Welcome back to W.W.L as we look back at last weekend’s games. The offensive output through the first five games of the season has had the majority of the dynasty community happy however we took a slight step back in week six. In week six we had defenses step up with six teams scoring 14 points or less, no need to worry as eleven teams still scored 30 plus points with four teams putting up 40 points or more. Week seven is already here so let’s get into this weeks talking points. Hope you all enjoy the content and hoping this helps build those dynasty teams for this year and the future.
- Zero RB / Bell Cow Report
We start with our biggest movers in the rankings. Through the first four weeks, Austin Ekeler was the RB11 and Isaiah Crowell the RB22. Here we are two weeks later and Ekeler is the RB17 while Crowell has moved into the RB1 territory as RB12 overall. The RB landscape in dynasty is usually not this up and down but I chose two zero RB guys to show how fast things can change. Ekeler who still leads NFL RBs in yards per touch has seen a big dip in production as backfield running mate Melvin Gordon has exploded. Ekeler has only seen double-digit carries once this season which is something dynasty owners expected but his lack of production in the passing game was unexpected. The past three weeks Ekeler has three total catches while the eleven he caught in the first three games had him ranked inside the top twelve RBs. I do expect Ekeler to hang around the high-end RB2 range as the season plays out. Now we flip over to Cleveland Browns castoff Isaiah Crowell. Crowell quite the polar opposite of Ekeler as he hasn’t caught more than two receptions in any game this season. Although Crowell has carried the ball ten plus times in every game except one where he fell as a game flow victim against Jacksonville. Crowell is a perfect example of how unpredictable RB has been to start the season. Crowell rushed for 219 yards against the Broncos two weeks ago which is more than half of his total yards on the season. Crowell has found a way to score five touchdowns in five games which have vaulted him up nearly twelve spots in the rankings from week four to week six. Alright now, let’s jump into some stats to make you happy as an owner. We all know the dominance of Todd Gurley which I touched on last week but the story just seems to keep getting better in Gurley’s last ten games played he hasn’t finished worse than RB9. This is insanely efficient and consistent there aren’t enough good things you can say about the production Gurley has given fantasy teams in the past two seasons. The return of Le’Veon Bell has most owners nervous and for good reason but with no signs of Bell in Pittsburgh yet we have to start to realize that maybe just maybe James Conner isn’t going anywhere. I could go through all the comparables stats wise to Bell but I’m sure you read enough of that on twitter so I’ll just throw a couple stats that I read to prove Conner’s worth. James Conner has run the most routes of any RB this season, twelve more than Saquon Barkley. Conner also has the second most touches inside the ten-yard line with 16 while Todd Gurley leads the league with 28 through six weeks. James Conner currently sits as the RB5 and with Bell uncertainty returning this does wonders for the value of Conner in dynasty. The biggest concern becomes when Bell does return it potentially hurts both players quite a bit and makes the top end of RB rankings even uglier by seasons end. The return of Bengals second-year back Joe Mixon has brought back life to the depth of the RB class a year ago. Mixon is averaging twenty-one touches per game which is good for fourth in the NFL among RBs and his 125.5 yards from scrimmage is eight in the league for RBs. Matt Breida the head of the RBBC in San Francisco after the loss of Jerick McKinnon has been very good this season even injured. Breida has ten fantasy points or more in five of six games this season. We finish this off with the rookies Sony Michel and Saquon Barkley. Barkley has been as good as advertised his consistency while playing on a bad offense is encouraging. Saquon has put up over 100 yards from scrimmage in all six games this year averaging over 26 PPR fantasy points per game to hold the RB3 overall spot in the rankings. Sony Michel the one back many owners were concerned about in rookie drafts because of Bill Belichick has been on a tear. In the last three games, Michel has over nineteen touches and 100+ yards in every game. Michel at this point is only losing work to James White in the passing game and as trusted and special as White is in the passing game for the Patriots I would expect Michel to prove his worth as a receiver in the coming weeks. We all were aware of how good Barkley was but many didn’t expect two Patriots RBs to be in the top twenty-four this early in the season. James White (RB7) and Sony Michel (RB24) should both finish as top fifteen RBs in 2018.
- Ten Stats To Know
- Denver Broncos has surrendered over 500 yards rushing and 3 rushing TDs last two games. Gurley and Crowell combined for 427 yards and three touchdowns.
- Tampa Bay is first in the NFL in yards per play on offense.
- New Orleans Saints average over 17 plays per game in the red zone. Best in NFL.
