The Stats You Need To Know After Week 7 (2022 Fantasy Football)

The NFL trade deadline is less than one week away, officially landing on November 1st this year. Already we’ve seen a handful of trades go down, some having massive fantasy implications. For most leagues, however, there are still a few weeks to go before trading ends, and I can think of no better time or intro to remind you of a rule of thumb: when trading, you want to be consolidating talent.

Now, I could do an entire article on this subject, and that may come at some point. But for now, I found myself this week in particular being asked dozens of times if a fantasy manager should trade one A-level player for two Bs.  Barring extreme injury catastrophes or downright irresistible value, the answer to that question is almost always no.  The reasoning is simple; if you only have one starting spot to fill and you’re making this trade, you’re now putting a “B” in the starting spot over the “A.”  Sure you’ve got a B on the bench, but that doesn’t get you any points.  You’ve simply downgraded your starting roster and taken up a spot on your bench.  Which leads us to….

The second reason to speak to the importance of this adage is that bench churn makes for successful fantasy management.  The landscape in fantasy football is ever-changing, and consolidating your bench Bs into starting As opens up space for you to make the hot waiver pickups. D’Onta Foreman was available in a lot of leagues this time last week. You want to have space on your bench to pick guys up who are an injury or trade away from becoming viable fantasy assets.

I know, it’s a weird way to start an article. But as managers its always best to be thinking about the little things and how sometimes 6 plus 6 is NOT greater than 10.

Conversely, here are some fun numbers that do add up. Welcome to The Stats You Need to Know After Week 7.

DeAndre Hopkins got 14 targets in his first game back.

Coming off of his six-game suspension, I didn’t know what to make of Hopkins.  He represented reasonable draft value for his ADP, but managers knew that they would have to wait for his return.  Turns out, it might have been worth the wait.  In his very first game back from suspension, Hopkins played 92% of the snaps and got a whopping 14 targets.  This represented 66% of all targets that Murray threw to the Wide Receiver or Tight End positions.

Ironically, the one place that Hopkins was used the least was in the red zone, where he only had one target.  Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch, and Zach Ertz all had a single target from inside the opposing 10 yard line.   Hopkins did not.

The Gus Bus is back.

If you had asked me one week ago what fantasy managers should do with Gus Edwards, I would have told you to hold off for a week.  I’m an overall risk-adverse manager, wanting to wait and see a player perform in my lineup before trusting them.  Edwards absolutely fit that bill.  Coming off of a torn ACL in 2021 and thus far hearing very little to truly get excited about, his first game back was rife with risk.

…risk that he promptly went out and shattered.

Edwards was used on all parts of the field, and given the circumstances looked like himself, consistently gaining positive yardage, to the tune of only having 1 carry of his 16 get stopped for no gain.

The usage was typical of what would be expected in a Dobbins-less Baltimore backfield (though even I predicted a larger workload for Kenyan Drake), and was explosive in the opportunities he got.  As long as Dobbins remains sidelined, Edwards should be in for a large role, especially in non-PPR formats.

The J.D. McKissic nightmare might finally be over… except not?

For two seasons now, Antonio Gibson managers have languished under the fact that despite being a receiver at Memphis, the passing game work has always gone to J.D. McKissic.  Strangely enough however, both Gibson and rookie Brian Robinson were more productive receivers in week seven.

Now, I’d love to sit here and tell you that theres finally a little bit of clarity in this backfield.  The 20-carry usage for Robinson certainly seems to indicate that he is the most valuable of the three.  Even Gibson getting an overall 14 opportunities carries some amount of value.

Unfortunately though, as is often the case, even Robinson’s opportunities come with uncertainty and under-utilization where it matters most.  Expanding the sample size to the last three weeks shows us a concerning pattern concerning Robinson’s usage as a receiver, especially in the red zone.

Looking at the table above, Robinson only received those two week seven targets compared to 12 for each of his running mates.  And both got targets within the opposing 10.  Overall this remains a backfield to avoid if at all possible.

Josh Jacobs is a potential league winner.

Lets end on a high note, shall we?  Josh Jacobs.  You know, the guy who over the last couple of weeks is playing like the best running back in the league.

Over the course of the season, Jacobs is averaging a whopping 5.7 yards per carry and has eclipsed 140 rushing yards in each of the past three games.  He is on the field A LOT and the Raiders are leaning on him heavily.

Interestingly, about the only place I could find where Jacobs isnt doing everything is receiving in the red zone.  Over the last four weeks, he’s had at least four targets in every game to go along with his uptick in carries, and is regularly making guys miss when he does get a reception.  For the season, Jacobs has an average depth of target 1.2 yards behind the line of scrimmage, upon which he normally produces 8 yards after the catch (on average).

All that to say, Jacobs is playing out of this world right now and while I expect some of his absurd efficiency to normalize, the workload appears to be here to stay, and he’s a player I’m absolutely trying to acquire in many of my leagues.


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Until next time, go make the world a better place.

Andrew Hayslip