Jahnke: Fantasy football reactions to NFL Week 11 | Fantasy Football News, Rankings and Projections – Pro Football Focus

NFL Week 11 arrived with plenty of intriguing storylines. The week started with a game between two potential NFC playoff teams and will end Monday night with two more of the NFC’s best. Multiple rookie running backs saw their stocks rise with big games today, while two NFC South backup quarterbacks led their teams to decisive victories in the early window. 

As always, this collection of fantasy reactions will include snap counts for skill players on each team, along with notes on players who saw their fantasy stocks rise or fall during the action — and how we should react to anything new.

This article will be updated as late games wrap up. 

Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens

Winner: RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Henry was the biggest part of the Titans offense, which should not surprise anyone. He ran 28 times for 133 yards and scored the game winning touchdown in overtime. Henry was aided by the fact that two of the Ravens’ top defensive linemen were inactive due to injury. All of the Titans’ fantasy-relevant skill players also put up good numbers either in the form of a touchdown or a 100-yard game. A.J. Brown could also be considered a winner for his superhuman plays in the fourth quarter, but he only ended up with four catches on the day.

Injury Replacement: TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Andrews saw more playing time than usual due to Nick Boyle’s injury. This helped him reach a season high in receiving yards at 96 — this amounted to over half of the Ravens’ passing yards. He put an end to his four-game streak without a touchdown, catching the Ravens’ only passing touchdown. With Boyle out for the season, Andrews should sustain a top-three fantasy tight end status over the rest of the season.

Waiver Wire Target: WR Dez Bryant, Baltimore Ravens

Bryant surpassed both Miles Boykin and Devin Duvernay on the depth chart as the Ravens’ third wide receiver. He caught four of five passes thrown his way for 28 yards. Marquise Brown was targeted three times and didn’t end up with a catch. This was the fourth-straight game that Brown was held to fewer than four catches. It’s possible that Bryant becomes the top outside receiving option for the Ravens over the rest of the season.

Player to Cut: RB Mark Ingram II, Baltimore Ravens

Ingram’s role in the offense has continued to decline. He played the fourth-most snaps among Ravens running backs and only carried the ball twice for two yards. This is excellent news for J.K. Dobbins, who had 15 carries while the rest of the Ravens’ running backs had five. Dobbins was also the leading receiver among the RBs. Dobbins will be moving up fantasy rankings lists going forward, while both Ingram and Gus Edwards will be moving down.

New England Patriots at Houston Texans

Winner: WR Damiere Byrd, New England Patriots

Byrd came out of nowhere to gain 132 yards on six catches with a touchdown. He had other games this season with significant targets and receiving yards, but this was his first 100-yard game of his NFL career and his first game with a touchdown this season. Jakobi Meyers was held to three catches for 38 yards. This result is especially surprising because Houston wasn’t using Bradley Roby to track Meyers, although it used him to track top receivers earlier in the season. Byrd is worth a waiver wire look — this isn’t the first game he’s seen significant targets.

Injury: RB Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots

Burkhead left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter and didn’t return. He ran the ball four times for 7 yards and caught two passes for 5 yards before the injury. In the first half, the Patriots used their backs similarly to recent weeks with Damien Harris leading the way. After the injury, James White took over as the Patriots were trying to pass to catch up. The injury to Burkhead is thought to be significant. White would likely be the primary replacement with more playing time on early downs. It would also open the door for Sony Michel to have a role in the offense again, as the Patriots were unlikely to have a four-man rotation at running back.

Injury: WR Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills, Houston Texans

Stills left the game late in the first quarter with a leg injury, and Cobb left not long after with a foot injury. Neither returned. Keke Coutee took over as the third wide receiver for the Texans for the rest of the game. He had only played five offensive snaps prior this season and scored a touchdown on two catches. Coutee would be worth a waiver wire pickup only if the injuries to Cobb and Stills are both serious. The injuries may have contributed to Jordan Akins gaining a career-high 83 receiving yards on five catches.

Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team

Winner: RB Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team

Gibson was the Football Team’s primary source of offense with 16 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown. He added a 10-yard reception in the pass game. Gibson has scored a rushing touchdown in each of the last four games while averaging 14 carries per game. He was averaging a rushing touchdown every other game and 11 carries per game over the six weeks prior. Gibson ended up with more offensive snaps than J.D. McKissic for the first time since Week 5. Gibson is another rookie running back who continues to trend up as we get closer to December.

Loser: RB Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

Bernard was largely ineffective in another start for Joe Mixon. He ran nine times for 18 yards and added four catches for 37 yards. While Bernard was the clear back in the first quarter, Samaje Perine ended up with more playing time over the remaining three quarters. For the second-straight week Perine ended up with more rushing yards despite having fewer rushing attempts. Perine is both running more pass routes and staying in to block more often. It’s possible that Perine will be the Bengals back to roster over the remainder of the season.

