Did You Know? Week 12 – Mac-n-cheese and Justin Herbert

quarterback Justin Herbert passing football

Did you know that smoked macaroni and cheese is a thing? My league mate and contributor to the Bullrush, Kendall Lowman, introduced me to this crazy idea and I gave it a whirl for Thanksgiving dinner. The results surprised me. I didn’t expect a standing ovation from my family members when they tried it. Now I know that the Big Green Egg is for more than just smoking meats.

I’ll cover in the week 12 edition of “Did You Know?” something that you may not know.

Looking under the hood of Justin Herbert

The Chargers are a respectable 6-4 and occupy a precarious second place in the wild, wild, everyone’s in it AFC West. The offense, 11th in the league in scoring, averages 26 points a game, and Herbert is fourth in the league in passing touchdowns with 22. Also, at 22.6 fantasy points per game average, Herbert is third among QBs with at least 10 starts. With top-notch stats, it’s easy to overlook the truth – Justin Herbert is almost too inconsistent to start in fantasy football. But how can we bench a quarterback who averages almost 23 points a game? I can hear the fantasy managers who are forced to start Tannehill, Wentz, and Bridgewater screaming at me right now. But did you know that in 5 out of 10 of Herbert’s starts he failed to hit 15 fantasy points? Furthermore, the Chargers lost 4 out of 5 of those games.

Let’s look under the hood of Justin’s electrifying stats and focus on the 5 busts that account for half of his starts.

Week 1 @WFT, 13.38 points (win)

Week 2 Dallas, 14.72 (loss)

Week 6 @ Baltimore, 11 (loss)

Week 8  New England, 13.82 (loss)

Week 10 Minnesota, 12 (loss)

We’re ecstatic if our kicker or defense posts these numbers, but it’s heartburn when our quarterback does. And the most troubling aspect is that the poor performances weren’t all in the first part of the season or all in the last part, a pattern that would indicate that he’s getting better or worse and give us some help predicting future performances. The duds are scattered throughout the season, an inconsistency that makes it particularly difficult to feel safe starting him. Ok, I’m all for giving a man the benefit of the doubt and maybe these 5 games were particularly hard matchups. Let’s look under the hood at each of these 5 games and see how the opposing defenses rank against quarterbacks and while we are at it, we’ll toss in wide receivers. The lower the number, the better the defense is against the positions. The data is according to 4for4’s Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA)

WFT 32 26
Dallas 3 20
Baltimore 25 22
New England 2 5
Minnesota 27 32

As you can see, in 3 out of 5 of the matchups Herbert busted against teams ranked in the bottom quarter of the league defending the QB, including the WFT ranked dead last. And all of the teams except the Pats are in the bottom third defending against WRs, also including a dead-last team the Vikings.

Yet, when Herbert pops off for a big game, it’s really big.

30.84 v. KC

42.82 v. Cleveland

31.64 v. Philly

34.82 v. Pittsburgh

Herbert averaged 35 points in his 4 highest scoring games, yet only 12.98 in his 5 busts. The booms boost his total average to 22.6 which is fool’s gold for fantasy managers.

The “witching hour”

But now we’re into crunch time, or the “witching hour” a phrase used by the Red Zone host Scott Hanson to describe the last hour of the first set of games on Sunday. It’s the time that can either make or break your fantasy matchup. In the remaining 3 games of the regular season, the Chargers face @Denver, @Cincinnati, and the Giants. These two away games may be a challenge for Herbert. In his 4 away games this year, he busted in 2 of them with 13.38 and 11 fantasy points. And to put a finer final point on the matter here’s how his next and last 3 opponents rank against the QB position according to 4for4’s Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed (aFPA)

@Denver 4
@Cincy 24
NY Giants 9

So, here’s the summary

  • Herbert has busted in half of his games with fantasy points that range from 11 to 14.72.
  • 3 out of 5 of the busts came against bottom-feeding defenses.
  • The 5 busts are inconsistently scattered throughout the season, occurring in weeks 1, 2, 6, 8, and 10.
  • He has 2 away games to play and has busted in 2 out of 4 away games this season.
  • Faces 2 teams in the top 10 against QBs, one this week at Denver who is ranked #4 against QBs.

So, now you know a little more about Justin Herbert’s 2021 numbers. Question to you, can you really put your fate in his hands? The Chargers don’t win when he busts. Can you?  It’s the witching hour, time to decide.

Finally, did you know that you can watch my UCFL brothers, Chris and Justin, lay out their week 12 thoughts in their Laces Out Youtube podcast? Check them out and give them a like and a share.

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