Column

Frankel’s Fantasy Files: Week 11

Never doubt a home underdog in primetime.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) reacts to a touchdown against the New York Jets during an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

“Frankel’s Fantasy Files” is a column by Kyle Frankel about fantasy football.

I’m the first to admit when I am wrong, and I was definitely wrong about Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. The Jets did not play up to their opponent and the Bills had a major rebound game, routing New York 45-17. Josh Allen showed that his pitfalls in Jacksonville only a week before were just a fluke. He probably saw Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen running toward him and got too distracted trying to decipher how it’s possible for him to sack himself.

At MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Allen threw for 366 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was a great day for Allen on the fantasy gridiron as well, rewarding his owners with 20.94 point per reception (PPR) points.

Much of Allen’s success came in tandem with Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs exploded for 30.2 PPR points, snagging eight receptions for 162 yards and finding the end zone once. This outing was only Diggs’ second time topping 20 PPR points this year, not the production most expected from him. His owners will surely be hoping that this performance will be indicative of what’s to come in the second half of the season.

In other news, this week was by no means short of headlines. First, the Miami Dolphins knocked off the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. The San Francisco 49ers followed suit, beating the Los Angeles Rams on Monday. These two games proved one thing that should always be taken into consideration (something we’ll discuss further later on): Never doubt a home underdog in primetime.

Dan Campbell and his Detroit Lions also made sure they would not be the NFL’s first 0-17 team. Did they win? Nope, but they didn’t lose either. The Lions tied the Pittsburgh Steelers in one of the ugliest NFL games in recent history. It was a mistake-laden contest in which both teams had multiple chances to win but simply could not finish the job. The sloppy game was capped off by Pittsburgh tight end Pat Freiermuth catching a pass in the final seconds of overtime that should have put the Steelers in field goal range. However, he fumbled and the Lions recovered, sealing the deal for the tie and closing the door on a possible 0-17 season for the Lions.

There is no shortage of stories from the last week of football, but let’s talk fantasy football.

Birds are in their nest for primetime

As I said in the recap, never doubt an underdog playing at home in a primetime contest. That is exactly what will be occurring on Thursday night when the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons face off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Falcons are double-digit underdogs to Mac Jones and his Patriots. In the NFL, that is simply too many points for a primetime dog at home. I am always wary of doubting Bill Belichick, and I do not think his Patriots will lose this game like the Ravens did last week. While I do not believe they will lose, I do believe the Falcons will play New England closer than the sportsbooks are predicting. Don’t forget that the Falcons are still trying to make a playoff push and cannot afford many more losses if they want that dream to become a reality.

If I had to give an official prediction, I think this turns out to be a high-scoring game where the Patriots edge out the Falcons by one score. That makes offensive players for both teams solid starters in fantasy this week.

Jakobi has finally touched down

It happened. Fantasy owners and fans alike can rejoice because after many close calls, Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers finally scored his first NFL touchdown. When Meyers leaped over the Browns secondary into the end zone and gave his fantasy owners a quick six points, he showed how productive he can be in the fantasy world if he is scoring. He scored 14.9 PPR points, catching all four of his targets for 49 yards. He has been a consistent and reliable flex player this year in most fantasy leagues, averaging 11.0 PPR points per game. When you take into account that his first touchdown of the season came last Sunday, 11.0 PPR points per game is ridiculous.

I think Meyers is a must-start this coming Thursday against the Falcons. As I stated earlier, I believe this matchup will be a high-scoring affair in which many players will land in the end zone. I also believe that one of those players will be Jakobi Meyers. Now that he has finally found that elusive first TD, they will come in bunches. He is somehow only rostered in 66.2% of ESPN fantasy leagues as of Tuesday, so if you can pick him up off waivers consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, if he is on your roster already he should definitely be in your flex spot this Thursday night.

Take the bait

Lastly, I’ll throw a name out that has flown under the radar for most of the year due to injuries: Rashod Bateman. The Ravens rookie wideout was injured for the first five games of his first-year campaign. Since appearing in Week 6 against the Chargers, he has seen his targets increase to eight in each of the past two weeks. Despite not scoring a touchdown yet, he has still managed to put up double-digit PPR points the past three weeks. He had a career high when he helped lead my team to victory last week, scoring 14.0 PPR points off of six receptions for 80 yards. He will hopefully start to find the end zone soon, and when he does, he will garner much more attention. I recommend grabbing him now before that happens. He was rostered in 31.6% of ESPN fantasy leagues as of Tuesday.

If you are fighting desperately for a playoff spot, you’re not in this alone. I am right there with you sitting at 5-5. Despite my team being riddled with injuries and absences from key players such as Derrick Henry and Calvin Ridley, I have managed to stay in the playoff hunt and grind out wins. While it is always fun to draft the biggest boom of each year’s draft, it is far less rewarding than winning as a result of in-season moves. However grim it may seem, remember that it’s not over yet. There’s a lot of football left to play which means there are many more moves to be made on your path to a championship.

“Frankel’s Fantasy Files” runs Thursdays.