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Don’t Be Fooled by the Jets’ Backfield | Bengals Tyler Boyd Still Trending Up

Don’t Be Fooled by the Jets’ Backfield | Bengals Tyler Boyd Still Trending Up
Chris Mitchell October 11, 2018 3:33PM EDT

Trending and NoteWorthy: The Jets’ running backs and more

If Fantasy owners that read my columns made snap judgements and irrational decisions based on which way the wind was blowing on any given day then we might have some issues after an odd Week Five in the National Football League. We all know nobody reading this column would do such a thing, don’t we?

I will look at a few of the oddities from Week Five and break down why owners shouldn’t overreact to one-game circumstances. I will also look inside some of the recent numbers to see who has been NoteWorthy and what players have advanced from being noticed to Trending.

The Broncos allowed almost as many rushing yards to the lowly Jets backfield of Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell (323 Rushing Yards) this week than they had in the previous four weeks combined (375). Blake Bortles looked awful throwing four interceptions and yet also threw for 430 wonderful Fantasy yards, while Patrick Mahomes played like a poised veteran as he picked apart the vaunted Jaguars’ defense without a touchdown pass for the first time this season. And then there was the story of the week that buried the Fantasy lede: Drew Brees is the NFL’s all-time passing leader, but more importantly, Mark Ingram is back and Alvin Kamara owners are shaken.

Don’t Be Fantasy Fooled

Alvin Kamara, RB New Orleans Saints

Week Five Stats:

Six Rushing Attempts – 24 Yards – 0 TDs

Four targets – Three Receptions – 15 Yards – 0 TDs

The Saints welcomed Mark Ingram back with a relatively moderate amount of touches and targets, and he turned it into 73 total yards from scrimmage. What has Kamara owners shivering with concern is that Kamara had only six rushing attempts and four targets. In the first four weeks, he averaged 14 carries and just short of 12 targets per game.

Owners are correct, Kamara’s touches and targets are going to decrease from his early season pace with Mark Ingram back on the field. Owners are incorrect to think that Ingram’s presence significantly diminishes what they should have expected from Kamara this season.

Drew Brees targeted Kamara 100 times in the passing game and he rushed 120 times for 728 yards and eight touchdowns on his way to being the third-highest scoring non-quarterback in Fantasy Football in 2017. Ingram’s minimal touches in a blowout victory is reason for optimism from Kamara owners, not concern. It suggests that he will have a larger role this season than he did in his incredible rookie one. Don’t Be Fantasy Fooled.

Denver Broncos Defense

Week Five Stats:

38 Rushing Attempts – 323 Rushing Yards allowed – One TD

10 Receptions – 22 Passing Attempts – 198 Yards – Three TDs

The Denver Broncos’ defense is a legitimate one, but they were asleep at the wheel against a Jets rushing attack that had only rushed for 352 yards in four games before rushing for 323 in this jaw-dropper. This could be NoteWorthy, but I am calling it Don’t Be Fantasy Fooled until I see other teams attack them on the ground and succeed at a consistently high level. This was an anomaly.

Isaiah Crowell. RB New York Jets

Week Five Stats:

15 Rushing Attempts – 219 Rushing Yards – One TD

In Week Four against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Crowell managed to rush four times for zero yards. That’s a 0.0 average. The next week, he busted out for 219 yards and had three rushes for over 35 yards against the Broncos. He did have a 102 yard game against the Lions in Week One, but he isn’t a serious Flex consideration regardless of the explosion we saw in Week Five. Don’t Be Fantasy Fooled.

Bilal Powell, RB New York Jets

Week Five Stats:

20 Rushing Attempts – 99 Yards

After Week Five Powell, is the best Jets rusher, averaging five yards per carry in three of their five games this season. Owners Shouldn’t Be Fantasy Fooled into thinking Powell or this Jets’ rushing attack has a serious Flex player in it, though if they have to go with one, they Shouldn’t Be Fantasy Fooled into thinking Crowell is a better play than Powell.

Robby Anderson, WR New York Jets

Week Five Stats:

Five Targets – Three Receptions – 123 Yards – 2 TDs

Anderson doesn’t have a game with more than three receptions, and prior to his breakout game against the Broncos, his best was 41 yards on one reception and a touchdown. If owners and Jets fans want to reach for something to be optimistic about, it’s that three of his 11 receptions are for touchdowns. For whatever reason, Sam Darnold isn’t targeting Anderson and until he does, he is Waiver Wire fodder. Don’t Be Fantasy Fooled.

