Stars of Week 11
QB: Dak Prescott, DAL: 29-46, 444 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
RB: Christian McCaffrey, CAR: 14 carries, 70 yards, 0 TDs (11 catches, 121 yards, 0 TDs)
WR: John Brown, BUF: 9 catches, 137 yards, 2 TDs
TE: Ryan Griffin, NYJ: 5 catches, 109 yards, 1 TD
Week 11 turned out to be relatively quiet from a statistical perspective, at least compared to other weeks. We lead off with Dallas Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott torching the toothless Detroit Lions’ secondary, with 444 yards and 3 TD tosses. Prescott has been phenomenal for the Cowboys this year, and he’s a clear QB1 in fantasy leagues.
We transition now to the best fantasy football player, Carolina Panthers’ RB Christian McCaffrey. While he didn’t find the end zone against the Falcons, McCaffrey nearly accumulated 200 total yards. He’s an absolute machine, and most importantly, he’s consistent. Those of you in PPR leagues were aided greatly by his 11 receptions as well. The only question remaining for McCaffrey is whether or not he’ll break the all-time NFL yards from scrimmage mark for a season, which is currently held by former Titans’ RB Chris Johnson at 2,509.
How about the season that Buffalo Bills’ WR John Brown is having? Brown has become QB Josh Allen’s primary target, and he’s quietly produced solid WR2 numbers. Brown’s a weekly start at this point.
Last but not least, we get a return of New York Jets’ tight end Ryan Griffin to the weekly honor roll. This is the same Ryan Griffin who I mentioned that you don’t need to worry about for fantasy purposes. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…no, my opinion hasn’t changed. Griffin remains a low end TE2, and now he’s had two solid weeks this season. Griffin had -2 yards receiving in week 10, so I stand firm in my position here.
Week 11 Takeaways – A Closer Look
Each week we take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.
- Jonathan Williams, RB – IND: 13 carries, 116 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: The Indianapolis Colts have been set at RB with Marlon Mack having a career season. Mack has rushed for 862 yards in 10 games, while also finding the end zone 4 times. All was going well this past Sunday against the Jaguars until Mack broke his hand. In came reserve RB Jonathan Williams, and he amassed 116 yards over just 13 carries. Williams is actually third on the Colts’ rushing down depth chart, behind Mack and Jordan Wilkins. But with Wilkins inactive for the game, Williams jumped in and didn’t disappoint. Movin forward, we know that Nyheim Hines will continue as the Colts’ third down back. We also know that Mack will be out for a few weeks at least. So, which Colts’ RB do you add? It’s murky, as Wilkins will very possibly take over the lead role assuming he returns this week, which is currently the plan. Most likely, there’ll be some level of time share between Wilkins and Williams, with Hines remaining firmly entrenched in the third down role. We won’t know until Thursday’s matchup with Houston, but my hunch here is that Wilkins will be the best back to own, albeit he won’t be more than a low end flex option. Williams will receive carries as well, so it makes sense to add him to your waiver queue as well. But I would prioritize Wilkins over Williams, as Wilkins was ranked ahead of Williams on the depth chart for a reason. We’ll see how things unfold this week, but just be cautious with the Colts’ RB situation, as it’s not clear cut.
- Bo Scarbrough, RB – DET: 14 carries, 55 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: Bill Belichick’s former assistants have been hired as NFL head coaches throughout the years, with very few of them actually experiencing success. Detroit Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia is one a former Belichick assistant, and it’s still too early to render judgment on his success given that he’s only in year 2 on the job. That being said, Patricia has successfully emulated at least one of Belichick’s traits – he frustrates the fantasy crowd with unpredictable usage of his running backs. With RB Ty Johnson back to health from his concussion and JD McKissic also at his disposal, Patricia instead elected to utilize Bo Scarbrough – promoted on Saturday from the practice squad and yet to have an NFL carry – as the primary RB against the Cowboys. The former Alabama RB had a nice NFL debut, scoring a TD and averaging just under 4 yards per carry on 14 totes. Scarbrough also outsnapped his RB mates with 31 snaps versus 18 for Johnson and 14 for McKissic. What does this mean going forward? It’s too early to declare Scarbrough as the lead back going forward. But in any event, none of these three Lions’ RBs are more than a low end flex play…at best. Scarbrough’s ceiling is limited by his lack of involvement in the passing game. The Lions face the run-D friendly Redskins next week, so if you’re in a deep league and need an RB, Scarbrough is worth a shot. But he…along with McKissic and Johnson…are low ceiling, low floor options. Otherwise, I would suggest avoiding the Lions’ RBs altogether.
