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Usage Notes: Week 11

By Kevin Scott | 11/24/20 |

For most fantasy football leagues, we are in the homestretch of the regular season, making these weeks the most important to get correct. So as I dive into some usage statistics from Week 11 for running back, wide receiver, and tight end, my focus will be on helping you choose the best players to start in these crucial weeks.

Nick Chubb

Running Back

  • Kenyan Drake (ankle) got most of the work on Thursday night in the Arizona backfield, but he actually played 3 fewer snaps than Chase Edmonds. Drake finished with 15 touches to Edmondís 6, but Edmonds remains a high upside flex option since heís the preferred pass-down back and is getting plenty of snaps.

  • Carlos Hyde had a nice game in Week 11, going 14-79-1 on 70% of snaps. But donít overreact, as Chris Carson should be back in the lineup soon. Hyde remains a low-upside handcuff.

  • It looks like the Ravens might have changed course and decided to give J.K. Dobbins a shot at leading the backfield. However, be cautious as it looked this way a couple weeks ago and then they changed course. I donít think this coaching staff knows what it wants to do, honestly. As for Week 11, Dobbins played on 41 snaps (the other 3 backs played on 26 snaps combined). He received 17 touches and produced 85 yards and a score. Dobbins and Mark Ingram have hit the COVID-19 list so Gus Edwards should receive a lot of action in Week 12.

  • Miles Sanders played on 60% of snaps and Boston Scott played on 40%. That split doesnít reflect their talent levels, so I donít understand what this Eagles team is doing right now. Sanders did receive 19 touches to Scottís 8, but the constant swapping does keep him from getting into a groove. I will hesitate to play Sanders if I have a comparable option due to how awful this team looks right now.

  • Nick Chubb played 6 fewer snaps than Kareem Hunt. Chubb was far more effective on the ground, going 20-114 while Hunt went 13-11-1. Chubb is the superior runner, but when they are splitting snaps fairly evenly it is tough to trust either one in these important matchups. Still, you likely donít have a better option.

  • After a hot start, Damien Harris rode the bench for long stretches of Sundayís loss to the Texans. He ended up playing on 36% of snaps, finishing 11-43-1 on the ground. Since the Patriots trailed most of the game, itís reasonable to assume James White played more snaps this week, but I honestly have no idea when it comes to Belichick. Harris is their top back, but playing him or White is a true gamble.

  • Duke Johnson played on 75% of snaps for the Texans but went only 10-15 on the ground and 3-20 through the air. No running back in this offense can be trusted, so avoid them all down the stretch.

  • James Conner played on 69% of snaps and received 16 touches. He produced nicely against the poor Jaguars defense, finishing with 99 total yards. However, he failed to score, instead watching Benny Snell gobble up the goal line touchdown. I am extremely hesitant to start Conner the rest of the way. Look for better options if possible.

  • Todd Gurley played on only 37% of snaps, while Brian Hill played on 42%. I think Gurley is being phased out, as he has looked slow and has been ineffective overall. I would bench him if you can.

  • What to do with Alvin Kamara? He has been one of the top options for the whole season, but it is clear that he will take a huge step back with Taysom Hill under center. He received only 13 touches in Week 11, and got only 1 target he did not catch. Meanwhile, Hill ran in two scores and finished with a much bigger rushing game than Kamara or Murray. You likely have to start Kamara but lower your expectations.

  • Antonio Gibson played one more snap than J.D. McKissic. Gibson received 17 touches to McKissicís 9, and outplayed him as well. Gibson is coming on strong, but McKissic will stay involved on passing downs. I have been playing Gibson in many leagues and will continue to do so in good matchups. He is figuring out the pro game even though he is losing half the snaps to McKissic.

  • Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams played exactly 50% of the snaps on Sunday. Jones went 10-41-1 on the ground while Williams went 5-12, and Jones went 4-30 through the air while Williams went 1-4, though Williamsí 1 catch was for a touchdown. This split is one of the most maddening situations in fantasy and it doesnít appear it will change any time soon. Jones still must be started, but his upside is extremely capped.

  • In a total switch from Week 10, we saw Jonathan Taylor play the most snaps of the three Indianapolis running backs. He played on 56%, while Nyheim Hines was at 33% and Jordan Wilkins was at 11%. Taylor had a nice game (22-90, 4-24), but keep in mind this might change completely next week, and this was against the poor Packers defense. I will continue to avoid starting Taylor unless I have no other comparable choice (or until Reich commits to him).

  • Ezekiel Elliott played well in Week 11, a relief to his owners. He went 21-103 and also caught a touchdown pass, on 70% of snaps. Continue to play him weekly.

