Welcome to the Week 11 Fantasy Football Rundown where I go game by game this week and write at least a sentence on every player and their fantasy viability this week. If you want to just checkout my top plays for the week, you can watch the video version of the rundown:
5️⃣ TOP PLAYS FOR #NFL WEEK 11@Ginger__Nic gives five players who *need* to be in your #DFS lineups this week for #fantasyfootball ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/FCkWBF7OqX— Fake Teams (@faketeams) November 21, 2020
Sunday 10:00am PST
Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team
The Bengals dreadful offensive line will have its hands full against Washington’s ferocious pass rush, generating pressure at a Top 15 rate (23.8%). WFT’s 3rd-highest missed tackle total (80) may give the mobile Joe Burrow some second-chance life though. Said mobility may be the key to Burrow’s fantasy success this week as speedy quarterbacks like Kyler Murray (8-67-2), Lamar Jackson (7-53-1), and Daniel Jones (7-74) have all found success on the ground. Burrow retains his mid-to-high QB2 status this week.
As head coach Zac Taylor cowers from the idea of benching A.J. Green, the whole Bengals offense suffers as more snaps should be given to Mike Thomas and Auden Tate. Green’s 71 targets are second on the team, but the life raft that fantasy managers can cling to is the subtle decrease is passes he’s seen in each of the last two games. Rookie Tee Higgins has been the biggest beneficiary of Green’s decrease in usage and it’s elevated him to the high-floor/high-ceiling flex results during that span. Treat him accordingly this weekend. A.J. Green and his 47.1 .5PPR point total on the year, good for WR80 results, mandates he be dropped in all leagues.
Talented veteran slot receiver Tyler Boyd will be called upon as Burrow’s safety blanket and should be treated as the low-endWR2/high-end flex option that he is.
Jump ball specialist Auden Tate sadly cannot be trusted in fantasy lineups, nor can ancillary receiver Mike Thomas.
Although tight end Drew Sample typically spends his Sundays running cardio as a near-full-time player, with little involvement in the passing game, Washington is one of the teams that has been uniquely bad at stopping opposing tight ends. WFT’s 11.9 .5PPR points per game allowed ranks 8th-most in the NFL, making Sample a streaming option for TE-needy teams.
Running back Joe Mixon registered a Did Not Participate practice designation on Wednesday and early indications suggest the same for Thursday, setting up Giovani Bernard for lead back duties once again. Bernard has maintained a strong hold on backfield snaps but now-No. 2 back Samaje Perine has worked his way into a rotation with Bernard of the last two games, registering a combined stat line of 17 carries, 80 rushing yards and a score, with two catches and nine yards sprinkled on top. Bernard had kicked off fill-in duties with a Week 6 showing that included 18 total touches, over 100 yards from scrimmage, and one touchdown. In the two Perine-infused contests that followed, Bernard posted a combined line of 23 carries, 92 yards and a rushing score, with a firm stranglehold on passing game responsibilities: 3-33-1. Treat Bernard as a low-end RB2 and Perine as a high-floor flex.
Captain Checkdown Alex Smith told the world to shove it last week, hucking it for nearly 400 passing yards against the Detroit Lions. Smith has a shot at a repeat performance against a Bengals front-seven generating the second lowest pressure rate on the year (17.7%) and a secondary registering the fewest passes defended with 21. Like his Week 11 counterpart Joe Burrow, Smith is a mid-to-high QB2.
With the aforementioned red carpet setup for his quarterback, wide receiver Terry McLaurin is a rock-solid WR1.
Washington’s vast array of ancillary receivers, Steven Sims Jr., Cam Sims, and Isaiah Wright, all make for low-end flex plays.
Alex Smith’s two-game presence has seemingly brought high-floor stability to tight end Logan Thomas’ fantasy prospects. Against a Bengals’ defense that’s allowing the 2nd-most .5PPR points per game to the position (13.6), Thomas deserves TE1 treatment.
Washington’s 1-2 punch at running back, Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic have asserted themselves as high-value fantasy assets over the last few weeks. Gibson is functioning as the team’s primary rusher, whose very real receiving ceiling has yet to be unlocked. McKissic is the snap dominating pass catcher whose absurd 29-target total through Weeks 9 and 10 have elevated him to must-start RB2 status. McKissic is suddenly second in the league in running back targets (62). Gibson, meanwhile, has a stranglehold on primary rushing duties while averaging 3.33 targets per game. The Bengals’ defensive-front offered little resistance to opposing rushers before trading away stalwart defensive end Carlos Dunlap, to Seattle, at the end of October. Immediately after Dunlap’s departure, Cincy promptly allowed 203 yards from scrimmage and a rushing score to the Titans’ backfield in Week 8. Gibson is this week’s overall RB9.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Matt Ryan heads to New Orleans, getting the band back together, with the impending return of stud WR Calvin Ridley who’s racked up two limited participation designations this week. Despite only playing in roughly five-and-a-half of the Falcons’ nine games (ankle/foot injuries), Ridley still sits as .5PPR’s overall WR9 in scoring (126.6). It’s tough to say what kind of state the Saints’ defense will be in. So far this season, they’ve dealt with a bevvy of injuries but even when healthy, their pass defense has been lacking. Although they’ve generally held up well in the yardage column (2,083 — 21st in the league), they’ve allowed 20 passing touchdowns — 4th-most in the NFL. With Ryan’s wide receiver 1-2 punch, Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, fantasy managers can trust him as a locked-in QB1.
