What We Saw: Week 11

Good football is back just in time for the holiday season

Steelers @ Chargers

Final Score: Chargers 41, Steelers 37

Writer: Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)


Both QBs Ben Roethlisberger and Justin Herbert took to the air on Sunday night in a high-flying shootout, but it was Roethlisberger who couldn’t quite do enough to lead his team to a victory. With the Steelers’ defense missing several key starters, Herbert was able to throw (and run) the ball all over the yard at will. With Los Angeles taking a 27-10 lead into the 4th quarter, it seemed as though a blowout might be in the works, but Roethlisberger and the Steelers charged back to make it a close game – starting with a blocked punt early in the 4th quarter that led to a TD from Steelers’ star rookie RB Najee Harris. Later in the 4th, a tipped Herbert pass was intercepted which led to another TD for the Steelers. The Steelers’ timely special teams plays and forced turnovers kept them in the game until the end, but they couldn’t do enough to stop Herbert and the Chargers when it mattered most. RB Austin Ekeler had a tough time rushing the ball yet still ended up with 4 total TDs and a monster performance to show for his efforts. How does all of this look for the rest of your fantasy team? Let’s dive into what we saw:


Pittsburgh Steelers




Ben Roethlisberger: 28/44, 273 yards, 3 TD


After missing last week’s matchup with Detroit due to a positive COVID test, Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger bounced back on Sunday night with his best fantasy performance of the season in a tough loss to the Chargers. Roethlisberger ended with 3 passing TDs for the first time all season, largely due to the fact that Los Angeles sold out to stop the run and forced Ben to beat them with his arm – and he was almost able to. We all know that Roethlisberger doesn’t have the same arm strength that he had earlier in his career, but the veteran still has a knack for finding his playmakers and putting them in position to make plays. His three TD passes were for 10, 5, and 5 yards respectively, and he used a variety of short passes and screen plays to get his guys the ball in space to make plays.



Running Backs


Najee Harris: 12 carries, 39 yards, TD | 6 targets, 5 receptions, 20 yards


It was a comparatively tough night for Steelers’ RB Najee Harris but his 1-yard TD run early in the 4th helped to salvage his day from a fantasy perspective. Harris’s 17 total touches were his fewest since Week 2 against the Raiders and also his second-fewest of the entire season. Los Angeles clearly game-planned on defense to stop the run and make it a miserable night for Najee – and they were able to do just that. With the Chargers ahead for much of the night, Harris also was a victim of a negative gamescript that forced Pittsburgh to throw to catch up. That being said, Harris still turned in a worthwhile fantasy performance – especially in PPR leagues.



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Diontae Johnson: 13 targets, 7 receptions, 101 yards, TD

Chase Claypool: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 93 yards

Eric Ebron: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards, TD

Pat Friermuth: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 11 yards, TD


With the Steelers being forced to throw the ball for much of the night, unsurprisingly their pass-catchers turned in some abundant fantasy performances. Steelers’ de facto WR1 Diontae Johnson continued to shine on Sunday night – turning in his first performance of the year with 100+ yards and a score. Johnson made several highlight-reel grabs – some along the sideline in double coverage, some taking short passes and turning them into YAC attacks. But none were more valuable on the day than this 10-yard TD grab near halftime:



WR Chase Claypool returned from a toe injury that kept him out last week against the Lions to put up his highest fantasy output since Week 5 against the Broncos. While Claypool failed to find the end-zone, his 9 targets were his most since Week 3 and tied for his second-most this season. If you were forced to start either of Pittsburgh TEs Pat Friermuth or Eric Ebron, they both had quiet nights but were able to score to salvage decent outings for their fantasy managers.


Los Angeles Chargers




Justin Herbert: 30/41, 382 yards, 3 TD, INT | 9 carries, 90 yards


Chargers’ QB Justin Herbert has been hot and cold this year. He started off the season on fire and has since been up and down week-to-week with his fantasy outcomes. Other than the tipped pass-turned-interception in the 4th quarter, Herbert turned in a fantastic fantasy performance on Sunday night – finishing with a career-high 90 rushing yards. In fact, Herbert led the Chargers in rushing on Sunday night – aided by the fact that Pittsburgh absolutely refused to account for him as a runner with their defensive scheme. Herbert had only 2 incompletions in the first half and one of them was a perfectly-thrown, wide-open drop by TE Donald Parham, Jr. that very well could have been a score had he caught it. While two of Herbert’s three TD passes were short throws to RB Austin Ekeler, he capped the night with this game-winning, 53-yard bomb to WR Mike Williams:



Running Backs


Austin Ekeler: 11 carries, 50 yards, 2 TD | 7 targets, 6 receptions, 65 yards, 2 TD


Chargers’ RB Austin Ekeler broke out of his mini-slump in a big way on Sunday night – ending with 100+ yards and 4 total TDs against the Steelers. Other than Justin Herbert, the Steelers’ defense did a decent job of slowing down the run on Sunday night. Ekeler’s 50 yards on the ground were his third-fewest rushing yards all season  – but he more than made up for it with a season-high 65 receiving yards to go along with it.



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Keenan Allen: 13 targets, 9 receptions, 112 yards

Mike Williams: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 97 yards, TD

Jared Cook: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 28 yards


With the Steelers’ starting S Minkah Fitzpatrick out with Covid and starting CB Joe Haden out with a foot injury, the Chargers’ pass-catchers had a field day on Sunday night. WR Keenan Allen‘s 112 receiving yards were the most of the season thus far for him, and he’s put together a nice little 4-game stretch since the Chargers returned from their bye week. WR Mike Williams‘ performance was a sight for sore eyes for his fantasy managers as he put up his best output since all the way back in Week 5 against Cleveland. Williams has struggled mightily over the Chargers’ past 4 games – failing to record more than 4 catches, 58 yards, or score a single TD in any of them. It would make sense that Williams picked this week to return to fantasy relevance, seeing as how I was playing against him in my home league.


Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)

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