2021 Fantasy Three Things/Five Players from Sunday’s Games: Week 11
I could just copy-and-paste the opening sentence of this report every week with “Well, that was a weird week...”
I’m going to try and not retread, too much, on all the obviousness of ‘What a weird week,” but I do want to touch on it briefly, again, to keep us focused.
Every football week is weird…some massive underdogs blows out ____ team we thought was the best team in the league, and/or there’s a 1st-quarter injury, and/or there’s a weather issue, and/or some backup player is forced to play due to injury to another and pops for production out of nowhere. This is the game we play. Those are the variables we have to work with every week.
You’re not winning ONLY because of ____ thing that happened...you ‘won’ with players you chose on purpose. You can’t control injuries, byes, weather, etc. You put your best lineup forward, and for the most part for FFMers this season, we are winning more than losing. And that’s the name of the game.
I often compare Fantasy Football to Poker, and there are many parallels to that…but midseason Fantasy Football is a lot like Blackjack. I don’t care how smart a Blackjack player you are…you can’t win every hand. You know you can’t. You go into Blackjack with like a 49/51 disadvantage. You hope you’re a smart enough player to move the advantage to 51/49. The only way to win real money in Blackjack is having that ‘smart’ edge/card counting and playing enough hands overtime to let the odds settle in.
Fantasy Football BYE week periods…we think/believe that’s a time period where we have an edge with our roster, our depth, our scouting, our waiver maneuvering. We expect the bye period is a stretch of schedule where we will come out ahead not behind. You’re not winning ugly the past few weeks – you’re just winning.
One time, I’ll never forget, that I went to a casino to play Blackjack…it was like the first time in like a decade. I took my wife for her first time ever in a casino. I was gonna just play $100 total, $10 per hand. I was gonna try and run it up to $150 and leave…while she was watching her man in action. I planned on using the $50 profit to go pay for our dinner. I was going to dazzle her with my ‘skills’, her just learning that I was an amateur card counter.
I sat down at the table, after watching a few hands, I got my ten $10 chips… And I proceeded to lose nine hands in a row (doubled down on one hand) and left in 15 minutes with $0. She very earnestly, innocently asked me why I thought that was fun? Her whole life experience with Blackjack was a $100 donation in about 15 minutes in Atlantic City.
Am I a terrible Blackjack player? No. Well, I was that day. But if I had enough time and funding, I would’ve leveled out and hopefully gotten ahead. Blackjack is trying to beat a game with minor math odds to eventually win more hands than you lose to earn a profit. Whether you win a hand with a 20…or you stayed with a ‘12’ and the dealer went over, and you won that way – all basic hands won will pay the same amount. Winning ugly is still winning.
Some parallels to Blackjack with Fantasy Football… We grind through the entire season, laboring over waivers and trades, and in turmoil on sit-starts…so many moves, so many decisions to consider to buy or sell, sit or start, hit or stay – all just to gain a slight advantage. Let me play enough games. Let me see enough cards, and I’m going to win more than I lose at Blackjack. Let me see enough football games on tape. Let me work through waivers enough weeks. Eventually, I’ll win more than I lose. Sometimes ugly. Sometimes low scoring. Sometimes I get two face cards and stick on that 20 and feel great…and then the dealer flips over a 16, and I feel even better -- and then the dealer pulls a 5 and blows up my odds-on-win ‘20’ and turns it into a loss. Same for Fantasy.
It’s a war of attrition…this Fantasy Football thing. We’re counting cards, in a sense. We do it all to gain some advantage over our opponents who we hope/assume aren’t as adept – but they can get lucky any given week and hit a ‘5’ on their ‘16’ out of nowhere and beat our ‘20’. We are going to take losses, but we are going to take wins…earned wins, blowout wins, lucky wins, low scoring wins…all kinds of wins – it’s not as much luck as you think…given all the effort, reading, note taking, watching that we all do daily…we gain that slight little advantage, lead our leagues in transactions and rejected trade offers, and in the end we tend to pull out more wins than losses.
Fantasy Football, especially during the bye weeks, is a war of attrition, a battle of wits, and test of wills/patience. Sometimes Tennessee loses to Houston, out of nowhere. Sometimes Tom Brady gets throttled by Washington out of nowhere. Sometimes the Jags upset the Bills in a shocker. Fantasy Football is like real football…any given Sunday/week.
This Fantasy Week 11 was looking like a bad 50/50 win-rate week for the FFM universe after the 1pmET and 4pmET games. A slight losing record, in our tracking samples, was trending before SNF kickoff. But If Justin Herbert could have a big game and/or if Diontae Johnson came up really solid+ and/or if godforsaken Big Mike Williams could get back on track…then we might flip this board in our favor in a strong way.
Well, you know how that turned out.
Herbert was rolling. Diontae was hot right off that bat. Ross and I were texting back and forth during the game both praying for Big Mike to come and totally turnover the apple cart and make this suddenly good FFM week into a great one. The clock wound down. Big Mike wasn’t doing much after a nice 1st-series. We both were cursing the LAC staff and the heavens on how terrible Mike Williams had been mishandled and looking at the game clock and situation that there was no way LAC would even need to pass the rest of the game – and then boom https://youtu.be/ZCwSO28LWi0, Big Mike (+ Herbert boost) to the rescue and what was looking like a 45-55% win-rate for FFM tracking going into the SNF game had suddenly, strongly flipped to 65%+ win-rate if nothing too crazy happens with Tampa Bay scoring 40+ points in an air raid…and if Kenny Golladay and/or Graham Gano goes off, then we might see 70%+.
