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What We Learned: Week 8

My apologies Nerds, The W.W.L series is late this week due to some personal stuff but the important thing is that it’s here. As we reach the halfway point of the NFL season I hope those dynasty teams are getting stronger. I want to see some dynasty championships won for all the Nerds listeners especially those of you who continue to support and read this series every week. Again I apologize for the delay this week but good luck this weekend! 

RB Report

  •   James White – The “Zero RB” golden child has stayed hot. White now sits as the RB6 in dynasty. White now has three weeks as RB1 this year the same amount as Zeke, McCaffrey, and Hunt. Six receiving touchdowns this year for White all coming in the red zone and he has been the catalyst for the turn around of the struggling Patriots offense. White is on pace for a career year in mainly every fantasy relevant category and most importantly rushing yards and attempts. Another solid matchup this week and White could move into the top 5 RB discussion to finish the 2018 season.
  • Todd Gurley – Mainly beating a dead horse here but if there’s a poster boy for drafting RBs early it has been Todd Gurley. Gurley has not disappointed a dynasty owner in quite some time. After last week’s performance Gurley now runs his record up to seven straight weeks he’s finished as RB1. No shocker here Gurley is amazing and continues to rack up fantasy points every week in this Rams offense.
  • Tarik Cohen – After a quiet start to the season, the monster of Tarik Cohen has been unleashed. It’s not a coincidence that as Mitchell Trubisky has turned in three straight top 5 QB performances it has been Tarik Cohen who has carried that load. In that span, Cohen has had twenty -two receptions and has been used all over the field. Matt Nagy has focused much of the offense around Cohen in the past month. Cohen has seen over 50% of the backfield opportunities for the Bears in the last three games. Cohen currently sits as the RB12 and with his upside catching short passes that should help him climb up the RB rankings much like White.
  • Kareem Hunt – The return of “Beastmode lite”. Kareem Hunt started the season barely getting the ball specifically where he’s most dangerous in the passing game. That has changed drastically just as most of the dynasty community had hoped it would. Hunt has at least five catches in each of his past two games and has simply put on a show in the Chiefs last two primetime games. Hunt has only failed to combine for under 100 total yards once in the past month while scoring six touchdowns in that span. Sitting as the RB5 after seven weeks with Melvin Gordon on the bye this week he could easily take over that spot this weekend.
  • Record Pace – Last piece on RBs I’ll share with everyone. Todd Gurley currently averaging 29.3 PPG and Melvin Gordon averaging 27.1 are both projected to finish as top ten performers all time for RBs in terms of fantasy points per game. Amazing numbers these guys are putting up consistently if you are an owner lucky enough to own them enjoy the ride.

 

 

TEs: Year Two

 Alright, so I’m going with a different format for talking points. It was brought to my attention it would be easier to read if things were a little more spaced out. I agreed and chose to change the style of the article. If necessary I’ll explain where I’m going before breaking down bullet points of each topic. In this case, I saw the great DLF’s Ryan McDowell post a poll on twitter. The poll was asking who of the second year TEs would you most like to own in dynasty. I’ve broken down each TE in the poll individually and the results of the poll will be posted under each bullet point. I broke down the TEs from lowest to highest percentage of relevance to the poll.

  

  • Evan Engram – I shouldn’t be shocked by anything in dynasty anymore especially when it comes to recency bias but it still happens. Engram who was nothing short of a monster for the Giants last year with 64 receptions, 722 yards, and 6 touchdowns comes in at the lowest percentage with only 10% of the votes in this poll. The same guy who was the TE4 according to dynasty ADP has been mostly forgotten by the dynasty community. Now while this creates an excellent buy low for Engram it’s shocking he has fallen so dramatically in the eyes of dynasty owners. Engram has played in four of seven games this year with 12 receptions, 120 yards, and one touchdown. Engrams main regression outside of the injury to me is obviously Eli Manning but more importantly Saquon Barkley. Quon has 59 receptions in seven games this has surely dipped into Engrams fantasy usage and hurt his value. There’s no way I’m prepared to give up on Engram already.
  • J Howard – Howard came in third in that poll with 19% of the votes. Howard was the TE of this group I was most concerned about going into the season with the extension to fellow TE Cam Brate. This hasn’t been an issue so far and it looks like Howard has completely solidified himself as the guy at TE in the Tampa Bay offense. The young TE was coming off a rookie season of 26 receptions, 432 yards, and 6 touchdowns and in his second year already has 20 receptions, 351 yards with 2 touchdowns while missing a game to injury. Howard has been a TE1 in four games already. Between the athleticism and matchup problems he creates and the special talent in a dynamic Tampa Bay offense, Howard is a long-term hold and should be higher if not first in this poll.
  • David Njoku – As a hurricanes fan it’s safe to say Njoku not being number one angered me a little. I’ve been high on Njoku since his college days and while his 32 receptions, 386 yards, and 4 touchdowns didn’t blow people out of the water in 2017 it surely didn’t hurt his value. Njoku has 31 receptions, 297 yards, and 2 touchdowns in roughly half season and with Baker Mayfield now under center this should be just the start of something special. Njoku’s athleticism is crazy and he is being used more effectively in year two under Todd Haley with rookie Baker Mayfield leading the offense. I refuse to believe Njoku is not going to consistently be a top 5 dynasty TE his poll results had 30% of the community believe that as well.
  • George Kittle – I’m sure most of you don’t agree as I don’t but the winner of this poll was Kittle with 41% of the votes. Recency bias is insane in dynasty we have discussed this almost weekly but treating Kittle as the best of this bunch is funny to me. While NFL teams spent high draft picks on the other three Kittle was a late round pick who has been one of the only bright spots of an injury-ridden 49ers offense. Now don’t get me wrong I’m a Kittle fan because of the value he provided especially in rookie drafts. Believing Kittle is valued higher than the likes of Howard, Njoku, and Engram is pure comedy. I recently saw Kittle moved in a sixteen team league for two first round picks! Imagine that I don’t even believe I have seen the great Gronk moved for that in any league I have ever been in. Kittle turned in a great rookie year with 43 receptions, 515 yards, and 2 touchdowns. In 2018 Kittle has 32 receptions, 527 yards, and 2 scores. Five times this year he has been a TE1 while both of his touchdowns this season have come by the arm of last years starting QB C.J Beathard.

