Take It or Leave It: NFL Week 13

I don’t want much for Christmas most years, so wish lists are generally a difficult exercise for me. I literally asked my parents for a new oven this year, so just know that this is the level of creativity we are dealing with. Could I use some new pants for work? Yes. Could I use some socks? Sure. Do I like gift cards? Of course. So I can generally be happy with very simple things. This holiday season, there are a few simple DFS items that I would like to wish for. Nothing flashy – just your run-of-the-mill clairvoyance when it comes to making my lineups:

  1. I wish to know when the cheap chalk tight end is going to drop a zero as opposed to getting a simple, not too much to ask for 4-6 points. Looking at you Matt LaCosse and James O’Shaughnessey.
  2. I wish to know when exactly the middling QBs are going to run all over the place, adding an RB2 line to their passing totals. Looking at you Mitchell Trubisky and Josh Allen.
  3. I wish I knew when defense actually mattered. Like, does it or not? And if the answer is sometimes, well then get out of here. Looking at you Julio Jones and Andrew Luck.
  4. I wish to find a cheap defense some week and actually have them produce at least some kind of pressure and/or turnovers. Looking at you Tennessee and Green Bay.
  5. I wish to know when the stud RBs will have career days so I can avoid overwhelmingly fading them. Looking at you Christian McCaffery and Philip Lindsay.

And I guess most of all I wish to know when performances from stars or out-of-nowhere role players are predictive. Let’s try to do our best on that right now…

Josh Allen – 231 Passing Yards/2 Tds/2 INTs, 9 Rushes/135 Rushing Yards
Zay Jones – 9 Targets/4 Receptions/67 Receiving Yards/2 TDs

We are getting a two-for-one special with this one. I am in a large 2-QB season-long league where I picked up Allen off waivers a couple weeks ago just to have a warm body going into the playoffs should something happen to my starters. Have I played him those two weeks? No. Have I won those two weeks? Not yet, and week 13 is looking dicey.  Look, we know not to expect another 135 rushing yards again. Allen’s rushing yards were the sixth highest by a QB since 1980 (five of top eight Vick, btw), so it is the definition of an outlier. But the point is that he is running. Allen has 22 rushing attempts the past two weeks, and that is especially significant when you consider he had 35 rushing attempts in the six games before he was hurt. When no one else on the offensive side has any talent, you just do your thing Allen, I ain’t mad at you. With this game, Allen is averaging 48.6 rush yards per game, giving him a floor of more than a touchdown before the passing even begins to count. And the passing hasn’t been half bad since he returned. Allen has three touchdowns through the air in two games, which is more than he had in the six games before injury. The rushing floor combined with increased passing equity and production leaves me to believe they may be unleashing Allen to show what they got with their first round pick.

Jones, on the other hand, is the model of inconsistency. In his past seven games, Jones has the following fantasy point totals: 22.7, 0, 19.3, 3.8, 8.5, 4.2, 11. So much good and so much bad. The same pattern (or lack of one) pops in target share as well: 36%, 5%, 37%, 21%, 16%, 35%, 18%. Those games with 22 and 19 FanDuel points are so enticing, and look so pretty in the box score, but don’t overlook the zero sandwiched in between them. You are literally getting floor and ceiling in consecutive weeks, and predicting which you will get is about as much fun as a Bills tailgate.

Verdict: Allen – Take It, Jones – Leave It

Dion Lewis – 6 Rushes/36 Rushing Yards, 3 Targets/2 Receptions/-2 Receiving Yards

Yes, the same player who has given us three games this year with more than 60 receiving yards just shoved a negative-two in our faces. Remember when Lewis was the chalk after the massive game against the Cowboys in primetime? Lewis has 50 total receiving yards in four games since that time. After peaking with 20 carries against New England, he has seen games with ten, seven, and six carries. With decreased opportunity and an incredibly low touchdown equity, Lewis has pushed himself out of any sort of reliable role for DFS players. For all of the talk about how dynamic a tandem he and Derrick Henry would be this year, it’s Henry who is carving out the most secure role. Lewis has only one receiving and rushing touchdown on the year while Henry now has five TDs. Henry is getting every close goal-line opportunity and Lewis has been relegated to a between-the-20s back.

Verdict: Take It

Jarvis Landry – 9 Targets/6 Receptions/103 Receiving Yards/0 TDs

Jarvis Landry, we hardly knew ye. It has been a while since we have seen Landry with this many targets in a game. In fact, you have to go back to October to find a game with at least nine. In weeks 1-8, Landry missed out on double digit targets only once in eight games. Since then – none. We don’t need some deep statistical analysis to determine that this new coaching regime under Freddie Kitchens is moving in other directions. They are featuring Nick Chubb more, they are opening up the passing game for Baker Mayfield, and they are looking to be less predictable. In those first eight games, it was a lock that Landry would overwhelm the passing looks. He had one game with less than a 23.8% target share in that time. Since the coaching change, 23.8% share is his highest mark, with a low of 16% in Week 9. Before Sunday, Landry’s targets and his air yards had been in a free-fall for five straight weeks, and it seems that the only reason for the uptick in this match-up was the early 20-point hole the Browns dug and they spent the second half trying to claw back. I imagine the Browns – already playing for next year – are going to spend a considerable amount of time getting Chubb, Njoku, and Calloway their reps for next year. Landry is reliable, he is consistent. They know what he is – and that’s not good for DFS.

Verdict – Leave It

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