CJ Prosise - Seattle Seahawks
In sports we often hear the phrase "next man up." It's a philosophy that preaches no excuses and that every player is expected to prepare like they're going to play so that when their number is called upon that they're able to deliver. Fantasy football, much like life and athletics rewards perseverance. I realize that fantasy football is a game about a game and in the end doesn't really matter but the train of thought still applies. Every owner deals with injuries, suspensions and disappointments throughout the year and it's often the ones who plan ahead, who are thorough on the waiver wire and in the trade market who often come out on top at the end.
In the NFL we see this on a weekly basis as well. For example, David Johnson wasn't even a starting running back at this time last year, which is a prefect transition to the player I'll spotlight this week. This is what i wrote about Seattle Seahawks RB, CJ Prosise, back in July when I ran down rookies who could be impact players this year.
Well here we are, it's Week 10 of the regular season and CJ Prosise showed off some of that David Johnson upside in his first NFL start. Thrust into a starting role due to Christine Michael (hamstring) and Thomas Rawls (ankle, fibula) being either slowed or sidelined by injuries; Prosise showed off his former collegiate slot wide receiver skills and patience as a runner between the tackles on his way to an impressive 153 total yards on 24 touches.
The third-round pick out of Notre Dame actually came to South Bend as a safety out of high school. After redshirting his freshman season, Prosise transitioned over to the offensive side of the ball where he spent two years at wide receiver before moving to running back due to depth issues. This versatility is what made Prosise one of the more intriguing offensive prospects in this past draft.
As you would assume, Prosise is an advanced receiver and route runner for the running back position. Prosise looks like a natural receiver the way he's able to run a variety of routes, string together multiple moves to evade defenders in the open and field, and ability to catch the ball in stride. As a runner there is still work to be had and Prosise knows it. Prosise actually sought help this offseason and worked running back coach, Chad Spann, to learn some of the more nuanced aspects of the position.
Other areas of concern with Prosise out of school were his ball security and durability. Prosise fumbled once every 45.6 touches last year. For perspective, Ezekiel Elliott's fumble rate was once every 162.5 touches, Derrick Henry 123.8, Paul Perkins 140.4, Jordan Howard 111.8. He's yet to put the ball on the ground through 41 touches this regular season. Durability is still an issue. His last year at Notre Dame Prosise missed most of the last 5 games of the season due to head, neck and ankle injuries. Prior to his breakout role in the Seahawks offense this past month, Prosise had been sidelined for most of his rookie season due to injuries. He missed time in the preseason with a hamstring strain and broke his hand in Week 1 of the regular season.
Since returning from injury Prosise's snap count has steadily increased (25.3%, 42.5%, 55.3%, 77.1%) into the role we saw Sunday. The outlook for Prosise is promising going forward because he's an awesome fit for what the Seahawks do best on offense, and that's passing the ball. Prosise's skill-set creates mismatches for the offense. He can roast any linebacker in the passing game and if you have an extra DB on the field to account for him then the Seahawks can attempt to take advantage by running the ball. The Seahawks quietly have an awesome blend of skill position players in the passing game. Graham is the head honcho, Baldwin is one of the best slot WR's in the league and then you have Tyler Lockett's and Paul RIchardson's speed on the outside. Now factor in a receiving back like Prosise into the equation. Things are looking pretty.
Thomas Rawls is returning this week from a broken fibula. Chris Mortensen reported that Rawls "will be eased back into action." On the other-hand Pete Carroll said that Rawls will "play considerably" this week. The Seahawks were careful with Rawls this preseason when returning from his ankle injury so it wouldn't surprise me if they handle Rawls with care again.
For the rest of this fantasy season I would rather have Prosise than Rawls. It's mainly because he's a better fit for what the Seahawks do well on offense and Thomas Rawls returning isn't going to fix the pathetic offensive line over night. In the coming years I can see this backfield shaping up like Tampa Bay's has. Thomas Rawls will be the "lead back" much like Doug Martin is with CJ Prosise earning the Charles Sims roll. If the Seahawks hand the job over to Prosise entirely there is an outside chance we see an Arian Foster/David Johnson type breakout.
