What We Learned: Week 16
Check back here every week to listen to Tim: analyze what we saw, discuss who's trending up or down, and jump to some wild conclusions.
So About Last Week...
Remember when I said it was clear Gibson is the workhorse in this offense? Yeah.. Looks like I may have jumped the gun on that one. In week two, it was McKissic who led the backfield in receptions, targets, and fantasy points. The most concerning thing to see for Gibson owners was McKissic getting the only goal line carry of the game, argh, and also played every snap during WFT’s 2 minute drill at the end of the game. Of the two, Gibson is clearly the more efficient runner between the tackles and is going to receive most of the carries every week, but McKissic is simply too good of a player not to have a role on this offense. It is no fluke he was the most targeted RB in 2020.
Part of me wants to believe this was just a way of managing Gibson's workload on a short week, after all he did have 20 carries just four days prior. McKissic was fresh by comparison. The thing about this backfield rotation is: it works. It’s good for the team so, if it ain’t broke, I’m all of a sudden not so sure it needs fixing, so to speak. Looks like we’re gonna have to pump the breaks on Gibson’s workhorse season for now, at least until his receiving usage becomes more of a focal point.
Don't Panic on Herbert
An average of 14 PPG is not what fantasy owners were expecting when they drafted Herbert as their QB1. His fantasy totals, however, have been misleading thus far. Herbert and the Chargers have been on the receiving end of a few unfortunate penalties/bad calls in weeks one and two. We all saw that “fumble” in week one. I mean, come on. That’s a -2 Herbert did not deserve.
He had two passing TDs called back in week two because of penalties. One of those revoked TDs led to an INT soon after. That is a 6-point swing in the wrong direction. But it is not an accurate reflection of how good Herbert has played. At one point on Sunday, he had 16 consecutive completions. He has now thrown for 330+ yards and a TD in both games. He’s playing good football. He just happens to have had some bad luck to begin the season. I think he is going to be fine moving forward. Now would be a great time to buy low if the Herbert owner in your league is panicked. If you are the Herbert owner in your league, fear not friend. Better days are ahead.
Marvin Jones: WR to Own in Jacksonville
Last week DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones all seemed to get an equal piece of the pie. But in week two it was Marvin Jones who seemed to separate from the rest. He looked every bit the part of a security blanket who will be leaned on heavily by his rookie QB, finishing with six catches for 55 yards and a TD on 11 targets. In week two, during a game the Jags struggled to move the ball, Jones accounted for roughly 47 percent of Trevor Lawrence’s passing yards. Through two games he has enjoyed a 24 percent target share, A TD in each game, and an average of 18.1 PPG. He’s played 91 percent of snaps so far, more than Chark and Shenault in both games.
Now, I’m not saying he’s going to be a sure-fire weekly play, but similar to Brandin Cooks, he is the top receiving weapon on a team with a bad defense that will likely be throwing the ball a lot this season. He could quickly enter the WR3 conversation. After all, we have seen the veteran WR deliver some solid fantasy campaigns in the past.
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Jameis Revival Incoming?
I can’t lie, that Lasik eye surgery worked wonders. That makes two eye tests Jameis passed as of Sunday. He looked polished with an impressive five TD passes and no turnovers. His weapons, aside from Kamara, are a bit suspect so I don’t want to get too carried away here. But don’t forget, he’s just two years removed from finishing as the QB4 in fantasy. He is QB3 as of now.
Don’t be surprised if Juwan Johnson becomes a thing as well. There is precedent of converted receivers making for good TEs. There is also precedent of Jameis making use of his TEs in the red zone, just saying.
Antonio Gibson Workhorse Season
Based on the final fantasy point total, you would think it was a quiet day for Gibson, but what I saw was encouraging. In week one, he picked up 108 total yards on 23 touches (3 rec on 5 targets). McKissic eating into his workload and his low snap percentage have always been the main concerns for Gibson throughout the offseason, but McKissic picked up eight yards on just one touch and was only targeted once. No other Washington RB touched the ball more than twice on Sunday.
Gibson played 70% of snaps in week one, and continued to be fed even after fumbling the football. He is clearly trusted by the coaching staff and is, in my eyes, filling the workhorse role. Moving forward, I expect to see more of the same (hopefully with some more TDs sprinkled in).
Promising Lions Backfield
Before kickoff on Sunday it was announced Jamaal Williams would start and “carry the load” for the Lions. Well, even with the Lions actively trying to limit D’Andre Swift’s workload, he couldn’t be contained. He still managed to lead the backfield in carries, and pick up eight receptions on 11 targets for 65 yards and a TD. Jamaal Williams was also very productive, taking his 17 touches (8 receptions on 9 targets) for 110 total yards and a TD. And this was supposed to be a tough matchup.
I can see a scenario where Swift and Williams are both heavily involved and provide standalone value each week. I mean, Anthony Lynn is their OC so I guess we already saw that coming. Any concerns about them capping each others ceilings should be eased. Swift projects as a mid to high-end RB2 while Jamaal Williams looks like he’ll be one of the best RB3/flex options you could ask for.
Tim's top three takeaways for each week can be found in 'The Playbook' brought to you by CommishFFP ! Subscribe today to have our in-depth analysis of happenings around the league, players trending up or down, Starts/Sits, streamers and much more sent directly to your email every Tuesday!
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It’s the eighth round of a 12-team (PPR) draft. You’re on the clock.
