Due for Good News
These pass-catchers are positive regression candidates because their lack of production didn’t match how much usage they saw in Week 8:
Corey Davis left the most air yards on the table this week by only posting nine receiving yards on 138 air yards. … Curtis Samuel had 159 air yards in Week 8 (the fourth most of the week not including SNF and MNF) but only a 4-46-0 receiving line. Part of that is just bad luck but the wind and the 49ers defense played a part in that. … As it did with D.J. Moore, who had 146 air yards but only 38 receiving yards. I like both Panthers receivers as bounce-back candidates. … Auden Tate’s 6-74-1 receiving line this week was a disappointment considering he had 15 targets and 175 air yards. … Mike Williams is so overdue. He also is a touchdown regression candidate, but he’s also due for more yards. In Week 8, Williams had a 3-69-0 receiving line on 149 air yards. A huge game is coming. … Darren Waller escaped with a touchdown to save his day, but only having 2-11-1 on eight targets and 68 air yards was a bad break. … Jarvis Landry saw 10 targets and 95 air yards, but only had 5-65-0 against the Patriots Defense.
Had A Lucky Game
These pass-catchers played above their usage levels, which usually means they were just lucky:
Hunter Renfrow broke free for 4-88-1 against the Texans, but he only had 14 air yards. I’m not chasing that stat line. … Stefon Diggs on Thursday Night Football caught all seven of his targets and had 143 yards despite having just 75 air yards. Diggs’ 14.3 yards per target average is unsustainable. … Ryan Griffin somehow had 4-66-2 despite only seeing four targets and 35 air yards. Chris Herndon should be returning, too. … Darren Fells went 6-58-2 on six targets and 35 air yards. It pays off to play in an explosive offense from time to time. … DK Metcalf was so due for positive red-zone touchdown regression, and he was able to capture not one, but two red-zone grabs this week. He’s now more or less on pace for where he should be.
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Good and Bad Fantasy Playoff Schedules
This is just a brief overview of which teams have the best and worst fantasy playoff schedule (Weeks 14-16). I don’t think we should overreact, but a reasonable reaction is fine with me.
Easy Playoff Matchups for Passing Offenses: Jacoby Brissett and T.Y. Hilton have at TB, at NO, and CAR. ... Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, and Jarvis Landry have CIN, at ARI, and BAL. ... Gardner Minshew, D.J. Chark, and Dede Westbrook have LAC, at OAK, and at ATL. ... Daniel Jones, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram have at PHI, MIA, and at WAS. ... Jimmy Garoppolo, Emanuel Sanders, and George Kittle have at NO, ATL, and LAR. ... Cam Newton, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Greg Olsen have at ATL, SEA, and at IND. ... Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson (?), Jamison Crowder, and Chris Herndon (?) have MIA, at BAL, and PIT. ... Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown, and Corey Davis have at OAK, HOU, and NO.
Tough Playoff Matchups for Passing Offenses: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce have at NE, DEN, and at CHI. ... Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Brandin Cooks (concussion) have SEA, at DAL, and at SF. ... Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen have DET, at LAC, and GB.
Easy Playoff Matchups for Running Backs: Saquon Barkley has at PHI, MIA, and at WAS. ... Nick Chubb has CIN, at ARI, and BAL. ... Leonard Fournette has LAC, at OAK, and at ATL. ... Le’Veon Bell has MIA, at ATL, and PIT. ... Mark Ingram has at BUF, NYJ, and at CLE. ... Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders have NYG, at WAS, and DAL.
Tough Playoff Matchups for Running Backs: Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray have SF, IND, and at TEN. ... Marlon Mack has at TB, at NO, and CAR. ... Ty Johnson and the rest of Lions backs have at MIN, TB, and at DEN. ... Frank Gore and Devin Singletary have BAL, at PIT, and at NE.
Updated Monday Night Football Preview
Full Week 8 preview with charts can be found in my Fantasy Football Forecast.
Steelers (29, -14) vs. MIA
The Dolphins are 31st in PFF’s pass-rush grade and dead last in pass coverage. Everyone knows they’re bad, but can we stream Mason Rudolph? The Year 2 quarterback has tried to be a game manager this season, finishing with fewer than 230 yards in every game. But Vegas believes in Rudolph in the spot, giving the Steelers a 28.75-point projection. That’s enough for me to take a shot with Rudolph. At Oklahoma State, Rudolph would take shots downfield, and as you can see with the “Sack Rate” columns, he’ll have the time to throw downfield. Rudolph is an upside QB2. … James Conner’s volume has been more than fine this season; 12.3 carries with 83% of the teams share of inside-the-five carries and 4.3 receptions per game. His efficiency has been the problem, currently sitting at 3.2 YPC with the third-lowest avoided tackles per carry rate among qualifying ball carriers. The Dolphins should help those rates, bringing Conner back into the RB1 mix for this week.
JuJu Smith-Schuster and the rest of the receivers aren’t hitting ceilings because Rudolph isn’t throwing the ball deep. Luckily for JuJu, the Dolphins have allowed the second-most 20+ yard pass plays per game, which obviously elevates his ceiling. I’m not ready to call JuJu a WR1 this week, but he’s a rock-solid WR2 with upside. … Diontae Johnson has operated as the No. 2 receiver despite the #ShowerNarrative with James Washington. Diontae has actually seen *more* air yards in three of the last four games. What. The. Hell. But that’s more than enough usage for Diontae to enter the flex conversation against Miami. … James Washington is expected to make a return and is a candidate for a few deep targets as a boom-or-bust WR5. … Vance McDonald’s usage has been garbage with Rudolph, and for what it’s worth, Miami has been the best against TE compared to defending other positions. I wouldn’t get carried away with jamming McDonald into starting lineups, but he’s on the TE1/2 borderline here.
Dolphins (15, +14.5) @ PIT
The Dolphins suck, and the Steelers are first in PFF’s pass-rush grade, but I’ve linked a chart anyway! … Miami came out of the bye and went straight into evaluating some younger players, one of them being RB Mark Walton. The 2018 fourth-rounder set season-highs in touches (15) and offensive snaps (38) last week. He’s replaced Kenyan Drake, who didn’t travel with the team this week as the top Dolphins back, so Walton’s outlook is slightly better this week. Kalen Ballage is still in the mix for goal-line work, but Walton is the best bet for touches in Miami.
We can do worse than Preston Williams and DeVante Parker as complete fantasy dart throws. Parker is 11th in air yards and Williams has out-air-yarded Parker in each of the last four games. Both are zero-floor WR4s, but both can have usable weeks, even in this horrid offense as long as Albert Wilson stays as a distant third option. … Mike Gesicki has had enough usage in the last two weeks to be looked at as a weak TE streamer. Obviously, he’s still a Dolphin so tread lightly, but the Steelers are also in the bottom 6th percentile against tight ends this year.