Chris Thompson doesn’t belong on that list by either name or game, but his loss will be felt for the Redskins. The 2016 breakout back was breaking even further this year, entering Week 11 as both the Redskins’ leading runner and receiver. He’ll finish 2017 averaging 13.1 yards per reception, a crazy number for a running back. Thompson spent plenty of time running into brick walls on the ground, but was busting enough big plays to average 4.59 yards per carry. He was a checkdown/screen security blanket turning dumpoffs into huge gains.
Thompson was doing all this for an offense where neither a reliable early-down back nor true No. 1 receiver had emerged. There was never going to be a good time to lose him for the Redskins, but Sunday might have been the best of the worst. Samaje Perine finally showed something between the tackles, fairly routinely getting to the second level behind blocking that remained suspect.
At receiver, Josh Doctson was going up and winning jump balls, showing why he was the No. 22 overall pick of last year’s draft. He did more damage in contested situations against the Saints than Terrelle Pryor has all year. With Doctson, Perine and Jamison Crowder all playing better, the Redskins’ offense will not cease to function without Thompson. It just won’t be the same.
Going forward, Thompson will be recovering from a broken fibula. It’s a brutal injury, one similar to those suffered by Thomas Rawls and Tyler Lockett. There’s no guarantee he returns as the same player. Thankfully for 27-year-old Thompson, he signed a two-year extension earlier this year that included a $3 million signing bonus and $4.466 million guaranteed, so he will at least be getting paid. That’s cold comfort, but even cold comfort is something few NFL players get.
Five Week 11 Storylines
Alex Smith “leads” Chiefs to nine points against Giants. The G-Men were one week removed from getting shredded by C.J. Beathard. Smith had five quarters and couldn’t even score a touchdown. It was a pathetic, disastrous showing from Smith’s offense, one that should remove any illusions about the Chiefs being a team that will make noise in January. The way they are playing right now, it’s possible they don’t even make it despite holding a two-game lead in the AFC West. With the defense crumbling, Smith has started regressing to his pre-2017 form. He’s tallied three touchdowns over his past three games. In that same timespan, the Chiefs have settled for nine field goals. It was that kind of play in the Chiefs’ 2016-17 Divisional Round loss to the Steelers that convinced them to draft Patrick Mahomes.
Nathan Peterman melts all the way down in place of Tyrod Taylor. It’s not Peterman’s fault coach Sean McDermott made the indefensible decision to start him over Taylor, a player who entered Week 11 with Pro Football Focus’ ninth highest grade. But it was Peterman who paid the price, tossing a humiliating five interceptions in only 14 pass attempts. He completed just one more pass to the Bills than he did to the Bolts. Tail between his legs, McDermott admitted defeat after halftime, re-inserting Taylor under center. With the game already decided — San Diego, err Los Angeles, led 37-7 at the break — Taylor had a perfectly pleasant second half, passing for 158 yards while scoring touchdowns both on the ground and through the air. Unless he wants his team to go on strike, McDermott will keep Taylor in the starting lineup for Week 12. Taylor will be in the QB1 mix against the Chiefs’ collapsed defense.
Keenan Allen busts slump in volcanic fashion vs. barely-there Bills. With the Chargers energized by their opponent’s embarrassing display, Allen welcomed himself back to the 2017 season with a 12/159/2 clinic. Both the catches and yards were more than he had over the past three weeks, while the scores were his first since Week 1. As usual, Allen was running precision routes. Not as usual, he was facing no resistance when doing so. It’s not a repeatable performance, though the Cowboys will make Allen feel at home on Thanksgiving. Big D’s defense hasn’t withered to the same degree as Buffalo’s, but has been keeping the welcome mat free of leaves. Allen will be in the WR1 mix for Turkey Day.
Talented rookie D'Onta Foreman suffers torn Achilles’ tendon. In the midst of the best game of his promising first season, Foreman popped his Achilles’ on a 34-yard touchdown run, his second end zone trip of the day. He finished with 65 yards, a new season high. It’s a total he’ll have to rest on until 2018, perhaps deep into the year. Although Achilles’ recoveries have become more routine, they remain steadfastly not routine. Foreman is going to have his work cut out for him to have a normal and productive career. Working in his favor is his extreme youth (21). He’s worth holding onto in Dynasty leagues. For 2017, the Texans’ running game burden is now entirely on Lamar Miller’s shoulders. Alfred Blue will offer breather carries and nothing else.
Corey Coleman shines in return from injured reserve. Raymond Summerlin has a stat for you. The only receiver to top 70 yards against the Jaguars before Coleman went 6/80 on Sunday? Antonio Brown. Coleman’s numbers were all the more impressive considering just how poorly DeShone Kizer played. At one point, four of Kizer’s six completions were to his newly activated No. 1 wideout. More than one of Coleman’s grabs came against all-world CB Jalen Ramsey. Things get a little easier for Week 12, where the Browns will be traveling to Cincinnati. Locked into snaps and targets for a team that desperately needs him, Coleman will be an upside WR4 for Thanksgiving week.
