Benching NFL stars despite overrated projections? Picking up free agents in your league right in time to start them for their huge games? This is where we cook up the value and shun the traps. Welcome back to my Fantasy Football Weekly Loves & Hates.
In this series, we identify the best and worst value plays at each skill position for fantasy football purposes. We take into account matchups, game scripts, advanced statistics, and any other relevant news. This won’t be your spot for trying to rank the top players at each position or suggesting deep waiver wire digs every week. Rather, whether you are playing DFS or season-long formats, your start/bench/cut decisions can be informed based on the players that stand out the most at each position—the ones that could go off (loves) and the ones that could disappoint and lose you a matchup (hates).
We will review the previous week’s picks and grade our performance before giving out picks for the upcoming week. I firmly believe that the most important part of the process of winning is to evaluate your winning and losing decisions. We’ll do exactly that in our evaluations of the previous week’s picks.
Week 10 Review
My Week 10 loves and hates can be viewed here. Here are self-evaluations of those picks, with grades for me in parentheses.
Week 10 was not filled with explosive fantasy performances by quarterbacks. Other than AFC Offensive Player of the Week Patrick Mahomes, who threw for five touchdowns, it was a scramble to get the advantage at quarterback. Yet, our Week 10 quarterback love, Taylor Heinicke, showed out in that group as a quality start against the fresh Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. While it was a rebound game from Antonio Gibson, who scored 2 touchdowns, Heinicke was nails, completing 26 of his 32 passes for 256 yards, rushing for 15 yards, and throwing a touchdown. It was only the second start of Heinicke’s season where he did not turn the ball over. He finished as the QB11 of the week, great value from a streamer.
As for Carson Wentz, our Week 10 quarterback hate, this was almost a perfect read on the game and the Colts offense. Indianapolis got out to an early lead in the first quarter, thanks to a special teams touchdown. From there, while the Jaguars kept moving the ball, it wasn’t enough to come from behind or come close to taking the lead. Playing from ahead, Indianapolis went to their superstar running back Jonathan Taylor, who amassed 126 scrimmage yards and yet another touchdown.
— NFL345 (@NFL345) November 14, 2021
Wentz finished the game going 22/34 on passes but just as we called, his streak of six consecutive games with multiple touchdown passes came to an end. For the second time this season, Wentz threw no touchdown passes; despite not turning the ball over once, he was the QB24 of Week 10. That’s how you read a game script and fade the traps for your fantasy lineup!
Running Back (A-)
The decision to use my running back love of the week for Devin Singeltary was another hunt at a narrative while also acknowledging the injury reports. With Zack Moss’ health in question and the Bills looking to play ahead of the Jets all game. Granted, the Bills did indeed lead all game long, including jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. That led to Singeltary being not just involved but also efficient against an easy matchup. He rushed the ball 7 times for 43 yards and scored his second touchdown of the season.
The issue—he still has ball security issues. His fifth fumble on the season caused him to still be only the PPR RB23 of the week. It was a good read on the game script though, as Moss was still behind Singeltary in fantasy production in Week 10 despite also scoring. We got an RB2-tier performance out of Singletary, although given the talent distributed in the Bills offense, Singletary will remain touchdown-dependent going forward.
The hate pick of Adrian Peterson was just all too obvious and our suspicions about the Titans backfield proved to be justified. Against the tough Saints rushing defense, Peterson tallied only 21 yards, his exact total from his Titans debut in Week 9. He took 8 arries to do so and this time, he did not score a touchdown, leading to a completely fantasy-irrelevant game. The Tennessee backfield ended up being led by the talented 25-year-old athlete, D’Onta Foreman.
|11 carries, 30 yards, 0 TD
|2 catches (2 targets), 48 yards, 0 TD
|8 carries, 21 yards, 0 TD
|1 catch (1 target), -1 yard, 0 TD
|4 carries, 7 yards, 0 TD
|1 catch (3 targets), 1 yard, 0 TD
Table. Tennessee Titans running back splits, Week 10 vs. New Orleans Saints
Wide Receiver (B-)
My wide receiver love of the week was a man who has been targeted deep, produced consistently, and was facing a good defense that does have the knack for allowing some big plays. It felt like a good sneaky move for a FLEX spot in Donovan Peoples-Jones, with Odell Beckham Jr. finally out of town.
