The Primer: Week 11 Edition (2019 Fantasy Football)
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon. While my hand is raised, I have not actually seen the Grand Canyon. How does this happen?
About four years ago, we moved out to Arizona for a few reasons. Tabbie (wife) got offered her first nursing job out there, while my grandpa had been retired out there for 20 years and his health started deteriorating, so we would be around to help him. It was also the first year I started writing about football full-time, so I was able to work from home.
We had friends come visit us while out there, but this story revolves around our most adventurous friend, Natalie. She’s a busy body who’s always trying to visit different parts of the world when able. Naturally, when she came out to visit us, she suggested that we take a trip up to the Grand Canyon and then go out to Sedona to take in the sights.
Her trip was planned right after Christmas, which is essentially when the fantasy season ends, so I was able to make the trip work. Tabbie was eight months pregnant and about to start her maternity leave. We all decided that it would be best to head up that way on New Year’s Eve. What better way than to welcome in the New Year than with a sunrise over the Grand Canyon?
In reality, I should’ve known the trip was doomed when we ran into a blizzard on the way up there. Seriously, a blizzard in Arizona. I’m from Chicago, so believe me when I say that I’m not exaggerating. The ride was supposed to be around three-and-a-half hours but doing 20 miles an hour on the expressway with the limited visibility, it took us over six hours to get there. We got into town just before midnight, so we checked into the hotel and were able to celebrate the new year.
We woke up at 5:00 in the morning, stopped to get coffee, and were seemingly right on schedule. We pulled into the national park with a good 15 minutes to spare, but when we arrived, there was a thick fog surrounding the entire area. There were a good 50-plus people who had the same idea that we did, so we all stood around waiting for it to dissolve. Unfortunately, that time never came. We stood around for well over an hour and someone eventually told us that it likely wouldn’t be visible until the afternoon with how thick it was.
While it’s certainly not ideal, we turned it into a positive. We walked to different areas of the canyon and took pictures that can’t ever be taken by anyone else (I’ll share those images on Twitter for you guys to see). After that, we were able to spend even more time in Sedona, which is absolutely beautiful. There are many things in life we can view as negatives, but the next time that happens, find a way to turn it into a positive. Flight get cancelled? Go and eat somewhere you’ve never been before. Someone break up with you? It allows you to find the right person. Power go out? Read a book. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it will make life a lot more enjoyable. Who knows what’ll happen the next time I try to visit the Grand Canyon…
In case you’ve missed it, I’ve been going back into The Primer on Saturday morning trying to update you on the injury reports that impact your decisions. While I cannot write a whole new article, I do talk about a lot of these things on our Sunday morning livestream, which is FREE to everyone. It’s where I discuss all the latest injury news and then take your questions live from 11-12am EST. Click here to be taken to our YouTube page where you can get notifications when we go live.
If you’re new around these parts, here’s what you can expect out of this article each and every week: numbers, facts, stats, opinions, and some shenanigans here and there. It’s my unbiased opinion about everyone on your roster. Whether it be season-long advice, DFS advice, wide receiver/cornerback matchups, or snap counts, it’s all covered. The idea here is to give you as much information as possible and give you as much confidence as possible when you hit that ‘submit lineup’ button each week. Who should be in your lineup this week?
New York Jets at Washington Redskins
Line: WAS by 1.0
Sam Darnold: For those who streamed Darnold last week, be happy you walked away with what you did, as his rushing touchdown saved the day. You may not want to attempt your luck a second time this week, as this game not only has the lowest total on the slate, it’s also one of the slowest paced games. The Jets’ games average the seventh-fewest plays per game, while the Redskins’ games averaged the fewest plays per game. It’s possible there’s less than 120 plays run in this game, which is a very low number. The Redskins do allow a league-high 72.5 percent completion-rate with a 5.3 percent touchdown-rate, so it’s far from an intimidating matchup, but their opponents have averaged just 31.6 pass attempts per game, which has limited production. The only quarterbacks who finished top-12 against them were Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, and Tom Brady. The biggest problem for Darnold will be their pressure, as they’ve generated 2.7 sacks per game over the last seven games. Darnold has now been sacked 20 times in the six games he’s played, which is why he started seeing ghosts in the first place. It’s tough to say Darnold is anything more than a low-end QB2.
