6 Interesting Tidbits for Week 10 (Fantasy Football)
We’ve mentioned Julio Jones and his scoreless streak numerous times in this space, so it’s only fair to give him a shout-out after finally getting that elusive first 2018 touchdown in Week 9. He still hasn’t seen a red zone target since Week 1, which remains a concern, but he continues to rank highly in just about every notable receiving category, including third in targets, seventh in receptions, second in receiving yards, and first in air yards. With the Browns dealing with injuries on defense and the game sitting at an appealing 50.5 over/under to begin the week, dare we expect another touchdown from Jones in Week 10? It would certainly be no stranger than a man of his talent not catching a regular season touchdown since November of last year.
As always, let’s take a look at the surprises, stats, and trends entering Week 10, and how they might affect your fantasy football teams moving forward.
Duke Johnson compiles season-highs in targets (nine) and touches (10) in Week 9
It took over half the regular season and a coaching change, but after being curiously ignored for much of the season, Duke Johnson finally saw the sizable role in the passing game everyone has been hoping for.
Against Kansas City, Johnson caught 9-of-9 targets for 78 yards and two scores, to go with a carry for another eight yards, leading to by far his biggest fantasy day of the season. His previous season-high in both targets and touches were a mere six, a notable improvement over his prior usage.
However, it’s also worth noting his snap rate wasn’t far off his season average at just 47%, and Nick Chubb isn’t going anywhere either (22 carries and one reception). But if nothing else, he’s in a great spot against Atlanta in Week 10, a team that’s routinely been torched by pass-catching backs. The Falcons rank last against opposing backfields in targets (94), receptions (76), and receiving yards (658), so if ever there was a matchup for Johnson to succeed in again, it’s this one.
Exceptions for his long-term value should remain in check after one game, but Johnson is finally back on the fantasy radar, and another strong performance will bode well for his rest of season outlook.
DeAndre Hopkins sees 50% of the targets against the Broncos
This was a bit of a perfect storm with Will Fuller done for the year, Keke Coutee sidelined by a hamstring issue, and Demaryius Thomas new to the team, but it’s not every week you see a wideout draw half of the team’s targets. DeAndre Hopkins was targeted on 12 of Deshaun Watson‘s 24 throws for 105 yards and a touchdown against Denver, and while the raw numbers aren’t anything new, it will be interesting to see how the targets shake out moving forward.
The Texans have their bye in Week 10, which figures to give Coutee a chance to heal and Thomas the opportunity to get more acclimated with this offense. However, neither Coutee or Thomas can be expected to fully replace Fuller as a deep threat (13.8 aDOT), and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities to see Hopkins to continue to see a bump in targets. No, Hopkins won’t see this kind of ridiculous target share every week, but it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Hopkins be a massive target hog, and he already has an elite 32% target market share on the season as is.
Amari Cooper leads the Cowboys with eight targets in his debut, but his new team ranks just 29th in passing yards per game
Amari Cooper had a solid debut with the Cowboys, catching 5-of-8 targets for 58 yards and a touchdown against the Titans, and while those aren’t mind-blowing numbers, it was encouraging to see him jump in and immediately lead the team in targets. Cooper was in on 85% of the snaps and has already established himself as the number-one wideout.
But the glass remains only half-full (or half-empty) because this is still a less than ideal offense for Cooper to end up on. The Cowboys ranks just 29th in passing yards per game (188.4), and are just 25th in passing play percentage (55.5%). A high-octane offense this is most definitely not, and barring a coaching change (which doesn’t sound likely for now), we probably shouldn’t expect many spike weeks for Cooper. Still, the new situation should at least provide volume for the inconsistent wideout, putting him in a better spot than he was before the trade deadline.
Maybe the Saints and Bengals won’t combine for a ridiculous 80 points like Week 9’s Rams-Saints contest, but this does project to be a shootout between the bottom-two defenses in passing yards allowed per game. The Saints also rank 29th in DVOA against the pass and have allowed the most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
With A.J. Green expected to miss multiple games, that frees up around 26% of the targets (9.5 targets per game), and Tyler Boyd should be the primary beneficiary. Boyd is second on the team with a 22% market share (8.3 targets per game), and after him, there’s a significant drop-off, with no other player seeing over 10% of the team’s targets.
Prior to the bye week, Boyd was coming off a stellar performance against the Bucs, catching 9-of-10 targets for 138 yards and a touchdown. Green’s injury will obviously lead to Boyd seeing more attention from the Saints’ defense, but his targets should be through the roof, and he’s already shown a high ceiling. Even with Green healthy, Boyd has a season-high of 15 targets back in Week 4.
Ryan Fitzpatrick tosses four touchdowns for the third time this season
We touched on the Tampa Bay quarterback situation last week, and while Ryan Fitzpatrick only threw for 243 yards, he tallied four touchdowns for the third time this season, leading to yet another stellar fantasy performance. He’s now accumulated at least 24 fantasy points in four of five starts, and continues to be a bonafide QB1 as long as he’s the starter in this offense. It’s surprising he wasn’t closer to universally owned entering last week. Keep rolling with FitzMagic this week against Washington (51.5 total), a matchup that isn’t all that different from last week’s against Carolina.
Whether Fitzpatrick holds onto the job remains the obvious longterm concern (he did throw two interceptions), but as suggested last week, you can always consider handcuffing him with Jameis Winston in deeper leagues. After eight games, the two have now combined to average 372 yards per game and have thrown 23 touchdowns.
The Bills plays the Jets, Lions, and Patriots in Weeks 14-16
At this point it’s frankly amazing the Buffalo Bills have any wins, let alone two this year, but they’ve proven to be the gift that keeps on giving to opposing defenses, allowing double-digit fantasy points to all comers except in those victories over the Vikings and Titans.
Buffalo is barely averaging double-digit real-life points per game (10.7), while allowing the second-most sacks (33) and interceptions (16), and gaining the second-fewest yards per game (248.3). It’s gotten particularly brutal with Derek Anderson and Nathan Peterman at the helm over the last three games, with the duo accounting for multiple turnovers in every game and failing to throw for any touchdowns (although Peterman ran one in last week).
While it’s probably too early to be stashing defenses for the fantasy playoffs, if you’re in the enviable position of having a playoff spot just about locked up, as we get closer to the postseason it could be worth snagging either the Jets, Lions, or Patriots a week or two early in anticipation of Weeks 14-16. Josh Allen (elbow) figures to be back by the time these games roll around — an improvement by default — but this offense still struggled with the rookie under center, and it wouldn’t surprise if Buffalo is extra cautious should Allen suffer any setbacks.
The Jets have likely been scooped up for this week’s matchup against, well, the Bills, but they’re a candidate to be dropped after that, and continue to rank well in DVOA. The Lions are widely available as a poor defensive squad, but they’re still top-10 in sacks (24) and we saw the Colts get the job done versus Buffalo a few weeks back. The Patriots already trounced the Bills on the road in Week 8, and they’ll be home for Week 16 — championship week.