News Or Noise: Week Eight Edition

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There’s Always That Week

Fantasy football, like everything else, has it’s ups and downs. Whether it’s feeling like you ran the perfect draft and losing JK Dobbins, Travis Etienne, DJ Chark, Jerry Jeudy, George Kittle and Ryan Fitzpatrick immediately, or drafting guys like CMC, Logan Thomas, Saquon Barkley and Chris Carson and watching them hit the IR for extended periods, it can be difficult. Underperformers can crush you as well such as Mike Davis, TJ Hockenson and even Patrick Mahomes.

Frustrating doesn’t begin to touch what it can get to. Starting off 5-0 and dropping three in a row hurts worse than starting 0-8. Watching a contender turn into an also ran is the worst fantasy outcome I can think of. You start making trades to try and stop the bleeding. You try starting long shots over underperformed studs. You watch in frustration as your solid start puts you at the bottom of the waiver wire and improvement becomes nay impossible. You can try any strategy you like, but you have to commit to it and hope it pulls through for you. If it does, you look like a genius. If it doesn’t, then you look like an idiot. There’s no in-between.

No matter what you do, every bad thing that happens ends up weighing on you. Did you not make a move you should have? Did you make a move you shouldn’t have? For instance, I just made a knee-jerk reaction trade in a re-draft league where I traded away Chase Edmonds and Jakobi Meyers for DK Metcalf. Now I have no depth at running back. Was this a good idea? Time will tell.

The league I made the trade in has bonuses that DK is much more likely to hit than the other two. Watching Edmonds perform a little bit on Thursday night kind of hurts in the moment, but all it takes is a catch and run like Metcalf had last week to eclipse what Edmonds did all game. No one can predict what is going to happen play to play, or game to game. Sometimes you just have to roll the dice and see what happens. There’s no rhyme or reason. Just hope the fantasy gods have mercy on you and your team.

Without further ado, onto News or Noise!

After Washington comeback, are KC Chiefs fixed? NFL analysis | The Kansas  City Star
Not looking as scary as usual.

The Kansas City Chiefs Are Still A Top 10 Team

I’m going to go with noise in a big big way. The Chiefs have struggled mightily this season. You could point fingers at their defense. They are among the worst in the league in quite a few statistical categories. It seems like they’re playing, well, the Chiefs from prior seasons every game, unable to stop anyone.

That would only tell half the story though. This team in past years has had the offensive firepower to overcome a mediocre defense. Probably not a defense that is this bad, but it’s a lot easier on a defense if you can get them off the field for a little bit. The offense has stagnated this season compared to past years. Mahomes has a 2:1 TD to INT ratio this season, far from past years. He’s on pace for 22 interceptions this season, almost double what he threw the season he racked up 50 touchdown passes. His air yards per attempt is almost half a yard shorter than his worst season to date. The offense is not working the way it was projected to. Mahomes is having to scramble more than any season prior due to bad blocking up front and his receivers simply not getting open. He’s throwing into tighter coverage than he has in the past. It’s not good for business.

The four losses they’ve suffered is a high for Mahomes in a season, with over half the year to go. The Chiefs are third in the AFC West, not the NFL, or even just the AFC. The AFC West. They’re not winning and it’s not looking like they’re going to anytime soon.

If they keep playing like this, they’re going to have a hard time finishing over seven wins. Mediocre is possible. Top 10 is laughable.

Jalen Hurts Has Blunt Admission On Philadelphia's Struggles
Expect to see this quite a bit this season.

Jalen Hurts Will Finish The Season As A Top Five Fantasy Quarterback

I think this one is news. Hurts has produced in fantasy at a rate that most quarterbacks can never touch. He was drafted as QB12, so he was possibly the second quarterback drafted by some teams. He’s currently fifth overall in scoring and QB3. He has scored 20-plus points in every game this season. Watching him play, it’s not always easy to see why.

