Fantasy Football Week 11: Matt Camp's Weekly BS Meter
Catching a player on a hot streak is great, especially if snatched off the waiver wire just to provide some short-term relief. But what do you do when that hot streak unexpectedly lasts longer than a few weeks?
Jared Goff and Robert Woods are hot right now, which is a big reason why the Los Angeles Rams sit atop the NFC West at 7-2. We've seen Goff play well in favorable matchups, but keeping it up could be difficult with a schedule that gets tougher in the coming weeks. Woods has been a big part of Goff's success, so those two are connected, which could be good or bad depending on how the Rams handle a step up in competition.
What about the hot streaks that end abruptly? The Dallas Cowboys knew their backfield would change without Ezekiel Elliott, but their entire offense looked out of sorts without LT Tyron Smith. Melvin Gordon has been busy and mostly productive all season for the Los Angeles Chargers, yet they decided to feature Austin Ekeler in Week 10 at the expense of Gordon's fantasy value.
The B.S. Meter covers the most pressing issues in fantasy football. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true or 10 being total B.S.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. Snap counts are also from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
The Saints Can Support Two Top-10 Fantasy RBs
Last season, the Atlanta Falcons produced two top-20 fantasy RBs in PPR formats in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Through 10 weeks, the New Orleans Saints have produced two top-12 RBs in Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Both are trending towards top-10 finishes for the season, but is that actually possible?
In Week 10, the Saints showed their strongest commitment to the run in a 47-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Ingram ran 21 times for 131 yards and three TDs while Kamara had 12 carries for 106 yards and a TD. Both finished in the top-five fantasy RBs. Because the Saints had so much success running the football, Drew Brees attempted just 25 passes with 18 completions for 184 yards. For the third straight game, Brees attempted fewer than 30 passes. Brees hasn't had back-to-back games with fewer than 30 attempts since 2009.
That season resulted in a Super Bowl victory for the Saints, so while Brees throwing the ball all over the field might be the most vivid memory of his time in New Orleans, Sean Payton clearly wants to run the ball when he can.
There's no doubt the Saints can do that with plenty of success with Ingram and Kamara, but they've also been able to do so because their defense is playing at a high level. Instead of the poor defensive units of the past putting the offense in a hole that Brees had to throw out of, this group has rebounded from early-season struggles to be a strength.
Ingram and Kamara are also active as receivers. While Ingram is busier as a runner, Kamara get plenty of run as a receiver. This year, he has 43 receptions for 373 yards and two TDs. Even though Ingram has just one reception for two yards on one target in the last two weeks, he still has 31 receptions for 192 yards on 39 targets this season.
The Saints have a clear identity on offense with Kamara and Ingram leading the way. They can both be considered RB1s for the rest of the year.
B.S. Meter on the Saints supporting two top-10 fantasy RBs: 1/10
Robert Woods Will Remain the Top Target for the Rams
Robert Woods was one of those players on a hot streak over the last month coming into Week 10. He had a chance to keep it up against a Houston Texans defense heading in the wrong direction, and he went on to have the best game of his career, with eight receptions for 171 yards and two TDs on 10 targets to finish as the top fantasy WR of the week with 37.1 points.
His presence in the Los Angeles Rams offense has been steady all season, which is why he's been a reliable fantasy option for those who grabbed him off the waiver wire expecting to get a decent WR3.
Even before his monster Week 10 performance, Woods led the team in targets, receptions and yards. Now, he's up to 39 receptions for 622 yards and four TDs on 59 targets. By comparison, Sammy Watkins has 21 receptions for 372 yards and four TDs on 34 targets. Watkins trails Woods, Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp in targets, receptions and yards for the season.
The rebuilding process for the Rams has yielded immediate results, but remember that Woods was the first one to join the fray when he signed with the Rams back in March. He had a jump on Kupp (drafted in April) and Watkins (acquired via trade in August), so with a revamped receiving corps for Jared Goff in a new-look offense, there was more time for the young QB to find a rapport with Woods.
Now that the production has followed, Goff and the Rams have every reason to keep Woods involved as the top option, which means he's a must-start for fantasy purposes regardless of the matchup.
