Fantasy Football Recap & Takeaways: Week 11
Whew… what a week! There were some nail biters in Week 11, as eight games were decided by three or fewer points and 10 were decided by five or fewer. There were only two blowouts, and one was certainly expected. New Orleans cruised to a 48-7 dismantling of a reeling Eagles team who will definitely not be repeating as Super Bowl champs this year. I saw that one coming. Andrew Luck led the Colts to a 38-10 beat down of the Titans, but that result was far more surprising.
This week featured three walk-off FGs, a game-winning Ben Roethlisberger TD with under 10 seconds to play, and a head-scratching two-point attempt from Carolina that saw them lose by one rather than kick the extra point to tie the game. It was one of the best weeks of football in over a month, and there were some great fantasy performances too. Let’s take a look at how the games shaped up.
Packers 24 at Seahawks 27
It was a thrilling game to start the week in a highly-anticipated matchup between two teams with a torrid past. Russell Wilson hit Ed Dickson wide open in the middle of the field for a 15-yard, go-ahead score with just over five minutes to play, and the Packers couldn’t get back into scoring range. Aaron Rodgers was efficient once again, going 21-30 for 332 yards, two TDs, and no picks. He remains an elite QB option, but he certainly isn’t living up to preseason expectations. Davante Adams continued his amazing season, racking up a game-high 166 yards on 10 receptions. He didn’t score, but his TD prowess over the last three seasons is undeniable. Aaron Jones, fresh off of a breakout in Week 10, had another solid outing, racking up 103 total yards and two TDs. It looks like his usage might be steady, making him a borderline weekly RB1. Outside of A-Rodg, Adams, and Jones, the rest of the Packers’ offense was irrelevant. Marquez Valdes-Scantling went 1-8 on three targets, ending his streak of 100 yards or a TD.
The Seahawks’ run game featured Chris Carson after featuring Mike Davis in Week 9 and Rashaad Penny in Week 10. Penny wasn’t included in my waiver pickups article last week because this backfield is so volatile. Penny still looked good in limited action, but his upside is certainly capped by the presence of Carson and Davis. Doug Baldwin led the team in receptions going 7-52-1, Tyler Lockett continued to produce (5-71), and David Moore was just ok. Russell Wilson tossed two TDs with no picks and 225 yards in a decent outing. He surprisingly ran for only 17 yards. Wilson hasn’t been spectacular this year, but he’s a great start in the right matchup. His playoff schedule is very appealing.
Cowboys 22 at Falcons 19
The Cowboys triumphed over the hapless Falcons on a game-winning Brett Maher FG with no time remaining after Julio Jones caught a tying TD with 1:52 to go. This was a classic Sunday afternoon game, and it featured some interesting fantasy performances. Julio Jones caught his third TD in as many games, and it looks like the Falcons have finally figured out how to get him into the end zone. Matt Ryan finished with 291 passing yards, but he largely struggled, throwing one TD and one INT. He’ll surely rebound after starting the season on fire. Tevin Coleman finished with 85 scoreless yards, and the Falcons just couldn’t get it going. Dallas’ D/ST has been a solid weekly option with a high floor.
Dak Prescott had a disappointing fantasy line against one of the NFL’s most giving defenses, but he didn’t need to do much as Ezekiel Elliott took control. Zeke rumbled to 201 scrimmage yards and a TD, leading the team in rushing and receiving. The Cowboys’ receivers didn’t offer much (as has been the case most of this season), and Amari Cooper finished third on the team in receiving yards with 36. Dak, Coop, and the passing game should step up going forward, but they weren’t needed with the former Buckeye and All-Pro leading the charge.
Texans 23 at Redskins 21
How about seven in a row? After an 0-3 start to the season, Houston has fired off a string off victories to land atop the AFC South. The offense didn’t do a whole lot of damage, but the defense stepped up in a big way. Deshaun Watson finished with only 208 passing yards, one TD, and two picks. He added only seven yards rushing. Lamar Miller continues to be inefficient rushing (20-86), but the volume still makes him an RB2 most weeks. DeAndre Hopkins scored his eighth TD of the season and, of course, he’s an elite WR1 every week. Keke Coutee led the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards, and it looks like he’ll be a WR3/4 moving forward as the second option in the passing game. Demaryius Thomas laid an egg on only one target. His outlook is dim with Coutee putting in such a solid game.
The story of this game was Alex Smith sustaining a gruesome leg injury that will end his season and possibly his career. My thoughts and prayers are with him. His injury was so bad that it even caught the attention of an NFL legend.
