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Throw Out Those Outliers! Breakout Performances to Ignore


When it comes to fantasy football, we all know just how deceiving one big game can be. Last year, Derrick Henry became the poster boy for this as he had a few huge games at the very end of the season after struggling the majority of the season. This made his overall numbers look much better than what they actually were on a week-to-week basis. DeSean Jackson has been the epitome of this throughout his career. While he does have occasional massive games, he’s also prone to putting up some duds (when he's not injured).

It is important to recognize these outlier games and put them into context. Don’t overvalue these individual performances too much, and try to recognize which players can continue putting up more of these huge games and which ones cannot.

Here are some individual performances from this year that you may want to ignore when evaluating these players from a long-term perspective.

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Stefon Diggs - Week 6

Stat Line: 7-167-3

Outside of this three-touchdown performance from Week 6, Diggs has just one other touchdown on the season. It’s also clear the Vikings want to run the ball more, which caps that touchdown upside moving forward. Dalvin Cook has broken out this year in a big way, and since their coaching changes towards the end of 2018 it’s been clear they want to be a run-first team.

It’s important to note that ignoring this one huge game isn’t a knock on Diggs at all. He is a very talented wide receiver and even if the Vikings want to run the ball heavily, they’re still going to throw plenty of times with such great weapons as Diggs and Adam Thielen on the field. Diggs does have two other games with 100+ receiving yards, after all, despite being a bit of a letdown up until Week 6. Diggs is going to be a solid WR2 option moving forward, but don’t expect any more monster games like this one.

 

Marvin Jones - Week 7

Stat Line: 10-93-4

Marvin Jones just put together a red-zone clinic against the Minnesota Vikings. He totaled four touchdowns and was close to hauling in another in the first half. In this Week 7 performance Jones saw 13 targets, which was the first time all year he notched double-digits in that category. He’s caught one other touchdown outside of this game and is averaging four receptions per game excluding Week 7.

Moving forward, Jones is someone that is a fine flex option or a bye-week replacement, but he won’t be consistent enough to start on a weekly basis with any confidence. Kenny Golladay is the main target on this offense, and while Jones may have a few big games yet to come, you shouldn't expect him to recreate this masterful performance.

 

Chase Edmonds - Week 7

Stat Line: 27-126-3

After a confusing Week 7 matchup where David Johnson -- despite being medically cleared and listed as the starter -- saw just one carry. Chase Edmonds stepped in and garnered a whopping 27 carries, totaling 126 yards and three touchdowns on the day. I believe this says a lot about Johnson’s overall health, especially considering the fact Arizona signed Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris this week.

The one thing to take away from this performance is that if Johnson does miss more time, Edmonds steps in immediately as a great fantasy option. The Cardinals obviously have confidence in him and he can be utilized in the rushing game as well as the receiving game. Once (if) DJ returns to full health, however, Edmonds becomes nothing more than a flex possibility.

 

Aaron Jones - Week 5

Stat Line: 19-107-4

One popular breakout candidate for the 2019 season was Packers running back Aaron Jones. Jones has nine total touchdowns on the season already, one of which came through the air. So half of his rushing touchdown total came in this game alone, one where Jamaal Williams was sidelined due to a concussion. But Williams has since returned and is already taking some work away from Jones.

Jones is a talented running back and his biggest hindrance in the past was the Packers' insistence on using Williams so frequently. When he has the ball in his hands, though, it is fairly clear that Jones is the more talented runner and is more than capable in the receiving game. While I do expect Jones to be a borderline RB1 moving forward, it’s important to temper your expectations as the return of Williams should bring his numbers down to earth a bit.

 

Evan Engram - Week 7

Stat Line: 1-6-0

Until now I've been focusing on the big performances to ignore, but this time I'm telling you to disregard an extremely poor performance. Engram missed Week 6 with a knee injury, and his return to action the following week was...let's say uninspiring. In his Week 7 return, he saw five targets against the Cardinals, but caught just one of them for a measly six yards. The Cardinals had been awful at containing opposing tight ends up until that point, so this matchup seemed extremely appealing for Engram as he’s been one of the best tight ends in fantasy this year. It just didn't come together for the third-year tight end.

Engram is still the TE5 in PPR scoring despite missing Week 6 and putting up this dud the week after. The five targets in this game were good to see, even if he couldn't get much production out of them. I’m not too worried about Engram moving forward, as he should remain an elite option.

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