Top fantasy takeaways from Week 11’s action
It was an injury-heavy week. Jeff Ratcliffe runs through the top takeaways from the injuries, in addition to the other big lessons.
Top fantasy takeaways from Week 11’s action
This week was a rough one. There’s no two ways about it. If injuries impacted your team, you’re not alone. But in fantasy tragedy, there is fantasy opportunity. We’ll have an opportunity to make some moves on the waiver wire tomorrow, but first, here are the most important takeaways from Week 11 of the NFL season:
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland
Le’Veon Bell racks up 36 touches in the wind.
Wind scared many a fantasy owner away from the passing game in this contest, and for good reason. Ben Roethlisberger managed just 167 yards and no scores through the air. That performance tied with Jared Goff for the second-fewest fantasy points among quarterbacks this week. Bell was at the polar opposite end of the fantasy spectrum. He finished the game with 201 scrimmage yards and posted the third-most fantasy points among running backs for the week. Since returning from suspension in Week 4, he’s sixth in carries (128) and first in targets (63) among running backs.
Baltimore @ Dallas
Dez Bryant is back.
With top-five fantasy finishes in three of the last four weeks, Bryant has reestablished himself as an every-week WR1 play. Over that span, he has 17 catches for 328 yards and four scores, and only Jordy Nelson has more fantasy points among wide receivers. He isn’t seeing heavy volume in the Cowboys’ run-first offense, but Bryant doesn’t need 10-plus targets to put up strong fantasy numbers. He also has a nice schedule for the fantasy playoffs with the Bucs and Lions on the calendar in Weeks 15 and 16.
Jacksonville @ Detroit
Marvin Jones continues to backslide.
Despite chatter this past week from Lions OC Jim Bob Cooter that Jones still has some big games in him, Jones pup up another stinker with just one catch for 15 yards on two targets. That was his lowest volume game of the season, but it’s very indicative of how Jones has been trending over the last month and a half. Since Week 6, Jones has seen 24 targets, which is just under five per game. Golden Tate has 46 over that same span. Jones is also being out-targeted by Anquan Bolden (27), and is essentially neck and with Theo Riddick (21) and Eric Ebron (23) despite both playing two fewer games than Jones. In other words, Jones is now arguably the No. 5 option in the Lions passing game. Despite his upside, Jones’ role in the Lions offense makes him too tough to trust in fantasy starting lineups.
Tennessee @ Indianapolis
Rishard Matthews posts another big day.
With nine catches on 13 targets for 122 yards, Matthews tied for 10th among wide receivers in fantasy scoring. That’s his third top-10 fantasy finish since Marcus Mariota’s impressive run started back in Week 5. Over that span, Matthews has the fourth-most fantasy points at the wide receiver position. Matthews is a WR2 going forward, but fantasy owners should keep in mind that the Titans have a bye in Week 13 and face the Broncos in Week 14.
Buffalo @ Cincinnati
Injuries hit both teams in this contest.
Oh boy. This was an ugly one for both sides, but especially so for the Bengals as they appear to have lost Giovani Bernard to a torn ACL and A.J. Green to a torn hamstring. Bernard played 40 snaps and showed no signs of injury during the game, but his loss vaults Jeremy Hill up to a front-end RB2. Rex Burkhead is the only other running back on the active roster. They also have rookie Tra Carson on their practice squad. Green’s injury happened early in the game. In his absence, Tyler Boyd saw eight targets and found the end zone. Brandon LaFell actually led the Bengals with nine targets. Both players figure to see a larger target share going forward. On the Buffalo side, LeSean McCoy exited the game with a dislocated thumb. Mike Gillislee was solid in relief with 72 yards on 14 carries. McCoy will undergo surgery on Monday but is not expect to miss time. That being said, Gillislee should be owned in most format.
Tampa Bay @ Kansas City
Doug Martin sees 29 touches.
This should erase any double that the Bucs plan to use Martin as their feature back. He wasn’t particularly efficient on the day with just 63 yards on 24 carries, but did manage an additional 42 yards on four catches. But Martin’s workload completely dwarfed Peyton Barber’s four touches. Martin is the clear lead back and is in store for heavy volume down the stretch, which includes two game against the soft Saints defense.
Chicago @ NY Giants
Rashad Jennings out-touches Paul Perkins 25-6.
These two were even in touches just two weeks ago, but it’s fairly clear that the Giants coaching staff prefers Jennings as their lead back. Perkins spelled Jennings in the run game with just four carries, and was also out-targeted 6-2. At this point, it’s impossible to trust Perkins in starting lineups, but he remains a high upside handcuff for the stretch run.
Arizona @ Minnesota
Patrick Peterson holds Stefon Diggs in check.
There were a number of surprises to come out of Week 11, but this wasn’t one of them. After seeing double-digit targets in each of the last three games, Diggs saw seven balls thrown his direction on Sunday, catching six for 37 yards. Peterson was glued to Diggs for much of the day, with six targets coming in his coverage. Diggs owners shouldn’t be concerned by this outcome. Peterson is good, and we know that, but Diggs should rebound with a strong matchup against the Lions on Thanksgiving.
Miami @ Los Angeles
Todd Gurley posts a top-five week.
He may not be the player fantasy owners expected when they drafted him in August/September, but Gurley has been among the league’s highest-volume backs all season. This week, he topped 20 carries for the fourth time this season and posted his best fantasy performance since Week 5. The chances that Gurley regains his elite form from last season are pretty slim for the fantasy stretch run. However, based on his big workloads, Gurley is an RB2-plus going forward.
New England @ San Francisco
Colin Kaepernick is a QB1?
He certainly was this week. Against the Patriots, Kaepernick threw for 206 and two scores with an additional 32 yards on the ground. That was good enough for 19 fantasy points, which tied for seventh among quarterbacks. Since taking over as the starter back in Week 6, Kaepernick averages 20.2 fantasy points per week. That ranks ninth at the position. Despite some very ugly performances, Kaepernick is putting up legitimate QB1 fantasy numbers.
Philadelphia @ Seattle
Rawls sees 18 touches in his return.
Of course, this should be prefaced with the fact that C.J. Prosise exited the game with a fractured scapula, which is the same injury Donte Moncrief had earlier this year. Prosise got things stated with a bang, taking a 72-yarder to the house early in the first quarter. Unfortunately, the injury he sustained will likely sidelined him for the next two months. He can be safely dropped in redraft leagues. Prosise’s exit forced the Seahawks hand with Rawls, who was expected to be eased back in. Rawls finished with a solid but unspectacular 14 carries for 57 yards and 3 catches for 31 yards. With Prosise out, Rawls is very much in the mix as an RB1 going forward.
Green Bay @ Washington
Rob Kelley is racking up carries.
While he was generally ineffective for the first half of Sunday night’s contest, Kelley finished with a massive stat line of 137 yards and three scores. Nearly half of his yards came on one 66-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. He had two breakaway runs of 15-plus yards in addition to forcing three missed tackles. However, the bigger takeaway here is how much volume he’s seeing. Kelley has 20-plus carries in each of the last three games. Excluding Washington’s Week 9 bye week, only Ezekiel Elliott has more carries than Kelley’s 67 over that span. While many want to find reasons to not believe in Kelley, his heavy usage suggests the fantasy community should be taking Kelley for real as an RB2-plus for the stretch run.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.