Fantasy football scoring takes a Sunday afternoon holiday

I like to say every batch of NFL results is weird in its own way. The chaos is the product. That’s what we as fantasy managers come to expect. We try to benefit from the entropy, if we can. We turn into the skid. And man, there were plenty of fantasy skids in the early window of Week 11. Several big-name stars put up brick performances on the eve of Thanksgiving.

Start in Detroit, where Josh Allen was erratic early and finished with just 197 yards, one touchdown and a piddly seven rushing yards. Did his recent interception problem spook him? Perhaps he was afraid of making a mistake. Buffalo still rolled to an easy victory — even if Cleveland stole the last-second push against the spread — but it was Allen’s worst fantasy game of the year by far. Those 12.58 points don’t buy much.

Meanwhile, Jacoby Brissett thrived — some of it in garbage time — en route to 324 yards and three touchdowns. Amari Cooper (8-113-2) finally smashed in a road game, and Donovan Peoples-Jones (5-61-1) finally broke the seal on his touchdown account. It’s a good thing Cleveland found some passing success, because Nick Chubblike Allen, had a shockingly poor game (14 carries, 19 yards).

Maybe you had high hopes for the Ravens to lay the wood to the Panthers — Baltimore, after all, was a meaty 12-point favorite at home. But Lamar Jackson was limited to one touchdown (at least it was on the ground) and 240 yards of offense, good for 16.46 Yahoo fantasy points, and the Ravens tiptoed out with a boring 13-3 win. Jackson didn’t lose your fantasy game for you, but he sure didn’t win you anything.

He only focused on two main players when he threw downfield. Mark Andrews (6-63-0) was of course played in all fantasy leagues. DeMarcus Robinson (9-128-0) was not. This is the seventh year of Robinson’s ordinary career; it’s just the second time he’s gone past 100 yards, and only the third time he eclipsed 70 yards. Score one for the genius of desperation.

Demarcus Robinson delivered in fantasy — except very few fantasy managers were desperate enough to play him. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Kenyan Drake didn’t go bananas in the absence of Gus Edwards. The Drake collected 10-46 rushing and two short receptions. No touchdowns. No fantasy glory.

I refuse to say much about the Panthers. D’Onta Foreman (11-24-0) had no running lanes. DJ Moore was submarined by Baker Mayfield. I never thought I’d be so desperate to watch Sam Darnold play again.

The Eagles had their lowest-scoring game of the year, though they somehow escaped with a 17-16 victory at Indianapolis. The Lions spanked the Giants, but Jared Goff threw for just 165 yards — with zero touchdowns. Jamaal Williams (three spikes) remains Detroit’s spirit animal, and D’Andre Swift He scored in garbage time, though the Lions continue to limit his work (eight touches, 32 yards).

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The Lions defense was dead-set on stopping Saquon Barkley and it worked — 15 carries, 22 yards. Barkley also had two catches for 13 yards. Daniel Jones was handy in catching up, throwing for 341 yards, running for 50 more and accounting for two touchdowns. If you needed Wan’Dale Robinson (9-100-0) or Darius Slayton (5-86-0) as desperation plays, you turned a mild profit.

Even some reliable kickers were taken down by the weather gods. Graham Gano Shanked two extra points in the New Jersey wind tunnel. Nick Folk had a hellish time with the Foxboro wind, but fortunately for New England, Zach Wilson was even worse. The Patriots escaped with a win (and a gift cover) courtesy of a punt return touchdown in the final minute. No one needs to rewatch this 10-3 snooze fest.

Oh, we could set our watch by a few things, thankfully. Chris Olave (5-102-1) ran past Rams defenders all day. Jonathan Taylor had 94 total yards and a score, and Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell were both respectable. Cole Kmet didn’t go off at Atlanta (3-35-0), but Justin Fields (153 air, 85 ground, two scores), David Montgomery (121 total yards, one score) and Darnell Mooney (4-29-1) all showed up. Mooney was liberally held most of the day; he easily could have done more. Hopefully, Fields is healthy for Week 12 — he dinged his left shoulder late in the loss to Atlanta.

The Falcons did what they usually do — they kept the ball away from their best playmakers. Drake London had just one catch on three targets, but at least it was a two-yard touchdown. Cordarrell Patterson shared with two other runners (Tyler Allgeier, Marcus Mariota), not that 10-52-0 is a poor showing. Patterson’s fantasy day was bailed out by a 103-yard kickoff return. Kyle Pitts had five targets, three catches, 43 yards. Sometimes they’re air yards, sometimes they’re prayer yards.

You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. No matter how disappointing your 1 pm window might have been, there’s always the chance your opponent met more early potholes than you did.

But hey — there’s always the 4 pm window.

Stay tuned for more Week 11 booms and busts…

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