Sun Nov 28th 2021
2021 Week Twelve Review
The NFL's week twelve was kind of a stinker. There were a lot of blowouts and low-scoring games, and the close games mainly were low-scoring and among teams that were not going anywhere. Apart from the Buccaneer vs. Colts game, only the Thursday afternoon and Sunday afternoon games were exciting. Hopefully, your fantasy games were more enjoyable on your Thanksgiving weekend.
It was not a very exciting fantasy week for me. My teams finished 6-4, but I lost in the leagues that I really needed to win to stay in contention for bye weeks. It currently looks like I will only get a bye week in one league. I still have two more weeks to fight for it, but I no longer control my own destiny. I have to pause on weeks like this to remind myself that win or lose, it's a joy to watch football all weekend and cheer on all of my dynasty teams.
After following all of the games this week, here are a few of my thoughts on players and situations and their impact on our dynasty teams.
Ten Observations From Week Twelve
- Dak Prescott managed to slug his way to a great fantasy day on Thanksgiving despite missing his two star wideouts, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. The Raiders' defense had been horrible against the run all season, but the Cowboys could not get anything going on the ground. Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard combined for just 61 yards rushing on 19 carries. Dak carried the team to the comeback and game-tying drive only to lose the game in overtime. To use the Move The Sticks Podcast terminology, Dak bounced back from the worst game of the season to prove that he is a truck and not a trailer. He can carry a team on his back even with his two star weapons on the bench. Dak was averaging the 10th most quarterback points per game heading into this week. He's had only two bad games this season but has scored more than 20 points in the other nine games and has scored 28 points four times. Dak's my 6th ranked dynasty quarterback and a player I was able to trade for this week.
- Buffalo smashed the depleted Saints team on Thanksgiving night, bouncing back from the beatdown they took from the Colts last week. Josh Allen continues to spread the ball around more than he did last year. Stefon Diggs isn't the league-winner like he was last year, but he's among the most consistent fantasy-scoring wide receivers in the league. He's finally scoring touchdowns, as Allen has narrowed his red-zone targets to just two players, Diggs and Dawson Knox. Diggs has caught six red-zone touchdowns over the last six weeks. This season, Knox has caught four red-zone touchdowns and three deep-ball touchdowns of 53, 24, and 25 yards. The Bills are scheming up looks for them in the red zone, which is fantastic for their fantasy managers, but not for those with Bills' running backs on their rosters. Zack Moss was a healthy scratch this week while Matt Breida and Devin Singletary split the backfield. Moss had three red-zone touchdowns in weeks 1 to 4 but has only had one since. Devin Singeltary has only had one red-zone touchdown, as has Matt Breida. Josh Allen has three of the Bills' red-zone rushing touchdowns. There are only three players worth starting in dynasty lineups on the Bills because they are the only ones scoring touchdowns. It's Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Dawson Knox.
- Jalen Hurts finally had a bad fantasy game, as did the rest of the Eagles' players. Every time I decide that Miles Sanders finally has a chance to break out, he doesn't, and he spoiled several of my games this week. With Jordan Howard injured and the Eagles running the ball more than any team in the league, I thought this would finally be his week to shine. Instead, he was outscored and outplayed by Boston Scott, who scored the Eagles' lone touchdown on Sunday. Sanders is the player with the most touches this season without scoring a touchdown (108). I wrote last week about how I've given up on Jalen Reagor. He reinforced my thoughts by dropping two game-winning touchdowns on the last possession of the game. What's worse this week is that the only fantasy-reliable pass catchers in Philadelphia, Devonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, combined for three fantasy points - 3 for Smith and a goose egg for Goedert. Buffalo and Dallas got their bad weeks out of their system last week. Philadelphia did this week. Hurts, Smith, and Goedert are still reliable starters and will help dynasty managers on their playoff pushes, but this week they all busted. As for the running backs in Philadelphia, I've learned my lesson and will keep them out of my lineups going forward except in the worst of situations. Sadly, in a few leagues, I am in the worst of situations.
