😈 The QB Week From Hell
It's gross out there...
“Toxic Groupthink” sounds like a Rage Against The Machine cover band…
In today's Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Buffalo Wild Wings:
Updates on the gross QB landscape
Week 9 Rankings & Tiers: Two Smash plays
QUICK HITTER: TNF’s best bet
The Dolphins are in Germany
Freedman’s Favorites: Big names to bet on
It’s 11/2. Take it away, Peter Overzet…
Week 9 is a brutal week for QB.
Between byes and injuries, there isn’t much to choose from.
And if you are playing a “main slate” contest on Underdog Fantasy or DraftKings, there are even fewer options in play with Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes squaring off in Germany on Sunday morning, Joe Burrow and Josh Allen headlining SNF, and Justin Herbert and Zach Wilson playing Monday.
With that said, here is a roundup of the recent QB moves you need to be aware of heading into this weekend…
🆕 The Raiders announce AOC will start
If you are going to blow it up, you might as well blow it up.
The Raiders are expected to start rookie QB Aidan O'Connell this week vs. the Giants and send Jimmy Garoppolo to the bench.
It honestly can’t get any worse than it did on MNF, and AOC (sorry for getting political) was at least willing to pepper Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs with targets when he started vs. the Chargers a month ago:
Small sample alert, but target shares with Aidan O'Connell this year:
Davante Adams (25%)
Josh Jacobs 👀 (22%)
Hunter Renfrow (14%)
Jakobi Meyers (12%)
We'll see if the Raiders want to see more Zamir White down the stretch with Jacobs on the tag. Think that'd happen later on.
— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks)
Nov 1, 2023
O’Connell is in play on DraftKings this week ($4,500 salary), but there are better options to start in managed leagues.
☣️ Arthur Smith promotes Taylor Heinicke
VIDEO: Arthur Smith was asked multiple times behind the specifics of starting Taylor Heinicke this week
"lots of variables"
"my answer is not going to change"
"those are your words"
— Miles Garrett (@MilesGarrettTV)
Nov 1, 2023
It’s very unlikely Heinicke is the answer to solving Smith’s offensive riddles and unlocking the playmaking ability in this offense. But it’s worth a shot.
If anything, Heinicke should take off running less than Ridder and push the ball downfield a few more times.
Drake London missed practice yesterday with a groin injury and appears legitimately questionable for this week’s game vs. the Vikings.
Both the TEs—Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith (order them how you want; there are good people on both sides)—would be very involved if London were to miss.
🤦 Misc. QB roundup
It’s Kenny Pickett vs. Will Levis on TNF tonight.
With Joshua Dobbs getting a travel week, the Vikings will start rookie Jaren Hall and the Cardinals will start Clayton Tune.
Deshaun Watson is practiced yesterday, but if you are familiar with the cycle, you know it’ll be P.J. Walker at QB on Sunday.
Josh Allen missed practice yesterday with a shoulder injury, so keep an eye on that.
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💥 Running Back
🥈 Tier 2 - Joe Mixon
Mixon has accounted for 81% of the Bengals rushing attempts in 2023 – the most of any RB in the NFL. He is among the few backs to account for 100% of their team’s attempts inside the five-yard line. The Bengals prefer to pass inside the five-yard line, but Mixon always has a chance to come through with a multi-score game in a high-scoring affair.
His 55% route participation isn’t elite, but it is in RB1 territory, and Mixon has accounted for 70% of the snaps in the two-minute offense. He often gives way in LDD (long down and distance) situations, but those are snaps we are willing to sacrifice. Historically, those are not target-friendly plays for RBs.
The veteran RB averages almost 20 opportunities per game with 16 attempts and 3.3 targets, playing on one of the best offenses in the NFL. That is a powerful combination – especially potential shootout games like the one against Buffalo this weekend.
The Bengals have the second-highest team total (25.5) in Week 9 against a Bills defense that allows the ninth-most yards rushing (122) per game. Mixon has been an average to below back from an efficiency standpoint, but the Bills are not a good tackling team. They rank fourth-worst in PFF tacking grade (33.9), and the veteran RB should have a chance to tack on extra yards.
Mixon UPGRADES to RB1 territory in this spot and is a top-20 play in Week 9.
💥 Wide Receiver
🥉 Tier 3 - Chris Olave
Olave continues to perform below expectations in the fantasy box score. Averaging 12.7 points per game, he ranks as the WR34 – a far cry from the Round 2 pick many fantasy managers spent.
However, the second-year WR continues to do the things well that historically correlate to scoring more fantasy points. He ranks seventh in targets (77) and second in air yards (1,079).
Over the last 12 seasons, players with similar air yards and targets per game to Olave have been WR1 material. As you can see from the table above, most WRs with similar underlying data have also performed well in 2023.
While some of those air yards have come in tightly contested situations or hard-to-catch scenarios, the thing that matters most is intent. The intent is for Olave to be the centerpiece in a passing attack that is picking up steam. He is earning targets, and Derek Carr wants to target him.
I want to continue to bet on that formula, especially considering the Saints' passing game is picking up steam as Carr has gotten over his shoulder injury. Over the last three games, Carr has averaged 321 yards and 1.3 TDs.
