We watched some quality matchups during Week 11, as the playoff hunt is starting to heat up in the NFL and fantasy football leagues. Let’s dive into some of the biggest performances, good and bad, before assessing players who qualified for Week 11 Studs and Duds.
Thursday night had multiple season-ending injuries take away from a competitive AFC North rivalry game between Cincinnati and Baltimore. Joe Burrow (QB – Bengals) and Mark Andrews (TE – Ravens) both left the game and were quickly ruled out for the remainder of the year, while Lamar Jackson (QB – Ravens) suffered a brief scare before returning and logging QB4 production.
Sunday’s slate had tons of action to unpack, but the biggest fantasy notable was watching Tony Pollard (RB – Cowboys) find his way into the end zone for the first time since Week 1 against Carolina. Dorian Thompson-Robinson (QB – Browns) executed a good game plan from head coach Kevin Stefanski in a low-scoring 13-10 win over Pittsburgh that was sealed with a walk-off field goal, further complicating the AFC North divisional race.
Chicago allowed Detroit to score 17 unanswered points in the final three minutes of the game, with former Bears running back David Montgomery (RB – Lions) trucking his way into the end zone for the go-ahead score in an exhilarating 31-26 comeback at Ford Field to make the Lions 8-2. The Chargers were unable to bring their best efforts in a disappointing 23-20 loss on the road to Green Bay, while C.J. Stroud (QB – Texans) and the Houston Texans improved to 6-4 with a 21-16 win over Arizona, as the rookie signal-caller recorded 336 passing yards for the third consecutive game.
Jacksonville remains atop the AFC South with a dominant 34-14 win over the Tennessee Titans, as Trevor Lawrence (QB – Jaguars) scored two rushing touchdowns and threw two more to Calvin Ridley (WR – Jaguars) to return to the win column. Tampa Bay held their own against San Francisco but Brock Purdy’s (QB – 49ers) 158.3 passer rating was too much to overcome, as Brandon Aiyuk (WR – 49ers), George Kittle (TE – 49ers), and Christian McCaffery (RB – 49ers) all scored touchdowns in a 27-14 win at home.
The New York Jets bottomed out against Buffalo, benching Zach Wilson (QB – Jets) in a 32-6 losing effort that finally saw their defense look pedestrian without any support from the offense. Seattle gave themselves a chance for a 55-yard game-winning field goal but it didn’t make its way through the uprights, giving Matthew Stafford (QB – Rams) and the Rams a huge divisional win to improve to 4-6 and end their three-game losing skid.
Josh Dobbs (QB – Vikings) and Russell Wilson (QB – Broncos) battled on Sunday Night Football, as Wilson made more clutch plays down the stretch, including a go-ahead touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton (WR – Broncos) to win 21-20, extending the Broncos’ win streak to four games under first-year head coach Sean Payton.
At the time this article is being written, there’s only one matchup remaining in Week 11, featuring a Super Bowl rematch between Kansas City and Philadelphia on Monday Night Football. NFL fantasy analyst Matt MacKay is back to share his Week 11 studs and duds using half-PPR scoring to determine whether or not these performances were an outlier or a consistent trend to expect in upcoming weeks.
Trevor Lawrence (QB – Jaguars)
Travis Etienne (RB – Jaguars) took a back seat to Trevor Lawrence as a ball carrier in Week 11, as the Jaguars’ QB1 was the red zone weapon against Tennessee. Lawrence went from the Duds list in Week 10 against San Francisco, to a huge stud in Week 11 against the Titans. He carried only five times but converted these touches into 17 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while also connecting twice with Calvin Ridley for two passing touchdowns, bumping Lawrence into the top overall fantasy football player in Week 11 at 32.1 points. It was the first time he’s scored as a ball carrier this season, but a top-eight matchup against Houston in a big-time AFC South matchup on the road in Week 12 keeps Lawrence in fringe QB1 territory.
Saquon Barkley (RB – Giants)
New York finally got off the schnide with a 31-19 win over NFC East divisional opponent Washington in Week 11, led by Saquon Barkley, who handled 14 carries for 83 yards, while hauling in four of five targets for an additional 57 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Barkley wound up overall RB1 on the week and his elite usage, combined with the slow improvement of Tommy DeVito (QB – Giants), makes Barkley an every week starter. Next up is a top-14 fantasy running back matchup at home in Met Life Stadium against New England.
