Welcome to the QB List Staff Playbook Series. Every week throughout both the season, we will conduct a staff survey, asking multiple fantasy analysts to share their insights on some of fantasy football’s most pressing questions. Essentially, we’re sharing our “playbook” with you, revealing the hard choices and strategic moves we would make to stay ahead of the competition.
This week, the QB List Staff was asked which player they are trying their hardest to acquire:
Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs): Josh Jacobs, RB
Reasoning: Josh Jacobs is averaging 4.9 YPA through the first five games of his NFL career. He’s currently on pace for 1,300 yards rushing. That includes games against stout defenses like the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, as well as the underrated Indianapolis front seven. According to Fantasy Pros’ rankings, Jacobs has the third-easiest remaining schedule for a running back. His bye is out of the way, and it’s possible that his owner doesn’t fully realize Jacobs’ breakout potential moving forward due to the fact he has only one 100-yard game under his belt so far and didn’t catch a pass in Weeks 2 and 3. After a dry spell where he wasn’t on the field much on third downs, Jacobs has earned more snaps as he grows more comfortable with the pass protection assignments in HC Jon Gruden’s offense. Over his last two games before Oakland’s bye, Jacobs had at least two catches and twenty yards receiving in both contests. Expect those numbers to grow as Jacobs becomes more of a dual-threat runner with each passing week. Jacobs’ overall PFF grade (85.6) trails only Christian McCaffrey among rushers, he’s charting among the top-five in Elusive Rating (min. 20 carries), and he has broken 23 tackles on just 88 carries. Add it all up, and you have the makings of a league winner for the remainder of the season.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) October 6, 2019
David Fenko (@Velcronomics): D.J. Moore, WR
Reasoning: Over the course of the preseason, the industry opinion of D.J. Moore had him moving up two rounds, from Round 8 to Round 6. The optimism for Moore was well-founded during the first two weeks of 2019 as he produced a combined 16-165. Unfortunately, the Panthers were a mess, largely due to Cam Newton’s ongoing foot problems. For the first few weeks of QB Kyle Allen’s tenure, Moore saw a target drop (two targets in Week 3 and five targets in Week 4), which has depressed his value after the strong start to 2019. Over the last two weeks, D.J. Moore has popped back up to 18 targets (eight and ten, respectively, over the last two weeks) and the current numbers over the span (13-164) are strikingly similar to the first two weeks. Moore is on the field for 90% of the snaps in Carolina and aside from a TD in Week 3, he is underperforming his expected production there (turns out some guy named Christian McCaffrey is hogging those). In any case, seeing Moore bounce back the past two weeks under the Kyle Allen offense has me wanting to get him everywhere I can to fill my WR2 role, especially with Cam Newton back soon.
Kevin Taylor (@ktbeast918): Tevin Coleman, RB
Reasoning: With Tevin Coleman back, this 49ers backfield has become a two-man committee. Coleman played a season-high 55% of the running back snaps last week. Matt Breida has lived in the 35%-40% range all season and Raheem Mostert received just 9% of snaps this past week. Coleman has 16 and 20 touches during his two games back from injury and is the primary red-zone back now (nine red-zone looks to Breida’s two last two games). The 49ers also run the most percentage of run plays in the league at 56% run to 44% pass. Furthermore, San Francisco has the second-best offensive line in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders. Coleman doesn’t have a large passing game role, but he does have three targets in two of three healthy games. Coleman is only the RB 46 in PPR leagues right now thanks to injuries. I think he and Breida are RB2’s most weeks and I think he could be had at less than that price.
49ers RBs yesterday (all active):
* Tevin Coleman 43-of-78 snaps, 18 carries, 3 targets, 5 touches inside 10
* Matt Breida 28 snaps, 13 carries, 4 targets, 0 touches inside 10
* Raheem Mostert 7 snaps, 4 carries, 0 touches inside 10
* Jeff Wilson 0
— John Daigle (@notJDaigle) October 14, 2019
Rich Holman (@nextdoorFFguru): Le’Veon Bell, RB
Reasoning: For the second straight season, Le’Veon Bell is letting fantasy owners down. Bell currently sits as the RB13 in points per game in PPR leagues and is even worse off in standard leagues (RB22). This is a far cry from his late first-round/early second-round draft price and this week provides no relief. The Jets face the Patriots in Week 7, but if there was ever a time to buy Bell, it’s now. Yes, this week will be rough, but if you can weather one more storm, it’s all sunshine on the horizon. Starting in Week 8, the Jets schedule goes at Jacksonville, at Miami, home against the New York Giants, at Washington, home against Oakland, at Cincinnati, and home against Miami. Of those matchups, only the Raiders rank outside of the top ten in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs. Additionally, the games against the Jaguars, Bengals, and Dolphins (x2) provides four elite matchups against teams that are allowing opposing running backs to pile up points at the highest rates in the league. Bell actually leads all running backs with a 22% team target share and has carried the ball on 89% of his team’s running back carries. Add on top of that the Jets getting Sam Darnold back, as well as already being past their bye week, and you have what I feel is a great time to buy Le’Veon Bell.
Erik Smith (@ErikSmithQBL): T.Y. Hilton, WR
Reasoning: Fantasy football is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of game, and T.Y. Hilton owners haven’t seen Hilton pay dividends for several weeks now. Hilton missed Week 4 with a quad injury and hobbled his way to four catches for 37 yards in Week 5 at less than 100%. The Colts were on a bye last week, so Hilton’s four touchdowns over the first three weeks are a distant memory at this point. This should provide a nice buy-low opportunity.
Hilton was being drafted in the fifth round of fantasy drafts after Andrew Luck retired, so this isn’t a player that your league mates likely used a high draft pick on, making Hilton easier to pry away. Hilton has sneakily developed an increased red zone role over the last two seasons, as Hilton’s ten targets inside the ten-yard-line ranked sixth-best among receivers last year. He’s carried over that trend into 2019, ranking fourth among wide receivers in targets inside the ten-yard-line despite essentially playing only three healthy games this year. Only two other Colts have seen more than one target inside the ten, so Hilton will step back into his red-zone role this week and should be healed up after resting over the bye week. Hilton doesn’t come without risk, as his injury is a concern after battling injuries all of last year. But he has shown the ability to play through injuries and still produce, making him a risk worth taking. As an added bonus, eight of Hilton’s final ten games will be played inside a dome, providing some protection from the late-season weather that can wreck passing games. Hilton looks like a trade target that could be had at a reasonable price, and I’ve been targeting him in leagues where I don’t own him.
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