Dwayne Haskins: Now that we know Haskins will be the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, we can look at him for 2QB leagues. If there’s ever a week where you can consider him with any sort of confidence, it’s this week. The Jets have played against Gardner Minshew, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Daniel Jones over the last three games. They’ve allowed 10 passing touchdowns in that time. None of them finished with less than 23.7 fantasy points. It’s really odd, but the only two quarterbacks who’ve failed to score at least 15 fantasy points against the Jets this year were Carson Wentz and Tom Brady. That was before their recent stretch where they’ve been without defensive lineman Leonard Williams (traded) and cornerback Trumaine Johnson (injured reserve). They were also without other starting cornerback Darryl Roberts last week, so it’s clear their secondary is hurting. With no clear-cut solution to stop McLaurin, Haskins should be able to deliver a fantasy floor in this performance, though the lack of attempts is a real problem. Under Bill Callahan, the team has averaged just 20.0 pass attempts per game. Haskins is not as bad of a play as he usually is, but that’s still not good enough to consider in 1QB leagues. He’s on the QB2 radar, though.
Le’Veon Bell: He finished as a top-12 running back for the first time since way back in Week 2. His knee injury didn’t stop him from totaling 22 touches, either. The downside is that he’s now failed to hit 4.0 yards per carry in 8-of-9 games this season, which leaves you needing a touchdown for him to even get close to RB1 territory. The Redskins have allowed five RB1 performances this year, and every single one of those running backs rushed for a touchdown. Each of them also totaled 19 touches, so it’s been a volume-driven matchup for running backs. The good news is that their opponents have averaged 66.1 plays per game, and it’s led to 33.6 running back touches per game, which is more than enough for Bell who’s totaled 187-of-220 touches among Jets running backs, or 85.0 percent. While you shouldn’t anticipate 28 touches (what his workload would amount to with their RB touches allowed), it’s safe to say he should net another 20-plus touches. I mean, 7-of-9 teams have totaled at least 26 rushing attempts against them, and none have averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry, so we have a decent floor even though Bell has been inefficient. He should be in lineups as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2.
Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice: It seems likely that Guice returns this week, though we don’t know what type of workload he’ll be walking into. Since Bill Callahan took over for Jay Gruden, we’ve watched Peterson average 20.0 touches and 112.5 total yards per game, though he’s oddly not found the end zone in any of those four games. Still, Peterson has played well, so they’re not going to simply put him in the background. As is the case with most players coming off a multi-week injury, you want to proceed with caution with Guice. The Jets may be ailing on their front-seven, but that hasn’t stopped them from allowing just 134 rushing yards and no touchdowns over the last three weeks. Keep in mind they played against both Leonard Fournette and Saquon Barkley during that time. This is nothing new for the Jets run defense, as they’ve allowed a league-low 3.01 yards per carry on the season. What’s bailed out running backs have been touchdowns, as they’ve allowed eight rushing scores, one every 25.1 carries. Peterson is likely the one to get goal-line carries, if there are any. In a game with a 38-point total, it’s not exciting, but Peterson should net 13-15 touches with goal-line carries, making him a middling RB3. Guice should be considered nothing more than an RB4 in a tough matchup coming off a multi-week absence, and someone who’ll have to earn the starting job over Peterson, who’s been playing pretty well with all things considered.
Robby Anderson: We’ve reached the end of the line with the possibility of trusting Anderson, as he’s had matchups with the Dolphins and Giants over the last two weeks, yet wound up totaling just three catches for 44 yards… in the two games combined. Seeing a matchup with the Redskins should’ve been a time to trust him. They’ve allowed a massive 2.12 PPR points per target on the season, including a league-high 74.3 percent completion-rate to wide receivers, but they’ve also faced just 16.0 wide receiver targets per game, which is bottom-five in the NFL. Anderson hasn’t topped 43 yards in 7-of-9 games this year and hasn’t topped six targets in six of his last eight games. Going back to the start of last year, did you know he’s totaled more than four receptions just three times? With how slow-paced the Jets and Redskins games are, why should we believe there’ll be enough volume to play him as anything more than a hail-mary WR4 option, even with four teams on bye? The Redskins have allowed 31 passing plays that have gone for 20-plus yards, which ranks 18th in the league, so it’s not above average for big-play probability, either.
