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Week 11 Heat Index (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Jim Colombo | @WideRightNBlue | Featured Writer
Nov 24, 2020

Folks! It’s here. Welcome to the best football week of the year.

No, it’s not Super Bowl week.

It’s Thanksgiving week. That means more games, more fantasy football opportunities, and more days (two? three?) to stuff your face with all the food and drink you can drum up from your doomsday bunker.

This late in the season, we’re seeing fewer breakouts from unknown players and more repeat breakouts from typically unknown players. The problem is figuring out which guys to talk about, hype up, and roster on our squads. (Apparently, no one wanted to help me on Twitter, either.) Oh well. Maybe I’ll whip up a TikTok or Fleet to feed the masses! Eh, I’m not that cool. Or young. Or motivated. Instead, here’s an article I wrote for the price of a cup of coffee.

A few guys had great games in Week 11, but we’ve already talked about them:

Tim Patrick made an appearance in the Week 4 Heat Index.
Nelson Agholor showed up in the Week 7 Heat Index.
Curtis Samuel was covered in the Week 8 Heat Index.

So, where’s the fresh blood? Who are we missing? Let’s try and find out in the Week 11 Heat Index.

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Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN)
Kirk Cousins isn’t unknown, but he’s only rostered in only 42% of Yahoo leagues and just 19% of ESPN leagues. In Week 11, Cousins completed 22-of-30 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings’ road loss to the Dallas Cowboys. It was an exploitable matchup against a porous defense, and Cousins thrived. More to the point, so did his stud receivers, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson.

Yep, this was a 300-yard performance. Uh-huh, it was a multiple-touchdown, zero-interception effort. How many other times has Cousins delivered such a performance in 2020? Just once — in a home game against the hapless Lions in Week 9. Are we to expect this to happen again anytime soon? Let’s take a look at who’s next, and because it’s crunch time for so many of us, let’s keep it within the realm of the fantasy football regular season.

Week 12 vs. Carolina: According to NFL Fantasy, the Carolina Panthers defense has surrendered 17.9 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. That’s pretty good — it’s the 13th-best in the league, in fact. However, in the last four weeks, the team has given up 26.39 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, which is the second-most. That’s a lot, but those games came against Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Matt Ryan. Yes, the Panthers D/ST did just stonewall the Lions in Week 11, but hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day. You probably don’t need to stream Cousins in Week 12 because there are no teams on bye, but he could be a nice low-cost, high-reward DFS play.

Week 13 vs. Jacksonville: The Jags are a flat-out disaster against fantasy quarterbacks this season. The unit averaged the most fantasy points per game to the position in the last four weeks and the third most over the entire season. The team is just bad and has nothing to play for, plus it’s on the road. This is a money matchup for Cousins if you need him.

Again, there are no bye weeks in Week 12 — but if you are a Brady manager looking ahead or a DFS magician, Cousins is your dude in Week 13.

Week 11 Heat Index: ???
Rest-of-season Heat Index: ??

Taysom Hill (QB – NO)
Hey, did you guys hear that you can start Taysom Hill as a punter in most fantasy leagues? I even heard that he’ll rake your leaves if you ask him to. And if you say his name three times in front of your bathroom mirror, he’ll appear out of thin air and dropkick you in the teeth!

No, none of those things are true, but yes, the hype is real. Especially since the (30-year-old?!) Hill completed 18-of-23 passes for 233 yards and rushed for 51 yards and two scores against the Falcons in Week 11. His day could’ve been even bigger, too, if it weren’t for a deep shot touchdown called back on a holding call or a perfectly thrown 20-plus yard dart that resulted in an uncharacteristic drop from all-star wideout Michael Thomas.

And no, Hill is no longer eligible to play tight end in fantasy leagues, so that gravy train has come to a complete halt. However, Hill has at least one more start under center coming up, and — assuming he doesn’t completely crap the bed — another after that. His matchups in these contests? At Denver and at Atlanta.

Denver is a middle-of-the-pack defense against fantasy quarterbacks — it ranks 16th in the league on the season and 20th in the last four games. But it’s also second worst against running backs, and, well, Hill is sort of a running back, right? So he could see some action in the ground game against Denver for sure. Again, Week 12 probably won’t be a week you need Hill in season-long leagues, but he could be an economic quarterback play in DFS.

As for Atlanta again in Week 13, I’d feel good about seeing him improve upon his already-decent fantasy numbers against them, even on the road, no matter the format.

Week 11 Heat Index: ???
Rest-of-season Heat Index: ??

Damiere Byrd (WR – NE)
Well, well, well, what do we have here? A touchdown pass to a Patriots wide receiver? Man, the Pats’ passing offense is the worst in the league, but in Week 11, one of Cam Newton’s FOUR touchdown passes — that’s this season, not in this game — went to Byrd on a 41-yard bomb against the Houston Texans. Byrd finished the contest with 6-of-7 targets for 132 and a touchdown.

Byrd’s targets have been too inconsistent to count on, and the New England passing offense, as we’ve already indicated, is at the bottom of the league. Sure, Byrd’s 48 targets are the most on the team, but that’s like saying your drunk Uncle has the most laughs on Thanksgiving. It means close to nothing, and most of the results are just pitiful attempts to clear the table.

In games against the Chargers and at the Cardinals in Weeks 12 and 13, Byrd could flash, but he’s not someone you should feel great about starting. View Byrd as a desperation flex play in season-long leagues and long-shot WR in DFS.

Week 11 Heat Index: ??
Rest-of-season Heat Index: ?

Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL)
There are a lot of weapons on the Dallas Cowboys’ offense, and even though Dalton Schultz is among them, he’s at the bottom of the pecking order. Nevertheless, the third-year tight end hauled in four-of-six targets for 25 yards and a touchdown in the team’s upset victory agains the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11. For what it’s worth, his final reception was a game-clinching score for ‘dem Cowboys.

Do you have Hayden Hurst? I do. And I am this close to straight-up dropping him for Dalton Schultz (although I still have Mike Gesicki, too). Of course, tight end has been a brutal position all season long, but that only proves my point: go and get a guy who can make an impact right now. Schultz has 21 targets in the last three games, which is great! And believe it or not, Schultz is actually tied with Michael Gallup for in target share though 11 games (13%). Amari Cooper (19.7%) and CeeDee Lamb (16.1%), of course, lead the team.

According to FantasyPros, Dalton Schultz is the 11th-highest scoring tight end in half-PPR leagues. In a year when dependable tight ends are few and far between, why not take a shot on Schultz? He’ll be opposing unforgiving defenses to tight ends in Weeks 12 (Baltimore) and 13 (Washington), but given the nature of the position, you could do worse.

Week 11 Heat Index: ??
Rest-of-season Heat Index: ??

Guys and gals, this has been fun. Please remember to stay safe this holiday week, and if you don’t have to travel, please don’t! There’s more at stake these days than just fantasy football. In any case, I love you. Thanks for reading.

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Jim Colombo is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Jim, check out his archive and follow him @WideRightNBlue.

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