by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
After another Sunday of NFL football it’s hard not to walk away with more questions than answers. Before the week even began many were sabotaged by a few surprising scratches (Leonard Fournette and Zach Ertz), then you throw in the injuries ejections (A.J. Green) and there was a lot of obstacles. It was a tough week, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t able to come able learning some valuable lessons. Let’s take a look at 10 things we learned from Week 9:
1) That the time has come to give up on Joe Mixon for ‘17…
We keep hoping that the breakout is coming, and this week with Jeremy Hill scratched it seemed like a good bet. However it was yet another disappointing day, this time against the Jaguars, as he managed 31 yards on 13 carries (2.4 yards/carry). He added 3 receptions and 15 yards, and his day was saved by a rushing TD, but he continues to fail to get things going on the ground.
Mixon has now been given 98 carries, managing 284 yards (2.9 yards/carry). That’s simply not going to get it done, and while he can contribute in the passing game he’s never a guarantee to do so (he’s had only two games with more than 19 receiving yards). Throw in 2 TD and recent fumble issues (he had fumbled in his previous two games) and it’s possible that he starts losing opportunities.
There’s still potential value and he’s worth owning, but at the end of the day it’s going to be impossible to consider him anything more than a FLEX play (at best) until he proves otherwise.
2) That Jay Ajayi could quickly reemerge as RB1 in Philadelphia…
During his time in Miami this season Ajayi was given 138 carries managing:
- 465 yards (3.4 yards/carry)
- 0 TD
- No run longer than 21 yards
He got 8 carries in his first game as a member of the Eagles, rushing for 77 yards (9.6 yards/carry), scoring a TD and breaking a run of 46 yards. Don’t think having an improved offensive line in front of him isn’t going to help? The Eagles will have their bye in Week 10 and that should allow Ajayi to become fully entrenched in the offense, taking over lead back duties. With 13-16 carries per week, he will be a locked in RB2 with RB1 upside.
3) I learned that there’s still life for T.Y Hilton, but maybe not Donte Moncrief…
We mentioned it in our Start/Sit column and it came to fruition, as Hilton ripped off a monster game against the Texans. He turned 9 targets into 5 catches, 175 yards and 2 TD, helping get people to forget about the three straight duds he had posted (5 catches for 61 yards, total). While he obviously isn’t going to continually have days like this one the potential is there, even with Jacoby Brissett under center, and that keeps Hilton as a WR3 in all formats.
On the flipside Moncrief struggled again, turning 2 targets into 1 reception and 7 yards. He’s now cracked 50 yards and 3 receptions once all season long (5 catches for 67 yards on October 16) and has only scored 1 TD. While Hilton has proven he can pop off a big day and Jack Doyle has been able to produce, Moncrief is a forgettable option outside of the deepest of formats.
4) That Will Fuller’s value could be 0 without Deshaun Watson…
Obviously Tom Savage was never going to be able to replicate what Watson had been doing, but Fuller’s value was tied directly to the potential for the big play or the TD. It’s simply impossible to think that it’s going to be there, especially after Fuller managed to turn 8 targets into a meager 2 receptions, 32 yards and 0 TD. The days of Fuller routinely scoring 2 TD days appear to be gone, and there could be a lot more bust than boom over the remainder of the season. It’s not to say that he shouldn’t be owned, but the value has diminished greatly and he’s more of a WR3/4.
5) There there’s no longer question about Alvin Kamara and his potential…
Not only did he continue producing in the passing game, with 6 receptions for 84 yards and 1 TD, but he shared a heavy load carrying the football as well:
- Mark Ingram – 16 carries for 77 yards
- Alvin Kamara – 10 carries for 68 yards and 1 TD (he did lose a fumble)
The fourth-round rookie now has at least 8 carries in four straight games (37 carries for 228 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry) while continuing to play a major role in the passing game (he has 17 catches over these four games, 37 overall on the season). Even in non-PPR formats he’s a locked in RB2 with RB1 upside in any given week.
6) The while there’s competition, Robert Woods is the WR to own for the Rams…
It’s easy to lose stories amidst the blowout victory over the Giants, but it was Woods who had the biggest day for Jared Goff (311 yards, 4 TD):
- Robert Woods – 4 receptions, 70 yards, 2 TD
- Sammy Watkins – 1 reception, 67 yards, 1 TD
- Cooper Kupp – 3 receptions for 54 yards
Woods has now picked up at least 4 receptions and 59 yards in four straight games, and while those numbers aren’t going to blow you away there’s something to be said for consistency. Given the alternatives he’s not going to be more than a WR3, but if you have to choose someone from this receiving corps he’s the guy to own.
7) The Broncos’ running back situation has devolved into a full committee…
It’s clear that C.J. Anderson is no longer the leader of this backfield, even though a blowout loss may have impacted the usage:
- Devontae Booker – 6 carries for 21 yards
- C.J. Anderson – 9 carries for 13 yards
- Jamaal Charles – 4 carries for 1 yard
No one was impressive, nor did anyone excel in the passing game. Booker has at least shown some glimpses in recent weeks, and with Denver’s season slipping away they may opt to give him more opportunities to see what he can do. He’s worth owning, but for now this is more of a hands-off situation until we gain some clarity.
8) The Cardinals were not kidding about riding Adrian Peterson…
With Drew Stanton under center it’s clear that Arizona is going to try to protect/limit him. That will obviously cap the upside of the receiving corps, but it’s great news for Peterson. He was given a whopping 37 carries, with part of it being game flow as the Cardinals tried to kill the clock, and racked up 159 yards. A TD would’ve been nice, but he’s now had 26+ carries in two of his three games in Arizona and should continue to see a heavy workload while Carson Palmer is sidelined. While there’s a little too much risk to consider him a locked in RB1, he’s a high-end RB2 with RB1 upside thanks to the expected workload.
9) That there’s still upside in Thomas Rawls…
Eddie Lacy got the start but was forced out with a groin injury. While Rawls didn’t get significant opportunities he made the most of what he did get:
- Rushing – 9 carries for 39 yards (4.3 yards/carry)
- Receiving – 2 receptions for 31 yards
Rawls entered the day averaging 2.0 yards/carry, though it’s not like Lacy had been impressing (2.6 yards/carry entering the day). Even if Lacy is able to play there’s a chance that Rawls’ performance is going to earn him a shot to lead the backfield.
10) That we shouldn’t assume Kenyon Drake will lead the Miami backfield…
If you simply looked at the numbers that might be the conclusion that you reach:
- Kenyon Drake – 15 touches for 104 yards (9 carries/6 receptions)
- Damien Williams – 13 touches for 61 yards and 1 TD (7 carries/6 receptions)
Despite the TD for Williams it would appear that Drake was by far the better producer. However he benefited from one 42 yard run, and if you remove that the production was virtually equal. The opportunities should be split fairly equally moving forward, making either tough to depend on as more than a FLEX.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
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