B.S. Meter on Woods remaining the top target for the Rams: 2/10
The Absence of Tyron Smith Downgrades All Cowboys
When Ezekiel Elliott was suspended (again) before Week 10, the assumption that Alfred Morris would lead the way obviously meant a downgrade for Dallas' rushing attack. But the bigger issue was the absence of LT Tyron Smith due to a groin injury, as it exploited just how bad the Cowboys offense could look without two of its best players on the field.
Elliott averaged nearly 23.9 carries and 97.9 rushing yards per game before his suspension. Other than Rod Smith carrying the ball eight times in a blowout win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7, no Cowboys RB had more than four carries in any game this season. In Week 10, Morris led the backfield with 11 carries for 53 yards (0 targets) on 34.9 percent of the snaps. Smith led the backs with 60.3 percent of the snaps and four receptions for 15 yards on six targets. In his first action of the season, Darren McFadden had one carry for negative two yards and didn't have a target on just 1.6 percent of the snaps.
Even though the Cowboys lost 27-7, they were only down 10-7 at the half and 17-7 at the end of the third quarter, so they didn't stick with or trust their rushing attack to keep them in the game as they normally would with Elliott. That lack of trust wasn't just about the absence of Elliott. Smith's absence loomed large and hurt the entire offense.
Dak Prescott completed 20 of 30 pass attempts for 176 yards without a TD or INT in addition to six carries for 42 yards and a rushing TD. He was sacked a season-high eight times, which is concerning for two reasons. First, Prescott had been sacked just 10 times in eight previous games. Second, the Atlanta Falcons had just 18 sacks all season before getting to Prescott eight times in Week 10.
Before the seven-point performance against the Falcons, Dallas scored at least 28 points in all but two games this season and at least 17 points in every game this season. Without Smith to protect Prescott and help in run-blocking, the Cowboys looked like an average team at best, which hurt the fantasy production of all parties involved.
According to Rob Phillips of the Cowboys' official site, head coach Jason Garrett said Smith may not practice Wednesday, but the team hopes he can do more later in the week. The Cowboys host the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11 before hosting the Los Angeles Chargers just four days later in Week 12, so the timing isn't working in Smith's favor. The quicker he returns, the quicker the confidence in the Cowboys fantasy options returns.
B.S. Meter on the absence of Smith downgrading all Cowboys: 3/10
The Presence of Austin Ekeler Is a Problem for Melvin Gordon
One of the biggest keys to Melvin Gordon's success dating back to last season is volume. In 2016, Gordon played at least 75 percent of the snaps in all but two games he appeared in before going down for the season in Week 13. This season, he's played 75 percent of the snaps in just four games and hasn't played more than 69 percent of the snaps in his last three games.
The dip in snaps could be a result of injuries that have piled up throughout the season. He dealt with a bone bruise on his knee, a shoulder issue that limited his practice time and a foot injury that popped up heading into Week 8. To Gordon's credit, he didn't miss a game and actually ran for a season-high 132 yards and an 87-yard TD on 14 carries the week he was listed with a foot injury on the practice report. After the Week 9 bye, Gordon wasn't listed on the injury report heading to the Week 10 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He ended up playing 68.1 percent of the snaps, but wound up with just 27 yards on 16 carries and five receptions for 15 yards on a team-high eight targets. Meanwhile, Austin Ekeler played a season-high 33.3 percent of the snaps, which was the third straight game he played at least 30 percent of the snaps after never playing more than 16.7 percent in any other game. He turned five targets into five receptions for 77 yards and a pair of TDs in addition to 10 carries for 42 yards.
Based on the matchup with the Jaguars, it certainly made sense to stay away from their great CBs by featuring both Gordon and Ekeler as receivers out of the backfield. However, Ekeler's rise in snaps over the last month combined with Gordon's list of injuries is more than a coincidence. Considering Ekeler was given more opportunities in Week 10 and took advantage of those chances, he's on the fantasy radar, especially with the waiver wire looking weak. Ekeler might not turn into a reliable fantasy option, but his presence could be enough to knock Gordon out of the RB1 tier.
B.S. Meter on the presence of Ekeler being a problem for Gordon: 4/10
Jared Goff Is a Weekly Fantasy Starter
The Los Angeles Rams are off to a 7-2 start, which has made it easy to forget Jared Goff's disastrous rookie season. After a 33-7 victory against the Houston Texans in Week 10, Los Angeles stayed on top of the NFC West just one game ahead of the Seattle Seahawks. Not only has L.A. become a contender, but Goff has turned into a viable fantasy option.
