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2018 NFL DFS Quarterly Review

2018 NFL DFS Quarterly Review
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2018 NFL DFS Quarterly Review

Five weeks have gone by so fast and DailyRoto’s already helped a subscriber become a millionaire while our very own Colin Drewby had a massive Week 5 payday with nearly $300,000 won! Great job boss!

Was planning to tone down the screenshots for a bit but couldn’t pass this one up. It’s been a surreal 2 days and feel incredibly lucky. Thanks to the @DailyRoto fam for rooting me on. pic.twitter.com/7xxFQ9Wzkc

It is now time to do a 2018 NFL DFS Quarterly Review of the 32 NFL teams to try and figure out the landscape of each team going forward. It’s a good way to catch up on trends one may have ignored or never knew about, players on the rise/spiraling down, and defenses to target from a fantasy perspective. I’ll be including DVOA, pace, and snaps per play stats for each team alongside a quick snippet of players to target/avoid and a team summary. Of course, I will sprinkle in some sage wisdom after reading the tea leaves. Here’s an example – never play Antonio Gates because he’s super old. Easy! Now scurry along and get ready for some tasty tidbits about every team!

AFC East

Miami Dolphins

Offensive DVOA – 18th
Defensive DVOA – 5th
Pace – Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 31st

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 8th Most

Top Players – None.

Players to Avoid – Everyone.

Team Summary – While the Dolphins do have some notable players that can offer fantasy upside, being the slowest paced team with an abysmal 52 plays per game makes it very difficult to trust the Dolphins on a weekly basis. Tannehill has gone from a fantastic bargain at QB to now being essentially irrelevant behind a badly injured offensive line. Tannehill has never done well behind a leaky OL, succumbing to pressure and often making mistakes when the pocket is collapsing all around him. It’s a tragic but common story for Dolphins fans and reality is Miami simply does not merit realistic fantasy expectations going forward. Sad!

Buffalo Bills

Offensive DVOA – 32nd

Defensive DVOA – 7th
Pace – 15th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 25th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 15th Most

Top Players – None.

Players to Avoid – Everyone.

Team Summary – Boy, oh boy. Another team in the AFC East that is a barren wasteland for fantasy. No real weapons to target, a rookie QB who’s going to be inconsistent all season, and a defense that’s been Jekyll and Hyde lately. There’s not much upside going forward for the Bills as they’re destined to be a bottom 10 team, but at least their defense seems to be improving as the weeks go by. Once thought as a free square for opposing offenses, the Bills have now notched two wins in the last three weeks with some solid defensive performances. It’s still a mediocre offense living off Josh Allen’s legs and an unappealing RB duo of LeSean McCoy/Chris Ivory. Just don’t bother with most of the AFC East teams.

 

New York Jets

Offensive DVOA – 29th

Defensive DVOA – 6th
Pace – 12th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 29th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 7th Most

Top Players – Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, and to a lesser extent Sam Darnold

With the return of Jermaine Kearse, the Jets have decided to push Enunwa out wide on the boundary rather in the slot, which may damper his 28.5% target share and overall production going forward. He’s still the Jets’ leading receiver with more than double the looks of the next closest targeted while out-snapping all the Jets’ WRs. Robby Anderson finally had a huge game in Week 5, which could be a sign of things to come for a young Jets’ offense. It’s still a low volume based offense that still will be too inconsistent to trust every week.

Players to Avoid – Powell/Crowell

Both RBs have a clear role in the Jets offense, but it’s still a RBBC with Powell consistently out-snapping and out-touching Crowell most weeks. Yet Crowell has out-performed Powell in terms of yardage and touchdowns. While either RB may have good fantasy days every now and then, not being able to garner a consistent workload or fantasy performances makes it difficult to roster either RB without downing a couple shots of Fireball.

Team Summary – The Jets will have good days and bad days all season long. The good days can win someone a GPP with high upside Robby Anderson and Crowell with his penchant for the long runs. The bad days will make someone go broke within the first couple hours of Sunday. It’s a gamble that may not be worthwhile for many, but it’s still something to keep an eye on going forward. Can Enunwa continue being a target hog with a market share? Will Crowell finally out-snap Powell and get his deserved 20+ touches a game? Who knows but unlike Miami and Buffalo, the Jets actually have some fantasy potential. I still hate them though.

 

New England Patriots

Offensive DVOA – 5th

Defensive DVOA – 19th
Pace – 7th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 16th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 9th Most

Top Players – James White, Sony Michel, Brady, Gronkowski, Edelman.

Basically, the entire Patriots offense will be relevant for the majority of the season. James White has cemented himself as an every week play every week with his voluminous passing work, having now garnered 44 targets for a cozy 32/270/4 stat-line. White now has run the 7th most routes among all RBs, with an impressive 2.05 yards per route ran. His role continues to be unchanged despite Edelman’s return and Michel becoming the bellcow for the Patriots. Speaking of Michel, the Patriots have essentially given the Blount role to Michel, riding him early and often in heavier personnel and designating him as the goal-line back. Then, of course, there’s Gronk. Teams have started game planning for Gronk and forcing the Patriots to beat them with their rather mediocre weapons (Gordon included….for now). That has resulted in a slow Gronk start as he faces bracketed coverage and constant chipping on his routes. Maybe Edelman can now create more separation for Gronk and eliminates the bracket coverage. Something to keep an eye on.

