The Cardinals Hate Fantasy Football
David Johnson owners had it worse than anyone on Sunday. Heading into the game, we had three reasons to believe DJ was ready to roll -- Johnson practiced this week, Adam Schefter tweeted Johnson was “expected to play”, and the Cardinals only had two healthy running backs. It’s laughable how word didn’t get out that Johnson was going to be that limited. But things happen. It’s fantasy football and nothing is perfect. Eat Arby’s. … But hopefully you David Johnson owners had Chase Edmonds, even if that meant leaving nearly 40 fantasy points on your bench. The Cardinals Offense had been using its running backs a ton, and they’ve been effective. Plus, we knew Edmonds was the direct and only handcuff to DJ. There were zero reasons not to have Edmonds rostered in season-long. The upside was too high. And we saw that in Week 7. I don’t care who it is, the Cardinals’ starting running back is an RB1 in fantasy. Hopefully we get clarity on who that is going into next week. And hopefully the Cardinals stop trolling us on Twitter.
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This next section will point out pass-catchers who had all the usage we’re looking for but missed out on bigger fantasy lines. These are the players to buy low on: Keenan Allen had 11 targets and is currently leading the week in air yards (209), but he only had 4-61-0 in the box score. … Gerald Everett had a 4-51-1 receiving line, but he left 97 air yards on the field, the second most of the week thus far. Everett is probably my favorite “on the TE1/2 borderline” tight end right now. … Noah Fant had 91 air yards but only 7 “real yards” on Thursday Night Football. Bad drops and missed throws played into that. … Allen Robinson walked away with an awesome 10-87-1 receiving line, but he had 170 air yards and a week-high 16 targets. Mitchell Trubisky could’ve made A-Rob’s game even bigger. … Alshon Jeffery had 109 air yards and only 38 receiving yards. … DK Metcalf was targeted eight times and had 108 air yards. That’s WR2 usage, but he only finished with 53 receiving yards. On the Rotoworld Live Show, I explained Metcalf was due for positive touchdown regression. He’s a great buy in season-long right now. … Mark Andrews’ eight targets and 93 air yards are fantastic for the position, but he had too many drops to turn them into fantasy points (2-39-0) this week. Andrews’ usage is bankable week to week, especially when Marquise Brown is sidelined. … Tyler Boyd led the week in incomplete targets (9). Some were his fault (bad drops). Some were on Andy Dalton and the offensive line. Boyd’s usage is through the roof, but “usage” on the Bengals only means so much.
These guys had all of the good luck this week: Obviously Chase Edmonds. Once again; the Cardinals’ starting running back is an RB1 in fantasy. … I noted in the Week 7 Fantasy Football Forecast that Marvin Jones was due for positive touchdown regression (he had 294 yards but only one touchdown), but four touchdowns against the Vikings? Are you serious? As you’ll see in next week’s Forecast, Jones has had WR3-level air yards every week. There’s just more variance in him turning that usage into actual fantasy points because he’s targeted downfield, and big plays are difficult to project. … Latavius Murray filled in beautifully for Alvin Kamara (do RBs matter?), rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns in Chicago. Volume leads to fantasy points, folks. … Darren Waller had more receiving yards than air yards and had 48 yards after the catch. That’s rare for tight ends, but not too surprising given Waller’s skills. Every-week TE1. “Is Waller a top-four tight end?” is the question here. … Marquez Valdes-Scantling was someone who I was very bullish on, but I was right for all the wrong reasons. MVS played sparingly and was targeted three times. He was clearly playing hurt but managed to walk away with a long TD to save his day. … Zach Pascal came out of Week 7 with 6-106-2 on seven targets and just 73 air yards. Big day after the catch for Pascal, who helped Jacoby Brissett cruise to 326 yards and four touchdowns. The Colts coaching staff is better than your favorite team’s coaching staff (some restrictions apply).
Monday Night Preview from the Forecast
Note: To view the teams' graphs, click here.
Patriots (26.25, -10) @ NYJ
Tom Brady had 300+ yards in 4-of-6 games, and he now faces a Jets Defense that is very average against the pass. Brady’s floor is still lower than you’d like behind a below-average offensive line, but this is a matchup with a ceiling. In Brady’s last five games against the Jets, he’s averaging 257 yards and 2.4 touchdowns, including a 306-2 game in Week 3 of this year. Brady is a low-end QB1 with the Patriots’ 26.25 projected points. … Rex Burkhead is out Week 7. Fantastic news for both James White and Sony Michel. On Twitter, I posted White's and Michel's stats since 2018 in games with and without Burkhead. White is averaging 19.6 PPR points in the 10 games without Burkhead. Michel is at 15.3. Of the two, I'm way more comfortable with White and his pass-catching work compared to Michel and his "goal-line role". Michel is seeing just 29% of the Patriots' inside-the-five carries for some reason and is 37th of 38 in PFF's elusiveness rating, avoiding just eight tackles on 100 carries. Give me White as a low-end RB2 with upside in PPR leagues, while Michel sits in the RB3 mix as a touchdown-dependent runner.
Julian Edelman is coming off his best game of the season, which coincided with Josh Gordon’s knee injury, one that is likely to keep Gordon on the sidelines for Week 7. Edelman just torched the Jets for a 7-62-1 game in Week 3 and is a locked-in WR1. … Phillip Dorsett is shaping up as an upside flex option now that he’s getting in reps at practice. Dorsett saw seven and nine targets in his last two healthy games and is likely going to be the Patriots’ No. 2 receiver with Gordon on the wrong side of questionable. The Jets are in the bottom 12th percentile at preventing 20+ yard gains through the air. … The Patriots are using their tight ends as pass catchers as little as possible.
Jets (16.25, +10) vs. NE
Sam Darnold looked like a franchise quarterback last week in the Jets upset win over Dallas. Darnold nearly set a new career-high in passing yards (338) and had chemistry with all three of his receivers. The Patriots Defense is leading in just about every defensive statistic right now, however, making Darnold a low-end QB2 despite the positive game in his return from mono. … Le’Veon Bell is averaging 17.0 carries and 5.6 receptions per game as one of the most-utilized backs in all of fantasy. If Darnold can play as well as he did in Week 6, Bell has some serious upside. But that will likely have to be put on hold with New England in town. Bell is a volume-based RB1, who likely won’t hit a ceiling this time around.
The Patriots have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to receivers with Stephon Gilmore shutting down opposing ones and with the scheme limiting the rest of the pass-catchers. Robby Anderson will catch a lot of Gilmore, which makes him a zero-floor WR4/5 this week despite a huge Week 6 game. … I actually like Jamison Crowder more than Anderson this season. Crowder has actual chemistry with Darnold and won’t have to deal with Gilmore this week. According to my NextGenStats charts, the Patriots have almost exclusively prevented passes beyond 10ish yards this season and have welcomed passes underneath. That, of course, helps Crowder this week. He’s a WR3/4.