I noted last week that I was looking forward to using the mid-season NFL point to provide a note or blurb on every team. I’ve started with 16 teams and will complete the rest of the league next week. It was honestly a fun exercise. I often get stuck in the week to week grind of the NFL season and forget to look ahead to take advantage of buy/sell opportunities, bottom of the barrel waiver wire options, and trying to catch trends before they happen. Hopefully, there is something in every one of these teams that you can use either in season-long fantasy, DFS, or in your “office pool”.
Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals are currently 13th in the NFL in plays per game. They face the 29th most difficult pass defensive efficiency of opponents remaining and the 32nd run defensive efficiency remaining. They have lost their best offensive weapon to injury as of this writing. It is very unlikely the finish to Kliff Kingsbury’s 1st season will end with a top half scoring offense.
Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons are allowing the 3rd most fantasy points per week to opposing QBs. There are many potential streamers that will face the Falcons in the coming weeks including Kyle Allen/Cam Newton twice, Jameis Winston, Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers will probably run through them) and Gardiner Minshew.
Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens are running the most plays per game in the NFL. Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram are a machine that cannot be stopped. They have actually faced the 7th most difficult rush defense schedule thus far but face the 14th easiest the rest of the season.
Buffalo Bills – The Bills are 25th in total DVOA. Teams have beaten the metric before but last week’s loss to the Eagles shouldn’t be a surprise. This team can beat below average squads and will struggle against anyone with talent. Could lead to more catch up games for Josh Allen which is where he becomes a fantasy superstar playing at higher tempo.
Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Mixon has only received over a 50% snap share in 2 of 8 games this season. He is obviously not a preferred option in lineups, but also note that Zac Taylor, unless fired, probably won’t give him a large enough snap share to be an early round pick next year either.
Cleveland Browns – The Browns face the leagues easiest offensive schedule in weeks 14 & 15 (Bengals & Cardinals), the first two rounds of the fantasy playoffs. If you are a cemented playoff team that streams QBs and someone drops Baker Mayfield it is worth the consideration to stash him if you have a bench spot available.
Chicago Bears – Matt Nagy stated he was going to lean on the run. In week 8 he gave David Montgomery 73% of the snaps and 27 carries. Montgomery was largely inefficient gaining only 3.07 ypc when his 55-yard-long run is removed. The team also lost. He is at 44.9% success rate on all rushes. The league average is 47.1%. If the volume decreases, he will become a shaky option again quickly.
Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott has a completion percentage 8.1% higher than his expected completion percentage. I’ve been a Dak hater before, but he is having an outstanding season. The offense is #1 in DVOA in the NFL. The defensive regression is the reason for the Cowboys 4-3 record.
Denver Broncos – Sneakily, Denver is 3rd in the NFL in defensive DVOA. The team will continue to be a pest.
Detroit Lions – Matt Stafford is on pace for the most efficient season of his career. His extrapolated stats give him 36 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Danny Amendola has received 8 targets in both of his past two contests. The Lions have used him as an extension of the run game, like concepts deployed by Matt Patricia’s old boss. He might be worth a look.
Houston Texans – The Texans face the 29th most difficult schedule rest of season. The 31st most difficult rush defensive efficiency schedule. They will lean on their superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson. Kenny Stills is floating around on 50% of waiver wires, and the team benched Keke Coutee against the Raiders. Stills would be a worthwhile prayer for wide receiver needy owners with Will Fuller to be out several weeks.
Indianapolis Colts – Jacoby Brissett has not been a good replacement for Andrew Luck, he has been great. He has even provided some fantasy value. However, his air yards per week in the first four weeks of the season were 250, but in his last 3 games he has averaged only 211. It is one of the lower marks amongst starting quarterbacks in the NFL. He isn’t a secure fantasy starter but can be used on a week to week basis.
Kansas City Chiefs – The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t what they were last year. It has nothing to do with the defense, which is improved. It has nothing to do with the injury to Patrick Mahomes. The problem is that they do not have the explosive run game that they did with Kareem Hunt and a healthy offensive line. In 2018, they averaged 3.875 explosive rushes per game. In 2019, that number is 2.1.
Los Angeles Chargers – The return of Russell Okung allowed for Phillip Rivers to avoid ending up on his back against one of the leagues best pass rushes in week 8. It also provided Rivers time to pepper Keenan Allen with 10 targets. I’ve noted the target dip in these articles before as a problem that aligned with the injury to Mike Pouncey. I’m interested to see if Allen’s double-digit target weeks are back to stay.