Week 10’s Lessons Learned: Christian Kirk Ascension Game

by Tyler Strong ·

The fantasy playoffs are only three weeks away for most leagues. This means the adjustments over the next month can make or break your shot at a title. There is still plenty of time to ‘ship a GPP if, like me, you’ve been steadily donating to everyone else in DFS all season long. It was another week of surprising upsets and a few offensive explosions, and the playoff picture is approaching the horizon. Let’s use the advanced stats, metrics and analytics to scan the week’s action and make our tweaks for next week and beyond.

Lesson One: Josh Jacobs, the new Melvin Gordon

The last week represented a microcosm of Chargers football: A shocking upset of Green Bay only for a disastrous TNF loss to division rival Oakland. Moments of savant-esque brilliance amidst constant shootings of the foot. Melvin Gordon emerged from the game with his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, and looked much better than his first few games after the holdout. Austin Ekeler has remained a part of the offense, however minor, and it’s so clear he’s one of the more purely talented running backs without a starting job.

Gordon’s receiving upside is nonexistent as Ekeler has proven himself a much more explosive receiver in space, and the Chargers are deploying them in these defined roles as such. It’s certainly a far cry from Ekeler’s run as one of fantasy’s top RBs earlier this season, but he remains a strong hold in dynasty as the Gordon situation is in flux heading into the offseason.

Check out Josh Jacobs on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

On the other side of the ball, Jon Gruden’s prized workhorse has been looking the part. Josh Jacobs has one of the safer workloads of all running backs, and his rushing usage is complemented by consistent looks in the passing game. Jacobs was tied for the team lead with five targets on Thursday, and he’s had at least two targets in seven straight games.

Action: Jacobs is looking like an early week lock button play for Week 11 DFS. His usage, combined with a matchup against the Bengals defense that’s been consistently annihilated on the ground, spells out a nice value at $6900 on DraftKings.

Lesson Two: Kliff likes Kyler to Kirk

We’ve highlighted the Kliff Kingsbury Experience a couple times in this spot. On a day where Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk connected on three scores, we’re back. This connection has the makings of one that will continue for years to come, and Kirk’s first true blow-up day came after weeks of biding time.

Kirk has been adjusting to life in the NFL and officially came out with 10 receptions for 138 receiving yards and three touchdowns against Tampa Bay “secondary.” He consistently got off the line a step ahead of coverage and straight up outran his defender for his first two scores. Vernon Hargreaves got burned so badly, he lost his job the following week. Kirk’s quick-thinking (and a hint of luck) helped him cash in a third time off a tipped pass as he walked into the endzone. With Larry Fitzgerald approaching the end, Kirk has been the most consistent performer in Kingsbury’s offense.

Action: Kirk is still only $5700 on DraftKings against San Francisco in Week 11. While the 49ers shut him out when the teams met two weeks ago, Murray’s continued improvement and this confidence-boosting performance have to bode well for a better result this time around.

Lesson Three: Get used to Daniel Jones to Darius Slayton

The battle of New York, or at least the battle of who gets to draft higher in April, provided some fireworks as two embattled young quarterbacks took aim against horrendous defenses. The Daniel Jones era has been rocky, at best, but another 300-yard, four-score day doesn’t hurt his future outlook. Jones connected primarily with Golden Tate and Darius Slayton, who has parlayed preseason success into a couple spike weeks. Slayton looked like the most talented player on the field as Saquon Barkley jogged through quicksand all day.

Darius Slayton Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Slayton saw 14 targets in the back and forth affair with the Jets, reeling in 10 for 121 and two scores, one of which where he did almost all the work himself on a mad dash through the entire secondary. With Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram ailing, Slayton has a massive opportunity to capitalize on after the team’s Week 11 bye.

Action: Slayton is an intriguing buy in dynasty for those without a trade deadline (and if you do, buy him this offseason). The target vacuum left behind by Odell Beckham is being filled in by Tate to an extent, but Slayton’s rapport with Jones appears to be for real. The Giants have holes all over their roster, so production out of Slayton down this stretch could solidify a role for him in 2020

Lesson Four: Mahomes returns in peak form

Matt Moore did his job in Patrick Mahomes‘ absence, but daddy’s home and flinging the ball all over the pitch. It was a back and forth affair, and the Chiefs leaned on the MVP to dig them out of a hole that proved a bit too deep on Sunday. Mahomes nevertheless finished with a monstrous 50 attempts for 446 yards and three scores. It was as if he never left, and he had his patented mobility to boot.


The game plan was back to normal, as Mahomes relied on Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce first and foremost, and got contributions from the secondary players like Mecole Hardman, who took advantage of his only target for a 63-yard touchdown after a jump pass from his quarterback. Damien Williams got the start with LeSean McCoy a healthy scratch, and although he committed a game-turning fumble, he got consistent work throughout the game and rolled up 109 yards from scrimmage. If McCoy is going to be “saved” or just benched, Williams’ role becomes one of the most valuable in fantasy football.

Action: Unlikely as it may be, some of the ancillary receivers for the Chiefs may have been dropped during Mahomes’ absence. As we saw today, Mahomes makes absolutely everyone hyper-relevant again. With bye weeks in full force and the KC defense keeping Mahomes firing, the Chiefs’ wideouts are premier adds if available and always in play in GPPs.

Monday Night Homework: Russell Wilson takes on division rival for possible NFCCG preview

The 49ers remain the NFL’s only undefeated team. After a scare from Arizona last Thursday, Seattle will give San Fran their toughest test yet. Russell Wilson is playing at an MVP level, and Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf have turned into one of the league’s more talented duos. Wilson and company can move the ball on anyone, and with Jimmy Garoppolo having a blow-up spot of his own last week, this has the look of a possible shootout under the lights.

Emmanuel Sanders has been a revelation for the Niners’ pass game, and he will be a huge benefactor of any semblance of shootout, especially with George Kittle doubftul. His likely absence boosts Deebo Samuel‘s outlook as well, whose relatively quiet rookie season is poised for a strong finish as he ascends up an unproven depth chart.