In Week 10 of the NFL season, we saw some bounce-back performances, guys showing up for the first time, and some players asserting themselves in a workhorse role. These topics are going to be the focus of this week’s FFStatistics Five Interesting Performances. I look at some guys that people have been waiting to see used more, some guys that have played so well they need to be used more and some guys that reminded us of what they have been in the past. It’s crunch time folks and were coming down to the end. Hopefully, this helps you prepare for the stretch run.
Five Interesting Performances:
Christian McCaffery, RB Carolina Panthers
Christian McCaffery just had himself one hell of a game. The Panthers running back had himself a hat trick in terms of touchdowns and added in 136 all-purpose yards with five receptions on the same amount of targets. This was McCaffrey’s third straight game with at least 14 carries and five targets and he has scored at least twice in each game (Seven total). McCaffrey Gashed the Steelers multiple times, two of them for 20 plus yards and a touchdown. On both, it seemed like the Steelers forgot he was there. they clearly showed a desire to pressure Cam Newton. McCaffery even was able to get a goal-line carry and convert it for a score. With Cam back there, this could be big.
Though the game result wasn’t what the Panthers would like, fantasy owners of the second year running back are doing nothing but dancing after his Thursday night explosion. So how did he go off for such a big game and is this a trend that will continue?
A Thursday Night Explosion
McCaffrey turned in a 30 plus point fantasy performances against the Steelers. The biggest fantasy game for a Panthers running back ever (36+ PPR) and his third game to cross this threshold in PPR scoring this year (Second straight, the first time in a standard). Roughly 73% of his points in PPR (77%% in a standard) came on four plays. That’s 21% of his total touches. Not that he did nothing on the other 15 touches. They went for nearly 70 yards at 4.6 yards per touch (Y/T). Here are the four plays that made the day.
(Quarter/ Time/ Location/ Down and Distance/ Yards (Air Yards)/ Result/ PPR Fan Points/ Notes)
- First Quarter/ 13:32/ Car 48/ 2nd and 3/ 21 (Run Play)/ First Down/ 2 Points/ This was a Run Pass Option (RPO). The defender had to make a choice. McCaffrey or Cam. He chose Cam which left a lane for McCaffrey. He took advantage too. Sprinting through the left side and cutting hard to the left to avoid a tackler.
- First Quarter/ 10:36/ Pit 20/ 1st and 10/ 20 (1)/ Touchdown/ 9 Points/ On this play the Panthers started with Greg Olsen far to the left and brought him in motion right. This brought the safety across the field. McCaffrey attacked this exact spot on a wheel route and was able to finish strong through a defender at the goal line. Also, he was aided just a little bit by a Devin Funchess pick play.
- Second Quarter/ 5:10/ Pit 25/ 1st and 10/ 25 (5)/ Touchdown/ 9.5 Points/ This was another wheel route but on this play, McCaffrey was left all alone and had a nice leisurely stroll to the end zone.
- Fourth Quarter/ 5:39/ Pit 1/ 2nd and 1/ 1 (Run Play)/ Touchdown/ 6.1 Points/ This play can be considered a big deal as this game was well over and McCaffrey and the rest of the starters were still in the game. It’s surprising that CJ Anderson wasn’t in to finish up the game. Also, this touchdown could be considered a vulture. Cam Newton has always been the goal line option right? Well, this play was an RPO. Cam very well could have kept this one.
Let’s see if Cam Newton’s history can help figure out some things for McCaffrey’s ROS.
So McCaffrey entered the week as the running back eight in both standard and PPR formats. As you can see below, until last season Newton had never had a running back finish as an RB 1.McCaffrey is well on his way to adding a second top 12 running back season. He owns the other top 12 seasons (Last year). Since Cam Newton has been the Panther’s quarterback they have used a two-back system. Even last year, they attempted to use Jonathan Stewart as a second running back. Stewart got the work (206 touches) but didn’t have the production (732 yards). That’s just over 3.5 yards a touch.
