Unlock More Content Like This With a Footballguys Premium Subscription
"FBG is the best fantasy football advisory service anywhere."
Nigel Eccles, Co-Founder, FanDuel
There are surreal moments in life. Moments you know you will never forget while they are happening. January 2nd, 2023, was one of those moments.
This story belongs to Damar Hamlin and the fantastic work done by the medical professionals involved.
In no way am I trying to co-opt that.
As someone in the stands that night, that memory still holds firm.
It was a balmy January night, and the stakes of the matchup were not lost on anyone. It was one of the biggest regular season matchups in NFL history. Significant playoff implications hung in the balance. And as a Monday night game featuring two of the league's best offenses, multiple fantasy championships would be decided.
It was also my first Bills game as a lifelong fan.
Early on, the game looked like it would meet every expectation. Both teams moved the ball with ease. Until Tee Higgins caught that fateful in-breaking route. The play looked routine. Both players popped back up. But nothing that happened after was routine.
If you watch enough football, you develop an internal timer for the natural progression of the game. Unfortunately, that includes injuries. Players who suffer career and life-altering injuries are taken off with care. Everyone in the stadium knew we had exceeded the time of any standard injury. The silence was deafening. Outside communication was nonexistent, with a sold-out stadium all searching for information.
Fearing the worst. And one of the longest, quietest waits of anyone involved.
You know the story now. A miracle occurred. Hamlin survived. And he resumed his career.
Sunday provided closure—a return to where it all happened. It was my first opportunity to see my favorite team finish a game.
The result was different from what I wanted. But for all involved, most notably the players and medical staff, it was a chance to close the loop. But for fans, too. A return to normalcy in the game we all love.
That is what football provides. Routine in the form of unpredictability. Results that feel generated from a snow globe. But most importantly, comfort. Even in a loss. Hopefully, Damar Hamlin and all involved could feel the comfort of that closure.
It is time for the Roundup.
For multiple teams, the target distribution is shifting in their offenses with new primary and secondary receivers emerging. This group has something in common. Can you place this production?
Deep Dynasty Watch List
Identifying players rostered in less than 50% of Sleeper dynasty leagues.
- RB Keaton Mitchell, Baltimore (56% Sleeper rostered) - Mitchell broke out with 138 rushing yards in Week 9. His speed was showcased on a 60-yard run late in the game. He was a past mention in this space, but his rostership suggests he needs to be the priority target and is still available in many leagues. Justice Hill was marginalized in the game plan until late, while Gus Edwards has solidified himself. Mitchell projects as an ideal speed compliment to Edwards' power game. Todd Monken favored multiple back rotations at Georgia, but Mitchell showed he could be a strong contributor even with limited opportunities.
- WR Noah Brown, Houston ( 35% Sleeper rostered) - The Texans have a bit of a whack-a-mole at wide receiver, with no proper number-one option and multiple players capable of impacting games. Add Brown to the list. Since Brown's return from injury three games ago, he has led the team in receiving yards, with 247 to Dalton Schultz's 196, Nico Collins' 164, and Tank Dells' 130. Brown was a highly-rated recruit coming into Ohio St. He battled injuries in college and lost his second season. Still, in his third year, he ranked second on the team in all major receiving categories behind Curtis Samuel and ahead of Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell. Injuries have always been an issue, but he is worth adding in deep leagues, especially bestball formats.
- RB Ty Chandler, Minnesota (39% Sleeper rostered) -Chandler was a buzzy summer name and, early in the season, sat as the direct backup to Alexander Mattison. Akers' arrival relegated him, but now it is next man up. Joshua Dobbs showed the ability to keep the offense moving in his debut. Chandler is worth investigating, as many may have dropped him back to waivers after his relegation. Always add injury-away backup running backs.
- QB Tyler Huntley, Baltimore (28% Sleeper rostered) - The 2022 Pro Bowler, Huntley has played passable quarterback when pressed into duty the past two seasons. Lamar Jackson left with a leg injury, but the game was well in hand when he went out. Still, Huntley kept the offense on track to close out the game. If Jackson misses time, Huntley is firmly in the top 24 Superflex quarterback conversation, especially in an offense that may fit his game better than the previous scheme. Jackson's injury needs monitoring.
- WR Dontayvion Wicks, Green Bay (38% Sleepered rostered) - Wick tied Romeo Doubs in receiver targets, but with four. In deep leagues, he is an add, as he has played well. But his mention says more about the Packers' situation. Jordan Love is struggling and lowering the unit's ceiling as a whole. With Wicks joining the receiver rotation with all of Doubs, Christian Watson, and Jayden Reed available, it is a mess. On Keeptradecut.com, Watson is WR37, Doubs is WR46, Reed is WR50, and Wicks is WR91. Watson has been one of the biggest losers in dynasty, dropping from WR18 at the start of the year. For tanking teams, he represents a potential target, but at this point, we need to acknowledge the risk.
