Too bad Tyreek Hill's stock didn't drop based on a Twitter prank...
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Bud Light:
- Whew mamma. Rookie WRs can get HOT late.
- Rankings Update. The name is Dalton.
- Dear Pete. Brandin Cooks, Director of Marketing.
- Bets from the group chat. A weird Chief's trend.
- JM's Player Grid.
- Its 11/12. Take it away Dwain McFarland...
Everyone remembers Odell Beckham Jr.'s historic rookie season, where he delivered 1,305 receiving yards and an eye-popping 12 TDs.
However, what many don't remember is he missed the first four games of the season and didn't have a full-time role until Week 6. The budding superstar didn't have his first 100-yard game until Week 8. Beckham went from being an afterthought sitting on the wire to a league winner in the blink of an eye.
While Beckham is the poster child for a mid-season rookie WR eruption, he isn't an outlier. In fact, since 2010, rookie WRs have improved their fantasy points per game by 55.4%.
Here are some of the recent early-round NFL draft picks to surge over the second half of the season:
- JuJu Smith-Schuster: 11.3 vs. 17.9
- A.J. Brown: 9.3 vs. 17.8
- Deebo Samuel: 8.7 vs. 15.2
We have multiple first- and second-round rookie WRs that are available in over 80% of Yahoo! Leagues. Specifically, there are two with an opportunity to explode.
🧨️ Treylon Burks
Burks was the No. 18 pick in the NFL draft and is tracking toward a return to the Titans lineup this weekend after a four-week stint on IR due to a toe injury. Before the injury, the rookie was showing signs of life.
Burks' 21% target rate (TPRR) is already WR3-worthy, and his 38% and 35% marks in Weeks 1 and 2 speak to his potential to dominate. He is an explosive after-the-catch weapon who can work behind linebackers off of play-action passes — where 31% of his targets have come from already.
The Titans are a run-first operation, but Burks can win on efficiency, similar to the way A.J. Brown did as a rookie. Additionally, the competition for targets is low, with only Robert Woods as a challenger, and Ryan Tannehill has already proven an ability to support a high-end fantasy option.
Burks is available in 81% of leagues and is someone who should be rostered before this weekend's game in most formats.
Mecole Hardman, Devin Duvernay, Odell Beckham Jr. (I realize the irony...), Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Hunter Renfrow, Romeo Doubs, Donovan Peoples-Jones and DeAndrew Carter are all rostered more than Burks but shouldn't be.
🧨️ Christian Watson
Watson hasn't been able to stay on the field due to injuries, but he is off of the injury report heading into Week 10. He has only participated in 18% of snaps but has flashed a 21% TPRR.
The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are looking for someone to step up and provide the offense with a spark, and Watson likely has the most big-play upside on the offense outside of Aaron Jones.
Allen Lazard is playing well, but he isn't a target hog, and Sammy Watkins ranks 93rd in PFF receiving grade (58.8) out of 99 WRs with at least 100 routes. Romeo Doubs is out this weekend and hasn't been able to assert himself as a high-end option as a starter.
The door is open for the No. 34 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft to take flight. He shouldn't be available in 96% of Yahoo! Leagues.
🧨️ Honorable Mention: Jahan Dotson
Dotson was the No. 16 selection in the NFL draft. However, his TPRR (12%) isn't as strong as his counterparts above. He has significant target competition in Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel and a less favorable QB situation.
Dotson was removed from the injury report and should play on Monday night.
Bud Light 🤝 Fantasy Life
📈 RB – Jonathan Taylor
Taylor was removed from the injury report after two full practices to end the week. The third-year back averages only 12.6 points per game.
Despite his health challenges, Taylor remains respectable in missed tackles forced per attempt (9th), average yards after contact (23rd) and explosive rush rate (18th) out of 47 RBs with at least 50 attempts. That isn’t terrible, considering the Colts rank 29th in PFF run-blocking grade (53.3).
Taylor is still clearly the best option in this backfield. Deon Jackson won’t play, leaving Zack Moss as the secondary option.
Taylor is a high-end RB2 option with upside.
📈 RB – Aaron Jones
Jones (ankle) was knocked out of last week’s game and left the locker room in crutches. However, he was removed from the injury report after three limited practice sessions this week and is good to go against the Cowboys.
