Now that all but the Monday night game has been played, it is time for a weekly look at the top performers from the games on Sunday, and on Thursday. After going over my thoughts, I will select a few other players who either performed above expectations, or maybe have you questioning whether you should continue starting him or not.
The goal of this article is to highlight those top guys, and if you can expect similar performances in the future. If you can’t though, I will detail what you should do with that player, and what expectations are going forward. Let’s get right into the top performers from week 11.
QB - Aaron Rodgers 351 Passing Yards, 3 TD’s, 33 Rushing Yards, 29 Fantasy Points
Once again Rodgers finds himself making the cut this week. The Packers still don’t have a running game, but all that is doing is letting Rodgers rack up the points. Oh and a bad defense that is keeping them in must pass mode always helps too. Still a top 3 QB the rest of the way.
QB - Tom Brady 280 Passing Yards, 4 TD’s, 12 Rushing Yards, 28 Fantasy Points
It doesn’t matter if Gronk is playing or not if you are facing the 49ers. Anybody on that Patriots team can catch a ball from Brady against that poor defense. Hopefully Gronk is coming back soon as he will keep Brady as the number 1 QB for the rest of the way.
QB - Kirk Cousins 375 Passing Yards, 3 TD’s, 27 Fantasy Points
As I said with Rodgers, the Packers have a terrible defense. This allowed Cousins to have a great game here. Cousins is still a very solid QB, but he is more of a top 10 guy for the rest of the season. A tough matchup against the Cowboys next week on Thanksgiving should give us a great indication of whether Cousins has what it takes to end this year on a tear like last year.
RB - Robert Kelley 24 Carries for 137 Yards and 3 TD’s, 31 Fantasy Points
Once again, the Packers defense is really bad. That isn’t meant to take anything away from Kelley, but more of a statement of how Kelley was able to post the highest point total of the week. This is now the third straight game where Kelley has had more than 20 carries. It appears as though the matchup doesn’t matter, Kelley will be getting his touches regardless. Next week the matchup is tougher though against the Cowboys, but that shouldn’t stop Kelley from being a borderline top 12 back next week again.
RB - David Johnson 22 Carries for 103 Yards and 1 TD, 7 Receptions for 57 Yards and 1 TD, 27 Fantasy Points
So a week after saying that Elliott had separated himself from Johnson in the battle for the top fantasy RB, Johnson goes out against a good Vikings defense and does this, while Elliott has a decent game against the Ravens. It looks like this is going to be a tough battle for the rest of the season, and really I don’t know who will come out on top. Even DeMarco Murray has a shot and Le’Veon Bell if you go off of per game numbers.
RB - Le’Veon Bell 28 Carries for 146 Yards and 1 TD, 8 Receptions for 55 Yards and 1 TD, 25 Fantasy Points
Well this was kind of expected. I didn’t think would have this heavy of a workload against the Browns, but give them credit, Cleveland kept this game close. That truly is what is behind this performance. Because of the Steelers inability to finish a drive with a TD, the Browns kept the game close, allowing Bell to be on the field for a lot longer than originally anticipated. Either way, this was a great performance from a top 5 back who is in the conversation for 3rd best back right now.
WR - Dez Bryant 8 Targets, 6 Receptions for 80 Yards and 2 TD’s, 20 Fantasy Points
Dak loves throwing the ball up to Dez. This now marks the third time in the last four games that Bryant has scored 17 or more fantasy points. Bryant has returned himself to being a borderline top 5 receiver this season, especially with A.J. Green potentially out for the rest of the year.
WR - Pierre Garcon 7 Targets, 6 Receptions for 116 Yards and 1 TD, 17 Fantasy Points
Well this is the third Washington player to make the list already, and I don’t need to tell you again why this is the case. This was the third game however that Garcon has caught 6 passes. The absence of DeSean Jackson is no longer the reason for Garcon’s production as he played in this game. For now he can be counted on as a WR3 or FLEX option in deep leagues, as I don’t see how Garcon is going to be able to keep this up with all of the other weapons ahead of him on the team. At best he is the third receiving option on that roster behind Reed and Crowder.