Although Julio Jones suffered some early season injury issues, he’s now at full health. Boasting a four-game stretch that’s resulted in .5PPR’s second-highest point total, a whopping 74.5. Julio’s a no-brainer WR1, as is his ascending sidekick Calvin Ridley.
Ridley’s return likely nukes the value of on-again/off-again slot receiver Russell Gage. New Orleans’ slot coverage has been so-so this year. Gage is a low-floor/low-ceiling flex play who has a small chance at benefiting from defenses paying extra attention to the big dogs on the perimeter.
Olamide Zaccheaus, Christian Blake, and Brandon Powell are not fantasy-relevant.
By and large, tight end Hayden Hurst’s usage is as good as it gets for standard Top 12 options in fantasy football. He retains his high floor, despite Ridley’s return.
Red zone albatross, running back Todd Gurley has feasted near the goal-line this year, averaging a full touchdown per game. He’s got his work cut out for him this week though as the New Orleans Saints have allowed just five rushing touchdowns on the season — tied for fewest in the NFL. Since we know the the unholy trinity of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley won’t struggle to move the ball down the field though, we can expect Gurley’s normal red zone rushing workload to be there, keeping him in the Top 15 at the position. However, it must be said that a rich man’s Jordan Howard-ian performance — a touchdown and the yards it took to plunge into the endzone — is a possibility.
Update: Adam Schefter announced that the Saints are pulling a fast one and inserting Taysom Hill as their starting QB, instead of Jameis Winston. As Adam Levitan noted on Twitter, Taysom had an impressive four-game 2019 preseason stretch. Those preseason games taught us a few things: Hill likes throwing to big bodies and running backs. Tight end Dan Arnold had a respectable outing in Preseason Week 1 and Hill promisingly went straight to Michael Thomas in the red zone. Alvin Kamara was, of course, involved but it was good to see Hill get try-out RB Devine Ozigbo involved in the passing game when it counted — one-yard TD pass. While Arnold continued to be involved, 6’4”, 225lbs WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey quickly became the apple of his eye for Preseason Weeks 3 and 4.
What this means for 2020’s Week 11: Michael Thomas, Jared Cook, Alvin Kamara, and Latavius Murray are likely to be heavily involved in a manufactured-touch manner. Deonte Harris’ and his diminutive stature don’t really fit the bill for a Taysom-target. It’s possible that backup tight end Adam Trautman gets involved as a safety blanket/red zone option but it’s too high of a risk to bank on him outside of contrarian DFS lineups. Thomas needs to be dropped to the WR2 ranks. Cook remains a TE1 as Alvin remains an RB1. Latavius can be flexed. In leagues where Taysom Hill has TE-eligibility, he needs to be added immediately. Elsewhere, he is a Top 15 option in an entirely unimposing match-up — there will be rushing yards aplenty.
With Drew Brees all but deemed out (ribs/collapsed lung), Jameis Winston is set to make his starting debut for the New Orleans Saints. The Atlanta Falcons’ “defense” has allowed the 2nd-most passing yards on the season (2,793), despite already having had its bye week. But more importantly, the Falcons also have the “honor” of having allowed a league-high 22 passing touchdowns. Armed with veteran studs Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, as well as speedster wide receiver/special teamer Deonte Harris, Winston returns to fantasy’s QB1 ranks.
All Pro wide receiver has yet to have a blow up performance since his return from ankle and hamstring injuries in Week 9. A date with the Falcons’ secondary is just what his physical therapist ordered though. With a walking cannon at quarterback now, fantasy managers should expect a coach as smart as Sean Payton to rapidly alter Michael Thomas’ route tree from one that dominates the short-to-intermediate area of the field to one that features routes downfield. Fire up Thomas as the WR1 that you drafted him as.
Take Chris Godwin’s 2019 season as an indication of how Jameis Winston feels about slot receivers and fire up Emmanuel Sanders in your flex with confidence. It’s fair to point out that they Godwin and Sanders are certainly different receivers at this point in their careers but the one thing they share is outstanding route running. Winston will look Sanders’ way early and often.
Deonte Harris is suddenly a decent streaming option, operating as the team’s downfield receiver while Tre’Quan Smith is in the concussion protocol. It’s possible Smith gets cleared to play but if not, Harris’ punt and kick return yardage provide him a sturdy floor, while his role as the deep threat gives him a chance at a few long balls from Winston. He’s a high-floor flex play with a shot at a touchdown.
Tight end Jared Cook sadly slipped to afterthought status with QB Drew Brees at the helm. But with a change at quarterback and more importantly, an otherworldly match-up — Atlanta is allowing 14.8 .5PPR points per game, most in the NFL — Cook has a shot to re-establish himself as a play-maker this week. Fire him up as a solid TE1. Cook’s cause is aided by the potential loss of fellow tight end Josh Hill (concussion) for Week 11.
Backup tight end Adam Trautman is not seeing enough work to be a fantasy factor.
