- Fantasy Life Newsletter
- 🔨 The Playoff Hammer You Must Add
🔨 The Playoff Hammer You Must Add
We've come full circle...
David Tepper probably should never say the words “C.J. Stroud” out loud…
In today's Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Underdog Fantasy:
A shakeup in the Colts backfield
5 Things Fantasy Managers Got Wrong In 2023: Whoops
Is Joshua Dobbs getting benched?
Buy, Sell, Hold: A surprising RB fade
It’s 11/29. Take it away, Peter Overzet…
Let’s quickly hop in a time machine back to mid-October…
Week 6 had just concluded and Kyren Williams and Zack Moss were both, shockingly, Top 5 running backs on the year.
But then Williams was placed on IR with an ankle injury and Jonathan Taylor emerged from Jim Irsay’s bus with a new contract.
Flash forward to Week 13, though, and it would appear things have come full circle.
Kyren returned in Week 12 to post a monster overall RB1 performance and now Moss is about to enter our fantasy lives again in a big way…
🚑️ Jonathan Taylor set to undergo thumb surgery
Out of the blue yesterday, we received word that Taylor suffered a thumb injury in the Colts game vs. the Bucs that could force him to miss time.
We then got a follow-up report in the afternoon that Taylor will undergo thumb surgery and miss at least a couple of weeks…
BREAKING: Jonathan Taylor will undergo thumb surgery tomorrow in LA with the hope that he can return in 2-3 weeks, #Colts owner Jim Irsay tells @TheAthletic.
— James Boyd (@RomeovilleKid)
Nov 28, 2023
Welp. That’s not ideal, and it also brings into question whether Taylor will return at all this year (rumors of injured reserve are floating around).
On the one hand, the Colts are live to make the playoffs (they currently hold the No. 7 seed) and would very much like to have Taylor’s services down the stretch.
On the other, they gave him a $42M contract extension and got elite play from Moss in his absence so they can easily justify playing things cautiously.
🔮 Zack Moss, 2023 league winner…again?
His utilization was truly elite during that stretch and there’s no reason to think it won’t continue in a similar fashion for however long Taylor is out.
Moss—who was dropped across a lot of leagues over the past few weeks after his role diminished—is THE priority add on the Week 13 waiver wire by a significant margin.
He’ll be a Top 10 RB play this week vs. the Titans, a Top 10 play vs. the Bengals in Week 14, a Top 10 play vs. the Steelers in Week 15…
You see where I am going with this.
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Fantasy football is tough. For every league-winning selection, there are a couple of handfuls of whiffs. Today Ian breaks down the guys we were collectively most wrong about in 2023…
❌ Turns out Jerry Jeudy isn’t the No. 1 WR in Denver
Hand up: I drafted far too much Jeudy in the middle rounds of 2023 fantasy drafts.
The reasoning was fairly simple. Jeudy had pretty great underlying efficiency numbers in 2023 (12th in yards per route run) and seemingly emerged as Russell Wilson’s go-to target down the stretch by working as the overall PPR WR6 during the final month and a half of 2022.
Pulling a hamstring in late August wasn’t a good start, but the injury wound up only costing Jeudy one game. Since then, the 24-year-old talent has managed just one TD while averaging a career-low 44 yards per game. The WR59 in PPR points per game, Jeudy has objectively been one of fantasy’s single-biggest busts of 2023.
His two most memorable moments aren’t great!
Steve Smith Sr. went viral for absolutely going off on Jeudy during a pregame rant that peaked with Agent 89 calling the former first-round pick “just a guy.”
Jeudy did the always lethal QB scramble move of pump-faking while already downfield even though he had just caught a forward pass. It was awesome.
While Jeudy has surprisingly out-performed teammate Courtland Sutton in yards per reception (11.9 vs. 11.7) and yards per target (8.3 vs. 8.2), the TD tally (1 vs. 8) hasn’t been close in a season that has featured Russell Wilson posting the league’s single-best completion percentage over expected (+7%). Throw in a 27th-place ranking in ESPN’s “Open” score, and it’s pretty clear that Smith’s aforementioned analysis of Jeudy being an “average” WR has largely been the case in 2023.
Kudos to Russ and company for ripping off five consecutive wins, but even this hot stretch hasn’t exactly included a major turnaround on offense.
Maybe Jeudy finds a way to replicate his 2022 end-of-season goodness – he does have a winnable enough final stretch of matchups against the Texans, Chargers (x2), Lions and Patriots – but that would almost just drive the knife even deeper into fantasy managers considering he’s impossible to trust as anything more than a low-ceiling FLEX at the moment.
Lesson learned: Small-sample end-of-season production spikes on bad teams NEED to be heavily scrutinized (cc: Cam Akers).