Players To Avoid – Chris Hogan

I’m not sure what it is, but the Patriots simply have not relied on Hogan all season even without Edelman the first four weeks. His targets and market share have plummeted from past seasons, his red zone usage has now dropped to 7th on the list behind Tom Brady, and he’s even starting to lose snaps to both Dorsett/Gordon. Just avoid Hogan at all costs, even if he drops to a bargain price.

Team Summary – They’re the Patriots. They start off like crap then turn it all around and become super bowl champions. Whatever. I hate them. You know what they’re capable of and which weapons are trustworthy. No point talking about them any further. At least their defense sucks? Wait, it’s improving? SOMEONE FIRE BILL BELICHECK ALREADY!

 

AFC North

Cleveland Browns

Offensive DVOA – 30th

Defensive DVOA – 2nd
Pace – 3rd Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 2nd

Defensive Snaps Given Up – Most

Top Players – Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, David Njoku.

With the Browns finally unleashing the Baker show, the Browns offense has suddenly shown signs of improvement (shocker) and now no longer belongs in the fantasy basement cellar. Mayfield still spreads the ball around, so Landry remains a solid WR2 for most weeks based on his 30% target share alone. Hyde remains a TD or bust fantasy options most weeks, but touching the ball at least 17 times every week certainly helps bolster him as a mid-level value RB. Then we have the biggest beneficiary of the Baker show the last couple weeks, as David Njoku now has amassed 18 targets for a 11/111 stat-line at a position where anything more than six points is considered a victory. Njoku is now a rising value play in a TE pool that consists mostly of has-beens or never-was. And Gesicki.

Team Summary – Baker Mayfield certainly makes the Browns a viable stacking option for most weeks with Landry/Njoku/Hyde and whatever other cheapo they end up with (Callaway/Higgins). Still, it’s a young rookie with a coach that still continues to shoot himself in the foot. The Browns defense has also gone from a bottom 5 team last season to a very good unit that has helped create more possessions for the Browns offense. That’s good news moving forward, but I can’t shake this feeling that Hue Jackson is going to ruin it somehow. Until that happens, continue to ride the value plays the Browns offer on most weeks. Especially Njoku!

Cincinnati Bengals

Offensive DVOA – 6th

Defensive DVOA – 20th
Pace – 14th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 24th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 5th Most

Top Players – Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon

For the most part, Dalton only goes as far as his weapons go. If Green and Boyd have bad days, then it’s likely Dalton did as well which makes him more of a stack target. Green is still obviously one of the elite WRs in the game, but the rise of Tyler Boyd has been a surprising one that has directly affected Green’s overall ceiling. They both have the same amount of targets and market share with similar total yardage, but Green has scored more touchdowns than Boyd. Makes sense as Green owns a higher TD equity with more than double Boyd’s red zone touches and usage. That number figures to increase with Eifert being placed on injury reserve. Then we have Joe Mixon returning from a knee injury while Gio Bernard is on the shelf with his own knee injury. Mixon has the backfield all to himself and should further increase his target share as a dynamic receiver out of the backfield. On the rise as a RB1.

Players To Avoid – John Ross

It’s now evident that Ross simply isn’t ready to give meaningful snaps for the Bengals in his second year. Boyd has asserted himself as the true #2 WR for the team, making Ross nothing more than a decoy. Ross is also battling some injuries, effectively putting Ross on the fantasy shelf permanently.

Team Summary – The Bengals now have become a condensed offense, only giving targets/plays to their top three players in Green, Boyd, and Mixon. They’re a desirable stacking option with good upside as their defense still continues to give up plays at a high rate, forcing the Bengals to have to play keep-up all game. They’ve also increased their tempo and have some promising shoot-out quality games coming up. A offensive team on the rise that should be in play every week.

 

Baltimore Ravens

Offensive DVOA – 14th

Defensive DVOA – 4th
Pace – 2nd Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 1st

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 13th Most

Top Players – John Brown.

While Flacco still uncorks passes at a ridiculously high rate, he’s still not very efficient at it despite an average of 48 pass attempts in the last four games. During that same span, Flacco has only tossed five touchdowns to three interceptions, but at least the yards are there at a 328.5 average. Until Flacco starts actually scoring touchdowns instead of throwing to the other team, he’ll continue to be a decent floor bargain QB and not a top value play. However, those yards have got to go to someone, right? That’s where John Brown comes in, owning nearly 20% of the team’s targets while only two behind the Ravens’ targets leader in Michael Crabtree. John Brown has 149 more receiving yards than Crabtree along with two more touchdowns. He’s clearly the WR to own in that high volume/low efficiency offense. Everyone else doesn’t matter, not even Buck Allen and his team leading 22% of the red zone opportunities.

Players To Avoid – All of their TEs

Hayden Hurst finally made his rookie debut at the prime age of 70 years old, but still amounted to nothing in a game Flacco threw 56 passes. Their stable of slow, nonathletic tight ends has only continued to cement the worthlessness of the position from a fantasy point of view. Avoid at all costs until someone decides to become Dennis Pitta 2.0.

