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Mon Nov 23rd 2020

2020 Week Eleven Review

Week-Killing Offenses

Week eleven is in the books, and we're two weeks away from the fantasy playoffs. Now every point matters, which is why some dynasty managers have a sour taste in their mouth after several teams laid an egg Sunday. Thankfully, I was not one of them.

I had another great week, personally. My dynasty teams finished 6-2 this week. Win or lose; it's a joy to watch football all weekend and cheer on all of my teams.

After following all of the games this week, here are my thoughts on what we learned after week eleven and its impact on our dynasty teams.

Week Eleven Observations

Week Killers

  • Dynasty mangers can blame Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, and Carson Wentz for many fantasy losses this week. What's worse is how they impacted their whole offenses, making every starting fantasy player on their team score below expectations. If it were not for a garbage-time touchdown catch by Dallas Goedert, not a player on these teams was startable. Ryan held onto the ball far too long, was sacked eight times, never found a rhythm, and barely completed 50% of his passes. Even so, Atlanta insisted on passing, giving their running backs 14 total carries on the day. Wentz threw a terrible pick-6 and didn't move the offense at all until garbage time, which is what he's been doing all year. It's no longer an exception for him to play this way. It's the rule. He's playing the worst football of his career and is stifling the incredible talent of Miles Sanders and Jalen Reagor. Stafford and the Lions were shutout on Sunday while Stafford threw for a measly 178 yards. To be fair, he was missing D'Andre Swift, Kenny Golladay, and Danny Amendola with injuries, but there's still no excuse for getting shutout and netting less than eight total fantasy points for the day. In a week when every win is important and every point counts, it was extremely disappointing to see these ordinarily consistent quarterbacks lose weeks for dynasty managers.

The Taysom Effect

  • There's one manager in every league that is thrilled to see Taysom Hill get the first start of his career. It's the Taysom Hill manager. Whether managers started his as a quarterback or a tight end of wide receiver, he scored 24 fantasy points without throwing a touchdown. He just ran for two instead. Michael Thomas did have the best game of his injury-riddled season, and he did receive more than 50% of Hill's targets, so at least he's proven that he knows who his primary receiver is. On the other hand, his primary running back, Alvin Kamara, had the first game of his career without a reception. Kamara managers are likely near the top of their leagues based on how well Kamara has played this season, but now they're left to wonder if their teams will fail down the stretch and into the playoff if they cannot count on the steady seven receptions a game he was averaging before Hill's first start. Jared Cook was only targeted on time and had just six yards on his lone reception. It's just one week with Hill at the helm, but there's a good reason for alarm from what we saw on Sunday. I trust Sean Peyton to recognize that he needs to target Kamara more often and expect that to change some, but not to the degree that will satisfy managers who thought they would ride Kamara to a championship.

"Hyding" Russell Wilson

  • After losing two games in a row, Pete Carroll committed to getting back to the running game. The "Let Russ Cook" narrative was great for fantasy stats, but it cost the Seahawks games. Thursday night, they got one of their two lead running backs, Carlos Hyde, back from injury, and they handed him the ball 14 times. Wilson only threw the ball 28 times, tied for the lowest number of attempts this season when he did the same in week two. As always, Russ is efficient. He managed to throw two touchdown passes and helped fantasy managers with ten rushes for 41 yards of his own. It was a nice day, but not the "win-a-week" day like he has had several times this year. When Chris Carson comes back this week, I think that Carroll will dial up even more in the run game, leaving Wilson managers frustrated as they have been in years past.

Route Running Technicians

  • Adam Thielen and Keenan Allen are two of the best route runners and my favorite players to watch. Both of them were on fire on Sunday, likely pushing fantasy teams to wins on Sunday. Thielen scored two touchdowns again on Sunday, including another one-handed toe-tapping grab just like last week. He was wide open for his second touchdown on a red-zone route combination that freed him up just like his second touchdown last week. He now leads the league in touchdowns catches with eleven. It's easy to cheer for a guy that was an undrafted free agent who beats far superior athletes by his football intelligence and technique. Keenan Allen wins the same way for the Chargers. He was wide open for most of his 16 catches and 145 yards on a Sunday. He now leads the league in receptions with 81. Even when he is covered, he's not. Justin Herbert knows this and throws him 50/50 balls like the touchdown pass on Sunday, where he turned around the defender and caught the ball behind his back. I'm so happy that Allen has a competent quarterback to increase Allen's dynasty value in the back half of his career. Allen is 28 years old, and Thielen is 30 years old, but the way these guys win makes them valuable dynasty assets no matter their age.

