Sleepers And Busts: Week 11
The bye weeks are nearly over but week 11 is a big one. We are losing the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, and Tennessee Titans. No Aaron Jones, no Russell Wilson, and a whole lot more. We came back from a 50/50 week in Week 9 with the sleepers and busts and hit on all six calls. Kyler Murray may not have finished QB1, but QB4 is good enough, Both OJ Howard and Ronald Jones hit. Devonta Freeman was having some success early but exited with an injury. Odell Beckham Jr caught 5 passes for 57 yards on 12 targets and the Cincinnati Bengals were the Cincinnati Bengals. If you started Joe Mixon, he was solid on over 30 attempts in a game they lost by 36. Let us see if we can stay the course with the Sleepers And Busts: Week 11 edition. Here we go!
Brian Hill @ The Carolina Panthers
A few weeks ago, Brian Hill was a little-used rB3 on the Atlanta Falcons. Now as we head into Week 11, Hill is looking like the starter for the team going into one of the most RB friendly matchups in the League. Atlanta will take on the Carolina Panthers and their 29th ranked defense against the position (30th in standard scoring). Hill’s competition for touches and snaps in the coming week is the seven-year veteran with 98 career attempts rushing, Kenjon Barner and fifth-round rookie, Qadree Ollison, who just saw his first active game of the season. Hill has scored twice. once in each of the last two weeks and once each through the air and on the ground.
Carolina is currently allowing 29.6 PPR points to running backs and 24.9 in standard scoring. That is essentially the equivalent of Christian McCaffrey’s production every week. CMC averages exactly 24.9 standard points and just 0.7 points more than McCaffrey in PPR (30.3). You will see below that the Panthers have allowed 14 top-36 finishes at the RB position. The only week they failed to allow one of these performances being their Week 7 bye and are the only team to allow a TD to Leanard Fournette. That is not a shot at Fournette. He has been fantastic but the Jaguars have failed to get him into the endzone with the exception of the Panthers game.
Data via the FFStatistics defenses app
Hill has a solid chance to improve on his 3.6 yards per attempt as the Panthers allow a league-worst average of 5.2 yards every time running backs carry the ball. He also has a very good chance to score with Carolina allowing nearly 2 touchdowns to running backs every week (17 total, 14 rush/3 rec). If you are losing one of the 4 starting RBs to bye or certainly if you are the Devonta Freeman owner, Hill is definitely worth a shot with high-end RB2 upside.
Jamison Crowder @ The Washington Redskins
Very little has worked for the New York Jets thus far in 2019. One thing that has gone right is the connection between second-year QB, Sam Darnold and free-agent WR signing, Jamison Crowder. You can see below, using the FFStatistics Splits Tool that the difference with and without Darnold throwing Crowder the ball is drastic. Crowder nearly doubles the number in every single stat when his starter is in as opposed to a backup.
Data via FFStatistics Splits Tool
In Week 11, Crowder will get the chance to take on his former team in a battle of last-place teams with nothing to lose.
The Redskins have been middle of the pack in terms of points allowed to the WR position and they have not allowed a ton of work through the slot but when they have faced a team without a dominant outside threat (outside of San Francisco who did not have Emmanuel Sanders yet), the slot receiver has put up either 76+ yards or a TD and in Julian Edelman’s case, both.
Crowder is the primary receiver in the offense without a dominant outside threat. The former Redskin has a TD in each of the last two games with 81+ yards in each. He also has 81+ yards in four of the six games played with Darnold under center. Crowder has seen a minimum of 6 targets and 5 receptions in each of those games with three of them of the 9+ target and 6+ reception variety and has caught 40 of 51 targets from Darnold overall.
Jack Doyle vs The Jacksonville Jaguars
As fantasy owners, a running back by committee (R.B.B.C.) is possibly the most frustrating thing to deals with outside of the weekly struggle to find a viable TE. Well, what about tight end by committee? This is kind of the situation in Indianapolis with Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron. Very similarly to an R.B.B.C., one of the players is thought of as the scoring threat and the other, the more reliable option. Ebron would be considered the first option and Doyle, the latter.
Well, in the last two games it has been Doyle that crossed the goal line and in the last three, he has either scored or had over 60 yards receiving. Ebron played 1 snap more than Doyle in Week 10 and it was the first time all season that Doyle had not been in the lead. They both played 60+% and again, Doyle caught the TD despite the 12 targets Ebron had (5 receptions).
