A.J. HOFFMAN

NFL fantasy football rankings for Week 10

Patrick Mahomes is the No. 1 QB. Photo via Kansas City Chiefs/Facebook

QB 

  1. Patrick Mahomes vs. ARI
  2. Drew Brees @ CIN
  3. Cam Newton @ PIT
  4. Philip Rivers @ OAK
  5. Aaron Rodgers vs. MIA
  6. Matt Ryan @ CLE
  7. Jared Goff vs. SEA
  8. Tom Brady @ TEN
  9. Ben Roethlisberger vs. CAR
  10. Russell Wilson @ LAR
  11. Andrew Luck vs. JAX
  12. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. WAS
  13. Mitch Trubisky vs. DET
  14. Carson Wentz vs. DAL
  15. Alex Smith @ TB

RB (Standard)

  1. Todd Gurley vs.SEA
  2. Kareem Hunt vs. ARI
  3. Melvin Gordon @ OAK
  4. Alvin Kamara @ CIN
  5. Saquon Barkley @ SF
  6. James Conner vs. CAR
  7. James White @ TEN
  8. Christian McCaffrey @ PIT
  9. Ezekiel Elliott @ PHI
  10. David Johnson @ KC
  11. Nick Chubb vs. ATL
  12. Joe Mixon vs. NO
  13. Tevin Coleman @ CLE
  14. Jordan Howard vs. DET
  15. Adrian Peterson @ TB
  16. Aaron Jones vs. MIA
  17. Sony Michel @ TEN
  18. Marlon Mack vs. JAX
  19. Tarik Cohen vs. DET
  20. Dion Lewis vs. NE
  21. Kerryon Johnson @ CHI
  22. Duke Johnson vs. ATL
  23. Mark Ingram @ CIN
  24. Leonard Fournette @ IND
  25. Matt Breida vs. NYG
  26. Ito Smith @ CLE
  27. LeSean McCoy @ NYJ
  28. Mike Davis @ LAR
  29. Peyton Barber vs. WAS
  30. Kenyan Drake @ GB

WR (Standard)

  1. Antonio Brown vs. CAR
  2. Michael Thomas @ CIN
  3. Julio Jones @ CLE
  4. Odell Beckham Jr. @ SF
  5. Keenan Allen @ OAK
  6. Davante Adams vs. MIA
  7. Tyreek Hill vs. ARI
  8. Robert Woods vs. SEA
  9. Tyler Boyd vs. NO
  10. Mike Evans vs. WAS
  11. Juju Smith-Schuster vs. CAR
  12. Brandin Cooks vs. SEA
  13. Cooper Kupp vs. SEA
  14. Jarvis Landry vs. ATL
  15. Julian Edelman @ TEN
  16. TY Hilton vs. JAX
  17. Josh Gordon @ TEN
  18. Alshon Jeffery vs. DAL
  19. Calvin Ridley @ CLE
  20. Marvin Jones @ CHI
  21. Kenny Golladay @ CHI
  22. Larry Fitzgerald @ KC
  23. DeSean Jackson vs. WAS
  24. Golden Tate vs. DAL
  25. Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. MIA
  26. Sterling Shepard @ SF
  27. Doug Baldwin @ LAR
  28. Tyler Lockett @ LAR
  29. Sammy Watkins vs. ARI
  30. Corey Davis vs. NE
  31. Christian Kirk @ KC
  32. Tyrell Williams @ OAK
  33. Devin Funchess @ PIT
  34. Taylor Gabriel vs. DET
  35. Tre’Quan Smith @ CIN
  36. Amari Cooper @ PHI
  37. Mike Williams @ OAK
  38. DJ Moore @ PIT
  39. Dede Westbrook @ IND
  40. Donte Moncrief @ IND

TE (Standard)

  1. Travis Kelce vs. ARI
  2. Zach Ertz vs. DAL
  3. OJ Howard vs. WAS
  4. George Kittle vs. NYG
  5. Greg Olsen @ PIT
  6. David Njoku vs. ATL
  7. Rob Gronkowski@ TEN
  8. Trey Burton vs. DET
  9. Jack Doyle vs. JAX
  10. Jimmy Graham vs. MIA
  11. Eric Ebron vs. JAX
  12. Jared Cook vs. LAC
  13. Jordan Reed @ TB
  14. Austin Hooper @ CLE
  15. CJ Uzomah vs. NO

D/ST

  1. Bears vs. DET
  2. Jets vs. BUF
  3. Charges @ OAK
  4. Bills @ NYJ
  5. Colts vs. JAX
  6. Patriots @ TEN
  7. Eagles vs. DAL
  8. Chiefs vs. ARI
  9. Packers vs. MIA
  10. Rams vs. SEA
  11. 49ers vs. NYG
  12. Redskins @ TB
  13. Falcons @ CLE
  14. Colts vs. JAX
  15. Giants @ SF

