Week 10 had it all, with a lot of close games and some wild upsets. We got the big games from some top-end wide receivers who have missed time like Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams, both of whom set season highs in air yards. As for the backs, Derrick Henry continued his personal crusade against me and everything I believe in and David Johnson seems to have gotten benched — but I at least had Ronald Jones to lift me up after being dunked on. Let's jump into all of what Week 10 had to offer.
Data is typically courtesy of Pro Football Reference, RotoViz, the RotoGrinders Premium Usage App, airyards.com or PFF. Always feel free to hit me up on Twitter @YardsPerGretch with any questions about anything I covered or to ask my thoughts on something I glossed over. That is some of my favorite feedback, because sometimes it's something I've missed.
Here are some important statistical acronyms to know for Stealing Signals:
Green Zone - Inside the opponent's 10-yard line.
HVT - : for running backs, all receptions and all touches inside the 10 yard line.
TRAP - : for running backs, the percentage of all touches that are not high-value touches.
WOPR - : a metric created by Josh Hermsmeyer, it balances team share of targets and team share of air yards. Because a player's WOPR is a share of his team's overall opportunity, it's important to consider team volume as additional context.
RACR - Receiver Air Conversion Ratio: also created by Hermsmeyer, RACR is calculated as total receiving yards divided by total air yards. Similar to yards per reception or yards per target, but per air yard instead.
Raiders 26 - Chargers 24
- Snap notes: Jalen Richard: 38% (+10% vs. season average), Melvin Gordon: 62% (-1% vs. Week 9 season high), Austin Ekeler: 45% (+11% vs. Week 9 season low), Andre Patton: 81% (third straight game over 80%)
- Key stat: Chargers - 68 rushes, 59 passes in two games since offensive coordinator change
Thursday Night Football ended like so many Chargers games, with Philip Rivers trying to mount a late comeback in a two-point game. He seemed a bit more aggressive than necessary with a minute left and three timeouts, sending several passes into double coverage downfield rather than trying to piece together a drive to get into field goal range, and the Chargers came up short, gaining no yards on eight straight incompletions, one of which was nullified by a defensive holding that gave Los Angeles a second set of downs.
Prior to that futile late-game attempt, there weren't a ton of signals to steal in this one. Game script was fairly neutral throughout, allowing Oakland to feature Josh Jacobs, whose 16-71-1 line could have been a bit higher had the Chargers not won time of possession and run 11 more plays than the Raiders. Jacobs was also targeted five times, a season high, and matched his season high with three catches.
But Derek Carr threw to all three backs a solid amount. Jalen Richard was in for the hurry-up late, and caught all four targets he saw, while DeAndre Washington also chipped in two catches. That duo had mostly split backup reps down the middle early, but Richard has been the main No. 2 in recent weeks, and he ran 17 routes to Jacobs' 10, with Washington also running five. That's not a great route share for Jacobs in terms of maintaining the target boost, which appeared to be more related to the matchup and Carr's willingness to check down to the backs 11 times overall.
Last week we talked about Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller and their share of the targets, noting "Williams and Waller clearly have more to compete with than they did in the early part of the year." Each caught three of five targets while Hunter Renfrow also caught four of five targets. Those three and Jacobs saw a four-way tie for the target lead, while Richard had his four and Zay Jones was targeted three times in what was a balanced passing attack. I expect slightly more from Waller and Williams going forward, but that trend appears to be sticking relative to the early part of the season.
Los Angeles was able to control possession early through Melvin Gordon, at least after Rivers looked shaky on the first few drives. Rivers wound up with three interceptions, one of which came on the final drive, but had two more called back in a first half that also featured picks on the team's first two drives, the latter returned for a score. After that start, the Chargers went run-heavy, following the trend they set last week after Ken Whisenhunt's firing as offensive coordinator.
Gordon rushed 22 times for 108 yards and a 3-yard score, while the Chargers worked in Austin Ekeler more than last week without sacrificing Gordon snaps. Both backs started, and Ekeler caught a 23-yard pass on the game's first play, so there appeared to be a conscious choice from the Chargers to incorporate him more. Ekeler ran 20 routes after a season-low 10 last week, and while his overall touch ceiling is clearly limited relative to the earlier part of the season, he still has his pass-game potential and the Chargers will utilize both backs in the green zone, as evidenced by Ekeler's late 6-yard touchdown reception. He also had a green zone carry just before that touchdown reception and remains a reasonable RB2 in PPR leagues behind Gordon.
Keenan Allen (11-8-68) and Hunter Henry (7-4-30-1) dominated the receiving volume in a game where Rivers threw for just 207 yards, his second-lowest passing yardage output of the season. Andre Patton continued his playing time stranglehold over the No. 3 wide receiver position, and finally saw some volume to go along with that as he was targeted four times for 82 air yards.
Patton didn't catch any and hasn't been effective overall, but those looks help explain Mike Williams' lack of volume, as Williams has been a consistent downfield option. Williams saw just three targets and while his 81 air yards were solid and his 55 receiving yards on two catches isn't nothing, he's been hit hardest since the returns of Henry and Gordon. Henry has directly impacted his target share, while Gordon has helped shift the focus of the offense.
- Signal: Raiders - far more balanced passing game than in September; Mike Williams - biggest loser from increased run focus and Henry's return
- Noise: Josh Jacobs - season-high five targets (ran just 10 routes, Richard and Washington combined for 22 routes and six targets)
Buccaneers 30 - Cardinals 27
- Snap Notes: Ronald Jones: 47% (-8 vs. Week 9 season high), Peyton Barber: 26% (+14 vs. Week 9), Dare Ogunbowale: 26% (-6 vs. season average), O.J. Howard: 99% (first game since Week 6), Kenyan Drake: 64% (-20 vs. Week 9 Cardinals debut), David Johnson: 43% (-21 vs. season average)
- Key Stat: Ronald Jones — 24 routes (44% of dropbacks), 8 targets
Tampa Bay and Arizona played one of several entertaining Week 10 games, and the way they traded scores meant plenty of tempo and passing. The Bucs ultimately scored last for the win in a game where they ran a season-high 78 plays. Arizona's 65 plays were right around their own average, but both teams went over 400 total yards in what was the third-best offensive output of the season for each.
Both Ronald Jones and O.J. Howard had solid games for Tampa, each setting season highs in routes run and also the percentage of dropbacks they ran routes on. Still, there were concerns for each.
Jones only played a 47% snap share, and he notably seems to sub himself out of the game fairly frequently. He also lost snaps after a crucial fourth quarter fumble, as he didn't touch the ball on the team's lone drive after that, a drive which ended in a 1-yard Peyton Barber touchdown.
Jones did score early, and his 8-8-77 receiving line was fantastic, but it was also likely plus variance considering he ran 24 routes overall (44% of dropbacks). That's solid receiving usage, but doesn't make this kind of production seem sustainable.
You might have expected I'd go nuts given Jones had nine high-value touches, but the Bucs as a team had 15 overall, a season high that was influenced by the opponent and game flow. They had previously topped out at 10 back in Week 4. It was definitely a promising performance for Jones, don't get me wrong — he had just 15 high-value touches all season entering Week 10, so his improved usage was absolutely a positive — but the late fumble and a matchup with a tough Saints run defense next week will have me at least considering other options where I can. I'm still optimistic overall, though, despite the lack of rushing success in this one.
