Fantasy Football: 5 Things We Learned in Week 11
For a week that started off with some serious drama on Thursday night, Week 11 was actually a pretty tame one overall. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens dominated Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans, and the Atlanta Falcons turned some heads, but just about every other game went pretty much how we would have expected them to go.
But we can't take it easy just because there weren't many big surprises. There's still a ton of information to digest -- teams are always shaking up their depth charts, and players get injured or return from injuries all the time. In that sense, Week 11 was no different from any other week.
In fact, there's quite a lot to take away -- here are five things we learned in Week 11.
Marlon Mack Is Going to Miss Some Time
The Indianapolis Colts won big on Sunday, but they lost their workhorse running back in the process -- in the middle of a dominant performance, Marlon Mack broke his hand. We already know that the breakout running back will miss this Thursday's game, but he is in danger of missing even more time with the injury.
Mack was having a huge game before he suffered the injury, racking up 109 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. The good news for the Colts -- and for fantasy managers -- is that his backup looked just as good while filling in. Jonathan Williams took 13 carries for 116 yards and caught his only target for a big 31-yard gain in relief of Mack -- not bad for a guy who had handled just 3 carries in 2018 and was out of the league in 2017.
It's unclear whether Williams will hang onto the role when Jordan Wilkins heals up from the ankle injury that sidelined him this week, and of course Nyheim Hines will stay involved as a pass-catcher and change-of-pace back, but ahead of Thursday Night Football, Williams should be a priority add on your waiver wires this week.
Kenyan Drake Is Definitely the RB1 in Arizona
The Arizona Cardinals can apparently say whatever they want with their injury reports -- David Johnson is obviously hurt, whether or not they want to denote that on the reports. While Johnson was technically active in Week 11, he played just nine snaps and didn't get a single touch. It's fair to speculate that Johnson's back injury is a bigger deal than he is letting on -- Kliff Kingsbury himself said the running back was still dealing with his back and ankle injuries after last week's game. Johnson even reminded some of Rob Gronkowski in 2018 with how stiff he looked running the ball.
Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake handled 16 carries for 67 yards and caught 6 of his 7 targets for 13 yards, pretty much playing the classic DJ role. Drake played 88% of the team's offensive snaps while handling that dominant workload after reportedly leaping Johnson on the depth chart in last week's practices. His 46.34% Rushing Success Rate -- or the percentage of a running back's carries that add value to his team's expected points total -- leads all Cardinals backs, and he even managed an impressive 50% Rushing Success Rate against the San Francisco 49ers' staunch defense this week.
The Cardinals are heading into their Week 12 bye, which should give Johnson and Chase Edmonds some much-needed rest, but it seems clear that Kenyan Drake has the trust of the coaches and the workload to put up top-notch fantasy points for the back end of your fantasy football seasons.
Nick Foles Is Back, For Better or For Worse
Despite how exciting Gardner Minshew was at times this season, the Jacksonville Jaguars elected to throw Nick Foles back into the starting quarterback role as soon as he was healthy enough to start. Foles injured his collarbone pretty much the moment the 2019 NFL season started, finally making his first full start in Week 11. And it's fair to say he looked a little rusty.
Foles' final box score for Week 11 looks decent -- he completed 33 of 47 pass attempts for 287 yards and 2 touchdowns -- but he also took 2 costly sacks and threw a bad interception, trying to force a deep shot to D.J. Chark in double coverage and underthrowing the pass pretty significantly. He simply couldn't get much going against the Indianapolis Colts and finished the game with a middling 46.94% Passing Success Rate.
The good news for fantasy football is that Foles was still prioritizing Chark in the passing game. Chark was a favorite of Minshew's during his time as the team's starter, and it looks like he'll continue to be the team's number-one wideout with Foles under center. He drew a whopping 15 targets in the loss and caught 8 of them for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns.
It looks like Foles' return to the field is at least a neutral move for the Jags' key players in fantasy football, if not a net positive. Chark should be able to continue his breakout season, Leonard Fournette drew a solid seven targets in a very negative game script, and the peripheral pass-catchers like Keelan Cole, Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook all had decent involvement.
Foles himself should be on your streaming radars in the coming weeks. According to SharpFootballStats.com, the Jags have the second-easiest rest-of-season schedule of opposing pass defenses in the league.
DeVante Parker Is Kind of Happening
The Miami Dolphins are not a good football team, and they don't have a ton of good players on their roster right now. But former first-round pick DeVante Parker is quietly making the most of his opportunities. It's his fifth year in the NFL, and I think he might finally be breaking out.
2019 was pretty much the first year Parker didn't have a busload of offseason hype, and maybe the lowered expectations have helped him focus. Through 10 games, he has 40 receptions for 604 yards and 4 touchdowns. Those numbers don't look too exciting, but relative to the situation around him, they're pretty solid. He's been a nice surprise in fantasy football as well -- especially recently.
Fellow 'Phins wideout Preston Williams was having a great rookie season until he tore his ACL in Week 9. In the two games since then, Parker has drawn 20 targets and caught 12 of them for 204 yards -- the seventh-most in the league among all wideouts in that time. The Dolphins' quarterbacks don't have a ton of great pass-catching options available to them, but Parker is the best of that bunch.
We've see Ryan Fitzpatrick elevate receivers to fantasy-relevance before -- we even saw him turn DeSean Jackson into fantasy's top overall wideout for a stretch last season. Parker hasn't lived up to expectations since entering the league, but he's finally piecing enough together for a mild breakout campaign.
With Preston Williams done for the year, Parker is seeing top-notch volume on an offense that needs to pass a lot. It might feel bad, but you can absolutely start Parker in your lineups. He's only owned in 58% of Yahoo! leagues, so if you're looking to bolster your receiver corps, make sure to keep an eye out for him on your waivers.
Kyle Allen Is Not the QB of the Future in Carolina
Allen was terrible in the Carolina Panthers' devastating 29-3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons -- it's a good thing they didn't already cast out Cam Newton. But as long as the Panthers stick with Allen, there is a silver lining for fantasy football.
Even in a nightmare scenario, Christian McCaffrey still managed to produce monster numbers. He's the RB1 for Week 11 and didn't even score a touchdown -- he rushed 14 times for 70 yards and caught a ridiculous 11 passes for 121 yards, good for 24.6 fantasy points.
And McCaffrey wasn't the only Panthers player to find success despite Allen's struggles. D.J. Moore has been on fire recently, and that didn't change in Week 11. Allen targeted Moore a team-high 15 times on Sunday, a recurring theme with this Panthers team. Moore now leads the league in targets over the last four weeks with 45, and his 354 receiving yards in that time rank fourth.
The Panthers simply cannot move forward with Kyle Allen as their quarterback of the future, but at least for this season, he's keeping his top options afloat for fantasy purposes.