Team Summary – The Ravens have high volume aspirations as they have the most offensive plays per game, run at a high pace, and throw nearly 50 times a game. Yet they remain a largely ignored fantasy offense with too many mouths to feed. Maybe Flacco starts connecting more touchdown passes and they stop forcing the run with garbage man Alex Collins in favor of a more dynamic Buck Allen. Who knows? It’s still an offense that has too much potential for fantasy goodness to ignore, and John Brown still serves as a weekly value play for as long as the Ravens are willing to let Flacco’s arm fall off.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Offensive DVOA – 9th

Defensive DVOA – 16th
Pace – 9th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 11th

Defensive Snaps Given up – 4th Most

Top Players – The entire Pitt offense, minus Darius Heyward Bey of course.

Do I have to explain the explosiveness of the Steelers offense? It’s still a condensed offense between AB, Conner, Juju, and Large Benjamin. There’s no reason to delve any further as they’re a top five offensive unit with still room to grow behind Conner.

Players To Avoid – Vance McDonald/Jesse James

They’re splitting the reps at TE and they have different roles for their snaps played. James has been in more of a blocking role while McDonald has provided an additional spark to their offense. The inconsistency of their snaps make them both bewildering TE plays on most weeks, as they’re both capable of putting up good lines or goose eggs. You’re better off not tormenting yourself deciding which TE will explode in that offense.

Team Summary – This is a team that should be targeted as a high ceiling stackable offense every week going forward. A rather mediocre Steelers defense pads the value of owning a Steelers player even further since they almost always have to play catch-up instead of preserving a lead. Le’Veon Bell seems still unlikely to ever return, bolstering Conner’s RB1 outlook for the rest of the season.

 

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

Offensive DVOA – 25th

Defensive DVOA – 13th
Pace – Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 3rd

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 6th Most

Top Players – Andrew Luck, Nyheim Hines, whoever their TE is

The Colts have now relied on Luck’s arm to save their injury-plagued team, tossing the pigskin 59 and 62 times in the last two games. That resulted in Luck’s biggest fantasy games to date, and all signs point at that trend continuing the rest of the way. The biggest beneficiaries of a heaving Luck has been rookie RB Nyheim Hines, serving in a James White-esque role with 26 targets in the last three games for a respectable 21/133/2 stat-line. Hines is a must look as a value RB play every week until his price skyrockets. Now, the other main target for Luck’s increased pass volume has been the TE position. With Doyle on the shelf with a hip injury, Ebron vaulted himself into the TE1 discussion with back to back big weeks. Doyle figures to come back in a week or two, making the TE position a possible gray area that could become something to avoid. Still, Doyle was already amassing a generous amount of targets before his injury so it’s safe to say whoever is the starter should still have tremendous value in a dink-and-dunk offense.

Players To Avoid – the WR corps

Hilton is the clear #1 option among the receivers, but Hilton struggled to pay off his price in a scaled back offense that favors shorter routes. That lessened the fantasy ceiling of Hilton as a speedster, eliminating the big play from his arsenal. The rest of the WR group is full of JAGs, guys who can be replaced by street free agents. As a matter of fact, they ARE street free agents. Zach Pascal? Chester Rogers? Ryan Grant? No thank you.

Team Summary – A banged up defensive unit that seems well on their way to becoming a regular on the IR only means Luck may end up being a volume based QB1 for the rest of the season. Figuring out which players to stack with Luck will be key, but it’s safe to say Hines and whoever the TE is should be the best bets. Outside of that, there isn’t much to like about the team. No running game, a decimated defense, and an OL that still isn’t healthy. No bueno.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Offensive DVOA – 22nd

Defensive DVOA – 3rd
Pace – 5th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 7th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 8th Fewest

Top Players – Leonard Fournette (if he ever comes back), Blake Bortles

The Jags offense really depends on whoever the starting running back is. If it’s not Fournette, then Yeldon becomes a great value play with big passing work (17/163/2 receiving in last three games). Bortles also somehow becomes a top value play when Fournette isn’t playing, tossing for 300+ yards in 80% of his games without Lord Fourn in. However, if Fournette returns at full strength, then he becomes a top 5 RB on most slates off workload alone. He should easily clear 20+ touches a game and flirt with 30+ on some weeks. It’s still a question mark at this point of the season, and the offense doesn’t have any reliable options outside of Yeldon and Bortles.

Team Summary – The Jags have a vaunted defense that will always keep their offense in the game, but no reliable options at WR beyond average performances has that offense capped fantasy wise. Until Fournette returns, there’s really no reason to play any Jags player outside of whoever starts at RB and Blake Bortles. Easy fade for most weeks until further notice.

 

Houston Texans

Offensive DVOA – 23rd

Defensive DVOA – 10th
Pace – 4th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 4th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 10th Most

Top Players – Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller, Deandre Hopkins, Keke Coutee

Another offense that can be explosive but can be a fantasy annoyance with their plethora of weapons. Watson is the clear guy to own with his increased rushing attempts and confidence in his legs. Finding the WRs to stack with Watson will be difficult on a weekly basis, as Hopkins may have the safest floor but the addition of Keke Coutee and Will Fuller lowers Nuk’s TD equity. Watson even has more red zone opportunities than Nuk, while Lamar Miller has 30% of the RZ opportunities (only 1 TD scored, terrible!). Fuller and Coutee have the big play capability, but as long as Hopkins continues to gather 30% of his team’s targets with a high air yards per target (13.6), he will be the most reliable stacking option. Coutee is a guy on the rise though, already putting himself in 2nd for target market share and 2nd highest yards per route ran. However, his air yards are rather low for someone getting 22 targets in two games. For a player of his speed and quickness, that should change sooner than later.

