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Week 11 - Puff, Puff, Pass

Chase “Mapletron” Claypool proudly wears the number 11 and that happens to be the week we are on. The correlation is nothing more than love for my fellow Canadian (same province even!). British Columbia has adorned several major leagues with stars, hell, even my home of Vancouver Island gave the NBA Steve Nash and the NHL Jamie Benn and Rod Brind’Amour. Let’s get back to fantasy football though… Yes folks, it is Puff, Puff, Pass for Week 11 and the feistiness starts right from the get go with my QB selections, so, without further ado…


Justin Herbert (L.A. Chargers) *WEEKLY WINNER*

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass has been lighting up the NFL as a rookie and rewarding fantasy managers who took a shot on this kid. Not only is he the QB8 right now, he’s done it in less games than anyone around him, until you get down to Cam Newton at QB19. He’s basically tied with Deshaun Watson. This week he faces the New York Jets, who are not only allowing the 5th most fantasy points to QBs, but have allowed the 2nd most rushing TDs to opposing QBs. Herbert is top 10 across the board as a rushing QB, including carries, red zone carries, rushing yards and rushing TDs. I fully expect Herbert to have himself a day against the Jets to the tune of three passing TDs and one rushing TD.

Verdict - PUFF

Jameis Winston (New Orleans Saints)

Don’t get it twisted, Jameis Winston is the Saints true backup QB who will be filling in for Drew Brees while he is out the next few weeks with Old Man Syndrome. The Atlanta Falcons, who Winston faces this week, are surrendering the most fantasy points to QBs per game, something I’m sure everyone is aware of by this point. Winston has two of the top skill position players around him in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. We saw last year what Famous Jameis could do in fantasy for Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, and if this Lasik surgery he had improves his game in literally any way, we’re looking at the unsung QB hero of 2020. At least for 2-3 weeks. If I have him, I’m starting him and eating them W’s.

Verdict - PUFF

Taysom Hill (New Orleans Saints)

10 is sometimes considered a great number. Bo Derek, out of 10… the list goes on. Taysom Hill has completed 10 NFL passes. I could quite literally stop the paragraph there. “QBs have to start somewhere, who cares if it’s only 10 completions?” might be acceptable if he wasn’t 31 years old. He has been called upon 13 different games to do “QB plays” and he has 10 completions on 18 throws. I get Boom or Bust plays, but to me, this feels like a Bust or Bust. At this point in the season, can you take that level of risk? You want a deeper dive into larger sample size relevance; let’s look at the 2019 preseason. Hill went 40 for 59 which was 4th in completion percentage (67.8, tied with Jarrett Stidham), 13th in passing yards (443, tied with Kyle Sloter) with 3 TDs and 1 INT. This guy was given opportunity against preseason defenses and couldn’t cut it. He couldn’t surpass Teddy last year. When Brees went down last week, it was Jameis the Saints turned to. I don’t know what more I can say than Fadesom Hill.

Verdict - PASS

Running Backs

La’Mical Perine (New York Jets)

Is this the first time a Jet has made it into the Puff choices? 2020 y’all. A 4th-round talent honed by my Florida Gators, Perine was finally named New York’s starting RB for the remainder of the season. His last year at Florida is where La’Mical really blossomed as a pass-catching back, with an 11.8% target share, he put up 40 receptions for 262 yards, giving him 6.55 yards per reception, which is roughly the receiving yards per game pace Dalvin Cook is putting up this season. Granted, the SEC is not the NFL, but opportunity is king and there’s not much else to celebrate in New York. Maybe Perine can cement his role this week with a performance against the mid-pack against RBs Chargers defense.

Verdict - PUFF

Kerryon Johnson (Detroit Lions)

Fitting you are playing for Detroit Kerryon, cause this is your 8 Mile moment. Your one shot. Swift is out this week with a concussion and Kerryon, hopeful RB of 2019 that never quite materialized, is stepping into D’Andre’s role. Carolina, who Detroit play this week, are giving up the 4th most points to RBs, so this confluence of events should be all the opportunity you can ask for. If Kerryon Johnson is to ever be a thing, this is the week it happens.

Verdict - PUFF

Phillip Lindsay (Denver Broncos)

When Melvin Gordon was brought in to lead the Broncos backfield in the offseason, it didn’t bode well for Lindsay, an undrafted free agent that had better than average seasons in a split backfield with Royce Freeman. Gordon eats up the backfield targets, leaving Lindsay with only two receptions so far on the season. In fact, Lindsay has only had higher than a 45% snap share once, back in Week 6, when Melvin Gordon wasn’t playing. They also face Miami this week, whose defense has been rapidly improving each week, sitting mid-pack in points allowed to the RB position. I’m not even considering Lindsay this season unless Gordon is inactive. Hard pass.

