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.
Houston's Backfield Is A Mess
You would think after Mark Ingram was traded, David Johnson or Phillip Lindsay would be in line to see increased touches. Instead it was Rex Burkhead who led the backfield in receptions and total touches in week eight. Just like we all planned. But he wasn’t even the one who led the team in carries. It wasn’t Lindsay or Johnson either. Instead, it was Scottie Phillips who paced the Texans with five carries. Because that makes total sense, right?
For those of us hoping for an increased role for Johnson, a player who has proved his fantasy worth as a receiving back multiple times over (including last year’s fantasy playoffs) it looks like we’re SOL. Even in a game where they were trailing for it’s entirety and were in a pass-heavy game script, David Johnson touched the ball just three times. Phillip Lindsay has struggled with efficiency all year. The former 1,000-yard rusher appears to be chopped liver at this point, playing just 13 percent of snaps, and is not worth weekly fantasy consideration.
I wouldn’t recommend any Houston RB, but it appears Rex Burkhead is the one who benefited most from the departure of Ingram. The former Patriot played on 49 percent of Texans snaps this week and is, at the very least, worth a flex stash.
Michael Carter Breakout Campaign Starting To Take Shape
In week eight, nobody’s stock went up more than Michael Carter. With Mike White under center, it appears the rookie RB has finally broken out. Carter’s role has grown over the past month, outscoring his previous fantasy total for four consecutive weeks. He now has four games in a row with double-digit PPR points. He has played 70+ percent of snaps two weeks in a row.
The Jets have shown that Carter is their preferred goal-line back, which is ideal for fantasy purposes. But perhaps the best/most surprising part of this recent swing is his involvement in the receiving game. In two games with Mike White under center, Carter has a combined 23 targets, 17 receptions and 162 receiving yards. In week eight, Carter took his season-high 24 touches for 172 total yards, a TD and a career-high 32.2 fantasy points. He now has no less than 14.8 points in any game since week four.
With top RBs dropping like flies, I’d try to trade for Carter if you can. He has two tough matchups in a row, but after that, three incredibly soft ones. He will also be facing both Miami and Jacksonville in the fantasy playoffs. All of a sudden, Carter has entered the high-end RB2 conversation, with a chance to push for RB1 numbers. That sounds insane to say about someone who plays for the Jets, but let’s be honest, they have proved to be scrappier than anyone had imagined this season.
Terry McLaurin Rollercoaster Continues
After another disappointing performance from the Washington offense, Terry has officially become the poster-child for the term “boom or bust”. After a three-catch, 6.3-point performance against the Broncos, McLaurin now has 10.2 points or less in five of his eight games this season. He is clearly an outstanding talent, with 25 or more (PPR) points in his other three games, but despite averaging 10 targets per game McLaurin has been largely unreliable.
It pains me to say that about one of my favorite players, but at the same time I refuse to admit it is his own fault. He has never had consistent high-level QB play, and that’s just a fact. Unfortunately, it looks like that isn’t going to change anytime soon, as long as Taylor Heinicke remains at QB for the Football Team. Heinicke started relatively hot, with multiple TDs in three of his first four games. He has just three total TDs in the four games since. As much as I hate to say it, until Fitzpatrick returns Terry can’t be considered a set-it and forget-it. He is more accurately considered a low-end WR2 with WR1 upside. Excuse me while I go into the other room and cry.
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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.
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