Hurts doesn’t look the best when forced to throw the ball. He has four weeks of a QBR 86 or lower. That’s over half his season thus far. He’s throwing for a 61 percent completion rate. He’s thrown for only 10 TDs while throwing four picks. Not exactly mind blowing stats through the air. Where Hurts makes his impact is in the ground game.

He’s averaging over 51 yards per game while tallying five TDs thus far. It doesn’t necessarily translate to wins on the field, but it’s great to have him on your fantasy team. Hurts is also ringing up carries in the red zone as well which pushes his points potential to probably as high as it could be. With the Eagles complete lack of running back carries, it’s not a surprise that Hurts has to make things happen with his feet. Miles Sanders being out could dial up some more runs for him as well.

Whether you’re looking at him from a football or a fantasy perspective, you know the talent is there. Hurts is as electric as they come. In a league of quarterbacks that can run, he’s a quarterback that will run. I don’t see any kind of fall off because of it. Lock him in my Top 5 fantasy QBs for 2021.

Analyzing Initial San Francisco 49ers 53-Man Roster For 2021 NFL Season
Not 100% sure what they’re smiling about.

The San Fransico 49ers Finish Above .500

As much as it pains me to say it, I am firmly on the noise side. For a team that started the season in the conversation for the best teams in the NFC, the 49ers sure haven’t shown it so far this season. Failing their way into a 2-4 record has been a thorn in my side.

There is a lot going on to bring them to this point, and it seems to be a common theme out there. Injuries are piling up on key players. Whether it’s losing guys for a game or two here and there, or something like Kinlaw getting surgery, the luck for San Fran has not changed in the slightest. Both quarterbacks have missed games, the No. 1 back ended his season before he started it. The No. 2 back is on the PUP since before the season started. George Kittle was trying to play through injury before his current IR stint. Trent Williams has been nursing injuries all season. According to fantasy stats, it looks like Brandon Aiyuk died.

The Niners need to go 6-3 over the rest of the season to break the .500 plateau. Coming up next, they have the Bears, which is an infinitely winnable game, then they’re probably going to get beat up a bit. They play the Cardinals and the Rams back-to-back. Both games are at home so anything is possible, right? Please tell me I’m right!

After that the Jags are beatable but then the Vikings are tough. The game after that is going to have a fresh Russell Wilson…in Seatlle…in a night game on national TV. What a better way to show the world how horribly things have gone wrong. With the way the injuries to the defense have been piling on, they might have replaced three quarters of the starters by that game.

The Bengals at the moment are balling out. Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase is becoming Carson Palmer to Ocho Cinco, but they could get better. The Falcons at home on December 19 is a winnable game. It’s at home and maybe we have Jeff Wilson and Kittle back full speed. Then they’ll get beat by the Titans. The Texans under Tyrod Taylor are different than the Texans under Davis Mills. When was the last time you heard someone refer to Tyrod as leaps and bounds better than? Finish the season with a loss to the (Super Bowl bound?) Rams and there it is.

A record 6-3 was the goal. I see them as only being favored in potentially three games. I can see them pulling another two out mayyyyybe. Winning six by the end of the season should probably be the goal and not six more. More realistic. I have a feeling Shanahan might be circling the drain, and the solution is right in front of him.

Losing games is in the better interests of the team. I think the 49ers and Kinlaw’s people got together and had him have the surgery now because there’s no coming back and this way he’ll be ready for training camp. Losing and not playing Lance is astounding. The only excuse Shanahan has for the season going into the toilet is if he played the “raw rookie” card and put the ball in Lance’s hand. Who knows? Maybe it really does turn out to be Season and my projections are off. I can only hope.

Carolina Panthers vs New York Giants final score, recap | Charlotte Observer
Watching from the bench is never a good sign for a starting QB

Sam Darnold Bounces Back

I seem to have a soft spot for this guy but I’m pretty much forced to go noise. Darnold started the season off looking like a decent second quarterback, scoring 18+ the first two weeks of the season. Then out of nowhere, Super Sam shows up! No more ghosts of the Patriots. Nothing but get after it. Week 3 he scored 25.1, then in week 4 he put up 31.5.

