Week 11 feels like a moving and shaking week in fantasy football circles.
Trade deadlines are approaching and FAAB is being drained as teams make their playoff push.
I’ve seen a decent amount of teams with losing records throw in the towel (don’t do this, btw), while the playoff contenders continue to jockey for every possible advantage (swapping out Greg Joseph for Greg Zuerlein seemed like a good use of my time yesterday).
One of the biggest edges right now is simply staying one step ahead of your league mates who might have checked out, especially with fragile backfield situations.
Titans RB Jeremy McNichols is in the concussion protocol and didn’t practice yesterday. Make sure D’Onta Foreman—who led the Titans in RB snaps last week—is rostered in all your leagues.
49ers RB Eli Mitchell didn’t practice yesterday while he deals with a fractured finger and he sounds pretty questionable for this week’s game, according to Kyle Shanahan: “He just had [the procedure] yesterday. Today, it's not good enough to practice. I think he'll go Sunday, but we've got to see it day to day." Jeff Wilson Jr. should be rostered everywhere, especially because it’s unlikely that JaMycal Hasty (ankle) is going to suit up.
📊 CHARTS ON CHARTS
Sam Hoppen—an analyst and web developer wizard for 4for4 Football and Ship Chasing—shares an “Air Yards Distribution” chart for four teams and a chart displaying the number of plays teams are running per game to help us make better lineup decisions. Take it away, Sam...
The chart below displays the distribution of how far downfield (or how far away from the line of scrimmage) a player is targeted. Where the player's bubble is higher indicates where more of his targets are concentrated. We would expect players with higher bubbles further to the right to be downfield, big-play threats while we would expect players with higher bubbles further left to be more consistent, higher-target players.
* Both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf had over 110 air yards in Russell Wilson’s first game back. While neither was able to produce from a fantasy perspective (they both had fewer than six PPR points in the game), this is an encouraging sign of what could be coming (some big, blow-up games).
* Terry McLaurin continues to dominate from a usage perspective. Over the last month, he’s averaging over 100 air yards per game, has a 24% target share, and is running a route on 95% of the team’s dropbacks. He’s commanding such a large chunk of the offense that the other players on the team are mostly unusable. Hopefully he can turn that into more fantasy production in the coming weeks.
* The Jaguars receiver group is a mess. Since DJ Chark got injured, no player has a target share above 20% and no player is averaging more than 7.5 targets per game. Jamal Agnew leads the way with a 19% target share in that span, but I give Marvin Jones the best chance to have a boom game with his 13.6-yard average depth of target.
* For the first time this season, Stefon Diggs performed like many expected to, posting over 30 PPR fantasy points. His 13 targets in Week 10 were his most since Week 1 and led the league with 208 air yards on top of that. This also came at a time when Cole Beasley earned a season-low two targets and only ran a route on 25% of the team’s dropbacks. I hope we continue to see this version of Diggs through the fantasy playoffs.
In this next chart, the team's bar shows the number of plays per game that team has averaged. Then the teams that play each other in the upcoming week are combined to show the total average between that week's matchup. With more plays come more opportunities for fantasy points, so use teams at the top of this chart as a tie-breaker when making your start/sit decision.
* Play everyone that you can in the Chiefs vs. Cowboys game. That’s it. That’s the blurb.
* Be wary of starting anyone outside of a healthy Alvin Kamara in the Eagles vs. Saints matchup. Not only does this game feature the second-lowest combined plays per game, but is also the game with the lowest game total at just 43.5 points.
* Although it has an above-average combined plays, the divisional matchup between the Vikings and Packers may be a bit of a red herring. Both teams have been throwing at a below-average rate over the last month and the Packers play at the league’s slowest pace by a wide margin. There are a lot of studs in this game, but the ancillary pieces likely shouldn’t be considered starters.
For more of Sam’s great work, follow him on Twitter, read his terrifically titled “Hoppen to Conclusions” pieces on 4for4, and watch him break down the most relevant fantasy data and charts on Stat Chasing.
🔮 TNF PREVIEW
Tonight we get the Falcons (+6.5) hosting the Patriots in a game with a respectable 47.5 over under.
After missing last week’s game due to a concussion, RB Damien Harris will return to the lineup. It will be interesting to see how the backfield shakes out after Rhamondre Stevenson’s big game last week. Jonnu Smith, who also missed last week, is listed as questionable for tonight. I put a Patriots prop bet up on my Betsperts profile that I like for tonight.
On the Falcons side, Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle) is officially listed as questionable after getting in a limited practice yesterday. HC Arthur Smith said that Patterson will be a game-time decision. It’s worth picking up Wayne Gallman in case Patterson doesn’t go.
Matthew will be going live on Instagram from 5:30pm-6:30pm ET tonight to talk TNF, the Week 11 slate, and answer all your questions. I’ll be joining for the first half as well, so come hang.
- Pete Overzet