Players to Cut: Week 11 (2021 Fantasy Football)
One reason the NFL is so popular is that when you think you have NFL teams figured out, they will do something that is a complete surprise. Let’s take the Cleveland Browns. In Week 9, they went to Cincinnati and blew them out to the tune of a 41-16 victory. The very next week, they travel to New England and lose 45-7. Their 38-point margin of defeat was their largest since Week 16 of the 2005 season when they lost 41-0 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. There have been a lot of bad Cleveland teams since 2005, and none of them managed to do what Cleveland did this week, just one week after beating an outstanding Cincinnati team by 25 points.
Then you have the Baltimore Ravens traveling to the Miami Dolphins and playing one of the worst defenses in the NFL and having their worst offensive day of the season. They not only lost to Miami but lost 22-10 and gained only 304 yards. Tom Brady had a record of 15-4 coming off his bye week, and his Buccaneers lost 29-19 to a two-win Washington team and gained only 273 yards against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks suffered their first shutout of his career in a 17-0 game at Green Bay that had an over/under of 49 points. The Los Angeles Rams were supposed to improve by adding Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. They were demolished 31-10 by the San Francisco 49ers in a game they were favored to win by 3.5-points and gained only 278 yards of offense.
Adam Schefter had a great tweet. For the 2nd consecutive week, four teams – Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Washington – entered the week with a .500-or-below win % and defeated a team that began the week in the first place or tied for first. There have been 8 of these wins the past two weeks, most in weeks 9-10 since 1970.
When you have that much chaos in the regular games, it leads to unpredictable fantasy results. Players that you thought were safe plays end up being duds, and players that were not supposed to do anything end up being stars. The only stat you need to know about how crazy of a week in fantasy is that Cam Newton scored 11.72 fantasy points this week. That was more than Aaron Rodgers (11.48), Russell Wilson (7.64), Carson Wentz (7.10), and Matt Ryan (2.68). Welcome to fantasy football in 2021.
As for roster decisions, there are players you will want to make waiver wire claims for this week, which means you will have to part with some other players. Here are the players you should be looking at cutting heading into Week 11.
12- and 14-Team Leagues
Brandon Bolden (RB – NE)
This looked like a good opportunity for Bolden to have an uptick in touches. Damien Harris was out this week with a concussion, and Rhamondre Stevenson has been in and out of favor with Bill Belichick all year. Bolden figured to have more work in the passing game and possibly more rushing attempts with Stevenson as the lead back.
That did not happen. Stevenson led the backfield with 20 rushing attempts for 100 yards and two rushing touchdowns. J.J. Taylor had six carries, and Bolden was tied with Kendrick Bourne‘s three carries. Bolden also did not have a big role in the passing game. Stevenson led all backs with five targets. Bolden had only three targets. The only reason he had 6.1 fantasy points is that one of his receptions went for 20 yards, and one of his rushing attempts went for 22 yards. His six touches were a minimal role considering that Harris was out this week.
Keep in mind that the Patriots only trailed 7-0 in this game for the first quarter. They scored their first touchdown with 26 seconds left in the first quarter and never looked back. A negative game script could give Bodlen more receiving work. Also, the Patriots’ backfield tends to change from week to week. Stevenson has been a healthy scratch earlier this year, all he would need to do is fumble, and Taylor and Bolden would be the better bets if Harris cannot play this week.
I think it is becoming more problematic to roster Bolden as the season goes on. It seems like his role is defined, pass blocking and catching a few passes per game. He may see a rush or two to go with his work in the passing game. However, there does not seem to be a consistent or predictable path for him to see meaningful touches, which makes him almost impossible to rely on as a fantasy option.
New England Patriots Skill Position Touches – Week 10
|Player||Position||Rush Att||Rush Yds||Tgt||Rec||Rec yds||TDs||Fantasy Points||Fantasy Rank (Pos)||Fantasy Rank (Overall)|
Kenneth Gainwell (RB – PHI)
This week, Boston Scott led the Eagles backfield with 11.5 fantasy points, and Jordan Howard was right behind him with 8.3 fantasy points. The third player in the backfield was Gainwell with 1.9 fantasy points, making him the 57th ranked fantasy running back this week.
Miles Sanders is expected to return this week, which means one more running back in the mix. Gainwell was a hyped rookie that was seeing playing time earlier in the year, but he has had no role since Sanders went down with an injury, and both Scott and Howard have stepped up to the plate. He is not going to have a role in this backfield going forward when Sanders is healthy.