Howard's season high in routes and route share led to a season-high seven targets, and his 62 air yards were the second most he's seen this year. He looked good when involved, and yet was mostly quiet, with three of his four catches for 41 yards and his score all coming on the final drive of the first half. The talent is still clearly there, and he entered this game with just 18 targets all season so the seven he saw were very notable, and I'm looking at that more than the sequencing of when his production came. But I wouldn't fault you for seeing the plus matchup and large stretches where he didn't appear to be a major option in the offense as evidence his performance in this one won't carry over. He's averaged routes on about 65% of dropbacks in active games, after all, so it's not like his 78% route share was a massive spike.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin each had down games by their lofty standards, but their roles are very secure. Each had over 100 air yards, getting there in different ways given their different roles. Evans had six targets for 123 air yards (20.5 aDOT) while Godwin had 12 for 103 (8.6 aDOT) including at least a couple quick hits at the line of scrimmage which are always nice to see.
Breshad Perriman is well ahead of Scotty Miller in terms of routes in the No. 3 WR role, but Miller actually saw more air yards. I've noted those are mostly hollow air yards, but it's still worth tracking the deep threat role here for deeper leagues given they combined for 108 air yards on seven targets.
Christian Kirk's recent volume peaked as he set a season high with 199 air yards on 10 targets — the second-most air yards of any player in Week 10 — and his 6-138-3 was huge for Fantasy managers. He's been running more routes outside in recent weeks, which paid off in Week 10 after a dud in Week 9.
Christian Kirk ran 80.7% of his routes from the slot through Week 8, averaging 13.5 fantasy points and 1.51 YPRR. His last two games: 16.7% slot snaps, 20.7 fantasy points, 2.03 YPRR.— John Daigle (@notJDaigle) November 11, 2019
Things were spread out behind him. Larry Fitzgerald went 8-8-71 at his typically much lower aDOT (6.8), his first game with double-digit PPR points since Week 6. No other wide receiver ran routes on more than 51% of dropbacks. Andy Isabella went 3-3-78 but saw just 33 air yards on a season-high 38% route share, while Pharoh Cooper (five targets, 148 air yards, 32% routes) and KeeSean Johnson (four targets, 59 air yards, 51% routes) saw more volume.
David Johnson appeared to get benched, something Kliff Kingsbury confirmed was a coach's decision after the game:
Also, on the postgame radio show, Kingsbury acknowledged it was his decision to sit David Johnson in the fourth quarter. Johnson didn't play again after his fumble.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) November 11, 2019
Both Johnson and Kenyan Drake started alongside one another in a two-back set, and Drake got the first two running back touches of the game for the Cardinals before Johnson touched the ball on the fourth play of the first drive. Drake out-snapped him substantially throughout the game, and while Johnson lost a costly fumble late in the third, it was just his sixth touch at that point; his usage was already very thin.
One area he did stay involved was the passing game, as he ran routes on 38% of dropbacks compared to 49% for Drake despite Johnson not playing the entire final quarter. It seems the plan was for Johnson to be more of a passing-game option, but he didn't really find targets while Drake caught six of seven, though for just 6 yards total.
With Chase Edmonds due back soon, the running back situation will only get more complicated. For now, Johnson does not look like he can be trusted in lineups, and Drake has to be considered the top RB option in Arizona. But Johnson's path to regaining some value — especially in PPR leagues — is pretty clear, and it would be if he does wind up in a hybrid role where he's out in routes while Drake or Edmonds are operating as more traditional backs.
A quick note on Kyler Murray who had one of his better games of the season — early in the third quarter, on a 4th and 1 from the Tampa 23, he threw a perfect ball on a well-designed play where tight end Maxx Williams was wide open for what could have been a walk-in touchdown, but Williams lost the ball in the sun. While it certainly would have impacted the game from that point if they got points there instead of turning the ball over, Murray's line probably could have been a bit bigger.
- Signal: O.J. Howard — season high in targets, routes, but also not a massive usage increase over what hadn't been working earlier; Ronald Jones — more involved in passing game, but also lost snaps late after fumbling; David Johnson — had limited involvement even before being benched for fumbling
- Noise: Kenyan Drake/Ronald Jones — six and eight receptions (both had solid receiving roles but both shared routes with other backs, ran routes on fewer than 50% of dropbacks, so those reception numbers were a bit inflated)
Titans 35 - Chiefs 32
- Snap Notes: A.J. Brown: 94% (+25 vs. previous season high), Tajae Sharpe: 81% (+38 vs. previous season high), Damien Williams: 73% (+1 vs. Week 9 season high), Darrel Williams: 21% (+3 vs. Week 9), Darwin Thompson: 6% (-1 vs. season high), Mecole Hardman: 22% (+2 vs. Week 9)
- Key Stat: Tyreek Hill — 19 targets, 237 air yards (both led Week 10)
An outcome like that usually requires winning the turnover battle, but both teams turned the ball over just once. Tennessee did get a defensive touchdown, which always helps, as they returned a Damien Williams second-quarter fumble for a score.
Williams had a huge opportunity with LeSean McCoy being declared a surprise inactive in a move that was described as a predetermined rest game for McCoy. Williams' fumble was costly, but the Chiefs continued to rely on him as the lead back, and he wound up playing another big snap share. He ran routes on 53% of dropbacks and caught five passes, with a sixth catch called back by penalty. He also rushed 19 times for 77 yards, so it was a positive outcome overall for Williams' value.
Kansas City only ran one green zone play all day, a 3-yard touchdown reception for Travis Kelce on a shovel pass on the first drive, because they had a couple longer scores. That meant no green zone reps for the running backs, though Williams had a 10-yard carry on the previous play to get down to the 3 and was on the field for the Kelce touchdown.
All things considered, it was a positive outcome for Williams' value in that he maintained such a large percentage of the work. The rest explanation for McCoy also rings a little hollow given McCoy played just six snaps in Week 9. If Williams maintains this type of role in the backfield, he's an every week starter, and his Week 10 output would be on the lower end of his weekly range of outcomes.
Tyreek Hill led all players in Week 10 with 237 air yards on a whopping 19 targets, shaking off a brief injury scare to post a huge 11-157-1 line. Kelce had a second score called back by offensive pass interference, but still managed a 7-7-75-1 line. Sammy Watkins saw nine targets but just 77 air yards, turning in a 5-39 line, as the Chiefs mostly maintained their tight target tree from Week 9 even while Patrick Mahomes was asked to throw 50 times. Demarcus Robinson did see five looks as the only other Chief with more than one target, and while Mecole Hardman produced another long touchdown with a 63-yard score early in the fourth, he played just 18 snaps in a rotational role and saw just one target.
