Demos: Week 11 fantasy projections

Khari Demos

What a wild Week 10 we had. Don't worry, we'll get to the Buffalo-Arizona finish, but first let's talk about the cream rising to the top in both conferences. Pittsburgh dismantled Cincinnati to get to 9-0, putting pressure on division leaders Kansas City, Buffalo and Indianapolis.

The NFC continues to be up for grabs, with Green Bay, New Orleans and Tampa Bay all taking care of business. The Saints did lose Drew Brees though, so we'll see if Jameis Winston — and maybe Taysom Hill? — can keep the ship afloat while No. 9 is away.

Arizona's win was also key, giving the NFC West three 6-3 teams — the Cards, Rams and Seahawks — locked at the top after L.A. humbled Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf and the Seattle offense The NFC looks so strong when teams like those are on display, but then you remember Philadelphia leads the NFC East at 3-5-1 even after losing to the 3-7 New York Giants.

Sheesh.

We did see a nice upset with New England taking down Baltimore in the Sunday nighter. Don't look now, but the AFC is coming on strong with Cleveland, Miami and Las Vegas all hitting their stride as the back half approaches.

My waiver wire picks of the week start with two running backs, Miami's Salvon Ahmed and Vegas' Devontae Booker, as well as Rams wide out Josh Reynolds.

We're getting to the back end of the schedule, so let's see what Week 11 has in store.

START 'EM

Dolphins D/ST

To think Miami's rebuild has advanced to this point already is insane. Ranked as the No. 7 defense in ESPN leagues, the Dolphins have been most elite in terms of points allowed and turnovers, arguably the two most important defensive metrics out there.

Miami has the third-lowest percentage of offensive drives ending in a score in the NFL (28.7%) and is tied for fifth-highest turnover rate in the league (14.9%). Not only have the 'Phins allowed the fourth-lowest TD pass total (13), they're yielding the sixth-lowest passer rating (87.9) and have forced a takeaway in every game since Week 1.

It also helps knowing the 'Phins special teams unit has been so productive. According to footballoutsiders.com, Miami may have the best specs group in the league with the top DVOA percentage (10.7%).

The Dolphins now get to feast on a Denver offense that is coming off a dreadful showing in Vegas, scoring only 12 points and turning the ball over five times against the Raiders' so-so D. And with Drew Lock most likely to miss action with a rib injury, Miami may be facing Jeff Driskel's Broncos instead.

SIT 'EM

Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

He may be the GOAT, but Brady's got a tough one on his hands here. One of the common denominators in the Bucs' three losses have been keeping No. 12 upright, as Brady was sacked three times in each outing.

In those three games, Tampa allowed an average pressure rate of 26.2%, up from the season average of 17.4%.

One of the best pass-rushing units in the league, the Rams have gotten to QBs all season, tying for third in the league in total sacks (31). LA is best in the league in TD passes allowed (9) and yards per attempt (6.4), third in passer rating (81.0) and passing yards per game (199.7), as well as tying for the fourth-highest pick total in the NFL (8).

Brady has been brilliant most of this season, but let's not act like Tampa isn't streaky. I do love the weaponry he has all over the field, but just look at how Jalen Ramsey held down a passing attack with Metcalf, Wilson and Tyler Lockett just this past weekend. This will be a strength-on-strength matchup to say the least.

As great as the Bucs are, there have been some huge letdowns. Do I really need to bring up the 38-3 shellacking to the Saints from just a week and a half ago?

SLEEPER OF THE WEEK

D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

One of my favorite tailbacks in the 2020 draft, Swift is finally becoming the guy many felt was the top back in the class. After battling with Adrian Peterson and some low points early on, the Georgia product seems to be the Motor City's RB1.

Swift has put together back-to-back outings of 97 scrimmage yards or more, with his best game of the season coming last week against an underrated Washington defense (81 rushing yards, 68 receiving yards, 7.1 yards per touch, 1 receiving TD). Swift's six total touchdowns (4 rushing, 2 receiving) rank fourth amongst all rookies, behind Chase Claypool, James Robinson and Antonio Gibson.