❌ Not trusting the C.J. Stroud-led Texans offense was also a bad choice
Pretty much the only player in this offense that cost any level of 2023 fantasy draft capital was Dameon Pierce … and he’s been the only main contributor to disappoint this season relative to their preseason average draft position (ADP):
C.J. Stroud: Preseason ADP: QB24; current PPR points per game rank: QB5
Dameon Pierce: RB15; RB44
Devin Singletary: RB54; RB39
Nico Collins: WR57; WR15
Tank Dell: WR73; WR12
Robert Woods: WR93; WR65
Noah Brown: N/A; WR20
Dalton Schultz: TE12; TE8
Obviously the bulk of the credit goes to Stroud – the rookie is on pace to SHATTER (5,047) Andrew Luck’s NFL record (4,374) for passing yards in year one – but both Collins (No. 7 in ESPN’s Receiver Rating) and Dell (No. 9) especially have flashed legit high-end real-life ability on their way to giving the 2023 NFL Draft’s No. 2 overall pick consistently electric avenues to rock on through with the football (see what I did there).
Back in the preseason fantasy managers couldn’t wait for Derrick Henry to get two cracks at the Texans during the fantasy playoffs; suddenly the far more appealing side of that matchup is Stroud and company receiving multiple end-of-season smash spots against the Titans’ perennial pass-funnel defense.
Don’t be surprised if we haven’t even seen Stroud’s 2023 magnum opus just yet.
Lesson learned: Don’t write off the No. 2 overall pick before they play a snap of professional football because of something called an S2 test.
🥊 Did you celebrate this anniversary? Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan got after it!
📈 Roschon Johnson szn? UPGRADES and DOWNGRADES entering Week 13.
🪑 Would the Vikings actually bench Joshua Dobbs? Sounds like they are considering it.
⏰ Turning back the clock. A veteran WR…breaking out?
🗺️ The current 2023 playoff picture. We gotta get the Browns out of there.
🤠 Two high-upside offenses square off on TNF. Analysis of every fantasy-relevant player.
🤦 The top SHEESH moments from Week 12. James Cook, I’m begging you.
🤢 The Panthers are coping hard. This David Tepper press conference was a trip.
📚️ Don’t get knocked out of your fantasy league…or you might have to do a spelling bee.
🎱 Josh Jacobs, corner pocket. These sky-cam angles are slick.
🤏 How do the rookie TEs stack up to other rookie GOATS? Good, but not great.
Week 12 is in the books! Cooterdoodle is back to walk us through the fantasy landscape from a buy, sell, hold perspective…
As we head into the dreaded ‘trade deadline’ territory of Week 13, it’s important that everyone gets a grip on the reality of their team.
Before time runs out, here are three key areas to address when trading before the deadline:
Critically analyze your playoff chances
Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your team
Actively seek out mutually beneficial trade partners
Now let’s get into some Buy, Sell, Hold!
🛒 BUY - C.J. Stroud, QB - Texans
This is not a ‘buy low’ by any means. C.J. Stroud has been one of the more impressive rookies, and QBs in general, this season.
While he does have some tougher matchups in store against the Jets and Cleveland, Stroud seems to be almost matchup-proof.
His 30-40 point ceiling is something I’m interested in buying, especially if you’re gunning for a championship and can pry him away for a mix of players that don’t leave your other positions high and dry.
In Week 12, Stroud scored 30.86 points NOT including this bomb to Tank Dell that was nullified.
C.J. Stroud 62 yard bomb to Tank Dell nullified due an illegal shift by Dell.
I'm not a doctor, but that sure looks like the exact same pre-snap shift the Dolphins do roughly 50 times per game
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz)
Nov 27, 2023
Takeaway: Do your risk assessment, but elite QB play is very hard to come by in 2023. I’m trying to make this trade happen anywhere I can.
🛒 SELL - Austin Ekeler, RB - Chargers
Damnit, I really don’t want to write this one.
So I’m not going to remind you about this clip that went viral after Austin Ekeler slugged across Lambeau Field in Week 11. And I’m not going to point out that Ekeler has finished with single-digit fantasy points in four of his last seven games. And I’m really not going to say anything about the three fumbles he lost in the last five games he’s played this season.
Nope. I’m not going to say anything negative. I’m just going to sell.
Takeaway: I’m not willing to risk a fantasy football championship on his inconsistencies and red flags.
🛒 HOLD - Kyren Williams, RB - Rams
Look, I see you. This isn’t your first fantasy football rodeo.
You’re always trying to find a big game to capitalize on and ‘sell high’, aren’t you? You’re quick on your feet (much like Kyren Williams). You’re always calculating your next move so no one can catch you (much like Kyren Wiliams). Because at the end of the day, you want to put up a ton of fantasy points (much like Kyren Williams).
Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Don’t overthink this one.
Kyren returned from IR and Sean McVay immediately threw him right back into his previous role. The role: THAT DAWG.
Was I nervous prior to Week 12? Absolutely. Am I nervous moving forward? Not in the slightest.
There are no indications that the Kyren Express is going to slow down any time soon.
Sure, Kyren faces CLE and BAL in the next few weeks, but he’s a bonafide bellcow. You waited for his return. And boy is he back.
Takeaway: I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more Bellcows.
Zero RB teams getting to put Zack Moss back in their lineups.
— Wyatt 🥃 (@WyattB_FF)
Nov 29, 2023