Trey Sermon (RB – SF)
I am a little stunned that a player that has not scored a fantasy point in his last four games is rostered in 21 percent of Yahoo.com leagues and 15.3 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Maybe people hold him in dynasty or keeper leagues, but Elijah Mitchell is the rookie running back of choice. He had 27 carries against the Rams on Monday Night Football. Jeff Wilson Jr. chipped in with ten carries.
Sermon was active in this game, JaMycal Hasty was inactive with an ankle injury. The 49ers won 31-10 in a game they led 24-7 at the end of the third quarter. None of that was good enough for him to see even a single carry. There is no appeal to rostering Sermon, he is not even good enough to see a single carry in a blowout, and he will probably go back to being inactive when Hasty is healthy again. It has been a disastrous rookie campaign for Sermon.
Derrick Gore (RB – KC)
Gore had only 1.9 fantasy points in a 41-14 blowout of the Las Vegas Raiders. Darrel Williams was the star again this week with 24.9 fantasy points, which was the third-highest in the league this week. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is supposed to have a pretty good chance to play this week, per Andy Reid. Even if they decide to hold him out for one more week, the next week, the Chiefs are on bye, meaning that they will not have another game until December 05, and CEH should be completely healed at that point. Gore does not have a role in this offense now. He is not going to have an even lesser role when CEH is back on the roster.
Russell Gage (WR – ATL)
Russell Gage was targeted three times in the Falcons’ 43-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, he dropped two of those passes, marking the second time he was held without a catch. It is hard to trust a player that does not even catch a pass in a 40-point loss, and the Falcons have a horrible matchup against a New England defense that has been surging in the last month. Even with Cordarrelle Patterson dealing with an ankle sprain, Gage does not offer much fantasy appeal this week, and I would have a hard time keeping him on my roster with such a low floor. His best game of the year was four receptions for 67 yards and one touchdown, which is not much upside when you consider his floor being no receptions.
Rondale Moore (WR – ARI)
Moore has 15.9 fantasy points in his last five games, and for the second straight week, he benefited from DeAndre Hopkins not being out there, and he saw only four targets. Of course, it would help if Kyler Murray were active, but Moore had not set the fantasy world on fire before Murray’s injury. In addition, Murray might not play this week, and they have a bye the week after. So there is not much reason to keep Moore on a fantasy roster.
Randall Cobb (WR – GB)
Cobb was a hero for the Packers a couple of weeks ago when he filled in for many inactive Packers wide receivers, and he scored two touchdowns against Arizona. Since that game, he has had nine targets, six receptions, and 71 yards receiving. There may be some targets opened up by Aaron Jones being injured and out for weeks. The more likely outcome is he continues to see just a few targets, with all of Green Bay’s receivers returning to health. He is not worth rostering unless Davante Adams or Marquez Valdes-Scantling are injured. Even then, he is hugely boom/bust on an offense that is not passing the ball with the same efficiency it was last year.
Tim Patrick (WR – DEN)
Denver has too many skill position players to keep everyone’s fantasy relevant. First, they have a 1-2 punch at running back with Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams. Second, they have two wide receivers that they used high draft picks on in Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Finally, they have two tight ends that saw nine targets last week in Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam.
I like what Patrick brings to the table, and he had had some good games when Denver’s other players were out with injury. The problem is they have a bye this week, and they face a Chargers D that is second against fantasy wide receivers coming out of the bye week. He follows that game with a contest against Kansas City and their 13th ranked fantasy wide receiver defense. He probably does not have an attractive matchup until they play the Detroit Lions, and even their defense is 15th against fantasy wide receivers.
The combination of the abundance of skill position players in the Denver offense, the bye week, the upcoming schedule, and his diminishing role due to those factors makes it tough to trust him. If you are not going to start him for three weeks, I am not sure he has enough upside to roster until then.
Baker Mayfield (QB – CLE)
It has reached the point where I am writing about the same three quarterbacks every week, and there is a good reason for that. Quarterbacks scoring in fantasy is as good as it has ever been. There are 18 quarterbacks right now that have tallied 150 fantasy points. Daniel Jones is almost there, he has 148.8 fantasy points, and he is in the mix with some of the players that have scored more because Jones had his bye week and has one less game. Mac Jones is starting to play better, and he sits at 144.2. Then there are the guys like Russell Wilson and Tua Tagovailoa that would be at that 150-point mark if they had played all of their games. Jimmy Garoppolo is averaging 16.23 points per game. He is not at 150 points because he missed a game and had his bye week.
What that means is there are 23 quarterbacks that you can count on to score 15 or more fantasy points every week, which makes all of them players that should be rostered for either weekly starts or streaming options. That may not come to fruition if they have a bad game or a tough matchup, but they are averaging that production for the season. That leaves very few quarterbacks to talk about as players that should not be rostered.
