There's just no logical place in a fantasy column like this to include J.J. Watt, so I'm putting him in the lead just to have it somewhere. You'll read about him several places the next few days (as you always can), but I'm saying it, too.
Watt scored Sunday, on this play:
He now has four touchdowns this season, two on offense. Andre Johnson, his Hall of Fame-caliber teammate, has one. And that score came on a play that would have been impressive from a receiver, let alone a defensive end. This production doesn't even make sense, and if not for a particular New England Patriot running back, Watt would warrant a simple "Best of the Week" trophy, fantasy or not.
Anyway, I just wanted to stand in awe for a moment.
This is the breakdown of the best fantasy performances of the week. Enjoy:
Best quarterbacks in Week 11
Aaron Rodgers, GB (341 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 32 rushing yards, 28 fantasy points)
Just like Ben Roethlisberger wasn't going to continue being as insanely hot as he was in Weeks 8 and 9, Rodgers isn't going to continue being as hot as he's been the last two weeks, in which he's put up 64 fantasy points in dominant wins over Chicago and Philadelphia. But whereas Roethlisberger's established baseline before his explosive streak was mid-teens performance, Rodgers' baseline appears to be in the mid-20s. From Week 4 on, Rodgers has been the best quarterback in fantasy, and he's a full 15 points clear of second place.
Next game: The Packers travel to Minnesota for Week 12. Rodgers on the road gets a slight downgrade, I suppose, but still, he's the No. 2 fantasy quarterback, and you could easily argue him No. 1.
Jay Cutler, CHI (330 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 21 rushing yards, 23 fantasy points)
Coming on the heels of Week 10's eight-fantasy-point disaster, Cutler and the Bears rebounded to look good Sunday, with all the big names (save Martellus Bennett) putting up big numbers. Just for fun, this is Cutler's fantasy results of his last five games, starting with the oldest: 22-7-21-8-23. That's basically who Cutler is, and who we all expected him to be: Good, really talented, but unpredictable as all get-out. If you have him, he'll help you a lot some weeks and make you want to pull your hair out in others, and I have no idea how to tell you which will be which.
Next game: The Bears host the Buccaneers. That certainly looks like a good-Cutler game, but I'll be darned if I can say for sure.
Russell Wilson, SEA (178 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 71 rushing yards, 22 fantasy points)
Only 10 running backs have rushed for more yards than Wilson's 571 so far this season. He has had 300-yard rushing games and four rushing touchdowns on the season. All of that covers for the fact that Wilson hasn't been that good a passer since the early part of the season, but if he can keep on running like he has been, there's not a fantasy owner in the world who will mind.
Best running backs in Week 11
Jonas Gray, NE (199 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns, 43 fantasy points)
That was incredible. A week ago, every time the Seahawks got in close, they simply handed the ball of to Marshawn Lynch and he finished the job. But that made sense; Lynch is a known superstar, and Seattle doesn't exactly have an explosive passing game. But Sunday, the Patriots did the same thing, and they did it with an unproven running back at the expense of using their previously dominant passing attack. Gray presented only theoretical value before Sunday, but now it's real, concrete and spectacular.
Next game: Obviously that won't happen again, and the Patriots host the stout run defense of Detroit next week, but Gray is now well and truly in the mix for fantasy, and he'll likely be ranked in the RB2/flex range next week.
Jamaal Charles, KC (159 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 19 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost, 26 fantasy points)
The Chiefs' wide receivers haven't done much of anything this season, and after tight end Travis Kelce fumbled in the first half Sunday, he didn't get many more looks. That left Charles to carry most of the load for Kansas City in Sunday's game. He had two touchdowns by midway through the second quarter en route to one of his biggest games of the season. Charles started the season slow, but has averaged almost 19 fantasy points a game since missing Week 3.
Next game: The Chiefs travel to Oakland for a short-week game Thursday night. Charles will be right up near the top of the running-back rankings.
Eddie Lacy, GB (69 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 45 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 22 fantasy points)
It was cute when we were all worried about Lacy after his slow start to the season. The second-year back had 10 fantasy points through three weeks, but has put up 108 fantasy points in seven games since. Only five running backs (Charles, Matt Forte, Arian Foster, DeMarco Murray, Marshawn Lynch) have scored more. Hope you bought low on him. Alternatively, hope you didn't sell.
Next game: At Minnesota next week, Lacy will be a top-five or top-six back.
Best wide receivers in Week 11
Mike Evans, TAM (209 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 32 fantasy points)
Several weeks ago, when I was desperate for a quarterback, I went to my buddy Nate, who had Russell Wilson and Tony Romo, and offered him Evans for Romo. He needed a receiver and didn't need Romo. He responded that he didn't even know who Mike Evans was. To this day, I don't believe him -- he's a big football fan, he pays attention, I think he just said it to mock the offer. But all I know is, after the last few weeks (74 fantasy points his last three games, 104 his last six), Nate couldn't get away with that argument anymore. Thanks for saying no, buddy.
