🚀 Week 10 Kyler Murray expectations and MORE
The regular season is officially more than halfway over...
Congrats to you, yes YOU, for having five more rushing yards than Miles Sanders last night…
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter:
The Bears technically won, but America lost on Thursday night
Week 10 Fantasy Questions: What should we expect from Kyler Murray?
Matchup of the week: 49ers vs. Jaguars
Tee Higgins (hamstring) isn’t looking good for Sunday
Best bets: In Gardner Minshew, we trust
QUICK HITTER: Tail or Fade?!
It’s 11/10. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…
The Bears took down the Panthers 16 to 13 on Thursday night in what was objectively a horrendous football game.
As much as I strive to be on team “Bad Thursday night football is better than no Thursday night football” … sheesh. I mean, just look at these first-half “highlights.”
Overall, neither the Panthers (213) nor the Bears (295) managed to crack even 300 total yards of offense, while the two squads combined for more punts (12) than third-down conversions (9 in 30 tries).
There's pretty much only one person in your fantasy league truly happy about life today: Whoever started Bears RB D'Onta Foreman. The veteran journeyman turned 23 touches into 94 total yards and a short TD in what could be his last game as the Bears true featured back, considering Khalil Herbert (knee, IR) might be back as soon as next week.
Otherwise, Bryce Young continued to underwhelm despite obviously not being surrounded by anything close to a competent supporting cast (something named Mike Strachan led the Panthers with 45 receiving yards, for example), and Bears pass-catchers D.J. Moore (5-58-0), as well as Cole Kmet (5-45-0), didn’t exactly benefit from the Tyson "T-Bag" Bagent experience.
As my high school football coach used to say: “The most important fantasy-relevant matchup play is the next one.” Let’s turn our attention to Week 10’s remaining 13 matchups and make it a great weekend because why the hell not?
Halfway through the 2023 NFL regular season and a mere 51 days from fantasy championship Sunday: Football is footballing, and it’s more imperative than ever to stay on top of the ever-shifting dynamics of America’s game.
Right? That feels right to me. Let’s roll with it.
Regardless: What follows are Ian’s 10 biggest questions ahead of this week’s action along with a bunch of other shit that he just so happened to find cool for one reason or another.
As always: It’s a great day to be great.
🐦 What does Kyler Murray’s return mean for this Cardinals offense?
Well, the bar certainly couldn’t be lower (not a short joke!) after rookie QB Clayton Tune “led” the offense to 58 total yards on 48 plays during the Cardinals’ Week 9 loss to the Browns.
But in all seriousness: The return of Kyler means the return of one of fantasy football’s most productive QBs … ever. Just five signal-callers have averaged 20-plus fantasy points per game throughout their career during the Super Bowl era (min. 16 starts):
Patrick Mahomes (22.9)
Josh Allen (22.1)
Deshaun Watson (20.7)
Justin Herbert (20.2)
Yes, this hasn’t exactly translated to elite real-life offenses: Arizona has ranked 16th, 13th, 11th and 21st in points per game since selecting Murray with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Also, yes, we simply haven’t seen Murray play professional football and function as anything other than an elite fantasy QB1.
Of course, teammates James Conner (knee, IR) and Marquise Brown have also proved more than capable of putting up big-time fantasy numbers alongside Kyler over the years.
The hope is that the former veteran is healthy; being designated to return from the injured reserve list is a good start. Conner handled 19, 24, 16 and 13 combined carries and targets in his only four fully healthy games of 2023; he’s one of the league’s few true workhorses left and will work as a recommended upside RB2 start any week he’s healthy enough to suit up moving forward.
And then there’s the artist known as Hollywood, who objectively balled the f*ck out in his brief six-game run with Murray (returned to practice Wednesday) last season while DeAndre Hopkins was serving his suspension:
Week 1: 4 receptions-43 yards-1 TD (6 targets)
Week 2: 6-68-0 (11)
Week 3: 14-140-0 (17)
Week 4: 6-88-1 (11)
Week 5: 8-78-1 (10)
Week 6: 5-68-0 (9)
Overall, Brown worked as the PPR WR5 before breaking his foot.
Read that last sentence again. Madness. Only Stefon Diggs, Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson had more PPR fantasy points than Brown during the first six weeks of his Cardinals career. His pre-injury pace: 122-1,374-9 – and he looked good doing it!
Credit to A.J. Terrell and the Falcons for allowing the 10th fewest PPR points per game to opposing WRs this season, but Hollywood is right back in the weekly recommended start picture as an upside WR3 at worst.