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Here's what the data tells us about Bregman. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Alex Bregman had a rough season in 2020 by his standards. He slashed .242/.350/.451 in 42 regular season games. His regular season included a trip to the 10-day IL for a hamstring strain he suffered in mid-August. His surface-level struggles continued in the postseason, where he slashed .220/.316/.300 in 13 games. However, that postseason sample size does include a tough luck game against the Tampa Bay Rays where he went 0-for-5 with five hard hit balls.

All-in-all, 2020 felt like a lost season for Bregman. He never really got going. He got off to a slow start, but he's always been a slow starter. Once he started to pick it up, he strained his hamstring, and he played poorly after returning from the hamstring strain. Then, he started to turn his batted ball quality around in the playoffs, but he hit into a lot of tough luck outs.

Hard Hit % - 33.6%

Barrel % - 3.9%

K% - 14.4%

BB% - 13.3%

Chase % - 18.1%

Bregman comes from the Michael Brantley school of hitters. He has elite plate discipline and elite bat-to-ball skills. This makes Bregman a fairly consistent hitter. That may sound odd considering his 2020 "struggles" but even an extended period of poor performance for him resulted in a .801 OPS and a 122 wRC+. If his valleys are still 22% better than the league average hitter, then that's a pretty reliable producer.

There aren't any alarming trends in Bregman's statistics. Yes, his K% was slightly up, his BB% is slightly down, but it isn't a massive difference in either category. His Chase % was up, but again, 18.1% is elite discipline. The biggest drop was in his Hard Hit%, where he fell from 38% to 33.6%. Even so, his average exit velocity only dropped .4 MPH, so there's not really a catastrophic trend here.

His .254 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) was low, but he's never put up really high BABIP numbers. In fact, his BABIP has gotten worse every year of his career, from .317 to .311 to .289 to .281 to .254. While his BABIP will likely spike back up next year, it isn't enough to be the difference between the 2019 and 2020 versions of himself. His xBA and xSLG weren't out of whack either. His .256 xBA isn't much better than his .240 AVG, and his .400 xSLG is actually worse than his .451 SLG.

Bregman is as forthcoming with his hitting mechanics, approach, and mental cues as any big leaguer out there. Here is what he had to say about his swing this year. This was a Zoom press conference with the media following the Astros game on September 25th against the Rangers.

Bregman says he wants to hit balls in the air to the pull side and on a line to the opposite field, but in reality, he was hitting flares to the opposite field and hitting them on the ground to the pull side.

The data mostly backs up that claim. In 2019, on balls hit to the pull side, Bregman had an average exit velocity of 90.7 MPH at an average launch angle of 16°, a 40% Hard Hit %, and a 16% HR%. Since Bregman has elite bat-to-ball skills, most of those metrics didn't change. In 2020, his average exit velocity was 90.6, essentially the same as 2019. His Hard Hit % was 42%, a touch better than in 2019. However, his average launch angle dipped from 16° to 11°, which contributed to his HR% dropping all the way to 9%. Bregman hit 47% of his pull side swings on the ground. In 2019, that number was 40%. He absolutely had less production to the pull side in 2020.

The data gets a little hazier going the opposite way when comparing 2019 to 2020, as Bregman actually performed slightly better to the opposite field in 2020 than 2019, but he also only had 20 batted balls to the opposite field all season. Considering the small sample size, it isn't worth diving too deep into the data.

He's right that most of the balls he hit that way were flares. He had an average exit velocity of 83.4 MPH with an average launch angle of 32°, but that's about the same as what he did in 2019. A lot of the statistical drop off comes from balls that were backspun rockets to the pull side in 2019 becoming top spinners or roll overs in 2020.

Bregman also performed horribly against breaking balls in 2020. He batted .150 with a .250 SLG against them in 2020. He had an 84 MPH Average Exit Velocity against them and whiffed 26.5% of the time against them.

It was a far cry from 2019, when he hit .265 with a .588 SLG, 87 MPH average exit velo, and whiffed 18% of the time.

Those numbers lend credence to his statement on his mechanics. It's tough for a hitter to have adjustability against breaking balls if he's blowing out his front side and pulling off of the baseball.

Bregman will spend the offseason working on these mechanical fixes and getting back to the hitter he used to be. If he's consistently hitting the ball in the air to the pull side next year, and he's performing better against breaking balls, then he should be right back in the mix for AL MVP.

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