Take a Seat

  • On the other hand, there is another player that I love for his route running and football intelligence, which I've decided to sit on the bench. That man is Jarvis Landry. He's one of my favorite players to watch and cheer for too, but the lack of passing volume has led me to sit him the last two weeks, and I will do the same for the rest of the season. Since Odell Beckham's injury, Landry has received 30% of the target volume in Cleveland. The problem is that 30% of 22 is not enough. That's the average number of passes Baker Mayfield has attempted per game since Beckham was injured. While I love Landry, he's not startable until Cleveland's passing volume picks up, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. Cleveland is playing well and winning games by giving Chubb and Hunt the ball 30 times a game. Even on Sunday, when Philadelphia was suffocating their run game, Cleveland stuck with it until Chubb finally broke off a 50-yard run, and they took control of the game. Cleveland has no reason to change their ways while winning by running the ball more than 30 times a game.

Week Eleven Injuries

Joe Burrow

  • I hate when quarterbacks get injured. It makes the NFL less fun to watch and kills fantasy teams. Every player in Cincinnati will be dramatically affected by the loss of Burrow for the year. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd won't lose any dynasty value, but they're not going to help dynasty teams in their playoff runs as they would have with Burrow. It's pretty late in the season to tear an ACL, but players have come back to start the following season when tearing an ACL in November or December. I assume Burrow will be starting week one next year, and everything is still looking up from a dynasty perspective for this impressive rookie.

Rex Burkhead

  • Burkhead reportedly tore his ACL on Sunday too. His injury provides just a hair more clarity to a too muddy backfield. Damien Harris has looked like the best running back, but he's phased out of the game when New England falls behind as they did on Sunday. James White had his best day of the year after Burkhead left the game. I believe he has the most to gain from this injury this year, but Harris is still the best dynasty value on a team that perpetually holds down the dynasty value of their running backs by mixing and matching them throughout the game. To complicate the matter, Sony Michel is back from his injury now too. I generally stay away from New England running backs and have done so even more this year with Cam Newton leading the team.

Julio Jones

  • Julio injured his hamstring yet again. He did come back into the game, but I suspect this will be another week-to-week situation like we were used to with Julio at this point. Olamide Zaccheaus is Julio's replacement and could provide value for this year in deep leagues, but there is no dynasty impact from this injury other than confirming again that Calvin Ridley is the WR-1 in Atlanta from a dynasty perspective. Julio is a very tradable asset right now for rebuilding teams, but contending teams need to beware because of his continued soft tissue injuries. He may not be playable during a playoff run.

Randall Cobb

  • Cobb hurt his toe on Sunday after scoring an early touchdown. Kenny Stills also got injured, giving Keke Coutee playing time and a touchdown of his own. I'll write more about Coutee in the waiver wire section below, but he stands the most to gain if Cobb misses time. Deshaun Watson will continue to play fine without Cobb. Cobb's injury impacts no one's dynasty value.

Week Eleven Waiver Wire

As a reminder, I play in 27 to 30-man roster leagues, so the players I list here are only for deep leagues. If you play in shallower leagues, there are certainly better players than these to pick up off the waiver wire. That said, for those of you in real dynasty leagues, here is who I would be looking to pick up this week. I list them in the order that I would prioritize them.

Ryan Finley

  • I would only aim to pick up Finley in superflex leagues because every starting quarterback should be rostered in superflex leagues, but I don't expect him to play too well. Still, he'd be worth rostering in case another starting quarterback on your roster got injured.

Keke Coutee

  • Coutee was a highly coveted player just two years ago. I remember drafting him in the middle rounds of a start-up draft two years ago, hoping he could become the WR-2 to Hopkins in Houston. A lot has changed since then. Hopkins was traded to Arizona, Cooks was traded to Houston, Will Fuller has been mostly healthy, and Randall Cobb was picked up in free agency. A lot can change in two years, including Houston's head coach and general manager getting fired. I'm curious enough to see what Koutee can do in Cobb's place for a few weeks that I would pick him up this week to see. He'd be my number one waiver claim in one-quarterback leagues.

