The Top 10: Week 11

Matt Waldman opens his film notebook and examines the notable events from Week 10.

Mission

The mission of this column—and a lot of my work—is to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality of football analysis. Football analysis—fantasy and reality—is often dramatized because there's a core belief that it's more important to entertain than to educate.

I don't live by the idea that it's better to be lucky than good. While I want to give you actionable recommendations that will help you get results, I prefer to get the process right. There will be a lot of people talking about how they were right to draft or start specific players. Many of them got the right result but with the wrong process.

The Top 10 will cover topics that attempt to get the process right (reality) while understanding that fantasy owners may not have time to wait for the necessary data to determine the best course of action (fantasy).

As always I recommend Sigmund Bloom's Waiver Wire piece which you'll find available on this page, Monday night. Bloom and I are not always going to agree on players—he errs more often towards players who flash elite athletic ability and I err more towards players who are more technically skilled and assignment-sound.

Straight, No Chaser: Week 10's Cliff's Notes

The article below will provide expanded thoughts and supporting visuals for the following points:

  1. Patrick Mahomes II returned to the field in a loss against the Titans. Although he showed some moments of rust during the first drive, he acclimated fast and delivered throws that evoked guffaws from fans, opponents, and teammates.
  2. You've probably seen Lamar Jackson's long touchdown run against the Bengals by now. His running was the icing on the cake. The actual cake is his skill from the pocket and passing prowess in the middle of the field. Remember this for 2020 when 7 out of 10 fantasy players and analysts will likely tell you before drafts that Jackson and his offense will be figured out.
  3. Much of the fantasy community is too apt to believe that elite athletic ability compensates for a lack of football skills. The year-one buzz about Courtland Sutton was a prime example of this overestimation of the physical in football. Tyreek Hill was the exception and with a healthy Mahomes under center, I show you what it looks like as a reminder when the next hot rookie arrives in the NFL and generates more buzz than he deserves.
  4. Kareem Hunt returned to the NFL this weekend and he looks as good as he did in Kansas City. The Browns integrated Hunt effectively into the offense and it leaves a Browns fan to wonder if it might be possible for him and Nick Chubb to coexist in Cleveland long-term.
  5. Despite the return of Melvin Gordon III and Austin Ekeler's return to a No.2 role, Ekeler is a dynasty buy. In addition to his underrated skills between the tackles, Ekeler's receiving skills are special, which is why his best player comparison might be Christian McCaffrey
  6. The Minnesota Vikings showed what it takes to slow down Ezekiel Elliott and once you see what's involved, you'll understand why it doesn't happen often.
  7. Kyle Allen displayed impressive pocket presence during the Panthers' final drive during a Lambeau snowstorm that leads me to wonder if Carolina already has its quarterback of the future.
  8. Dak Prescott (4th) and Matthew Stafford (9th despite missing this weekend and likely to miss 2-3 more weeks) are two quarterbacks I touted as draft day values for 2019 fantasy leagues. Prescott's ability to deliver from tight pockets and creativity when the defense destroys the pocket is laudable.
  9. Congratulations, Atlanta, your defense had a massive role in stopping Drew Brees and the Saints. I show why this perennial Fresh Fish headliner is no longer on ice this week.
  10. This week's Fresh Fish:
    1. Kansas City's field goal unit didn't lose this game on their own, but they earned a significant responsibility for a botched field goal that gave Tennesse the lead and a drive later, a blocked potential game-winner as time ran out.
    2. Don't sneak away from the fish stand, Damien Williams, your lack of ball security not only led to a return for a touchdown but also could re-open a door for a committee just as LeSean McCoy's fumble two weeks ago.
    3. Freddie Kitchens and Todd Monken overthought a pair of red-zone sequences that led to a pair of field goals.
    4. Yes, I still believe in Chad Kelly and I didn't even need to watch the Colts game to know that signing Brian Hoyer as a buffer between Kelly and Jacoby Brissett would appear ridiculous on the field.

For those of you who wish to learn the why's, the details are below.

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