As we do each week, let’s recap the week’s winners and losers from a fantasy perspective, complete with applicable game and historical data. Check back after the conclusion of the 1 and 4 p.m. ET (and, when applicable, Sunday Night Football) games for our picks of the week’s best and worst.
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints: Their performances played a significant part in the Saints’ comeback victory on Sunday, as for the second consecutive week, both Ingram and Kamara scored more than 20 PPR fantasy points. Kamara’s 18-yard reception followed by a two-point conversion run tied the game with just over a minute remaining, resulting in 25.6 PPR fantasy points, best among running backs from the 1 p.m. ET games. Ingram, meanwhile, scored 24.5 of his own while rushing for more than 100 yards with a touchdown for the fourth time in his past six games. By reaching the 20-point threshold in consecutive team games, Ingram and Kamara became the first pair of running backs from the same team to do so since Theotis Brown and Dan Doornink did it for the Seattle Seahawks in 1981 Weeks 10-11.
Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins: The quarterback switch from Jay Cutler (concussion) to Matt Moore to begin the second half of Sunday’s game paid big dividends for Stills, who managed 27.4 of his career-high 31.0 PPR fantasy points while Moore was in the game. Stills caught just one pass for 26 yards in the entire first half with Cutler at quarterback. Another fact: Since Week 6, Stills has 44 targets, 11th-most in the league (though Amari Cooper and Doug Baldwin both still have a pretty realistic chance to pass him). Yet another fact: Stills remains available in 72.5 percent of ESPN leagues.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: He got the week off to quite a start with his 42.4 PPR and 32.4 non-PPR fantasy points on Thursday Night Football, the former the third-best effort of his 111-game NFL career (behind his 46.9 in 2015 Week 15 and 45.6 in 2015 Week 9) and the latter a new personal best. The former also gave Brown an 18th career game with at least 30 PPR fantasy points, tying him with Jerry Rice for the most by any player in history before their 30th birthdays.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins: Though his NFL game ended in heartbreak — the opposing New Orleans Saints rallied from a 31-16 deficit with less than six minutes to play to win in overtime, 34-31 — Cousins’ 25.98 fantasy points probably earned those teams a “W.” It was the fourth time this season he scored at least 25, moving him into a tie with Alex Smith and Russell Wilson (with Wilson set to play Monday night and Dak Prescott, who has three, playing Sunday night) for the most by any quarterback this season. Come week’s end — and remember that the byes conclude this week so every quarterback will have had an equal number of team games — Cousins will rank at least sixth at the position in fantasy points (193.94), with a small chance at ranking as high as fourth.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: Another one of Thursday’s stars, Roethlisberger’s 28.96 fantasy points represented his biggest single-game score since 2016 Week 5, and his first game of at least 20 since 2016 Week 12. In 13 games between his most recent 20-point efforts, he averaged just 13.3 fantasy points. Fantasy owners saw this as a beneficial matchup for Roethlisberger, partly because of his recent home-game dominance — he has averaged 22.5 fantasy points at home but only 13.2 on the road since the beginning of 2014 — starting him in 52.2 percent of ESPN leagues (9th-highest among quarterbacks).
Jacksonville Jaguars defense/special teams: For the third time this season, the Jaguars D/ST scored at least 25 fantasy points (27), making them the first team to accomplish that since the 2012 Chicago Bears (also 3). The Jaguars now have a commanding lead for the most fantasy points among D/ST this season, their 148 giving them a 23-point lead over the Baltimore Ravens (125). That gives the Jaguars a pace of 236.8 fantasy points, which would be the most by any defense since the Ravens scored 242 in 2006. They’ll face another great matchup in Week 12 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: One could pick either Fitzpatrick or Blaine Gabbert (19.58) here, as both enjoyed a noticeable bye-week-fill-in bump, but Fitzpatrick stands out as both the higher scorer (19.90) and the one started in a greater percentage of ESPN leagues (19.2 percent, 17th among quarterbacks). As Cam Newton did a week ago, Fitzpatrick had little trouble moving the football against the struggling Miami defense. Things should get more difficult for him in Week 12, however, as he’ll face an Atlanta Falcons defense that held Dak Prescott to 13.24 fantasy points in Week 10.
Ravens D/ST: Let’s give some credit to the Ravens’ defense, which for the third time this season shut out its opponent with Sunday’s zero-point effort coming against the Brett Hundley-led Green Bay Packers. The Ravens are the first team since the 2003 New England Patriots with three shutouts in a single year, and the performance pushed them clearly into second in D/ST scoring with 125 fantasy points this season. They also have four games with at least 20 fantasy points this season, which is the most in the league.
Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Cardinals: He entered Sunday’s game with only one target in three career NFL games, but broke through in a big way with his 20.4 PPR fantasy point effort, the best among tight ends in the 1 p.m. ET games. Seals-Jones reached a threshold that few have against the Houston Texans: His was only the fifth game of 20-plus PPR fantasy points against the Texans’ defense in the past five seasons (since the beginning of 2013), joining Rob Gronkowski (24.7 in 2013 Week 13 and 22.9 in 2017 Week 3), Travis Kelce (28.6 in 2015 Week 1) and Julius Thomas (20.8 in 2015 Week 6). Unfortunately, few in fantasy capitalized upon this performance, as Seals-Jones remained available in more than 99.9 percent of ESPN leagues at the time of the kickoff.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings: For the third consecutive week, Thielen scored 20-plus PPR fantasy points, his 24.3 the second-best score among wide receivers during the 1 p.m. ET games. He has now totaled 75.7 PPR fantasy points during that three-game span, but more importantly, he has caught 19 of his 31 targets (61.3 percent) while facing defenses that have been above-average containing opposing wide receivers this season. Thielen was started in a career-high 88.7 percent of ESPN leagues in Week 11.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: For the fourth consecutive game, Nelson was held beneath 10 PPR fantasy points, his 4.4 on six targets giving him a grand total of 19.2 on 21 targets (10 catches) during that four-game span. Those coincide with the four games Aaron Rodgers (broken collarbone) has missed, as Nelson has suffered most directly as a result of the switch to Hundley. Nelson’s schedule doesn’t get any easier next week: He faces the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12.
Evan Engram, QB, New York Giants: With Sterling Shepard (migraines) sidelined and winds swirling at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, one might’ve expected Engram to take on a larger role, perhaps absorbing a greater volume of shorter-range targets. Unfortunately, the rookie was held to just 1.9 PPR fantasy points on his six targets, marking only the second time in his first 10 NFL games that he was held beneath eight points. Engram slipped to second at the position in targets as a result, his 78 now trailing Travis Kelce’s 83.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs: The Giants’ defense came to play on Sunday, holding Smith to a by-far-season-low 7.90 fantasy points and the Chiefs’ offense to nine points in a victory played in windy conditions at the Meadowlands. Blame the weather if you wish, but Smith was heavily started nevertheless, active in 71.4 percent of ESPN leagues (fifth-highest among quarterbacks), mainly because the opposing Giants entered having allowed an NFL-high 23.9 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks since Week 4. This seems likely a one-week aberration, but it’s a reminder that Smith, who was due for some regression after an unsustainable start to the year, can be unpredictable from week to week.
Eli Manning, QB, Giants: Across the field, Manning might have been the victor, but his 8.70 fantasy points weren’t all that much better than Smith’s output. If there’s any solace, it’s that Manning was started in considerably fewer leagues than Smith, as Manning’s 21.5 percent start rate in ESPN leagues was 15th-highest among quarterbacks (though that still made him a viable bye week plug-in or two-quarterback-league starter). Manning also struggled in windy conditions, and it didn’t help that he didn’t have his top wide receiver, as Sterling Shepard (migraines) was inactive for the contest. It was Manning’s third game beneath 10 fantasy points in his past five, however, making him a difficult play even when he faces more favorable matchups going forward.
Los Angeles Rams defense/special teams: Those who started the Rams D/ST in Week 11 were burned by their disappointing performance in a road game at Minnesota, as their minus-5 fantasy points represented a season low and their worst in a single game since 2016 Week 12 (minus-8, in a road game at New Orleans). For only the second time all year, the Rams failed to record a turnover, and it was their first game without a sack in 2017. Coincidentally enough, they’ll face the New Orleans Saints in a home game in Week 12.
Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers: For the third consecutive week, Brate was held beneath 2.5 PPR fantasy points, scoring just 2.2 on three targets in the Buccaneers’ 30-20 win. During his three-game cold streak, he has accrued just three receptions for 31 yards on 10 targets, totaling 6.1 PPR fantasy points. O.J. Howard, meanwhile, has 13.8 PPR fantasy points on six targets during that same time span, while Luke Stocker has 9.3 on two targets (while also missing one of those three games). Howard’s recent performance is somewhat of a concern for Brate going forward, and with only a so-so matchup against the Falcons due up next, neither one seems like a wise TE1 play in Week 12.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns: Only four times previously in his four-year, 58-game NFL career did Crowell score fewer than the 1.8 PPR fantasy points that he did on Sunday, but this was his worst score in any game in which he had at least 10 rushing attempts. It was less of a takeaway on Crowell than that of the Jaguars’ run defense, which has now allowed averages of 3.4 yards per carry overall and 21.3 fantasy points per game to the position since Week 5.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins: He was started in a career-high 46.3 percent of ESPN leagues, but all he could muster against the Buccaneers’ defense was 2.4 PPR fantasy points on eight touches. That’s not going to help Drake earn a larger share of the Dolphins’ rushing chores, not when Damien Williams had 11.2 PPR fantasy points on his 11 touches. Per Pro Football Focus’ Nathan Jahnke, Drake did play more snaps (38) than Williams (27), but this is likely to remain a committee backfield in Week 12 at New England.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Cardinals: Make that three times in his first five games for the Cardinals that Peterson has scored beneath five PPR fantasy points, as his 4.9 on Sunday came on the heels of a 3.2 point performance in Week 10. He has, however, enjoyed at least 15 touches in four of his five games for them, averaging 22.8 during that time span. Peterson is a volume-based flex-play consideration, and he’ll face another challenging matchup in Week 12 against the Jaguars.