Breaking bread with John Brown, ghosting Todd Gurley and raising expectations for Rashaad Penny

Video start todd gurley or john howard

In this edition of Outside the Box, we’ll have some holiday fun and discuss players you’d invite over for Thanksgiving dinner, players who should get ghosted, and five players who will surpass expectations for the rest of the season.

This article will incorporate advanced stats and efficiency metrics from FantasyData and RotoViz to share some riveting observations and my thoughts on these players.

It’s important for you to continue to position your team for the fantasy playoffs. Let’s jump in!

Players You’d Break Bread With

Lamar Jackson

Jackson has finished as a QB1 in 91 percent of his games in 2019. Did you know he was the QB13 during the month of August according to FFPC redraft positional average draft position (ADP) data? Jackson is averaging an insane 30.2 fantasy points per game. He’s averaging 10.3 total fantasy points per game more than expected. The only quarterbacks with a higher true passer rating than Jackson (108.4) are Patrick Mahomes (110), Kirk Cousins (119.5), and Russell Wilson (119.8). This rating factors out non-pressure throwaways and dropped passes. Jackson has earned the first plate of turkey, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other Thanksgiving goodness.

Dak Prescott

Prescott has finished as a QB1 in 73 percent of his games. He was the QB16 according to the FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. Prescott is averaging 25 fantasy points per game while averaging 5.9 total fantasy points per game more than expected. Prescott ranks eighth with 36.2 pass attempts per game. Prescott leads all quarterbacks in air yards and ranks fifth in deep-ball passing attempts (57). He’s earned another slice of sweet potato pie.

Josh Allen

Allen has finished as a high-end QB2 or better in 90 percent of his games. He was the QB22 according to the FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data? Allen’s averaging 22.4 fantasy points per game with positive fantasy points over expectation. His receivers are doing an excellent job of getting open, averaging 1.92 yards of separation pet target. This ranks third among quarterbacks. Allen’s upcoming schedule is not optimal for fantasy football players with matchups against the Cowboys (Week 13), Ravens (Week 14), Steelers (Week 15), and the Patriots (Week 16). In spite of this, he still deserves another serving of turkey.

Dalvin Cook

Cook has finished as an RB1 in 73 percent of his games. He was drafted as the RB10 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. Cook has averaged 24.4 opportunities and 23.5 PPR fantasy points per game with positive fantasy points over expectation. Were you aware that 91.6 percent of his rushing attempts have come when the quarterback has been under center? Cook is tied with Christian McCaffrey (74) for the most evaded tackles and is averaging the seventh-most yards created (1.76) among running backs. This metric tracks all yards above and beyond what was blocked. Yards created are generated by the runner after the first evaded tackle. Cook’s 11 rushing attempts of 15 yards or more is the fourth most among running backs. He’s averaging 0.96 fantasy points per opportunity with a favorable rest of the season schedule. Cook has the potential to finish as the RB1 from Week 13 to Week 16 with matchups against the Seahawks, Lions, Chargers, and Packers. He gets first dibs on whatever he wants.

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Josh Jacobs

Jacobs has been a pleasant surprise this season considering he was the RB20 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. He’s finished as an RB1 in 45 percent of his games. Jacobs has averaged 20.5 opportunities and 15.5 PPR fantasy points per game. He ranks fifth with 957 rushing yards and ninth in juke rate. This metric isolates a running back’s on-field elusiveness and tackle-breaking power by dividing the total number of evaded tackles by the total number of touches. Jacobs (35.7) ranks fourth in yards created per game and is tied with Christian McCaffrey (12) for the second-most runs of 15 or more yards. He’s averaging 0.74 fantasy points per opportunity with one of the most favorable running back schedules for the rest of the season. Jacobs faces the Chiefs (Week 13), Titans (Week 14), Jaguars (Week 15), and the Chargers (Week 16).

Derrick Henry

Henry has surpassed everyone’s expectations this season. He was the RB22 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. Henry’s averaged 20.5 opportunities and 18.5 PPR fantasy points per game despite seeing few targets (19) as a receiver out of the backfield. He ranks fourth in rushing yards (990) and rushing touchdowns (10). Henry has the seventh-highest juke rate (30.5%), the third most yards created (407), and the fifth most rushing attempts (10) of 15 yards or more. He’s averaging 0.88 fantasy points per opportunity and closes the season out with matchups against the Colts (Week 13), Raiders (Week 14), Texans (Week 15) and Saints (Week 16). Henry should be allowed to a second or third plate of Thanksgiving dinner considering how well he’s running the football.

Michael Thomas

Thomas was the WR4 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. He fell to the late-first to the early-second round in most drafts. Thomas has finished as a mid to high-end WR1 in 73 percent of his games. In the games he didn’t finish as a WR1 he finished as a high-end WR2. Thomas is averaging 11.4 targets, 9.5 receptions, 113 receiving yards, 87.1 air yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game. He has the third-highest hog rate (19.5%) with a snap share of 95 percent. This metric represents targets per snap to capture the rate of passing game utilization on a per play basis. Thomas leads all wide receivers in targets (125) and is tied for the most red-zone targets (19). He has the highest true catch rate (96.3%) of any wide receiver with 80 or more targets. This metric divides total receptions by total catchable targets. Thomas has a success rate of 84.6 percent on contested targets and the second-highest yards per pass route (3.24) among wide receivers. He’s essentially matchup proof with favorable matchups in three out of his final four games. Thomas and the Saints face the Falcons (Week 13), 49ers (Week 14), Colts (Week 15) and Titans (Week 16). He’s earned that additional slice of bourbon pecan pie.

