Cam Newton (vs Washington)
Newton was in on two scores in the briefest of stints last week, what can he do in a full game against Washington? Yes, they thwarted Tom Brady and hemmed him into a dink and dunk game plan last week, but the Bucs were oddly flat and the Panthers are coming in off of an emotional high. Newton has revitalized the team and could be one of the best fantasy quarterbacks of Week 11 and the second half of the season.
Daniel Jones (at Tampa Bay)
Jones has been successful against the Bucs, accounting for four touchdowns in his first matchup with them - a 32-31 win in his rookie year - and throwing for 256 yards and two scores in a narrow 25-23 loss last year. Saquon Barkley should be back, and Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay should be healthier coming out of the bye, and the Bucs funnel their opponents offenses to the pass, so everything is lined up for a big Jones week.
Jimmy Garoppolo (at Jacksonville)
Garoppolo put up three scores on the Jacksonville defense in 2017 when he was a midseason addition and the Jaguars had the best defense in football on the way to a 44-33 win, and he’s coming into this one red hot following a drubbing of the Rams on Monday night. Garoppolo has been highly efficient since George Kittle returned and that trend should continue against the Jaguars.
Justin Fields (vs Baltimore)
Fields had his best game as a downfield passer of his NFL career going into the bye, so we can only hope that Matt Nagy and company focused on that element of the offense going into the bye. The Ravens had multiple breakdowns in the secondary against the Dolphins and Fields has the ability to extend plays and induce those breakdowns with the arm to fully take advantage of them. Fields has also been producing as a runner more consistently, with at least 38 rushing yards in each of his last four starts, raising his floor and taking some of the risk out of playing him.
Kenyan Drake (vs Cincinnati)
Drake is facing a Bengals defense that has allowed nine scores to opposing running backs in the last six games, two of those coming through the air. He has had enough of a role to be a what the heck flex and the team just reaffirmed their desire to use both backs, with an emphasis on Drake in the passing game. Josh Jacobs is on the injury report as limited, so there’s always a chance of Jacobs missing time in the game or otherwise increasing Drake’s opportunity due to injury.
Jeff Wilson (at Jacksonville)
It’s Thursday and Elijah Mitchell hasn’t practiced yet. Kyle Shanahan thinks that Mitchell can play this weekend, but he just had a pin put in his broken finger. Even if he is active for Sunday’s game, Mitchell might just be emergency depth because the team doesn’t fully trust Trey Sermon. They do trust Wilson, who might also be the goal line back ahead of Mitchell for ball security purposes while his finger is healing.
D’Onta Foreman, Adrian Peterson (vs Houston)
It’s difficult to picture this game as anything but a Titans blowout win at home, which should give one or both of these backs the chance to score, and to run up carries on a defense that is thinking about where they want to sit on the airplane home during the second half of this one. Foreman is the preferable play with his superior burst and potential in the passing game, but Peterson could be the first back to get his number called at the goal line.
D’Ernest Johnson (vs Detroit)
Nick Chubb is expected to play this weekend, but he hasn’t been cleared from the covid list as of Thursday, which indicates that even if he is playing, he might not be at full speed, and the team shouldn’t give him a lead back workload. Even if Chubb was at full speed, Johnson has proven to be such an ideal fit in this running game that should get almost as much work as Kareem Hunt would in a close game, and he should get the work to close out of the game if the Browns can pull away from the Lions.
Alex Collins (vs Arizona)
After all of the talk of Chris Carson being ready to play after the bye, he didn’t return to the field in Week 10, and it looks like getting shut down for the season is in play with the Seahawks at 3-6 watching their playoff hopes dwindle by the day. The Seahawks should recommit to the run after Russell Wilson was erratic and ineffective in his return from finger surgery, and that puts Collins in the crosshairs of opportunity against a Cardinals defense that struggles to stop the run.
UPDATE: Collins missed practice on Thursday so monitor his status before using him.