Big Mike putting people over in a momentous way, in a crazy game (they’re all crazy), in a crazy moment – some will say “I only won because of that crazy play.” But the story of the strong amount of Mike Williams ownership in FFM started in early 2021 with Dynasty reports/alerts on why to trade cheaply for Williams, and more than a few did. Then more of us snagged him middle+ of our preseason redrafts because of our projections and guidance. Others traded for Williams early 2021 season when other owners believed he was a ‘sell high’. We rode him through the disappointing last few weeks. We pushed him back out there this week on news that led me to believe they were getting to re-engage with more Big Mike. So, that lightning strike TD that put some of us over this Week 11 – it wasn’t luck, it was nine months of planning and stick-to-itiveness with a memorable payoff last night against all odds (it seemed).
Keep playing the game. Whether you’re locked into the playoffs or whether you are 1-2 games out with three weeks left. Things change in an instant. Most of FFM-based teams are running 60-65%+ win-rates and average scoring the best since our magical 2019 season. There was a ton of work put into this. You’ve read a million of our reports. You’ve acted upon alerts we had ahead of the mainstream. You made more trade offers than the rest of your league combined. You are running double most every team in your league in transactions. You are counting cards and the board is starting to flip in your direction, and/or is going to each week ahead. You are doing the work needed – don’t think it’s luck.
Winning teams…keep grinding. Keep enhancing that roster for the playoff run to come.
Chasing the playoffs from the outside teams…keep grinding. Every little spin of the Rubik’s Cube matters. Every hand dealt in this Blackjack game matters. One win changes everything next week. You play to win this week, and then we’ll deal with next week, when you’re playing from behind the 8-ball at this stage. Just don’t give up…especially this particular week.
Thanksgiving week – many will be distracted with good things, family things. Shopping things. Travel things. The media basically taking this week off with a lower volume of reporting, analysis, etc. We can make another move here this week while they relax a bit. You go enjoy the week – we’ll be watching, studying, reporting out as fast as we can to get all of us ready for the Thursday triple-header.
Tuesday Night waivers Video Q&A…on like normal.
Thursday morning pre-Detroit game Video Q&A…of course. My Happy Thanksgiving gift to you.
Sunday morning kickoff Q&A…absolutely.
Game reports all week, even on Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Yep, and yep.
We’re not taking a break this week, we’re speeding up. This week, above all weeks is our week to shine…to take advantage of the holiday weary -- time to make our move…or die trying: https://youtu.be/9qEwBi1NyBI
===== THREE THINGS… =====
-- Cordarrelle Patterson out, so Mike Davis (3-1-0, 3-20-0/4) is going to get the bulk of the work in the must-win game, right?
Ummm, no…it's a good time for Qadree Ollison (9-34-0, 2-0-0/3) to come off the practice squad and debut/try and lead the way. I’m an Ollison fan, but what are we doing with Mike Davis still on the Falcons roster at this point? What’s his purpose? Ollison may be in play to be the co-back with CPatt the rest of the way, maybe?
I was a big deep sleeper proponent of Ollison in the preseason, but he got put on the practice squad. Perhaps, his time is coming (to get a chance). He looked solid enough in his debut.
-- Damien Harris (10-56-0, 1-9-0/1) started but Rhamondre Stevenson (12-69-0, 1-6-0/1) is starting to become ‘the face of the run game’ with his tough/physical running.
This is going to be a 50-50/RBBC/hot hand approach to the finish now – like the annoying Gordon-Javonte RBBC in Denver. Any of these backs just named could be an RB1 if left to all the touches, but they’ll share touches by plan and cut into each other rendering them RB2-3s most weeks.
-- The Falcons are one of the worst teams in football…with one of the worst offenses, and Matt Ryan (19-28 for 153 yards, 0 TDs/2 INTs) is falling off faster than Big Ben now. Ryan has 3 TDs/6 INTs in his last four games as the oh-so complicated Arthur Smith offense gets figured out by defenses…with Ryan not getting any better with it.
Was it Arthur Smith or Ryan Tannehill that was the genius in Tennessee? Answer…Derrick Henry.
ATL, NYJ, HOU, and DET are the bottom of the barrel offenses in the NFL. Are there any DSTs that have an inordinate amount of these four teams in their schedule the rest of the way?
One DST kinda does, three times in the next 6 games = Jacksonville-DST schedule with them in Weeks 12, 15, and 16. If you believe the Jags D is turning a corner…then this is a real opportunity for FF purposes down the stretch/into the FF-playoffs.
Miami-DST has them scheduled Weeks 11 and 15, as the only other DST in a good schedule spot with these four dregs of NFL offenses.
-- Jonathan Taylor (32-185-4, 3-19-1/3) having a monster day made me think… In Dynasty, how huge was the decision of JT or CEH at the 1.01 in 2020 Dynasty Rookie Draft? Fortunes changed for years on that one decision. I understood the CEH in the KC offense angle and had parts of that summer where we had CEH valued a touch ahead of Taylor in a neck & neck battle of talent vs. situation…but eventually we moved to Taylor #1/a tick higher on talent winning out over situation. It was a tough call then but now that choice was monumental. The little things that become massive…
-- The BUF-DST got slaughtered here. We had rain, we had the Colts with breaks early, we had the dam break and they got smushed. The Bills aren’t suddenly terrible on defense. They’ve been a top DST most of the season. It happens to good+ teams/DSTs every week it seems…some shocking event that’s a 180 from logic.
-- It’s hard to bench Michael Pittman (2-23-0/5) these days, but this matchup with Tre’Davious White (7 tackles) in the rain put it as a shaky start. If you didn’t bench him, you’re not crazy…but this low output was very much on the table for happening. It did. Nothing wrong with Pittman. Bad script went against him here.
