Extra Points: Week 10, Half-Way, Way Out With Wide OutsNovember 14, 2017 | insideinjuries | No Comments
*This is a special from Lawr Michaels, Creative Sports 2.0
As if I had a clue what the NFL was going to do over a given week, let alone season, as we head toward the downhill side of the season with the Rams, Saints, and Vikings everyone’s clear choice to win the Super Bowl come February.
I will say, it is a lot of fun watching the Rams and even more fun that I have a lot of shares in Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, Todd Gurley III, and Robert Woods. Unfortunately, I also have a lot of Jordy Nelson, David Johnson, Mike Gillislee and Paul Perkins.
Ideally we can make some sense of the results from last week. But, like Gillislee, Dion Lewis, and James White, we all seem to be only as good as the end of Week 10. Who imagined that Rex Burkhardt would emerge as the bulldog in the Pats backfield?
Since Week 10 wound up last night, let’s look at some names who might indeed be of value Week 11 — and maybe beyond.
Ben Roethlisberger certainly is aging, but he similarly keeps getting new receivers and I kind of like the irrepressibly named JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Steelers wide out, a rookie from USC, has 12 receptions over the past two weeks, nearly half his total of 29 receptions. With six more games out there for Pittsburgh, Schuster-Smith, who has 521 yards and five scores, could emerge with a 1,000 yard season and even double-digit TDs. If he can duplicate Sunday’s five receptions for 94 yards and a score, it should be easy-peasy.
What about Chester Rogers of the Colts, a second-year receiver from Grambling? Out of nowhere Rogers had the game of his life, grabbing six balls for 104 yards and a score, to a lesser degree duplicating Smith-Schuster’s accomplishment of doubling his previous receptions from five to 11 (for 151 total yards). Rogers similarly has converted 11 of 12 targets, suggesting he is dependable when the ball is thrown in his direction, so expect more from him.
Marqise Lee, a fourth-year alum of USC, is one of those guys who must be as frustrating for coaches as he is for fantasy owners. Lee has 69 targets this season, but just 38 receptions for 493 yards and a pair of TDs (compare to Schuster-Smith’s productivity). I was watching the Jags on Sunday when, after a defensive interference call, Lee turned and taunted Tre Boston, costing his team 15 needed yards. Still, Lee is on a passing team and is targeted so regularly that you pretty much have to play him, especially during bye time — which mercifully is almost over. I don’t think he is as good as Lee thinks he might be.
What do we make of the Bengals’ Brandon LaFell, now in his eighth season and his third team? LaFell had a pretty good Sunday despite the loss by Cincinnati, nabbing a half-dozen balls for 95 yards and a score. That gives LaFell 303 yards for the season, but while there are vets who, due to experience, have a role that expands with the grind to a playoff shot, the Bengals are going nowhere and I would expect LaFell to get less work rather than more.
Dontrelle Inman finally got to strut his stuff for his new team, having been swapped from the Chargers to the Bears at the end of October. Aside from adjusting to a new offense, there is also the breaking in of Mitch Trubisky, who is adjusting to life as a starting QB in the NFL and is not heavily invested in the passing game as of yet. That said, Inman caught six throws for 88 yards against the Packers. That is light years beyond the pair of catches he had this year prior to the trade. Truth is, Inman was an extra on the talented LA offense, but the fourth-year player out of Virginia could continue to emerge with the rest of this young team — as a veteran no less — and the Bears could be as interesting in a year or so as the Rams are now.
Let’s close out wide out with Sterling Shepard, who grabbed 11 of 13 targets against a generally crappy San Francisco defense for 142 yards. Shepard, who has 38 catches for 475 yards but single a single TD, is probably not of much use — over his previous eight games, the receiver only averaged 3.4 receptions a game. Bye week last resort at best, he is.
Moving to tight end, with Jordan Reed still dealing with an iffy hamstring, Vernon Davis is as good a fantasy target as he is for Kirk Cousins these days. In fact, when Reed returns that actually portends a pretty good pair of TEs in certain passing sets, making either attractive, though Davis likely at a cheaper price. For the archivists, Davis has three more receptions this season, one less score, and 230 more yards gained.
Inside Injuries analysis: Jordan Reed missed weeks 9 & 10 with a hamstring strain, and he is still at least one week away from his Optimal Recovery Time. Reed also remains a High Injury Risk, as he has been since the preseason. Reed is way too risky to plug into fantasy lineups if he is active unless you are incredibly desperate.
Since I play in one IDP league, I have to acknowledge the ridiculous six sacks Adrian Clayborn picked up against the Cowboys Sunday. Clayborn’s previous season high was actually six, so he set a career mark thanks to the pair the defensive end had going into Sunday. IDP stuff is tricky, but I have Sean Lee who is out, so I know where I am looking for a replacement.