Written by Timothy Lewis (@TrendsAndTakes) — November 21st, 2019.
Week 11 of the 2019 NFL season has come and gone! In other words, we have an 11-game sample size to spot trends and develop takeaways. Welcome to season three of this column! If you’re not familiar, I use this time to look at numbers and tell you what I make of them. This year, I will be offering additional Buy/Sell/Drop/hold criteria. Statistics are courtesy of advanced analytics goldmine, Player Profiler, and trusty dusty Pro-Football-Reference.
8.6 targets per game
84.8 receiving yards per game
82.6% catchable target rate
Over a 16 game season, Michael Gallup’s current stats extrapolate to 83 catches for 1,368 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. For fantasy purposes, he’s been a high-end WR2. Amari Cooper, despite his dominance, has battled a litany of ailments this season, resulting in a 62.9% snap share in week 11. Among his ailments are issues with his foot, ankle, and knee. We shrug off these repetitive and perhaps interdependent lower body injuries at our own peril. Gallup, meanwhile, is healthy and enjoys advantageous matchups whenever sharing the field with Cooper. In each of the last two games, Gallup demanded double-digit targets, capitalizing with 224 receiving yards in that span. While he has struggled with drops (6), that only hurts you in your points per drop league. Regardless, the second-year receiver out of Colorado State clearly has his quarterback’s confidence. His ability to get open for mid-range targets and punish defenses after the catch seems tailor-made for Prescott’s strengths. Should Cooper miss time, it’s easy to see Gallup becoming one of the league’s most targeted receivers.
Verdict: If you have championship aspirations, Gallup gets Eagles week 16, whose difficulties in their secondary are well documented. BUY.
2755 passing yards (6th)
21 passing touchdowns (2nd)
8.6 yards per attempt (3rd)
Gary Kubiak, long thought to be the noose around Kirk Cousins’ pass-happy neck, may ultimately prove to be his savior. The experienced head coach’s ability to establish the run has birthed a potent offensive line. Dalvin Cook is 2nd in rushing yards and Cousins ranks top-10 in countless efficiency metrics. Along with the aforementioned Cook, who also ranks 3rd among running backs in receiving yards, Cousins has the ever-impressive Stefon Diggs and a promising duo of pass catchers at tight end.
The most important variable for Cousins’ fantasy relevance has been the Vikings’ defense. The secondary has struggled relative to years past and it has forced the offense to test its machismo. I don’t see why this situation is so different from the one in Atlanta, where an above-average quarterback has the weapons, the stadium, and the game scripts to post prolific numbers. Adam Theilen is targeting a week 13 return which could really set this thing ablaze.
Verdict: Kirk Cousins is averaging 257 passing yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. His schedule in the fantasy playoffs is palatable. He’s unrostered in a lot of leagues, which makes little sense as the 8th ranked QB in fantasy scoring. BUY.
80%+ snap share last two games
18.8% red-zone target share
20.3% of snaps in the slot
Last week I wrote about Mike Gesicki as an acquisition for a team desperate at the tight end position. The main things I look for to identify tight end breakout candidates is a healthy snap share and vacated targets to be distributed. With Super Bowl-high hopes coming into the 2019 season, the Eagles offense has been shockingly impotent. After his week 1 splash, DeSean Jackson has spent most of his time sidelined with an abdominal injury. A long-time alpha on the outside, Alshon Jeffery has looked a shell of himself. Ertz, while marvelously solid, lacks the explosiveness to open up the offense for his fellow pass catchers. And Nelson Agholor, well…lol
Point being, the Eagles need somebody to step up who can both serve as a sure-handed target for a surely-frustrated Wentz, and as an explosive playmaker once reeling in the ball. Goedert fits the bill. He slides in as the second tight end opposite Ertz some plays, but it’s his regular usage from the slot shows that the coaching staff’s commitment to finding him snaps. The offense, QB, and lack of dynamic weapons in the passing game make Goedert an obvious candidate for an expanded role. He will also routinely experience mismatches around the end zone, as big-bodied defensive backs are forced to contend with Jeffery and Ertz. The red-zone target share demonstrates the realization of this advantage.
The Verdict: Goedert is already a weekly streaming option that is relatively match-up proof. He’s also the only tight end handcuff in the league who is worth rostering. Should Ertz go down, Goedert becomes a weekly top-5 option. BUY.