The goal of any fantasy season is to make as many good decisions as possible, hoping that the accumulation of good decisions will get you where you need to go. I am not saying everyone listed in this article needs to be automatically benched on your roster — your team depth and context will determine how you play that. Perhaps you’ll use this column more for a DFS slant, or as a springboard to player props.
Like anything else, I advise you to consider any reasonable argument you come across but ultimately make your own measured decision.
Cam Newton vs. Football Team
Admittedly, this is not a fun fade to write. Cam Newton was fun last week. He even brought Robby Anderson back to life. Maybe love can be better the second time around.
But I can’t unsee what Newton did with New England last year. Making 15 starts, he threw all of eight touchdown passes, averaging a piddly 177 passing yards per game. His quarterback rate was 28 percent below the league average. Sure, the Patriots had mediocre skill talent, and Newton did contract COVID-19 early in the season, which seemed to have a hangover effect for the balance of the year. But are we really supposed to assume that he’s back to star level after playing nine snaps against the Cardinals?
My heart will root for the story, and so will my Robby Anderson-invested rosters. But the rational side of me needs to stay tempered. Superman might get his cape caught in Week 11. Keep your cleats on the ground. Newton is slotted QB19 on my first wave of quarterback ranks.
Myles Gaskin at Jets
We commonly say that fantasy football is a game about volume and opportunity, and Myles Gaskin is certainly getting that. He’s logged double-digit carries in four straight games, and he also has 14 catches over that span. Heck, he’s even made two end-zone visits in that month — and yet he’s merely the RB23 in half-point PPR value over that span.
I get why you want to pounce on this draw — the Jets defense is awful. But Miami’s countering it with the worst run-blocking in football. If Gaskin doesn’t get bailed out with another short touchdown, he can easily come in under his projected score.
In seasonal leagues, you might have to accept the workload and the messy efficiency, since touches are a fantasy currency. My advice is to avoid Gaskin in DFS, and perhaps punch the under on some of his yardage props.
Mike Williams vs. Steelers
If Mike Williams becomes the latest player to spike after a fade mention in this column, I won’t be sad. It’s been a while since the Chargers offense has hit on downfield strikes. You miss them. I miss them.
Williams was breaking the game through the first five weeks of the year, shoving Keenan Allen out of the way and becoming the featured target in the LAC passing game. The numbers jump off the page: 31 catches, 471 yards, six touchdowns.
Since then, he’s been in the witness protection program: 10 catches, 137 yards, no touchdowns over four games.
There are a variety of theories. Williams might be playing through some nagging injuries. Perhaps Justin Herbert has lost confidence in his offensive line, making him less comfortable waiting for intermediate and deep routes to develop. Williams has dropped a pass here or there, to be fair. And occasionally he’s been open and Herbert hasn’t seen him.
But given that the slump has hit four weeks, I think we need to be realistic with our rankings. Pittsburgh is probably an average draw in Week 11 — the Steelers have middle-of-road ranks in pass defense efficiency, and some key personnel might be unavailable Sunday. It’s reasonable that you could play Williams as a WR2 or WR3 in Week 11, but he does not have the right to be an automatic play at the moment. This mystery slump has gone on too long, and we need to react to it.
Gerald Everett vs. Cardinals
Let’s be blunt, the Seahawks offense was a horror show at Green Bay. Did Russell Wilson come back too soon from his finger surgery? And did he meet his teammates five minutes before the game?
Gerald Everett was the lone bright spot, catching all eight of his targets, good for 63 yards. His line speaks to a couple of things — Wilson was not making accurate downfield throws, and the Packers were content to give up short completions to a non-explosive tight end.
We have to assume Wilson and his wideouts will show more in the second game of Wilson’s return. And Arizona’s been a difficult draw for all tight ends this year, giving up the least amount of tight-end production through 10 weeks. Everett can easily turn into a fantasy pumpkin for Week 11; I’ll keep him outside my top 20 at the position.