Tale of the Tape: Week 11 (Fantasy Football)
Welcome to Tale of the Tape, where we break down a handful of highlight GIFs from the week’s slate of NFL games and translate them into fantasy football relevance. If you see a highlight worth analyzing in the future, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @FantasySensei!
For now, let’s get into Week 11 of the NFL season!
Rishard Matthews is Still An Underrated Asset
This is who he is. Matthews is a big play guy that tends to benefit from the Titans’ strong running game, torching the defense on play action bombs like this one. He is excellent after the catch (as seen through Thursday night’s glorious SkyCam) and is still the best fantasy WR in Tennessee, despite never quite receiving due respect. After five catches for 113 and a touchdown on Thursday, Matthews is 16th in receiving yards in the NFL and averaging 6.8 targets per game, making him a low-end WR2/FLEX play. And yet he is consistently started in less than a quarter of fantasy leagues. Wake up people, and get Matthews into your lineups.
Samaje Perine: The Last Man Running
The Redskins’ running back corps has been a war of attrition this year and Samaje Perine is currently the only man left standing. Both Rob Kelley (MCL) and Chris Thompson (fibula) are now out for the season, leaving Perine with a strong claim to 20-plus touches per week from here on out. He looked surprisingly good against the Saints, racking up 117 yards on 23 carries and even adding a catch for nine yards in the receiving game. He will likely take on more of that role with Thompson out, but his 15-carry floor should translate to RB2 production regardless. If he’s on your waiver wire, he’ll be the number one priority, so pounce if you can.
Damien Williams Jumps Back Ahead in MIA RB Race
Not much is going right in Miami, but their surprising stable of backup RBs is doing alright. In the three games since Jay Ajayi departed in a trade to the Eagles, Damien Williams has 202 total yards and one TD, while Kenyan Drake has 210 and two scores. This week, Williams was the more valuable back by a longshot, out-touching Drake 11-to-8, but outgaining him by 88 yards. It’s tough to confidently choose between the two backs each week but with this performance, Williams takes the slight edge moving forward. Miami draws two matchups with the Patriots over the next three weeks, which figures to favor Williams as the more likely pass-catcher in negative games scripts.
Keenan Allen Explodes Out of Slump
Rejoice, all ye Keenan Allen owners! After a four-game stretch of less than 65 receiving yards and an eight-game stretch without a touchdown, Allen went berserk against the Bills. The Chargers’ lead receiver caught 12 of 13 targets for 159 yards and hit paydirt twice. The performance catapulted Allen into ninth in PPR scoring among receivers on the season and won many a week for patient fantasy players around the country. LA’s remaining schedule is an absolute dream for the passing game (DAL, CLE, WAS, KC, NYJ, OAK), so if Allen can carry this momentum forward, he could be an absolute force in the fantasy playoffs.
Devontae Booker Taking Over in Denver
Since the Broncos’ Week 5 bye, Devontae Booker‘s carry counts by game have gone 1, 2, 6, 6, 8, and 14 on Sunday against the Bengals. While he only managed 44 rushing yards against a stout defense, C.J. Anderson was even worse with 37 yards on 13 carries. But more importantly, Booker’s five catches for 54 yards (including this 21-yard sideline scamper) showcased his superior ability in the passing game. As Denver’s defense deteriorates to match their struggling offense, and the team finds itself behind more often, Booker will likely continue to see his role expand. He is the most valuable fantasy asset in this backfield at this point and is worth considering as a FLEX until further notice.
Orleans Darkwa Becoming the Best of a Bad Crop
Darkwa’s best run of the game went for 14 yards, so he’s not busting defenses apart. That said he has become the best of an odd group of middling fantasy RBs with heavy workloads in bad offenses (Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Joe Mixon, etc). Over his last six games, Darkwa has averaged 15 carries and 73 rushing yards, and has scored twice. He’s not winning anyone weeks but the Giants are relying on him heavily in light of their depleted receiving corps. He helped slow down the game in a shocking upset of the Chiefs on Sunday and figures to continue seeing workhorse workloads rest of season. In this fantasy landscape, that makes him an RB2.
Corey Coleman Returns With a Vengeance
Back from a fractured hand, Corey Coleman quickly re-established himself as the lead receiver in Cleveland. He snagged six catches for 80 yards on a team-high 11 targets. Against the Jaguars (a.k.a. the new and improved Legion of Boom), in horrific weather. Coleman had 53 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against Pittsburgh and was injured in Week 2, so the small sample size we have looks pretty darn good. The one potential wrench in Coleman’s fantasy value is Josh Gordon, who could potentially return by Week 13. I for one am unwilling to rely on Gordon for anything until we see it, which makes Coleman a very worthy waiver add this week.
Fournette is Fine
For those of you who think Leonard Fournette is just a bruiser, see above. This guy has elite acceleration and his size-speed combo is out of this world. Despite talks of lingering ankle issues and cold-weather qualms, Fournette bullied the Browns for 118 total yards on a whopping 30 touches. The rookie is fifth in the league in rushing attempts and fourth in rushing TDs despite missing multiple games and is probably in the conversation with Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, and the Saints’ duo for top five fantasy RBs. After four straight weeks of nothing (for various reasons), panicked Fournette fantasy owners can take a deep breath.
Davante Adams is Hundley’s Jordy
Here’s a headline I never thought I’d write. Sadly, Jordy Nelson is an afterthought in Brett Hundley‘s version of the Green Bay offense and Davante Adams has stepped up in his stead. With eight catches for 126 yards on Sunday, Adams closed any remaining case and cemented himself in the WR2 conversation moving forward. He has averaged 8.6 targets and 67 receiving yards and scored twice in Hundley’s five games under center. The Packer’s remaining schedule is a mixed bag, but Adams’ role as Hundley’s go-to-guy makes him startable every week.
J.D. McKissic Worth a PPR Flier
This one is less about the highlights and more about the reality of the Seattle backfield. As with Perine above, J.D. McKissic is one of few warm bodies left in the Seattle backfield (new addition Mike Davis left Monday’s game with a groin injury after looking impressive) and is garnering plenty of opportunity as a result. He led the Seahawk RBs with 50-of-74 offensive snaps and 12 touches, including seven carries for 30 yards and five catches for 23 yards. The receptions are really McKissic’s only true value, as he is the unquestioned passing-downs back and could easily snag a touchdown’s worth of PPR fantasy points every week. If you’re in a deep PPR league or are simply desperate for a FLEX play, McKissic is worth a speculative grab.