As much as I like Swift, I may dislike the Carolina defense even more. Ronald Jones' 192 rushing yards in Week 10 were a microcosm for the Panthers' run D, which ranks bottom-six in yards allowed (1,245), touchdowns (14), yards per carry (4.8) and rushing first downs (74).

Even worse, the Carolina D has allowed the most receptions to running backs in the league (66), as well as 221.3 total points and 22.1 points per game to RBs — both fourth most in the league. One of the top receiving backs in the NFL, Swift has 31 receptions this season, the sixth most amongst all RBs.

Bills fantasy outlook

Bye week

As Buffalonians, how many heartbreaking losses can we suffer through? The Buffalo-Arizona game was just as exciting as I thought it'd be, but the 'Hail Murray' was about as crushing as last season's Wild Card loss to Houston. Or the Music City Miracle. Need I go on?

Blowing a 14-point lead, there's a little bit of blame to go around for everyone.

Josh Allen (32 of 49, 284 passing yards, 38 rushing yards, 2 TD passes, 2 INTs, 70.4 QBR, 77.3 passer rating) did perform much better in the first half, and allow though he had those two second-half picks, it's hard to put this loss on him. Especially after he connected with Stefon Diggs (10 receptions, 93 yards, 1 TD) for a score with only 34 seconds to go.

Diggs — the league's leader in receptions (73) and receiving yards (906) — wasn't even the top Bills receiver in the game, as Cole Beasley had another big outing (11 receptions, 109 yards, 1 TD). Their buddy, John Brown, also showed strong in his return to AZ (6 receptions, 72 yards), proving that Buffalo still has one of the best WR corps in the league.

But this loss can be summed up by the Bills two biggest problems. Buffalo couldn't put the game away because of an inability to run the ball, with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss combining for 35 yards at just 3.2 yards an attempt.

Allen has been Buffalo's leading rusher four times this year, tied with Kyler Murray for the second most of any QB behind Lamar Jackson (6). 

And once again, the Bills couldn't stop the run, as the Cardinals accumulated 217 yards on the ground. Buffalo has allowed 130 or more rushing yards on five occasions this year, with this being the second time over 200.

The Cards' attack looked strong with Kenyan Drake (100 yards, 6.3 YPC) and Chase Edmonds (77 scrimmage yards, 7.0 YPC and YPT), but we all know AZ's offense starts and ends with Murray (22 of 32, 245 passing yards, 61 rushing yards, 3 total TDs, 1 INT, 88.7 passer rating, 60.9 QBR).

Murray was corralled in the first half, but he turned the page and got loose for all three scores coming after the break. DeAndre Hopkins may have caught that late heave for the W, but his performance just fuels his claim as the game's best receiver, as he hauled in seven catches, 127 yards and that game-winning score while matching up against All-Pro Tre'Davious White.

As infuriating as the loss was, going 7-3 into the bye feels about right. I think just about any Bills fan would've taken that record at the beginning of the year, especially knowing that they're at the top of the AFC East.

But coming out of it will be key, especially since Miami's (6-3) gelling with Tua Tagovailoa, and Cam Newton and New England (4-5) seem to have found their form. With both teams left on the slate, Buffalo controls its own destiny and can create some separation.

What must be done is taking care of business, with games against the L.A. Chargers (2-7), San Francisco (4-6) and Denver (3-6). Then the Bills will likely need to take at least two of three with Pittsburgh, Miami and New England.

Are 11 or 12 wins still possible? Of course. But it'll be interesting to see how the Bills handle being the hunted in all but one of their remaining games.

Respond to sports reporter Khari Demos on Twitter @riri_demos or at khari.demos@gnnewspaper.com. Also, be sure to listen to the GNN Sports Podcast, on Spotify, Anchor, Apple Podcasts and more.

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