Thumbs Up of the Week: Derek Carr (v KC)
Carr seemed to be on his way to weekly QB1 territory with a season-long pace of 4,603 yards and a 35:5 touchdown-interception ratio over his first six outings, but he’s been limited to 143.3 yards per game this month. That said, Las Vegas is 3-0 over that stretch and simply hasn’t needed to throw, which should change on Sunday night when they take on the Chiefs. Look for the passing attack to be opened up and for Carr to be a top streaming option—at home—against a defense that he stung for a season-high 347 yards and three scores back in Week 5.
Thumbs Up: Cam Newton (@ HOU)
Although the floor isn’t what you would want it to be because of how run-heavy the New England offense has become, Newton is a significant part of that with nine rushing scores in eight games, and he will continue to be a weapon when they get near the end zone. Prior to last week’s slugfest (impacted by Cleveland weather), the Texans had allowed 313.5 passing yards per game and 11 passing touchdowns over the previous four games, so the matchup is promising if Newton airs it out a bit more. I have him as a top-ten play.
Thumbs Up: Jameis Winston (v ATL)
I don’t feel great about recommending Winston due to the downside and can understand if people would rather not use him, but he steps into a tremendous situation with the Saints, and Atlanta—despite playing better in recent weeks—has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Also, Winston has put up big-time numbers against the Falcons throughout his career, including 299.3 yards per game and a 23:8 touchdown-interception ratio over the past seven matchups. Jameis immediately steps in as a borderline QB1 option.
Thumbs Up: Tom Brady (v LAR)
Brady unsurprisingly bounced back last week with a dominant win over the Panthers, and I don’t think the matchup is enough to downgrade him much considering the weapons in Tampa Bay to overcome it. It’s worth noting that the two huge games allowed by the Los Angeles defense have both been on the road against opponents with multiple ways to beat you (Buffalo and, at the time, San Francisco); unless you have another top quarterback play on the bench such as Justin Herbert or Ben Roethlisberger, it’s not a wise move to sit TB12 after he led all Week 10 scorers in fantasy points (31.8).
Thumbs Down of the Week: Deshaun Watson (v NE)
The Texans have given Bill Belichick and the Patriots some problems in three matchups with Watson under center, but they are coming off a disappointing loss in which their quarterback totaled just 163 passing yards, and New England’s defense—possibly getting Stephon Gilmore (knee) back after an important victory last week—is starting to round into form. Watson remains a QB1 play, but it’s the low-end variety for me against a defense that has held him to 4.0 yards per carry with zero rushing touchdowns.
Thumbs Down: Carson Wentz (@ CLE)
On the bright side, Wentz finally didn’t turn the ball over in Week 10 (for the first time this season), but he had just 212 total yards with zero scores—again showing the floor is extremely low when the rushing production hasn’t been there. Overall, the former No. 2 overall pick is on pace for 3,717 yards with a 21:21 touchdown-interception ratio, and he can’t be trusted as a QB1 option for what could be another rainy game in Cleveland. I don’t think an in-game benching is outside the realm of possibility with a brutal stretch after this week (v SEA, @ GB, v NO) making a Philly win crucial on Sunday.
Thumbs Down: Teddy Bridgewater (v DET)
While he’s currently the QB10 on the season, Bridgewater has mostly trended down during Carolina’s five-game losing streak, averaging 218.4 yards per game with a 7:4 touchdown-interception ratio. Now, he’s dealing with a knee injury to at least limit the rushing upside (and potentially lead to a more conservative approach in general), so the floor and ceiling will both likely take a hit despite what appears to be a good matchup against Detroit. I’d look elsewhere outside of two-quarterback leagues.
Thumbs Down: Ryan Tannehill (@ BAL)
We can expect him to throw more than 14 times that we saw back in January’s playoff win over the Ravens, but Tannehill is already seeing his volume as a passer decrease (12.5 completions per game over the past two weeks), and Baltimore remains a defense that’s better attacked on the ground than through the air—especially with defensive linemen Brandon Williams (ankle) and Calais Campbell (calf) both likely out. Modest rushing production for Tannehill in recent weeks (nine attempts for 37 scoreless yards over the past five games) makes him a low-end QB2 for Week 11.
Thumbs Up of the Week: Damien Harris (@ HOU)
The Texans started off last week with quality run defense against the Browns, but they ended up allowing 200+ yards for the second time in four weeks, and Romeo Crennel’s defense is now surrendering 28.1 fantasy points per game to opposing backs. Even though goal-line scores from Cam Newton and contributions from Rex Burkhead won’t be going away, Harris has established himself as the clear lead back for the Pats and just set career-highs in carries (22), rushing yards (121), and playing time (55%) on Sunday night. I have him as a top-15 play this week.
