🔑 KEY Sheesh and Utilization Takeaways

Broncos country, let's ride!

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Four more weeks until your fantasy playoffs (probably) start…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Constant Contact:

  • Russell Wilson and company pull off the upset in Buffalo

  • Sheesh Report: Mike Evans, Tyler Boyd, MORE

  • Utilization Report: “Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back.” - Kyler Murray

  • QUICK HITTER: All hail the Sun God.

  • De’Von Achane could be back sooner rather than later

  • Week 11 Waiver Wire: The Texans can’t stop, won’t stop, scoring points

  • It’s 11/14. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…

The Broncos took down the Bills 24-22 in a beautifully ugly Monday night affair, eating the W on Week 10’s NFL-record sixth (!) game-winning field goal as time expired … on their second opportunity following a miss that was bailed out due to the Bills being flagged for having 12 men on the field.

Shoutout to Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (8-53-1 — and the TD was AMAZING) and RB Javonte Williams (110 total yards, 1 TD) for their especially stellar fantasy performances.

However, perhaps the biggest takeaway from the Broncos offense comes from rookie WR Marvin Mims, who played over 50% of the offense’s snaps for the first time in his career. The rookie’s negative three total yards certainly weren’t ideal; just realize better days should be ahead for the electric field-stretching talent, and this bump in usage came at the expense of Jerry Jeudy (3-35-0).

The opposite of a shoutout to a Bills offense that turned the football over on four separate occasions, leading to pretty much all parties involved disappointing in fantasy land. Sadly, the best Stefon Diggs (3-34-0) highlight occurred before the game even started.

The minor exceptions were breakout rookie TE Dalton Kincaid (5-51-1) and kind of RB James Cook (120 total yards), who found his way out of the dog house after a game-opening fumble … only to NEARLY lose another one later before being blessed with one of the luckier bounces you’ll ever see.

The 2023 NFL regular season is officially more than halfway ever. But like Matthew Berry always says*: Fantasy championships might be won in December, but they are earned in November.

*I’ve never actually heard Fantasy Life’s fearless leader say this phrase, but it sounds cool, so if he likes it, awesome, if not, please disregard it. Cool? Cool. MOVING ON.

Fantasy Life Week 10 Sheesh! Report

Fantasy Life Resident Sheesh Expert Ian Hartitz has made it his weekly mission to provide the sort of beyond-the-box-score juice that will not only help inform you of integral details you may have missed but also provide PTS-Fantasy-D — because why not?

Presenting: The Week 10 Sheesh Report.

🧈 Get your butterfingers jokes ready

There were three fairly clear-cut dropped TDs in Week 10, which sucks because, you know, football is pretty cool when players make great catches and score points.

😬 Titans TE Chigoziem Okonkwo (6-yard TD dropped)

The Will Levis bullet hit Chiggy right between the eyes before being batted up in the air and nearly intercepted. Luckily, DeAndre Hopkins put his cornerback hat on and managed to force an incompletion … and then hilariously did the DB seat belt/strapped celebration that all the kids seem to be doing these days.

🏴‍☠️ Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (7-yard TD dropped)

Evans has had a great season by all accounts and is currently pacing for 81 receptions, 1392 yards and eight TDs despite going from Tom Brady to, you know, Baker Mayfield.

However, there have been more than a few occasions this season where it’s been Evans, not Mayfield, responsible for a missed TD.

Buccaneers fans and fantasy managers were treated to both sheeshes within a span of three plays on Sunday, as Mayfield first underthrew Evans on what could have been a 51-yard score before the veteran WR brutally dropped a WIDE open potential seven-yard TD.

Evans' fantasy managers and anytime TD bettors still got to witness a sterling 6-143-1 performance – just realize the good times were oh so close to being extra good for all parties involved.

🐅 Bengals WR Tyler Boyd (13-yard TD dropped)

Boyd “wins” Week 10’s top sheesh thanks to the reality that hauling in this very catchable potential 13-yard score would have given the Bengals the lead with just 1:37 remaining. Not necessarily the victory – C.J. Stroud and company wound up driving to Cincy’s 20-yard line to set up the game-winning field goal – but a clean catch certainly would have helped matters.

Credit to Boyd for otherwise having a great day (8-117-0); the veteran even set up the game-tying field goal in the first place with a 64-yard catch and run.

That said: Sheesh.

“Shoutout” to Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell for an honorable mention thanks to having a potential 19-yard score hit him in the chest before falling incomplete, although I truly can’t decide if slow-motion replay shows an ever-so-slight deflection or not.

Fantasy Life Week 10 Sheesh! Report

💀 Have we considered if Tony Pollard is actually cursed by the TD Gods?

