My readers of the past couple of decades will tell you this wouldn’t be an authentic Frascella column unless it opened this way:
MIKE WHITE, BABY! LET’S GO!!
I generally open our weekly foray into target distribution with the NFL “story of the week,” and well, how can it not be my guy Mikey White? Coming in ice cold — Zach Wilson and Joe Flacco had taken all the Jets’ QB snaps to date — White absolutely torched the respectable Chicago Bears’ pass defense (came into the game 8th in the league) to the tune of 315 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions, a 78.6 completion percentage and 149.3 QB rating… in the pouring rain! A week after Zach Wilson made the weather an excuse for his embarrassing performance, White stepped up in dreadful conditions while simultaneously making Garrett Wilson relevant for our target report.
Wilson, already one of the most talented wide receivers in Jets’ history (seriously), emerged from the Zach Wilson Temple of Doom to pick up eight targets, 95 yards and a couple of impressive touchdowns. Expect his fantasy success to continue in the long run, provided White continues to make quick-and-correct reads under center. In the short term, Week 13 shouldn’t be as successful, as playing at Minnesota can be particularly disorienting for young, inexperienced quarterbacks and skill players.
“The Zay Hey Kid”
For our football-only fans out there, that’s a reference to the legendary Willie Mays, one of the greatest all-around baseball players in the history of the sport. And well, let’s just be real — Zay Jones isn’t that when it comes to football. Still, he again made himself relevant for our target report, picking up 14 looks from Trevor Lawrence in the Jaguars’ bizarre and dramatic late-game comeback over the reeling Baltimore Ravens. (Side note: After the game, Lamar Jackson made a fool of himself on Twitter.) Jones was a fantasy monster, converting those 14 targets into 11 receptions for a whopping 145 yards. He’s been surprisingly relevant in deep leagues throughout the season, picking up eight-or-more targets on four separate occasions. He won’t repeat this dominance, but Zay Jones remains a fantasy play in 14 and 16-team leagues.
“DK” – Donkey Kong dies in the last level
Listen, I’m just gonna level with you on this one – I’m not exactly a video game aficionado. Is Donkey Kong a game where he can die in the last level? I don’t really know, but the point is this: DK Metcalf wasn’t able to turn fifteen targets into a single touchdown, despite 34 points from the Geno Smith-led Seahawks.
In a critical fantasy week – Week 12 is typically a “swing” week in many leagues – DK gave full-point PPR managers all they could eat (11 receptions for 90 yards), but half-point and Standard players came away hungrier, wanting more out of a performance that had so much WOW potential. The Seahawks-Raiders game was one of the best of the week – back-and-forth the whole way with a lot of unexpected twists and turns – yet Metcalf wasn’t able to find paydirt on a day where teammates Ken Walker, Tyler Lockett and Travis Homer danced in the end zone. On the bright side, Metcalf continues to be one of the most predictable players in fantasy football – which we love – as Smith only seems to look for DK and Lockett within Seattle’s passing attack.
The weekly “Usual Suspects”
Y’all know the drill at this point — I try to keep things spicy for ya each week. I’m not gonna spend your valuable reading time “analyzing” the likes of Stefon Diggs and Austin Ekeler, but I will report the facts to you: Diggs (15 targets), Ekeler (15), Chris Godwin (13), Amari Cooper (12), CeeDee Lamb (11), Davante Adams (11) and Justin Jefferson (11) were the “Usual Suspects” this week. They are big names, we expect their volume, and here they are once again.
But my takeaway here is this: Godwin and Cooper have been particularly busy in recent weeks. I feel like they’ve been making this section of my column every week of late. And that’s particularly important for Godwin holders, who have been dealing with injuries and inconsistent play for quite some time now. After an excruciating overtime loss for Tom Brady and the Bucs this week, I expect them to ratchet things up down the stretch of the season. That said, I officially expect Godwin to be one of the best full-point PPR performers for the remainder of the fantasy season. He doesn’t have the touchdowns to justify it to date, but I view him as a fantasy WR1 right now.
“Ken” you lend me a hand?
Isaiah McKenzie is one of the most frustrating players in fantasy football, isn’t he? One of the quickest and most electric slot receivers in the game – sandwiched in the middle of a scrumptious fantasy offense – he should be a PPR godsend. But similar to what I said about Godwin, fantasy managers have been dealing with McKenzie’s injuries and inconsistent performance throughout the year.
Plot twist! I actually think things are going to change now. Tony Romo took heat online for talking about Josh Allen’s elbow injury throughout the Bills’ Thanksgiving victory over the Lions, but I have to say I agree with him 100 percent. As someone who pitched for 25-plus years, I can also see when a gunslinger lacks what I refer to as “range of motion.” Watching Josh on Thanksgiving, his arm action was entirely different from the norm. He was short-arming everything, really gritting and toughing it out. That said, McKenzie becomes a must for him on slants, crossing patterns and drags. I actually do expect McKenzie’s fantasy success to continue with consistency, for once.
I’ll see ya right back here next week.
John Frascella is a published sports author who has been covering the NFL for 18 years. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things football down the stretch of another action-stuffed season.