If you're a Mike Evans fantasy owner, there's a decent chance you didn't draft him. Many of his original investors cut him loose in late-September, following the groin injury. Or they tossed him on the scrap heap in mid-October, when the Bucs were on their bye.
As it turns out, dropping Mike Evans was a minor fantasy disaster.
Evans visited the end-zone twice for Tampa Bay on Sunday, hauling in seven balls for 209 yards. Bucs quarterback Josh McCown was 7-for-9 throwing to the rookie, and 8-for-14 throwing to anyone else. Evans' touchdowns were both from distance, with the first covering 36 yards and the second 56. He routinely blew past coverage for field-flipping gains, and he was a monster in traffic. Catch the full highlight reel right here.
Over Evans' last four games, since Tampa's bye in Week 7, he's caught 25 passes for 536 yards and five scores. Evans has topped 120 receiving yards in back-to-back-to-back weeks, establishing himself at or near the top of an all-time rookie receiver class. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, gifted with ridiculous strength and leaping ability, he's an unfair assignment for any normal-sized human. Last season at Texas A&M, Evans had 69 receptions for 1394 yards and 12 TDs; as a first-year pro, he's on pace for 77 catches, 1323 yards and 12 scores.
So much for that rookie learning curve. The Bucs travel to Chicago next Sunday, so don't expect the binge to end anytime soon. Evans was a gift from the wire, and he'll continue to feast.
• Another week, another 50-something points for the Packers. Ho-hum. Green Bay embarrassed the Eagles almost as completely as the team embarrassed Chicago the week before. The Pack took a 30-6 lead into halftime, and the game really never felt that close. Eddie Lacy scored twice, Jordy visited the end-zone (of course), Davante Adams scored, the defense scored twice, special teams scored once, and ... well, if you're a Packer who somehow didn't make noise, it's probably time to reevaluate your career. Total massacre.
Yup, that's pretty much the Eagles-Packers game in a nutshell right there.
Mark Sanchez had a messy day in reality (two INTs, two lost fumbles, three sacks), but his fantasy line was just fine. He threw for 346 yards on 44 attempts, connecting with both Jordan Matthews and Jeremy Maclin for scores. I can't tell you why Chip Kelly kept his varsity offense on the field deep into the fourth quarter, trailing by 40 points, but the fantasy community won't complain. Maclin saw a team-high 11 targets for Philly, while Matthews continued to thrive with Sanchez, delivering five catches for 107 yards.
• Not bad, Ryan Mallett. Not bad. Houston got a road with Mallett at the controls, thanks in large measure to Alfred Blue (156 yards) and the absurd J.J. Watt (sack, three TFL, TD rec). Mallett went 20-for-30, passing for 211 yards, two scores and one pick. His first throw was a deep shot to Andre Johnson (a near miss), and he played well enough to keep both AJ and DeAndre Hopkins fantasy-relevant. Those two combined for 11 catches and 148 yards on 17 targets. Mallett and the Texans have a series of friendly games ahead (Cin, Ten, at Jac), so continue to deploy 'em as needed.
Isaiah Crowell dominated the backfield work for the Browns in Week 11, naturally. Because Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine kinda hates us. Crowell ran well, gaining 91 yards on 16 touches, although he also lost a fumble. Here are a few of Pettine's postgame thoughts on this week's RB:
"We weren't going to just not play him (after the fumble). . . He was a guy we felt we wanted to give the start. The fumble was unfortunate. . the guy was running across and made a heck of a play punching it out. . . Isaiah, there were a lot of plays where he ran hard."
Crowell is averaging 4.6 YPC for the season, and he always passes the eye test. Ball security has been the issue. He'll get Atlanta's defense next week, obviously a friendly matchup. (Brian Hoyer belongs in your deep-league plans for that one, too. Welcome back, Josh Gordon.)
• If you played football for LSU in 2013, there's a pretty good chance you posted an awesome fantasy line in Week 11. Jeremy Hill rushed for 152 yards on 27 carries at New Orleans, Alfred Blue had 156 yards on 36(!) totes at Cleveland and Odell Beckham Jr. gave us six catches for 93 yards (including this acrobatic ridiculousness). Oh, and Jarvis Landry delivered 46 receiving yards and a score in Miami's Thursday win over Buffalo. Your move, Zach Mettenberger.
• Denver entered Week 11 with the league's top-ranked run defense, allowing just 67.0 rushing yards per game. But Tre Mason did not seem terribly impressed. The Rams rookie gained 113 total yards on 29 carries, the second time this season that he's topped 80 yards on the ground. Mason has faced nothing but upper-crust run defenses to this point — SF twice, Seattle, KC, Arizona, Denver — yet the kid is averaging 4.2 yards per carry. There is but one hot hand in the St. Louis backfield, and it belongs to Mason.
The Rams assaulted the Broncos on Sunday, intercepting Peyton Manning twice, sacking him twice and holding one of the NFL's most productive offenses to just seven total points. Emmanuel Sanders was concussed (brutal collision), Julius Thomas tweaked an ankle and Montee Ball aggravated his groin injury. Not good. Manning threw for 389 yards, per his usual, but he finished with only one TD on 54 pass attempts (a deep strike to Sanders). Over the next three weeks, Denver won't see any friendly matchups (Mia, at KC, Buf), and Peyton could be throwing to depth-chart receivers. It's at least a small concern. C.J. Anderson was a dud on the ground (9-for-29), but his fantasy day was saved by eight receptions for 86 yards on 10 targets. He's the show in Denver's backfield for the foreseeable future, with Hillman and Ball both dinged.
