Fantasy Football: 3 Things We Learned in Week 10
Perhaps more than anything, fantasy football is a game of adjustments. Season-long fantasy doesn't end at the draft, and smart managers learn to take the trends and data that each week of games offers and apply it to their roster decisions moving forward.
This weekly piece will look at trends from the previous slate of games and determine which trends in snaps, usage, and matchups are actionable moving forward. Let's dive in and look at some interesting pieces of information from Week 10.
Rhamondre Stevenson Has Entered the Picture
When Damien Harris was ruled out ahead of Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, Rhamondre Stevenson became a popular fantasy pickup and value DFS play. Prior to Sunday, Stevenson was rostered in under 30% of Yahoo leagues and was just $5,400 on FanDuel. Stevenson then proceeded to handsomely reward all those who grabbed him with 124 total yards (on 20 rushes and four catches) and two touchdowns.
But what made his performance so amazing was how efficiently he was able to do it. While other popular running back plays like Jonathan Taylor, Dalvin Cook, Mark Ingram, and D'Ernest Johnson all played more than 80% of their team's snaps, Stevenson had his smash game with decidedly less playing time.
#NFL DFS darlings in Week 10 all got there, partially because of volume:
D Johnson - 22.7 pts/88.1% snaps
M Ingram - 20.8/85.1% snaps
J Taylor - 24.6/84.4%
BUT, one player got there on half his team's snaps:
R Stevenson - 27.4/55.2%
(Data courtesy of @FantasyDataNFL)
— Ryan Kirksey (@KirkseySports) November 15, 2021
Prior to Week 10, Stevenson was a maddening player to predict. There were four games for which he was not even active, plus two games with more than 10 carries and two games with fewer than six caries. But in his limited sample, Stevenson is a major contributor to the New England Patriots' offensive success this year.
Among all running backs with at least 50 carries this year, Stevenson ranks fourth in Net Expected Points (NEP) per rush attempt. He ranks behind just Kareem Hunt, Chase Edmonds, and Jonathan Taylor in expected points added to his team, significantly outscoring Harris in that department.
It's impossible to predict the offensive machinations of Bill Belichick from week to week, but if we start to see more of a consistent role from Stevenson after this breakout game, he is definitely a player to grab off the waiver wire. If Harris can't make it for Thursday's quick turnaround, Stevenson will once against be a good start.
Ryan Tannehill Finally Showing Some Consistency
When you have an 8-2 record and could hoist your offense on the back of an all-time season from Derrick Henry for eight weeks, it didn't really matter that Ryan Tannehill was struggling compared to his last couple seasons. But when Henry went down, the focus was squarely directed on Tannehill and how he would respond with potentially more passing opportunities.
Tannehill has responded with 20.9 fantasy points per game and five passing touchdowns in his last three. In his previous seven games, he was at 17.8 fantasy points with just seven passing touchdowns. But the revelation is that Tannehill has made this turnaround with the Tennessee Titans running almost the exact same offensive scheme as when they had King Henry.
On the season, the Titans pass the ball 52.5% of the time, which ranks 29th in the NFL. Over the past three weeks, that number is 52.8%, almost identical to their season average and counter-intuitive to what many analysts thought they would have to do. The Julio Jones injury may have impacted that decision, but it's clear that Tannehill has stepped up his game when called to.
Five of the Titans' next seven games are against the Texans, Jaguars, 49ers and Dolphins -- all teams in the bottom-half of the league against opposing quarterbacks. If you held on to Tanny until now, you should be able to enjoy the ride through the fantasy playoffs.
Van Jefferson Should Have Gotten There
The Los Angeles Rams looked completely overmatched and out of sync on Monday night, but there was one takeaway fantasy managers can absorb from the awful offensive display: Van Jefferson is not going away.
While he finished the game with only three catches on seven targets for 54 yards, it's those four targets he didn't catch that give me the most encouragement. There were 20 players in Week 10 who saw at least two red zone targets. All but two of them caught at least one of those passes. Preston Williams (two red zone targets) was one of those players, and Jefferson was the other. Jefferson was second in the NFL in Week 10 with four targets in the red zone. That means all four of his unrealized targets were in the red area.
He was in line for a massive game, but between Matthew Stafford's struggles and a drop in the end zone, Jefferson didn't get there.
Jefferson was the definition of a yo-yo fantasy player over the last week. Once Odell Beckham signed, we pushed him out of our fantasy consciousness due to the crowded wide receiver room. Then Robert Woods was lost for the season, and all of a sudden Jefferson was back in our lives.
Beckham played fewer than 20 snaps on Monday night, but even when he is up to full speed, that should not significantly impact Jefferson's playing time. Even with Woods and Kupp in tow from Week 1 through Week 9, Jefferson played on at least 64% of snaps in eight of the Rams' first nine games. From Week 7 to Week 9, he was on the field for more than 90% of snaps.
With the Rams' bye week upon us, see if there is any way to acquire Jefferson via free agency or through trade from a manager who might be scared off by OBJ's arrival.