- Deebo Samuel, WR – SF: 8 catches, 134 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: Going into the 2019 season, the 49ers had an interesting group of WRs, but not much certainty as to who would step up. Dante Pettis was a preseason fantasy favorite, but he’s fallen so far into the doghouse that he’s now behind Kendrick Bourne on the depth chart. The 49ers’ WR question has been answered though as we sit here following week 11 – it’s trade acquisition Emmanuel Sanders and rookie second round pick Deebo Samuel. A few weeks back we looked at Sanders’ fit with the 49ers, and this week we examine Deebo Samuel’s ascendance. Samuel has found his place in the passing game over the past three weeks, as he’s accumulated 286 yards over 20 receptions, all while being targeted 28 times. Sanders’ acquisition has helped open the field up for the speedy Samuel. His lone TD came during week 2, but that’s not too concerning – we know that TDs are fluky. The targets are there, as are his skillset and his role in the offense. Samuel has WR3/flex status moving forward. And for those of you who are already looking at next year, keep an eye on Samuel over the last part of the season. He’ll be a sleeper target in next year’s draft.
- DeVante Parker, WR – MIA: 7 catches, 135 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: DeVante Parker came into the league as a high ceiling WR talent, but his play has never met the lofty expectations forecasted for him. A former first round pick from Louisville, the fifth year WR’s career highs – cherry picking among seasons - are 57 receptions, 744 yards and 4 TDs. Nothing wrong with those numbers, but not franchise altering. Has anything changed in this 2019 season, his fifth year? Yes and no, as Parker remains the same player…but his environs have been turned upside down. With the Dolphins holding a fire sale and selling off most of their pieces, Parker is one of their few remaining offensive players capable of shouldering any load. Veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick looks Parker’s way more than any other pass catcher on the Fins’ roster, as evidenced by Parker’s 10 targets this past Sunday and 44 over the past five games, and he’s also scored 4 TDs over the past 7 games. Parker should be viewed as a WR3/flex option due to the volume. So those of you needing a WR, put in your claim for Parker in case he’s available in your league - this is likely your chance to snag him.
- Noah Fant, TE – DEN: 4 catches, 60 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: While the Denver Broncos do not have a prolific passing game, they do have one of the best young WRs in the game (Courtland Sutton), and they also have a rising tight end in Noah Fant. The rookie from Iowa has slowly built his case for more time in your fantasy lineups over the past few weeks. Fant’s athleticism is off the charts, and now he’s building a nice connection with Broncos’ current QB Brandon Allen. As a move TE, Fant gets to spend more time running routes and less time blocking – fantastic for fantasy purposes. Since Emmanuel Sanders’ trade to the 49ers, Fant has been targeted 24 times over the last 3 games, which has produced 12 receptions for 201 yards and a TD. Fant still struggles a bit with drops – he’s got 5 this year – but that will improve. For those of you in need of a TE, put a claim in for Noah Fant. His schedule gets a bit tough over the next few weeks, starting with Buffalo next week. But for those of you with high aspirations and an extra roster spot, Fant faces the Chiefs and the Lions in weeks 15 and 16 – right in time for championship matchups. Fant will also find his name onto sleeper lists for next year’s drafts, so those of you who are out of the race, pay attention to Fant as you scout for 2020.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been referenced above, and 2) a player available in more than 50% of leagues.
QB: Sam Darnold, NYJ
RB: Derrius Guice, WAS
RB: Tony Pollard, DAL / Gus Edwards, BUF (Top Handcuffs)
WR: Hunter Renfrow, OAK
WR: Danny Amendola, DET
TE: Dallas Goedert, PHI