The big news for the home stretch of the fantasy season comes out of Seattle in Week 11.
Geno Smith’s elbow injury is the biggest news given its potential impact on the entire Seattle offense. In his absence, you’d have to expect Drew Lock to basically do nothing against the Niners defense, especially on a short week of preparation.
We also have to monitor the status of Kenneth Walker (oblique). He was losing snaps to Zach Charbonnet anyway. Fantasy baseball players are shocked by how football players shake off oblique injuries in no time, given that it’s often a 1-2 month recovery in baseball.
On the Los Angeles side, Cooper Kupp seems very iffy for Week 12 with an injury to his foot/ankle. The Twitter doctors said it was a low ankle sprain and to expect him to return, but he did not. So we wait.
Royce Freeman was at least a bell calf, but he lost the goal-line carries and had no third-down role. So he was outscored in our game by Darrell Henderson (12.9 PPR points, largely due to his goal-line score). Go get Freeman though, but temper your bid given that Kyren Williams may return in Week 12.
Pete Carroll playing for a 55-yard field goal after Smith heroically came back into the game for the final drive was madness. They had plenty of time for a short pass, even in bounds.
Deebo Samuel is not a good receiving receiver, even though he’s a great football player, so it was pretty clear — even in August — that he was going to be squeezed out of a dominant role in this offense and that Brandon Aiyuk was the receiver to roster. Aiyuk is the superior route runner and pass catcher. Plus, you have a Hall of Fame tight end and the best receiving RB in football. You have to play Deebo still, but he’s the afterthought most weeks.
Note that, in his past three games, George Kittle has produced a 24-354-2 receiving line. Pretty damn good. And the past two games have been with the full complement of elite Niners skill talent.
The Bills offense looked great, especially given the opponent. That bodes well for Josh Allen managers. But Stefon Diggs was an afterthought and you hate to see that when the offense performs well in a big win.
Jaylen Warren is so good. If I told you he was a first round pick, you’d say, “Oh, obviously.” He has speed but also runs with patience and can set up blocks. Warren really seemed to slow down this very fast Browns defense.
But the Browns actually won the game, which was ugly other than Warren. Take out Warren and the two teams combined for 363 yards on 118 plays. I mean, that’s just GROSS.
The game featured two backup QBs. Face it, Kenny Pickett is a backup-caliber QB — 100%.
Other than the last desperation play, Justin Fields was sacked once in 23 dropbacks. That’s actually good. If he can do that, or even double that sack rate, he’s a good QB. Do I trust him to be able to given what we’ve seen to date? Nope. But it’s possible. If I’m running the team, he needs to get sacked 8% or less the rest of the year to keep his job in Chicago. I don’t care about anything else.
DJ Moore and Fields are cooking. Their past three games together: 28-457-5. Moore looks like a league winner now and I can’t believe I’m saying that.
Jared Goff was horrendous overall but somehow led the team to a dramatic comeback in the final four minutes.
The trio of David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs and Amon-Ra St. Brown combined for 270 of the Lions’ 338 yards (80%). That’s about the rate to expect going forward. These are the new triplets.
The only QB who the Chargers and de facto defensive coordinator Brandon Staley can shut down is Zach Wilson. Jordan Love looked like Aaron Rodgers today. He spread it all out, too.
Aaron Jones was carried off the field like he was at Normandy, so I wouldn’t expect to see him soon. Theoretically, AJ Dillon is cleared for takeoff but he has no gas, we’ve just seen. Still, there’s a chance whenever there are touches.
Austin Ekeler looked completely washed on a 37-yard run. I swear, it seemed like he was running underwater.
Quentin Johnston dropped a possible touchdown, but definite game-tying long pass, from Justin Herbert, on just a great throw. Johnston is such a disappointment. That was his chance to change the narrative but instead he cemented it: Bust (at least for 2023 fantasy).
Aidan O’Connell looked better than a 56 passer rating. He got Davante Adams on the scoreboard. I like Michael Mayer enough to consider him starting-caliber in this weak tight end field.
De’Von Achane hurt his knee again and left the game, not to return. Achane’s injury was to the same knee as before. The training staff reportedly had “positive” vibes. Wonderful. We had good vibrations the last time and got the excitations of an IR stint. Every carry with this guy is like a punt return, in a good way and in a bad way. You expect a big play or injury with every touch.
Dallas seemed bored, honestly. Who could blame them?
Derrick Henry wasn’t below 3.3 per carry again. He made it to 3.8. He’s Eddie George now (that’s an insult, kids, look up 2001-04).
Will Levis looks good in the box score but he made two plays all day.
Trevor Lawrence was very productive in fantasy. He did it mostly on people’s benches though, even with the good matchup on paper. Calvin Ridley is someone you were forced to show loyalty to and you’re glad you did (107 yards and 2 TDs). He’s never cratered, but between Week 1 and today, he was a real dud given his draft position and the fact that nothing bad happened to his QB/offense. Color me skeptical still.
I’m shocked by Kyler Murray’s running. You have to play him.
Don’t get down on Trey McBride, who had the kind of “he at least did something” down game that we expect from TE1s. Marquise Brown though…. not looking like a Top 25 WR going forward, as I expected. I’d give him one more game as a starter in Flex 10 though.
Devin Singletary, league winner. Some of the things we end up saying are just unfathomable in August, especially at the RB position. (That’s why we lean into the chaos with zeroRB constructions). You could see a change coming in the Houston backfield given how bad Damion Pierce was even when healthy. And it’s a high-caliber offense/QB now.
I don’t know whether to give C.J. Stroud the credit for Tank Dell, but who cares if you roster him. He’s already won three games for his managers, at least in deep leagues. How many rookie WRs in recent history have been able to say that?
(Photo of Jaylen Warren: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)