Here’s how the Cowboys split work between their wide receivers in Michael Gallup’s first game back off IR:
CeeDee Lamb: 33 routes, 21% target share, 31 air yards
Amari Cooper: 22 routes, 12% target share, 32 air yards
Michael Gallup: 21 routes, 15% target share, 57 air yards
It appears that Lamb isn’t going to lose an inch off his crucial role in Dallas. He was able to register a team-high 33 routes because he’s playing outside in two-receiver sets but moving inside when they go to 11 personnel. Lamb took 69.6 percent of his snaps from the slot.
It’s wheels up for CeeDee Lamb with that kind of deployment.
Gallup is the purest perimeter receiver on the team and is also the deep threat. He’s going to be the most volatile of the trio but the usage isn’t far off between him and Cooper.
Of course, all of these numbers deserve some context because the Cowboys just blew the doors off Atlanta last week but it gives us a guideline for how to treat this trio going forward.
The real key for Dallas is that they can just beat you in so many ways
Kellen Moore has been in his bag with unique player deployment (they use offensive lineman as fullbacks at times) and play calls that bring his team an edge. This does not look like the 2020 static Cowboys offense that just ran three receivers and deep shots on every play.
Dallas has run 31 percent of their plays in 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends) and just 58 percent out of 11 personnel on the season. You would think that was all just because Gallup has been out since Week 1. You’d be wrong.
Despite Gallup’s return and tight end Blake Jarwin being on IR, Dallas ran 51 percent of their plays out of 11 and 31 percent out of 12 personnel in Week 10. This is who the Cowboys are. It’s their DNA this year and, you know, it’s a reason they’re a championship-level team.
Sure, it makes guys like Cooper and Gallup a little more difficult to predict in fantasy but the flexibility and type of matchup-dictating deployment of Moore’s offense are lifting up Dak Prescott and the running game. It’s made the offense lightyears more efficient than it was in 2020 when there was plenty of yards ... but an awful lot of hollow ones when it came down to it.
You’re likely going to want to chance all of these wide receivers this week against the Chiefs (except Amari Cooper — he's now been ruled out due to COVID) because of the high projected point total. I’m on board with that but at the same time, the Chiefs’ defense — though it’s been better — is weakest at linebacker and wherever Daniel Sorenson is lined up in coverage. That could lead to Moore using plenty of two-tight end sets just to dictate who takes the field for Kansas City on defense.
Chasing the upside is the right move for this Dallas wide receiver corps. Just keep this volatility in mind when constructing lineups, even in such a potential high-scoring script like Week 11.
Jets rank 32nd in dropback EPA and rushing EPA allowed since Week 7
The Jets defense started off a bit feisty at times this year but that’s completely fallen apart. The personnel is far from strong on this squad but it’s still a tough look for the defensive-minded Robert Saleh in his first year as a head coach.
The lack of in-game adjustments and the continued efforts to run out a pure Cover-3 look against the Bills proved to be a slump-buster. It was apparent from Snap 1 that Stefon Diggs was going to dust that coverage and New York never found a way to be flexible.
You need to get right? Play the New York Jets.
The Dolphins play this team twice down the stretch. That’s a big incentive to try and get some of their players on your team. Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki are locked into lineups but Myles Gaskin will be a bonafide RB2 in those weeks. You can likely stream Tua Tagovailoa, as well, and hey ... perhaps it’s even worth stashing Will Fuller just for that next game.
Eagles rank 32nd in neutral pass rate since Week 7
It’s interesting that this rebirth of the Eagles’ running game has come right after Miles Sanders was placed on IR. In fairness, they tried to get him going in his last game before the injury but it’s still an odd coincidence.
I’m not sure exactly how good of a starting-level back Sanders is but I’m pretty bullish on trading for him right now. If he takes over as the clear RB1 of a team ... there’s a lot of juice to squeeze out of a running game that’s been this robust since he left the lineup.
The Eagles get the aforementioned Jets in Week 13 and Washington twice to end the season. He could be a mildly boring league-winner if the Eagles keep running the ball like this and he’s healthy enough to be the lead guy.
Week 10: 26 touches for Antonio Gibson (a season-high) and 63% of the snaps (highest since Week 1)
Did the bye week just help Antonio Gibson get healthy or was it a simple game script that helped the Washington Football Team feed him against Tampa Bay?
