I like it when there’s a penalty in football. The ref comes out, takes center stage on national television, and in avuncular tone, tells us what exactly went wrong and what the consequences will be. There’s a sincere clarity to a football penalty. It’s like my team’s on-the-field problems are my own. When my team’s cornerback interferes with a pass, it’s like I was getting vicariously handsy with the receiver. Then the ref comes out and tells me I was a bad boy, and that I better keep my hands to myself next time. But then the ref says “Half the distance to the goal,” and I think to myself, I haven’t gotten any of my goals achieved. Now I’m halfway there!
Thanks to you ref, maybe I’ll achieve something this year.
Before I start the news and notes section, it’s important to know that there was some sort of horizontal invisible force that overtook half of these United States on Sunday, wreaking havoc on kickers and passers alike. My best academic guess is that is was a Vortex Giant (CR 25) that could only be effectively attacked with a +5 running game. In DFS, a lot of casual players will be overpaying for Patrick Mahomes’ 400+ yards and 5TDs and discounting the players who were stuck in the vortex, so make sure to take advantage of “buy low” QB candidates in your GPP lineups.
The wind in Cleveland was rough on kickers today pic.twitter.com/JRXDRrm0xy
— Pick Six Podcast (@picksixpod) November 1, 2020
Aaron Rodgers — Imagine you’re 36-year old Aaron Rodgers, and you want to get another Super Bowl ring on your hand to show off while doing those discount double-checks. 2020 seems like a perfect opportunity. The usual NFL suspects are not doing well: the Seahawks and Falcons have awful defenses, the Patriots are a mess, and Drew Brees can’t throw over 6 yards. You go to face off against the Minnesota Vikings, who were literally running out rookie cornerbacks who were activated this past week. Should be an easy win, right? But then, the Vortex Giant strikes. The game becomes a battle of running backs, and Minnesota trots out their giant-slayer, Dalvin Cook, who put up over 220 yards and 4 TDs. Meanwhile, the Rodgers hits Davante Adams for 7 receptions and 53 yards and 3 TDs, and they loose because Aaron Jones was unavailable to pound the ground. Although backup running back Jamal Williams put up a nice game with 100 combined yards, it was nothing to match Cook’s performance. Meanwhile. it turns out that Packers running back A.J. Dillon had Covid and took the field, which puts the Packers into an awful depth chart situation for their Thursday night game against the 49ers. With the Packers’ running back room decimated, the 49ers are the favorites on Thursday night, despite losing their starting QB and top receiver to IR (more on that below). Rodgers takes on some tough defenses in the second half, including the 49ers this week, the Colts, and the Chicago Bears twice. If you’re in a situation where you can get a good backup QB, you probably want to try trading Rodgers now, and ride a QB like Derek Carr into the fantasy playoffs.
Gardner Minshew — Everybody’s favorite mustache-slinger was already on the cusp of losing his job, and then last week medical tests revealed that Minshew had multiple fractures and a strained ligament in the thumb on his throwing hand. The Jags have shown that they will jettison talent rather quickly: after they signed Nick Foles to a 4-year $88 million dollar contract in 2019, they benched him after 4 games in favor of 6th round draft pick, Gardner Minshew. The Jags dumped Leonard Fournette at the beginning of 2020, and they also traded defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Vikings. Despite having journeyman signal caller Mike Glennon on the roster, the Jags will go with their most recent 6th round draft pick, Jake Luton, at QB. Sounds like a “see what talent we got” move, eh? Minshew managers should be wary about the mustachioed-man’s playing time the rest of season: the Jags don’t seem to favor him, and he’s got a beat up throwing hand. If you’ve got Minshew in a dynasty league, you’re best suited trading him. If you’re in redraft and were using Minshew as your main QB, you better find a replacement ASAP.
Jake Luton — Luton takes over for Minshew this week, and Luton has surprising upside potential. I’m not saying to start him, but if you’re in a superflex league or a dynasty, it might be worth a FAAB to grab Luton and see what happens. The Jags are 7th in passing attempts, and with DJ Chark, Keelan Cole, Laviska Shenault, and James Robinson all garnering over 30 targets so far, it could be a nice opportunity for a backup QB to take over for the incumbent. Luton was productive at Oregon State, and his career adjusted passing yards per pass attempt was actually higher than Gardner Minshew’s college career total. In 2019, Luton trailed Justin Herbert in that category by 0.2 yards among PAC-12 players. Opportunity + receivers + ability to throw downfield = sneaky upside.
