Sunday Six Pack: Week 11

John DiBari

Another Sunday full of NFL (and more importantly, fantasy football) action brings us yet another edition of DLF’s Sunday Six Pack, where I’ll be highlighting six things I’m looking for this weekend.

Steelers Receiver Committee

Who will it be this week? Over the previous ten weeks (and nine games), the Steelers have spread the ball around fairly uniformly. Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, and JuJu Smith-Schuster have evenly split the work, with each recording the most fantasy points three times and each scoring fewer than seven points three times. Until last week though, the targets haven’t been spread evenly. Last week, the Steelers gave each of the trio double-digit targets, and fantasy owners were rewarded, as each player topped 20 fantasy points.

This might be a trend, as over the last four games, the Steelers were able to give double-digit targets to at least two of the receivers on three occasions. The Steelers only had a wide receiver tally double-digit targets three times total in the five weeks prior. After finally seeing them all get the volume in the same game, will this be the trend going forward? If so, we can expect each of them to be plug-and-play options at the position for the rest of the year.

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Regression for Dalvin Cook?

Cook has had a monster start to the year, scoring touchdowns in seven straight games. He is currently averaging 28.7 points per game. On a per-game basis, over a full season, Cook would score 459.2 fantasy points. For comparison, last year, Christian McCaffrey scored 471 points in his historical season- the second-most fantasy points of all time.

Heading into week ten, Cook scored 13 times over seven games, but in week ten, he had his worst fantasy output, tallying only 13.2 points. Was it a blip on the radar, or is Cook coming back to earth? Is he due for some touchdown regression to close out the year? He’s had a notable injury history going back to college, does he miss more time down the stretch? His usage, and more importantly, his production this week, might be a predictor for what’s to come.

Buccaneers Backfield Confusion

Tampa Bay has given us an unreasonably difficult RBBC situation to deal with. As you can see below (courtesy of the DLF snap count app), in the seven games both Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones have played together, Fournette has out-snapped Jones in four of those games, but Jones somehow tallied slightly more fantasy points. Just when you think it’s safe to lean on one of these running backs, Bruce Arians pulls the rug out from under you.

If you have Jones or Fournette rostered, you still have to plug them in your lineups, but this is just the sort of RBBC that can cost fantasy owners championships. I tried to warn people about Arians in the offseason. With RoJo coming off of a big game in week ten, it’s probably likely that week 11 ends up being a Fournette week. Good luck.

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Will Michael Thomas do Anything?

What a year. Thomas averaged 23.4 points per game last year, making him the nearly universal WR1 in draft season heading into this season. Fantasy owners have been squarely kicked in the crotch since then. Thomas has played in only three games and has averaged an abysmal 6.5 points per game in the three games he has suited up. To make matters worse, Drew Brees is now out with broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Even without Brees under center, it’s make or break time for Thomas’ season. We don’t know what to expect from Taysom Hill but the matchup couldn’t be better on paper. The Falcons allow the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers and allow the second-most yards per game and yards per catch to wide receivers too. If Thomas can’t right the ship this week, he might have to finish out 2020 on your bench.

Young Quarterbacks Separate Themselves from the Pack

Going back to 2016, in the last five NFL drafts, we’ve seen 18 quarterbacks taken in the first round. Of these 18, 13 are starting for their respective teams when healthy. However, the window looks to be closing on several players’ bonafide starter roles.

Paxton Lynch (2016), Mitchell Trubisky (2017), Josh Rosen (2018), and Dwayne Haskins (2019) all seem to have either wrapped up their careers already or are on the path to doing so. Below, among the other first-round 13 signal-callers, a few players are starting to see their careers begin to dwindle. Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield, and Sam Darnold might be closer to the end of their careers than most would’ve imagined when the season kicked off. They’re each rapidly approaching make-or-break time for themselves and for their clubs as well.

Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are both kinda good, but kinda not good too. Truthfully, contracts aside, would anyone be shocked if we saw the Rams or Eagles move on in another year or two? What if both squads aren’t in the running for another Lombardi Trophy or even sniffing the playoffs? On the plus side, eight of the 18 look to be perennial fantasy contributors going forward, especially this year’s rookie group, but it could also be the beginning of the end for a few of the NFL’s young starting QBs.

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JD McKissic: A Target Monster?

Thank you Alex Smith! Over the last two games, check-down king Smith has turned McKissic into a PPR asset. McKissic has seen 29 targets over those two games and 37 targets over three contests with Smith at the helm, turning those targets into 22 receptions for 154 yards. A less-than-ideal 4.16 yards per target, but volume is volume, and McKissic is seeing his snaps increase as well. He was RB7 over this time frame, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can continue to volume his way to fantasy relevance down the stretch, starting with this week’s matchup.

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I hope you enjoyed this look into what I’ll be keeping an eye on this weekend. I look forward to your comments below and would like to hear what is grabbing your attention during this week’s games on Twitter too. Good luck in your fantasy matchups!

john dibari