- Chicago Bears have yet to allow a rushing TD this season. The only team in the NFL.
- Arizona Cardinals have only scored on 37% of drives that crossed midfield. Worst in NFL.
- Patriots offense has scored 11 touchdowns from 11 personnel the last three weeks while only scored 3 touchdowns from the same personnel the first three weeks.
- L.A. Chargers only team in the NFL to score 3 offensive TDs in every game.
- Arizona Cardinals league-worst seven runs of 10+ yards.
- Minnesota Vikings scored first rushing touchdown of season six games into the season.
- Oakland Raiders have only scored two offensive touchdowns in one of the six games played.
- The Kenny Golladay Experiment
This one is wild normally if there’s such a big spike in value in a player the dynasty community will be tired of reading fifteen different takes on where analysts stand on that player. I chose to not do that to you and just break down a few things on Kenny Golladay rather than bore you with over 2,000 words on him. Golladay through five games played has 27 receptions for 428 yards and 3 touchdowns. Golladay is second on his team in targets averaging over eight per game and has been a top 20 WR in four of his five games. While the Lions are a mediocre 14th in the NFL in pass yards per game the buzz in the dynasty community is how good Kenny Golladay is. Golden Tate who is one of only twelve players to average ten targets per game is not getting anywhere near the hype that Golladay is getting. I personally have Golladay in a few leagues and after the first two weeks, he seemed to be a sell high in a crowded WR core thankfully I held onto him because I’m not sure his stock will ever be as high as it is right now. The most interesting trade I have made and seen this season involving Golladay was one of my own. I traded Golladay for an early 2019 first, second and third-round pick. Was this an overpay? Most likely and as much as I am a fan of Golladay I could not turn down this trade. Golladay may be the next big thing but turning down the chance to replace him with three separate lottery tickets is just something I couldn’t do. I wouldn’t have brought this talking point up had I not seen Ryan McDowell’s trade polls this week involving Golladay. The results forced me to give my opinion on it. There may have been more but 10 of the polls stood out to me and I wanted to share with you in case you missed them on Twitter this week.
- A.J Green 58% or Golladay 42%
- Allen Robinson 24% or Golladay 76%
- T.Y Hilton 24% or Golladay 76%
- Stef Diggs 72% or Golladay 28%
- Jarvis Landry 30% or Golladay 70%
- Brandin Cooks 45% or Golladay 55%
- Amari Cooper 14% or Golladay 86%
- Corey Davis 28% or Golladay 72%
- Cooper Kupp 33% or Golladay 67%
- Sammy Watkins 7% or Golladay 93%
Although I strongly disagree with a few of these poll results this was more to show you the recency bias we have talked about in the past. Golladay is a good young WR but situation and market value greatly affect a player as we view them in the dynasty community. Golladay along with teammates Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are all on pace to catch nine touchdowns this year. As much as we always shift to the young guy in dynasty we have to realize the veterans aren’t going anywhere and the small emergence of a run game in Detroit doesn’t encourage me to be paying up to acquire Golladay. The fact that a second or maybe even third receiving option on a mediocre pass offense is being valued over six top option WRs is crazy to me and it should be to you too. In times like these, we can take advantage of the market on guys like Golladay and build the future of your dynasty for very little risk.
- Bears RB Rundown
These committee backfields always have me thinking in dynasty. It’s becoming a habit of picking an RBBC team and diving into the stats for a small sample size to break down the usage. This week a few Bears stats came across and as a frustrated Jordan Howard owner, I felt this was perfect. Also to be totally fair I own zero shares of Howard in dynasty leagues that were more of a redraft issue which isn’t an issue at all because after the season I don’t have to worry about him sucking any longer. Now back to dynasty, Jordan Howard while dominating the snap shares of the Chicago backfield for the first three games has seen more competition in his last three. Tarik Cohen snap shares have gone up from as low as 32% in week two to 49% on the road last week in Miami. While Howard has been almost completely faded out of the passing game in the last three weeks with only four total targets combined in those games his teammate Cohen has seen 32 total touches in that span. The feeling in many dynasty fantasy football circles I’ve been in has always been about Howard being a plotter and offering nothing in the passing game. That looked to be an afterthought with Howard’s usage and targets in the first few games but in the past three weeks, Cohen has dominated the backfield touches. This is a major concern for Howard owners it’s likely we are banking on Howard being TD dependent for the remainder of the season. The Bears have talent everywhere on offense not to mention a “Gadget” RB that new coach Matt Nagy loves to use. Howard’s value is becoming insulting to his owners as his market has shifted dramatically in the first month of the season. Tarik Cohen owners have to be thrilled with his usage. Cohen has back to back weeks with seven catches on top of the 137 rushing yards and one touchdown he’s had in the past three games. As much as I hate to say it Cohen’s dynasty value to me is creeping up on Howard very quickly. Unless we see a change in the offensive approach from Chicago I see Cohen finishing as the best back in the Bears backfield at seasons end.