Injury: QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Burrow took his final snaps of the season in the third quarter before leaving with a left knee injury. Ryan Finley took over for the rest of the game and will likely be the Bengals quarterback the rest of the season. He completed three of 10 passes for 30 yards with an interception. Finley was given three starts last season and he completed less than half his passes, scored two touchdowns and never passed for 200 passing yards. He is best left on the waiver wire outside of two-quarterback leagues. This is also a significant downgrade for the Bengals’ wide receivers over the rest of the season.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

Winner: QB Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints

Hill has been the most discussed player in the fantasy football world after being named the starting quarterback for the Saints during the week. He looked great in his first start, completing 18 of 23 passes for 233 yards. He also led the Saints in both rushing yards (51) and rushing touchdowns (2). Hill should be a QB1 depending on the matchup going forward thanks to his efficient passing and high rushing floor. Hill seemed to help the wide receivers while hurting Alvin Kamara. Kamara was averaging nine catches per game but today saw only one target. Hill also took rushing touchdowns that could have gone to Kamara. He remains a must-start, but his fantasy points per game will drop with Hill is the quarterback.

Loser: RB Todd Gurley II, Atlanta Falcons

Gurley handled a season-low eight rushing attempts after garnering at least 14 carries in every other game this season. He averaged just over three yards per carry on his attempts. Backup Brian Hill was more efficient with 18 yards on four carries. Hill ended up playing more offensive snaps because he is used more in the pass game. The Falcons are falling further out of playoff contention, so it might be time for Atlanta to see what they have in some of their other backs.

Injury: WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Jones was in and out of the game with a hamstring injury. He caught two passes for 39 yards in his limited snaps. This was particularly disappointing considering Marshon Lattimore was inactive for the Saints, so Jones should have been in position to have a big day. Christian Blake’s playing time increased with Jones out, while Russell Gage picked up an increase in targets. If Jones misses time, Gage would be a decent waiver wire target as a high upside/low floor option.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Winner: WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

Johnson didn’t score a touchdown in this game, but he dominated in targets with 16. He brought in 12 of those passes for 111 yards. No other Steeler had more than four catches, although both Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron still had fine fantasy performances with a touchdown each. All of the Steelers receivers were aided by the fact that Jacksonville was without its top two cornerbacks. All three wide receivers along with Ebron remain must-starts each week, even though they can’t all have good games every week.

Loser: WR D.J. Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars weren’t able to put anything together after their initial field goal to start the game. Chark was the only receiver expected to have a good game, but he was held to four catches on eight targets for 41 yards. This was his fifth time in six games with under 60 receiving yards. Keelan Cole and Chris Conley have also both had good games recently, but they combined for three catches. It’s probably best to leave Chark on your bench until Gardner Minshew is ready to return.

Returning From Injury: RB Devine Ozigbo, Jacksonville Jaguars

Ozigbo was a highlight for the Jaguars in training camp but had not played an offensive snap due to injury until today. He saw four snaps, all in garbage time. He was the target on three of those four plays, catching all three passes for 5 yards. That was enough to give him the second-most catches for any Jaguars player in the game. The Jaguars will likely give him at least a little more playing time as the season progresses.

Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers

Winner: WR Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers started Phillip Walker at quarterback, and he clearly liked throwing to the Panthers’ top three wide receivers. They combined for 30 targets while the rest of the Carolina skill players only totaled four. D.J. Moore finished with the most receiving yards of the group at 127, in part due to a big 52-yard grab, but Samuel takes the winner spot for scoring the game’s only receiving touchdown. Samuel also ended up with eight eight catches compared to seven by Moore and Robby Anderson. It’s been hard to trust Samuel as a fantasy starter because he’s been so dependent on touchdowns. If he continues to see a target share like this, it will be a huge boost to his fantasy value.

Injury Replacement: RB Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions

D’Andre Swift became the clear starter for the Lions last week only to miss this game with an injury. Both Johnson and Adrian Peterson had extended roles, although neither was all that effective. They combined for 35 yards on 13 carries, and Johnson had a 7-yard catch. Although Johnson was the player with more fantasy points in this game, Peterson would be the player to roster if Swift misses another game. They are on a short week and play the Texans on Thanksgiving. Houston has given up the most rushing yards to running backs on the season but haven’t been as bad at stopping backs on passes. This matchup favors Peterson.

Injury Replacement: WR Marvin Hall, Detroit Lions

The Lions didn’t have two of their top three wide receivers in Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. Hall lined up as the Lions outside receiver along with Marvin Jones Jr., while Jamal Agnew functioned as the primary slot receiver. The lack of weapons clearly hurt, as the Lions were shut out in this game. Hall performed the best of the replacement receivers with three catches for 16 yards. No Lions player had more than four catches or 68 total offensive yards. Even if the Lions continue to have injuries at wide receiver, none of them should be waiver wire targets.