Cowboys RB Tony Pollard has now gone an NFL-high 151 consecutive touches without a TD. He nearly reached pay dirt on two separate occasions in Week 10 during the Cowboys’ 49-17 win over the Giants, but unfortunately was stopped just short of the goal line both times.

Here’s the full list of Week 10’s players who managed to get the football within three feet of the goal line, but not quite across the plane, and ultimately didn’t score later on the same drive:

  • Cowboys RB Tony Pollard (x2)

  • Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (x3 – on the same drive)

  • Lions RB David Montgomery (x2 – on the same drive)

  • Chargers QB Justin Herbert (x2 – on the same drive, but did throw a TD to Quentin Johnston)

  • Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown

  • Colts WR Michael Pittman

  • Cardinals WR Michael Wilson (extra sheeshy because the Cardinals decided to feature backup QB Clayton Tune on the next play for the score)

  • Colts QB Gardner Minshew

Cardinals RB James Conner also deserves mention for pulling the ever-sheeshful Brian Westbrook/Todd Gurley "stop just short of the goal line even though the defense is inviting you to score a TD so the clock won't run out” move. Technically a good decision by Conner so the Cardinals could win the football game or whatever, but few events are more sheeshful for fantasy managers to deal with.

On a brighter note: Kudos to the Lions for being persistent and finding a way to get RB Jahmyr Gibbs into the end zone after the rookie was stopped at the one-yard line on two separate drives. Gibbs wound up with two goal-line scores, while Montgomery relied on an electric 75-yard TD run to produce – just like we all expected.

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Fantasy Life Utilization Report

Life Fantasy football usage moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” - Dwain McFarland

🐦 Kyler Murray returned to action and looked healthy.

In his first game since January ACL surgery, Murray scrambled around like his old self and delivered 18 fantasy points. He handled four designed runs (17%) for 13 yards and scrambled twice (6%) for 20 yards. 

It is a small sample, but those numbers align with Murray’s 15% and 6% career averages. Clayton Tune stole a QB sneak attempt at the goal line, but Murray also had one rushing attempt that he converted into a TD inside the five-yard line.

Kyler Murray Utilization Report

The fifth-year QB was a little rusty in the passing attack with a 59% completion rate, but that should improve with time – he has never completed less than 69% of his passes in a season. Despite the accuracy woes, it was still the Cardinals' second-best passing yardage output (249) and YPA (7.8) of the season.

It is hard to know if the Cardinals will stick with Murray if he continues to help them win games since the 2023 season is over, and they want a good draft pick. However, his rest-of-season schedule is enticing, with only one tough matchup remaining based on our DvP tool:

  • Week 11 – Texans: 17.8 (21st)

  • Week 12 – Rams: 16.2 (18th)

  • Week 13 – Steelers: 14.4 (13th)

  • Week 14 – Bye

  • Week 15 – 49ers: 10.6 (2nd)

  • Week 16 – Bears: 20.7 (32nd)

  • Week 17 – Eagles: 20.0 (28th)

If Murray is still in the lineup come Week 16 and 17, he could pop for huge totals during the fantasy playoffs. The Cardinals have a borderline WR1 profile in Marquise Brown, who earns targets and offers big-play upside, plus Trey McBride has emerged as one of the best young TEs in the game – Murray has enough weaponry to make some SERIOUS noise.

Finding QBs that can throw for 300-plus yards and run for 50-plus isn’t easy, making Murray a high-upside option the rest of the way. He has averaged at least 18 points every season and reached 22 or higher twice, and it looks like the latter is within his range of outcomes, given how well he moved in Week 10.

Outlook: Murray UPGRADES to low-end QB1 status and has high-end QB1 upside.

Dwain McFarland's Utilization Report Fantasy Life

🦁 Jahmyr Gibbs wasn’t pushed aside in David Montgomery’s return.

Gibbs exploded for 220 yards and two TDs rushing and 95 receiving yards on 14 grabs with Montgomery out of the lineup in Weeks 7 and 8 – and the Lions' coaching must have taken note.

In previous games with a healthy Montgomery, Gibbs’ season highs were 38% of snaps, 21% of attempts and 45% route participation.

He crushed those numbers in Week 10 at 58%, 45% and 64%.

Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery Utilization

From a rushing perspective, the two rotated every series. We could easily see attempts flip depending on who gets the longer drives (Montgomery had a 75-yard TD run). However, Gibbs rotated in to steal routes on every drive except two.

And perhaps most importantly: Gibbs saw work inside the five-yard line – he had two attempts that went for TDs. Previously, all of those looks had gone to Montgomery, who also had two carries inside the five.

