Welcome to Week 11 of my weekly article series for In-Between Media (IBT), giving you my takes on the fantasy football “winners and losers” after each week of action. This is a fun topic to cover, and I will include my reasoning behind the judgments, along with actionable analysis when possible.
Now, let’s break down Week 11 of the NFL season.
Fantasy Football Winners & Losers: Week 11
Fantasy Football Winners
Devin Singletary (RB, Houston Texans)
Devin Singletary is a fantasy football winner for Week 11 because he maintained his “bell cow” role in the Houston backfield and gave his managers another 100+ yard day with a TD. And “bell cow” is almost an understatement over the last three weeks while Dameon Pierce has been out with an ankle injury. From Week 9 to Week 11, Singletary’s RB rush share per game has been 92.9%, 91.4% and 100%. His RB Opportunity Share (rush attempts plus targets divided by total RB rush attempts plus RB targets) has been 93.8%, 96% and 95.7%. With where the RB position is in 2023, those numbers are rare. For reference, the current top-five RBs in RB Opportunity Share are:
- Joe Mixon (86%)
- Saquon Barkley (82.3%)
- Josh Jacobs (81.7%)
- Alvin Kamara (74.8%)
- Travis Etienne (74%)
Singletary’s is a smaller sample size, and it is unlikely he will maintain these usage levels, especially once Pierce returns. But he has also been smashing over the last two weeks, finishing as the Points Per Reception (PPR) RB3 in Week 10 and, with “Monday Night Football” still to come, the RB8 in Week 11. After Week 10, Texans’ offensive coordinator, Ben Slowik, stated that “nothing has changed” with how they view Pierce (once he returns) and Singletary in this backfield and that they still want to deploy both RBs. However, with Singletary looking like the much better fit in this running attack, I think he will continue seeing the majority of the RB opportunities.
Tank Dell (WR, Houston Texans)
With an article about winners, it is difficult to get away from the Texans because they just keep winning (and are very easy to root for). So, I am double dipping in Houston and calling out Tank Dell as another Week 11 fantasy football winner. And his box score makes this seem like an obvious pick, as Dell had 149 yards and a TD against the Cardinals and is currently a top-10 PPR WR for the week.
Dell is a winner because he earned 10 targets, good for a 26.3% target share, with both Nico Collins and Robert Woods active. Collins did lead all Texans pass catchers with 11 targets, and Woods was third on the team with eight. But Collins and Woods averaged 9.3 and 8.8 yards per reception, respectively, while Dell averaged 18.6. His impressive 40-yard TD grab skewed this, but that is part of Dell’s game and another reason he is a winner. Dell is both a homerun hitter and a high-target earner in an offense featuring an elite quarterback with a pass rate near the top of the list in the NFL.
Tony Pollard (RB, Dallas Cowboys)
Yes, Tony Pollard finally found the endzone for the first time since Week 1. We like TDs in fantasy football, but that is not the sole reason that Pollard is a Week 11 fantasy football winner. Before 2023, one of Pollard’s most notable skills was efficiency.
Yards Per Carry (YPC) is an overrated metric. For example, a lower YPC is not the direct indication of a lack of skill that many perceive it as. There are multiple factors influencing YPC. However, it is an effective general indicator of efficiency and can be helpful in looking at trends (in either direction) for individual players.
From 2019 to 2022, Pollard averaged 5.1 YPC. In 2023, from Weeks 1-10, Pollard’s YPC was below four. Efficiency is also a metric that inevitably decreases as volume increases. The more carries you get, the more difficult it becomes to maintain a higher YPC. Was Pollard’s high efficiency only possible in the more shared backfield role he was in with Ezekiel Elliott?
One game is not enough to answer this question. Still, Pollard was back up to 5.1 YPC against the Panthers and maintained his lead-back role in this backfield, finishing with more than 60% of the RB opportunities, right in line with his season-long RB Opportunity Share of 61.9%. Four of Pollard’s remaining six games are plus matchups for fantasy RBs, and the positive TD regression that Pollard’s to-date profile is screaming already started in Week 11.
