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.
1. Highest scoring week ever?
Week five of the 2019 season could go down in history as the highest scoring week in fantasy football history. In PPR scoring, 52 players scored over 15 points. 28 players scored over 20, and only eight of them were QBs. 10 players and a D/ST scored over 30, five players scored over 40, and one rose above the rest and score over 50.
Will Fuller EXPLODED against the Falcons in week five for a ridiculous 53.7 PPR points. Fuller had 14 catches on 16 targets for 217 yards and three TD's. He could have had five TD's but was tackled on the one-yard line twice. Had he scored those two TD's, he would have had the record for THE most PPR points in a single game in NFL history. Jerry Rice holds the record with 65.5 points thanks to13 catches for 225 yards and five TD's, also against the Falcons. It is often referred to as the greatest receiving performance of all time. That’s pretty good company to be in.
But it wasn't just Fuller putting up otherworldly numbers. Deshaun Watson, Christian McCaffery (who has the most scrimmage yards through the first five games of a season since Jim Brown), Michael Thomas and Aaron Jones all went over 40 PPR points in week five as well. DJ Chark, Chris Godwin (who is on pace for 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns by the way), Adam Thielen, Matt Ryan, Amari Cooper and the Eagles D/ST all went north of 30 points. Josh Jacobs (29.3), Russell Wilson (29.9), Allen Robinson (28.7) and Tyler Boyd (28.3) were all less than two points away from cracking the mark as well.
It's safe to say fantasy points were insanely abundant this week. To put it in to perspective, in a DraftKings double up, where all you have to do is finish in the top 50% to double your money, my lineup (in the early window of games only) scored 190 points this week... and I didn’t win. That means in a lobby of 6,000 people, at least 3,000 of them scored more than 190 points with a lineup of nine players (over 21 points per player).
As far as I can tell, this was a record setting week in terms of points scored. I tried to look it up but I refuse to scroll past the first page of Google. Right now, we’re being spoiled with potentially the most entertaining season in NFL history... Unless you’re a Jets fan *puts self in time-out*. We just need to make sure we don’t take this frenzy for granted.
Aaron Jones waves to the Cowboys' Byron Jones en route to scoring a touchdown. (Photo: Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports)
2. Mike Evans: Erased
Zero catches. Zero yards. Zero idea what just happened. In a week with such an astronomical amount of fantasy points scored, Evans must not have gotten the memo. He played a second-fiddle to Chris Godwin's production for the second week in a row, and for the fourth time this season. It begs the question, is Evans still a WR1?
I want to think so, and I’m still holding out hope. I trust his talent and history of production of course, but I’m not so sure I trust his role anymore. It may be time to downgrade him to more of an elite-upside WR2.
3. Lamar Jackson continues to struggle as a passer
In week five, Jackson had a season-low 161 pass yards, while adding 70 rush yards, just one TD, and three interceptions for a season-worst 11.4 fantasy points. Week five was the first time this season Jackson scored under 20 fantasy points. He has five picks, two fumbles and has taken nine sacks over the last two games.
While his recent play would indicate Jackson is on the decline, it's worth noting he just tied his backup (RG3) as the youngest QB to reach 1,000 career rushing yards in NFL history. His rushing production provides him with possibly the highest fantasy floor of all the QB's in the league. He's in the prime of his career. Regardless of how he's looked these past two weeks, and I still view him as a top-five play/a must-start.
4. Who has a worse defense, Miami or Atlanta?
After giving up 53 points to the Texans in week five, I'm not convinced that Atlanta's defense isn't one of the worst in the NFL. But are they as bad as Miami? Let's compare.
Atlanta entered the week second only to Miami in fantasy points allowed to QBs this season. After their disastrous week five performance while the Dolphins were on bye, they’ve no doubt taken the lead. The Falcons D/ST had -10 fantasy points in week five, the worst performance since the Dolphins put up -11 in week one. Atlanta allowed five passing TD's, a perfect passer rating of 158.3, and 30+ fantasy points to Deshaun Watson in week five. Miami allowed five TD's, a perfect passer rating of 158.3 and 30+ fantasy points to Lamar Jackson in week one. Atlanta is currently allowing an average of 29 real-life PPG, Miami is allowing and average of38 real-life PPG.
