Weekend Review: Tyler Lockett Has Been Quiet for Too Long

For the first time in NFL history all four road teams won on Wild Card Weekend. As opposed to including all of the teams in this week’s recap, the focus will only be on the winning teams, naturally, because they will be the ones contributing to DFS next weekend as well.

Strange things happened on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs: Russell Wilson didn’t reach 150 yards passing, Travis Kelce was actually heavily targeted, Ben Roethlisberger attempted less than 33 passes for the first time since Sep. 27 and Aaron Rodgers threw multiple touchdowns (TDs) in a game for the first time since week 14. Still, as London Fletcher suggested in the podcast, teams mostly stuck to their identities. In the playoffs, most teams try to stick to the script that got them there so continue to keep that in mind moving forward.

Here are my DFS-relevant observations from the Wild Card Round of the 2015-16 NFL playoffs:

Aaron Rodgers, Packers – The final scoreboard shows a Packers 35-18 victory which would lead one to believe dominant Aaron Rodgers showed up when, in fact, he did not. Rodgers threw for less than 220 yards passing for the fourth time in his last five games and fifth time in his last seven. He completed sub-60 percent of his passes for the third time in the past four games. The bottom line is Rodgers continues to not possess the mojo he has in past years due to extenuating circumstances (including a lack of healthy weapons). The running game accounted for two of the team’s four TDs as this is simply a balanced offense at this point…not one dominated by the passing game and the play of All-Pro quarterback (QB) Rodgers. Next week at Arizona, Rodgers will yet again not rate as a primary play for me and will be delegated to a contrarian tournament option only. Personally, I cannot see using him over the likes of Tom Brady/Cam Newton or any of the proven commodities on the slate so he is going to be a straight fade for me.

Christine Michael, Seahawks – Assuming Marshawn Lynch does not suit up next week yet again, Christine Michael has firmly supplanted himself as the team’s starter in his absence. Michael carried the ball 21 times on Sunday and all other players not named Russell Wilson carried the ball a combined two times. Without the team’s top two options, Michael is the one and only back which bodes well for fantasy purposes. You do not have to worry about Michael getting vultured and the volume is enough that he does not need to be super effective per touch to provide fantasy value; he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry (YPC) against the Vikings. If he could have capped off the afternoon with a TD, he could have made it very respectable. The only thing holding him back from emerging as one of the most stable cash options next week will be the status of Lynch so make sure you continue to monitor his status.

Jordan Todman, Steelers – While it was tough to put too much faith into Fitzgerald Toussaint heading into this week due to a lack of track record, I touted him and went pretty heavy on using him. In terms of purely running the ball, Jordan Todman looked like the better back. Although Toussaint carried the ball six more times, Todman rushed for more yardage and averaged 5.9 YPC to Toussaint’s 3.4. Still Toussaint managed to outscore Todman in the fantasy point department due to four receptions for 60 yards (and Todman did not catch a single pass). Similarly to Michael, this running back (RB) situation is reliant upon the health of the starter which in this case is DeAngelo Williams. Assuming he does not suit up, this situation is going to be extremely difficult to handicap. This is the playoffs so the more effe ctive player will likely receive the ball which leads me to believe Todman may receive the majority of the workload next week. However, he doesn’t catch any passes so it may just be best to split exposure between the two if you choose to use them at all against a difficult Denver defense. Remember, Roethlisberger tore them up in their previous meeting and could very well do so yet again.

Tyler Lockett, Seahawks – As mentioned in the opener, Wilson suffered through an awfully quiet game by his standards. He only completed 50 percent of his passes for 142 yards and one TD. Minnesota defense played him tough and the Seahawks will face the Carolina Panthers and Josh Norman next week. This now marks three consecutive quiet weeks for Tyler Lockett who only caught one pass for 35 yards. So why would you look towards the cold player in the Divisional Round of the playoffs? Well Lockett still was targeted five times which tied for second most on the round. Sure 20-percent is a terrible conversion rate on receptions but next week Norman will likely shadow TD-machine Doug Baldwin. With Baldwin likely shut down (or close to it), additional looks will be headed towards both Lockett and Jermaine Kearse. Lockett is the explosive speedster of the two so all he needs is one big play for a productive day. Sometimes guys have simply been quiet for too long and he’s too talented to continue to struggle.

Davante Adams, Packers – Drop-prone Davante Adams was finally enjoying a productive afternoon including a TD reception when he was forced to leave the game with a knee injury. He was informed after the game that the injury was not serious however he is essentially doubtful to suit up next week. An already depleted receiving core will get even thinner and Jared Abbrederis, a favorite of QB Aaron Rodgers, will be forced into playing additional snaps. The takeaway here is James Jones will continue to be the only usable receiver at the price with Richard Rodgers dependent on price and matchup. Considering the Cardinals allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points to the tight end (TE) position this season, Jones would be the only usable guy assuming he did not draw an individual matchup with Patrick Peterson. If he does, then the Green Bay passing offense is in trouble as a whole.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs – It’s a miracle! Coach Andy Reid actually schemed the team’s best offensive weapon into the game plan and, voila, Travis Kelce produced. Kelce caught eight of 10 targets for 128 yards and Jeremy Maclin left the game with injury. If Maclin is forced to miss next week, even more passes should be headed in Kelce’s direction making him an elite play yet again. It has been disappointing all season that Kelce possibly is the second most talented TE in all of football and yet was only targeted 100 times in 16 games. By comparison, Rob Gronkowski was targeted 120 times in just 15 games this season as Coach Bill Belichick wanted to feature his freak TE. Regardless of what happened in the past, it appears Coach Reid is willing to make up for it in the now (and he sort of has to without Maclin and Jamaal Charles). Kelce is a safe bet for eight targets against the Patriots and the Chiefs will certainly need to score to compete. There are only two cash TE options next week: Kelce or Greg Olsen…that’s it.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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