Alex’s leg is exactly like mine 33 yrs ago
— Joe Theismann (@Theismann7) November 18, 2018
Smith’s backup is Colt McCoy, and with him at the helm of the ‘Skins offense, the skill players take a massive hit in value. With McCoy the only QB left on the roster, Washington will have to bring in someone else at QB, and the options are slim (Sam Bradford, anyone?). Jordan Reed finally had a great game, going 7-71-1, and the rest of Washington’s pass-catchers were non-factors. Adrian Peterson put in another solid day at the office, scoring two TDs on 51 yards.
Bengals 21 at Ravens 24
Lamar Jackson got the start at QB with Joe Flacco out, and Robert Griffin recorded no yards at all. Jackson only threw for 150 yards and a pick, but he rushed for 117 yards on 27 carries, showing the same explosiveness he did at Louisville. The former Heisman-winner should get some extra playing time the rest of the season after this performance, especially with Joe Flacco likely out the door in 2019. He’s a must-add at QB. Alex Collins did a nice Irish jig in the end zone before being benched for Gus Edwards who ran for 115 yards on 17 carries. Edwards looks like the Ravens’ starting RB now, and he’s an RB2 if given 15 – 20 touches with a great upcoming schedule. No Baltimore TE can be used for fantasy, and the Ravens’ receivers were uninspiring. John Brown (1-23) and Michael Crabtree (1-7) showed that they will be up-and-down, and “Silly” Willie Snead finished with a typical stat line (5-51), making him a safe but very boring option in PPR leagues.
Andy Dalton had a decent game, going for 211 yards and two TDs, and he shockingly led the Bengals in rushing with 29 yards. He’s fallen back to earth after a stellar start to the season, but he can be streamed in the right matchup as long as you don’t have high expectations. Joe Mixon ended with only 14 rushing yards, but he salvaged his fantasy day with 38 receiving yards and a rushing TD. Tyler Boyd went 4-71, and it looks like he won’t be more than a WR3 with A.J. Green out. C.J. Uzomah finished with 41 yards, and he is a low-floor, low-ceiling option at TE. John Ross caught a TD for the second straight week, and he will be a WR3/4 while A.J. Green is out. There wasn’t much excitement in the Bengals’ passing game, as Dalton completed a pass to 10 different players.
Panthers 19 at Lions 20
The Panthers lost another one, but they didn’t need to. Cam Newton tossed a TD to D.J. Moore with 1:07 left but, instead of opting to tie the game with an extra point, Carolina went for two but didn’t convert. At 6-3 and very much in the playoff hunt, the decision to go for two made no sense and smacked of desperation. Cam was mostly ineffective until the fourth quarter when he turned it on and threw two TDs. Much like his contemporaries this week, he had a low rushing total at only two yards. Christian McCaffrey finished with 110 yards but ended his recent TD streak. He’s got a super high floor and ceiling. D.J. Moore exploded for 157 yards and a score, but he can’t be trusted for consistent weekly production. Greg Olsen found the end zone yet again, but he only managed nine yards. He’s one of Cam’s favorite targets inside the 20-yard line.
Matthew Stafford didn’t have a great fantasy day (220 yards, 1 TD), but he did enough to get the win for Detroit. Kenny Golladay predictably hogged targets (14), and he’s now been targeted 27 times over the last two weeks. He went 8-113-1, and he will be a WR2 every week he’s healthy. His upside will be enormous if Marvin Jones misses any more time. Newcomer Bruce Ellington should be the second option behind Kenny G with Jones out. Theo Riddick brought his streak of games with at least seven targets to three, and he should see a lot more work in Week 12’s Turkey Day game with Kerryon Johnson exiting early due to a knee injury. LeGarrette Blount shouldn’t be used for fantasy, even if gets the start. His days of fantasy relevance are well behind him.
Titans 10 at Colts 38
After two dominating performances, beating the Cowboys and Patriots, the Titans’ entire team disappeared in this game, getting smoked by the Colts at the Oil Drum. As if a 38-10 final score wasn’t bad enough, the leading playmakers on offense for Tennessee were Blaine Gabbert and Anthony Firkser (whoever that is). Dion Lewis went quiet after a string of great games, and without a TD, Derrick Henry was unplayable. Jonnu Smith tied with Firkser for the team lead in receiving, and he should be added as a startable TE. Tennesee’s D/ST stunk in this one, but it’s a divisional game against a red-hot QB. The defense will rebound with matchups against the Giants, Jags, Jets, and ‘Skins in four of the next five weeks, assuming Marcus Mariota‘s elbow is truly not an issue moving forward.