This weekend, the Saints also carry a top-three team total (24.5) and face a Bears secondary allowing the third-most passing yards per game (270.5) on the slate.
Olave is a SMASH play as my WR10 and No. 24 player for Week 9.
The Fantasy Life FREE Bet Tracker is already loaded with a handful of plays for Thursday Night Football, and Matthew Freedman is here to give you a peek behind the curtain with one of his best bets for the game…
😭 Bad news for the Giants. Their passing game can’t afford this.
👀 Leonard Fournette in a Bills uniform. Are those cut-offs?
🧢 Never trust the visor. Huge red flag.
🏈 Some football is better than no football, right? Everything you need for the Titans vs. Steelers betting and DFS showdown slate.
🤣 How Josh McDaniels got fired. This isn’t true, but it’s hilarious.
👍️ Kirk Cousins had a successful surgery. Get well soon.
🐬 A league-winning RB is returning soon. Only one more game on the IR.
🍹 Some losses hit harder than others. The Bloody Mary helps.
🎤 Mike McDaniel’s first words to the media in Germany. C’mon guys, laugh at that.
Every week, Matthew Freedman publishes a piece highlighting some of his favorite fantasy plays. Naturally, this piece is called “Freedman’s Favorites”. We told him to get more creative, to which he answered with a resounding “No”. Anyway, here are his favorites for Week 9…
🌟 Derek Carr (Saints) vs. Bears
Carr was acceptably unspectacular in Weeks 1-2 (6.7 AY/A) as he transitioned into the new offense, but he exited Week 3 with a shoulder injury, which greatly limited him in Weeks 4-5 (5.6 AY/A), and his lackluster performance in that stretch colored much of the common perception of him this season.
But since returning to full practice in Week 6, Carr has ripped off three consecutive games with 300-plus yards passing (7.2 AY/A), and -- in my opinion -- he has one of the league’s best WR trios (Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, and Rashid Shaheed).
Carr is always liable to lose QB snaps to wildcat TE Taysom Hill, but the reward outweighs the risk against the Bears, who are No. 31 in defensive dropback EPA (0.200, per RBs Don’t Matter).
If Carr is available, add him off waivers.
Derek Carr haters……wya? ⚜️🥲
— Cantguardmike (@edits841)
Oct 29, 2023
🌟 Chuba Hubbard (Panthers) vs. Colts
Hubbard had just 54 scoreless yards last week, but he also dominated the Panthers backfield out of the Week 7 bye with a 66% snap rate, 71% rush share, 40% route rate, 100% of the carries inside the five-yard line, and 100% of the snaps inside two minutes -- and that’s despite the fact that previous No. 1 RB Miles Sanders (shoulder) practiced fully and wasn’t listed on the final injury report.
It looks as if Hubbard has clawed his way up the depth chart, and with the usage he had last week he should have better performances in his future.
Why not this week? The Colts are No. 4 in most fantasy points allowed to RBs (24.0 FPPG).
🌟 Garrett Wilson (Jets) vs. Chargers
Wilson’s raw numbers through seven games might not impress (39-469-2 receiving, 68 targets), but his utilization within the Jets offense is elite (97% route rate, 26% target rate, 33% target share, 48% air share, 57% of endzone targets, league-high 57% of redzone targets, and league-high 82.6% WOPR).
The Chargers are No. 30 in defensive dropback SR (49.8%).
Past month’s first-read target shares:
48% — Garrett Wilson
45% — Ja’Marr Chase
42% — Stefon Diggs
40% — DK Metcalf, Adam Thielen
39% — Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill
38% — Cooper Kupp, DJ Moore
37% — A.J. Brown
36% — Diontae Johnson
Check out the @FantasyPtsData Suite for more!
— Jacob Gibbs (@jagibbs_23)
Oct 31, 2023
🌟 Demario Douglas (Patriots) vs. Commanders
Douglas is a small Day 3 rookie slot man -- so of course he’s already the No. 1 pass catcher for the Patriots. After missing Week 6 with a concussion, Douglas has led all New England WRs with an 80% route rate and 20% target share over the past two games.
And he could see even more work this week with WR Kendrick Bourne (knee, IR) out and WR DeVante Parker (concussion) unlikely to play.
The Commanders are No. 2 in most fantasy points allowed to WRs (35.9 FPPG).
🌟 Dalton Kincaid (Bills) at Bengals
Since returning in Week 7 from a concussion that sidelined him the prior week, Kincaid has 13-140-1 receiving on 15 targets over the past two games, and I expect his usage to stick given that No. 2 TE Dawson Knox (wrist, IR) is out and No. 3 TE Quintin Morris (ankle) hasn’t played or practiced since Week 6.
Without SS Vonn Bell and FS Jessie Bates, both of whom departed this past offseason in free agency, the Bengals are No. 1 in most fantasy points allowed to TEs (12.7 FPPG).
Dalton Kincaid absolutely has the athletic ability and ball carrying skill to make this shovel pass a repeat play in the red zone.
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman)
Oct 29, 2023