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5 Burning Questions For Week 12 (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
Nov 24, 2021

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

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1. Is Tee Higgins fantasy production just a myth?

This hasn’t been the sophomore breakout that optimistic fantasy managers were envisioning back in summer drafts. In fact, many of us were drafting Higgins over Ja’Marr Chase throughout the preseason. The sting of missing out on Chase would hurt less if Higgins was reaching his ceiling, but even hitting a usable floor has been a struggle at times this year.

The 22-year-old is coming off a three target, two catch, 15 yard stinker against the Raiders. Cincinnati was quite run-heavy in this one, but Chase and Tyler Boyd still combined for 14 targets on 29 Joe Burrow dropbacks. As Dwain McFarland of PFF points out, when the Bengals have had their top three wideouts active this season, the trio is more or less cannibalizing the production of each other.

Chase is running so hot on TDs during his rookie year that it hasn’t been a problem for him, but he hasn’t topped 50 receiving yards since Week 7. Boyd is the low ADOT, low-ceiling option. Higgins was supposed to be strong WR2 running routes in the intermediate areas of the field, but fierce target competition combined with Chase’s touchdown dominance has rendered him a fantasy non-factor for most of ’21.

One promising aspect of Higgins’ profile is that his 7.4 yards per target suggest he’s wildly under performing an 11.3 ADOT. Add in the fact that he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 2 and it’s easy to make a regression case. Of course, fantasy analysts have been making this case all season long. We’re well past the point of anticipating a full Year 2 breakout from Higgins, but that doesn’t mean he can’t provide value down the stretch.

2. Are we sure Dallas Goedert is a TE1?

The Eagles certainly think so. This time last week Philadelphia’s front office signed Goedert to a four-year, $59 million extension. It was clear following the Zach Ertz trade that Goedert was their tight end of the future, but he has still yet to fully erupt in the box score. Over his past five games the 26-year-old has been held between 28 and 72 yards with zero touchdowns. This stretch coincides with the Eagles transforming into a very run-heavy offense.

That is why we look at the underlying numbers. Since the Ertz trade (Week 7 onwards), only Albert Okwuegbunam and George Kittle have registered more yards per route run among tight ends than Goedert. Additionally, his targets per route run and overall target share in Philly’s offense are both at elite marks for his position. The Eagles’ newfound emphasis on the rushing attack will make Goedert volatile down the stretch, but he has the profile and upside to win weeks when the team is forced to pass more. The Giants are an attackable Week 12 matchup.

3. Should you start Elijah Moore against the Texans?

Back in Week 1 I wrote about Moore, a phenomenal prospect coming out of college who was consistently lighting up offseason practices. Things were bleak for a while as Zach Wilson and the entire Jets offense struggled out of the gate. Fortunately, Moore’s opportunities have increased since the team’s bye. Since Week 7 the 21-year-old hasn’t seen fewer than six targets in a game. Most recently, on Sunday against the Dolphins, he went 8-141-1 on 11 targets from Joe Flacco.

It’s unclear if the improved results are a result of more opportunities, the absence of Wilson, or general maturing as a first-year player. It’s likely a combination of both. Incredibly, Moore is 11th in the NFL in yards per route run since Week 7, which is one of the stickiest year-to-year stats used to measure wide receiver talent. His lack of a track record will make him volatile, but Moore is certainly worth starting in season-long leagues in Week 12 against the Texans.

4. Does firing Jason Garrett fix the Giants’ offense?

It was reported on Tuesday morning that the franchise was firing their offensive coordinator. Garrett has been employed by the Giants since the start of the 2020 season. During this time they are the only team who hasn’t scored 30 offensive points in a single game. The change was warranted, and it is reasonable to think that the move will increase the fantasy values of New York skill players.

The question now becomes if Garrett was the only issue. PFF grades the Giants’ pass blocking as 32nd in the league. Their run blocking ranks 25th. 2020 first-round OL Andrew Thomas returned on Monday night against the Bucs, but the offensive line certainly isn’t a strength. Among 32 qualified quarterbacks this season, Daniel Jones ranks 25th in EPA per play (efficiency) and 18th in completion percentage over expectation (accuracy). His accuracy metrics suggest there could be room for improvement with a better supporting cast, but Jones also hasn’t exactly lit it up throughout his career.

Ultimately, it’s tough to envision things getting much worse for this offense. Therefore, from a fantasy perspective, this firing is all about upside for Giants skill players. The early speculation is that former Browns coach Freddie Kitchens will be named interim OC. Time is a flat circle.

5. Will Jonathan Taylor be the 1.01 in 2022 fantasy drafts?

There isn’t a lot of actionable advice when it pertains to the remainder of JT’s 2021 campaign. He’s the No. 1 RB in fantasy following a historic five touchdown performance against the Bills’ strong run defense. However, it would feel wrong to not write about him while he’s in the midst of this white-hot heater. I actually discussed Taylor back in the Week 4 edition of this very article. At the time he had yet to find the end zone through three games. Since then, he has scored 15 times (!!) in his past eight contests.

Taylor is certainly running hot with touchdowns, but his underlying metrics suggest that he’s as talented as he looks on Sundays. Among qualified running backs (minimum 20% of 219 carries), JT ranks fifth in PFF’s elusive rating and second in breakaway rate. He also ranks second in NFL Next Gen Stats’ success rate metric, but he has more than triple the amount of carries that No. 1 ranked D’Ernest Johnson does.

To add further context, it would be impressive for Taylor to lead in any of these metrics. The fact that he’s atop the leaderboards for all three of them is downright astounding. He’s a 22-year-old sophomore playing behind an elite offensive line for a coach that wants to build leads and run the ball. Christian McCaffrey is a PPR cheat code, but my early lean for the top pick next summer is Taylor.

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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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