Decipher and Decode: Week 8

Decipher and Decode: Week 8

I am going to be focusing on sleepers this week and which players are worth being targeted and which players are roster cloggers for the year. These players that will be highlighted should not be mistaken as must-roster additions, but the type of player rostered to see if their opportunity increases during the games. Excluding a few names these players can be picked up Saturday evening or Sunday morning, because we all have that one roster spot for a lottery pick … right? The roster clogger section can be viewed as the ‘first to drop’ not a ‘must drop’.

Just a bit of administrative work, I am going to be on vacation through Weeks 9 and 10, meaning there will be no decipher and decode those weeks.

For access to the metrics sheet you can click this link; (if there is not a player listed message me on twitter @TheFFSandman and I’ll add him in.)

Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers

Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the person to keep an eye on in this offense. Through three games he saw a 24.6% target share, 36.5% of the air yards share per With Robert Tonyan out for the season the Packers need to rely upon him when he returns from injury. He was designated to return the November 2nd, meaning he has 21 days to be activated. Last week no Davante Adams meant a plethora of opportunities. Aaron Jones was the only player to exceed a 20-percent target share, Tonyan and Juwan Winfree were the only receivers (sans Jones) to exceed 20-percent of the teams receiving yards. The opportunity remains unfilled during his time away meaning his is a good player to roster moving forward with the year. No Packers skill position player should be rostered in a redraft outside of Adams, Jones, Dillion and MVS.

Kyler Murray is injured, not having been seen at practice Wednesday, until there is more clarity proceed with caution. Hopkins played only 25-percent of snaps due to his hamstring flaring up. Christian Kirk is available in 39.8-percent of ESPN leagues. Through the season he has 19.95-percent of the teams receiving yards and is the second most efficient receiver on the team netting 0.93 yards per pass attempt. If Hopkins misses time Kirk is a player worth of the acquisition and has flex appeal.

Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons

I just want to say I am proud of Calvin Ridley for putting himself first and taking care of his mental health. If you are struggling click here and find the first steps in getting health. With Ridley out an even bigger void has been created in the Falcons receiving room, Pitts will see a big boost to his target volume. Tajae Sharpe is currently third on the team with total receiving yards now that Ridley has stepped away. This week he saw a 22.22-percent target share and 39.72-percent of the receiving yards. He was also the most efficient receiver on the team with 2.14 Yards Per Team Pass Attempt. Russell Gage should be a waiver wire bench warmer and Mike Davis is close behind, right now his target volume is too valuable to be dropped.

With Christian McCaffery coming back in the next two weeks there are no players I would suggest acquiring other than not cutting Hubbard. The player I would cut is Robby Anderson, the last three weeks he has had an averaged a 20-percent target share, 85-percent snap share and 35.33 routes run. With that opportunity he has only managed to average 59.33 air yards, 5.76-percent target share and 4.83 fantasy points per game. I thought he was not succeeding because of McCaffery, Anderson secret to this years struggles won’t be found by any information on the field.

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills

With Malcom Brown on the Injured Reserve due to injury, Salvon Ahmed once again assumes that next man up role in this offense. Ahmed saw 9 opportunities (only 8 touches) to Gaskins 16 opportunities. We have seen Gaskins workload fluctuate extensively this year, making Ahmed someone that is a must stash on your fantasy rosters. The only players that should be rostered are Waddle, Parker, Gaskins and Gesicki.

With Dawson Knox out, Gabriel Davis was welcomed back on to the field meaning the Bills ran around 44-percent of their snaps in 10 personnel. With that limited opportunity Davis secured a 11.90-percent target share, 11.64-percent of the receiving yards and 38 air yards. His upside is immense if the aging Sanders or Beasley’s were to miss time. Devin Singetary is flirting with roster clogging territory akin to Mike Davis. His upside is solely tied to Zach Moss’s health, if he is the RB4 or worse on your roster he is a drop candidate for an upside play.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears

Brandon Aiyuk, it’s alive! This week Aiyuk saw season high’s in snap share 90.4-percent, 7 targets, 67 air yards, 45 yards. The signs are pointing up for Aiyuk and right now his rostership is 45.7-percent on ESPN. Trey Lance offers immense upside and the seat is warming up for Shannahan but Garoppolo is the quarterback this year making Lance a borderline roster clogger.

The last three weeks Cole Kmet has averaged; 22.6 routes run, 86.93-percent snap share, 5.6 targets, four receptions, 38.33 air yards, 38.88 yards and 1.33 red zone targets. This week alone he had three of his five targets be in the red zone. He also was the second highest targeted player this week. Allen Robinson and Damien Williams are the roster cloggers from this team. At this point holding out for either of them this year is as close to folk lore as you can get. Their value is null until an injury creates opportunity.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns

Pat Freiermuth continues to shine in the absence of Juju Smith-Schuster. Since his departure Freiermuth has averaged a 70.15-percent snap share, 23 routes run, seven targets, 1.5 red zone targets, 5.5 receptions, 42 air yards, 51 receiving yards and 0.5 touchdowns. He has not taken over the receiving tight end role just yet as Gentry had fivetargets this week in replacement of Ebron. Freiermuth has not officially cemented his spot as a viable tight end streaming option this year. Anyone not named Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Najee Harris should be locked in for any fantasy roster.