Hopefully a little bit of both.
We’ll never expect Gibson to be 100 percent his year but feeling a little better post-bye would help. Especially as it comes in conjunction with his offensive line, namely Brandon Scherff, getting back healthy.
Regardless, we should be rolling Gibson out this week after his Week 10 workload. The game against Carolina should be a close, competitive back-and-forth contest. That’ll keep the script right for Gibson. The Panthers are an awesome aerial defense but there’s a big gap between their second-ranked pass defense in DVOA and their 19th-ranked unit against the run.
Carolina Panthers rank 31st in neutral pass rate since Week 7
Long before the Panthers brought in Cam Newton to relieve their starting quarterback position, this brass had made it clear they wanted to establish the run. Clearly, they’ve been able to do it.
With Newton starting and still looking like a chore to bring down as a runner, it’s likely Carolina will remain a rushing-based offense. That’s how Christian McCaffrey will maintain his fantasy football cheat-code nature despite seeing a reduced snap share and ceding an average of nearly 20 touches to Chuba Hubbard and Ameer Abdullah.
We want McCaffrey playing a reduced amount of snaps. It’s less about the touches and more about the overall amount of times he’s stressing his body per game — and that happens on every snap.
Bengals rank 7th in neutral pass rate since Week 7
It appears we’re getting the Bengals offense close to the form we’re used to as they come off their bye. After taking it slow on Joe Burrow early with a run-first approach, these Bengals look like the standard Zac Taylor operation.
Despite that, the targets are pretty concentrated between Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, who owned a combined 55.4 percent target share in the three games before the bye. Basically, no one else in this passing game is making much noise. It’s just these two.
From an opportunity standpoint, Higgins is much closer to Chase than many would think. He actually leads the team in air yards during that same stretch (409 to 318) and has seven red-zone targets to eight for Chase on the season. Remember that Higgins missed a couple of games, as well.
We all love Chase but we should at least like Higgins too. It feels strange that you’re getting a near 50-percent discount going from Chase’s $29 salary down to $15 with Higgins in DFS this week.
Daniel Jones has the 4th highest expected competition percentage since Week 7
He sports a 2.8 percent completion rate over expectation during that span. I still don’t quite know where I stand on Daniel Jones as a player or frankly, the state of the Giants’ franchise in general. However, this is an encouraging mark as we get into an important stretch for Jones.
This stat shows the Giants are calling plenty of layups for Jones and he’s still performing above baseline expectations. Now Jones is getting extremely close to having all his receiving weapons together for the first time all season.
It sounds like Saquon Barkley will indeed be back coming out of their bye week. Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney should be healthier and even if Sterling Shepard is one more week away, he’s close.
How the targets and air yards get distributed with everyone out there in Week 11 will be telling. The Giants rotated Golladay, Toney and even Darius Slayton with the end-of-roster players last time we saw them. Was that an effort to keep them healthy — I’d get it, if so — and is that the plan going forward? Because even with all these talented guys, and even if Jones is playing well, it's going to be tough to trust anyone if no one is playing a full snap share.
A.J. Dillon ranks 7th in yards after contact per attempt (RBs with 90+ carries)
As he gets set for his first career start, the bruising Packers back draws a matchup with a Vikings defense that ranks 31st in rushing EPA allowed over the last month.
The question is not, “Is A.J. Dillon a top-10 back this week?” It’s how high can we rank him inside the top-10?
I’m expecting Dillon to get two 20-plus touch starts in the next two games as it makes little sense to push Aaron Jones back before the bye when the former has played well this season. The Rams matchup is less juicy than the Vikings’ spot but that should still be a high-scoring game and we’ve seen Dillon’s scoring-area upside.
Even when Jones comes back, who’s to say this doesn’t turn into a 50/50 or even 60/40 split considering Dillon was already carving a huge role in this backfield? It would help keep Jones fresh and unleashing the fury of a massive power runner in the winter months paired with an ascending defense sounds like a winning formula for Green Bay. Dillon could be a mid-RB2 even with Jones back for December.
You could think about selling high on the opportunity-based hype on Dillon right now or after this week. I’d pass. There are very few guys more valuable than Dillon as long as he starts in Green Bay. It’s about getting wins to make sure you make the fantasy playoffs. If you have Dillon, you’re feeling a lot better about your chances now than you were a week ago, all because of him.