-- Cam Newton (21-27 for 189 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 10-46-1) had the type of game we expected…just with passing TDs. 10 carries…check. Rushing TD…check. Less than 200 yards passing…check. Two passing TDs…not-check, a surprise. Nice for the spot start if you used him with Kyler in crisis.
I thought Cam looked OK. He’s lost a step but still solid. Could just be a bit rusty running.
-- Washington rookie TE John Bates (3-23-0/3) got his first start and his 2nd-game in a row with 3 catches. I think Ricky Seals-Jones could be out again next week, and Logan Thomas doesn’t seem close…if they’re both out again Week 12, then Bates is a deep sleeper TE option again.
-- My whole Antonio Gibson (19-95-0) redraft theory has blown up in my face. I thought Washington would lose to Tampa Week 10 and then Carolina Week 11, and then be far enough out of the playoffs to have an excuse to shutdown Gibson to heal his shin – so, I encouraged everyone to make trades away on Gibson a few weeks ago. Instead, classic NFL, the WFTs are suddenly very good and win two in a row as underdogs with many key injuries affecting them…and winning games with actual in-game leads where they just run heavy to work the clock…primarily with Gibson.
Now, that Wahsington is back in the hunt…throw my ‘sell Gibson’ theory out, for now. Now, he’s just an RB2-3 you pray gets a TD shot to make it FF-worth it to strong RB2.
-- Coming off their BYE…coming off cutting Le’Veon Bell…Devonta Freeman (16-49-1, 6-31-0/6) has become the lead back for the Ravens. The lead back for BAL is a legit RB2 with some upside. It’s his to lose now. Latavius Murray (10-32-0, 2-1-0/2) is the 40 part of the 60/40 now.
-- Darnell Mooney (5-121-1/16) had a sweet FF day off an excellent 60-yard TD catch and run play. Three TDs in his last 5 games, and he’s filled with talent…but this passing game isn’t good enough to fill you with confidence to think of him as any more than a WR3. I mean, look at the stat line – 5 catches, on SIXTEEN targets. Super talented but superbad situation for FF for him. LOVE this player…hate this spot, but talent is starting to trump the situation.
-- If Andy Dalton (11-23 for 201 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) is forced to start it would be better for the passing game for Fantasy for the WRs, but especially for Allen Robinson…much better for him with Dalton than Fields, but not much more than a WR2-3 projection.
-- The Tim Boyle (15-23 for 77 yards, 0 TD/2 INT) era did not get off to a rousing start. This era will last one more week, most likely, into a Thanksgiving Day start…which is great news for the opposing Bears-DST.
Thanksgiving football looks like it will kickoff with a hot Boyle v. Dalton marquee affair. I planned to eat our dinner during this game, so I could be ready for the real games played later.
-- Remember that great series of runs (for 14 and 42 yards, the 42-yards for a TD) by Godwin Igwebuike (1-0-0/1) last week? I know his own coaches don’t. The Lions have played 102 minutes and 9 seconds of football since that 42-yard TD run...as the last time Igwebuike carried the ball.
It’s like a hostage situation number of days count.
I need a chalkboard in the office: ‘Number of football minutes since the last Igwebuike carry: 102:09’
-- Baker Mayfield (15-29 for 176 yards, 1 TD/2 INTs) is dealing with more injured body parts than healthy ones. Whether you see it as tough, or smart, or dumb…I know this: it’s bad for FF output from the Browns’ wide receivers. I officially have no interest in DPJ-Landry-Higgins or anyone else they try and roll out there.
-- The question as to whether the Jags-DST could continue their run/follow up on their prior two weeks of nice defensive play…is ‘no’. No, they cannot. They are only a flyer Week 12 at terrible Atlanta.
-- Jimmy Garoppolo (16-22 for 176 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) has thrown for 2 TDs in a game in three straight games as the 49ers offense is starting to heat up/get efficient. Six passing TDs in the last three games…same amount as Mahomes, two more than Josh Allen in that span. Kirk Cousins has them all beat with 7 TD passes his last three games.
-- Deebo Samuel (8-79-1, 1-15-0/2) ran the ball six times in his first 8 games of the 2021 season. He’s run the ball 5 times (Wk10) and now 8 times (Wk11) in his last two games. It’s definitely ‘a thing’ now. Shanahan has recommitted to Deebo as a runner, so I’m not looking to trade him high anymore. I will, but the price is much higher.
-- This is not breaking news, but Justin Jefferson (8-169-2/10) is pretty amazing. There’s Cooper Kupp as the 2021 leader on the ‘how are they always wide open?’ list, with Davante Adams the defending champ of that from 2020, and very much in the 2021 race for that top label. Jefferson is in that rarefied air of WRs who seem to be open every play despite the fact that everyone knows he’s likely to get the ball. He’s on the current Mt. Rushmore of Fantasy WRs you never question: Kupp-Adams-Jefferson-Tyreek.
-- A.J. Dillon (11-53-0, 6-44-0/6) had a solid showing in his start here, but he didn’t blow up the stat sheets. The long passing game was there, and Aaron Rodgers had his best game of 2021 airing it out…so, AJD wasn’t as needed here, nor were they running around the goal line much due to the medium and long TD passes. He should get one more clear start before Aaron Jones attempts to return.
-- I know everyone hates Kirk Cousins (24-35 for 341 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT), but he’s averaging 2.2 TD passes per game in his last five games. He’s thrown for 3 TDs in a game four times this season, including in this one…against a defense that recently squashed Kyler-Mahomes-Stafford.
