Avoid Cow­boys QB Prescott this week

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - WEEK 6 - By Neil Green­berg

You might have no­ticed the av­er­age scor­ing out­put for your fan­tasy team is higher than nor­mal this year. That’s be­cause scor­ing in the NFL is at an all-time high. Teams are av­er­ag­ing close to 24 points per game — the high­est rate since 2002, the year the NFL ex­panded to 32 teams — which trans­lates to an 11 per­cent in­crease over 2017, the high­est year-over-year change since 1975.

Three of the league’s top fan­tasy scor­ers, New Or­leans Saints quar­ter­back Drew Brees, run­ning back Alvin Ka­mara and wide­out Michael Thomas are on a bye, elim­i­nat­ing them from con­tention on your ros­ter this week. Same for quar­ter­back Matt Stafford of the Detroit Lions.

It won’t be easy to re­place their pro­duc­tion, but here are six play­ers — three to start and three to sit — to help make the de­ci­sion a lit­tle eas­ier.

START

Blake Bor­tles, QB, Jack­sonville Jaguars: Bor­tles is com­ing off a clunker, but he is still com­plet­ing a ca­reer­high 61 per­cent of his passes for 305 yards per game. Plus he adds an ad­di­tional 33 yards per game on the ground, giv­ing you a lim­ited dual-threat quar­ter­back op­tion on Sun­day against the Dal­las Cow­boys. The Cow­boys, mean­while,

have a medi­ocre pass rush­ing unit (19th per Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus) and sec­ondary (17th) that shouldn’t be too much of an is­sue for Bor­tles on Sun­day. Austin Hooper, TE,

At­lanta Fal­cons: Among tight ends, Hooper ranks ninth for to­tal tar­gets (27) and gets to face a Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers de­fense that is al­low­ing the most fan­tasy points per game to the po­si­tion (13.4). Looked at an­other way, op­pos­ing quar­ter­backs have a league-high 131.1 passer rat­ing against the Bucs when tar­get­ing tight ends, and that in­cludes a 75 per­cent com­pe­ti­tion rate with two touch­downs and no in­ter­cep­tions thrown this sea­son. SIT

Dak Prescott, QB, Dal­las

Cow­boys: Prescott’s touch­down rate is down and his in­ter­cep­tion rate is up for the sec­ond straight sea­son, lead­ing to ca­reer lows in com­ple­tion rate (62 per­cent) and passer rat­ing (81.4) in 2018; those num­bers get even worse when fac­ing a pass rush, a strength of this week’s op­po­nent, the Jack­sonville Jaguars. In pres­sure sit­u­a­tions, Prescott’s com­ple­tion rate drops from 73 to 35 per­cent and his passer rat­ing is low­ered from 86.9 to 68.5. As it stands now, his over­all per­for­mance is only good enough to win six games dur­ing a 16-game sea­son per ESPN (38.4 QBR, 26th out of 33 qual­i­fied passers). His big­gest test will come on

Sun­day against Jack­sonville’s de­fense, a team that is al­low­ing the fewest fan­tasy points per game to the po­si­tion (12.0) this sea­son. LeSean Mc­Coy, RB, Buf­falo Bills: This week will see a dou­ble whammy against Mc­Coy, The Tex­ans have the fourth-best run de­fense this sea­son (3.4 yards al­lowed per carry) with a league-low one rush­ing touch­down against in 2018. Plus, the Bills are an un­der­dog on the road, mean­ing they should be trail­ing more of­ten than they lead, lead­ing to fewer rush­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for Mc­Coy: In 2018, the Bills run the ball 64 per­cent of the time when ahead but just 36 per­cent of the time when try­ing to catch up.

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