Here are some of Fantasy Expert Ricky Sanders’ DFS-relevant observations from Week 11 of the 2016 NFL season:
Blake Bortles, Jaguars – The downside to rostering Blake Bortles shined through this week as Bortles produced an ugly 40.1 QBR on 35 passing attempts against one of the league’s worst passing defenses. The weather was not a factor (the game was played in a dome) and he was not sacked even once so there really are no excuses. As a whole, the Jaguars offense is just a dumpster fire and can revert to this form at any time in any matchup on any given week. Bortles’ long delivery (longest of any starting QB) is also inaccurate which partially causes the team to fall behind in a lot of ballgames. Unless Bortles delivers in garbage time, a sub-15 fantasy point outing such as Week 11 could inevitably occur. To be fair, this was his lowest output since Week 6 but it was a huge stinker in a great spot. Essentially, rostering Bortles is never not going to be nerve racking and that reality just needs to be accepted at this point. Anyone who says they are confidently deploying him in cash games is either lying or blissfully naïve.
Rob Kelley, Redskins – Either the Packers’ rushing defense is officially overrated or Rob Kelley is officially legit. Actually, both may be true because Kelley headed into the day only having lost yardage on two out of 60 total carries. He did not have any trouble gaining positive yardage in this game either as he rushed 24 times for 137 yards and three TDs on Sunday Night Football. Now, the Packers have been torched by Ezekiel Elliott, DeMarco Murray and Rob Kelley so dominant performances against them are no longer an anomaly. Either way, it is abundantly clear the emergence of Kelley is for real as Matt Jones was deemed a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. He is officially the team’s workhorse and is looking awfully good in this role. Since he rarely catch passes, think of a poor man’s Marshawn Lynch in evaluating him from week-to-week because he will need a TD to put his solid days over the top. With the being said, he has now bested 85 yards rushing in all three of the games he has been allotted 20-plus touches. Both the floor and ceiling are intriguing on a weekly basis and this kid is not just a flash in the pan.
James White, Patriots – In true Coach Bill Belichick fashion, he turned a can’t-miss matchup for LeGarrette Blount into a game where he actually finished as the team’s second highest scoring back. Facing a defense allowing 193.0 yards rushing per game, LeGarrette Blount, who had scored 12 TDs coming into the day, seemed like a lock for 100-plus yards and at least one score. However, any time the team managed to get inside the red zone, Tom Brady’s number was called (at least until the final drive when Blount was given a few opportunities to score but the game was already over). One of those opportunities fell through because James White caught a nine yard TD pass early in the second quarter. As a whole, he caught six passes for 62 yards and a TD and edged out Blount in terms of fantasy scoring 18.20-15.40. The moral of the story is there will always be a level of uncertainty to a Belichick coached backfield and those willing to declare those days over were sadly mistaken once again on Sunday. Sure Blount’s role has seemed more solidified than usual, and he is amidst a monster season, but the backfield remains a fluid situation on a weekly basis as per usual. With Lewis’ role only on the rise as well, this situation is going to continue to be a guessing game moving forward.
Rishard Matthews, Titans – On Sunday evening, @Fantasy_Mansion tweeted out an interesting tidbit that got me thinking. His tweet concluded Rishard Matthews is this year’s Doug Baldwin meaning the breakout WR that comes out of nowhere and dominates down the stretch. To review, Baldwin scored a whopping 14 TDs last season as Russell Wilson relied upon him as the team’s number one option for an extended stretch. The same phenomenon is occurring with Matthews who has officially morphed into a fantasy beast. Including this week, Matthews has either eclipsed 100 yards or scored a TD in six of his last seven games. In fact, he has only sunk below 13.20 fantasy points once during that span (and it came in the exception game). Matthews has officially advanced from respectable red zone target to borderline WR1 in fantasy in just little over a month and a half. The snap counts this week prove what we already are assuming; Matthews is here to stay. For the record, Matthews played 65 snaps to Tajae Sharpe/Kendall Wright’s 37 and Harry Douglas’ 12. Welcome to fantasy stardom, Mr. Matthews.
Eric Ebron, Lions – Quietly, Eric Ebron heading into the day averaging the seventh most fantasy points of any TE this season. If there is a guy on the verge of a breakout season that absolutely no one is talking about then it is definitely the Lions’ TE. Once again, ho hum, Ebron sneakily finished as TE3 this week despite garnering only three percentage ownership in the $60,000 Run and Gun contest. He capped off his three REC, 70 yard day by finding the end zone on a trick end around play at the goal line. Before writing this off as a fluke, realize Ebron had only scored one TD prior to Week 11 and still was bordering on a top five TE. With his size and skill set, a positive TD regression was/is assuredly on the horizon. With his respectable performance this week, he has now managed at least 70 yards receiving in three consecutive games and 42 yards is still his lowest output of the season. In a pass happy Lions offense, this man should continue to be a force to be reckoned with at the position and still no one seems to be giving him the credit he deserves.