With Odell Beckham Jr no longer a Brown, this elevates Demtric Felton and D’ernest Johnson. There is no wide receiver past Landry I don’t envision ever being comfortable starting. Johnson saw three target this week and that is expected to rise. Johnson will be whatever the alleged watered down black muck that is claimed as coffee in car repair shops to Kareem Hunt. He could become a weekly starting player in the near future. Landry, Chubb are the only two players that should be locked in to any fantasy roster.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions

The Eagles threw for 14 times this week, Quez Watkins saw a bump from his seasonal target share of 10.81-percent to 14.28-percent. With Reagor sidelined with injury Watkin should slide into the third receiving threat for Jalen Hurts. In weeks 6 and 7 Watkins averaged; 78.5-percent snap share, 23 routes run, 4.5 targets, one red zone target, 2.5 receptions, 77 air yards and 40.5 receiving yards. With anticipated more opportunity this is a player I would roster before this weeks games. Jordan Howard should be on the waiver wire, his upside is vulturing rushing touchdowns something I am not going to rely upon. The next three weeks opponnets for the Eagles are Chargers, Broncos, Saints making Howards role obsolete.

I am starting to think the Lions receivers just alternate between Raymond and St. Brown. This week St. Brown came away victorious with a 14.70-percent target share leading the receiving corps. Neither of them are remotely close to 100 air yards and thus the offense remains the same. Hockenson and Swift are the roster locks the rest are best off as others headaches.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Houston Texans

Van Jefferson is elevated into a bigger role with the release of Desean Jackson and Tutu Atwell going on the IR. The last two weeks Jefferson has averaged a 90.9-percent snap share, 36.5 routes run, 6.5 targets, 1.5 red zone targets, 3.5 receptions, 94.5 air yards, and 65.6 receiving yards. This is a player I want on my team for the remainder of the season. His opportunity is growing and could be elevated more if Kupp or Woods were to miss time.

Nico Collins is still elevating, Tyrod Taylor is coming back which means a real quarterback is going to help him with his 57.9-percent catchable target rate per playerprofiler. Since coming back from the IR, he has averaged an; 64.06-percent snap share, 28.66 routes run, five targets, 3.33 receptions, 42.66 air yards and 42.33 receiving yards. His next three opponents are Dolphins, Titans and Jets. Brandin Cooks is the only roster lock from this team.

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts

Jeremy McNichols is the player I am putting my money on from this backfield. To put this plainly, Henry was averaging 2.5 targets a game, in games he was targeted once he averaged 3.33 targets. McNichols has shown his upside in week 4 when he took nine touches for 85 yards. Julio is flirting with roster clogger status only having gone over 100 air yards once. With Henry out for the remainder of the fantasy season he is a wait and see but the fuse is very short.

Zach Pascal’s time as run its course. He had a big week on the back of a high scoring game, excluding this week he has 70 air yards once, and never over 50 receiving yards. Most of his allure is on the back of his fast start jumping out with three touchdowns in two weeks. The time is upon fantasy managers to have him make a swift exit from lineups and rosters.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets

Tee Higgins is heating up, last two weeks he has averaged an; 75.95-percent snap share, 32.5 routes run, 10.5 targets. 5.5 receptions, 32.30-percent target per route run, 1.5 red zone targets, 136.5 air yards and 79.5 receiving yards. While I am cheating with this one, Higgins is still attainable via trade and I would strongly suggest making the acquisition, Weeks 15-17 Denver, Baltimore and Kansas City all currently below No.20 pass DVOA (defensive-adjusted value over average).

Mike White hopefully taught Zach Wilson a lesson, taking what the defense gives you is a fruitful venture. Michael Carter is the beneficiary of that, though I anticipate the defense game plan will be to tempt White into throwing deeper passes to instead of giving him easy dump offs. Carter had 29 opportunities this week, had a 70-percent snap share, 51.85-percent target per route run. I would suggest shopping him in dynasty leagues you are not contending in, I have seen folks turn him into a rookie first which is a deal I wouldn’t hesitate to make.

New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Brandon Bolden had a poor box score but he ran the second most routes after Damien Harris with 15 routes. The issue was he was just never targeted on any of those routes. For reference Harris managed one target from 15 routes and Stevenson had two targets from three routes. The pass catching running back upside just was not in the game plan this week. Bolden had half the carries but gained more yards than Stevenson. Taking away each players longest run, Bolden averaged four yards per carry and Bolden averaged 2.57 yards per carry. Bolden is far from dead and once the game script swings his way should regain his previous production. Jakobi Meyers, Damien Harris and Branden Bolden are the players I would consider locked to a fantasy roster.