Verdict - PASS

Click here to head on over to listen to the Jet Sweep Show podcast with @itsharristime and @TNFF_Smokey.

Wide Receivers

Robert Woods (L.A. Rams)

The Jet Sweep is not only the play that inspired the name of a podcast I co-host, it’s a fun misdirection play that is utilized by Sean McVay more so than any other coach in the NFL. The Rams are facing the Buccaneers this week, who have a great run defense, but allow the 12 most rushing yards to opposing WRs. Bobby Trees already has two rushing TDs on the year and I can see him making it three this week. McVay is going to want to show he can outcoach Bruce Arians, so look to him to utilize Woods out of the backfield. So far, he has rushed 17 times (at least once per game) for 111 yards (6.52 yards per carry, just behind Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray’s rates). Yes, he is my WR start, but it’s for his multi-faceted abilities that can get you fantasy points.

Verdict – PUFF

Michael Pittman Jr. (Indianapolis Colts)

I actually had Pittman penciled in for this spot last week, then realized I would not be done before the Thursday night game, so I switched him out (would have been a great call!). This call is actually going to double as a buy target right now, as some leagues have a trade deadline of this week, and I love Pittman’s schedule for ROS. Aside from the game against the Steelers, he has some great matchups down the stretch and into fantasy playoffs. In the last two weeks, Pittman has caught 11 passes for 157 yards and added 21 rushing yards as well. His snap count is starting to eat into Zach Pascal’s and with top coverage likely on Zach and T.Y. Hilton, Pittman should have room to work. Start with confidence this week and the rest of the way.

Verdict – PUFF

Alshon Jeffery (Philadelphia Eagles)

Are we really trying to run this one back? Every snap he is out there for, every target that he is not catching is one being taken away from more deserving receivers in Travis Fulgham, Jalen Reagor and Greg Ward. Hell, include Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz in there too. There is no reason that the Eagles should be trying to force Alshon to be a thing, stop trying to make fetch happen. The time has passed. If you really want to wax nostalgic with Eagles receivers of yore, go pick up Nelson Agholor, who is having a sneaky underrated season. Don’t play Alshon, unless you’re committing to the tank, but even that is too obvious.

Verdict – PASS

Tight Ends

Logan Thomas (Washington Football Team)

Thomas matches up against the Cincinnati Bengals this week, who happen to be allowing the 2nd most fantasy points per game to the TE position. Thomas is quietly the TE16 on the year, ahead of names such as Mike Gesicki, Gerald Everett, Greg Olsen and Austin Hooper. The Bengals have allowed the 3rd most TDs to TEs so far and Thomas has punched it in twice in the last four games, which I expect him to do again this Sunday morning. He has also taken 278 snaps out of the slot this year, which ranks 1st amongst TEs in addition to the 2nd most deep targets to TEs. Alex Smith is putting up yards and Thomas should get some good scraps after Terry McLaurin feasts.

Verdict - PUFF

Eric Ebron (Pittsburgh Steelers)

An underrated acquisition this offseason, Ebron is currently sitting at TE15. In three of his last four games, he has posted at least 11 fantasy points, which is a nice safe floor to have at the TE position where so many can be TD dependant for fantasy relevance. He faces Jacksonville this week, who are allowing the 4th most points per game to the TE position and with so many weapons on offense, the Jaguars defense should be fairly exposed to some red zone targets for Ebron, who ranks tied for 26th in the league with 10, alongside names such as D.K. Metcalf, Robert Woods and Julio Jones. If you need a safe floor this week, Ebron is your guy.

Verdict - PUFF

Robert Tonyan (Green Bay Packers)

Tonyan has made this article more than a few times, but it was usually on the Puff side of things, unlike this week when I am definitely passing on him. Tonyan is currently the TE9, thanks mostly to a 3TD performance in Week 4, outside of which he has only scored twice in 7 games. Rodgers does trust him, but the Colts are allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing TEs. With better options like Davante Adams and Aaron Jones ready to go, I don’t see Tonyan putting up much of a start-worth performance this Sunday. Hard pass.

Verdict - PASS

Thank you for reading my "Puff, Puff, Pass" article for week 11. Do you agree or disagree with any of my starts and sits? Please leave a comment or let me know @TNFF_Smokey

Editor: Joe Simonetti (@joesimonetti77)

Graphic work: Dan Made Graphics (@DanMadeGraphics)