Welcome back fellow Nerds to the latest edition of what we learned. It’s amazing to me the amount of work and time we put into our dynasty teams all year long and the season just seems to be over in the blink of an eye. We are already ten weeks down and facing the last few games before the dynasty playoffs hit and for some of our teams it’s time to go all in looking to win that title to add to our collections and for others, it’s the Saquon Barkley sweepstakes depending on your league setup. This crazy game we play is both fun and frustrating and there’s no substitute for taking home that dynasty championship at the end of the year. Hope you guys like this week’s article let’s get into it.
- Believe In Funchess
I think all dynasty owners go through this year in and year out and while nobody is perfect in their rookie scouting it’s just important to be right more than you’re wrong on players. I can probably list off twenty players who fall into the hype category every year or when they come into the NFL and more times than not situation does play a huge role in a player’s upside. Devin Funchess entered his rookie season a month away from turning 21 coming out of Michigan where he played TE more than WR and landed with a run-first offense in Carolina with a dominant red zone threat in recently traded Kelvin Benjamin. Fast forward two seasons later, Funchess, is the number one WR on the Panthers getting better every single game and currently ranks as the WR12 in PPR leagues. Funchess has five touchdowns this year and two multiple touchdown games so far in 2017. Benjamin being traded and a season-ending injury to rookie WR Curtis Samuel have Funchess in line for a big end of the season with Cam Newton. Funchess is a clear case of going after your guy in rookie drafts when you want them. Players that don’t cost much in rookie drafts with youth and upside on their side can pay off big time. Stefon Diggs is another amazing example of this. Late round rookie picks don’t always pan out especially this fast but if you as a dynasty owner do the work you can gain a major advantage on your league mates by drafting these guys vs having to pay a premium price for them when they prove how good they are. Take notes and be more aware of these players coming out of college so you don’t have to listen to analysts break them down. The work you put in all offseason is how you land these players.
Often times as the year moves along we see some of the better fantasy players from a year ago struggle and it’s hard to figure out why. There’s so much information out there now on Twitter or just talking football with some very knowledgeable people that you can point to the why almost instantly as the weeks progress. I found some interesting nuggets I wanted to share with you guys on a few teams and how it impacts dynasty players. The Denver Broncos are 32nd in the NFL in turnover margin at -14 what was believed to be a dominant defense has only forced seven turnovers this season. This is a telling stat for an already struggling offense with lackluster QB play it severely limits possessions especially red zone opportunities with no chance of a short field to work with. This would explain why Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have combined for three receiving touchdowns this year and C.J Anderson one rushing touchdown. No argument the three most talented fantasy producers for the Broncos have struggled because of this. The Cincinnati Bengals are rushing for a league-worst 70 yards per game. Mixon to the Bengals seemed to be a good fit for dynasty owners but it really hasn’t been much of the case and mainly due to a terrible offensive line who just can’t run block. The Bengals have always had two decent backs that have been fantasy relevant that is very untrue in 2017. Gio Bernard who has been the PPR specialist has 113 rushing yards and zero touchdowns heading into week 11. Joe Mixon currently has 321 yards and three touchdowns two of which have come in the last two games. This is a bad situation for dynasty owners and I know we are constantly thinking this is Joe Mixon week but constantly the Bengals RBs disappoint over and over. I wouldn’t give up hope as there will be a big change in Cincy after this season and hopefully, it revives this running game that is on life support at the moment. Last stat I’ll leave you with is a positive it’s not a huge shocker here but the only team in the NFL averaging 300 yards passing is the New England Patriots this shouldn’t shock many with Tom Brady as the quarterback on the flip side of this the Pats are also allowing the most pass yards this season with an average of 287 per game. Now, this doesn’t exactly scream value with quarterbacks like Jay Cutler, Tyrod Taylor and Josh McCown in their division but for fantasy purposes, matchups against the Patriots should be a huge plus for dynasty owners. Also with the addition of Martellus Bennett back to the Patriots expect more touchdowns from Brady as he has had two touchdowns or less in six of nine games this year.
