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Disaster Recovery Week 9: Mike Evans Lacks (Fitz)Magic

mike evans fantasy football dynasty analysis

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds.

This isn't a place to find out why you should have benched a player for somebody on your bench. Disaster Recovery is to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about benching, and deciding if you should be panicking at all about their value moving forward.

This season we'll be covering one dud per week. There will be two major qualifiers: the player must have performed well below expectations without an injury, and the player must be considered a must-start in most formats.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Rankings System

I'll also be implementing a new panic meter ranking system this year. It goes as follows:

  1. This week was a fluke. Don't panic!
  2. I still have full faith in this player, but there are some red flags. Be cautiously optimistic moving forward.
  3. There are genuine concerns here. Consider selling on name value, but don't panic too much unless you receive an offer you can't refuse.
  4. This player will not be the player you expected him to be. Regardless, his value may be too low to trade, and his ceiling is going to be better than anything you can get in return. Panic, but hold tight.
  5. Absolutely abandon ship. We're not coming back from this.

Week 9 saw the return of Ryan Fitzpatrick, which was expected to be a positive for the Tampa passing attack. For Mike Evans, it wasn't.


No, No, No, Fitzmagic!

Mike Evans' Week 9 stat-line: one reception for sixteen yards on ten targets. 

Connection Lost

The good news for Mike Evans was that he received double-digit targets. The bad news was that most of them weren't catchable.

It was a surprising day from Evans. In Fitzpatrick's three starts earlier in the season, Evans was averaging 122 yards and a touchdown per contest. The once-dynamic duo was not able to forge a connection in Fitzpatrick's return to action. The lack of Evans didn't phase him much, as Fitzpatrick completed 23 of 30 passes to non-Evans receivers.

Bradberry's Conquest

Some credit here should be given to Panthers cornerback James Bradberry. He spent his afternoon guarding one of the NFL's best receivers and shined doing so. Bradberry only allowed one catch from Evans and was responsible for two defended passes. It was a dominant performance by the third-year cornerback.

James Bradberry is not prime Darrelle Revis. He's a fine player, but he should not be able to completely remove one of the NFL's best receivers from the game. Bradberry allowed at least four receptions and 50 yards in every game since Week 1 this season entering Sunday. He did a respectable job on guys like Julio Jones and AJ Green, but he was shredded by Odell Beckham and allowed seven catches for 58 yards in a game where his primary coverage was Josh Doctson. There's no reason why a player like Bradberry should be able to remove Mike Evans from a football game.


Can We Trust Ryan Fitzpatrick?

Extreme Volatility 

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been anything but consistent during his NFL career. There's a reason why he's played for seven teams in his career, and there's a reason why he was benched after a historic three-game start this year. Fitzpatrick's play will vary from game to game. Sometimes he'll look like Peyton Manning, and other times he'll look like Ryan Leaf. 2018 was the fifth time Fitzpatrick opened the season with three consecutive multi-touchdown games.

Let's take a look at 2012 as an example. Fitzpatrick opened the season with 12 touchdowns in his first four games. He followed it up by throwing for 12 more touchdowns, only it took him 12 games to do so. There's no predicting when you'll get a good Fitzpatrick game versus when you'll get a bad one. Even this year, he followed up three straight 400-yard, multi-touchdown games by getting benched at halftime against the Bears. Journeymen are typically journeymen because they don't give teams a good reason to invest in them long-term.

The good news for Evans is that Fitzpatrick has performed fine in four of his five starts this year. From a fantasy perspective, you can't complain about Fitzpatrick throwing four touchdowns this week. Carolina made it a point to remove Tampa's outside receivers from the game. This opened things up for Adam Humphries and OJ Howard to score two touchdowns. While Howard will likely remain a factor and a red zone thief in Tampa, Humphries won't. Evans still led Tampa in targets in his worst game of the year.

Panic Meter: 1.5/5

I'm not going to sit here and act like we should have any thought of fading Mike Evans after one bad game. He's currently a top 10 receiver in all formats. Given where he was being drafted this year, there's no reason to complain about owning Evans, and there's definitely no reason to consider trading him unless the offer is too good to pass up.

Evans is on pace to surpass his career high in receiving yards. Even with OJ Howard and Chris Godwin becoming Tampa's favorite targets in the red zone, Evans is still on pace for eight touchdowns.

Tampa Bay will continue to throw the ball a lot. The passing attack will go as far as Ryan Fitzpatrick takes them. Some days, he'll take them to the moon. Other days, he'll take them to the deepest depths of the ocean. Evans will find a huge amount of targets in both of these scenarios. Going one for ten on targets is something that rarely happens in today's NFL. I can't imagine it happening again. Evans will continue to see a whole lot of work moving forward, and he should be able to make the most of it. Don't panic.

What To Watch For

Fitzpatrick to reform his magical connection with Evans. The duo dominated defenses early in the year. This game should be an anomaly on an otherwise stellar season for Evans. If it isn't, we may be back in this column with a different tune next week.

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