5 Interesting Tidbits for Week 11 (2019 Fantasy Football)
We have safely made it through the “bye-pocalypse” that saw a crazy six teams on a bye last week. It makes Week 11 feel almost relaxed with only the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle Seahawks not playing. No teams are traveling across the pond, but the Los Angeles Chargers are “home” against the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City, which strangely may be the biggest home-field advantage the Chargers have had this season.
But while those factors predetermined by the league won’t mess with our fantasy world this week, there are still plenty of storylines and injuries to navigate in what may be a must-win matchup for your fantasy team. To help provide some clarity for both season-long and daily fantasy, here are five tidbits that can be useful in projecting value, both good and bad. All ranks take half-PPR scoring into account.
Kareem Hunt’s role puts him in flex territory on Thursday Night Football.
Kareem Hunt made his Cleveland Browns debut in Week 10. While he put up just 10.9 fantasy points, his workload and usage offer enough optimism to make him a flex play this week. Hunt ended up playing 38 of the 70 offensive snaps and totaled 11 touches. He is the clear second-string RB to Nick Chubb, who tallied 20 carries, but the way Hunt found his chances is most encouraging.
Seven of Hunt’s touches came through the air on nine targets. He ran a route on 52.2 percent of Baker Mayfield’s dropbacks, showing Hunt will play a big part in this Cleveland passing game. Hunt also lined up in the slot on nine occasions and split out wide five times. On Thursday, the Browns face the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have been solid against the run this season. They are allowing just 3.9 yards per carry, which is tied for seventh in the league. If they continue playing well up front and limit the effectiveness of Cleveland’s running game, this could lead to more passing attempts, which should mean increased snaps and opportunities for Hunt to make a lot of noise in prime time.
The matchup against Chris Harris Jr. and negative game script point to a poor fantasy day for Stefon Diggs.
The Minnesota Vikings are 10.5-point favorites heading into Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos, which only has a projected 40.5-point total. Game script certainly does not favor Stefon Diggs and the Minnesota passing game here. In six games the Vikings have won by double-digits this season, they have passed the ball 24.5 times compared to 36.7 rushing attempts per game. Obviously, Minnesota is perfectly content pounding the rock and controlling the clock when it has a lead. This preference immediately lowers Diggs’ ceiling due to reduced opportunities.
On top of this negative game script, Diggs will match up against Chris Harris Jr., who has locked it down on defense this season. Through nine games, Harris has allowed just 22 receptions and a 62.9 percent catch rate. Players have gained only 356 yards (39.5 per game) and a single touchdown on the cornerback. When looking at how Davante Adams (7.6), T.Y. Hilton (6.4), and Keenan Allen (3.8) fared in games against the Broncos after spending most of their day against Harris, it doesn’t take long to realize that he is a matchup to avoid if we can help it.
The Buccaneers are atrocious against opposing WRs, and Michael Thomas has torched them throughout his career.
Obviously, Michael Thomas is a must-start every single week in season-long leagues. His 1,029 receiving yards through the first nine games of a season is the seventh-most by any player all-time. This tidbit speaks more to those playing daily fantasy, as Thomas may be worth paying up for.
Tampa Bay has by far been the most generous to opposing WRs this season, allowing 32.5 fantasy points per game to the position. This poor play includes a Week 5 game against the Saints in which Thomas himself finished with a whopping 35.7 fantasy points. Unfortunately for Tampa, this is not out of the ordinary for the talented Saints receiver. In six career games against the Buccaneers, Thomas has eclipsed 90 yards five times. He averages 19.8 fantasy points per game against them and 27.7 points over his last three meetings against the NFC South foe.
Thomas is the top-scoring WR this season, averaging 18.8 points per game. He also has the fourth-largest matchup advantage of the week against Sean Murphy-Bunting, according to Pro Football Focus. Obviously, Tampa does not have a corner good enough to shadow Thomas all day, so he should get the opportunity to embarrass them all at one point.
Melvin Gordon is finally looking like the Gordon we are used to, and he has a great matchup against Kansas City.
After a terrible few weeks following his holdout, Melvin Gordon is finally coming around and looking closer to his old self. He said that it was nearly impossible to establish anything with limited touches, so the Chargers responded by giving him 42 carries over the past two weeks. He took them for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Gordon also added four catches for 54 yards in these games, making him the RB3 in Weeks 9 and 10.
In Week 11, he has a terrific matchup against the Chiefs, who give up the most fantasy points in the league to opposing RBs (25.4). They also allow the third-most yards per carry (5.1) on the season. Gordon also has a solid track record against them recently, scoring a touchdown in two of their last three encounters while averaging 138 total yards. Over this span, he averaged 21 fantasy points, so we will see if he can keep this positive trend down in Mexico.
Tyreek Hill has been historically great against the Chargers, and everything points to him lighting them up again Monday night.
Since returning from his shoulder injury in Week 6, Tyreek Hill has posted 74 or more yards in every game. He has also found the end zone in four of these five appearances. Hill has been playing fantastic football, and he got a huge boost last week with the return of his MVP QB. With Patrick Mahomes back under center, Hill caught a season-high 11 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown in Week 10. He also saw a ridiculous 19 targets.
On Monday Night Football, Hill will look to build upon this huge performance. Playing in the game with the highest projected total (52.5) of the week, there will be plenty of fantasy points scored. He also faces a Chargers team that he has dominated in his career. Over his past four games against the Chargers, he has caught 21 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns, resulting in 18.1 fantasy points per game from just his receiving production. Hill has also put up a few rushing yards and two punt return touchdowns, but these types of plays are obviously tougher to predict. Just as a receiver, Hill has a great matchup and should continue to be a nightmare for the Chargers.
Zach Brunner is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Zach, follow him @fantasyflurry.