BYE WEEK: Atlanta, San Diego, New York Jets, Denver
Week 10 Thoughts: I want to apologize if you decided to take my Jay Cutler streaming suggestion over the consensus, Joe Flacco (QB7). I should have known that Cutler was going to go full Jay Cutler in an easy matchup...Blake Bortles has been disastrous this year but for fantasy purposes he's been pretty good lately. Just another reminder that being a great fantasy QB doesn't mean you're great in real life. Anyways, the Jaguars are playing a Detroit team that's given up the 2nd most fantasy points to QB's this year...It seems as if the Rams are now starting Jared Goff due to pressure from up above. That's not the way to go about it. They should only be putting him in when he's ready. I don't really know what to expect from Goff. I still believe he as what it takes to succeed in the league but he's playing in a Jeff Fisher offense and behind an OL that's making Todd Gurley look bad.
Colin Kaepernick - San Francisco 49ers
Despite being a Top 10 fantasy QB since being name the starter, Kaepernick is only owned in 16% of ESPN leagues. Just like a couple weeks ago we're going back to Kaepernick being the top streaming option because of his ability as a runner. The 49ers play a Patriots defense that hasn't got after the QB much this year and the secondary is just average. The Patriots should be able to take care of business pretty easily which means Kaepernick should be dropping back to pass plenty. That means rushing or passing yards for him. I'm into him this week.
Week 10 Thoughts: Now that we're through the major BYE weeks it's time to trim the fat and add upside to your bench. This means no longer carrying someone like Mohammad Sanu, JJ Nelson or a Chris Hogan who would never start for you. Use your bench spots for players where you could tell a story of that player being a difference maker for you in the playoffs. That often means RB handcuffs such as Bilal Powell, Mike Gillislee, Damian Williams, Andre Ellington etc. If you stream QB or D/ST then add that player a week or so in advance to make sure you'll own that player for the perfect matchup...Rob Kelley once again was dependable in his starting role. Kelley has a stranglehold on that job for now...Paul Perkins was just OK in his action on Monday Night. He still saw a good amount of work but wasn't able to create any distance between himself and Rashad Jennings. The running game was bottled up the whole night until the final drive when Jennings reeled off a couple long runs to run out the clock...Christine Michael was waived by Seattle this week and claimed by the Packers the following day. I'm not exactly getting my hopes up here. I think it'll take Michael a few weeks to be comfortable in the offense and by then James Starks could have locked down the starting role. The coaching staff is blindly loyal to Starks...Le'Veon Bell is averaging 9.3 targets per game and leads all RB's in receptions despite missing 3 weeks plus the Steelers BYE week so far....Jordan Howard now has 4 100-yard performances this year. Even with a healthy Jeremy Langford and KaDeem Carey it's still his job. He left Sunday's game with an ankle/achilles injury but he stated it's not a big deal.
James Starks - Green Bay Packers
Starks looked better in Week 10 than he did earlier in the season, which I guess is a good sign. With some ambiguity surrounding Ty Montgomery's health it appears that Starks should be the 'lead back' down the stretch. I think the offense functions better with Montgomery in the backfield but McCarthy has other ideas. There isn't a ton of upside here but due to Starks' starter status he is still roster worthy.
Thomas Rawls - Seattle Seahawks
I think people might be forgetting how dominant Thomas Rawls was last season. As a rookie he led the NFL in YPC at 5.6. The next highest from a RB was Ryan Mathews at 5.1. Flash forward almost a year and there is uncertainty about which Rawls we'll see coming off numerous lower leg injuries. What we do know is that Seattle feels good enough to indicate that Rawls and Prosise will create a RBBC going forward. The Seattle offense has got it's mojo back so there should be plenty of goal line opportunities for Rawls in the future.