Data Via Pro Football Reference
When you look at the overall numbers, the Jacksonville Jaguars are allowing just 11.6 PPR points per game to TE’s which is in the top half of the league. Not exactly the matchup you want to play a TE in a T.E.B.C. right? Well, maybe not. The Jaguars have good season-long numbers but they have been susceptible to the position in recent weeks. TE’s have a TD in three of the last four games and four of the last six. This includes a TE1 performance to the New York Jets and Ryan Griffin.
Data via FFStatistics defenses app
You can see that volume is not going to be the way to success for Doyle. Only Travis Kelce and Delanie Walker have more than 4 targets. Luckily, the volume has not been his thing all season. He has one game all season with more than 5 targets and no games with more than 4 receptions. Doyle has 3 TDs on the season. Two of them in the last two games with 3 receptions on 4 targets and the other game is one he saw 8 targets in. The word is that Eric Ebron complained about his role. He saw 12 targets and caught just 5 for 56 scoreless yards.
Ebron may have a higher ceiling but it seems that Doyle has the floor right now. There is a slight chance that QB, Jacoby Brissett is able to return from an MCL sprain as well.
Other Potential Sleepers
Mason Rudolph @ The Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are one of four teams currently allowing 24.0+ points per game to the QB position and Mason Rudolph will get them in Week 11. Rudolph has four games this season with multiple TDs and three games with 1 TD. In those games, the Steelers played the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, and Los Angeles Rams who all rank in the top-13 in the league in points allowed to QB.
Kyle Allen vs The Atlanta Falcons
The Panthers take on the Atlanta Falcons who just shut down the New Orleans Saints but this was really the first game all season they stopped a QB. Atlanta still allows the fifth-most points to the position and have given up 22 total TDs and have just 2 interceptions.
John Brown vs The Miami Dolphins
John Brown has actually been one of the most consistent floor plays at WR in 2019. Brown and Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints are the only two WRs in the league to reach two thresholds in every game this season. He has at least 50 yards and 4 receptions in every game so far in 2019 with a career-high 66.2% catch rate. Brown has 7+ targets in all but two games and has three games with double-digit targets. The Buffalo Bills play the Miami Dolphins who are above average against WRs in PPR but in standard, they are well below average because they are tied for the third-most TDs allowed to WRs (13).
Kenny Golladay Vs The Dallas Cowboys
Matt Stafford, the quarterback for the Detroit Lions, has broken bones in his back that forced him to miss the Lions Week 10 games against the Chicago Bears. This is an injury that will not keep the veteran out for an extended period of time as it is largely a pain tolerance thing but there is a chance he misses the Week 11 game against the Dallas Cowboys as well.
Knowing that he played last year with a back injury as well does not help matters as even though Stafford played through the pain, the skill position players stats felt the hit. Stafford was playing some of the best football of his career and Kenny Golladay as having himself a great season (top-12 WR).
(Back): Stafford missed the last game due to broken bones in his back and a hip injury. It has yet to be established he will return to the lineup Sunday against the Cowboys. (Updated November 12, 2019)
Golladay’s value was not killed completely as he caught a 47-yard touchdown in a tough matchup last week from Lions backup Jeff Driskel. It came late in the fourth quarter in garbage time and Golladay had 2 receptions on 8 targets for 10 yards prior to the TD.
Golladay will have one of the tougher individual matchups in the league when he takes on Byron Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. Jones has yet to allow more than 50 yards or a TD in his coverage in all but one game this season and is coming off allowing 2 receptions to Stefon Diggs in a game with no Adam Thielen on the field.
Jones is not going to follow a WR into the slot normally but Golladay has only played 9.9% of his snaps there anyway so this might not be a concern for Dallas regardless. Detroit is likely going to be chasing points so there is always a chance Driskel can get a deep ball in the air to Kenny G but banking on a deep passing TD without the starting quarterback will leave you wanting more often than not. Dallas will be looking to prove something following a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, a game that they had a very good chance to win. Temper expectations.