Panic ensued on Thursday afternoon when local reporter Mike Triplett reported that Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara, who’s been nursing a foot injury the last few weeks, went from limited practice participation on Wednesday to a Did Not Participate designation on Thursday. Worries somewhat abated later that day when Kamara told press that he’ll “be alright”. Should Kamara get a crack at Atlanta’s front-seven, currently allowing the 9th-most receptions per game (5.9), he’s the overall RB1 this week. Kamara managers should make backup plans though and swiftly add Latavius Murray if he’s available in free agency. Murray was slot in as a rock-solid RB1 in the event of a Week 11 spot start for Kamara.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ match-up against the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense is so good that game script is more likely to become a problem for the team’s bevvy of pass catchers than Jacksonville’s group of defensive backs. On their way to the likely route though, Ben Roethlisberger is sure to fire off high-end QB1 numbers against a Jags’ secondary giving up the 3rd-most fantasy points per game to opposing signal callers (23.6).
Since alpha receiver Diontae Johnson returned from injury two weeks ago, Pittsburgh receivers have rocked fantasy football to its core. JuJu Smith-Schuster sits 4th in .5PPR scoring with 36.5, Johnson is tied for 8th at 31.7, and Chase Claypool is 13th with 30.6. All three retain rankings equal to those placements in their Week 11 bout in Jacksonville.
Downfield receiver James Washington has been relegated to a low-end, boom/bust flex option.
Tight end Eric Ebron has seen target volume steady enough to retain TE1 results, since the team’s Week 4 bye. His Week 11 outlook is reaffirmed by a Jaguars safety and linebacker corps that’s allowing the 3rd-most .5PPR points per game to opposing tight ends (12.5).
Fantasy managers of lead back James Conner have been hurt in back-to-back weeks by low box score output. Although the match-ups against Dallas and Cincinnati looked great on paper, in hindsight one can see that those defenses, although weak overall, are much more of the pass-funnel varieties than they are run-funnel. Fortunately for Conner (and managers), this week he gets a truly soft run defense that’s allowing 144.1 yards from scrimmage, nearly a full rushing score (0.9), and 6.6 receptions to opposing backfields every week. Conner, Pittsburgh’s dual threat bellcow should have no issue returning RB1 numbers as his team coasts to victory.
The juniors, Anthony McFarland and Benny Snell are not reliably fantasy relevant at this time.
With quarterback Gardner Minshew slated to miss another week (thumb), fill-in rookie Jake Luton is in for a tough outing against a Steelers defense that’s generating a league-high 35.0% pressure rate — almost 7.0% higher than the next best team (Tampa Bay). This bodes very poorly for the jarringly un-athletic Luton. He’s just a QB3 this week.
The trio of D.J. Chark, Chris Conley, and Keelan Cole get another week of enhanced target opportunity with stud rookie Laviska Shenault out (hamstring) again this week. The Steelers have been weirdly generous (32.6 .5PPR PPG — 11th-most in the NFL) to opposing receivers this year, giving quasi-green lights to managers of the aforementioned group. While the receivers should be able to get open, Luton’s likely inability to evade the Steelers pass rush complicates thing. Consider Chark a highly variant WR2 — he’s shown a low floor and a high ceiling at times this year. Cole’s outlook is helped by Dede Westbrook going on Injured Reserve and abandoning punt return duties to Cole. With this newfound floor, most recently flashed in Week 10 a la 113 return yards and a touchdown, Cole carries high-floor/high-ceiling fantasy value as a high-end flex option. Conley maintains high-floor/low-ceiling flex viability but fantasy managers can do better than Conley in one-to-two man flex leagues.
Tight end Tyler Eifert is not seeing enough work to be fantasy-relevant.
With pass catching back Chris Thompson being placed on Injured Reserve (back), the main threat to James Robinson’s pass catching opportunity has been drastically reduced. Dare Ogunbowale, a decent pass catcher in his own right, is now the No. 2 back on the roster but he’s new to the team and Robinson has shown himself more than capable of playing a dual threat role, as evidenced by his 39 2020 targets, 9th-most in the league. Robinson, whose fantasy scoring floor has proven to be as high as any back in the NFL this year, is a locked and loaded RB1, despite the tough match-up.
New England Patriots at Houston Texans
Cam Newton enters Week 11 with a match-up against a Texans’ defense that surrendered over 300 passing yards to fill-in rookie quarterback Jake Luton just two weeks ago. With a top-tier talent in Jakobi Meyers finally having emerged for Newton as a primary target, the marriage of passing production with Newton’s rushing ability is complete. He’s a locked-in QB1.
Jakobi Meyer’s 31 targets over the last three weeks — including two games against the respectable secondaries of the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens — have resulted in .5PPR’s 7th-highest total (47.1). Although it’s fair to say that some of that production came form the 24-yard passing touchdown that Meyers chucked to RB Rex Burkhead, that he’s having trick plays drawn up for him in the first place is a testament to his contributions in the preceeding weeks. Meyers’ is a talent and volume-based WR2 with easy WR1 upside in full-point PPR leagues in this impending shootout.
Damiere Byrd continues to see a decent number of targets per week but does little with them. He’s a boom/bust flex options against Houston’s undermanned secondary.
N’Keal Harry belongs in free agency.
Ryan Izzo is not seeing enough work to be fantasy-relevant.
Notable rushing lines allowed by the Texans defense:— Jarad Evans (@PFF_Jarad) November 19, 2020
Nick Chubb: 126-1
Kareem Hunt: 104-0
James Robinson: 99-1
Jamaal Williams: 77-1
Derrick Henry: 212-2
Dalvin Cook: 130-2
James Conner: 109-1
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 138-1
The RB duo of Damien Harris, as the team’s rushing back, and Rex Burkhead, operating in a Swiss Army Knife fashion have ripped up box scores over the last few weeks and if the tweet above tells us anything, it’s full steam ahead again this week. Against a Texans’ defensive-front that allowing the most rushing yards per game to opposing backfields (154.3) and over a touchdown per game (1.2 — 2nd-most in the NFL), expect Damien Harris to hit rock-solid RB2 numbers with easy RB1 upside. Rex Burkhead is a great flex option, having snatched up half of James White’s job.
