One Big Thing – NFC – Week 10

Updated: November 19th 2020

Every week we learn a little bit more about how a team sees each player as a part of their offense allowing fantasy footballers to react (positively or negatively) to those actions. Each week I will look to capture the “One Big Thing” that should have an impact on each team going forward and how you, the savvy fantasy player, can use that to your advantage.

NFC EAST

Philadelphia

It was great to see Miles Sanders back and dominate the backfield (72 percent) snap. Although, it was frustrating to watch Corey Clement come in for his one snap of the game and vulture a goal-line touchdown from him. Slowly, the offense is getting the band back from injuries so there is hope that the scoring efficiency can start to bounce back too. Dallas Goedert caught four (4) passes in his second game back and there is optimism that Zach Ertz could be back in week 12. If Carson Wentz wants to prevent a quarterback controversy heading into 2021, he will need to have his weapons give him a boost in the second half of the season.

 NY Giants

The last two games have probably saved Daniel Jones from being replaced in the draft this season but he needs to prove that he can beat teams other than Washington and Philadelphia before we can consider him a long-term solution. The players, except for Golden Tate, have bought into the philosophy of what Joe Judge is trying to build in New York and while it may not look all that great when you look at the standings, the Giants still have a chance at the playoffs. I think it would benefit the team better long term to have their picks be in the top half rather than accidentally having the 18th selection but playoff experience and winning a division can go a long way to building the confidence of players.

 Washington

I was right last week about J.D. McKissic becoming the next PPR machine for Alex “check-down” Smith. McKissic co-led the team in receptions (7) and had the most targets of any player, not just running backs, in week 10 with fifteen (15)! It helped that Washington was trying to, and successfully, come back from a large deficit but we knew that they were going to be in these types of situations moving forward. The rest of the way McKissic can be a plug-and-play Flex/RB2.

NFC North

 Green Bay

What should fantasy managers do with Marquez Valdes-Scantling? MVS had his second big performance in a row but the problem is that he has not been targeted all that much since Allen Lazard left the lineup, 4.5 targets per game, and he is supposed to be back this week. Valdes-Scantling’s targets could drop even further with Lazard back now. The Packers do have a history of having their receivers breakout later but for those sitting with MVS on his rookie contract, they only have another year and half of value. I would be shopping him for a third-round (or even fourth-round) pick just to get another lottery ticket in the future.

 Detroit

They finally unleashed the beast and it had an immediate payoff for fantasy and Lions’ fans! D’Andre Swift played on 72 percent of the team’s snaps and commanded 21 touches that resulted in 149 total yards. We can only hope that Matt Patricia and the staff do not double back on their promise to feature Swift more. As a mid-to-late round first pick last year, Swift could be the shot in the arm that fringe playoff teams needed heading into the playoffs. The upcoming schedule features four of the top 12 teams in terms of the highest rushing yards per attempt against over the next five weeks.

 Minnesota

After two monster weeks, it was going to be difficult for Dalvin Cook to three-peat against a tough Bears defensive front. He still managed 106 total yards but it took 34 touches to do so and most  of his yards came after Akeem Hicks left the game. His efficiency should rebound heading into the fantasy playoffs as, like the Lions, the Vikings’ next three opponents (Cowboys, Panthers, Jaguars) are all in the top 10 of rushing yards allowed. For Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, hopefully, they can fit into the game plan too.

 Chicago

His teammates may want him back but with the way the quarterback situation has played out this season one would think that Allen Robinson would at least want to test the market. The Bears are not going to be in a position to draft a highly ranked rookie quarterback this season and while they could make a move to go up and get one I think there is a chance that Nick Foles will still be the starter for at least 2021 due to guaranteed money. A top re-sign candidate across many RSO leagues this season I do not know if I would commit the large, long-term deal to Robinson just yet that he likely is asking. He turns 32 next year and contracts I have seen for him range from $80-$120M over the next 3 or 4 years. A more modest price could be had at auction next offseason when his situation is less fluid.

