Week 11 gave us several blowouts and a few extremely questionable coaching decisions — both on and off the field. We saw Andy Reid lose only his third game in the last 19 after a bye week.
Here’s a freebie “stat” to enjoy: 70 yards … the distance wide right of Chicago Bears kicker Connor Barth’s field goal attempt that would have forced overtime. Interestingly, it also was the perceived distance from which Stephen Gostkowski’s 62-yarder could have been good from.
Thursday’s slate is a trio of Turkey Day treats, so get those lineups ready ahead of time. It also is the first time since Week 5 without those pesky bye weeks.
31 carries for 72 yards: Remove two rushes — one of 42 and another of 66 — from Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake‘s season and that is all we’re left with … 2.3 yards per carry.
Takeaway: Big-play dependency can be an absolute killer in fantasy. Earning weekly rushing attempts of 6, 9, 7 and 7 in the past four games, Drake’s production has been all or nothing. With games against New England, Denver and New England in the next three, gamers may be left out in the playoff cold if Drake is a big part of their hopes. Be judicious and recognize the risk-reward ratio when considering Drake vs. a safer option. It gets much better over the final three games of 2017, though, with a pair of games vs. Buffalo’s abysmal run defense (if you play into Week 17).
6.4 rushing attempts, 5.4 receiving targets: The Washington Redskins have to make up nearly 11 offensive touches, on average, per game with the season-ending injury suffered by Chris Thompson.
Takeaway: While he has cooled in recent weeks, despite a receiving score in Week 11, Thompson added an element to this offense that forced defenses to respect the short-area passing game. Rob Kelley’s injury forced Samaje Perine into the starting lineup. Until Week 11, it looked like a lost season for the rookie. Washington could turn to 23-year-old Byron Marshall to take over this role. He’s a dynamic back who played wide receiver at times in his football life. Marshall is worthy of a speculative waiver look in PPR leagues. Otherwise, many of those looks could go to short-area specialists Ryan Grant and Jamison Crowder.
Also see: Week 11 fantasy recap
14-233-2: Rishard Matthews has reemerged for fantasy purposes since Tennessee’s Week 8 bye. The veteran had 393 yards and no TDs in the first seven games of 2017.
Takeaway: Ride the hot hand as long as you can. The Titans face one of the best schedules down the stretch for fantasy receivers. Ahead: IND, HOU, ARI, SF, LAR. The Rams should be a tough matchup in Championship Week, but gamers have a fine path for points to get there.
43.7 PPR points per game: This is what running backs have averaged against the Buffalo Bills in the past four games. It breaks down to 30.5 carries for 166 yards and 2.5 rushing TDs a game. Through the air, backs have added 6.3 catches for 43.8 yards, plus one receiving score. That. Is. Insane.
Takeaway: Much has been made of the defense since trading Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville. The upcoming schedule should please fantasy owners of Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore/Marlon Mack, Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde. All of these backs are capable of doing considerable damage versus the worst defense (by a country mile) of their position.
3-54-2: Arizona Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones posted 17.4 regular fantasy points and 20.4 in PPR with Blaine Gabbert at the helm.
Takeaway: The part of an inexperience quarterback relying on his tight ends isn’t a fluke, and nor may bet he chemistry these two share, but counting on any kind of consistency from RSJ and Gabbert is asking for trouble.
New Orleans Saints tight end Coby Fleener caught five balls for 91 yards in Week 11.
Takeaway: First of all, the Saints had to come back down 15 points in less than six minutes. From a larger view, those five receptions tied Fleener’s five previous games COMBINED and should not be confidently used as a barometer of what may be to come. The lack of bye weeks going forward effectively eliminates any need to play him despite the seemingly resurgent week.
In the short term: Texans wideout Bruce Ellington has averaged about 11 PPR points the last two games, and head coach Bill O’Brien noted before Week 11 that the former 49er needed more looks. While the competency of Tom Savage is in doubt, Ellington is athletic and sees singles every play. Add him for a possible flex play while the fragile Will Fuller remains sidelined with cracked ribs.
Here’s a thought: Maybe Samaje Perine simply needed a little extra time to acclimate to the NFL’s speed and improve his confidence? It’s not like Washington’s playbook is bland, so all of these factors could mean Week 11 was a sign of things to come. Looking ahead, Perine will have to be the best version of himself … this is an ugly slate for fantasy backs (NYG, DAL, LAC, ARI, DEN).
Also see: Week 11 Tunnel Vision
I want to believe: Devontae Booker could be “the guy” in Bill Musgrave’s backfield. He played 47 snaps in Week 11, compared to C.J. Anderson’s 28 plays. Booker out-gained him 98-56, while CJA found paydirt. This would be a productive day for one back. Unfortunately for gamers, Denver was running a three-RB rotation with the now-fired Mike McCoy on the job. Maybe Musgrave can bring a little more stability to the backfield from a fantasy perspective. The touch split will be fun to watch as Denver travels to Oakland and Miami during the next two weeks.
It sure seems like: Tyrod Taylor‘s benching wasn’t thought through at all. In hindsight, of course it appears to be an easy comment to make. Regardless of how poorly Nathan Peterman played, look at it like this: Before Taylor was benched, the Bills sat 5-4 and had a daunting three-game stretch for a rookie quarterback. Peterman’s first start was 3,000 miles from home. It would have made far more sense to start Taylor for Week 11 (@LAC), at KC in Week 12 and then in Week 13 at home against the Pats. Had Taylor lost all three, the Bills would have been 5-8 and presumable out of the wildcard hunt. Doesn’t that seem like a much better time to trot out a fifth-round rookie quarterback? At home, vs. the Colts, is when Peterman should have made his NFL debut.