Five Interesting Performances: Week 6
So this week I’m going to cheat a little bit. Week 6 was tough to weed out just five performances. We saw some fantastic games with great finishes. Games filled with big-time fantasy performances and letdowns the same. I’m going to start with some bonus material that I’m sure you’ll hear about all week but I just wanted to address these real quick.
First of all Julio Jones, the stud WR The last time he scored a TD was 322 days, 107 Targets, 61 Receptions, and 1050 Yards ago. The frustration is flowing like a river. But should it be? The short answer is no… 11 games is a very long drought but this isn’t the first case of Jones having an extended scoreless streak. In 2014 he had a seven-game stretch without a score. On three occasions (2011, 2015, and to start last season.) he has had a five-game scoreless stretch. The usage and production outside of TDs are still elite. Buy low on Julio.
Next is a player I talked about last week and just wanted to touch upon him. Adam Thielen did it again. Another 100 yard game for the Minnesota Vikings star. With 11 Receptions on 15 Targets and 123 Yards, he added to his record for breaking the century mark in consecutive games to start a season. Add in his fourth TD and you have the number one fantasy WR through six weeks. Furthermore, this was his sixth straight double-digit target game and his third with 10 plus Receptions. It’s not usually wise to buy high but this might be a case where an argument can be made for it.
Now finally, let’s get into the meat of Week 6.
Sony Michel and James White, RBs New England Patriots
As you can see above and I’m sure to have heard many time its tough to get a bead on a Bill Belichick backfield. On occasion, though you can get a read on what’s going on. Sometimes the Patriots put two fantasy relevant RBs. 2018 is looking like it might be one of those years.
Sony Michel, The Hammer
24 Rush Attempts, 106 Yards, 2 TDs
The Patriots rookie just put up his third straight RB1 performance and I Hope you bought in when most went with Rex Burkhead. Since Week 4, Michel has averaged 22.3 Rush Attempts and 105.3 Yards per Game. So those would be pretty impressive numbers right there but then you add in the 4 TDs he’s scored in that span and we could be looking at a potential league winner.
Let’s go a little deeper in then the surface numbers. I’m going to start with where he is getting the ball. In Week 6 Michel received four touches inside to 20-yard line. Furthermore, he has 16 touches in the red zone over the past three weeks. That’s big time for his prospects moving forward. Only two other players are above 10. The only player ahead of him in that time is Todd Gurley… You might have heard of him. Also, Michel is tied for second most Redzone carries in the whole of 2018 season. Again that’s pretty impressive. Even more so due to his coach.
Opportunities In The Redzone – (TDs in Bold)
- 5:01 Left in the First Qtr. 1st and Goal, 4 Yard Line -Michel is lined up in the offset I formation with two wideouts to his left and a tight end on the right of the line. The furthest receiver to his left comes in motion until he is next to the slot receiver. Michel takes the handoff to the left and does a nice job picking his way through a cluster to find the end zone for his first of two TDs.
- 2:51 Left in the Second Qtr. 2nd and Goal, 1 Yard Line -This is a three tight end set. Two on the left and another on the right. The second TE on the left side motions right, then back to the left. Sony tales this handoff up the middle but he almost follows his fullback to a fault. Consequently, he gets caught in the pile. When i looked at the tape it seems like if he just slides right a little he could power his way in. It’s okay though as you’ll see next.
- 2:10 Left in the Second Qtr. 3rd and goal, 1 Yard Line – So the Patriots run the same play as the previous one for Michel here. They just switch it to the other side and Sony finds his way to the Endzone for the second time.
- 8:29 Left in the Third Qtr. 1st and Goal, 6 Yard Line – On this Play the Patriots line Gronkowski out wide to the right with a receiver inside of him and one on the left side of the formation. Michel is in the offset I again. They motion Gronkowski back to the middle. Michel shows some good patience at the snap trying to pick his spot. There just wasn’t enough room though and he was only able to gain one yard.
Rest Of Season (ROS)
With the current roster, the Patriots are going to give Michel all he can handle. They have too. James White is not a workhorse although he is great for this team. (I’ll talk more about White below.) New England needs that next Corey Dillon or LeGarrette Blount. The RB that can wear a team down and punch in goal to go opportunities. In my opinion, Michel will be just that player moving forward. Week 6 was the first time he led the team in snaps (Michel 37, White 33) and it won’t be the last time.
Finally, I wanted to mention one more thing. Michel is getting elite usage for a back that plays 70% or more of his team’s snaps. Let alone one in a timeshare. When he is on the field, he gets the ball. He has received 98 opportunities so far this year. That’s Targets and rushing attempts. Michel has been in on 134 of the Patriots snaps. That means he is getting opportunities on 73.13% of the snaps he plays right now. This is a crazy number! Let’s hope it continues.
