Fantasy Football: 3 Things We Learned in Week 7
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 an exciting Week 7.
Travis Etienne's Time is Now
Even before the trade that sent James Robinson to the New York Jets, it was becoming increasingly clear that the Jacksonville Jaguars were preparing to turn the team over to Travis Etienne at running back.
Now with Robinson gone, Etienne has the opportunity and talent to be a top-10 running back for the rest of the year.
What was once an almost equal timeshare to start the season began trending more towards Etienne around Week 5, and then this past Sunday, the usage exploded on Etienne's side despite no reports of Robinson being unhealthy or unproductive. Here are the Jacksonville running back snaps for each of the first seven weeks of the season:
|Player||WK 1||WK 2||WK 3||WK 4||WK 5||WK 6||WK 7|
Etienne responded to his first bellcow day with 119 total yards and a score.
Etienne's catch rate was also unusual. Before Sunday, Etienne caught 13 of his 18 targets, but he caught just one of five on Sunday, signaling that more receiving yards could be coming in the near future. Etienne also averages an incredible eight yards per carry over the last three weeks, and while that's clearly not sustainable, his ability to be elusive and break big runs can be.
Etienne is ranked 10th in breakaway run rate this season, and with much more opportunity coming his way, these types of big games should follow for his fantasy managers.
Drake London is Falling Down
London Bridge is Falling Down. London has Fallen. The London Affair. Use whatever popular reference you want, but Drake London's season is falling apart faster than a crispy biscuit at tea time.
After a very promising first three games of the season (25 targets, 16 receptions, 214 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns), it has been exactly the opposite story in Weeks 4-7. In those four games, London has managed only 19 targets, 10 catches, 101 receiving yards, and no scores. While we could try and uncover all the hidden analytics as to why his performance has dropped during that time, the truth is he has nothing to do with it.
The Atlanta Falcons' offensive scheme is like nothing we have ever seen before, and it is destroying London's fantasy value:
*Use 4th overall pick on pass-catching tight end Kyle Pitts
*Use 8th overall pick on wide receiver Drake London
*Throw 13 times for a combined 6 times to the above two players in favor of giving carries to a 5th-round RB in a full game of a negative game script
— Sam Hoppen (@SamHoppen) October 24, 2022
What's more infuriating is that the Falcons have been in game scripts where passing the ball is the most effective and efficient way to try and close the scoring gap or get back in the game. They just refuse to do it.
It says a lot about their motivation and their lack of incentives to win games. The Falcons may be 3-4 and tied for first in their division, but they are actively trying to lose games. That's the only explanation for being down 15-plus points all game to the Cincinnati Bengals but calling a running play 65% of the time when their best back is on the injured list.
They know Marcus Mariota is not the long-term answer at quarterback, so they want one of the top two in the draft next year.
If you are a London or a Kyle Pitts manager, there is not much you can do except let them languish on your bench and hope for better days ahead.
Daniel Jones Might Remain a Top-10 Quarterback
Don't look now, but none other than Daniel Jones is a top-10 quarterback in standard-scoring leagues.
Has he done it through massive touchdown totals? Nope; his six passing scores rank 21st among quarterbacks.
It must be large passing yardage totals, right? That's not it; he ranks 23rd in passing yards (1,223) -- just behind Tua Tagovailoa, who missed two and a half games with an injury.
It's coming from his legs since the New York Giants have clearly given Danny Dimes the green light to improvise with a rush whenever he feels it is necessary.
At 343 rushing yards, Jones ranks third behind only Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields this year. His three rushing touchdowns are third among all quarterbacks as well. In fact, compare Jalen Hurts and Daniel Jones' numbers through Week 7. The only difference between the two right now is a few passing yards and three more rushing touchdowns for Hurts.
Through seven weeks, Daniel Jones has more rushing yards than Najee Harris.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 24, 2022
That's about as surprising a stat as you will find through the first third of the NFL season. However, we need to start moving beyond this being surprising to understanding that it is intentional. Daniel Jones ranks fourth among all quarterbacks in red-zone rush attempts (11). He is tied with Josh Allen and is ahead of Lamar Jackson. He is also third in rushes inside the 5-yard and 10-yard lines.
As interesting as all of that is, this is the most mind-blowing stat: among all quarterbacks with at least 10 rush attempts this season, no other player at the position has a higher yards per rush than Jones (5.9). He is helping his fantasy managers -- and his actual team -- win games with his legs.
We need to start thinking about Daniel Jones as less of a joke and more like a valuable quarterback piece for our rosters.
Currently, he is available in 59% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.