Happy Week 12!!
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and part of what makes me so happy is that we all get to take a little extra time to say out loud all of the things we are grateful for. I am super grateful that you spend some time with me and my content, and mostly that we all get to enjoy a really fun game together!
Each week I'll be giving you five stats to think about as you make your fantasy roster selections. I am also going to give you three high-ceiling picks at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) and a kicker and defense that might be available to stream. I am trying to go outside the top few at each position and find some picks that could deliver exceptional value based on their matchup and opportunity (volume, game plan, projected final score). I'm going to try to avoid listing the players who are too obvious.
My goal is to help you think about edging out your opponents with a strong floor and exceptional upside picks. The "rules" for this article:
- Not super obvious.
- As exclusive as possible to this article.
- You give me feedback and we evolve it together. Twitter (@cfrelund) is the best for this, unless you are creepy then just stick to rules 1 and 2.
Got all that? Let's go!!!
My model's output gives the following teams the strongest odds of scoring 26 or more points this week: Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. The closest games in my projections are: the Vikings over Lions 24-22, Chargers over Cowboys 25-24, Titans over Colts 22-20, and Rams over Saints 28-24. My recommendation is to target the higher scoring team projections, then the closer games, with the ones that fall into both categories being the sweetest spots.
2. 5.4 percent
That's the league average drop rate (drops/catchable balls). The three best teams (lowest drop rate) are the Saints 2.7 percent, Chiefs 2.9 percent and Rams 3.3 percent. The five teams on the bottom of this list (highest drop rate) are the 49ers 9.1 percent, Jaguars 8.7 percent, Raiders 8.3 percent, Falcons 7.9 percent and Colts 7.8 percent. Dallas' drop rate as a team is 3.7 percent (fifth-best) despite Dez Bryant being tied with Evan Engram for the most drops (eight). The Giants drop rate of 6.5 percent ranks 25th.
3. Stat snacks to tell your friends that should be relevant this week:
» The Bills defense causes a three-and-out on 13.2 percent of drives, the lowest in the league (average is 23.3 percent). This is mostly due to the fact that they've allowed the second-most rushes of 10 or more yards in the league. Between the departure of Marcell Dareus and Kareem Hunt's ability to break tackles, it's very likely he finally gets back into the end zone this week.
» Looking at the first offensive possession in each game for every team, the average number of points scored per team this season is 18 (so 1.8 per game). Washington leads the league in this metric with 40 points (or four points per game) off of first possessions and the Chargers rank 32nd with 0 points on first offensive possessions. Top five: Washington, Philadelphia, Green Bay, Rams, and Atlanta. Bottom five: Chargers, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Giants. Stingiest defenses on opponents first possessions: Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore, Denver. Most generous defenses on opponents first possessions: Dallas, Oakland, Tennessee, Green Bay, Minnesota (then New Orleans).
» New Orleans receivers earn 53.9 percent of their total receiving yards after the catch, the most in the NFL (1283/1500 yards). The league average is 45.2 percent. The Rams defense ranks 32nd in receptions where receivers earn less than one yard after the catch. The league average is 3.4 receptions per game where a receiver travels an additional yard after the catch and the Rams only average 2.2 of these limiting receptions.
4. Things that probably won't last ...
» Oakland's defense has not intercepted a pass yet this season. They're playing Denver this week and Paxton Lynch will make his first start of the year, so maybe we see the end of the 10-game interception-less streak?
» When targeting Marvin Jones Jr. last week, Matthew Stafford had an over-140 passer rating in the Lions win over Chicago. That's not likely to be the case against Xavier Rhodes on Thanksgiving.
» Eli Manning was sacked zero times last game. Rookie tackle Chad Wheeler and Ereck Flowers fared much better against the Chiefs pressure (and also benefitted from the Giants running heavier sets with more tight ends and running backs to help block).
5. If-thens ...
Adapting your lineups post injury-report is one of the biggest keys to fantasy wins -- especially in formats where you have access to all the players each week. Here are three for now. I'll tweet out more as they come in:
» Create a backup plan if you have Giants receiver Sterling Shepard as he's been on the injury report due to migraines. Look for Roger Lewis and Evan Engram to see an uptick in volume if that's the case.
» If the Cowboys left tackle, Tyron Smith doesn't play, upgrade the Chargers defense even more.
» If Seahawks running back Mike Davis doesn't play (and RG Oday Aboushi) it's likely that Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy will split the early down work and J.D. McKissic will be the third-down (pass-catching) back.
» I'm writing this on Tuesday so I'll keep adding to this on Twitter as the week goes on!
High Ceiling (remember, these are riskier!)
QB: Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett
RB: Latavius Murray, Alex Collins, Danny Woodhead, Derrick Henry
WR: Corey Coleman, Cooper Kupp, Rishard Matthews, Donte Moncrief
TE: Tyler Kroft, Hunter Henry, Julius Thomas
DEF: Texans, Falcons, Browns (Cleveland is risky but an interesting pick in "perfect lineup" formats)