Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Replace Tom Brady? Buy Corey Davis?
The Titans shocked the Patriots on Sunday; is it time for Fantasy owners to move on from Tom Brady? Heath Cummings tells you whether to believe it or not.
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This game. Just when we think we've figured it out, the Patriots get blown out by the Titans. Or something like that happens. It's a huge part of what keeps it interesting and also terribly frustrating for anyone trying to predict it. The Titans now look like playoff contenders and the Patriots look like they'll be playing on the first weekend of the playoffs. But this game had Fantasy implications as well. A couple of huge ones.
Tom Brady owners should make other plans.
Here comes the outrage again. How do I know? Because it was just about two months ago we were questioning whether Brady was still the same guy. Then he had a good three-week stretch and anyone whoever doubted him was roundly mocked. Brady sure hasn't been very good since. He's thrown one touchdown pass in his last three games and now he heads into his bye as the No. 13 QB in Fantasy (No. 16 in points per game).
Brady now has three weeks out of 10 as a top-10 quarterback in Fantasy this year. He has five where he's ranked 17th or worse. Rob Gronkowski's absence has hurt, but watching him on Sunday, it sure didn't look like that was the only thing wrong. Brady missed throws he just doesn't miss.
You already know you need a bye-week replacement for him, but don't look for a one-week replacement. You need someone for the rest of the season if you want to have a shot at the championship.
Verdict: Believe it.
I'm not telling you to drop Brady. But I'm going to need to see him bounce back, preferably with Gronk, before I trust him again. What's gone wrong? A little bit of everything.
When comparing Brady's numbers to the past three years it's clear he hasn't been quite as good, but it's not a huge drop. His Y/A has dropped from 7.9 to 7.4, his TD percentage has dropped from 5.9 to 4.6 and his completion percentage has dropped a couple of points. Not a big deal right? Well it is when the league environment has gone the opposite direction.
Brady is ranked 16th in Fantasy points per game, but he's averaging 20.3 points per game. That's been borderline top-10 in the past. So he's been a little worse and the rest of the league has been a lot better.
My bigger concern is the Patriots going run-heavy down the stretch, especially if Gronkowski can't get back to full speed. There's a chance the team gets healthy over the bye, Brady torches the Jets in Week 12, and this all looks silly again. But you need to have a contingency plan just in case.
Corey Davis is finally going to deliver on his promise.
How long have we all been waiting for this? Corey Davis, former top-five pick in the NFL draft, had a monster of an outing against the Patriots on Sunday. Davis caught seven of 10 targets for 125 yards and scored his second touchdown of the season. This was made more impressive that it happened against the Patriots, who have been very good against No. 1 receivers this season.
Davis is a big, physical receiver with good ball skills. If you've been patient with him, congratulations. He'll be in your lineup the rest of the year.
Verdict: Believe it.
If you've been following me this year, you knew what my answer would be. I've been a believer since Davis was drafted. And yes, he's been a massive disappointment. Here's why I'm optimistic:
The Titans have treated Davis like a No. 1 receiver for most of the year. He has double-digit targets in four games and at least seven targets in six of nine games. Considering how run-heavy they've been at times, that's a big number. For the year, he's seen 30 percent of their targets. That's a number generally reserved for elite receivers.
So what's been the problem? For most of the year he's either had Blaine Gabbert or Marcus Mariota without feeling in his fingers. Mariota finally got healthy over the bye, and over the past two weeks Davis has caught 65 percent of his targets and averaged 13.9 yards per catch.
It's finally happening.
You can't start Jarvis Landry anymore.
I was the low guy on Landry this week, and even I didn't expect this. He saw a season-low five targets, only caught two of them, and finished with 22 yards in arguably the best matchup in the league for slot receivers. It was the fifth time in the past six games that Landry finished with fewer than seven Fantasy points in non-PPR leagues. It was one thing when Landry was still getting double-digit targets every game, at least then you could count on him in PPR. But he has 12 targets since Freddie Kitchens took over the team's offense. Landry may not be droppable yet, but he's sure not startable.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
This is why target share is a much better number to use than total targets. The Browns only threw the ball 21 times in Week 10. It was a weird situation where Nick Chubb had a 92-yard run and the Browns played with the lead. I would not expect that will be the new norm. They're on a bye this week and then face Cincinnati in Week 12. A majority of you should still be starting Landry, either as a flex or a No. 3 receiver, in that matchup. The leagues where you can get away from Landry? Non-PPR leagues with less than 12 teams where you only start two receivers and no flex. That's a very small percentage of leagues.
David Johnson is back.
Thank you, Byron Leftwich. We're so happy someone remembered how to use David Johnson.
The Cardinals running back had 183 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday and scored two touchdowns. While the huge day could be attributed to a great matchup, and partially should be, it's the usage that has to really excite Johnson owners. He saw nine targets in this game and was moved around the offense, just like Leftwich promised he would be. Johnson now has four games with at least four catches this season and half of them have come in the past two weeks.
Your first round pick has returned.
Verdict: Believe it.
Worried this was too much about the matchup? The Cardinals play the Raiders this week. In the Fantasy playoffs they get the Lions, Falcons and Rams. Sure, the Chiefs are awful against running backs. But so is almost everyone else Johnson will face. He looks like a league-winning running back in the Fantasy playoffs. Enjoy.
You should take whatever you can get for your Buccaneers.
What a mess that was. Dirk Koetter decided he wanted to call plays again and the results were historic. Tampa Bay was the first offense in NFL history to accumulate 450-plus yards and score three or fewer points. Now they're talking about changing quarterbacks again.
You can't trust Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston, the receivers are unreliable, and the team has no running game. I'm not even sure we should be confident about who the Buccaneers coach is going to be. If someone is willing to deal for one of your Buccaneers, get them off your roster.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
Listen, I'm not sure you need to hold on to Peyton Barber. And it makes all the sense in the world if you want to try to sell high on Chris Godwin. But this is just about the worst possible time to deal Mike Evans and O.J. Howard. They're both extremely talented options at their position. They're both in high-volume passing games, and that's not going to change. I'd like to see more stability from this offense, but I'm not selling low on Evans or Howard just watch them go off for my opponent in the Fantasy playoffs. They're both holds or buy low options.
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 11? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top five this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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