Save for a couple pockets of passing production, Derrick Henry was the whole Titans offense. Ryan Tannehill hit Kalif Raymond for a 52-yard pass early in the second, then found No. 2 tight end Anthony Firkser for a 9-yard score three plays later, and he later orchestrated a quick game-winning drive that included an 18-yard scramble, a 20-yard pass to Firkser and a 23-yard touchdown strike to Adam Humphries. But those were the few passing highlights, as he completed 13 of just 19 passes all day for 181 yards, which explains the down games for Jonnu Smith and A.J. Brown.
Henry rushed 23 times for 188 yards, breaking off his first long touchdown run of the season (he does have long touchdowns in the passing game), which is of course his signature, and later adding a 1-yard touchdown run for his second score. He had just three high-value touches including two receptions for 3 yards, but the matchup and script worked very well in his favor.
What Henry is doing given his specific touch mix is incredible, but a 247-pound back who can run a 4.54 is also incredible, so I'm probably just wrong in expecting regression. It's always a tight rope to walk as an analyst between admitting misses and giving forward-looking advice, so my position is: a) I'm wrong; b) If you care about whether I'm personally adjusting, I will keep fading Henry, but see a). Do with that what you will.
- Signal: Damien Williams — huge snap share, didn't get benched for a fumble; Chiefs — very tight target tree even considering elevated volume
- Noise: Ryan Tannehill — 19 pass attempts (previous season low in three starts — 29)
Browns 19 - Bills 16
- Snap Notes: Nick Chubb: 81% (highest since Week 6), Kareem Hunt: 54% (season debut), Rashard Higgins: 47% (+3% vs. previous season high), Devin Singletary: 67% (equal to Week 8-9 average), Frank Gore 33% (+1 vs. Week 8-9 average)
- Key Stat: Nick Chubb — 9 high-value touches, Kareem Hunt — 7 HVT
Nick Chubb rushed 20 times for 116 yards, looking dominant on the ground against a Bills' run defense that has had its troubles. Meanwhile, Kareem Hunt made his debut and ran routes on 56% of dropbacks, seeing nine targets but rushing just four times. The two backs played together frequently, and Chubb ran routes on 61% of dropbacks, a substantial increase over his role the past two weeks. Chubb still saw four targets and caught two passes, and while he didn't score, he racked up seven green zone touches as the Browns' short-area offense continued to look miserable.
In other words, the way Hunt was incorporated was a very positive outcome for Chubb's value, who didn't lose much work in the backfield and was still involved in the passing game. Per PFF, Hunt lined up in the slot or out wide on 14 of his 38 snaps, which helps explain how he saw nine targets. And Hunt's presence also had a positive impact on Chubb's production.
With Kareem Hunt on the active roster, the @Browns used "Pony Personnel" (2 HB) featuring Hunt & Nick Chubb on the field together for 28 of 65 plays (43%).@NickChubb21 gained 113 of his 116 rush yards on 11 carries with Hunt also on the field.#BUFvsCLE | #Browns pic.twitter.com/dTk7qf7ydd— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 10, 2019
I'm not sure we'll see this type of usage from these two every week, but it would make a lot of sense. If we do, both will be very viable Fantasy options.
Jarvis Landry had a big day while Odell Beckham dealt with Tre'Davious White all game, with Landry going 10-9-97-1. Beckham had a season-high 168 air yards on 12 targets but posted an inefficient 5-57 line, which was perhaps to be expected as White is a top-level corner. Beckham's 0.99 WOPR was the highest mark of any player in Week 10.
Outside Beckham, Landry and the two backs, the rest of the Browns combined for just three targets, with Rashard Higgins catching the game-winner on his lone target.
Devin Singletary maintained his big snap share for Buffalo, but Frank Gore got the lone goal-line look, getting stuffed (again). Josh Allen rushed for two touchdowns, pushing him to six on the season, but his rushing yardage per game is notably down over 20 yards from 2018 to 30.6 per game.
Allen's 266 passing yards in this one represented a career high, which shouldn't be taken as a positive note given he threw 41 times. At the risk of sounding like a hater (I definitely am one, to be fair), I'll note he's produced two total touchdowns in five straight games, and he does tend to get there one way or another, but I still think he's a pretty meh Fantasy option with a limited ceiling.
Singletary, then, didn't find the end zone, and while he was targeted seven times, he caught just three balls for 8 yards. Allen rushed six times and Gore got five carries, which meant just eight for Singletary a week after he got 20. It's clear his rushing upside can be limited, but he's caught at least three balls in each of the four games where he's played at least 50% of the snaps.
Stop me if you've heard this before: John Brown's 11 targets and 155 air yards easily led the Bills, but his efficiency left a bit to be desired as Allen had some accuracy issues, so he wound up at 5-77. Cole Beasley and Dawson Knox both saw six targets and caught four balls, but it's tough to trust secondary options in this passing game.
- Signal: Nick Chubb — still had a very valuable role even with Hunt involved; Kareem Hunt — much more of a PPR option and lined up outside a fair amount in two-back sets
- Noise: Devin Singletary — 8 receiving yards on seven targets; Odell Beckham — 57 receiving yards on 168 air yards (tough matchup, strong 0.99 WOPR)
Ravens 49 - Bengals 13
- Snap Notes: Ravens: nothing actionable as starters left game very early, Joe Mixon: 76% (+12 vs. previous season high), Giovani Bernard: 24% (season low, left with injury), Alex Erickson: 51% (lowest since Week 5), Stanley Morgan: 51% (+33 vs. previous season high)
- Key Stat: Lamar Jackson — 4 total touchdowns in three quarters of action (15/17 passing for 223 and 3, 7-65-1 rushing)
The Ravens took it to the Bengals in Ryan Finley's first career start, with Lamar Jackson crushing the Bengals on the ground for the second time this season. Other than a short drive that ended the half, Baltimore scored touchdowns on their other five possessions to begin the game, and because of their own offensive efficiency and two defensive scores, they ran just 46 total plays, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter after Jackson was already done for the day.
Jackson rushed seven times for 65 yards and a score on the filthy spin move you've surely seen by now. He also threw three touchdowns despite attempting just 17 passes, as he completed 15 for 223 yards.
Despite the limited passing volume, Mark Andrews had a huge bounce-back performance after a couple of down games, catching six of eight targets for 53 and two scores. Marquise Brown caught all four balls he saw for 80 yards and a score. Nick Boyle had another solid game as well, catching all four targets he saw for 78 yards, and he has some deep league appeal as a streamer tight end given how the Ravens like to utilize multiple tight ends and Jackson likes to look their way. Andrews ran routes on 71% of dropbacks but Boyle was still at 63%, a season high for him, and Hayden Hurst also got in a season high at 58%.
Mark Ingram was scarcely needed, rushing nine times for 34 and a score, and none of the backs were targeted as Baltimore had no problem getting the ball down the field. You don't often see a back scripted out because his team is up too much, but that happened here.
Finley flashed a bit, but mostly looked overmatched in his first start. He threw a bad pick-six and averaged just 5.6 yards per attempt, but will get an easier matchup next week in Oakland.
Joe Mixon got a whopping 30 carries despite the massive negative script, which was a pretty big note. While he only got three high-value touches — two catches and one green zone look — Mixon had previously failed to reach even 20 rushes in a game this season, and had been above 15 just twice.
