Lessons Learned – Week 6

by Al Scherer · Analytics & Advanced Metrics
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  1. Thursday Breakdown – With Gronk out, Antonio & Leonard Get the Best Seats at Tom’s Diner

Mike Evans has played 86-percent of Tampa’s snaps, Chris Godwin 89-percent, and Antonio Brown 44-percent, yet it’s Antonio leading the trio in Yards per Reception, Yards per Target, Receptions per Game, Yards per Game, and Scores per Game.

Since Brown returned after missing Week 3 on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, roommate Tom Brady has been looking his way more than any other receiver, and AB has delivered. Including Week 6, Brown has, since his return, averaged 10 targets, 8 catches, 90 yards, and a touchdown. For the season, he has a 19.2-percent (No. 7 among qualified wide receivers) Hog Rate on a team averaging 45.6 (No. 1) Team Pass Plays Per Game. A great combination.

Leonard Fournette, buoyed by Tampa Bay’s +1.83 (No. 7) Game Script metric and facing only 6.6 (No. 28) Average Defenders in the Box, has handled 75-percent of their running back carries, leading the team by a wide margin in total yards and scores. And, going into Week 6, Lenny had caught 83-percent of his targets, with 15 (No. 9) Red Zone Touches and 19 (No. 7) receptions, so there’s little reason to take him off the field. He is the only back that matters in Tampa.

Action:

Start Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette every week. Play Chris Godwin and Mike Evans as needed, but expect volatility; Antonio is Tom’s WR BFF. When Gronk returns, there’ll be (cliché alert!) even more mouths to feed… but Antonio will get his targets.

  1. The Jaguars Finally Get a Win!

Rather than ask the Miami Dolphins to take a 1.5 hour flight to Jacksonville this week, the NFL sent both teams on 8-to 10-hour journeys to London to square off in what was a breakfast game for most Americans. The trip was worth it for the Jags, though. After hard-fought losses to Arizona and Cincinnati in Weeks 3 and 4, the Jags finally got off the schneid, beating the ‘Fins in Week 6 to end the NFL’s second-longest losing streak of all time.

With Trevor Lawrence‘s 319 passing yards, 1 TD and no interceptions in Week 6, he is now completing 60-percent of his passes, averaging 250 yards per game and has posted passer ratings above 90 in back-to-back weeks. Not bad for a rookie QB joining a team that was No. 30 in scoring and No. 28 in total yards last year.

And this team has embraced their 22-year old leader, with Trevor’s Jacksonville teammates offering him the game ball for leading them to victory today. I don’t know if they all flew back to Jacksonville together but they certainly had reason to celebrate.

Action:

It’s OK to dip your toes into the Jacksonville water. Neither Marvin nor Jones may sound especially exciting, but Marvin Jones is being relied on by his rookie signal-caller. You might just find Jones dropped this week or be able to trade for him or Laviska Shenault as owners scramble to fill their Week 7 byes. After the Jags’ own Week 7 bye, they’ll get matchups with the Seahawks and Falcons (mixed in with some really tough games, too, but you can’t have everything!). And how’s this for a fantasy playoff schedule… at Tennessee, vs Houston and at the Jets?

  1. Rough Seas Ahead for the Vikings

In Week 6, the Vikings narrowly escaped a Carolina team that has now lost three straight games. After last week’s last-second, “You Like That?” miracle comeback against the still-winless Lions, that’s two wins in a row for Minnesota. Heading into their Week 7 bye, their next five opponents though boast a combined .724 winning percentage. That’ll be four division leaders (Dallas, Baltimore, the Los Angeles Chargers, and Green Bay) plus a road trip to face the 49ers.

Action:

Consider this now because folks aren’t talking about it. Especially in redraft, unless you can wait for their great matchup in Week 13 at Detroit, consider moving any or all Vikings now. You should be able to get a boatload in return for Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and even Kirk Cousins.

  1. Can We Just Give Ja’Marr the ROY Already?

It seems the Cincinnati Bengals’ equipment manager has been unwittingly giving instructions to opposing defensive backs by sewing “CHASE” onto the back of Ja’Marr’s jersey.