Jamison Crowder: He’s seen six or less targets in three of the last four games, but he’s also caught 80 percent of his passes during that time. It’s good to see him take advantage of plus matchups, and he’s now about to go against his former team, which happens to be another plus-matchup. In terms of fantasy points per target, the Dolphins ranked 28th, the Giants ranked 31st, and now the Redskins who rank 30th. The Redskins have Fabian Moreau defending the slot now, a former third-round pick who’s a bit big for a slot cornerback at 6-foot-0 and 200 pounds. He’s been extremely generous in coverage over his three years in the league, too, allowing a 71.9 percent completion-rate with 13.9 yards per reception. It all adds up to just over 10.0 yards per target, which is massive. They don’t have a backup solution, either, as Jimmy Moreland was being torched early in the year. With the way Crowder has played recently, he can be considered a somewhat stable WR3, though tying yourself to Jets receivers can be rather stressful.
Demaryius Thomas: He had the game he should’ve against the Giants last week, hauling in 6-of-9 targets for 84 yards. That’s the second time in the last three games he’s totaled at least five receptions, something Robby Anderson has done just three times since the start of the 2018 season. Thomas doesn’t offer the big-play potential, but he’s been much more important to this offense than anyone expected. He’s now seen nine targets in three of his six games with the team, though he’s received five or less targets in the other three. That’s a bit too feast-or-famine to trust him on a weekly basis. He’s going to see a mix of all three Redskins cornerbacks, as he doesn’t stay at one place on the field. If there’s someone he’ll see more than most, it’s Josh Norman, who’s a shell of his former self. The five touchdowns he’s allowed in his coverage rank as the fifth-most in the league, while the 135.4 QB Rating in his coverage is the third-highest mark. This game has so little volume and scoring expected, so you don’t want to trust Thomas as anything more than a low-upside WR4.
Terry McLaurin: His fate is sealed with Haskins announced as the starter the remainder of the season, but hey, at least we know. The Bills shadowed McLaurin with Tre’Davious White in Week 9, so we shouldn’t have expected much. To see him finish with four catches for 39 yards wasn’t actually that bad. Over the last three weeks, the Jets have allowed six different wide receivers to post 15.7-plus PPR points against them. The list includes: D.J. Chark, Chris Conley, DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Darius Slayton, and Golden Tate. The good news is that five of them are perimeter-based receivers, which is where McLaurin plays most of his snaps. The cornerback he’d see in Week 11 if all remained status quo from Week 10 would be Arthur Maulet, an undrafted free agent from 2017 who’s seen exactly 20 targets in his coverage over three years in the league. He’s allowed 15 receptions for 200 yards and a touchdown on them. If Darryl Roberts can make it back, it would slightly downgrade the matchup, but McLaurin should still be in lineups as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 who should be able to get it done despite Haskins’ shortcomings. With Richardson ruled out, McLaurin’s floor increased.
Paul Richardson: He’s totaled 14-of-80 targets since Bill Callahan took over as the interim head coach, which amounts to a 17.5 percent target share. Because of that, we should probably discuss him. The Jets had cornerbacks Arthur Maulet and Blessuan Austin out there on the perimeter last week, and it’s safe to say that didn’t go very well. It wasn’t just last week, though, as the Jets have allowed 11 different wide receivers to finish top-36 against them over the last five games. The issue is that the Redskins have averaged just 20.0 pass attempts over the four games under Callahan, which doesn’t allow much to go around. They’ve thrown for just two touchdowns over those four games, so it’s not even a great chance you fall into one with Richardson, though the Jets have allowed a league-high 15 touchdowns to receivers. We know McLaurin is the top receiver in this offense, so do we really think two receivers can be viable? Against the Jets, it’s possible, though he remains in the WR5 conversation. *Update* Richardson has been ruled out for this game. It should amount to more targets for Trey Quinn, though he has the toughest matchup with Brian Poole.
