Your Targets and Touches Report for Week 10
“…and hopes that were high in the heat of September
Can wilt and die in the chill of November.
November can be cold and grey, November can be surly
With bitter rain upon the world, and winter coming early.”
— John Facenda, The Championship Chase, NFL Films, 1974
Week 10 is here. There is still a glimmer of hope to make the Fantasy playoffs, but as the weather starts loping and trudging toward cooler temps and our overloaded senses have little time to recover from the carpet bombing of political ads before turkeys, Santa and banal year-end shows come in like shock troops, the time is now for Fantasy teams to either finish strong or fizzle like a drizzle.
Nothing will deny us our weekly dose of touches and targets, not even cold November Rain.
Jordan, Is That You?
Bears running back Jordan Howard’s numbers still stink to perhaps the second level of Hell, yet his outstretched hand out of the Fantasy grave is lending hope that those who squandered a second or third-round pick on him just might be redeemed. Howard has scored four touchdowns in the last three weeks and is averaging just over 16 touches per game in that span despite the fact he has been all but written out of the passing game. Call me crazy, but I’m liking some Howard against a Lions defense that ranks 27th against the run and is giving up 5.1 yards per carry. Yes, kids, it’s safe to roll him out there this week as a solid RB2 in non-PPR formats. With just one catch in the last five games, his status in PPR takes a hit, but I’d still play Howard with the confidence that he might have his best game of the season.
Pulling Out Your Johnson In Kansas City
It’s true: you can leave Kansas City happier than you were when you first arrived. Ask any opposing running back who’s had the good fortune to carve up the Chiefs defense. Not that you wouldn’t bench David Johnson, but with the way he’s played this season, no one would point the finger at you. If anything, Johnson’s been good for a high volume of touches (18.2 per game) and should that trend continue Sunday, the top pick should have a big game against the most Fantasy-friendly defense in the league. Opposing backs are averaging 178.7 yards from scrimmage per game and only the Falcons (10.4) allow more Targets Per Game to the opposition’s backs. That makes Johnson a legit RB1, a phrase rarely thrown around this season. Enjoy it.
Favorable Gallup Poll Numbers
My preseason expectations for Cowboys rookie receiver Michael Gallup (“a potential Rookie of the Year candidate,” said I in fitful fever dream) didn’t work out, but he’s starting to show signs as to why I typed up those seven words earlier this summer. Eleven of his 28 targets have come in the past two weeks, with Gallup catching six for 132 yards and a touchdown. The numbers suggest he’s likely to have a solid outing on Sunday night against the Eagles and their 25th-ranked pass defense. Only four other teams have allowed more Fantasy points to opposing receivers than Philly, and the presence of Amari Cooper will give Gallup some single coverage matchups that Dak Prescott should exploit. To me, Gallup is a good WR3/Flex play whose value is stronger in DFS formats, where his middling salary will work in his favor.
What I Am About to Say Will Frighten Some Readers (Parental Discretion is Advised)
Sit Rob Gronkowski. Seriously. I know, I know, it’s blasphemy and I could be dipped into chicken fat and batter fried for saying it, but what has Gronk done for you lately? He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week One and has exceeded 70 yards just twice since tagging the Texans for 123 in the opener. Gronkowski is seriously banged-up and since Bill Bellichick doesn’t give a damn about your Fantasy team, it wouldn’t be shocking if he missed a second straight game this Sunday against a Titans defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing TEs. There are some good streaming options available, but Gronk’s season is a perfect example of rolling the dice one year too late rather than giving up the Fantasy ghost one year sooner.
Yes, No, Maybe (Subtitled: They Like Me… They Really Like Me)
Yes: Marlon Mack, RB, Colts: The “vaunted” Jaguars’ defense is 24th against the run and have allowed an average of more than 150 yards over the past four games. Mack has averaged 29.5 Fantasy points in his last two games and should be regarded as a high-end RB2.
No: Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins: Oh, I know I loved him a week ago, but that was before he managed just seven touches in a lackluster effort against the Jets. The Packers are 20th against the run and while they have allowed nine rushing touchdowns, the words “Dolphins offense” and “scoring” tend to go about as well as “Jim Acosta” and “White House Media Pass.”
Maybe: Josh Doctson, WR, Redskins: The Buccaneers are 31st in Fantasy points allowed per game to opposing receivers while giving up 22 touchdown passes. If Doctson can’t get better than 50 yards against Tampa Bay, then…well…
Come On, Come On, Come On, Come On Now Touch (And Target) Me, Baby
Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons: The rookie has at least five targets in six of his last seven games and faces a Browns defense ranked 31st in receiving yards allowed and 27th in yards per catch. I smell WR2 here.
Jalen Richard, RB, Raiders: Sneaky good PPR play here, as Richard has an impressive 87.7 percent catch rate (43 of 49 targets) and has a favorable matchup against a Chargers defense that allows an average of six catches and 65 yards per game to opposing running backs.
David Njoku, TE, Browns: The catchless Week Eight against the Steelers was a blip, as Njoku caught four of his five targets last week. He’s had at least five targets in seven of nine games and will clear that easily in what could be a slugfest against a Falcons defense that has allowed 18 touchdown passes.
Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks: Keep in mind the Seahawks put up nearly 200 yards on the ground against the Rams in Week Five. If Chris Carson doesn’t play, Penny will see more than the nine touches per game he has averaged over the past three weeks.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers: Finally, Mike McCarthy is starting to listen: Jones has averaged 13 carries the past two weeks and is slowly eating into Jamaal Williams’ touches. This is a good week to run with Jones, as the Packers face a Dolphins defense that is 31st against the run.
Maurice Harris, WR, Redskins: One of the Cool Kids in this week’s waiver wires, Harris could see double-digit targets for a second straight week as the Redskins get a Sunday Blue Plate Special in the form of the Buccaneers’ pass defense.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants: With the 49ers putting heavy focus on that Beckham guy, Shepard will see at least eight to 10 targets against a defense that is 24th in receiving yards allowed while also giving up 18 touchdown passes.
Gimme A Sleeper!
Jets running back Elijah McGuire had 12 touches in his first game of the season last week. With Josh McCown getting the start against the Bills, the veteran pivot will find ways to get him involved. He’s a sound sleeper with strong PPR value in deeper leagues.