The fantasy football community lost a great person recently when Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros passed away from COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated against the disease. His shocking and sudden passing has left a huge void behind the scenes in the industry and he leaves behind a beautiful family, including Tabbie (Mike’s wife) and their children, Alyssa (18) and Jonathan (4). Many have rallied to support the Tagliere family and there’s a GoFundMe account set up to do just that. If any of you feel the calling to give, there are few people better to support than “Tags.” He will be missed!
I’m honored to write DLF’s traditional Sunday Six Pack series this year. However, it’s essential to go beyond predicting and discussing what will happen. Therefore, I will look at my storylines from the weekly Six Pack and summarize the results in these Monday hangover articles. Occasionally, I will also add other important reactions from the week, whether injuries, breakouts, or busts. So let’s jump into it!
Is There Any Hope for Gabriel Davis?
Davis was just okay in the Bills’ 26-11 victory over the Dolphins. He had his best game this year with four receptions on five targets for 29 yards and a touchdown. However, considering Josh Allen threw 42 passes and had 29 completions, Davis’ performance was nothing special. He finished fourth on the team in targets behind Cole Beasley, Stefon Diggs, and Zack Moss, and he failed to capitalize on Emmanuel Sanders’ fantasy goose egg.
Davis was the WR73 in October’s DLF ADP, and he’s the WR67 for DLF’s dynasty rankers. But at this point, he seems more like a roster clogger than a viable dynasty asset. Wide receivers without high draft capital who heavily regress in their second season rarely hit long-term, and it seems Davis was more of a flash than anything. Remember that tight end Dawson Knox missed most of 2020 with injuries and COVID-19, and it looks like he was the missing piece for the Bills.
I expect Knox to return to the lineup shortly, and once he does, Davis will return to complete and utter irrelevance. I would love to move on from Davis in dynasty leagues, taking even a meager return to get rid of him.
For example, receiving two 2022 third-rounders in exchange for Davis seems like a solid move. I would simply accept that and re-roll with a new asset next year.
Sam Darnold’s Job Security
The Panthers continue to debunk the Deshaun Watson rumors, including a wild one with Christian McCaffrey this past week. However, there’s simply no way they can proceed long-term with Darnold as their quarterback. Yes, they beat the Falcons 19-13 this week, but Darnold had nothing to do with that victory, at least through the air. He completed 13/24 of his passes for 129 yards before exiting with a concussion. He at least somewhat saved his fantasy day, though, taking eight carries for 66 yards.
The Panthers decided to hide Darnold in their game plan, as they called 38 running back carries split between Chuba Hubbard, Ameer Abdullah, and Royce Freeman. I highly doubt the Panthers ever bench Darnold for PJ Walker, at least, as Walker has been awful every time he’s played. However, I’ve seen enough in dynasty leagues from Darnold, and I want to trade him in superflex leagues. Let’s look at the DLF Trade Finder for potential deals.
I love this first deal, especially after Michael Pittman’s massive game today. I’d far rather have Pittman than Darnold, even in superflex leagues, and I still prefer Brandon Aiyuk over the combination of Tyler Boyd, CJ Uzomah, and a future fourth-rounder. I wish there were more recent deals with Darnold, though, as this trade is the only relatively recent one I like.
However, I suggest trying to get a 2022 first-rounder for Darnold. There will always be contenders who are desperate for a quarterback, and I want to move on from Darnold immediately. I think it’s likely that he carries similar value to some current backups like Marcus Mariota or Mitch Trubisky by this time next year.
Kyle Pitts: Road to the Top 1QB Dynasty Asset
Pitts had a very quiet performance this week, catching two of six targets for 13 yards. Matt Ryan only threw 146 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and took three sacks in a terrible performance. Pitts did tie for the team lead in targets with Tajae Sharpe and Mike Davis, but it just didn’t lead to fantasy production.
Honestly, though, I can’t focus on Pitts’ performance in this game because it pales compared to some other news from the Falcons. First, before the game, we learned that Calvin Ridley would be inactive due to a personal matter. Then, a few hours later, he posted the following message on Twitter.
— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) October 31, 2021
Right now, I’m primarily concerned with Ridley’s well-being. We know extremely little about exactly why Ridley stepped away from football or when he will return. It’s impossible to give dynasty advice on Ridley without more information, so I’d probably hold him and refrain from trading for him for now.