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire is following a similar path to what Damien Williams did last season. He has been used minimally at times this season, and it appeared LeíVeon Bell was going to take touches away. But CEH continues to be a stud for the Chiefs when he gets opportunities, and played on just over half the snaps on Sunday. He rushed 14 times for 69 yards and two scores. Bell and Darrel Williams are still involved, but it looks like it is going to be primarily the CEH show down the stretch. Start him weekly.

  • The Rams continue to use their backs in a three-way split, and barely ran it on Monday night. Avoid all Rams backs until one starts getting 50-60% of the snaps.

  • Bruce Arians continued his flip-flopping on Monday night, ping-ponging between Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, keeping both from getting into a rhythm. Even though we have seen some big games from Jones, I do not recommend playing him in these important matchups simply because he might receive 5 touches the week after he received 25.

Wide Receiver

  • Larry Fitzgerald surprisingly received a season-high 10 targets on Thursday night, going 8-62. He has yet to score in 2020, so his ceiling is extremely low, even in PPR leagues. Iíd avoid him the rest of the way.

  • Corey Davis continued his surge on Sunday. Even though nice games will be mixed in with total duds due to the nature of this run-heavy offense, Davis has been playing well and generally has been getting opportunities. He played on 74% of snaps and got 7 targets, going 5-113. Especially in matchups where the Titans might fall behind, Davis is a decent play.

  • Marquise Brown cannot be started the rest of the way. Lamar Jackson is not playing well and defenses have figured out how to limit his big plays. Brown is playing plenty of snaps but again did not record a catch. He can be dropped if you need the roster spot.

  • For the second week in a row, D.J. Moore led the team in targets. This time he received a whopping 11 with P.J. Walker under center. He went 7-127 and also rushed once for 21 yards. It looks like this new coaching staff is finally figuring out how to use Moore, and realizing how good he is. I think he will be a great weekly start over the course of the final 5 weeks.

  • Travis Fulgham has cooled off, but itís more because of the ineptitude of Wentz and the offense, and not because heís not getting snaps and opportunities. He played on 96% of snaps and received 7 targets, but he only caught 1 for 8 yards. I am avoiding all Eagles until they show me something on offense.

  • Jakobi Meyers was clearly the focus of the defense on Sunday, as he played on 99% of snaps but only received 3 targets, going 3-38. Byrd and Harry, the outside receivers, had 7 and 8 targets, respectively. I am willing to go on starting Meyers as I think he will continue to be heavily involved, but in this offense nothing is a sure thing.

  • Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks both played over 90% of the snaps and continue to be heavily involved weekly (6-80 and 4-85 on Sunday). This offense has not been great, but both are solid plays the rest of the way.

  • Diontae Johnson had twice the targets of the next closest Steelers receiver (Claypool). Johnson finished with 16 targets, catching 12 for 111 yards. He is showing why many, including me, said he would be the top Steelers receiver this season. He is an excellent route runner and gets open often. I would start him every week the rest of the way, as he seems to be past the injuries that slowed him down at the beginning of the season.

  • Julio Jones injured his hamstring in Week 11 and played on only 35% of snaps as a result. He only caught 2 passes for 39 yards. Meanwhile, Calvin Ridley received 9 targets and Russell Gage received 12. Ridley becomes a high-upside play the rest of the way, while Julio should be avoided until he shows he is 100%. Hamstring injuries linger, and he already dealt with a hamstring strain earlier this season. This is shaping up to be a lost season for Julio.

  • Michael Thomas finally had a Michael Thomas game, receiving 12 targets and catching 9 for 104 yards. That is very encouraging for his owners, as he was able to do that with Taysom Hill under center (Hill only completed 18 total passes). However, Hill is definitely going to run it more and this will lower the ceiling for all Saints pass catchers.

  • All Bengals receivers take a gigantic step back with Joe Burrow done for the season. Ryan Finley played terribly after Burrow exited, and I anticipate that will continue. I will not be playing Tyler Boyd, A.J. Green, or Tee Higgins from here on out until I become convinced the offense can continue to function well with Finley or some other quarterback. Itís a huge loss for many teams bound for the playoffs.

  • For those desperate for help at wide receiver, Tim Patrick is a player likely on your wire who could be useful down the stretch. He played on 83% of snaps and tied for the team-high in targets (8). He caught 5 for 119 yards. Lock has been very streaky, but if you get him on a good day Patrick could provide nice upside.

  • Denzel Mims couldnít get much going (3-71), but he did receive 8 targets on Sunday and played on 90% of snaps. He is another player who could be useful down the stretch, so consider picking him up if youíre desperate at wide receiver.