He had arguably the best performance of his young career in Week 10 with 355 yards and three TDs on 25-of-37 passing. That came a week after a 51-17 victory over the New York Giants that saw Goff complete 14 of 22 passes for 311 yards and four TDs. The Rams are riding a four-game win streak in which they've outscored opponents 144-41. Those victories came over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Giants and Texans. Now, the schedule gets tougher and Goff faces some tougher tests.
Not surprisingly, Goff's best games have come against his easier opponents, including 306 yards and a TD against the Indianapolis Colts, 292 yards and three TDs in San Francisco and 255 yards and two TDs in Dallas. The Seahawks held him to 288 yards and two INTs on 22-of-47 passing and the Jaguars limited him to just 11 completions on 22 attempts for 124 yards and a TD.
In Week 11, the Rams hit the road to take on the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings rank 12th in pass defense (213.2 yards per game) and are tied for fifth in points per game (18.3). In Week 12, they host a New Orleans Saints defense that ranks seventh in pass defense (201.4 yards per game) and are tied with the Vikings at 18.3 points per game. The schedule gets a little easier for the pass against the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles, although the Eagles are tied for 10th in points per game (19.9). Goff gets the Seahawks in Seattle for Week 15 and heads to Tennessee in Week 16.
Other than the Cardinals, the Rams face division leaders or division contenders, so Goff will be tested. He's worked his way into the weekly-starter conversation, but there are some tough matchups down the stretch that could give fantasy owners pause before inserting him into their starting lineup. Tough matchups go both ways, and with the way the Rams are playing, they will provide a big challenge to their upcoming opponents, so hopefully Goff can rise to the occasion.
B.S. Meter on Goff being a weekly fantasy starter: 5/10
Adrian Peterson Is Good Enough to Overcome a Bad Situation
Volume and opportunity don't always lead to fantasy production. Just ask anyone who had Adrian Peterson on their roster over the last five weeks.
Peterson made an immediate impact in Week 6 when he rushed for 134 yards and two TDs on 26 carries in his debut with the Arizona Cardinals in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite a winnable matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, Peterson rushed just 11 times for 21 yards in a shutout loss just one week later. Following the Week 8 bye, the Cardinals turned to Drew Stanton when Carson Palmer went down and that meant a busy day for Peterson with 37 carries for 159 yards in a great win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Following such a massive workload wouldn't have been easy for any player, and Peterson had to come back four days later to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. He was busy with 21 carries, but managed just 29 yards in a 22-16 loss. As you can see by those four outings, Peterson has either been an RB1 or useless for fantasy owners.
To believe in Peterson, you must believe that he'll get enough volume and a good enough matchup to be productive. Losing LT D.J. Humphries for the season to a knee injury doesn't help. In Week 11, Peterson should have a good chance to get back on track against the Houston Texans. After that, the Cardinals take on contending teams in the Jacksonville Jaguars, Rams and Tennessee Titans before some favorable matchups with the Washington Redskins and New York Giants during the fantasy playoffs of Week 15 and 16.
Unless you're loaded at RB, Peterson will probably remain in your lineup, although expectations should vary based on the matchup and predicted game flow.
B.S. Meter on Peterson being good enough to overcome a bad situation: 6/10
Teddy Bridgewater Is a Must-Add from the Waiver Wire
The Minnesota Vikings lost their starting QB Sam Bradford and star rookie RB Dalvin Cook for the season, but they haven't missed a beat en route to a five-game winning streak. Amazingly, the loss of Bradford hasn't mattered because Case Keenum stepped right in to handle an offense that is loaded with talent in their receiving corps and backfield in addition to a strong defense.
Minnesota is one of the most well-rounded teams in the league, which means Keenum doesn't have to play like a superstar. But do the Vikings need a superstar to win it all?
In one of the rare instances of a potential QB controversy during a five-game winning streak, head coach Mike Zimmer hasn't publicly announced the starter for Week 11, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Even though it would be hard to go away from Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater returned to the active roster for the first time since 2015 as Keenum's backup in Week 10 following a major knee injury suffered before the start of the 2016 season.