Team Summary – The Texans have continued to push their pace and run more no-huddle over the past few weeks, resulting in better Watson games and increasing his floor with more rushing attempts. Watson’s increased red zone role also skyrockets his fantasy value since he’s now in play for rushing touchdowns every week. Hopkins continues to play at an elite level in every WR statistical category, but his lack of touchdowns and Watson turning into Cam near the end zone is worrisome. Still, he has the sixth most targets among the NFL’s WRs with elevated yards per route/target.

 

Tennessee Titans

Offensive DVOA – 28th

Defensive DVOA – 12th
Pace – 7th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 26th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 15th Fewest

Top Players – None.

Players to Avoid – Derrick Henry, Jonnu Smith

The Titans offense is just a fantasy disaster at this point. Even with Mariota back, their passing game just reeks of inconsistency despite good talent at WR with Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor and a solid RB duo of Derrick Henry/Dion Lewis. The latter being the most frustrating part of the offense as Lewis continues to both out-snap and out-touch Henry without much to show for it. Even Corey Davis, with all of his targets and air yards, has to rely on Mariota elevating himself above replacement level QB production. Still some hope in a talented offense, but signs point to a dismal ending for the Titans.

Team Summary – Actually, that about sums up the Titans’ current season. Avoid the RBs, only play Corey Davis based on targets, and play the Titans defense as a value play. Otherwise, you shouldn’t waste your time with this pitiful team.

 

AFC West

Denver Broncos

Offensive DVOA – 10th

Defensive DVOA – 22nd
Pace – 8th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 12th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 16th Fewest

Top Players – Emmanuel Sanders, Philip Lindsay

While the Broncos still employ a little bit of a RBBC with Lindsay/Freeman, Lindsay has been the early down favorite and is the preferred option for passing work. He’s now ran for 328 yards and a touchdown while collecting 8 catches on 12 targets for 65 yards and a touchdown. He’s continued to out-touch and out-snap Freeman despite Broncos staff wanting more plays for Freeman. Sanders is still by far and away the best offensive option for the Broncos, leading in both yards and targets on the team. His lack of red zone targets is worrisome, but as long as Keenum favors Sanders on nearly everything else, Sanders has a rock-solid floor but a capped upside.

Players To Avoid – Demaryius Thomas, Royce Freeman

As mentioned before, Lindsay appears to have cemented himself as the true RB1 for the Broncos, so it’s safe to ignore Freeman for the moment especially with Devontae Booker creeping by for pass down snaps. Thomas has been largely an ineffective WR for the Broncos despite being the 2nd most targeted receiver. Outside of a garbage time 42 yard touchdown last week, Thomas has barely scratched 50 receiving yards for most of the season and can be safely ignored until further notice.

Team Summary – It seems as if paying Keenum a large contract was actually a mistake, as he now leads the NFL in interceptions thrown with only five touchdowns thrown despite a 63% completion rating. Maybe it’s because his other weapons aren’t stepping up outside of Sanders. Maybe it’s the missing identity of Mile High No Fly. Whatever it is, the Broncos are just not a contender this year and that reflects poorly on their fantasy future.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Offensive DVOA – 3rd

Defensive DVOA – 18th
Pace – 2nd Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 23rd

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 4th Fewest

Top Players – Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon

The Chargers have surprisingly been a very condensed offense, with their top players owning a large chunk of the team’s total yardage on a weekly basis. Rivers continues to be one of the most consistent QBs, scoring 20+ fantasy points every week this season to date. The increased involvement of both Gordon/Ekeler in the passing game has helped Rivers pick apart opposing defenses rather than relying on Keenan Allen alone. That involvement has also been a boon to Gordon’s fantasy value, as he’s now 2nd on the team with a 22% market share of the targets and the 3rd most red zone opportunities in the NFL. Also has the 11th most routes ran among RBs. Insane numbers. Keenan Allen not only leads the team in targets, he’s also been consistent in that area with at least 8 targets amassed in every game. The lack of touchdowns has lowered his ceiling but he remains one of the highest floors among WRs.

Team Summary – Ekeler has quietly carved out a role for himself despite getting almost completely washed out by Melvin Gordon’s usage, having scored three times already with the 2nd most RZ opportunities. He’s an underrated cheap PPR value play with room to grow. The crux of the Chargers offense is still Rivers/Gordon/Allen, making the Chargers one of the more desirable stacking options. There’s not much to hate about their fantasy future going forward. Jam in Melvin every week!

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Offensive DVOA – 2nd

Defensive DVOA – 28th
Pace – 16th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 20th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 3rd Most

Top Players – Everyone.

Players to Avoid – Their defense.

The Chiefs have been rolling on offense all season behind the rocket arm of Patrick Mahomes. It’s been a pleasant surprise for everyone involved, and the Chiefs offense show no signs of slowing time anytime soon. Tyreek Hill nears the top in yards per route ran, air yards, and many other meaningful stat that imply Tyreek is a constant threat to break a long one for a touchdown. Kelce is Kelce. Hunt has been largely ignored in the passing game but continues to be an important offensive cog with his power running and converting his red zone touches at a good rate (5 touchdowns on 12 carries). Even Sammy Watkins is getting in the action and is on pace to beat his dismal 2017 season in every area. Just don’t ever play their defense.