With New England expected to push the pace, QB Deshaun Watosn will be in go-mode all day long. Expect a high-flying performance, regardless of whether or not Pats CB Stephon Gilmore is able to play (knee). He’s this week’s overall QB6.
Although Randall Cobb is out there for over half of the team’s offensive snaps every week, it’s amounted to nothing more than cardio as Will Fuller (60) and Brandin Cooks (69) stand a head and shoulders above the rest of the team in the target column. Cobb is just a low-ceiling flex play but Fuller and Cooks offer Top 15 firepower. Since Bill O’Brien’s firing after Week 4, the two have shellacked opponents as a 1-2 perimeter punch. Lock them into lineups as borderline WR1/2 options and throw away the key.
Tight ends Darren Fells and Jordan Akins continue to provide a real-life stud duo but a terrible fantasy one. Do not start either against the tight end-erasing Patriots.
Chaotic Cleveland wetaher derailed an otherwise promising week 10 outing for fill-in lead back Duke Johnson Jr. who saw an outstanding 95% snap share last week. With that kid of a workload against a ho-hum Pats’ front-seven, Duke can confidently be started as a confident RB2.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns
QB Carson Wentz’s chances at a good game shot through the roof with the late week addition stud defensive end Myles Garrett to the league’s COVID-19/Reserve List. His recent ransgressions against fantasy managers can’t be forgotten so easily though, keeping him in the middle of the QB2 ranks.
Head coach Doug Pederson showed a complete lack of spine, opting to give the oft-injured, stork-like Alshon Jeffery 27% of the team’s snaps last week, kneecapping the potential of hardworking and talented receivers, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, and Jalen Reagor. Cleveland’s secondary has been one to target for fantasy purposes, allowing the 6th-most .5PPR PPG (34.9), but the shakeup of the Eagles pass catching group lowers everyone’s ceiling. The aforementioned “good” trio are all flex options with Reagor as the likely target-leader. Ward has a sneaky shot to outproduce the rest though as the Browns have been routinely beaten by slot receivers, as evidenced by Weeks 7 and 8 result’s: Tyler Boyd’s 11/13-101-1 and Hunter Renfrow’s 4/4-26-1.
Alshon Jeffery belongs in free agency.
Tight end Dallas Goedert is tough to trust at this point with Wentz’s struggles but another week with Zach Ertz means elite potential for the talented young player. Goedert is once again a high-end TE1 option.
Big-bodied bruiser back Jordan Howard has terrifyingly been signed to the Eagles practice squad but isn’t expected to be elevated to the active roster this week, leaving Miles Sanders in line for another high-end usage week. Sanders was devastatingly poached from the 5-yard line by Corey Clement last week, masking an otherwise great day for the bellcow back. Sanders is once again a Top 5 option at the position.
At this point backup RB Boston Scott deserves outside flex consideration as a low-volume play-maker.
Corey Clement is not reliably fantasy-relevant. In fact, his 5-yard touchdown was the only time he saw the field last week.
QB Baker Mayfield may finally get a manageable weather situation after two weeks of brutality by Mother Nature. Winds winds expected to stay between 10-15 MPH, we can expect Mayfield to play much better than we’ve seen as of late. Of course, the Browns have unquestionably established that they are a run-heavy organization at this point so QB2 numbers are all we can hope for from their quarterback.
Keyed by their 6th-ranked QB pressure rate (25.3%) and lock down coverage provided by CB Darius Slay, the Eagles have done a good job limiting production by opposing receivers. That said, the high-volume of passes that slot receiver Jarvis Landry should see this week keep him firmly in the solid-flex conversation. Of the ancillary receiver group, Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, only Higgins is worthy of a roster spot. This isn’t a great match-up to deploy him in your flex though.
Tight end Austin Hooper asserted himself as the top dog in Cleveland’s two-tight end base offense in his return from appendicitis last week, registering an 85% snap share. Although the weather hampered his box score success, fantasy managers should rush to return him to their lineups as the Eagles are allowing the 4th-most .5PPR PPG to opposing tight ends (12.4).
Harrison Bryant looks to have leapfrogged David Njoku for rights to the primary No. 2 TE role and therefore garners high-end TE2 consideration in a terrific match-up.
Nick Chubb took one for the team last week, opting to run out of bounds at the opponent’s one-yard line — at the end of a 59-yard run — to secure the win, rather than score and give Houston another chance to score. Were he to have added 6.1 more points to his .5PPR total, Chubb would’ve finished Week 10 as the RB4 rather than the RB9. Regardless, it was great to see Chubb given all that he could handle in ihs return from a multi-week MCL-caused absence. Chubb piled up a 19-126-1 rushing line and saw one target. No. 2 back Kareem Hunt posted a 19-104 rushing line while going 3/4-28 receiving. Both are RB1s this week — Chubb of the high-end variety as the overall RB3 and Hunt of the low-end, RB10.
Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers
The Lions’ offense limps into Carolina without WRs Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola, and RB D’Andre Swift. QB Matthew Stafford has a sprained ligament in his thumb. It’s a shame because the Panthers’ defense is a rookie-made unit that’s had trouble stopping everybody. Underhanded and injured-thumbed, Stafford can only be trusted for back-end QB2 numbers.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. should continue returning WR2 value with little target competition in Detroit.
the other Marvin, Mr. Hall warrants flex treatment based on volume and match-up.
Tight end T.J. Hockenson has battled a toe injury over the last week but was able to get in a full practice participation on Friday. He’s a locked-in TE1.
The Panthers are giving up the 4th-most .5PPR PPG to opposing backfields this year (25.4) but unfortunately D’Andre Swift (concussion) won’t be there to eat. Adrian Peterson is the RB to flex.
As of now, Teddy Bridgewater will start for the Carolina Panthers in Week 11, although that’s subject to change. Frankly, this is as good of a game as any to reduce Bridgewater’s workload as the Detroit Lions front-seven defenders are a near-impossibly bad group at defending the run, allowing a whopping 32.7 .5PPR PPG to opposing backfields, the most in the NFL. Perhaps uncoincidentally, the Lions are also god awful at slowing opposing passing games, allowing 19.7 FPPG to the position, 11th-most in the NFL. Expect a highly efficient, if low-volume outing for Bridgewater, should he play, this week. He’s on the QB1/2 borderline.
With tight end Ian Thomas contributing absolutely nothing in the passing game and Seth Roberst sent pascking a few weeks back, the Panthers’ WR trio of Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel have been on fire — outside of Andreson and Samuel’s dud against Tampa Bay’s top-notch defense last week. With Christian McCaffrey on the shlef for an undetermined amount of time, the trio’s set to rock the house for the foreseeable future. Using the interface on Josh Hermsmeyer’s airyards.com, viewers can toggle to the data over the last three weeks and see that D.J. Moore has returned to his downfiled receiver role while Anderson and Samuel operate on either side of the seven-yard mark. Their Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR), Hermsmeyer’s highly touted and predictive statistic, gives the Anderson the best rating (0.61), Moore next (0.55), followed by Samuel (0.43). All three ratings are strong. All three are Top 24 options with Anderson close to the Top 12, Moore around 15, and Samuel near 20.
Fill-in RB Mike Davis stands to benefit the most from the match-up against the aforementioned league-worst Lions’ run defense. He’s a back-end RB1.
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens
Ryan Tannehill heads to Baltimore for a match-up against a Ravens defense that’s dinge dup in pivotal places. Perhaps more important for running back Derrick Henry, but helpful overall nonetheless, Goliath-sized space-eaters DE Calais Campbell (6’8”, 300lbs — calf) and DT Brandon Williams (6’1”, 33lbs — ankle) are trending in the wrong direction for Sunday’s bout. (Props to this week’s You Better You Bet podcast episode with Evan Silva for calling attention to this.) Both stud defensive linemen have registered back-to-back Did Not Participate practice designations this week. Williams is a top-notch interior lineman and Campbell, even at age 34, is third on the team in quarterback pressures (11) and leads the team in sacks (4). Although, Tannehill will have to contend with Baltimore’s stout defensive back unit, more time in the pocket makes his life a lot easier. He’s a high-end QB2.
A.J. Brown (knee) promisingly returned to practice on Friday and his outlook for Sunday is enhanced by the expected absence of slot receiver Adam Humphries (concussion). Brown is a match-up-irrelevant WR1. Had he not dropped that 70-yard touchdown last week, he’d be on a six-game touchdown streak.
Corey Davis also benefits a tad from Humphries missing the game, but he remains one of the biggest high-risk/high-reward flex starts around.
Kalif Raymond and Cameron Batson will split time, filling the team’s primary slot receiver role. Raymond’s 30.5% snap rate gives him a likely playing-time-edge over Batson and his 22.2%. The two are not recommended flex plays.
Blocking tight end Geoff Swaim has worked his way into the two-tight end sets as a steady participant, hurting the ceilings of both Jonnu Smith and Anthony Firkser. Smith is still the alpha there but can only be trusted as a back-end TE1 due to the presence of the other two. It should be noted that Baltimore has had an up-and-down season in its tight end coverage. The late cutting of free safety Earl Thomas has come with consequences. Firkser is a coin toss-TE2.
Concerns over Baltimore’s typically stout run defense have been quelled with the aforementioned Week 11 absences of dominant defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams. Fire up Derrick Henry, and his bulletproof workload, as the RB1 that you drafted him as.
D’Onta Foreman and Jeremy McNichols are not fantasy-relevant this week.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson enters a dynamite match-up against a Titans defense that can’t stop anything. Tennessee’s 21.1 FPPG allowed to opposing signal callers (5th-most in the NFL) should help Jackson keep his wishy washy 2020 on track for another week. He’s a mid-tier QB1.
Baltimore’s running back clown-car rolls on, in an albeit great match-up against a Tennessee defensive front allowing 23.5 .5PPR PPG — 7th-most in the NFL. J.K. Dobbins continued to lead the team in snaps, despite the return of Mark Ingram last week. Dobbin’s inability to capitalize on it, finishing as the lowest point-scorer of the bunch (1.90 .5PPR fantasy points) reemphsizes the need to keep him flued to fantasy benches. Ingram didn’t do much with his either, but Gus Edwards continues to produce at a high-floor level with an average of 10.3 .5PPR PPG. Edwards is the only flex-able player, but he’s limited to high-floor production.
