September 20, 2020 Paydirt Gold fantasy football Lab Notes
September 20, 2020
This is the first of the Paydirt Gold Lab Notes series. These articles will take deep dive reviews into metrics and other elements to help Paydirt Gold subscribers in their quest to make the best personnel decisions possible for their fantasy football teams.
These Paydirt Gold Lab Notes will be posted at varying times during the week as the game tape and statistical reviews warrant.
Now let’s get into this week’s Lab Notes!
Adrian Peterson has a path to lead back status in Detroit. Peterson posted a 9.4 GBYPA and was easily the most explosive back in the Detroit backfield and yet he is still only rostered in 46.2 percent of ESPN leagues. As long as he is playing at that level the Lions are going to send plenty of workload in his direction. Peterson may only end up as a flex option in many weeks, but that immediate value could make him a better bench option than a slew of other bench candidates, so strongly consider rostering him if Peterson is not already on your squads.
The Colts backfield carry division has the capacity to get a bit muddled. The Colts didn’t send up signing Lamar Miller and that is a sign that they will lean on Nyheim Hines as the alternate back to Jonathan Taylor’s lead back status, but keep in mind that Hines career pro high in scrimmage plays in a season is 148 and he’s posted more than that only once in his five previous collegiate/NFL seasons (223 with NC State in 2017). Indianapolis also has Jordan Wilkins, who has averaged 5.8 yards per touch on 134 scrimmage plays during his first two pro campaigns. The takeaway here is that the Colts RB situation could end up being a bit more muddled than anticipated, especially if Taylor has pass blocking issues.
Don’t get too worried about the Eagles offensive line. Philadelphia posted a 41.1 percent good blocking rate last week despite the injuries and personnel movement in their offensive blocking wall and a lot of the blocking woes stemmed from poor performances by Dallas Goedert (who had what may have been the worst run blocking game of his career) and the Eagles wide receivers. With Lane Johnson getting back into the lineup this week, this squad should return to top notch blocking form sooner rather than later, so it will pay to be patient with Miles Sanders even if he doesn’t have a dominant game this week.
What to make of the Eagles and Devonta Freeman. Keep this in mind regarding the Eagles and Freeman. Philadelphia doesn’t make short term moves with veteran players like Freeman unless a) they have injury issues that make short term moves necessary or b) they are looking to stockpile for a playoff run. The Freeman signing would definitely fall into the second category so if the Eagles do end making a deal with Freeman, be sure to roster him and hold onto him if possible, as he has a very good chance of having a later season impact in fantasy football.
If you are in a PPR league with a deep roster, don’t give up on Darrel Williams. The early portion of the Houston contest showed that Williams is going to play a significant role in the Chiefs passing game. Andy Reid also won’t want to wear out Clyde Edwards-Helaire given Kansas City’s new reliance on the power running game (something they will continue to do, as noted in a Paydirt article from back in March - https://www.thefootballscientist.com/blogs/paydirt/andy-reid-changed-his-pass-happy-ways-and-it-led-to-the-chiefs-super-bowl-win). It’s also worth noting that Brian Westbrook posted 300+ scrimmage plays only twice in his Philadelphia tenure, which is a historical note that also suggests Reid will take care to not wear CEH out.
Christian Kirk could end up as the Cardinals primary vertical threat. Kirk still doesn’t rate that high on the start-sit charts, but an item of note from Week 1 is that Kirk was the intended target on four of the Cardinals five deep passes. He didn’t catch any of the throws (Kirk did draw a 13-yard DPI on one), but being that central to the deep passing game may show that Arizona intends to use DeAndre Hopkins as the all-around workhorse receiver and utilize Kirk as the primary vertical threat (or at least close to that level). If that is the case, Kirk will be a high upside player worth rostering in many environments (and a solid DFS candidate in those leagues using a DFS format).
Don’t throw in the towel on the Rams wide receivers. The Rams receivers outside of Robert Woods didn’t do much fantasy-wise in Week 1 but this is not going to be par for the course for this club, as Jared Goff threw only four deep passes last week (aerials traveling 15+ yards downfield). Keep a waiver eye on Van Jefferson, as it is still very likely that he will become a central part of this passing attack.
The Rams don’t yet have a leader in the breakaway back competition. Neither Malcolm Brown nor Cam Akers showed very much last week in the GBYPA category. Brown posted a 6.5-yard mark and Akers tallied a 4.2-yard mark. Both are, of course, capable of much higher numbers in this metric, but unless/until one of them starts to showcase more here, the Rams will continue to rotate carries among these two.