- See what I did there? It was low-hanging fruit, I know. Fournette showed Jonathan Taylor that he's not the only one who can win fantasy games for his managers. Taylor scored 51 fantasy points last week. Fournette came close this week with 40 points of his own. Unfortunately, his great day came at the expense of the Tampa Bay passing game. Tom Brady has his worst fantasy game of the season, and everyone not named Rob Gronkowski suffered for it. I have a hard time believing this is a conscious choice of the Buccaneers in an attempt to spare Brady's arm or something, but Brady has had his lowest passing attempts (34) in two of his last three games. As for Fournette, all of the dynasty managers who traded for him sometime after being cut by the Jaguars ad signed by Tampa Bay are thrilled with how he's resurrected his career. He already has more fantasy points than he did all of last season and is on pace to have the most points of his five-year career. His contract expires at the end of this season, and the Buccaneers will have to decide if he's going to stay with the team or not. His attitude problems have not been a problem since signing with Tampa Bay. Based on comments from players following Sunday's game, his teammates love him. His dynasty value is in limbo until his next contract, but for right now, Tampa Bay and his dynasty managers are enjoying the ride this year.
Mixon-ing It Up
- Since the Bengals bye week, they have concentrated on their run game, and Joe Mixon is giving them a reason to continue to do so. Mixon had 30 touches two weeks ago, and 32 touches this week, resulting in 24 and 30-point fantasy weeks. If it were not for a rushing touchdown on Sunday, Joe Burrow would have scored a total of 22 fantasy points over the last two weeks. The Bengals jumped to early leads in both of their previous two games, so it's hard to know for sure if they came out of the bye week with a philosophy change or if they just played to the game script the last two weeks. One thing is for sure - Joe Mixon looks excellent. He's third in the NFL in rushing yards, touchdowns, and attempts. That's what Mixon managers had wanted to see from the Bengals for the last few years when they seemed unwilling to do so. At this rate, Mixon is sure to be part of some championship rosters. The same might not be true for those relying on Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, or Tee Higgins.
- Miami is on a four-game winning streak, and their offense is finally clicking while their defense is stifling teams. Tua is helping the Dolphins, but he's not helping his fantasy managers. He has an incredible 82% and 87% completion rate the last two weeks and has a quarterback rating over 100 five of the previous six weeks. Jaylen Waddle has been the benefactor of Tua's efficient play and had the best game of his rookie year this week, scoring 24 fantasy points. He's a target hog, averaging 8.5 targets per game, and in recent weeks he's finally being targeted down the field more. Myles Gaskin has had an up and down fantasy year, but he's been more consistent during this winning streak. He's scored four times in the four-game winning streak. He's averaging 21 touched per game during that time, too. Gaskin and Waddle are on the rise as Miami's offense improves. During this same stretch, however, Mike Gesicki's target share and fantasy performance have declined. He's still getting a good amount of targets compared to other fantasy-viable tight ends, but he's been a disappointment over the last four weeks.
The New Hybrids
- Deebo Samuel and Cordarrelle Patterson are breaking fantasy football, and it's incredible. Patterson and Samuel are hybrid running backs and wide receivers. They're the real NFL version of a fantasy flex position. Patterson had the first 100-yard rushing day for the Falcons since last season. As a wide receiver, Samuel had a rushing touchdown for the third game in a row, tying an NFL record. Samuel has produced fantasy points the last two weeks with only one reception. He scored two more rushing touchdowns from the running back position this week, as did Patterson. Samuel and Patterson are among the top players whose dynasty value has increased this year. At the beginning of this season, Patterson was on the waiver wire in most of my leagues, and Samuel was thought to be too injury prone and surpassed by Brandin Aiyuk in San Francisco. Now they are top-ten running backs and wide receivers. Let's hope Deebo's groin injury is only minor so we can continue to watch these fantastic hybrid players.
The Herbert Roller Coaster
- Justin Herbert is my most rostered quarterback, and I've experienced his roller-coaster season as a result. In one league, I have Matt Stafford and Justin Herbert. My co-manager and I have guessed wrong which quarterback to start in every week of this season except one. That's hard to believe but true, and we did it again this week. He didn't have a bad week this week. He scored 23 fantasy points, but he's had so many game-winning weeks that it's frustrating not to get them. I guess it's not fair to expect him to score over thirty points a week like he has four times this season, but I've grown to expect it. His WR-2, on the other hand, is stuck on the downside of the roller coaster. Mike Williams scored 100 points over the first five weeks of the season. He's scored 43 in his six games since. At this point, it's fair to call this a trend, and Williams is a player managers have to consider benching. He's lost his trade value, so it would be unwise to trade him now. Managers bold enough to have traded him high early in the season are pleased with their decision. At the start of the season, I looked stupid for suggesting this would be Williams's last season in Los Angeles because Josh Palmer would pass him up in the lineup by the end of the season. My Palmer take has not come to pass, but my evaluation of Williams and his future with the team looks more correct now than it ever has this season.
