Welcome to Toad’s Fantasy Football Weekly Review, where I summarize the aftermath of the past Thursday through Sunday games, but more importantly ten thoughts and their lasting fantasy impact.
1. Jameis Winston re-aggravates his shoulder injury and the rest of the Week 9 injuries.
Winston got hit by Saints DE Alex Okafor and re-aggravated his shoulder injury that first occurred in week six. Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced him for the remainder of the game and will be a comparable replacement. The flow of the offense shouldn’t change too much as Fitz has given Winston a spell in week six and the offense did not skip a beat. There is a greater risk for turnovers. The ugliest injury of the week has to go to Winston’s teammate, DE William Gholston who was carried off in a stretcher after suffering a neck injury that kept him out of for the rest of the game.
• Seahawks RB Eddie Lacy suffered a groin injury, further muddling the latest shuffling of who will be Seattle’s lead back.
• Redskins TE Jordan Reed left his week eight contest with a sore hamstring. Water is wet, the sky is blue, Jordan Reed is hurt again, what else is new? If this injury holds up then Vernon Davis is the TE1 in reserve waiting.
• Cowboys WR Dez Bryant left Sunday’s game with the Chiefs in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.
• Jets WR Jeremy Kerley left the Thursday night game early with an ankle injury. He was developing good rhythm with Josh McCown. If sidelined, more attention will be given to Robby Anderson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
• After catching his first touchdown, Bills WR Zay Jones injured his right leg after being tripped. He’ll be day-to-day until it’s evaluated this week.
• Broncos RB C.J. Anderson’s bent his leg awkwardly in a pile up in the first quarter. He left the game under his own power and returned to the game before halftime.
• Texans TE Ryan Griffin suffered a concussion and will be in protocol this week.
• The 49ers were the hardest hit by injuries losing TE George Kittle early in the game with a leg injury but returned after his replacement Cole Hukutini suffered a knee injury. LB Reuben Foster got a leg injury trying to make a stop on Cards’ RB Adrian Peterson. Foster left the field on his own. Safety Jaquiski Tartt hurt his arm in the sequent quarter and it wound up being a broken arm and the young safety in his third season is done for the year.
2. Just remember, that’s Brissett, not BBQ Brisket
Just because Brissett threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, doesn’t mean that everyone should be rushing out to see if he can be your new starting quarterback. He’s had four games of note. Against the Browns on September 24 where he threw for 259 yards, threw for one touchdown and rushed for two more. He threw for 314 yards against the 49ers on October 8 with one rushing touchdown. In week eight, Brissett threw for 233 and two touchdowns against the Bengals.
Of those performances, he was 3-1 and beat teams that he should have. The Browns, 49ers and the Texans who without Deshaun Watson hiding the glaring holes on defense are a shell of what they were in the month of October. Brissett beating up teams that he’s supposed to is a good thing. That means there’s something to build on. He’s worth at least a streaming start against weak teams, but there are very few of those left on his schedule. With the Steelers, Titans, Jaguars, Bills, and Broncos up next, the first real break Brissett has is against the Texans again in week seventeen.
3. Quarterbacks doing too much
Guess who was in the top five rushers in week nine. If you guessed two quarterbacks, you’d be right. Seattle’s Russell Wilson led the team in rushing for the third time this season. That didn’t stop him from throwing for nearly 300 yards again though. Newton on the other hand has led the Panthers in rushing for four straight weeks. Interestingly, Newton’s passing yards have decreased each week in those last four games. When your quarterback is consistently left both of these teams are struggling to score offense.
4. The Titans passing game remains volatile
Between Delanie Walker’s injuries, Corey Davis returning, Eric Decker in the mix and more trying to pin a tail on the roving donkey has been tough for fantasy owners. I’ve fielded a lot of questions about Corey Davis and the truth is, he’s a rookie, just like Tawan Taylor and rookie receivers don’t usually make a huge impact unless they’re special, one-of-a-kind talents. Consider this week to be ground zero and right now Rishard Matthews has a leg up on everyone, along with Walker as long as he’s healthy. Decker and Matthews are getting red zone looks and Davis, as talented as he is and Taylor are wild cards at this point and probably for the remainder of the year. Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are all worth owning and starting but after that, it’s a pure guessing game as far as who gets the hot hands and Mariota’s eye.
