Don’t put your fantasy trust in fluke performers

Weird things happen. That’s life, and life is weird. Maybe you see someone in the produce section at the grocery pick up an apple, take a bite then put it back. Yeah, weird. But chances are the next person won’t do the same. If these random, weird things happened all the time, they wouldn’t be so weird.

Not unlike weird fantasy performances. The kind when Brandon Bolden scores 19 fantasy points on just two carries. Or Damien Williams scores 19 fantasy points despite averaging just 2.5 yards per touch — on eight carries and four receptions. Or any time someone racks up 238 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Yeah, Derrick Henry’s blockbuster Thursday performance was incredibly weird for numerous reasons. First, he tallied 238 yards on just 17 carries, an average of 14 yards per rush — a 99-yarder will help do that. In his career, he had just one other game in which he averaged more than 9 yards per carry, which was more than a year ago.

Also, 17 carries was weird. He had not received that many since Weeks 2 and 3, when he got 18 in both games. One of those games was against the same Jaguars, when he managed just 57 yards and no TDs. He got that many carries just twice last season, and none the season before when he was a rookie. OK, new coach, new plan, whatever. The point is it doesn’t happen often.

But wait, there’s more. He did it against the Jaguars. For all their struggles, they had not had this kind of defensive breakdown. Not even in their 40-7 thrashing by the Cowboys in Week 5, when they gave up just 206 total rushing yards to Ezekiel Elliott and pals. That is the only other game in which the Jags gave up anything close to 200 yards rushing.

We’re not done. The Titans’ best rushing game as a team beforehand was Week 7 against the Chargers, when they had 164 yards — 13-for-91 by Dion Lewis, 12-for-33 with a TD by Henry. They topped that by 100 yards Thursday — 62 percent better than their next best game.

More: Henry had just five TDs all season heading into that game. He had just five all season last year and just five the season before. He never had a game with more than two TDs.

So what does all of this mean? It means you still can’t trust him. Expect something closer to his output over the first 43 games of his career, rather than overreact to the most recent one. This notion also applies to Bolden and Williams.

Bolden got just two carries, and he just happened to take both for TDs — against his former team, no less. He is not going to supplant Frank Gore or Kenyan Drake.

Williams got the TDs for the Chiefs, but Spencer Ware got the majority of the work and was much more productive. The TDs can be chalked off as random.

And random, by definition, is weird. Don’t chase the weird.

Stayin’ alive

Tom Brady QB, Patriots
If you somehow have survived a lackluster fantasy season by Brady, you can stop sweating as much. He and his weapons looked intact Sunday, and he historically torches the Steelers.

Justin Jackson RB, Chargers

Even if Melvin Gordon returns, we don’t expect he will get a full workload. And Austin Ekeler is dealing with a neck problem. Jackson will be usable as long as one or the other is out.

Curtis Samuel WR, Panthers
Tied with DJ Moore for a team-high eight targets Sunday. The Panthers are likely to be throwing to try to keep up with the Saints.

Kenny Stills WR, Dolphins
Had a season-high eight receptions Sunday. Has big-play potential, so increased targets means increased chances for big plays.

Nearing the end

Aaron Rodgers QB, Packers
New-coach bump doesn’t last long, especially when the next opponent is Chicago — fresh off completely dismantling the high-powered Rams. Rodgers is just the 10th-ranked fantasy QB this season, so you might have another option.

Jameis Winston QB, Buccaneers
The Ravens were the third-stingiest fantasy defense against QBs before giving Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs a tough time, and they held the previous two QBs to fewer than 10 fantasy points. Find an alternative.

Marlon Mack RB, Colts
Coming off a terrible game (14 carries for 33 yards), bailed out by a TD. Faces the Cowboys this week, who have allowed just two 100-yard rushers (none since Week 7) and given up just seven rushing TDs to RBs (only the Bears have yielded fewer).

Ian Thomas TE, Panthers
Greg Olsen’s replacement was peppered with targets Sunday (11, nine catches for 77 yards). But the Saints had given up just one tight end TD all season before allowing two Sunday.

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