featured back on an undefeated team with no bona fide top-tier WR.
In the three games he has started in 2015, DeAngelo Williams has rushed for 374 yards and five touchdowns
Le’Veon who? Owners who grabbed Williams late in drafts, due to Le’Veon Bell’s early-season two-game suspension, did well for themselves in the first two weeks of the season (to say the least). But those owners who held onto Williams as either a Bell handcuff or lottery ticket after those first two weeks are now looking brilliant. If you dropped him after Week 2, we can’t blame you, but…ouch. In Week 9, Williams picked up right where he left off in Week 2 by posting a 27-170-2 line against Oakland (he also added another 55 yards receiving on two receptions). Williams, who is now one of six active running backs to rush for 50 TDs in their career, is averaging 125 yards and almost two TDs per game when he starts this season. As such, he will remain a must-start top-tier RB1 for the rest of 2015. Notwithstanding the injury to Ben Roethlisberger which could impact Williams’ receiving totals (at least in Week 10), continue to roll with Williams in all formats. Assuming there are no issues with his foot which is reportedly inflamed as of Tuesday’s reports, Williams should justify his ECR of two for Week 10 when the Steelers face the Browns’ horrible rush defense.
Speaking of elite Steelers’ offensive weapons, in Week 9 Antonio Brown became only the second player in NFL history with 17+ receptions and 280 receiving yards in a game
Terrell Owens is the only other player to accomplish this feat. There is no question that Antonio Brown is a top-tier WR for fantasy purposes and was likely the first WR off of the board in most drafts. Unlike Le’Veon Bell or DeAngelo Williams, however, his fantasy success is more closely tied to the health of Ben Roethlisberger. When Roethlisberger was forced to miss time this season due to a sprained MCL, Brown’s numbers took a serious hit. In Week 10, Roethlisberger will not be available due to the mid-foot sprain he suffered in Week 9 but may return following the Steelers’ Week 11 bye. That said, despite the fact that Brown will be playing with Landry Jones under center for the Steelers in Week 10, Brown’s numbers may not be reduced too greatly given the fact that the Steelers will be facing a poor Browns’ pass defense. As a result, Brown remains in the top-tier WR mix for Week 10 with an ECR of 10th in PPR leagues.
When Sammy Watkins was targeted in Week 9, Tyrod Taylor had a QB rating of 158.3 according to Pro Football Focus
In addition, Watkins accounted for 92.8% of Taylor’s passing volume in Week 9. Basically, Watkins was an effective one-man show in the Bills’ passing game, even when the Dolphins knew it was coming. Many owners justifiably had given up on Watkins due to his inability to stay on the field this season, evidenced by a current 78.7% ownership in ESPN leagues and 84% ownership in CBS leagues. Following his breakout in Week 9, those percentages will rapidly change. Watkins has the capability to be a difference maker down the stretch in leagues as a WR3/Flex play with an extremely high ceiling. Likely drafted as a WR2 by fantasy owners back in the early Fall, nothing has changed in terms of Watkins’ abilities, despite his early-season injuries. If anything, Watkins is more valuable than he was back in September due to the injury to Percy Harvin (as evidenced by his Week 9 mauling of the Dolphins’ pass defense). Watkins will next face the Jets and Darrell Revis on a short week in Week 10. This matchup should temper expectations regarding Watkins’ production in Week 10, and it wouldn’t be out of the question to bench him if you have better options at WR3/Flex. That said, if he is available on the waiver wire, he is absolutely worth a priority waiver claim, even if he is not ultimately used by owners this week. Following Week 10, the Bills will face lower-end pass defenses down the stretch (Kansas City, Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas, Houston) and New England in Week 11 (a likely shootout) which will make Watkins, if healthy, an extremely valuable asset for both the fantasy playoff push and also in the fantasy playoffs themselves.