Fantasy Football Hot Takes: NFL Week 10
Dan Malin recaps the weekend's action in the NFL with his fantasy football hot takes and what you need to take away from everything you saw.
What the hell happened on Sunday? That was an odd day. The Packers still won’t let Aaron Jones run wild. Mike Davis ’ production was underwhelming although he did leave the game briefly with an injury. I don’t care how bad the weather was in Cleveland, there should’ve been more than 17 total points. Michael Thomas was a dud. Kalen Ballage looked good again. Ronald Jones fumbled (again) and still finished with a phenomenal performance. I was just shocked with what I saw. There’s a good chance your bench was looking great while your starters were in pretty bad shape. This was just a bad week for fantasy football. It’s as simple as that. But with the ugliness usually come some hot takes!
No More Excuses… Carson Wentz Sucks
A few weeks back I wrote up Jimmy Garoppolo in similar fashion. Despite the fact Philadelphia is leading their division with an embarrassing 3-5-1 record, we’ve run out of excuses for Carson Wentz . We can discuss the offensive line’s shortcomings due to injuries, but if Carson Wentz wasn’t overthrowing his receivers on Sunday he was throwing it at their feet. But if you’re looking for a silver lining on Wentz, he didn’t turn the ball over for the first time all season. Unfortunately he is now looking at his fifth straight game completing under 60% of his passes. And this was a game where Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert , Jalen Reagor, and even Alshon Jeffery were all active for a division matchup against the Giants. Sadly, Wentz could only muster 208 passing yards and the Eagles went 0-for-9 on third down. They’re still heavy favorites to win the division but that’s because there are three other teams in the NFC East that suck more than the Eagles do. That whole division is now 10-26-1 and we’re legitimately looking at a potential six-win division champion. The Eagles are about to embark on a schedule that consists of the Browns, Seahawks, Packers, Saints, and Cardinals before finishing the season against the Cowboys and the Football Team. With the division lead it’s hard to imagine the Eagles benching Wentz, but I’m much more interested in seeing what Jalen Hurts can do.
For more takes on Carson Wentz check out the latest from Jon Impemba as he breaksdown his struggles - https://www.fantasyalarm.com/articles/JonImpemba/92043/fantasy-football-outlook-what-s-going-on-with-carson-wentz/
Jerry Jeudy Is A Top Five Wide Receiver If The Broncos Get A Better Quarterback
Drew Lock played hurt Sunday. I commend him for that. But he’s not a franchise quarterback. Part of the frustrations with the Denver offense is that Pat Shurmur has been relatively conservative early on to start games. The offensive only gets more explosive as the team falls behind and then Drew Lock reaps the benefits of throwing a little more against relaxed defenses. But if you go on Twitter and search “Jerry Jeudy Open” it’s just a collection of Broncos fans (and me) giggling like schoolgirls over how wide open Jeudy is on every play. Even dating back to his college highlights, he just gets open all the time and when he gets the ball in the open field he is a spectacle. The problem is that Drew Lock isn’t looking for him. And the one time Jerry Jeudy wasn’t open in the end zone on Sunday, Lock threw it his way and was picked off. If you’re a football fan, or just a human being with a heartbeat and functioning eyeballs, you can see that Jeudy is a very special talent and will be an elite pass catcher in this league. Unfortunately John Elway’s been looking to replace Peyton Manning for five years now and the search likely continues. When the Broncos get themselves a great quarterback, Jerry Jeudy’s going to be appointment television every week.
Cam Akers Will Not Score In 2020
This is more of a bold prediction than it is a hot take, but the rookie was active for just the fifth time on Sunday and once again he hasn’t found the end zone. Sean McVay has said that he expects Akers to have a better second half of the season, and I think we can all agree on that being a big bucket of crap. Akers just simply isn’t worth rostering. He’s not finding the end zone and he has just two targets in five games. We’re done trying to hold out hope. As long as Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown are healthy, they’ll get the more meaningful carries. The Rams actually decided to run the ball when they got into the red zone and those carries went to the other two running backs where they collectively scored three touchdowns. It’s going to take a miracle for Akers to hold any semblance of fantasy relevance this season.
Josh Reynolds Might Be A Flex Play Going Forward
I’d like to thank Howard for adding Reynolds to the NFL DFS Playbook and Watch List last week. Reynolds was one of the very few good reads I had in DFS last week as he returned almost 5X value. In a game where the Rams and Seahawks should’ve scored more, this game was managed well by Los Angeles. They owned time of possession by a seven-minute margin and they just frustrated the Seahawks all day long. And they frustrated fantasy managers as well! It seemed like Goff would throw it 40-50 times. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods were in great spots and at the end of the day all the touchdowns for Los Angeles went to the running backs as previously mentioned. That’s Week 10 in a nutshell. But Reynolds had a really strong outing. In PPR formats he finished as WR16 this week with eight catches for 94 yards on ten targets. All those stats led the Rams pass catchers. This marks the third straight week of at least eight targets for Reynolds and the Rams play Tampa Bay in primetime next week. You have to believe more attention will be given to Woods and Kupp once again so this could give us another game where Reynolds is getting eight or nine targets. He could finish as a Top 30 wide receiver next week and that means he’s in play as a flex option.
