Welcome back to the Stat Vault, a place to review some of the most interesting stat blurbs from the week and the bigger picture they paint.
Some of them you may not have heard yet, and some of them are plastered everywhere – with that being said, the point is to analyze what these stat blurbs mean for fantasy football, not to learn a new fun fact. Each of these stat blurbs has more significant fantasy implications, so we’re here to pull them out of the vault, polish them up, and use them to our advantage — especially in the buy or sell trading market after Week 5.
BREECE HALL SEASON
STAT: Set a career high in yards (177) and carries (22).
What this means:
Since returning from an ACL tear mid-last season, the coaching staff finally announced last week that Breece Hall is no longer on a snap count. We could now expect him to be fully involved in the offense.
We already suspected he was ready to go in Week 1 when he put up his then-career-high of 127 rushing yards on only ten carries. The Jets decided to play it safe, though, limiting him to no more than 12 carries in each of the next three weeks.
That is, until this week, he seems to have completely taken over the backfield. I’ll get it out of the way now – I understand he played the Broncos, one of the worst statistical defenses the league has seen to begin a new year.
But I’m not as focused on the success as I am on the involvement.
He leads the backfield in most of the opportunity areas. His lack of involvement on third downs and the two-minute drill is not very concerning, as he took over that role from Michael Carter by the middle of last season before his injury anyway.
This is an offense that is not extremely productive with Zach Wilson under center, but two things keep me satisfied. Firstly – and maybe most obviously – the Jets’ passing game is lacking, meaning running the ball will continue to be a big part of their game plan. So, despite a lackluster offense, they likely have to run the ball to find any success, which means more touches for Hall.
Secondly, this defense is very talented, meaning most games should be close even when the offense is not clicking. This is shown by the fact two of their three losses have been by one possession, even against the mighty Chiefs. If this continues, the Jets’ abandoning the run to climb back into a game should be rare.
If the usage splits and the last two anecdotes do not entice you enough, check out the difference in touches:
At first glance, the snap count tells us the backfield is still decently muddled. But, when looking at the touches themselves, we can see Breece Hall out-carried Dalvin Cook and Michael Carter, with 22 carries compared to a combined 7 between the latter two.
On a side note, Dalvin Cook has been bad. And by bad, I mean terrible. After finishing dead last in rushing yards over expected (RYOE) in 2022 with nearly negative 200 yards, he has continued that trend. Cook currently has 36 carries for a whopping 97 yards – an average of 2.7 yards per carry.
Cook has consistently been trending downward in carries as the season has progressed. Michael Carter is not much of a threat to Breece Hall either, with just one carry in Week 5 as I mentioned earlier. It seems like the narrative from last year – #BreeceHallSZN – is back.
Consensus: Trade for Breece Hall before it is too late. Start him every week and expect low RB1 to high RB2 production. Oh, and please don’t waste a roster spot on Dalvin Cook or Michael Carter.
TREVOR LAWRENCE’S TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
STAT: The Jaguars are 2nd in the league in drops and T-Law has yet to surpass 18 fantasy points in a game, yet ranks top-5 in PFF QB grades.
What this means:
The Jaguars have had an unexpected start to the year. Their offense put up just nine points in a loss to the Chiefs and took a bad loss to the Texans. . . but then upset the Bills in London. What can we expect going forward?
Well, we should expect Trevor Lawrence to do what Trevor Lawrence does. Jacksonville has faced some drop problems that have made T-Law look bad. Multiple dropped touchdowns have left their QB unable to put up great numbers.
The advanced statistics say that T-Law has actually been very good this year, so we can expect his fantasy points to follow soon. The drops may continue, but not at the rate they have happened thus far, giving him a big boost.
The continued success of Trevor Lawrence should help boost Calvin Ridley, who fell out of favor with Lawrence before bouncing back this week with seven catches for 122 yards (and a toe-tap away from a touchdown as well).