Dez Bryant

  • It's hard to believe, but Bryant moved from the practice squad to the field this Sunday. He had his first NFL catch since 2017 and had more receptions (4) than any wide receiver on the team. He had four more catches than Marquise Brown's zero. Bryant holds very little dynasty value at 32 years old, so I would not try to pick him up except in the worst-case situation. Baltimore's passing game is too inefficient to make a wide receiver valuable in fantasy.

Week Eleven Trades

Trades are hard to grade in a vacuum since scoring systems are different in each league, and every team has a diverse roster construction. That's why I write about trades made in my leagues and give context for why the dynasty owners made the trades. I grade the trade, but in the context of what each team was attempting to accomplish with the trade.

That said, here are my thoughts on trades that were made in my leagues this week. I hope these trades give you an idea of how other active owners value these players and future picks.

Julio Jones, James Conner, and a 2022 3rd round pick <-----> Tua Tagovailoa, Corey Davis, Bryan Edwards, and a 2021 1st round pick

  • This trade took place in my 10-team, half-PPR, one-quarterback league. This trade is a classic rebuild vs. contender trade. The team that acquired Jones and Conner is in third place, one win away from second place and a playoff bye-week. They lacked a solid RB-2 and a fourth startable wide receiver. The team that traded Julio and Conner is in last place though they have a decent roster that has been decimated by injuries this year. They traded away aging assets and picked up a great mix of young players at various dynasty value stages. I like the youth side of this trade because I am concerned about Julio's injury history and Conner's lack of productivity on a great offense this year that should allow him to play better than he has this year. The biggest reason why I'm not too fond of this trade by the contending team is that there is one dominant team in this league that is scoring 30 points a week more than his team. Knowing this, I'd believe he's not going to win a championship by acquiring these two players, and therefore, should not have made this trade. 

Raheem Mostert, Andy Isabella, and a 2021 4th round pick <-----> Mike Evans, Devin Singletary, and a 2021 3rd round pick

  • This trade was offered to me in my 10-team standard league. I did not have to think about it for more than a minute. I accepted the trade and added Evans and Singletary to my team. I would have done so without involving the picks. The team that offered me the trade has a top 1-2 roster and has not won the championship but is very eager to do so. RB-2 is his only weak position, so he's hoping Mostert will come off of IR and carry his strong team to a title. He had six startable wide receivers in a league where we can only start four, so he was willing to part with Evans to secure a bye week and make his playoff run. Sadly for him, he lost this week by one point to the highest-scoring team of the week. Still, I like his chances to win the championship and believe Mostert can help him do that. I am in 6th place in this league and would need a major upset in the playoffs to advance very far, so I was glad to add Evans as a long-term asset to go with an excellent wide receiver corps. Evans will be my fourth starting wide receiver. This trade was one for Evans in my mind because I am not thrilled with the running game and split backfield in Buffalo. I'm willing to take a chance on it, though, and I may try to acquire Zach Moss down the road to hedge my bets there.

Juju Smith-Schuster, Jimmy Graham, and Rob Gronkowski <-----> Darnell Mooney, and two 2021 1st round picks

  • This trade took place in my 12-team, super-flex, all-flex, half-PPR league, tight end premium. This trade took place between two 4-6 teams who have an outside chance at the playoffs, with six 5-5 teams ahead of them in the standings. I assume that one of them thinks they can sneak into the playoffs while the other does not because this was quite a big trade. It's a tight end premium league, so tight ends are valued more highly, but I much prefer the Mooney, and two first-round picks in this trade, especially since the team that traded the aging tight ends has two young ones on his roster, Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson. It hurts to give up on Juju, but he's beginning to fall to the WR-3 position in Pittsburg behind Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson, and he may not get re-signed next year. Mooney has become the clear WR-2 in Chicago, so he's headed in the right direction. I don't think Juju and the two old tight ends will help that team make the playoffs, let alone advance in the playoffs. This trade is pretty lopsided, in my opinion.

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