WR - Jamison Crowder 3 Targets, 3 Receptions for 102 Yards and 1 TD, 16 Fantasy Points
This has to be a record. I don’t think we have ever had four players from the same team make this article since I started doing it back in 2014. Crowder went against his usual way of scoring points this week by having two big plays account for most of his production. This won’t normally be the case, but it is nice to see him contribute in different ways. Next week against the Cowboys expect him to be back to his usual self getting targeted heavily and racking up his production through that. Consider him a borderline WR2 and solid FLEX option for now.
TE - Jared Cook 11 Targets, 6 Receptions for 105 Yards and 1 TD, 1 Fumble Lost, 14 Fantasy Points
Well this is interesting. Usually I am writing about the same guys at the TE position, but here I get to talk about someone who was a sleeper going into the season. Cook had missed the previous 6 games, but boy did he make the most of his return. While he did lose a fumble, you can’t say he didn’t have a great game. With the lack of a running game, the short passes has been what the Packers are now using to move the ball like in runs. This is what led to the big increase in TE production this week. Cook has the skills to keep this going, the question though becomes will Rodgers continue to look his way next week. Because of what happened last week and the upside he presents, I would start him in all leagues next week and hope that Rodgers keeps looking his way early and often.
TE - Eric Ebron 5 Targets, 3 Receptions for 70 Yards, 1 Rush for 1 Yard and 1 TD, 13 Fantasy Points
Well his TD didn’t come in the usual form this week. Ebron’s TD came off of a great play that had him take an endaround from the TE position in for a score, similar to the one Adam Thielen had earlier this season. When healthy Ebron has been producing. This was his first game with under 4 receptions, but he still showed he can produce by picking up long gains, while also being an option in the redzone. Ebron is a borderline top 7 TE for me because of the consistency and high floor that he presents to me each and every week.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday’s games:
QB - Cam Newton 192 Passing Yards, 1 TD, 11 Fantasy Points
It has been a very up and down year for Cam Newton. He started off hot, which made us believe that he was going to continue his tear from last season. Then he cooled off and got hurt, and since then has had more mediocre weeks than great weeks. Newton is still a top 5 QB in my eyes, but a subpar performance against the Saints doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in me. Hopefully the matchup against the Raiders next week will help turn things around for him.
RB - Todd Gurley 20 Carries for 76 Yards and 1 TD, 13 Fantasy Points
Has the real Todd Gurley been found? I am not quite sure about this, as it isn’t like he had a good game efficiency wise. Once again Gurley rushed for under 4 yards per carry. Only one time this season has Gurley had a per carry average of over 4 yards, and that was at 4.1 yards per carry. This offensive line just isn’t creating any lanes for him to bust through. While some might point to Jared Goff being the reason Gurley had a “good” game, I don’t believe that is the case. Defenses are not scared of Goff, and are still just focusing on Gurley. While next week could be a good one against the Saints, if it doesn’t happen then, then it just never will this season.
WR - Cameron Meredith 4 Targets, 4 Receptions for 49 Yards, 4 Fantasy Points
I made this statement in my receiver rankings last week, and I guess I will make it again this week. Just because Alshon Jeffery is out doesn’t mean Meredith will start to perform well with Jay Cutler. I had him ranked fairly low last week, and said we need to wait and see how he is used now in the offense before making any conclusions about it. So while he was targeted tied for the most on the Bears offense, Cutler and his ability to get the ball to receivers not named Jeffery and Zach Miller is awful. If you were relying on Jeffery and thought Meredith would be a good fill-in, you need to change that plan. To win, you need to be streaming that starting spot each week until Jeffery gets back from his suspension. Sure maybe Meredith has a good week, but really it is unclear when that will be at this point.