The Browns started the game in encouraging fashion, completing a touchdown drive via an impressive catch in the end zone by tight end Austin Hooper. It looked like Baker might have been sharp and in the absence of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the backfield, perhaps Mayfield’s arm would be cut loose to out-duel Mac Jones. Instead, it was all downhill for the Browns on offense.
Mayfield only produced 73 yards in the air and was picked off before he was injured and replaced by Case Keenum. Throughout the game, there were only 19 completions by Browns quarterbacks, 8 of which in garbage time by Keenum. The leader in receiving for Cleveland was starting running back D’Ernest Johnson, and like most other pass-catchers on the Browns, Peoples-Jones was ineffective, hauling in only 1 catch on 5 targets. Granted, it was for 16 yards but despite a season-high 85% snap share, he was fantasy-irrelevant. The Browns will look ahead for Week 11 against the Lions as a potential bounce-back spot.
On the other hand, we went with an NFL star for our wide receiver hate of the week. I was scared about starting Amari Cooper at all, a question that takes a lot of guts to even ask. I had my reasons—he was matched up against rising star cornerback A.J. Terrell and with the mouths to feed in Dallas, was the upside worth the spot on your fantasy team’s starting lineup?
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 17, 2021
The call was right—the answer was probably not. The Cowboys didn’t take a long time to take the advantage and hold it in dominant fashion against the Atlanta Falcons, which reduced Cooper’s opportunities anyway. But even on his snaps, he wasn’t aggressively attacked. He caught all 4 of his 4 targets for 51 yards but gave way to CeeDee Lamb for the big, fantasy-relevant plays. Cooper was essentially irrelevant in the fantasy game and Lamb was the PPR WR3 of the week. Terrell continues to be a matchup nightmare for opposite #1 wideout options.
Tight End (B+)
My love pick of the week here was a sign of respect for a target monster—a formal acknowledgement that Dan Arnold is worth an every-week start in fantasy football at the tight end position. Arnold continued his recent ways when he racked up 5 catches on 8 targets for 67 yards, ranking him as the PPR TE7 of the week. Arnold continues to play a huge role in the passing game of Trevor Lawrence and with no immediate reason for the Jaguars to turn to another direction in a lost cause of a season, expect Lawrence to keep flinging it and finding his favorite talent; start Arnold with confidence because even when he doesn’t score a touchdown, he has a shot to be great.
As for my tight end hate of the week, this was probably my worst call of Week 10. As a Patriots fan, I have been spoiled with Hunter Henry touchdowns recently. I had seen him score in five of the six weeks coming into Week 10. Given his talent, combined with Jonnu Smith‘s inconsistent play and health, it felt right for Henry to be a continued source of offense for Mac Jones. However, I thought the matchup in Week 10 wasn’t conducive to a player who needs touchdowns to be good in the fantasy game. Indeed, Henry caught only 4 passes on 4 targets for 37 yards. The issue though? Two of those catches were touchdowns.
Many of you have only seen one face reveal from me: my PFP. Today, I'm releasing another: 🤡.
That's me. A 🤡 for making Hunter Henry my #FantasyFootball TE Hate of the Week.
Mac Jones passing TD, last 7 weeks:
💪 To Hunter Henry — 7
😂 To others — 4pic.twitter.com/SCsIbhGvn6
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) November 14, 2021
It was his first multi-touchdown game since Week 6 of 2019 and that strong performance in the paint led him to be the PPR TE2 of the week. The Patriots continue to target tight ends and even if Jonnu Smith comes back with full health soon, Henry is a consideration to start every week because he’s New England’s best weapon to catch a touchdown pass right now.
Week 11 Loves & Hates
We saw a good amount of success in Week 10 by fading disappointments like Amari Cooper and identifying money hits like Dan Arnold. It’s about more of the same and sifting through value regardless of your league format. Here are the picks for Week 11 of 2021 fantasy football.
Love: Derek Carr (LV)
Remember when the Cincinnati Bengals were the #1 seed in the AFC and were one of the most pleasant surprises on defense in the NFL? They’ve since come back down to Earth and the regression has shown on the defensive end of the ball. They rank #21 in the NFL in pass DVOA as a defense although they still rank #10 in the NFL in rush DVOA as a defense. If they aren’t really stopping offense in the air but are impressive against the run, the Raiders are naturally going to look to pass the ball. To add to the spice, the Raiders’ 63.94% pass play rate ranks #6 in the NFL and they continue their passing approach in the red zone—only six quarterbacks this season have more red zone passing attempts than Derek Carr.
Look for Carr to rebound from a rough game against a rising Chiefs and go well beyond his fantasy expectations in Week 11; there’s top 5 upside here and Carr must be started in all formats.
Hate: Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Regardless of the frustrations Aaron Rodgers has caused to fantasy owners recently, owners had to have been excited to see him back on the field against a defense like the Seahawks that could definitely be exposed. Instead, although he threw for 292 yards, Rodgers threw an interception and no touchdown passes. He gave way to a two-touchdown game from A.J. Dillon and a game script of playing from ahead and was not a serviceable fantasy start.
🤩 BEST 🤩
🥇 Dak Prescott: 84.1
🥈 Kyler Murray: 81.8
🥉 Josh Allen: 75.2
🤮 WORST 🤮
👎 Trevor Lawrence: 41.7
👎 Aaron Rodgers: 41.9
👎 Matthew Stafford: 42.4pic.twitter.com/MPVK7v1kxk
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) November 19, 2021
The Minnesota Vikings’ 27.4% pressure rate as a defense ranks #5 in the NFL. It is simple; when Aaron Rodgers is under pressure, he can be volatile. This season, when under pressure, Rodgers has posted a 48.1% adjusted completion rate, 41.9 offensive PFF grade, and produced 4.2 passing yards per attempt. All of those statistics rank bottom 3 among NFL quarterbacks. If the Packers want to produce offense, they will have to rely heavily on their new backfield leader A.J. Dillon, who athletically profiles as a strong candidate to get the job done in the red zone. Dillon’s ability to dominate only furthers the case that Rodgers is a risky start in one-quarterback formats in Week 11.
Love: Myles Gaskin (MIA)
This is a simple play with a high floor and low chance of non-injury damage. Myles Gaskin is simply not ranked high enough in fantasy football in Week 11. Over the last four weeks, Gaskins has amassed a ridiculous 77 touches. Granted, he has only scored two touchdowns but against a matchup like this, Gaskin being one of the best talents on the Dolphins makes him one of the easiest starts in the fantasy game this week.
In fact, his value skyrockets further in PPR formats as he has averaged 5.3 targets per healthy game this season and is one of ten running backs with a double-digit-target game this season. As for the matchup, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Jets rank #32 in the NFL in pass DVOA and #31 in the NFL in rush DVOA as a defense. Additionally, the announcement of Joe Flacco as the starting quarterback for the Jets could push this game to be somewhat competitive with Flacco’s experience against blitz-heavy teams like the Dolphins. Gaskin should get opportunities galore and there is no excuse for him not to produce.
Hate: Eagles backfield (PHI)
Yeah that’s right. I am completely staying away from the Eagles backfield, particularly if Miles Sanders is making his return in Week 11 after getting activated from the injured reserve.
PHI rush play rate ⬇️
Before Sanders injury: ~40%
Weeks 8-10: 68.3% (#1, #NFL)
PHI RB fPT leaders in that span ⬇️
Week 8: Boston Scott & Jordan Howard
Week 9: Jordan Howard
Week 10: Boston Scott
Miles Sanders has been activated from IR. 🏥
Sell high. 📉pic.twitter.com/NrX5tlFJsT
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) November 17, 2021
The Eagles are among the NFL leaders in rushing the football but their most dynamic talent in that department is likely their quarterback. If Sanders returns to the playing field this week, head coach Nick Sirianni is the last person you want to put your fantasy matchup in the hands of. A snap split between Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, and Jordan Howard would be nearly impossible to predict with certainty and the Eagles have proven that they don’t care about patterns in their backfield. Instead of hoping to guess correctly and relying on a fluid situation, stay away from all members of the backfield regardless of Sanders’ status.
Love: Elijah Moore (NYJ)
The rookie has finally emerged. After dealing with a slow transition into the NFL followed by some injury concerns, Elijah Moore has finally started making his mark as a receiver in the big leagues. On a horrific Jets team with recent struggles at the quarterback position, Moore has put up a new last three weeks, tallying 195 receiving yards on 16 receptions and 3 touchdowns in that span. In each of the last four games, he has been targeted at least 6 times.
Of course, he gets yet another quarterback in veteran Joe Flacco but if anything, that might be yet another blessing in Moore’s direction as Flacco has historically found success targeting slot receivers, where Moore spends about 17% of his snaps.
Joe Flacco has recorded 95.0+ passer ratings when targeting the slot and TE positions in his career. pic.twitter.com/QVmzJ98Z9g
— PFF (@PFF) July 25, 2019
With two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard likely shadowing Corey Davis on the outside, expect a lot of quick passes to Moore against the blitzing Dolphins defense, translating into high fantasy football upside, especially if the Jets play from behind early as many are expecting them to.
Hate: Michael Gallup (DAL)
Back-to-back weeks of me going with a Cowboys receiver—there isn’t any team-specific agenda here, I promise. We simply have to be careful to immediately trust Michael Gallup in his second week back from injury. The Cowboys have a ton of mouths to feed and right now, there is no need Gallup can’t just be eased back into activity, especially against this matchup. The Chiefs have been trending up on defense as they look to make a more serious playoff run this season. However, they still rank bottom six in the NFL in both pass DVOA and rush DVOA as a defense. They are easily exploitable by the backfield duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, but what about the passing game?
In Week 10, while Gallup was ahead of my wide receiver hate pick Amari Cooper in targets, he was still third on the team in that category, behind CeeDee Lamb and Pollard. With both Cooper and Lamb moving between out-wide formations and slot assignments, there are way too many ways Dak Prescott can attack the air defense of Kansas City. To add to the punch, tight end Dalton Schultz is an extremely capable pass-catcher. This season, Schultz has four games with 6 receptions and six games with at least 6 targets and the Chiefs have given up the fifth-most receiving yards, third-most receiving touchdowns, and seventh-most fantasy points per game to tight ends this season.
Gallup should be far from a starting lineup lock on your fantasy team and in PPR formats, you likely need more certainty around volume, given that he might not even be a top four option on his own team to touch the ball in Week 11.
Love: Adam Trautman (NO)
Another pick that makes an appearance on this week’s Fantrax staff Bold Predictions of the Week. I’m rolling with a new sleeper at the tight end position.
NFL Week 11 Bold Predictions brought to you by the Fantrax Writers. Comment below with your bold predictions! 🏈⤵️@Colin_McT, @AhaanRungta, @themick23, @lkauerbach, @mikeomelan pic.twitter.com/xKpRfWL757
— Fantrax (@Fantrax) November 18, 2021
This season, the Eagles have been strong defensively against wide receivers, partly due to cornerback talent such as Darius Slay. On the other hand, they have been a matchup to target for opposing tight ends. This season, no defense has given up more targets, receptions, yards, touchdowns, or fantasy points per game to tight ends than the Eagles. Over the last three weeks, Adam Trautman‘s 19 targets is tied for fifth among tight ends in the NFL. Of those targets, 17 have been from Trevor Siemian at quarterback and in that span, all 11 of his receptions have been via Siemian.
The connection is there and the red zone work could easily increase against a matchup like Philadelphia. With Alvin Kamara trending up for a start in Week 11, expect the Saints to produce more offense, creating more opportunities for Trautman. This week, I’m making the call—Trautman finds the end zone for the first time this season and sets career-highs in receptions and yards.
Hate: Dallas Goedert (PHI)
It is rare that I feature a team twice in this column, even more ridiculous that I’m putting multiple players on the same team on blast in the hate department for their fantasy value entering the week. However, I feel comfortable about doing that with the situation of Dallas Goedert. While I mentioned previously that the Eagles are one of the most run-heavy teams in football, one of the side effects is that the pass-catchers have to be effective when they are targeted. Goedert is rightfully owned in a majority of leagues as he is one of the few reliable pass-catchers on the Eagles offense. With Zach Ertz out of town, Goedert is easily a top 2 pass-catching option on the team—when he’s healthy.
Goedert has spent the week carrying a questionable tag due to a helmet-to-helmet hit in Week 10. While his status to suit up in Week 11 might not end up being in jeopardy, even if he does, you need to find higher-upside options for your fantasy lineup. To make matters worse for the banged-up tight end, the Saints give up the fourth-fewest fantasy points in the NFL to tight ends and have allowed only one receiving touchdown to a tight end all season—only two teams have allowed zero. The matchup is tough, the ability to be productive is tough, and the target share might already be down from attempting to run the ball with the tiered-threat offense of Jalen Hurts and multiple talented running backs.
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