  • Keenan Allen will likely end up as one of the top 5 receivers in fantasy this season, and he was generally avoided due to how poor his outlook would have been with Tyrod Taylor under center. That flip is one of the biggest developments of the fantasy season, since no one thought Herbert would be so good immediately. Allen received 19 targets on Sunday, going 16-145-1, a matchup-winning performance for many owners. Start him every week, everywhere, from here on out.

  • In his return, Allen Lazard played on 60% of snaps, but he played behind Valdes-Scantling. He also only received 4 targets and went 2-18, while MVS received 6 and went 3-55. I would avoid both until one takes over that No.2 role behind Adams.

  • The Chiefs missed Sammy Watkins on Sunday, as Demarcus Robinson made several big mistakes. If Watkins returns soon, keep an eye on how he performs. He could return to a prominent role quickly if he is healthy.

  • The Rams decided to go pass-heavy with their game plan on Monday night, probably to surprise the Bucs, and it worked. Goff threw it 51 times, peppering Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods with targets (13 and 15, respectively). Both had huge nights as a result, and both are good weekly starts, even if the extra-heavy passing was just a one-week event.

  • Antonio Brown continues to see his role grow, as he received 13 targets on Monday night (finished 8-57). Most of his catches have low aDOT, but he did receive a deep target on Monday night that almost hit. It continues to look like he will stay heavily involved in the offense, making him a good weekly flex play and also hurting the upside of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Tight Ends

  • Greg Olsen suffered a serious foot injury in Week 11, opening up the door for Will Dissly or Jacob Hollister to make an impact down the stretch. If you are in need of a tight end, Iíd recommend picking up Dissly first, as heís been playing more snaps. But, both could make a decent contribution through the fantasy playoffs.

  • T.J. Hockenson has cemented himself as one of the top tight end plays in the league. He has stayed involved in the offense virtually every week, and has played around 70% of the snaps over the whole season. On Sunday he played on 66% and received a team-high 7 targets, going 4-68. Thatís not amazing and the Lions didnít even score, but in this tight end landscape he is a great weekly start.

  • Dallas Goedert finally did something on offense, going 5-77-1 on 6 targets. He played on 100% of the Eagles snaps. However, much of his production came in desperation mode at the end of the game. The Eagles have been terrible and Zach Ertz should return soon, so be cautious when it comes to starting Goedert in these final weeks.

  • Eric Ebron played on 93% of snaps on Sunday, and received 7 targets (more than Juju Smith-Schuster). He went 4-36-1, making him one of the top tight end plays in the league. He appears to be fully integrated into this offense and is a very good start every week.

  • Even with Julio out for most of the game, Hayden Hurst still did not record a single catch. He only got 2 targets on his 87% of snaps. This was a backbreaker for many teams in their playoff push and just shows again how awful this position has been. I will keep playing him where he is clearly my best option, but I wonít be happy about it.

  • Logan Thomas was a huge disappointment in Week 11, going only 2-5 on 6 targets against the Bengalsí poor defense. Still, he was on the field for 90% of snaps and will be involved most weeks. I might take a step back for a week to see if he is able to recover, before playing him in such an important week.

  • Noah Fant remains one of the top options at tight end the rest of the way, as long as Drew Lock is playing. He played on 75% of snaps and went 4-55 on 5 targets against a good Miami defense.

  • Chris Herndon showed a sign of life on Sunday, catching a touchdown and going 2-32. Donít pick him up unless desperate, but this is one to keep an eye on, just in case.

  • Hunter Henry and Justin Herbert are starting to click, making Henry a top-3 tight end every week the rest of the way. He scored for the second straight week, going 4-48-1 on 7 targets.

  • Robert Tonyan returned to relevance in Week 11, playing on 73% of snaps and going 5-44-1. He is tough to trust in this unusual offense, but it is likely he is the best possible option for many owners. Hope for the best and roll him out there.

  • Dalton Schultz is playing well and continues to be involved. He received 6 targets on Sunday, going 4-25-1. I will start him on teams where I have no other legitimate tight end.

  • Darren Waller is the second-best tight end in fantasy after Kelce. Waller plays almost every snap, and on Sunday night caught all 7 targets for 88 yards and a score. Start him with confidence.

  • Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett continue to both play a majority of snaps. Higbee played on 72% of snaps and Everett on 57%. Higbee had 4 targets and Everett had 5, and they finished with similar lines. As long as both are receiving playing time, neither is a good start Ė and that looks like it will remain the case for the rest of the season, barring injury. Avoid them if you can, and if they are your best option, consider adding Kittle if heís on your wire in the hopes that he returns more quickly than the doctors thought.

Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who is the co-host for The Lowdown Fantasy Football Podcast. He plays in over 40 leagues annually and has made over $100,000 playing fantasy football. You can follow him @kevinscottff.