Who would you rather have? Former undisputed fantasy WR1, and recent favorite target of Tom Brady, Antonio Brown… Or unproven Jets rookie RB (likely to split touches with Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson) Michael Carter?
It seems like an easy decision. But often times, it’s not that simple.
Let’s say, for the sake of this exercise, you’ve already drafted a QB, TE, two RBs and three WRs. Or maybe one anchor RB, and four WRs.. You wanted to secure that high-upside QB & TE, and you did. BUT.. you passed on starting RBs like Myles Gaskin, Mike Davis and Gus Edwards to do so.
Now, it’s round 8 and you need an RB2 or RB3. Unfortunately there are no RBs left that aren’t second-string or stuck in a committee. Well crap. How did we get here?
This seems like a problem many people have been running into when drafting their teams this season, especially in 12-team leagues. With season ending injuries to players like Travis Etienne, JK Dobbins, and Cam Akers, the mid-round, high-upside RB pool has thinned out more than usual. Most times, you're going to end up with a sketchy RB3 you don't have much trust in.
So, how do we solve this problem? My answer: go RB-heavy early on.
Take the two players listed above for example. You’ve made it to round eight in a 12-team league. Trust me when I say, you’d MUCH rather be looking for a WR at this point than an RB.
RBs available in 8th round range (84-96 overall):
Michael Carter, Sony Michel, AJ Dillon, Zach Moss, James Conner
All are players that are either a second option on their team, or are stuck in a timeshare/committee and are FAR from a safe bet. On the other hand..
Some WRs available in same range:
Antonio Brown, Jarvis Landry, Corey Davis, Will Fuller, Marquez Callaway
All of these players are not only likely to score more consistent weekly points than the RBs listed above, they all offer LEAGUE WINNING UPSIDE !!!
But if you wont take it from me, how about from Matthew Berry? In the TMR’s ‘7 habits of highly effective drafters’ article, he lists understanding position depth as a key to being an effective drafter. He details the difference in fantasy points between a top-20 RB and a top-20 WR, and how over the last decade numbers have proven you’re MUCH more likely to find a WR1 in the WR2 pool than vice versa with RBs. I would highly recommend checking it out as he puts it much better than I could. I’ll post a link to it below.
In essence, Berry tells that the average drop-off in points among RB2s and WR2s is, on average, a nearly a 20 percent difference. Long story short: WR is always deep, QB is usually pretty deep, RB hardly ever is, and is the last position you want to wait on.
The solution, in my opinion, is to grab as many top-30 RB's as you can before it is too late. Trust me when I say, you can wait on WRs. There are plenty of trustworthy options with a clear path to fantasy-friendly usage in rounds 6-10. The same can't be said of RB's.
Now, am I recommending you pass on Tyreek Hill in the second round to draft D'Andre Swift? Absolutely not. I'm not suggesting you grab someone you know is going to score less points than the player you want. I'm simply suggesting you bolster depth at a position where depth is hard to come by.
The fact is, fantasy WRs literally grow on trees. It happens every year. Take Travis Fulgham last season for example. Did he get drafted on fantasy teams last season? No he did not. Did he have a stretch of games where he basically put up low-end WR1, high-end WR2 numbers? He absolutely did.
How about QB/TE? If you want to grab your TE/QB early, my advice is to pick one, and punt the other.
As for TE, If you can secure Kelce, Waller, Kittle, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, TJ Hockenson I certainly wouldn't blame you for taking that route. But if you miss on those guys, you don't have to feel like it's time to panic and reach. There are plenty of intriguing, albeit less safe, options going later like, for example, Logan Thomas (ADP: 96th overall, finished last season as TE3 in total points, undrafted ADP in 2020). RBs available in that range listed above.
As for QB, the minimum requirement for a good fantasy QB is a lot more lenient than any other position. Sure, it is nice to have a solid bet for elite production like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, etc. But you don't always have to spend one of your top-five/six picks to get that. Ryan Tannehill was/is a fine late-round option that scores consistent points and offers elite upside, and can normally be drafted AFTER you have 4WRs/4RBs and a TE. Last season, Josh Allen's ADP was QB10, Aaron Rodgers was QB13! How outrageous does that sound knowing how they performed?
My point is, it's fine to grab an elite option at either QB or TE early on, but if you grab both, your depth (at least for one position) will often suffer as a result.
Hopefully the position it doesn't suffer is your RB slot, because to overcome that, it'll be an uphill battle.
Photo courtesy of @TimsFantasyTips on Instagram
Antonio Brown and Michael Carter are going in the same range in fantasy football drafts this season. One clearly has more upside, so why is the decision so close? Read the enclosed article to find out!
Tim Brosnan, Fantasy Sports Analyst/Freelance Journalist
Tim Brosnan is a college-educated sports journalist from the New Haven, Connecticut area.
The Playbook by CommishFFP
Brosnan earned his Bachelor's Degree from Castleton University where he majored in Media & Communication, with a focus in Journalism.
During his tenure as the sports editor of the Castleton Spartan newspaper, Brosnan created the segment 'Tim's Fantasy Tips'. It began as a simple weekly start/sit column, but since then, the idea has grown into so much more.
Brosnan has taken his experience/passion for pro football/fantasy sports and combined it with his journalistic know-how in order to bring you a completely original, well-informed, multi-layered fantasy football advice experience.
We hope you enjoy.