Shaun Hill connected with Kenny Britt four times on seven targets for 128 yards and a touchdown, by the way. So Kenny is back in the pickup conversation. Greg Zuerlein handled all the non-Britt scoring for St. Louis, drilling five field goals, including two from 50-plus in the fourth quarter.
• You probably don't need an expert to tell you that Jamaal Charles is unreal, but ... well, wow. Charles had a day, facing one of the league's better run defenses. He carried 20 times for 159 yards and two TDs, adding two catches for 19. The first of his scores was a 1-yarder, you'll note. Give full credit to Andy Reid for using his most dynamic ball carrier near the goal line; so many coaches get this wrong. Marshawn Lynch fought through his calf issue, rushing for 124 yards on 24 carries, but the Chiefs kept him out of the end-zone. Incredibly enough, KC hasn't yet allowed a rushing score this season, despite allowing 4.8 YPC to opponents. Darren McFadden has basically no hope of breaking the plane next week.
• So here are the updated standings in the NFC South...
And yes, that's actually the state of the division. A team with a 4-6 record and -17 point differential leads the pack. The Panthers might have actually gone into their bye on top of the division if Graham Gano had hit either of his two late field goal attempts. (The final try was from 64, so we can't really crush him for that miss.) Steven Jackson carried many times for next-to-nothin' (17-for-41), and Kelvin Benjamin again produced a stellar fantasy line (9-109-1). We shall speak no more of this game, or this division.
• Rashad Jennings handled 22 touches in his return from injury, though he gained just 67 total yards and couldn't break the plane. Still, the workload itself was a good sign. Pretty much every time I checked in the Niners-Giants tilt, someone was intercepting Eli Manning and/or Tom Coughlin was looking perplexed. Michael Crabtree gave us a highlight play, which has not exactly been an every-week occurrence.
• Jay Cutler didn't necessarily play the cleanest game on Sunday, but the Bears were finally facing an opponent that couldn't exploit every mistake. Cutler had great success deep-chucking to Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, connecting with the pair 18 times for three TDs and 225 receiving yards. Marshall snagged two scores, over-powering DBs on each grab; Jeffery was simply monstrous, catching a team-high 11 balls for 135 yards and one TD on 17 targets. Cutler finished with 330 passing yards on the afternoon, tossing two picks because ... well, because it's his nature. He's a much safer, steadier QB in fantasy than in real life. (The first INT was horrendous, a no-chance throw to a thoroughly covered Alshon. The second pick was so off-target that perhaps the intended receiver shares responsibility. But whatever. Cutty gave us 25-plus fantasy points.)
• Patriots running back Jonas Gray was a practice squad player just last month, but he battered the Colts on Sunday night. Gray basically recreated the LeGarrette Blount-destroys-Indy experience from January's playoff matchup. As of this writing, he's up to 199 yards and four TDs. Gray offers little in the way of flash, but there are no style points in fantasy. He's a heavy-usage back tied to an exceptional offense. and he's only owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment. Add where you can. Gray won't rank as a strong play against the Lions' run D in Week 12, but he'll get a friendlier matchup the following week at Green Bay. (Tough matchups in the fantasy playoffs as well: Mia, NYJ.)
The Colts have had a brutal night in many ways, losing both Ahmad Bradshaw (foot/ankle) and Dwayne Allen (ankle) to injuries of as-yet-unknown severity. Let's hope for the best. MRIs upcoming. Stay tuned. Trent Richardson, Dan Herron and Coby Fleener get the value bumps here.
• Let's hope you didn't kick Michael Floyd to the curb, because he's re-entered our fantasy plans. Floyd handled all the scoring for Arizona on Sunday, except the extra-points. He caught TD passes of 42 and 12 yards, while rookie John Brown led the Cards in catches (5) and receiving yards (69). Replacement QB Drew Stanton connected with ten different receivers on Sunday, finishing with 306 passing yards and two scores on 32 attempts. Stanton isn't the most accurate club in the bag (making him perhaps a rough fit for Larry Fitzgerald), but he's perfectly willing to heave the deep ball.
The Lions offense was generally controlled by Arizona (six points, 262 total net yards), but Joique Bell had a decent day against a tough run defense, finishing with 115 scrimmage yards on 17 touches.
EARLY ADDS FOR WEEK 12
QB Shaun Hill, STL (at SD)
QB Brian Hoyer, Cle (at Atl)
QB Ryan Mallett, Hou (vs. Cin)
QB Michael Vick, NYJ (at Buf)
RB Jonas Gray, NE (vs. Det)
RB Tre Mason, STL (at SD)
RB Isaiah Crowell, Cle (at Atl)
RB Bryce Bown, Buf (vs. NYJ)
RB Alfred Blue, Hou (vs. Cin)
WR Kenny Britt, STL (at SD)
WR Jarvis Landry, Mia (at Den)
WR Andre Caldwell, Den (vs. Mia)
WR Marquess Wilson, Chi (vs. TB)
TE Coby Fleener, Ind (vs. Jac)
TE Jacob Tamme, Den (vs. Mia)
DEF Indianapolis (vs. Jac)
DEF Dallas (at NYG)t