Thursday, Dec 8th
Bye Week:
Saints
Colts
Commanders
Packers
Bears
Falcons

Missed Opportunities. 3.21.

Two weeks of NFL are in the books, with two weeks of some low probability performances. We’ve had plenty of “if we play this slate 100 times, this result would happen five or ten times out of 100” results. Week to week, the NFL is entirely unpredictable. If nothing else, whether you’ve won or lost the last few weeks, take those “bell-curve” performances forward with you as you continue to build lineups in Week 3.

In the NFL, a 5% outcome can almost be as certain to happen as a 95% outcome. We have to continue to work on recognizing this to be true. It’s why the Texans would have beat the Browns if Tyrod Taylor did not get hurt. It’s how Derek Carr threw for 350+ yards in Pittsburgh. And, it’s how Jameis Winston looked like prime Drew Brees in Week 1.

Consider the likelihood of an outcome, flip it, and ask yourself if that could happen in the upcoming game. 

So, how did we do on Sunday?

Derrick Henry

Henry went nuclear again. I know there will always be an inverse correlation between Henry’s fantasy points and OWS subs money won. And I love that. I rarely play him and totally understand why you don’t as well. He’s a back who doesn’t catch passes, in PPR scoring, and he’s game-flow dependent.

So while it stung watching Henry score the only fantasy points of any significance for what seemed like the last hour of Sunday’s afternoon slate, there are two stats we should have looked at before his Week 2 game which would have seemed to indicate a big game was coming for the big man.

Henry on the road – From the Seahawks pregame notes via Titans beat writer on Twitter, check out this DELTA…

Henry was averaging 125 yards per game on the road over the last three seasons. The difference between him and 2nd place (Dalvin Cook) is more than the difference between Dalvin and Ezekiel Elliott, who ranks 9th.

Henry after a bad game – Via Seahawks beat writer Greg Bell on Twitter, “Since the mid-2019 season, Derrick Henry has averaged 174.6 rushing yards/game the week after getting held to under 100yds. It’s happened 7x. He’s had four 200-yard games in such situations, including 250 1/3/21 vs. HOU.”

Anytime there’s a situation where we’ve seen four 200+ yard games, we need to pay attention. If you need access to beat writer content, follow Majesstik on Twitter, and use those incredible lists he has set up! But until then, play the King on the road!

Courtland Sutton / Julio Jones

Ah, narratives, my old friend. Here are the Week 1 stat lines for these two stud WR’s: 

  • Sutton 3 targets, 1 catch, 14 yards, 80% of offensive snaps
  • Julio 6 targets, 3 catches, 29 yards, 78% of offensive snaps

The narrative around Sutton was that he may still be recovering from a torn ACL; therefore the Broncos are easing him back into action. This was not true of course, with his 80% snap rate in Week 1. Jerry Jeudy sprained his ankle in Week 1 and was then out of action in Week 2. So, while the fantasy world expected Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler to fill the Jeudy void, it turns out it was Sutton. We had a “new” number one WR against perhaps the worst defense in the league (Jacksonville) and we forgot to play him.

The Titans looked so bad in Week 1, we forgot about Julio Jones. He had such a nondescript debut for his new team, that he too (along with Henry) went overlooked in his Week 2 matchup. The narrative here of why Julio was overlooked was two-fold: age and DFS pricing. When an aging player has an underperforming game, and it’s been a while since his last breakout game, we tend to label them as “declining”. So Week 1 was validation that Julio was washed for many. Then he lit up Seattle’s defense on Sunday, in classic Corey Davis style. When Henry and AJ Brown garner attention, Tennessee has shown us many times how lucrative and available offensive option #3 can be.

The second reason for Julio’s overlooked matchup was his price. When CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen, and Cooper Kupp were so close in price, both Julio and his teammate Brown were sure to draw lower ownership. Now, playing Julio as a direct replacement to these other WR’s is not necessarily the answer. Rather, being ‘contrarian’ with Julio would mean playing him instead of AJB in Titans and Seahawks game stacks. Or, to leverage him in a one or two-man replacement to avoid a chalky game stack (i.e., stacking Cowboys and Chargers with Zeke, Lamb, and Keenan, but playing Julio instead of Cooper).

4 PM Eastern (late games)

All week we heard about how fantastic these late games were going to be. And it turns out that most of them were fantastic, with the one exception being the Cowboys and Chargers. We had four projected Vegas totals over 50 in the late window, while all nine of the early games were projected to be under 50. As it turned out, only two of the nine early games went for 50+ (Rams/Colts and Texans/Browns), while three of the four late games finished north of 60 points.

This should be a lesson in absolutes. While none of the early games went for the winning game stacks, there were some excellent box scores in there to be had. And while one of the four late games did disappoint, it was still the right strategy to major in that window while minoring in the early one. I say this is a lesson in absolutes because A) we should try to avoid saying always and never in any situation, and B) we’re rarely going to always be right or always be wrong.

The final point I want to make this week is to encourage you not to follow DFS recommendations blindly. While I advised you to play Rondale Moore last week, that does not mean you have to go there. I had my reasons, but he still has a chance to come through and a chance to fail.

When reading the NFL Edge or The Scroll, consider why certain players are being recommended before adding them to your player pool. Even the best in the business will only be right about 60% of the time. No DFS writer/podcaster will be right or wrong all the time. We’re simply following some of our processes to guide you on your process.

Now, let’s have our biggest week ever in Week 3! I’m ready, are you?