The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 11: Don’t dither replacing injured Burrow or Andrews

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UPDATE: 10:17 p.m. Friday

Many fantasy mavens were shaken Thursday night when two top players saw their seasons come to a sudden end.

Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow (wrist) and Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews (ankle) are finished for 2023. Sharp fantasy players will move immediately to find waiver replacements and not wait for next week’s pickups. This would also be a good time to pick at the carcasses of rival teams that may have given up on the season.

There’s some news regarding running backs. Houston’s Dameon Pierce is out again, so Devin Singletary is definitely worth grabbing if you can. And Miami rookie sensation De’Von Achane is expected to return this week and could be running at full speed through the Las Vegas defense.

ORIGINAL POST: 11:59 a.m. Wednesday

It’s often been said that fantasy football bears only the faintest resemblance to actual football, and that success in one does not necessarily mean certain success in the other.

Case in point: Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen.

As far as REAL football goes, the Bills’ QB has been a tremendous disappointment this season. Ball security? Allen’s three turnovers proved fatal Monday night in the Bills’ shocking loss to Denver, and the former first-round draft pick leads the league with 11 interceptions.

But fantasy-wise, Allen is still a god. He’s the top scoring NFL quarterback with 19 touchdown passes, seven rushing TDs and 2,600 passing yards. So Allen’s struggles this season have been much more painful for Bills Mafia than the Fantasy Mafia that drafted him in the first two rounds of most drafts.

The statistics haven’t been as forgiving for the following players, who make up our list of the first half’s biggest fantasy non-factors:

Deshaun Watson (Browns QB) – There’s no way to massage this: Watson is a shell of his old self. He threw for only seven touchdowns and ran for only one in the season’s first half. And he won’t have a second half as he’s set to have season-ending shoulder surgery. But the Cleveland offense actually has looked better behind P.J. Walker, anyway.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – NOVEMBER 12: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

Saquon Barkley (Giants RB) – No one has suffered more behind the Giants’ motley offensive line. Barkley has 568 rushing yards but only one rushing touchdown in this disastrous season. Not the first-round back many hoped he would be again.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 12: Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants wrestles for the ball against Rashaan Evans #32 of the Dallas Cowboys during the third quarter at AT&T Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Tony Pollard (Cowboys RB) – Ezekiel Elliott’s former understudy has hardly shined in his absence. Pollard hasn’t reached the end zone since scoring twice in the opener and has but a single week where he has topped 72 rushing yards.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 12: Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys is tackled by Jason Pinnock #27 of the New York Giants during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Najee Harris (Steelers RB) – The former Alabama standout isn’t even the top back in the Steel City, lagging behind Jaylen Warren. But Harris is possibly starting to heat up with three touchdowns in his past four games.

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 22: Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs the ball during a 24-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 22, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Davante Adams (Raiders WR) – His season hit rock bottom when his hopes for a trade out of Vegas were dashed. The perennial top-five receiver has a mere three TDs this season and but a single game where has topped 86 yards.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 12: Wide receiver Davante Adams #17 the Las Vegas Raiders reacts after making a catch during the 2nd quarter of the game against the New York Jets at Allegiant Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Darren Waller (Giants TE) – The overly-hyped tight end has only one TD, not a single triple-digit game and is not likely to do any better with Tommy Devtto at the helm. It says something that Waller has underperformed Atlanta’s Kyle Pitts.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 22: Darren Waller #12 of the New York Giants is tackled by Jartavius Martin #20, Jamin Davis #52 and Kendall Fuller #29 of the Washington Commanders in the fourth quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on October 22, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Jason Sanders (Dolphins K) – Miami’s offense has produced so many touchdowns that its kicker has suffered. Sanders has only four field goals since the opener and is a sad 30th in the league in scoring among kickers.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 29: Jason Sanders #7 of the Miami Dolphins kicks an extra point during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium on October 29, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Sitting stars

San Fran’s defense will shut down Tampa Bay RB Rachaad White vs 49ers. … We think Chicago’s passing game may struggle against Detroit, so think twice before starting WR D.J. Moore or TE Cole Kmet. … Dallas’ defense will keep Carolina WR Adam Thielen in check. … Atlanta WR Calvin Ridley won’t get untracked against Tennessee. … Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow may have a tough time in their showdown against the Ravens. … We don’t like ANY Steelers offensive players against Cleveland. … And Chiefs TE Travis Kelce is the only pass catcher we would trust against Philly.

TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 12: Rachaad White #1 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs while scoring a receiving touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Matchup game

Miami, after a week off, should be able to run freely against the Raiders, whether it’s Raheem Mostert or a returning De’Von Achane. … The Chargers’ Austin Ekeler will also run through the Packers. … Washington RB Brian Robinson will continue his strong play vs. the Giants. … As will Baltimore’s Keaton Mitchell against the Bengals. … Detroit WR Amon-Ra St Brown will post great numbers against Chicago. … Carolina’s focus on stopping CeeDee Lamb will mean another big game for WR Brandin Cooks. … The Eagles’ big-play guy in their Super Bowl rematch against the Chiefs may very well be WR Devonta Smith. … And we expect more great rushing numbers from two quarterbacks: Arizona’s Kyler Murray vs. Houston and the Vikings’ own Josh Dobbs in Denver.

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 12: Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers is tackled by Kerby Joseph #31 of the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at SoFi Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Injury watch

The Vikings will likely be without WR Justin Jefferson again this week, and RB Alexander Mattison is in the concussion protocol. So Ty Chandler could get his first start in purple.  … New Orleans QB Derek Carr left last Sunday’s game early but is expected to be ready this week. …. Chicago QB Justin Fields is also a decent bet to return. … But don’t count on WR Tee Higgins returning for the Bengals on a short week. … Houston RB Dameon Pierce will be out again, so we’ll see more of Devin Singletary. … Players listed as questionable include Chargers WR Keenan Allen, Miami wideout Jaylen Waddle, Chargers TE Gerald Everett and Tampa Bay QB Baker Mayfield.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – NOVEMBER 12: Alexander Mattison #2 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The deepest sleeper

Noah Brown didn’t do much in his five seasons as a reserve wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys. And he began this month with eight catches for about 100 yards for Houston. But these past two weeks he has been something. Thanks to the rapid maturation of quarterback C.J. Stroud, and a calf injury suffered by starter Nico Collins, Brown has exploded with 13 catches for 325 yards and a touchdown. And with Arizona’s non-descript defense ahead this week, Brown can do even more damage, provided he’s still in the lineup. If Collins returns, the Unsinkable Noah Brown could quickly go back to obscurity.

CINCINNATI, OHIO – NOVEMBER 12: Noah Brown #85 of the Houston Texans loses his helmet after a tackle by Chidobe Awuzie #22 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Paycor Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The Thursday pick

Bengals at Ravens (-3½):

Pick: Ravens by 7.

CINCINNATI, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 17: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals is sacked by Jadeveon Clowney #24 of the Baltimore Ravens at Paycor Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Breaking news

We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to

<em>You can hear <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Kevin Cusick</a> on Wednesdays on <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast</a> on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on <a href=”’” target=”_blank”>Twitter — @theloopnow</a>. He can be reached at</em>

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