Fantasy football analyst Sal Vetri will use this space to deliver his keys to victory every week of the 2023 NFL season.
Finding No. 1: The best RB spot of the week belongs to Jahmyr Gibbs
David Montgomery returned in Week 10 but didn’t regain the strong role we saw earlier this season, playing just 38% of the snaps and only seeing 39% of the Lions’ carries. There’s a chance he was being limited coming off the injury, but it was the rookie Jahmyr Gibbs who continued to operate as the lead back.
Gibbs played 58% of the snaps and handled 61% of the backfield opportunities, his most in a game with Montgomery healthy this season. This week Gibbs and the Lions are a nine-point favorite against the Bears’ 29th-ranked defense. Starting RBs in similar matchups average over 14 points this season.
Finding No. 2: The sketchy RB spot of the week belongs to Isiah Pacheco
Pacheco saw career-high usage before his bye week, playing a season-high 70% of the snaps and handling 76% of the Chiefs carries. He’s a rest-of-season buy, but you need to temper expectations this week.
Kansas City has a brutal matchup against the Eagles’ defensive line. Philadelphia allows the fewest yards and fantasy points to opposing RBs. The 8.9 points per game they allow is 18% fewer than any other team. Pacheco can still get there on touchdowns, but don’t expect him to be efficient in this matchup.
Finding No. 3: Pick up and play Jaylen Guyton
He might be the sneakiest pick-up-and-play of the year so far. In Week 10, Guyton ran 85% of the routes and earned six targets. He turned this into a solid 12.1-point fantasy day. This isn’t anything crazy, but he’s trending in the right direction and has previous years of chemistry with Justin Herbert.
Guyton has been a boom-or-bust downfield option in the past, but in Week 10 he saw appealing usage. His average depth of target was 10 yards downfield, 41% less than his career average. This will lead to more catchable targets and reliable fantasy production. He’s worth playing this week against a Packers secondary that is down three defensive backs.
Finding No. 4: Diontae Johnson is the No. 1 trade target
He scored just 2.2 fantasy points in Week 10. This is disappointing considering the great matchup. Johnson faced a Packers defense that was banged up, which included their stud cornerback Jaire Alexander being out. Despite this, Johnson earned just one catch on four targets.
But this wasn’t his fault. The Steelers threw just 23 times due to their success running the ball. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren combined for 31 carries and 183 yards. This was a clear outlier week as Kenny Pickett targeted his receivers a combined nine times.
Buy low on Johnson before the Yahoo Fantasy trade deadline and his elite rest-of-season schedule, as he will face five bottom-10 secondaries the next six weeks.
Finding No. 5: Rondale Moore is a player to monitor
He hasn’t lived up to expectations this season, as Moore has averaged just 3.7 targets and 14 yards per game this year. But in Week 10, he got Kyler Murray back. Rondale was one of Murray’s favorite targets in Week 10. He earned five catches on a strong eight targets.
Rondale was great when healthy last season. He averaged 5.6 catches per game with Murray and ranked 17th in WR points during this time. Now is the time to add Rondale because Murray looked great in his season debut. Moore is available in 90% of Yahoo leagues and his rest-of-season schedule includes matchups against the Rams, Bears, Eagles and Steelers. All four secondaries rank bottom-10 against fantasy receivers.
Finding No. 6: Marvin Mims Jr. is a rookie to monitor
He has just 15 total targets this season. Since Week 4, Mims has failed to top one fantasy point in any game. In fact, over the past five games, Marvin Mims has totaled -1.73 points.
That’s right, negative points.
So why in the world should you monitor his usage? I’m glad you asked.
Mims ran a season-high 76% of the routes in Week 10. This was his most on the year by 30% and the usage increase came directly after the Broncos bye week.
These are the trends we want to watch closely when it comes to talented rookies who can become league winners down the stretch. Mims was one of the fastest and most explosive receivers at the combine and he averaged over 20 yards per reception in college. If his usage remains high, it’s only a matter of time until he starts making plays.
Finding No. 7: The fantasy playoff stash is the Texans defense
Houston’s defense has been a middle-of-the-pack fantasy unit this season. They average 6.7 points per game, which is right around what the Eagles defense has produced this season. The difference? Philadelphia’s defense is rostered in 76% of leagues compared to the Texans being rostered in 9% of leagues.
Houston struggles against the run this season, but its secondary has been surprisingly good. That unit ranks 11th in coverage grades, according to PFF. Now, the real reason you want them is their playoff schedule. The Texans will face the Jets, Titans and Browns in the fantasy playoffs. This means they’ll have presumed matchups against Zach Wilson, Will Levis and Dorian Thompson-Robinson. You could argue this is the best QB stretch for any fantasy defense; stash the Texans D.
Finding No. 8: Jaylen Warren is a late-round league winner
He was a popular late-round pick this summer and he’s far exceeded where you drafted him. In Week 10, Warren finished as a top-five RB posting 18 points on 17 touches. Warren was efficient, averaging 6.7 yards per carry and earning the majority of the snaps over Najee Harris.
Warren now ranks top-10 in RB efficiency for the second straight season. After Week 10, Warren has six top-24 finishes in his nine games. As a reminder, he was often taken outside the top 40 RBs in drafts this summer.
Expect the Steelers to keep leaning on the efficient Warren as they make their playoff push. He’ll have a solid end-of-season schedule against the Cardinals, Bengals, Patriots and Colts.
Finding No. 9: Ty Chandler is an RB trending up
Alexander Mattison left in Week 10 with a concussion. But before he left, the Vikings backfield was evolving. Ty Chandler was more involved as he split the backfield touches with Mattison. Chandler was more efficient during this time, earning five yards per touch and one touchdown.
Chandler is a second-year back who was injured as a rookie. His final year of college he earned 1,300 yards and 14 TDs. Chandler has elite speed and can catch passes. He has the talent to take over this backfield and it may start in Week 11.
Chandler is trending to start Week 11 as Mattison works through the concussion protocol. He would face the Broncos’ bottom-five run defense. Start him if Mattison is out.
Finding No. 10: The Buffalo Bills' unresolved backfield
James Cook has been up and down this season. In Week 10, he totaled 120 yards on just 14 touches. This is the name of the game for Cook; be highly efficient per touch. But despite this strong production, his usage remains suspect.
Cook played just 48% of the snaps in Week 10 and saw less than half of the backfield carries. The veteran Latavius Murray played more snaps than Cook and earned 45% of the backfield touches. Murray also saw the goal-line work.
If you can, now is a good time to sell Cook before the trade deadline. Buffalo appears to like Murray and it makes sense. He’s reliable and just averaged over seven yards per carry. There’s also a chance Leonard Fournette gets involved. Trade Cook away if you still can.