It looked like the Adam Gase curse was over and it was what was wrong with Darnold. Well the last three games have kind of changed things. Changed them quite a bit in fact. Week five he had six points, week six he had 14.8, but the week seven brought a two-point performance and a benching. Moving in the wrong direction and all sorts of fast.

As anyone can tell you, Christian McCaffery is good; very good. Having him coming out of the backfield with sure hands and an ability to make people miss can pad stats. McCaffery played the first three games this season. The Panthers won the first three games of the season. McCaffery went out, the Panthers have lost their past four.

What is skewing the data on those two big games he had is he had two rushing touchdowns in each game, which gave him five on the season after four games. His throwing wasn’t any better, he was just getting lucky around the goal line. In Week 6 when he had 14.8, 4.8 of those came on the ground. His scoring isn’t something that is sustainable, relying on TDs and rushing yards that are far from guaranteed. Nobody is confusing Darnold with Lamar Jackson or Jalen Hurts anytime soon.

I have plenty of shares of Darnold here and there. I’ve moved on in redraft, but I’m truly hoping for a bounce back into something resembling a start worthy quarterback. It would help me tremendously. I just don’t see any way that it happens.

Leonard Fournette Stats, News, Bio | ESPN
Lenny has been on a roll. Can he keep it going?

Leonard Fournette Will Be A Top 12 Play This Week

I’ve been betting on Lenny and he hasn’t let me down yet. Gonna go with news. Fournette (or as his friends a.k.a. me, Lenny call him) has balled hard the past three games. In that timeframe he has amassed 229 rushing yards with four rushing touchdowns. What may surprise people that aren’t me is how often and how well he is involved in the passing game. With the addition of Gio Bernard in the off-season, the sheer thought of him getting five targets a game would have blown many people’s minds. Most forget he caught over 80 balls his last season with the Jags. In the past three games he has 15 targets, 12 receptions and four receiving touchdowns. The guy can ball.

He has only one game all season below 10.9 fantasy points. He has four games above 16.8, including a 21 and a 30.7 point week. Ronald Jones has been consistent as a substitution on some drives for Lenny, but watching the two gives you a clear picture who the lead dog is. He has gotten 14 or more touches per game in all but one week this year. He has 25 or more in two games.

With the offense the Bucs are running, there will be plenty of opportunities out there for him. Here comes the but…But the Saints have a good rush defense. I don’t think that’s going to matter. All he needs to put up points is 10ish carries and six or seven catches. If he gets work like that, the TDs will come. Brady will make sure of that.

But if the Saints have a good run defense and the Bucs have Brady back there ready to throw it 50 times, why run the ball? Well there’s the boring “slow down the rush” comment that every announcer has made at least once in their career. Get some time of possession. Give an ailing defense some time to breathe. Keep the ball out of Jameis Winston’s hands, because you never know what’s going to happen with him out there. He could throw for five touchdowns or five interceptions. Probably not five interceptions with as banged up as the defensive backfield for Tampa Bay is, but a couple.

I honestly think that they’ll give him the totes because they believe he can make something happen. He’s a guy that always seems to fall forward when he gets tackled. Gets that extra yard or two every down by not stopping until after the whistle has stopped. He’s going to grind it out with New Orleans and I see him coming out the winner. Even if he gets 50 on the ground, five catches for 45 yards, and a touchdown somewhere, that’s still 14.5 points. Not Top 12, but he’s got a solid floor. I think we are going to see him in the end zone this week at least once. That’s my guy!

Looking for a lineup question to be answered? Got offered a trade you’re just not sure on? Think fantasy football is neat and want someone to talk to about it? Get in touch with me @IHeartCaravans on Twitter, Medium, uStadium and the Fantasy Life App. Hope to hear from you soon!

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