Cincinnati basically just packed it in — running heavily while trailing a la Washington since Bill Callahan took over — and that's good news for Mixon's value because even low-value touches are better than what he's been getting, and 30 carries is 30 carries. Part of Mixon's role was due to Giovani Bernard's injury, as Mixon easily played a season-high snap share at 76%, so we'll have to check on Bernard's status moving forward. But it's possible the Bengals just let Mixon eat the rest of the way, which would get him back on the Fantasy radar.
Tyler Boyd led Cincinnati in targets with an 8-6-62 line, and I could see an argument for using him next week against Oakland, but this is mostly a passing game to avoid right now. Auden Tate went 6-3-36 while Alex Erickson gave up a bunch of routes to Stanley Morgan as the Bengals started a rotation in the third receiver role. I've harped on Cincinnati's sticking with three main receivers each week so that's something to take note of if you've considered Erickson in any deeper leagues.
- Signal: Joe Mixon — 30 carries (first time over 20 this year)
- Noise: Ravens — play volume (defensive touchdowns, their own efficiency limited touches for everyone)
Jets 34 - Giants 27
- Snap Notes: Chris Herndon: 28% (season debut, injured), Darius Slayton: 93% (at least 84% in five straight games)
- Key Stat: Darius Slayton — 0.92 WOPR (third highest in Week 10)
Sam Darnold was better this week, if not perfect, throwing for 230 yards on 30 attempts, a 7.7 YPA that was his highest since Week 6. The Jets ran 29 times against the 30 passes despite their backs averaging fewer than 2 yards per carry (still better than what the Giants managed!).
Le'Veon Bell did catch four passes and converted one of two green zone looks. His six high-value touches were solid, and he wound up with 68 total yards and the score despite the poor rushing efficiency, but his workload continues to be theoretically more valuable than in reality because the Jets offense has just been that bad. Even his touchdown, which came from the 1-yard line, took a defensive pass interference in the end zone to set up.
Darnold didn't push the ball downfield much, which meant a light day for Robby Anderson. That was a problem at times last season, and has seemed to resurface, as Darnold is mostly opting for underneath throws. That meant a 9-6-84 day for Demaryius Thomas at a 5.6 aDOT and a 6-5-81-1 for Jamison Crowder at a 10.0 aDOT, which wasn't exactly light for Crowder but he totaled just 60 air yards overall so it's not like he saw a bunch of downfield looks either.
And then the Jets lost Chris Herndon to a fractured rib in his long-awaited return from a hamstring injury, which was just a bummer. Ryan Griffin will continue to be the lead tight end.
Jones threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns despite a depleted receiving corps, locking onto Darius Slayton early and Golden Tate later, but he also took six sacks and fumbled three times, including a strip-sack Jamal Adams returned to the house. Pocket awareness continues to be an issue for Jones, who is dealing with some offensive line issues, but when he did have time he looked good throwing the ball.
Slayton posted a massive 14-10-121-2 line with 142 air yards, good for a very strong 0.92 WOPR. Tate also caught two scores, going 8-4-95-2, and while he broke a wide receiver screen for a 61-yard score, he did also see 70 air yards on the day. In other words, while he was unsustainably efficient in terms of yards after the catch, he was also inefficient on the downfield looks he got, which doesn't totally wash out but is something close to that.
But the Giants couldn't run the ball at all. Saquon Barkley gained 1 yard on 13 carries, while catching all five targets he saw for 30 yards. He's still electric and will surely break big plays the rest of the way, but we have a pretty big sample now that says he needs those big plays to have RB1 value, and that's not ideal. For most elite backs, the big plays take their performances up a notch — see Christian McCaffrey's 40-point games — but they can rely on a consistent level of production even without them. Saquon doesn't have that solid double-digit floor right now, even despite strong reception totals most weeks.
- Signal: Saquon Barkley — reliant on big plays, still has a solid reception floor; Darius Slayton — massive involvement
- Noise: Saquon Barkley/Le'Veon Bell — any sub-2.0 YPC on double-digit carries is a bit noisy
Falcons 26 - Saints 9
- Snap Notes: Brian Hill: 51% (+20 vs. previous season high), Devonta Freeman: 38% (left with foot injury), Alvin Kamara: 78% (most since Week 4, return from injury), Jared Cook: 71% (most since Week 3, return from injury), Latavius Murray: 25% (lowest since Week 4)
- Key Stat: Saints — 46/11 pass/run ratio
In perhaps the biggest shocker of a wild day, Atlanta's defense stifled the Saints offense, getting to Drew Brees for six sacks after Saints quarterbacks were sacked just 12 times in the season's first eight games and the Falcons had generated just seven across their first eight games. Go figure.
The Falcons led throughout, and thus wound up rushing a season-high 34 times, well beyond their previous high of 25. Because Ito Smith went on IR last week and Devonta Freeman left with a foot injury, Brian Hill got 20 of those carries for 61 yards. Hill is a third-year pro who was a workhorse at Wyoming (alongside Josh Allen) but hasn't done much at the NFL level. He's not a plus athlete and has just six career catches, though that doesn't necessarily mean he's incapable. The Falcons as a team have struggled to run the ball, but he does seem likely to get the lion's share of the snaps if Freeman misses time. There's always potential in these situations, but we also might be looking at a situation similar to Kalen Ballage in Miami given Freeman himself wasn't consistently productive in this offense.
Hill did catch a 10-yard touchdown in Week 10 on one of his two targets, but he ran just nine routes as No. 3 back Kenjon Barner worked in with eight routes of his own. By comparison, Freeman ran 12 in the first half.
Ryan's other touchdown went to Austin Hooper, who went 5-4-17-1 but also suffered an injury to his knee that will require an MRI and is expected to cost him some time. Julio Jones led the pass-catchers with nine targets and 118 air yards, and while he caught just three for 78, his volume should be secure the rest of the way given the way the rest of the offense has deteriorated.
Prior to Week 10, the Falcons had been one of the more pass-happy teams in the league, and the 35 passes Ryan threw were his second fewest of the season. We should also expect more volume and production from Calvin Ridley going forward, though he posted another disappointing 5-3-28 line with 80 air yards. Russell Gage is another name to monitor as he played his second straight full set of snaps since the Mohamed Sanu trade, catching four of five targets for 23 yards.
Several of the sacks Brees took appeared to be coverage sacks, and there's something the Falcons were doing in the secondary that made him less decisive than usual. Of course that didn't impact Michael Thomas, and for most of the game the star receiver was all the Saints had going for them. Thomas finished with his usual elite combination of efficiency and volume, catching 13-of-14 balls for 152 yards.
Alvin Kamara finished with eight catches on 10 targets for 50 receiving yards, but most of that came later, with four of those catches being underneath throws in a final, futile drive over the final two minutes with the game decided. Kamara's first catch didn't come until there were 28 seconds left in the first half, and given he only rushed four times for 24 yards as the Saints abandoned the run, his final line could have frankly been worse.
That's not to say there's major concern there — weird games happen and Kamara did finish alright in PPR leagues, which just goes to show that he's used in all scripts. But I'm also not buying too much into his huge snap share after comments last week that the team intended to work in Latavius Murray more than they had early in the season, because the 46/11 pass/run ratio meant Kamara playing a lot of snaps in the second half. We'll still need to see how the Saints play in a plus script; Murray rushed five times to Kamara's four in this one.