Mike Williams has had two poor games, coincidentally he has been recovering from injury since Week 6. The encouraging news is after this slow acclimation Week 7 his snap share went back to his season average, as did his routes run. The managers concerned with Williams are worth making an adequate offer to attain him, his Week 15-17 defenses are Chiefs, Texans and Broncos. Any running back that doesn’t have the Ekeler name plate belongs on the waiver wire.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks

Dan Arnold is averaging the last three weeks; 70.93-percent snap share, 31.33 routes run, 7.66 targets, 24.44-pecent of targets per route run, 5.3 receptions, 40.66 air yards and 53 receiving yards. Rookie quarterbacks tend to lock into their tight end, now that Lawrence and Arnold are interlocked I don’t see that changing. Laviska Shenault is droppable, breaching only 40 air yards once and four games of more than 20-percent of targets per route run. Regardless of the issue his relevance is vacant.

Chris Carson is just as likely to play Week 10 as he is to not playing this year. When it comes to neck injuries I tend to assume the latter. Making Alex Collins a perennial flex play. Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Alex Collins those are the players locked into fantasy rosters.

Washington Football Team vs. Denver Broncos

Antonio Gibson was fully healthy according to the injury report, Gibson saw 11 touches and only 33-percent of the snaps. I would reckon that his health is more of a mirage than anything else. Luckily a bye week is just in time for WFT to give him the rest needed to fully heal. Ricky Seals-Jones is droppable, Logan Thomas is back and thus Seals-Jones role is non-existent.

I caught flack for telling folks to not start Jerry Jeudy in their lineups, unless absolutely necessary. The simple fact of the matter is this, his ceiling is been lowered due to injury and until I see what I saw Week 1 pre-injury I expect nothing but his floor. This week he had 70.6-percent of the snaps, 20 routes run, four targets (1 red zone), 20-percent targets per route run, four receptions, 36 air yards, 39 receiving yards. It was a rough game for the Broncos offense but the upside for Jeudy is not existent. Tim Patrick is a cut candidate, he gave his fantasy managers one last treat before riding off into the sunset. As Jeudy gets acclimated into NFL condition Patrick;s role will shrink and it will do so at a fast rate, no reason to roster him as his role becomes diminished.

New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Adam Trautman the last two weeks has averaged; 84.5-percent snap share, 24 routes run, 4.5 targets, 18.75-percent target per route run, 21 air yards and 20 receiving yards. With Michael Thomas out for the season Trautman is in line to be the secondary safety blanket for Taysom Hill. This offense D.O.A. until further notice, Kamara is a must start and the only roster locked.

Since Antonio Browns departure Tyler Johnson has averaged: 64.5-percent snap share, 26.5 routes run, four targets, 15.09-percent targets per route run, 3.5 receptions, 32 air yards and 40.5 receiving yards. A player to keep tabs on as his career progresses. Chris Godwin is an FA next year as is Antonio Brown, meaning opportunity is present for Johnson next year. Ronald Jones is flirting with being a cut candidate, the only thing preventing me suggesting that is how big his role would be if Fournette were to miss time.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings

Michael Gallup is coming, after missing seven weeks. The first week Gallup had seven targets, that opportunity is coming back around as he will take Wilson’s role. Making Gallup a boom or bust player the remainder of this year. It does need to be mentioned that as long as the Cowboys defense retains its stringent abilities, this offense won’t ever reach the heights I had hoped before the season. Cedrick Wilson is the cut candidate, he will have one of high snap game and then sink back into the waiver wire abyss.

Tyler Conklin continues to fly under the radar in most leagues rostered in 29-percent of ESPN redraft leagues. The last two weeks Conklin has averaged; 82.45-percent snap share, 26 routes run, 6 targets, .25-percent target per route run, 4 receptions, 39air yards, 64 receiving yards. KJ Osborn is a player that is flirting with roster clogging status. Not because he won’t give you usable weeks but he is so unpredictable. He has had a fantasy finish range of No.14 to No.87 and has an average of No.55.

New York Giants vs. Kansas City Chiefs

With Sterling Shepard out for a sustained period of time and Dante Pettis injured and not a fantasy impact player. Adding to the fact Saquon Barkley is now on the Covid list, Devonta Booker is in line for one last swan song. Barkley has the vaccine so his status is still up in the air for the game. If he misses another game Booker is in line for his swan song playing the Raiders who are currently ranked No.17 in DVOA

Mecole Hardman is a cut candidate, he has had three games over 50 air yards and four games under 20 air yards. He has had one top-24 wide receiver fantasy finish, one top-32 wide receiver fantasy finish and four top-50 wide receiver fantasy finishes. The Chiefs are not the offense they have been of later years. Making Hardman someone who is simply sucking upside form your fantasy roster.

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