-- Of the nine games going at once at 1pmET, this one was the one I paid least attention to among them. But every time I looked at it, Elijah Moore (8-141-1/11) was doing something. He’s definitely Joe Flacco’s (24-39 for 291 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT) main look…and has pretty well established he’s their #1 WR, no matter who is at QB.
-- Michael Carter (9-63-0, 1-2-0/1) left this game with an injury, and it was Tevin Coleman (5-18-0, 1-2-0/1) who took over the carries from there. You have to assume if Carter is down, then Coleman is the back to own…as unexciting as that seems.
-- Myles Gaskin (23-89-0, 3-7-1/4) was helped off the field late in the game…he may be in question for Week 12. Is Salvon Ahmed (DNP) the one to turn to for FF? The thing is, Ahmed was set INACTIVE this game so that ancient/awful Duke Johnson could be active for the 1st-time this season. You’d think it’s Ahmed, but it could be Duke, or a split…which is sad.
-- As I suspected, Miles Sanders (16-94-0) was rammed back into the primary role…and he tried to fumble it away, so he got benched for a stretch, and Jordan Howard (10-63-0) and Boston Scott (6-16-0, 2-2-20/2) came in and straightened out the offense. Then Sanders got back in, and the Saints got back into the game that they were getting blown out of -- but there was not enough time for the comeback. This Philly offense is way better without Sanders, but he’s not ever going to be seen that way…to Philly’s own death they will stick by him.
-- Trevor Siemian (22-40 for 214 yards, 3 TDs/2 INTs) is turning into Trevor Siemian, and that’s a problem for the offense/wins and for Deonte Harris (2-11-0/5) now. I’ve seen enough. Harris is really playing well but Siemian isn’t going to be the light for his FF-fuse.
-- Last week, I mentioned that Marcus Davenport (10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4 QB hits) was going nuts with output of late, and really trending well all season – just his season has a big gap in it for his injury time missed. Another 1.5 sacks here, now 4.5 sacks in his last 3 games…5.5 sacks in 6 games played this season. Nine QB hits in his last 3 games. Tougher matchups with BUF and DAL the next two weeks, but he looks so good right now he may be matchup proof.
-- Well, so much for the D’Onta Foreman (7-25-0, 1-15-0/1) revenge bump. Tennessee started Adrian Peterson (9-40-0, 2-4-0/2), who did his usual nothing. Then we saw Dontrell Hilliard (7-35-0, 8-47-0/10) in the game early…who did the Jeremy McNichols role 2x better. Foreman entered the game late-1st-quarter and was his usual physical self in the (then) pouring rain and just trucking defenders on the Titans best drive of the game…and then the Titans started to die, Foreman was barely in the game, they stopped running the ball, needing to pass to catchup…and – what a mess.
The best Titans RB to own for Week 12? None of the above…or Adrian Peterson, whose name means more to Mike Vrabel than current day production.
-- Rex Burkhead (18-40-0) got 18 carries in this game because this whole Texans organization has its head so far up an ‘anything Patriots’ ass, due to the ex-Pat GM and spiritual advisor to the GM, that they are literal human colonoscopies for Belichick. The Texans got a lead and salted it away with the 2.2 yards per carry stylings of Burkhead. This offense is so horrific…2.2 yards per carry from their RB group in total as well and no TD passes from their QB, and yet somehow…they won.
Would someone explain to me how the Titans are the best team in football? They’ve lost to the Jets and the Texans now this season. Beating Buffalo, Kansas City, and the Rams is not the feat everyone thinks it is – it’s good, but no longer ‘wow’.
-- Marcus Johnson (0-0-0/1) was probably going to have another 100+ yard game here but he grabbed his hamstring on an end zone shot early in the game and was done…a nice zero for anyone who took a shot on him this week.
-- It was nice while it lasted, for two games, but the new Raiders head coach is going off a cliff with this team. LV is falling apart 2nd-half of the season, like they’ve been for the past few years. If they wanna build the offense around Josh Jacobs (9-37-0, 5-24-0/7) then they get what they deserve…losses.
-- Example of the Raiders self-inflicted death… Bryan Edwards (0-0-0/0) flashed some of that hope AGAIN Week 10. Did they follow that up Week 11…expand it? Nope…not one target. The terrific GM job of signing DeSean Jackson? Not one target here for him either.
-- You knew it was coming…teams adjusting to Ja’Marr Chase (3-32-1/6) – his third under 50 yard receiving game in-a-row in this game. Chase scored a TD, however, to avoid anyone in the fawning football media noticing the steep tail-off. He’s caught 12 of his last 28 targets in that stretch…a 42.9% catch-rate in that last three-game span.
-- NFL head coaches will not quit their preordained RB ‘starter’, no matter what results/outputs are played out in front of their face.
The Eagles go right back to Miles Sanders. The Bears forgot Khalil Herbert immediately when David Montgomery returned. The Titans are gonna push Adrian Peterson over all things. And here, KC pushed Clyde Edwards Helaire (12-63-1, 2-13-0/2) heavy, upon his return from IR, despite Darrel Williams (5-15-0, 1-11-0/3) playing so well the past few weeks.
No sense in complaining about it – just a reminder for me…the NFL never changes, never adjusts to alternative success – because it wasn’t the coach’s plan/idea, so deviation will not be allowed to occur…it must be snuffed out ASAP. Game on with CEH as a disappointing RB2 like usual ahead.
That’s why the current Cordarrelle Patterson push is a modern miracle…that wasn’t the initial plan, for him to be their best RB…and they still don’t fully give into it…but at least they have some.