Snap Counts, Target Share, and Touches
As dynasty owners living and breathing this stuff all year round we know who the studs on our team are and when they underperform. Found some interesting numbers that illustrate how effective these players are for their teams and our dynasty teams. Start off with RBs and these insane total team touches numbers Lev Bell is on pace for the second most in a season all-time and currently is seeing 57.3% of the touches for the Steelers the second closest is Jordan Howard with 46.2% for the Chicago Bears. Fair to say we can all agree David Johnson uninjured would possibly be flirting with those same numbers Bell is and this equals absolute stud RB in all dynasty formats. Next, we dive into snap counts this stat is very revealing for those RBBC teams as it helps us see either who the coaches trust the most or who the gameplan favors from week to week. Shockingly for me, this was on the Patriots backfield which has notoriously been a headache for dynasty owners and next to impossible to figure out every season. We left Dion Lewis for dead last season and he has at least 12 touches each of his last four games while scoring three total touchdowns. Most of the preseason love was for Mike Gillislee who seemed to be the replacement for Blount who scored 18 touchdowns in 2016. Gillislee has been a nonfactor since Rex Burkhead returned from injury. Since his return, Burkhead has seen his snap percentage go from 18% to 31% to 51% this past weekend. For the time being Burkhead seems to be the flavor of the month in New England. Following snap counts weekly for RBBC teams is a smart move for those with depth at RB. Lastly, we cover target shares, this is one of my personal favorite stats. In the game of dynasty, WR are king well they used to be anyway. Looking at the league leaders in target shares for their respective teams there’s no surprise here Nuk Hopkins leads the league with 34.1% followed by Antonio Brown with 32.1% and Jarvis Landry at 29.5%. Not shockingly Nuk and A.B also have the most WR1 weeks with five each. Landry leads the NFL in receptions. The resurgence of the Saints has killed the value of Drew Brees and since the bye, in week 5 Michael Thomas has seen 31% of the Saints targets. This stat directly shows how involved these WRs are in their team’s gameplan and offense consistently. The crazy thing is in A.B and Thomas’ case both of their teams are heavily relying on the run this season and they are still putting up consistent numbers. These numbers can help you from week to week with dynasty values and should be something to keep an eye on.
The RB Report
It wouldn’t be a W.W.L article without the RB report from last week. We saw Austin Ekeler finish as an RB1 and both Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara finish as RB1s and move them both into top 7 RBs for the season. Crazy stat of the year for RBs we have had nine different weeks a rookie has finished as a top 12 RB. Below average performances from the top tier backs this week as Gurley and Bell were the only RBs to finish as top 5 RBs this week. The emergence of Kenyan Drake in Miami and the effectiveness of Ekeler and Coleman in relief of Gordon and Freeman is a win this week for the zero RB crowd. Easier schedule coming up for Kareem Hunt and Fournette who both should start turning it around in terms of finding the end zone in the coming weeks. Same story different week start your studs but study the matchups for zero RB targets to plug and play each week.
Studying The Pass Catchers
We are ten weeks in I’m not telling you guys anything you don’t already know most likely. First look at the most targeted red zone pass catchers. Davante Adams ranks first for WRs with 17 total and Jimmy Graham is the most targeted TE also with 17. Adams holding strong as WR10 in PPR leagues even with Brett Hundley at QB while Graham is currently TE5 even though he didn’t score a touchdown until week five. While we are on TEs we have to mention the steal of the rookie draft Evan Engram. Engram has been nothing short of spectacular for dynasty owners he has had either 60+ yards or a touchdown in six of his first nine games. Dynasty owners have to be floored with the upside of Engram he’s a matchup nightmare for defenses and has shown so much production in his rookie season. While we are on the Giants we have to talk about Sterling Shepard. Dynasty owners still mourning the loss of OBJ and what could have been for Brandon Marshall but Shepard left as the sole survivor has not disappointed since returning from his injury. Last two weeks Shepard has had 16 receptions for 212 yards on 22 targets. Shepard is as good as advertised when he’s featured in the offense and pairing him with Beckham should be enough to make any QB in NY fantasy relevant. Stay in the division and shift over to Washington to talk Josh Doctson. Doctson unhealthy all of his rookie year and looked to be the odd man out starting 2017 with Pryor coming over from the Browns but in the last few weeks, we have seen the emergence of Doctson. Dynasty owners have to be excited about the dynasty value going forward for Doctson in week ten he ran a route on 94% of Cousins dropbacks. Doctson was also shadowed by all-pro Xavier Rhodes which is the highest compliment. Moving on to the curious case of Jarvis Landry the WR8 in PPR leagues. Landry is one the hardest players to figure out, he currently ranks number one in receptions but 38th in yards. I just can’t explain how this happens but a positive sign for Landry is he has five touchdowns in nine games in each of his first three seasons he hasn’t had more than five. I can throw WR stats at you all day but you guys know most of this already. Touchdown regression has haunted most of the stud WRs through ten weeks and we can only hope that changes as the fantasy playoffs get here.
That’s it for this week guys I appreciate all the love and support for the dynasty nerds. We try to keep you guys ahead of the competition on a weekly basis to bring home those dynasty championships. Everything we do is well received by the community and it’s very much appreciated. As usual, hit me up on twitter to talk dynasty anytime and hope the content helps this week and going forward. Check back with you Nerds next week go get that win!