- WR KhaDarel Hodge, Atlanta (4% Sleeper rostered) - Hodge is the biggest beneficiary of Drake London missing time. That is not saying much, but in deep bestball formats, he can be capable of scoring and landing a starting week. At age 28, there is not a looming breakout here, but with injuries and byes, he is a name to mention.
- TE Tanner Hudson, Cincinnati (2% Sleeper rostered) - The Bengals have been searching for a tight end to contribute down the stretch. Irv Smith Jr. caught a touchdown, but the Bengals were mentioned in trade rumors for players like Hunter Henry at the deadline. Nothing materialized, but Week 9 represented Smith's lowest snap count of the season. The Bengals look like a team evaluating all options to lock in their best lineup down the stretch. Watch Hudson to see if his role can grow.
- QB Drew Lock, Seattle (15% Sleeper rostered) - The shine is off Geno Smith. His completion percentage has dropped five points, his interception percentage has nearly doubled, and his quarterback rating has dropped 15 points, back to his career average. The team does not seem ready to go to Lock yet, but this is an under-the-radar move that can give a cheap superflex option for an end-of-season run.
Stats Of The Week
- WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers - 10,000 receiving yards - Allen became the 54th player in NFL history and second in Chargers' history to top 10,000 receiving yards. There is a cluster of players all chase each other up the all-time board: DeAndre Hopkins (11,862), Mike Evans (11,019), Travis Kelce (10,941), Davante Adams (10,210) and Allen.
- QB CJ Stroud, Houston - 470 passing yards, five touchdowns - Stroud set the NFL rookie record with 470 passing yards. Stroud has 2,270 yards through his first eight games, a 283.75-yard-per-game pace that would put him at 4,823 over the entire season, quickly clearing Andrew Luck's rookie record of 4,374.
- WR CeeDee Lamb, Dallas - 11 receptions, 191 receiving yards - Lamb posted the third game of 11 receptions and 190 yards or more in Cowboys' history. Over his past three games, he has 30 receptions and 466 yards. Fourteen receivers have met those thresholds over a three-game sample in NFL history; The last was Justin Jefferson in 2022.
- RB Keaton Mitchell, Baltimore - 138 rushing yards - Mitchell's 138 yards were the sixth most by a Ravens' rookie running back in a game. The other names on the list are a whose who of team history: Jamal Lewis, Ray Rice, and J.K. Dobbins. Lewis holds the top spot with a 187-yard performance.
- TE Jonnu Smith, Atlanta - 100 receiving yards - Smith set a career-high with his first 100 receiving yard game. His only other career game above 84 yards was a 95-yard performance in Week 4. Six tight ends have tallied 100-yard games in 2023. Kyle Pitts' last game over 100 yards was Week 16 in 2021.
Splitting backfields into key categories based upon snaps and opportunities (rushes plus targets). While carries may be similar, backfields that fall into a Committee with a Lead over a straight Committee saw wide disparities in snap counts.
- Las Vegas
- New Orleans
- NY Giants
- NY Jets
- San Francisco
- Tampa Bay
COMMITTEE WITH A LEAD
- Chicago (D'Onta Foreman 20 / Roschon Johnson 4 / Darrynton Evans 3)
- Cleveland (Jerome Ford 27 / Kareem Hunt 15 / Pierre Strong Jr 4)
- Green Bay (Aaron Jones 26 / AJ Dillon 10 / Emanuel Wilson 4)
- New Orleans (Alvin Kamara 14 / Jamaal Williams 5 / Kendre Miller 2)
- Kansas City
- LA Rams
- New England
- LA Chargers
The flip has occurred. In the last couple of weeks, the questions about when Jonathan Taylor would take complete control of the Colts' backfield were coming as week-by-week usage shifted. The full flip came in Week 9. Taylor is a significant candidate to turn leagues in the second half of the year…Chicago is moving around their backfield to find the right solution. A week after a near-equal three-way split occurred, D'Onta Foreman saw much higher usage than Roschon Johnson and Darrynton Evans. Khalil Herbert is eligible to return from IR and have his 21-day practice window opened. Johnson was a trendy summer sleeper, but it looks headed toward Foreman and Herbert splitting this backfield… Cleveland's status as a potential three-headed backfield was likely just cautioning on Jerome Ford working off an injury. He outpaced Kareem Hunt and Pierre Strong Jr, though Hunt grabbed a short touchdown very late. Ford is the back you want here…Green Bay hinted before the game that Aaron Jones would be back to maximum capacity, and he was claiming the bulk of the work and representing the offense's engine. A.J. Dillon has two finishes better than RB29 this season despite the time Jones missed. Dillon will quickly lose the heir apparent title from anyone who still holds that out for him. 26-year-old running backs without a sustained