The Top 10: Week 8

Matt Waldman opens his film notebook and examines the notable events from Week 7.  

Mission

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 7 Cliff's Notes

The article below will provide expanded thoughts and supporting visuals for the following points:

  1. Ryan Tannehill and Corey Davis show signs of rapport that might be promising for the second half of the season—there was also good timing with A.J. Brown and Taje Sharpe. The crisp passing and Tannehill's ability to check-down to his tight ends and Adam Humphries kept the Titans on schedule and opened the ground game for Derrick Henry.
  2. The Packers offense will be a fantasy force once Davante Adams returns because the coaching staff knows how to use its players—Sunday's implementation of the Aaron Jones-Jamaal Williams running back tandem is a great example.
  3. Josh Jacobs and the offensive line are an emerging fantasy force and putting Jon Gruden one step closer to fulfilling his plan with Oakland.
  4. Darren Waller is a full-field receiver and the Raiders were wise to sign him to an extension.
  5. Marvin Jones Jr, Jr. scored four touchdowns—two against Xavier Rhodes—and he joins Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe as one of three receivers to every have two, four-touchdown performances. The trust Matt Stafford has in Jones makes the receiver a weekly consideration despite the inconsistency that comes with the difficulty level of many of the targets delivered Jones's way.
  6. NFL and college football need to revamp safety rules and force organizations to create more space between the end lines and the stadium walls.
  7. Gerald Everett and Mike Gesicki are two tight ends worth your consideration during by weeks. Everett is potentially a weekly starter. Gesicki came off his best day in the NFL and it could have been better.
  8. The early returns from the Jalen Ramsey and Marcus Peters trades: The Rams used Ramsey on Julio Jones man-to-man and coupled with timely blitzes to shut down Atlanta on third-down, and Peters baited Russell Wilson into a pick-six that changed the tenor of the game.
  9. Other observations from Week 7:
    1. Matt Moore is worth a waiver selection for two QB leagues and should deliver high-end QB2 production with more QB1 upside than the schedule appears because the Packers, Vikings, Titans, and Chargers are vulnerable to ways the Chiefs can blend Moore's strengths with those of its offense.
    2. Miami running back Mark Walton impressed me far less than the holes the Dolphins offensive line opened. Expecting Miami to deliver consistent offensive production is a fool's errand, but if you have room to add Walton as a speculative investment or true deseperation bye-week option, he might show more. Otherwise, I'm not making him a priority.
    3. I didn't have the type of clear video evidence I like to share with readers, but I am beginning to think that Frank Gore still has better acceleration than Devin Singletary. This may have to do Singletary's acclimation to the NFL and not his actual physical skill, but I remain skeptical about him long-term.
    4. Dolphins rookie receiver Preston Williams should remain on your long-term radar as a future fantasy starter.
    5. Philip Rivers seems 1-2 steps from his game teetering off the edge of the career cliff. A lot of passes he should have delivered with greater velocity did not reach the mark on-time.
    6. Chase Edmonds is essentially Austin Ekeler for the Cardinals.
  10. This week's Fresh Fish:
    1. Melvin Gordon III's consecutive fumbles at the goal line snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
    2. You live and die with Carson Wentz's pocket play. Two fumbles deep in Eagles' territory on Sunday night killed Philadelphia.
    3. The Falcons defense remains a welcome wagon for prominent starters and worth consideration for fantasy fringe plays.
    4. Mark Andrews dropped three passes, including a potential touchdown. Two drops were due to indecisive route-running.
    5. The history of data may signal that there will be a regression with the points the Cardinals allow against tight ends, but as even the data analysts understand, if you "analyze the men and the scheme rather than the numbers," you may find that the problem is more widespread than one player.
    6. The slop-fest in Washington only revealed that Adrian Peterson remains a talented running back and that George Kittle is a decent plodder on a bad track. Both teams had difficulty throwing the ball. Remain patient with Dante Pettis.

For those of you who wish to learn the why's, the details are below.

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