I also like the idea of adding Rondale Moore in deeper leagues; the pint-sized slot maven posted 7-92-1, 8-69-0 and 9-94-0 receiving lines in his final three games with Murray last season and has obtained some newfound usage rushing the football in 2023.
🤔 What are three bold calls for Week 10?
Every week I put together matchup-specific charts to help determine the week’s biggest advantages by combining offensive and defensive rates in explosive plays, pressure, yards before contact, passing yards per dropback and EPA. This provides singular metrics to help quantity advantages on both sides of the ball instead of always having to go, “Offense ranks x, defense ranks y.”
The following three players might have a red flag or two in their Week 10 projection – that’s why they aren’t ranked as sure-thing top-12 options at their positions – but I believe there’s enough of an edge in the matchup to warrant enhanced optimism:
1️⃣ Josh Reynolds booms with 100-plus yards and a TD against the Chargers.
Still very much a near-every-down receiver even with Jameson Williams back from suspension, Reynolds seems fully healthy following the team’s Week 9 bye and probably shouldn’t lose much – if any – work to recently acquired Donovan Peoples-Jones. No offense is set up better than the Lions this week when it comes to combined pass yards per dropback.
2️⃣ Chigoziem Okonkwo goes 6-103-1, posts first TE1 finish of 2023.
It’s been a disappointing first half of 2023 for the second-year TE, who was a popular later-round option coming off his incredibly efficient rookie season. While the counting numbers have been slacking, Chiggy posted a season-high 82% route rate in Week 9 and should continue to benefit from:
Enhanced pass-game performance with Will Levis under center.
Playing a dog-shit Buccaneers secondary fresh off allowing 496 total yards and 39 points to C.J. Stroud and company.
The Titans are popping as one of this week’s best set-up offenses in terms of creating explosive plays through the air. I LOVE Chiggy as a low-priced TE punt option on DraftKings in particular.
3️⃣ Javonte Williams totals 150-plus yards and two TDs against the Bills.
Presumably more healthy than he’s been all season, Williams saw season-high marks in snap rate (66%) and rush attempt share (82%) before the Broncos’ Week 9 bye.
Denver has embraced the ground game more than ever recently with solid results, posting dropback over expected rates south of negative seven percent in two of their last three matchups (translation: they are establishing the run).
Happy Veterans Day From Fantasy Life
Today we honor those who've served.
This Veterans Day, Fantasy Life extends our heartfelt gratitude to the brave men and women who have selflessly served our nation. Your dedication, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment have shaped our freedom and protected our way of life. We honor and salute you for your courage and valor.
As we honor those who have served, please consider donating to some of the many wonderful Veterans charities including:
Happy Veterans Day!
Let’s face it: This Week 10 slate isn’t exactly what anyone would call great. There are some truly good teams on bye, and zero games have an over/under starting with the number five.
But wait, what’s that? A diamond in the rough? Two top-10 Superbowl favorites fresh off bye weeks? Both teams have top-10 scoring offenses and defenses?
We might have had your attention, but now we assuredly have your curiosity. Presenting, the Fantasy Life Week 10 matchup of the week: 49ers vs. Jaguars, via Chris Allen:
I couldn’t think of a better time these two teams could meet.
Both are sitting at the top of their divisions. January football is (almost) a foregone conclusion. And yet, we’ve got questions about both squads.
The 49ers entered their bye with three straight losses. Seemingly cursed, the same defense that held the first three QBs they faced to 9.2 PPG gave up back-to-back 20-plus-point performances headed into their break. And Brock Purdy has turned the ball over at least once in three straight games.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ passing game is still a work in progress. Trevor Lawrence has been surgical in the short and intermediate areas of the field but hasn’t consistently threatened secondaries with the deep ball. But if San Francisco’s offense gets back on track, we might see the aggressive Trevor back in action.
Coincidentally, Deebo Samuel’s likely return is exactly what might spark the 49ers’ passing game. Samuel hasn’t been a healthy, consistent contributor in two consecutive games since September. In the meantime, Brandon Aiyuk took the WR1 mantle, George Kittle had his mandatory big game to last him the rest of the season, and Christian McCaffrey continued to be CMC.
Aiyuk has had a 29.5% target share since Week 4 and averaged 3.25 YPRR over the span (third-most among all WRs). Samuel rejoining the lineup should cast some doubt on Aiyuk maintaining that level of usage. And, given how often Purdy looked to Deebo, it’s a fair expectation.
In Weeks 1-3, Samuel led the team in targets and air yards. And, of course, he was still lining up in the backfield, averaging 2.7 carries per game. Plus, with such a high volume, it’s apparent how integral Samuel was (is) to the passing game.
