This week was the most fantasy-friendly of the season, with five players clearing 40 points in PPR leagues, including two wide receivers, two running backs, and a lone quarterback. At the very top is Texans WR, Will Fuller, who was the only player to pass 50 points. Fuller had 217/14/3 on 16 targets with an 87.5% catch rate, good for 53.7 points. He is a true boom or bust option at WR and this is his first big week this season but has been hyper-efficient in previous years, ranking fourth last year in Fantasy Points Over Expectation. This year he has switched it up to rank fourth in air yards, a metric that can be used to find players who have underperformed and are likely to go off, as he did Sunday.
Deshaun Watson was the QB who made the top five overall, and just he just happens to be the one throwing Fuller the ball. He was 426/5/0 and added 47 rushing yards on five carries. He completed a hyper-efficient 84.8% of his pass attempts, with half of those completions going to Fuller; an outlier market-share for a WR. This efficiency can’t possibly continue for either one of this duo, but these types of explosive performances can be expected from both from time-to-time. Watson now ranks first for 2019 in fantasy points over expectation, but only 18th in pass attempts. Fuller has DeAndre Hopkins competing for targets, limiting his opportunities and consistency.
The other WR to make the top five was Saints WR1, Michael Thomas, with 41.2 points. This is his career-best, occurring with Teddy Bridgewater at QB rather than Drew Brees. He had 11/182/2 on 13 targets, good for an 84.6% catch rate – noticing a trend? Thomas is receiving 34% of his team’s target market share and has now gotten 13 targets for the third time this season, averaging 11 per game. His fantasy expectation was initially lowered with Brees’s injury, but perhaps Bridgewater was underestimated. Bridgewater was asked to throw the ball down the field more often in Week 5 and Thomas was the main beneficiary. This could be an outlier-performance for Bridgewater, but Brees is expected back later this season anyway.
Returning to the list in back-to-back weeks and the third time this season is one-man highlight machine, Christian McCaffrey with 47.7 points, the highest of his career. As a rusher, he had 19/176/2, good for 9.26 YPC. He received 6/61/1 on nine targets as well. Not much to add here, as he is still getting all the opportunity we could want from a fantasy RB. In his career, he has averaged 7.5 targets per game, and this year he ranks first or second in every RotoViz metric at the RB position except for YPC. He did leave the game after cramping up in the fourth quarter and is listed as questionable but is expected to be fine.
Packers lead RB, Aaron Jones was the other back in the top five this week. He finally got the workload fans have been clamoring for since at least last season, and he did not disappoint: 19/107/4 with 7/75 on eight targets. Head coach Matt LaFleur was heavily criticized in the previous week for calling four-straight pass plays from the 1-yard line and failing to score. He did an immediate 180 this week and fed Jones all the red zone work; Aaron Rodgers did not throw for a touchdown. Jones now holds the top spot for total TDs among RBs so far with eight, all coming on the ground. After Week 2, when he managed 25 fantasy points on 29 total touches, LaFleur spoke about reducing his workload. The next week while sharing more work with Jamaal Williams, Jones was given only 11 opportunities, though he did bail out fantasy owners with two TDs.
Last week, Williams was knocked unconscious and is now in the concussion protocol. With Williams injured, Jones’s touches have picked back up, with 20 last week and 27 this week. As long as he gets a full workload, he should be a top 10 RB especially if his goal-line usage continues. However, the Packers did lead for the entire game, contributing to a run-heavy script. We should also note that backup RB, Tra Carson, was given 10 touches, including four targets. It is clear that Jones will not approach 100% of snaps as McCaffrey often does, but I still expect him to be a fantasy stud at least until Williams returns.