McCaffrey is currently on pace for 96 receptions on 112 targets. That’s wide receiver numbers right there. The targets are not in a huge upswing as he had 113 last year. The receptions though should total a few more than the 80 he had last season. This can be attributed to a couple things. McCaffrey has surely developed as a player and worked on his hands. Not that he had a low catch rate last year but players should always want to get better. He currently has a 21.6% target share in 2018. Also, Newton is currently in the midst of his most efficient season as a pro. He is sporting a 68.5% completion rate. By far the best of his career (Previous high 61.7%). Newton is throwing a more catchable ball than ever.
As you can see above though, McCaffrey needs the volume because Cam isn’t throwing it with any distance down the field. He has been below the league average for four straight years after helping his running back be above average the first three years of his career. This is a little odd as quarterbacks generally elevate these stats as their careers progress but McCaffrey owners won’t argue at all and he is a different type of back than Carolina has before. He is sitting at 6.97 yards per target (Up 1.21 from 2017) and 8.1 yards per reception (Same as 2017).
For several years now, the concern with owning a Carolina running back has been scoring. Cam could be one of the best goal line backs if he wasn’t playing quarterback. The consent goal-line vulture has frustrated many a J Stew and DeAngelo Williams owners. In 2016 Ron Rivera really tried to dial down Newton’s rushing usage but he just wasn’t the same player. If Cam is the constant threat to run that he has been through most of his career, it only will help McCaffrey though as teams have to focus on two players. McCaffrey saw the fruits of this with a goal-line score on an RPO. If Cam is going to be giving these up it could be huge for the young back as he has seven total touchdowns over the past three weeks (As we saw at the beginning of this section). He had one prior to this stretch. He has scored eight of the 29 total offensive touchdowns by the Panthers this season (27.5%).
Owners should be very excited but don’t expect this every week. Rarely in a blowout like this game do you see a running back explode like this. McCaffrey might even be a little lucky as he got most of his work done before the game was out of hand. He is a Top 12 back moving forward for me in standard formats. slightly higher in PPR leagues (Top 10). Remember we had Dalvin Cook, Sony Michel, and Leanard Fournette return this week.
Russell Wilson, QB Seattle Seahawks
It’s usually around this time of year that Russell Wilson starts to turn it on. Well, lucky for the owner’s who hadn’t moved on, like clockwork, here he goes. After this weeks performance (17/26 for 176 Yards and three passing scores, 9 rush attempts for 92 yards.), Wilson has re-asserted himself in the top fantasy QB conversation.
4 Point Per Passing TD Leagues/ Add two Points Per TD For 6PP/TD
- VS LAL – 13/21 198 Yards, 3 TD – 19.9 Points
- @ Oak – 17/23 222 Yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 6/20 Rushing – 20.9 Points
- @ Det – 14/17 248 Yards, 3 TD, 2/15 Rushing – 23.4 Points
- VS LAC – 26/39 235 Yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 5/41 Rushing – 19.5 Points
- @ LAL – 17/26 176 Yards, 3 TD, 9/92 Rushing – 26.2 Points
Six Weeks, Five Games – QB 10
Five Weeks, Four Games – QB 7
Three Weeks, Three Games – QB 4
So as you can see, Wilson is starting to climb up the ranks.
Is The Running Game Back?
Over the first five games this year Wilson was extremely reluctant to run. he averaged just 2.2 attempts for 8.4 yards a game. This is not the Wilson Fantasy owners have come to know. The running game is part of what makes him so dangerous. The threat that it poses opens up things for everyone else on the offense. So what about the last four weeks? Well, to say the least, he’s been on the move. Wilson is averaging 5.5 attempts for 42 yards a game in the last four. This capped off by a 92-yard performance where the Hawks were chasing points late. These weren’t just him scrambling either. Wilson was taking off over and over due to the Rams playing back, protecting the pass. The Hawks still have some tough games that could need some more of this.
- VS Green Bay on TNF
- @ Carolina
- VS San Francisco
- Vs Minnesota
- @ San Fransisco
- VS Kansas City
- VS Arizona
The teams above in bold are going to be tough matchups where points should need to be scored. Not to be overlooked though, SF is a division matchup with a good offensive minded coach and the Arizona offense is looking up with Byron Leftwich taking over the play calling.