Jared Cook was the only other Saint involved, catching six of 10 targets for 74 yards in his return from injury. That's three straight solid games for him dating back to when Teddy Bridgewater was under center, and he's definitely back on the map at a thin position.
- Signal: Falcons — suddenly extremely thin, likely to feature Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley
- Noise: Saints — 46/11 pass/run ratio; Falcons — 34 rush attempts
Bears 20 - Lions 13
- Snap Notes: David Montgomery: 60% (lowest since Week 7), Tarik Cohen: 53% (most since Week 7), J.D. McKissic: 70% (+32 vs. previous season high), Ty Johnson: 14% (left with concussion)
- Key Stat: David Montgomery — 11 routes run for second straight week (tied for second fewest this season)
The Bears, at home, outlasted a Lions team led by Jeff Driskel, though they certainly didn't put them away as Detroit had two drives late to try to force overtime. That's perhaps as good of an encapsulation of the Bears' season as any of their losses.
Mitchell Trubisky's stats were fine, as he completed 16 of 23 passes for 173 yards and three scores, but he did miss some throws as per usual and took five sacks. Chicago also took the game out of his hands a bit, content to run clock and rely on their defense. By the final whistle, the Lions had run 75 plays to the Bears' 52, out-gaining them 357 to 226. Seven of the Bears' 12 drives were three-and-outs, including four of their final five possessions when they had a lead.
Combined with what we knew coming in, that tells us quite a bit about where this offense is at right now. There's just not much upside for big production given they can look completely flat and will also play conservatively if they get a lead.
David Montgomery rushed 17 times for 60 yards, but didn't have a single high-value touch. He ran just 11 routes for the second straight week, tied for his second fewest of the season. Tarik Cohen ran 16 and was targeted four times, catching all four for 23 yards and a score. Allen Robinson predictably dominated pass volume with nine targets and 100 air yards, but he's limited by the offense and it's hard to see a lot more upside than his 6-86 without touchdowns (which should come, eventually). It was Taylor Gabriel and Ben Braunecker with the other two scores, with Gabriel having one of his boom volume games, seeing six targets for 92 air yards, but catching just four passes for 39 yards.
I said last week I could only see starting Montgomery or Robinson from this offense, but Montgomery getting zero high-value touches and Robinson set to likely draw Jalen Ramsey all game next week in Los Angeles has me wanting to start no Bears next week.
Detroit was quarterbacked by Jeff Driskel after Matthew Stafford was surprisingly not cleared to play with broken bones in his back. Driskel, if you're unfamiliar, is a mobile quarterback who isn't afraid to let it fly:
He's not a particularly accurate passer, but his willingness to chuck it is helpful for Fantasy, and he connected on one deep ball to Kenny Golladay that helped the Lions' No. 1 to a decent day. Golladay totaled nine targets and 119 air yards but hauled in just two for 10 outside that 47-yard score (so 3-57-1 overall). Marvin Jones found more success with 6-5-77 on 94 air yards, while Danny Amendola, T.J. Hockenson and J.D. McKissic each had between six and eight targets (but no more than 50 receiving yards) as the other main cogs in the passing game.
McKissic played big snaps because Ty Johnson left in the first half with a concussion. The Lions likely wanted to run a bit against a Bears front that has been gashed in recent weeks, but McKissic is a former wide receiver in college and Paul Perkins wasn't really up to the task, so they turned to Driskel to throw 46 passes and scramble another five times. It wasn't pretty, but at least it was more entertaining than the Bears' offense.
- Signal: Bears — conservative with a lead
- Noise: Lions — backyard football game for them, not reflective of much; J.D. McKissic — huge snap share because Ty Johnson got concussed (they will likely have someone else playing early downs if Johnson isn't ready by next week)
Dolphins 16 - Colts 12
- Snap Notes: Kalen Ballage: 82% (+41 vs. previous season high), Patrick Laird: 12% (first offensive snaps), Myles Gaskin: 8% (season debut), Allen Hurns: 89% (+20 vs. previous season high), Albert Wilson: 53% (+14 vs. previous season high), Marcus Johnson: 80% (season debut), Eric Ebron: 61% (+9 vs. previous season high), Jack Doyle: 60% (-8 vs. previous season low), Marlon Mack: 46% (lowest since Week 4), Nyheim Hines: 43% (-2 vs. season high)
- Key Stat: Kalen Ballage — 24 touches, 7 high-value touches
In(which was mostly good, I swear!), I picked Marlon Mack and wrote "If Marlon Mack doesn't run for 100 yards this week, I'll be legitimately surprised." I've talked all year about him being a TRAP back, but this looked like a great spot for one his 25-plus carry games. I also thought he'd mix in a few receptions, because coming into the game all 11 of Mack's receptions had come in their five wins, while he hadn't caught a pass in any of their three losses.
Well, the Colts didn't run an offensive snap with the lead against the Dolphins, so color me surprised.
Mack played a low snap share due to script, and while he did notch 19 rush attempts in a mostly close game and rack up 74 yards (plus his first catch in a loss for 8 more yards), the Colts used their "obvious pass situation back" Nyheim Hines far more than usual. Hines caught four of seven targets and also rushed three times, while the backup early-down backs Jordan Wilkins and Jonathan Williams were also a little more involved than usual, combining for five more carries.
Mack has become one of the most game-script dependent backs in the league, which isn't great given the state of the Colts' quarterback position. Brian Hoyer completed just 18 of 39 passes with three interceptions against the depleted Dolphins secondary, which meant poor receiving efficiency for the pass-catchers. Eric Ebron played a big snap share with all the passing, and ran a route on 80% of dropbacks, easily a season high.
Ebron led the team with 12 targets including several end zone looks, and appeared to catch a touchdown in the first quarter but the ball jostled free as he went to the ground and instead wound up in the arms of Dolphins safety Steven Parker for the interception. Ebron finished with just five catches for 56 yards and no touchdown, while Jack Doyle did catch a 1-yard touchdown on one of his four targets.
Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers saw seven and four targets to lead the wide receivers but each caught just two balls, while Marcus Johnson played a big role in his debut — he ran routes on 88% of dropbacks — but was targeted just three times, catching one. Rogers' routes dipped quite a bit, which is more a result of Ebron's role because Rogers plays the slot. Pascal ran a route on every dropback and is still a WR3 option for as long as T.Y. Hilton is out.
With Mark Walton suspended, Kalen Ballage played a huge snap share for the Dolphins, though he totaled just 45 yards on 20 carries and four catches. He also got three rushes in the green zone, but didn't convert any for scores. Ballage notably already lost substantial playing time once this season, and he still doesn't appear up to the task of being the Dolphins lead back. But that usage is very enticing, particularly if it were to fall into the hands of another back.
