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OTTNO: Week 4 – Sermon Breakout Game?

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Welcome to On To The Next One, the weekly column where I select four players you should consider benching/starting this week. There will be two categories here: “The Rebounders” and “The Fumblers.” The Rebounders are two players that had a disappointing fantasy performance last week, but will rebound this upcoming week to produce better numbers. The Fumblers are two players that had fantastic performances last week, but they will not put up nearly the same amount of points on the board this upcoming week, and will fumble away the fantasy football glory they fleetingly had.

Last year, I ran the same formula and saw a success rate of almost 70 percent; success being defined as a player doing 50 percent better or worse the next week. If you have any of these players – PAY ATTENTION.

The Rebounders

Trey Sermon, RB, San Fransisco 49ers
11.4 points (PPR) / 9.4 points (Non-PPR) per ESPN
Is this it? Is this the breakout game all of fantasy sports has been waiting for? I think there’s a good chance. Sermon did okay last week, carrying the ball 10 times for 31 yards and a score, but I think this upcoming week he has an opportunity to explode. The 49ers will be playing the Seattle Seahawks who are atrocious at stopping the run. They give up 155 rushing yards per game which is third worst in the NFL. Fantasy wise, they’re dead last in points given up per game to running backs (37.03).

The two main concerns that would hinder the chances of a breakout game for Sermon is the return of Elijah Mitchell and if the Seahawks jump out to a big lead. The latter is simple, as that situation would force the 49ers to throw the ball. The return of Mitchell would likely see a significant drop in playing time for Sermon, as Mitchell saw 36 carries over the first two weeks while Sermon was on the sideline. As of writing this, Mitchell has not had a full practice this week due to a shoulder injury, and if he doesn’t play Sunday, Sermon could finally breakout.

Nelson Agholor, WR, New England Patriots
3.7 points (PPR) / 1.7 points (Non-PPR)
The chemistry between rookie quarterback Mac Jones and Agholor has been lackluster so far this season. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming to Foxborough, Agholor will have an opportunity to shine in this highly-anticipated matchup. The Bucs’ front seven is one of the best in football, but their secondary is extremely weak. They’ve allowed a league-high 338.3 passing yards per game and rank dead last against receivers in fantasy thus far (58.93 fantasy points/game).

The Patriots will likely be trailing most of this game, which will force the Patriots to throw in order to try and catch up. The Bucs rank 21st in EPA/Pass which essentially means they give up bigger plays than expected per passing attempt. Just last week they allowed 34 year old DeSean Jackson to burst for a 75 yard touchdown. Agholor is the best deep threat on the Patriots roster, and I expect the Patriots to exploit the Bucs’ A. terrible and B. injured secondary taking shots down field with Agholor.

The Fumblers

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Buffalo Bills
26.4 points (PPR) / 21.4 points (Non-PPR)
The Bills absolutely mopped the floor with the Washington Football Team this week, and Sanders played a big part of that. However, don’t expect him to repeat this performance this upcoming week. Washington is the second worst team against wide receivers (53.53 fantasy points/game) while the upcoming Houston Texans rank ninth (30.80).

On top of a much harder matchup, Sanders’ performance against Washington brings up some question marks. His 28 yard catch in the first quarter accounted for nearly 10 of his points, and two of his five catches were touchdowns; that is unsustainable and won’t repeat again. Now, if he were to be targeted 15 times per game while racking in multiple touchdowns, that’s different. In addition, his 55% catch percentage is by far the worst among the starting receiving corps in Buffalo.

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys
26.0 points (PPR) / 20.0 points (Non-PPR)
While the Philadelphia Eagles have had a respectable passing defense, they been poor against tight ends. They rank 26th against them (16.33 fantasy points/game) in comparison to 1st against receivers (22.03 fantasy points/game). Dak Prescott took advantage of this, targeting Schultz more than anybody else last week. This week, however, they will be facing the Carolina Panthers who rank 5th against tight ends (7.10 fantasy points/game) and 1st in passing yards per game (146).

Just like Sanders, Schultz hauled in two touchdowns. Both were 19+ yards; 19 and 22. He’s only caught one other touchdown above 19 yards in his four year career (Oct. 4th, 2020 against the Cleveland Browns). In fact, those two scores last week account for a whooping 33% of his career touchdowns. He may be a player on the rise, but it’s laughable to think he’ll have a performance like he did last week anytime soon.

Holden is a young writer with an avid passion for sports. He is currently a sophomore at CUNY Queens College. Holden has worked on multiple publications including Hardwood and Hollywood, The Knight News, and the Long Island Herald. He would prefer if you don’t mention Super Bowl 52.

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