Heading into Week 11, here are the best picks for another packed weekend of NFL action (in PPR leagues, unless otherwise noted).
Boom: Cam Newton
In his return game, Cam was able to secure two touchdowns in his first two snaps, an impressive feat for the Carolina legend. He’s expected to be ready to start in Week 11, and if he does, he has a nice matchup against the Washington Football Team — a defense that had so much potential this year but never came together. Now they’ve lost star defensive end Chase Young for the season, a potentially fatal blow for their defensive hopes. Newton’s red zone ability gives him high upside in this game.
Bust: Tyler Lockett
Lockett has established himself as a boom-or-bust type of player. His stat lines seem to be either two catches for 12 yards or 13 for 160, and never anywhere in between. In a match against the Cardinals, I’d expect more of the first type of game. Russell Wilson struggled heavily in his return, and it’s hard to trust him — even if he does give us a bounce-back game, D.K. Metcalf could be the beneficiary.
Boom: Adam Thielen
I would say Thielen is the other member of the boom-or-bust fantasy wide receivers. He’ll either go insane or be a ghost. I think this divisional rivalry game — with the Vikings doing their best to stay in the Wild Card hunt — is a game where Thielen will play a big role. In his career, he’s had more than his fair share of boom games against the Packers, and I think this week will be another.
Bust: Cordarrelle Patterson
Patterson has been the unlikely hero of the 2021 fantasy season, emerging as a top-10 running back despite being drafted as a wide receiver. He’s been the Swiss Army knife of the Falcons’ offense and typically relies on a few explosive plays to secure a high fantasy output. Unfortunately for him, the Patriots’ defense does not give away a lot of explosive plays and has been lockdown the past few weeks. It’s Patterson’s turn to lay a dud.
Boom: Rashod Bateman
Bateman’s first career start was delayed due to injury. But since getting on the field, he’s been consistently putting up numbers as one of Lamar Jackson’s favorite targets. He’s gone for 80 yards in two of the past three weeks and is now facing the Bears, a team with a solid rushing defense but extremely weak secondary. If the Ravens are forced to turn towards their air attack, Bateman is in line for the best career of his game, and I would not be surprised if he gets his first career touchdown.
Best value bets
(Using FOX Sports odds at time of writing. Disclaimer: Picks are merely the opinion of the author. Gambling involves financial risk. The author is not responsible for losses incurred from gambling.)
New Orleans Saints: Win outright (Odds: +105)
- The Saints have been one of the hardest teams in the league to make predictions on in 2021. Their defense has been incredible, but it’s anyone’s guess what their offense will produce in a given week. They’ve beaten the Bucs, Pats and Packers and lost to the Giants, Falcons and Panthers. Maybe that would be a reason to assume the Eagles will beat them, but I think Sean Payton will outcoach Nick Sirianni and walk away with a win to stay secure in their Wild Card spot.
New England Patriots: Win/cover spread (Spread: -6.5)
- It’s beginning to look a lot like New England. The Patriots are back, and have been the NFL’s hottest team these past four weeks, with three of their four wins coming in games where they scored at least four times their opponents’ totals. Now they get to face the Falcons, a team that couldn’t produce more than a single field goal against Dallas in Week 10. It should be another fun day for Bill Belichick.
Indianapolis Colts: Cover spread (Spread: +7)
- The Colts have hung on to Jonathan Taylor’s coattails as he’s pulled them up to a .500 record and kept them in the Wild Card race. Taylor’s been arguably the best running back not named Derrick Henry this year. Since September, he’s rushed for 100 yards or a touchdown in every single game. The defense has also stepped up at key times to help the Colts pull away with some wins. Between these two factors, I’d bet on the Colts to stay in this one.
New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Under 50 points
- As odd as this may seem, Antonio Brown might be the key to unlocking the Buccaneers’ offense. This year, the Bucs are 5-0 with AB and 1-3 without him. There’s a reason Tom Brady pushed so hard for this guy; they have amazing chemistry on the field. I think the Bucs will have no problem bouncing back from last week, but I’d favor this game to stay on the lower side.
San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Over 44.5 points
This prediction may seem surprising, given the performance we saw from the 49ers on Monday night against the Rams and the fact they’re now playing the Jaguars. I think the 49ers’ defense will come down to earth after that win, though. They’re no longer playing the Rams, a team Kyle Shanahan has in his back pocket, and I think they’ll let Jacksonville get away with a few touchdowns.