Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs
In a matchup with easily the week’s highest over/under (56 points), Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes somehow combined for zero TD passes.
Dallas entered having scored at least two touchdowns in every game this season and failed to record one Sunday, although Prescott had to deal with losing Amari Cooper late in the week and CeeDee Lamb during the game; those two WRs had accounted for 48 percent of Dallas’ receiving yards this season. LT Tyron Smith was also out, while Ezekiel Elliott was hobbled by his ongoing knee injury. Moreover, Cedric Wilson committed multiple drops and KC’s defense has been playing far better since trading for Melvin Ingram (allowing Chris Jones to move back to tackle, where he racked up 3.5 sacks Sunday). Over the first seven games, Kansas City had allowed 29.0 points and 404.6 yards; over the last four games, they’ve allowed just 11.8 points and 294.0 yards.
Prescott does deserve blame for missing an open Michael Gallup for a would-be big play early, one week after Gallup dropped a slant that would’ve gone for 30-40 yards during his return. Gallup might have the opportunity to be a top-10 fantasy WR in Week 12 with Cooper and possibly Lamb both sidelined. Prescott is getting 8.4 YPA with a 14:2 TD:INT ratio at home this season, and Elliott will have a short turnaround. Dalton Schultz gets a big fantasy boost as well.
Mahomes finished with a -10.2 EPA during KC’s win, as the team enters its bye with plenty of room for improvement on offense despite a four-game winning streak. After Mahomes had the most “dropped interceptions” in the NFL last season, he’s seemingly regressing the other way to the extreme this year, as no QB has had more tipped picks in 2021. Sunday it was Travis Kelce, who saw his team-high eighth drop of the season lead to an interception … Clyde Edwards-Helaire reclaimed feature back duties and should be fully healthy after the team’s upcoming week off … The Cowboys had been aggressive on fourth downs this season yet punted (to Patrick Mahomes) on 4th-and-9 from the 40-yard line down 10 points with eight minutes left.
Detroit Lions @ Cleveland Browns
Tim Boyle threw for 77 yards with two picks and no TDs, yet Cleveland nearly lost at home as near two-touchdown favorites thanks to an extremely shaky performance by Baker Mayfield. A healthy Case Keenum is surely better — Mayfield’s CPOE (-8.2) was worse than Boyle’s (-7.2) — but I’ll take it, as the Browns kept my entry alive in a $6M Survivor pool ... Despite a horrible setup, D’Andre Swift (9.7 YPC) produced another big fantasy game even without any receiving yards, while Nick Chubb’s lone score ironically came through the air.
San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Deebo Samuel was a top-10 PPR WR in Week 11 with zero catches at halftime, as the dynamic wideout finished with just two targets but led the team in rushing … Both Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk finished as top-20 fantasy receivers this week, while George Kittle was a top-eight TE, as San Francisco continues to have concentrated targets … Jeff Wilson had 20 touches just six months after meniscus surgery; don’t worry about the lack of production against an underrated Jacksonville run defense (Jimmy Garoppolo missed Wilson on a throw he was wide open for a two-yard score).
Be more concerned about Elijah Mitchell returning and Trey Sermon now involved in an increasingly crowded SF backfield that also includes Deebo getting carries … It was nice to see a Trey Lance appearance, but Garoppolo has an NFL-high four straight games with a 100+ Passer Rating … Kittle has seen a target inside the 10-yard line in three straight games after not seeing one since Week 4 of 2020 … The 49ers had a 13+ minute drive that was the longest in the NFL since 2000 … Trevor Lawrence continues to struggle, but he showed some improvement Sunday … Nick Bosa is underrated.
San Francisco had 225/1 Super Bowl odds some places just 10 days ago.
Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills
Facing a Bills defense allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season, Jonathan Taylor erupted for five touchdowns in a historic 50+ point fantasy performance. While Buffalo had benefitted from an easy schedule, their run D also entered ranked third in DVOA, and Taylor flat-out dominated them on the road (14 rushes for first downs!). Indianapolis is actually built better for that type of weather … Josh Allen has gotten 6.0 YPA or fewer in three of his past four games and is having a weird season — but much bigger fantasy games are ahead …
Dawson Knox led Buffalo with 10 targets but had three drops, while Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders all somehow failed to reach even 30 receiving yards against a run-funnel Colts defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers … Game script hurt Michael Pittman (just 20 Carson Wentz pass attempts) more than the matchup with Tre’Davious White, while Matt Breida’s emergence makes Devin Singletary and Zack Moss unusable even as flex options.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
I was worried about starting Elijah Moore given he split snaps with Keelan Cole last week, but he finished as the WR3 in PPR in Week 11. Moore is going to be an early-round fantasy pick sooner than you think ... Tua Tagovailoa played extremely well (12.4 CPOE), while the inviting Jets defense allowed another top-10 RB (Myles Gaskin) despite Miami’s horrible blocking ... Joe Flacco appears to be the Jets' best quarterback.
