In a surprising Week 8 loss to the struggling Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans’ WR Corey Davis turned 10 targets into 8 receptions for 128 impressive yards. Prior to that monster performance, Davis had been averaging roughly 11-12 fantasy points per game. In the midst of arguably the best season of his enigmatic career, we appeared to finally be getting a sense of who Davis really is.
Then Week 9 happened.
In a 24-17 victory over the hapless Bears, Davis was targeted just 3 times by Ryan Tannehill and came up with…nothing. Zero catches. Zero fantasy points. Talk about a matchup killer. But…he had just scored 20+ points the week before!?
That performance was meaningless. Weightless. I’m sure you’re familiar with the legal disclaimer “prior results do not guarantee future performance” – and that is particularly apropos in our little fantasy football universe. “Riding the hot hand” isn’t really a thing, is it? Some more quick examples:
Tom Brady had 19 fantasy points last week against the Giants; this week he had -1 (negative one!) vs. the Saints.
Nyheim Hines had 18 points last week, 4 this week.
Mecole Hardman 18 then 5.
Jordan Wilkins 16 then 4.
Matthew Stafford 23 then 7.
Of course, this doesn’t really apply to consistent stars… but how many of those are really out there? Let’s say, realistically, the top quarter of the player pool consists of truly reliable week-to-week producers; that means 75% of the possible fantasy plays – in any particular week – are subject to standard fluctuation and frankly…
So why am I saying all this, exactly? Because, well, stay humble before you start anointing yourself a fantasy guru this season. As the legendary Al Michaels said during the Saints’ Sunday Night annihilation of the Bucs: This just “proves once again that [when it comes to predicting results] nobody knows squat.”
The cold reality is that we have no control over our fantasy players’ results. We are literally trying to predict the future, here. That’s why I call myself an “Analyst” and not an “Expert”. I believe “Experts” in this field are myths.
My purpose here is to analyze these players and help you attempt to navigate the murky waters of fantasy football free agency. But really, in the end, I should just wish you luck.
Potential Pickups for Week 10
Jake Luton, Jaguars: Obviously when we’re talkin’ quarterbacks in this column, we’re talkin’ Superflex or 2 QB leagues. Jacksonville’s head coach Doug Marrone says it’s “likely” Luton starts again in Week 10, and the kid showed some moxie and toughness in his first NFL start. In most formats he ended up around 18-19 points, and this week he draws the Packers’ banged up D. Worth consideration in SF, for sure.
Alex Smith, Washington: Sad to see Kyle Allen go down for the season when it looked like Washington was gathering a little bit of momentum. Obviously the veteran Smith always comes with injury concerns, but we also know he will get the ball out quickly to Terry McLaurin, J.D. McKissic, Antonio Gibson and maybe even Cam Sims. Low ceiling here, but you could do worse in SF.
Garrett Gilbert, Cowboys: Playin’ the long game here, with Dallas on the bye this week. I liked what I saw from the journeyman Gilbert, particularly considering the brutal matchup against the Steelers’ No. 1 ranked defense. He’s head and shoulders above Ben DiNucci, and I’m getting a vibe that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ front office may consider releasing Andy Dalton to save a little dough. Might as well see what Gilbert has against lesser competition, right?
Duke Johnson, Texans: Obviously this is contingent on David Johnson’s health. David was forced out of Sunday’s game with a concussion, so we’ll have to monitor his status throughout the week. He hasn’t looked great anyway, so I’m wondering if Romeo Crennel and the Texans would like to get a look at Duke as the top dog. Either way, for the right price you can just pick up Duke and see what happens with David’s health.
Deandre Washington, Dolphins: Miami picked him up last week, but he wasn’t yet eligible to play. This week Brian Flores can fire him up, and let’s be honest - his rushing attack is in desperate need of a spark. Jordan Howard looked about 74 years old this past week, and the others continue to battle a relentless barrage of nagging injuries. D-Wash is worth the spec play in the right spots.
J.D. McKissic, Washington: He was mentioned earlier in this column and has been mentioned in past weeks, so I’ll just say this: Alex Smith seemed to take a specific liking to him on dump-offs and check-downs. PPR special, here.
Richie James, 49ers: He was the key to winning the “Showdown” on Thursday Night Football against the Packers, but of course his relative value depends on both Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. Keep an eye on COVID, injuries, etc. Keep checking the updates. I do think James has already proven he’s a more dangerous player than Kendrick Bourne in the Niners’ passing attack.
Breshad Perriman, Jets: He lit up the Patriots on Monday Night Football, but he’s a mere stash because the Jets are on the bye this week. Remember the following, though: he was a fantasy monster down the stretch of last season, too. Second-half player, here.
Danny Amendola, Lions: Low ceiling, obviously, but he’s been very busy in the absence of the great Kenny Golladay. Just keep monitoring Golladay’s injury status; without him, the crafty veteran Amendola is a desperation deep flex play in PPR.
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots: Josh McDaniels introduced something new last night: Cam Newton the pocket quarterback. Lot of two-back sets, with Cam working the playaction off the threat of the run. That left Meyers wide open on a number of occasions. He looks like Cam’s go-to guy right now. Clearly worth an add.
Alshon Jeffery, Eagles: Do you really wanna do this to yourself? He’s been “coming back” for a year, now… never-ending story…
Week 10 DFS Plays
Safe: Kyler Murray $8,000 vs. BUF
Sleeper: Derek Carr $5,400 vs. DEN
Perfect Storm: Tom Brady $6,300 @ CAR
Summary: You know TB12 is going to bounce back after the ugliest performance of his storied NFL career.
Safe: Aaron Jones $7,100 vs. JAX
Sleeper: Zack Moss $5,200 @ AZ
Perfect Storm: James Conner $6,900 vs. CIN
Summary: I think this is the first time I’ve mentioned Conner all season; fire him up in a juicy matchup this week.
Safe: DeAndre Hopkins $7,700 vs. BUF
Sleeper: A.J. Green $4,400 @ PIT
Perfect Storm: Terry McLaurin $6,800 @ DET
Summary: I could see the Steelers’ smart D locking in on Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. AJG might be the man free.
Safe: T.J. Hockenson $5,100 vs. WAS
Sleeper: Jordan Reed $3,500 @ NO
Perfect Storm: Dallas Goedert $4,200 @ NYG
Summary: James Bradberry is gonna be on Travis Fulgham, so I think Carson Wentz will be looking for Goedert in tight spots.
Best of luck to all!
John Frascella is a published sports author and fantasy football analyst with over two decades of experience. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy football.