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#222 How To Handle The Seattle Backfield Tonight

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter, presented by Wise Bread, we make backup plans for Chris Carson, get amped for Trey Lance’s first start, and laugh at a Justin Fields quote. It's 10/7. Take it away, Peter Overzet…


Tonight we get a juicy Thursday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) and the Seattle Seahawks with a 54.5 point over/under. 

The big news in this game is the potential absence of Seahawks running back Chris Carson, who didn’t practice at all this week with a neck injury.


Alex Collins played a season-high 22 snaps last Sunday and found the endzone. He should get the lion’s share of the carries tonight. I’d also expect to see a decent amount of Travis Homer in the pass game.  

Other Seattle news of note: TE Gerald Everett “has a chance” to play tonight, but WR Dee Eskridge will not suit up. Keep an eye out for Everett when inactives are released.

On the other side of the ball, both Darrell Henderson and Tyler Higbee are good to go, so the Rams are mostly healthy heading into this one. 


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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.

* Cordarrelle Patterson has been the highlight of fantasy football this past week with his three-touchdown performance against Washington. However, there’s reason to believe that Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts can be the players that they were drafted to be. Ridley is averaging 10.5 targets per game and over 110 air yards per game, great indications of his usage. Similarly, Pitts’ 6.5 targets per game is great and ranks 7th-most among all tight ends.

* On the season, Cooper Kupp has been one of fantasy football’s MVPs, and rightfully so. His 25.7 PPR points per game rank second among non-quarterbacks. However, his teammate Robert Woods is struggling to produce. With a healthy 18% target share, Woods is not far off of his mark from years past, but his 11.5 PPR points per game is well below. If I had the choice I would wait to start Woods until I saw more signs of life.

* Lamar Jackson is having his best season as a passer—he’s averaging more yards, attempts, and completions per game than he has in any year of his career. This has benefitted his pass catchers, most notably Marquise Brown. Brown is currently the WR13 on the year and is still getting plenty of deep targets, but has been more consistent than in the past. Additionally, Sammy Watkins has carved a nice role for himself, but may be competing with Rashod Bateman soon, who is set to return from injury. 

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.

-In what could be Trey Lance’s first start, the matchup between the Cardinals and 49ers projects to be one of the highest-play total games of the week. On the other side, Kyler Murray is playing at an MVP level, carrying the Cardinals to a 4-0 start. This matchup should be rich with fantasy points and I would squeeze as many starters as possible from this game into my lineups. 

-The matchup between the Washington Football Team and New Orleans Saints features two run-heavy teams with slow offenses that don’t like to run a lot of plays. While Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and JD McKissic are all solid starters for the Football Team, Alvin Kamara is the only player worth starting on the Saints.

-This week’s matchup with the highest combined play total is a battle of AFC South rivals, the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. Trevor Lawrence has played better lately but is losing one of his top weapons in DJ Chark, which will likely boost Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones Jr.. Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill struggled last week without his two top pass-catchers, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. If they return, Tannehill should have much more success and would be in a prime bounceback spot. 

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

I just submitted a prop bet for tonight involving Van Jefferson on Betsperts—a great social media bet tracking app that is free to download. You can find my pick and follow both me and Matthew on the app here: Pete & Matthew.




- Pete Overzet


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