Yards Per Gretch: Week 10

Ben Gretch, Editor in Chief of Fantasy Insiders, takes an ultra-high resolution look at the upcoming NFL week. If you haven’t yet been introduced to Ben’s level of thinking, get ready for great takes loaded with analytical insight.

Week 10

As we approach Week 10, it’s important to recognize where we’re at in the season. We’re comfortably to the point where things are well-defined, and we’re collectively confident in what we know about the 2018 season. And yet, NFL history tells us many of the season’s biggest storylines are still yet to be written. There will be more breakouts, there will be major swings in value, and the typical weekly variance we know exists in football will continue to rear its head.

Stay vigilant out there. If there’s one thing I know, it’s the point when I think I have the NFL figured out is the exact time I need to remember the value of being contrarian. Let’s get to the picks.

Exploitable Situations

I’ve been a card-carrying member of the “pay up for stud RBs” club all year, but I love the mid-range at the RB position this week, and will have plenty of balanced roster constructions in tournaments. One advantage to that is getting up to Travis Kelce at TE, and he again has a much higher range from floor to ceiling than anyone else at his position, as I discussed last week. To be clear, I’m not fading guys like Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon. But getting RB right will be crucial this week, and there are a number of names I’m considering at cheaper price points.

Dion Lewis vs. NE

Coming out of a Week 8 bye, Lewis played an 84% snap share in Week 9 after typically sitting in the sixties with a high of 73% in the season’s first half. That was the fifth-highest snap rate of any RB in the NFL last week.

Lewis has been the Titans’ clear pass-catching back all season, averaging over 4 catches per game, but he out-carried Derrick Henry 19 to 6 in Week 9 while the latter played a season low 20% snap share. Always the more valuable of the two Titans’ backs, this increase in usage in positive game script suggests we’ve seen an adjustment in Lewis’s role to something resembling a workhorse share. But, because the game was on Monday night, his salary doesn’t reflect that.

While Lewis is a great cash option, his massive projected ownership makes him fadeable in tournaments when there are a host of other solid options in his salary range. Here are some other names I’ll have exposure to.

Tevin Coleman @CLE

Tevin Coleman is a little pricier because he reminded us of his upside last week. The Falcons notably used him more creatively, setting up a screen for his first receiving touchdown and using some nifty pre-snap motion to get him a head start to the pylon on his second. He has a plum matchup with the Browns.

Duke Johnson / Nick Chubb vs. ATL

On the other side of that game, the Falcons didn’t suddenly stop allowing receptions to RBs, though a couple recent opponents spread them around. Three of Washington’s backs combined for 6 catches last week, and Tampa’s two backs combined for 7 in Week 6, performances which sandwiched a 9-catch game for Saquon Barkley in Week 7. That’s 22 RB receptions allowed in their past three games, and I don’t have to remind anyone of what Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara did against this defense earlier in the season. That’s great news for Duke Johnson coming off a 9-catch, 2-touchdown performance, but Nick Chubb is also in play and could see a target bump.

Mark Ingram @CIN

I’ve mentioned a couple times in this column how much cheaper Mark Ingram is this year compared to late last season, and his salary is only dropping as he struggles to produce. While he’s not being utilized in the passing game as much as he was in 2017, his role isn’t too different, and the touchdown equity is still there.

Those names aside, the mid-round RB in the next section is my favorite leverage play of the week.

Expanding Roles

Marquez Valdes-Scantling / Aaron Jones vs. MIA

With Geronimo Allison now on IR, Valdes-Scantling is locked into a starting role on the outside, evidenced by his 81% snap share in Week 9. Miami hasn’t been particularly forgiving for WR fantasy scoring overall, but they’ve played the Jets twice along with some other meh WR groups like the Raiders and Titans. And while we know the long history of productive secondary receiving options for Aaron Rodgers, some of the biggest WR games against Miami this year have come from secondary options.

Jordy Nelson in Week 3, both Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson in Week 4, Taylor Gabriel in Week 6, and Will Fuller in Week 8 have all posted strong lines against Miami. Miami’s top corner Xavien Howard isn’t exactly elite, but he’ll likely shadow Davante Adams and he’s a step up from what they have on the opposite side.

