THE SHADOW KNOWS Week 11 2020
THE SHADOW KNOWS: Week 11
Two of the best games of Week 11 bookend the slate, The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks battled for NFC West supremacy on Thursday night, while the Los Angeles Rams will attempt to keep pace on Monday night when they travel to face the 7-3 Buccaneers in Tampa.
And while Thursday's game featured a rematch between Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson and Seattle wideout DK Metcalf, Monday's finale features a tilt between Tampa receiver Mike Evans and Jalen Ramsey of the Rams.
Last week, Ramsey did something for the first time all season-against Metcalf and the Seahawks, he played shadow coverage against the second-year breakout. Metcalf had a season-low 4 targets in the matchup, catching just two passes for 28 yards. But as Josh Alper reported for Pro Football Talk, after the game Ramsey was all about credit for both his teammates and his opponent.
"I told him after the game that I look forward to these matchups for years and years to come," Ramsey said. But I didn't want to just make it about us. I knew I was going to hold down what I had to hold down, but honestly, look at the other guys in the secondary. They held it down, as well."
Now, there's no guarantee that Ramsey will draw solo coverage against Evans this week-last week was a first for him in 2020, and it's not like Evans is Tampa Bay's only passing-game threat. Tampa may be even deeper in that regard than the Seahawks, and that's saying something.
But Ramsey and Evans are probably going to see quite a bit of one another Monday night. It has already been a down year for Evans from a yardage standpoint, but he has made up for that with eight touchdown catches in 10 games.
It's fixing to be an uphill climb for the veteran wideout chasing his seventh 1,000-yard season in a row-as Ramsey showed last week, he tends to be at his best against bigger wideouts.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (Julio Jones vs. Marshon Lattimore)
It's not easy to be Marshon Lattimore of the Saints-the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year plays in a division that includes seeing Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Robby Anderson, and D.J. Moore-twice. The former Ohio State standout has struggled in 2020, and as Jake Rajala wrote for Canal Street Chronicles, that's not ideal heading into a Week 11 matchup with the Falcons.
"It's not a good combination that Lattimore is arguably having a career-low season and he's facing arguably the best WR in football, who often feasts on the Saints secondary," Rajala said. "The most important part of Julio Jones being stalled, isn't because the defense won't make their plays, but rather that Saints aren't ready to get in a shootout with (Jameis) Winston in his first game."
That shootout may well be coming whether the Saints want it to or not. There's no guarantee that Lattimore will shadow Jones, even if Calvin Ridley sits again-the Saints have tried a little of everything in coverage against the Falcons the past few years. Not much has worked, and if Ridley is sidelined again Jones' target share in a good matchup will be-giddyup.
New England Patriots at Houston Texans (Jakobi Meyers vs. Bradley Roby)
Don't look now, but over the last two weeks Jakobi Meyers of the New England Patriots has been a top-10 PPR wideout-the kind of late-season waiver add that can win managers titles. Per Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss at ESPN, Meyers probably isn't turning into a pumpkin any time soon.
"When also factoring in that (Julian) Edelman's workload is going to be managed closely initially---assuming there are no setbacks--I feel like Meyers is a safe bet to continue to see plenty of work (at the least, in the short term)," Reiss wrote. Meyers has earned it, and Bill Belichick prides himself on his program being a meritocracy."
As of writing, it looks more likely than not that Edelman will sit on Sunday against the Houston Texans, but even if he didn't Meyers would probably draw Roby in coverage. This is a matchup featuring an underrated wide receiver against an overpaid corner, but Meyers isn't so gifted athletically that Roby will be overmatched. The real story here is Meyers' absurd target share-he's been targeted one fewer time since Week 7 than New England's No. 2 (Damiere Byrd), No. 3 (Rex Burkhead), and No. 4 (James White) players in that category over that span combined.
That's the noise turkeys make, right? Trying to be festive.
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens (A.J. Brown vs. Marlon Humphrey)
A.J. Brown of the Tennessee Titans hasn't matched his ridiculous per-snap production as a rookie in his second season, but he's backed it up-Brown is a legitimate No. 1 receiver from an NFL perspective and a top-15 PPR option at his position. But as Mike Tagliere pointed out at Fantasy Pros, Brown has his work cut out for him against Marlon Humphrey and the Ravens Sunday.
"The Ravens have allowed a wide receiver touchdown once every 43.8 targets, which ranks as the best in the league," Tagliere said. "The Titans must find a way to get the ball into Brown's hands, because once that happens, he's electric, averaging 6.8 yards after the catch. That's how he overcame a tough matchup against the Bears, so maybe he can do it again. With Jimmy Smith dinged up, the Ravens turned to Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters on the perimeter, while moving to veteran Tramon Williams in the slot. That worked out pretty well, as the Patriots receivers accounted for just five catches and 59 yards. This is far from a great matchup and Brown proved that in the playoffs last year, catching just 1-of-3 targets for nine yards against them."
There's next to no chance fantasy managers can sit Brown this late in the season. But if he's going to post a number in Week 11, he's going to have to Hulk out-the Ravens are allowing the fifth-fewest PPR fantasy points to wide receivers this season.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Robert Woods vs. Carlton Davis
) DK Metcalf wasn't the only higher-end fantasy wideout who didn't do a lot in Seattle's meeting with the Rams in Week 10-Robert Woods had a pedestrian five catches for 33 yards in the contest. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, Gage Bridgford of RotoBaller doesn't expect things to be significantly different in Week 11, either.
"The Bucs have the NFL's best defense against the pass per DVOA and they also have the third-best pass-rush win rate among all teams," he wrote. "Woods has always been known for his consistent targets, but he actually ranks third on this team among wide receivers for targets behind teammates Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds."
The Buccaneers don't usually use top cornerback Carlton Davis as a shadow, so it's Woods who should draw the 23-year-old most of the evening Monday. That's just one more red flag for Woods. Davis is quietly putting together a Pro Bowl season, allowing just 57.1 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed with a passer rating against of just 62.