Welcome to Week 11 of Lessons Learned! In this article, we break down ten important takeaways from the prior week in fantasy football, and what they could mean for your lineups moving forward.
If you learned anything from Week 11 that you think we should know, send us a comment or shoot me a tweet @FantasySensei! Without further ado, let’s dive into the fantasy classroom.
1. Lamar Jackson Has Legs
In case, for some reason, you’d never seen a college highlight or heard a whisper about Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson before Sunday … well, now you know. The rookie “QB” had 27 rush attempts (24 if you don’t count kneel downs), either of which was records since at least the NFL merger in 1970. And he took those runs for 117 yards.
The fact that Jackson could post a 16-point fantasy day despite no touchdowns and an interception tells you just how much upside the kid possesses. There are rumors Joe Flacco could weasel his way back into the starting job, but I’m hoping and projecting that he doesn’t. With a slate of incredible upcoming matchups, that makes Jackson a weekly QB1 consideration moving forward.
2. Eric Ebron Is Mortal
After notching 10 touchdowns through the first 10 games, many were buying into the hype that Ebron was actually the second-coming of peak Gronk and could continue scoring a TD per game all season. Sadly, he not only failed to score in Week 11, but he also failed to log a single target. The closest he came to scoring fantasy points was on a pass that narrowly missed the hands of a diving Andrew Luck in the end zone.
In reality, while Ebron was always going to regress at some point, it shouldn’t be this bad most weeks. He will continue to get out-targeted and out-caught by Jack Doyle, but he will also find his way into the end zone a couple more times. Considering the tight end landscape, Ebron is still a TE1, but he’s not a top 5 guy with any level of reliability.
3. Colt McCoy Might Bring Light to the Jordan Reed Saga
This one is more of a hesitant observation than a full-blown lesson, so take it with a grain of salt. But upon entering the game after Alex Smith‘s gruesome injury, McCoy’s first pass was a 9-yard touchdown to Reed. It was Reed’s first score since Week 1.
Reed had looked decent with Smith through three quarters as well and finished with 11 targets, 7 receptions, 71 yards, and the TD. The catches and yards were season-highs, and the targets were his second-highest (12 in Week 8). It’s possible McCoy is a bit more aggressive than Smith was, but it’s also likely he leans a bit more on his big tight end. Reed is worth at least a stash considering the black hole that is TE, and probably a start unless you’ve got a strong top 5 option.
4. Turn Up the Volume on the Smooth Routes of Kenny G
Kenny Golladay capitalized on another massive target count in Week 11 as he turned 15 targets into 113 yards and a touchdown. That’s back-to-back weeks with at least 13+ targets, 6+ catches, 78+ yard, and a touchdown, with Marvin Jones sidelined.
Jones is out again for today’s Thanksgiving bout with the Bears, and so is RB Kerryon Johnson. That probably means another double-digit target day for Golladay, and while the matchup is tough, it’s also the team he scored 14 standard points against two weeks ago. Other than the Rams in Week 13, Golladay’s matchups are actually all pretty tough, but he’s still a low-end WR2 at worse with this kind of volume.
5. Phillip Lindsay is Royce-Proof
With the return of Royce Freeman from injury, there was a bit of concern over the fantasy value of breakout star Phillip Lindsay of the Broncos. Fortunately, Sunday proved there is little reason to worry, as Lindsay out-touched Freeman 15 to 8 and heavily outproduced him, compiling 106 scrimmage yards and a touchdown, with 4 receptions to boot.
Lindsay draws a tough matchup this week against the Steelers, but should still be involved in the passing game in a likely negative game script. After that, he has a great stretch of matchups through the playoffs: Bengals, 49ers, Browns, and Raiders. Considering his secure role as the lead backin Denver, Lindsay is a strong RB2 rest of season.
6. Davante Adams is Entrenched in the Super-Elite Tier
Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas. These and many others grace the list of names below Davante Adams in fantasy points this season after a 10-catch, 166-yard performance last week. The Packers No. 1 wideout trails only Tyreek Hill in non-PPR scoring, and while he drops below Thielen and Hopkins in PPR over the entire season, he’s actually ahead of both since Week 4.
I would still probably take Hopkins ahead of Adams rest of season, but with Thielen and Michael Thomas regressing, Adams is in the legitimate conversation for top 2 or 3 fantasy receivers at this point. His top-tier quarterback, minimal concern over target share, and massive touchdown upside make Adams just about as good as it gets in a redraft, dynasty, DFS, and any other formats known to man.
7. Josh Adams is Viable-Ish
It’s tough to find a positive takeaway for the Eagles after they were downright trounced by the Saints 48-7 (largest loss by a Super Bowl champion in history), but we can at least take some solace in Josh Adams’ rising fantasy value. Though he only logged 7 carries for 53 yards, he did score a touchdown and was also target 6 times in the passing game.
After Doug Pederson commented about getting Adams more work, the youngster outcarried the next closest Eagles RB by 5 and was actually second on his team in targets to only Golden Tate. Importantly, he was efficient with those carries as well. Adams has a pretty tough schedule rest of season, but the Giants this week isn’t bad, and neither is the Rams in Week 15. He’s worth owning at the least, and starting if you’re in need.
8. Mark Ingram Has Retaken His Top 15 Throne
After a 2 touchdown performance in his first game back from suspension, Ingram had gone quiet for a few weeks, and there was fear that Alvin Kamara had simply pushed him out of relevance. Not so. Ingram topped 100 rushing yards for the second straight week and added a pair of touchdowns to make it consecutive games with 22+ fantasy points.
Ingram has also had double-digit carries in all but one game since his return (Week 9 against the Rams), and that kind of volume in this kind of offense is too good to pass up. Ingram should be a huge asset in games against the Falcons this week and Bucs in Week 14, and should be an every week starter regardless of matchup.
9. Stefon Diggs Has Quietly Caught Up to Thielen
Thanks to an obscenely hot start, Adam Thielen had most fantasy players assuming that he was the locked-in WR1 in Minnesota, and that Stefon Diggs was a bit of a bust. Not so much. With a massive 18 target, 13 catch, 126 yard, 1 TD performance on Sunday night, Diggs reminded all of us that he is still one of the better receivers in the entire NFL, and possibly still the better receiver on his team.
Believe it or not, Diggs has actually topped Thielen in targets in 5 of their last 6 games, and he has 55 catches to Thielen’s 53 since Week 4, in one fewer game. Thielen has still found the end zone more often, but Diggs is heating up and could be in for a league-winning finish. The Vikings playoff schedule includes games against the Dolphins and Lions, and Diggs is more than capable of torching any corner in the league. He’s a solid WR2 option moving forward.
10. Tyreek Hill is Simply Too Good
I’ll admit it. I was anti-Tyreek this offseason. I simply did not believe he could keep up the insane deep play and long-touchdown shenanigans that had made a fantasy darling last season. Turns out, when you’re as fast as Hill and have a QB as good as Patrick Mahomes, and a coach as wily as Andy Reid, “Shenanigans” should be your middle name.
If you missed the Monday Night Football game, find a way to watch it back. I was at the game in person and saw firsthand how and why Tyreek Hill is so dangerous. He has only two games all season without a catch of 35+ yards, and his 11 touchdowns and 185 non-PPR fantasy points are both best among NFL wideouts this season. It’s unlikely you can trade for him at this point, so this is probably just a lesson for DFS players. Hill may have more upside than any WR in fantasy, so capitalize when and where you can.