Patrick Laird played ahead of Myles Gaskin, and they each ran five routes while Ballage ran 25, good for 64% of the dropbacks. Laird rushed twice and caught two passes while Gaskin caught his lone target for his only touch. I have a hard time trusting Ballage in Fantasy even with that workload given what he's shown us, but do think it's possible one of those backs could have value if they got a workload like Ballage's in a Miami offense that has at least been able to generate some green zone touches and will get the Giants and Bengals in Weeks 15 and 16 in the Fantasy playoffs — two plus matchups for running backs.
Last week I opined the loss of Preston Williams would mean a lot more DeVante Parker and a bump for Mike Gesicki, and those two led the Miami passing offense in targets at 10 and six. Gesicki didn't get the downfield looks I'd hoped for with just 29 air yards, catching three passes for 28 yards, while Parker's 120 air yards gave him an impressive 0.94 WOPR. He caught five passes for a nice 69 yards and is a reasonable WR3 going forward.
Outside those two and the backs, Allen Hurns saw a huge route spike to a full-time role in Williams' vacated spot, but was targeted just four times for 39 air yards. Albert Wilson also saw an increase in route share but to just 59% of dropbacks and he was targeted just three times. Both are worth keeping an eye on.
- Signal: Kalen Ballage — valuable role, still probably not very good; Allen Hurns/Marcus Johnson — full-time WR roles
- Noise: Marlon Mack — 46% snaps (usage is extremely game script dependent), Eric Ebron — usage spike was pretty massive, also likely due to game flow and/or matchup
Steelers 17 - Rams 12
- Snap Notes: Josh Reynolds: 95% (Brandin Cooks out), Todd Gurley: 74% (highest since Week 5), Jaylen Samuels: 55% (-10 vs. Week 9), Trey Edmunds: 28% (+1 vs. Week 9), Tony Brooks-James: 14% (+9 vs. Week 9)
- Key Stat: Gerald Everett — 7.5 targets, 70 air yards per game over his past six games
Both teams recorded defensive touchdowns and the Rams generated just three points offensively in a game the Steelers were able to win at home.
I was pretty excited about Jaylen Samuels' usage last week, and in particular his massive rate of high-value touches. He did see seven more targets in this one, but caught just three, and his route share curiously fell from 84% of dropbacks all the way down to 39% while the Steelers incorporated Trey Edmunds and Tony Brooks-James more. Samuels still handled 14 of the team's 24 running back rush attempts, though, and he was again subpar as a runner, gaining just 29 yards.
It's not like the other guys were better, with Brooks-James rushing six times for 11 yards and Edmunds four times for 1 yard, but what's most confusing is why the Steelers would choose to swap out Samuels routes for whatever that mix was when Samuels' chief skill is as a pass-catcher. Edmunds was the other back involved in the passing game with three targets and two catches for 14 yards. That was one of the weirder situations I saw this week, but James Conner is expected back next week so I'm not even going to try to sort out something that appears illogical.
James Washington's routes trended up a bit (61% of dropbacks), and he led the team with seven targets and 79 air yards, as well as his six catches for 90 yards and the game's lone offensive score. That was Washington's second straight solid performance so here's my obligatory mention that he played college ball with Mason Rudolph.
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson are still running the full route shares, but both have been hard to trust in this offense. Each saw six targets, but neither hit double-digit PPR points for the second straight game, while Vance McDonald also fell short on his seven targets. If Washington is going to continue being heavily involved, it's hard to trust any of the four given Rudolph has averaged just 203 passing yards per game across his six starts.
Another weird thing I saw this week? Cooper Kupp catching zero of four targets. Clearly the Steelers made it a point to take away Jared Goff's top receiving option, and that seemed to cause issues as Goff completed just 54% of his passes for 5.9 yards per attempt.
Robert Woods was a predictable beneficiary with Brandin Cooks out, and he went for 11-7-95 with 113 air yards. Josh Reynolds played a full snap share in Cooks' spot, but caught just three of five targets for 49 yards.
It was Gerald Everett who led the team in targets, catching eight of 12 for 68 yards. I'm almost certainly trying to find a pattern in what has been an up-and-down year for him here, but Everett has been big in three straight road games (with at least 10 targets in each) with two duds at home sandwiched in between. Goff is notoriously much worse on the road, and maybe there's something about those game situations that leads to Everett targets.
That's not something I'd trust, though. I think the better way to look at Everett is to ignore the peaks and valleys — a lot of pass-catchers have them — and note that he's averaged 7.5 targets and five catches over his past six games. The Rams are back at home against the Bears in Week 11, but I'd be willing to use Everett if I was thin at the position. There just aren't many tight ends with that type of target upside, and Everett's also fifth at the position in air yards in that span despite the Rams' bye falling in that time period.
Todd Gurley played a big snap share but rushed just 12 times in the negative script. He was solid on the ground, gaining 73 yards, but matched Kupp's line of zero catches on four targets. Malcolm Brown returned and played ahead of Darrell Henderson, but Henderson did log eight snaps (Brown played 12) which is work Henderson was not getting earlier in the year.
- Signal: Gerald Everett — has been up and down, but the average volume has been very strong for a TE over several weeks now; Steelers pass-catchers — too many options in an unproductive passing game overall
- Noise: Cooper Kupp — 0 catches
Packers 24 - Panthers 16
- Snap Notes: Geronimo Allison: 62% (-1 vs. season average), Allen Lazard: 44% (third highest WR, also third straight week losing time), Jake Kumerow: 34% (+8 vs. Week 9), Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 16% (-49 vs. season average), Aaron Jones: 50% (-9 vs. season average), Jamaal Williams: 50% (+8 vs. season average), Panthers: very concentrated (three at 100%)
- Key Stat: Aaron Rodgers — 11.4 average depth of throw (season high by more than a yard)
In what became a snowy Lambeau Field game, the Panthers drove 83 yards over 18 plays in just 2:25 to fall one yard short of potentially forcing overtime, as Green Bay held on for a thrilling home win.
Aaron Jones scored three times while Jamaal Williams' receiving touchdown streak of four consecutive games came to an end. Williams did get a pair of green zone touches including a carry at the 1 on the final play of the half, which the Panthers blew up 3 yards into the backfield. Jones had three green zone touches, so the work was pretty closely split, as was the overall work as both backs rushed 13 times and didn't catch a pass on the day.
That last part is pretty interesting, because Jones and Williams had combined for 60 receptions across the season's first nine games (6.7 per game), but combined for one catchless target in Week 10. Aaron Rodgers talked about how the Week 9 dud in Los Angeles against the Chargers might have been good for the Packers, waking them up a bit, and it seems the way it woke them up was directly tied to criticism he's received for not being aggressive enough down the field.
Rodgers wound up with an average throw depth of 11.4, more than a yard higher than his previous weekly season high, and the first time he averaged more than 10 yards of depth since Week 1. In part because many of his 29 passes were downfield, Rodgers completed fewer than 60% of his passes for the first time since Week 3, but his 8.0 yards per attempt represented his fourth best figure in that stat this year. In other words, Rodgers — who fields criticism for taking safe throws — traded off safe throws for more difficult ones, and it mostly paid off even if his stat line was imperfect.