Chris Godwin

Godwin was the WR18 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. His total PPR fantasy points are right up there with teammate Mike Evans. Godwin’s finished as a WR2 or better in 63 percent of his games. He’s averaged 8.8 targets, 6.4 receptions, 97.4 receiving yards, 96.5 air yards, and 0.8 touchdowns per game. Godwin (97) is tied with Jarvis Landry for the 10th most targets. He has the fifth highest true catch rate (92.1%) among wide receivers. Godwin has 21 contested targets this season and has caught an impressive 62 percent of them. He has a league winning rest of season schedule with matchups against the Jaguars (Week 13), Colts (Week 14), Lions (Week 15), and Texans (Week 16). If Godwin wants one of the turkey legs it would be in your best interest to give it to him.

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John Brown

Brown was essentially free in many fantasy football drafts this summer. Those that invested in him have been handsomely rewarded. Brown has averaged 16 PPR fantasy points per game while finishing as a high-end WR3 in 73 percent of his games with three WR1 finishes. He’s averaging 8.1 targets, 5.3 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 113 air yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game. Brown (2.64) is tied with Godwin for the 12th most yards per pass route among wide receivers. With this return on investment, he’s earned a seat at the dinner table.

Mark Andrews

Andrews was the TE13 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. He’s averaged nearly 14 PPR fantasy points per game and has finished as a TE1 in 64 percent of his games. Andrews has averaged 6.6 targets, 4.5 receptions, 58.5 receiving yards, 65 air yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game. He leads all tight ends with a hog rate of 22.6 percent. Andrews has the fourth most targets (73) and tied for the fifth-most red-zone targets (10). He does lead all tight ends in end zone targets with eight. Andrews (3.59) ranks second behind George Kittle in yards per pass route (3.94). He’s an elite TE1 for the rest of the season with how explosive the Ravens offense has been. Andrews is so valuable at a position with few playmakers that you should provide him a to-go plate.

Players Who Should Get Ghosted

  • Aaron Rodgers has only had four QB1 finishes in 2019. That’s unacceptable considering his ADP this summer.
  • Jared Goff was the QB9 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. He’s averaged 16.7 fantasy points per game and ranks 29th in true passer rating. That’s right next to Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph.
  • Matt Ryan was the QB6 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. He’s averaged 13.6 fantasy points per game over his past four games. Ryan continues to underperform despite having Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley as his top two wide receivers.
  • Damien Williams was the RB14 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. He was drafted ahead of Leonard Fournette, Jacobs, and Henry. Williams is averaging 10.4 PPR fantasy points per game as part of the Chiefs’ crowded backfield.
  • David Johnson was the RB5 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. He was touted all summer as the perfect fit in new head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offensive scheme. Many drank the Kool-Aid, including myself, and now he’s droppable after injuries and age have sapped away all of his effectiveness.
  • Saquon Barkley has only three RB1 finishes this season. An ankle injury has derailed his 2019 season, but Barkley had us convinced that he was healthy after visiting Wakanda.
  • Todd Gurley has only averaged 13.5 PPR fantasy points per game this season. He was the RB9 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. With all of the discussion this offseason about his arthritic knee and limited workload in 2019, we should have known better.
  • Julio Jones has only finished as a WR1 in four games this season. He was the WR3 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data.
  • Odell Beckham and Baker Mayfield were supposed to be a matchup made in fantasy football heaven. He’s averaging 13.5 PPR fantasy points per game with only two WR1 finishes.
  • O.J. Howard was the TE5 according to FFPC’s August redraft positional ADP data. He’s averaged 3.1 targets, 2 receptions, 26 receiving yards, 24.7 air yards, and 0.1 touchdowns per game this season.
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5 Players Who Will Exceed Your Expectations for the Rest of the Season

  • Ryan Tannehill has averaged 28.7 fantasy points per game and finished as a QB1 in each of his five starts. His rushing ability provides him a higher ceiling than most fantasy quarterbacks. Tannehill’s averaged 4.7 attempts, 38.3 rushing yards, and a touchdown per game over his last three. He has a plus schedule the rest of the way with matchups against the Colts, Raiders, Texans, and Saints.
  • Jonathan Williams was provided 29 opportunities last week in the Colts loss to the Texans. This trend is likely to continue while Marlon Mack is out. It’s rare to find an RB2 this late in the season.
  • Bo Scarbrough has averaged 16.5 opportunities per game over his last two. He’s handled 29 percent of the Lions opportunities over the last two games. Scarbrough is a solid RB3 the rest of the season.
  • Rashaad Penny (5) had more rushing attempts than Chris Carson (0) following Carson’s fourth-quarter fumble. The second-year running back is healthy and head coach Pete Carroll comments imply that the Seahawks backfield will be a committee for the rest of the season. Penny can be viewed as an RB3 with upside.
  • Jack Doyle caught three of four targets for 28 yards in the Colts loss to the Texans last week. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier this week that Eric Ebron needs to have surgery on both ankles and will be placed on injured reserve. The Colts will turn to Doyle to fill the void. Indianapolis has provided its tight ends 9.3 targets per game this season. Doyle will be competing with backup Mo Alie-Cox for offensive snaps and targets. He finds himself on the TE1 radar to close out the season.

If you have questions about Week 13 or beyond please leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter (@EricNMoody) so we can discuss it!

And there are a number of topics this weekly column can cover. What would you like to see in future columns? What other players would you like to discuss? With each passing week, we will have more to analyze and we’ll do that, and more, right here in Outside the Box.

(Top photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)