Sunday 1:05-1:25pm PST
New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers
With the Jets’ offense finally on its way to full health, the passing unit has a great chance to pu tup points against the Chargers’ pass-funnel defense. Ruined by injuries, LAC’s defensive backs have been gashed for long touchdowns all year. To name a couple of the unheralded stars in this regard, both DaeSean Hamilton (Week 8 — 40-yard receiving score) and Nelson Agholor (Week 9 — 45-yard receiving score) have had the pleasure. This bodes very well for the Joe Flacco-to-Breshad Perriman, who brought the house down last week with a 5/7-102-2 receiving line against New England. Sidekicked by slot receiver Jamison Crowder who’s managed to get the job done whenever healthy this year, Joe Flacco is a mid-tier QB2. Perriman and Crowder both deserve WR2 consideration this week with Perriman as the ceiling play and Crowder as the floor. Rookie Denzel Mims is a high-floor flex.
The Jets’ tight ends and running backs are not relevant for this match-up. Fantasy managers can stash RB La’Mical Perine if they please.
Against the hapless Jets defense, QB Justin Herbert is in play for overall QB1 honors this week. NYJ has been lit up for the 6th-most passing yards on the year (2,536), while producing the league’s worst QB pressure rate (16.5%).
Wide receivers Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Jalen Guyton are all fantasy-relevant this week. Both Allen and Williams are Top 15 options with Allen finding himself in the Top 5. Guyton is a boom/bust flex option with a great chnace at a long touchdown.
Readers were told of Hunter Henry’s impeding success as his monstrous target volume was sure to produce at some point. Patience paid off last week as Henry turned in the TE2 .5PPR perfmance (11 .5PPR points).Keep him in your lineup as a Top 5 option once again this week.
Sifting through the Chargers’ RB situation wasmade easy this week as head coach Anthony Lynn let us know that he’s given Kalen Ballage the keys to the kingdom. Against a Jets’ front-seven that’s being pummeled for 23.1 .5PPR PPG (9th-most in the NFL), trust Ballage as a high-end RB2. He’s this week’s overall RB13.
Joshua Kelley is just a low-end flex option at this point. Troymaine Pope is not seeing enough work for fantasy relevance this week.
Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos
Expect another controlled outing for the Miami offense as they head to Mile High for a date with the Broncos. Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa has done a decent job of playing game manager as he develops. He’s a mid-tier QB2.
DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant have posted back-to-back weeks of leading the team in targets, under Tua’s guidance. Parker’s role as the No. 1 pass catcher keeps him as a firm, if capped-ceiling, flex option. Grant’s wide receiver points are supplemented by his role as the team’s kick and punt returner. The additional average 36.2 return yards provide a small pillow of fantasy support. Like Parker, Grant is a flex option.
Tight end Mike Gesicki just isn’t seeing enough work to be reliably trusted as a Top 12 option.
The return of Matt Breida (hamstring) complicates the Dolphins’ backfield situation a bit but when healthy, the coaching staff hasn’t seen fit to feature Breida as a red zone option, likely leaving that role to last week’s breakout running back Salvon Ahmed. Although Breida’s return takes touches from Ahmed between the 20s, fantasy managers can still fire up Ahmed as an RB2 against a Broncos front-seven allowing a healthy 21.3 .5PPR PPG.
Breida is just a low-ceiling flex.
QB Drew Lock (ribs) is expected to play after managing limited practice participation on Thursday and Friday of this week. Against the Dolphins’ lock down pass coverage though, he’s not a recommended start. Miami has allowed just 13 passing touchdowns (T-6th-fewest), while picking off 8 passes (9th-most) and batting down 49 passes (3rd-most). Lock is just a QB3 for this week. Slot receivers like Cooper Kupp (11/20-110) and Keenan Allen (3/7-39-1) have posted good numbers against the vaunted Miami secondary, leaving some flex-worthy hope for K.J. Hamler.
Jerry Jeudy continues putting on a route running clinic every week but this match-up drops him from WR2 status to just that of a high-end flex.
Tim Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton are of the low-end flex variety.
Tight end Noah Fant’s rib injury has seemingly impacted his play. Even if he’s active, he can’t be trusted as more than a TE2.
With the two Broncos backs, Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, really not seeing much passing game work, their ceilings are seriously capped. That said, the Dolphins’ personnel department has smartly deprioritized stopping opposing run games. The result has been an allowance of the 13th-most rushing yards (1,153) and the 11th-most rushing touchdowns (11). Gordon brings flex appeal into this one but Lindsay isn’t seeing enough work to get the same.
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
Andy Dalton returns from concussion and COVID-19 to, hopefully, bring stability to the Cowboys’ offense after failed performances by Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert. Against the atrocious Vikings’ secondary, stability should be enough to keep Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb fantasy-viable. Given the match-up and the talent around him, Dalton is a high-end streaming option this week.
In Dalton’s one full-game performance as the Dallas Cowboys’ starter (Week 6), Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Ezekiel Elliott all hit the double-digit target mark. A similar performance, featuring the stud receivers and the outlet pass can be expected once again this week. Although the Vikings’ don’t present much in the way of a pass rush with their middling 21.3% QB pressure rate, any QB behind this injury-plagued offensive line will feel the heat to some degree. Honing in on his trusted options and getting the ball out quickly is a must. Consider both Cooper and Lamb borderline Top 24 options.
