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#257 This Backup RB Needs To Be Rostered

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Monkey Knife Fight, we check in on the Odell landing spots, look at air yards and expected play charts, and preview TNF. It's 11/11. Take it away, Peter Overzet…
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It’s been a week since the meltdown in Cleveland, but we still don’t have resolution on Odell Beckham Jr.’s new home. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that he’s still sorting through contract offers from eight different teams and Evan Massey hinted at a short list for us here:

Packers, Seahawks, and Chiefs would be the most fun for fantasy and give Odell the best shot at a Super Bowl, but it seems doubtful that Odell is willing to play third fiddle in those offenses. 

Both the Patriots and Saints make the most sense on paper with their weak WR depth charts. If he’s not cooked—which is a big question at this point—the path to being the WR1 on both teams is clear. 

 We’ll do our usual big injury rundown tomorrow, but a couple to mention now:

* Chase Claypool is currently “week-to-week” with his toe injury and will likely miss Week 10. Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth will be busy in the passing game on Sunday vs. the Lions.

* Alvin Kamara did not practice yesterday with a knee injury. We normally don’t press the panic button on mid-week absences for veterans, but there are lots of rumors swirling that he might not play Sunday. Make sure Mark Ingram is rostered in your league.

 

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📊 CHARTS ON CHARTS

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.

* AJ Brown has been on a tear, hogging 52% of Tennessee’s air yards and 35% of their targets over the last five weeks. They will continue to rely on him with Derrick Henry out. Julio Jones is the only other pass catcher I would consider starting on a weekly basis as he’s the only other receiver running a route on more than 70% of the team’s dropbacks.

* It’s time we start considering Darnell Mooney as the Bears’ WR1 as he’s posted at least a dozen PPR points in four of his last six games while Allen Robinson has yet to record more than 11 PPR points in a single game. Mooney’s seven targets per game the last four weeks also leads the team and Justin Fields looks most comfortable when throwing to Mooney.

* This past week, Baker Mayfield completed a pass to eight different receivers and no player had more than five targets in a game. The Browns remain one of the least concentrated passing offenses in the league and are a run-first offense, making Jarvis Landry the only player I would consider starting on a weekly basis. 

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.

* Not only is there uncertainty about who will be starting at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, but their game against the Seahawks features two of the four teams averaging fewer than 60 plays per game this season. This lowers the potential ceiling for the primary players in these offenses and makes the ancillary players not worth starting.

* Both the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers have a Top 8 pace (seconds per play) over the last five weeks and play each other this week in a game that should feature a bevy of fantasy points. What’s great about these teams is that their offenses are among the most condensed in terms of fantasy scoring, making it a great spot to start your studs.

* This week’s matchup of top combined plays per game comes later tonight as the Baltimore Ravens face off against the Miami Dolphins. Last week, the Ravens ran an astounding 89 plays on offense—the second most in a game this season—in an overtime win against the Vikings, so their number is slightly inflated as the team with the most plays per game. In any case, neither defense has been particularly great, making it a solid spot to target the secondary players in these offenses. 

For more of Sam’s great work, follow him on Twitter, read his terrifically titled “Hoppen to Conclusions” pieces on 4for4, and watch him break down the most relevant fantasy data and charts on Stat Chasing.

 

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🔮 TNF PREVIEW

Tonight we get a fairly intriguing game with the Dolphins (+7.5) hosting the Ravens in a game with a 46.5 over under. 

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (finger) is officially listed as questionable for tonight, although the Dolphins are reportedly planning on starting Jacoby Brissett tonight, per Cameron Wolfe. We’ll know for sure either way around 6:45pm ET tonight. 

WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) was a full participant in yesterday’s practice and is expected to return to the lineup tonight. It’ll be interesting to see how he and Rashod Bateman co-exist. Latavius Murray (ankle) is doubtful tonight. 

I put a prop bet up on my Betsperts profile that I like for tonight.

 

Enjoy the game, we’ll be back tomorrow to round up injury reports and practice updates.

- Pete Overzet

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