The Jacksonville Jaguars won on Thursday Night Football, in one of the most extreme cases of Thursday Night Farceball that we have ever seen. The Jags were cruising halfway through the third quarter, and then by the end of the game, they were one Foster Moreau drop away from losing in spectacular (and embarrassing) fashion. But, we aren’t here to recap the game from a real-life football perspective. After all, we are degenerates, and fantasy football is just a means to an end: we need the spreadsheet numbers to make us happy. Let’s take a look into some storylines from Thursday Night Football about fantasy football in 2023.
Is Alvin Kamara a League Winner?
If you took the plunge on Alvin Kamara this season, you patiently waited three weeks for him to return and snap the league in half. He has 8 or more targets in three of four games, and 14 targets in half of his four games so far. Not 14 combined, 14 in each game. Kamara has been a menace to PPR leagues since returning, averaging 109 yards and over 8 catches per game. But, can he keep it up? The short answer is no, but the long answer is… maybe.
I intended to write about how the Alvin Kamara four-game 39 target span was borderline unprecedented. Here’s the only problem: we’ve just seen this happen. I pulled up Ye Olde Pro Football Reference fully ready to call Kamara’s run unsustainable and unprecedented. But in 2019, Christian McCaffrey had only one four-game streak with at least 39 targets, he had six. Granted, a ton of these have overlapping games in them, as he just kept moving the beginning of the four-game streak down a week, but this continued dominance means that it can continue.
After all, Kamara is set a lot like Christian McCaffrey in 2019: a dismal offense full of question marks at quarterback that led to a lot of dump-offs. It also led to one of the greatest fantasy seasons in history. While I don’t see that happening, mostly because McCaffrey is twice the rusher than Kamara is, I do see him as a top-ten running back as long as he stays healthy. You lean into volume, and Kamara currently leads running backs in targets, despite playing just four games so far this season.
Given that Alvin Kamara had an ADP per FantasyPros of RB25/RB28/RB22 in 0PPR/HPPR/PPR, and that he is now a slam-dunk top-ten running back every week… yes, he is a league winner.
What is Going on With Calvin Ridley?
Calvin Ridley was the talk of the fantasy football world in week one. He finished with 8 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, and everyone who confidently took him as a top-fifteen wide receiver talked their trash. But then, he showed that he wasn’t exactly the A+ alpha we all thought he should be. Right up until this week, which I can hand wave away for you in a second, Ridley averaged 7.33 targets, 4.33 catches, and 60.5 yards per game, catching two touchdowns in six games. Over a 17-game season, that’s 124 targets, 73 receptions, 1,029 yards, and 5-6 touchdowns. Those are almost exactly Tee Higgins’ WR19 total points in 2022: 74 receptions, 1,029 yards, and 7 touchdowns.
So what’s going on with Calvin Ridley? Nothing. What happened to Calvin Ridley was stupid high expectations for him in the preseason, where his Underdog ADP for August was WR14, and pick 23 overall. Many were calling him a steal at that price, and so of course merely pacing out to be the WR19 would be extremely disappointing. So, what’s going on with Calvin Ridley?
Absolutely nothing. You just expected more than he was going to deliver, and that’s it.
Oh and don’t worry, I the way I was going to pretend like tonight never happened, which is what you Calvin Ridley managers are hoping for short week, bad matchup, on the road, with a compromised Trevor Lawrence. You’re welcome.
Say, speaking of Trevor Lawrence…
What’s Wrong With Trevor Lawrence?
Trevor Lawrence finished week seven with 204 passing yards, a touchdown, and (weirdly enough) 59 rushing yards. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but the 18.06 PPR points that he produced are his second-highest mark of the season. He’s yet to top 19, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that he is averaging just over one touchdown per game. Before week seven’s other games spin up, let’s take a look at where Trevor Lawrence sits in the fantasy football landscape.
As of right now, Lawrence is QB17, averaging 16 fantasy points per game. He has four finishes outside the top fifteen and one inside the top ten. To put it bluntly: starting Trevor Lawrence has been a mess for you for fantasy football. Yet, the Jaguars are reaping the rewards, sitting firmly in the driver’s seat in the AFC South and averaging 30 points per game with Lawrence at the helm. So, where’s the disconnect?
Trevor Lawrence’s touchdowns are a problem. He is well below average in his yards-to-touchdown ratio, scoring a touchdown every 231 passing yards. The league average is one touchdown every 170 passing yards, which we can logically peg as the floor where Lawrence should be. This means that he’s missing three touchdowns on the season. If you give him those touchdowns, it gives him an extra 12 fantasy points and he vaults up from QB17 to QB… 16. Those extra three touchdowns push him exactly one spot up, past C.J. Stroud for QB16.
The real problem stems from this heinous run that Travis Etienne is on, scoring multiple touchdowns in each of his last three games. That is the main problem with Trevor Lawrence: Travis Etienne is too good. It prevents Lawrence from scoring touchdowns, and it also prevents the Jaguars from needing touchdowns. Trevor Lawrence, despite being one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, throws the ball only 34 times per game, which ranks 14th and is 0.17 pass attempts per game more than noted Bad Thrower of the Football, Desmond Ridder. I always want to bet on talent, so I am going to continue to bet on Trevor Lawrence. After all, fantasy isn’t real life, and I will be that annoying guy who quotes EPA/Play in a fantasy conversation:
In short: Nothing is wrong with Trevor Lawrence, he doesn’t care about your fantasy team.