Hey there #Footclan, and welcome back to the weekly series, “What To Watch For“. Each week we take a look at the schedule and the matchups and point out some interesting things that we all should pay attention to. These can be something simple or those ongoing burning questions we have in the back of our minds. Let’s take a look at Week 11.
The Battle In Mexico City
The Oakland Raiders started the season with two straight wins but are 2-5 since those back to back W’s. After starting 2-2, the Patriots have reeled off five straight wins, with Brady winning yet another AFC Offensive Player of the Week award after throwing three touchdown passes on Sunday night against the Denver Broncos. Also another fun fact for the Patriots, Dion Lewis became the second player since the merger to produce a kick return and a rush for a touchdown in a single game. The Patriots have surged, as the defense has held everyone to 17 points or fewer during the winning streak that they are currently on. A strong running game and a healthy Rob Gronkowski have also taken some pressure off the 40-year-old Brady who has had more time behind center to make crisp and clean plays to execution.
The Patriots are 4-0 on the road, and stayed out in high altitude after the Broncos’ game, getting ready for Mexico City. The game will be played at 7,280 feet, which is an incredible 2,000 feet higher than Denver which is why it gets its name of “Mile High”. When asked by ESPN reporters, Bill Belichick said: “We feel like it’s the best thing we can do,” whose team is working out at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I think everybody understands that. We’re ready to go to work and make the most of it.”
Still, with all this preparation, for fantasy football stakes, this game could produce another high scorning affair, with the Patriots still currently sitting at 31st against opposing passing offenses, and Oakland not far behind at 20th against opposing teams. Those that have their Tom Brady and Derek Carr shares in fantasy have to be stoked for this matchup. Also in PPR leagues, the lure of putting Brandin Cooks, Michael Crabtree, Gronk, and Amari Cooper has to get players hyped up for a possible “bonanza” if using DFS terminology.
Will the new Buffalo Bills’ QB become fantasy relevant?
On Wednesday morning, Bills coach Sean McDermott announced the decision to start Nathan Peterman, a fifth-round rookie from the University of Pittsburgh, in favor of Tyrod Taylor for the team’s Week 11 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Taylor is coming off his worst game with the Bills in which he threw for 56 yards on 18 passes against the New Orleans Saints. He was benched late in the fourth quarter against the Saints in favor of Peterman, who threw for 79 yards while completing seven of ten passes and getting a touchdown in garbage time.
So the question is, can Nathan Peterman provide any fantasy relevance, or at least, for the most part, add to the fantasy value of the likes of LeSean McCoy, Kelvin Benjamin, and as of late the uprising known as Charles Clay? Peterman is a pocket passer and stays there with little movement while Taylor frequently scrambled out of the pocket and would use his quickness to produce a first down on the ground. A big difference in styles could mean a shift of where the targets will wind up. As far as Peterman himself, he is not really worth a flyer unless you are in a 2-QB league, or in a dynasty league and in need of something quick for a bye week. The Buffalo Bills needed to see what they have in Peterman. With a matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers and their fierce pass rush, some of the questions will be answered by the end of the game.
Larry Fitzgerald Signs Extension with Cardinals for 2018
Larry Fitzgerald signed a one-year contract extension with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, the team announced. This new deal keeps the veteran wide receiver under contract through the 2018 season. Pro Football Talk first reported the development early Friday morning. Fitzgerald has continued to be a steady, high-level performer, and probably the most reliable hands in the NFL. At the age of 34, he’s on pace for a third consecutive 1,000-yard season. Just last week, he became the sixth player in NFL history to push past 15,000 career receiving yards. That’s absolutely astonishing!
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, Fitzgerald has caught 60 passes for 677 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. Fitzgerald hauling in an extension with the Cardinals comes as somewhat of a surprise since the 10-time Pro Bowler was contemplating the possibility of retirement last offseason. However, in July of this year, before the season began, Fitzgerald told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche he wasn’t ready to retire. “I can still play at a high level,” Fitzgerald said. “If my number is called I can still make a play.” And that my friends is 100% accurate. Fitzgerald has certainly proved that. He makes play after play, and with his move into the slot position, he has become a great asset again in fantasy and a consistent WR2 or flex play almost every single week.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Giants = Fantasy Gold
This could be the shootout we’ve been waiting to happen all season long. With a 1 pm start time, we are gonna see what would usually be a lopsided matchup if both teams were at full strength. Both passing defenses have given up over 2,333 yards according to ESPN as the Chiefs and Giants rank 26th and 28th respectively against the passing game. This is another possible “bonanza”.
It’s worth the mention that Andy Reid has the highest winning percentage among active coaches coming out of a bye week as he’s 16-2 in his entire career. Over the Giants’ last six games, they allowed over 316 passing yards, 2 1/2 touchdowns, and almost 1 interception per game to opposing passers according to NFL statistics. Every single QB to face the Giants in those 6 games has finished as a top-10 scorer that week. With those statistics, it looks as though Alex Smith is in for a great weekend. Travis Kielce is in for a treat as the New York Giants have allowed a receiving touchdown to a tight end in every game this year. After gaining 100-plus scrimmage yards in each of his first seven games, Kareem “The Dream” Hunt failed to hit that mark his last two contests.
The Chiefs defense has crumbled over the last few months, presenting fantasy owners with a usable week for Eli Manning for this matchup which is a safe floor play. Three of the last five quarterbacks to face the Chiefs have posted top-three scoring weeks. In that span, they’ve allowed 12 passing touchdowns and intercepted four passes, three of those picks came via Trevor Siemian when they played their first matchup of the season against the Denver Broncos. Manning has two touchdown passes in each of his last two games. Orleans Darkwa still doesn’t have the actual respect he deserves in many fantasy leagues. He’s the RB14 over the last two weeks just in standard scoring and not PPR, and he hasn’t found the end zone in that span. He’s also facing a Chiefs defense that is allowing over 147 rushing yards per game over their last four. Darkwa has a reliable floor with upside if he finds his way into the end zone this Sunday. Since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for several weeks, Sterling Shepard owns 31 percent of Manning’s targets and 43 percent of his passing yards according to NFL statistics. The Chiefs allow the fifth-most yards to slot receivers in the league this season and have conceded six scores to the position, tied for the most in the league right now. Shepard has accumulated 75 percent of his yards the last two weeks from the slot and is set up nicely here. Evan Engram has been a stud for the Giants and is smashing the rookie tight end record book and eliminating the narrative that rookie TEs can’t perform in fantasy. Since Week 4 of this season, he leads the Giants in every receiving category and has been a top-12 tight end in four of six games in that span. That is dominance at its highest. Play both with confidence this week with no worries. Also, a great stack for you DFS players out there if you’re looking to save some cap space by playing both in tournament plays.
Good luck this week in Week 11 #footclan!