Realities and Illusions for Week 10
Outside of three games, Week 10 was like a salon during the day of a prom: full of blowouts. While blowouts always make for a more boring week of actual games, it can also have a surprising effect on your Fantasy team. Let’s break down which of those results you can believe, and which you cannot.
First-Round Pick David Johnson is Back
Remember David Johnson? How he was an easy first-round selection, especially since his injury last year was to his wrist and not his legs. However, in his year away, Bruce Arians retired and was replaced by a defensive coach in Steve Wilks. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy struggled to get Johnson incorporated into the offense while also helping rookie Josh Rosen develop under fire, which led to McCoy getting fired after Week Seven. Two weeks later, new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich found David Johnson in the back of a storage closet with some old shoes piled on top of him, dusted him off and unleashed him in Week 10. Johnson had 183 yards from scrimmage, including seven catches on nine targets, plus two touchdowns. Yes, this was against the Chiefs. And yes, the Cardinals still lost. But those two Johnson scores were the only points Arizona scored, and the Cardinals’ schedule in terms of rushing defense stays light pretty much the rest of the way. For those of you that drafted Johnson or bought low, your late-season savior has arrived.
More Like Nick Slim-and-Fast…This Didn’t Work
How in the world did Hue Jackson and Todd Haley manage to not know how to use all the weapons the Browns have on offense? I’m not going to credit noted jerk Gregg Williams with the turnaround and instead link it to new offensive coordinator, Freddie Kitchens, the former RB coach. Last week, he got Duke Johnson back involved for his biggest game of the season. This week, Johnson took a back seat to second-round pick and new top back Nick Chubb, who had his biggest game since the start of his junior year at Georgia, picking up 176 yards and a score on 20 carries, plus another 33 yards and a score on three catches. He also had maybe the highlight of the week, a 92-yard touchdown rush, the longest in Browns’ history. While Johnson was a secondary contributor this week, which may seem like a hint at an unbalanced committee where one is used while the other takes a lesser role, I think it is more likely that Chubb leads this group going forward. Chubb is an easy RB2 coming out of their Week 11 bye.
And Here’s to You, Allen Robinson
This is the Allen Robinson we expected when he signed with the Bears: six catches, 133 yards and two touchdowns. It was his best game since Week Two, when he caught 10 of 14 targets for 83 yards. He has been struggling with a groin injury for awhile this season. It forced him to miss the last two games, but has also hampered him at times even when he does play. But before this week’s game, he declared himself 100 percent and looked like it. The Bears suddenly have a ferocious two-man tandem in Robinson and rookie Anthony Miller and with the run game floundering, expect Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky to utilize them both, especially Robinson.
Not To Say I Told You So…
But I told you so. On the topic of the Bears’ lackluster ground game, Jordan Howard crashed right back to Earth this week, so congratulations to anyone who was able to trade him right before the deadline. Howard followed up his season-best Fantasy performance last week with his worst game of the season, taking 11 carries essentially nowhere, picking up just 21 yards. That is…good?…for a 1.9 yards per carry average. He also caught one pass for 11 yards. He’s hard to drop for a number of reasons, including a softer schedule during the Fantasy playoffs, but he’s a desperation play at this point.
Warming Up the Jaguar
Leonard Fournette is back and the Jaguars are going to use him (even if his return didn’t result in a very important win). Fournette has been hurt basically the whole season, appearing in just two games. Well, he certainly looks healthy now. While he averaged only 2.2 yards per carry (the Colts have a sneaky good run defense this season), he scored twice, once on the ground and once through the air. Overall, he had 29 touches, compared to T.J. Yeldon’s eight and Carlos Hyde’s three. And, most importantly, he got away healthy. While he may drop off next week against a tough Steelers defense, he’s getting the Jaguar-share of touches in this backfield as long as he stays healthy.
Do You Want to Believe in *checks notes* Matt Barkley?
No, the Bills aren’t turning it around. LeSean McCoy isn’t back to being an RB1. You shouldn’t burn a top waiver slot or a bunch of FAAB on Zay Jones. Let someone else make those mistakes. This is still the Bills, and they played the swamp fire that is the 2018 New York Jets. Todd Bowles has committed plenty of fireable offenses this season, but losing by 31 to a Bills team that scored 33 points in their last four games combined may be chief among them.
Rashaad in for a Penny, in for a Pound
It was most likely was not a coming-out party for Rashaad Penny. The last time the Seahawks played the Rams, Mike Davis had a good day in Chris Carson’s stead, picking up 68 yards and a score on 12 carries in Week Five. Penny had a much better game than that Sunday, using the same number of carries but picking up 40 more yards, giving him 108 in Week 10. He also scored. While this could conceivably be the start of a breakout, Penny has struggled to see snaps all seaso, the Rams’ defense is a sieve against the run and Carson was healthy enough to make it to game-time decision status, theoretically teeing him up to come back in Week 11. I wouldn’t trust any of the backs behind Carson to be consistent, even if he does miss more time.
Tyler Boyd Will Be Back
It just might take a couple of weeks. Those of you who were able to scoop up Boyd earlier in the season have benefited from a number of dominant performances, but also know there have been a couple of duds sprinkled in. While a matchup with the Saints—and without A.J. Green—was supposed to be Boyd’s biggest yet, it ended up being closer to the latter, as he pulled in just three targets for 65 yards, thanks in large part to the Saints’ pressure on Andy Dalton. Things may not get any easier next week against Baltimore, but you don’t need to panic and jump ship either. You’ll probably need to play him, but don’t panic if he struggles. But he should be back to his old self (2018 edition) very soon to wrap up the season.
Don’t Trust Derrick Henry
It feels like a common refrain after every positive Henry performance but it warrants repeating. Dion Lewis is far and away Tennessee’s lead back, doubling Henry’s touches this week. Henry will continue to get goal line looks, which resulted in his two scores and the better Fantasy day. But touchdowns are a tough prospect to make lineup decisions on, as they are too unpredictable. Henry isn’t “getting it going” following a strong performance in a weirdly lopsided win over the Patriots; he’s just trying to trick you. Yes, you specifically.
Don’t Run to Add Josh Reynolds
Cooper Kupp’s season was ended by a torn ACL on Sunday, so there will be a lot of analysts suggesting you run and pick up Josh Reynolds. However, in the other games where members of the Rams have been out with injuries, whether it was Brandin Cooks or Robert Woods or Kupp, Reynolds has been touted as the guy to pick up. However, outside of a two-touchdown performance on three catches for 42 yards, he hasn’t actually done much. It’s too easy for the Rams to plug their Kupp-sized hole with Todd Gurley and the aforementioned Cooks and Woods to make Reynolds a must-add. If you’re a Kupp owner, sure, take a flier, but just because he’s in the Rams’ offense doesn’t mean his is a significant part of the Rams’ offense.