Dear fantasy teams, I am glad to see some of you go. Waivers were killing me...
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Visible:
- Death, Taxes and RB Injuries.
- Utilization Report. Garrett Wilson comps to who!?!?!
- Premiere Matchup. Pupil vs. Teacher.
- Regression Session. A Seattle slump?
- The Fantasy Life Podcast is LIVE
- It's 11/30. Take it away, Dwain McFarland...
Like death and taxes, RB injuries are inevitable, and Tuesday brought news of two more starting RBs — Najee Harris and Josh Jacobs — that could be in danger of missing time.
Now is the time to get to know their backups and consider adding them if still available in your league.
🛒 RB – Jaylen Warren
Warren didn’t play on Monday night due to a hamstring injury, and his status is up in the air for Week 13. However, Warren was carving out a significant role before the injury and would be the primary beneficiary if Harris missed multiple games due to his abdomen injury.
The rookie has been impressive with his limited opportunities (38 attempts). His missed tackles forced per attempt (0.32), average yards after contact (3.55), and 10-plus yard attempts (21%) all rank far above the NFL average.
Benny Snell could also carve out some work, but he has been a below-average RB throughout his career, and Warren is far better in the passing game. As a result, expect Warren to handle 50%-plus of the rushing workload and most of the passing downs while Harris is out. If Warren can't go, Snell would be an RB3 option.
Warren profiles as a mid-range RB2 and is a must-add option in most formats.
🛒 RB – Zamir White
Jacobs is nursing a calf injury that flared up late last week and isn’t expected to practice much leading up to Week 13. If he can’t go, White would be the most likely option to take over most of the rushing attempts, with Ameer Abdullah working in on passing downs.
White is an upside stash option at RB, and if you are the Jacobs manager, he is a high-priority add against a terrible Chargers defense in a late-kickoff game. It is a good idea to cover your bases if you can.
The fantasy trade deadline may have passed, but it's not too late to swap out your old phone and wireless plan for a league-winning mobile setup.
Visible offers affordable plans ($30/mo or $45/mo for Visible+) with unlimited data, talk, text and hotspot, as well as no annual contract, taxes, or fees included.
Best of all, Visible is sweetening the deal by offering you up to $350 when you purchase a select device and switch to Visible. Terms apply.
This week only, upgrade your iPhone by getting $100 off select Apple devices plus up to $250 to spend online when you switch.
Don't wait now, it's time to pull off the trade that will have your entire league talking.
Volume is king in fantasy football and sports betting, and this report will help you understand which players are due more or less according to their roles. Each week, Dwain dives deep into the data, so you don't have to.
📈 RB – Cordarrelle Patterson
Patterson registered a season-high 62% route participation and a salivating 22% target share in Week 12. It looks like the Falcons could finally get him more involved in the passing attack after the loss of Kyle Pitts.
Patterson has eclipsed 50% route participation in seven games over the last two seasons. In those contests, he averaged 15.9 fantasy points. In 2021, Patterson was an alpha in the receiving department.
In addition to C-Patt's increased role, Atlanta reduced Caleb Huntley's snaps to 4% and 5% in the last two games.
Patterson moves back into the low-end RB2 conversation and carries RB1 upside.
📈 WR – Chris Godwin
Godwin has a 25% target share over the last six games and ranks 11th in the NFL in TPRR (24%) for the season. Production is starting to follow, as he has WR13 and WR2 finishes in his last two outings, with 181 receiving yards and two TDs.
Per PFF data, the sixth-year WR ranks No. 1 in targets against a linebacker or safety in primary coverage at 54% (minimum 350 routes), operating from the slot on 74% of routes. Godwin could continue receiving most of Tom Brady’s affection with the Buccaneers' injury-riddled offensive line struggling.
Godwin is a mid-range WR2 the rest of the way.
📈 WR – Garrett Wilson
With Zach Wilson out of the lineup, Wilson registered a top-five finish on five receptions, 95 yards, and two TDs.
The first-rounder is the Jets’ undisputed target leader, with a 23% target share, and his 1.91 YPRR ranks 18th out of all WRs with at least 250 routes. Chris Olave ranks No. 1 in PFF receiving grade (84.5) for rookies, but Wilson is closing ground (81.8).
Since taking over a full-time role in Week 7, Wilson has performed even stronger.
Since 2011, only four rookie WRs have eclipsed an 80.0 PFF receiving grade and a 22% target share:
- 2014: Odell Beckham Jr. (91.2, 28% adjusted)
- 2014: Mike Evans (84.0, 23%)
- 2020: Justin Jefferson (90.5, 23%)
- 2021: Ja’Marr Chase (84.0, 22%)
Wilson is a must-start high-end WR3 with WR1 upside.
📉 RB – Dameon Pierce
Pierce has overcome trailing game scripts all season despite not serving as the passing-down back. However, that combination has caught up with him over the last two games, posting back-to-back season lows in rushing attempts with ten and five, respectively.
Houston has trailed by four-plus points on 95%, 96%, and 88% of plays over the last three contests. In Week 12, the team split Pierce’s workload with Dare Ogunbowale in the second half with the game out of hand, opening a new path for Pierce to fail. That led to the rookie’s lowest rush share (38%) since Week 1.
We also haven’t seen Pierce handle any of the two-minute offense over the last three games, with those snaps also going to Ogunbowale.
Pierce falls to low-end RB2 territory.
🎫 This RB is punching playoff tickets. What a crazy advantage.
⏰ He only needed one word. (like 27 times)
🏆 The Fantasy Life Podcast is BACK. Marcas & Dwain are here to get you into the playoffs!
🥇 The most valuable fantasy season ever? Maybe.
🥴️ It is a long season. The grind is real.
