Fantasy Football Week 7: Matt Camp's Weekly BS Meter
While fantasy football is all about assessing matchups on a week-to-week basis, you must also focus on the big picture and not overreact to a particularly good or bad performance. That can lead to unnecessary trades and the eventual destruction of your roster.
Obviously, the trade that sent Adrian Peterson from the Saints to the Cardinals had a big, immediate impact on both teams. Without Peterson to clog up the Saints' backfield, Mark Ingram had his best game of the season and showed that there was never a need for Peterson, as the Saints can operate better with the combination of Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
In Arizona, Peterson's debut could not have gone any better with his best performance of the year in a win over the Buccaneers. With the Cardinals in control for most of the game, the team had every reason to feed Peterson and limit Andre Ellington's role. That's a big change from what we've seen this year, but will it continue, or did game flow dictate how the backfield was treated?
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations covering the most pressing issues in fantasy football. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true and 10 being total B.S.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. Snap counts are also from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
All Packers Must Be Downgraded in the Absence of Aaron Rodgers
The balance of the NFC shifted dramatically in Week 6 when Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone, which could keep him out for the rest of the season, according to Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com. For now, the Packers turn to Brett Hundley as their new starter, and they signed Joe Callahan from the practice squad to be Hundley’s backup.
Hundley, a 2015 fifth-round pick of the Packers, had just 10 pass attempts over four games in 2016 after not seeing any action as a rookie. When pressed into action following Rodgers’ injury, Hundley completed 18 of 33 pass attempts for 157 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in addition to one carry for three yards. He led the Packers to just 10 points, all of which came in the second quarter.
Much like with Rodgers under center, Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson led the team with 10 targets each, as Adams finished with five receptions for 54 yards and a TD, while Nelson had six receptions for 60 yards. If you compare those numbers to what Adams and Nelson put up when healthy, it’s pretty normal. Adams averaged 8.5 targets, 5.3 receptions, 68 yards and .75 TDs in four games and Nelson had seven targets, 4.8 receptions, 57.5 yards and 1.5 TDs in four games.
While the targets could remain the same for Adams and Nelson, the accuracy and play-making ability of Rodgers to make throws on the run or into tight windows cannot be replicated, nor should Hundley be expected to play at the same level of Rodgers, who is arguably the most talented QB in the league. That drop-off alone is why the entire receiving corps should be downgraded.
Could this mean the team leans on Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery more? In Week 6, we got our first look at how the team wanted to use both, although neither had much success. Jones had 13 carries for 41 yards, while Montgomery carried 10 times for 28 yards, so Jones led the way in rush attempts, which wasn’t a surprise. Jones actually had more targets than Montgomery (4-3), but both players had just a single catch, although Montgomery did drop a TD. Jones also played more snaps (65.2 percent) than Montgomery (30.3 percent).
Without Rodgers, the optimism that always comes with having a Packer on your fantasy team disappears, so you’ll be making more lineup decisions or shifting your personal depth chart. Unless you’re bundling players to improve your team, it might be hard to get decent value if you try to trade a Packer. Losing Rodgers is a huge bummer for all parties involved.
B.S. Meter on downgrading all Packers in Rodgers' absence: 1/10
The Saints Backfield Will Thrive for the Rest of the Season
It took five weeks, but the Saints finally realized Adrian Peterson’s presence on their depth chart was a redundancy, so they shipped him to the Cardinals. The path was fully clear in Week 6 for Mark Ingram to resume his role as the unquestioned lead back in New Orleans, and the results were glorious.
On his busiest day of the season, Ingram played a season-high 66.2 percent of the snaps while also setting season highs in carries (25) and rushing yards (114). He scored his first and second TDs of the season on a pair of short runs and added five receptions for 36 yards on five targets.
Peterson’s exit also opened the door for Alvin Kamara to have a bigger role in the run game. He set season highs with 10 carries for 75 yards and pitched in four receptions for 12 yards on four targets while playing 42.3 percent of the snaps, his highest total since the 50 percent he played in Week 1.
Without Peterson, the Saints can stick with the one-two combination of Ingram and Kamara, and fantasy owners can use both players with confidence knowing they can consistently produce. Ingram should be a strong RB2 regardless of the format, while Kamara is a decent RB2 in PPR and more of a RB3/flex in standard scoring formats.