But another reason Miami hasn’t given up a ton of WR fantasy points is they’ve been crushed by RBs; prior to holding the Jets’ backs in check last week they were gashed by Kerryon Johnson in Week 7 and Lamar Miller in Week 8. Valdes-Scantling looks to be pretty chalky, and fantasy darling Aaron Jones appears forgotten about (7.5% projected ownership on both sites, per RotoGrinders’ LineupHQ).

That’s likely in part because Dion Lewis is a bit cheaper on both sites. Jones is also the leverage play if you fade Valdes-Scantling. After not cresting a 40% snap share in any of his first four games, Jones jumped to 62% in Week 8 and 58% in Week 9. The trade of Ty Montgomery sent away the team leader in RB targets with 23, and Jones has led the backfield in routes run in each of the last two games, totaling 31 routes compared to 18 for Jamaal Williams, and out-targeting Williams 6 to 3 after Jones saw just 6 targets in his first four games combined.

Jones has also unsurprisingly had his two biggest carry totals, 12 and 14, and rushed for over 160 yards in the past two games. I’m pattern-matching here, but this increase for a clearly talented back looks a lot like what we expected from Kerryon Johnson just before he had his big day in Miami in Week 7, a game where the Lions’ WRs were frankly not needed and Matthew Stafford threw just 22 times. I’ll probably have Lewis and Valdes-Scantling in cash but I’ll definitely be overweight on Jones in tournaments.

Touchdowns Per Gretch

One of my favorite ways to gain context about implied team totals is to apply team scoring tendencies for both the offense and opposing defense. In other words, take a team’s implied total, apply scoring percentages via the pass and run for both the offense and defense, and get an implied total for passing and rushing points. This methodology gave Pittsburgh the second-best passing touchdown equity in all of Week 10, and we saw how that played out on Thursday night.

Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting notes for Week 10.

Kansas City Chiefs (33 implied points) vs. ARI

No team has more rushing touchdown equity this week than Kansas City, and it’s not particularly close. Of course, their massive team total also slots them in fourth for projected passing points, so it’s not like you have to fade the passing-game weapons.

Arizona is the only defense in the NFL that has allowed more rushing scores than passing; their 12 rushing scores allowed are tied for second most in the league while they are tied for the fewest passing scores allowed with 9. Kansas City’s offense has leaned pretty significantly toward passing scores, relative to league average rates for both, but there’s certainly a scoring equity bump for Kareem Hunt this week, not that he needs it.

Per Gretch: Kareem Hunt takes it to 9 straight games with a TD

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (27 implied points) vs. WAS

No team scores a higher percentage of total points through the air than the Buccaneers, while Washington’s defense concedes the fourth-highest percentage of points via passing scores among all defenses. Washington did add HaHa Clinton-Dix at the trade deadline, but this is still a match made in passing touchdown heaven for a team with a 27 implied total.

That’s in part because we can always expect big passing volume from Tampa. Though they’ve already had their bye, no team has attempted more air yards than Tampa’s 3,598, and only two other teams have crested 3,000. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston are Nos. 1 and 2 in aDOT among all quarterbacks that have thrown at least 10 passes this season.

Stacking Fitzpatrick is the difficult part, but Mike Evans is always the top option, and O.J. Howard has emerged as a reliable option. DeSean Jackson is the other name I’d consider, as he has a ridiculous 16.5 adjusted yards per attempt on 26 targets from Fitzpatrick this season versus a 4.4 AYA on 22 targets from Winston, per the RotoViz AYA App.

Per Gretch: Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for multiple scores

That’s it for this week. Good luck in your Week 10 contests!

Meet the Experts Content Posting Times

About the Author

  • Ben Gretch (gretch)

  • Ben Gretch (on Twitter @YardsPerGretch) specializes in blending the numbers that matter with actionable insights about the game. His previous work has been published at Rotoworld, RotoViz, FantasyLabs, and RotoUnderworld. He is the Editor in Chief at Fantasy Insiders.


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