Keenum is coming off one of his best statistical performances of the season in a win over the Washington Redskins, although it wasn't without faults. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 304 yards and four TDs, but he had two bad interceptions that allowed Washington to get back into the game. Still, the Vikings won and had their third 30-point game under Keenum. Would Bridgewater being out of regular-season action since Week 17 of 2015 really be an upgrade over Keenum?
In 2015, he played all 16 games with 3,231 yards, 14 TDs and nine INTs while completing 292 of 447 pass attempts (65.3 percent). He averaged 7.2 yards per attempt and 27.9 pass attempts per game. He added 192 rushing yards and three TDs on 44 attempts. Of course, the Vikings now have much more talent in their receiving corps with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen at a higher level in addition to a reliable TE in Kyle Rudolph. That would explain why Keenum is averaging 34.4 attempts per game in seven full games.
Bridgewater hasn't been a top-10 fantasy starter in the past, but would have a higher ceiling in this offense. However, that's assuming the Vikings feel the need to bench Keenum anytime soon, which might be a hard sell to the locker room on a five-game win streak leading the NFC North. Unless you're in a two-QB league, Bridgewater isn't a must-add heading into Week 11, but continue to monitor the situation.
B.S. Meter on Bridgewater being a must-add from the waiver wire: 7/10
Jamaal Williams Can Stabilize the Packers Backfield
As if the Green Bay Packers didn't have enough problems with the extended absence of Aaron Rodgers (collarbone), they watched RBs Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery exit Week 10 with injuries. That left Jamaal Williams to pick up the slack, as the Packers were able to hold off the Chicago Bears to keep their playoff hopes alive at 5-4.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Jones will miss three to six weeks with an MCL injury, which takes the team's leading rusher out of the mix for the rest of the month and potentially longer. Montgomery aggravated the rib injury that kept him out of Week 5, but not before he rushed for a 37-yard TD as part of his six carries for 54 yards and two receptions for 14 yards on two targets.
According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, head coach Mike McCarthy said Montgomery has a chance to play in Week 11 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Montgomery hasn't had double-digit carries since he rushed 10 times for 28 yards against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6. He's averaging 3.8 yards per carry with 273 yards and three TDs on 71 carries. He hasn't been active as a receiver in the last four games, with just five receptions for 44 yards on eight targets. Williams is much more of a plodder than Jones or Montgomery, so it's not like he'd be adding much to an offense that's struggled to find an identity under Brett Hundley.
In Week 10, Williams carried 20 times for 67 yards and added a reception for seven yards on his only target. He has just five receptions for 45 yards on five targets and 31 carries for 101 yards (3.3 yards per carry) and one TD for the season. If Montgomery is out or limited, Williams would likely see the bulk of the carries for as long as Jones is also out, so the idea behind picking him up for your fantasy roster is just to get some volume. He wouldn't be anything more than a RB3/flex, as this offense just isn't that fantasy-friendly without Rodgers.
B.S. Meter on Williams stabilizing the Packers backfield: 9/10
Be Patient with Doug Martin
Doug Martin's strong 2017 debut following his three-game suspension feels like ancient history. In that Week 5 loss to the New England Patriots, he turned 13 carries into 74 yards and a TD and three targets into one reception for eight yards.
Since that game, Martin had just four receptions for 46 yards on nine targets and doesn't have a catch in his last two games. Even though he's been the busiest RB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it hasn't resulted in a positive output for their rushing attack. In the five games since his season debut, Martin has 80 carries for 231 yards (2.9 yards per carry) and one TD, which came back in Week 6. Other than the eight carries for seven yards he had in Week 9, Martin has at least 14 carries in every game since Week 5.
Martin is just part of the problem for the underachieving Buccaneers offense, but at some point, you have to recognize a bad situation and get away from it. The bottom line is Martin has been bad and so have the Bucs with no signs of improvement on the horizon. Martin hasn't scored 10 fantasy points in PPR formats since Week 7, despite the heavy workload. Martin is nothing more than a bench player on your fantasy roster, but if you need the room, feel free to move on from him. He's a disappointing player on a 3-6 team going nowhere fast.
B.S. Meter on being patient with Doug Martin: 10/10