James White, The Satellite
6 Rush Attempts, 39 Yards, Caught 5/7 Targets, 53 Yards
The real 2016 SB MVP has managed to keep his relevance on minimal usage for what is generally the most widely spread out backfield in fantasy football. Now though it’s a two-man show as we covered above. Yes, this was White’s second-fewest Targets of the season and his value has been largely based on scoring (In standard scoring leagues) but he was still a valuable PPR asset. Let’s see if we can figure out what happened and ease your minds a bit.
First of all, let’s establish what Whites 2018 baseline is realistically is. When you look at the game log this season there are three outliers (In Bold).
2018 Game Log
- First Week – Caught 4/9 Targets, 5 Rush Attempts, 9 Touches
- Second Week – Caught 7/8 Targets, 4 Rush Attempts, 11 Touches
- Third Week – Caught 3/3 Targets, 4 Rush Attempts, 7 Touches
- Fourth Week – Caught 8/10 Targets, 8 Rush Attempts, 16 Touches
- Fifth Week – Caught 10/14 Targets, 2 Rush Attempts, 12 Touches
- Sixth Week – Caught 5/7 Targets, 6 Rush Attempts, 11 Touches
In Week 3 White had a season-low in Targets. Consequently, also a season-low in touches. This week was Rex Burkhead’s last game action and he received three Targets in the contest. Michel was in his second game back. His total usage went up but in this game, he had a season-high in Targets with three as well. There is no more Burkhead as he is now on IR and Michel has received only two Targets in the three weeks following.
So in Week 4, White had eight Rush Attempts and in Week 5 he had 14 Targets. First of all in Week 4, what brought on the season high in carries? Well For starters The Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 38 – 7 and in a game like that Belichick is going to run a lot. Michel also had 25 carries but was still early in his return from injury at this time. 25 was already a huge bump up from his previous two games. Furthermore, this was the first full game without Rex Burkhead who was injured in Week 3.
Another number that made me take a second look was white’s 14 Targets in Week 5. Not only was this his second straight game with double-digit targets, but it was also the most Targets he has received in a regular season game. Prior to Week 4, White had only had double-digit Targets on two other occasions in the regular season. Along with twice in the playoffs. In 61 career games (including playoffs) White has had 10 or more Targets on 9.8% of games. This would imply that White’s streak of games was probably not likely to continue.
In White’s last 17 games (Including playoffs) he has scored an amazing 12 TDs. Even more amazing is the nine in his last nine games. That’s scoring a TD on 11.25% of his Touches (Every 8.8 Touches) in his last nine games. In contrast, Todd Gurley is scoring a TD on 7.8% of his Touches (Every 12.72 Touches) so far in 2018. Something tells me neither of these is likely to stay at the current rate. If I had to put money on one of them holding then give me the guy averaging 23.3 Touches a game.
In my opinion, Whites season averages for Targets and Rush Attempts are probably right where they should be…
2018 Six Game Average – Catching 6.2/8.5 Targets,4.8 Rush Attempts, 11 Touches, 78.6 Yards, 0.9 TDs
…Except for the TDs. I’d anticipate that number cutting in half if not more. Michel has come on and it’s shown that the Patriots like their Rookie RB. His Usage should stay steady. Julien Edleman’s return could cut into Whites work a little but I think we saw that effect in Week 6 already. He will be an RB2 in PPR scoring and an RB3/Flex in standard going forward.
Mike Evans, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Caught 4/5 Targets, 58 Yards
This should have been a premium matchup for star wideout. The Buccaneers faced an at Atlanta defense that is ravaged by injury. The Falcons are missing key players from every level of the defense and for the most part, it showed. Now Evans didn’t kill your week but he sure didn’t win it. The day started off with a beautiful diving catch over the middle but the rest of the game failed to match that excitement. The next opportunity was a drop on the sideline on a Bucs third down try. Winston did throw a deep ball to Evans but it fell harmlessly to the turf. Also, Evans received the 2PT conversion attempt. Winston wasn’t able to connect through as he was under heavy pressure and was forced to hurry the throw. Evans was open though.
Is The Arrow Pointing Down?
There are two slightly alarming statistics I noticed. First of all is Target share. Prior to Winston’s suspension last season Evans was receiving a 28.6% target share. In the games since that point that Winston has played in, Evans is receiving a 20.5% target share. Also Prior to the suspension, he had caught 40% (4/10) of Winston’s TDs in 2017. Again, since that point just 7.1% (1/14).
What’s The Cause?