Jimmy Garoppolo — If you’ve been reading every week, you know I threw Jimmy G down in Tier 3 (do not start in any format) a long time ago. Jimmy G started out the year with a high ankle sprain, which was problematic for the 49ers’ frequent use of run-pass-option and play action, which still account for nearly 30% of his passing attempts. Although JG started his year without most of his receivers, he spent the middle of it without most of his running backs, and now George Kittle is out of the picture for the rest of the fantasy season. Garoppolo will rest his sprained ankle “indefinitely” according to reports, and will probably miss the remainder of the fantasy season. Even if he comes back before Week 16, he’s a clear bench option for your fantasy team.
Nick Mullens — Here’s what I wrote about Nick Mullens in Week 3: “A former undrafted free agent from Southern Miss, Mullens saw NFL action in 2018, when he started 8 games for the 49ers and had a 3-5 record while tossing 13 TDs and 10 INTs. Subbing in for Garoppolo in Week 2, Mullens went 8 of 11 for 71 yards and a pick.” That’s me quoting me! In real life, the 49ers are a team full of talent. For fantasy, they’re going to be a volatile disaster. Mullens has produced in his time as a signal caller, but with Kittle out, the 49ers lost their best receiver. Mullens has also been running a ton of play action — over 35% of his pass attempts so far — so his upside is limited. He’s fine for a superflex desperation move, but he shouldn’t be on your radar in anything other than the deepest leagues.
Deshaun Watson — Since Bill O’Brien was fired after a Week 4 loss to the hapless Minnesota Vikings, Deshaun Watson has put up the best quarterback rating among regular QBs in Weeks 5-8. Flaunting a 74% completion rate, over 1,000 yards passing, and 9 TDs to 2 INTs, Watson is back into elite fantasy QB territory. Although the Texans’ running game has been the worst in the league, reports are circulating that the Texans will give more reps to Duke Johnson, who is actually one of the most consistent RBs in the league over the past few years. If Duke is healed from his early season injury and plays consistently for the Texans, it would open up the offense even more. Deshaun Watson is already playing hot and there’s room for upside. However, B.o.B. basically destroyed the Texans for the next few years, so don’t be surprised if several Texans get traded in order to rebuild a broken franchise (article submitted while trade rumors about Will Fuller are still swirling).
Matt Stafford — The Lions are still a mess and their receivers can’t stay healthy, but Stafford has put up 300 yards/game over his past three games, albeit with only 5 TDs to show for it. Stafford has an incredibly soft strength of schedule for the next few games before facing some tough matchups in the fantasy playoffs. Although the Lions’ QB should have been riding the fantasy bench for most of 2020, it looks like he could have some big weeks here. If he’s on your fantasy waiver wire, give him a look.
Ben Roethlisberger — Every week, I look into Rudy’s premium projections and find a flier QB who might be of use to you. Sometimes, we’re reminded about how sports are all about odds. Last week’s pick, Carson Wentz, had come off of two consecutive top-7 finishes as a fantasy QB, and in week 8 he faced off against a decimated Dallas Cowboys offense that Kyle Allen torched in Week 7. And, wouldn’t you know? The Cowboys crushed Wentz. Sure, the Eagles were completely one-dimensional with Miles Sanders out, but Wentz should have done better than 123 yards against one of the worst defenses in the league. In Week 9, Big Ben gets his shot against Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed the third most passing TDs in the league and are tied for third worst in takeaways. Ben’s finished as a top 10 fantasy QB only two times this year, and he really should be available on the waiver wire in most leagues, so if you’re in a bye situation, think about bringing Uncle Ben in for a week.
I say this every week but nobody ever sees it, so maybe I’ll bold it for visibility: Rankings really don’t matter within the tiers. The actual QB6 (Aaron Rodgers) is separated from QB20 (Matthew Stafford) by 30 points, or less than 4 points per game. Russ, Mahomes, and Kyler are in a league of their own. Everybody else in Tier 1 is fighting for 4th place. Everybody in tier 2 is streamable on your fantasy roster. Everybody in tier 3 should be left on the bench unless you’re in a 16-team or superflex league.
- PY/G = Passing yards per game
- RY/G = Rushing yards per game
- TTDs = Passing + Rushing TDs
- CAY/AT = Completed Air Yards per Attempt (Shows accuracy + Thrown Distance)
- YAC/C = Yards After Catch per Catch (Shows role of receivers in yardage)
- Bad% = Percentage of badly thrown passes (not including spikes/throwaways)
- FP/G = Standard League fantasy points per game (2020 season)
- Green = Player is top 20% in that category
|24||Gardner Minshew II||265||17.4||14||3.7||4.9||18.8||18.63|
Aye, you made it this far, didn’t ya. EverywhereBlair is, well, located at home right now. He’s a historian and lover of prog-metal. He enjoys a good sipping rum. When he’s not churning data and making fan fiction about Grey and Donkey Teeth, you can find him dreaming of shirtless pictures of Lance Lynn on Twitter @Everywhereblair.