Arguably, the most frustrating thing in fantasy football is seeing someone in your starting lineup struggle that week. Therefore, the logic behind this article is simple – identify fantasy football lineup landmines.
These are players you’re leaning towards starting this week but could end up being a landmine that blows up and destroys your starting lineup, potentially costing you your matchup.
Brace yourself and take cover. These six players could blow up in your face this week.
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Fantasy Football Lineup Landmines: Week 11
Mayfield hasn’t been a fantasy superstar, but he has been an excellent streaming option. Over the past three weeks, the former Oklahoma star has averaged two passing touchdowns and 19.6 fantasy points per game, scoring 18.3 or more in every contest. However, he has struggled when facing talented defenses. Mayfield scored only 6.8 fantasy points against the Detroit Lions in Week 6 and 10 fantasy points in Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, the veteran quarterback has an awful matchup against the San Francisco 49ers this week.
The 49ers have surrendered only 12.3 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, the third-fewest in the NFL. They have held quarterbacks to fewer than 4.5 fantasy points in nearly half of the games. Last week, Trevor Lawrence had struggled at home against San Francisco. He completed only 58.6% of his pass attempts for 185 yards, two interceptions, and a season-low 2.1 fantasy points. The 49ers have the fourth-highest pressure rate (39.3%) in the NFL this year (per Fantasy Points Data). Don’t be surprised if Mayfield sets a season-high in pressure rate and sacks this week.
While Pacheco was on fire to start the year, he struggled heading into the Chiefs’ bye week. Over his past two games, the former Rutgers star has averaged 12 rushing attempts for 53 yards and 5.9 half-point PPR fantasy points per contest. Furthermore, he had a 4.2% explosive run rate and 0.08 missed tackle forced per rushing attempt in those two games. By comparison, Pacheco had a 5.4% explosive run rate and a 0.23 missed tackle forced per rushing attempt in the previous six matchups (per Fantasy Points Data).
Thankfully, the second-year player has an appealing rest-of-the-season schedule. However, his matchup in Week 11 couldn’t be worse for fantasy players. The Philadelphia Eagles have held running backs to only 11.6 fantasy points per game this year, the fewest in the NFL. They haven’t given up a rushing touchdown to the position since Week 6 and have surrendered only two all season. According to Fantasy Points Data, Philadelphia has the fourth-highest stuff rate (51.6%). Meanwhile, Pacheco has the 16th-highest stuff rate (44.4%) among running backs with 120 rushing attempts this year.
After missing the past five weeks with a high ankle sprain, Herbert should return this week against the Detroit Lions. He was playing well before getting hurt, averaging 6.4 yards per rushing attempt and 0.9 half-point PPR fantasy points per touch in the last two games. Meanwhile, Foreman has been productive over the past four weeks, averaging 4.33 yards per rushing attempt and 15 fantasy points per game, scoring 16.2 or more twice. However, these two running backs haven’t played together since Week 1.
Therefore, fantasy players should avoid starting either play until we see how the backfield workload gets distributed. Meanwhile, the matchup against the Detroit Lions is awful for the Chicago backfield. The Lions have surrendered only 14.6 fantasy points per game to running backs, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. Furthermore, they have held running backs to under 6.5 fantasy points in half of their past six games. According to Fantasy Points Data, the Lions have allowed the fourth-lowest explosive run rate this season (2.6%). I would avoid starting any Bears player besides DJ Moore against Detroit.
Waddle had high expectations this year after finishing the 2022 season as the WR7, averaging 13 half-point PPR fantasy points per contest. Unfortunately, he has been the WR32 this year, averaging 11.4 fantasy points per game. However, the former Alabama star has only one game with more than 14.6 fantasy points. By comparison, Waddle has failed to top more than 9.9 fantasy points in half the games, including two of the past three matchups. The star receiver has dealt with multiple injuries but has only missed one game this season.
Yet, fantasy players should temper expectations for him despite coming off the bye. The Las Vegas Raiders defense has played well in 2023. They have held wide receivers to 23.5 fantasy points per game, the seventh-fewest in the NFL. Las Vegas hasn’t given up more than 20 fantasy points to wide receivers in five of their past six matchups. Furthermore, they have given up only one receiving touchdown to wide receivers over the past six weeks. The Raiders are heavy underdogs in this game, suggesting a blowout. Unfortunately, that only further limits Waddle’s fantasy upside.
Many believed Thielen had nothing left in the tank before the start of the 2023 season. However, the veteran has been arguably a league winner off the waiver wire. He is the WR11 for the year, averaging 14 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. Thielen has as many games with over 22 fantasy points (three) as games with fewer than 11. Unfortunately, he has struggled the past two weeks, totaling only 11 receptions on 16 targets for 71 receiving yards and 12.6 fantasy points. Thankfully, Thielen has an appealing rest-of-the-season schedule and should turn things around.
Unfortunately, fantasy players should bench the veteran wide receiver in Week 11. The Dallas Cowboys have held wide receivers to only 21.5 fantasy points per game this year, the third-fewest in the NFL. They have surrendered fewer than 20 fantasy points to the position in nearly half of their games. More importantly, Dallas has been on fire offensively, scoring seven touchdowns last week. Meanwhile, the Panthers have six offensive touchdowns over the past six games. This matchup could easily be over before halftime. Thankfully, Thielen has a fantasy-friendly matchup next week against the Tennessee Titans.
The Jaguars offense has struggled this season. Yet, Engram was the TE7 heading into the Week 9 bye, averaging 8.4 half-point PPR fantasy points per game despite not scoring a touchdown. Furthermore, he had his best performance of the year right before the bye week, totaling 10 receptions for 88 receiving yards and 11.8 fantasy points against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, the veteran tight end has been hit or miss for fantasy players. Last week, he had a season-low 3.2 fantasy points, making it the fifth time he hasn’t scored 7.7 fantasy points in 2023.
Following last week’s performance, fantasy players likely have little confidence in the Jacksonville offense outside Travis Etienne and Christian Kirk. Unfortunately, Engram has an awful fantasy matchup this week. The Tennessee Titans have held tight ends to six fantasy points per game this year, the second-fewest in the NFL. They have given up more than nine fantasy points to tight ends only once this season. Furthermore, the Titans are the only team in the league not to surrender a receiving touchdown to tight ends.