While there isn’t much bad to say about any of these TEs I would rank them Njoku, Howard, Engram, Kittle if I was voting. Extremely likely and possible that all four are on top of the dynasty TE rankings for the next 3-5 years.

 

 

Go D.J

 

  • Mike McCoy – It surely felt like a huge win for everyone when the Cardinals fired Mike McCoy as the offensive coordinator and promoted Byron Leftwich. The Cards on pace to be one of the worst offenses in history in terms of plays run needed a change. There have been bad offenses in the NFL that can still produce solid fantasy stars this wasn’t the case with D.J. Mike McCoy’s offenses have finished no better than 22nd in rushing in any of his last three seasons. McCoy also had this desire to continue to run Johnson on the inside specifically on first downs where Johnson was averaging less than two yards per carry on. Johnson is on pace for his worst year for YPC with 3.2 thankfully his six touchdowns are keeping him fantasy relevant as the RB11. The poor usage and lack of talent around an amazing talent like Johnson forced the Cardinals hand in firing McCoy which was the best play the Cards offense has run all season.
  • Byron Leftwich – Now this isn’t some rock solid coaching change for D.J’s owners to be thrilled about but it’s a move in the right direction most likely. Who doesn’t love the highlight of Leftwich being carried by his college teammates down the field with a leg injury to lead his team to a fourth-quarter win? Leftwich was a carryover from the Bruce Arians staff and vows to bring the same usage to the Cards offense. Johnson was used perfectly with Arians and Leftwich points to the late night film sessions with his former coach as to what to expect with him calling plays. The biggest change likely coming as D.J being used in the slot as a WR and on outside runs. Leftwich could be the next big thing as far as young offensive coaches in this league it’s time to make those last buy low attempts on the Cardinals offense before they finally become a relevant fantasy offense again.

 

 

Touchdowns Matter

  •  Quarterbacks – Five QBs ( Luck, Watson, Dalton, Trubisky and Big Ben) have at least twenty end zone throws. We for so long didn’t really pay attention to stats like these because all that matters are touchdowns. Three of these five currently rank as top 12 QBs through seven weeks. Simple enough you want your QB throwing the ball into the end zone, opportunities equal fantasy points.
  • Wide Receivers – Four players ( Golden Tate, Jordan Reed, Mohamed Sanu, and Dede Westbrook) all currently have at least thirty targets without an end zone target. This is crazy to think about because of how effective of fantasy performers these guys are. Their production has been consistent but without touchdowns, they are not seeing their full potential. In this case, these players do have touchdowns but not on end zone targets this is most disappointing for Jordan Reed rather than the WRs on this list. Opportunity is everything and these players aren’t being given that nearly eight games into the season.
  • Takeaways – 197 players have been targeted in the end zone this season that makes the players I mentioned before lack of targets more disappointing. All six of James White’s receiving touchdowns have come inside the red zone with four of the six coming inside the ten. I mentioned White’s play as a huge reason the Pats offense has turned around and specifically in the red zone. Lastly, we will hit on the New Orleans Saints. The Saints two biggest stars Kamara and Thomas who both rank in the top 8 respectively at their positions have been beasts in the red zone. The combo has caught 23 of 30 targets inside the red zone with 5 touchdowns between the pair. The opportunity will always be there for an offense that moves the ball like the Saints it’s great to see these players make the most out of it.

 

QB Proof, DB Proof

 

DeAndre Hopkins – Why wouldn’t my last talking point be on one of the best in the game? Nuk Hopkins has just been underrated his whole career from Tavon Austin being drafted ahead of him in the NFL draft to the dynasty community consistently ranking him lower than he should be. We are talking about the same guy who has 19 touchdowns since the start of last season which is the most in the NFL in that time. Hopkins is not only on pace to shatter just about every major receiving record held by Andre Johnson but also is on pace for career highs in touchdowns and yards in 2018. After constant struggles for the Texans to find him a QB it seems he has now found the guy in Deshaun Watson. The two hooked up for two scores on Thursday Night and Nuk quietly dismantled one of the games best young DBs. This has been a theme in the last month Nuk has faced several top CBs in the league scoring four touchdowns in that span while being shadowed by players like Jalen Ramsey, Tre’ White, Byron Jones, and Xavien Howard. Byron Jones was the only one of the four to limit Hopkins to no touchdowns but he was abused for 151 yards on 9 receptions. Hopkins deserves all the glory he has worked for with nine different QBs in his short career with Houston. Hopkins is making his case for the best in the game and it’s rare you can say a WR is “QB proof” but Hopkins has proved he is and I can’t say that for many of the top WRs in the game. Touchdowns in five of eight games this season with nearly half a season left to play the “ceiling is the roof” in the words of the great Michael Jordan.


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About JonGlosser

Buffalo N.Y native, Die hard Syracuse basketball fan. Fell in love with football at a young age and can't keep my opinions to myself, so I decided to write about them. Enjoy