- All he does is catch touchdowns. That used to be the claim for Cris Carter from the Vikings decades ago. Now another Viking is making that claim. Adam Thielen caught two more touchdowns on Sunday and is now tied with Cooper Kupp and Mike Evans, with ten of the most touchdown catches on the season. While people don't like to believe it, Thielen is once again a top-ten fantasy receiver, based mainly on his touchdowns. He's caught a touchdown on one out of every six receptions he's made this season. All but one of his ten touchdowns have been in the red zone, too. He and Cousins just have a mind-meld, and the Vikings draw up plays for Thielen because he's so proficient at catching touchdowns. Both of his two touchdown grabs on Sunday were terrific catches too. One was a perfect throw that required Thielen to highpoint the ball and toe-tap his way to six. The other was a bad throw by Cousins where Thielen had to reach back across his body to make a superb catch. The Vikings have played eleven games. Thielen has ten touchdowns. It's what he does. From a dynasty perspective, he's an aging receiver who is no longer the WR-1 on his team, but as long as he can keep scoring touchdowns, he's a valuable asset on contending teams. He's on three of my rosters and keeping me in the playoff race.
- This week, the Sunday night game was a fantasy disaster, leaving dynasty managers disappointed to end the day. If you trusted Jarvis Landry after his past few poor performances, his yardage saved the day. Mark Andrews' touchdown made his fantasy night salvageable, but other than that, every player dynasty manager started in hopes of a comeback win on Sunday night severely disappointed. Lamar Jackson's four interceptions contributed to his worst fantasy week of the season, and as the quarterback goes, so goes the team. Devonta Freeman, who in recent weeks controlled the backfield, went back to a nearly 50/50 split with Latavius Murray, and neither played well. Nick Chubb had his worst game of the season, too, with just 16 yards rushing. Kareem Hunt was active again, but he faired no better in the tun game with just twenty yards rushing. Baker Mayfield is a real problem for the Browns and dynasty managers relying on Browns players to help their teams. As much as I love Chubb as a player, I am concerned that the Browns' offense will continue to disappoint as the season draws to an end. As for the Ravens, obviously, Lamar Jackson will be fine for fantasy teams, but every other player on their team not named Mark Andrews is a risky player to start. I feel bad for all dynasty managers who needed fantasy points on Sunday night to steal a win, including myself.
- My last observation is less about fantasy and more about the NFL, as I am prone to do. It's become tiring for me to see teams run plays to get a pass interference call. As my family, but Thursday night after Micah Parsons sacked Derek Carr and pushed them out of field goal range, I said, "Don't get too excited. Carr is just going to throw a deep ball and hope for pass interference." He did, and he got the subjective call that led to their game-winning field goal. I am not just a disgruntled Cowboy fan or a bitter ex-cornerback. I am a disgruntled NFL fan because I am convinced that teams are running these plays to get pass interference calls. It's not that hard to do either. If a quarterback sees man-to-man coverage and can get the defense back's back turned and chasing, he can intentionally underthrow the pass and likely get a PI call. It's infuriating. I've always favored the college pass interference rule that marks off 15 yards rather than spotting the ball where the PI occurred. The NFL rule was created to keep DBs who knew they were burnt deep from intentionally interfering with the receiver. It's was a good rule at the time, but now the exact opposite is happening. The receivers are drawing interference deliberately, and that needs to stop. Rant over.
Week Twelve Waiver Wire
As a reminder, I play in 27 to 30-man roster leagues, so the players I list here are for deep leagues only. If you play in shallower leagues, there are certainly better players than these to pick up off the waiver wire, but if you're in deep dynasty leagues, these are the players I would make bids on this week. I list them in the order that I would prioritize them.
Strangely, this late in the season, there are a couple of guys I'm very interested in adding this week, even from a dynasty perspective.
- This week, Reynolds was second on the team in snaps after leading the teams in snaps last week after the Lions claimed him off waivers two weeks ago. He got deep for a touchdown pass on Thursday and impacted the team for the first time. I've always believed in Reynolds and had him on the back of most of my rosters. I only cut him this year after he couldn't earn a role in the Tennessee offense even while Julio Jones was out injured. He could very well be the best outside wide receiver in Detroit already. He's the first guy I'd attempt to add in leagues where I did not already add him when Detroit signed him.