So as you can see above Wilson has always outperformed his opportunity with the exception of one year. Two seasons ago he battled multiple leg injuries and had his career low in rushing yards. In 6pp/TD leagues where running QBs have an advantage, Wilson was unable to capitalize on this and it showed. This season he has been efficient throwing a Td on 8.5% of his pass attempts. This would be a career high if he can continue the trend. Adding the rushing threat should only help this as teams will likely have to dedicate a defender to spy Wilson late in games leaving one less to cover the pass-catching options. He has been sacked a lot but this is nothing new. I see this trend continuing and Wilson should remain a top 10 option from here out. Slightly higher in 6PP/TD formats. eventually, if he keeps running a couple should end in the end zone.
LeSean McCoy, RB Buffalo Bills
Well it’s about time, right? After all the drama and speculation from the offseason, McCoys hasn’t missed a game when there were hints of suspension due to his legal troubles. Now I’m not going to get deep into that, we’re here for fantasy football. The fact is though that a lot of drafters got a discount on McCoy. At least they thought they had. Up to this point, he had been everything but reliable. Many factors can play into this. A lack of wide receiving threats and an unsteady quarterback situation doesn’t help. Prior to Week 10, this was the two-game stretch he put up.
- VS New England – 12 Attempts for 13 Yards at 1.08 YPC
- VS Chicago – 10 Attempts for 10 Yards at 1.00 YPC
So that’s 22 Attempts for 23 yards. This is Shady McCoy, somebody known for quickness, agility and just plain being a great player. Well in week 10 you got to see what was expected…
- 26 Attempts for 113 Yards at 4.35 YPC and two scores
Can We Rely On This?
Upcoming Schedule (Rush Def. Rank)
- Vs Jacksonville (18)
- @ Miami (32)
- VS New York Jets (20)
- VS Detroit(28)
- @ New England (16)
- VS Miami (32)
These are some fantastic matchups for McCoy coming up. There still is currently doubts at QB but the Bills just released Nathan Peterman so that should signify that the rookie Josh Allen is ready to roll again. If not, Matt Barkley looked serviceable. Better than Peterman has anyways. The opportunity is there for McCoy to build on this game. If The team can protect the ball and not get down by multiple TDs early in the game, McCoy will get rushing attempts and is still a threat to catch a pass. He should be able to scratch and claw his way into the RB2 landscape for the rest of the season.
Rashaad Penny, RB Seattle Seahawks
Above you can see the Combine’s from both Rashaad Penny and Ezekiel Elliott. I just wanna give you a little reminder of what the Seahawks were looking for when they took him in the first round of this year’s draft. Not to get the same player, but they expected a lot of this kid.
The Rookie Lives!
When the Seahawks drafted a running back in the first round this year there a lot of questions. Don’t they need O-Line help? Shouldn’t they have looked at a top receiving option? That defense needs help, why didn’t they draft a defender? But the Hawks thought they had something in Penny at the 27th pick of the first round. He battled injury, weight problems and a depth chart full of guys the Hawks love. Finally, in Week 10 he broke through for everyone to see in a big-time game against the Rams. In this game, Penny showed quickness out of his cuts, the ability to break a tackle and speed around the edge. All positive signs moving forward.
Week 10 Line – 12 carries, 108 yards and a score while averaging 9.0 YPC. He didn’t receive a target. Played on 40% of the snaps (Mike Davis 57% – Chris Carson was inactive).
So even though Penny had the bigger game, Davis was still in on more offensive snaps and scored a TD as well. Davis also got the Passing game work. The rookie had to have left an impression in this game. But as I’ll show you next, Penny has been slowly trending up for a few weeks now.