-- Three games in a row without Tyron Smith, and Dak Prescott (28-43 for 216 yards, 0 TD/2 INT) has thrown for under 240 yards in two of those 3 games with 4 TDs/3 INTs, and a (1-2) record.
-- Tyron out doesn’t help Ezekiel Elliott (9-32-0, 6-36-0/6) either. He has 51-41-32 yards rushing in his last three games.
However, Zeke has been under 70 yards rushing in a game in five-straight games. Not sure what is happening there…but if you think your RBs are killing you, ask current owners how much they love Zeke lately.
-- Rondale Moore (11-51-0/11) had quite a game here…the kinda game you want to see from him – a bunch of bubble screens, etc., to get him going with the ball. However, he never seems to break anything off like he did in college or even earlier in the season. Not sure what’s happening, and he doesn’t look bad at all…he just doesn’t look like that star I thought he was, yet.
I don’t think the Cardinals have found religion with RoMo targeting…I think this was just a Colt McCoy safe play game plan. Moore goes back to a #4-5 option when Kyler returns.
-- Pete Carroll was BEAMING about Rashaad Penny’s (2-19-0) practice week and the opportunity he has with Chris Carson gone, and then we saw Penny actually START this game…and he blasted off for a sweet 18-yard run, and I thought – hot damn, here we go! Of course, I failed to apply my ‘NFL head coaches and O-C’s are idiots logic to the situation. Penny didn’t get his next touch for several drives…and it was just one more touch for the whole game as Alex Collins (10-36-0) did nothing, as Penny sat and watched him do nothing. Later DeeJay Dallas (4-25-1, 1-2-0/2) would get touches…not Penny.
Some things never change. When it comes to running backs, nothing ever changes.
*LATE NOTE: Penny had a sore hammy after that first carry I'm told, but did get in a few more times...so there is an excuse here now for his lack of usage.
-- Russell Wilson (14-26 for 207 yards, 0 TDs/0 INT) has 0 TD passes in two games/8 quarters of play since returning from his finger injury. He has played top pass defenses, but suddenly this is Russell Wilson…a QB3? Actually, this is what happens when you have a terrible O-Line…whether via injury or just your normal O-Line. For Seattle, this is their O-Line…so, you have to worry every week now.
Seattle is becoming a ‘good matchup’ for opposing good DSTs.
-- I knew Mike Williams (5-97-1/6) was gonna come through this week! Actually, I was supremely confident in it when he was getting a bunch of targets on the 1st-drive. But then I was cursing the coaches and Herbert as he got forgotten for about the next three quarters…but then the late game miracle happened, and we all went home happy.
Williams looks fantastic, but he still is not what Herbert is looking for as often as he should. All we can do is stick by Mike and hope this continues to re-engage.
-- Najee Harris (12-39-1, 5-20-0/6) saved another weak performance with a short TD plunge. This was one of the worst games I’ve seen Najee turn in. He’s incredibly overrated and made worse by the lack of blocking on this team. More on what I see on his game recap this week.
-- Pat Freiermuth (4-11-1/7) got his TD in the 4th-quarter…but he also just missed one to start the game. He was the one on a 4th & goal play on a TE shuffle pass that fell a yard short. He is Ben’s guy…a TD threat every week.
DEN = Noah Fant vs. Albert O. in the two games since Albert O. has returned from injury and they’ve both played together (Weeks 8 and 10)…
3.0 rec. (3.0 targets), 55.5 yards, 0.0 TDs, 25.0 snaps per game = Albert O.
5.0 rec. (6.5 targets), 49.0 yards, 0.0 TDs, 44.5 snaps per game = Fant
Albert is looking better and better week after week…and Fant is nice too, but he’s got a talent Albert O. crawling up his butt/splitting into his output more and more of late. Could be trouble/suppressing for Fant in a lower volume passing game…with Jeudy back now as well.
LAR = I didn’t love what I saw of Van Jefferson in the new Rams world post-Robert Woods on SFN Week 10. No great connection with Stafford. You can see the OBJ push attempt (like in CLE, and it will fail like in CLE…but they’ll still push). Jefferson didn’t look up to the task to take a step up in his first chance. He’s only caught 56.6% of his passes this season, which is odd in this offense with a ‘hands’ guy. I’m willing to see about one more card dealt here before I bail…
===== FIVE PLAYERS… =====
*** FIVE WAIVER PLAYERS TO TRUST***
*Looking at players owned less than 50% on average in leagues across the whole FF-landscape. Your league, obviously, may be different/deeper.
**Adding a school grade to show my interest level (A-F)…and I don’t mean that a D-F grade is ‘bad’/just showing how pressing/important to me, your situation may differ due to injury, etc..
***FAAB % mentioned at any time below is based on a 17-20 man roster league. And it’s hard to predict the right bid % because every league, situation, and lineup needs are so different. So, doing the best I can to ‘project’ (i.e. ‘guess’) what they will be based on early chatter.
HORRIFIC week to find help on waivers, at least as we start the week.
*Again, note…not a grade on talent…just how important/urgent/great the waiver move is in context.
1a) RB Tevin Coleman, NYJ (Grade: D+)
When Michael Carter went down Week 11, the Jets turned to Tevin Coleman. If you’re RB desperate, if Carter down, TC will get touches. Probably won’t do much with them, but he’s some kinda mild hope as many chase Ty Johnson…who has some PPR viability each week, but doesn’t seem to be the main ball carrier thought for Saleh.