Mayfield is not right this year. He keeps suffering more injuries between his left shoulder and his foot, and his knee as the season goes along. He also plays on a team that is eighth in the league in rushing attempts and 30th in pass attempts. That has all played a role in him averaging 14.08 fantasy points per game, and there does not appear to be much upside. I would instead stream one of the other quarterbacks than play him at this point, and unless there are no alternatives, Mayfield is not worth rostering in fantasy football.
Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC)
Lawrence is another player that just cannot seem to put up points with any consistency. He has not topped 200 yards passing or thrown a passing touchdown in back-to-back weeks. Cam Newton had 11.72 fantasy points on four passes and three rushes in Week 10. Lawrence has 14.90 fantasy points in his last two games on 61 passing attempts and eight rushing attempts. That should tell you everything you need to know about Lawrence’s playing poorly in his rookie year. Urban Meyer is probably as much to blame for that as anyone, but that does not change how ineffective he has been as both an NFL quarterback and a fantasy quarterback.
Ricky Seals-Jones (TE – WAS)
Seals-Jones has cooled a little bit with just eight targets, five receptions, 42 receiving yards, and no touchdowns in his last two games. He is now dealing with a hip injury, and Logan Thomas is on the verge of returning. Carolina looked tough last week, and they are 13th against fantasy tight ends. I do not think an injured player about to lose his starting job is worth a roster spot at this point.
Mo Alie-Cox (TE – IND)
Alie-Cox has posted only seven targets, two receptions, 34 yards, and no touchdowns over his last three games. He was a viable player from Week 4 to Week 7 when he scored four touchdowns in three of the games and had 50 yards receiving in the one game. Unfortunately, he did not find the end zone. He has not been able to sustain that production, though, and it makes no sense to roster him with this low of a floor.
Matt Ryan (QB – ATL)
Ryan has too much value in a deeper league to let him hit the waiver wire. You will probably have to replace him with Baker Mayfield or Trevor Lawrence if you cut him in the deeper leagues. Ryan had eight fantasy points in Week 8, 29 fantasy points in Week 9, and three fantasy points in Week 10. He is very tough to trust right now, and he has one of the lowest floors in the league. He faces a New England D surging this week, and he will likely be without Cordarrelle Patterson due to an ankle injury.
After that game, he is at a Jacksonville team that held Josh Allen to 12 fantasy points and Carson Wentz to seven fantasy points in their last two games. It would be hard to trust him in that game, either. After that game, it is Tampa Bay, who he had a decent showing with 19 fantasy points earlier in the season. That made him the 17th ranked fantasy quarterback in Week 2. At Houston is the first game I would be excited to play him, and that is not until Week 13.
I think in a shallower league, you don’t need to waste the roster spot for four weeks to play Ryan against the Houston Texans. On the other hand, if he’s your backup for Aaron Rodgers, who has a bye in Week 13, and you are just going to roll with Rodgers until then, then it may make sense to keep Ryan on your roster. However, he is a dead roster spot for the next three weeks and not worth rostering as a streamer.
Jeremy McNichols (RB – TEN)
I would be hesitant to cut him in a deeper league because it has only been two games, and we have not seen what his usage would look like in a game where the Titans trail early in the game. Each of the last two weeks, they have been in games where they did not have to abandon the run. He was third on the team in carries last week. D’Onta Foreman led the way with 11 carries, Adrian Peterson was next with eight carries, and McNichols had four carries. McNichols was only targeted three times in the passing game, which produced one reception for one yard. Owners in deeper leagues probably need to wait to see what his role looks like in a game the Titans trail, but I would look for other options in a shallower league before that happens.
Jarvis Landry (WR – CLE)
Landry has ten targets, seven receptions, and 37 yards in his last two games. In a 41-16 win, he had no upside where the Browns took the air out of the ball. He had no upside in a 45-7 loss where the Browns could not move the ball in any situation. Mayfield has a ton of injuries, and this team just does not throw the ball much. It would be hard to cut Landry in a deeper league because a WR1 is usually not available on the waiver wire. I would chance it in shallower leagues because this passing offense is one of the worst in the league, and there is not much upside in playing Landry at this point. He seems destined for mediocre numbers on a terrible passing offense.
Jared Cook (TE – LAC)
It is hard to trust a player that sees one reception on three targets for 10 yards. When the Chargers offense is clicking, Donald Parham tends to take away some of the production, as he did in Week 9. Parham had 39 yards in that game to Cook’s 28 yards. In this game, Parham had one reception for 17 yards. I think it is a situation to avoid in shallower leagues. There should be better streaming options than Cook, who faces the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11 and Denver in Week 12.
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