What We Saw: Week 11

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 11 of the 2020 NFL season.

Cowboys @ Vikings


In a game where both offenses moved the ball at will, the Dallas Cowboys pulled off the road upset, winning 31-28 over a Minnesota Vikings team riding a three-game win streak. Both teams ran the ball well and got incredible plays from their receiving corps, with both defenses looking gassed down the stretch. This was a game that made fantasy managers happy from start to finish, so there are plenty of takeaways from this surprising shootout.


Dallas Cowboys




Andy Dalton: 22/32, 203 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 1 sack | 3 carries, 5 yards, 1 reception, -3 yards


The biggest takeaway from Andy Dalton‘s performance is that he looked like an NFL quarterback, something that the Cowboys likely don’t take for granted ever since the injury to Dak Prescott. Dalton got a short field early and hit Ezekiel Elliott on a short screen pass for a touchdown. Dalton then kept an early drive alive with a scramble for a first down on third and six, but later made one of his few big mistakes of the day. He threw behind Dalton Schultz over the middle on a poor underthrow and was intercepted near the red zone. Otherwise, Dalton was mainly a game manager that took care of the ball. He threw a second touchdown to CeeDee Lamb on what was a poor throw, but Lamb made one of the better TD catches you will see this year. Dalton saw a drive end on third and 1 with a drop from Michael Gallup and then threw behind an open Cedrick Wilson on 4th and 1. Towards the end of the half, Dalton began to form a connection with Amari Cooper, hitting him on three straight plays to set up a field goal to end the half.

The second half saw the Cowboys excel on the ground, and the passing game took a back seat. At one point, Dalton completed a pass to himself, as his throw was deflected at the line, bounced around between lineman, and somehow ended up in his hands. Dalton did come through when it counted, hitting Cooper on a huge 4th and 6 on the final drive for a first down, and despite dodging a bullet with a near pick in the end zone, threw the go-ahead touchdown with 1:37 remaining. Overall, while I wouldn’t be running out to pick up Dalton in one quarterback leagues, his play certainly eases concerns with the Cowboys’ offense as a whole.



Running Backs


Ezekiel Elliott: 21 carries, 103 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards, 1 TD

Tony Pollard: 5 carries, 60 yards, 1 TD


Ezekiel Elliott had a much needed good performance for his fantasy managers and looks on track to finish out the season on a positive note. Zeke scored early on a red zone screen and pounded the Vikings defense between the tackles throughout the rest of the game. Tony Pollard did rotate into the game more than we have seen at times, as he first saw the field with two minutes left in the first quarter. Elliott was stuffed on a 3rd and 1 in the first half, and the next short-yardage opportunity the Cowboys chose to pass (and failed again).

Zeke began to wear the Vikings defense down in the second half, including a drive that he seemingly set up Pollard, battering the defense before Pollard sprung a 42-yard touchdown where he flashed his speed and explosiveness. By the end of the game, Elliott and Pollard appeared to be rotating on sets of downs — Zeke would play until Dallas gained a first down, then Pollard would take over, and so on. In the end, Elliot had 46 snaps to Pollard’s 21. Elliot is still obviously the lead back, but Pollard does have a decent role and I would expect that to continue going forward.



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


CeeDee Lamb: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 34 yards, 1 TD | 2 carries, 12 yards

Amari Cooper: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 81 yards

Michael Gallup: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 29 yards

Dalton Schultz: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 25 yards, 1 TD


In the first half, CeeDee Lamb looked like the best player on the Cowboys’ entire team. After a stuffed 3rd and 1 with Elliot, Dallas gave Lamb a 4th down fly sweep where he gained the first. Later on that drive, CeeDee Lamb made the catch below, one of the best catches that I have seen this year. On that reception, he tied the Cowboys’ all-time record for receptions by a rookie with 46 on the year. The next drive they threw incomplete to him and threw him a screen on the first two plays, and looked like they were force-feeding him the ball. However, Lamb’s night was quiet after that. They had one shot at a touchdown to end the half and Dalton almost connected with him for a second touchdown, but otherwise, the running game took over. Despite fading in the second half, Lamb looks like the receiver you want in this offense.



Amari Cooper was quiet to start the game, but Dalton hit him on three start plays at the end of the half. The first two were quick hitter slant routes, with the third playing off of that action and getting him a reception 20 or so yards downfield after the Vikings bit on the short route. Cooper was mainly fed on short slants and in-routes and wasn’t schemed the ball like Lamb was. But on the biggest play of the game, Cooper caught an intermediate out-route on 4th and 6 to keep the game-winning drive alive. In the end, it wasn’t a monster game, but an encouraging one for the rest of the season as Cooper looks to be forming a connection with Dalton.

