Fantasy Football: Week 7 Thoughts
We are officially half way through the regular season for fantasy football. As I speak with different people who have devoted countless hours to this amazing game over the last several years to even decades; the one commonality among everyone is that this year is just weird. It’s been trending weird for several years now. There are many contributing factors for this rise of unpredictability; but regardless of the reasons, the overwhelming result is that scoring is down for fantasy production purposes. Between injuries to elite players, the disappearance of traditional three down running backs, and the rise of spread offenses that shockingly SPREAD the ball around; have all made fantasy owners nervous about their rosters. If I had a crystal ball, i’m betting this wild season continues to baffle all of our minds.
Week 7 Recap:
Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers is truly the MVP, each year. This offense has traumatically changed with Brett Hundley at the helm. Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb have all dropped off in production. The biggest hit is Jordy Nelson, considering he was a late 1st round or 2nd round draft pick. Davante Adams, was a key WR2 or WR3/Flex. Randall Cobb was a flyer, with upside. On the flip side, the Packers, have found a running back in Aaron Jones. Jones has at least 125 rushing yards and a touchdown in 2 of the last 3 games. Any David Johnson owners who had the foresight to grab Jones, is feeling much better about their season.
Amari Cooper – Had the game of his life on Thursday night. Which was awesome for him and fantasy owners. But it was clear the Raiders were targeting him the likes of Antonio Brown. Cooper will have these games throughout the year but often, he will have less than 50 yards. In 2015, he had 7 of 16 games with less than 50 yards. In 2016, cooper had 6 of 16 games with less than 50 yards. And this year, he 5 of 7 games with less than 50 yards. In 39 career games, Cooper has ten 100 yard receiving games. That’s approximately a 25% chance he goes for at least 100 yards. With 9 games remaining on the schedule, that means cooper gets, 2 maybe 3 more games over 100 yards. In 18 of 39 career games, he has produced less than 50 yards receiving; 46% of his games. Again, with 9 games remaining, 4 or 5 of them he will produce less than 50 yards.
More than likely if you own Amari Cooper, you are struggling in the middle of the pack right now. Maybe you are 4-3 or 3-4. Many owners are questioning if they should trade him. I would for the right price, but use his schedule to your advantage in negotiations. In week 11, and more importantly 14,15, and 16…. Cooper has all top 5 matchups against the secondary’s.
Atlanta Falcons – You can chalk it up to be a super bowl curse…but I say it’s just flat out bad play calling. I believe the defense has been good, especially considering the anemic offensive production. The biggest difference in the offense this year, is that Matt Ryan is not completing his dump offs to the running back, Devonta Freeman. Too many times, Freeman is open in the flat to get 4 to 7 yards on the dump off and Ryan doesn’t even look his way. Instead of having a 3rd and 3 or 6 yards to go, the Falcons have been in too many 3rd and 10 situations.
Larry Fitzgerald – Carson Palmer being injured is a huge hit to Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has had his career resurrected the last three seasons as a result of Palmer, being a competent quarterback. We have to go back to 2014 to get an idea of the Stanton – Fitzgerald partnership, but it wasn’t pretty. Fitzgerald has 63 receptions on 103 targets for 784 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Drew Brees – Through six games this season. Drew Brees is on pace for 4,405 passing yards 29 passing touchdowns. Those numbers would be his lowest yards since 2009 and 2nd lowest as a Saint and the touchdowns would be his 3rd lowest as a saint and lowest since 2007. Brees has been very consistent this year and hasn’t had a bad fantasy game yet. The problem, Brees was typically drafted in the 4th or 5th round and for a QB to be drafted that high; he needs to be a difference maker. With the increase production from Quarterbacks such as Alex Smith, Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson; Brees just hasn’t lived up to his draft price this year. Things could turn themselves around, but the Saints have been winning by putting a focus on the run game and ball control. Brees has a 16-game pace on interceptions of 10.6. 10 would be a career low with the Saints. Less shots downfield, mean less interceptions, but also fewer big plays.
T.Y. Hilton – Two straight weeks of abysmal production and 4 of 6 games this year, he’s scored less than 8 points in PPR scoring. The Colts gave up 10 sacks this week, and it could have been more. The offensive line does need to project Brisset better, but the Colts offensive scheme needs to be better about putting the ball in their playmakers hands. Use Brisset’s mobility more and run out of pocket plays to get him away from the pressure with receivers running routes purposely designed for Brisset to get out of the pocket. Memo to the Colts offensive staff: Those plays are call bootlegs! Get with the program.
This is the time of year, that waiver wires are thin, and players have shown who they really are going to be. Aside from an injury to a key component of the offense, it will be rare for someone to come out of nowhere. Fantasy owners, must start to look for value trades that better their team but also look to see who their competitors for playoff position will be as well. Trade deadlines are a few weeks away for most league. Start getting the conversations going now, but most teams need help in the 2nd half.