Ryan Griffin: In case you’ve missed it, Chris Herndon suffered a broken rib and is out indefinitely. That means we’ll see Griffin back in the starting role. Unfortunately, the Redskins haven’t been a matchup you need to target with tight ends. They’ve allowed just 6.71 yards per target to the position and two touchdowns on 65 targets this year. They’ve yet to allow a tight end more than 54 yards on the season despite four tight ends seeing five or more targets. Griffin is likely to have streaming days ahead, but this isn’t a matchup you need to target him.
Jeremy Sprinkle: He’s operated as the primary tight end for each of the four games under Bill Callahan but has yet to finish with more than three targets, two receptions, or 24 yards in a game. With Haskins under center in Week 9, while McLaurin was being shadowed by Tre’Davious White, Sprinkle saw just one target. He’s not on the streaming radar no matter the matchup.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Line: IND by 2.5
Nick Foles: Whether it’s right or wrong, the Jaguars are starting Foles this week and benching Gardner Minshew. The Colts are a matchup that should help ease him in, as they’re a defense that’s willing to allow the short completions, as evidenced by the 68.7 percent completion-rate they’ve allowed. They’ve allowed just 22 passing plays go for 20-plus yards, which is the eighth fewest in the NFL, so don’t expect a few big plays to make Foles’ week in this game. I’m going to give you two groups of quarterbacks and you tell me which one Foles belongs to. Group 1: Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson. Group 2: Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr, Joe Flacco, Mason Rudolph, Ryan Fitzpatrick. It’s the second group, right? Well, every one of those quarterbacks have finished their game against the Colts averaging 6.10 or less yards per attempt. None of them were able to throw for more than 191 yards against the Colts, while Carr was the only one able to throw for more than one touchdown. We’ve still yet to see Foles play a full game in this offense, so we shouldn’t make any judgements, but it’s likely best to find another streamer with a higher ceiling this week. Here’s an interesting tidbit: Foles had a 57.1-point higher QB Rating versus man coverage last year, the biggest gap among quarterbacks who made at least four starts. The Colts run zone coverage about 66 percent of the time.
Jacoby Brissett: After being deemed as questionable for much of last week, it seems likely that Brissett returns this week. Even with Brissett on the field, it hasn’t amounted to a whole lot as of late, as he’s failed to throw a touchdown in three of his last four games (he did leave early in one of the games). The biggest issue is the lack of T.Y. Hilton in the lineup, as he’s the focal point of the offense. Many feel like the Jaguars are a matchup to target without Jalen Ramsey, but the truth is that they’re still an above average unit. They’ve now held 6-of-9 quarterbacks to QB15 or worse and haven’t allowed 20 fantasy points since way back in Week 4. But the Colts do have protection around Brissett, which should help, as the Jaguars rely on their front-seven to create pressure. They’ve pressured opposing quarterbacks at least 38 percent of the time in each of their last four games, while Brissett is pressured just 36 percent of the time on the season. Knowing he’d been limited in his mobility and without his top weapon, Brissett should be considered just a mid-to-low-end QB2 even if he does play in this game. *Update* He is playing this week.
Leonard Fournette: He’s now up to 1,126 total yards on the season with just one touchdown. It’s comical at this point. The Colts are not a good matchup for two-down backs, but fortunately, Fournette is being used much more than that. He ranks sixth among running backs with his 51 targets, while his 295 receiving yards rank ninth. The Colts allow just 81.8 rushing yards per game to running backs and have still yet to allow a 100-yard rusher under Matt Eberflus, which now spans over 25 regular season games. There have been nine different running backs who’ve totaled at least 12 carries against them this year, so it’s not due to a lack of trying. They’ve also allowed just three rushing touchdowns to running backs on the season, which ranks fifth in the NFL. That’s the bad news. The good news is that they’ve allowed 28 receptions for 121 yards to running backs over the last three weeks. While none of them turned into touchdowns, it’s allowed the opposing running backs to present a solid floor. The one concern could be that Foles doesn’t check-down as much, but we can’t assume that. Fournette should be fresh coming off his bye week, as well as a season-low 16 touches in Week 9, so we should expect another 20-touch game. Despite his lack of touchdowns, he’s still finished as a top-12 running back in five of his last six games, so go ahead and plug him in as an RB1 here, though his ceiling may not be massive.
Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines: What a disappointment for Mack owners, as his 74 scoreless yards on 19 carries should be alarming to his overall potential. Not having Brissett or Hilton in the lineup certainly hurts, but this was a game where teams with bigger problems have had success. He’s now failed to finish as an RB1 in each of the last eight games despite having 19-plus opportunities in seven of them. The Jaguars placed defensive tackle Marcell Dareus on injured reserve two weeks ago and proceeded to allow the Texans running back duo to combine for 173 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in London. They’ve now allowed 4.99 yards per carry on the season, which ranks as the third-most behind only the Chiefs and Panthers. Despite that, they’ve allowed just six top-24 running backs this season. We’ve seen some long runs against them that have padded the numbers a bit, but can Mack take advantage of that? He’s totaled just eight runs of 15-plus yards and none more than 30 yards since back in Week 1. He’s not the RB1 some thought they were getting in fantasy drafts, but he should be able to at least finish as a top-24 running back in this game. He’s not a recommended cash-game play with how little he’s been used in the passing-game. In fact, he’s gone from 70 percent of the snaps in Week 7 to just 61, 56, and 46 percent over the last three weeks. Hines has seen an increase in snaps over the last few weeks, though them falling behind against the Dolphins certainly helped. Still, he’s yet to receive more than four carries in a game and has averaged just four targets per game. The Jaguars have allowed just two running backs to crack 40 receiving yards, and one was Christian McCaffrey. Hines is nothing more than a guy you can slide into lineups to get a few guaranteed points, but not much more.
D.J. Chark: We don’t know how the move to Foles will be for Chark, which leaves us in a state of limbo. Chark’s role has certainly grown since the four-target one that he had back in Week 1, as he’s averaged 8.3 targets in the eight games since. The Colts are not a team to look for big plays against, but rather one to look for targets. They’ve allowed a 69.4 percent completion-rate to receviers, which has led to them allowing a very-high 9.13 yards per target (7th-highest in NFL). They’ve played against just six receivers who’ve seen at least seven targets, and all of them finished with at least 11.9 PPR points and a top-36 finish. They have been without Pierre Desir since Week 7 due to a hamstring injury, and though he’s supposed to return soon, he may be doing so at less-than-100-percent (he’s been ruled DOUBTFUL). The Colts have also been without Quincy Wilson since that time, though he may have lost his job to rookie Rock Ya-Sin during that time. There are a lot of moving parts on the Colts, but the primary thing is that they don’t travel with receivers, so the Jaguars can pick their matchups. The move to Foles is one to monitor, but Chark should be played as a low-end WR2 in this game.
Dede Westbrook: There are many who’ve tied a lot of value to Westbrook with Foles under center, but the emergence of Chark has to have some concerned about his fantasy floor. We did see Nelson Agholor post respectable numbers with Foles, which is the reason many want to lead on the slot-heavy Westbrook. There have been nine wide receivers who’ve totaled 11.9 or more PPR points against the Colts, with three of them being slot-heavy receivers. It’s worth noting that each of them saw at least six targets, which is a number that Westbrook has hit in 6-of-8 games this year. Kenny Moore is the Colts slot cornerback, who’s allowed 30-of-39 passing for 232 yards and no touchdowns this season, so nothing to brag about. It’s a zone-heavy scheme, which is something Foles struggled a bit with last year. He averaged just 6.8 yards per attempt against them, compared to 10.0 yards per attempt versus man coverage. Westbrook can be considered due to his target floor when healthy but trusting him as anything more than a WR3/4 may come back to bite you.
Chris Conley: He’s now received seven targets in each of the last three games, forcing us to at least explore the possibility of starting him. The issue is that he’s caught just 50 percent of his targets this year and has two touchdowns. The Colts have allowed just 26 pass plays of 20-plus yards which is the eighth-lowest mark in the league. Wide receivers haven’t been targeted a whole lot against the Colts, either, as there’ve been just six receivers who’ve topped six targets. On average, they’ve faced just 16.0 wide receiver targets per game. With Westbrook back in the lineup and Chark being the clear-cut No. 1 option, Conley has the looks of just a WR5 in this game.