Michael Gallup had a tough day, dropping two of his five targets, including a 3rd and 1 shot downfield. There likely isn’t enough to go around with all of these receivers, and Gallup was the odd man out in Week 11. Dalton Schultz was a fine check down option and drew Dalton’s eye as he approached the red zone, especially at the end of the game. He is a viable streamer in good matchups, but you are mostly chasing a touchdown like most tight ends in that range.


Minnesota Vikings




Kirk Cousins: 22/30, 314 yards, 3 TDs, 1 fumble, 2 sacks | 1 carry, 4 yards


Kirk Cousins came through in a great matchup and paid off for anyone that streamed him, and he gave his playmaking wide receivers the chance to make things happen all game long. The pass rush got to him on the first drive, where he was pressured on his first two passes of the game before he was strip-sacked on his third pass. Otherwise, Cousins played nearly flawless football. He hit a big crossing route to respond after the Cowboys’ first score, and when a chop block set up a 2nd and 22 later on the drive he converted on two straight passes to keep the drive alive. He hit Justin Jefferson on a beautiful ball down the sideline to start another drive, and most drives ended at no fault of his own. The Vikings had too many early penalties with false starts and holding calls, and Dalvin Cook had a tough fumble while they were driving where he took a massive hit. 

In the second half, Cousins marched the offense down the field for a touchdown and even scrambled for a first down in the red zone. Cousins used the running game to set up play-action chunk plays to Jefferson and Adam Thielen downfield, and had 13 straight completions and a perfect QB rating late into the game. The Vikings ultimately failed to put together the final drive that they needed, but Cousins wasn’t helped by a bad drop from Jefferson and a questionable max protect play call on the final 4th and 6. Cousins will usually be held back by volume, but in games against bad defenses or where the Vikings are forced to air it out, he has the playmakers to be a reliable fantasy quarterback.


Running Backs


Dalvin Cook: 27 carries, 115 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble | 5 targets, 5 receptions, 45 yards

Alexander Mattison: 1 carry, 6 yards


Dalvin Cook looked as good as ever, ripping off a vicious stiff arm in the red zone early to set the tone. Cook capped the drive with a touchdown and afterward had to replace his facemask, a testament to his tough running style. He absorbed a crushing hit on a reception and took a hard-luck fumble, and while he was briefly shaken up he returned quickly to the game. I didn’t notice Alexander Mattison until five minutes remaining in the third quarter, and Cook saw a huge 57 snaps to Mattison’s 5 snaps. Cook got rolling in the third quarter and helped the Vikings run 20 plays to the Cowboys 6 in that span. He broke off chunk plays on the ground and was tied for second on the team with five targets. Cook looks like a player that can carry a team to the fantasy playoffs.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Adam Thielen: 11 targets, 8 receptions, 123 yards, 2 TDs

Justin Jefferson: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 86 yards, 1 TD

Irv Smith Jr.: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 23 yards

Kyle Rudolph: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 28 yards


Adam Thielen made plays all day, especially in the red zone. He made a tough catch on a high pass in the red zone on 3rd and 2 early on where he took a shot to his hand and briefly left the game. That obviously didn’t cause problems for him, as he later produced another catch of the year candidate for his tenth touchdown of the season, which tied Randy Moss for the most touchdowns through ten games all-time by a Viking. Thielen would break that record in short order, catching another touchdown on play-action, and giving him a massive fantasy performance. Thielen was getting big plays off of play-action all day and is a perfect fit with Cousins in this offense.



Justin Jefferson had a quieter day but still flashed on a few downfield plays, including a 39-yard touchdown on play-action after Cook wore down the defense on the ground. He made a tough hands catch and was targeted mostly down the sidelines, making high difficulty plays. He did have a wide-open drop on a short crosser on the final drive that could have gone for a big chunk of yardage, and the Vikings ultimately could not produce a first down. But Jefferson should be in fantasy lineups every week with his big-play potential.

When both tight ends are on the field, they chop up too much of the leftover work to be fantasy-relevant. Irv Smith caught two straight passes to convert from 2nd and 22 in the first half and then disappeared after. Snap wise Kyle Rudolph leads the way but is an occasional option in a low-volume passing attack.


— Erik Smith (@ErikSmithQBL on Twitter, truebest on Reddit)

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