Fantasy Football Losers
Garrett Wilson (WR, New York Jets)
— Scott Rinear (@MunderDifflinFF) November 19, 2023
This tweet pretty much sums up my current outlook for Garrett Wilson. QB play impacting a talented pass-catcher is not a new situation, but the Jets’ Week 11 game in Buffalo was an extreme example of this disproportionate relationship.
Wilson is a fantasy football loser in Week 11 because it cemented the high level of risk in even starting Wilson in our fantasy lineups until something changes. Wilson continued earning targets like a team’s true WR1, finishing with eight targets and a 28.6% target share. However, only two of those targets resulted in catches, for a total of only nine yards. This was in a game against a Bills team that ranked 23rd in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs and ranked 30th (third-easiest) versus fantasy QBs over their last five games.
I qualified my negative outlook with “until something changes,” and something is changing. The Jets announced that Zach Wilson will be falling to the third-string QB, with the new starter being Tim Boyle and the new backup QB being Trevor Siemian. It’s a glimmer of hope because it will no longer be Zach Wilson, but I am not sure Boyle will be much better. In three career starts with the Lions in 2021, Boyle threw six interceptions and averaged only 5.6 Yards Per Attempt (YPA) and 3.4 Air Yards Per Attempt (AYPA). In 19 college games at the University of Connecticut, Boyle completed only 48.4% of his 275 pass attempts, threw only one TD and was picked off 13 times. I honestly have no idea how he will perform during this stint.
Josh Jacobs (RB, Las Vegas Raiders)
Entering Week 10, Josh Jacobs was the RB12 in PPR points per game. Not quite as dominant as he was in 2022, Jacobs is still having a solid fantasy season and remains one of the last remaining true “bell cow” RBs in the league. As mentioned aboce, Jacobs is third in the NFL with an 81.7% RB Opportunity Share and has put up at least 16 PPR points in five of his last seven games. He finished as the overall RB2 just two weeks ago in Week 9.
On paper, the Raiders’ Week 11 matchup with the Dolphins caused some concern with the running game. If the Dolphins jumped out to a big lead, there might not be as many rush attempts. Still, Jacobs also has the eighth-highest RB target share in the NFL, so he would stay involved. Jacobs is a Week 11 loser because he turned in his third-lowest fantasy total of the year during a crucial week as fantasy teams battle it out to make the playoffs. Even in a bad matchup (the Dolphins rank as the ninth-toughest RB matchup), more was expected than only 39 rushing yards on 14 attempts (2.8 YPC) and one catch on only one target.
Jared Goff (QB, Detroit Lions)
I like Jared Goff, and it’s difficult to knock much of what the Lions have been doing this season on their way to an 8-2 record and the current No. 2 seed in the NFC. However, this is about fantasy football winners and losers, and Goff was a fantasy disappointment in Week 11. Amon-Ra St. Brown still had a day, showing that a WR1 can still thrive when their QB has an off-game. And it was an off game for Goff with a positive home matchup against the Bears.
Chicago entered Week 11, ranking 22nd in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs on the season and 24th (ninth-easiest) over the last three games. Goff did throw two TD passes and converted a two-point conversion but scored only 13.7 fantasy points due to also throwing three interceptions. This is what stopped Goff from a much better day against Chicago, which has one of the NFL’s lowest pressure and interception rates. Goff was started in less than 30% of one-QB ESPN leagues, so his dud was not as detrimental as it could have been, but I am sure plenty of managers in two-QB formats or who went with Goff as a spot-start were left disappointed.
Not What It Seems: Fantasy Football Panic Meter
The following players were fantasy disappointments in Week 11, but my concern is low moving forward:
- Diontae Johnson (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
- Sam LaPorta (TE, Detroit Lions)
- Austin Ekeler (RB, Los Angeles Chargers)
- Javonte Williams (RB, Denver Broncos)
The following players were disappointments in Week 11, and I am concerned about moving forward:
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR, Seattle Seahawks)
- Quentin Johnston (WR, Los Angeles Chargers)
- Derrick Henry (RB, Tennessee Titans)
Thanks for reading my Week 11 fantasy football winners and losers. As always, find me on Twitter, talking fantasy football, joking around, posting GIFs and lending my support where it’s needed @MunderDifflinFF.
*Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta – USA TODAY Sports*