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5 Burning Questions For Week 11 (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
Nov 18, 2021

Remember to reach out with questions on Twitter (@toomuchtuma) anytime.

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1. Should we still value James Conner as a RB1 right now?

For the second time in his career, Conner has wound up being one of the best late round picks in fantasy football. The 26-year-old scored for the 12th (!!) time in eight games against the Panthers in Week 10, yet the performance still felt somewhat underwhelming. That’s because Arizona’s offense never got going against an underrated Carolina defense. Colt McCoy was wildly ineffective and Conner didn’t find the end zone until late in the contest. For the game he gained 39 rushing yards on 10 carries while hauling in 3-of-4 targets for an additional 25 yards.

A closer look at his utilization, provided by Dwain McFarland of PFF, reveals that Conner played on 84% of the snaps while handling 83% of the short-down-and-distance opportunities and 91% of the long-down-and-distance opportunities. That is some very strong RB1 usage for the former Steeler. Eno Benjamin played on just 27% of the snaps and saw just one target in the passing game. Conner’s Week 11 outlook will increase if Kyler Murray (ankle) is able to play, but fantasy managers should rest easy knowing that he’ll be used as a bell-cow. Conner is a RB1 against the Seahawks this weekend.

2. Is Cam Newton actually back?

Quarterback scoring might be broken in fantasy football. Rushing production matter so much that it might vault Newton, who was unsigned about a week ago, into the low-end QB1 conversation moving forward. That’s how much his legs matter, and as shown throughout his career he’s able to use them to pile up rushing TDs. Let’s also not overlook the fact that his surrounding weapons are far better in Carolina than they were in New England in 2020.

After scoring an epic rushing touchdown this past Sunday Newton declared “I’m back.” The highlight was a reminder of how little he needs to do through the air in order to have fantasy success. The Washington Football Team is on deck in Week 11. Newton makes sense as a waiver wire add for QB-needy fantasy managers, though we shouldn’t be starting him just yet. There are some tasty matchups on deck, however. Newton draws the Dolphins in Week 12 and the Falcons in Week 14.

3. What can we expect from A.J. Dillon in Week 11?

Whether or not you’re an Aaron Jones manager, you may have drafted Dillon back in August just in case something happened to Green Bay’s starter and the sophomore RB had to step in. 11 weeks into the season it’s finally happening. The latest on Jones is that he’s dealing with a mild MCL sprain that is expected to sideline him for 1-2 weeks.

In Jones’ absence against the Seahawks in Week 10, Dillon rumbled for 66 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. He also caught 2-of-2 targets for an additional 62 yards. Seattle is one of the top run defenses in the NFL, and the most important thing to look at for a fantasy running back is the utilization. Dillon can now be expected to play in a near every-down role against a below average Minnesota run defense. Consider the yards-after-contact machine a low-end RB1 against the Vikes.

4. Is the Chargers’ offense broken?

Those “Brandon Staley coach of the year” conversations feel like they occurred an eternity ago. After starting the season 4-1 behind a progressive head coach and superstar sophomore quarterback, Los Angeles has lost three of four entering a Week 11 date with the Steelers. The run defense is an obvious problem, but it isn’t as if the offense has helped matters as of late. Justin Herbert came out of the gates on fire, registering a 13:3 TD:INT ratio with 7.6 yards per attempt (YPA) through five weeks. Since Week 6, he has a pedestrian 6:4 TD:INT ratio with 6.9 YPA as he deals with the first slump of his career.

One problem that has been tossed around in NFL conversations has been Herbert’s short ADOT. For the season his 7.5 ADOT is the fourth lowest mark among qualified QBs. Digging deeper, Herbert was at 8.0 in Weeks 1-5 and checks in at 6.9 since then.

There could be several reasons for this. The Chargers’ offensive line is hurting, and the team has massive holes at right guard and right tackle. Shorter passes make sense if the unit can’t protect him. Furthermore, Herbert’s OC is Joe Lombardi, who comes from the Saints. Those New Orleans teams had Drew Brees, master of accuracy, under center. While Herbert is a very promising young signal caller, his skill set is different from Brees’. It’s fair to wonder if perhaps this isn’t the best scheme to maximize his golden arm.

Tying this all together for fantasy purposes, Herbert should now be viewed as a low-end QB1 as opposed to the borderline elite option he was considered to be back in September. Every report from film scouts suggest his accuracy and decision making have only improved since college. This isn’t a “Herbert problem.” Instead, it’s a second-year quarterback playing with a new offensive coordinator type of problem. Speed bumps happen. Temper expectations, but the talent remains worth betting on. Just look at what happened to the Chiefs’ offense this past Sunday night.

5. Can we bank on Elijah Moore breaking out down the stretch?

I wouldn’t use the term “bank on”, but the rookie is a worthwhile upside stash moving forward. There are a lot of indications that Moore is good. Over the past three weeks he ranks second among rookie wideouts in yards per route run. He also ranks 12th overall among all players during that time frame. It’s a wildly small sample, but it’s important to see the 21-year-old having any sort of success on the field. Furthermore, Matt Harmon recently tweeted that Moore is grading out quite favorably in his famous “Reception Perception” work.

Within his own team, Moore has a 21% target per route run rate. That’s the same figure as Corey Davis, which ties for the team lead. The issue is the rookie isn’t seeing the field enough. He has a 53% route rate for the season and was at 55% in Week 10 against the Bills. He’s being targeted while playing, but the team is limiting his playing time. New York has been rotating wide receivers not named Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder this season, and it’s frustrating that the coaching staff hasn’t let Moore separate from the pack. Perhaps it happens in Week 11 against the Dolphins, or maybe it happens in the coming month. His talent is enough to make him a fantasy relevant bench stash while we wait and see.

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Brendan Tuma is a featured writer at FantasyPros. To read more from Brendan, check out his archive and follow him @toomuchtuma.

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