NFC SOUTH

 Tampa Bay

I think that was more what we expected the Buccaneers’ offense to be like with 544 total yards and 46 points against an overreaching Panthers squad. The spinning needle landed on Ronald Jones this week who, despite having his second game this season with an early fumble, out-touched Leonard Fournette 24-10. He also broke off a massive 98-yard touchdown to boost his weekly production. We may have finally cracked the formula for the backfield touches, it just may be hard to predict what scenario the Bucs will be in week-to-week. If they are winning big, expect Ronald Jones. If they are losing or are passing more successfully, use Fournette.

 Carolina

The Cinderella story for Curtis Samuel ended at two games, but it was not just him as the entire Panthers’ offense struggled to get much done against a loaded Bucs defense. The team managed only 187 total yards, less than Ronald Jones had against them by himself (198), and now with Teddy Bridgewater nursing a knee injury it could be even more difficult for the offense to find themselves in scoring opportunities. At least D.J. Moore came off the missing person’s list after having only four (4) catches and 73 yards the last two games. The team could lean on Mike Davis and Curtis Samuel out of the backfield against the Lions in week 11 if Bridgewater was to miss out so there is a chance for those two to have a rebound performance.

 New Orleans

The big topic of the week, how hurt is Drew Brees and how much will Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill be used in his absence? We are pretty sure how this one will go as we had a glimpse of the Saints sans Drew Brees last year and it was Teddy Bridgewater who played the same role as Brees and Hill did his same gadget plays on a handful of downs. We should expect Jameis Winston to be the starting quarterback, play as many snaps as a normal starting quarterback would play, and produce similar to what he was doing in Tampa Bay the previous four seasons. The Saints also play a whole plate of cupcake defenses over the next month (Atlanta twice, Denver, and Philly) so Winston could be stepping into a QB1 floor with weekly top 3 finishes if he has built chemistry with his receivers.

NFC WEST

 Arizona

A second-round pick and David Johnson. That was all it took for the Arizona Cardinals to get DeAndre Hopkins and just on last week’s catch alone it would have already been worth it. The announcers in this game made the critical mistake after Stefon Diggs caught his go-ahead touchdown claiming, “He’s been the best wide receiver this season” and I think DeAndre Hopkins took that personally. Hopkins leads the league in percentage of his team’s targets (28.3 percent) and has been invaluable to the development of Kyler Murray. Only 28 years old, Hopkins and Murray could dominate the league together with both being locked up through 2023 (obvious fifth-year option incoming after 2022 for Murray) and the fantasy points will continue to roll in. Do not try and be smart by cashing out on either guy right now, just ride the wave.

 San Francisco

Brandon Aiyuk appears to be fitting in as the 49ers WR1 with the rash of injuries that surround him. The rookie wide receiver finished second in targets last week with 14 and has been the most targeted 49ers player every week since week 7. No update has been given on how long Deebo Samuel will be out with his hamstring injury or if George Kittle will make an appearance in the final games of the season. My guess is that the latter will be shut down based on how this season has progressed and Aiyuk will continue to be fed his targets. Although the 49ers’ offense has struggled, Aiyuk should be a safe WR3 floor with WR2 upside most weeks.

 Seattle

That slow leak you hear is the chances of Russell Wilson winning his first MVP award after having ten (10) turnovers in three (3) of their last four (4) games, all losses. At least in the previous two games, he was still scoring touchdowns through the air and on the ground to keep his weekly fantasy total a respectable number. That did not happen in week 10 as Wilson failed to score a touchdown for the first time this season and finished with under 10 fantasy points. Should owners be worried that this is a trend, probably not. Will Wilson be returning to the heights that he was achieving earlier in the season though, probably not.

 LA Rams

Are we finally seeing the breakout of Josh Reynolds? The fourth-year receiver has led the Rams in targets in two (2) of the last three (3) games and put up one of the best statistical performances of his career last week. As I have mentioned in past Rams’ recaps, the financial commitment that the team has already made to Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp makes Reynolds’ return after the season unlikely. But, a strong close to the 2020 season definitely will have suitors calling him who may need a 1B option to help strengthen their offense. If his re-sign is cheap enough, or he is still sitting on your league’s waiver wire, sign Reynolds up now and watch his stock rise over the next 6 months.

More Analysis by Nick Andrews