The Rant

by Will S on November 21, 2016

Big Ben lays an egg. Zeke is good, in case you didn't know. Is Dak on Romo level as a pro? Marcus Mariota can be your QB1 - no, seriously. And what's with the injuries?...add Shady McCoy, A.J. Green and Zach Miller to the list. Your week-11 Rant is up!

 

TEN 17 @ 24 IND

•Marcus Mariota throws for 290 and two touchdowns, gaining another 29 yards with hislegs but it's not enough to overcome the hosting Indianapolis Colts. It was Mariota's seventh consecutive week with multiple TDs, and he was ranked 4th among QBs for fantasy coming into this week just behind Aaron Rodgers. Mariota is quickly gaining value as a legit QB1 for redraft leagues this season so if you're a contender who has been streaming QBs to this point investing in Mariota for your playoff push wouldn't be a bad idea.

•Titans running back and undervalued fantasy asset, DeMarco Murray added 70 yards to his overall rushing totals on the season, giving him a cool 1,000 ground yards through 11 games. Derrick Henry who?

•Rookie Tajae Sharpe posted 68 yards and a score on four receptions. It was Sharpe's second TD in as many games. Unfortunately he has only two total on the season, and his seven pass targets in this contest were more a product of game flow rather than scripted plays to get him involved. If you need a WR4 in PPR formats Sharpe is a low ceiling option. Otherwise he remains a hold in dynasty formats.

•The fantasy sleeper on the Titans offense is 5th year wideout Rishard Matthews. Matthews posted a respectable 122 yards on nine receptions. His 13 targets was tops; surprising given that honor usually goes to tight end Delanie Walker. Matthews came into this week ranked 24 overall among wideouts for fantasy in standard scoring formats and has 45 receptions through 11 weeks. He'll be a solid WR2 play across formats in week-12 versus Chicago.

•It was posited in the preseason that Frank Gore was being overlooked as a low end RB1 for fantasy. All eyes were on the UDFA Josh Ferguson as the sneaky sleeper breakout player in this dynamic Colts offense. Gore ranked 10th overall through ten weeks of play in standard formats. He posted another 50 yards on the ground and 71 via the air in this week's contest. Josh Ferguson continues to play second fiddle to Gore in a passing down role.

 

ARI 24 @ 30 MIN

•After watching the highlight video of this match-up, it's hard to believe Bradford and the Vikings pulled off a win. Bradford threw for just 169 yards and one touchdown. Luckily, the Vikings D/ST regained their dominant ways and helped pad the box score with twos scores of their own. One, a pick-six by Xavier Rhodes. The other, a kick return taken to the house by Cordarrelle Patterson, and boy if you haven't seen the vid on that one, you need to now. That kid has blazing speed. It's to bad he could never improve upon his route running because he could have been one helluva receiver at the pro level.

•Cardinals running back David Johnson is one helluva NFL running back (at the risk of stating the obvious). In this contest, he posted 103 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries, and another 57 yards and a score on seven receptions. Johnson led his team in pass targets with 11 - that's four more than Larry Fitzgerald (7). That stat line will vault him over Melvin Gordon in standard scoring formats, well enough for second overall among running backs. Which is as it should be because, let's face it, DJ is a far better back than Gordon could hope to be.

•What a fall for Carson Palmer, eh? The NFL's premier gunslinger has dropped from 5th in 2015 to 20th coming into this match-up. In this game he threw for 198 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions and was sacked four times. With all the weapons at his disposal and his no-fear throwing mentality, his ceiling for fantasy is just as high as it was in 2015. The problem is his week-to-week consistency is gone which means Palmer needs to be relegated to middling QB2 value. Age, she's a ruthless mistress.

•Vikings stud wideout Stefon Diggs fell back to Earth, after posting consecutive weeks of 13 receptions. Diggs was shadowed by the aforementioned Rhodes the entire game so it was anticipated he would see a dip in his stat line. He still caught six passes which is nothing to scoff at it was the 37 yards and lack of a touchdown that left his owners wanting for more. Hey, we all have our bad days at work. Right? Diggs remains a valued WR2 for fantasy with high upside in PPR formats. And quit comparing him to Jarvis Landry; Diggs is better than that.

 

BAL 17 @ 27 DAL

•In a game where Tony Romo played the backup role, Dak Prescott dazzled with a 301 yard, three touchdown game to take the Cowboys to a 9-1 record. Questions abound over the future of Romo's career with many speculating that he will retire after this season. No one knows but Romo, and maybe at this point even he isn't too certain. Regardless, Dak has earned the starter's role. However, his fantasy owners should realize that despite his immediate success, Dak has a long way to go with regard to developing the overall skill set of an NFL quarterback. That's not to take anything away from Dak - he's executed what he has been asked to do. Kudos to him as that's no small feat (see: Jared Goff). But make no mistake, his playbook is quite limited. Dak is nowhere near Romo's level of football acumen when it comes to pocket presence, dissecting a defense pre-snap, and filed vision. There's no reason at this point to doubt Dak's ability, but to discount the level of skill and success that Romo has achieved in his pro career and to just assume that Dak will inherit the same by sheer virtue of being on the field would  be a disservice to both players.

•I never talk about what an amazing running back that Ezekiel Elliott is. I suppose it's because I believe anything I would have to say on the subject would just be gilding the lily. He's damn good. Ok?

•Terrence West eight carries. Kenneth Dixon six. Both had 40 yards (give or take). West got the touchdown. But you can see this is turning into a committee backfield, and it may evolve further into a hot-hand approach. I would like to have seen Dixon more involved in the passing game. He finished with just one target.

 

Notables:

Ben Roethlisberger, QB (PIT) – I will always regard Big Ben as a QB1 for fantasy, but he has to be one of the more aggravating QB plays when he is on the road versus a subpar team. This week was no different. He posted just 167 yards against a languishing Browns team. It’s like he plays down to his competition’s level.

Tyler Boyd, WR (CIN) - Bengals stud receiver made for an early exit with a suspected torn hammy. That left the rookie Boyd with an expanded role in the passing game. Boy tied for second with 8 targets, hauling in six for 54 and a score. It’s looking like Green will miss significant time. If so, Boyd has value as a flex play in PPR formats.

LeSean McCoy, RB (BUF) - McCoy salvaged his fantasy stats with a TD before making for an early exit himself with a thumb injury. No word on the extent of the injury. If McCoy is active for week-12, he's an automatic plug-n-play RB1 across formats as the focal point of the Bills offensive designs.

Mark Ingram, RB (NO) - Ingram has been inconsistent all season for his owners. After a strong week-10 performance, the Saints back managed just 28 yards on seven carries before suffering a concussion in the third quarter.

C.J. Prosise, RB (SEA) - Rawls returned to action but it was the rookie Prosise who had the more efficient outing. The rook had 76 yards and a score on just four carries to Rawls 57 yards on 14 carries. Rawls had to shake the rust off, so it's understandable that he failed to post monster numbers. But Prosise's longest run was only 13 yards. So he really made the most of each of his four carries.

Tye Montgomery, RB/WR (GB) – Anyone hanging onto to Montgomery as a sneaky dual eligible fantasy start should drop him immediately, unless you are in need of depth at the receiver position. Montgomery is a very poor pass blocker so James Starks will continue to play the role as the Packers pass catching tight end. Also, the team just claimed a train wreck by the name of Knile Davis….er, Christine Michael in an attempt to get their ground game going, Neither Michael nor Montgomery should be owned as viable running back options..

Jared Cook, TE (GB) – After being hyped in the preseason as a potential TE1 for fantasy, despite never posting such numbers, Cook made an appearance on the stat sheets in week-11. He had himself an outlier of a week with six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. His 11 targets were tops for the team. I emphasize the word outlier here, but if you need a temporary fill-in for Zach Miller or Gronk, the Cook could serve as a boom/bust play for your active roster.

 

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