Week 11 Observations & Musings: A Look Around the League

by Matthew Gordan

Those expecting a Travis Kelce breakout were surely disappointed, which has been a continuing trend all season. It seems Andy Reid just doesn’t want to comply with the wishes of fantasy owners! So far the story has been a maddening lack of usage, but with Anthony Fasano sidelined Sunday, many expected Kelce to finally get the targets and opportunity to become a bona fide TE1. Instead we saw a run-heavy approach by the Chiefs resulting in another dominant Jamaal Charles performance. Bottom line: If you’re not already, get used to Kelce as a boom-or-bust pick every week. By the way, who else remembers Charles carrying fantasy teams late last season? Giddy up.

Jeremy Hill and A.J. Green put up huge efforts in the Bengals’ dismantlement of the Saints. Hill was a sleeper of mine coming into the season, but I never expected him to be this capable. He’s a bruising back with some deceptive speed, and as long as  Gio Bernard is out, he’ll be carrying the mail and doing it successfully. Once Bernard comes back, it should be a committee approach however. In terms of the passing attack, Green looks pretty good after battling turf toe. Turf toe, as discussed here before, is a lingering and painful injury. If your trade deadline is this week and someone offers you market value or more for Green, I’d do it. I love him, but toe injuries scare me.

The biggest beneficiary of RGIII’s return has surely been Alfred Morris. He’s not very exciting in terms of fantasy, especially for those in PPR leagues, but he’s produces consistent numbers week in and week out. On the other hand, Pierre Garcon has completely fallen off the map since the QB’s return. You can longer start Garcon with any confidence whatsoever. I’d still consider him a solid backup, but with each disappointing week that’s becoming a tougher sell.

If Julius Thomas is forced to miss any time, Jacob Tamme becomes a must-own option, especially if Emmanuel Sanders is a no go. Tamme and Peyton Manning have obvious history, dating back to when they were teammates in Indy. Athletically Tamme is nowhere near the caliber of Thomas, but his hands may come close. Check out the numbers and Tamme received a whopping 10 targets against the Rams. While he only reeled in 4 of those, he has caught 65% of his targets throughout his career. Tamme may be the most underrated pick-up of the week. Do not sleep on him. Denver plays pretty mediocre secondaries from here on out. Even if Thomas and Sanders can come back relatively soon, Thomas is almost surely out next week versus the Dolphins. Anyone have an idea how Manning will play following a loss and dismal performance?

For those who are too confused to follow, here’s a reminder: stay away from the Browns rushing attack, along with the Buccaneers. Likewise, keep away from the Raiders. Latavius Murray finally (finally) got some run, and is definitely a top add along with Tamme, but he is not some Earth-shattering talent. Either way, hopefully he’s finally getting a chance. Who knows, maybe he’ll surprise us all. And finally, pick up and play whoever starts for the Texans. Obviously Arian Foster is the man, but wow, Alfred Blue (and Ben Tate before him) looked great.

A couple weeks ago I opined the Chargers would ease Ryan Mathews back in, allowing Branden Oliver to still aid fantasy owners. While Mathews was the lead back, Oliver still saw 13 carries to 16 for Mathews (Oliver did see 2 more targets than Mathews as well). I’m sure part of this can be contributed to playing the lowly Raiders, but I’m not certain this trend will be going away. Factor in the reports Mathews was limping in the postgame locker room (which could easily be simply soreness) and Oliver should remain rostered. Of course, Oliver’s continual regression in the production department is alarming in its own right.

Remember when everyone was worried about the Packers? May have been the greatest buy-low window in fantasy history. Seriously. Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy are all legitimate fantasy all-stars. They look unstoppable.

We may remember the end of this season as the Joique Bell Show. The Lions will always prefer a committee approach, but with the injuries facing Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick only being productive in the passing game, Bell is trending way up. He looked great against one of the league’s best defenses and he’s obviously attached to an explosive offense. If he can stay healthy, and if Bush continues to remain on the sideline, Bell may turn out to be the story of the homestretch.

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