1b) RB Ty Johnson, NYJ (Grade D+)
When Michael Carter went down, Tevin Coleman got the carries from then on in. Johnson barely touched the ball with Flacco at QB. But if you want a long shot hope he ends up to be the last man standing in this backfield (Tevin always gets hurt), then it’s something in this dreadful week of waivers.
2) WR Curtis Samuel, WSH (Grade: D+)
DeAndre Carter has been getting some TD action the last few weeks. When Samuel can go, Carter will be sent to the bench for fully starting Samuel – and that could be Week 12…for a Washington team suddenly with playoff life.
Samuel is some hope at an upside WR…really, based on national FF player ownership percentages…the under 50% owned crowd…he is the best hope for plucking a WR2 viable WR out of nowhere. He also may get hurt 3 plays into returning…he might be a random WR3 flop with Heinicke, but he’s the one guy out there with WR1-2 talent and may be available for nothing or close to it. No one is really prowling for Samuel in typical 12-team redrafts.
He just started back practicing last week and hoped to be ready Week 11, so he should be on for Week 12.
3) RB Salvon Ahmed, MIA (Grade: D) *If Gaskin is even going to miss time. Not sure at this point.
Myles Gaskin went down late in Week 11, not sure how severe the issue is. The easy thought is Ahmed, but not-so-fast…Ahmed was made inactive for Duke Johnson to be activated this game. Seriously? It may be Duke that has some FF hope? I doubt it. Duke J. was shot a long time ago. I’ll see what the tape says, but this has to be Ahmed with Miami coming on strong.
4) RB Adrian Peterson, TEN (Grade D)
I prefer D’Onta Foreman, but NFL head coaches are gonna be NFL head coaches. AP will always start and be in for the goal line work. Eventually, I guess, AP will be the lead…that’s what he thinks, and said all last week, and Week 11 didn’t make me think he was lying.
Much better for non-PPR.
5) WR Tyler Johnson, TB (Grade: D-)
Assuming Antonio Brown may just be done for 2021, for all intents and purposes…Tyler Johnson as a #3 WR on the most high-flying passing game in football is appealing, has WR3 hopes.
***FIVE WAIVER PLAYERS TO DISTRUST***
1) RB Rex Burkhead, NE
Don’t be impressed by the 18 carries. Mark Ingram used to get a ton of carries for this team, and he did FF-nothing with them because this offense blows. If you are strapped at RB, then this is a live body…but that’s about it. There’s no upside here.
2) WR Dez Fitzpatrick, TEN
The rookie caught a TD pass…after Marcus Johnson then A.J. Brown went out of the game hurt. There is no rookie-lust event about to happen here. Fitz is mediocre and so is the Tennessee passing game.
3) RB Dontrell Hilliard, TEN
If the Titans cut Jeremy McNichols and retain Hilliard instead, then there’s RB3/PPR hopes in games where the Titans will be down and chasing…like this past week, to Houston, somehow. I assume McNichols is active next week, then Hilliard goes back to the practice squad.
4) WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, TEN
Ditto the Dez Fitzpatrick notes. Now, if Johnson and Brown are out…then NWI has WR3 potential but he’s really not a great talent and this TEN passing game is pretty weak, and won't be facing Houston-types ahead.
5) WR Rondale Moore, ARI
11 targets, 11 catches! Is he turning the corner? No, I don’t think so. Was just a controlled game plan for McCoy and with Hopkins out. Bye Week 12, then the big boys are back Week 13 and RoMo goes back to a nice #4-5 option in the passing game.
***FIVE BUY LOW PLAYERS***
*NOT ‘Buy at any price’…it’s Buy LOW. Try to find a deal. If none to be had, walk away. It’s also NOT…go immediately ask the owner ‘What do you want for ____’, don’t telegraph your desires.*
1) QB Patrick Mahomes, KC (Trying to buy off the current owner’s frustration)
If you’re in a dogfight for the playoffs and want to push the chips all-in…Mahomes has been erratic of late. People keep whispering/shouting that ‘he’s been figured out’. We got a reprieve from that after last week’s 5 TD event, but no TDs this week means we’ll pick up where we left off complaining – current owners, non-FFM are freaking out about Mahomes.
Mahomes can get so hot he could carry your team to the title game. If he stays hot-cold, then you’re going down…like most teams are anyway.
2) RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Trying to buy as an injury-worry RB2)
Missed last week and could miss this week. If you’re in great shape and want to just add cheaper assets for the title run, and don’t need him right now…then a desperate team with CPatt could ditch him for fear/need for this week.
3) WR Adam Thielen, MIN (Trying to buy as a WR2)
In Dynasty, and somewhat in Redraft, people see Thielen as old/not Justin Jefferson and they are happy to move him for some young, fresh name – that’s how you approach it. If it’s not true, then no deal and you move on. Just trying to bottom fish for veteran players that come cheaper than they should for the stretch run.
4) QB Dak Prescott, DAL (Trying to buy as a fading QB1/back-end QB1)
Prescott has really hit a wall the last three games, but some of the blame can go to the lack of Tyron Smith available on the O-Line the last 3 games. If Dak gets Tyron back, he tends to be a much higher producer with that key OL protecting him.
Current owners have to be frustrated. You might catch this at just the right time for a cheaper deal…if you’re having issues at QB.
5) WR Michael Pittman, IND (Trying to buy as an untrusted WR1.5-2)
Pittman is one of the best WRs in the NFL, and he has the numbers that should make owners fall in love with him – but many believe Pittman is a ‘sell high’/illegitimate WR1 name…he’s not discussed by all the pundits as one of the great ones. If you can catch an owner disrespecting his name, coming off a bad FF game (thanks to Tre’Davious White and rain) – it’s a good time to see if you can steal him. FYI, he still does have a bye to come (Week 14).