Fantasy owners of both of these players likely are not looking this deep into their rocky starts. After all, if you have not been watching film, looking at PFF, or reading advanced statistics, there does not seem to be an obvious sign that they will turn it around and be consistent point-getters.
But, we’re better than that. This offense is powerful with Trevor Lawrence and Calvin Ridley, but also talents like Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Travis Etienne Jr., and Evan Engram. All of these players are poised to perform better as the season goes on, purely based on the talent of T-Law.
Consensus: Buy-low on Trevor Lawrence. Make an offer for Calvin Ridley from his somewhat frustrated owners. Keep an eye on everybody else in this offense.
THE PATHETIC PATRIOTS
STAT: They have been outscored 72-3 in their last two games.
What this means:
Which one is more embarrassing – the amount of points given up on defense, or the lack of points put up on offense? For us fantasy owners, we care more about the offensive woes. There are only a few players worth investing in on this team, so we’ll review them here.
Mac Jones was benched for the second time, leaving us wondering when he will be there for good. Let’s just say what we all think – he is not any good. It is not all on him, but he certainly is not helping.
The lack of an ability to move the ball through the air hurts any of the potential flex options among New England pass-catchers. JuJu Smith-Schuster has managed an abysmal 86 yards this entire season. Hunter Henry is only relevant – barely, at that – because of the lack of talent at the TE position in fantasy.
Anybody else, from Kendrick Bourne to DeVante Parker to Mike Gesicki, are next to useless in the long run. There will be good games here and there, but when they come, do not fall into the waiver hype. They are shaky flex players at best.
After all of that hate I spewed, the RB situation may be even worse. Rhamondre Stevenson was drafted as a RB2 and often high enough to be considered a potential RB1. It seemed reasonable after last season, where he finished with over 1,000 yards rushing and another 69 catches for 421 yards through the air.
He put up 15 points in each of the first two weeks and gave us some hope, but he has been in single digits for the three weeks since. And it is not just because the offense is bad — Ezekiel Elliott has also started to take away touches from Rhamondre.
The backfield has a near-dead-even split. Split backfields are not the end of the world when discussing powerful offenses like the Dolphins with Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane but in a crappy one like this. . . Two RBs simply cannot be supported in fantasy.
The Patriots have started putting Ezekiel Elliott in for passing plays over Rhamondre, which is a big problem for Stevenson. He will not be able to produce with only rushes right now. And no, that does not mean Zeke is the better option – he has been very inefficient, with less than four yards per carry and only a few catches a game as of late.
Zeke putting up any sort of numbers would be very dependent on scoring a touchdown, but even in short yardage, the Patriots have chosen to use Rhamondre instead, which we can assume could extrapolate the goalline usage as well.
So, here we sit, with Rhamondre getting some carries and some touchdown opportunities, Zeke getting some other carries and some receiving usage, and neither RB being able to do anything productive with it. This seems the opposite of what we thought, in the worst way possible.
Consensus: No receivers on the Patriots are useful with Mac Jones and their terrible passing game. Rhamondre Stevenson is probably a bust, but Ezekiel Elliott is not a good replacement. Get all of your stock out of New England.
ZACK MOSS MASTERCLASS
STAT: Set a career high in yards (165) and tied his high in touchdowns (2).
What this means:
Riddle me this: The Colts return their best player, Jonathan Taylor, and sign him to a massive deal. . . Yet, it’s Zack Moss who has the best game of his career. What does this mean? Let’s break it down.
Firstly, this was somewhat expected – not Zack Moss’s success, but JT’s lack of involvement off the rip. We have no idea what kind of shape Jonathan Taylor is in and his disputes have kept him away from the team. JT coming in and getting bell-cow volume right away was never going to happen.
Taylor will likely continue to increase his carries as the weeks go on, but we do not know how much. Conflicting ideas are pushing against each other, which will be troublesome to resolve without backlash. I am not sure even the coaching staff will know what to do.