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns

Winner: TE Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Goedert started the season in spectacular fashion with one of the few 100-yard games with a touchdown we’ve seen out of a tight end. He was very quiet after that with 85 yards over four games while also missing a month with injury. Goedert was the most impressive receiver today with his best game since the season opener. He caught five passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Backup Richard Rodgers also impressed with two catches for 48 yards and the Eagles’ other offensive touchdown. Zach Ertz is potentially returning next week, which will make it harder for Goedert or Rodgers to repeat their performances in future weeks.

Loser: WR Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles

All season, the Browns’ defense has been easy to attack in the middle but hard to attack on the outside. That trend continued today with Fulgham and the Eagles’ tight ends. Fulgham led the team in targets with seven but only brought down one of the passes for eight yards. Most of his catches were contested, and Fulgham hasn’t been great on contested targets this season. Fulgham has a few very favorable matchups remaining, like the Seahawks next week where he is a must-start, but also some matchups where it will be better to leave Fulgham on the bench.

Waiver Wire Target: WR KhaDarel Hodge, Cleveland Browns

Hodge started the season as the Browns’ third wide receiver before missing over a month of the season. He’s been used more these past few weeks due to the Odell Beckham Jr injury, and after this game he might be the Browns’ top wide receiver going forward. He was either tied for the lead or led the Browns in targets (5), catches (3) and yards (73). He ended up with more snaps than the other Cleveland wide receivers because he typically plays in 13 personnel, and the Browns used more 13 personnel than 12 personnel. This personnel usage led to two of Hodge’s five targets and is likely to be a personnel grouping they use a lot in December.

Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos

Winner: RB Melvin Gordon III, Denver Broncos

The Broncos relied heavily on their run game on their way to a home victory. Gordon ran 15 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Gordon hadn’t been playing well recently with three straight games under 50 rushing yards and no touchdowns. He has put up bigger statistical games this season, but they all happened when Phillip Lindsay was out with injury. Lindsay looked nearly as good today with 82 yards on 16 carries. The two backs combined for zero targets in the pass game. This is the best this duo has looked together.

Returning From Injury: RB Matt Breida, Miami Dolphins

Breida has spent most of his time in Miami so far as the backup to Myles Gaskin. Both backs suffered injuries around the same time, allowing Salvon Ahmed to reach the top of the Dolphins’ depth chart. Breida returned today but didn’t have much of a role. He ran the ball twice for four yards and didn’t have a target. It’s possible the Dolphins are easing Breida into action, but at least for now Ahmed’s role in the offense is safe. Ahmed ran 12 times for 43 yards and caught five passes for 31 yards.

Returning to Action: WR Antonio Callaway, Miami Dolphins

Drafted by the Browns in 2018, Callaway was cut in 2019 after getting a 10-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Callaway has been serving that suspension on the Dolphins practice squad this year. He was elevated from last week and didn’t play. This week, he was the Dolphins’ fifth wide receiver and was on the field for eight snaps. All of his snaps were pass routes, resulting in one catch for 13 yards. There is definitely a chance that Callaway could work his way up the Dolphins’ depth chart, potentially up to the second receiver spot. He’s definitely worth considering as a pickup in deeper leagues considering his upside.

New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers

Winner: WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

Allen played an enormous role in the Chargers’ pass game with 16 catches on 19 targets for 145 yards and a touchdown. Wide receivers have had 17 or more targets six times this season, and Allen has two of those six games. The Chargers’ pass game in general was good outside of Allen as well, with Mike Williams and Hunter Henry contributing four catches and a touchdown each. 

Loser: WR Jamison Crowder, New York Jets

Crowder was extremely reliable to start the season with 10-13 targets, 7-8 catches and 104-116 yards in each of his first three games. His play has fallen considerably, in large part due to injury. This was his first game since Week 6 seeing a full amount of playing time. He was held to one catch for 16 yards on three targets. The Jets’ pass game in general wasn’t all that impressive, but usually Crowder has more than a 10% target share. Crowder likely also doesn’t have as much chemistry with Joe Flacco as he had with Sam Darnold. It’s not time to cut Crowder yet, but he’s not startable right now. 

Injury: RB La’Mical Perine, New York Jets

Perine left the game with an ankle injury and barely played in the second half. He and Frank Gore had split carries in the first half, with Perine gaining 33 yards on eight carries and scoring his second NFL touchdown. Even before the injury, Ty Johnson played 80% of the third downs in the first half. Perine was the third-down back in recent weeks, so this was already a decreased role for him. In the second half, Johnson and Gore split third down responsibilities while Gore was given most of the early down work. The Jets have three-straight favorable matchups for running backs, so if the Perine injury is serious, Gore would be a good waiver wire add.

Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts

Winner: WR Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Aside from the game he left with an injury, Adams saw a season-low in targets and still ended up with the best numbers in this game. He caught seven of eight passes thrown his way for 106 yards and a touchdown. This was particularly impressive because the Colts have been very good at preventing fantasy points to wide receivers. He is the second wide receiver this season to have 100 yards and a touchdown against them. Adams can be a top-five fantasy receiver regardless of opponent. 

Loser: RB Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

Hines starred in the Colts’ Thursday night game a week ago and was expected to lead the way this week. He wasn’t nearly as effective running with the ball, gaining 2 yards on six carres. Jonathan Taylor had the hot hand with 90 yards on 22 carries. Taylor also led the Colts in receptions with four. The bright side for both backs is that this was primarily a two-man rotation instead of three. Jordan Wilkins saw 45 snaps for the Colts in Week 8 after their bye week, and his playing time has declined each week since. We might not know from one week to another if Taylor or Hines will have a better game, but it’s becoming clearer that Wilkins won’t be the one to stop either one of them.

Returning From Injury: WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers

Lazard looked great in September with 13 catches for 254 yards and two touchdowns over three games. He’s been recovering from surgery to repair a core muscle injury and returned to action for the first time today. He didn’t have as big of a role as he’s used to — he only played two-thirds of the three-wide-receiver sets and was in for 40% of the one- or two-receiver sets. He finished the day with two passes for 18 yards on four targets. I would expect Lazard’s playing time and target share to increase in the next few games.

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings

Winner: WR Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

Thielen followed up his two-touchdown performance against the Bears with another two-touchdown game against the Cowboys. This was his best game in over a month in terms of targets (11), receptions (8) and yards (123). Justin Jefferson didn’t see as many opportunities with Thielen stealing the show, but that didn’t stop the rookie from making some big plays. He caught three passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. They have been the best wide receiver duo of the season.

Loser: WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys brought home the victory, and fantasy managers were also happy. The return of Andy Dalton allowed most of the Dallas skill players to put up respectable numbers. Four of the five starters all picked up either a touchdown, 80 or more yards from scrimmage or both. Gallup was the exception. He caught two of five passes thrown his way for 29 yards. His targets were on the rise in recent weeks, but he dropped down to fourth on the team this week. He hasn’t put together a 100-yard game or scored a touchdown since September.

Waiver Wire Target: RB Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

Pollard continues to put up big numbers despite not seeing the playing time he deserves. He’s graded better than Ezekiel Elliott this season. Elliott produced his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, but it took him 21 carries to get there. Pollard earned 60 yards on five carries and the Cowboys’ only rushing touchdown. It’s still unlikely that Pollard sees a significant increase in playing time, but his upside is very high if he could see the field more.

Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders

Winner: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

Edwards-Helaire has not been a great fantasy player since Le’Veon Bell joined the team, but this game seemed like a turning point. He ran the ball 14 times for 69 yards, scoring two touchdowns along the way. He had been given 19 carries in his three previous games combined.

The Chiefs’ first-round pick also received more playing time than in recent games — he played more offensive snaps in the first three quarters than he did in any of the last three games. He still might not return to his usage from before Bell joined, but he should be more reliable going forward. 

Loser: WR Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr targeted two halfbacks, one fullback, four wide receivers and two tight ends over the first 55 minutes of the game tonight. Henry Ruggs, the team’s first-round pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, was not one of those players targeted.

Ruggs caught his only target for 5 yards with 4 minutes left in the game. He also played a season-low 32 offensive snaps. Over the last three weeks, the Raiders’ rookie pass-catcher has barely been used in two-back formations, which the Raiders used a decent amount tonight. Rather, the majority of Ruggs’ passing snaps came from single-back sets, but he was largely absent even from these formations tonight. 

Ruggs is averaging 1.6 catches per game, which means he can be dropped. He will have another two or three big plays before season’s end, but it’s not worth starting him each week in the hopes of a big play and not much more.

Player To Cut: WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

Hardman played only three offensive snaps in the first three quarters before seeing an increased role in the fourth quarter. His only target and catch came in the last two minutes of the game.

Hardman spent the week on the Covid-19 list, so his lack of playing time was likely due to a lack of practice. Hardman was competing with Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle for playing time these last few weeks, with plenty of variation from one week to another as to who was getting the most and least snaps among the three.

Sammy Watkins was limited in practice this week and should be back sometime in the next few weeks. The three previously mentioned receivers will all be fighting for the third receiver snaps once Watkins is back. It would take Watkins staying out and another receiver getting hurt for Hardman to consistently see a substantial role in the offense.

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