Ten Things We Learned in Week 11 (Fantasy Football)
Week 11 started off with a bang, but it wasn’t a positive one. The Browns huge win was overshadowed by the last 10 seconds of the contest (we’ll get to that later), but nonetheless, it was a huge win for Cleveland. There weren’t too many crazy results in Week 11, and thankfully we avoided the injury bug for the most part (with the exception of Marlon Mack). Let’s take a look at what learned this week:
Some Things Overshadow Football, Even in a Football Game
The Thursday Night Debacle has been discussed at length on every network and every social media site available, but given the severity of the brawl, I felt it was important to share my thoughts on it. It’s this simple for me: It was assault, and it was inexcusable. There’s been a lot of discussion about Mason Rudolph‘s behavior and I have no wish to defend him at all, his actions were wrong, potentially dangerous and certainly unnecessary. With that being said, I have never seen anything on a football field that warrants the response that Myles Garrett provided. It’s been said multiple times, but he genuinely could have killed Mason Rudolph. There is no “heat of the moment” argument. You know what else is heat of the moment? Plenty of crimes that have landed individuals in prison for life. Passion and temper are understandable, especially in the NFL; but attempting to bash someone’s unprotected head with a blunt object at full speed is assault, whether it’s on the street or on the field. Rudolph deserves a punishment to fit his actions, and in my opinion, Myles Garrett shouldn’t play in the NFL ever again.
David Johnson is a Backup
DJ is a fantasy Hall of Famer, we all know that. Unfortunately, his best days are behind him. The Cardinals former workhorse has been the butt of plenty of jokes this week after his sluggish performance in week ten, but at this point, Kliff Kingsbury made it clear that Kenyan Drake owns the backfield in Arizona. Drake saw 16 carries and had another 6 receptions in the Cardinals loss to San Francisco, and David Johnson didn’t touch the ball once. Kingsbury said prior to kickoff that they would use a committee, but it turns out the only thing committing is Kliff himself – to Kenyan Drake. I went on a rant this summer about how good Kenyan Drake is and staked my claim that he would be a league winner this year…. but sadly the victory lap isn’t really a fair one, because I had no idea he’d end up in Arizona. The Drake lives, and in that scheme, he should thrive in better matchups.
Something Happened to Atlanta
The Falcons are on a two-game win streak and they’ve won both games in convincing fashion. Their win over the Saints last week was perplexing and was chalked up to be a fluke, but this week they went into Carolina and steamrolled the Panthers with a defensive performance that mirrored the one in week ten. It doesn’t really mean much going forward for the NFL playoff picture, but it’s worth noting for your fantasy lineups and for any legal sports gambling you may partake in, especially the sports betting legal in Virginia as of late. Calvin Ridley exploded for over 130 yards and Julio had a mediocre day at best. It’s going to be difficult to predict the Julio touchdown regression, but I have to assume it’s coming soon here. Fantasy owners would be wise to respect the Falcons defense more than they did in the first eight weeks going forward and continue to start their studs on offense.
The Ravens Might be The Best Team in Football
A primetime win against the Patriots, and then two straight weeks of full-blown domination have vaulted the Ravens into the top spot of my personal power rankings, which means very little but it’s fun on my end. To call their win over the Texans this week convincing would be an insult to the word convincing since they made Deshaun Watson look like he hasn’t played football in ten years. Lamar Jackson is pacing to break Pat Mahomes’ record for fantasy points at the quarterback position and he’s finally getting the recognition league-wide that he deserves. Baltimore would be the last team I’d want to see in the playoffs, and they’re producing fantasy points at a high level as well. Anything can change on a weekly basis, but for no,w the Ravens are tap, tap, tapping on the chamber door of the NFL’s elite.