Zach Pascal: After tagging the Steelers tough pass defense for 6/76/1, Pascal naturally posted just 2/26/0 against the Dolphins. Given everything we’ve seen, it was difficult to see that happening, especially when we know he saw seven targets. That was the fourth time this season he had six-plus targets, but it was the first time he didn’t total at least four catches and 72 yards. He should be locked into those targets again this week, though the Jaguars are a much tougher matchup. He’s going to see A.J. Bouye much of the time, a cornerback who’s allowed just a 61 percent catch-rate and 7.9 yards per target, as well as just one touchdown on 49 targets in his coverage. The only wide receviers who’ve finished better than WR36 against the Jaguars are those who’ve finished with eight-plus targets, a number that Pascal has yet to hit this season. He’s still the No. 1 receiver for this team, but the matchup puts him in high-end WR4 territory.
Chester Rogers: It would’ve been nice to see a higher target floor for Rogers with Hilton and Campbell out of the lineup, as four targets isn’t enough to feel comfortable playing him in fantasy. The matchup with the Jaguars doesn’t do him any favors, either, as D.J. Hayden has played extremely well. He’s allowed just 19-of-28 passes to be completed for just 165 yards and no touchdowns. The biggest slot performance against the Jaguars this year has been Adam Humphries, who turned nine targets into 6/93/0, though that was way back in Week 3. We’ve watched Tyler Boyd finish with just 5/55/0 on 14 targets and Jamison Crowder tally just 3/24/0 on five targets. Rogers should be someone in line for five targets in this game, but the bad matchup leaves him off the streaming radar.
Seth DeValve and Josh Oliver: It seems the Jaguars don’t want to trust Oliver with the full-time job, as DeValve is running nearly as many routes, and actually out-targeted Oliver 5-to-2 in Week 9. Will the bye week help? Maybe, but it’s not going to give you enough confidence to start either of them. The Colts have been a team to target with tight ends, as they’ve allowed seven different tight ends finish as top-15 options against them, though they did keep Mike Gesicki in check last week. Prior to getting five targets in Week 9, DeValve hadn’t seen more than two targets, while Oliver hasn’t topped two targets in his career. Let’s see how this timeshare works out after the bye week before trusting anyone. Knowing a lot of the production the Colts have allowed to tight ends has been volume-based (they allow just 6.59 yards per target, which ranks as the fifth-lowest mark in the year), you can avoid these two.
Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron: In the first game without both T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell, and Deon Cain, the Colts heavily utilized their tight ends, targeting them a massive 17 times against the Dolphins. Ebron led the charge with a season-high 12 targets, so he’s obviously the one who benefits most from their absence. Ebron also ran a season-high 33 routes, so the targets shouldn’t be a fluke. While he’s unlikely to see 12 targets again, he’s clearly a must-play with volume like that. The Jaguars have allowed a mediocre 7.71 yards per target to tight ends this year, but they’re allowing a touchdown to them every 10.2 targets, which is the fourth-most often in the league. Ebron himself has scored a touchdown every 9.6 targets since he put on a Colts jersey, so it aligns very well. He should be played as a sturdy TE1 as long as Hilton and Campbell are out. Doyle saw just four targets last week, but he did run 21 routes, so his role essentially doesn’t change. Because of that, it’s difficult to trust him as anything more than a high-end TE2 in a middling matchup.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Line: BUF by 5.5
Josh Allen: We finally got some rushing production out of Allen, as he tallied 14.8 fantasy points on the ground alone in Week 10. It was the first time this year he reached double-digits this year. After losing in Cleveland, the Bills will head down to Miami to play against a Dolphins defense that’s now held three straight quarterbacks outside the top-15 performers. This comes after they allowed six straight quarterbacks finish top-15 against them. Knowing they’ve played Mason Rudolph, Sam Darnold, and Brian Hoyer, it should be apparent why they’ve looked better. Oddly enough, each of those three quarterbacks totaled at least 36 pass attempts. The issue is that none of them were efficient with their arms, and they offered absolutely nothing on the ground. If Allen doesn’t have it through the air, he can lean on his legs. These two teams played back in Week 7 with Xavien Howard (their best cornerback who’s now on injured reserve) where Allen threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 32 yards as well, netting a QB7 finish. He’s now finished with 17.3 or more fantasy points in five straight games and seven of the last eight games, so feel free to play him as a low-end QB1 who offers a high floor.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: The Dolphins eeked out another win in Week 10, though Fitzpatrick wasn’t the reason. He tallied just 169 yards, didn’t throw a single touchdown, and had to leave for a portion of the game to get checked out for a possible concussion. Their defense didn’t allow many points, which limited his opportunity much more than usual. He’ll now have a rematch with the Bills, a team he was able to throw for 282 yards and one touchdown against back in Week 7, though he’ll obviously be without Preston Williams this time around. Despite their struggles in Cleveland, the Bills defense is still allowing just 6.11 yards per attempt and a 2.32 percent touchdown-rate, which are both top-three in the NFL. They’ve allowed just seven passing touchdowns through nine games, so it’s a matchup to be worried about with even the best of quarterbacks. Fitzpatrick shouldn’t be on the streaming radar.