B.S. Meter on the Saints backfield thriving for the rest of the season: 2/10
Hunter Henry Is a Weekly Starter
In a season where dealing with the TE position has been a nightmare, sometimes talent and health are good enough reasons to stick with a player. For those who stuck with Hunter Henry despite a pair of scoreless weeks in the first three games of the season, the patience has paid off in the last three weeks.
After Henry sandwiched a pair of zero-target games in Weeks 1 and 3 around a seven-catch, 80-yard performance in Week 2, figuring out what to do with him was perplexing for fantasy owners. Since getting shut out in Week 3, Henry has posted 10 receptions for 148 yards and two TDs on 18 targets, including a season high in yards (90) in a Week 6 win over the Raiders. He scored 14 fantasy points in that game, which gives him 36.8 fantasy points over the last three weeks. That puts Henry firmly in the top 10 over that span.
Other than Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski, it’s been hard to find reliable, weekly starters at the TE position with injuries or bad offense situations hurting the value of players like Jimmy Graham, Jordan Reed, Delanie Walker, Kyle Rudolph, Greg Olsen and Tyler Eifert. You have to recognize that a player like Henry has the talent to be a top-10 fantasy option even if he got off to a bad start.
Could Henry still have bad performances this season? Of course, but you should be willing to bet on his talent to come through more often than not, which is why he belongs in your starting lineup every week.
B.S. Meter on Henry being a weekly starter: 3/10
The Falcons Offense Is Going Through a Normal Regression
Examining the Falcons after six weeks is mostly an exercise to figure out why Julio Jones has been such a frustrating fantasy player this season. A closer look shows a regression compared to last year, but not as much doom and gloom as you might expect following home losses to the Bills and Dolphins.
Through six weeks (five games), Jones has just one 100-yard game (Week 2 vs. Green Bay) and just two games with at least 85 yards. He doesn’t have more than seven receptions in a single game and has double-digit targets in just one game. Plus, he’s yet to find the end zone. Through five games last season, Jones had hit the 100-yard mark twice with three TDs, although that also included just one game with double-digit targets and only two games with at least five receptions.
If we look at Matt Ryan’s numbers through five games last season, we see he threw for 300 yards three times and a total of 1,740 yards with 12 TDs to two INTs. Through five games in 2017, he has just a single 300-yard effort (Week 1 at Chicago) with 1,357 yards and six TDs to six INTs. Those numbers are more alarming than what’s happened with Jones.
Devonta Freeman has been the most reliable fantasy option on a weekly basis. While he has just one 100-yard rushing effort, he has a pair of games with at least 100 total yards, and he’s found the end zone five times (all rushing) with 353 rushing yards (4.5 yards per carry). Through five games of last season, he had one 100-yard rushing performance and two games with at least 100 total yards and three total TDs. He’s not someone to worry about with the most consistent output this year.
As a team, the Falcons rank fifth in total yards per game (378.4), 11th in rushing yards per game (120.6) and sixth in passing yards per game (257.8). Last season, they finished second in total yards per game (415.8), fifth in rushing yards per game (120.5) and third in passing yards per game (295.3). The numbers are down, but it’s not like they have become an average offense.
Making the switch from Kyle Shanahan to Steve Sarkisian as the offensive coordinator and play-caller was bound to lead to some regression, which is evident by the numbers compared to last season, but hope shouldn’t be lost, especially not for Jones. According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, head coach Dan Quinn is "not satisfied with how few touches" Jones is getting and that the team needs "to get more plays to get him the ball more." This seems obvious, but it’s nice to hear the coach recognize a major issue.
Instead of selling Jones, this may be a good time to buy low by taking advantage of a frustrated owner after Jones’ slow start. Try to do it before Week 7 since Jones has a great matchup against the Patriots.
B.S. Meter on the Falcons offense going through a normal regression: 4/10
Andre Ellington's Fantasy Value Is Ruined by the Presence of Adrian Peterson
Game flow can dictate a lot. It can take a talented player off the field. It can push a situation-specific player into a bigger role. Game flow has been great for Andre Ellington until Week 6.
Less than 10 minutes into their Week 6 game against the Buccaneers, the Cardinals led 14-0. By halftime, the Cardinals led 31-0 en route to a 38-33 victory. With such a big lead, Carson Palmer attempted just 22 passes after averaging more than 45 attempts over the first five weeks. That is one reason Ellington had just one target despite coming into the game with 40 targets, which led all RBs.