Five More Week 11 Storylines
Kelvin Benjamin carted off with knee injury. Something that didn’t make life any easier for Nathan Peterman? Losing his No. 1 receiver two minutes into the game. Benjamin took a helmet to his left knee and was quickly ruled out for the day. It’s not the same knee that held Benjamin out for 2015, but it is the one that was giving him trouble earlier this year for the Panthers. It’s likely Benjamin misses multiple weeks, and quite possibly the rest of the season. That would only deepen the Bills’ growing misery, and cast an even harsher light on trade deadline maneuvers that look more questionable with each passing day. Zay Jones, who has started to play better in recent weeks, will return to No. 1 status, and has an enticing Week 12 matchup in the Chiefs.
Robert Woods posts another 8/81, injures shoulder in process. It was a dismal day for the Rams’ offense, but Woods continued to ride high, giving him 20 catches for 322 yards and four touchdowns in three games in the month of November. Woods has now gone at least 4/59 in six straight contests, either catching five passes or posting 66 yards every time out. He’s blown by supposedly superior talent Sammy Watkins and obsessed-over rookie Cooper Kupp on the depth chart. Now it’s time for two major tests. The first will be the MRI Woods undergoes on Monday. The early word is optimistic. If Woods gets cleared for Week 12, he’ll face test No. 2, Marshon Lattimore and the Saints’ improved pass defense. That’s if Lattimore (ankle) himself can get cleared. If both play, there’s still the possibility Lattimore is assigned to chase Watkins. If Woods suits up, he will be an upside WR3.
Jay Cutler is concussed after throwing three interceptions in 12 attempts. Skidding to a new dismal low in his dispiriting “comeback” season, a concussion is the only thing that could have made Cutler’s day worse. A concussion is what he got, and uncertainty is what he has going forward. 34-year-old Cutler, who was ready to walk away from football for broadcasting, has suffered at least six previously documented head injuries. The real number, of course, is usually higher than what’s publicly known. With the Dolphins’ season circling the drain and Cutler’s long-term health in the balance, he’s unlikely to be rushed back. That would leave Matt Moore to face the Patriots in Week 12. Up or down in Cutler’s absence this season, Moore was up against the Bucs, generating 282 yards on 28 attempts (10.07 YPA). Despite his horror show of a start against the Ravens, Moore would be on the streaming radar if he’s under center in New England.
Derek Carr’s slump. Carr has one of the league’s best offensive lines and one of its best receiver duos. So why does he have just three touchdowns over his past three games, a slate that has included the Dolphins and Bills? Inconsistencies have abounded for the Raiders on offense, but Carr should never have a three-game stretch with more picks (four) than touchdowns. For the season, his YPA is under 7.00 (6.87) and his QB rating is 88.2. Four times in nine starts he’s posted a rating of 71.2 or lower. It’s not the step forward we needed to see from 26-year-old Carr this season, no matter how disappointing the rest of his team has been. Carr is not the problem in Oakland. He needs to be a bigger part of the solution down the stretch.
Danny Woodhead catches five passes in return. Woodhead immediately reclaimed third-down duties from Buck Allen, out-catching him 5-1 and out-snapping him 13-10. Those advantages should only go up after Woodhead re-established his health and escaped without setbacks. He’s poised to be a checkdown machine for a team lacking viable targets in the passing game. The Texans are an inviting matchup for Week 12. As has been the case throughout his entire career, Woodhead figures to be a PPR asset while remaining on the fringes in standard leagues.
2. Favorite Week 11 interception — Kelce or Shane Vereen?
Early Waiver Look (Players owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)
DEF: Bengals (vs. CLE), Chargers (@DAL), Redskins (vs. NYG)
Stats of the Week
Jay Ajayi is averaging 11.2 yards on his 15 Eagles carries. Perhaps he should get more Eagles carries.
Pro Football Focus’ Scott Barrett has the corker of the week: The Raiders are allowing a 113.2 QB rating against, which would be the sixth highest QB rating for a player in NFL history. Unfathomable.
Via NFL.com’s James Palmer: The Patriots have scored in the final minute of the first half in seven straight games.
The Browns are 2-35 in their past 37 games. That’s harder than going 35-2.
No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis leads the Redskins with 527 receiving yards.
Quote of the Week: To describe the death of Andy Reid’s post-bye week mystique, NFL.com’s Dave Dameshek channeled Wallace Stevens: “Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers.”
Nathan Peterman Quote of the Week I, via Richard Sherman: So they bench my guy @TyrodTaylor and the guy they bring in has already thrown 2picks with 10mins left in the 1st. Great decision
Nathan Peterman Quote of the Week II, Also via Richard Sherman: Wonder what they are gonna say after this game about @TyrodTaylor .... one bad game and he’s benched. Do you cut the new guy after this half?
Tweet of the Week, via Dan Wolken: Alvin Kamara averaging and eight and nine carries, respectively, in his two years at Tennessee helps explain why Butch Jones no longer has a job.