production window are not treated well by the dynasty community…Jamaal Williams is another player working back from injury, and the Saints shifted hard toward a committee approach. Alvin Kamara's snap share trend: 80% - 73% - 58% - 49%. Jamaal Williams snap share trend over the same period: 0% - 22% - 23% - 43%. The Saints love to involve Taysom Hill around the goal line, which likely prevents Williams from a role like he enjoyed in Detroit in 2022, but Kamara is losing work to him…Like sands through the hourglass, the Arizona backfield shifts again. With Emari Demercado out, the team split the usage between Keaontay Ingram and Tony Jones Jr. Not that it mattered much, as Clayton Tune's debut and a stiff Cleveland defense were lethal. James Conner will be eligible to return from IR in Week 10, and Kyler Murray could make his season debut. Both are buy-low candidates who can shift contending rosters over the second half…Seattle has two weeks of an almost equal split between Kenneth Walker and Zach Charbonnet. This movement says more about Walker than Charbonnet. It is unlikely you can still get Walker's price from two weeks ago in a sale, but it is worth checking. Charbonnet is a strong buy with the trust the team is showing. It has not translated into meaningful production yet, potentially serving to keep the price low…Gus Edwards has been dominant in Baltimore but saw just five attempts this week. Luckily for fantasy managers, those five attempts included two touchdowns and a 42-yard run. Baltimore is one of the hottest teams in football, and the nature of their four-game win streak is allowing them to conserve personnel a bit. Keaton Mitchell is the story here; if the team dedicates to getting him up to speed for a playoff run, he can shift some leagues.
The Target Report
|Odell Beckham Jr||Ravens||7||21.88%||5||56||1|
- Tennessee has searched all year for a compliment to DeAndre Hopkins. Philips started the year on IR, but his involvement has grown weekly. Philips operates underneath in an offense that pushes vertically on many concepts, opening a path for him to serve as a PPR-relevant safety valve.
- Fourteen yards were Travis Kelce's lowest total since Week 1, 2018. This game comes two weeks after posting the second most of his career, with 179 in Week 8. The narrative swing in his performance with and without Taylor Swift in attendance is growing.
- Hockenson's 12 targets were the second most of his career. Joshua Dobbs ranked second in the league in tight end target share as Arizona's quarterback. Justin Jefferson's return needs monitoring and Hockenson suffered an injury in this game, but his volume will be there to threaten the top of the tight end rankings.
- Ford's four targets per game make him RB15 in the stat. He is the Browns' lead back and looks to have “the Kareem Hunt role” and more. Interestingly, the Browns have limited Hunt's pass volume. These trends are a strong indicator the team will keep Ford heavily involved in the passing game when Nick Chubb returns from injury, hopefully in early 2024—a positive sign for his future value.
- Smith-Schuster is the primary beneficiary of Kendrick Bourne's season-ending injury. His snap count was still low, and the team is taking a conservative approach with his injury history, but production-wise, he matched favorite Week 9 breakout candidate Demario Douglas. His presence breaks up the “no one else to throw to” narrative, fueling predictions around Douglas's breakout.
- Tyson Bagent's presence is a boon to Cole Kmet, who has seen 18 targets in the past two weeks. Kmet has caught five passes or more and topped 42 yards in four of his last six games, scoring five touchdowns over that stretch. After a slow start, he exceeds a TE13 adp, ranking as TE4.
- Smith-Njigba had a frustrating slow start to his career, but over his past three games, the target split in Seattle breaks down as Tyler Lockett 22, Smith-Njigba 18, and Metcalf 18.
- Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers have seen 22 targets over the last four weeks. Flowers emerged as the primary target outside Mark Andrews, but his production has slowed dramatically. He has not topped 20 yards for two weeks after posting a low of 48 through his first seven games.
- Otton led the Buccaneers in targets in Week 9, with nine, and has seen the sixth most targets at tight end over the last three weeks. He is emerging as a second-half breakout player in his second career. After a 70-yard, two-touchdown game, he is firmly on all radars. Anyone who bought low in the offseason or early in 2023 has to feel good.
- Texans receivers may have frustrating floors, but Dell, Schultz, and Nico Collins are showing themselves to be weekly plays. The team needs help to get anything working in the run game, forcing them to turn to the pass. Everyone is producing in that area.
