Fantasy Football Week 10 BS Meter
Last week's B.S. Meter didn't have a long shelf life after the trades made by the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles. We saw early results of those trades in Week 9.
Demaryius Thomas got off to a hot start against his old team, yet despite the absence of Keke Coutee, he didn't make a significant impact in his debut for the Texans.
On the other side of that game, the Broncos didn't get much out of Emmanuel Sanders or Thomas' replacement in the starting lineup, Courtland Sutton. While the rookie should still get a bump in targets and fantasy value, he was a disappointment in his first game with Thomas out of the picture.
Similar displeasure is coming from those who expected Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay to post strong numbers with Golden Tate and his team-leading 69 targets out of the mix. Golladay and Jones combined for just nine receptions and 112 yards on 12 targets in an ugly loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Week 10 will provide the first look at Golden Tate in an Eagles uniform. The immediate winner in the Tate trade is Carson Wentz, although Tate could wind up providing reliable fantasy production alongside Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz if the Eagles give Tate the targets typically handled by complementary weapons like Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews.
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations covering the most pressing issues in fantasy football heading into Week 10. 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. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
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Marquez Valdes-Scantling Is the Top Priority on the Waiver Wire
Injuries to Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison pushed Marquez Valdes-Scantling into a bigger role over the last month. That spot carried more weight and fantasy value because it meant he'd be catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. To his credit, Valdes-Scantling did a solid job with Cobb and Allison sidelined, but how would he fare when everyone was healthy?
With Adams, Cobb, Allison and Valdes-Scantling all available for Week 8, he turned five targets into two receptions for 45 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown. While that wasn't a huge target share, he started the game and was second in wide receiver snaps (59.6 percent) only to Davante Adams. Cobb also had five targets, but just four catches for 40 yards, while Allison had just one target with one reception for 14 yards.
Week 9 put Valdes-Scantling into more of a spotlight role. Allison injured his groin in the days leading up to the Sunday night matchup with the New England Patriots, so he was inactive. That made it easier to use Valdes-Scantling with confidence in fantasy lineups. He didn't disappoint with three receptions for 101 yards on six targets while seeing 81.1 percent of the snaps. Cobb's six targets turned into five receptions for 24 yards on a 75.5 percent snap share.
In the last four games, Valdes-Scantling has 15 receptions for 317 yards and two touchdowns on 27 targets, which puts him at 14.7 fantasy points per game during that span. After Adams, that makes Valdes-Scantling the most reliable fantasy option in the team's receiving corps.
That role made have been solidified when head coach Mike McCarthy said Allison may need surgery on his groin following a visit to a core muscle specialist, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Allison may have been behind Valdes-Scantling before the injury, but this situation is another reason Valdes-Scantling's value continues to soar.
It's pretty clear that as Rodgers' No. 2 receiver, Valdes-Scantling must be rostered and should be considered a strong WR3 with WR2 upside until further notice, which could end up being for the rest of the season.
B.S. Meter on Valdes-Scantling being the top priority on the waiver wire: 1/10
Dalvin Cook Has Returned to Weekly Starter Status
Dalvin Cook suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2, missed the next game and then was limited by the injury in Week 4. He wound up missing the next four weeks with concerns that he wasn't ready and/or would suffer another setback. With such caution taken, it was somewhat surprising to see Cook active in Week 9 knowing the Vikings have a bye in Week 10.
Considering the time it took for Cook to return, his role was not expected to be a big one, although that seemed to change after one particular run. With 4:45 to go in the second quarter, Cook's sixth touch of the game turned into a 70-yard run. While Cook looked back to normal on the huge gain, the most important part was the aftermath. Cook showed no signs of pulling up or a setback, which may have changed how the Vikings treated him the rest of the game.
Cook would finish the game with 10 carries for 89 yards and four catches for 20 yards on four targets. Murray also had 10 carries but totaled just 31 yards, although he did have a one-yard touchdown run and a reception for 16 yards on his only target. Not only did Cook out-touch Murray, but he also out-snapped him. Cook was on the field for 57.1 percent of the snaps (28 snaps), while Murray played 44.9 percent. That was Murray's lowest snap count since Week 2, which was the game Cook was initially injured.
Even though Murray should stay in the mix, potentially in short-yardage situations, Cook showed more than enough to prove himself to both the Vikings and his fantasy owners that he's ready for the lead role when the Vikings return to action in Week 11. He should be in your starting lineup with confidence going forward.
B.S. Meter on Cook returning to weekly starter status: 2/10
The Bears Don't Have a Go-to Player
A well-defined offense makes life easier for all fantasy players. For the most part, teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants feature the same top players on a weekly basis, and those players are consistently seeing the most fantasy production. Obviously, those are three teams with vastly different records, but at least you know they won't throw many curveballs.
The Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears don't make life quite so easy for fantasy players. Miami has a 5-4 record, but it's been tough to count on its best player, Kenyan Drake, to be a weekly starter since the Dolphins spread the ball around so much. Of course, that's a hard pill to swallow since they don't have a lot of talent.
In the case of the Bears, it's a little bit easier to understand since they have good talent at running back, wide receiver and tight end. Of course, that also makes it tougher to fully trust any of those players to be strong fantasy starters.
For the season, Taylor Gabriel leads all receiving categories with 49 targets, 37 receptions and 426 yards. In the last three games, he has just 10 receptions for 123 yards and no touchdowns on 15 targets. That's even more annoying when you consider Allen Robinson II has been out of the lineup for the last two weeks with a groin injury. Trey Burton has the most receiving touchdowns with five, but just 29 receptions for 371 yards on 40 targets.
The backfield seemed to be tipping toward Tarik Cohen. After a slow start in the first three games, he piled up 22 receptions for 280 yards and two touchdowns on 20 targets and 24 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown in the next three games. In the last two games, he carried 11 times for 45 yards and has two receptions for 78 yards on five targets, most of which came on a 70-yard screen for a touchdown in Week 8.
The frustration with Jordan Howard came to a head when Cohen got hot and busy over that three-game stretch, but those who overreacted and moved on from Howard too quickly have missed out on his 48 carries for 167 and four touchdowns in the last three games. It's not the highest quality of volume, but it's still volume, and no one in this offense is getting a lot of it on a regular basis.
For the Bears, the whole is greater than the sum of their parts, which makes it hard to feel great about any of their fantasy options.
B.S. Meter on the Bears not having a go-to player: 3/10
John Brown Can Rebound from His Small Slump
Much like the Baltimore Ravens, Brown got off to a hot start but has cooled in a hurry, and now fans and his fantasy owners are wondering if it was all a mirage.
In the first four games, Brown notched 15 receptions for 336 yards and three touchdowns on 30 targets, which made him the No. 21 fantasy wide receiver at 16.8 fantasy points per game. That included three games with at least 86 yards.
In five game since then, Brown has 19 receptions for 263 yards and one touchdown on 37 targets, which gives him 10.3 fantasy points per game during that span. Other than seven receptions for 134 yards and a score in Week 7, Brown doesn't have any games with at least five receptions and three games with less than 30 yards in the last five weeks.
After nine games, Brown still leads the receiving corps in yards (601) and touchdowns (four), but he's third in targets (67) behind Willie Snead IV (69) and Michael Crabtree (76) and fourth in receptions (34) trailing Javorius Allen (35), Crabtree (41) and Snead (45).
The good news for Brown is what the Ravens schedule looks like after the Week 10 bye. He'll face the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aside from the Chiefs (17th), the other four teams all rank in the top seven of easiest matchups for fantasy wide receivers.
Brown will need some improvement out of Joe Flacco, but thanks to a favorable schedule, he's a good player to buy low on.
B.S. Meter on Brown rebounding from his small slump: 4/10
Chris Herndon Will Continue to Have Solid Fantasy Production
There hasn't been much to get excited about for the New York Jets, and if you've been ignoring them for fantasy, no one would fault you. However, you should be paying attention to Chris Herndon—if not for this season, at least for the future.
Herndon came into Week 9 on a three-game touchdown streak. While he didn't score in Week 9, he did turn four targets into four receptions for a season-high 62 yards. That may not seem like much, but it was significant because he did so in the week both Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson returned from injuries. With all the top targets in the offense back in the mix, Herndon led the team in receiving.
Over the last month, Herndon has 11 receptions for 176 yards and three touchdowns on 15 targets. That makes him a top-10 tight end during that stretch with 11.7 fantasy points per game. In a season with a severe lack of consistency at the tight end position, Herndon's performance in the last four games can't be ignored.
At 3-6, the Jets are falling out of playoff contention quickly, so they'll likely be moving toward evaluation mode in the second half of the season. The team should be looking to add more talent to the receiving corps in the offseason, but Herndon may have a good chance to prove himself down the stretch. He's a bit touchdown-reliant to be considered a weekly starter, so the hope is Herndon's targets and role will increase.
B.S. Meter on Herndon continuing to have solid fantasy production: 5/10
Rob Gronkowski Will Finish the Season as a Top-5 Tight End
When you draft Rob Gronkowski, injuries come with the territory, but his massive upside usually justifies the risk. The injuries have been there this season, yet that upside has been nonexistent.