Team Summary – The Air Mahomes show should continue rolling for the rest of the season for as long as their defense show no signs of improvement. Even with large leads, Andy Reid has allowed Mahomes to put his foot on opposing defenses’ throats, knowing full well that the Chiefs defense has no chance of preserving a lead, no matter how large it may be. Points, points, points! Stack, stack, stack!

 

Oakland Raiders

Offensive DVOA – 13th

Defensive DVOA – 29th
Pace – 13th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 8th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 5th Fewest

Top Players – Marshawn Lynch, Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook

Lynch continues to get the old school treatment from Gruden, who thinks RBs like Shaun Alexander still exist in the NFL. It’s not a ding on Lynch’s talent, as he’s still one of the best at breaking tackles at the point of contact and has actually been a very solid value play most weeks. It’s just that old school mentality has lead to less explosive plays and a plodding pace, which forces Lynch to be dependent on TDs. The team’s top two receivers, Nelson and Cook, continue to see enough targets every week to warrant rostering in favorable matchups. In fact, Cook and Jordy are both 2nd and 3rd in RZ usage, respectively. It’s still more feasible to simply lock in Cook as a premier TE play since Cook has the 4th most targets, 4th highest market share, and 2nd most opportunities among all TEs. Stud.

Team Summary – I’m not really sure where the Raiders will go this season. They seem to trade a good offensive game with a bad one every week. Their plodding pace and a reliance on Lynch ground-and-pound lowers their fantasy outlook. Jared Cook looks to be the only fantasy option that won’t be phased out or left behind since he’s garnering elite numbers at a lackluster position. Maybe Gruden decides to ramp up the tempo and lets Carr take control of the offense, as the increase of Martavis Bryant snaps may indicate. I lean towards no.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Offensive DVOA – 26th

Defensive DVOA – 15th
Pace – 4th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 30th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 14th Most

Top Players – Ezekiel Elliott

Players To Avoid – Everyone else.

I mean, what else is there to say about the Cowboys offense? They’re slow, predictable, and Prescott has been inaccurate for far too long. Elliott is the only Cowboys player anyone should even bother mentioning, and even then it’s still going to be a risky play. I personally will avoid Zeke in less than stellar matchups until I see more emphasis on involving Zeke in the passing game and better personnel grouping from the coaching staff. Giving touches to Tavon Austin over a Zeke run or a Dak read option is just baffling to me. No reliable TE, no reliable WRs, a QB who can’t even stabilize a decent floor with his legs, and a RB that can be hindered by poor coaching decisions like punting on 4th and 1 in overtime. Pathetic!

Team Summary – Just read the above.

 

New York Giants

Offensive DVOA – 16th
Defensive DVOA – 24th
Pace – 6th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 28th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 13th Fewest

Top Players – Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham

I almost didn’t put Odell as a top player as Eli continues to play poorly, with low YPA averages that has continued to decline as the season wanes away. He’s still producing solid numbers despite Manning’s best efforts at confirming he’s actually geriatric. The only person that seems unaffected by Manning’s offensive woes has been Barkley, as he’s now received 102 total touches over five games and scored five TDs in the process. Add 582 total yards to those TDs and you have some elite numbers on a below average offense. One of the biggest reasons why Barkley hasn’t been erased by Eli’s poor play has been his passing work, amassing 39 targets and running the 4th most routes among RBs which would actually rank in the top 40 among WRs. Fantasy stud.

Team Summary – While last week’s outing against the Panthers was promising, it remains to be seen that Eli Manning won’t revert back into a pumpkin and becomes scared to pass beyond 10 yards. Odell Beckham thrives in an offense that’s willing to open it up rather than dump it off 50x to Barkley, as evidenced by his smash game last week. Sadly, Beckham’s 57 yard touchdown pass to Barkley was the longest pass of their season. I sense the sad trombone will play more often than is necessary for the Giants’ offense.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Offensive DVOA – 24th

Defensive DVOA – 11th
Pace – 10th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 5th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 12th Fewest

Top Players – Zach Ertz, Carson Wentz

Well, with Jay Ajayi now on IR with a torn ACL, the onus is now on Wentz to perform at an elevated level than what he has been thus far. He’s still getting accustomed to the offense coming off an ACL injury of his own, but the return of Alshon Jeffery has to be a good sign for things to come. However, the low amount of air yards and YPRR among the Eagles weapons, Ertz included, indicate that the Eagles have gone away from a high-flying offense that played off play-action brilliantly with deep shots to Agholor. They have now opted to be more of a grind-it-out team with dink-and-dunks, lessening the fantasy value of everyone not named Ertz. Why not Ertz, you say? That’s because he currently leads all TEs in targets (4th most overall), yards (9th most overall), receptions (3rd most overall), and has the 3rd most RZ opportunities. Need I say more?

Team Summary – Hopefully the Eagles start to get it together in the wake of Ajayi’s injury and start heaving the ball further than 10 yards. The return of Jeffery and his small sample size seem to point to a turnaround sooner than later. Maybe the team makes a play for Le’Veon Bell or LeSean McCoy, but until then Ertz is likely the safest option among the Eagles weapons.