***FIVE SELL HIGH PLAYERS***
*NOT ‘Sell at any price’…it’s sell HIGH/sell good. Try to find someone in love with your player or seen as a neat value thrown into a multiplayer deal. If no one respects the player/buys right…then walkaway.*
1) WR D.J. Moore, CAR
Caught a TD pass…’Cam is back’ hype is still real – it’s the perfect chance to run from this mess. Cam is not going to throw many TD passes or for many yards. DJM will be starved for numbers most weeks. He still carries a name and a hope eternal by fans.
2) TE Adam Trautman, NO
Big game vs. the absolute worst defense against the TE (the Eagles)…a perfect time to cash out on him in any type of deal. This upcoming week will be filled with ‘Trautman is breaking out’ stories and proclamations. He is not…he had a good game against the worst TE-D. His value will rise this entire week. I think he looks stiff and being tied to Trevor Siemian is not a great thing.
3) WR A.J. Brown, TEN
Carries a big name, but he looks near-terrible this year. Without Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill (and Arthur Smith) has been exposed as not-that-good. AJB has a name that people love/desire. I’m not giving him away, but I will try to upgrade myself to get away from this passing game ahead.
4) RB Najee Harris, PIT
The Steelers offense is terrible. Their O-Line is putrid. Harris is the single biggest hype name in Fantasy…you can get multiple good/great things for this to help reconfigure/upgrade your roster.
Najee has had like two big games, and nine mediocre-to-dud ones. At least Ja’Marr Chase is producing with his rookie hype. Najee’s production is not close to his hype.
5) TE Zach Ertz, ARI
Two TDs…huge game/moment for a TE. He’s just a generic TE1, like 15 other TEs are every week behind Kelce-Kittle. If you can leverage this into something, using Ertz as the big sweetener, etc., go for it. When Kyler and Hopkins are back, everything changes.
6) QB Cam Newton, CAR
In the current hysteria of Cam, you might be able to take this waiver wire player and turn him into your chase for a bigger QB. Like your suddenly strong _____ at RB/WR (like a Terry McLaurin, as an example, coming off a TD week…) PLUS Cam for…Mahomes (in a 6pts pass TD league)? Josh Allen (4 or 6pts)? Kyler for the Week 13 run to the finish?
The majority of people in any given league don’t care about or want Cam…you’re not trying to sell there. You are trying to find the secret Cam lover. If your offer is quickly rejected with no follow up, then you know Cam doesn’t tickle them and you move on.
***FIVE DEEP SLEEPER WAIVER PICKUPS***
*Total flyer/lowly owned or not-owned players
1) RB Rashaad Penny, SEA
Perhaps, in this lost season, Pete Carroll finally goes ‘screw it’ and just gives the backfield to Penny to see what happens? What’s he got to lose? Maybe he might win? Penny looked great this week…on his two carries. Carroll has been praising him. Maybe the switch happens as soon as this week?
2) RB Qadree Ollison, ATL
We don’t know if CPatt will play this week. We don’t know if Ollison is above Mike Davis now (after he was Week 11). We don’t know if Wayne Gallman will factor in. A lot of ‘ifs’ but the end result might be the Falcons push Ollison a little bit to see what they got here.
3) RB J.D. McKissic, WSH
In PPR, if people start to bail on him…he still has value, IF you believe Washington won’t keep up with this ‘winning’. When Washington is down, it’s more McKissic in the passing game…and he can have some killer PPR moments. Plus, you have the potential Gibson gets hurt with that shin issue, and JD is called upon to be a big part of the backfield.
4) RB Jaret Patterson, WSH
If Gibson does go down, then Patterson would be the lead runner with McKissic as the passing game back who takes a good slice of the carries too.
5) TE Donald Parham, LAC
Very slowly, the Chargers might finally be starting to realize Jared Cook is killing them…and Parham is a weapon that opens up the passing game that much more. If Parham is ever just pushed as the starter, he’s a TE1 in all formats.
6) TE Josiah Deguara, GB
Two catches in a game in four straight games and got his first TD Week 11…he’s developing a relationship, a bit, with Rodgers. He’s not a star in the making, but he could be a TD hope any given week.
7) WR Marcus Johnson, TEN
Depends upon how bad his hamstring injury is – but if he’s coming back, he’ll be a WR2-3…maybe the most trusted WR by Tannehill. I have him this low because of the injury we have to see about. If he were fully healthy, he’d be #1 on the list.
8) TE John Bates, WSH
IF Ricky Seals-Jones is out again. And IF Logan Thomas is not back…you get Bates as the starter against a Seattle defense that just allowed Zach Ertz to go nuts on them in Week 11.
-- FIVE…IT’S OK TO QUIT THEM PLAYERS (for REDRAFT) --
1) WR DeSean Jackson, LV
1 catch his first game, Week 10. No targets Week 11. If you took a chance, for some reason, you can fold.
2) RB Ty’Son Williams, BAL
Le’Veon cut. Latavius just coming back. Could it be Ty’Son with some opportunity? No. I’m not sure he even played a snap in the Week 11 game.
3) RB Khalil Herbert, CHI
He’s on a ‘pay no mind list’ since David Montgomery returned. The great work he did weeks ago, doesn’t even warrant a few relief touches behind DM. Just a random handcuff play.
4) QB Trey Lance, SF
The 49ers have gotten to .500, a two-game win streak. They won’t switch off Jimmy G. until late in the season, if they’re out of the playoffs. The Lance dream has died as SF has won games.