Thumbs Up: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (@ LV)
Edwards-Helaire has seen touch totals of nine, nine, and eight in three games since the Chiefs signed Le’Veon Bell, so there is definite reason to downgrade him for the stretch run—especially knowing Andy Reid’s willingness to abandon the run. However, I think self-reflection over the bye week could have Kansas City wanting to get their first-round pick involved more, and CEH had 40 yards both on the ground and through the air on just 13 touches in the first matchup against Las Vegas. I’m optimistic about his high-end RB2 outlook.
Thumbs Up: Kalen Ballage (v NYJ)
There was some concern about Los Angeles potentially going away from Ballage after a Week 9 breakout, but that didn’t happen, and it probably won’t after he totaled 102 yards on 23 touches last Sunday. Perhaps most notable is the fact that the 24-year-old played zero snaps on special teams last week—suggesting his status as the lead back is safe until Austin Ekeler (hamstring) returns. I could see New York coming out with some energy for what looks like their best chance at a win this year, but Ballage has worked himself into the RB2 ranks.
Thumbs Up: Jonathan Taylor (v GB)
Cue the Joker or clown memes/gifs if this fails, but a matchup against the Packers could finally allow Taylor to break out of his slump, and I am hoping that the extra time to prepare will lead to Indianapolis installing some more plays for the rookie that plays to his strengths (i.e. not running out of the shotgun). Last week was a major disappointment, but Taylor picked up three first downs on nine touches, and Green Bay struggling to tackle might lead to chunk gains if the rookie can get to the second level. I’m giving the former Wisconsin standout another shot.
Thumbs Down of the Week: Todd Gurley (@ NO)
Although his nose for the end zone makes him tough to bench, Gurley gets a difficult matchup against a New Orleans defense that’s allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to enemy runners, and they’ve really been stout in four games since the bye (3.0 yards per carry and zero scores allowed). Gurley has been a solid RB1 in Atlanta, but he could move closer towards low-end RB2 status with a limited, touchdown-dependent ceiling for this week’s rivalry game.
Thumbs Down: Phillip Lindsay (v MIA)
Last week was the low point for Lindsay (four carries for two yards), and he’s now seen single-digit touches in each of the past three games. The primary concern for his outlook in Week 11 and beyond is that Denver seems to not trust him in the passing game (he’s caught just two passes on eight targets all year)—making Lindsay too game-flow dependent to consider as anything more than a low-floor FLEX.
Thumbs Down: Leonard Fournette (v LAR)
I thought a fumble by Ronald Jones II last week might have led to Fournette getting the lead job and not looking back, but the Bucs stuck with their starter, and the bruising backup again struggled with eight carries for 19 scoreless yards. For the season, Fournette is averaging 4.1 yards per carry (compared to 5.1 yards per carry for Jones II), and his best shot at weekly production has surprisingly come in the passing game. I have Fournette outside the top 36 at running back.
Thumbs Down: Rams RBs (@ TB)
Cam Akers seeing extended action was partly expected coming out of the bye, but a team-high in carries (ten) only led to 38 yards, while Malcolm Brown scored twice and Darrell Henderson (who also found the end zone) handled just eight touches despite starting his seventh consecutive game. If no one emerges as the clear backfield leader, all three guys will settle in as volatile FLEX options; I’m avoiding the uncertainty for a challenging road matchup in Tampa Bay.
Thumbs Up of the Week: Chris Godwin (v LAR)
The only thing missing from Godwin’s stat line last week was a touchdown (6/92 on six targets), and it’s crazy to me that most view him as a WR2 or WR3 option at this point. In not even six full appearances (and at less than 100%), Godwin has a 16-game pace of 91 receptions, 1,099 yards, and five touchdowns on just 6.8 targets per game (a number that should climb down the stretch), and he absolutely ripped the Rams last year with a 12/172/2 line. Keep him in lineups as a no-doubt WR1.
Thumbs Up: Sammy Watkins (@ LV)
The last time we saw Watkins was against the Raiders, and before leaving early with a hamstring injury that’s kept him out since, the veteran caught two passes for 24 yards and a score. Assuming he can get back on the field this week, Watkins should see plenty of favorable coverages with the Raiders placing a priority on stopping Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Anyone with a need at receiver should see if Watkins—averaging 8.0 targets per game when healthy—is available as a starter on the league’s most explosive offense.
