2017 Fantasy Football Week 10 Preview: Future Numbers

by Richard Savill
2017 Fantasy Football Week 10 Preview

Right at this very moment, we are compiling the statistics for the 2018 fantasy season. To this point, how important are the basic statistics of 2016 that we poured over last summer?

Football Outsiders and others are doing a lot of things differently when it comes to sports statistics. They are part of a revolution in statistical analysis not feasibly possible with the algorithms available in computer technology before the 21st century.

Next Gen Stats also give a staggering amount of information with complicated analysis. Just a quick peruse of their charts leave you reeling. It's no longer about simple total yards anymore. These new statisticians dig deeper into the effectiveness of down, distance and many other new metrics never discussed before. These are not your father's statistics.

2017 Fantasy Football Week 10 Preview

I find all of it interesting and useful for evaluating some offenses for fantasy football. One thing that impresses me is that these new metrics are very accurate in confirming what we just saw and surmised in a football game result. The statistics are artificially intelligent eyes seeing the stuff humans see with purely numerical data.

These new algorithms and metrics are taking us into some very interesting territory for the future of fantasy sports. We may one day have some very strange ways of scoring fantasy points far, far beyond mere yardage and touchdowns.

Games to Watch

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Byes: Chiefs, Eagles, Raiders, Ravens

Feature Game: Cowboys (5-3) at Falcons (4-4)

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The game that owners of the Cowboys backfield behind Ezekiel Elliott want to see. Jason Garrett prefers a standard single back offense with a third down pass catcher and relief back.

I see this as the Alfred Morris temp job. All season he has taken the relief load for Elliott, so Morris is the clear and logical choice. Yet somehow, the fantasy narrative has gone overboard with the "hot hand" supposition; almost ignoring the definitive message from the team that Morris is the Cowboys starter for a few weeks.

Both of the top receivers of each team, Dez Bryant and Julio Jones, are dealing with minor injuries and soreness going into the game. They may not be entering the game at 100%, but in a game with such high shootout potential, there's not a single owner who would dare not start them.

The Falcons backfield of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman had their own injury issues recently, but are confident starts for this game.

The flow of this game will come down the team who can keep the other one off the field. Both Dak Prescott and Matt Ryan are capable enough to score with little time to spare. Therefore, the team who has the last possession could be the winner in a game of dramatic lead changes.

Sleeper: Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons

High OU Game: Saints (6-2) at Bills (5-3)

Drew Brees comes to Buffalo for the first time since his 2009 Super Bowl season. In that last encounter, Pierre Thomas posted a 14-126-2 rushing statline, for a tidy score of 24.6 fantasy points.

This is a matchup of a tangle of strengths. The Saints are as strong against the pass as the Bills are against the rush and vice versa. It must be taken into account that these are from season totals and both of these defenses are opportunistic whatever offense scheme is thrown at them.

This game shows as a high over/under, but because of the twined defensive dynamics involved, I'd take the under and bet on field goals to dominate the scoring. That said, the Bills are 11-1 on the over (+8.42 ppg avg) since Sep 15, 2016 at home.

Individually, the Bills will introduce Kelvin Benjamin into the passing game. Since Tyrod Taylor is a rough facsimile of Cam Newton, Benjamin should work his way into a playbook that features similar aspects. LeSean McCoy will look to bounce back from a very bad week. The Bills rebound well after losses with team rushing under 70 yards to almost double when they return home.

The Saints will attack with a wide variety schemes, but I expect some variation away from the Alvin Kamara pounding because Sean Payton hates to be predictable. I don't know how he could resist though, because Kamara is just too effective in every game when he's a main feature.

Sleeper: Jordan Matthews, WR, Bills

Sunday Night Football: Patriots (6-2) at Broncos (3-5)

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This type of game can really throw your hands up in the air and wonder how insane the NFL can be for predicting an outcome. I have seen this scenario a hundred times before. A team heavily anticipated to dominate against team on a severe downturn gets beat.

We call these the "trap game." I fully expect the Patriots to come away with a victory, but I'm not cozy at all with predicting how close it will be.

It's just too obvious. Brock Osweiler terrible. Running game terrible. Defense overstretched. Big play receiver with ankle injury and questionable. No depth at tight end. Blown out of Philadelphia. They generally really suck.