- Adams is mired in one of the worst stretches of his career. He has not scored since Week 3 and topped 45 yards just once in the last five games, a 57-yard performance in Week 7. The low production is justifiably attributed to environmental factors. Still, for a player who turns 31 at the end of the season, his dynasty value sits on the verge of a cliff. He was KTC's WR13 following his Week 3 eruption and has slid down to WR22. We are coming off an offseason where Keenan Allen and Mike Evans' values dropped sharply in the same age range despite not showing a similar production falloff.
- The streak is over. A.J. Brown came in under 125 yards after breaking the NFL record with six consecutive games. Dallas Goedert will miss time with an injury, and Brown should have no problem resuming his production moving forward.
- Ferguson posted career highs with seven receptions and 91 yards. The team has been hoping one of Michael Gallup or Brandin Cooks can emerge to compliment Lamb, but their combined five targets were their lowest of the season in a game Dak Prescott set his season high in attempts.
- Higgins' explosion should ease many managers. Before Week 9, he only had two games over two receptions and 21 yards. His 110 yards were his first game over 90 yards since Week 16 of 2022. Ja'Marr Chase picked up a back injury in this game. The hope is he will not miss time, but in a crucial stretch of the fantasy calendar, Higgins has strung together two strong outings.
- Kincaid's 26 targets over the last three games ties Travis Kelce for the second most at tight end. He is TE5 in half PPR formats over that stretch and showing himself capable of serving as the Bills' second target behind Stefon Diggs. Hopefully, everyone was rational about his slow start over the first half of the year, and if they were not, hopefully, you bought. Kincaid is a top-five dynasty tight end moving forward.
Revenge! (Not sponsored by Immaculate Grid, but it could be!)
- WR Tyreek Hill, Miami vs. Kansas City, Loss 21-14, eight catches, 62 yards
- TE Darren Waller, New York Giants vs. Las Vegas, Loss 30-6, inactive
- TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans vs. Chicago, Won 24-17, inactive
- RB Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta vs. Minnesota, Loss 31-28, two touches, three yards
- WR Brandon Powell, Minnesota vs. Atlanta, Won 31-28, two catches, 15 yards, game-winning touchdown
- TE MyCole Pruitt, Atlanta vs. Minnesota, Loss 31-28, no receptions
- WR DJ Moore, Chicago vs. Carolina
- QB Andy Dalton, Carolina vs. Chicago
- RB D'Onta Foreman, Chicago vs. Carolina
- WR Odell Beckham, Baltimore vs. Cleveland
- QB C.J. Beathard, Jacksonville vs. San Francisco
- RB JaMycal Hasty, Jacksonville vs. San Francisco
- RB Latavius Murray, Buffalo vs. Denver
Prospects Of The Week
QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan - McCarthy is the draft quarterback Rorschach Test. Some see a prototype modern NFL quarterback with requisite size and athleticism with a blood-blood school pedigree. Some see a player with questionable accuracy in a system that covers flaws and does not ask for much from their quarterback.
Saturday will be the first real step towards providing pre-draft answers.
Penn St. ranks 13th in lowest opponent passer rating. Ohio St., Michigan's opponent in three weeks, ranks first. Michigan is deep enough and talented enough they could clear the remainder of their schedule without having to ask McCarthy to win them a game. But the stage is also set for McCarthy to rip off multiple high-profile wins and boost himself to the top of Heisman contention.
As a five-star in the 247 Composite, McCarthy is the highest-profile quarterback Jim Harbaugh has recruited in his time with Michigan. McCarthy made an immediate impact, playing in a relief role to veteran Cade McNamara. In his second season, McCarthy took over full-time, relegating McNamara to backup despite the school's first playoff appearance and Big Ten championship since 2004. It was the right choice, as McCarthy led Michigan to a 13-0 start before a close upset loss to TCU. McCarthy can solidify himself as the QB3 in the 2024 class behind Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. The journey's final stretch starts on Saturday.
Blind Resume Answer
The depth of the tight end position is turning into an offseason unicorn. Over the last couple of seasons, players who looked primed for a breakout have yet to materialize. That has changed in 2023. It took a few weeks to kick in fully, but the production is undeniable. So many tight ends had big weeks that Jonnu Smith's 100-yard performance gets caught up in the wash. Performances like these continuing are going to serve to bring down the positional value represented by Travis Kelce and other tight ends at the top of the ranks, and a player like George Kittle becomes even more difficult to move off in dynasty given the youth emerging at the position.
Continue reading this content with a ELITE subscription.
An ELITE subscription is required to access content for Dynasty leagues. If this league is not a Dynasty league, you can edit your leagues here.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE