Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 11
One of the things that makes fantasy football so captivating is the variance. Even throughout Cooper Kupp's historic, unflappable season, he was the top wideout for the week just three times in 2021. That means, on individual weeks, some very strange players may pop in terms of fantasy points at their positions.
That opens the door for some room to be "spicy" and make some fun predictions. In a landscape increasingly set ablaze by "hot takes," it can be difficult to understand the difference between a bold prediction -- based on a particularly strong spot for a team or player -- and a senseless take with the prayer of becoming correct based on variance.
Let's shoot for the former with five interesting spots to target during this weekend's NFL games.
Note: All predictions are for half-PPR formats (and FanDuel scoring for quarterbacks).
1. Daytime Kirk's Downfall: Cousins Falls Flat with Fewer than 15 Fantasy Points
Cousins' floor has been rock solid, posting at least 15 fantasy points in seven of his nine games. The two exceptions were a primetime game with Philadelphia and a London game with New Orleans. Given Kirk's noted issues in primetime, those weren't overly surprising.
Would dropping below that mark a third time in Week 11 be surprising? At 1 p.m. Eastern, Cousins' Vikings will host the Cowboys, and Aaron Rodgers posted a season-high 19.4 fantasy points on this defense last week. No issues, right?
I'm still buying a bounce-back week for this vaunted Dallas defense. They're numberFire's third-best pass defense, and they've ceded the sixth-fewest adjusted fantasy points per drop back to quarterbacks.
This is a brutal matchup through and through, and I'm benching Kirk for a quality streamer anywhere I have him.
2. Pierced Hearts: Dameon Duds with Single-Digit Fantasy Points Versus Washington
Dameon Pierce has been a hot-button player and fantasy topic all season. It could get spicier on Sunday.
Pierce's role -- for a fifth-round pick on average -- has been excellent. Since taking over the starting gig, he's played 69.3% of Houston's offensive snaps, and he's gotten 27 adjusted opportunities (carries plus double targets) per game in that span.
However, this week should be a brute of a matchup. The red-hot Commanders will visit the Texans, and at this moment, they're numberFire's top rushing defense and have allowed the second-fewest adjusted fantasy points per carry to backs.
This type of matchup is where Pierce's lack of a pass-game role really hurts. He's seen just three total targets in the past two weeks in exclusively negative game scripts. They've stayed committed to him on the ground (44 carries), but Washington might not let up much production there.
Obviously, you're starting Pierce in most standard leagues and hoping for the best, but this isn't the week to expect to see his ceiling.
3. Luck of the Irish: Kyren Williams Gets 12+ Touches, Takes over Rams' Backfield
I usually look at a wideout in this third spot, but Kyren Williams is coming, and I need to bring this message to the people.
The rookie out of Notre Dame was hyper-productive in college, posting 1,361 scrimmage yards in his senior year with the Irish. Importantly, he caught 42 balls in 12 games, so he has the profile for a dual threat out of the backfield. Williams dropped to the fifth round due to poor athletic scores, but it may have been for the best.
He's now the lone source of upside in the struggling Rams backfield. While the offensive line deserves plenty of blame, Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson both waffled for a combined 41 yards on 12 carries Sunday against Arizona. They're not 2022 difference-makers in fantasy football.
We're likely to see a wildly different L.A. offense in Week 11. Cooper Kupp -- and his gaudy 31.0% target share -- is now out of the lineup, and he was the lone source of joy on this team. My hypothesis? Matthew Stafford returns, and they lean more on Williams and the quick passing game.
Kyren posted an impressive 30 receiving yards on 3 targets last week. That per-touch efficiency has been missing in L.A. all season, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him get chances early and often in New Orleans.
4. Making His Mark: Andrews Returns with More Than 15 Fantasy Points
Right now might be your lone chance to get Mark Andrews on your fantasy squad at a fair price.
Dealing with a shoulder issue, Andrews hasn't been right for four weeks. He's posted just 5.2 fantasy points total in that time after averaging 15.9 per game in his first six contests. Now, off the Ravens' bye, I think he responds in a gigantic way.
Isaiah Likely's emergence likely won't impact his usage greatly. The last time Andrews was on the field in Tampa, he saw five targets on just nine total routes before exiting with an injury. This passing game is his when healthy.
As for the opposing Carolina Panthers this week, they're not a scary matchup by any means. In fact, Carolina is ceding the third-most adjusted fantasy points per target to tight ends, and they're numberFire's 11th-worst passing defense overall.
Coming off the bye, Andrews might remind everyone why, when healthy, he was even outscoring Travis Kelce on a weekly basis as the game's top tight end in fantasy.
5. Buffa-No: The Bills Finish Outside the Top-12 D/STs Against Cleveland
If you drafted the Buffalo D/ST, you've probably held them all year without thinking twice. I'm starting to think twice.
It's not like they've been bad, but the Bills' defense has yet to top eight fantasy points in six of the last seven weeks. While they're not dropping into the negatives, they're not exactly lighting up the scoreboard.
This has been predicated on Buffalo's recent deficiency in stopping the ground game. They've allowed the fifth-most Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry in the past five weeks, and in Week 11, they'll face Nick Chubb and the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns, despite several turnovers, have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs (5.6), and it's because they run the ball a ton. They're fifth in the NFL in rushing rate over expectation.
Not only am I worried about Buffalo getting carved up on the ground here, but we may also just not see enough Jacoby Brissett drop backs for a big day in fantasy. I'd rather stream the Ravens, Commanders, or Saints if I can.