Jaylen Warren (RB – Steelers)
There’s little doubt left about which Steelers running back gives the offense juice. Second-year running back Jaylen Warren outperformed Najee Harris (RB – Steelers) against Cleveland, which included an impressive 74-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Warren wound up handling only nine carries but recorded 129 rushing yards, adding three receptions on three targets for an additional 16 receiving yards. We’ve seen momentum behind Warren in recent games, so treat him as a high-end RB2 in a top-15 matchup against Cincinnati in Week 12.
Calvin Ridley (WR – Jaguars)
The Jaguars’ passing attack came back to life against a porous Tennessee secondary, as Calvin Ridley finished overall WR1 with seven receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets in Week 11. Ridley had previously gone four consecutive games under 12 fantasy points, including three under five fantasy points, so seeing him used in this capacity is encouraging ahead of a bottom-13 fantasy wide receiver matchup on the road against Houston in Week 12. Ridley needs to be in most fantasy lineups moving forward, although his low floor is concerning.
Brandon Aiyuk (WR – 49ers)
After a six-game touchdown drought, Brandon Aiyuk ripped off an impressive 76-yard touchdown reception, which added to an already robust outing, as the 49ers’ WR1 finished with 24.1 fantasy points as the WR4 in Week 11. Aiyuk caught five of six targets for 156 yards and a touchdown, averaging a whopping 26 yards per target. His floor is roughly 10 fantasy points per game, while we’ve seen three 15-plus point outings in nine games. Aiyuk is a high-end WR2 with WR1 upside against the Seahawks in Week 12, who rank as a bottom-12 fantasy wide receiver matchup.
George Kittle (TE – 49ers)
Another 49ers skilled player who has been heating up lately is George Kittle. He finished as TE1 in Week 11 with eight receptions on nine targets for 89 yards and a touchdown, while averaging 9.9 yards per target. Kittle has three straight games with at least 18 fantasy points recorded, finally rewarding loyal fantasy managers with high-end tight end production. He’s a must-start moving forward, including in a divisional road matchup against Seattle, who are pedestrian against opposing fantasy tight ends this season.
Matthew Stafford (QB – Rams)
It may have been a win for the Rams, but Matthew Stafford did not produce high-end fantasy production in his return to the lineup. Of course, Cooper Kupp’s (WR – Rams) injury left Stafford hyper-targeting Puka Nacua (WR – Rams), but the Rams’ QB1 did enough to win and remain healthy. Stafford hasn’t recorded 17 fantasy points yet this season, so he’s best left on the bench or waivers. However, Stafford can be used as an emergency mid-range QB2 in one quarterback leagues due to a floor of 12-15 fantasy points on any given week.
Najee Harris (RB – Steelers)
A disgruntled Najee Harris finished Week 11 with 4.1 fantasy points, handling 12 carries but only managing 35 rushing yards and one reception for one yard on two targets. Jaylen Warren vastly outperformed Harris with a similar workload, so it’s only a matter of time before Harris begins earning fewer touches, putting him into low-end RB3 territory. He’s scored touchdowns in two of his past three games, which elevates Harris into RB2 value, but Warren’s seemingly taking over the backfield, so Harris is quickly becoming irrelevant in fantasy lineups. Hold and stash or cut to waivers ahead of a Week 12 tilt against Cincinnati.
Jaylen Waddle (WR – Dolphins)
Big expectations for Jaylen Waddle coming out of the Dolphins’ Week 10 Bye did not manifest. Waddle logged four receptions on eight targets for 55 yards, which included a couple of bad drops. The Raiders’ pass defense gave Miami fits for most of their 20-13 win in Week 11, but Tyreek Hill (WR – Dolphins) soaked up most of the high-value targets, earning 13.3 yards per target compared to 6.9 yards per target for Waddle. He’s a low-end WR2 in a brutal matchup against the Jets in Week 12.
Cole Kmet (TE – Bears)
Justin Fields’ (QB – Bears) return to Chicago’s lineup did no favors for Cole Kmet, who wound up TE24 on the week with only three receptions for 20 yards on four targets. Kmet showcased his ceiling with Fields earlier in the year against Denver, recording 24.1 points, while he also hit over 20 points with Tyson Bagent (QB – Bears) under center with two touchdowns against the Saints in Week 9. Next up is another divisional road game against Minnesota, which is the 13th-toughest matchup for fantasy tight ends this season. Kmet previously went 2-9 on three targets against Minnesota, so he’s not a viable candidate for Week 12 lineups.