Fantasy Football Panic Meter: Week 11 (2020)
After a fun Sunday of football, it’s time to discuss the players who let us down. In this column, I’ll identify the biggest disappointments of the week, and I’ll assign each player a grade from 0 to 5 that corresponds to my strategy of choice. Of course, I’ll leave out those whose disappointing performances were to injury, as you can read about those players in our weekly injury report.
|0||No fear. Keep starting this player.|
|1||A little worried. Consider benching them if you have a better option.|
|2||Wait-and-see. Bench them across the board.|
|3||On the block. Bench this player and try to sell.|
|4||Sell now. Take whatever you can get, but don’t drop them.|
|5||Droppable. Send them to waivers.|
So with the panic meter laid out, let’s get started!
Matthew Stafford (DET): 1
Stafford and the Lions did not look good against the Panthers. The quarterback completed just 54.5% of his passes for only 178 yards, and he took five sacks in the process.
Stafford struggled because the Lions didn’t have three of their best offensive playmakers. Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola, and D’Andre Swift all missed Sunday’s game, and as a result, Carolina could more easily predict Detroit’s offense.
But that’s not the full story. Stafford also struggled because of a hand injury. He is playing through a partially torn ligament in his right thumb, so we shouldn’t expect the same efficiency that we’ve seen out of him in the past.
The Lions will play the Texans this Thursday. If Stafford gets Golladay or Swift back, he should be much more effective than he was this week, and I would consider starting him as a low-end QB1. If he doesn’t get them back, though? Leave him on your bench.
Savage. ??? pic.twitter.com/Vg44124LZZ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 22, 2020
Ryan isn’t to blame for all of Atlanta’s struggles. Entering this game, the Falcons’ offensive line ranked 20th in adjusted sack rate (6.6%), just slightly below the league average of 6.4%. While they haven’t been good, they usually aren’t this bad, and their past play suggests that some positive regression is in order. For what it’s worth, Ryan blamed the loss on the team’s inefficiency on early downs, and he sounded optimistic that the Falcons would bounce back.
That said, Julio Jones aggravated his hamstring again, and his availability matters if you plan to start Ryan next week against the Raiders. If Jones can’t go or is limited, Ryan still has Calvin Ridley, but Atlanta may opt to instead emphasize the run against Las Vegas’ vulnerable defensive front.
Todd Gurley (ATL): 1
Like Ryan, Gurley also didn’t do much against the Saints. He totaled only 29 scrimmage yards on eight rushing attempts and one catch. Gurley hasn’t been very efficient of late, as he has averaged just 2.67 yards per carry since Week 6.
You may not have noticed Gurley’s poor play, as he had found the end zone four times in his prior four games. However, he didn’t do so this week, which laid bare his recent struggle to generate yards. Gurley has failed to impress even against bad rushing defenses — the Lions and Panthers are two of the four worst defenses against running backs yardage-wise, yet Gurley only averaged 2.66 yards per carry against them.
Fortunately, the Falcons have another run-friendly opponent in Week 12. The Raiders give up the fifth-most half-PPR points per game to opposing backs, so I would leave Gurley in your lineup in hopes that he scores another touchdown.
Gus Edwards (BAL) and Mark Ingram (BAL): 5
J.K. Dobbins separated himself from Edwards and Ingram, as he looked like Baltimore’s lead back against the Titans. The Ravens fully committed to him over their other two backs.
Happy J.K. Dobbins takeover day! #Ravens Week 11 RB usage:
– J.K. Dobbins 17 touches, 15-70-1 rushing with 2-15-0 receiving on two targets
– Gus Edwards 3-6-0 rushing with zero targets
– Mark Ingram 2-2-0 rushing with zero targets
— Frank Stampfl (@Roto_Frank) November 22, 2020
I already wrote about Dobbins’ big day in my weekly recap, but the fallout for Ingram and Edwards is severe. If the Ravens have finally realized how to use their second-round pick, neither Edwards nor Ingram should get much usage moving forward, and you can return both to waivers. While Edwards has value as a high-upside handcuff, you can’t count on him to retain the committee role that made him a decent back-end starter alongside Dobbins.
Marquise Brown (BAL): 4.5
Brown hasn’t been startable in weeks. The sophomore wideout last posted double-digit fantasy points in Week 5, and he’s slowly seen his volume decrease since then. This came to a head in Week 11, when he failed to catch a pass against the Titans, a team that opposing wideouts have often teed off against.
Through the first five weeks, Brown averaged 7.2 targets and 4.4 catches per game. But those rates have fallen off dramatically — over the last five, Brown has averaged 4.6 targets and 2.0 receptions per appearance.
The start of Brown’s decline roughly corresponds with two developments. First, Willie Snead has seen his target share increase over the last four games; second, the Ravens brought in Dez Bryant that same week. These shifts suggest a lack of organizational confidence in Brown.
Brown’s athleticism means that he only needs a handful of targets per game to hit value. Unfortunately, he isn’t getting that workload, and you can safely return him to waivers in most formats.
Travis Fulgham (PHI): 0
The Eagles are getting healthier, and that means fewer targets for Fulgham. That said, he still led this team in targets against the Browns — he just failed to haul more than one of them in.
While Jalen Reagor’s and Dallas Goedert’s returns have reduced Philadelphia’s reliance on Fulgham, he remains a valuable contributor in this offense. And since Carson Wentz shows no signs of turning his dismal 2020 season around, Fulgham will often be called on when the Eagles are stuck playing from behind.
Fulgham will take on the league’s worst defense against wide receivers next week, the Seattle Seahawks. You shouldn’t let his disappointing numbers from this week keep him out of your lineup.
Jamison Crowder (NYJ): 2
Crowder hasn’t played well with Joe Flacco under center. The big-arm quarterback prefers speedy receivers like Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman, and that’s left Crowder with fewer targets than he would get from Sam Darnold.
When Darnold starts, Crowder averages 17.5 half-PPR points per game. When Flacco starts, that number drops to 10.5. That’s because Crowder’s short-range slot prowess is a better match for Darnold’s short-yardage, low-risk playing style. Crowder just can’t compete with Perriman or Mims when Flacco wants to chuck passes downfield.
Flacco lets it FLY. #TakeFlight
— NFL (@NFL) November 22, 2020
Neither Flacco nor Darnold has played well this season, and Darnold should get the starting job back when healthy. When he does come back, Crowder should once again be a high-floor WR3. Until then, however, I would leave him on your bench.
Jared Cook (NO): 4.5
Cook is getting phased out of this offense. He has caught just one pass since Drew Brees left Week 10’s game against the 49ers, and he’s only caught three passes since Michael Thomas returned in Week 9.
The veteran tight end’s fantasy value was always unsustainable. Almost all of it depended upon touchdowns, of which he’s scored four in nine games, as he’s only caught 22 passes for 279 yards on the season. For context, that’s fewer than Tyler Higbee (23 catches, 296 yards) and David Moore (24 catches, 337 yards).
Cook hasn’t kept up with the offensive shifts in New Orleans, and you shouldn’t bet on the 33-year-old veteran to suddenly change course. You can safely return him to waivers for a better streaming option.
Hayden Hurst (ATL): 1
Hurst did not catch a pass in Week 11. I’ve already talked about Atlanta’s poor performance against the Saints, so I wouldn’t repeat myself, but there’s an easy explanation for Hurst’s dud: blocking responsibilities.
The Falcons had to commit six or seven players to pass-blocking each play, so I’m not surprised that Hurst drew only two targets all day. He should bounce back against the Raiders, as they ranked fifth-worst in sacks per game heading into Week 11.
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