Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Week 11
On Sunday we saw the New Orleans Saints destroy another team and top 40 points for the sixth time this season, Saquon Barkley score three total touchdowns to keep the New York Giants mathematically alive in the NFC East playoff race, and Andrew Luck throw another three touchdowns in a game for the seventh straight time. Here are my weekly risers and fallers after another crazy Sunday.
Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)
The Cowboys have finally figured out that the key to success is getting their workhorse the ball. Ezekiel Elliott has 55 touches over his last two games and the Cowboys have two wins. It’s really that simple. Elliott hadn’t been a slouch in fantasy before this resurgence, he was the RB9 through nine weeks, but over the past two games, he’s put up the numbers we expected from him when we drafted him with a top-three pick. He’s topped 30 points in each of his last two games and his usage should remain at this level if the Cowboys want to keep winning games.
T.Y. Hilton (WR – IND)
In Andrew Luck’s last two healthy seasons before this year (2016 and 2014), T.Y. Hilton finished as the WR5 and WR10 respectively. We knew what was going to happen with Hilton if Luck was anything close to what he used to be, and we’re finally starting to see it in action as both of them have a clean bill of health. In Hilton’s last two games he’s hauled in 12 of his 16 targets for 232 yards and two touchdowns. Luck is on a record-tearing pace right now as only Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have gone for longer streaks of 3+ touchdown games. This bodes well for Hilton who should finish the season as a weekly top-10 option.
Tre’Quan Smith (WR – NO)
Welcome to the NFL, Tre’Quan Smith! Smith had his first “breakout” game in Week 5 against the Washington Redskins when he caught three passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns, but yesterday was a different kind of breakout. He showed that he could not only be a deep ball specialist who catches a bomb here and there but a productive, relied upon receiver that Drew Brees can trust all over the field. On a day when Michael Thomas only saw four targets (that he turned into a productive four catches for 92 yards and a touchdown), Smith saw 14 targets, caught 10 of them, and racked up 157 yards and a score.
Kenny Golladay (WR – DET)
After a brutal three-game stint where Kenny Golladay saw a total of only seven targets, he seems back in control. With Golden Tate playing in Philadelphia now and Marvin Jones hurting, Matthew Stafford doesn’t have many other options in terms of pass catchers. Golladay’s 14-8-131-1 (targets, catches, yards, touchdowns) day may have been partially enabled by his simple availability, but Tate isn’t coming back, and there’s no reason to believe he’ll evaporate once again when Jones returns, which may not be all that soon.
Dion Lewis (RB – TEN)
The Tennessee Titans’ offense can only go as far as Marcus Mariota takes them. When he’s injured or not playing well, they fall flat, and no one on the team has fantasy value. Yesterday, Mariota wasn’t playing well and he got hurt. That didn’t give Dion Lewis a great shot at success, but to top it all off, he was outplayed by Derrick Henry for the first time in quite a few weeks. If Mariota misses an extended amount of time and Henry decides to be productive, Lewis becomes a risky play to say the least.
Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
In each of his first three games, Joe Mixon was given at least 17 carries. Since then, he’s only topped that number once, and he’s had 13 or fewer carries four times. He’s also only topped 100 total yards once since those first three games and the Bengals offense has fallen flat without the talents of A.J. Green. Mixon has been productive in the passing game, averaging over 12 yards per catch in his last two games, but he’s only been targeted five times in that span.
Devin Funchess (WR – CAR)
Devin Funchess has not topped 100 yards this entire season, and in his last four games he hasn’t topped 44 yards. He managed to stay relevant scoring three touchdowns through his first six games, but in his last four, he only has a total of 12 catches and is being outplayed by his more versatile and dynamic teammates DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel.
Alshon Jeffery (WR – PHI)
Alshon Jeffery’s last three games read as follows; four receptions – 35 yards, four receptions – 48 yards, four receptions – 33 yards. That is ugly. The Eagles have lacked offense in those games averaging only 17 points per contest, and there is just too much competition for targets for Jeffery to stay relevant. He attracts the opponent’s best cornerback, and then Carson Wentz still has Zach Ertz, Golden Tate, Nelson Agholor, and Jordan Matthews to throw to.
Eric Ebron (TE – IND)
Touchdown production can be a fickle thing. Despite Eric Ebron’s 10 total touchdowns which are four more than any other tight end, He only had three targets in his each of his previous two games and then wasn’t targeted once yesterday against the Titans. Andrew Luck has looked in Jack Doyle’s direction far more often since he’s returned from injury (Doyle has 14 targets in three games, Ebron has six), and Ebron is nothing shy of a touchdown-dependant weapon.