- Brevin Jordan was very active in the Texans lineup this last week, and he scored another touchdown. He's scored a touchdown in two of the four games he played this season and looked to be a player the Texans can build around in their rebuilding process. He was the consensus third-best rookie tight end in this class behind Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth. He just did not get to play until week eight of the season. His breakout is coming like Pitts' and Freiermuth's have. He's a perfect guy to hold at the back of your roster.
- In the last three weeks, Doyle has significantly out-snapped and out-targeted Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson. He's the best tight end on to roster on the Colts. Their opponent on Sunday, the Buccaneers, has been one of the worst defenses in the league against tight ends, so his 17-point fantasy day should be tempered with caution. I'd much prefer Brevin Jordan as a true dynasty asset, but I'd consider adding Doyle in some leagues this week, too, since the tight end situation in Indianapolis is clearing up.
- Over the last three weeks, Jennings has seen about 50% of the snaps. He's creating a role in the 49ers' offense. He caught a touchdown pass on Sunday and had a second touchdown pass overruled by instant replay. The opportunities in San Francisco are limited, with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandin Aiyuk rightly getting most of the looks, so I'd only consider adding Jennings in the deepest of leagues. If Deebo misses time with the injury he sustained late in the game on Sunday, Jennings could get an opportunity to prove even more.
Week Twelve 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.
Here are my thoughts on trades that took place in my leagues this week. I hope these trades give you an idea of how other active owners value these players and future picks.
There were a few big trades this week!
Travis Kelce, Tom Brady, Cordarrelle Patterson, and a 2022 3rd round pick <=====> Pat Friermuth, Dak Prescott, and a 2021 1st round pick
- I traded away Kelce in this league after facing the fact that my team is old and needs to go into rebuild mode. I put Kelce, Patterson, and Brady on the trading block and received several offers from teams but rejected all of them. I countered one trade with this offer, and the other manager let it sit for several days before accepting it. I bought back a lot of years at quarterback by trading Brady for Dak and see Dak as a top-twelve quarterback for many years to come. My only other quarterback in this league is Matt Ryan. Like I said, my team is old. I bought back years at tight end, too, by getting Freiermuth, who has already moved up to 12th in my dynasty rankings. He'll never be as good to my team as Kelce was, but he can improve on his excellent rookie season. As for Patterson, I am not convinced that he can continue this incredible season again. I could be wrong, but I believe this will be the best year of his career. I was willing to treat him as a one-year wonder and get back a first-round pick in the package deal. I gave the competing team three every-week starters to help him on his championship run. Now I have to hope he gets unlucky and I get a better first-round pick.
Devonta Freeman <=====> 2022 2nd round pick
- In my biggest-money league, I made this trade for Freeman, where I am in fourth place and needed a little help in my final push toward the playoffs. It's a 14-team league, so rosters are pretty thin, so Freeman will be a starter for me for the rest of the season. I'm hoping his 10-15 points per game will give me enough to compete for the championship. Even if I lose in the first round of the playoffs, in a 14-team league, it would be pick 23. If I make the playoffs, it would be somewhere between pick 23 and 28. I was willing to take the risk to increase my chances of finishing in the money. It sure didn't help me this week, though.
A.J. Dillon, Nyheim Hines, and a 2023 first round pick <=====> J.K. Dobbins, Laviska Shenault, and a 2023 2nd round pick
- This big deal was made between the highest-scoring team in the league and the lowest-scoring team in the league. The bad team is in rebuild mode and has been acquiring draft picks. He decided to give away one of his future first-round picks for J.K. Dobbins since he, too, was drafted in the top of the first-round in rookie drafts two years ago. Dobbins will have had plenty of time to heal from his ACL surgery by the start of next season and will be the lead back for the Ravens in the future, so I believe he is worth a future first-round pick. I like that part of the trade, but I don't like what he had to give up on the other side of the trade. I like Dillon and Hines more than Shenault and a future second-round pick, especially since the team who acquired Hines has Jonathan Taylor. Dillon is a worthy flex-position starter even when Aaron Jones is healthy, while Shenault has struggled to break out in his second season like I thought he would, being outplayed by Jamaal Agnew this season before Agnew got injured last week. After Shenault finished his rookie season with five great games, I traded a first-round pick from a championship team for him. I've regretted that trade this season, as he never returned to the level of play he ended last season with a different coaching staff. Time will tell on this one since these are 2023 picks, but right now, I believe one team got the best player, Dobbins, while the other team got the better package.
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