5 Burning Questions: Week 11 (2019 Fantasy Football)
Week 10 was an interesting week. The 7-1 Saints lost to the 1-7 Falcons, the return of Patrick Mahomes was ruined by a loss to the Titans, the Dolphins won their second game in a row, and the Steelers beat the Rams to secure a 5-4 record after starting the season 1-4. Week 11 features an exciting matchup between MVP candidates Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, as well as a matchup between the Eagles and Patriots who haven’t seen each other since the last time the Patriots lost a Super Bowl. Here are my five burning questions for Week 11:
Will the Jaguars be better under Nick Foles? Is there a higher fantasy ceiling in Jacksonville?
Nick Foles only threw eight passes (including a touchdown) in his Jaguars debut before fracturing his clavicle and missing the next eight straight games. In his stead, rookie Gardner Minshew came in and led the team to a 4-4 record. In the process, he turned D.J. Chark, who is currently the WR9 in half PPR, into a legitimate fantasy starter. Minshew, however, had his worst game of the season right before the Jaguars’ bye, which I’m sure made it a little easier for management to go back to Foles after they paid him a ton of money to in the offseason.
I don’t think the switch to Foles will make much of a change in either direction for the Jaguars or their fantasy assets. In Foles’ seven complete starts over the last two seasons, he’s had two four-touchdown games, two 300+ yard games, but also four games with less than 250 yards and two games with zero touchdowns. Foles is essentially a game manager who can get hot every now and then. Chark will remain in the WR2 conversation, and Leonard Fournette should continue to see the same workload, but no other Jaguars need to be in your lineups.
How will the Patriots rebound after their first loss?
The Patriots had one of the hottest starts to a season in recent memory. They were completely manhandling teams, and their defense was an absolute wall. However, they played some pretty awful teams. Six of their eight wins came against the Jets, Dolphins, Redskins, Giants, and Browns, and then the first time they faced a contender in the Ravens, they were blown out 37-20.
The Patriots now play their next four games against the Eagles, Cowboys, Texans, and Chiefs, all of whom are currently above .500, so it’s in this stretch that we should see what the Patriots are made of. While their defense ranks first in both points and yards given up, their offense is middle of the pack this season. They are currently ranked 15th in offensive yards produced, the lowest they’ve been ranked in that category since 2003.
The Patriots are 14-5 coming off their bye since 2000 under Bill Belichick. Giving Belichick an extra week to prepare is a dangerous thing, and I think they’ll win handily over the Eagles. After that, though, they face Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes, three quarterbacks having MVP level seasons who all have the ability to create outside the pocket and burn opponents with their legs as well as their arms. The Patriots may find it difficult to outscore these teams if they can’t rely as much on their defense.
Will Chris Godwin bounce back this week?
Chris Godwin began the season on a lightning-fast pace, having at least a touchdown or 100 yards in five out of his first six games. He played so well in that span that he’s still the fantasy WR4 despite not reaching either of those marks in any of his last three games. His targets have remained steady, receiving eight, nine, and 12 targets in that span, respectively, but his yards per target was cut in half from 12.26 in his first six games to 6.14 over his last three.
The Saints are not a pushover defense like they have been in years past. In fact, they haven’t let a quarterback throw for more than 251 yards over their last five games. Jameis Winston only threw for 204 yards the last time he faced the Saints, but 125 of those went to Godwin, who also hauled in two touchdown passes. If that’s what worked the first time around, the Bucs should look to exploit the slot once again against the Saints.
Can Mitch Trubisky turn things around?
Last week against the Lions, Mitch Trubisky had his best game of the season. He only threw for 173 yards, but he threw three touchdowns (after zero touchdowns in his previous two games), had his second-best completion percentage of the season, and had his high highest quarterback rating of the season.
Trubisky has been a disaster so far this season, but we have to ask — can he build off of this performance? His next three games are against the Rams, Giants, and then the Lions again, possibly the easiest three-game stretch of the season. The Bears’ defense is good enough to give Trubisky some leeway, but if he wants to salvage his season and silence the talk of him being a bust, he’s going to need to do it right now. Allen Robinson owners would be extremely appreciative for even average play out of Trubisky.
Is Deebo Samuel a must-start if Emmanuel Sanders sits?
Deebo Samuel has been officially listed as a “starter” over the past three games but didn’t break out (eight catches on 11 targets for 112 yards) until last week with Sanders and George Kittle both sidelined. With Dante Pettis proving to be a massive disappointment, the rookie second-rounder seems to be the next man up, and he’s finally been unleashed.
Against the Seahawks, we finally saw what Samuel could do. He’s a physical receiver who can dominate over the middle of the field and create chunks of yardage after the catch. It took multiple Seahawk defenders to bring him down, and he fought for every extra yard. He’s also a lethal weapon on end-arounds and screens. If Sanders and Kittle are both healthy, there’s no way he sees double-digit targets again, but if they sit, I would feel confident starting him. The 49ers (and the league) have now seen what a dangerous weapon he is, he just made a serious bid for the second starting receiver role going forward.