Feast or Famine: Zach Ertz, Kadarius Toney, Dan Arnold (2021 Fantasy Football)
NFL kickers made their jobs look extremely difficult in Week 5. Combined, they missed 12 field goals and missed a record-tying 12 extra-point attempts. There’s nothing worse than negative points, and I’m not sure points should be deducted in fantasy when they’re not in the NFL. My Twitter friend, Scott Rinear, told me about a wacky league. It rewards points for negative plays such as +15 for missed PATs and positive points for missed field goals, interceptions and incompletions, etc. Rodrigo Blankenship (K – IND) scored 41 points alone. It is Best Ball format, but with waivers playing a part, it sounds nerve-wracking.
With this being the first of nine consecutive weeks with at least two teams on BYES, lineups will be tricky. Based on the Fantasy Pros consensus rankings, below are some players I think will either feast or suffer from famine this week.
In this column, I analyze players with some of the most considerable variances (standard deviations) in the individual PPR rankings by my FantasyPros colleagues. Hopefully, these comparative assessments against the rankings will aid with fantasy lineup decisions, and I will try to include less obvious and trending players when possible. You can find me on Twitter here.
ECR: TE11 – STDEV 3.2
This week, fantasy managers looking to replace a tight end with an injury or on BYE could roll the dice with Zach Ertz. He’ll have a chance to be a TE1 since Dallas Goedert (TE – PHI) may be unable to play after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. Tampa Bay’s defense allows the sixth-most points to tight ends, and Ertz could see double-digit targets in what should be a high-scoring affair. He could serve as a safety valve if the Buccaneers put pressure on quarterback Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI). Ertz may have lost a step, but he is one year removed from being a Top 5 tight end before dealing with nagging injuries in 2020.
ECR: TE16 – STDEV 2.0
In his second week with Jacksonville, Dan Arnold led the team in receiving with six catches for 64 yards. He could get plenty of looks moving forward with wide receiver DJ Chark (WR – JAX) out for the season. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAX) showed improvement in his last two games, and last week, he had his best performance to date. It was an exploitable matchup against the Tennessee Titans, but it is encouraging nonetheless. Arnold now faces a Dolphins cornerback duo that has been struggling. Miami’s defense just held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ tight ends at bay, but they were without Rob Gronkowski (TE – TB), and their wide receivers feasted. Miami also just gave up two touchdowns to Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox (TE – IND) the week before.
ECR: WR36 – STDEV 3.7
Kadarius Toney’s movement skills are 1-of-1. He’s so unique it almost doesn’t make sense pic.twitter.com/rBvM1l1f5N
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) October 10, 2021
After exploding against the Cowboys, Kadarius Toney will likely remain a focal point in the offense regardless of the status of the other wide receivers. With Sterling Shepard (WR – NYG) and Darius Slayton (WR – NYG) out, and Kenny Golladay (WR – NYG) exiting the game in the second quarter, Toney racked up ten receptions on 13 targets for 189 yards. He added another seven yards on a lone run. The kid is explosive, and he received PFF’s highest receiving grade (93.3) among wide receivers in Week 5. Toney (ankle) was able to practice leading into Week 6. He should put up WR2 numbers if Daniel Jones (QB – NYG) clears the concussion protocol in time to suit up. While Toney has more appeal if Jones plays, he received over half his catches and yards while Mike Glennon (QB – NYG) was under center. Hopefully, Toney won’t throw or pull punches anytime soon.
ECR: RB28 – STDEV 6.5
Devontae Booker is listed under the “Famine” category, although I think he can be a decent option. While Shepard and Slayton are on track to return this week, the Giants lost running back Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay to injuries and QB Daniel Jones to a concussion. As a result, Booker should see an uptick in usage, especially if Barkley or Jones misses the game. Based just on expected volume, he should serve as an RB3/Flex for this game. The only trepidation I have is that the matchup against Los Angeles is unfavorable, and with crucial pieces missing on the Giants’ offense, the Rams can load the box against Booker.
ECR: RB32 – STDEV 4.4
Although unofficial, it appears that Zach Moss (RB – BUF) has usurped Devin Singletary on the depth chart. Singletary has been struggling to get things going on the ground after a solid start to the season. Meanwhile, Moss has strung together three straight games with 11 or more rushing attempts. He also received more touches in both the passing and receiving games than Singletary in Week 5. The Bills could also favor the passing game this week, as the Tennessee Titans give up the most points to wide receivers. As a result, Singletary shouldn’t be counted on as more than a flex this week.
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