Week 11 Lessons Learned: Justin Herbert, Justin Jefferson ROY Push

by Tyler Strong · Fantasy Football

The number one overall pick saw his season cut short after suffering a torn ACL and MCL on Sunday. It was an unfortunate end to a promising campaign from Joe Burrow, standing out amongst a class of fantastic rookies all across the league. Cincinnati is in good shape for 2021, especially with another high pick on tap, but we’ve got to take a look at the teams still focused on 2020’s prize. There were playoff atmosphere games in numerous spots, and the fantasy regular season is heating up for the final month of action. Let’s break down the week’s action through PlayerProfiler.com’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics.

Thursday Night Breakdown: Cards Draw Even with Hawks

It was Kyler Murray‘s worst game of the season. He threw for 269 yards and two scores, contributing 15 yards on the ground. That’s a pretty good worst game. Fantasy football’s QB1 to this point, Murray fed short scores to Chase Edmonds and Dan Arnold, while Larry Fitzgerald led the team in targets, catches, and yards.

The oft-maligned Seahawks defense has tightened up recently, allowing 21 and 23 points the last two weeks as opposed to 30 PPG on average over the first 10 weeks. That showed on Thursday, with both DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk being held right arounds 50 yards apiece.

Splitting the series with Seattle 1-1 isn’t ideal in such a tough division, but Murray offers Patrick Mahomes-ian gamesmanship where no game seems out of reach. Matchups against the Giants and Eagles over the next month should bring smashes in the fantasy playoffs. Tee it up.

Action: The Cards draw the New England Patriots on Sunday, a team that saw Deshaun Watson crush for 380 total yards of offense and three scores on Sunday. Murray’s dual skillset is made of the same stuff, so bet on Kyler to turn it on after extended rest and lock him in with Hopkins and/or Kirk in tournament lineups. Don’t forget to bring it back with Jakobi Meyers or Damiere Byrd.

Lesson Two: J.K. Dobbins Breakout Stretch (Maybe)

The Ravens finally fed J.K. Dobbins on Sunday, with the rookie seeing 17 carries and turning them into 70 yards and a score. Lamar Jackson was next with 15 carries, while Gus Edwards and Mark Ingram combined for merely five.

Ingram played only six snaps on Sunday. It was what we on #DobbinsWatch had been waiting for all season, with the rookie so clearly being the most explosive and efficient on his limited touches. His Breakaway Run Rate is top-10 among qualified running backs, and his Yards per Touch are in the top-15. The Ravens are actually third in their division right now, and the time to get the most explosive playmakers was weeks ago. Let’s hope this past week’s performance solidifies the shift into Dobbins’ real breakout stretch.

Action: The bad news? Both Dobbins and Ingram tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, leaving the Ravens backfield to Gus Edwards and Justice Hill for a Thanksgiving showdown with Pittsburgh. Edwards and Kerryon Johnson (watching D’Andre Swift‘s concussion status) give DFS players the rare double free square at RB, albeit with Edwards up against an undefeated Steelers defense.

Lesson Three: Colts Rookies Lead the Way For a Huge Win

Every Colts game has me checking their Super Bowl and first overall pick odds at various junctures throughout. This past Sunday, I was on the former. It was a legitimate playoff atmosphere game against the toast of the NFC in the Green Bay Packers, and Colts rookies carried the day.

Michael Pittman continued his steady rise with the first touchdown of his career, a 45-yard crossing route where he outran a few Packers on the way to the endzone. Philip Rivers has been uneven to say the least, but his young receivers continuing to improve will help to cover his shortcomings.

Check out Michael Pittman on PlayerProfiler’s New DYNASTY DELUXE Rankings:

Jonathan Taylor received 22 carries to six for Nyheim Hines and two for Jordan Wilkins. The thing is, we know it’s not for real. The Colts have been blatant with their commitment to the RBBC, and the Taylor breakout likely won’t come on until next season. He has seen two games with over 20 carries, running for 90 (22 carries) and 101 (26 carries) yards. Go figure. In other rookie news, Julian Blackmon forced a game-turning fumble in overtime and Rodrigo Blankenship knocked through the game-winning field goal. Chris Ballard continues to operate at a high, high level when it comes to talent evaluation.

Action: Buy a Rodrigo Blankenship jersey. Oh, that’s just me. Fire up all your Colts next week in their biggest game of the season, the second matchup with the Titans. If the Colts sweep the series, they’ll be the favorite in the AFC South. Like the Ravens above, the time is absolutely nigh to bring their best, and the Colts did that on Sunday. Fire up Pittman and Taylor in GPPs next week, and bring it back with A.J. Brown and Corey Davis.

Lesson Four: Justin Jefferson Having a Special Year

Justin Jefferson has thrived as the clear second option in the lowest volume pass offense in the league. He’s the WR11 through 11 weeks. It’s a wild contradiction and he’s done it through explosive speed after the catch (his 280 YAC rank top-10 in the league) and capitalizing on Kirk CousinsDeep Ball Attempts (his 482 Completed Air Yards is also a top-10 mark).

Oh, and he’s sporting league-bests with 14.1 Yards per Target and 3.20 Yards per Route Run.

The underreported factor in all this? The much-hated, always faded Cousins. Crazy how that happens. Yes, Cousins is the league leader in Yards per Attempt thus far, and number No. 3 in Air Yards per Attempt. When the Vikings do pass, Cousins makes them count.

Action: The Vikings placed Adam Thielen on the COVID-19 list on Monday afternoon. Jefferson will be line for huge volume against the Panthers on Sunday if Thielen (and his 39-percent Target Share from Sunday) isn’t cleared. And even if he is? Jefferson has become one of my favorite GPP plays in recent weeks, especially in a game with such fun bring backs as Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore.

Lesson Five: Burrow Down, Herbert a Near Lock For ROY

Joe Burrow‘s impressive rookie year came to end Sunday when he was carted off early in the second half with what’s been diagnosed as a torn ACL and MCL. It’ll be 2021 before we see the young Bengal again, who posted a 65.3-percent Completion Percentage, 2,688 passing yards and 16 touchdowns in his rookie effort.

The rookie of the year race turns to a gunslinger out west currently slotted in as 2020’s QB7, ahead of Lamar Jackson, Ryan Tannehill, and others. And he played one fewer game than all of them. Justin Herbert has been a complete surprise since picking up in Week 2, and he set a new career-high with 366 passing yards against the hopeless Jets on Sunday.

Herbert might not be getting wins to go along with all his good play and stats yet, but he’s looking like a top-5 dynasty QB already. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen have had their bacon saved by Herbert’s rise, the latter seeing 19 targets on Sunday and turning them into 145 yards and a score. Mama!

Action: Herbert has become an elite DFS play every week, regardless of matchup. The matchup against the Bills, fresh off a bye, has the second-highest total on the slate so far at 54 points, and we should stack this game every way we can think of. Herbert and Josh Allen both have overall QB1 ceilings any week, and we should expect ceiling games out of both this week.