Devin Singletary and Frank Gore: The snap disparity continued in Week 10, as Singletary led the charge playing 46 snaps to Gore’s 22 snaps. The touch count was Singletary 11, Gore 6. It still appears that Singletary is in the driver’s seat of this backfield, and Week 11 should be the true test. The Dolphins allow the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs, which stems from teams averaging 32.6 touches per game with their running backs. Over the last three games, the touch-split between these two has been Singletary 41, Gore 26, though the carries are much closer (31-25). They tallied just 19 touches against the Dolphins back in Week 7, though that was the only game this year running backs totaled less than 27 touches against the Dolphins. There have been 13 running backs who’ve finished as the RB26 or better against the Dolphins this year, so there’s actually room for both to succeed, though you shouldn’t bank on that. Singletary should net 15 touches in this game and be played as a low-end RB2 with upside against a team that’s allowed a healthy 4.73 yards per carry. Gore is more of the “I need a bye week replacement who won’t lose me the week” type of play where he should be able to net 12-plus touches (mostly carries) and have a five-point floor no matter the format.
Kalen Ballage: When asked about his 22-touch, 45-yard performance against the Colts, Ballage replied, “I think it was an okay day.” If that’s how he feels, you must wonder what he’d think a bad day would look like. He’s now totaled just 113 yards on 55 carries this year. There were three running backs who totaled more than that in Week 10 alone, and none of them required more than 30 carries to get there. And they say running backs don’t matter. The Bills have a weakness against running backs, as evidenced by the 25.1 PPR points per game they’ve allowed to the position, which is the 12th-most in football. Much of that has come from touchdowns, as they’ve allowed nine of them to running backs, but the 4.75 yards per carry is nothing to scoff at, either. They aren’t a very good team against the run, and it showed when they allowed Mark Walton, Kenyan Drake, and Ballage to combine for 94 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries back in Week 7, though Drake only accounted for seven yards (but did score the touchdown). Oddly enough, that was the only game the Bills didn’t allow at least one running back to score 13.8 PPR points against them. Do the Dolphins continue to give him the massive workload, or do they involve Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin a bit more? It’s difficult to say, but knowing he’s coming off a 24-touch game in a plus-matchup, he’s in the RB3 conversation despite his massive inefficiency.
John Brown: He’s the definition of consistency this year, posting in-between 51-83 yards in each of his last eight games. He’s also totaled either four or five receptions in each of the last seven games. He and Josh Allen haven’t connected on a 30-plus yard pass since way back in Week 1, so there’s still room for growth. The matchup with the Dolphins was kind to him back in Week 7 when he posted 6/83/1, which stands as his second-best fantasy game of the season. That was while Xavien Howard was still on the field. After losing him to injured reserve, the Dolphins are trotting out Nik Needham and Ken Crawley as the starting cornerback duo. Needham is the one who’ll see Brown on 50-plus percent of his snaps. He’s an undrafted rookie that was promoted to the field back in Week 6 with the Dolphins injury woes. He hasn’t been bad, either, though the competition has been weak, so it’s tough to take much from it. His 40-time of 4.54 seconds should show up with Brown, as he’s a receiver who can get over the top, despite the lack of deep production this year. Continue to plug Brown in as a solid WR2 who’s yet to hit his full potential.