Andrew Luck continues to do superhuman things, going for 297 yards and three TDs, adding to his excellent season in which he’s sure to be the Comeback Player of the Year. He’s a top-5 play every week because of his ridiculous number of attempts and TDs. T.Y. Hilton balled out, going for 155 yards and two TDs after failing to eclipse 100 receiving yards since Week 4. Marlon Mack had an average day saved by a TD, but he’s the definitive lead back in Indy. He’s a weekly RB2/3. After a three-TD bonanza in Week 10, Eric Ebron finished with a donut while Jack Doyle went 4-43. Doyle and Ebron are both still TE1s.
Buccaneers 35 at Giants 38
Another week, another QB benching. After throwing three early INTs, Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched for Jameis Winston. In typical Bucs fashion, Winston led a comeback that fell short. It looks like Winston should be the starter moving forward, and he will put up some good numbers in great upcoming matchups. Mike Evans went for 120 yards and a receiving TD and fell on a loose ball in the end zone for another score. He snapped his recent dry spell of good fantasy performances. O.J. Howard was productive again, and Adam Humphries scored another TD. Chris Godwin and DeSean Jackson were irrelevant, and the only consistent options in the passing game are Howard and Evans. Peyton Barber rushed for over 100 yards as the bell-cow back. He’s a high to mid-range RB3.
Saquon Barkley stole the show with 152 total yards and three TDs, leaving little doubt as to his every-week top-3 RB status. Odell Beckham topped 70 yards again and scored another TD, and Eli Manning added another good game to his recent hot streak. Beckham is an easy WR1, and Manning should be a decent starting option if you need help at QB. This game didn’t feature a ton of passing yards because of Saquon Barkley’s ridiculous 142-yard rushing outburst.
Steelers 20 at Jaguars 16
This was truly a strange game, and it looked like the Jags would run away with this one early. Jacksonville went up big early before the Steelers scored any points. The first score of the night was a 78-yarder to Antonio Brown that silenced the crowd in Jacksonville less than a minute after Leonard Fournette’s TD run put the Jags ahead 16-0. That TD came with just over a minute left in the third quarter. AB finished with 5-117-1 and JuJu Smith-Schuster finished 8-104. Brown is a WR1 and JuJu a WR2. Brown’s TD gave the Steelers their first points of 20 unanswered that culminated in a 20 – 16 Pittsburgh win. Ben Roethlisberger threw three INTs and looked bad for 75% of the game. He did throw for over 300 yards and two scores and scored the game-winning rushing TD with only five seconds left in the game. That’s eight total TDs for Big Ben over his last two games. Keep him going as a QB1. James Conner struggled mightily in this one, rushing for only 25 yards and finishing the day with 15 total touches for 49 yards. He’s been a monster all season, so this was just an outlier.
Blake Bortles threw for a laughable 104 yards as the Jaguars built an early lead and tried to kill the clock. Leonard Fournette had another monster workload with 30 touches, leading the team in rushing and receiving and scoring Jacksonville’s only TD. He averaged just over three yards per carry, but the volume is tremendous and makes him a back-end RB1. He’s the only fantasy-relevant member of this offense. The Jags’ D/ST has been mediocre this year, but they ramped it up against a team they beat twice last year, including a shootout in the AFC divisional round. They should carry some momentum into next week’s matchup with the Bills’ joke of an offense.
Broncos 23 at Chargers 22
This one came down to the wire with a Brandon McManus walk-off FG as time expired. Case Keenum played the role of game manager, racking up 205 yards through the air with no TDs and no INTs. Courtland Sutton turned in a typical Courtland Sutton stat line of 3-78, failing to reach the end zone again. Emmanuel Sanders surprisingly finished with only 62 total yards. The story in this one was the Broncos’ backfield. With Royce Freeman back from injury, Phillip Lindsay still dominated touches nearly two to one. Freeman scored a rushing T, but finished with only 30 total yards. Lindsay piled up 106 total yards and two TDs, including a 41-yard scamper. He’s the lead back in Denver and has weekly RB2 value.
Philip Rivers went 401-2-2 in this one, but the Chargers had trouble staying consistent on offense. Melvin Gordon once again had over 100 scrimmage yards, finishing the day with 156, despite not scoring a TD. After a slow start to the season, Keenan Allen now has at least 100 yards or a TD in three straight since the Chargers’ bye week. He’ll look to keep building on his recent success next week against Arizona. He was a top-5 WR over the second half of last season. Antonio Gates shockingly went 5-80-1, prompting me to check the calendar to see if it was 2007. This was a one-off for #85, and the 80 yards will surely be a season-high. The Williams brothers, Mike and Tyrell, made little impact, and Gordon and Allen are the only consistent producers at receiver in this offense.