As for who Rodgers was throwing to downfield, Marquez Valdes-Scantling seems to have lost his spot on offense. MVS played just 11 snaps, while Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow split the outside reps opposite Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison stayed in his normal role in the slot. That makes Valdes-Scantling droppable in all formats, and I'd rather have Lazard at this point, although Lazard's 50% route share leaves plenty to be desired.
But Lazard did finish second on the team with six targets and 90 air yards, though he caught just three for 27. Lazard also drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone on the penultimate play of the half that set up Williams' futile attempt from the 1. Lazard has now seen at least four targets in five straight games, averaging 63 air yards per game in that span, and though he's in a part-time role he does seem to have Rodgers' eye when he's out there.
Of course, a big reason for Rodgers' willingness to throw downfield is also tied to Davante Adams being back and healthy, and Adams was a dominant No. 1 with 10 targets and 164 air yards despite the low-volume passing game. His 0.86 WOPR was very strong, as was his 7-118 receiving line, and he should be locked into lineups the rest of the way. The rest of the Packers' receiving work was split between Jimmy Graham, Allison and Kumerow, with Graham easily third on the team in terms of air yards and actual yards thanks to a 48-yard reception.
The Panthers continued their highly concentrated offense, with each of Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and Greg Olsen playing 100% of the offensive snaps, and Curtis Samuel running routes on 96% of dropbacks but giving up a few snaps on running plays for an extra tight end. Jarius Wright also ran routes on 77% of snaps as the slot guy, but he gives up a few more reps than Samuel for different formational alignments.
That makes the Panthers really easy to parse, and a lot of the production is dependent on game flow. Some weeks, when they lead, they lean heavily on Christian McCaffrey. Others, like this game, they ask Kyle Allen to do a bit more. McCaffrey is of course still heavily involved, but there's also plenty of receiving upside in such a concentrated passing attack.
Allen threw 43 times — 22 of them in the fourth quarter — and not one target went to a backup tight end or a depth receiver. Even Wright was targeted just twice, as Moore went 11-9-120 with 109 air yards, Olsen 10-8-98 with 84, and Samuel 8-4-35-1 with a lower efficiency line at his typically higher 14.0 aDOT with his team-high 112 air yards. It was nice to see Olsen's best game since the early part of the season, and Samuel found the end zone and remains more boom-or-bust on a weekly basis but with plenty of upside. Moore is the most notable line here as he continues to see extremely consistent No. 1 volume — at least eight targets in five straight and seven of nine overall — and remains a locked-in Fantasy starter who is due for some touchdown regression given he's scored just once all year.
As a possession receiver, it's perhaps fair to expect a lower touchdown rate from Moore than an average No. 1, and the Panthers do trend toward more rushing scores overall. But Moore had two red zone targets in this one to bring his total for the season to six. That's the same number as McCaffrey, who has three receiving scores, and Samuel leads the team at eight red zone looks and four receiving scores. Even for a possession receiver, Moore's been unlucky to have just one score on 79 targets and 54 catches. Expect a few more of those the rest of the way to unlock more of a weekly ceiling.
McCaffrey also pitched in six catches on seven targets while rushing 20 times for 108 yards and a score and very nearly adding a second on the game's final play, which was so close it had to be reviewed and probably would have stood had it been called a touchdown on the field. It was ruled short and the play stood that way as no touchdown.
- Signal: Marquez Valdes-Scantling — fifth in WR snaps and routes, essentially benched; Allen Lazard — if anyone's emerging as a consistent second receiving option (and it does remain muddy), it's Lazard
- Noise: D.J. Moore — one touchdown this season on 79 targets (six red zone targets)
Vikings 28 - Cowboys 24
- Snap Notes: Irv Smith: 74% (+10 vs. previous season high), Alexander Mattison: 18% (+9 vs. Week 9), Cowboys: five main starters in 11 personnel all at 79% or higher
- Key Stat: Dak Prescott — 555 air yards (most in Week 10, fourth most by any QB this season)
Sunday Night Football brought us a good, close matchup of two of the NFC's top teams, a precursor to another such matchup on Monday night. The Vikings got out to an early lead on two 1-yard touchdowns to Kyle Rudolph, and they predictably went on to run 36 times versus 32 pass attempts. The Cowboys, also intent on running whenever they can, were more or less forced to let Dak Prescott throw more late, and his 19 fourth-quarter passes gave them a 47/22 pass/run ratio by game's end.
Stefon Diggs had another down game without Adam Thielen in the lineup, and it's mostly been the result of the reduced, and conservative, passing. Thielen has played sparingly over the past four games, and while Diggs' 20% target share and 34% share of air yards in that span leaves plenty to be desired on their, both marks pretty easily led the team while the next three target-getters have been underneath options (Dalvin Cook, with a negative-1.9 aDOT, Irv Smith at a 5.6 aDOT and Kyle Rudolph at a 7.3 aDOT).
Diggs, of course, did go off for more than 140 yards in each of the first two games in this four-game stretch. He's going to continue having some boom-or-bust to his profile due to the offense, and Week 10 was an example of the bust side of that with Kirk Cousins settling into an average throw depth of just 5.9 yards.
Dalvin Cook rushed 26 times for 97 yards and a score, though his six green zone attempts across three different drives indicate he could have easily posted a multi-touchdown game. Cook led the team with seven targets, which he caught for 86 yards despite them totaling negative-23 air yards, which is to say they were largely designed screens and throws behind the line of scrimmage. His value remains extremely strong.
Rudolph and Smith were both involved with the Vikings continuing their two-TE scheme. Bisi Johnson's 4-2-25 line was further evidence that Cousins just wasn't pushing the ball down the field. We'll likely see Thielen miss one more game with the bye coming in Week 12, and if that's the case these will again be the major players in the passing game with the game flow determining a lot about who produces. I'll still be starting Diggs where I have him, because I'm stubborn, even as the Vikings should control the game against Denver.
Alexander Mattison also chipped in eight carries for 52 yards, and looked good as the No. 2. Ameer Abdullah has been seeing some offensive snaps in recent weeks — and caught a touchdown in Week 9 — so this was a positive for Mattison's handcuff value.
The Cowboys are another highly concentrated team right now, as they've gotten healthier and have stuck pretty closely with their 11 personnel lineup. Tony Pollard hardly played with Ezekiel Elliott in on 99% of snaps, while Blake Jarwin and Tavon Austin mixed in a bit — three of Jarwin's four targets came on the final drive as the Cowboys tried to set up a Hail Mary — but for the most part the snaps at the five skill position spots were concentrated.
Of those five, Jason Witten was quietest with a 5-2-17 line, while Elliott totaled just 63 yards on 20 carries and two catches. Elliott did get a green zone rush from the 6-yard line early in the fourth, but was stuffed, and he was later stuffed on two carries from the 11 on second and third down with 2 yards to gain each time, leading to a failed fourth-down try on the Cowboys' last real chance to score. Prior to those two rushes, Prescott was 6/7 for 79 yards on the drive, marching Dallas from their own 6 into the red zone, and much has been made about the galaxy brain choice to take the ball out of his hands for two huge downs with the game on the line.
As far as Fantasy is concerned, Zeke's workload remains strong, and his lack of production in a tougher matchup isn't a huge issue, nor is his lack of receiving production the past two weeks as he continues to play nearly every snap and run a huge route percentage.
