I’m too excited about the holiday week. The Thanksgiving slate gives us time to tilt through football with family members instead of on our couches alone. However, it always feels worth it, coasting into the long weekend. But before we start smoking turkeys and debating on which sides are the best, I’ve got three lessons from Week 11 to consider before making roster moves on Thursday.
Quarterback: Lamar Jackson, Ravens
Week 11 Results: (Projected) 21.8, (Actual) 15.5
I partially project a quarterback’s fantasy success by the opposing offense they’ll face. A weak offense on the other side should give my passer more chances at scoring. So, when I saw Lamar Jackson squaring off against Baker Mayfield, I saw a top-6 finish in Jackson’s range of outcomes. Baltimore’s defense had improved with their in-season trades, and Mark Andrews was back in the lineup. Jackson’s 15.5 points aren’t necessarily an anchor on your squad. And, after a closer look at the matchup, it’s not surprising to see his day played out as it did.
Advice Moving Forward:
You’re still starting Jackson, but his ceiling (not floor) becomes matchup-dependent. However, his playoff schedule makes him a top option to close out the season.
The Ravens’ passing game isn’t a “run-first” or an “efficient” passing game. It’s a “Lamar, go do cool stuff” scheme. Any offense relying on Demarcus Robinson, who was the *sixth* option at his previous stop, requires a lot from their quarterback. And in most cases, Jackson delivers with ease.
He’s fifth in big-time throw rate while under pressure. Jackson is second in designed rushing attempts and yards on those plays. Few other quarterbacks can match his skills through the air and on the ground except for in one area: when he absolutely has to pass.
Third and fourth downs are “pure passing situations.” Or, put another way, situations with the highest chance of a pass occurring. And here, the former MVP struggles. He’s 16th in EPA per play and 19th in success rate, which has happened throughout the entire season. Now throw the Panthers into the mix.
After firing Matt Rhule in Week 5, the Panthers are one of three teams in the Top 10 for dropback and rushing EPA allowed on third and fourth downs. Despite their problems on offense, they’re a tough out on defense. And Jackson saw it first-hand on Sunday as the Ravens struggled at 25.5 yards per drive. Their season average is 35.5. We just need weaker secondaries for Jackson to thrive.
It looks bleak, but the schedule opens up for Baltimore. They’ll face Jacksonville after their bye, but the Jaguars gave up 280.7 yards and 2.3 touchdowns per game over the three games heading into the break. Jackson will also see Atlanta in the fantasy playoffs. With a depleted pass-catching group, down weeks are possible, but Jackson’s rushing should give him a top-12 floor each week.
Running Back: Kareem Hunt, Browns
Week 11 Results: (Projected) 8.8, (Actual) 7.4
I’m terrible at constructing GPP lineups in DFS. My thought process is too linear. But I thought I had it on Sunday for the Bills-Browns game. Folks were targeting the various Buffalo options, but I had my sights set on Kareem Hunt as a bring back.
All offseason, the justification for Hunt’s mid-round ADP was his standalone value and contingent usage. If Nick Chubb gets hurt, Hunt vaults into the top-12 discussion. But also, negative game scripts or passing situations benefitted Hunt, given his receiving skill set. So, even if the Bills were off their normal rhythm, they’d put the Browns into a heavy-passing script throughout the game. I nailed the game environment but not the beneficiary.
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