Each week I will be walking through the Twitterverse extracting some of the best commentary from trusted fantasy football minds. Twitter can be overwhelming with the amount of information that streams live, but it also proves to be one of the fastest and easiest ways to communicate. In 140 characters or less, you can learn something about a player you may have never thought of from trends, stats or analysis.
Tweet of the Week
After an absolutely crazy and somewhat maddening week in the NFL and the world of fantasy we live in, this tweet had me rolling
Not only is Jonas Gray going to score four touchdowns on you, he’s also gonna punch you in the nuts. pic.twitter.com/GdE6tZUzgn
— Josh Katzowitz (@joshkatzowitz) November 17, 2014
Jonas Gray, NE RB
38 attempts for 199 yards and four touchdowns. No one truly saw the week Jonas Gray had coming. After averaging 4.1 yards per tote on 14.5 carries per game the previous two weeks, most were expecting decent returns against a soft Colts defense, but nothing close to what we witnessed. I did send a shout out to the best intel I saw on Gray this week, but only this helped me add Gray where I could and he did not play on any of my rosters.
Good call on Gray RT @PP_Rich_Hill: Colts doing a good job defending outside bounces by RBs. Pats will be better off just hammering inside.
— FFGator (@FFGator) November 17, 2014
Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus offered some interesting stats on Gray from the week tweeting,
Week 11 rushing touchdowns by Jonas Gray: 4 Week 11 rushing touchdowns by the entire rest of the NFL: 4
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) November 17, 2014
Jonas Gray racked up 8 carries within 8 yds of the end zone yesterday. Only 18 players have more than 8 this entire season. #patriots
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) November 17, 2014
Moving forward you would expect Gray to continue to shoulder closer to 20 attempts per game for the Patriots, but Bill Belichick has also shown a propensity to work within situations and game flow, which can essentially faze out a player any given week. While showing strength and running between the tackles, the one downside to Jonas’ game is that he not involved in the passing game, a role Shane Vereen continues to excel in. Looking ahead to the rest of the season, John provided some schedule analysis stating,
More on Jonas Gray matchups: Only has one really favorable one ahead (week 14 vs SD), brutal playoff sched: MIA/NYJ wks 15/16. #2MugsSNF
— Rummy (@RumfordJohnny) November 17, 2014
No matter what, Gray should be owned across all formats and despite a tougher schedule will still have weekly appeal in a high scoring offense. If you have not used all your FAAB, Gray is a player you should look to unload the majority of your stack on. Looking to next season Gray is a restricted free agent and I would assume the team will look to retain his services. Stevan Ridley on the other hand is an unrestricted free agent and after ACL & MCL injuries, it would appear less likely he will be around to muddy the New England backfield. The problem is you can rarely count on a New England runningback and there is almost always someone waiting in the wings (just ask Jonas). If you can cash in top value for more dependable fantasy assets, namely the rookie receivers, I would be selling.
Michael Floyd, WR ARI
[inlinead]I spoke about Michael Floyd last week in this same article, so I won’t go into too much detail. Coming into last week I said I would not have faulted anyone from simply dropping in redraft, but still considered him a very buy low opportunity in dynasty. While you are now likely forced to hold in redrafts, particularly with news on Larry Fitzgerald’s MCL sprain, you cannot feel great about starting him. My main takeaway was that Floyd caught only two of his five targets, granted they both ended up for scores. He saw only one target in the second half and while Drew Stanton’s day did not look too bad in the box score, after the first two drives resulted in touchdowns, the remaining drives looked like this: INT, Punt, INT, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt. Floyd can be a weekly contributor for fantasy teams in the near future, I am just not banking on it this year. I also have to give some credit to DLF’s Karl Safchick for most accurately capturing the week 11 sentiments of many,
Michael Floyd owners pic.twitter.com/l5kYyoerzY
— Karl Safchick (@KarlSafchick) November 16, 2014
Travis Kelce, TE KC
All season long fantasy analysts and fans alike have been calling for Andy Reid and the Chiefs to unleash Travis Kelce. From the countless comparisons thrown about, one would assume Kelce is a mixture of Randy Moss, JJ Watt, Barry Sanders and, of course, Rob Gronkowski. Maybe everyone is correct and the pure talent and ability that Travis displays is unlike any other player to ever step on an NFL field. Unfortunately, fantasy football and the NFL are not dictated by guys like me sitting behind their laptops. They are run by coaches like Reid, who run their teams not to appease the stat-craving fans of imaginary teams, but to win football games. Despite a seemingly perfect setup for Kelce to shine in week 11, it was more of the same as Adam Levitan remarked,
Notes here on Travis Kelce’s usage yesterday. 96.1% of the snaps a career-high. But 15 routes run lowest since Wk 1: http://t.co/C83IYxZfYy
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) November 17, 2014
As Pat Thorman points out as well, Kelce actually dominated the Chiefs targets, there just were not many to go around.