- Ask And You Shall Receive
This is something new I wanted to try. So week in and week out while I’m breaking down the games and what talking points I wanna hit on I come across a hundred stats that I write down that I almost never use for my articles. I wanted to do my best to give you nerds the best content I can so from now on if I find these stats interesting enough I’ll share them with a small take from me on it. Fair enough? Okay, let’s get into it. I focused on receiving stats since we live and die by the passing game in the NFL these days. We start with the guy dominating every week Adam Thielen. Thielen is a fantasy football cheat code at the moment he leads the NFL in targets, receptions, yards, and 3rd down receptions for first downs. Thielen is also the first WR with over 100 receiving yards in his teams first six games. I’ll admit I was concerned about Thielen being a one year wonder and 28 years old he wasn’t someone I put too much thought into during the offseason but boy was I wrong. Cousins is targeting Thielen at a record-breaking pace and outside of an injury, I don’t see how anyone slows this connection down for four quarters. Keep up with me here I’m just going to be firing out stats and takes and moving on. Julio Jones the great WR who sits as the WR6 after six games hs now caught 72 passes since his last touchdown. This is the biggest mystery in fantasy football. Why can’t Julio Jones score touchdowns? Even with Matt Ryan putting up the numbers as he did in his MVP season in a few games this year somehow none of these passes found Julio in the end zone. This stats alone is head scratching and it really has affected Julio Jones as a dynasty asset among many dynasty players I regularly talk to. There were 19 players targeted over ten times in week six only three were not WRs. Saquon Barkley with twelve targets and TEs David Njoku who also had twelve and Austin Hooper who had ten were the only non-WRs to dominate targets for their teams last week. The emergence of Njoku in the Browns offense is a huge bonus for dynasty owners everywhere. Hooper has been a welcoming site for everybody as we touched on how bad the TE landscape is in dynasty in 2018. What’s left to say about Barkley? He’s insanely talented and plays with an awful QB who is constantly chasing points this makes for the perfect scenario for dynasty owners. The Patriots offense seems to be back with or without their best player involved. Gronk has seen only 1 of 28 red zone targets this is alarmingly terrible for dynasty owners. This is the first time in Gronk’s career he has gone five games without a touchdown I would like to think with the additions of Gordon and Edelman back this will change. Gronk has had four or fewer catches in four of six games and hasn’t scored a touchdown since week one. Even with all that he still sits as the TE7 and can easily regain his top spot as dynasty TE1 when he starts to score some touchdowns. The surprising emergence of Tyler Boyd has been a welcoming site. Boyd is currently the WR15 and is on pace for over 100 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Let’s be honest nobody thinks these numbers continue but for now we have to treat Boyd as a legitimate league winner candidate if he can remain this consistent. A few TE stats to care about. Jordan Reed averaging 45 yards per game with a season-high 65 in week three. Reed has been a disappointment much like Gronk in the first few weeks along the same lines if and when he finds the end zone he will climb up the dreaded TE ranks very quickly. Reed and Gronk owners need to be patient even through the bad games these guys are the biggest advantage in fantasy football we have to take the good with the bad. As many in the dynasty community are I’m very high on David Njoku. His improvement since Baker Mayfield took the starting job over has been great. Njoku has seen 30 targets in the last three weeks while scoring his first touchdown in week six. Njoku should become a matchup problem for all NFL defenses and with Baker targeting him more, the sky’s the limit for this guy. Lastly, it’s Davante Adams the lone survivor of the Packers WRs. Adams is a beast in his own right but with the injuries to Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison he has started off the 2018 season blazing hot. Adams worst game has been eight catches for 81 yards performance against the Bills, in every other game he has at least one touchdown. Adams has become a touchdown machine in Green Bay he is on pace for a career high in touchdowns in 2018 and has scored 22 touchdowns in his last two seasons with the Packers. Adams is currently only being overshadowed by the record-breaking pace of Adam Thielen, for now, this is a fun to watch the race for WR1. Alright, nerds, that’s it for stats to bore you with. Hopefully, your Thursday night game started off well and you get another much-needed win this week.