NoteWorthy

Michael Thomas, WR New Orleans Saints

Week Five Stats:

Five Targets – Four Receptions – 74 Receiving Yards – 0 TDs

In the first four weeks of the season, Thomas averaged 11 targets per game. In the first week of Ingram being back with the team, that number was cut by more than half to five. In last week’s column, I pointed out that Thomas’ insane catch percentage had to drop going forward—he had caught 42 of his 44 targets prior to Week Five. I still maintain, even after catching four of five targets this week, that his catch percentage has to come down to earth. Combine that reality with potentially fewer targets and it’s Thomas owners that are could be the big losers with the return of Mark Ingram.

NoteWorthy: Brees threw four passes or more to four receivers and six Saints had at least three targets. It will be interesting to see if Ingram’s return results in this being a Trend rather than the singular focus on Kamara and Thomas that we saw in the opening month.

Kenyan Drake, RB Miami Dolphins

2018 Stats:

39 Rushing Attempts – 153 Rushing Yards – 1 TD

17 Receptions – 124 Yards – 1 TD

The Dolphins have limited Drake’s touches and targets to 17 or less in every game, including just four and seven in Weeks Three and Four, respectively. This week, he had six rushing attempts and seven receptions for 115 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, by far his best game of the season. It’s difficult to explain why the Dolphins, a team that is not overloaded with offensive weapons, are minimizing Drake’s role, but this could be the start of an increase in his touches and targets going forward.

Alfred Blue, RB Houston Texans

Week Five Stats

20 Rushing Attempts – 46 Rushing Yards

Eight Targets – Eight Receptions – 73 Receiving Yards

Lamar Miller averaged 4.9 yards per carry with 34 rushing attempts in the first two games of the season. He dropped off to 10 and 14 carries and only 59 total yards since and he has been non-existent in the passing game with the exception of five receptions, 41 yards and a touchdown against the New York Giants in Week Four. Alfred Blue is a perennial Waiver Wire lingerer that always pops up and tempts Fantasy owners as a potential Flex option. His role has increased in consecutive weeks and he faces a mediocre Buffalo Bills defense in Week Six. Blue is starting to build a case to move from the NoteWorthy section to the Trending segment of the column.

Mohamed Sanu, WR Atlanta Falcons

Week Four Stats:

Nine Targets – Six Receptions – 111 Yards

Week Five Stats:

Seven Targets – Four Receptions – 73 Yards – One TD

Touchdowns for Calvin Ridley and a lack of them from Julio Jones has been the story of the Falcons’ offense, but Sanu has quietly made himself into a Flex play for Fantasy owners. He has averaged more than 18 yards per reception in back-to-back games and has 184 total receiving yards and a touchdown in those games.

He has out-targeted and out-performed Calvin Ridley recently, and while Ridley’s six touchdowns are difficult to ignore, Sanu’s two-game emergence is more indicative of who the better Flex play should be going forward. Sanu could move from NoteWorthy to Trending after Week Six against a miserable Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense.

Trending

Tyler Boyd, WR Cincinnati Bengals

2018 Stats

43 Targets – 30 Receptions – 393 Yards – Two TDs – Two 100+ receiving Yards

In the last four games, Boyd has averaged more Fantasy points per game than JuJu Smith-Schuster and for the season, he has scored only 7.5 fewer Fantasy points than the stud Steeler wideout. In Weeks Two through Four he had 91,132 and 100 receiving yards, respectively, to go along with two touchdowns.

With the return of Le’Veon Bell to the Steelers, it would be a bold, while also possible, prediction that Boyd is the better player the rest of the season.

Tarik Cohen, RB Chicago Bears

2018 Stats:

27 Rushing Attempts – 139 Yards

16 Targets – 14 Receptions – 169 Yards – One TD

In the last four games, Cohen is averaging four targets, 7.3 rushing attempts and 11.83 Fantasy points per game. He faces a Miami Dolphins defense that ranks fourth-worst in Fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Dolphins do it by allowing both rushing and receiving yards to running backs, and that is Cohen’s bread and butter. This could be the week to be contrarian and roster the scat back in Daily leagues and take a risk and use him as your Flex.

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