Exploring Week 11’s Top Trending Players Via the Player Popularity Index

by Matthew M. Stevens · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

PlayerProfiler’s Player Popularity Index (PPI) tracks individual player profile page views over the past 30 days and ranks them accordingly. Each week, this article will highlight the five highest-ranked players and use our advanced stats and metrics to provide fantasy football insight on each. Following Sunday’s action and prior to Monday Night Football, the PPI pinpointed the following top-five trending players for Week 11:

Top-5 Trending Players via the Player Popularity Index

Walker Underwhelms in Spot Start

XFL aficionados kept a close eye on P.J. Walker’s first NFL start. The former Houston Roughneck led the XFL in passing with 1,338 yards and 15 TDs before the league folded midseason. While Walker led the Panthers to a 20-0 win against the flailing Lions, he didn’t do anything to jeopardize Teddy Bridgewater’s starting job.

P.J. Walker Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Walker managed the game, completing 24-of-34 passes for 258 yards, one TD and two INTs. Both picks occurred in the red zone. Walker concentrated the passing attack on Carolina’s top three options – good news if he gets another start – and each produced a respectable fantasy outing. He showed limited mobility in rushing for -2 yards on five carries.

Fantasy Implications: Walker’s weak fantasy outing (12 points) and the potential Week 12 return of Teddy Bridgewater (knee) make him a low-priority add for QB-needy teams in deep leagues.

Key Metrics: Walker posted a 31.1 QBR, which ranked in the bottom-10 in the league for Week 11.

Hill Lives Up to the Hype

Taysom Hill spared Sean Payton the embarrassment of failing after the coach gave him the starting job with Drew Brees out. Hill delivered in his first NFL start, completing 18-of-23 passes for 233 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the win. He did throw a garbage Deep Ball that should have been intercepted to Emmanuel Sanders, who had to backtrack to haul it in. But he found continued rushing success, leading the saints with 51 yards and two TDs on 10 carries.

Taysom Hill Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The biggest takeaways from this game revolve around the fantasy-relevant skill players in New Orleans. While Michael Thomas dominated targets (12) en route to a 9-104-0 line with Hill under center, Alvin Kamara fizzled. After averaging the most targets per game (8.9) among running backs through Week 10, Kamara failed to catch his lone target.

Fantasy Implications: Hill posted the QB3 fantasy finish for Week 11 through Sunday’s games by scoring 24.42 points. He did that despite not throwing a TD, and it came at Kamara’s expense. With the dynamic RB seeing his lowest target volume of the season and failing to get any goal line carries, Hill significantly caps his weekly upside. He himself, though, makes for the top waiver wire add at the position in redraft leagues. With no timeline for Drew Brees‘ return, Hill carries league-winning upside.

Key Metrics: Hill’s 16 red zone carries tie Josh Allen for the third-most among QBs. He averaged 10.13 yards per attempt; Kirk Cousins leads NFL with a mark of 8.9 YPA.

Higgins’ Redraft Stock Plummets with Loss of Burrow

Joe Burrow’s devastating injury deals a huge blow to the Bengals offense and threatens to derail Tee Higgins‘ breakout rookie season. Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee and needs reconstructive surgery. In his place, Cincinnati inserted 2019 fourth-round pick Ryan Finley, who completed 3-of-10 passes for 30 yards, no TDs and one INT. Finley didn’t fare better in his three starts last season. He averaged 158 passing yards per game and never eclipsed 200 yards while throwing two TDs and two INTs.

Higgins, meanwhile, posted his first game with fewer than five receptions since Week 5. Though he saw 10 targets, he managed only three catches for 26 yards.

Tee Higgins Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Fantasy Implications: Fantasy gamers should leave Finley on the waiver wire. He’s a desperation add in deep 2QB/superflex leagues. Higgins’ redraft value plummets with Finley under center and his safe weekly floor disappears. Including Week 11, Higgins has recorded only two games with fewer than 10 fantasy points. He becomes tough to trust in redraft lineups. Meanwhile, his buy window opens a crack in dynasty leagues given the significance of Burrow’s injury and his uncertain future.


Key Metrics: Through Week 10, Higgins’ +42.1-percent Target Premium ranks No. 4 among qualified receivers. He also owns a 29.7-percent (No. 14) Dominator Rating. However, he faces an uphill battle to maintain efficiency with poor quarterback play.

Pittman Records First NFL Touchdown

Following an uptick in usage over the past three games, Michael Pittman notched his first NFL TD against Green Bay. He caught a Philip Rivers pass on a short crossing route and took it untouched to the house for a 45-yard score, showing impressive speed for his 6-4, 223-pound frame.

Michael Pittman Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Pittman caught all three of his targets to lead the Colts with 66 receiving yards while putting the cherry on top. It marked the third consecutive game that he played at least 80-percent of the snaps. Though his Target Share dropped, he saw a combined 15 targets in Weeks 9-10 and appears on his way to claiming the alpha role.

Fantasy Implications: Already rostered in the majority of redraft leagues, Pittman’s dynasty buy window closes a little more each day.

Key Metrics: Pittman boasts a 95.5-percent True Catch Rate, which ranks No. 6 through Week 10. His 111.2 Speed Score ranks in the 93rd-percentile.

Metcalf Maintains Status as PPI Regular

Despite taking a fastball to the facemask courtesy of Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf made an impact in prime time. Though he dropped the aforementioned pass in the endzone, Metcalf scored his ninth TD – fourth-most in the league – on Thursday night. This marks his fifth consecutive week appearing in the top of the PPI rankings.

Check out D.K. Metcalf on PlayerProfiler’s New DYNASTY DELUXE Rankings:

Metcalf caught 3-of-5 targets for 46 yards and the score. However, it marked only the third game this season that he recorded fewer than 90 receiving yards. Patrick Peterson, the primary cornerback assigned to cover Metcalf, held him to 23 yards in Week 7.

Fantasy Implications: Metcalf’s rise to No. 2 in PlayerProfiler’s dynasty wide receiver rankings makes him a challenging dynasty acquisition. In redraft, he projects to appear on league-winning squads in all formats and should be pursued aggressively via trade, even at a steep cost. Fantasy gamers may need to make any offer a “Godfather” offer at this point.

Key Metrics:  Through Week 10 Metcalf’s 20 Deep Targets and 1,076 Air Yards rank No. 1 among receivers. He also owns the third-best Production Premium (+35.4), a testament to his efficiency.