Fantasy 365

By Pro Football Network

PFN Table for 6: Derrick Henry, Teddy Bridgewater, Laviska Shenault, Tee Higgins, and more

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Fantasy 365
Written by PFN Fantasy Director BJ Rudell, the PFN Table for 6 fantasy newsletter comes to you every Sunday and Tuesday at 6 AM ET with exclusive content and advice you won’t find anywhere else. 

Welcome back to Table for 6: Pro Football Network’s rundown of six players we are closely tracking today.
Six players whose values could pop or plummet before the sun goes down. Six players who could make or break your fantasy team if you manage your roster to maximize the probabilities.
There are 13 games on the docket this Halloween day/evening. Here are six guys to keep a close eye on.
Guest of Honor
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
I don’t present fact-based opinions based on how widely accepted they might be. I present them because they interest me and because I think they’ll interest others.
A couple of years ago, I researched every NFL RB who had earned 350+ touches in a season to assess fantasy-point regressions the following season. The years 1977 (the final 14-game NFL season), 1981 (the year before the players’ strike), and 1986 (the year before the players’ strike that led to replacement players) were excluded so as not to skew results by comparing seasons when RBs could not possibly play the same number of games as the year before.
The results were overwhelming, and Christian McCaffrey’s injury-riddled 2020 campaign reinforced the already convincing conclusions: RB declines are the norm in the campaign immediately following a 350+ touch season, as 73% of 168 players have endured drops in fantasy production. Specifically, these 168 players averaged 308.7 points when they hit 350+ touches and averaged 238.2 points the following year.
The declines are even more pronounced after a 400+ touch season.
Henry had 396 regular-season touches last season. He is on pace for 464 carries this year, which would crush Larry Johnson’s NFL record of 416. Henry also is on pace for 508 touches. For context, only he and the perennially injury-prone Dalvin Cook exceeded 306 touches last year.
Imagine a Major League Baseball pitcher throwing 130-140 pitches a game. Most shoulders and elbows are not designed to withstand that overuse. That’s why coaching staffs closely monitor pitch counts.
I believe the NFL has an overuse problem when it comes to running backs. Historical data backs it up. Perhaps Henry is built to withstand such strain. Maybe he’s a once-in-a-generation RB. But he’s currently doing what no other running back has done.
That’s both exciting and frightening. If you’re an optimist, then it’s easy to see how he can keep it going. If you’re looking at probabilities based on decades of evidence, then it’s easy to see the hurdles in front of him.
(Table for 6 continues below)
Today's Start/Sit PFN Fantasy Podcast
‎In The Mood For Fantasy Football: Week 8 NFL Start/Sit: Dak Prescott, Baker Mayfield, Austin Ekeler, Cool the Jets on Apple Podcasts
Other Guests
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Denver Broncos
Is Bridgewater a franchise QB? What I mean is, will any team build a team around him? The last time a franchise invested in him as more than a one-year, prove-it starter, he was throwing to a pre-prime Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph as a member of the 2015 Vikings’ offensive youth movement. 
The Broncos brought him in this past offseason to compete with Drew Lock. Bridgewater won the job in camp and is enjoying arguably the best numbers of his career, thanks in part to a proficient pair of RB pass-catchers and four capable-to-exceptional receivers. Jerry Jeudy is returning after an extended absence, rounding out the best Denver offensive unit since 2014. 
Four of this team’s next six games are against bottom-8 pass defenses, beginning today with Washington’s league-worst pass defense (most touchdown passes and most passing yards). 
Bridgewater is in a prime position to catapult into the top-12 fantasy QBs – something that might have seemed inconceivable while battling for a starting job in August.
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills
Perhaps the least appreciated non-top-35 fantasy running back, Singletary trails teammate Zack Moss in fantasy points, averaging only 9.0 per game compared to Moss’s 12.7. I answer hundreds of fantasy questions a week, and Moss is a fairly common name floated by readers. 
Singletary? Almost never. 
I believe there’s a very good chance that will change these next three weeks, with the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Jets up next. Singletary is averaging roughly the same per-game rushing attempts and receptions as Moss is. The difference is touchdowns. Singletary’s yards-per-carry is more than one yard above Moss’s (5.2 vs. 3.9). 
Singletary is undervalued; there is plenty of room to produce more significant numbers.
Laviska Shenault, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
I like to tell people that “talent usually wins in the end.” Not always, but usually. Given a choice between an underutilized talented player and a highly utilized mediocre player, I’ll bet on the former every time. 
Shenault is the quintessential underutilized talented player. A 2020 second-round pick, he is unquestionably a versatile playmaker who can stretch the field laterally and vertically: running out of the backfield, connecting on short routes, or going after deep bombs. 
Last year, he had eight games with 10+ fantasy points, including four of the season’s final five contests. 
Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Much has changed since his breakout 2020 campaign when the rookie finished as the WR28 while posting a 67-908-6 line on 108 targets. Paired with Tyler Boyd (WR29) most of the season, Higgins appeared to have nowhere to go but up. Then Cincinnati drafted Ja’Marr Chase with the no. 5 overall pick in the 2021 draft. 
Despite this, Higgins picked up where he left off last year, racking up 31.8 points in Weeks 1 and 2. But a shoulder injury sidelined him in Weeks 3 and 4, opening the door for an ascending Chase. 
Today, I’m observing how the Bengals utilize Higgins and whether Chase’s tightening grip on the #1 receiver role loosens. Higgins’ fantasy upside hinges on a Chase regression.
His targets and receiving yards are up this year, but he hasn’t yet found the end zone. Once that changes, we will see Higgins for what he is: a WR3+.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Fantasy success isn’t just about targeting popular players; it’s about finding diamonds in the rough. When Pittsburgh drafted Freiermuth in the second round this year, he appeared to be one or two seasons away from becoming useful in fantasy, with Eric Ebron standing in the way.  
A mid-week hamstring injury for Ebron compounds an already challenging season for the 28-year-old, who has only 13 targets across six contests. Meanwhile, Freiermuth has been targeted 20 times. That’s right: seven times more than Ebron. And he’s caught an incredible 90% of the passes thrown his way. 
I’m very interested in seeing whether Freiermuth officially leapfrogs Ebron on the TE depth chart, which could transform the talented TE25 rookie into a top-18 streamer with room to grow.
Thanks for joining me today, and good luck ‘til next time.
Get fantasy ready for Week 8
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