Welcome to The Lowdown for Week 11. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!
A Swift Kick of the Balls
One of the least-talked about aspects of the two-point conversion in the NFL is the fact that the defense has a chance to score on the PAT. In the old days, if the defense blocked the PAT it was basically a dead ball; with the two-point conversion an option, if the defense blocks the PAT, or otherwise gets a turnover, they can score a deuce if they can return the turnover to the house. The Saints reminded us of this scenario in Week 10, when attempting the go-ahead (and likely winning) PAT against the Broncos: Justin Simmons hurdled over the center and blocked the kick, which Will Parks ran back for two points (and a 25-23 Denver win).
Of course, Bobby Wagner of the Seahawks pulled off the same move in Week 7 against the Cardinals on a FG try. This being a copycat league, in 2017, I fully expect every team to have a “designated leaper”, whose sole purpose will be to jump over the center of FG and PAT attempts. It’ll be interesting to see how offenses will adapt– maybe with 6’8″ long-snappers?
Note: I’m writing this as I watch the Saints-Panthers game on TNF, and it sorta happened again to the Saints. Their FG attempt was blocked by Vernon Butler and returned by Luke Kuechly for a TD (negated by a penalty); while it wasn’t of the “leaping the center” variety, it was just as deflating to the Saints.
Hopefully, that last note allows the title of the paragraph to stay in place (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). [Editor’s Comment: John, you had me when you mentioned PAT in the first sentence.]
Interesting Players for Week
Not necessarily the players in line for the biggest games this week, but rather some players that caught my interest and upon whom I shall cast my gaze …
- Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. Cle) – 43.70
- Tom Brady, NEP (vs. SFO) – 43.04
- Marcus Mariota, TEN (vs. IND) – 41.66
- Blake Bortles, JAC (vs. Det) – 41.10
- Aaron Rodgers, GBP (vs. WAS) – 40.71
- Tyrod Taylor, BUF (vs. Cin) – 40.64
- Jameis Winston, TBB (vs. KCC) – 38.85
- Colin Kaepernick, SFO (vs. NEP) – 38.19
- Kirk Cousins, WAS (vs. GBP) – 37.60
- Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. JAC) – 36.34
Marcus Mariota has been coming on strong lately; his last three games have produced 10 TDs (one rushing), bringing his season tally to 23 TDs (two rushing) against just eight INT. The interesting thing about the past three weeks, however, has been the increase in his passing yardage: 293 ypg vs. 229 ypg over his first seven games. From a fantasy perspective, Colin Kaepernick has been producing QB numbers very to similar to Dak Prescott‘s per game average– bet that comes as news to you.
- Le’Veon Bell, PIT (vs. CLE) – 50.26
- LeGarrette Blount, NEP (vs. SFO) – 48.70
- DeMarco Murray, TEN (vs. IND) – 46.58
- David Johnson, ARI (vs. MIN) – 43.72
- LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. Cin) – 42.71
- Isaiah Crowell, CLE (vs. Pit) – 42.37
- Spencer Ware, KCC (vs. TBB) – 40.86
- Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (vs. BAL) – 40.39
- Carlos Hyde, SFO (vs. NEP) – 37.24
- Jay Ajayi, MIA (vs. RAM) – 36.82
Jay Ajayi and Spencer Ware are two pretty good backs whose competition for touches on their respective teams has been eliminated (Arian Foster retired, Jamaal Charles to IR) but I need to warn you: while their per game averages look good, they are both somewhat inconsistent. Keep that in mind if you need to win this week and are considering popping them into your lineup.
- Odell Beckham, NYG (vs. Chi) – 62.23
- Mike Evans, TBB (vs. KCC) – 61.20
- Antonio Brown, PIT (vs. CLE) – 60.15
- A.J. Green, CIN (vs. BUF) – 56.62
- T.Y. Hilton, IND (vs. Ten) – 55.63
- Jordy Nelson, GBP (vs. WAS) – 54.32
- Mike Wallace, BAL (vs. Dal) – 54.01
- Allen Robinson, JAC (vs. DET) – 53.17
- Kenny Britt, RAM (vs. Mia) – 52.73
- DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs. OAK) – 52.29
I have to admit, I’m a bit shaky regarding Mighty Max’s slotting of DeAndre Hopkins at #10. My concern has nothing to do with Hopkins per se; rather, it has to do with the fact that I don’t trust Brock Osweiler to get the ball to him. Odell Beckham Jr. has been heating up; if you’ve been watching the Giants the past few weeks, you’ve seen a determined Beckham on the field. He just seems to be playing with more of his usual swagger.
- Delanie Walker, TEN (vs. IND) – 30.99
- Jordan Reed, WAS (vs. GBP) – 30.66
- Julius Thomas, JAC (vs. DET) – 28.27
- Jesse James, PIT (vs. Cle) – 27.65
- Jack Doyle, IND (vs. TEN) – 24.64
- Zach Miller, CHI (vs. NYG) – 24.32
- Charles Clay, BUF (vs. CIN) – 24.31
- Tyler Eifert, CIN (vs. Buf) – 24.27
- Travis Kelce, KCC (vs. TBB) – 23.53
- Dennis Pitta, BAL (vs. DAL) – 22.87
Delanie Walker had a great game last week against the Packers, and it’s been a little surprising to me that he isn’t the top TE in football given how well Mariota has been playing (along with RB Demarco Murray). Don’t get me wrong: being a Top 5 TE is great, but you get the feeling that the best from Walker is yet to come. Watching Travis Kelce play is like watching a mean guard dog strain against his chain; you know that if someone took that chain off his neck, he’d cause some damage. C’mon, Andy Reid, take that chain off and let the man do some damage!
Teams on Bye this week: Atlanta, Denver, New York and San Diego.