In the aforementioned Week 6 bout, Dalton targeted deep threat Michael Gallup 6 times. Although they didn’t connect then against Arizona’s ho-hum defensive back unit, Minnesota’s group provides a unique combination of injury and ineptitude as they routinely get gashed for long gains. Michael Gallup is back on his highly volatile boom/bust 2020 roller coaster ride.
Tight end Dalton Schultz finds himself on the high-end of the tight end streaming radar against a Vikings’ linebacker/safety corps that’s been pummeled by capable tight ends all year (ie. Mo Alie-Cox — 5/6-101, Robert Tonyan — 5/7-79, and T.J. Hockenson 5/8-39-1).
Ezekiel Elliott’s quest to escape from the flex-doldrums hinges entirely upon his passing game usage as the Vikings’ have played surprisingly good run defense. Opposing backs have been limited to 1,041 rushing yards (13-fewest) and just five rushing touchdowns — tied for fewest in the league. They are, however, allowing the 12th-most receptions per game to running backs (5.7) which would give Elliott a chance for Top 24 results this week. Likewise, the presence of a competent quarterback helps drastically, as the team is much more likely to more spend time in the red zone than they have as of late.
No. 2 RB Tony Pollard has carved out a change of pace role but can’t be depended on as anything other than a low-ceiling flex.
Although Kirk Cousins is one of the few quarterbacks who regularly puts up fewer fantasy points than his running back, he’s got a great shot at making some noise in the box score this week. Dallas’ terrible secondary has allowed 21 touchdowns to whizz past it, third most in the NFL. Cousins gets a mid-to-high QB2 ranking as a result.
The Vikings’ two-tight end base offense allows current-star and future star wide receivers, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, to corner the market on Minnesota targets. Facing a Dallas secondary that’s allowing the 5th-most .5PPR points per game — a whopping 36.2 — both players tip the scales as Top 15 options. Thielen as an elite WR1 play, Jefferson as a high-end WR2.
Chad Beebe is not seeing enough work to be fantasy-relevant outside of contrarian DFS lineups.
Kyle Rudolph returned modest fantasy results last week with Irv Smith Jr. on the shelf (groin) and with Smith potentially returning this week, neither are worth fantasy consideration.
Running back Dalvin Cook continues his berserker-like 2020 campaign against a Cowboy’s defensive-front that’s allowed the 2nd-most rushing yards on the year (1,413). .5PPR’s overall RB2 in scoring has a chance to overtake Alvin Kamara in the RB1 race. He’s this week’s RB2.
Alexander Mattison and Ameer Abdullah do not have strong enough roles to be seriously considered as flex options.
Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts
Despite some midweek tomfoolery, it does seem as though QB Aaron Rodgers will be armed with arguably the league’s premier receiver, Davante Adams, whose ankle gave us a fright just a few days ago. The Indianapolis Colts’ defense showed us they aren’t just a product of facing subpar competition, as their early season featured passing games of the New York Jets and Chicago Bears. Holding Lamar Jackson and Ryan Tannehill firmly in check over the last two weeks tells us they mean business. Accordingly, Rodgers finds himself on the QB1/2 borderline.
That Davante Adams is the overall WR1 in .5PPR scoring (156.6)despite missing Weeks 3 and 4 due to injury and having a bye in Week 5 is all you need to know. He’s an elite WR1, regardless of the competition.
No. 2 WR Allen Lazard is expected to return to the Packers’ lineup this week (core) but head coach Matt LeFleur has indicated that Lazard is likely to be eased back into the swing of things, giving us enough information to not want to flex him while also turning us off of Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Having produced fantasy-viable numbers for two weeks in a row, MVS is on just the second “hot streak” of his career. The last time he was able to produce consecutive fantasy-relevant results was a four-game stretch in 2018 that got us all to believe in this walking fool’s gold. Don’t take the bait this time. With Lazard back, complicating the target market and the Colts’ shutting down opposing WRs, allowing the 6th-fewest .5PPR PPG (26.6) to the position, MVS needs to be on your bench.
The remaining receivers on the Packers roster can be safely ignored.
Although tight end Robert Tonyan isn’t seeing much target competition from Mercedes Lewis and Jace Sternberger, he himself isn’t getting enough work to be a Top 12 option. The fact that Indy is holding opposing tight ends to the 2nd-fewest .5PPR PPG (6.1) doesn’t help either. Tonyan is not a good fantasy option this week.
The Colts’ front-seven is an entirely uninviting situation for opposing backfields. Holding running backs to just 16.8 .5PPR PPG (3rd-fewest) and having to split work with Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones had to be dropped out of the position’s Top 5. Although his RB7 ranking is nothing to shake a stick at, fantasy managers should not expect a true ceiling game out of their RB1 this week. Williams is a low-ceiling flex.
Like Indianapolis, Green Bay’s defensive traits are tricky to parse. They’re held both pass and run games in check for much of the year but have been beaten up by good offenses, as evidenced by Drew Brees (29/36-288-3-0) and Deshaun Watson (29/39-309-2-0 with 7-38 rushing). Matt Ryan and the Falcons were held in check, but both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley were battling significant injuries. That said, the play of cornerback Jaire Alexander is undeniably great — likely the best in the league — and Philip Rivers’ withered arm isn’t going to be getting the better of him. He’s just a QB3 this week.
