Week 11 Matchups:
Terry McLaurin +2 Vs. Tee Higgins
I call this series "Sunday Scaries" for a reason: these are really tough calls. And when it comes to Terry McLaurin+2 vs Tee Higgins, I can't think of a harder matchup this week.
Coming off a slow start where he was averaging just 11.6 fantasy points in ppr, McLaurin has leveled up the last five weeks, averaging nearly 15 fantasy points during that span. He's been a trusted deep target, currently WR2 in that category, WR7 in receiving yards, and WR11 in yards after the catch, but 5th in unrealized air yards. Carson Wentz seemingly capped McLaurin's ceiling. However, with Taylor Heinicke under center, McLaurin has re-established himself as a fantasy WR2 moving forward. His matchup, however, is tough as the Texans allow the 3rd fewest fantasy points to wide receivers on the season-- mostly due to game script.
Tee Higgins' counting and efficiency stats are deceiving. He left both Week 1 and Week 5 early due to concussions. Aside from those two weeks, Higgins has scored double-digit fantasy points in every game. With Ja'Marr Chase expected to miss Week 11, Higgins will look to re-establish himself as the alpha coming out of the Week 10 bye. Both games where Chase has missed had been bizarre: In week 8, Higgins went 3-49-1 on 6 targets, admittedly disappointing given that he played 98% of snaps. But in Week 9 Joe Mixon scored 5 TDs, all but limiting the need for Higgins by halfway through the 3rd quarter.
Final Pick: Tee Higgins. Higgins should be fully recovered from any injuries, and with a susceptible Pittsburgh secondary, this is a smash spot.
Josh Allen vs. Lamar Jackson +2
Two overall QB1s. Both have had their share of struggles the last few weeks. Talk about a tough task to dissect.
Josh Allen has been dealing with an elbow injury which nearly kept him out of the Week 10 matchup against Minnesota. Instead, Allen threw for 330 yards and 1 TD, while rushing for 84 yards. Allen has rushed for 45+ yards in 6 games, and has a streak of three straight games entering Week 11. Allen's interceptions have increased, however, having thrown 2+ INTs in four different games this season. Nevertheless, Allen has finished as a top-5 QB in seven of nine contests. The Bills are projected as 7 point favorites in Detroit against the Browns, with over 28 implied points-- keeping Allen firmly in the top-3 of QBs this week.
Lamar Jackson's struggles have been more pronounced as of late. He's finished no better than QB9 each of the last six games, on average finishing as the QB14. The loss of Rashod Bateman and limitations of Mark Andrews the last few weeks has clearly been felt by Jackson's upside. Jackson has still produced on the ground, rushing for 45+ yards in seven of nine contests, but only has 6 combined passing and rushing TDs over the last 6 contests. Even in a matchup against the Carolina Panthers where the Ravens are favored by 13 points at home, the game script may lead to either Jackson handing the ball off to Gus Edwards or Kenyan Drake to salt the game and drain the clock-- limiting the need for Jackson to push the Ravens offensively in the second half of games. In fact, the Ravens are the 4th slowest team in terms of pace of play during 2nd halves.
Final Pick: Josh Allen. As long as the Bills get their players out of Buffalo to Detroit, Josh Allen should be in play for a ceiling week.
Amari Cooper +7 Vs. Stefon Diggs
In case you missed perhaps the biggest Week 11 storyline, this matchup between Diggs and Cooper is relocated from Buffalo to Detroit.
"Amari Cooper is a dome receiver" is what you like to hear. Now that the Browns-Bills game has moved from snowy Buffalo to the also snowy, but domed Ford Field in Detroit, this makes Amari Cooper a very interesting play. Adam Koffler's tweet shows the stark difference between Cooper's dome & outdoor splits.
Another reason for optimism in Sunday's game is that Cooper crushes zone coverage; the Bills play man coverage only 27% of the time on the season, below the league average. Cooper gets more than a yard greater of separation when facing zone coverage than he does against man coverage. He's 5th in NFL passer rating among WRs when targeted against the zone. Overall it's been a strong season for Cooper, as he's WR17 in fantasy points per game, 9th among WRs in TDs, and 4th in dominator rating. While the Browns are dogs in this game against the Bills, they are getting over 21 implied points from Vegas and in line for a potential shootout.
As for Diggs, he's finished as a top-7 WR five different times this season and is the WR1 overall in fantasy points per game. Diggs is 4th in targets, 2nd in RedZone targets, 5th in deep targets, 3rd in receptions, He's really put it all together this season. The Browns only give up about 11 receptions and 150 receiving yards to the opposing wide receiver corps this season, Diggs is projected to line up against rookie CB Martin Emerson for the majority of his snaps. Emerson's played well this season, only allowing more than 50 receiving yards once, and has the 14th-best PFF man-coverage grade among CBs with 200+ coverage snaps.
Final Pick: Amari Cooper +7. Just so much juice. It's a dome game, and with a game script projecting the Browns to play catch up, I'll go Cooper +7.
Week 10 Update:
Nick Chubb +1.5 vs. Josh Jacobs. Jacobs scored a TD and set a season-high with 6 receptions. Chubb rushed a season-low 11 times against Miami. 1.5 points didn't get there. Tough loss.
Austin Ekeler +1 vs. Derrick Henry. Ekeler didn't need the juice for the W.
Travis Etienne vs. Kenneth Walker +2.5. Walker caught 6 passes as the Seahawks tried to play catchup, something the Jaguars weren't able to do with Etienne. Another tough L.
Running Season Record: 17-13.
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