And yet, I've seen it so many times that when you're beyond any further need of convincing, the game turns out completely different. You scratch your head and wonder, "I didn't think it was possible."

The Patriots, as they do, muddle along with their own troubles and find a way to stay reasonably consistent through the tough times.

They are without Chris Hogan again; the player who has done a great job subbing for Julian Edelman. Danny Amendola, in turn, subs for him. The running game remains the greatest mystery of the NFL and because of the success the Patriots have with it, other teams are trying to emulate the model. In fantasy, we really hate the idea of this disease spreading any further.

The Broncos love sacking Tom Brady and he'll be under heavy pressure all night. If the Broncos intend on winning, that's the only way I can see it happening. If Amendola is limited or out then...

Sleeper: Philip Dorsett, WR, Patriots

Monday Night Football: Dolphins (4-4) at Panthers (6-3)

Two teams where we are sort of expecting the law of diminishing returns to kick in. They both gave up a star player before the trade deadline and yet are sailing the Sea of Ho-Hum in navigable waters.

I guess the Dolphins aren't so bad off, because right now a lot of teams, besides the Packers, would love to have Jay Cutler. The state of quarterbacks this season with injuries is so bad that Cutler moves up in the ranks by just being there.

Cam Newton, despite mostly dire passing numbers, is somehow putting good a season together. The Panthers are back to a level of heavy competitors, but on paper the only record that impresses you are the wins and losses.

So here we have two teams with better records than other stats would indicate. Something has to give in the Over-Achiever Bowl.

The Dolphins remain happy to play with two running backs in a committee. Last week the fantasy football punditry favored Kenyan Drake; this week they favor Damien Williams. I feel this will go back and forth for a while yet and for the rest of the year.

Meanwhile, the Panthers eagerly await the return of Greg Olsen after the bye-week, so matters in the dry passing game of Cam Newton may have some improvement on the horizon.

Devin Funchess has not found the end zone since Week 5 and owners just aren't getting enough production. After long spells like that and the type of game this is, he may finally get the proper breakout following the Benjamin trade.

Sleeper: Julius Thomas, TE, Dolphins

Players to Watch

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Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers (at Colts)

After spending a week in Tomlin's doghouse, Bryant returns to the field. It's anyone's guess what to expect here, but we do know that young JuJu Smith-Schuster isn't climbing down from his current usage.

Aaron Jones, RB, Packers (at Bears)

The matchup last week should have been suitable enough for Jones, but nothing much happened last Monday. Ty Montgomery looked more effective and Jamaal Williams scored the touchdown. His hold on the bell-cow job is loosening.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Buffalo Bills (vs Saints)

Benjamin tries out the new clothes this week. Sometimes a fresh addition makes an immediate impact, sometimes not. It's an odd matchup (see above), but welcoming Benjamin with a touchdown is something fans would like to see.

Adoree Jackson, CB, Titans (vs Bengals)

Jackson had a run with the offense last week for a big 20 yard gainer. This guy does it all. Now the star rookie has to cover a very grumpy A.J. Green after a week of fines and further insults from Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey on social media.

Josh Doctson, WR, Redskins (vs Vikings)

The depleted pass catchers on the Redskins poses a curious problem for Kirk Cousins. He's more or less forced to throw the ball to Doctson or Terrelle Pryor. Both players are looking for a breakout, but the Vikings are sure to pressure Kirk Cousins once again into safety valve throws underneath. We may have to wait yet another week. Pryor will look for his 100th career reception in this game.

Elijah McGuire, RB, Jets (at Buccaneers)

While Bilal Powell holds the steady spot at the front, a strong chance for McGuire to gain his own high numbers could easily happen in this game. The Buccaneers are giving good fantasy production to running backs with an average increase in recent weeks, so McGuire may get a fair share with Matt Forte inactive.

In the Booth on Sunday

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CBS Early

Steelers at Colts: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Chargers at Jaguars: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Jets at Buccaneers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Browns at Lions: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta

CBS Late

Texans at Rams: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

Fox Early

Packers at Bears: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Vikings at Redskins: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis
Saints at Bills: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber
Bengals at Titans: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth

Fox Late

Cowboys at Falcons: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Giants at 49ers: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

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