This week I feel like I’m a coach. The boring coach, again, at the post-game press conference giving you nothing but clichés. I’m saying all the right things but giving you nothing. I’ve said the same things for 10 straight weeks but this time I mean it. Next week’s game is the biggest of the year.
But I’m not a coach, I’m a fantasy player and we don’t do coach speak. We’re brutally honest and tell it like it is. So when Marquise Brown complains about not getting the ball enough then drops passes costing me points, I’m pissed and someone’s going to hear about it (usually my dog). Now I have to sweat out another Monday night game and hope Leonard Fournette scores at least 14.25 points or I lose (he scores 9.6 and I lose).
The playoffs are coming and I need those points and I need those wins, so if Lamar won’t throw you the ball or you can’t catch, sorry Hollywood, then you’re getting benched.
So the fantasy player in me says next week’s game is the biggest of the year and these guys below will help you win that game.
Let’s get to the noise!
New Target Monster
Each year there are a handful of target monsters at wide receiver. You have the usual suspects in Keenan Allen, Davante Adams, and DeAndre Hopkins. And now this year there is another joining the crowd. Diontae Johnson, who’s coming off a promising, if not surprising rookie season, has risen to a new level this year.
Last year, he did have 92 targets but no double digit target games. This year through 9 games he already has 6 double digit target games. He’s averaging 9 targets a game and is on pace for 135 targets (missed 1 game for injury). In the last 3 games alone he has 24 catches on 37 targets for 304 yards and a TD.
Looking like he’s fully recovered from some early season injuries, Johnson has become Roethlisberger’s go to receiver. He has a couple of tough matchups ahead with the Ravens and the Washington football team but with the type of volume he’s been getting that shouldn’t scare you from confidently starting him each week.
Swift not swiftly
Coming into the 2020 season fantasy managers weren’t quite sure what type usage to expect from 2nd round draft pick D’Andre Swift. Swift had the talent and the draft capital but the Lions also had Kerryon Johnson, who was returning from injury, and had just signed Adrian Peterson. Most expected him to take the lead back roll at some point but weren’t sure if that’d be sooner or later.
Well after 9 weeks Swift was officially named the starter and took advantage of it. Against the Washington football team he rushed 16 times for 81 yards and added 5 catches for 68 yards and a TD. Looking like he established himself as the main guy going forward, fantasy managers were pumped to add another versatile option to their lineups.
In reality though, it has been happening gradually over the last 5 games. In that span, he’s played more snaps in each game than any other RB on the lions. He’s averaging 17.2 fantasy points a game on 15 touches and has 4 TDs.
With a couple favorable matchups ahead, things were on the rise for Swift until he was placed into the concussion protocol before week 11. There’s hope he’ll return now for week 12. Monitor his practice reports and if healthy, get him into your lineups against a Texans team allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to RBs.
Curtis Samuel has been a polarizing fantasy player ever since coming into the league in 2017. The talent has always been there but the realization of his potential has come a lot slower than fantasy managers would have liked. Now in his 4th season that potential is coming to fruition.
After a slow start to the year, Samuel has become more involved the last 5 games. With 30 catches for 262 yards and 3 TDs, Samuel has 4 double digit fantasy point games in the last 5, including 3 of 20+ points. Samuel’s involvement in the run game is what makes him such a dynamic player. He’s even taken snaps at RB and has 26 rushes for 112 yards and 2 TDs on the year.
The former Ohio State Buckeye and 2nd round pick is averaging 13.5 fantasy points a game and has a ridiculous catch rate of 84%. Even in his last game with back up QB P.J. Walker starting, Samuel had 8 catches on 10 targets for 70 yards and a TD.
Samuel was a late round pick in fantasy drafts but so far is 23rd in total WR fantasy points on the year. With all 5 of his TDs on the year in the last 5 games and his usage trending up, Samuel is someone who can win you fantasy games considering where he was picked in fantasy drafts. With the Vikings, who have given up at least 3 passing TDs in 5 of the last 6 games, next on the schedule, Samuel has fantasy managers excited.
Keenan Allen had 16 catches for 145 yards and 1 TD on 19 targets, the second time this year he had 19 targets . . . . D.J. Moore had 7 catches for 127 yards on 11 targets, finally living up to expectations? . . . . After two subpar games will DK Metcalf regain his swaggering against the Eagles and Giants leading into the playoffs . . . . Marquise “Hollywood” Brown had 0 receptions week 11 and at least one drop . . . . Josh Reynolds has played significantly more snaps (32 total) than Cooper Kupp over the last 2 weeks . . . . Denzel Mims had 3 catches for 71 yards on 7 targets . . . . Tayson Hill with TE eligibility on ESPN leagues had 24.42 points . . . . Tom Brady struggled for the 2nd time in 3 games, throwing 2 interceptions and completing only 54% of passes.