Washington Football Team @ Carolina Panthers
Taylor Heinicke was shockingly good in a tough road matchup, finishing as the QB6 this week against a Carolina defense allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks … Cam Newton was the QB4 during his first start of the season, as he also played well Sunday. Christian McCaffrey led the team with eight targets, but Newton matched him in rush attempts (10). Ultimately, it’s a positive for CMC’s fantasy value if Newton is a big improvement for Carolina’s offense. DJ Moore scored for the first time since Week 4.
Baltimore Ravens @ Chicago Bears
Lamar Jackson not playing really hurt those who bet the over in this game, as it resulted in both offenses shelling up. Rashod Bateman looked primed for a big game before the QB change … Darnell Mooney led the NFL with 16 targets this week after quietly entering ranked top-20 in WOPR this season. He can be considered a top-25 fantasy receiver moving forward if Allen Robinson continues to miss time (regardless of Chicago’s QB) ... Justin Fields had struggled mightily against the blitz this season and was facing one of the most blitz-heavy defenses in football, so Baltimore bettors may not have loved Andy Dalton replacing the injured rookie … I expected a much bigger game from Cole Kmet.
New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Saints were missing Alvin Kamara and both starting tackles on offense, but at least Adam Trautman came through against an Eagles defense allowing the most fantasy points to tight ends … Tre’Quan Smith continues to emerge as New Orleans’ WR1 … Miles Sanders had the highest fumble% in college football during his final year at Penn State and had four fumbles over 12 games last season, but at least Sunday’s was his first in 2021 … Jalen Hurts was fantasy’s QB3 this week while failing to throw for 150 yards or a touchdown. The QB ran for three scores against DVOA’s No. 1 ranked rush defense ... Cornerback Darius Slay scored his third touchdown over the last four weeks during Philadelphia’s first home win of the season Sunday.
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
Houston got 2.2 YPC, and Tyrod Taylor threw for 107 yards, yet the double-digit underdog Texans won 22-13 on the road against a Titans team entering with a six-game winning streak. Tennessee is now 7-0 against playoff teams from last season but has lost as big favorites to the Jets and Texans. Houston scored its first road touchdown since Week 2 … An unexpected game script contributed to Brandin Cooks’ disappointing outing that somehow included Rex Burkhead getting 18 carries and Tennessee’s third back Dontrell Hilliard finishing as a top-12 RB in PPR … It sure would be nice if A.J. Brown could ever get through four quarters without visiting the medical tent.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
What a game. Aaron Rodgers was fantasy’s QB2 this week as of this writing despite playing through an injury he claims is worse than turf toe, shredding (11.7 YPA) a Vikings secondary that got Harrison Smith and Patrick Peterson back Sunday … AJ Dillon didn’t blow up with no Aaron Jones but encouragingly secured all six targets, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling had a monster game just when I had finally given up on him … Kirk Cousins impressed against a Green Bay defense that had held Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson to just 5.5 YPA with a combined one touchdown and four picks over the last three weeks … Davante Adams and Justin Jefferson turned 18 targets into 15 catches, 284 yards and four touchdowns while facing two of the league’s best secondaries. It was a receiving clinic … The Packers lost just their second game against the spread this season, while the Vikings remain the NFL’s only team to have led every game by 7+ points (and narrowly avoided falling to 1-3 in games led by 13+ points).
Cincinnati Bengals @ Las Vegas Raiders
Joe Burrow and the Bengals passing attack was completely held in check, but a big game from Joe Mixon and a strong defensive effort led to an easy Cincinnati win against a sliding Raiders team that badly misses Henry Ruggs … Darren Waller was the TE3 this week despite losing yet another touchdown to the “Island of Foster Moreau.” Las Vegas has lost three straight and now must travel to play on Thanksgiving against a fired-up Dallas team. All six teams playing on Thanksgiving lost Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
Colt McCoy (9.8 CPOE) badly outplayed Russell Wilson (-1.6 CPOE), as Arizona once again proved it can win without Kyler Murray (or DeAndre Hopkins) even on the road against a Seattle team with its season on the line. Wilson’s numbers would’ve looked even worse had a 48-yard Tyler Lockett catch been properly ruled incomplete, and it’s unclear just how much his finger injury is to blame Sunday (last week it was big factor). There’s a real chance this is the beginning of the end of the Wilson era in Seattle (this marked the first time he’s ever lost three straight home games throughout his 10-year career) … Rondale Moore acted as an extension of Arizona’s running game, as he secured all 11 of his targets thanks to combined negative-11 air yards! ... Zach Ertz finished as the No. 1 fantasy tight end this week by a mile.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers outlasted the Steelers in an instant Sunday night classic thanks to a late, long Mike Williams touchdown in a highly entertaining game that featured a wild fourth quarter totaling 41 points. Ben Roethlisberger and Justin Herbert each tossed three TDs, while the latter also added 90 rushing yards while finishing as fantasy’s QB1 this week ... Austin Ekeler scored four touchdowns, while Najee Harris thankfully returned after leaving with a concussion scare … Keenan Allen and Diontae Johnson continue to remain as solid as it gets in PPR leagues, with both racking up 13 targets Sunday night.