For now, it looks like Miami has the edge, but it’s embarrassingly close for Atlanta. This can only bode well for the fantasy prospects of the Falcons offense who will, no doubt, have to put forth a lot of points each week if they want to compete.
5. Nothing makes sense in London
I’ve been saying it to the Josh Jacobs doubters all week, it doesn’t matter what a team or their opponent is playing like, all bets are off across the pond.
After allowing no more than 15 points in any game this season, the Oakland Raiders, of all people, dropped 24 points on the Chicago Bears, handing them their second loss of the season. Josh Jacobs went off for 128 yards an d two TD's in what should have been his toughest matchup to date. Derek Carr didn’t take one sack. Khalil Mack only had three tackles, and had minimal impact on this game. Allen Robinson caught two TD's from backup QB Chase Daniel, after having zero from Mitchell Trubisky all season.
I've said it before but I'll say it again. When it comes to football, nothing, I repeat, NOTHING makes sense in London. No trends are safe. The people of London must think the Jaguars are the best team in the NFL after the games they've had there the past couple of years.
6. Cooper Kupp: Legit WR1
Four weeks in a row with 100+ yards, at least one TD in his last three games. He was one yard away from having a TD in four-straight. As I'm writing this he's the number one wide receiver in fantasy. His ADP this year was round five, after his teammates Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, who he is out playing by a mile.
Jared Goff can't get enough of Kupp. He is THE most targeted player in the NFL as of now with 63 total targets, eight more than the second-most targeted player Michael Thomas.
You're probably kicking yourself if you slept on him in this years draft, and probably raising a glass to yourself if you did the opposite. Most people likely forgot he was WR7 in fantasy prior to going down with a knee injury last year. He's a legit candidate to break 100 receptions, 1,000 yards, and double-digit TD's this season. Sounds like WR1 numbers to me. It's possible he is the biggest draft-day steal of 2019.
I doubt anybody is looking to trade him at the moment, but his value is currently sky-high. It's possible you could get multiple underperforming superstars for one Cooper Kupp right now. While I'm not encouraging you to trade him, it's certainly something worth keeping in mind. Especially if you drafted him as your flex.
7. Rookie QBs shine
Gardner Minshew may not have walked away with a win in week five, but the Mustached Magician set a new career-high in passing yards (374) and fantasy points (21.2).
Minshew, along with being the most interesting QB in the NFL, has had one of the safest floors among QB's this season (no less than 16.1 points in all five of his games). Week five marked the first time this season Minshew has scored over 20 fantasy points. I suspect it won't be the last.
Kyler Murray also shined in week five. While he had no TD passes for the second game in a row, he set a career-high for rush yards (93) and fantasy points (25.1). Murray has had his struggles this season, but he now has at least 240 yards in four of his five games, no less than 16.3 points in any game, and has scored a rushing TD in back to back weeks. He's starting to make plays with his legs and fantasy owners love to see that.
Both rookie QB's have proven themselves to be viable starting options in fantasy, and while I wouldn't label them as top-12 options just yet, I wouldn't be surprised to see them finish there.
8. Despite 1-4 start Matt Ryan on pace for 5,000 yards
Although the Falcons have won just one game this season, a game they should have lost by the way (*cough* Nelson Agholor *cough*). Ryan is managing to stay afloat in fantasy. He joins Patrick Mahomes as one of the only two QB's in the league to have thrown for at least 300 yards in every game this season. He's averaging 331 passing yards and 21.5 fantasy PPG.
Some of it may be due to the fact that their defense is horrendous and the Falcons have no choice but to throw in order to keep up. Some of it may have to due with the fact that he's mostly playing indoors this season. Whatever the case, Matt Ryan is on pace to throw for 5,000 yards this season. Although he has just two games with over 20 fantasy points this season, I expect him to end the season as a top-five fantasy QB, especially if Atlanta's defense continues to play as bad as they have.
