Last updated: November 13th at 4:43pm ET.
Team Totals: Panthers 28.5, Falcons 22.5
With Ito Smith (concussion) on I.R. and Devonta Freeman (ankle) expected to miss at least two weeks, 2017 fifth-round pick Brian Hill takes over as Atlanta’s feature back with special teamer Kenjon Barner and rookie Qadree Ollison in reserve. Plus sized (6’1/219) and a competent pass catcher, Hill built a workhorse track record at Wyoming with two seasons over 300 touches and has a shot to approach 20 in Carolina. Still reeling in run defense, the Panthers have been destroyed for 198/1000/14 (5.05 YPC) rushing and seventeen all-purpose TDs by enemy backs in nine games. … Matt Ryan helped engineer last week’s road upset of New Orleans in a game-manager role. With assistant coaches Jeff Ulbrich and Raheem Morris replacing Dan Quinn as the Falcons’ defensive play callers, Atlanta’s once-lifeless pass rush erupted for six Drew Brees sacks and didn’t allow a single touchdown drive. Ryan still didn’t play well – his 5.2 yards per attempt and 78.5 passer rating were both Ryan’s second-worst marks of the year – and he now faces a tough road test against a Panthers defense that’s held 7-of-9 quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB15 or worse while ranking first in the NFL in sacks (36) and fifth in QB hits (64). Aaron Rodgers (QB24), Jameis Winston (QB16, QB21), Deshaun Watson (QB20), and Jared Goff (QB29) have all produced below expectation versus Ron Rivera’s crew. Ryan is a fringe QB1 option in Week 11.
Ryan’s post-bye target distribution: Julio Jones 9; Austin Hooper and Russell Gage 5; Calvin Ridley and Freeman 4; Hill and Christian Blake 2. … Julio will get a boost if Panthers top CB James Bradberry (groin) can’t play or is limited. Rivera’s defense has held Jones in relative check over their last five meetings (4/28/1 > 5/64/0 > 5/80/0 > 6/118/0 > 4/60/0) with Bradberry in primary coverage. If Bradberry can go, Julio will remain a bet-on-talent WR1 on pace for 95/1,407/7 receiving through nine games. … Hooper (knee) is week to week, enhancing Gage and Ridley’s projected volume. Gage is worth a PPR-specific WR4 look against Carolina, which has struggled to contain fellow slot WRs Chris Godwin (10/151/0, 8/121/1), Dede Westbrook (7/82/0), Adam Humphries (4/65/0), Christian Kirk (10/59/0), Cooper Kupp (7/46/0), Larry Fitzgerald (5/36/1), and Emmanuel Sanders (4/25/1). … Ridley delivered WR2-caliber results in each of last year’s Panthers meetings (4/64/1, 3/90/1). Frustratingly inconsistent this season, Ridley has finished below 50 yards in 5-of-9 games. He’s a boom-bust WR2/3 option at this point, but Ridley’s odds of booming are increasing by way of Freeman and Hooper’s losses after Mohamed Sanu’s trade to New England. Ridley is also promisingly popping in Week 11’s Buy Low Air Yards Model. … Atlanta’s tight ends are a fantasy situation to avoid in Hooper’s absence. Next up on the depth chart are block-first TE Luke Stocker and second-year Yale graduate Jaeden Graham.
Back home after roughing up Green Bay for his seventh game over 140 total yards in nine tries, Christian McCaffrey faces a Falcons defense on which he poured 317 yards in two 2018 meetings and this year has hemorrhaged 28.0 touches per game to enemy backs. As a six-point home-favorite bellcow who’s handled 91% of Carolina’s backfield work, CMC is once again Week 11’s top running back play. … Mike Davis’ addition further muddies McCaffrey’s handcuff situation; if CMC went down, Davis and Reggie Bonnafon would likely share work. … Kyle Allen has finished QB15 or worse in six straight starts, but his matchup is enticing. Last week’s fluky shutdown of the Saints notwithstanding, Atlanta has given up top-12 results to six of its last eight quarterbacks faced. Allen’s game-manager role is a constant concern for his ceiling, but this is the rare spot where his opponent is soft enough for Allen to flirt with a QB1 score.
Allen’s 2019 target distribution: D.J. Moore 55; Curtis Samuel 51; CMC 42; Greg Olsen 37; Jarius Wright 24; Reggie Bonnafon 4. … Coming off back-to-back 100-plus-yard games with a ten-target average over his last four, Moore is a shoo-in WR2 play with WR1 upside against an Atlanta secondary that’s coughed up the NFL’s sixth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Moore should experience positive-touchdown regression soon with just one end-zone trip on the year and none since Week 3. The Falcons have allowed the NFL’s seventh-most wide receiver touchdowns (12). … Samuel leads Carolina in 20-plus-yard targets (19), while the Falcons have surrendered the league’s 11th-most completions of 20-plus yards (33). Much like Moore, Samuel is a locked-in WR2 play in one of the best matchups he’ll catch all year. … Smothered in coverage by defenses since Allen’s first start, Olsen showed he can very much still play with an 8/98/0 receiving line on ten targets in last week’s loss to Green Bay, dominating along the sidelines in particular. Since losing SS Keanu Neal (Achilles’) seven games ago, Atlanta has been torched for 33 completions on 48 tight end targets (69%) for 375 yards and four touchdowns. Particularly at one of fantasy football’s least-reliable positions, Olsen has more than earned TE1 treatment in Week 11.
Score Prediction: Panthers 24, Falcons 20