On one side, they signed Taylor to a three-year, $42 million extension. There would be no reason to do this unless they plan to use him a lot, like they have for the last couple years.
There is no denying his talent – after all, he finished as RB1 overall in 2021 and was the consensus #1 overall pick in fantasy the next season. But, after several issues, including lackluster play, injuries, and later contract disputes, he became a huge bust.
This segways very well into the other side of the argument, which is to feed the hot hand. Zack Moss has been very good to start the year for the Colts – why change it? He just had a career-high in yards this past week, beating his previous career high he set just two weeks earlier. He’s been doing a great job while JT has been out of the picture.
He has been able to do everything the Colts need, so I honestly don’t even know why they would bring back Taylor for so much money. I think it was motivated somewhat by the politics and pressure surrounding the RB market, which has seen many players, even outside the dispute themselves, giving their input on the value of RBs.
With Anthony Richardson hurt and potentially missing for over a month, this could get ugly fast. Gardner Minshew is a great backup, but he lacks the scrambling ability that gives Richardson so much gravity to open up the offense. Defenses fear him running the ball and breaking the game open, which opens up both the passing attack and the ground game.
With all of this laid out in front of us, I give you my prediction. The Colts will begin to split the backfield, making both Zack Moss lose value and preventing Jonathan Taylor from reaching his potential. Barring injury, I do not think either RB will be given the keys to the backfield entirely, which is a big problem for fantasy.
Consensus: Sell-high on Zack Moss, pitching to other owners his recent production and a lack of Jonathan Taylor’s involvement. Sell-high on Jonathan Taylor, too, telling other owners it’s only a matter of time before he takes back his old form; use his potential as leverage to get pieces back.
DAVANTE ADAMS’ WRONGS AND RIGHTS
STAT: Davante Adams has averaged 19.8 fantasy points-per-game through five weeks, his lowest since 2019.
What this means:
This is super strange, right? Davante Adams is currently the WR9 overall, yet he is the lowest he has been in a long time. It is actually very impressive, especially at his age. So, he’s a great player like we thought he was, but maybe not quite as great as in the past?
Well, not entirely. Much of his production can be chalked up to a spectacular Week 3, where he amassed 13 receptions for 172 yards and 2 TDs. Outside of this performance, he has not finished as a WR1 in any other week. That includes this week, where he only managed four catches for 45 yards.
Granted, he has been battling a shoulder injury that has kept him limited at practice and likely has leaked into the game script. Is this an excuse, though? Even with an injury, Jimmy Garoppolo probably should not be targeting Jakobi Meyers ten times to Adams’ four targets.
But then again, he was facing Jaire Alexander, a player that any QB would be wise to avoid and likely put a cap on DaVante’s production this week. There are so many factors that make this situation tough to navigate from a fantasy standpoint.
I do not think that this type of performance will become normal for Adams, but I do think he is not poised to finish quite as high among WRs as we drafted him to be. He is not necessarily a sell-high, but I would not recommend buying him low, either.
Instead, I would move him laterally. What I mean by this is, that I would suggest trading him for a player of similar quality just to get out of this cloud of uncertainty. Players like Keenan Allen, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Ja’Marr Chase (although tough after his insane Week 5) are valued similarly at this point in the year. I have more confidence in those players than Davante.
This would lead to two results:
- Option A: Davante Adams turns out just fine, but you traded for somebody similar who also does well, and you end up with a net-zero gain.
- Option B: Davante Adams ends up busting, and you dodged a bullet by getting rid of him while he still looked pretty good on the surface.
These are the two ways it could go, which seem like a win either way. Of course, there is Option C, where DaVante breaks out and ends up significantly better than the player you traded for, but statistically, this just seems unlikely. A 30-year-old WR with Jimmy Garoppolo at QB having a season far above those other players I named is not what I expected.
Consensus: Move DaVante Adams for a player of similar quality, if you can. The risks he came into the season with, such as age and questionable QB play, seem to be in play. Rid your team of uncertainty.