But when looking at additional game situations, there’s no question about his status amongst the WRs if he’s on the field:
When Purdy’s pressured: 38.7% target share (1st)
Red-zone targets: 33.3% (1st)
Deep targets: 42.9% (1st)
Facing the Jaguars' secondary is a dream scenario for folks rostering Samuel. Let’s say in his first game back, he matches his floor of 23% of the looks from Purdy. Jacksonville has faced seven WRs with a similar or higher workload, and they’ve averaged 19.2 PPR PPG. Three of the seven have cracked the century mark (Stefon Diggs, Michael Pittman, and Tank Dell), and four found the paint.
If Samuel is fully healthy, he’ll easily beat his top-12 projection on Sunday.
#LOVEHATE is upon us, and Matthew Berry is here to take you through the Week 10 NFL slate!
It’s #LOVEHATE day! Week 10 is now live and as always, it’s 100% FREE. Happy Veterans Day!
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR)
Nov 9, 2023
Bengals fans with glass half-empty vs. half-full WR updates. Friendly reminder for God to please turn off injuries.
🔥 C.J. Stroud has been on FIRE. The question remains: Can it keep up?
🚀 Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell was a HUGE waiver wire addition this week. This quote won’t slow down the hype train.
🤫 Tired: Following the leader. Wired: Being the leader. Sneaky DFS plays for Week 10.
🤔 Does David Montgomery’s return spell an end to Jahmyr Gibbs szn? Let’s find out.
🏥 The Texans are HURT, dog. Thursday DNPs are not good!
😬 We really have no idea what sort of pain these NFL players are playing through. At least this stud TE is pretty sure he’ll suit up Sunday.
👑 Justin Jefferson has an update on his health. Get better soon, king.
😮 Want to see the greatest custom carpet EVER? Pretty, pretty, pretty cool.
👀 Jerome Ford fantasy managers are feeling good, not great this season. Luckily, better times might just be on the horizon.
Ever realize that “best” and “bets” include the very same four letters? It’s almost like they were destined to spend all of eternity next to each other in the English language. Or something like that.
Lucky for you — a scholar — Fantasy Life betting analyst Geoff Ulrich is here with some (wait for it) Week 10 best bets destined to take any degenerate from six to midnight in a hurry.
Play to: Colts -2.5 (-110)
The Colts enter this pivotal game against the Patriots 5-4 ATS and 3-1 ATS away from home. Last week was their first time being listed as a favorite (they closed at -3.0) and they covered by over 10 points.
On the flip side, they face a New England team that is 2-7 ATS in 2023 and an incredible 3-12 ATS as an underdog since the start of 2022.
Three of the Colts four wins have also come against teams with .500 records or worse so when they’ve been up against equal or inferior competition they have stepped up to the plate. From a matchup perspective, Gardner Minshew has struggled to hold onto the ball against better pass rushes but New England has the eighth fewest sacks and the sixth fewest turnovers on the year.
To put a bookend on this, favorites overseas have also been stellar, going 32-10-1 straight up and 28-15 against the spread since the NFL International series began (per The Action Network).
You don’t have to love the Colts, or even think they can hold a candle to the AFC elites, but they're the superior team by most metrics and likely deserve to be favored by a heavier margin come kickoff.
Play to: 67.5
Aggregate projection: 72.1 yards
This line opened up at 59.5 but moved to 63.5 yesterday, likely in reaction to news out of Tampa Bay that both their starting cornerbacks, Jamal Dean and Carlton Davis, are questionable. Still, even with a four-yard move, this line feels too low.
Will Levis has averaged over 7.4 yards per attempt in two starts, and didn’t crumble against Pittsburgh on short prep. That’s great news for Hopkins, who was targeted 11 times last week and comes in with a dominant 28% team target share and 41% air yards share.
Over their last three games, Tampa has also been an ATM machine for opposing WRs. They’ve allowed 9.3 yards per attempt and have now seen five different WRs go for 70-plus yards against them in that span. Tampa’s lower pressure rate (19th in sacks and 21st in pressure rate) and failing corners (both received bottom-five game grades from PFF last week) make this a perfect storm scenario for Hopkins, who is also a great alternative line target (75+, 100+ yards) as well.
I think you can get aggressive in this spot for betting with Tennessee.
Accordingly, I’ve included a same-game parlay that includes overs on Levis and Hopkins props below.
Jaguars +3 vs. 49ers
Are you TAILING or FADING?
all my friends getting Baker Mayfield jerseys for Christmas!!
— Dom Cintorino (@domcinto_11)
Nov 9, 2023