This is Week 10 Fantasy Football Fallout! As fantasy managers approach the playoffs, it is a crucial to evaluate player performances. In this analysis, we delve into the recent struggles of Lamar Jackson, and examine the factors contributing to his diminishing output.
Kenneth Walker‘s rollercoaster ride in the Seahawks backfield and Javonte Williams‘ resurgence after a slow start are explored as well. Trevor Lawrence‘s challenges in a struggling Jaguars offense, the evolving timeshare in the Steelers’ backfield, Tony Pollard‘s downturn, and the meteoric rise of Sam Howell as a fantasy quarterback all make up the biggest Week 10 fantasy football headlines.
Week 10 Fantasy Football Fallout
Lamar Longing for Lost Luster
After three straight subpar fantasy outings in a row, it’s fair to say that Lamar Jackson isn’t living up to expectations. While he is No. 7 in fantasy points per game, he is closer to Taylor Heinicke in scoring (No. 24) than he is to Josh Allen at No. 1. There are a multitude of factors contributing to this including his rushing output, offensive line play, and run-heavy offense. Jackson is still No. 1 in the NFL in rushing yards per game among quarterbacks (48.9), but that is a full 32 yards less a game than he averaged in his MVP season in 2019.
Adding to Jackson’s troubles is the offensive line playing poorly. His Protection Rate ranks No. 29 in the NFL. This is preventing him from making the downfield plays we are accustomed to. They faced a tough matchup in Week 10, but the Browns’ defensive line crushed them.
A decrease in Jackson’s rushing output was to be expected, but that was supposed to create more opportunities in the passing game. That has not transpired so far, and the Ravens rank No. 30 in pace of play and No. 31 in pass plays per game. 29 pass attempts are in line with the Ravens’ past offense under Jackson as well. With only a 39.8 QBR on the season, Jackson simply hasn’t provided much fantasy value with his passing.
Add all of these factors together, and Jackson isn’t going to be a difference-maker at the position in 2023. With a decrease in his rushing floor, the Baltimore passing attack isn’t good enough to provide consistent top five quarterback value. He is still a must-start player, but fantasy managers will be hoping for a rushing touchdown each week for him to meet expectations.
Walker’s Whirlwind Backfield
Kenneth Walker made it home for fantasy managers on the back of a 64-yard touchdown catch in Week 10. However, this marks the third straight game he has been out snapped by Zach Charbonnet. While Walker has been on the injury report in recent weeks, he was able to log in two full practices before the game. This appears to be part of a larger trend where the Seahawks are leaning on Charbonnet in passing situations.
Walker still got the bulk of the rushing work, but his target share has dwindled in recent weeks. Without that dimension to his game consistently, Walker is more of a borderline RB1 as opposed to the top five running backs we saw at the beginning of the season. Walker is still No. 3 in the NFL in breakaway runs, so the breakout games will come. He will rely on touchdowns and big plays though, which could mean down weeks if the Seahawks are playing from behind.
Javonte’s Jaw-Dropping Journey
After a slow start to the season, Javonte Williams has exploded in the last three weeks for fantasy managers. A rough start should have been expected for Williams too, considering he was recovering from an ACL tear. Now more than a year out from the injury, Williams is beginning to look like his old self. He has seized the majority of snaps and has accumulated 74 opportunities over the last three weeks.
That has translated to two top-10 fantasy running back finishes in a row. This puts him firmly in the RB1 mix for the rest of the season because few running backs receive this kind of consistent usage. He’s worth exploring as a buy-high candidate because he still has yet to score a rushing touchdown this season. This is something that will certainly change in the coming weeks.
Lawrence’s Lackluster Performance
Through nine games this season, Trevor Lawrence has only finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback once. The floor fell out from Lawrence in a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers where he had his worst performance of the season. He isn’t startable any longer in 1QB formats and can be safely dropped in redraft leagues at this point.
The Jaguars have been winning, but the issue has been offensive line play and turnovers. Lawrence has only nine touchdowns compared with 12 turnovers on the season. He ranks No. 2 in the NFL in turnovers since the start of last season as well. Furthermore, despite ranking No. 4 in Protection Rate, that stat doesn’t tell the whole story. On normal throw windows between 2.5 and four seconds, Lawrence has the highest-pressure rate in the NFL.
Trevor Lawrence's pressure/sack numbers are misleading because he gets rid of the ball so quickly.
On throws between 2.5-4 seconds, he's been pressured on 43% of dropbacks–the highest rate of any QB in the NFL this year. Worse than Daniel Jones!
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) November 13, 2023
Watching Lawrence, he is playing better than the stat sheet would suggest. However, that is how fantasy football is played, and he can no longer be trusted in 1QB Formats. The offensive line isn’t allowing Lawrence enough time to let plays develop downfield (No. 27 in Air Yards Per Attempt). Additionally, there are a couple of times a game where Lawrence will make a disastrous decision and cut drives short. With a tough remaining schedule, Lawrence is simply a streaming option moving forward.
Warren Wins Starting Role
Jaylen Warren was officially named the starter before the Pittsburgh Steelers’ matchup against the Packers. That didn’t matter for their actual production as they split the snaps evenly and Harris still received two more touches. Nonetheless, Warren should no longer be considered the backup, and this is a full timeshare at this point in Pittsburgh.
With the Steelers getting nothing out of their pass game though, both Harris and Warren are now startable in fantasy leagues. Each ranks among the top 18 running backs over the last four weeks in fantasy points per game. They’ve accumulated 30 targets over that span too, creating room for both to be fantasy-viable going forward.
Pollard’s Performance Plummets
Tony Pollard has had a difficult season thus far. However, his fantasy managers couldn’t have expected it to be that bad in Week 10. Despite the Cowboys accumulating 640 yards of offense, Pollard only managed 55 scoreless yards. He was outproduced by Rico Dowdle and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1. Pollard has received a league-high 151 consecutive touches without a touchdown too.
Tony Pollard's arbitrary split that I chose for the sake of discourse
19.1 fantasy points
RB4 per game
9.3 fantasy points
RB40 per game
— Dave Kluge (@DaveKluge) November 13, 2023
However, the issue has been his dwindling opportunities since the beginning of the season. Through the first three weeks in 2023, Pollard received 25.4 opportunities a game. Since then, that has dwindled to 15.7 opportunities, and he is the RB40 in fantasy points per game. Pollard doesn’t appear to be 100-percent healthy following surgery to repair his broken leg last season. He is no longer a must-start option in fantasy leagues and will be a borderline RB2 in Week 11.
Sam Soaring to Stardom
Fantasy managers no longer need to ponder whether to start Sam Howell. He has solidified his status as a must-start QB1 for the remainder of the season and has secured his role as the Commanders’ starting quarterback next season. Howell currently leads the NFL in passing yards and has earned top-10 fantasy quarterback finishes in five of his last six games. Additionally, his team tops the league in pass plays per game, and he is far from simply a game manager.
After 7 weeks Sam Howell was sacked an average of 5.7 times per game. That's 97 over the course of a season
The last 3 weeks Howell was sacked an average of 2.3 times per game. That's 39 over the course of a season
Massive improvement. Learning. Getting better pic.twitter.com/eo4GQmS4Kx
— RefTheDistrict (@RefTheDistrict) November 14, 2023
Most importantly though, after being sacked 5.7 per game to start the season, over the last three weeks he’s averaged only 2.3 sacks. While producing on volume is impressive, Howell’s evident progress positions him as a reliable starter in Washington for the foreseeable future. His dynasty fantasy football value is on the rise, making him a lock for fantasy lineups throughout the remainder of 2023.