Last Word On Pro Football, Scott Burke
Another week, another Fantasy Spotlight. Last week in the spotlight we looked at five rivalry games and the players that would make a fantasy impact. Mike Wallace had a 95 yard touchdown catch and Matthew Stafford led the Detroit Lions to an overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings. It’s now week ten in the NFL and this is where the playoff races begin to heat up. This week we take a look at players that have underperformed up to this point, but could prove valuable in week ten. Time to turn on the fantasy spotlight.
Week Ten Fantasy Spotlight: Under-performers Turned Valuable
The league’s reigning MVP has had a down year in 2016. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have shown signs of a Super Bowl hangover. Should Newton and the Panthers have playoff aspirations, they need to win their third straight game Sunday at home. The visiting Kansas City Chiefs have allowed a tenth best 18.9 points per game. However, they rank 20th against fantasy quarterbacks. Newton has thrown for 1,733 yards with nine touchdowns through seven starts this season. But despite being known for his mobility, Newton has only one game with more than 50 yards rushing. His running ability has always been a key factor for producing solid fantasy numbers. Kansas City possesses the 27th ranked defense against the run, so look for Newton to use his legs a lot more in week ten.
If you look strictly at numbers, Lamar Miller may not be considered a true bust. With a line of 153 carries and 637 yards, Miller is averaging over four yards per carry. However, he has only found pay dirt once. Miller was drafted as a RB1 late in round one or early round two of most fantasy drafts. The idea was that with a new quarterback and in a new system in Houston, Miller would be utilized much more than he was in Miami. While the touches are there, fantasy owners are very frustrated with the lack of scoring. In week ten, Miller and the Houston Texans face the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville has struggled against opposing running backs this season. Opponents have run for an average of 117 yards per game. Through eight games Miller has a 74% snap share good for 11th best for starting running backs in the NFL. It’s getting to be now or never for Miller owners. This week’s division matchup provides Miller with a chance to produce his 2016 breakout game.
Despite a solid stat line, many could look at Antonio Brown as an under-performer in 2016. Brown, who is referred to by many as the best wide receiver in football, has been a slight disappointment as the consensus number one overall fantasy draft pick. At one point in his career, Brown had a 35 game streak of at least five catches and fifty yards. He already has two games of less than both totals in 2016. It should come as no surprise that as Brown has struggled with only one touchdown in the last three games, the Steelers have lost all of those games. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should be fully healed this week. The Dallas Cowboys have been solid on defense all year, but offensively the Steelers are a different team at home. This game should produce a lot of points and Antonio Brown will get back on track.
Zach Ertz is coming off his best game of the season last week against the New York Giants. The talented tight end caught a season high eight catches for 97 yards. Ertz, while not a huge name in the sport, is most certainly looked at as a top ten tight end in the league. Fantasy owners hope that last week against the Giants is a sign of things to come. Philadelphia gets a home game against the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons have been a pleasant surprise, they are awful against opposing tight ends. Atlanta ranks 31st in the league in passing yards against and 27th against tight ends. Ertz is a prime candidate to repeat his performance from last week and get his first touchdown of the season against the Falcons.