 

Washington Redskins

Offensive DVOA – 20th
Defensive DVOA – 23rd
Pace – 11th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 14th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 6th Fewest

Top Players – Chris Thompson

Players To Avoid – All the WRs

Yikes. This Washington offense really snowballed after their first week, huh? Alex Smith’s passing woes have continued after an abysmal MNF performance where he sailed several would-be touchdown passes and badly threw late on a near pick-six. The fantasy cap on Smith’s ceiling also means all the starting receivers are likely capped as well. It seems that only Chris Thompson and to a lesser extent Jordan Reed can survive Smith’s conservative play-style. Thompson has the 18th most routes ran among RBs (he did have a bye week) and already has 26 catches on 31 targets for 200 yards and a TD. He’s been their most reliable weapon and a favorite dump-off target for Smith. Reed had been the second-most favorite up until the MNF debacle, but his workload continues to be limited to just a little over 50% of the team’s snaps. Ignore everyone on the Redskins.

Team Summary – Yeah, just read the above. Low fantasy output from WRs, Adrian Peterson can’t save them by himself, Reed doesn’t play full snaps, Thompson is the leading receiver for the Redskins, and Alex Smith has 4 touchdowns in 4 games. Gross.

 

NFC North

Chicago Bears

Offensive DVOA – 17th

Defensive DVOA – 1st
Pace – 3rd Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 18th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 2nd Fewest

Top Players – None.

Players To Avoid – Ehhhhh, probably Jordan Howard the biggest plodder in the NFL.

While I wouldn’t say the Bears have a bad offense, they tend to live and die by Trubisky’s arm. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, and Tarik Cohen are all good/great weapons but they are all attached to Trubisky’s play. If Troob decides to play more like Tebow, everyone falls off. If Troob gets it rolling and goes on a hot streak, then everyone pays dividends. Burton seems to be the best option going forward since Nagy has show an affinity for TEs, utilizing them as the X-Factor especially in the red zone. We saw some of the possibilities with Burton in earlier weeks with wildcat packages and being involved in a shovel TD pass play. It’s still a work in progress for Nagy in regards to getting Trubisky acclimated with the offense, but the upside is definitely there. Just don’t use Jordan Howard. Plodders need to be eliminated from the NFL! The guy is averaging 3.2 yards a carry! Get him outta here!

Team Summary – Upside is there, but can Troob learn how to pass without a scripted gameplan? Can Howard stop running in mud? Will Cohen get more play time? Does the Kelce role finally put Burton on the TE1 map? Those are important questions that will be answered in the coming weeks. The Bears contain a massive amount of value plays, and that’s an exploitable edge for you smart robots.

 

Detroit Lions

Offensive DVOA – 21st

Defensive DVOA – 30th
Pace – 13th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 19th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 11th Fewest

Top Players – Kenny Golladay, Golden Tate, Matt Stafford

The Lions seem to have two defined roles in accordance to the game script. If they have a large lead, they will chew the clock and keep the plays at a minimum, lowering fantasy ceilings. If they get behind and have to play catch-up, they unleash the no-huddle and Stafford starts shooting laser beams out of his arm. The latter is what we want for fantasy purposes, but it is rather difficult to know which Lions team will show up. Still, it’s good to point out that Golladay was able to have a big day on a low volume game, continuing his blistering season as he is now 2nd in every receiving category behind the Golden Potater, Both WRs continue to thrive in an unpredictable offense, having taken over Marvin Jones’ target shares. It’s a clear stacking situation between the three players.

Players To Avoid – Marvin Jones

As said before, both Golladay and Tate have clearly been Stafford’s go-to targets, all but eliminating Jones from fantasy consideration despite Jones being tied for the TD lead. There just isn’t enough passes to go around for a Lions offense that’s willing to slow down the game in an effort to protect a lead. He still continues to out-snap both Tate and Golladay, so maybe that changes in the future.

Team Summary – There’s not much to add here. You know what you’re getting with the Lions. Take the two WRs and stack ’em with Stafford or just go Golladay for the TD upside and Tate for the cash floor. The wildcard for the Lions’ offense will be Kerryon Johnson going forward, as he’s clearly their best running back with the most explosive runs. Patricia seems intent to ruin a good thing though, giving him 20 snaps against the Cowboys despite a five-yard carry average and a touchdown. Stupidity.

 

Green Bay Packers

Offensive DVOA – 7th

Defensive DVOA – 17th
Pace – 12th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 6th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 9th Fewest

Top Players – Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, whoever else isn’t injured at WR

The Packers live and die by Rodgers. Plain and simple. The guy is a warrior and so elite he can toss up 400+ yards on a hobbled leg. Outside of Adams, who has now scored a TD in 3 straight games, there hasn’t been a reliable WR for Rodgers to dunk with. Allison got concussed, Cobb got hit with a hammy, and Scantling had a big day but is a rookie. Regardless, Adams is the clear-cut option for Rodgers every week, converting 4 of his 10 red zone targets for touchdowns. That’s impressive. Adams and Graham have been the most consistent weapons for Green Bay, but I’m a little leery on Graham. He seems more of a product of the offense than actually creating yards for himself. It’s a good spot to be in and he’ll remain a TE1 going forward. Just an uneasy feeling is all.

Players To Avoid – Packers’ RB situation

Aaron Jones. Jamaal Williams. Ty Montgomery. Just not a good situation with a coach that’s been known to be so inept at recognizing talent that he’s willing to let a plodder in Jamaal Williams get more play time than Jones who has been explosive at the point of contact and has the better YPC average. Either way, this is simply a situation to completely ignore forever. FOREVER!