I've buried the lede long enough, which was that Dak was incredible, and the Cowboys really pushed the ball down the field as Prescott totaled 555 air yards, good for the fourth-highest single-game total for any quarterback this season. Each of the main three receivers totaled over 100 air yards and caught a touchdown, with Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper both posting top five air yards totals for the week.
Gallup set a season high with 165 air yards on 10 targets (4-76-1 receiving), while Cooper tied his own season high at 166 air yards on 14 looks (11-147-1 receiving). And Cobb's 114 air yards were a season high for him, too, as he notched his first 100-yard game with the Cowboys, catching six of eight targets for 106 and his score. Obviously there won't be that much downfield volume to go around most weeks, but the upside in this vertical Cowboys passing attack is very clear.
- Signal: Kirk Cousins — after a three-game stretch from Week 6-8 with an average throw depth over 8.0 each week where he was fun and good, Cousins' aDOT has been below 7.0 for three straight which is not fun and bad
- Noise: Cowboys WRs — each of the top three set season highs in air yards, which indicates how high-volume this game was
Seahawks 27 - 49ers 24
- Snap Notes: D.K. Metcalf: 97% (+2 vs. Week 9 season high), Tyler Lockett: 72% (leg bruise), Josh Gordon: 38% (Seahawks debut), Jacob Hollister: 78% (-2 vs. Week 9 season high), Deebo Samuel: 83% (+20 vs. season average), Kendrick Bourne: 70% (+29 vs. season average), Emmanuel Sanders: 30% (rib injury), Tevin Coleman: 50% (+2 vs. season average), Matt Breida: 28% (-13 vs. Week 9, ankle injury), Raheem Mostert: 22% (+19 vs. Week 9) Ross Dwelley: 91% (+21 vs. Week 9 season high)
- Key Stat: Jacob Hollister — routes on more than 70% of dropbacks in two straight (16 targets)
Monday Night Football couldn't have been a crazier cap to an already wild week, and I honestly can't even begin to recap everything that went down in that game. There were five lost fumbles — one returned for a score by each team, and another preventing a scoring chance before half for the Seahawks as Jaquiski Tartt stripped D.K. Metcalf at the 2 — and an interception by each team, plus about five more potential interceptions from Jimmy Garoppolo and also that huge missed field goal in overtime that could have given the 49ers a win that ultimately went to Seattle.
That ridiculous sentence doesn't come close to doing this game justice, but you're not here to read all that and there's a lot to get to. What's important from a Fantasy sense is it was back-and-forth, and with both teams getting multiple overtime drives there was elevated volume.
Seattle went run-heavy, as they are wont to do, and Russell Wilson's 12 overtime attempts only brought him to 34 total on the game, against 34 rushes overall for the Seahawks. Chris Carson played nearly every snap, rushing 25 times for 89 yards and a score, and adding three catches on four targets for a solid five high-value touches. While Carson fumbled yet again, it didn't really impact his playing time, and besides his biggest threat Rashaad Penny lost a crucial fumble on one of his two touches.
The good news for Penny is the Seahawks don't seem to care about fumbles! The bad news is they don't seem to care about playing him whether he fumbles or not. He's a handcuff only in the event of a Carson injury.
Josh Gordon made his debut for Seattle, and he didn't play much early but got extended run later after Tyler Lockett suffered a leg bruise that knocked him from the game. Gordon wound up running routes on 50% of dropbacks, and was the first read on two crucial conversions, catching both slants in tight coverage.
Meanwhile, D.K. Metcalf remained a full-time player, even setting a season high in snap share, and caught six of 10 targets for 70 yards. He didn't see many vertical targets in a game where Seattle didn't take many shots downfield, and his 90 air yards were still easily the most on the team, good for a 49% share of the team's total.
If there was one downside to Metcalf's day, he also allowed a couple of key plays to fall through his hands. They weren't necessarily drops, but they were catchable balls in big spots late, including a third-down pass on the Seahawks second of three overtime drives. It didn't impact Metcalf's usage at all, as Wilson went back to him on the final overtime drive to set up the game-winning field goal, but — and I'm totally speculating here — it might open the door a bit more for Gordon to grow into a bigger role of the offense, because the contrast of those plays to Gordon's two clutch catches was just frankly hard to miss and the kind of thing that can stick with coaches.
Though Luke Willson returned from the injury that knocked him out of Week 9, he was knocked from this game again, and Jacob Hollister maintained a huge role as the lead TE. Hollister was also very good again, turning 10 targets at just 32 air yards into an 8-62-1 line. There's going to be a crunch for targets in this offense eventually, but you have to like what Hollister's done the past two weeks especially when thinking back to Will Dissly's production as Russell Wilson's tight end. Hollister looks capable of being a version of that, and will be a solid streaming option going forward.
Lockett wasn't the only injury, and in fact the 49ers dealt with more. Already without George Kittle, San Francisco lost Emmanuel Sanders to a rib injury early, then also lost Matt Breida to a re-aggravation of his nagging ankle injury late in the game. That left them very thin in the pass-catching corps, and by the end of the game it was clear that Deebo Samuel was the preferred target, with Kendrick Bourne also playing a big role but not rising to the occasion.
Samuel led the team with 11 targets and 95 air yards, going 8-112 with 71 yards after the catch. All were career highs, but he certainly saw more volume both because of the injuries and Garoppolo throwing a season-high 46 passes, nine more than any other game this year. Samuel is certainly worth an add, but his value will hinge on whether he's the top option in the passing game or the third option with a strong top two when Kittle and Sanders are healthy. He's only a situational Fantasy starter going forward.
Bourne saw eight targets and 78 air yards, but had multiple huge drops, and I would guess he will lose playing time as a result. He scored early in the contest and put up a solid 4-42-1, but can't be trusted in Fantasy. Backup tight end Ross Dwelley also played a huge snap share and saw seven looks, but brought in just three for 24 yards. His 84% route share makes him a viable deeper league option should Kittle miss another game.
As for the backs, Tevin Coleman played his typical share of about half the snaps, and even after Breida left his role didn't increase as we just saw more of No. 3 Raheem Mostert. Coleman did catch four passes and continues to run routes on at least 40% of dropbacks on a weekly basis, but again, the 49ers had elevated pass volume in this one. San Francisco also remarkably ran just one play in the green zone, the 10-yard touchdown pass to Bourne, which limited any scoring potential for their backs.
Coleman's still a solid RB2 in most matchups, and wasn't exactly bad with 72 total yards and the reception spike showing he retains value in passing scripts, but there's clearly a cap on his touch upside — remember, his one 20-carry game came in the slopfest at Washington and his four-touchdown game came on just 13 total touches.
- Signal: Josh Gordon — not a big part of the offense yet, did some good things after Lockett's injury and could earn a larger role especially if Lockett misses time; Jacob Hollister — maintained a large role, solid TE option; Ross Dwelley — viable TE streamer if Kittle misses more time
- Noise: 49ers — 46 pass attempts; Deebo Samuel — looked great, but certainly benefited from elevated pass volume, injuries to Kittle and Sanders