Since hauling in seven of eight targets for 123 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, Gronk has just one other game with at least five receptions. Including the opener, he has only four games with at least 50 yards. The Week 1 touchdown is his only trip to the end zone this season.
How did the touchdowns dry up? Look no further than Gronkowski's role in the red zone. He has two red-zone targets on the season. By comparison, James White leads the team with 14, although Gronkowski also trails Julian Edelman (10), Phillip Dorsett (6), Josh Gordon (5), Rex Burkhead (3), Chris Hogan (3) and Cordarrelle Patterson (3). Burkhead hasn't played since Week 3.
In seven games, Gronkowski is averaging 11.1 fantasy points per game, which puts him just inside the top 10 tight ends. He's still a fantasy starter but is coming nowhere close to the high expectations set for him at the beginning of every season. Gronkowski has 77.8 fantasy points on the season, while Zach Ertz, who has played one just more game, sits at 143.4 fantasy points.
The ankle and back issues only add to Gronkowski's disappointing season, but make no mistake about it: When he's been on the field, he's been far from the dominant fantasy player we've seen in the past. Maybe we shouldn't be so surprised to see Gronkowski in this diminished form considering he was almost traded in the offseason.
Whether he comes back this week or rests through the Week 11 bye, we'll need to see a different player with an increased red-zone presence over the second half of the season if he has any chance of finishing as a top-five tight end.
B.S. Meter on Gronkowski finishing the season as a top-five tight end: 6/10
The Chargers Can Consistently Support Multiple Fantasy Wide Receivers
In last week's B.S. Meter, we covered how the Seattle Seahawks wide receivers needed touchdowns to have fantasy value. If you've been dealing with the Los Angeles Chargers wide receivers, you know the same is mostly true. However, there are more big plays for the Chargers, and they still have a dominant top dog.
That top option is Keenan Allen, although many have been frustrated by his season because of his lack of touchdowns. He hasn't scored since Week 1, yet he has made up for it by having a busy role. Allen leads the team with 66 targets, 47 receptions and 630 yards. Melvin Gordon ranks second in targets (46) and receptions (31), while Tyrell Williams is second in yards at 451.
Allen posted his second 100-yard effort of the season with six receptions for a season-high 124 yards on 10 targets in a Week 9 win over the Seahawks. He has at least five receptions in six of eight games and at least 62 yards in all but one game. With 15.2 fantasy points per game, he's been somewhat disappointing as nothing more than a decent WR2.
The Chargers clearly have a lot of talent, but they aren't getting the volume necessary to support more than Allen as a weekly starter. In each of the last four games, Philip Rivers has fewer than 30 pass attempts. On the season, he has just two games with more than 30 pass attempts. Of course, the Chargers haven't lost since Week 3, so there's no need to mess with a winning formula.
Tyrell Williams has five touchdowns, and four of them have occurred in the last three games. He has just 22 receptions for 451 yards on 30 targets on the year and has just one game with four receptions. Two of his last three games have resulted in 118-yard performances, but those included touchdowns of 45 yards and 75 yards.
Mike Williams has touchdowns of 55 yards and 30 yards in the last two games. Unfortunately, those were his only catches in those games. He has three receptions for 89 yards on 10 targets in the last three games. Five of Williams' 18 receptions have gone for scores. He has 338 yards and 32 targets, so he's also hitting big plays on little volume.
Gordon continues to eat up a lot of touches. In addition to his busy role as a receiver, he has 107 carries for 579 yards in seven games. He has at least 15 carries in all but one game. When you throw in Austin Ekeler's 56 carries and 26 targets (20 receptions), it cuts into the target share that much more.
The Chargers are a great team with lots of talent, but other than Allen, you can't bank on the other receivers to come through without finding the end zone.
B.S. Meter on the Chargers consistently supporting multiple fantasy wide receivers: 7/10
You Should Move on from T.J. Yeldon
The Jacksonville Jaguars come out of the Week 9 bye hopeful that Leonard Fournette will return to action following a hamstring injury that limited him to brief appearances in Weeks 1 and 4. He's been inactive for the last four games, which certainly played into the team's decision to acquire Carlos Hyde from the Cleveland Browns just days before they took on the Houston Texans in Week 7. The question becomes how does this backfield operate with Fournette, Hyde and T.J. Yeldon?
Yeldon has been serviceable as a runner this season. He has 334 yards and a touchdown on 81 carries, which puts him at 4.1 yards per carry. However, he doesn't have a game with more than 58 rushing yards, so while he's been fine, it hasn't been enough to make up for Fournette's absence, especially since both Blake Bortles and the defense have struggled.
