15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 11
As a fantasy football analyst, my job is to provide information, give sound advice, and help you win a fantasy football championship. And I should be entertaining, too. You don't want to read or listen to someone with zero ability to make you smile.
Being stubborn -- or, as the kids say, having "take lock" -- does me no good. Because if I'm stubborn, that means I'm not thinking rationally and with a level head. And if that's the case, then I'm providing bad advice, which, in turn, makes me a bad fantasy analyst.
Keep that in mind with this week's first transaction.
Sell Derrick Henry
If you're having a little déjà vu, it's because Derrick Henry was in this 15 Transactions column just last week as a sell candidate. So, first off, if you remember seeing that, thanks for being a loyal reader. Second...well, it looks like my nerdy self was wrong.
You can hand me that L.
To be fair, though, I did say this about Henry in last week's article:
"...it should be noted that Tennessee gets Kansas City this week, creating a good matchup for Henry on paper. If you want to wait to sell him, it's understandable, but Henry's value will also diminish if he doesn't perform."
Hopefully you waited, because Henry finished Week 10 with 33.1 fantasy points in PPR leagues, giving him his third top-10 performance in his last four games.
Could this be the second-half surge we've seen from Henry in the past? Maybe, but buying into narratives can often get you in trouble in fantasy football. The truth of the matter is, Henry's continued to outperform in the touchdown column, even more than usual.
Touchdowns correlate strongly to yards -- the more yards a player has, the more touchdowns he usually scores. Context is always needed with this type of analysis -- and I'm going to provide that context -- but Henry's yardage total tells us that he should have 3.4 fewer touchdowns than he currently has.
Typically (and this is where we look at context), players in good offenses can outplay the simple yards to touchdowns conversion. But Tennessee has scored 30 or more points just twice this year, and even when looking only at games with Ryan Tannehill under center, the Titans have been completely average in yards per drive. And that includes Sunday's performance against Kansas City, when they scored four offensive touchdowns.
As I mentioned last week, Henry's not even seeing that many high-leverage touches. Through Week 10, he's handled six goal-line rushes, which ranks outside the top 20.
And to top it off, he's hit a single-game target share of 10% or better only twice this season. He's not even involved much as a receiver.
The Titans have a bye this week, and then in the fantasy football playoffs -- during Weeks 15 and 16 -- they'll face Houston and New Orleans. Those are two tough matchups for a running back. Now's the time to sell Henry.
Add J.D. McKissic
The Lions lost Ty Johnson to a concussion on Sunday, which allowed J.D. McKissic to play more snaps than usual. He ended his Week 10 game with about a 70% snap rate, by far the highest on the Lions. He also led the team in carries, and his 16% target share sent 7 targets his way. He's not a running back who's likely to get a ton of early-down work, but if Johnson misses time, McKissic could be a viable flex option in PPR leagues.
Buy Dede Westbrook
Some of you may be concerned about the Jacksonville offense with Nick Foles returning from injury and now starting, but there's little reason to be. It's not as though the Jags were some powerhouse offensively with Gardner Minshew under center. On the year, Jacksonville is slightly above average in yards per drive, and they rank 19th in scoring rate per drive.
With Foles back, we could also see a little more love for Dede Westbrook. Westbrook played one preseason game and saw seven targets in that contest, and it was with Foles under center. It's a limited sample and it may not matter, but at the very least, we should feel good about Westbrook being able to maintain or grow his target share. And then on top of that, Jacksonville has an amazing fantasy playoff schedule. In Week 15 they'll face Oakland, and in Week 16, they get Atlanta. Those are two teams that have been very friendly against opposing wideouts this year, allowing the third-most and sixth-most fantasy points, respectively, to the position.
Buy Leonard Fournette
Those Jacksonville fantasy playoff matchups against the Raiders and Falcons aren't bad for Leonard Fournette, either. Both teams rank as average ones in fantasy points allowed to the running back position, but the Jags should be able to move the ball, increasing Fournette's scoring potential.
