By the Numbers: Week 10 (2020 Fantasy Football)
When I was in graduate school, I interned as a researcher at a sports data company that had just hired a new CEO. One of the CEO’s first goals was to develop positive morale within the team through a series of catchphrases and brand initiatives, which although cliché, proved effective, at least in the short term.
His favorite phrase, “celebrate the wins,” has resonated with me in several areas of life since I walked out of that downtown Chicago office for the last time two years ago.
It seems simple enough, but how often do people disregard the work put into their achievements by diving head-first into a new project? We do this because we value avoiding failure more than we do enjoying success, which is a natural byproduct of a win-at-all-costs society.
I found myself thinking about “celebrate the wins” on Monday as I was seedily jumping into league-mates’ DMs with trade proposals, totally unsatisfied after a dominant Week 9 victory. “You’d think he’d message just once to check in on me instead of the availability of Darren Waller,” I envisioned one of them thinking.
At that moment, I asked myself an honest question about my obsessive nature as it relates to fantasy football, and really, success in general: “What’s the point of this effort if the process is more agonizing than it is liberating?”
Starting this week, my answer to that question has shaped a new fantasy football approach. No longer will I kick myself over start/sit decisions, or spend hours brainstorming trade permutations that at best might give me the slightest edge over my opponent in any given week.
Perhaps this will be a short-lived awakening, or maybe it’ll be a full-on epiphany that will bleed into other aspects of my life. Either way, I’m glad to be making a change.
Over the past two weeks, New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers has hauled in 24 targets (40 percent target share), which ranks tied for first among wide receivers with D.K. Metcalf, Tyreek Hill, and Jerry Jeudy.
Meyers, an undrafted free agent playing in just his second NFL season, has become Cam Newton’s clear No. 1 receiver in the absence of Julian Edelman, who remains on the IR and will miss New England’s Week 10 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Patriots will likely have a passing script against the juggernaut Ravens, which should open more opportunities for the surprisingly shifty Meyers. I have him as a mid-range WR2 until Edelman returns.
What in the world is going on in Carolina?
Sticking with targets, 2018 first-round wide receiver D.J. Moore has totaled a combined nine targets over the past two weeks. For comparison, Curtis Samuel saw nine targets in Week 9 alone and is averaging 6.7 targets per game over his past three contests, two more than Moore’s average (4.7) during that span.
We learned early in the year that Robby Anderson had become Teddy Bridgewater’s go-to wide receiver, but the assumption was Moore would be at worst the No. 2 receiver provided he didn’t re-assert himself as the primary guy by midseason.
Samuel’s emergence flies in the face of all the managers like me who “bought low” on Moore earlier this season expecting the talented receiver to build on his budding fantasy stardom of 2019.
Unfortunately, linear growth in production hasn’t occurred, and at this point, I’m beginning to think it’s not going to.
The return of Chubb to the Browns backfield has brought pleasure and pain to managers all across the fantasy football landscape. Chubb managers are probably thrilled, as the guy they likely drafted with a first- or second-round pick is finally returning from a sprained MCL after four games on IR.
But fear not, Hunt managers. With Chubb and Hunt in the lineup from Week 1-4, Hunt ranked as the half-PPR RB7 while averaging 16.4 points per game. In four games without Chubb, however, Hunt averaged just 12.4 half-PPR points per game.
While Hunt averaged four more touches per game in Chubb’s absence than he did with Chubb on the field, the ability to use both backs at the same time could present Hunt more opportunity in the receiving game, which would be especially valuable in full-PPR leagues.
The “one” listed above is an ordinal number, as in, Travis Kelce ranks first (by a landslide) in just about every fantasy-relevant category at his position.
Per Player Profiler, Kelce ranks first this season in the following statistics among tight ends: routes run (301); targets (79); air yards (622); receptions (58); receiving yards (769); completed air yards (438); yards after catch (331); total TDs (6); and expected points added (+49.6).
Kelce’s 15.5 half-PPR points per game mark the highest scoring average from a tight end through nine weeks since Rob Gronkowski in 2015. Despite his production, perhaps Kelce’s greatest skill is his availability. Compared to George Kittle, who missed two games last season and may be out for the rest of this year, Kelce has missed just one game since 2014.
He’s simply the best at his position, and with Kittle on the IR for the foreseeable future, Kelce represents a significant matchup advantage over opponents every week moving forward.
Don’t look now, but Taysom Hill has totaled 12 rushes over the past two games while averaging a respectable 11.7 half-PPR points per game, which ranks second among TE-eligible players to Kelce over that span.
It’s probably a stretch, but considering Hill is available in more than 97 percent of ESPN and Yahoo leagues and that only four tight ends have averaged double-digits in half-PPR formats over the past two weeks, there are probably worse guys to stream at the position.
In fact, I know there are worse guys; I started Jordan Reed in Week 9 and naturally lived to regret it.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.