Playoff implications are nigh, and several divisions are still up for grabs. The Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals are pushing playoff contenders around, while Ryan Griffin is fantasy’s TE14. Yeah, it’s definitely November. Let’s use advanced stats, metrics and analytics to process the week’s actions and adjust for the playoff push.
Lesson One (TNF): Baker Mayfield and the Browns might be coming around
The scuffle from Thursday Night Football’s conclusion overshadowed Baker Mayfield turning in his season-best performance against a much-improved Steelers defense. The Minkah Fitzpatrick trade has been a surprise smash move for Pittsburgh, but the Browns finally showed up for a game and Mayfield looked the part.
Check out Baker Mayfield on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Many of Mayfield’s passing productivity metrics on PlayerProfiler are middle-of-the-road. Still, he was able to efficiently put up 192 yards and two scores against Pittsburgh. The former No. 1 pick has only thrown 11 touchdowns all year, with four coming in the last two weeks. He has recorded 45 (No. 8 among qualified quarterbacks) red zone attempts, so variance may finally be swinging back in a positive direction. Mayfield and the Browns face MIA, @PIT, CIN, @ARI and BAL to close out the fantasy season. Ample opportunity for a late-season push is firmly in the range of outcomes heading toward the fantasy playoffs.
Action: Now is the time to send those trade offers for Odell Beckham, who has generated 985 (No. 7 ) yards of total Target Distance. If variance is finally coming for Baker, it’s soon to follow for OBJ. If league trade deadlines haven’t iced the possibility, get a hold of one of the more talented receivers alive before the Browns fully get it together and/or Freddie Kitchens is stripped of playcalling duties. Whatever comes first.
Lesson Two: Brian Hill is not the answer
Atlanta continued their post-bye resurgence with a 29-3 rout of Carolina, and mega free square Brian Hill rolled up 15 carries for 30 yards. He did have a touchdown called back due to holding, the ultimate insult to injury. With optimal Game Script, Hill looked ineffective and was even vultured by Qadree Ollison at one point. It led to a faceplant for many DFS and season-long players looking for an injury and bye week spot start. Hill was targeted three times and reeled in one for an eight-yard gain, but it was too little and too late for what was likely the highest-owned running back in cash games this week.
If the Falcons really have turned a corner and are content to play spoiler in a likely lost season, their offensive weapons still command attention, with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and even Russell Gage (who had a touchdown called back) all having productive weeks. Austin Hooper‘s absence frees up an average of 7.4 targets a game, and he won’t be back anytime soon. Based on Atlanta’s surprising upsets of two playoff hopefuls over the past two weeks, they look to keep their foot on the gas for the remaining weeks of the season. With three straight matchups against NFC South teams with beatable defenses, keep the faith in Falcons.
Action: If Ollison is out there, he’s well worth a percentage of your FAAB this week. The same goes for Gage.
Lesson Three: Jonathan Williams is this week’s waiver wire prize
Marlon Mack rolled the Jaguars for 109 yards and a score on just 14 carries, but exited early with a fractured hand. The timeline for Mack’s return is unknown, but his backup stepped right in and offered 1:1 production. Jonathan Williams picked up where Mack left off, carrying the ball 13 times for 116 yards. The Colts offensive line dominated the Jags all day long, a welcome sight after giving up an uncharacteristic three sacks.
Williams is this week’s premier waiver wire add with the Colts calling the fifth-most run plays per game and a crucial Thursday night matchup on tap with the division rival Texans. Houston was brutalized by the Ravens run game on Sunday, giving up more than 260 rushing yards to Lamar Jackson and company. The Colts only nicked the Texans for 63 rushing yards in their October matchup. With T.Y Hilton still ailing though, Williams steps into a massive workload behind one of the best lines in football.
Action: Blow it all on Williams in seasonal leagues. Mack’s timeline is up in the air and the Colts starting running back job is among fantasy’s most valuable spots. Williams has shown capable of productive play, lining up for him being one of the season’s best waiver wire adds.
Lesson Four: Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant doing a lot with a little
Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen, doesn’t matter. Courtland Sutton is having a consistent, underrated breakout season in 2019. Where perennial QB-misser John Elway goes in the offseason is anyone’s guess, but Sutton is here to stay. Through this week’s action, he has a 49-805-4 line with bottom-five QB play. Sutton has fully ascended in the wake of the Emmanuel Sanders trade, rolling up 33 fantasy points in his last two games. The quarterbacking truly can’t get worst going forward, so he is a strong hold or buy in dynasty and should be valued as such.
Noah Fant perfectly fit the rookie tight end mold, adjusting to life in the NFL but flashing his athleticism along the way. The Sanders trade has benefited him too, as he saw a season-high 11 targets on Sunday. While he only reeled in four for 60 yards, it’s clear he is operating in an Evan Engram-esque roll for the floundering Broncos. After a 3-115-1 performance last week, Fant is averaging 8.1 (No. 12) yards per target.
Action: Sutton and Fant are premier buys in dynasty, both can rocket into top-10 roles with competent QB play in a 2020 draft class chock full of intriguing options. Just pray those options measure tall enough for Elway.
Monday Night Homework: Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill an evolving connection
Patrick Mahomes returned from injury without missing a beat, lighting up the Titans with 50 attempts last Sunday. However, the 36-446-3 line wasn’t enough, and the Titans outlasted them 35-32. Kansas City enters Mexico City in a crucial game for playoff seeding implications. They desperately need to keep pace with Baltimore and New England to play for a first round bye.
Tyreek Hill has also looked the part since his return from a collarbone injury. Hill has parlayed 27 targets into 297 yards and two scores since his Week 9 return, and he saw a mind-boggling 19 targets in last week’s loss to Tennessee. He has evolved from a deep ball specialist to a truly versatile weapon, and his lightning speed makes him the most dangerous player in football this side of Lamar Jackson. With Kansas City averaging the seventh-most pass attempts per game, and Hill sporting a 20.6-percent (No. 2) Hog Rate, this connection has essentially become the most productive in football.