The veteran RB had clearly distanced himself from A.J. Dillon as the primary back in Weeks 5 to 8, handling 59% of rushing attempts. That trend changed in Week 9, with Jones and Dillon near a 50/50 split even before Jones’ day ended with an injury.
Without an injury designation, Jones rejoins the RB2 conversation, but he might not be 100%, and Dillon could challenge for more touches.
📈 RB – D’Andre Swift
Swift practiced in full on Friday and was removed from the injury report. Last weekend, Swift was upset about his usage after only playing 10 snaps, according to OC Ben Johnson.
Before last week, the limited version of Swift amounted to limited opportunities on the ground, but he remained the lead option on passing downs. However, he saw his lowest route participation of the season.
Johnson remained non-committal on how much the Lions will use Swift this weekend, but his removal from the injury report and his desire for more snaps could lead to a workload more like Weeks 2, 3 and 8.
That allows the Lions to limit hits to his shoulder running between the tackles while also providing explosive upside in a passing game that is light on weapons.
Swift is a low-end RB2 with upside.
📈 WR – Mack Hollins
Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow were placed on IR on Friday, opening up a huge opportunity for Hollins starting this weekend. Hollins isn’t an elite target earner (16% target share), but he could look more like a 20% option with the thin depth chart.
He is a WR4 option in Week 10 against a 49ers defense that is getting healthier.
📈 TE – Dalton Schultz
Schultz has battled injuries all season but was showing signs of life before the Cowboys’ bye week with 20% and 24% target shares. Those numbers came despite 55% and 64% route participation due to elite targets per route (31% and 33%), demonstrating continued chemistry with Dak Prescott.
The veteran TE has practiced in full all week and was removed from the injury report, clearing the way for a strong finish to the 2022 season.
Schultz is my No. 6 TE this weekend, which is four spots ahead of expert consensus.
📉 QB – Kyler Murray
Murray is a game-time decision due to a hamstring injury, according to Kliff Kingsbury. He practiced in a limited fashion over the last two days, which is a positive sign. However, Murray comes with a lot of risk as a late-game option who might not be able to bail out his fantasy managers with rushing yards.
Jimmy Garoppolo (Sunday Night Football) is available in 47% of Yahoo! Leagues and is the best pivot option. Colt McCoy is Murray’s backup and is an emergency replacement option.
Murray slips to low-end QB1 territory.
Dear Pete, what if the rest of life was like professional sports? For example, I'm an ER doctor. What if my hospital, Hospital X, decides it really needs a plastic surgeon? So they trade me to Hospital Z, along with two new docs coming out of next year's graduating class, in exchange for a plastic surgeon and a family practice doc. Now, I have to move, sign a new contract, meet and work with a new team. Wild.
Could apply to any other career/industry! P.S. I'm stuck with a whole bunch of middle-of-the-pack players. Would you start James Connor over any of the following? L. Fournette, D. Singletary, M. Evans, T. McLaurin, C. Godwin — Doc On The Trade Block
DEAR DOC ON THE TRADE BLOCK: Hot damn. I love this hypothetical and am also terrified by it. You’ve sent my brain down a rabbit hole of twisted possibilities…
Imagine you go to get a haircut only to find out your talented barber was traded to a luxury resort in the Maldives in exchange for multiple hair stylists.
Or you show up to your local coffee shop only to learn that your barista was flipped to a nearby Starbucks in a package deal that included a new espresso machine, cash considerations, and the rights to their next five applicants.
Sounds thrilling…and also like a total nightmare.
It’s also pretty funny to reverse the hypothetical and imagine NFL players with “normal” jobs…
Brandin Cooks (Marketing Analyst at Oracle) gets passed over for a promotion to become the Director of Marketing, so he rage skips the company’s quarterly meeting and posts this message on the cork board in the breakroom:
Don’t take a man’s kindness for granted. Covered for the lies for too long those days are done. Crossed the line with playing with my career 🏹
— Brandin Cooks (@brandincooks)
Nov 1, 2022
Or Aaron Rodgers (lead singer for a wedding cover band) gets drunk at a gig, hits on the bride, throws up on the cake, and blames his bassist and drummer as he gets dragged out of the venue.
Or Kyle Pitts (violinist prodigy) gets recruited by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but instead of him playing the violin, they have him selling hot dogs during intermission instead.