Another huge factor in Kelce’s quiet day was the #Chiefs only running 46 plays and throwing 14 aimed passes. 5 targets is huge on a %-basis.
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) November 17, 2014
At this rate, you are likely starting Kelce because the options at tight end this year are not great and you are simply hoping for one huge player preferably ending in the end zone. Travis still has two more years with the Chiefs and I would be hard pressed to expect anything to change in regards to his weekly production any time soon.
Mike Evans, WR TB
The 2014 rookie wide receiver class was highly touted coming into the season and they have even exceeded those expectations. Sammy Watkins was the clear front runner for the group, but Tampa Bay’s Evans was often ranked closely behind. Now through week 11, Evans might be running away with the top honors as Pat Yasinskas shared,
Mike Evans first rookie WR since Randy Moss in 1998 with three straight 100-yard games with at least one TD.
— Pat Yasinskas (@PatYazESPN) November 16, 2014
Whenever a player’s stats are being compared to Randy Moss, you can be sure they are performing at a high level. Over the last three games, Evans has been outperforming his Pro Bowl running mate, Vincent Jackson, and it is not even close. Despite seeing the same number of targets over that span, Mike Evans has four more catches for 254 more yards and five touchdowns to zero. Cian Fahey weighed in with a good point regarding the young wide out tweeting,
Have to think it was the mental side of the game that was slowing Evans down early in the season. Looks so much faster now.
— Cian O’Fathaigh (@Cianaf) November 16, 2014
All of Mike Evans’ recent success too has come despite changes at the quarterback position and a team that is struggling offensively. So of course Ryan McDowell asks a question most dynasty owners are asking,
Mike Evans the WR1 in dynasty now?
— Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) November 17, 2014
This is still a stretch as you definitely want a larger sample size of consistency out of your elite dynasty players, but Evans is making a case for the top ten. He has to be the front runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and he is anywhere between 3 to 8 years younger than the other receivers listed ahead of him in dynasty terms. If you are an owner I would be holding firm with an asset that can be the cornerstone of your team for years to come. If you are a buyer, get ready to offer a substantial amount as his price is only going up.
Tre Mason, RB STL
St. Louis has been one of the most frustrating backfields for fantasy owners this season. But the early season carousel of running back options appears to finally settled on a “workhorse” as John Paulsen and Adam Levitan shared,
The Rams seem to have settled on Tre Mason: 30 touches for 114 yards. Cunningham had six touches.
— John Paulsen (@4for4_John) November 17, 2014
Tre Mason/STL faced SF, SEA, KC, SF, ARZ, DEN gauntlet last six weeks. Mason impressed, seized feature job. Now gets SD and OAK.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) November 17, 2014
Tre Mason has only continued to excel as he claims the feature role and his week 11 performance came against a top defense as Nick Mensio pointed out,
— Nick Mensio (@NickMensio) November 16, 2014
Zac Stacy is nothing more than an afterthought at this point while Benny Cunningham is mainly used to give Mason a breather. If Mason can continue to perform the remainder of the season, he will hopefully provide some long-term stability in a very unstable position.
The Week That Was
Despite countless metrics, analyses and theorems, fantasy football is unpredictable and random. Even with sound reasoning, trends and data points galore, the NFL can produce outcomes that no one, not even Vegas, could see coming. Below are just a few comments from a week that left many wondering, “What just happened?”
Washington putting on a display of why it’s never safe to assume game script for a bad team even if the matchup is strong.
— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) November 16, 2014
This advice from Rich is actually one I try and implement during drafts and throughout the season. The more you can avoid owning fantasy players on poor to downright horrible offensive teams, the better off you likely are in the long run.
You know it is an odd day when Alfred Morris has more receptions and receiving yards than Garcon.
— Jacob Feldman (@feldmanjacob) November 16, 2014
Alfred Morris has never been a fantasy asset when it comes to the passing game, whereas Pierre Garcon came into the season a volume receiver who flourished with numerous targets and catches per game. Sometimes you just can’t explain how a game unfolds.
Andy Dalton followed the worst passer rating (2.0) of his career with the best passer rating (143.9) of his career.
— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) November 16, 2014
Is Andy Dalton a better quarterback than Drew Brees? Of course not, but in football any outcome is attainable on any given Sunday.
We say it every season, but this has been a crazy year.
— Chet (@Chet_G) November 16, 2014
The sooner you accept this premise, the easier it will be to deal with the weekly highs and lows of fantasy football.
Special call out to Pro Football Focus’ Premium Stats for providing a great tool to pull some of the data and information in this article.