Where Yeldon has excelled is in the passing game. He's second on the team in targets (54) and leads the team in receptions (37) and receiving touchdowns (4) in addition to 346 receiving yards. That's been good enough for 16.6 fantasy points per game and a spot at the high end of the RB2 tier.
Yeldon has clearly been a vital part of Jacksonville's passing attack, and because of that, he might have the most defined role in what looks like a crowded backfield. The split between Hyde and Fournette might take some time to figure out, especially if the Jaguars want to ease Fournette back in after multiple setbacks kept him out for so long. That's also reason to keep Yeldon as the primary receiver out of the backfield.
He might not get the same volume we saw for the first half of the season, but the Jaguars would be foolish to significantly cut back on Yeldon's targets. As long as he has those, he's at least a strong RB3/flex and will keep fantasy value for the rest of the year.
B.S. Meter on if you should move on from T.J. Yeldon: 8/10
Demaryius Thomas' Fantasy Value Is on the Rise
When Demaryius Thomas was traded to the Texans, he left behind a near 20 percent target share in Denver and joined a team that saw Will Fuller V vacate a 17.5 percent target share when he was lost for the season to a torn ACL. Of course, that Texans depth chart includes DeAndre Hopkins and Keke Coutee.
Before the trade went down, last week's B.S. Meter made the argument for Coutee to be the top waiver add heading into Week 9. He was already handling an 11.7 percent targets share in just four games, so he was clearly busy when he was actually on the field. Unfortunately, availability has been a problem for Coutee due to a hamstring injury.
Coutee missed the last two games because of the hamstring issue, and according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Coutee said: "Until I'm 100 percent, I won't be back out there. We're taking it day by day. I'm doing a little bit better every day. I'm definitely taking a little time during the bye."
That leaves a window open for Thomas to step into a sizeable role, although that didn't happen in Week 9. Thomas had three receptions for 61 yards on three targets, but that all happened in the first quarter. Hopkins dominated the targets by racking up 10 receptions for 105 yards on 12 targets. Half of Deshaun Watson's 24 pass attempts were directed at Hopkins. Thomas' three targets were tied with Jordan Akins for second-most.
Even though Thomas saw about a fifth of the target share in Denver, he averaged just 11.8 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile Emmanuel Sanders had just nine more targets than Thomas, yet he averaged 18.7 FPG. That shows that even though Thomas had a sizeable role with the Broncos, he was inefficient.
While Coutee's status remains in question, that doesn't mean Thomas should see any jump in his fantasy value. The trade is a good one in reality, as it gives Watson another reliable target, but for fantasy it doesn't do anything to help Thomas. In fact, he'll likely be worse once Coutee is back on the field.
B.S. Meter on Thomas' fantasy value being on the rise: 9/10
Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz Take a Huge Hit with the Arrival of Golden Tate
The Eagles used their bye week to make a big splash at the trade deadline with the acquisition of Golden Tate. While it seemed like they would be after a wide receiver to take the top of opposing defenses, Tate provides Carson Wentz with another reliable option who can do damage after the catch. Immediately, concern for the fantasy values of Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz became a hot topic.
Through eight weeks, Ertz handled a 27.6 percent target share, which is a high number for any player, but especially a tight end. However, he's been a great producer with that volume. Ertz turned 84 targets into 61 receptions, 644 yards and three touchdowns. He has three games of at least 110 yards and three games with at least 10 receptions. There's no doubt he's Wentz's favorite target and one of the two best fantasy tight ends along with Travis Kelce.
Since Jeffery returned from his shoulder injury, there's been little to complain about. His 44 receptions in five games makes up 14.5 percent of the team's target share, so considering he missed the first three games of the season, that's a big number. In those five games, Jeffery has 29 receptions for 341 yards and four touchdowns. That puts him right on the WR1/WR2 border at 17.4 FPG in those five weeks.
Tate should provide a significant upgrade over Philadelphia's second-busiest receiver, Nelson Agholor. His 61 targets equates to a 20 percent target share. However, he's posted just 372 yards and one touchdown on 41 receptions (9.1 yards per catch), which is quite the inefficient number for someone who's been so busy. As a comparison, Tate had 44 receptions for 517 yards (11.8 YPC) and three touchdowns on 69 targets in seven games with the Detroit Lions.
There's no reason to cut back on the roles of Ertz and Jeffery when the majority of targets going to Agholor, Jordan Matthews and the backfield can be directed to Tate. The efficiency of those targets will rise if the team plugs Tate into a big role, which makes perfect sense. The big winner in all of this is Wentz, but you shouldn't have any major concerns about Ertz or Jeffery. Tate can be a solid WR3 with WR2 upside in his new, improved home.
B.S. Meter on Jeffery and Ertz taking a huge hit with the arrival of Tate: 10/10