The Upward Trend
First Three-Game Averages – 6.7 Rush Attempts for 14.3 Yards at 2.15 YPC- Caught 1.3/2.3 Targets for 11.7 Yards, Caught 4/7 Targets. (All Passing game work was in Week 1)
Last Six-Game Averages – 5.7 Rush Attempts for 35.2 Yards at 6.21 YPC – Caught 0.8/0.8 Targets for 6.7 Yards, Caught all five of his Targets. (Includes 2 games where all three backs were active that Penny didn’t receive a Touch.)
As you can see above Penny in a limited role has been improving steadily. This could be attributed to a few things. Among them: He is Healthy and in-shape now. A better grasp of the offense. Seattle’s O-Line has improved greatly, they are the top rushing team in the league since the end of Week 2. Or Maybe What Seattle saw in him was real. Whatever it may be he is worth a waiver add just to see what happens. This is still a crowded backfield but they drafted Penny to take this Job. maybe now he has earned the opportunity.
Aaron Jones, RB Green Bay Packers
Let the truthers rejoice! It appears that they are finally getting their wish. Aaron Jones just put up the huge day they’d been begging for. He carried the ball against the Miami Dolphins 15 times for 145 yards and two scores while catching three passes on five targets for another 27 yards. His big play, a 67-yard run that was well blocked but we are not going to take anything away from him on this run. Jones was on the field for a season-high 74% of the snaps. This was also his third straight game out-snapping his backfield mate Jamaal Williams who had just 25% in this game. This was one of the best matchups in fantasy as the Dolphins prior to last week had given up at least 115 total yards and a Td in every game but still, things are definitely looking good for Jones. Right…?
The Game Script
Here are the Last three games broke down between Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.
(Week Number/ Total Oppo./ Production/ Snap %/ Total Oppo. In A Positive Game Script In The Second Half – Tied Or Winning/ Negative Game Script – Losing)
- 8/ 14/ 12/86 Yards Rush – Caught 2/2 Targets, 0 yards – 1 TD/ 62% (Ty Montgomery still on team)/ 7 (One TD)/ The offense didn’t touch the ball when losing due to Ty Montgomery fumble.
- 9/ 18/ 14/75 Yards Rush – Caught 2/4 Targets, 10 Yards/ 58%/ 2 (Lost Fumble)/ 7
- 10/ 20/ 15/145 Yards Rush – Caught 3/5 Targets, 27 Yards – 2 TD/ 74%/ 9/ Led whole second half – No negative game script.
- 8/ 5/ 4/9 Yards Rush – Caught 0/1 Targets – 1 TD/ 25%/ 1/ The offense didn’t touch the ball when losing due to Ty Montgomery fumble.
- 9/ 9/ 7/34 Yards Rush – Caught 2/2 Targets/, 20 Yards/ 42%/ 1/ 1
- 10/ 3/ 3/3 Yards Rush – No Targets/ 25%/ 1/ Led whole second half – No negative game script.
So at this point, it appears that even if the Packers like Williams pass protection better than jones, that’s what he is in there to do. He is going to block. Even in the loss to the Patriots in week 9 when the snap count increased for Williams, Jones still out-touched Williams seven to one.
Is This Finally His Time?
Aaron Jones Last Three Per Game Averages – 13.7 Rush Attempts/ 102 Yards/ 7.46 YPA/ 1 TD – Catching 2.3/3.7 Targets/ 37 Yards/ 5.29 YPR
In short answer to the question above, yes, it has to be right? He is far outperforming Jamaal Williams but Williams is still going to play his role on this team and I think we just have to accept it. The touches are Jones though as we stand right now no matter the game script. As I stated above, Williams is out there to block and occasionally get a touch.
Remaining Schedule (Rush Def. Ranks) – @ Seattle (19)/ @ Minnesota (3)/ VS Arizona (29)/ VS Atlanta (21)/ @ Chicago (2)/ @ NYJ (20)/ Vs Detroit (28)
So this is clearly not a murderers row of defenses’ but it also isn’t a guarantee of Jones being a league winner. There are some good offenses that could score points and put GB in a deficit. Likewise, some great run defenses that can shut down a rushing attack. Jones is good though. He should be able to overcome these factors and still produce. I have him as a mid to high-end RB2 Moving forward.