The other reason for Ellington's disappearance was the arrival of Adrian Peterson. While the flow of the game hurt Ellington, it was perfect for Peterson, especially since he got the scoring going with a 27-yard TD run. Because the Cardinals played with the lead for almost the entire game, Peterson stayed busy with 26 carries for 134 yards and two TDs. He played a season-high 78.7 percent of the snaps compared to just 21.3 percent for Ellington, which was the first time he dipped below 45 percent since Week 1.
Before Peterson's arrival, Ellington's busy role as a receiver basically acted as an extension of Arizona's rushing attack since it couldn't get anything going with Chris Johnson behind what's been a bad offensive line. The Cardinals came into Week 6 with the worst rushing offense in the league. Peterson was a massive improvement over that, so it wasn't just about volume. He took advantage of a shaky Buccaneers defense and punished it all game.
Going forward, the value of Ellington takes a hit, especially when the matchup favors Peterson, like in Week 7 when the Cardinals face a Rams defense that's given up the fourth-most rushing yards to RBs this season. That's a game to downgrade Ellington and consider Peterson a strong play. One game shouldn't destroy Ellington's value, but it does drop him into the RB3/flex territory, which means he's not a lock to be in your lineup.
B.S. Meter on Ellington's value being ruined by Peterson: 5/10
Matt Breida Remains a Major Threat to Carlos Hyde
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan put a scare into fantasy owners with his hot-hand talk about the team's backfield following Week 5. Concern specifically began to rise for Carlos Hyde.
Hyde remained the starter for Week 6 against Washington and bounced back with a better fantasy performance. Even though he rushed 13 times for just 28 yards, he ran in a pair of TDs and added five receptions for 47 yards on six targets on 77.8 percent of the snaps. That's the fifth time this season he played at least 69.0 percent of the snaps and fourth time this season he had six targets.
Breida carried four times for 21 yards and caught two of his four targets for 15 yards while playing just 23.6 percent of the snaps. Other than leading the snap count in Week 5, Breida hasn't played more than 31 percent of the snaps in any other game.
The hot-hand approach favored Hyde in Week 6, if you even believe that Shanahan was telling the truth when he brought up the philosophy last week. While the presence of Breida has to be acknowledged, he hasn't done enough to wrestle away a big share of the touches or snaps from Hyde.
B.S. Meter on Breida remaining a major threat to Hyde: 6/10
Sammy Watkins Must Be Kept on Fantasy Rosters
When the Bills shipped Watkins to the Rams in August, it looked like young Jared Goff had a new No. 1 target, but also some chemistry issues to work out along with learning a new offense. Expecting Watkins to make an immediate impact was setting the bar too high, despite his great talent. After six weeks, Watkins has turned into a fantasy ghost and is just taking up space on rosters.
Over the last three weeks against the Jaguars, Seahawks and Cowboys, Watkins has just two receptions for 28 yards and no TDs on 10 targets. While the schedule isn't helping him or Goff, especially against Jacksonville and Seattle, Watkins is talented enough to be considered a tough matchup for the opposition, yet he's been anything but productive.
It looked like Watkins was ready to break out with six receptions for 106 yards and two TDs on seven targets against the 49ers in Week 3, but he suffered a concussion in that game and hasn't made an impact since that big performance. Will it get any better with Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals on tap in Week 7? Considering Peterson is one of the only true shadow CBs in the league, Watkins could be in for another rough outing.
If you're keeping Watkins around, it's because you're loaded at WR and/or have a pretty good team, so the roster spot isn't that important. However, if you are struggling and need to make room to improve your team at any position, it might be time to move on from Watkins. After this tough matchup against Arizona, the Rams have a bye followed by a trip to face the Giants, where Watkins could see a lot of Janoris Jenkins. He's hard to trust right now.
B.S. Meter on Watkins being a keeper on fantasy rosters: 7/10
Will Fuller’s Production Is Sustainable
If you picked up Will Fuller as a lottery ticket before he returned to action in Week 4, you're sitting on a winner thanks to his TD-heavy production in the last three games. The question of whether he can keep it up is what may give you a reason to turn that lottery ticket winner into something more sustainable.
Since returning to action in Week 4, Fuller has eight receptions on 14 targets, but five of those receptions have gone for TDs. They've also happened all over the field, with his shortest score being nine yards and his longest being a 48-yard TD against the Chiefs in Week 5. Fuller is averaging 19.3 yards per catch, which is great, but this is still a small sample size.
