Stills Alive

Here are some of Fantasy Expert Ricky Sanders’ DFS-relevant observations from Week 11 of the 2017 NFL season:

Kareem Hunt, Chiefs – Everyone is coming across this realization this week but Coach Andy Reid just will not commit to a full workload for Kareem Hunt. If there ever were a prime spot for Hunt to go nuts, it was coming off a bye versus a subpar Giants rushing defense with howling winds of up to 25mph. Even in a close game, Hunt carried the ball just four times in the first half, and while he finished with 21 total touches, seven of those touches came in the final two minutes and overtime combined. However, in the other 58 minutes combined, Hunt touched the ball just 14 times. By comparison, Charcandrick West touched the ball eight times, so the touch disparity was only about 2:1 for the majority of the game. If Hunt were a member of the Steelers right now, he would be touching the ball close to 30 times per game and easily be a top tow overall fantasy back. In Reed’s scheme, this is not in the cards, as Thursday marked the sixth consecutive game Hunt failed to reach 20 fantasy points. On a week-to-week basis, his sky is still the ceiling in case Coach Reid changes his mind, but he can be downgraded to a low-end RB1 until further notice due to scheme alone.

Latavius Murray, Vikings – After out-touching Jerick McKinnon 17-12 last week, Latavius Murray touched the ball three fewer times this week. However, Murray scored two more touchdowns (TDs) this week, giving him three scores in the last two games. Last week, Murray played just one fewer snap than McKinnon and today both them graded similarly well, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). In fact, PFF graded Murray’s performance an “81.8” whereas McKinnon graded at “81.6,” and they graded as the third and fourth best players on the team for the game respectively (behind their safeties). Strangely, Murray averaged 4.5 yards per carry (YPC) after first contact despite forcing only one broken tackle. Additionally, both Murray’s scores came within the 10-yard line again, as he continues to handle most of the red zone work. While Murray’s fantasy value is tied to his ability to score TDs, he is getting consistent scoring chances on an offense that features two WR1s. Case Keenum is playing well enough that fantasy owners can feel confident rolling out a Vikings back and Murray’s role offers multiple TD upside on a weekly basis. From Weeks 4-8, Murray had failed to reach 40 yards rushing four times and did not score in any of the games in which he flopped from a yardage perspective. This is not the same Murray. Feel free to deploy him as a true RB2 next week against a Lions offense that was destroyed by Jordan Howard on Sunday.

Lamar Miller, Texans – If you are a Lamar Miller fan then I am both happy and sad for you. D’Onta Foreman vultured a TD late and then broke open the game with a 34-yard TD run but Miller touched the ball more than 14 times for the first time since Week 8. Furthermore, Foreman ended up leaving with an Achilles injury that will likely end his season. Tom Savage is not great by any means but DeAndre Hopkins continues to make him look good enough to make the offense competitive. If that trend continues, Miller could replicate some of the mojo he flashed earlier in the year. On Sunday, Miller carried the ball 22 times for just 61 yards, but he caught four passes (on five targets) for 22 yards and a score as well. Foreman exiting the picture means Miller should prove to be the bellcow once again by default and his volume alone propels him into RB2 territory.

Keenan Allen, Chargers – Keenan Allen is not dead; he is alive and well. It turns out Philip Rivers still considers him his go-to guy despite an eight-game scoreless streak prior to this week. The concerning part of the streak was the fact he had been targeted seven or fewer times in three straight games prior to his 12-159-2 explosion versus the Bills. Looking back at those games, game flow worked against Allen in the Broncos game Week 7, there was no excuse for Week 8 and in Week 10 the team was facing a dominant Jaguars secondary. In other words, Allen posted one unexpected bad game and that can be forgiven following his monster performance. The emergence of Mike Williams (eight targets this week) and Austin Ekeler (seven targets in the last two weeks) in the passing game will not help his cause moving forward but the team faces the Cowboys, Browns, Redskins and Chiefs in the next month. It would not be surprising if Allen posts multiple WR1 outings during that stretch so feel free to boost him back up your rankings.

Kenny Stills, Dolphins – Matt Moore likes throwing to Kenny Stills. In games that Moore has played in, Stills has averaged 7.33 targets per game, 4.17 receptions (RECs) per game, 62.5 receiving yards per game, 1.0 TD Per game and 16.42 fantasy points per game (FPPG). On the other hand, in the other 65 games Stills has played in as a professional, he has only averaged 4.43 targets per game, 2.65 RECs per game, 42.63 receiving yards per game, 0.28 TDs per game and 8.58 FPPG, per RotoViz. On Sunday, Moore came in to fill-in for the injured Jay Cutler (concussion) and Stills ended up catching a 61-yard TD. If looking for an upside play moving forward, Stills fits the bill if his crony is under center.

Bills/Jaguars Defense – Since Marcell Dareus left the Bills, the defense has completely fallen apart, especially their ability (or inability) to stop the run. In Dareus’ final game as a member of the Bills, the Buccaneers rushed for just 69 yards. Since that time, the Bills have allowed 194, 184 and 146 yards rushing respectively, and their inefficiency is partially to blame for the benching of Tyrod Taylor disaster. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have held opponents to 29, 87 and 50 yards rushing in three games since Dareus’ arrival. These are not coincidences. Starting running backs (RBs) against the Jaguars used to be a profitable proposition but Dareus has solidified the defense as a whole. On the other hand, the Bills can be targeted every single week with a RB as they are simply a disaster.

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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