First of all the amount of weapons, this team has in the receiving game is going to play a part in this. Outside of Evans, Tampa has DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. There are threats all over the field. Winston doesn’t have to “Stafford to Megatron” style force feed Evans like he used to. Evans can draw all the double teams he can handle now because Jameis has other places to go. Here are the Target Shares for wide receivers 1, 2, and 3 in Winston’s Career…
This is not at all what his fantasy owners want or need. Fantasy owners want the guy that saw double-digit Targets in 2016 for a nine of 10 game stretch. Well as it appears he won’t often be that guy anymore. So maybe Evans isn’t that guy anymore… Then what is he? I have him as a high-end WR2 moving forward. Games like this will be here and there but he will also have his explosion games as well. Jameis Winston has grown as a Qb but number 13 is still his best option. It just won’t be as frequently used as it was for Ryan Fitz-Magic in my opinion.
Jarvis Landry, WR Cleveland Browns
Caught 2/9 Targets, 11 Yards
Jarvis Landry just had two receptions… Two! Now yes, people do have down games but let me tell you in a little bit of a different way. Jarvis Landry just had the second fewest receptions he’s ever had. Only two other times has he had this few or fewer receptions in a game. In Week 13 of 2015 Landry Caught 2/5 Targets and in his first game as a pro, he had no receptions on one Target. Since that point he has never had fewer then three receptions or This is the type of performance that makes Landry’s Fantasy owners long for the days of Miami and Ryan Tannehill.
He Is Who We Thought He Was… Or Is He?
The days when he would just line up in the slot and receive Target after Target. Unfortunately for you owners, I think those days might be over. He is still going to receive a lot of Targets but as you move further from the line of scrimmage the accuracy is going to go down for the QB. The Browns have done just that in moving Landry away from the slot on more occasions then he has ever done. This isn’t the Jarvis Landry the PPR crowd fell in love with. Let’s look at the incompletions from this game though. Baker Mayfield has only completed 11/29 Targets to Landry since he became the starter. Who’s to blame here?
Week 6 Incompletions (Time & Quarter/ Down & Distance/ Reason)
- 14:33 in the First/ 1st and 5/ Ball was thrown at Landry’s feet. Uncatchable
- 13:18 in the Second/ 2nd and 6/ Landry had two defenders near him when Mayfield let the pass go. Pass defensed
- 12:54 in the Second/ 3rd and 6/ Mayfield was hit as he went to throw. Uncatchable
- 3:30 in the Second/ 1st and 10/ Ball thrown high and behind Landry. Would have been an extremely difficult reception.
- 2:19 in the Second/ 4th and 2/ Landry was covered and Ball was lobbed well over his head. Uncatchable
- 1:53 in the Third/ 3rd and 8/ Thrown over Landry’s head again. Was able to get one hand on it.
So as you can see above when reviewing the film, none of these passes really had a high probability of being caught anyways.
A lot of Jarvis Landry’s value or even all of it hinges on the Browns rookie QB. Since his Week 3 comeback, Baker Mayfield has been anything but accurate. Completing just 52.3% of his pass attempts to all the Browns pass catchers, not just Landry. This is to be expected though as the rookie will have growing pains. Maybe the masses might have been premature in calling him “The Next Big Thing.” I know in cases like this (QB), I’d rather be a little late to a packed party then arrive early to one that nobody else shows up to. It’s sad to say but Landry will go as Mayfield does. The ups as well as the downs. He isn’t the freak athletic, I’m catching everything, make a bad QB look good type of receiver Nuk Hopkins is. Low-end WR2 Going forward in my opinion.
Sam Darnold, QB New York Jets
24/30, 280 Yards, 2 TDs 1 INT, 6 Rush Attempts, 8 Yards
Sam Darnold probably just had the best start we’ve seen from him. A season-high completion % (80%) in a game where the running game wasn’t exactly effective (29 Attempts, 99 Yards). Also, the Jets rookie QB just had his third straight game with more TDs than INTs. You might say well isn’t that what he is supposed to do? Well yes, but it is big for the young QB as he was coming off back to back games with multiple INTs. Five in total in his first three starts with a 3/5 TD/INT ratio. In comparison, over the last three starts, he has been miles better…
Is The Rookie Taking A Step Forward?
The Jets first round pick is posting a 6/2 TD/INT ratio over the previous three weeks. Like I said, miles better. Now, this isn’t to say he should be on your 1QB league roster but it is something to keep an eye on. He was drafted third overall for a reason. Yes I know players bust more often then they boom but the talent is there. He did lose Quincy Enunwa this week. That hurts but Jermaine Kearse and Terrelle Pryor (monitor groin injury) have been serviceable lately. Darnold also has a quality receiving back to help bail him out (Bilal Powell) when he’s in trouble and a lightning-quick deep threat in Robby Anderson. The arrow could definitely be pointing up for the Jets Young QB. Again, just something to be aware of.