Thumbs Up: Henry Ruggs III (v KC)
Speaking of explosive, we are still waiting on another home-run play from Ruggs III, but his two biggest both came against the Chiefs (a 72-yard touchdown and a 46-yard reception), so we’ll see if he and Derek Carr can connect on Sunday night. In terms of pure speed, Kansas City simply doesn’t have a cornerback on the roster that can come close to matching Ruggs III, so it might just take one play against single coverage to be worth a start.
Thumbs Up: Denzel Mims (@ LAC)
While it was Breshad Perriman that went off against the Patriots in the most recent game for New York, Mims also produced with four receptions and 62 yards, and the strong-armed Joe Flacco won’t hesitate to give him chances down the field. In general, I’m a big believer in the rookie’s talent, and it’s common for young players to be featured more coming out of the bye; Mims is a quality flier for those searching for a dart throw in Week 11.
Others: Antonio Brown (v LAR), Jakobi Meyers (@ HOU)
Thumbs Down of the Week: Mike Evans (v LAR)
The Buccaneers have moved Evans inside and the Rams have mostly left Jalen Ramsey at his left cornerback spot, but I’m still worried about the matchup this week for the big-bodied wideout, as overall, Tom Brady might rely more on Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown on Monday night. Remember, Los Angeles just held D.K. Metcalf to 28 scoreless yards on two receptions last week, and they’ll likely have a similar game plan to contain Evans, who has three games this year with ten or fewer yards.
Thumbs Down: Will Fuller (v NE)
Including playoffs, Fuller has totaled seven receptions for 55 scoreless yards in three matchups against the Patriots, and he is almost certainly going to be the guy Bill Belichick makes sure doesn’t beat them this weekend. The three quietest games for Fuller in 2020 have come against the Ravens (zero receptions), Packers (Jaire Alexander), and Browns (Denzel Ward), so Sunday could be another low-floor day if New England’s defense builds on last week’s showing with a chance to get to .500.
Thumbs Down: Jerry Jeudy (v MIA)
Whether or not Drew Lock (ribs) is able to suit up, Jeudy is a player to avoid against a Miami defense that is playing better on the backend than the numbers suggest, and the rookie seeing increased usage on the outside will mean matching up against Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. The Dolphins have limited perimeter wideouts DeAndre Hopkins (3/30) and Mike Williams (2/38) in back-to-back games and Jeudy will probably be very reliant on a chunk play and/or score to pay dividends.
Thumbs Down: T.Y. Hilton (v GB)
I wish Colts-Titans was a closer game last week because Hilton (4/40) looked good early and might have been able to have a stronger night with more than five targets, but now he’ll be opposed by Jaire Alexander in a matchup that Philip Rivers may not want to push. Dating back to last year, Hilton hasn’t scored or surpassed 72 yards in 13 straight games; I doubt the streak ends against Alexander.
Others: Brandin Cooks (v NE), Corey Davis (@ BAL)
Thumbs Up of the Week: Hayden Hurst (@ NO)
The Saints thought adding Malcolm Jenkins in the offseason would make them even better against opposing tight ends (after being very stingy in 2019), but they’ve allowed the seventh-most points per game to the position, and an increasing role for Hurst (54+ yards in each of the past four weeks prior the bye) should make him a solid TE1 on Sunday. Last year, Atlanta tight ends had a score in both meetings with New Orleans.
Thumbs Up: Tyler Higbee (@ TB)
Higbee is coming off a game in which he had a season-high in targets (six) and yards (60) on 84% snaps played, so there should be some optimism about another late-season surge (though no one expects anything like last year). On Monday night, I’m anticipating Higbee will remain a big part of the game plan as an outlet for Jared Goff to offset the Tampa Bay pass rush, so he’s again a top-15 option.
Thumbs Up: Taysom Hill (v ATL)
Not all leagues/sites have Hill as a TE-eligible option, but if he is, you could do a lot worse considering the state of the position. The main concern is that Hill didn’t see an increase in playing time with Teddy Bridgewater under center last year because they wanted to keep him healthy as the No. 2 quarterback, but the Jameis Winston experience could get a little crazy, and Hill was used quite a bit as a runner in the second half last week with six carries.
Thumbs Down of the Week: None
Tight end is in perhaps the worst shape it’s ever been, and there really aren’t players you can feel confident about completely turning down as an option. Last week, Rob Gronkowski finished as the overall TE1 with two receptions for 51 yards and a score on three targets; Hunter Henry and Cameron Brate were the only others with double-digit fantasy points at the position last week, and the trio combined for just 12 targets.