5) QB Taysom Hill, NO
Sean Payton will NOT make this switch because he knows better than everyone else. Doesn’t matter if they’ve lost three in a row with Siemian. Payton is not going to change to satisfy the media or fans begging for it.
***STREAMING DSTs OFF WAIVER(?) OPTIONS***--
Week 12 = at DET…you get them versus Tim Boyle? A true Thanksgiving Day miracle. One time use, then ditch.
Not a bad stretch coming up Weeks 12-15, or just Weeks 13-15. Patrick Peterson is back, and that’s a big boost to help in the favorable matchups.
Week 12 = at SF (might be OK, I’m not that afraid of SF…but it’s not optimal)
Week 13 = at DET
Week 14 = home TNF v. PIT
Week 15 = at CHI
A nice stretch to finish the FF-season for a solid enough defense…
Week 12 = at NYG (which may or may not be good depending upon the injured getting healthy for NYG)
Week 13 = at NYJ
Week 14 = BYE
Week 15 = vs. WSH
Week 16 = vs. NYG
Week 17 = at WSH
We’re seeing a hot schedule opportunity Weeks 12-17. I like this defense better with Russell Wilson at QB to help control possession, but that’s even getting wobbly as of late. A top 10 PPG allowed defense…it’s an OK defense with a few good matchups the rest of the way.
The issue being – will they continue to fight now that the season is essentially over.
Week 12 = at WSH
Week 13 = vs. SF
Week 14 = at HOU
Week 15 = at LAR (no good)
Week 16 = v. CHI
Week 17 = v. DET
A six week stretch facing four of the 5 worst offenses in the NFL.
The Chiefs have held their last four opponents to 17-7-14-9 during their 4-game win streak. Three great home game matchups in the next five weeks.
Week 12 bye provides many an opportunity to grab and sit on for the schedule starting Week 13…if you desire.
Week 12 = bye
Week 13 = DEN
Week 14 = LV
Week 15 = at LAC
Week 16 = PIT
The Packers have thwarted Kyler-Mahomes-Russ in back-to-back-to-back weeks…then got smoked by the Vikings. They’re still just getting healthy on defense. I think the Packers D is better than what just happened v. MIN, and if you do…they are a consideration for Weeks 14-18 on schedule, maybe. Not great, but some hope.
Week 12 v. LAR is not wonderful, and Week 13 is a bye
Weeks 14-18 would be nice, not great, but OK with upside on their emerging greatness: CHI-BAL-CLE-MIN-DET
Week 12 = v. ATL
They looked so good for two weeks, and then got rocked by SF. Can they bounce back vs. awful Atlanta?
-- Sleeper/lesser-name IDPs whose box scores or live watch caught my attention --
1) LB Quincy Williams, NYJ
I am hoping the Jets are done with their ridiculous Jarrad Davis era attempt…as soon as Davis was eligible to play, they benched Williams and went with Davis, and the previously scrappy tough defense gave up 31-45-45 with Davis starting in place of Williams. Back to Williams in Week 11, and whaddya know…just 24 points allowed, and Williams resumed his stat sheet popping ways – 15 tackles, 2 TFLs.
When Williams has started and played 50%+ of the defensive snaps, the Jets defense has allowed: 25-26-24-27 points in games. Anyone with two eyes could see Williams was far superior to Davis, but it took Robert Saleh three weeks and 40+ PPG allowed on average before he figured it out.
These coaches really know their own talent. How dare we question them…why they get to work at 4am!
*So they can use the team gym for 2+ hours, then the shower and massage access, then a free cooked-to-order breakfast. I suspect they get to the office 4am and actually start looking at football things around 9-10 am before a gourmet lunch is prepared for them around noon, and then a steam or sauna after a jog and/or another nice workout. They might do 4-6 hours worth of actual football stuff, which half of that is media and meetings, not studying tape.
2) LB Alex Highsmith, PIT
In his last five games: 6.2 tackles, 0.50 sacks, 1.0 TFLs, 1.8 QB hits per game. A very talented pass rusher who will give effort in all phases. I’m a big fan of his from scouting him in college, and he’s coming into his own now with the Steelers as a starter in 2021.
3) DE Robert Quinn, CHI
3.5 sacks Week 11…that’s pretty obvious, but with Khalil Mack gone and Akiem Hicks out Quinn stepped up Week 11, but he’s been having a pretty terrific 2021 renaissance as it is – now 10.0 sacks in 9 games this season. Detroit Week 12 is another hot spot. Weeks 13-14 vs. ARI-GB may not be as fruitful.
4) LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, HOU
His numbers keep ticking up as the season wears on, and as Houston loses all their other defenders. 8.3 tackles per game the past three weeks with a TFL, an 82-yard INT return, 2 PDs and a forced fumble in that span.
5) LB Tyus Bowser, BAL
4.3 tackles, 0.63 sacks, 0.75 TFLs, 1.75 QB hits per game in the past four game run for a very talented Bowser, who may finally be coming into his own.
6) CB Chris Westry, BAL
John Harbaugh loves this 6’4”/200 big corner. The Ravens had Anthony Averett and Jimmy Smith inactive and Westry started here (just back off IR two weeks ago after a 9-week absence) and had 3 tackles, 2 PDs. I don’t know if he’ll start when those guys are healed back up, but Westry is a neat-looking big corner prospect for sure.
7) SAF Andre Cisco, JAX
4 tackles in 11 defensive snaps and 13 special teams snaps. His best tally of the year for a great SAF prospect who has barely played on defense this season. Perhaps he’s getting closer to the starting lineup as the Jags defense faltered Week 11.
Outtro: Happy Thanksgiving… https://youtu.be/SDUDlAEv5pU