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#292 Who Passes For More Yards Tonight?

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Monkey Knife Fight, we preview Thursday Night Football and injury situations and look at air yards and expected play charts for Week 14. It's 12/16. Take it away, Peter Overzet…
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After most of the East Coast had gone to bed last night, we got a Schefter bomb that Urban Meyer had been fired by the Jags after only 13 games.

Meyer’s short-lived, trainwreck tenure as the Jags head coach will go down as one of the most disastrous hires in NFL history after he was signed to a five-year contract in January. 

In addition to a 2-11 record, Meyer’s off the field antics plagued him from the start. Most recently, former kicker Josh Lambo alleged that Meyers kicked him in the leg while he was stretching in warm-ups. 

The Jags play the Texans and Jets over the next few weeks. Here’s to hoping for some fantasy redemption for guys like Trevor Lawrence, James Robinson, and yes, even Laviska Shenault.

 


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Tonight we are picking MORE or LESS on this elite AFC West QB matchup with both Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert’s passing yards totals sitting at 289.5.


Over Patrick Mahomes’ last seven games, he’s averaged 250 yards passing and only threw for more than 289.5 once.


Chargers QB Justin Herbert is averaging 319 over his past four games, and he’s passed for more than 289.5 in 5 of his last 6 against top ten scoring defenses.


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📊CHARTS ON CHARTS


Sam Hoppen—an analyst and web developer wizard for 4for4 Football and Ship Chasing—shares an “Air Yards Distribution” chart for four teams and a chart displaying the number of plays teams are running per game to help us make better lineup decisions. Take it away, Sam...

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.

* Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are both averaging over 7 targets per game since Russell Wilson returned from injury. However, Metcalf has struggled to produce, failing to reach a dozen PPR fantasy points in all of those contests. He’s still averaging over 100 air yards per game in that stretch, so Metcalf managers should hold out hope that a big game is coming…soon.

* Not much has gone right in Houston and Detroit this season, but there have been some bright spots. In Houston, Brandin Cooks has had a solid season, currently sitting as the WR22 in PPR leagues, far outperforming his WR38 ADP. Meanwhile in Detroit, rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown has had a strong couple of games, posting back-to-back games with at least 15 PPR points thanks to earning 12 targets in each of those games.

* Diontae Johnson is such a stud, earning an elite 10.8 targets per game this season. Chase Claypool is no slouch, either, averaging 7.4 targets per game and over 90 air yards per game. But Ray-Ray McCloud has stepped up in recent weeks, running a route on a season-high 91% of dropbacks in Week 14. He seems to be filling in as Juju Smith-Schuster’s replacement, and should see more work in the weeks to come, making him worth an add.

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.

* This week’s Thursday night divisional matchup is sure to have plenty of fantasy fireworks. The Chiefs and Chargers are both among the top ten teams in neutral-script seconds per play over the last month. That, on top of the above-average passing rates that these teams play at, make this a prime spot for several players to outperform their projections.

* Another divisional matchup with much less excitement comes between the Texans and Jaguars. James Robinson should find some success against a lowly Texans rush defense, but with the lowest game total (39 points) and second fewest combined plays per game, this is a game to avoid, where possible.

* The game between the Giants and Cowboys looks like it could feature some excitement with the fourth-most combined plays per game this week. But Daniel Jones has yet to be cleared to play and is unlikely to start this week. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott has struggled since spraining his calf in Week 6 and Dallas could be without Tony Pollard once again. Since both teams are nowhere near full strength, this play count could be a trick.

 

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

 

🐦 COOTERDOODLE'S FAVORITE TWEETS

The main question mark for tonight’s game is Austin Ekeler’s (ankle) status. He’s expected to play, but could be limited per a few sources.

We’ll know more when inactives and warmups go down tonight, so be sure to keep an eye on the reports. I’ll be doing a Q&A on the Fantasy Life app tonight at 6:15pm ET if you want to swing by and pepper me with questions.

Enjoy the game tonight. We’ll see you tomorrow.

-PETE OVERZET

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