Week 10 Thoughts: Reports surfaced earlier this week that Sammie Coates is playing with two broken fingers. That explains his decline in snaps and effectiveness the past month. Cobi Hamilton looks to be the wideout benefiting the most from this injury. The Arkansas product is a pretty talented kid. Keep your eye on him...Steve Smith looks to be fully recovered from his ankle injury. He's back to being a WR3/Flex play these days. Don't forget he had back-to-back 8 catch games prior to his injury...Tyreek Hill racked up 10 receptions for 101 total yards last week. He's earning a bigger role in the offense and KC is giving it to him...Since all of the Odell Beckham Jr outrage after Week 4's MNF performance he's led the NFL in touchdowns (6)...Stefon Diggs had another outstanding game in Week 10. Thats now 42 targets and 34 receptions the past 3 weeks. He's a WR1 in PPR leagues from here on out...Jarvis Landry hasn't reached the end zone or double digits in targets since the running game got on track. He's a guy to sell if you can still get anything for him...Larry Fitzgerald is on pace to set a career high in receptions for the 2nd consecutive year.
Eddie Royal - Chicago Bears
After Jay Cutler's performance on Sunday and Alshon Jeffery's suspension the Bears offense is again in chaos. Cameron Meredith is assumed to be the WR1 now in the offense but not so fast my friend. Meredith now has the opportunity to be productive, no doubt, but he just hasn't shown up on Jay Cutler's radar for whatever reason He's caught 1 pass in each of the last 3 games and one of those was a Hail Mary. The Bears WR I'm targeting, and he might not have the upside of Meredith, is Eddie Royal. Royal when healthy, and that's been an issue lately, is the dependable veteran slot WR who already has some chemistry with Jay Cutler from his time in Denver. I'm not expecting the world from anyone in this offense but I think we'll see decent production from Royal this next month.
Tyler Lockett - Seattle Seahawks
I'm back on the Tyler Lockett train guys. The enormous volume will never be there for a Seahawks wide receiver but I feel like we're on the cusp of a Lockett breakout game. He looks like he's back to his 2015 form with the splash plays he's made on offense and special teams the past few weeks. This week the Seahawks face a Eagles D that has given up the 4th most points per game to WR's this year.
Week 10 Thoughts: The yardage has been incredibly disappointing this year (hasn't topped 28 yards in a game since Week 2) but Julius Thomas has caught a TD in 3 of this past 4 games. Thomas faces a Detroit D that has given up 9 TDs in as many games this year...Vernon Davis has stayed fantasy relevant even with the return of Jordan Reed. Davis now has 4 straight games with over 50 yards. Kirk Cousins is 14 for 14 when targeting Davis the past 3 weeks...Martellus Bennett is back into TE1 territory with Rob Gronkowski likely sidelined this week with a lung injury. Bennett has 3 100-yard games this season and could have 4 on it's way. Told y'all not to drop Bennett a few weeks ago...It's just not happening this year for Gary Barnidge and Coby Fleener. If you haven't dropped them already, you should do so...With Alshon Jeffery suspended for the next 4 games I think we'll see Zach Miller relied upon a tad more.
Ladarius Green - Pittsburgh Steelers
Green was finally able to suit up in a Steelers uniform last week as he knocked off the rust registering 3 receptions for 30 yards. With the Steelers hurting for someone to step up outside of Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell look for Green to get his number called upon more in the coming weeks. Green is the ideal red zone threat for the Steelers offense. He was targeted once on a 2-point conversion attempt last week. The Steelers face Cleveland this week who has hemeraged points to TE's this year. Green is a great upside play down the stretch.
Sleeper Tight End
Daren Waller - Baltimore Ravens
I'll just get to the point. Darren Waller has the athletic traits of Mike Evans but is playing TE in the NFL. The Georgia Tech project is in his second year in Baltimore and has recently seen more action the past two weeks with Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams sidelined with injuries. Right now Waller is being used primarily as red zone threat, he caught his first NFL TD last week, while he develops as an all around tight end. With it being a poor week for tight end streamers I wanted to highlight a potential stud a few years from now.