While the scoring rate has been amazingly efficient, that won't be easy to keep up and because Fuller doesn't have a game with more than four receptions or 62 yards, if he doesn't score, he's in for a rough fantasy day. The one sustainable part of his output has been his snap percentage. He topped out at 92.2 percent in Week 5 and hasn't gone lower than the 79.8 percent in Week 4, so he's clearly the No. 2 WR to DeAndre Hopkins, which isn't a bad thing with how well Deshaun Watson is playing.
Because you can't use Fuller this week with the Texans on a bye, it's a good time to sell high on him to improve your team elsewhere in a package deal or just to find a more stable player who isn't as TD-reliant for his fantasy production.
B.S. Meter on Fuller's production being sustainable: 8/10
Austin Seferian-Jenkins Is Merely a Streaming Tight End
Unlike Hunter Henry, Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a lot more to prove to the fantasy world to be considered worth of a spot on rosters, much less a spot in starting lineups. After failing to live up to the hype in Tampa Bay, Seferian-Jenkins joined the Jets last season, but managed just 13 receptions for 154 yards and a TD in nine games. He opened this season with a two-game suspension, but has been on the field in each game since with his role continuing to grow.
Seferian-Jenkins found his way onto the fantasy radar in Week 5 with a great matchup against the Browns and came through with six receptions for 29 yards and a TD on eight targets. After proving himself as a worthwhile streamer, he earned another look from fantasy owners with a winnable matchup against the Patriots in Week 6. Playing Seferian-Jenkins paid off once again with eight receptions for 46 yards and a TD on 11 targets, although he could have had an even bigger game if not for a TD that was overturned by a controversial review.
In four games, Seferian-Jenkins has 23 receptions for 152 yards and two TDs on 29 targets. While his 6.6 yards per catch average might leave something to be desired, over his four-game span, no Jet has more receptions. Seferian-Jenkins tied Robby Anderson for the team lead in targets. He’s become an important player on a team without a lot of talent, so with his role on the rise, he’s graduated from streamer to fantasy starter.
B.S. Meter on Seferian-Jenkins being just a streaming TE: 9/10
The Cowboys Have a Clear Replacement for Ezekiel Elliott
The six-game suspension for Ezekiel Elliott is back on heading into Week 7, so unless we hear otherwise, the Cowboys need to figure out how they plan to replace Elliott. Do they know that answer? Have they been preparing for Elliott's absence to start at any time or will they have to go through trial and error to find the best solution?
If you're looking at this from a fantasy perspective, the answer is not clear. By examining the facts, we can try to figure out the best course of action, but that doesn't mean it will land you at the ultimate solution. In fact, the Cowboys could decide to change their minds if their plan doesn't work out in Week 7. Don't assume the plans are set. We've seen plenty of changes in backfields around the league to know these situations are fluid.
Over the first six weeks, Darren McFadden has been inactive for every game. Instead, the Cowboys have gone with Elliott, Alfred Morris and Rod Smith as their three RBs. With everyone healthy, there's no reason to keep Elliott, Morris and McFadden, so Morris has been getting the call over McFadden to be Elliott's backup with Smith on special teams. Have the Cowboys been saving McFadden in the event they need him for Elliott's absence? It's a legitimate question, especially when you consider McFadden's injury history. Since entering the league in 2008, he has just two 16-game seasons under his belt and played just three games last year.
Even though Morris has been active for every game, he has just eight carries for 87 yards and one target. He didn't play a snap in Week 3. His high-snap total came in Week 1, when he was on the field for 10.8 percent of the plays. So while Morris has gotten the nod over McFadden, he's been nothing more than a scarcely used backup behind Elliott. Still, the Cowboys feel he's worth activating over McFadden, which has to mean something.
If picking between the two comes down to scoring format, McFadden would get the nod in PPR formats, as he's a better receiver, although the team could easily divide Elliotts' role with Morris leading the way in carries and McFadden getting the majority of the targets.
When asked who will start in place of Elliott, Bryan Broaddus of the Cowboys' official site said his guess was McFadden, so that's far from a strong answer, which is understandable. No matter who they go with, it's a big downgrade in talent from Elliott behind an offensive line that while still good, is not at the elite level of 2016. If either player is sitting on your waiver wire right now, pick him up and hope for the best. There's no definite answer here and the entire situation could be rendered moot if Elliott's legal team can stop the suspension before Week 7.
B.S. Meter on the Cowboys having a clear replacement for Elliott: 10/10