Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 8: @ Minnesota, FantasyPros.com rank: 17, My rank: 10)
I got back with my boyfriend Jaaaaaash Freeman last week and, boy, has he been good to me. With 23 fantasy points in Week 6, 29 last week and 22 more on Thursday night, Joshy Washy doesn’t have to sleep on my couch anymore. And this level of success should be sustainable. Coming into Week 8, Freeman was second in the league in yards per attempt. There’s a very strong correlation between YPA and touchdowns, so that’s an excellent sign.
And in case you don’t believe I had Freeman as my #10 guy prior to Thursday Night Football, here is a link to my tweet saying so prior to game time: https://twitter.com/therealtal/status/261621179452895233.
Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts, Week 8: @ Tennessee, FantasyPros.com rank: 9, My rank: 14)
It’s easy to understand why most rankers like Luck this week. For the year he’s 8th in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks, and this week he faces a Tennessee defense that gives up the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per game.
But every metric I look at tells me that Luck just isn’t a very good quarterback right now. He’s 24th in the league in yards per attempt, 30th in NFL QB rating, 28th in ProFootballFocus.com QB rating. He’s 15th in footballoutsiders.com DVOA, and 33rd in completion percentage ahead of only Mark Sanchez.
Last week Luck faced Cleveland who allows the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Luck went 16-29 for 186 yards with no touchdowns or picks. But because he ran for two scores, no one really noticed his sub-par performance against a sub-par defense.
Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys, Week 8: vs. New York Giants, FantasyPros.com rank: 21, My rank: 18)
It’s not a huge sample size, but Jones has averaged 2.56 yards after contact per attempt in 32 carries. That’s a pretty decent number. For some perspective, that’s better than guys like LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, and MJD this year. And the Giants run D is middle of the pack at 19th in footballoutsiders.com adjusted D ranks, so the matchup isn’t too bad.
Shonn Greene (New York Jets, Week 8: vs. Miami, FantasyPros.com rank: 19, My rank: 26)
ProFootballFocus.com has this wonderful stat in the premium stats package (buy it!) called elusive rating. As they put it, “elusive rating attempts to distill the impact of a runner independently of the blocking in front of him by looking at how hard he was to bring down.” Of the 45 backs who have received 25% or more of their team’s rushing attempts, Greene ranks 42nd in elusive rating. And he’s 27th out of the 30 backs with at least 55 carries in footballoutsider.com’s DYAR which ranks a back's total value.
What I’m getting at is this: Shonn Greene isn’t a very good football player. He can have some success in a great matchup as he displayed in Week 6 when he put up 34 fantasy points against a terrible Indianapolis run defense. But this week he’s facing an extremely strong Miami run defense.
Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers, Week 8: vs. Jacksonville, FantasyPros.com rank: 21, My rank: 13)
By any metric, Randall Cobb has been one of most productive receivers per snap played in the league this year. He leads the league advancednflstats.com’s expected points added per play and footballoutsiders.com’s DVOA which measures value per play. And that’s translated to Cobb being second in the league in fantasy points per snap (trailing only Cecil Shorts...qua???). He ran his highest number of pass routes last week, so it’s clear he’s becoming a bigger and bigger part of that high powered offense. If that continues to trend upward, Cobb’s fantasy value could be through the roof.
Oh, and Jacksonville’s pass defense is 26th according to FO.com’s adjusted ranks and 31st against slot receivers (Cobb works out of the slot 80% of the time).
Lance Moore (New Orleans Saints, Week 8: @ Denver, FantasyPros.com rank: 25, My rank: 18)
This is just another case of a good player in a good matchup. Moore is top 10 in both DYAR and DVOA this year. And Denver is a team who focuses heavily on the opposition’s #1 wideout. Look for Denver to focus on Colston and for Moore to have a big day.
Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs, Week 8: vs. Oakland, FantasyPros.com rank: 20, My rank: 24)
I’ve always been a Bowe fan and Oakland’s pass D is not good, but how can you trust Brady Quinn? If Quinn shows signs of competence, I’ll happily have Bowe back in the top 20 next week, but I’ve got to see it first.
Brandon Myers (Oakland Raiders, Week 8: @ Kansas City, FantasyPros.com rank: 18, My rank: 10)
At 3.7% owned, Myers is pretty underrated. His game-by-game reception totals are 5-6-4-1-5-7. That doesn’t seem overly impressive, but those 28 catches make him 7th among tight ends in catches per game. The only problem is that he hasn’t found the end zone. Just one of the 20 other tight ends with 20+ receptions has failed to score. And just 4 of the 30 with 9 catches or more have failed to score. A touchdown or two is coming soon and so is the double digit fantasy day.
Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers, Week 4: @ Cleveland, FantasyPros.com rank: 4, My rank: 11)
In 2009, Gates averaged 2.47 yards per pass route run. That number dipped to 2.35 in 2010, 1.62 in 2011, and is down to 1.24 in 2012. This is not the same guy. Everyone will look at the two scores in Week 6 and the alleged health bump coming off a bye week and put him right back at the top of their tight end ranks. I shouldn’t say will. His #4 FantasyPros.com rank shows they already have. But going against a Cleveland team that allows the 8th fewest fantasy points to tight ends and is ranked 4th best against the TE by footballoutsiders.com, I can’t trust this old and diminished Gates.
Written by Brett Talley exclusively for thefantasyfix.com. If you have any further questions about this particular topic, feel free to ask him on Twitter (@TheRealTAL) or email him at [email protected].