And that's really the issue with Fournette, as we all know. He can't seem to find the end zone. Even with 831 rushing yards and 295 receiving yards, Fournette's found the end zone just once this year. Those yardage totals have historically yielded 7.2 scores, or 6.2 more than what Fournette's gotten. That makes him the biggest positive regression candidate in the NFL from a yards-to-touchdowns conversion standpoint.
Like you just read with Westbrook, though, Jacksonville's offense isn't necessarily special. As a result, they rank 30th in goal-line plays run this year, which has hurt Fournette's touchdown potential. With Foles under center now, at least we have a little more upside that things can turn around.
Hold or Sell David Johnson
If you watched Sunday's Cardinals game, then you saw David Johnson look like he was running in wet cement. To be honest, he hasn't looked all that great as a runner for most of the season, but Sunday really highlighted things, especially in comparison to an athletic back like teammate Kenyan Drake.
Sometimes in fantasy football, you've got to sell low. That's where we may be at with DJ. In Week 10, Drake out-attempted Johnson 10 to 5, he saw 7 targets to Johnson's 1, and he played 15 more snaps. Most importantly, he was flat-out the better running back.
If someone in your league still believes Johnson is a locked-in RB2 from here on out, you can sell him. If not, there's probably no reason to let go, since we do know Johnson has upside, especially as a receiver. Holding onto him means you're hoping Sunday's performance was more related to Johnson getting used to being back on the field versus him actually being totally ineffective.
Add Darius Slayton
With no Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram on Sunday, rookie Darius Slayton stepped in and played 93% of New York's snaps while seeing almost 38% of the team's targets. He turned that huge target share into a 10-catch, 121-yard, 2-touchdown performance. With question marks still surrounding both Shepard and Engram, Slayton's a great add for wide receiver-needy teams this week.
Buy Alvin Kamara
The Saints offense not being able to perform against Atlanta on Sunday had to be the biggest surprise of Week 10 -- maybe even the entire season. Fortunately, Alvin Kamara still came through with a pretty good performance, finishing as a top-12, RB1 on the week.
There were question marks surrounding his potential usage given Latavius Murray's play while he was sidelined, but Kamara played 78.3% of New Orleans' offensive snaps, marking his second-highest rate of the season. His running back rush share was the lowest of the year at 44.4%, but Kamara saw 23.3% of the Saints' targets, which is right in line with what we saw the last time he was healthy.
In other words, had the New Orleans offense performed to expectation, Kamara likely would've been a high-end RB1 in Week 10. The scoring opportunities just weren't there, but the peripheral numbers point to someone who should be able to give you solid numbers down the stretch. Some may be worried about Murray, which is valid, but Kamara can still produce higher-end RB1 numbers with Murray in the mix.
And keep in mind, Kamara is a positive touchdown regression candidate. Based on his rushing and receiving yardage totals, he should have 2.3 more touchdowns than he currently has.
Add Brian Hill
In that same game, Falcons' running back Devonta Freeman exited with a foot injury, leaving the backfield duties to Brian Hill. Hill ended the day playing more than half of Atlanta's snaps while carrying 64.5% of the team's running back attempts, which are both big numbers. The Falcons' backfield hasn't been all that fruitful from a fantasy perspective this year -- they rank 26th in points per game as a team -- but any running back with a chance to see touches deserves to be rostered.
Hold or Buy Odell Beckham
Readers want to know what to do with Odell Beckham, and the answer is a boring one. It depends.
Selling him would be getting rid of him at a low point. And, yes, it's a low point. Beckham hasn't scored since Week 2 even though he's averaging nearly 9 targets per game and a 26.4% target share this season. He should have more touchdowns than he has.
But the schedule is still a little worrisome, which is why he could be considered more of a hold and not an obvious trade target. Cleveland gets Pittsburgh in two of their next three games, and the Steelers have allowed just two top-24, WR2 performances since trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick. It's not a cake matchup, especially with the pressure Pittsburgh can generate -- the Steelers are third-best in the league in pressure rate.
