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#229 A Rookie WR Breakout Is Coming...

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter, we get ready for Thursday Night Football, preview which games could yield a bunch of fantasy points this weekend, and not panic about Stefon Diggs. It's 10/14. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

Tonight we get a pretty fun Thursday Night Football game with the Eagles hosting the Bucs in a game with a 52 point over/under—one of the highest of the entire week. 

TE Rob Gronkowski is out for the Bucs and Dallas Goedert is doubtful for the Eagles due to COVID-19, but otherwise we should have all of the usual suspects for this game. 

I posted a few prop bets I like for tonight’s game on Betsperts—a slick social media bet tracking app that is free to download. You can find my picks and follow both me and Matthew on the app here: Pete & Matthew.



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.

* I’ve mentioned this in almost every piece of content I’ve done this week, but the Rondale Moore breakout looks to be coming sooner rather than later. Week 5 was the first time that he ran more routes than Christian Kirk and Moore recorded his third game of the season with at least five targets. While Kirk and Moore are getting targeted at very different depths of the field, they both cannibalize each others’ opportunities as the majority of their snaps come from the slot.

* Tim Patrick has had a great stretch lately with double digit PPR points in all but one game this season. Patrick is unlikely to eclipse Courtland Sutton as Denver’s primary receiving threat, but he has earned himself a nice role. His 21% target share currently ranks second on the team, making him a solid flex play moving forward.

* What’s most concerning about Dallas is that their passing has dropped off significantly. After throwing the ball 58 times in the season opener against the Buccaneers, Dallas has averaged just under 27 pass attempts per game. This hasn’t doomed the primary receivers in Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, but they have each recorded two games below 10 PPR points since Week 2. Their roles remain solid, but the volume will need to jump for them to hit their ceiling.

* Speaking of teams that don’t pass the ball, the New Orleans Saints rank dead last in pass attempts with an average of 24 per game. Despite some blow-up games from Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris thanks to Jameis Winston slinging the ball, volume this low makes them unreliable on a week-to-week basis. Consider packaging them in a 2-for-1 trade deal coming off of their big weeks to improve another position. 

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 a faceoff between two potential MVP candidates in Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert, we see the third-highest matchup of combined plays between the Ravens and Chargers. With both teams ranking in the top 10 in total points scored on offense this season, this game should feature plenty of fantasy points and is one I would look to target. 

* One game that I would avoid playing fringe players from is the Bengals vs. Lions game. Both teams rank in the bottom-half of the league in pass rate and seconds per play when in a neutral script (the win probability is between 20-80% for a team). This only heightens the chance that this is a low scoring game unless they can find some efficiency. 

* With two premier players in Russell Wilson and Juju Smith-Schuster out, the Sunday Night Football Steelers vs. Seahawks game will be interesting. Outside of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, it may be difficult for other Seahawks’ players to earn any fantasy production. On the Pittsburgh side, Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson will see an obvious boost. We can hope that the Steelers pass rate continues to climb as it did last week.

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




Enjoy the game. 

- Pete Overzet



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