Fantasy Football Six-Pack: Behold the truth behind these early season disappointments

·Fantasy Analyst
·4 min read

Today's six-pack is actually a collection of fantasy grievances disguised as analysis. Let's hope we can reverse-jinx a few of these guys simply by spotlighting them ...

101 - Derrick Henry has gained 101 yards after contact so far on his 34 carries according to PFF, a notable figure because he's only actually rushed for 107 total yards. Not ideal. Among backs with significant volume, Rashaad Penny (74 of 75 yards) is the only other back who's been forced to gain almost every inch after first contact. Henry, of course, had no chance on Monday night against Buffalo, though his fantasy night was partially saved by a touchdown.

It shouldn't surprise anyone to learn that Henry has faced one of the league's highest rates of eight or more defenders in the box.

40 - Justin Fields, whose team has scored only 19 points this season, has dropped back to pass just 40 times, resulting in 28 total pass attempts. Those numbers might have seemed reasonable in 1977, but it is not generally the way football is played at the professional level in 2022. We can excuse the opening week passing totals because the Bears were playing in a deluge, but — in a game in which Chicago trailed 24-7 at half — the team put the ball in the air 11 times. Incomprehensible. If this persists, there's no hope for any receiver attached to this offense.

Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears has been a fantasy disappointment
Justin Fields has been one of the least-voluminous passers available in fantasy this season. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

19 - This is the total number of receiving touchdowns produced by tight ends so far this season, eight of which belong to players who've seen three targets or fewer. Only six tight-end touchdowns have been scored by dudes who are actually rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. The only player at this position with multiple touchdowns to his credit is O.J. Howard, who's seen only three targets and cannot be started. Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews are the only tight ends giving us at least 75 yards per game.

Simply put, no tight end is carrying anyone in fantasy this season. Kyle Pitts ain't helping, but the entire position has been quietly unhelpful.

6.6 - So far this season, DK Metcalf's average targeted air yards is just 6.6, according to Next Gen Stats. He ranks just behind Cameron Brate and barely ahead of guys like Jamison Crowder and T.J. Hockenson. Thus, despite acceptable target totals, Metcalf delivered only 36 receiving yards in Opening Week and 35 in Sunday's loss. Last season, he averaged 12.7 air yards per target and the year before it was 13.6.

In case you (or the Seahawks) need reminding, Metcalf is in fact approved for downfield use:

He's actually considered by many to be quite competent as a deep threat. Any time Seattle wants to let Geno cook, they have our full support.

3.6 - After two games and 59 pass attempts, Aaron Rodgers has the NFL's lowest average completed air-yards at a mere 3.6. He's averaging only 214.5 yards per game and he's thrown just two touchdown passes (one of which was a fake pass that happened to travel approximately six inches in the air, essentially a handoff to Aaron Jones). Rodgers is obviously still an absolute sorcerer, a back-to-back MVP who can make any throw, but this year's version of the Packers is less than loaded at receiver.

It's possible that for fantasy purposes, the right answer in Green Bay's receiving corps this season is no one.

Rodgers is without a doubt going to produce a few exceptional weeks in 2022, though he faces degree-of-difficulty matchups against Tampa and New England in his next two games.

1 - Ezekiel Elliott has been credited with exactly one missed tackle on his 25 rush attempts, which is 18 fewer than league-leader Nick Chubb has already forced. Zeke has of course faced a pair of quality defenses (TB, CIN), so let's not judge him too harshly just yet. He looked spry in the opener against an excellent Bucs front, carrying 10 times for 52 yards. But those 98 scoreless yards from scrimmage year-to-date aren't really helping anyone. It seems reasonable to hope for significant workloads in the weeks ahead, with flawed divisional opponents on the schedule (at NYG, WAS).

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