Ja’Marr Chase‘s reunion with college mate Joe Burrow has gone even better than Zac Taylor and company could have hoped for – especially after Chase’s unnerving preseason drops.

Heading into Week 6, he ranked Top-10 in the NFL among all receivers in…:

  • 9 Player Profiler Efficiency metrics, including Yards Per Reception, Yards Per Target, and Fantasy Points Per Route Run;

  • 4 Player Profiler Productivity metrics, including Receiving Yards, Completed Air Yards, and Fantasy Points Per Game; and,

  • 4 Player Profiler Opportunity metrics, including Air Yards and Average Target Distance.

Now six games into his NFL career, the 21-year old Chase has 553 receiving yards and 5 TDs and is on pace to best former college teammate Justin Jefferson‘s record-setting 2020.

To add a little more historical perspective, Chase has more yards, more yards per catch, and a better Catch Rate than the first six games of Hall of Famer Randy Moss career. On the Bengals, he has relegated exciting 2020s second-round pick Tee Higgins to a supporting role. There are plenty of other rookies standing out, but Chase is outshining them all.

Action:

If you don’t already have Ja’Marr Chase on your roster, there isn’t much you can do now. If you drafted him very early in rookie drafts as directed this offseason by PlayerProfiler and the Breakout Finder, you’ve won. If you didn’t, there’s no way you’ll get him now. As to his Bengal teammates, if you have Tee Higgins or Tyler Boyd, they are still OK as a WR2 or WR3, but don’t expect much more out of them.

  1. Jonathan Taylor is The No. 1 Dynasty RB!!

What in the world head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni were thinking in the first half of 2020, we may never know.

After piling up 158 yards on 15 touches in Week 6, Jonathan Taylor is proving himself the league’s best dynasty back. He’s five full years younger than the beast that is Derrick Henry. He’s three years younger and plays a more well-rounded game than Nick Chubb. He’s even a full younger than rookie Najee Harris!

Taylor does it all. He’s a great runner – No. 6 in Breakaway Runs and No. 2 in both Evaded Tackles and Juke Rate. Plus, he ranks No. 1 in Goal Line Carries. He’s a also great receiver – No. 1 in Yards Per Reception and No. 3 in Yards Per Route Run.

In the 12 games since Taylor became the Colts’ workhorse in Week 10 of last year, Taylor has averaged 126 total yards and a touchdown per game, rushing at 5.9 yards per carry. That mark has rarely been bested across a full season.

Action:

Enjoy Jonathan Taylor if he’s on your team. If you’re not in the running for a championship this year, do anything you can to try to add him. It’s a real long shot but worth trying. Be willing to give almost any other running back… plus. See if the Taylor owner is especially hard-hit bye the NFL’s Week 7 Bye Week Gauntlet. Be willing to overpay.

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  1. Go the Extra Miles

Miles Sanders is still a great athlete, boasting a 103.8 (76th-percentile) Speed Score, 123.7 (75th-percentile) Burst Score, and 11.08 (85th-percentile) Agility Score.

The problem in 2021 is that Sanders just isn’t getting the ball. Jalen Hurts is keeping it himself. When Sanders does get the ball, though, he’s still producing, with an 8.3-percent (No. 6) Breakaway Run Rate and 3.86 (No. 8) Yards Created Per Touch. Despite being supported by a 10.8 (No. 54) Run Blocking Efficiency, he averages 4.7 Yards Per Carry. And he’s catching 80-percent of his targets. In Week 6, Sanders was only given 11 touches but put up 66 yards. He has started every game. On the season, he has more than twice the touches of fifth-round rookie Kenny Gainwell. In the last two games, he has out-touched Gainwell 27-to-4. Sanders is only 24 years old and the same guy that finished 2019 and 2020 as the RB21 and RB17, respectively.  He’s just much cheaper to get now.

Action:

Buy Low on Miles Sanders for Dynasty. It won’t you cost much but will be a great depth add to your roster.