WR Jarvis Landry, CLE
More often then not, Landry gets overlooked on draft day by Fantasy owners. His career resume screams top 15 WR thanks to five straight seasons with 80-plus catches. Over his first seven games, he only had one impact game (8/167) with boring results in every other week (4/67, 3/32, 3/62, 4/75/3/36, and 5/65). His rhythm with Baker Mayfield picked up over the last month, which led to a TD in each contest highlighted by his explosive game in Week 12 (10/148/2). His rise in value pushed him on a path for 86 catches for 1,226 yards and seven TDs on 141 targets. For the future success of the Browns’ passing game, Landry looks to be a pivotal piece to the puzzle while helping Mayfield find his pulse over Cleveland’s three-game winning streak.
RB Benny Snell, PIT
The RB situation for the Steelers continues to evolve with James Conner injured. Many believed Jaylen Samuels would fill the void. His lack of success as runner (47/121/1 – 2.6 yards per rush) created a winnable window for Benny Snell, who returned to action this week after missing three games with minor knee surgery. After slow start to the game and Pittsburgh rotating multiple RBs over the first half vs. the Bengals, Snell proved to be the top runner for the Steelers in Week 12. He finished with 21 rushes for 98 yards and one catch for five yards, setting the stage for a rise in value going forward. I don’t expect Conner to be healthy for the remainder of the season, but he may work his way back onto the field in a couple of weeks. Snell should be the bell cow runner in this offense, but his scoring upside is limited due to questionable QB play. In the Fantasy world, Snell looks to be a helpful complementary piece to a Fantasy team with a possible favorable run schedule over the next three weeks. Samuels should see most of the action of passing downs.
WR A.J. Brown, TEN
Despite a rotational role at WR in Tennessee’s passing game, Brown continues to flash top 24 WR upside once he starts receiving full-time snaps and a rise in targets. Over 11 games of action, his best value came in Week 1 (3/100), Week 4 (3/94/2), and Week 12 (4/135/1). Over these three games, Brown only had 12 combined catches, which shows his explosiveness. On the year, he has 31 catches for 581 yards and four TDs on 50 targets (4.5 per game). The Titans’ passing game is tough to trust, but Ryan Tannehill has been an improvement behind center over his five starts. Brown will continue to be upside and down for the remainder of 2019 while drawing the upside/breakout tag in the 2020 Fantasy draft season.
RB Jonathan Williams, IND
With Marlon Mack injured with a broken hand, Willians finally had a chance to strut his stuff on an NFL field after kicking around the NFL for three other seasons. In a mop-up role in Week 1, he gained 147 combined yards with a catch on 14 touches vs. the Jaguars. Last week there was still some speculation about his opportunity with Jordan Wilkins getting healthy, and Nyheim Hines expected to be the top pass-catching back. Williams emerged as workhorse stud, leading to 121 combined yards with a TD and three catches on 29 touches. He should be treated a starting RB2 in PPR league going forward with the most upside when Indy plays from the lead.
QB Dak Prescott, DAL
In 2019, Prescott has shined in many games while making a push to top QB status. His direction and future look bright, but he still lacks the foundation skillset to beat a top defense on the road while being exposed a bit in bad weather. This week against the Patriots, Prescot passed for 212 yards with no TDs and Ints. Multiple times during the game he failed to extend the passing window while making too many off-target throws. After 11 games, his best value still comes at home (350 passing yards and 2.8 TDs per game). The Cowboys have the right offense structure to make a deep playoff run, but they can’t make it to the Super Bowl in 2019 without winning on the road based on their record (6-5) and their ranking in the NFL playoff structure. Success in the playoff starts with the QB position.
RB Derrius Guice, WAS
Each week in the NFL, a Fantasy analyst needs to have an unbiased outlook on the upcoming week. They need to base their decisions based on past results, current playing time, and their next matchup. Many times a new opportunity is created at some position after an injury. In the projection and ranking world, it easy to overstep your bounds by overrating a player. In Week 11, the player I failed to get “right” was Derrius Guice. I had him as top tier RB for the Redskins, but I still only gave him about 53 percent of the RB opportunity with Adrian Peterson playing well enough to command repeated chances. In the end, Guice gained only 38 combined yards with a catch, which was about 11 Fantasy points lower than my projections.
Heading into last week’s game, the Lions allowed 31.71 Fantasy points to RBs in PPR leagues with six of their previous six opponents scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Detroit allowed 4.4 yards per rush with RBs scoring 16 TDs plus having risk defending RBs in the passing game (57/638/7 on 76 targets).
In the end, Guice ended up with 11 touches compared to 11 by Adrian Peterson and one by Wendell Smallwood. Based on opportunity, Guice had 47.8 percent of the RB touches while not being far off on my projections as a runner (9/39 – he finished with 10/32). His shortcoming came in the passing game (1/6 compared to 4/42 in my predictions). The RB position for Washington failed to score a TD, which was expected based on the Lions allowing 1.6 TDs per game to RBs coming into the week.
Going forward, Guice will get plenty of chances, and he should shine at some point at home. His matchup will dictate his playable value along with the other active options for Washington at RB.
QB Aaron Rodgers, GB
In an important game on the road, Rodgers struggled to make many plays beyond the line of scrimmage in the passing game. He completed 20 of 32 passes (62.5 percent) against the 49ers, but he gained a measly 3.2 yards per pass attempt with only one TD and five sacks. His lack of options at WR was exposed again in this game. The Packers remains almost a one-dimensional offense with the best success coming from their RBs on the ground and in the passing game. Over his last three games, Rodgers passed for only 498 yards and two TDs with his WR gaining only 66 yards last week. Before the season, I didn’t believe Rodgers had the receiving core to be a trusted top 12 QB in the Fantasy market. His direction points to only playable value at home.