Temper expectations for Tavon Austin
Recapping What to Look for in Week 8:
GOOD CALL: Andrew Luck needed a late charge to finish as the No. 15 fantasy QB and T.Y. Hilton caught only 1-of-7 targets for 15 yards, as the chemistry issues persist between those two entering another tough matchup on a short week. … Matt Ryan did indeed reclaim QB1 status with 23 standard league points against Tampa Bay. … Of the widely available QB streaming options I touched on, Derek Carr (35-percent owned) posted a No. 4 finish at the position, while Jameis Winston (17 percent) and Teddy Bridgewater (28 percent) both turned in QB2 days – Winston had the No. 10 PFF QB rating for Week 8. … You may recall back in Week 4 in this space that I dissected the Raiders offense and made the case to expect continued fantasy success moving forward.
BAD CALL: Ted Ginn Jr. played 63-of-77 snaps and drew 10 targets, although he caught only two passes for 60 yards in rainy conditions. Pegged as a high upside flex option, Ginn dropped what would have been a long game-winning touchdown in overtime and also had a 28-yard catch and run on 4th down called back because of a hold. All in all, Ginn’s upward usage trend continues, although he left some points on the table Monday night. … Shane Vereen surpassed my expectations as the No. 4 RB in PPR formats in that Giants-Saints shootout, although the rest of New York’s running backs disappointed as forecasted. Vereen may again be worth a starting spot this week (PPR) against a subpar Tampa Bay pass defense.
Moving on to the key trends to look for in Week 9:
The consequences of poor pass pro
Back in Week 5, I explored the trickle-down effect of poor pass protection. Given the storylines around the league entering Week 9, now seems as appropriate a time as ever to revisit that subject. Interim coaches have recently taken over in Tennessee and Miami, while new offensive coordinators are in place in Indianapolis and Detroit.
What does each of those offenses have in common? They’ve each been among the worst in the league at keeping a clean pocket for the quarterback.
The offensive lines for Tennessee, Detroit and Miami all rank in the bottom eight of PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency rating. Tennessee has allowed a league-high 21 sacks while Detroit, Miami and Indianapolis rank second, third and fourth, respectively, in QB hits allowed. Matthew Stafford, Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck each rank among the leaders in number of dropbacks under pressure (as did Marcus Mariota before he missed two games), and you’ll find all of those names outside the top-12 fantasy QBs on the season.
Curious as to why Russell Wilson is only 18th in fantasy points per dropback despite a league-high 297 rushing yards among quarterbacks? Well, among other things, Seattle’s offensive line ranks dead-last with a 71.5 PBE rating, as Wilson has been pressured more often than any quarterback in the league (45.6 percent of dropbacks).
WEEK 9 AND BEYOND