Sony Michel @ The Philadelphia Eagles
Sony Michel has been one of the most frustrating fantasy players if you bought in. We should all know by now that we just can not trust a Patriots Backfield. Bill Bellichick can be like Oprah in the way RBs get TDs. You get a TD, you get a TD, everyone gets a TD! Michel’s snap counts have also been all over the map as you can see below and, well… let us just leave it as this is a New England backfield. Only rookie, Damien Harris has failed to see a game with 20+ snaps. If the Patriots are winning, Sony is the man for the bulk of the rushing work but if the game is close or they are losing, Michel has a 15 snap floor.
We all know by now that the way to beat the Philadelphia eagles is through the air. They have allowed one RB1 performance all season and that was to the Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott averages over 100 rushing yards per game in his career against the Eagles. He is just one of the special ones that happen to have one of the best offensive lines in the league.
The New England Patriots, on the other hand, do not have a good offensive line this season. They are currently averaging the third-fewest yards per attempt rushing (3.3). The Pats do have 13 TDs on the ground which is tied for the third-most in the league but you never know who is going to get the ball in the high-value touch area. Bellichick is not shy about giving the short-yardage work to a full-back which kills Michel’s value because he does not catch passes. The Eagles have allowed one RB (Zeke) all year to rush for more than 63 yards. If you are not going to score, are not going to catch passes, and have a low yardage floor, you might be a bust.
Kyler Murray @ The San Francisco 49ers
At this point in the season, Kyler Murray has become a weekly start in all formats. Murray is currently a top-five QB and coming off a huge performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Murray is going to take on the team he faced two weeks ago on a Thursday Night Football game at home. Two things with this. Firstly, Thursday night games often result in weird results from the road team and this time it is in San Francisco against the team that just saw their undefeated bid cut short in a game they likely feel like they could have won.
Secondly, Murray was solid two weeks ago but he threw everything close to the line of scrimmage due to fear of the 49ers pass rush. You may see that Murray actually had a season-high in yards per attempt (10.04) and this is true but much of this is due to the one play that made Murray’s day. An 88 yard TD pass as the fourth quarter wound down. Take that away and Murray’s yards per attempt is nearly 4 yards lower (6.53).
Now we can not take the TD pass away from Murray and as of now, he is the only top-10 performance the 49ers have allowed to a QB. The thing is, can you rely on that again? The pass Murray threw was great and Andy Isabella was able to weave his way through defenders all the way to the endzone. This is not something to count on week-to-week. Maybe, if it was a deeply thrown ball and Isabella was a DeSean Jackson type threat, but 60 yards after the catch is a rare thing on one reception.
Russell Wilson needed a fifth quarter to get into the top-12 QB range for Week 10 and he is the QB1 on the season and in the middle of an MVP push. The 49ers pass rush made life very difficult for Wilson and Murray has a long way to get on that level. Wilson did have a season-high in rushing yards which could help Murray but he has yet to really consistently display this as a weapon. Murray will give you about 30 yards on the ground week to week. You may not have a better option but do not look for the rookie to win your week.
Other Potential Busts
DeVante Parker vs The Buffalo Bills
Parker has been the most consistent weapon for the Miami Dolphins if there is such a thing. They will take on Tre’Davious White and the Buffalo Bills who have not allowed a WR to gain over 100 yards in any game this year. Parker will likely get shadowed by white if they feel it is necessary. White has yet to allow a TD in his coverage this season.
Nick Foles @ The Indianapolis Colts
Nick Foles will once again be taking the helm in Jacksonville and this might not be the matchup to take a shot on him. The Colts allow the 13th fewest points to QBs and are just 2.4 points per game away from sixth-fewest. The Colts just have a solid, all-around defense. They rank in the top half of the league against RBs, QBs, and WRs. Where they are susceptible is to the TE, which Foles knows how to use but who does Jacksonville have?
Ronald Jones vs The New Orleans Saints
Finally, we got to see Ronald Jones put on a show but it is time to put him back on the shelf. Jones will take on a top-5 RB difficulty matchup and following the fumble in Week 10, Jones saw virtually nothing for the rest of the game. We will see how this affects him going forward but for now, it might be a good choice to avoid.
There are four more weeks to lock in your playoff spot or ruin someone else’s chances in your attempt to make it. Opportunity is key with this week’s sleepers. The injuries have not slowed in what seems like one of the most injury-riddled seasons in recent memory. You may not be able to avoid a player in a bad spot and it could work out for you but if there is a better play, do not be afraid to make it. Generally, you want to “start your studs” but this is not always the case. Be smart about it and remember that context does matter. Good luck everyone!