Next game: At Chicago next week, it's obvious that Evans can't keep going quite at this ridiculous pace, but that's a friendly enough defense that he'll be a must-start anyway.
Brandon Marshall, CHI (90 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 21 fantasy points)
With no proof of this whatsoever, I will posit that Marshall has to have been the single most frustrating player to own in fantasy this season. In Week 2, Marshall was nursing a bum ankle, and many fantasy owners shied away from him. He responded with a three-touchdown, 22-point day on which many fantasy owners missed out. And then Sunday, Marshall came in nursing a bum ankle, to the point where many fantasy owners shied away from him, and he responded with a two-touchdown, 21-point day. That's five of Marshall's eight touchdowns this season that perhaps weren't capitalized upon.
Next game: Hosting Tampa Bay. Marshall looks fine. You're using him.
Alshon Jeffery, CHI (135 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 19 fantasy points)
I think this is the first time all season same-position teammates have both been listed in a weekly best. This is exactly what Bears fans were hoping for in the preseason out of Jeffery and Marshall, a combined 18 catches, 225 yards and three scores to carry the team to victory. I posed this question on Twitter, but if you could pick any pair of teammates, salary aside, and assuming health, who would it be?
- Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders
- Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb
- Julio Jones/Roddy White
It's a fun conversation, I know that much.
Next game: All three of the week's best receivers play in the same Tampa Bay-Chicago game next week. And you're using all three of them.
Best tight ends in Week 11
Coby Fleener, IND (144 receiving yards, 14 fantasy points)
Dwayne Allen was lost for the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury, and with Ahmad Bradshaw ineffective and T.Y. Hilton blanketed by Darrelle Revis, the Colts' options were limited. Fleener and Reggie Wayne capitalized, with Fleener putting up his second career 100-yard game and first with more than 110. That offense sure has a very "next man up" feel to it.
Next game: The Colts host Jacksonville in Week 12. We'll have to see what Allen's status is, but if he were to miss the game, Fleener would be a very attractive fantasy play.
Rob Gronkowski, NE (71 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 13 fantasy points)
Ten games this season, and Gronkowski has fewer than six fantasy points only once, and fewer than nine only twice. In the preseason, the primary thing keeping Gronkowski's draft stock relatively low was his injury concerns, but he appears to only be getting healthier this season. At this point, he's the safest bet at his or any position, and he'll be drafted much higher next year.
Next game: Hosting Detroit next week, and ... yeah, Gronkowski will be the No. 1 tight end in rankings.
Jermaine Gresham, CIN (13 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 13 fantasy points)
It's gotta be tough to have the same number of yards as fantasy points. I suppose it can only really happen as 2 yards (get a two-point conversion), 6 yards (one touchdown) and the low teens (a couple scores but little else). And I'm wondering about this because there's really no sense in discussing Jermaine Gresham. It's Jermaine Gresham. Even a blind pig finds an acorn sometimes.
Next game: The Bengals travel to Houston next week. Stay away. Stay far away.
Larry Donnell, NYG (54 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 11 fantasy points)
Weeks 1 to 4, Donnell had 44 fantasy points. Weeks 5 to 10, he had 15. So fantasy owners who were selling on the Giants tight end can be forgiven if Donnell wasn't in the lineup for Sunday, when he had his best game since that three-score ridiculousness in Week 4. Donnell's touchdown came midway through the first quarter Sunday, giving the Giants the lead they would later relinquish amid Eli Manning's five interceptions. But hey, they were ahead for a bit.
Next game: The Giants host the rested Cowboys next Sunday night. Considering the tight-end wasteland, Donnell will be started most everywhere.
Best kicker in Week 11
Greg Zuerlein, STL (5/5 FG, 1/1 XP, 20 fantasy points)
If you can, go back and read the pregame "fantasy prognosis" pieces ... just about anywhere. Everyone was saying stuff like "Oh, Shaun Hill might be good in garbage time after the Broncos score a billion." Sunday's game was the least predictable outcome in some time, and Zuerlein accounted for 16 of the Rams' 22 points in the game.
Best defense/special teams in Week 11
Green Bay Packers (20 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 touchdowns, 3 sacks, 26 fantasy points)
The Packers' defense has had two great games this season. The first came when Christian Ponder got a surprise start for Minnesota in Week 5, so we could comfortably call it a fluke. But Sunday's game came against a real team, and Mark Sanchez, for all his flaws, didn't look Ponderesque before Sunday's game. But the Packers scored on a punt return, an interception and a fumble return Sunday, and forced four turnovers. Combined with the unit's 17 points in Week 10, and this unit looks insanely strong right now.