The New Orleans Saints’ offense was the story of this week. In a season of juiced up score boards, they are an even bigger exception to the standard over the past three weeks. Having pieces of this offense may be essential to a fantasy football playoff run if you don’t have Todd Gurley or Kareem Hunt. At this point, your trade deadline is probably a thing of the past, but you can most likely add Tre’quan Smith. Tre’quan is 13% owned in ESPN Leagues and 26% owned in Yahoo leagues.
Tre’quan Smith’s performance in Sunday was significant for his fantasy football stature going forward. He was the perfect mid-season stash in deeper leagues. After not seeing any targets in week 10, Drew Brees more than made up for it in week 11, with 13 targets going Smith’s direction. It’s not just the 13 targets, or the 10 catches, or the yardage that tell the complete story. It was the confidence that Tre’quan showed in bringing each catch in. He showed the ability to make those difficult catches in traffic over the middle. That is exactly what a quarterback like Drew Brees and a head coach like Sean Payton want to see opposite of Michael Thomas.
There is a bump in the road and his name is Brandon Marshall. At this point, I view Marshall as more of a speed bump than a mountain when it comes to Tre’quan Smith’s production for the rest of the season. At this point in his career, Marshall should be viewed as no more than the 3rd option in the red zone. Yes, Brandon Marshall is a legendary name, but the tank has seems to be on ‘E’ the last couple of seasons. Injuries hampered him in his stay in New York and he wasn’t able to cut in Seattle against names like David Moore.
The playoff schedule for New Orleans is excellent for the passing game. In weeks 14-16 the order of opponents is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Saints are on the road for the first two, but, cold weather shouldn’t be a factor in Tampa and it is hardly ever completely miserable in North Carolina. The Pittsburgh Steelers match up is a home game. It’s time to pick up Tre’quan Smith and study the consistency of targets over the next couple of weeks. I realize not all of you will be in the position to do so because he will likely be the top waiver priority this week. But, if you are in the position to do so or you stashed him, congratulation, you may have a difference maker on your roster.
I have written in the past about the importance of adding pieces from the Carolina Panthers offense as well. Hopefully you did so. If you haven’t, LISTEN TO ME NOW! D.J. Moore is 30% owned in ESPN leagues and 39% owned in Yahoo leagues. Moore caught 7 of his 8 targets for 157 yards and an awesome touchdown catch. Devin Funchess hasn’t gained more than 50 receiving yards in each of the past 4 games. Greg Olsen is hardly more than a goal line target, most likely because of his ailing foot. D.J. Moore could be in line for a consistency breakthrough as Carolina makes a push for the NFL playoffs.
Curtis Samuel is the sneaky add in fantasy leagues if neither Tre’quan Smith or D.J. Moore are attainable. Samuel is an interesting fantasy player. He is a RB/WR hybrid as most of you know. Being the hybrid type has been beneficial for him and he now has 5 touchdowns on the season between rushing and catches. The touchdown catch that he made in the 4th quarter on Sunday showed the improvements that he is making after an injury riddled rookie season. Samuel was 3rd on the Panthers in targets yesterday behind Moore and Funchess. Curtis Samuel is 3% owned in ESPN leagues and 2% owned in Yahoo leagues. The Panther’s fantasy playoff schedule is the Browns, Saints, and the Falcons.
Alex Collins has been ineffective this season and his fantasy value has almost exclusively been touchdown dependent. The Ravens finish the season with a very running back-friendly schedule. and they may have found the running back that can take advantage of these match upcoming match ups in Gus Edwards. Admittedly, I did not get a chance to see a ton of his carries but a 17-7 split in carries in Edward’s favor does not bode well for fantasy owners that depend on Alex Collins. I did get a chance to see a few of Edward’s carries from Sunday and he looks like he brings an element of explosiveness that Collins hasn’t brought to the table so far this season. At this point, adding the undrafted rookie out of Rutgers will be beneficial for any owner who is in the hunt for the playoffs. He’s not just for people with stock in Alex Collins.
Josh Reynolds is the final game changer that is possibly sitting on your waiver wire. He might actually be worth dropping one of your stashes that is on a bye right now before you have to use a claim on him. Tonight could be a very big night for him. The last game that he played the Cooper Kupp role, he caught 3 passes and two of them were touchdowns. The Ram’s offense is more than capable of harboring three wide receivers that are useful for fantasy football.
Week 11 Tidbits
- Nobody needs A.J. Green back in the lineup more than Tyler Boyd. For two straight weeks, Boyd has been kept out of the end zone and held in check from a yardage stand point.
- The Bengals added some help to the offensive line in the off season through free agency and the draft. So apparently, Joe Mixon has a Joe Mixon problem.
- Willie Snead is looking like the go-to target for Baltimore quarterbacks. I tried to tell y’all this past off season that Michael Crabtree ain’t shit. Snead is the receiver pulling in 5-7 catches per week for most of the season. In fact, since the beginning of October, Snead only has 1 game with less than 5 catches. Snead is 21% owned. You could do worse than counting on 10 points per week in your WR3 or flex spot every week in PPR.
- Saquon Barkley is not going to have easy routes to the end zone every week like he did against Tampa on Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great performance that surely led to a lot of victories for Barkley owners, but only 6 catches over the past two weeks from Barkley is a bit of a red flag for his weekly ceiling going forward. The best part of owning Saquon Barkley over the first 8 or 9 games of the season was that he was going to give you a ton of points in the passing game. I noticed in the San Francisco game that teams are starting to figure out how to lessen his apocalyptic effectiveness in catching balls out of the backfield. I could be wrong, but as someone with a lot of shares, I tend to pay pretty close attention to what is going on with him.
- I’m not going anywhere near Tampa Bay quarterbacks going forward this season until there is a coaching change which is doubtful to happen. Preparation for the starting quarterback is apparently not a thing for this team. Neither Ryan Fitzpatrick nor Jameis Winston knows how to read a defense. That is a fact.
- In the end, Peyton Barber is living up to my expectations for the season. It’s just too bad that I gave up on him. Lesson learned, I suppose.
- DeShaun Watson only threw the ball 24 times on Sunday. My patience is running thin with Bill O’Brien.
- If you can still add Keke Coutee, you might want to do that. He led the Texans in targets and that includes DeAndre Hopkins. Of course, DeAndre Hopkins was lined up against one of the best corners in the league.
- The T.Y. Hilton game finally happened! Andrew Luck is having a fantastic return from shoulder surgery and Hilton was the main beneficiary on Sunday. Owning Hilton is a roller coaster, but he needs to be in your lineup for games like these.
- I thought that this week would be a monster week for Corey Davis. There was finally a soft CB match up for him. It might have been different if Mariota was able to finish, but that wasn’t the case.
- Denver D/ST continues to pass the test for me as my favorite team to use in that slot for the fantasy playoffs. Not a huge point total this week against a high end defense but they recorded 3 sacks and two interceptions.
- David Johnson’s 57-yard touchdown run being called back on a holding penalty is the definition of being a David Johnson owner this season.
- Leonard Fournette continued to pay off for the patient folks that held onto him. His production was helped by the passing game once again.
- One simply does not stop Antonio Brown.
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