By the Numbers: Week 8 (2020 Fantasy Football)
“No half measures.”
Anyone who’s watched “Breaking Bad” should recognize the phrase and its implications.
For those who don’t understand the term in the context of the show, a half measure is “an action or policy that is not forceful or decisive enough.”
In the fantasy football world, a half measure is akin to hedging bets on a weekly basis or being trade averse to a fault.
Throughout this COVID-19 fantasy football season, I’ve stressed the need for patience and a deep roster filled with insurance policies, but we’re past that.
By this point in the year, priorities have changed. If a quick glance at your roster doesn’t elicit “league winner” vibes, it’s time to wheel and deal.
Playoff-bound managers should start paying attention to potential postseason matchups and striking deals to take advantage of them while struggling managers need to make league-shaking win-now moves to stay in playoff contention, even if it means sacrificing a favorite bench piece or two.
In the words of Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
And in the words Mike Ehrmantraut, “I chose a half measure when I should’ve gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again.”
Don’t be like Mike. Be like Ricky. Good luck this week.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Leonard Fournette, head coach Bruce Arians tempered expectations and expressed a vote of confidence in incumbent starter Ronald Jones II, whom Arians referred to as “our guy.”
Through six weeks of the NFL season, Jones was the guy, as he led the backfield with a commanding 55 percent snap share, while no other running back saw the field for even 18 percent of the team’s offensive snaps.
It’s possible the paradigm shifted in Week 7, however, as Fournette led Jones in snaps (38-31), routes run (21-13), and targets (7-2), and finished the game with 17 touches.
Arians says Leonard Fournette is now his “nickel” running back, playing in hurry-up and obvious passing situations, and that played a part in him getting more snaps in Sunday’s win. Took that role from LeSean McCoy.
– Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 26, 2020
I’d be wary of starting either of these backs with confidence moving forward, especially with Tampa incorporating Antonio Brown into the already pass-heavy scheme in the near future.
Rookie Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson continues to get the job done for fantasy managers.
Unheralded and mostly undrafted coming into this season, Robinson has averaged 17.2 half-PPR points per game, which ranks fifth at his position (minimum five games played).
Robinson is tied for sixth among NFL running backs with 134 touches, and faces little backfield competition, as backup Ryquell Armstead will reportedly miss the rest of the season because of an ongoing battle with COVID-19.
While Devine Ozigbo could cut into Robinson’s workload in the coming weeks, it’s safe to assume Robinson will maintain a three-down role, which makes him a high-end RB2 moving forward.
Packers wide receiver Davante Adams has been unstoppable when healthy over the past few years, and on Sunday set a career-high in single-game yards receiving with 196.
Through seven weeks, Adams is leading NFL wide receivers in half-PPR points per game (21.7) and is tied for first in targets per game (11.5), both of which are ahead of Michael Thomas and Chris Godwin’s rates at this point last season.
With a resurgent Aaron Rodgers and the Packers already past their bye week, Adams is the surefire No. 1 wide receiver in fantasy, with a floor and ceiling guaranteed to keep fantasy managers competitive at the position every week.
It hasn’t been flashy, but Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has put together a very nice season, and currently ranks as the WR22 in half-PPR scoring while averaging 11.2 half-PPR points and seven targets per game.
Beasley has become a safety net for third-year quarterback Josh Allen and the surprisingly pass-happy Bills offense and set a career-high with 13 receptions in Buffalo’s 18-10 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
While Beasley may not be a “league winner,” his usage and availability – he’s rostered in about 40 percent of ESPN and Yahoo leagues – make him a very strong plug-and-play candidate for wide receiver-needy managers, especially in full-PPR formats.
From Week 12 to the end of last season, Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown led the NFL in yards per target and half-PPR points per game.
His doubters said there was no way Brown could maintain his insane yards-after-catch rate, which was a large factor in his standout rookie performance.
While he hasn’t been quite as good with the ball in his hands this season, Brown has been every bit of the fantasy force many expected him to be, as he’s averaged a league-leading 20.8 half-PPR points per game since returning from a bone bruise in Week 5.
It’s taken a while, but Brown appears to have the talent and usage required to finish the season as a top-10 fantasy receiver.
Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – which optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.