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#286 5 Players You Can Trust & 1 Bust

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Hulu + Live TV, we recap Thursday Night Football, check out Kevin’s data barrage, and take a look at the full practice report from yesterday. It's 12/10. Take it away, Peter Overzet…
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This morning we woke up to completely gutting news that former Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas passed away in his home last night at the age of 33.


Per ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, preliminary reports from police and family members suggest seizures are the cause of death. Thomas had retired from football in June. 


As someone who grew up in Denver and first started playing fantasy football seriously in the late 2000s, Thomas quickly became one of my favorite players after the Broncos drafted him 22nd overall in the 2010 draft. 


Thomas put up some monster seasons with Peyton Manning, but I think the memory that will always stand out the most was his walk off overtime TD from Tim Tebow against the Steelers in the 2012 Wild Card round.

I recommend checking out the full piece from Legwold on ESPN, which rounds up some great memoriams from players across the league. 

 

TNF RECAP & COOTERDOODLE'S FAVORITE TWEETS

 

Only the Vikings could make a 29-0 lead look unsafe and that’s exactly what they did while allowing the Steelers to charge back before ultimately holding on for a 36-28 win.

Dalvin Cook (27-205-2)  was somehow at more than 100% health after dislocating his shoulder 11 days previously??

Najee Harris (20-94-1; 3-10-1) looked like he might be in for a dud early, but found a way to get there when things picked up in the second half.

A bunch of players put up serviceable fantasy lines in this game—Justin Jefferson (7-79-1), KJ Osborn (3-83-1), Chase Claypool (8-93), and Diontae Johnson (5-76). A rare occurrence for Thursday Night Football

 

📈 KEVIN'S DATA BARRAGE 

Kevin Tompkins, a fantasy football writer and podcaster, shares the most interesting nuggets from his Data Barrage series. Take it away, Kevin…

 

Devonta Freeman, BAL - Freeman has been the Ravens’ lead back over the last month as Latavius Murray’s stock has dwindled to that of a handcuff. Freeman’s pass routes jumped up to 60% in Week 13, so whether his pass routes remain steady is something to watch for. Freeman offers mid-range RB2 value, providing a great return on investment.

 

Rashod Bateman, BAL - Bateman showed so much promise from his season debut up until a few weeks ago. What happened? Sammy Watkins’ return happened. Bateman’s routes have cratered from 81% in Week 11 to 58% in Week 12 and then down to a season-low 38% this past week. Bateman was averaging seven targets per game in his first four contests of 2021 but is now cuttable. 

 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB - In the two weeks before Green Bay’s Week 13 bye, MVS racked up 19 total targets, 79% route share, two consecutive 100-yard performances, and over 150 air yards. With Randall Cobb now out with a core muscle injury and Davante Adams nursing a hamstring injury, MVS seems to have turned a corner for the Packers. He’s been hard to trust throughout his career, but it’s time to trust.

 

Josh Jacobs, LVR - Jacobs has seen increased routes share with over 50% routes and at least five targets in three of the last four weeks. Kenyan Drake is out for the season and Jalen Richard’s Week 14 status is up in the air with a positive COVID test. With TDs in consecutive weeks, little competition for touches, and an increasing role in the passing game, Jacobs should keep this run going against a Chiefs defense that’s middle of the pack against opposing RBs.

 

Breshad Perriman, TB - Remember that league-winning run Perriman had as a Buc in 2019? I’m not saying that’s going to happen again in 2021 or anything, but Perriman saw an 84% snap share and ran 90% of routes in Week 13. His role flipped with Tyler Johnson, whose routes fell off a cliff from 66% to 14% in Week 13. Antonio Brown is slated to come back in Week 16 but if you’re in need of a wide receiver, Perriman receiving passes from Tom Brady isn’t the worst idea.

 

Zach Ertz, ARI - Since Ertz’s trade to the Cardinals in mid-October, all Ertz has put up TE6 numbers on a points-per-game basis. Last week’s dud (1-10, 2 targets) against Chicago didn’t help, but since Week 9 Ertz has run at least 80% of routes each week. That kind of consistency is usually earmarked for the elites at the position, but for 2021 you can put Ertz in that category. With so many questions surrounding the TE position this season, Ertz’s usage is something you can set your watch to.

 

Kevin Tompkins has been playing fantasy football for almost two decades. Amazingly in all that time, he has never drafted a bad running back. One would describe his fantasy takes as "reasonable."

 

🚑 THE INJURY WARD 

 

As usual, we have a lot of moving parts with injuries this week. Some of the big things on my radar are the Chargers WRs (Mike Williams was placed on the COVID list Wednesday after being deemed a close contact of Keenan Allen, but tested negative yesterday and now has a chance to play), the 49ers backfield (Eli Mitchell looking shaky, but Jeff Wilson back to full practice), and Elijah Moore (has missed two straight practices now). 

 

* Did Not Practice: Eli Mitchell (concussion/knee), Deebo Samuel (groin), DK Metcalf (illness), D’Andre Swift (shoulder), Elijah Moore (quad), TJ Hockenson (hand), Ty Montgomery (COVID-19 list), Tevin Coleman (concussion), Darren Waller (knee/back), Tony Pollard (plantar fascia), Aaron Rodgers (toe), Joe Mixon (illness), Deebo Samuel (groin), James Robinson (heel, knee)

 

* Limited participants: Davante Adams (hamstring), Alex Collins (abdomen), Zach Ertz (shoulder), Joe Burrow (finger/knee), David Montgomery (shoulder/groin/glute), Daniel Jones (neck), Kadarius Toney (oblique), Sterling Shepard (ankle), Kenny Golladay (ribs), Saquon Barkley (ankle), Darrell Henderson (thigh), Cooper Kupp (toe), Melvin Gordon (hip/shoulder), Tee Higgins (ankle), JD McKissic (concussion), Allen Robinson (hamstring)

 

* Full participant: Jared Goff (illness), David Johnson (illness, thigh), Jeff Wilson (knee), 

 

We’ll be back tomorrow with Waz’s updated Week 14 ranks and updates on a lot of these injury situations.

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