Team Summary – As long as Rodgers can throw with his arms, legs or no legs, the Packers’ offense will continue to hum. Adams and Graham are the only ones to really target, as the health of the other WRs are still up in the air. Whoever is paired up with Adams likely gets enough targets to be a worthwhile value play most weeks. A slumping Packers defense also forces Rodgers to constantly have to throw the ball, as they have the third highest passing play percentage only behind the Colts and Vikings. Point is, they’re gonna throw a lot.

 

Minnesota Vikings

Offensive DVOA – 15th
Defensive DVOA – 26th
Pace – 6th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 9th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 10th Fewest

Top Players – Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs

That’s it. Those are the guys you should consider when rostering Vikings players. It’s a condensed offense behind the 2nd pass-heaviest offense in the NFL with the 2nd fewest rush attempts. Some of that has to do with a bad run-blocking OL and missing their best RB in Dalvin Cook due to injury. Still, it’s not like the Vikings suck at passing. In fact, they’re quite good at it. Thielen has now romped for 100+ yards in five straight games, Diggs has pulled in 37/402/3 on 55 targets, and Cousins is behind Jared Goff for the most passing yards. What a lovely stack!

Team Summary – Whether or not the Vikings’ “Screw the run!” mentality works out, we do know their passing attack is easily one of the best units in the NFL. They’re a legitimate game stack most weeks unless the offense dramatically shifts towards Dalvin Cook when he returns to full health. Seems unlikely to me. The numbers speak for themselves.

 

NFC South

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Offensive DVOA – 8th

Defensive DVOA – 32nd
Pace – 16th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 22nd

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 16th Most

Top Players – Mike Evans

I wanted to put more players on the list but there’s some unknowns as the Bucs come off a bye week. The Fitzmagic era is over and Jameis Winston will now be taking over the reins. Is that a good or bad thing? Will DeSean Jackson suffer? Will Brate suddenly revert back to his smash form a couple years ago? I’m not sure, but I do know Evans should still play at an elite level with his 14th highest air yards per target and the second highest YPRR among qualified WRs (min. 15 targets). That’s gotta amount to something, right? The rest of the offense has question marks that should be answered shortly. Good luck.

Team Summary – As said before, bad Winston = bad Bucs offense. Good Winston = good fantasy offense. They’re in a good division to get some big scoring games and get Jameis into a rhythm, but that’s going to take some time to figure out the team after a few thrilling weeks of Fitzmagic. Such a shame.

 

Atlanta Falcons

Offensive DVOA – 11th
Defensive DVOA – 31st
Pace – 10th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 17th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 11th Most

Top Players – Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley

With how horrendous Atlanta’s defense has been, the offense has had to constantly put their foot on the gas and keep scoring points upon points against anyone. Ryan’s had several huge fantasy games already and seems poised to continue that trend with two more games against the Bucs and one more against both Saints and Panthers. What a fun division! You know who Evans was behind on for highest yards per route run? Julio Jones! Do you know who the lowest targeted WR in red zone is? Julio Jones! Actually, that’s probably wrong but it might as well be true. Ridley on the other hand has now converted 5 of his RZ targets into 4 touchdowns. Slick. Julio Jones will continue to be a pain in the pass with his lack of TD production, but the man continues to rain down yards. What can you do? Just stack the three and move on.

Players To Avoid – Tevin Coleman/Devonta Freeman

All right, the Tevin experiment is now over. Freeman finally returned from his injury but still was stuck in a RBBC, playing on 28 snaps to Coleman’s 27. It’ll likely lean towards a 60/40 split, but that doesn’t help increase their fantasy production. Ito Smith is even getting into the mix, having now received 12 (!) red zone touches. Granted, those were without Freeman, but he still got a touch last week in the RZ. Not great, Bob.

Team Summary – ATL has an explosive offense, in a division full of bad defenses, and now has a two-headed RB monster. Their defense continues to give up 20+ fantasy points to opposing RBs and just refuses to stop a cold. Stack every game with and against them every week. Don’t overthink it.

 

Carolina Panthers

Offensive DVOA – 12th
Defensive DVOA – 27th
Pace – 5th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 15th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 3rd Fewest

Top Players – Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey

Would you be surprised if I told you McCaffrey led the team in red zone touches? Yes, a 33% market share. No, I’m not kidding. The problem with that is he’s only converted 10 of those touches into ONE touchdown. Just one! Newton has converted 3 touchdowns on 6 tries! Still, McCaffrey is the team leader in targets and has the second most receiving yards. Remember, this is a running back we’re talking about here. Newton is also playing fantastic ball as a true game manager, completing 65% of his passes which would be a career high for the often inaccurate QB. That has led to more scoring opportunities and less turnovers. It’s still a balanced offense that is primarily based on the Newton/McCaffrey duo with supporting help from Funchess and rising rookie D.J. Moore.

Team Summary – With the 3rd fewest pass per play percentage, the Panthers are intent at becoming a slow-paced, balanced team that will run it down teams’ throats if they can’t stop it. Temper your fantasy expectations on Newton, but McCaffrey should be a reliable RB1 target every week based on volume alone. Eventually he’ll turn those RZ touches into touchdowns.