9. Two Words: Byron. Pringle.
Forget Demarcus Robinson, forget Mecole Hardman, forget Travis Kelce, forget Sammy Watkins, forget all your fantasy football knowledge, forget all logic and forget common sense. Patrick Mahomes doesn't seem to care about any of those things.
Instead of throwing to a player with more than two catches prior to week five, it was the receiver with the same last name as a can of potato chips that Mahomes chose as his favorite target in week five. Pringle led the Chiefs with six catches for 103 yards and one TD against the Colts. To be fair, Watkins went down in the first quarter with an injury, but Robinson and Hardman have no excuse for being out-produced by their depth chart inferior.
After throwing for 10 TD's over the first three weeks, Mahomes now has just one in his last two games. While I wouldn't expect him to be contained forever, just like I wouldn't expect to hear from Pringle ever again once Tyreek Hill returns, it is interesting to see that Patrick Mahomes is, in fact, a human being.
10. Good time to buy low on several studs
There are several big-name fantasy studs that have underwhelmed in recent aweeks, and we all know how thin patience can be in fantasy-land. This week could be your best/last chance all season to buy-low on some fantasy super stars. Without further ado, here are my top buy-low candidates:
Bell has less than 50 rush yards and 16 PPR points in back to back weeks. He has no more than 68 rush yards in any game this year. Still, even though things have been rough for the 0-4 Jets, Bell is one of my favorite buy-low candidates.
He’s averaging right around seven catches per game, has two 20+ fantasy point games under his belt this season, and should get Sam Darnold back very soon. Once Darnold returns, the Jets offensive efficiency should take a big leap forward, opening up the door for more scoring opportunities for Bell. As of now, due to the fact he’s only got one TD this season and he's on one of the worst teams in professional football, chances are whoever owns him is willing to trade him for much less than I believe he’s really worth.
Hopkins is averaging just 59 yards and has no TD’s over the past four weeks. I can’t imagine whoever owns him in your league enjoyed Will Fuller hogging all the points in week five. There's a good chance they are fed up. This week may be your last chance to get Hopkins for cheap.
A goose egg. A GOOSE EGG?!! His production took a backseat to Chris Godwin's for the second week in a row. His week three explosion is slowly starting to look like an outlier. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that there is nothing like a goose egg to have fantasy owners cursing your name and wanting nothing to do with you. Especially in a week where fantasy points were so easy to come by. Evans might have to be downgraded from a bonafied WR1 to more of a high end WR2. Still, with a player as talented as him anything less than WR1 value should be considered as buy-low.
Jones now has back to back weeks with 0 TDs and less than 55 yards/10 PPR points. Julio owners will likely be more patient with him than they would be with others, ya know, considering he's Julio Jones. But still, it's worth a shot to see if his recent play has his owner worried.
Zeke has now been held under 65 rush yards three times in five games this season. He has 17 or less PPR points the past three weeks. He's maxed out at exactly 20 PPR points this season. His numbers aren’t bad, but they aren’t Zeke numbers. Even though he has four TD's in five games, his value may be at the lowest it’ll be all season. Chances are whoever owns him isn’t impressed with his play as of late. It could be your best shot to acquire Zeke for less than RB1 value.
With each passing week it’ll get harder to buy-low on Hill, but it’ll be nothing like trying to trade for him once he gets back to action. I suggest you attempt to make a move for him before he scorches this first defense he plays. This may be your last week to get Tyreek for less than he’s worth.
After a ridiculous start to the season, where Allen had no less than 8 catches or 98 yards in three straight games, he’s had just a combined 9 catches for 66 yards in the two weeks following. Fantasy owners won’t be as quick to forget his early season production, but his price should be much lower than it was after week three.
Kelce is much less of a buy-low than the other players on this list. He has no less than 70 yards in any game this season, but so far has gone over 15 points just once. What sticks out most is that he only has one TD this season. some may perceive his lack of TD production as a drop in value. It can't hurt to ask the Kelce owner in your league what he'd expect in return to try and gauge his perceived value.
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.