The mission of this column—and a lot of my work—is to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality of football analysis. Football analysis—fantasy and reality—is often dramatized because there's a core belief that it's more important to entertain than to educate.
I don't live by the idea that it's better to be lucky than good. While I want to give you actionable recommendations that will help you get results, I prefer to get the process right. There will be a lot of people talking about how they were right to draft or start specific players. Many of them got the right result but with the wrong process.
The Top 10 will cover topics that attempt to get the process right (reality) while understanding that fantasy owners may not have time to wait for the necessary data to determine the best course of action (fantasy).
As always I recommend Sigmund Bloom's Waiver Wire piece which you'll find available on this page, Monday night. Bloom and I are not always going to agree on players—he errs more often towards players who flash elite athletic ability and I err more towards players who are more technically skilled and assignment-sound.
Straight, No Chaser: Week 9's Cliff's Notes
The article below will provide expanded thoughts and supporting visuals for the following points:
- Lamar Jackson and the Ravens won the regular-season battle with the Patriots with an excellent ground game and skilled adjustments against New England's blitz. However, I think New England will make adjustment if and when these two teams meet again in January.
- Football is a cyclical game. The narrative that running the ball is less consequential due to the changes in rules is changing. With defenses using so much nickel as its base defense,opponents are overmatching them on the ground. The Eagles ran over the Bears on Sunday, exploiting their nickel coverage time and again.
- While the Eagles offense pounded the Bears defense, this was the second week in a row here Chicago coach Matt Nagy was forced to abandon his desired offense of spreading the ball around the field in the passing game and opt for an old-school attack that fits Mitchell Trubisky—a player we migh accurate as labeling a toolsy game manager.
- Ronald Jones received his first start ahead of Peyton Barber and from my perspective, he earned his keep against the Seahawks. He's worth acquiring if the opportunity arises.
- Devin Singletary earned his first start ahead of Frank Gore. While I'm not convinced he's a long-term NFL starter of note, this was the first game I've seen where Singletary had opportunities to show that, to an extent, his vision and footwork compensate for him being slow. He's worth rest-of-the-season consideration in re-draft leagues.
- D.K. Metcalf's hands have always been underrated. However, I'm referring to his work before and after the catch and not at the catch-point. It's his upper body speed and violence that help him create separation as a route runner and ballcarrier, and it's why he's a weekly must-start in fantasy football.
- While the jury is out on Kyle Allen's viability as a long-term starter, Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore are refining their games on the perimeter and making Carolina and attractive destination for a top quarterback.
- Barring an awful rapport with Nick Foles, D.J. Chark Jr won't slow down as a fantasy producer and there are signs that Keelan Cole is digging himself out of a fantasy grave.
- We'll never prove if Miami is truly tanking but Kenyan Drake's performance is an indicator that his fantasy (and career) trajectory is pointing up and something is fishy in South Florida.
- This week's Fresh Fish:
- Baker Mayfield is failing at reading coverage this year and I share numerous examples, including similar reads Mayfield and Matt Stafford had this weekend.
- Chris Carson's two fumbles put Seattle in jeopardy at home against the Buccaneers.
- The Seahawks' defense gave up easy throw after easy throw for a 'false-positive' statement about Winston's long-term trajectory.
- The Bills' defense is too aggressive and gets exposed in the screen game.
For those of you who wish to learn the why's, the details are below.