Unfortunately, this offense needs Ridley on the field, as Ryan looked terrible today without him. I’d usually say that Ridley’s absence would help Pitts’ value, but I’m just not sure the Falcons can move the ball without Ridley. However, if there’s somehow even a tiny buy-low window on Pitts after today, I would take it. He’s a 21-year-old star tight end with the brightest future imaginable. Ryan won’t be his quarterback forever, and the Falcons will eventually have a better team.
The Demise of Brandon Aiyuk
Aiyuk had a decent game this week in the 49ers’ 33-22 victory over the Bears. Deebo Samuel remained the 49ers’ lead target with a 171-yard monster performance, but Aiyuk was the clear second receiving option. He finished second on the team with seven targets and four receptions, converting those into 45 yards. It’s not like 8.5 PPR points is a great game, but it’s good compared to his season so far.
I thought this tweet was funny, but it does give some perspective into head coach Kyle Shanahan’s thinking on Aiyuk this week.
“Big props” to Brandon Aiyuk, Kyle Shanahan says. Noted he had a good week of practice (drink) and gave the offense confidence coming into the game. His best game of the year, per KS.
— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) October 31, 2021
It’s clear that Aiyuk was in Shanahan’s doghouse, and it’s nice to hear that he had a good week of practice and that Shanahan liked his play in the game. Even though it’s clear Aiyuk is behind Samuel in the pecking order, he could have long-term value at some point, given his talent. However, his ceiling is far from what it once was.
Unfortunately, George Kittle should return to the offense next week, further muddying the waters. I’d still be on the selling side with Aiyuk, especially since he had a decent game this week. Aiyuk remains in a similar value range to players like Marquise Brown and Michael Pittman in DLF’s dynasty WR rankings, and I’d far rather have either of those players. There weren’t any great trades in the trade finder, but I would explore my options. I worry that his value will evaporate for good once Kittle comes back and commands a significant target share.
Nico Collins’ Future
Once again, the Texans lost this week, this time 38-22 to the Rams. However, Davis Mills had a competent game, completing 29/38 of his passes for 310 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Because Mills wasn’t awful, the Texans’ receiving weapons returned some fantasy value, especially since their running backs totaled 44 rushing yards.
As usual, Brandin Cooks led the Texans with six receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. However, Collins also had a decent game, catching all four of his targets for 55 yards. But since he didn’t score, he only ends up with 9.5 PPR points, which will keep him off the radar for box score watchers.
Unfortunately, it’s typically impossible to trade for players like Collins directly. More than likely, he’s already on someone’s roster who liked him coming into rookie drafts, and they won’t just give him up for nothing. Therefore, I recommend trying to sneak Collins into a more significant deal as a throw-in piece. He has third-round draft capital, and the Texans will have a new quarterback in 2022. I love Collins’ long-term potential.
Kenneth Gainwell’s Opportunity
Well, let’s just say Gainwell’s opportunity turned into a complete nightmare in the Eagles’ 44-6 victory over the Lions. The game got out of hand late, but Gainwell suddenly became an afterthought somehow.
#Eagles 1st Half RB Usage
– Boston Scott: 64% snaps, 9 carries, 0 targets (55 yds, TD)
– Kenneth Gainwell: 21% snaps, 1 carry, 0 targets (3 yards)
– Jordan Howard: 14% snaps, 4 carries, 0 targets (21 yds, TD)
Sorry to those I told to start Gainwell
— Michael F. Florio (@MichaelFFlorio) October 31, 2021
Boston Scott operated as the Eagles’ clear starter, and they even worked in Jordan Howard on the ground. Gainwell eventually finished the game with 13 carries for 27 yards, but most of that came in garbage time. Most notably, he had zero receptions, odd for someone who theoretically had a third-down role.
At this point, there’s absolutely no way to trust Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni and his running back usage. We know that Howard and Scott are not the Eagles’ solution, and it’s now apparent that Gainwell is also just a depth piece at best in their eyes. Miles Sanders must miss two more games on injured reserve, but I fully expect him to retake the starting spot when he does.
Unfortunately, I have zero confidence that even Sanders can achieve consistent value in this offense. If the Eagles don’t like Gainwell, they will bring in another running back for the 2022 season to split work with Sanders. This backfield seems like one to avoid for dynasty managers.
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