Indianapolis emerged from the bye and showed us, unequivocally, that rookie receiver Michael Pittman Jr. is the top dog in their passing game, giving him a team-high eight targets and even involving him in the passing game. It’s anyone’s guess as to how the Packers will deploy Jaire Alexander though, so rolling Pittman out there as a flex option is a high-risk/high-reward proposition.
T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal are not start-worthy fantasy options this week. Neither is Marcus Johnson.
Tight end Mo Alie-Cox, the team’s most talented pass catching tight end, has seen a promising improvement in his snap share over the last three weeks. However, the presence of Trey Burton and Jacks Doyle, combined with Green Bay’s tight end coverage — 6.4 .5PPR PPG allowed, 5th-fewest in the NFL — make all three impossible to start.
The three-headed monster that is the Indianapolis Colts’ backfield is a frightful bunch. Jonathan Taylor has been reduced to just a low-end flex at this point, playing poorly and losing snaps. Jordan Wilkins isn’t up for fantasy consideration this week, operating more or less as the dual threat backup. Nyheim Hines though, is where things get interesting. As evidenced by the ups and downs of Hines’ point totals over the last three weeks, he’s a high-risk/high-reward guy. But Colts’ head coach Frank Reich likes to exploit defensive efficiencies with his offensive personnel and the Packers just so happen to be allowing the 7th-most receptions per game to opposing running backs (6), the 2nd-most receiving yardage per game (53.4), and 0.4 receiving touchdowns per game (3rd-most). Hines is the clear-cut No. 1 pass catching back in this offense. Start him confidently as a high-end RB2.
Sunday Night Football: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Andy Reid and Co. are out for blood after being upset by the Raiders at home in Week 5. The undermanned Raiders defense will be out of sorts, heading into Sunday night after the week was spent with many of the impact players temporarily on the league’s COVID-19/Reserve List. Patrick Mahomes is the overall QB2.
Although Sammy Watkins will miss the primetime game (calf/hamstring), fantasy managers need to keep a level head and not insert Mecole Hardman as some sort of surething blow-up candidate. Andy Reid has made clear that just because Hardman is a regular part of the offense, that does not mean that they won’t mostly have him run cardio in an attempt to preserve him for a potential Tyreek Hill injury. Hill is a volatile boom/bust flex option.
Tyreel Hill is a no-brainer Top 5 option.
Demarcus Robinson carries high-floor flex value into Sunday night as the man likely to benefit most from Watkins’ absence.
Byron Pringle is a low-ceiling flex play as he’s no better than No. 4 in the pecking order.
Tight end Travis Kelce, the team’s real No. 1 pass catcher over Tyreek Hill carries Top 10 upside across all non-QB postitions. His team-leading 8/12-108-1 receiving line from the last time these teams played is a testament to that. Every week, he’s the No. 1 TE in fantasy.
Although Clyde Edwards-Helaire gave us a midweek scare (illness) but he’s ready to go for Week 11. Unfortunately, KC’s Week 10 bye week likely gave No. 2 back Le’Veon Bell time to more fully absorb the play book. While Bell might not get enough work to make himself anything more than a mid-tier flex option, he eats into CEH’s upside quite a bit. Since Bell joined the team in Week 6, the running back has seen four red zone carries and one red zone target. During that time span, CEH totalled six red zone carries and five red zone targets. CEH is still clearly the lead back but that’s a decent scoring-position workload from Bell. As a result, Edwards-Helaire is just a mid-tier RB2.
Darrel Williams is also in the mix but he’s not of fantasy consideration at this time.
Derek Carr’s had an up-and-down season so far but he had a great showing against Kansas City in Week 5. He’s worryingly faltered against defenses that are much softer than KC in recent weeks though. Consider Carr an unrealible QB2 option this week.
Las Vegas’ surprisingly deep pass catching corps has made it tough for any of them to assert themselves over their teammates. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor has been an off-and-on play-maker this year and was able to get the job done when the team’s met earlier this year. Consider the downfield receiver a solid boom/bust flex player. Fellow downfield receiver Henry Ruggs had his best game of the year against KC but he did so on just three targets and hasn’t been able to carve out much of a role for himself since then. He’s a much more volatile boom/bust flex option that Agholor is.
Slot receiver Hunter Renfrow wasn’t able to nab more than one catch against KC but the Chiefs really have struggled to contain slot recievers this year. Both Cole Beasley (4/7-45-1) and Curtis Samuel (9/9-105-1) had solid days against them and fantasy manager should look Renfrow’s way if in need of a high-floor/high-ceiling flex option.
Bryan Edwards is not fantasy-relevant at this time.
Tight end Darren Waller is a locked-in Top 5 play at the position every week.
Since the Raiders’ Week 6 bye, the coaching staff has made a concerted effort to get roational back, Devontae Booker, more involved in the offense game plans and he’s made his presence felt in each of the last two weeks. Kansas City is allowing a healthy 21.7 .5PPR PPG to opposing backfields (11th-most) but 8.2 of that total is coming from the receiving game. Josh Jacobs is still the lead back in Las Vegas and he’s a great bet to see 18 or more touches this week. But Booker’s presence keeps him on the RB1/2 borderline as the two rush-first backs will mostly have to split the remaining theoretical 13.5 .5PPR points as Jalen Richard still owns rights to much of the passing game work. Booker is a high-floor flex option while Richard is only viable as a flex in very deep full-point PPR leagues.