🏠 Several big-name RBs could find new homes. The market is loaded.
🤔 Lamar Jackson is a Bronco. But is also still a Raven?
🎅 Were we that bad? It's worse than a lump of coal in your stocking.
🔎 Tua is an outlier. We should be taking notice.
Each week we'll feature a premiere matchup on the slate and break it down from all angles. Today, Fantasy Life contributor Chris Allen tackles the 49ers/Dolphins Week 13 tilt...
I’m surprised this isn’t an island game. The narratives are too good for an afternoon contest.
“Offensive guru Kyle Shanahan squares off against whiz kid Mike McDaniel.”
“Tua Tagovailoa tries to cement his MVP candidacy against the best defense in the league.”
You’ll probably never see me use the term “whiz kid” ever again, but you get the idea. Both teams have at least a 90.0% chance of making the playoffs. So, if this game isn’t a Super Bowl preview, how they attack each other and what weaknesses they show on film will be a blueprint for others as the playoff race tightens.
The Dolphins are second in play-action rate, with Tua also using the fifth-most RPOs. And he’s top six in EPA per play using both concepts. But here’s where Miami’s personnel act as a multiplier on effective schematics.
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are the fastest-receiving duo in the league. McDaniels’ play-calling consistently puts opposing defenses in conflict. As a result, Tua has the second-highest aDOT on play-action throws and leads the league in yards per attempt on RPOs. The Blur Brothers can run a 20-yard seam route in the same time it takes for the traditional 15-yard depth. It’s an explosive conflict, and the 49ers are the only team seemingly capable of limiting them.
The 49ers' job will be to knock Tua off his rhythm, and Terron Armstead’s absence gives them a chance to do it. Regardless, look for Miami to test San Francisco’s safeties. Kansas City got Marquez Valdes-Scantling going back in Week 8 on post routes, and DeAndre Carter worked the 49ers' secondary on a corner route two weeks later.
We’ve seen more ancillary options over the last month (Trent Sherfield, Jeff Wilson), but Hill and Waddle should be on full display against San Francisco. I’ll be building Tua double stacks for DFS throughout the week and have an idea of who the best 49er bring-back will be, given how well their offense has performed over the last month.
It looked like a switch flipped for Jimmy Garoppolo on his first touchdown pass to George Kittle in Mexico City. The step up in the pocket, eyes downfield, and a middle-of-the-field throw out of structure were what we expected out of Trey Lance. But more options have meant more confidence for Garoppolo, and we’ve seen it over the last month of games.
Christian McCaffrey has played over 50% of the team’s snaps since Week 8. Over that span, Garoppolo is third in EPA per play behind only Dak Prescott and…Tua. We all know they can beat an opponent in multiple ways, but the fluidity with which they adjust their playstyle is unmatched.
Since integrating McCaffrey into the offense, the 49ers have had three separate players with the most targets in a single game. A different trio accounts for their explosive runs. It’s no wonder San Francisco can sit at a -5.0% PROE but still have an offense ranked third in yards per drive. Regardless, it’s not their ground game I’ll be targeting.
Miami’s perimeter coverage has limited big plays while not allowing a touchdown since Week 7. But opposing tight ends have averaged 14.9 PPR points against them over the last four games. From Jordan Akins (5-61-1) in garbage time to T.J. Hockenson (4-80-0) while still with Detriot, the interior is where to attack the Dolphins. Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel will still get their due but expect Kittle to have a stronger outing against Miami’s linebackers.
When it comes to regression, it pays to be ahead of the curve. Each week on Regression Session, Jonathan will give you actionable insights on trends that are unlikely to continue so you can act before your leaguemates.
📈 Positive Regression - T.J. Hockenson
Since joining the Vikings in Week 9, T.J. Hockenson has averaged an impressive 8.25 targets per game. Much less impressively, his per-game production has been worse than in the seven games he played with Detroit despite averaging just 5.85 targets per game with them.
His drop in production can largely be attributed to a lower aDOT and lack of yards after the catch, as shown below.
This is essentially a bet that as Hockenson's role continues to grow in the offense, he will see more downfield targets, which will provide opportunities to create big plays and score TDs, another thing he has struggled with in Minnesota.
Although I expect his production to improve, it is worth noting that his career averages in these categories sit in between his Detroit and Minnesota numbers for this year. This suggests we shouldn’t expect a total return to what he was doing over the first half of the season, particularly in yards after the catch.
📉 Negative Regression - Kenneth Walker
Since he took over as the full-time starter in Week 6, Kenneth Walker has been the RB6 in half-PPR scoring. He has turned into one of the more valuable late-round picks in fantasy drafts and skyrocketed up dynasty rankings.
While his raw production has been excellent this season, the advanced metrics aren’t quite as kind to Walker’s game. He is clearly capable of big plays, but his low success rate and frequent runs for negative yardage highlight a glaring lack of consistency.
Week 12 was perhaps a perfect summary of Walker’s season so far.
Poor efficiency was papered over with two TDs and a couple of highlight plays. If we look at Walker’s season as a whole, he has produced almost exactly what would be expected for his workload except for one area, touchdowns. With 9 TDs on the ground this season versus 3.7 expected, Walker has outperformed his TD expectation more than any other RB in the league.
TDs are a notoriously volatile stat, so we should be nervous anytime a player is overly reliant on scoring to maintain their fantasy production. To make matters worse, two of the Seahawks' next three matchups are against teams who rank in the top 5 at limiting opposing RB production (Rams and 49ers).
Lastly, Walker is coming off of his two lowest yards per attempt outings of the season. If he continues to struggle, I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle mixes in their other RBs more as they chase a playoff spot. All of these factors suggest it will be an uphill battle for Walker to continue producing as a top-10 RB.