You may think putting NFL players names next to a number 1-80 in an excel spreadsheet is easy but LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING!!!
Getting the right names… in the right order… slightly more difficult.
The toughest component I’ve found to establishing the rest of seasons rankings is deciphering current injury situations and how the reintegration of personnel will affect team’s offenses moving forward. With that in mind, this week I thought it would be more beneficial to detail some situations that are questionable, and some players in the top 30 with significant injury news.
Team Situations Putting My Brain in a Blender:
- Kansas City Chiefs Running Game – The easiest way to win in fantasy football is to find the most predictable week over week usage. I’ve harped on the Bucs passing game for weeks for this exact reason. The Chiefs running back situation is the complete opposite. The snap counts are see-sawing on a weekly basis, the touches aren’t consistent, and it’s possible Andy Reid forgot that running the football is an option. LeSean Mccoy (#79) has plummeted down the ROS rankings, and Damien Williams completely off. If one of these players starts stepping forward, they have a chance to be a league winner, but with their playoff schedule I’ll let someone else assume that risk.
- Los Angeles Chargers Offense – The LA Chargers are bad. They are 22nd in overall DVOA and it’s fair to say that they are firmly within the bottom 10 teams in the NFL. That doesn’t necessarily translate to poor fantasy numbers, but with the return of Hunter Henry (#60) the Chargers decided to move him into the slot on an abundant percentage of routes. This made Henry the featured player versus a Steelers team that is vulnerable against dynamic slot personnel. What was once a cemented situation for Keenan Allen (#16) is slowly converting into a hazy mess. My fear is that this will flatten out the opportunities for everyone including Austin Ekeler (#65) who is going to continue a 55/45 snap split with Melvin Gordon (#31) it seems.
- Green Bay Packers Running Backs – It’s fair to say Aaron Jones (#30) was terrible on Monday night, but everyone… including myself missed the fact that Jones only played 68% of the offensive snaps in his week 5 breakout. This coupled with his poor performance is making the 50/50 split between Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones that Matt LaFleur has shown a preference for more likely. I’m holding Jones in the top 30 for one more week to see if he gets all the goal line work, but for an offensive line that isn’t a top 10 run blocking unit this situation is teetering closer to fantasy headache than meets the eye. They don’t run the ball with the volume, nor the efficiency of the 49ers.
- New England Patriots – Sony Michel (#42) received a bevy of carries against the Giants. His touch count deserves a higher ranking. He was vultured by Tommy Sneaks twice last Thursday and could’ve had a huge night, but Rex Burkhead’s return coupled with a tougher upcoming schedule is going to keep fantasy owners frustrated with the Patriots running game distribution, per usual.
Significant Injury Situations:
- Alvin Kamara (#6) – I’ve bumped Kamara down, albeit slightly, based on the reported high ankle sprain he has picked up. It looks like he is 50-50 to play this week, but my true fear isn’t a multiple week absence. My true fear is Latavius Murray succeeding, and the 60/40 snap share we saw in week 6 becoming the norm.
- James Conner (#19) – I’ve held Conner firm with a week to recover from a reported quad injury. Conner’s re-upped usage in the passing game versus the Chargers is the most encouraging thing his owners can see. Hopefully we get full injury clearance early next week.
- Davante Adams (#26) – Touched on Adams last week.
- Todd Gurley (#28) – Gurley snake bit me in last weeks rankings and is essentially the reason for the approach to this week’s article. Gurley remains in a high scoring offense. He played over 90% of the snaps in week 5. I brushed off the news early last week on Gurley’s quad as it seemed marginal with him finishing the contest, and the ordinary nature of the reporting on the injury. It turned out to be more severe than reported. I am now concerned that his overall injury likelihood for the rest of the season is escalated from an already elevated baseline. Additionally, Darrell Henderson looked like a player vying for a significant portion of the offense. If you have Gurley he could easily return to a 90% snap share. The Rams have an average rest of seasons schedule. He can move back up quickly as the Rams will be desperate for wins the rest of the season, but until we see him back on the field and the usage above 75% again, tread carefully.