By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
I need someone to create a dating app, specifically for those pursuing a career in the Fantasy Football industry, so we can meet and match up with meteorologists. Seriously.
If I had inside info (or, you know, just turned on the Weather Channel from time to time), I think my picks this time of year would be better.
Last week was atrocious. So we’re just going to gloss over it and move on to a few things I find interesting so far about this football season:
- Russell Wilson is on an historic touchdown pace with 28 passing TDs through nine games (on pace for 50 TDs). Wilson has also thrown 10 interceptions on the season. The highest interception rate of his career is 2.5%, which was in his rookie year. Wilson’s current interception rate is 3.0%. Is he really the MVP of 2020?
- Through Week 10, there are currently eight quarterbacks with 200 or more rushing yards. Of those eight quarterbacks, five are in the top 12 of scoring in 6-points-per-passing-touchdown scoring. In standard QB scoring, those same five quarterbacks — Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and Jackson — are in the top 12. You may now stop telling me why passing TDs should be worth less than rushing touchdowns.
- The Detroit Lions defense has allowed 18 total touchdowns to running backs this season. They’ve played nine games. Running backs remaining on their schedule include Mike Davis (Week 11), Duke/David Johnson (Week 12), Lamar Miller (Week 13; maybe David Montgomery is back?), Aaron Jones (Week 14), Derrick Henry (Week 15), Ronald Jones (Week 16), and Dalvin Cook (Week 17). Safe to say, they won’t get much better.
- Only four running backs on the season are averaging more than 20 fantasy points a game in PPR scoring — Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, and Aaron Jones. The next closest RB to that threshold currently sits at 18.1 — rookie undrafted free agent James Robinson.
- Alvin Kamara leads all running backs in targets at 80. Second on that list? Washington’s J.D. McKissic with 64. McKissic is currently RB30.
- Five rookie running backs are currently in the top 20 in PPR — Robinson (RB3), Antonio Gibson (RB12), D’Andre Swift (RB13), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB14), and Jonathan Taylor (RB19).
- Only one wide receiver is currently averaging over 20 fantasy points per game — Davante Adams. Adams has played in seven games. The current WR1 is Stefon Diggs with 187.6 fantasy points. Diggs has played three more games than Adams. They are separated by 0.5 fantasy points.
- Five rookie wide receivers are currently in the top 30 in PPR — Chase Claypool (WR17), Justin Jefferson (WR18), Tee Higgins (WR23), CeeDee Lamb (WR26), and Brandon Aiyuk (WR29). Call me crazy, but I think this rookie class is going to be special.
- Of tight ends that have played in six or more games, only nine average more than 10 PPR points a game — Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Darren Waller, T.J. Hockenson, Jonnu Smith, Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, Noah Fant, and Robert Tonyan. The top five in total points? Kelce, Waller, Hockenson, Smith, and Andrews.
- There are only six tight ends that have run more than 300 routes, according to PFF. Only one is currently a top-five TE (Kelce). The others? Logan Thomas (TE16), Evan Engram (TE12), Dalton Schultz (TE14), Hayden Hurst (TE7), and Jimmy Graham (TE8). I say this because trade deadlines are approaching. These are great buy options for reasonable prices.
So yeah, 2020 is weird, if you didn’t know.
Since we led off with an idea for a dating app, the jokes this week will be cheesy pick-up lines. Oh, it’s getting crazy up in here! Onward to Week 11!
If you read this column last week or in the preseason, you have a good idea as to what my Confidence Plays represent. It’s essentially a start/sit column featuring players I think will boom (play) versus those I think will bust (fade). I try to focus on some middle-of-the-road and streaming options, as you’re likely playing your top guys regardless of the matchup, but some of those top guys may land on the Fade side. (Some matchups suck — what do you want me to do?) Don’t interpret this as “I have to sit Patrick Mahomes to play Derek Carr because Carr is a Play this week.” Don’t be that fantasy player. But maybe put some of them in your DFS lineups to maximize upside or play them as your RB2 or WR2 or in your FLEX. Or, you know, stream them.
QB Justin Herbert (LAC) – You’re looking for love in Alderaan places.
Herbert had a down week against Miami and still finished as the QB8. He’s QB7 on the season and faces the Jets this week. If that doesn’t scream upside, this will: the Jets are tied for 3rd in most rushing touchdowns allowed to QBs (4). You know how Herbert salvaged his day against Miami? A rushing touchdown.
QB Matt Ryan (ATL) – (If the chick is Russian) What do you say, should we quit Stalin and I Russian over?
Matt Ryan scorches the Saints. New Orleans has allowed less than 21 fantasy points per game to QBs on the year, but they’ve allowed 20 passing touchdowns to QBs, tied for the 3rd most in football. Ryan has 11 TD passes in his last four games against the Saints and should have Calvin Ridley back this week to pair with Julio Jones. Ridley has four touchdowns in his first four career games against New Orleans and Jones has only one game with less than 96 yards in his last six games against them. Matt Ryan has top 5 upside this week.
RB Mike Davis (CAR) – Are you Japanese? Because I’m trying to get in japanties.