 

New Orleans Saints

Offensive DVOA – 4th
Defensive DVOA – 25th
Pace – 8th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 13th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 7th Fewest

Top Players – Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas

Ingram may end up eating into Kamara’s workload and render him as a low end RB1 but who the hell knows? His workload on MNF was worrying enough for me to seriously consider fading Kamara for the rest of the season. Hell, even Taysom Hill is becoming a menace with his increased red zone work. Ominous signs going forward for Kamara. Anyway, Brees and Thomas should still be the centerpieces of the Saints offense, with possibly a new addition in Tre’Quan Smith. Brees broke the passing yards record blah blah blah, Michael Thomas has the second most catches and blah blah blah. You know what they’re doing. Brees to MT. Brees to Kamara. Ingram vulture. Snore.

Team Summary – It’s going to be interesting how the Saints offense operates with Ingram in the mix. Will MT suffer if the Saints run a more balanced offense behind their two dynamic backs? Will Kamara end up being SlotMara instead of Do-It-Allmara? Will Brees turn into Alex Smith like he did last season with decreased TD production? My initial feeling is no to all of these but Kamara. I think the Saints will continue to be a well-oiled machine with a 58/42 split still more geared towards passing, so MT should still ravage opposing DBs on his way to an easy 100 catch season. Ingram will simply hurt Kamara’s RZ usage and overall TD equity. Shame.

 

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

Offensive DVOA – 31st
Defensive DVOA – 8th
Pace – 9th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 32nd

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 2nd Most

Top Players – David Johnson

If they didn’t decide to finally utilize DJ on passing downs, it would be no one as a top player. The Cardinals continue to gather offensive plays much like a blind squirrel gathers nuts. Ineffective, often leading them astray from the field and nearly incapacitating themselves in the process. I truthfully do not want to waste my time trying to talk about positives with this team. It’s bad, and will remain bad until Chosen Rosen turns into Kurt Warner. It ain’t happening, though.

Players To Avoid – Everyone else, especially Larry Fitzgerald

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Fitzgerald has just been a shell of himself and I’m not sure if it’s the hammy injury or the lack of offensive plays. He just isn’t the same out there and Rosen isn’t doing him any favors with only 10 completions against the 49ers. TEN! Low air yards, low YPRR, low everything! Just pure sadness for a future Hall of Famer. MAKE IT STOP!

Team Summary – Bad. Just bad everywhere. They’re lucky Beathard is a terrible QB who doesn’t know what pressure is. Lucky to have David Johnson putting the team on his back. Lucky to even win a damn game. Putrid. Pathetic, A pigsty of a team!

 

San Francisco 49ers

Offensive DVOA – 27th
Defensive DVOA – 21st
Pace – 11th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 10th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 12th Most

Top Players – None.

Players To Avoid – Everyone.

What an injury-ravaged team. Almost every single position has been decimated by some sort of injury for the 49ers. They still put up well over 500 yards of offense in a loss against the MIGHTY Cardinals, but that means nothing really. Breida is hurt, Kittle is dinged up, Garcon is dinged up, Beathard doesn’t care about holding on the ball, and the defense has given up. Wasteland.

Team Summary – Dumpster fire.

 

Seattle Seahawks

Offensive DVOA – 19th
Defensive DVOA – 9th
Pace – 15th Fastest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 27th

Defensive Snaps Given Up – 14th Fewest

Top Players – None.

Players To Avoid – Seattle’s RBs

Yes, the Seahawks do not have a top player worth mentioning. Yes, I know they have Russell Wilson. Doesn’t matter. He’s on a career-low percentage on scrambles, has thrown for less than 200 yards 3 straight weeks, and the Seahawks are the 2nd run-heaviest team. How dare you tell me Wilson is a top player worth mentioning! Ahem. Yes, yet another wasteland of a fantasy team residing in possibly the worst offensive division in football. Not even the Rams can save it, or can they? Also, Chris Carson and Mike Davis are in a heavy RBBC, with Carson leading slightly ahead but losing goal-line duties to Davis. It’s not an ideal situation to try and hedge your bets on, but if anything positive could arrive from that backfield, it would be Carson stomping on fools on his way to 200-yard games. One can only dream.

Team Summary – Better than the Cardinals and 49ers, but still a wasteland. Low energy.

 

Los Angeles Rams

Offensive DVOA – 1st
Defensive DVOA – 14th
Pace – 14th Slowest

Offensive Snaps Per Game – 21st

Defensive Snaps Given Up – Fewest

Top Players – Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks, Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, Connor Kupp

Whew. What an offense. What a coach. What a running back! Goff has one of the highest YPA in the history of the NFL and seems poised for a MVP campaign behind an electrifying offense lead by a 3 headed WR monster and a Gurley man. What’s so impressive about the Rams offense is they’re running 11 personnel 97% of the time, meaning they often run out 3 receivers and a tight end with Gurley. In fact, Gurley leads the NFL in carries within that personnel, nearly doubling the 2nd place loser in that category. That means less 8 man boxes and more fantasy goodness. Gurley also has the most red zone touches, most red zone touchdowns (and overall), 2nd highest RZ market share, and 2nd most overall rushing yards. Insanity. And I haven’t even started on the receivers! And I won’t.

Team Summary – Super Bowl Champions. Fantasy goodness everywhere. Stackable team with all WRs and Gurley. Cooks and Kupp battling concussions but they’ll be fine going forward either way. Goff legitimate top 5 QB for the season. Gurley may break LT’s touchdown record. McVay is smart. The Rams are the 5th run-heaviest team in the NFL yet they stomp on everyone through the air. Incredible.

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