If you're OK with taking it on the chin for a game or two, the other matchups for Cleveland aren't all that bad. They still get to face Miami, Arizona, and Cincinnati, three beatable defenses. The secondary numbers for Beckham are there. He just needs to find the end zone.
Add Kalen Ballage
Our single-game sample of the Dolphins' backfield without Kenyan Drake and Mark Walton saw Kalen Ballage dominate touches. He didn't do a whole lot with them -- he had just 43 rushing yards on 20 carries and 2 receiving yards on 4 receptions -- but we're worried mostly with volume in fantasy football. And his 81.8% snap rate is really good for a running back.
It does bring forth the point that Ballage could lose this gig if he continues to play poorly, which is a very real possibility. After all, he couldn't even beat out Demario Richard, who failed to make an AAF roster, in college. So keep Myles Gaskin on your radar as you hold your nose, and add Ballage to your roster this week as a bye week fill-in.
Sell Austin Ekeler
Those of you who've been starting Austin Ekeler over the past few weeks know that you've been pretty fortunate. He's ranked outside the top-15 in weekly running back scoring in each of his last three games, and that's while finding the end zone twice. Without those two touchdowns on his nine combined targets over the last three weeks, he'd be in trouble.
The Chargers continue to get Melvin Gordon more involved, and it's hurting Ekeler. He's failed to reach a 50% snap share in his last two contests, and over his last three, Ekeler's target share has hovered around the 10% mark. It was almost double that during the first seven weeks of the season.
He should still be a usable piece in PPR leagues, especially if and when the Chargers are trailing. And that could happen this week, as they're facing the Chiefs. Maybe, like Derrick Henry last week, you want to wait and sell Ekeler until after that game is over. The problem is, if he doesn't come through in a cake matchup, you're looking at a worse asset to give away.
Things just aren't trending in the right direction for Ekeler right now, making him a clear sell candidate.
Add Deebo Samuel
The arrow was pointing up for Deebo Samuel entering Week 10's contest against Seattle. During his three games leading up to the tilt against the Seahawks, he had seen at least a 14% target share in every contest while running the second-most wide receiver routes on the 49ers, behind only Emmanuel Sanders.
Speaking of Sanders, his getting injured during Monday night's game allowed Samuel to have a big night, catching 8 passes for 112 yards. If Sanders misses time, Samuel could become a decent wide receiver for your fantasy squad.
Buy Chris Godwin
After finishing with four top-six performances across the first six weeks of the season, Chris Godwin has ranked outside the top-20 in weekly wide receiver scoring in each of his last three games. It's not a cause for concern, though. He's hit a 20% target share in each of those contests, and he's got a pair of targets from within the 10-yard line during this time.
Both Godwin and teammate Mike Evans are really intriguing fantasy playoff wide receivers, too, with the Buccaneers facing the Lions and Texans in Weeks 15 and 16. Both teams have surrendered top-10 numbers to wide receivers this season in PPR formats.
Add Kyle Allen
If Derek Carr is on your waiver wire, he's probably the best option to add this week. Since he's rostered in 45% of Yahoo! leagues, though, Kyle Allen becomes a more traditional streamer that you could roster.
Allen's at home this week going up against an Atlanta defense that was great in Week 10, but over the larger sample, they've...sucked. They've allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing passers this year, they're giving up the fourth-highest yards per attempt rate, and just four teams have generated quarterback pressure at a lower rate. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging over five fantasy points per game above expectation against the Falcons.
FanDuel Sportsbook has the Falcons-Panthers game this week at a 50.5-point over/under, and Carolina is a 6.5-point favorite. That gives them a nice implied team total, boosting Allen's streaming value.
Add the Oakland Raiders Defense
The Raiders are at home this week as double-digit favorites against a Bengals team that has allowed enemy defenses to rank in the top-10 in weekly scoring during 6 of 9 (nice) games played this year. Oakland's been bad at getting to the quarterback (dead last in pressure rate, 10th-worst in sack rate), but it's the right matchup for the defense to thrive. They're a top streaming choice.