From Weeks 6-8, leading up to CMC’s return, Davis was RB23. Last week, he faced one of the best run defenses in the league and finished as RB30. Not great, Bob! As stated above, the Lions are just atrocious against running back. Christian McCaffrey has been ruled out for this week, so expect a heavy dose of Mike Davis as a result and a bounce back to his early-season usage, where he was RB3 from Weeks 2-5.
RB D’Andre Swift (DET) – If two vegetarians have a fight, is it still called beef? Depends what’s at steak.
About an hour before game time, Detroit announced that D’Andre Swift would be the “starting” running back. Swift proceeded to wreck the Washington Football Team’s elite run defense, putting up 149 total yards and a touchdown while finishing as RB4 on the week. He also played 72.9% of the team’s offensive snaps. That was against a defense that, heading into the game, had allowed the 3rd fewest fantasy points per game to RBs the four previous weeks combined. What do you think Swift will do this week against a Panthers run defense that is one of four teams in the league that has allowed 10 or more rushing TDs to RBs? Swift is going to ball out. Again.
RB Damien Harris (NE) – If you were a chicken, you’d be impeccable.
So far this year, the Houston Texans have allowed 1,389 rushing yards to RBs. That’s 250 more than the 2nd worst team in the league (the Dallas Cowboys). Since Week 6, Damien Harris is tied for 3rd among RBs in rushing yards (371). We all know Cam Newton has morphed into Mike Tolbert as Fantasy’s premiere vulture, but if there’s a week Harris can steal a touchdown from the vulture, it’s this one. He’s an RB2 with RB1 upside this week.
WR Adam Thielen (MIN) – Are you a loan? Because you’re gaining my interest.
Adam Thielen is tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns among WRs (9). Dallas has allowed 20 passing touchdowns to WRs on the season, tied for 3rd most. When puzzle pieces fit, we celebrate, we don’t second-guess why they fit. Dial up Thielen in a prime matchup this week.
WR Terry McLaurin (WAS) – I just saw the best upsexy ever. Wait, what’s up sexy? Oh…
Terry McLaurin is 4th among WRs in receiving yards (787). He has accounted for 34.2% of Washington’s receiving yards. The Bengals allow 181 receiving yards a game to WRs on the year. McLaurin has topped 80 receiving yards in six of nine games this year. For the first time in his career, Alex Smith has thrown for over 300 yards in back-to-back games. On receptions and yards alone, McLaurin will be a WR1 this week. The upside? Cincinnati has allowed the 2nd most TDs to WRs through ten weeks (21).
WR Diontae Johnson (PIT) – Titanic. Sorry, that was a bad icebreaker. What’s up?
He is BAE. No other explanation needed. But in case you do, Johnson has a combined 28% target share in the five games he’s started and finished this year. In three of those games, he’s topped a 30% target share. There shouldn’t be any debate on who the WR1 is on the Steelers. The Jaguars have allowed the 8th most receiving yards to WRs on the year and have allowed 10 TDs. Johnson may not be the big TD guy for the Steelers, but he averages more targets per game than any other Steelers WR. And he’s the cheapest among them in DFS.
TE Darren Waller (LV) – You’re Italian, huh? I wouldn’t mind a pizza that ass.
Over his last three games against the Chiefs, Waller averages almost eight targets per game. He may have had only 48 yards against them in Week 5, but he did score a touchdown. Not sure you’ve noticed, but Waller is the only consistent threat in the Raiders’ passing offense. This is one of the few times I’m disregarding the “team covers TEs well” narrative, as KC allows the 7th fewest FPPG to TEs. Waller will be a top 12 play this week.
TE Logan Thomas (WAS) – vs CIN. Tell me what books you’ve read more than once, because you look like someone that likes to keep going after the first time you’ve finished.
Logan Thomas has been trending up as of late. He’s TE7 since Week 6 and currently leads all tight ends in routes run (333). The Bengals have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points per game to TEs on the year, so all those routes Thomas will be running should translate into fantasy success this week.
QB Tom Brady (TB) – I woke up thinking today was just another boring Monday, and then I saw your photo on my app.
The last time Tom Brady faced the Rams, it was Super Bowl LIII and he had zero touchdowns and one interception. Last time Brady faced a Jalen Ramsey-defense was Week 2 of 2018. Brady had 234 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and a lost fumble (QB16 on the week). The Rams have allowed the fewest passing touchdowns to QBs on the year (9) and just shut down Russell Wilson, who is on pace for 50 passing touchdowns on the year. Not a ton of upside for Brady this week.
QB Ryan Tannehill (TEN) – Do you mind if I walk you home? My mother always told me to follow my dreams.
Since LT Taylor Lewan tore his ACL, Tannehill is QB17. So, average. The Ravens have allowed only 11 TD passes to QBs on the year, tied for the 2nd fewest in the league. With Calais Campbell out, they gave up 121 yards to Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead scored two touchdowns. Derrick Henry will be ready to roll this week while Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters shut down A.J. Brown and Corey Davis.
RB Alvin Kamara (NO) – Are you my appendix? Because this feeling in my stomach makes me want to take you out.
