Fantasy football is a tough game. In my opinion, the main reason is that player values change massively week to week in unpredictable ways. These things happen in baseball and basketball, but not nearly at the volume or frequency. There is no greater example of this in 2019 than Zach Ertz. During the pre-season Ertz was an obvious overvalue in the 3rd round.

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I’ve led this article over the past few weeks with details on overarching themes to the entire fantasy football season. We discussed Jon Gruden as a rare fantasy friendly coach in today’s game. We discussed how bizarre of a year 2019 has been. I’m going to continue with these themes as we finish out the season, because the ability to get a grasp on league-wide themes is vital in fantasy football. It is much more important to take a wider lens of the entire league, rather than focus in on singular players that you hope to hit on in drafts. This is a key differentiating factor in fantasy football from other sports, in my opinion. The theme I present this week is distribution in the passing game through air yards.

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Welcome to Stat-o-Matic where we will look at some advanced stats around the NFL. As a disclaimer, I am using this space to play around with some numbers and present some interesting findings. But, by no means is this validated or predictive data. I hope that it will lead to meaningful discoveries or it could inspire you to go down your own rabbit hole. We’re going to explore together, crunch some numbers and see what pops out. Stats courtesy of PlayerProfiler.com.

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If you were to ask 15 fantasy football “experts” who you should start between Brian Hill and Bo Scarbrough, all 15 of those analysts wouldn’t have hesitated in saying Hill. Every single one of them. That’s just how it shakes out in the wonderful world of football fantasies.

Bo Scarborough was signed yesterday by the Lions from the practice squad only to lead the backfield with 14 carries 55 yards and a rushing touchdown. 3.9 YPC isn’t impressive at all, but how the hell were we supposed to know Bo Scarbrough would be a lead back. I’m actually surprised that he wasn’t on a roster after a pretty nice college career at Alabama. 

Brian Hill, on the other hand, was in a smash spot against the Carolina Panthers who have struggled exponentially against the run. Brian Hill ran the ball 15 times for 30 yards and had a touchdown called back because of a holding call. The hardest pill to swallow was that it was such a positive game script for the Falcons. They led the entire game. I guess sometimes the chalkiest calls end up being too chalky. Here is what else I saw in the early slate. 

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The air is getting thinner and thinner as we ascend to the fabled peak of fantasy football. The week 11 wire is one of the slimmest all season and there aren’t many guys I would be excited about adding. I hope you all have been storing away sustenance to get through the next 2 major bye weeks.

It will continue to be a slog until the contenders have been separated from the amateurs and life is renewed in week 14. Hang in there even if you’re sitting at 4-6. As long as 7-6 is possible, keep the dream alive my friends!

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Patrick Mahomes made his triumphant return to the Chiefs’ lineup on Sunday and he did not disappoint. On his first throw he didn’t look like he was moving around very well and threw what looked like an interception, but it ended up getting overturned to a completion. After that, he looked like the same ol’ Patty. Andy Reid was not at all shy about his usage either. Mahomes attempted 50 passes and completed 36 of them for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns.

It really helps to have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to throw to. Tyreek Hill saw a remarkable 19 targets and caught 11 of them for 157 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce caught all 7 of his targets for 75 yards. Mecole Hardman absolutely turned on the burners for his 63 yard touchdown catch. Having two of the fastest wide receivers in the league is paying off for the Chief’s offense. Unfortunately, we have the Chief’s defense, and we also have the turnover prone running backs on this roster. While Damien Williams did reach over 100 total yards, he had a costly fumble that might have put him in the doghouse with Andy Reid. I’m not quite sure what his other options are though.

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After the NFL Scouting Combine this past year, much was made of D.K. Metcalf’s rippling muscles. My boss was talking up the Ole Miss product’s biceps. My girlfriend was enamored with his bustling chest. Even Momma-Donk called to ask about D.K.’s glutes. But what nobody talked about were his bulging calves. That is until week 9, when the Buccaneers defense was hypnotized by Metcalf’s leg beef.

The entire Seahawks offense took full advantage of this calf-muscle-induced hypnosis with Russell Wilson going 29/43 for 378 yards and 5 touchdowns—he now has 22 passing touchdowns on the season—Tyler Lockett snagged 13 catches for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns—he now has 6 touchdowns on the season—and the sexy calved beast himself, D.K. Metcalf, hauled in 6 catches for 153 yards and his 5th touchdown. The Buccaneer defense will attempt to snap out of the trance before gazing into Kyler Murray’s sparkling eyes next week. Anyway, here’s what else I saw during yesterday’s late games in fantasy football:

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Remember when in-season trades never happened in the NFL? That was so, so, so long ago. This season we have had several notable players moved ranging from all-pro defensive backs to noted aerospace engineers (Josh Dobbs). However, the trade of Emmanuel Sanders has opened the opportunity for Courtland Sutton to continue his rise to fantasy glory. Sutton had already made a second-year jump prior to the trade and is currently sitting as the WR12 in half-PPR leagues. Sutton’s metrics support his rise to prominence with his player profiler athletic comparison being Alshon Jeffrey. He is 9th in weighted opportunities, top 20 in air yards, and top 20 in targets per game. His quarterback already stinks out loud so any mid-season change to a rookie, if Drew Lock were to get healthy, should have a minimal effect on his rest of season play. Expect the Denver Broncos to remain generally pesky as they fulfill a 5-6 win team destiny, and their air game to funnel through Courtland Sutton for the remainder of the 2019 season.

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You have to love when two guys have career days and the starting percentages are probably pretty low on them. I say pretty low because I’m sure there were people in bad bye week spots or in deeper leagues that had to start Chase Edmonds or Marvin Jones Jr. Marvin Jones is a solid WR3 for fantasy but I don’t think that many were elated about slotting him in against the Vikings. For those that were savvy enough to start Jones Jr., he rewarded them with 10 catches, 93 yards and 4 touchdowns. That is a best ball format wet dream. In the leagues that I own Jones Jr., I can’t see myself leaving him on the bench again against the Giants next week. 

Chase Edmonds was a different type of situation. David Johnson was named active going into the game and he took one carry for 2 yards and didn’t touch the ball again for the rest of the game. I’m guessing that the majority of people that heard Johnson was active took Edmonds out of their lineup. Well, Edmonds carried the ball 27 times for 126 yards and 3 touchdowns. Incredible. Let’s get to some other performances from the early slate on Sunday.

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