Darnell Mooney (vs Baltimore)
Mooney scored twice going into the bye, so he’s not exactly sneaking up on anyone this week. He could get more opportunity with Allen Robinson questionable at best with a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 9, and the Bears have also had the bye to adjust priorities on offense and hopefully feature Mooney’s speed against a Ravens secondary that had multiple big play breakdowns against the Dolphins in Week 10.
Gabriel Davis (vs Indianapolis)
Davis had 105 yards on three catches last week and was the main beneficiary of the extra snaps freed up by Cole Beasley sitting for a lot of the game to rest his rib injury. The Bills should be taking the long view and try to get Beasley back to full speed for the playoffs with their bye already behind them, which points to more opportunity for Davis against a Colts secondary that he posted 4-85 on in the playoff win in Buffalo last season.
Quez Watkins (vs New Orleans)
Watkins makes sense as a sleeper this week because the Saints will likely stonewall the newfound Eagles running game that has been the focus of their offense. Alternatively, the Saints pass defense is prone to giving up big plays, which is Watkins specialty if he can just hold onto the ball, which he wasn’t able to do on his long touchdown opportunity last week, or he wouldn’t be such an obscure sleeper this week.
Jamison Crowder (vs Miami)
Crowder put up 18-206-2 in Joe Flacco’s four starts for the Jets last year, which should create some hope that he’ll benefit from Flacco starting this week to save rookie Zach Wilson the trauma of facing the blitz-happy Dolphins. Crowder should also be a preferred target on short routes to get the ball out quickly when the Dolphins do send the house, as targets like Corey Davis and Elijah Moore may suffer from Flacco not having time to throw downfield.
Rashod Bateman (at Chicago)
Bateman has been missing practice with a non-covid illness, but Marquise Brown has been missing with a thigh injury, which is more likely to affect him if he is even active on Sunday against the Bears. Bateman had limited opportunity because of the return of Sammy Watkins last week, but after Watkins gave up on a possible touchdown and fumbled a ball that turned into a Dolphins touchdown, he’s not a threat to Bateman’s playing time.
Kadarius Toney (at Tampa Bay)
Toney should be healthier coming out of the bye and there are strong indications that Sterling Shepard won’t return on Monday night. Toney could be the full-time slot receiver against a Bucs defense that encourages the opponent to pass a lot more than they run. The Bucs defense could also be stressed by the return of Kenny Golladay and Saquon Barkley, leaving more room for Toney to operate and set up his lethal run after catch ability.
Tyler Conklin (vs Green Bay)
Conklin has probably graduated from sleeper status with his two score game last week following back-to-back games with five catches. The Packers have also allowed a lot to opposing tight ends, including 8-63 to Gerald Everett last week, 6-51 to Ricky Seals-Jones, 4-49 to Cole Kmet, 8-66-1 to T.J. Hockenson, and two scores to Juwan Johnson in the opening week.
Cole Kmet (vs Baltimore)
Kmet could be hot coming out of the bye in a newlook Bears pass offense if the coaching staff did their jobs over the bye week. The Ravens have been vulnerable to opposing tight ends, giving up six scores to them this year, including two to C.J. Uzomah, and they’ve also surrendered one of Noah Fant’s better games this season
C.J. Uzomah (at Las Vegas)
The disarray at linebacker and safety for the Raiders has led to six scores from opposing tight ends in the last six games. They have also allowed a 9-97-1 line to Noah Fant and a 10-86 line to Mike Gesicki, so their defense obviously incentivizes passing to the tight end. Uzomah has already posted two scores twice this year, and the Bengals had two weeks to study the Raiders defense for weakness in a pivotal game for both teams.
Adam Trautman (at Philadelphia)
Trautman has put up 4-47 and 5-32 in Trevor Siemian’s two starts, so he appears to have a reasonably high floor in PPR leagues with the safe passing Siemian at the helm. That should accompany a high ceiling this week against an Eagles defense that has trouble with tight ends. Last week, the Broncos tight ends posted a line of 8-136 and the Eagles had given up eight touchdowns to tight ends this season going into Week 10, including the biggest games of the year for Dalton Schultz and O.J. Howard, and a 6-60-1 line to Foster Moreau in his one start this year.