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#201 Don’t Forget To Add This RB Before Sunday

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter we discuss the Elijah Mitchell bidding frenzy, worry about Brandon Aiyuk, and look at some charts to help us set our lineups. It's 9/16. Take it away, Peter Overzet…


Whatever you bid on Elijah Mitchell, it was probably not enough. In my high stakes contests, Mitchell went anywhere from 70-99% of the total FAAB budget. Yes, you read that correctly. Someone bid $996 out of $1000 in one of my contests where the minimum transaction cost all season is $1. 

I was on the side of being very aggressive with Mitchell—the potential payoff is just too juicy—but once you enter that 90+ percent range, I think you’re getting a little reckless, especially in leagues where you can’t make free waiver transactions.

In addition to Jeff Wilson Jr.’s return from IR looming in November, the team claimed RB Trenton Cannon off waivers, though Cannon is likely only a special teams contributor and depth add for the team.

My preferred way to play this backfield if you missed out on Mitchell would be to grab JaMycal Hasty for cheap if he’s still floating around on your waiver. Hasty only had one carry last week, but it was a three-yard TD and his role should expand more this week unless the rookie Trey Sermon is miraculously out of the doghouse after being a healthy scratch in Week 1. 



* The Ravens elected to sign RB Devonta Freeman to their active roster and leave Le’Veon Bell on the practice squad. It’s far more likely that Freeman muddies this backfield rather than emerges as a fantasy factor, but he does profile as the most likely to catch passes and is worth a stash.

* We continue to get weird vibes about the Brandon Aiyuk situation in San Francisco. Here’s coach Kyle Shanahan: “Aiyuk’s been a little inconsistent because he’s been in and out with his injury. And that’s what we felt was the best chance for us (in Detroit). Aiyuk’s still got a chance to get that spot and not rotate as much. Trent (Sherfield) just doesn’t make that very easy.” I don’t know how you can start Aiyuk this week, but don’t drop him. 

* Both Evan Engram and Odell Beckham Jr. have been ruled out for this week’s action...The Cowboys will be without stud defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence after he broke his foot in practice...We’ll be back tomorrow with more injury news and practice updates. 

I just posted a couple of my favorite bets for tonight’s Thursday Night Football game over on Betsperts—a great social media bet tracking app that is free to download. You can follow both me & Matthew on the site if you’d like to see our posts and what we are betting. 


Sam Hoppen—an analyst and web developer wizard for 4for4 Football and Ship Chasing—will be sharing interesting data viz with us every week to help us make better lineup decisions. Today, we have an “Air Yards Distribution” chart for four teams and a chart displaying the number of plays teams are running per game. I’ll let Sam explain…

The chart below displays the distribution of how far downfield (or how far away from the line of scrimmage) a player is targeted. Where the player's bubble is higher indicates where more of his targets are concentrated. We would expect players with higher bubbles further to the right to be downfield, big-play threats while we would expect players with higher bubbles further left to be more consistent, higher-target players.

* Emmanuel Sanders was the Bills' deep threat in Week 1, which is contrary to many peoples' expectations that Gabriel Davis would play that role this season.

* Chase Claypool was the only Steelers WR with an average depth of target above 10 yards, making him the clear deep threat. However, he may struggle to consistently see targets with Juju Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson getting a lot of shorter targets.

* Each of Jacksonville's top three wide receivers saw at least 9 targets on Sunday, with DJ Chark leading the group with 12 targets. Chark's mix of intermediate and deep targets mixed with a large target share should make him a fringe WR2 moving forward.

* DeAndre Hopkins stole the show for the Cardinals on Sunday, but Christian Kirk made a big impact all over the field with targets at every level. If he continues to see consistent usage out of the slot, he could be in for a big year with Kyler Murray showing signs of growth.

In this next chart, the team's bar shows the number of plays per game that team has averaged. Then the teams that play each other in the upcoming week are combined to show the total average between that week's matchup. With more plays come more opportunities for fantasy points, so use teams at the top of this chart as a tie-breaker when making your start/sit decision.

* Green Bay and Detroit land as the matchup with the third-highest combined plays, but, as you can see, most of that was driven by Detroit's 84-play game against San Fran in which they were trailing a lot and recovered an onside kick. Expect both teams to return closer to an average play count on MNF.

* The Chargers and Cowboys matchup is ripe with fantasy goodness and should be a high-scoring affair. Start as many players from that game as possible and enjoy the back and forth between two of the best offenses in the league!

For more of Sam’s great work, follow him on Twitter and read his terrifically titled “Hoppen to Conclusions” article on 4for4. 


- Pete Overzet

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