Week 11 started out with a great matchup between the Seahawks and Cardinals that came down to the final minute. This time, the Cardinals were able to stop Kyler Murray but not many other teams have.
The Steelers still haven’t lost and the Jets haven’t won.
Fantasy playoffs are starting soon for big contests and then in three or four more weeks for most leagues. We’re already battling a whacky season with tons of injuries and positive results from COVID-19 testing. Now the weather is an issue and apparently, it is just a feature in Cleveland where they expect rain this week.
Okay, six things to think about heading into Week 11:
- QB Jameis Winston (NO) – The Saints haven’t formally named Winston as the starter, but let’s think about this. One guy threw for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns last year while the other threw 4-of-7 for 72 yards for 2019. I’m leaning towards Winston. What to expect? The Saints play the Falcons twice over the next three games. The Saints lack the same quality of receivers as the Buccaneers had last year since Michael Thomas isn’t Michael Thomas yet and the No. 2 receiver hasn’t mattered much. 2020 looks like the year of Alvin Kamara. If Winston can hit Thomas and throw eight or more passes to Kamara, the Saints should be okay. He brings a bigger arm, so we’ll see if the passes are any deeper this week. Well, now, this morning reports are that Taysom Hill will start. It is still hard to believe and suggests either all receivers are going to suffer or that HC Sean Payton is still trying to force the Falcons to prepare for both.
- RB Salvon Ahmed (MIA) – He ran for 85 yards and one score on 21 carries for the Dolphins’ win over the Chargers. That’s plenty to get scraped off every waiver wire. Is he the next big thing or just the next D’Ernest Johnson? The undrafted rookie was released by the 49ers and stashed on the Miami practice squad until injuries made him active a few weeks ago. Ahmed runs a 4.4/40 and has drawn positive reviews that he looks like the fastest running back for Miami this year. Whenever Myles Gaskins returns, the expectation is that Ahmed maintains some role and if he can look as good against the Broncos and Jets next, he’ll make it hard on the Fins to ignore him. Matt Brieda is coming back but has been inconsistent. Ahmed is one-for-one so far with another chance on Sunday.
- RB D’Andre Swift – Is it possible that the Lions are finally going to treat their rookie back like he’s the most talented player in their backfield? That an actual primary back, a “workhorse” even, could exist for the Lions? Last week, they dialed back Adrian Peterson to only four carries while Swift handled 16 rushes for 81 yards and caught five passes for 68 yards and one touchdown. Versus the No. 5 defense against running backs (Washington). This week, the Lions face the No. 31 defense in the Panthers. How many carries he gets says a lot about what we can expect the rest of the season. And, of course, now Swift may not play due to a concussion he received in practice. Still worth watching whenever he does play. Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson get a boost.
- QB Andy Dalton – He lives on many waiver wires after a less than impressive game against the Cardinals when he passed for 266 yards and one score with two interceptions. He was knocked out the next week but starts this weekend versus the Vikings’ weak secondary. The Cowboys still have three very good wide receivers and a burning need to pass the ball. He’s nine years younger than Tom Brady and two years younger than Matt Ryan. If he can connect well with his wideouts this week, we need to rethink what he can do the rest of the way.
- Jaguars offense – Jake Luton needs to show he can do more but has to play against the Steelers this week. Maybe a trap game? The fantasy fortunes of James Robinson, DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault are riding on how competitive they can play. After Sunday, the Jaguars next three opponents are the Browns, Vikings and Titans. All of them softer passing defenses and a chance to at least maintain production. Granted, their final three games of the season are versus the Ravens, Bears and Colts, but we’re just trying to make it to the fantasy playoffs at this point. If Luton can give at least some indication that the offense can be average, those players can remain confident starts.
- Rookie Wideouts – Always good to see how the youngest class of wide receivers are doing. After spending so much time on them reviewing for the NFL draft and then determining where they fit onto their new teams, here’s a reminder.
Honestly, this was better than I expected but even those ranked in the 20’s are inconsistent and several of these players have missed time due to injury. Brandon Aiyuk is the biggest surprise. Jefferson. Lamb and Higgins are the best picks so far. Now that they have more experience, hopefully we’ll see better production for these last two months.