Jameis Winston‘s Career is Declining
I’ve been a Winston supporter for awhile now in terms of fantasy production, but the ridiculous turnover totals are really taking a toll on my trust in him on a weekly basis. His tendency to take risks has lowered his floor and raised his ceiling in recent years, but the huge games haven’t happened many times this season and I have to imagine Bruce Arians’s is getting sick of it. Winston was the top overall pick a few seasons ago, but his career progression has been ugly and I have to imagine that Tampa Bay is starting to peak at the 2020 draft class. To make fantasy matters worse, OJ Howard had an egregious drop in the first half that lead to a Winston interception, and he didn’t catch another ball the rest of the game. Winston’s play is hurting every aspect of the Buccaneers offense, and I’m personally fed up with it. I’d avoid him as a streaming candidate unless you absolutely need him, and I’m more than comfortable dropping Howard for someone like Noah Fant or Dallas Goedert if they’re available. The only players on that offense worth starting are Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Michael is Gallup-ing Up The Rankings
Excuse the terrible pun in the headline, I couldn’t resist. Gallup has gone over double-digit fantasy points in three straight weeks, and he’s increased his total every week. He exploded against the Lions with 9 catches for 148 yards and it’s clear that his rapport with Dak Prescott is growing with every snap. Gallup can be slotted into lineups as a reliable WR3 with WR1 upside in the right matchup, and that’s likely his floor. The Cowboys have quietly been a fantasy powerhouse this season and Gallup is one of the more underrated assets on the offense. If you play in dynasty leagues, I would be willing to pay up to get him on my team at a high cost. Gallup and Amari Cooper might grow into the best receiver duo in the league a lot faster than people think.
2019 is NOT The Year of The Handcuff
Every year it seems like there’s at least one or two players that step up in backfields that see their starter go down. Last season it was Jaylen Samuels and Damien Williams who won people leagues, but this year it’s been a complete mess. Whether it was Ty Johnson, Chase Edmonds, Raheem Moestert, or Miles Sanders, when it came time for the backup running backs to carry the load, they’ve disappointed almost every time. There’s a common misconception that every running back should be handcuffed, but that’s just poor fantasy management. If you own someone like Alexander Mattison or Tony Pollard, then you absolutely have a case for keeping them, but if a running back goes down and there’s a heated debate about the handcuff to own, more times than not that results in disappointment. Guys like Moestert, Jeff Wilson, J.D McKissic, Brian Hill, and any New England Patriot running back are headaches to predict, so they’re not usually worth the investment and are rarely worth the start. If you own an elite running back, there’s a good chance you have the wrong handcuff or would see a committee if they went down. Here’s my list of handcuffs worth owning: Mattison, Pollard, Samuels, Malcolm Brown, Ryquell Armstead, Gio Bernard, and Latavius Murray.
The Saints Are Marching
There he is! That’s the Drew Brees we know and love, and thankfully he brought his buddy Alvin to the game with him. Last week the panic meter was triggered when the Falcons beat the Saints, but this week they had a get right game and sunk the Bucs in the process. Sean Payton made it very clear that Alvin Kamara remains a huge part of the game plan as they went to him early and often. This is a GREAT sign for Kamara’s fantasy stock going forward since the Saints had a convincing win that ran through Kamara. Michael Thomas continued his record-setting pace and Jared Cook showed a few more signs of life. The Saints looked great, and they’ve reclaimed their ‘contender’ status in the NFC and put a lot of fantasy managers at ease.
Joe Mixon Needs The Ball
The Bengals are a mess, but Joe Mixon is a monster when he has the opportunity to be. Up until this point, he’s been a bust in every sense of the word, but since Ryan Finley took over the offense the Bengals have relied on Mixon a bit more as he’s seen 45 carries in the last two weeks. The problem with their game plan is the fact that Mixon has little to no role in the passing game. He’s one of the best pass-catching backs in the league but for some reason, the coaching staff refuses to utilize his skill set. The Bengals should have a healthier offensive line in 2020 so there’s still a lot of hope for Mixon long term, but at this point, it’s clear that the he needs the ball as often as they can get it to him, and not just on the ground.
Josh Jacobs is The Offensive ROY
Hand Josh Jacobs the rookie of the year award right now. He’s already broken the Raiders rookie record for rushing yardage, and he has a chance to clear the 1000 yard mark in the next two weeks which is extremely impressive for a rookie back, especially one who doesn’t play for an elite offense. Jacobs is an impressive running back who rarely goes down on first contact, and he’s a huge factor in the Raiders gameplan and one of the main reasons they’re in the playoff hunt. Jacobs is the clear cut rookie of the year with Kyler Murray as the runner up, and unless Murray does something spectacular by the end of the year, the award is all locked up.