The Tight End Position Still Sucks
With Travis Kelce on bye this week it was a mystery who would go out and perform as TE1 in Week 10. To give you an idea of how this week really went, the best tight ends put up 13.1 points in PPR formats. Rob Gronkowski was one of those and he only had two catches on the day. No tight end had more than 70 receiving yards. Mark Andrews had a relatively good day but he returned just seven catches for 61 yards. He still hasn’t found the end zone in over a month. Where the hell was Darren Waller ? Three catches for just 37 yards on just FIVE targets?! Evan Engram followed up a good game with just two catches for 15 yards on three targets. And I could rant for a fortnight over Mike Gesicki . With Isaiah Ford shipped off to New England and Preston Williams on IR, this was supposed to be a great spot for Gesicki. And here’s the worst part about Gesicki: between him, Adam Shaheen , Durham Smythe , and Mack Hollins I’m always thinking Gesicki is catching the ball only to realize it’s another tall dude with an ‘8’ on their jersey. Long story short: Gesicki finishes with two catches for 40 yards. In total, there were only six tight ends to find the end zone on Sunday and only two of them (Gronk and Hunter Henry ) were probably started in your fantasy leagues. This position will never be as deep as we make it out to be every preseason. Thank God we get Kelce back this week… Sadly he’s not on the main slate.
It feels dirty and wrong to write such a taboo header, but 2020 has taken so much yet it’s given us Kalen Ballage . And he’s actually very useful until Austin Ekeler returns from injury. And that could be soon, but I don’t see it being next week. Ekeler posted a promising video on social media of himself running on a field. While the speed looked good, it’ll peak my interest when we see him making cuts and doing anything other than running straight ahead. For the second straight week, Ballage received at least 15 carries and he had at least 65 rushing yards in both games as well. He also had five catches which led the team so he’s very useful in PPR formats. Troymaine Pope was active for Sunday’s game but he didn’t get a single touch while Ballage got fed as if we were celebrating Thanksgiving two weeks early. I don’t anticipate Ekeler coming back this week, but the Chargers host the Jets this Sunday so it could be another steady eddy kind of day for Kalen Ballage .
In the realm of hot takes you can’t really go out and say “well he might be better, but he could just as easily suck too.” We know he has that level of volatility. In the most uncertain of fantasy football seasons, we can be certain about one thing, Jameis Winston is going to be a blast to watch in New Orleans. And sure, it all hinders on the availability and health of Drew Brees . It obviously sucks to see Brees go down with an injury especially after he had such a good game last Sunday against Tampa Bay. You know it has to be a pretty bad injury if a guy like Brees knows he can’t perform at his best. And credit has to go out to him if he simply knows his body well enough that he can’t play through it and that he would cost the team a potential win. The Saints are still 7-2 and leading the NFC South, but if Brees has to miss any time then there’s the risk of coughing up the division to Tampa. But for fantasy, I’m expecting good things for New Orleans. Winston came in and didn’t look great, trust me I watched him play just like you did. But so what? Give him a full week to work with the first team and then we’ll make our own assessments of him. We know Jameis is capable of throwing for 5,000 yards in a season. We also know he can throw 30 interceptions in a full year as well. His level of play will always fall on two different ends of the spectrum and he’s fun to watch. He’ll make good use of the weapons around him. New Orleans had the game in hand yesterday so they opted to feed Alvin Kamara the ball as much as possible just to get out of there with the win. Drew Brees is scheduled for his MRI on Monday and we’ll know more about the severity of the injury as the day progresses. But if he’s forced to miss time, give Jameis some reps with the first team and we could be in for some fun with a game against the lowly Atlanta Falcons on deck next weekend.
When Kenyan Drake got hurt it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Chase Edmonds to showcase what he can do with a full workload. And he disappointed greatly. However, if you remember watching last week’s game against Miami, they kept running him up the middle when the pockets were collapsing and he couldn’t do anything with that. On 25 carries he totaled just 70 yards. That’s a little odd for a player averaging 4.9 yards per carry this year. So with Kenyan Drake back we knew Edmonds would see less work, but still be an okay flex play in PPR formats. He only touched the ball 11 times, but turned it into 77 yards of offense. The return of Drake certainly hurts the workload. But if we’re seeing 10-to-12 touches each week he still has that borderline flex appeal and he’s been more efficient when Drake’s been on the field. It’s incredibly frustrating. I’m like most of you where I’d prefer Edmonds to get more of the work, but this is the hand we’re dealt. Drake is a RB2 going forward, but Edmonds can still be a useful player for us.
Do Not Consolidate Your Fantasy Football Team
This is a strategy that I normally deploy each year. The theory is that you sacrifice bench depth to increase the level of talent that you are capably of starting each week. Basically it’s quality over quantity. But this year, in talking with others about the landscape of fantasy football, that just might not be the case. So while this isn’t necessarily a hot take, take it as a piece of friendly advice. While the NFL likely gets its full season in without a Week 18, the COVID protocols are impacting games whether we see cancellations or not. Even if a player is considered at high risk of contracting COVID, they’re unable to practice for most of the week so if they suit up on Sunday, it’s not a guarantee they play well. And with the increase in injuries this year, it may actually benefit our chances of winning to hold our bench depth. Trust me, I love wheeling and dealing two-for-one deals at this time of year to get as many strong players as I can and by no means am I saying to not improve your team going forward. Just be a little more analytical with each trade and don’t sacrifice too much depth that you may need in the coming weeks.