I think it's safe to say that we should all be thankful for our employment rights and appreciate the chaos, both on and off the field, that NFL players endure…although I would like to see Pitts in the orchestra…maybe as the conductor? Imagine that majestic wingspan directing the musicians.
As for your fantasy question…it pains me to say this as a noted Eno Benjamin stan, but you should definitely find room for James Conner in your lineup. I’d play him over Devin Singletary and probably over Terry McLaurin, too. He returned to the field last week and immediately played 71% of the snaps and caught all five of his targets. Here’s unquestionably their lead back when healthy.
And if he flops? Well, Fantasy Life can trade me away for a better fantasy columnist.
🤬 Yes, we have a beef with your coach. But we still love you.
🤔 In a different simulation, is he the QB1? If only other teams could keep up.
🎮 Marcus Mariota is a video game. Not in a good way, though.
✅ This rookie WR is a complete route runner. Green screens only.
🎯 Justin Fields tossing dimes. Enjoy and realize the upside isn't tapped.
😂 This is a professional athlete? Well... he is a pocket passer.
🕺 A GREAT celebration dance. It's your friendly neighborhood defensive end.
Our resident betting sharps at Fantasy Life have a group chat. Lucky for you, they are leaking the alpha. Here's what Eliot came up with for Week 10...
While the public hammers the Chiefs as -9.5 point favorites, I am more interested in the game total in this one. The market often overcompensates for the Chiefs' offense, inflating totals when the Chiefs are at home.
In fact, under Andy Reid, unders are hitting at a 58% clip in Arrowhead. Even more convincing is when the Chiefs are 7+ point favorites, unders are hitting a ridiculous 68% of the time. Beyond trends, the Jaguars' defense could keep this game close. They are top 10 in play success rate against and generating pressure.
Amari Cooper is the unquestioned top dog in Cleveland, seeing 40% of the team’s air yards and 27% of the targets. This became even more extreme in the Browns' previous game against the Bengals without David Njoku. Cooper caught 5 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, commanding 32% of Brissett’s dropbacks.
We have more good news, the Dolphins are a dream matchup for Cooper, as play the second-highest rate of man coverage, and Cooper has seen his targets per route run climb from 18% to 35% when going from zone to man coverage.
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🏆 Kenny Pickett + George Pickens + Diontae Johnson
COST: $15.7K DK // $18.8K FD
🏆 Why it works:
Pat Freiermuth’s rostership projects for nearly 10% thanks to a one-off comment about an expanded role with Chase Claypool gone. That tidbit of news is holding Diontae Johnson's and George Pickens' rostership in check.
Rostership % Projections:
- Pickens- 4.5%
- Pickett- 3.5%
There will also be some “Pickett with only one pass catcher” builds, leaving this complete stack extremely low-owned. On a week in which it could be difficult to score 200+ DK points, you only need about 60 points from this stack to keep you on a 200-point pace, and this stack is capable of producing at a much higher level.
🏆 How it works:
Kenny Pickett’s average intended air yards sit at a middling 7.2, but his starts have come at Buffalo, home against Tampa, at Miami, and at Philadelphia, which is quite the tough stretch for a rookie signal caller thrown into the fire with very few first-team reps before he became the starter.
Mitchell Trubisky has the third deepest average intended air yards in the NFL in this same offense, and Pickett is coming off a bye that will have allowed Pittsburgh to further adjust this offense to account for their new starting QB, while giving Pickett himself more time to study and get acclimated to what this team is wanting to do.
The risk here is high, of course; but with the Saints having only two(!) interceptions all season, there’s also a good chance that Pickett has his “coming out party”; and if he hits the high end of his range, 25 to 30 points is very much within reach. If he’s hitting that type of score, it’s not unreasonable to think Johnson and Pickens will be combining for around 50 fantasy points.
This can be played with Alvin Kamara, with Chris Olave, or with no bring-back. I’ll have fringe consideration for this stack on my Main Build (where I would probably use Kamara), and I’ll be mixing this stack throughout my large-field play, with variations of “no bring-back” // “Kamara bring-back” // “Olave bring-back” mixed in.
💰 Editors note:
The Fantasy Life Player Prop Tool has Freiermuth, Johnson, & Pickens projected to go OVER on their receiving yards props on BetMGM.
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When you send a trade offer to a friend who is in the same room as you
— Fantasy Life (@MBFantasyLife)
Nov 12, 2022