Raiders 23 at Cardinals 21
The Raiders … won? That’s right. Despite inept coaching, injuries, and a severe lack of talent, Oakland pulled a last-second victory out of its hat that sent Jon Gruden into a frenzy, chest bumping Doug Martin as the Raiders improved to 2-8. Derek Carr wasn’t very good, but what’s new? No Raiders’ pass-catcher can be used for fantasy except for Jared Cook, as the leading receiver for Week 11 was — you guessed it, Marcell Ateman. Brandon LaFell and Doug Martin left the game due to injury, and they become another two names to add to a growing list of injured Raiders. If Martin misses time, Jalen Richard will be useful as the lead back. The biggest story in this game was the growing Jon Gruden/Derek Carr feud that erupted on the sidelines. With Gruden already clearing house, a Carr exit next season wouldn’t be shocking.
Byron Leftwich seems to have righted the ship for the Cardinals offensively, as David Johnson piled up 154 total yards bringing his total to 337 over his last two games. He had a long TD called back because of a holding penalty on Ricky Seals-Jones or else he would have topped 200 total yards in this game. DJ is back as an every-week RB1. Josh Rosen completed only nine passes, but three went for TDs. Larry Fitzgerald caught his only two catches for TDs, going 2-23-2. He’s back in the flex conversation. Christian Kirk added another receiving TD, notching a 3-77-1 line. He’s still just a WR4 until Rosen’s play can become more consistent.
Eagles 7 at Saints 48
The Saints continued their dominant run in Week 11 with a bludgeoning of the Super Bowl champs. Over the last two weeks, New Orleans has won by a combined score of 99-21. That’s ridiculous. They lead the league in PPG and look unstoppable right now. All the usual suspects had big games. Drew Brees went for 363-4, and he looks like he won’t slow down at all this season. Mark Ingram continues to roll, and he led the backfield in touches, rushing for 103 yards and two TDs without seeing any work in the passing game. Alvin Kamara finished the day with 108 total yards and a TD. Both are excellent weekly plays. Michael Thomas only had four targets, but he caught them all for 71 yards and a score. Tre’Quan Smith led the team comfortably in targets (13) with no other Saint seeing more than five. His 10-157-1 day displayed his tremendous athletic ability, but he can’t be expected to have that kind of production every week.
The Eagles couldn’t do much against a smothering Saints defense, and Carson Wentz finished the day with negative fantasy points, throwing for only 156 yards and three INTs. Josh Adams should be Philly’s primary ball-carrier from here on out, so he’s safe to pick up and flex if needed. Golden Tate was more involved this week, leading the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. I’m not excited about him as a weekly play. Zach Ertz had his first quiet game of the year, going just 2-15. Philadelphia’s offense will have better days. They just ran into a buzzsaw this week.
Vikings 20 at Bears 25
This was an ugly one, and it featured some great defense by the Bears including an Eddie Jackson pick-six that was “music” to Bears’ fans ears.
Sounds like angels singing. pic.twitter.com/PeEQw7U4RU
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 19, 2018
Mitchell Trubisky didn’t do much with 165 yards, but he did manage to throw a TD to rookie Anthony Miller who continues to produce for fantasy owners, scoring his fifth receiving TD of the season. Jordan Howard remains TD-dependent, going for 65 scoreless yards. Tarik Cohen produced only 50 yards, as his season looks to be on a downward turn, totaling 50 yards or less in his last three. Allen Robinson had only 39 yards. It was a quiet day for the Chicago offense, but Trubisky and Co. will have much better games.
Kirk Cousins went 262-2-2, but he looked sloppy. In all fairness, he faced one of the league’s best defenses so he’ll rebound nicely with matchups against Green Bay and New England over the next two weeks. Dalvin Cook had 10 total yards on 12 touches, but he looks like he’s recovered from his injuries, and he’ll have bigger games ahead. Stefon Diggs went 13-126-1 on a crazy 18 targets, reeling in some garbage time catches and a very late TD. He saw six more targets than Adam Thielen (7-66) who, after eight straight of 100+ yards receiving, has totaled 88 receiving yards combined over his last two games. It’s unclear how much Thielen’s calf injury affected his play, but fantasy owners have to be concerned after a mediocre game. He’s still a top-5 WR option.