Cole Beasley: Did you know Beasley has finished as the WR41 or better in seven of the last eight games he’s played? The issue is that his targets have been rather volatile over the last five games, ranging from two to seven targets. That’s led to him finishing with 41 yards or less in four of those games, though touchdowns have saved him. That was the case in the Week 7 matchup against the Dolphins where he caught 3-of-6 targets for just 16 yards with a touchdown. Eric Rowe has been defending the slot most of the time for them, though they’ve shuffled guys around quite a bit this year with all the injuries. Since moving away from the perimeter, Rowe has fared much better, allowing just 4-of-11 passing for 37 yards in his slot coverage. Coming off a game where the Bills took one on the chin against the Browns, it’s likely a run-heavy gameplan, which could leave Beasley with a 2-4 target game, which is obviously not ideal. He’s just a low-upside WR4/5 option for this game.
DeVante Parker: In the first game without Preston Williams, we watched Parker get targeted a season-high 10 times against the Colts. He’s now finished with 56 yards and/or a touchdown in 8-of-9 games with the Patriots being the only exception. The Bills are going to be a tough task, though. They’ve had Tre’Davious White shadow the last two weeks, holding Terry McLaurin to just 4/39/0 on six targets and Odell Beckham to just 5/57/0 on 12 targets. Despite receviers seeing a healthy 21.4 targets per game against the Bills, they’ve allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points, including just four touchdowns, which ranks as the second-fewest behind only the Patriots. While Parker continues to be undervalued in fantasy, he’s nothing more than a WR4 this week who doesn’t have a high ceiling.
Allen Hurns: As expected, Hurns took over as the starting perimeter receiver opposite Parker, though it didn’t amount to much against the Colts. He finished with two catches for 32 yards but did play 58-of-65 snaps, so we should pay attention. The Bills are likely to have Tre’Davious White shadow Parker, which would leave Hurns with Levi Wallace, who just allowed two touchdowns to the Browns receivers last week. He’s been the one who’s beatable in coverage, as evidenced by the 66.7 percent catch-rate and four touchdowns on 63 targets. Still, the Bills have allowed the seventh-fewest points to wide receivers overall, so it hasn’t been a matchup to target unless you have a highly-targeted wide receiver, as they’ve allowed just seven passing touchdowns overall. Hurns has yet to see more than four targets, so he’s nothing more than a hail-mary WR5.
Dawson Knox: We’re seeing more of Knox in the offense, as he’s run 36 routes over the last two weeks, while Tyler Kroft has run just 20 of them. Knox has also been targeted at least five times in three of the last five games, though there were one- and two-target games in-between which highlights a scary floor, though they were in tough matchups. The Dolphins have allowed a healthy 8.25 yards per target to tight ends this year, though they’ve allowed just two touchdowns to them. There’ve been four tight ends who posted double-digit points against them, and Mark Andrews is the only one of them who’s considered a must-start. Knox saw five targets against the Dolphins in the first meeting, but that happened to be his worst game of the year when he dropped two passes. Some will say he dropped a touchdown pass in the fourth-quarter last week, but the ball was knocked out at the last moment. If you’re looking for a decent streaming option who’s low-owned, Knox isn’t a bad last-minute solution.
Mike Gesicki: Some will say “I told you not to trust Gesicki,” which is hindsight analysis at its finest, but for those who are process over results, the vital signs were good. We also didn’t expect the Dolphins to be in the lead for much of that game, and content running the ball 20-plus times. Unfortunately, that’s the tight end position for you. Gesicki still saw six targets, which is what we chase with tight ends. Unfortunately, the matchup this week is absolutely brutal. The Bills have allowed an average of just 6.5 PPR points per game to the tight end position, which includes games against Evan Engram and Zach Ertz/Dallas Goedert. No tight end has totaled more than 48 yards against them, including Gesicki, who totaled four catches for 41 yards in their first meeting. Of the production the Bills have allowed to skill-position players (they’ve allowed just the third-fewest points to them overall), just 10.8 percent of that has gone to tight ends, which is the lowest mark in the league. Knowing Gesicki has averaged 5.2 targets per game since their bye week, he’s still in the streaming mix, though he’s far from ideal.