It was Montgomery’s first game back from injury, so we don’t want to overreact on a small sample, but at a minimum, it appears the workload will be distributed more evenly. If Gibbs maintains most of the passing-down work – which makes sense given his No. 3 ranked TPRR (24%) for backs with at least 200 snaps – he could push for a top-six fantasy finish down the stretch. We saw Alvin Kamara post a top-three finish as a rookie despite a strong season from Mark Ingram.

Montgomery remains a strong fantasy play, but the upside of a 32-attempt game like Week 4 is likely a thing of the past. If Gibbs retains a significant portion of the passing-down work, Montgomery will become more TD and game-script-dependent.

Outlook: Gibbs UPGRADES to low-end RB1 status and Montgomery downgrades to high-end RB2 status.

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s officially Week 11. To welcome in the new week of Fantasy Football, Matthew Freedman was up at the crack of dawn to make sure his rankings were ready for you before your morning coffee. Check out his full Week 11 rankings set here!

Around the Watercooler (August 2022)

🪞 How Arthur Smith started his Monday. LMAO.

😮 The 2021 Cowboys WR room has been on an absolute tear in recent weeks. That’s a lot of yards.

🎆 The Saints add one of the NFL’s long-time premier pass-rushers. The rich middle class get richer middle class-er!  

🎥 Overhead camera shots are a helluva drug. Kyler Murray is SO BACK.

🙃 Two of Justin Herbert’s top pass-catchers are considered day-to-day. No funny business, Injury Gods.

📈 This electric rookie “should be more involved” on Thursday. “It’s about damn time.”

🥳 It might be time to party again in L.A. GREAT injury update from Sean McVay.

😔 Can Elon Musk invent a cure for hamstring injuries already? Thursday isn’t looking good.

💨 The man responsible for two of the three fastest ball-carrier times of 2023 could be back Sunday. LET’S GO!

Waiver Wire Week 11 Report

The contenders and pretenders are beginning to emerge as we reach mid-November. With the fantasy playoffs suddenly becoming clear on the horizon: The time is MEOW to get those rosters in the absolute best shape possible.

Good news: Chris “The Cincy Stormchaser” Allen is here to spread the good waiver wire word. Well, what are we waiting for? LET’S GO!

Sunday’s early games were yet another reminder of how chaotic the NFL can be. We (or it could just be me) walk into the weekend armed with projections and the hot take or two, confident in our knowledge. And, about 30 minutes after kickoff, the players casually toss our analysis out the window.

So, let’s regroup.

We learned more about each squad over the weekend. A few guys popped off in the box score, and some underlying trends caught my eye while sifting through the data. As a result, I’ve got the top waiver adds for Week 11 to help you reset your roster.

Looking for recommended FAAB budgeting and even more Waiver Wire analysis? Head to our Waiver Hub to get all of that and more, for FREE!

👀 Devin Singletary, RB - Texans

Devin Singletary has now had the Texans’ backfield to himself over the last two weeks. He’s carried the ball 43 times. Mike Boone is the only other Houston RB to earn a touch. And that’s all he has had: one carry.

On Sunday, Singletary averaged 3.87 adjusted yards after contact per attempt. It’s the highest mark of any Texans’ RB this season. He’s also hit rushing success rates of 46.7% (Week 10) and 50.0% (Week 8). Pierce has been over 45.0% just twice.

Singletary doesn’t add anything as a receiver (six targets, 0.43 YPRR). But on an offense averaging the fifth-most yards per drive in the league since their bye, all he needs is the workload, which he has until Pierce returns.

Waiver Wire Week 11 Report

🤠 Brandin Cooks, WR - Cowboys

At first glance, it’s tough to look at Brandin Cooks’ box score and discern what’s repeatable.

Since the Cowboys’ Week 7 bye, Cooks’ role looked like it was diminishing. His target share dropped from 11.8% in Week 8 to 4.5%. He earned just 5.7% of the team’s air yards in what was a competitive game against the Eagles. So, a ten-target outburst against a Giants’ defense looking to 2024 looks fluky. However, there’s a bit more to his big day.

While Dak Prescott was still on the field (up until the fourth quarter), it was Cooks, CeeDee Lamb, and no one else (at least out of the WRs). The duo had 10 and 12 targets, respectively. The rest of the WRs? They combined for five. Michael Gallup, for all the hype around his resurgence, only accounted for 10.7% of the air yards. Cooks had three times as many.

Cooks emerging as the WR2 couldn’t come at a better time. Dallas has had a positive DBOE rate over their last month of games, and Prescott leads the league in yards. With a favorable schedule heading into the fantasy playoffs (Carolina, Washington, Seattle), Cooks is a viable starter moving forward.

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