Cowboys and Falcons- Dak Prescott
We’ve all heard the lyrics, “Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door.” With Prescott, it’s “Knock, knock, knocking on 300 yards.” To this point in the season, Prescott has failed to surpass the 300-yard marker. He’s come close twice, with over 270 yards against Washington and Philadelphia. But like some other song lyrics would suggest, “Almost doesn’t count.” With the running game now commanding full defensive attention and Amari Cooper finding his feet in Dallas, the Cowboys’ offense is starting to cut their teeth. Playing against the immensely talented Falcons’ offense, the Dallas defense figures to give up big plays and touchdowns to the likes of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. With Atlanta hanging points, Dallas is going to need to have quick answers on offense. Thankfully for Dak, the Falcons’ offer one of the worst pass defenses ever assembled in the history of the league. If there were ever the chance for Prescott and the underwhelming Dallas passing attack to go full “Animal Mode”, it would be in this exact scenario. A great week against Atlanta would have Prescott flirting with Top 12 status and a minus outcome would have him lingering in free agency for the remainder of the year.
Lions and Panthers- Kenny Golladay
Let’s add up all the factors as to why we have Kenny G listed here again in Week 11. One: Golden Tate is long gone. Two: Marvin Jones hasn’t practiced yet this week and could be in for some missed time. Three: Ben Roethlisberger demolished this Carolina pass defense last week. Big Ben did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to. Lastly, the 6’4 wide receiver was supposed to be the next big thing according to both former pros and scouts. If ever Kenny Golladay were going to make the jump into “Super Stardome” it would be here, biting off all that he can chew. Will he answer the call and bring in 8 catches for over 100 yards? Or will the role as a stud be too much of a burden as we see Golladay blanketed for 3 catches for 30 yards? There is huge immediate value on the line but also massive dynasty implications. If Golladay can’t come through with all the factors playing in his favor, then when will the planets align for him?
Titans and Colts- Marcus Mariota
Last week against the Patriots, Mariota had a “fun” fantasy day. He was able to pump up his numbers and pay off for those poker style, all-in types of fantasy owners. He went from 5 total passing touchdowns on the year to 7 courtesy of the Bill Belichick driven New England defense. That’s a pretty solid bump in production especially considering that most saw the Patriots as an evolving defense. So, what do we have in Marcus Mariota? Is this a one time only kind of payoff or is he back to stay? The Colts offer a putrid defense with little to no noteworthy personnel. If he can manage to go back-to-back with good numbers, he could find himself back in our fantasy good graces. 225 yards with one score to two turnovers though would have Mariota off our rosters completely in 2018 and un-draftable in 2019.
Steelers and Jaguars- James Conner
As Michael Scott once said “Look how the turntables…” Le’Veon Bell thought he was going to hold the Steelers hostage for his services. Well, he didn’t count on the production of James Conner. Conner has taken a blue collar approach and turned it into fantasy football gold. He gels with his teammates, his offensive line loves him, and he does the dirt stuff that some running backs shy away from . Now that we know that Bell is done for the season, the question becomes, where will Conner be ranked in 2019? Is he a third round pick, someone who is subject to a committee approach? Is he a second round pick, someone with upside who also stalled out down the stretch? Or is he a first round pick, someone who went off from start to finish in 2018 and now has the stench of Le’Veon far behind him? If Conner can play out the remaining games in similar fashion as to what we’ve grown used to, he could see himself as a Top-10 pick next season. If he stalls out or misses time though, his draft status will be impacted heavily. The Jacksonville defense may not be as good as we once thought, but they do still provide a solid measurement against the Pittsburgh running back.
Vikings and Bears- Dalvin Cook
We were all so nervous about Leonard Fournette when he returned from missed game action. We were all watching his every move, just waiting for him to come up lame and limp toward the sideline. Why is it then, with Cook, that there was less of that anxiety? Cook missed a month of time and still, we in the fantasy world weren’t holding our breath with each carry. In his return in Week 9, Cook was able to take 10 carries for 89 yards to go with 4 catches for 20 yards. He showed both mega-burst and big play ability. He also got the added bonus getting a bye week to rest up any lingering bumps or bruises. So, healthy and rested this week, this is as good as it’s going to get for Cook in 2018. He needs to put up in a big way as many drafters burned a second rounder on him. The Bears are no joking matter on defense but there is no more wiggle room for Cook. There’s no more excuses or anything positive to look forward to. Cook has to have a RB1 game here or his value will be sent on a downward spiral.