5. Denver’s biggest problem is in the backfield not under center.
It’s true, we could labor over who is playing worse at quarterback, Trevor Siemian or Brock Osweiler, but the source of Denver’s problems is in the backfield. They have no ability to control the clock and the pace of the game if they can’t get C.J. Anderson going. Even with Anderson struggling or in this case, he was injured for a portion of the game, the Broncos opted for more Devontae Booker than Jamaal Charles. In total, the three of them combined for 19 carries for 35 yards and no scores. During this four-game skid, the Broncos backfield managed 177 yards in week eight but just 69 yards in week seven, and 46 yards in week six. The quarterback play is something that will continue being a project but if this team could consistently run the ball at a high level, it could get by with a subpar signal caller.
6. Wendell Smallwood is the big loser in the Eagles’ crowded backfield
Thought to have a handful of carries in his first game as a member of the Eagles, Jay Ajayi rattled off a 46-yard touchdown run. Perhaps that’s a preview of things to come but the real winner in week nine was Corey Clement who scored three touchdowns and carried the ball 12 times for 51 yards. This was an absolute head-scratcher as it looked like Blount and Ajayi would carry the team with Wendell Smallwood and Clement sprinkled in.
Meanwhile, Smallwood has had three straight negative box scores and is trending in the wrong direction. If Clement continues to be the third back in this offense, Smallwood could all but forgotten.
7. The Dolphins as we currently understand them
With Jay Cutler back under center, the offense looked restored, though the running game still needs work. Take away Kenyon Drake’s 42-yard run, and the Phins would have 44 yards on 17 carries. Damien Williams and Drake each caught all of their six targets and it was an even split down the middle as far as carries were concerned. So moving forward we can assume that he will be a 50/50 split, even in passing situations. For one week, it looks like they didn’t need Ajayi, but let’s see how the duo performs against an above average run defense.
The rest of the targets were spread all around and the forgotten one, tight end Julius Thomas got on the board in 2017 with six catches off of eight targets to lead Miami with 84 receiving yards and a touchdown. The question is, can all of this carry over into week ten or will it be scrapped for a new game plan?
8. Don’t sleep on the Buffalo Bills receivers
Wide Receiver was a major problem for the Bills in the first half of the season but seemingly overnight they have overhauled it and could be the group to turn the season around for fantasy owners. They now have three, potentially four legitimate fantasy starters on their team.
Jordan Matthews is healthy and is the primary slot receiver. Kelvin Benjamin was acquired via trade and will be the team’s deep flyer. Deonte Thompson can lineup all over the field. Then there’s Zay Jones who scored his first touchdown of the season after trying to get ahead of the learning curve. In the AFC Battle of New York, LeSean McCoy was forgotten in the game plan once the Jets began to pull away but Tyrod Taylor and the Bills’ air attack is worth noting moving forward and will be tough to ignore much longer. If you need to salvage your season, look no further.
9. Marshon Lattimore does it again
So, do you still need convincing that the Saints rookie cornerback is deserving of the rookie of the year? He just held Mike Evans to one catch for 13 yards. Normally a receiver who gets 8-12 targets per game had just six thrown in his direction. What’s my point here? Matchup matter and you need to respect these cornerbacks that receivers will be up against if you want to have success in fantasy.
To quote the October 25th edition of The New Orleans Advocate, “according to Pro Football Focus, against the Patriots, Dolphins, Lions and Packers, Lattimore allowed 10 catches on 20 targets for 81 yards.” He got under the skin of Evans so much that he caused a brawl as Jameis Winston and Lattimore got into it on the sidelines. Evans rushed in on a cheap shot to Lattimore and somehow stayed in the game. Unlike another legit cornerback…
10. Jalen Ramsey found a new way to defend
In what was pandemonium, Bengals receiver A.J. Green turned the NFL into the WWE as he overreacted to Jalen Ramsey shutting him down up to that point. Green was targeted twice up to that point and had one catch for six yards. Green got shoved at the end of a play and to say he lost his cool was an understatement as he proceeded to put Ramsey in a choke hold before attempting to pummel Ramsey (with his helmet on). Both players were ejected, which hurt the Bengals more than it did Jacksonville, because they still have A.J. Bouye, what do the Bengals have besides Green on the outside edges?
My point again is that if you know your receiver is going up against Ramsey, Lattimore or another elite cornerback, sit him down. Knowing every individual defensive player and their skills isn’t necessary to succeed in fantasy, but it does help predict when your placer is in for a long day. You should know some key players like corners for receivers, safeties and outside linebackers for tight ends, and linebackers and some defensive linemen of note for running backs.Ramsey and Lattimore are the youngest and brightest of a group of 10-12 quality corners in the league that you need to know their health and preferred method of coverage each week.
In a big bye week, there were only five receivers that went over 100 yards, including one tight end, and Ramsey and Lattimore prevented at least two more this past week.