With Drew Brees out, the assumption is that Sean Peyton will rely heavily on Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara to keep the offense afloat. In six career games against the Falcons, Kamara has zero rushing touchdowns. Through nine games this year, ATL is tied for the fewest rushing TDs allowed (3). With Jameis Winston at quarterback, are we sure he’s going to be looking to check it down to Kamara underneath? Over his last three years with the Bucs, Tampa Bay targeted their running backs 15.7%, 13.0%, and 17.6% of the time. Kamara currently has a 25.5% target share. With little rushing upside this week, we’re banking on Kamara’s receiving ability to keep his floor high. Feels risky this week with Winston at the helm.
RB James Robinson (JAX) – Are you made of copper and tellurium? Because you’re CuTe.
James Robinson’s passing game usage the last two games with Jake Luton as the starter — two catches for three yards. That’s it. On the season, Pittsburgh allows the fewest receptions to RBs (27). With Luton under center, Robinson is just a runner, and against the Steelers, that’s hit or miss. They allow the 10th fewest rushing yards to RBs on the season and since Week 6, have allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points per game. But they have allowed four RBs to top 13 fantasy points since Week 5. Robinson will need a touchdown for a solid day, something he’s done four times in his last four games, but PIT has allowed only five rushing touchdowns all season, tied for the 7th fewest in the league.
RB Todd Gurley (ATL) – Can I have your picture so I can show Santa what I want for Christmas?
The Saints are tied with the Falcons with the fewest rushing touchdowns allowed to RBs on the season. Gurley is 2nd to Dalvin Cook in rushing touchdowns on the season (9). Gurley offers no value in the receiving game — nine targets over his last four games — so we have to hope for a cheap touchdown or two, especially considering he’s averaging 2.6 yards per carry since Week 6.
WR Mike Evans (TB) – Are you a carbon sample? Because I want to date you.
With Tom Brady as a fade this week, it stands to reason parts of his receiving corps would follow suit. Mike Evans has been touchdown-dependent in 2020, as he averages only four receptions per game. His eight touchdown receptions are tied with D.K. Metcalf for fourth-best among WRs on the year. The Rams pass defense has allowed a league-low four touchdowns to receivers on the season. Jalen Ramsey, largely expected to be opposite Evans for much of this game, has allowed only one touchdown to a receiver this year — to Stefon Diggs in Week 3. The odds are not in Evans’ favor this week.
WR A.J. Brown (TEN) – If you were a triangle you’d be acute one.
You’ve been warned. The last time Brown was on the fade list, he scored 20 fantasy points. Call this the reverse jinx special. I mentioned Tannehill above as a quarterback who has struggled since his star LT went down with an injury. Brown had only one catch against the Colts last week, a secondary that has locked down receivers all season. Baltimore is tied with the Rams with only four touchdowns allowed to receivers on the year (4). Brown has lived and died by touchdowns this year. He hasn’t topped 9.0 fantasy points in a game unless he’s scored a touchdown. With a touchdown-or-bust mentality, Brown could struggle to deliver top 36 numbers this week.
WR Jerry Jeudy (DEN) – On a scale from 1 to 10, you’re a 9 and I’m the 1 you need.
Are we sure Drew Lock will play this week? If he does, I can’t imagine he’ll be effective. I mean, he was healthy last week and threw four interceptions against the freakin’ Raiders. The only thing the catch these days is COVID. But I digress. If Brett Rypien is the quarterback this week, that’s bad news for Jeudy. While Jeudy has 32 targets since Week 8, tied for 2nd most among WRs, he had only 13 combined in Weeks 3 and 4 with backup quarterbacks running the offense. But do you know who was WR13 in those weeks? Teammate Tim Patrick. Also not working in Jeudy’s favor is Miami’s secondary. They’ve allowed the 8th fewest touchdowns to WRs on the year. Jeudy’s battle will be an uphill one.
TE Robert Tonyan (GB) – Excuse me, do you have a band-aid? Cause I scraped my knee falling for you.
The Packers receiving corps is getting healthy. Allen Lazard was just activated; Marquez Valdes-Scantling just had over 140 yards receiving, and Davante Adams is the apple of Aaron Rodgers’ eye. So what’s left for Robert Tonyan? He hasn’t scored a touchdown in five weeks and the Colts are the only defense on the year to not allow a receiving touchdown to TEs. Tonyan is a boom-or-bust option, and this week has bust written all over it.
TE Noah Fant (DEN) – Life without you would be like a broken pencil… pointless.
Not trying to beat a dead horse, but I don’t like the Broncos this week. Miami’s defense has looked good of late and the Dolphins as a team have looked great with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. That said, Noah Fant leads the Broncos in receptions. The Dolphins have allowed the 8th fewest receptions to TEs this year. Only eight TEs scored more than 10 points last week. With either a banged-up Drew Lock or a backup QB, Fant’s upside is capped this week.
Thank you all for reading this week in and week out. Hopefully, it’s entertaining because I’m literally batting .500 on my picks this year. So, you know, good luck. Always remember, tip your servers, take care of your valets, and the love of God, wear a mask when you go out! The stranger you don’t know thanks you for helping to keep them safe.